Monday, November 26, 2007

Vegas June 4th, 1971
or what goes in the closet
maybe should stay in the closet.
While cleaning out the back of my closet this past weekend, you can't imagine my delight to find that I had another Las Vegas tourist newspaper from 1971. (I posted about the Las Vegas Visitor a few months ago This publication called "Panorama of Las Vegas" is focused on the regular businesses and less on the entertainment on the Strip. There are a few references to some local bands playing at the restaurants. For example 'Spirit', with their very modern looking lead singer Randy California (I think I'll take this as my new stage name). This publicity photo has a most unfortunate sweater photo of one of the other members. I read somewhere that you should never let anyone take your photo from below. This is the "Spirit" drawing that you know one of the members has a faded tattoo of on his back.
and the 2nd runner up for the most 70s sounding band name: Walrus. With their lead singer Bob Walrus (I will not be using that name). I heard that they got it on heavily for the people, man.
When you think of Las Vegas, health food and hippies probably don't come to mind; But Shary Shayne and Susie Gibson were doing their best to entertain the wheat germ eaters at the local health food restaurant "Nature's Best". This was when it was considered radical to have a salad for dinner. It's a "happending (sic) for the head".

Call it Macaroni expects that the average shopper would know that in the 18th Century that the term Macaroni referred to powered wigged dandies. Hense the "...put a feather in his cap and called it macaroni" line. Perhaps we are dumbed down as a society... Anyway... i sort of find the owner Bob Diego sexy in his multicolored pants and big mustache.

And speaking of the 70's sexy, check out these fashions that you could have found at Mr B's BAG (all-CAPS). As the caption says: John might be in hot pants, Craig in a Kaftan, Terry in the window, or Edd in low drag (explain please). But both places don't hold a candle to Pants and Plants. Because when I'm buying bell bottoms, I'm also in the market for ferns.

Not to neglect the ladies fashions, Diplomat Apparel has plenty of clothes (sans plants) to get the relatives talking next Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for a business franchise how about a false eyelash shop. The Lash promises no more morning having to get up to put on your mascara. Think of it as the gift of time. Permanent eyelashes. All the smart women used this $5.00 off coupon. Are there sixty year old women running around American today with these still stuck to their eyelids?
And don't forget, after you get your eyelashes, to visit Toby at Bernadine's Wig Salon. Toby looks like someone I wouldn't trust with anything that pointy next to my eyes. But I would kill to know where you can go to get fake sideburns applied!
I doubt if any of these businesses are still around... I suggest you call Lana and Lucky, the switchboard operators at the Tam O'Shanter Motel... they'll know.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

At Sixes and Sevens...

I just can't seem to catch up on anything this week; one of which is this blog. I think the emotional toll of last week sort of hit me. I've been not wanting to do anything but sit and transfer records and not wash my dishes. I've got piles and piles of things that need to be scanned, so don't give up on me yet... But I thought I'd do something in the traditional blogging style and do a this and that post about some things I've been thinking about...

1. I've now listened to twenty years worth of the Jack Benny radio show. I'll repeat that 20 F-in years! I started about two years or so ago, and have listened off and on at work; and recently every morning on the way to work, and on the way home. I'll admit it's some sort of disease called complete-ism or something. Once I start a listening to something I have to finish it to the end, even if it takes 850 some odd hours. I did this with Dark Shadows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even that horrible show The Lost World. Even though I hated it I still would spend a couple hours a night watching it. As if somehow the fabric of my being would be screwed up if I missed one show.

After 20 years of Bennys (I've five more to go) you get to see patterns. First off, Jack was a raging queen and everyone knew it. I don't know if he was a homosexual, but there are more gay jokes on that show. From the late 30s with a couple of reoccurring characters of these two moving men, one named Bernice; To the 50s when Dennis Day asks a sleepy Jack if he wants him to crawl in bed with him and whisper his song in his ear. The number of innuendos is staggering. My only regret is that I didn't start marking these down. I'd have a good book.

