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All Entries Family Health History Humor Life and Death

Those Good Old Time Diseases

August 25, 2017

I was a first-grader at Van Nuys Elementary School the first time I came into contact with the medical system. As a healthy child, the only thing that slowed me down was the occasional off-color weenie on “Hot Dog Friday.” None of the hair-netted ladies behind the steam table thought for a minute that I could have something as serious as Ptomaine Poisoning and wouldn’t have been able to recognize it even if I had. Instead, one of them took off her apron and marched me downstairs to the nurse’s office where she laid me down on an old army cot that smelled of other 6-year-old kids.

Nurse Blumenthal looked like every other grammar school nurse – a clinical version of the Pillsbury Doughboy with a red cross centered squarely on the front of her hat. She was probably a cracker-jack clinician at some point in her career. But, you could sense that 30 years of working nights at the V.A. hospital had eroded her diagnostic skills to the point where she was grateful just to have a place to spend the twilight years of her career. read more

All Entries Family Health Home Life Humor Life and Death Medicine

Watching Grandma Circle the Drain

July 26, 2017

There’s only so many ways you can get rid of a dead body. Regardless of how it got that way – stabbed, shot, bludgeoned, run over by a truck, pummeled, poisoned, choked, tossed off a building or just withered from old age – its final demise has to be handled with care.

Up until recently, you only had two choices. You could bury Grandma in a casket or cremate her. Both cost a lot of money and take weeks of planning. Or, if money’s tight, you could always drive into the middle of the desert in the dead of night, dig a hole by the glow of your car’s headlights and toss Grammy in – sort of the Home Depot approach to traditional funeral services. It’s done all the time – at least in gangster movies.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, funerals can cost between $6,500 and $10,000. Cremations can be significantly cheaper, at $800. But then, there’s that nagging question of what to do with those messy ashes. Do I keep them in an urn on top of the mantel or do I put them in a box out in the shed? And, who gets to keep them? What if I lose them? read more

All Entries Family Home Life Humor

Five Minutes from Lorraine

July 7, 2017

During the period affectionately known as the Baby Boom, routine amniocentesis and maternal sonograms were still years away. And while the 50s and 60s can claim fame to some of the best music in the history of the universe, its struggling medical practices offered no help to new parents trying to choose a name for their children. That being the case, one would think the prudent thing to do would be to spread your bets equally across two columns of names: one for boys and one for girls. But my parents were so convinced that I was going to be a girl, they put everything on pink and let it ride. When I finally did appear, I was a surprise to everyone—even me. I wasn’t a girl.

Nowadays, new parents can avoid some of the stress of choosing a name by asking for the sex of their new baby weeks or months ahead of his or her arrival. While it does narrow down the naming choices by 50%, it still doesn’t make the task any easier. In Germany, new parents get help from the government by requiring strict conventions that insure that a child’s name is consistent with the baby’s gender. The name can’t be interpreted as being offensive or ridiculous (a practice the United States has yet to embrace) and its spelling must be conventional, probably to avoid any little Adolfs running around Marienplatz in dresses. read more

All Entries Business and Work Family Food & Recipes History Humor

The Popsicle Story

May 2, 2017

As luck would have it, some of the best inventions that are part of our lives actually happened by accident. Who could possibly imagine going through a day without Kool-Aid, penicillin, microwave ovens, ice cream cones, Post it notes, potato chips, Super Glue, Slinkies or heaven forbid… no Popsicles?

The Cold Start of a Legend

The Popsicle was “invented” in 1905 by an industrious 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson during an unseasonably cold San Francisco evening. After accidentally leaving his fruit drink in a cup on the front porch overnight, he discovered that the juice had frozen around the wooden stir stick. The next morning, he pulled the frozen drink out of the cup by the stick and voila… the first Popsicle was discovered!

Epperson’s invention took the neighborhood by storm as the “Eppsicle,” but it wasn’t until 1923 while running a lemonade stand at the Neptune Beach amusement park in Oakland, California that he realized the money making potential of his discovery. His children grew to love the cool treat, begging him for one of “Pop’s ‘sicles,” so in 1924, Epperson applied for the first patent of the “Popsicle” – the first “drink on a stick.” read more

All Entries Family Health Humor Medicine

She Can’t Forget You – or Anything Else

April 20, 2017

At one time or another, most have us have forgotten where we left our car keys or paused in the middle of a sentence because we lost our train of thought. Call them lapses in memory or “senior moments.” But, wouldn’t it be nice if you could remember everything you wanted, going back your entire life? Well, for one California woman that capability is both a gift and a curse.

Life on Automatic Rewind

Jill Price can remember every detail of her life from the time that she was 14 years old to the present. Not just familiar memories but every minutia from the date, time and day of the week that Elvis died to when Mount St. Helens erupted or the time of day when the Rodney King beating took place. “My life is like a split-screen,” says Price. “Though I’ll be living in the present, a dozen times or more a day I’ll be pulled back into reliving specific memories of the past.” All it takes is seeing something on TV, a song or a familiar smell to send Price back decades in time. She can tell you what she was doing, what her friends said and even what her mother ordered for lunch at a restaurant. read more

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