De-Coding “Code Blue” Blues

I used to feel persistent pangs of guileless guilt if I allowed myself a smile at the wrong time, wrong moment, or in plain view of the worst of witnesses. True, such dark humor might even evoke a hearty, albeit inappropriate howl. But propriety and sensitivity hold all the trump cards in polite company, whether strangers or intimates.

That credo certainly is true in several hospital situations. Now that I am an insider with 57 days accrued on this tour alone, i can reveal in confidence and without corroboration:

Mere mention of Code Blues is usually discouraged. One doesn’t ask details about this morning’s PA cries of “Code Blue, Outpatient MRI Imaging” or this afternoon’s drama-ridden curiosity, “Code Blue, Dental Clinic”!

I was just dying to ask, but I didn’t. In a dentist’s chair? While getting a semi-annual cleaning? A blog post was circling my iPad, unsure if it was perhaps too soon to land.

Dammit. It’s a tragic waste of good material. Of course, it’s even sicker when one’s writer’s block hovers far from therapeutic on a lonely third floor Cell block.

The Big Warden keeps throwing me bones, apparently those rife with Arthritic Osteoporosis and beyond examination.


And then there was Tuesday, March 15 at approximately 2:13pm. I was listening to my Hospital A-Go-Go playlist. Between tracks 3 and 4, doctors and nurses and bears (“Oh, my!”) starting rushing the Bastille that is my room.

Dazed, a young resident (from a different unit) asked one of those verboten questions. “You’re okay, aren’t you?” He turn to tell the others in relief: “He’s not coding!”

At that point, I heard it. “Code Blue, Anderson 37##. All available personnel, Code Blue, Anderson 37##.”

Holy Heparin! That was my room. If I was indeed “coding”, it was news to me.
The same announcement was repeated twice before it was corrected, but not before the news had traveled across my unit and back.

At that point I had been an impatient patient for over six weeks, and 84 shift changes. The nurses on this floor, for the most part, all know me now by name, med-chart trivia, and specific peccadilloes.

“Mr Sieber! That’s Mr Sieber’s room!” They were caught off guard and startled.

I, of course, was dying to ask.

Perhaps, there’s a better, more genteel phrase that I could use.

I didn’t find one. I never asked about details. At least not until the following day.

Yet another code, but of the mannerly ilk, suggests that I first ascertain the other patient’s condition, assuming his/her survival.

Wednesday afternoon, I could no longer suppress a smile.

The little smile became a guffaw, and at no one’s expense … not even Medicare’s.

Thank God.

I was simply too weak to genuflect.

(Image: “Tunnel of Love” by Henry Koerner, 1947.)

A Holiday That Evolves With Time (and Hormones)

Easter has always been a complex and inconsistent holiday for me. When I was a relatively wee lad, the day was filled with baskets of fine chocolates, books, and ensembles perhaps better befitting a young dandy. We would attend church service and return home to a celebratory meal and a day of family bonding.

The imagery and explanations confounded me, however, as I struggled to link the Resurrection with a rabbit in a dinner jacket. Upon over-ponderance, I’d face the weary truths of kickball, grass-stains, and parental over-compensation.

As I approached the twitch of pubescent hormones, the treats were offered, naturally, far less frequently. We did, however, still go to Easter service which was always joyous and offered triumphant music. I realized at a young age that this day was the only one that, being Catholic, the hymns would be upbeat and melodic.

We’d return home to again share a special lunch and to reminisce about relatives I had never met. I would soon-after rush outside to join-up with my neighborhood cronies. I could always frolic until dark, since North Carolina was yet the only state that honored Easter Monday. The next day was another holiday!

As I became a young man, Easter became less of a special day, except that stores were closed. Many folks either went to the beach or spent the day with visiting relatives. Or savored moody independence, like I did.

I usually slept late, stayed in my robe, and spent the day either fervently reading or watching some Easter classic film that was hopefully neither “The Ten Commandments” nor some cloying Jeff Chandler chestnut!

Then as I started my journey of drifting toward and away from serious romantic relationships, the day always meant some spectacular meal: a festive brunch or elegant dinner party with perhaps a dozen guests. Certainly it was a festive day but no one really thought of Easter, its history, or its intent.

We made merry and indulged, and nursed a wretched aftermath.

Of course now I am in my reflective dotage and the day has further evolved. Like all my peers, I am prone to embrace nostalgia and share tales. Jon and I usually fix a special meal, nothing extravagant, but something out of the ordinary. 

This year, perhaps the hospital kitchen staff will make good on their vow to prepare something indeed special. If not, we can enjoy the richly and serene imaginary from equally imaginary open windows. And dine separately together.

We both have such fickle appetites and limitations, that “n’er the twain doth meet!”

Jon will play his sacred music most of the day as he swoons with the swell of the chords and the organ. We will savor a few treats. And we will reminisce about friends and lovers who have passed away and relatives that the other has never met or probably even heard mention.

It’s just the two of us, the cats, and of course the Easter bunny. I doubt I ever stopped believing in her. Yes, I learned long ago that the bearer of such sweet sentiment, gentle nostalgia, and special delicacies had to be a woman: a gentle, patient, and motherly type.

But alas and alack. I will sadly not be playing kickball this year, although it is not for lack of want.

Happy Easter, my friends. 
The Easter bunny is an angel; it’s an unwritten law of nature and divine order, at least at Marklewood and in #3702.

Personified Personas

Historically, my alter-egos have always teetered on a mucky brink. That 60’s “Sybil” of 70’s Sally fame had no idea just how simple her life was. True, her ratings were always better.

Add to the mix a few moody ids and restless egos.
Hmmm. That sounds like a psychiatric country tune, eh Lillian?

Not to fear, these potential, but perhaps dismissed profile pictures all result from too vivid episodes of wishful thinking and subconscious projection.

Okay. Okay. I’ll admit it now. While in Sr Edward Patricia’s class at St Thomas More Elementary School in Chapel Hill (1964-65, “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”), my self image was derived from Saturday morning images of Mighty Mouse, Johnny Quest, and Natasha Fatale (Boris Badenov’s paramour).

That was countered with an equal part 2nd grade dysfunction in Mrs Greene’s decidedly UN-Catholic class at Glenwood Elementary. When asked to raise our hands if any characteristics or circumstances apply to “us”, I once too often scanned the room to find I was the only 7-year old with a raised hand. (“Who here isn’t Protestant?” “Who has heard Foreign languages at home?” ETC. ETC. ETC.)

Hal and Margy found no resistance when they presented me with the notion of transferring. They surely underestimated my relief.

Neighborhood buddies (Damian, Mark, Carol) helped assuage my blossoming neuroses and need for control.

I also met who would become my first girlfriend while seated in the third row. For two years she encouraged my primary school bravado. We alternated spending weekday afternoons at each other’s house. She complimented my first pair of glasses, round tortoise shell.

And I learned firsthand the joys of distraction that schoolyard drama can have.

I cried when we moved away during the summer before fifth grade. My pen is raised to “J”, whom I never saw again until a chance moment in an elevator in DC fifteen years later. We recognized each other immediately.

(Image: “Caricature No. 61, Albert Clev” by Benjamin Roubaud, Panthéon Charivarique.)

Long Ago and Beyond the Blarney Stone

Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations have never come without mixed feelings or odd associations.

That was true when I was wrestling with my staunch German heritage as I grew up in the Post-Camelot sixties. Holiday celebrations involved very little that was either festive or libationary.

That was true when I questioned my maternal grandmother Dorothy about her supposed Irish ancestry. Even in grade school, I was certain that one doesn’t inherit one’s spouse’s nationality, even with Rights of Survivorship benefits.

She was born in Michigan in 1904 to a couple who was decidedly Anglican. By the fifties, however, she had taken Cavanaugh as both her maiden and married names … at least by my deduction.

That was of course true during my years spent with the anti-Christ who was indeed unabashedly Irish. One year, we spent the evening of the 17th enjoying the West End production of “Chess”. Afterwards, we embarked on a tour of good ole “Ugly American” bar-hopping.

As we later rounded the corner to our hotel, we were drawn into and argued at what turned out to be a drag bar. I should’ve never commented that extra dry Martinis didn’t seem particularly appropriate.

I best forego the seedier details that followed. Leave it with this veiled note: I was awake and stirring by 7am while the A.C. slept into noon and then dressed a little too leisurely and haphazardly.

Lastly, there was the benchmark trip to Ireland that followed five years later. George (Ooops. I broke confidentiality.) and I had bid on a two week all-inclusive holiday at a charity event. We scheduled it for mid-March not knowing that, as of the week before we’d be uncoupling.

He ended up spending the trip with an until-then neutral third party. I immersed myself in the NCAA tourney from home. I was guilt-free when I charged his credit card with a lavish dinner for six to L’Auberge Chez Francois. The night of his return, we each confessed disdain for the other.

I immediately planned my move back to Greensboro via an extended and healing vacation to Fort Lauderdale. (My employer had dissolved my division. At age 37, I was left with a severance package and a meager retirement match.)

And now we come to today. Although awake by six, the realization that it was St Patrick’s Day wasn’t fully realized until after lunch.

Since then, I have pondered: Spatzele, that oh-so green Windy City river, the anti-Christ’s damned Green Book obsession, my grandmother’s unanswered sighs, and all things “Magically Delicious!”

Erin Go Bra-less!

Yes, Sr Edward Patricia, I said it. Just please don’t tell Sr Mary Fitzpatrick.

(These are a few of my miscellaneous “green man” images from my iPod archives.)

Prodigal Soon Seeks Passage on That Midnight Train, Georgia

Full title: The Story of Griselda, Part III: Reunion Artist: Master of the Story of Griselda Date made: about 1494 Source: Contact: Copyright © The National Gallery, London


I am loathe to admit that, after a month in the hospital, I am cranky. Worse yet, my gratitude is shaky.

Cabin fever? I should only have that much room.

I am dizzied and speechless that I face another six weeks on IV antibiotics, backless hospital gowns, lack of privacy, and using a portable urinal.

My beloved and Henry are home refeathering the nest without me. Now that each hour has become so precious, I’d rather spend them in “my” world, “his” world, our humble Marklewood.

Please, don’t misjudge my tone to be depressed, desperate, or, at the very least, a bad sign of something a-brewing.

At 1:00am in 3702, my rant is now passing, at least for a few more weeks.

If you stop by, please try the Black Bean Soup, London Broil, or the Shrimp/Grits.

Raleighwood’s Reverse Prodigal Son

Priming My Pump and Spacing My Pacing

My daily routines, regimens, peccadilloes, and freedoms are all quite vulnerable as of late. I have been in the hospital for two weeks and am still baffling the cardiologists and Infectious Diseases doctors.

My pending prognosis is no closer to fruition than I am to having “six pack” abs. My thus-far fourteen days in the Acute Coronary Care Unit has now kicked into typically-Tarheel high gear: thirty blood cultures, daily x-rays, twelve doctors, sixteen nurses, and three sleepless nights.

The specialists have yet to ascertain the source of this damned blood infection. There are, however, two schools of thought. (There are always two schools of thought regarding the diagnosis/prognosis continuum.)

It now looks as though the faulty L-Vad and its accompanying Drive Line are hosting this bacteria. That dormant pump has set up some sort of intraveneous Pill-a-Palooza.

What is there to do? I shall be riding in 3702 until that VERY DAY on which the Cardio team excitedly wheels me down to the O.R. for preparation. Of course, I’ll be delirious and silly and most definitely incoherent.

As the various anesthesias seize my consciousness, I might just start the long process of naming my new heart. It’s a Marklewood tradition to name the nameless and breathe life into the lifeless.

I shall be home soon. We’ll fry up some chicken, skinless chicken. And you and I can catch up and “dish the dishy”.

Maybe … if the stars align and all goes according to Doctor Sheridan’s expectations.

Shalom, Lillian

(Image: “The Naked Man” by Joseph Hirsch, 1959-62.)

Hospital Hopping and Pondering Lent’s Bent

Thank you, everyone, for your kind prayers, generosity of spirit, encouragement, and altogether inclusive and heart-felt nurturing. They have all helped bolster my faith for those intense and scary days ahead.

Your wonderful cards, messages, and Facebook greetings have provided such a positive distraction at a time when I face certain fears and thoughts of mortality. I am humbled. I cherish greatly those moments in which I can “ditch that nagging little voice within” and simply frolic and make merry.

Oh yes. Let’s not forget the upbeat and zany responses on that other social network by Claire, Deb, Andrew, Elena, Suzanne, Twilla, Mitch, and Heidi. Forgive me for singling just a few folks. I just wanted you to know that I do indeed read all of the comments, emails, and private messages. It just tires me to write.

And then there’s that erstwhile Siri. My voice recognition cannot understand my squeaks and empty syllables. I constantly remind Siri to at least enroll in night classes at Miller-Motte or ECPI.

Shalom, friends, on this wintry and Carolina Blue Monday from 3702. Give my best to Lillian should she be at Bea’s Booking Bee.

(Image: “Tale à la Hoffmann” by Paul Klee, 1921.)

Three Regrets: My Heart’s Latest Disconnect

Wednesday Night, 10:32
UNC has a heart and Dr Sheridan has accepted it for me. It is being flown in during the early, early hours of a wintry dawn.

Transplant time! We are off to UNC Memorial Hospital.
Please take care of Jon and Henry.
Oh. Oh. Oh. What should I pack? Can I keep my own socks on?
“Rush. Rush.”
Oy ve.

Thursday Morning, 9:07.
The surgeon, Dr Brett Sheridan, and the transplant team on duty did not think the heart was up to par. It just wasn’t viable. My cardiologist, Dr Rose-Jones concurred, in abstentia.

So back, back to the wait. A mere “DAMN!” is inadequate. Very. And the nurse even shaved me from neck to knee. Under and over, in and out. Oy.

It is what it is. And don’t say a Fire Drill.

Sign me:
Sleepless and Heartless … and not quite “en route” yet to Raleigh.

Thursday Afternoon, 4:52
I do not know what to think. All I know is that I’m thinking it.
We are still not home yet. And we are now unprepared for this alleged and possibly most wretched winter advisory.

I stand corrected: It is what it isn’t, neither less nor more.
“Earache, My Eyes.” Actually, it’s my neck. Six attempts to place a Swan Catheter into my Carotid Artery have left two bruises and various pricks. They will, however, place “among my souvenirs”.

A Cheech & Chong reference means absolutely nothing these days. Don’t worry, Lillian. And please let Cousin Eve know. She has yet to open Facebook’s window for a peek.

Bowie Memories : Aurally-Speaking

The week’s unfold was certainly unexpected. The world recklessly flew by. The future, however, still has yet to play any cards. And iconic David Bowie passed away. He died. In an instant.

Most of us had no warning. We probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. On Monday, from our mental replays to internet videos, images, commentary, and his often-pioneering, often landmark music, our world became a forum for all things Bowie.

“All the Young Dudes” “A Space Oddity” “Young Americans” “Blue Jean”

My post-puberty life was sound-tracked with Bowie gems.

Henry earlier reminded me of a lighter reference he and I shared in our most respectful of master-pet whispers. Like Robert Palmer and Bryan Ferry, he also aged into a distinguished, elegant, and almost “matinée” music idol. Unlike those two, however, Bowie consistently always reinvented himself and pushed his relevance.

He transcended any mortal discourse on sexuality and predilections. David Bowie became “Every Man” to so many, many people throughout the past half-century of music-listening history.

We will all miss him. And shed a tear.

Rest in Peace and Beauty, Mr Bowie.

He left us when we weren’t looking. We’re never looking.

The Saturday Morning Mirth Makers

12274561_1066983530012330_7503053877539959490_nBy age seven and a relatively new and mature Big Brother, I had tired of most Halloween traditions. The circus always bored me. And those silly physical comedies such as “The Three Stooges”, “Little Rascals”, and “Laurel & Hardy” seemed excruciatingly foreign.

I barely even appreciated any Saturday morning cartoons, except for perhaps a random “Mighty Mouse” and “Fractured Fairy Tales”, which I interpreted as cautionary, allegorical, and rife with symbolism. Of course, I had yet to learn those terms from Sr Edward Patricia. That never stopped me, though, from explaining, deconstructing, and interpreting to/for my cousin Dennis

Yes, I was the epitome of a mid-century nerd, a bookworm, and surely the last one in my class to understand the importance and power of humor.

Of course, now that I am in my fifties (and forever tempted to look back in both regret and resolve), I have finally and safely discovered the types of humor and their forums that “stir both my loins and imagination”.

And while I would fail miserably if charged with the mission, I respect those whose calling it is to entertain, rouse, cheer, and distract.

God bless the mirth makers who, in these difficult times, help us to insulate our hopes. On certain gloomy and desolate Thursday evenings, I am convinced that the impact of the noble clown can be quite profound.

“As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

“Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

“Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

“And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.”

(Image: Poster by Beppo Lotti, 1925.)

Forbidden and Low-Hanging Fruit

When I was in primary school at St Thomas More Elementary, in Chapel Hill, I loved fruit. As with many third graders back in those Camelot days, an “old school” snack was always waiting when I got home: a plate with both a cookie and either a pear, banana, or apple.

Its intent was essentially a parental “loss leader” to encourage me to do my homework before going outside to play. My friends all went to public school, except my friend Damian, so we usually hurried so we could catch-up and trade tales of nuns and “other teacher” types.

That routine continued until we moved to Greensboro. I was ten years old and couldn’t fathom why exactly Hal, Margy, Polly, and I had to relocate. Why were the nuns at St Pius X so strict and serious? I avoid using the word “unfriendly” as I have memory of that “pointer” stick punishment that Sr Mary Patrick relished dispensing.

It was also about this time that Polly started kindergarten. The same snack routine fell into place, except for the new choice of oranges, Polly’s favorite. Naturally, being older, I was more flexible and able to understand the concept of compromise. Hal and Margy would later discover that I was also well-versed in the art of “choosing my own battles!”

My sister loved oranges of all types: Valencias, Navel oranges, Clementines, Tangerines, and a few years yet, “Blood” oranges. After one year of my quiet acquiescence, I discovered the beauty and thrill of the deliciously sour and oh-so-mixable grapefruit. Grapefruit became my favorite choice of both fruit and juice, remaining so until my 30’s.

About that time, it was pointed out to me that the ultimate sour “nectar” conflicted with my medication. Disappointed, I basically experimented for the next two decades. Blackberries, Carambola, plums, Kiwi, and peaches, they all gave me joy. On the other hand, citrus fruits essentially piggy-backed with the grapefruit and left my daily regimen. I neither appreciated nor understood the exotic pineapple until a few years ago after I retired.

Now it seems that I have become so set in my eccentric ways I rarely veer from habit. