7 posts categorized "Food and Drink"


A fine how do you doo

Colcar352 Don't ask me why, but I wanted my colonoscopy to be, if not funny, at least a little humorous.

You know, like Ricky Gervais' in the movie "Ghost Town" a couple years back.  Without the dying unexpectedly part, of course.  Nothing funny about that in real life/death, is there?

It didn't begin that way.  My prep nurse -- a very nice lady, really -- made it clear to me that I waited too long for my first colon spelunker adventure. 

"Why did you wait so long? 

"Don't know, really?"  (I did know.  I was scared s%*^#+&%.)

"Colon cancer is the silent killer, you know." 

"Yes, I know," I replied demurely (and you're killing me a little right now with your lecture; Wanna trade places?)

When the male nurse arrived to insert the IV in my arm and wheel me down to the surgery center procedure room, I thought things were going to brighten up substantially.

"Why are you here?"

"Colonoscopy," I said.

Then he (early 30s maybe, 20 years away from undergoing the embarrassing but essential procedure himself) launched into some spirited surgical center comic patter.

"Just for the fun of it?"


"I always ask patients if they're having a colonoscopy for the fun of it.  It catches them off guard and eases the tension," he said.

Later, when the nurse was tapping my wrist to locate the vein for the IV, the dinner show began:

"There's no reason to do this, really.  I just like to beat the patients."  (Good one, buddy.)

Then, after inserting a deadening needle and then the larger IV needle (painlessly, I might add):

"Remember, the state of Texas allows me to do this."

Being an old comedian, and feeling older by the second, I must admit the guy's timing was good and his material, as they say in the biz, was topically on the money.

Trouble was, after not eating anything solid for a day and a-half and losing three pounds in the non-advisable toilet diet the day before, I was in no mood for banter of any kind.

Which brings me to:

Security breaches at the G2 Summit

I won't lie to you.  Colonoscopy prep is not pleasant.  When I think back about the three-hour process of clearing my lower body regions of, let's say, clutter, the image that pops into my head is of landscape-altering tsunamis roaring in opposite directions.

The instructions were simple enough.  Pick up a box of laxative tablets, a 238g bottle of MiraLAX (explosives disguised as laxative powder; Do Not Let Terror Cellists In Your Neighborhood Know About MiraLAX) and a 64 ounce bottle of Gatorade.

You take four laxatives with eight ounces of Gatorade.  Then a couple of hours later, you pour the entire box of MiraLax into the Gatorade.  You shake it up, drink it up (eight ounces every 10 or 15 minutes) and -- before long -- become a human geyser at maximum pressure. 

By the way, have you tried to buy Gatorade lately?  Apparently, it has faded away like the 8-track tape, the DeLorean automobile and, unless something happens fast, Paris Hilton.

Gatorade has morphed into something called G2, the middle part of Gatorade's G Series in the science of thirst quenching.

Oddly enough, G2, the second stage of a three-part process, is titled DURING.

If ever there was truth in advertising, G2 qualifies, especially when mixed with volatile amounts of the MiraLAX explosive.  'Scuse me, laxative.  Give me a couple 64-ounce bottles of this mixture and I could bring down Hoover Dam.

Let's just say it's a good thing we installed a new industrial strength toilet a month or so ago.

Whew, glad it's over.  The colonoscopy process may not be pleasant, but it's much preferred to the alternative (the silent killer).

So if you're 50 or older, I urge you to schedule yours today.  It'll free your mind, your soul and your lower body like you won't believe.

And I get to go through the cleansing process again in three years.

Just for the fun of it.

(Colonoscopy cartoon courtesy:  funnytimes.com)


What the fork?

Fork200use Like every good citizen of Planet Earth, I get involved in vital issues that concern us all.

Damn the consequences.  When someone must speak out when no one else will, I am there, my friend.

So here goes:

What's going on with all the disappearing forks? 

You know that plastic thing in the kitchen drawer where the silverware goes?  Ours is white.  The color of yours may vary according to taste and/or if you took the cheap route and picked a light gray flimsy one at the Dollar Store, Everything's a Dollar or the 99 Cent Store (which should be running the other two stores out of business, but never seems to).

Here's the deal.  We do the dishes and fill all the little slots in that plastic holder with spoons (two sizes), knives, dinner forks and salad forks.

So far so good.  But the next time I'm in dire need of a good fork, or any fork, really, the pronged silverware slot is mysteriously empty.

We know there are gremlins in the house, despite a costly alarm system (which, come to think of it, might be blocking a gremlin exit at night).

Be that as it may, my theory is that the Sock Gremlins, which have broken up more good pairs than a cheap divorce attorney, have formed an alliance with the Fork Gremlins.

Laughing, they must be, as they make off with forks; perhaps stuffing stolen socks (one, never both from a matching duo) as cushion to silence the movement to a secret storage place behind a wall somewhere.

Why?  Why us?  Or, more specifically, why me?  I didn't do anything to them.  I just want the silverware to be there when I need it.

What the fork?


We should never weigh ourselves naked


Nothing even remotely positive can come out of it.  That's why.

Scale200use I've been dieting lately.  That means no more Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream (right out of the half- gallon container) in front of the TV at night (or in the morning, or, what the heck, around noon).

No more Milk Duds at the movies.  No more yada, yada, yada.  You know the drill.

Now, just when the stretch-marks appear to be going in the right direction (Don't kid yourself, you know what I mean), a new problem pops up.

Weighing yourself naked only leads to despair.

Take my so-called life (Please!) as an example:

Several events occurred in my life in rapid succession that set this diet misery in motion.  Like the split-second difference between a baseball player's foot thud on first base and the pop of the ball arriving in the first baseman's glove.

Or like this:  My blood pressure went up ... I was feeling lousy ... It was necessary to check the weight limit on a ladder before changing the air conditioner filter in the attic ... Shortness of breath ... Longness of ice cream sessions (See Blue Bell mention above) and this:

The B-word, bequeath, was mentioned in my own home.  It was quite innocently uttered.  Since my grandparents are long gone and my parents have moved on to their reward as well, I had no choice other than to realize that the B-word had some kind of connection to me.

I don't have much mind you, so I was flattered that I own something someone else deems important enough to want.  But I don't plan on doing any major bequeathing for a long time.

So, I went to the doctor for my first annual physical in about a dozen years and found out what I already knew.  Lose some weight, buddy, if you want to hang around on the planet for a while.

That first rattle of the doctor's scale weight -- sliding, sliding; add next counterweight, sliding, sliding -- made me mad.  Even then, I couldn't help thinking about my brother's favorite weight scale joke:  "One at a time, please."

That brings us to the never weigh yourself without clothes observation.  Since I was visiting my doctor every couple of weeks for a while, I got serious about my diet.

Bright and early every Sunday morning I weighed myself ... naked.  I was making good progress, too, except for one thing.  Being weighed by the doctor's assistant (scale weight rattle; sliding, sliding ...) presented a problem.

Polite society does not allow weighing in the buff in public.  Not even in the name of science.

It does, however, allow for us to weigh between three and six pounds more when fully clothed.

Bummer.  But at least the view's (somewhat) less disturbing.

My weight goal?

Let's just say it has something to do with seeing my feet.

(Man on scale cartoon courtesy of Clipartof.com)


Hi, blood pressure; bye-bye Blue Bell

I went for my annual physical late last week.

Before that, my most recent annual physical took place sometime in the previous century.

(Courtesy:  Vaughns.com)

It's not that I have trouble counting or anything, it's just that anytime a doctor puts on a glove, I get nervous.  I get defensive, and sometimes I get the hell out of there.

Urged on by my wife, my doctor and my wimpy better judgment, however, I assumed the position.

Bottom line (no reference to the aforementioned glove intended), I have borderline high blood pressure.

Not high blood pressure, mind you, but right on the line of demarcation between "high normal" and hypertension (high blood pressure).

I don't mean to nitpick and I'm certainly no doctor, but it seems to me that the words "high" and "normal" don't really go together.

So while I'm waiting for the results of my blood work to come back from the lab, my doctor told me to purchase a home blood-pressure monitor and check my pressure at random times.

The theory is that if we can get the readings down into the "normal" normal range, I probably won't have to take blood pressure medication.

The reality is that all this tweaking and testing is probably adding to the pressure.  It certainly doesn't help any that the chart I've included here has the word "Death" printed in red at the far bottom on the chart.

Also, and here's the really sad part, I've decided to say farewell to my best pal for a while.  That means no more half gallons of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream in the freezer for gluttony-related short visits.

I'm not whining, really.  The whining will come if the blood work turns up other problems.  This is just an attempt to alert nearby stores.  You guys might want to cut back on your Blue Bell orders for a while.  At least until I get my weight down some and I'm out of the "high normal" range on the blood pressure meter.  Otherwise, you'll have a frozen tundra of Blue Bell melting in the aisles.

I'm no stickler for precise proper diet, it's just definitely time to make some healthier choices.

What the health.  It can't hurt.


Something new: Old year's resolutions

If a Christmas tree falls in the living room when no one's around, does it make a sound?

I've never had much luck with New Year's resolutions, or even new years for that matter.

Case in point:  2009, which I have referred to in this space as a year of living dangerously, skidded completely out of control for me early.  Friday, Jan. 16 to be exact.

It was about 11 in the morning when the editor of my newspaper called.  Not my immediate editor, or even his boss.  I'm talking THE EDITOR.

I was fighting a noon deadline to finish up a filmmaker interview I was writing before rushing off to a matinee of an opening film not screened in advance for movie critics.  I knew immediately what the call was about. 

I was seconds away from finding out what the word "deadline" really means.

Outwardly seemingly undaunted by the news of an abrupt smash, skid and detour to a 29 year career as a film critic, I wept silently inside; occasionally blowing up at my wife Suellen for no reason.

But there was a reason.  "They took my career away, yada ("Poor me"), yada ("Damn them"), yada."

After even I couldn't stand feeling sorry for myself anymore, I got busy and went into business for myself as a film critic, columnist and Web site purveyor.  If you're reading this, I thank you.  Please remember to click on all the ads.  It's sort of like remembering to tip the waitress before you leave.

So because of what happened in 2009, there will be no New Year's resolutions from this aisle seat.  Instead, here are unfortunate mishaps of 2009 that I swear I won't repeat in 2010, or "oh-10" as so many people wrongly refer to the new year.

Oh Christmas tree, why'd you do that to me?

I knew right away when we tried to put up our Christmas tree this year that there was going to be trouble.  Without going into too much detail, just know the stupid, #&^)$#@#@ stand was malfunctioning to a point that it could not be adjusted properly.

Suellen and I, bickering all the way (not laughing as the joyous season suggests), finally achieved something that appeared to be a semi-straight Christmas tree truce.

Long story short, after all the presents were unwrapped and a house full of relatives were bravely sharing the holiday with us, the Christmas tree, Suellen's most cherished decorating prize of 2009 or any year, decided to take a bow.

"The tree's falling," I said, too stunned to jump up from my lopsided, eroding, fairly new recliner (another story for another time).

Luckily my stepson Marc, who has the quick reflexes of a former star athlete, caught the tree, saving all the family heirloom ornaments and, quite possibly, my life.

That's my bad, Suellen.  In 2010, I promise we'll start the Christmas season off with a new tree stand that can handle your strict requirements; thick, full bottom and a nice shape above.  (I'm still talking tree here, folks.) 

As God is my witness, I'll never order a nose stud on-line again!

A close family member and I don't quite see eye-to-nose on the issue of young ladies and women wearing nose studs.

Maybe it's because to me nostril piercing sounds like something that comes right after water-boarding to get suspected terrorists to tell us where they're hiding Osama bin Laden.

I'm not talking a 12-year-old suffering from a bad case of peer pressure, either.  I'm referring to an adult professional with a PhD who wanted a tiny diamond-topped nose stud for Christmas. 

"It's tagged 'high priority' on her Christmas wish list," Suellen informed me.

So, I reluctantly ordered it.  Of course the recipient loved it and even laughed when I referred to her tiny nose glitter as a booger spear.  I won't order one again, though.  Don't know why, really.  Just won't.

A little less gluttony, a little more treadmill

I'm really going to try to cut down on the stupid, dangerous, embarrassing, unhealthy gorging of food in 2010.  My battle cry, which real movie buffs will recognize (hint:  "2001"), is "Close the pod bay doors, HAL." 

The pod bay refers to my mouth, which I can rarely control verbally or with food.  In the past year it has succumbed to serious abuse issues with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and cobbler, just to name a couple of waist-line expanding items.  (Click here for the grisly details.)

It's a new year, so I'm going to give better eating habits the old emeritus college try.

Finally, my wish to you for the New Year

To you and yours, I wish a happy, prosperous 2010.  And to all the fine folks still hanging on to newspaper jobs around the country (and especially in San Antonio), I sincerely hope you get through the new year without getting The Call.

Take it from me.  The new definition of deadline is a bitch.  



Odds, desk junk piles are stacked against me

OK, I don't keep the neatest desk.  I'll admit that. 

Deskuse But doesn't everyone keep a pair of toenail clippers on their desk?  I do not use them on my toes.  If you must know, my fingernails require a little added leverage conventional nail clippers are unable to apply.

It's usually no big deal, but fast-moving avalanches cascade across my desk from time to time. Bills, advertisements, legal papers, slips of paper with important information I wrote down but will never find again and other items rearrange themselves at the slightest touch.

The most recent avalanche occurred this morning.  It was unusually destructive because it tsunamied a pile of Cheez-Its I had on a paper towel into my lap and all over the floor.

Hide things from me and I'll forgive you.  But mess with my golden, salted Cheez-Its (the delicious baked snack crackers from Sunshine) and you've got a fight on your hands.

Sometimes, when we're sleeping at night, I swear the pieces of valued information conspire to rearrange themselves to conceal the most important items in the stack.

I know this is true because I can never find the one piece of paper or document I desperately need at the moment.

Side note:  Tommy R., if you're reading this, call me.  I can't put my hands on that slip of paper with your cell number on it.

Of course, what I need to be doing right now is cleaning off my desk instead of writing about the unstable stacks of crapola threatening to come toppling my way again at any moment.

I'm a writer, dammit.  That's what I do.  So I'm writing this to avoid doing a task some (like me) might consider ... uh, work.

Now's the ideal time to point out that I worked at a daily newspaper in San Antonio in the 1980s that initiated a "clean desk" policy.  Some genius decided that us lowly writers couldn't leave until we cleaned everything off our desk at night.

That newspaper went out of business.

My desk is a mess.  So sue me, or pass me the Cheez-Its.


They don't come in human size? Aw, nuts

Well, this is a new diet low.

I'm sitting at my desk licking the tin foil that was covering the remaining few bites of a left-over Mrs. Smith's Classic Blackberry Cobbler.

Maybe if it was this hard for me to get food?  (Courtesy:  Duncraft.com)

The small amounts left in the corners of the pan itself are long gone.  So here I am -- the epitome of self-control run amok -- licking the last semi-congealed remnants of cobbler Mrs. Smith and her staff were kind enough, or devilish enough, to whip up and send out to the marketplace.

Like all addicts, I blame outside forces for my inability to say "No!" to personal indignities like this.  And, if you must know, I've repeated the process over and over throughout my so-called life.

Ice cream is my worst diet failure, as you may already know.  I've pried a frozen car door open in a howling winter storm and slipped and slid from one curb to another in driving sleet to get ice cream.  I was perfectly aware the weather man said to stay home "unless you absolutely have to go out."

I had to go out.  Absolutely.

Oh, total disclosure time:  There was Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla in 'da house to top off (or, in my case, completely bury) the blackberry cobbler.  The ice cream went about this time yesterday.

I know.  Don't say it.  I already hate myself enough.

After the latest round of much self-loathing, I've decided . . . Excuse me, I have to take a short lunch break.

Thanks for waiting.  I'm back.

I've concluded that the real culprit is not my lack of self-control, but humans.  And when I say humans I specifically mean American inventor Oliver Evans, who designed the first refrigeration machine in 1805. 

For the record, I have no beef with whomever came up with the idea for the side-by-side.  Since a pizza box won't fit in either side, I'm thinking that inventor was trying to help helpless folks like me.

The only solution I can think of for me is switching to a human version of the squirrel feeder.  We have a squirrel feeder attached to the fence in the back yard.  In fact, it's the same model you see pictured above; the Duncraft 12 X 7 X 7 Green Verdigris.

If the only way I could get food was to open a heavy lid with my head, grab some nuts quickly and escape before the lid came crashing down on my paws -- so sorry, fingers -- maybe the sheer difficulty of obtaining snacks would substitute for my miserable lack of self-discipline.

No, that wouldn't work.  I'd probably just get run over by a car (containing someone in a hurry to get ice cream) as I scurried across the street holding my nuts.