2. At my job I'm the IT person... but at home my computer is a slow cluttered mess.

3. I've now had my current cat 10 months. But we still haven't really bonded. My old cat, Fiona, was fat, slow and grumpy. She would yell at me all the time as if I was living with spirit of some washer woman.


Watching her die was one of the saddest things I've ever experienced in my life. My new cat Dinah, is a spry wisp who is afraid of everyone, shows only brief bouts of affection towards me, and tortures me with constant early morning toe biting. She's adorable, but I'm having a very hard time feeling the same sort of bonding I had with my other cat. I'm sure there is a Rod McKuen cat poem about how you can't replace lost love with a stray kitten. If not I might write one this evening.


4. Mr Whipple is dead. "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" is a phrase I'll remember if I live to be 91.

There was a time when everyone was part of some global community. We all knew the same tv shows, the same commercials, the same music. It seems now that we are all on our separate little entertainment islands. There is so much media available to me that I can pretend it's 1968 whenever I want.

5. I need to join the gym again. I haven't been in two years; I feel fat, old and unattractive. I bought a used Bowflex, which is great, but it's so hard to be motivated. I realized that what I miss most about the gym was not the feeling of energy or that I was keeping trim, but that I could watch CNN for 30 minutes while on the treadmill.

6. My building construction nightmares still haunt me. Last week they tore out my bedroom ceiling. Everything in my apartment is still lightly dusted with plaster. There are eerie looking white hand prints that the workmen left all over my walls. Last night realized that there were bits of metal shavings in my bed. The workmen had put in a new light and never covered up my bed when they did it. Little tiny spirals of metal keep getting lodged in my legs hairs. I had to vacuum my sheets at 3 in the morning.

7. Thanks to every one's comments on my stem cell post. To update, my brother is doing really well. The doctors let him go home two weeks early and his blood count is doing amazingly well. He has 100 days now in isolation. This is working out so well it's a little frightening. I feel like I shoudn't talk about it otherwise I'll jinx it. However, it is complete proof in the power of negative thinking. My brother and his wife were convinced he wasn't coming out of the hospital alive, I was convinced that I would screw up the procedure somehow. This week, I wanted to give my sister-in-law some cash to pay for part of the cost of the Nupergin. I wanted to contribute a little... She said, you just gave him back his life, we are not taking any money. It was a WOW moment.

8. I got an e-mail from Peggy Lee's daughter last week. She said she would be interested in talking to me. She must have listened to my podcast I did on her mother. I wrote her back, but I haven't heard anything. I'm a little nervous about it. I'm still feeling a little emotionally wobbly and the last thing I need is Peggy Lee's daughter yelling at me. I'm just sure it's about the bootlegged songs I pulled from a tape from a 1989 concert. Be careful what you say, you never know who is reading. 8. To Hole or Not to Hole. I realized some time ago that the name of my blog is so common that it's difficult for people to find me. There are at least ten other combinations of a hole in the head blogs out there, including a movie called A Hole in the Head concerning Trepanation, the antiquated medical procedure where a hole would be put into some one's head to let out the pressures. I chose this name without much thought; I went to my book shelf and picked out the novel A Hole in the Head that was made into a movie starring Sinatra. Since I had a Sinatra connection I took it as some sort of sign.

That said, I'm 4th on the Google hit list when you put in A Hole in the Head, but is it time to change?

9. I guess this post would go under the heading hilarity ensuing random thoughts. I'll get my feet back on the ground soon... I promise.

Peace and Waterfalls...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

RIP Robert Goulet

I was sad to hear that Robert Goulet had passed away. I’d been keeping up with his website and the pleas for a lung transplant for him. What a tragedy for someone to die from a disease that completely took away the one thing that made him so unique.

Robert Goulet seemed to have it all, that booming voice, unbelievably good looks, with a sparkling smile. It seems impossible today that someone with that gigantic Broadway voice would be considered a pop star, but he was one of the biggest. When I started my record collection I would often pick up an album or two of his. Honestly, I’ve never really played them very much. As a singer he is a little difficult to take for two fifteen minute sides, his songs always seemed like they were the closing song of a Second Act. His personality on the other hand was what made him stand out. He seemed like he was having the best time when ever he was on The Carol Burnett Show or on some variety special. He was in on the fact that he was a bit of a oddity for the 70’s in his tuxes and slicked back hair, when the world had turned so rock and roll around him. Who could not like someone who one Valentine’s Day got into a traffic copper in L.A. and serenaded the people stuck in rush hour traffic; or who would poke fun at his Atlantic City image in some hilarious ESPN or nut commercials.

Thanks for the smiles Mr. Goulet...
Listen to my music podcast on Robert Goulet: HERE

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great Moments in Medicine

After this week and being involved in the world of health care, I just had to post this beautiful and brillant Norman Rockwell parody by Kelly Freas, that appeared in the Fall 1970 issue of MAD Magazine. (Click on image to enlarge).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Try this amusing site: Married to the Sea

Daily, Drew and Natalie take public domain drawings and add these sometimes funny captions. It's hit and miss, but these are some of my favorites.

h/t: Kenneth in the 212

Thursday, November 08, 2007

He Ain't Heavy...
I've debated for a while whether I should write about what I've been going through this past month, but I figured I should because I had problems finding any personal web-logs about the donation of stem cells to family members; I feel I need to share. I'll return to my usual, ephemera based blatherings soon.

To begin with my older brother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma about two years ago. He's been fighting a valiant fight with it having gone through every conceivable sort of treatment, including radiation and chemo. Earlier this year they did a stem cell transplant using his own cells, however his own cells were damaged and although they got rid of his tumor, he had contracted Leukemia because his immune system was basically destroyed.

A couple of months ago I was asked if I would undergo tests to see if I was eligible to be a stem cell donor for him. Of course, I said yes.

It's not until you are in the middle of medical emergency that you realize how amazing science is. This procedure would take my stem cells which produce white blood cells and infuse them into my brothers blood system, from there they would find their way into his bone marrow and begin producing white blood cells which will kill all of his damaged cells and the leukemia. Thus giving him a new immune system.

After a battery of intensive blood, heart and lung tests, Which in itself was extra-ordinarily suspenseful. I mean, I was tested for everything from HIV to the West Niles virus. I had a scare when they thought they saw something on my lung and they thought it was pulmonary fibrosis (see death of Robert Goulet). It was just some fat that attached itself to my lungs. Note: Exercise lungs more. But Whew... I was approved.

We then had to wait for my brother to get well enough to go through the procedure. It was touch and go for a while. Then when it was time to do the procedure, the insurance company was balking at trial drug that the doctor wanted to use. This held it up another three weeks.

Last week I was told that everything was go and I would start the shots I needed on Friday.

Friday: As a donor the first thing that had to happen was that I needed to create an excess of stem cells. Nupergin, is a drug makes your body increase the number of stem cells and forces them out into the blood stream where they can be collected with a process called Apheresis. The first shot was given to me by a nurse a the hospital. I hate shots, I can't even look at them in the movies. It's funny the things you don't know you can do until you are absolutely forced to do them; I think that giving myself two shots of this stinging medicine every morning defintely goes on that list. But I just put put on some Hendrix and pretended I was back stage at Monterey and popped myself one. Soon I'll be dating Kate Moss.

One of the main side effects of this drug is extreme body aches and headache, very much like having a flu. (This is why you hurt when you have flu you have white blood cells coursing though your blood stream). I was a little achy on Friday but I figured that was just in my mind because they told me that it would take at least 24 hours for the drug to start taking affect. However, every little twinge was noted as the beginning of the string of side effects that I read about in the much copied print out they faxed to me.

Saturday: I woke up feeling weird, but I didn't hurt. I was a little panicky about how I would feel because Bric-a-Brac was scheduled to play at the Olde Towne School of Folk Music for three hours. (The show went great, by the way, with an extremely enthusiastic crowd; We even got an encore! It was a blast.) I got through the show, with only minor body pains. I even walked the six blocks home. This was a bad idea because I was fine about half way when I had to resist the urge to sit down on some one's lawn and go to sleep.

Sunday: I woke up feeling o.k. My lower back hurt and my ankles. Around 4 that afternoon, the shots finally kicked in and I felt dizzy and really restless. My back ache was now a full fledged pain. I felt like I needed to get out of the house, but then when I would go for a walk I was so stiff that I felt like I wanted to lay down. I fell asleep around 7 and woke up again around ten. Exhausted but completely awake. One of the many side effects is insomnia. I relaxed into know I wasn't going to sleep and decided this would be a perfect time to watch those movies I'd gotten at the dollar store and never thought I'd watch.
I started with Les Demons, a Jesus Franco film about horny nuns who become witches. Lots of blasphemy all around with masturbating Mother Superiors and naked nuns. (So much for my piety). Then I watched The Oval Portrait, a Dark Shadows want-to-be Gothic about a haunted portrait of a woman. It was a strange hybrid of Canadian movie directed by a Mexican director. I tell you when you don't fall asleep during something like this you know something is wrong. Then I pulled out something called "Going Steady" or Yotzim Kavua An entry in the popular Israeli Lemon Popsicle series about horny Isreali teenagers during the 50s. It was harmless, naked fun. Sort of an American Graffiti but everyone looking like a young Marvin Hamlish. Well that finally did me in... around four in the morning.

At 7, I was woken up by the sound of people dropping bags of cement over my head as I remembered they were still fixing my roof. A project which is taking longer than the reconstruction of the El platform last summer. My crazy Korean landlord came knocking at my door a few minutes later saying that they couldn't get something on the roof and they had to take it through my apartment on my enclosed porch and through the hatch. At this point I can only say, "Whatever"

For the next four hours Latino workmen trampled through my house carrying cement pylons, while my landlord came up to me every few minutes asking me for something they needed, my vacuum cleaner, pens, knives. I expected any moment I would be up on the roof pouring tar. I had though to move all the Women's Household's and records off the porch so they wouldn't get trampled. My body pains getting worse and it hurt to sit and I was too tired to stand or walk. I felt like I could feel the stem cells taking over my body, seeing them as floaters in my eyes. I was looking forward to the apheresis to take them out of me to stop the pain.


I was told to be a the hospital at 8 in the morning. I left my house at 7 thinking an hour would be more than enough time to get there. But traffic was terrible. It was after eight when I got there. The nurse said to me: Well you finally made it, we figured you changed your mind. They were expecting me at 7. I was then chastised for eating an Egg McMuffin on the way in, too much cholesterol, and for having and Alka Seltzer the night before, Aspirin thins the blood. So I was off to a great start.

How the Procedure is Done: First a big sharp needle was put in my left arm near the bend, that is where the blood would be taken out of my body and then passed through the chuga-chuga machine where the stem cells would be harvested. Then another needle was put in the top of my right arm for the blood, sans stem cells to be put back. I was given stern warnings about not bending my left arm because the needle would either break off or tear the vein leaving it useless. The right arm I had some movement, but I was told to keep it down as much as possible.

There was a problem right away with my blood coming out of my body. There was a spasm that was caused by the amount of pressure my vein could take. The nurse told me that the procedure would take much, much longer than they had anticipated. If they tried to turn it on full the needle would start to slip out of my arm. I was told if it came out than the procedure would have to start from the beginning and they would lose the collection. There was a scary moment near the end where this almost happened after six hours.

So one arm was completely immobile. The other arm allowed me to put in DVDs. (Thanks to Dave (Dot's Diary) for lending me his portable DVD player. I was surprised that they didn't have more amusements for the donors. Just a small color TV that got local stations.) I pondered long and hard before I started this what I would bring. It couldn't be too something that was too involving because I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it. And it should be light fare. I narrowed it down to Here's Lucy, Bewitched and Colombo. I started with Bewitched, which was perfect. Breezy, fun, and just enough room for not really caring what happened. Colombo was a bit too complicated, I discovered. When you are in a uncomfortable state it's hard to follow even the simplest of plots.
After three hours of the process my left arm began to hurt, really bad. I told the nurse and she said that it was normal, they gave me Tylenol for it but that didn't help much. What made it worse was that I knew I had at least three more hours to go. I started to get claustrophobic and I began to panic a little. All my animal instincts wanted to pull everything out and run away. Instead, I tried to focus on Columbo trying to prove that Gene Barry killed his wife or on what a jerk Darren was to Samantha.

After almost seven hours they disconnected me. I was told it's usually tradition for the donor to see their stem cells go into the patient, so I went to visit my brother to watch the drip of the stem cells. The cells looked dark, dark red in their plastic bag. At one point during the procedure the doctor came up to my bag and poked at it and said they looked good and red, and that Leukemia was German for 'white blood'; then he walked away. To me they looked like the Merlot in a bag that comes in the Target box of wine. I believe that the box of wine is the secret to stem cell success.

I only stayed a little while, I was just barely holding it together. The drive home was terrible ; it took over two hours. I should have gotten someone to drive me but I hadn't planned on this 7 hour ordeal. When I got home I was a mess, emotionally and physically. The scariest thing was having an almost seizure-like bout of shaking after I drank a glass of cold water. It was as if my blood had turned to ice. I shook so bad that I barely made it to the living chair and a blanket I had there. My poor kitty Dinah ran up to me and meowed, her tail becoming really big and bushy, even she was scared by what she was seeing. After a few minutes it passed and my heating pad became my best friend.

I didn’t go to sleep until nearly one again; I had to be up at five to get to the hospital by seven for the 2nd day. I had trouble sleeping due to the thought of those needles in my arms for another day.

Wednesday: I just steeled myself for another day of more of the same; However, it was much easier. The nurse had put the needle in farther and really taped up my arm. Since there weren't any pressure issues, the machine was turned up higher. I finished in four hours instead of six. I was off of the Nupergin shots most of my body pains had subsided. The only thing that was bad was that I had to pee. I made it fine through the first day without having to go, but today it was different. I asked for the urinal bottle. Note to self… it’s really difficult to pee laying flat on your back while trying not to move one of your arms and only being able to move the other up and down and slowly. I pretty much peed all over myself. Needles in my arms, pee down my pants, I just needed the paparazzi. After finishing the first disc of season 1 of Bewitched (I learned that all the female witches had names that ended in 'a') and a great Dick Cavett interview with Alfred Hitchcock, it was finally over.

The good news is that I’m a master stem cell producer. The first day they harvested 12 million cells; that’s double what was expected. I’m a stem superstar. My brother and I match on all four counts in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type, this is really rare; It’s as if my mother gave birth to twins twenty years apart. His doctor is very enthusiastic about these results and told me I gave him almost a perfect storm of events that will allow the procedure to work.

The rest is up to my brother. He is doing so well that they are letting him out of the hospital in ten days instead of the 30 they had predicted. They will run the first tests in five weeks to see where his white blood cell count is and if my stem cells have taken over his system. I’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Thursday: Today, I just feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I’ve a couple days of building back up my white blood cells and my calcium and then I should be back to normal.

I hope that this account is helpful if anyone has to ever go through this. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But my grueling tale shouldn't stop you. If I had to I would do it over again if I had to...

Hugs and good health to all...

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm taking a little blog break until next Thursday. Just too much is going on to focus on the blog. I've noticed that my grammer and spelling has been getting worse!

Now is a good time to reflect on past issues of Women's Household or visit some of my many blog friends posted on the side. I'll return Thursday November 8th.

(Also, all my audio files have shut down because of is having problems; they will be back up in a couple of days)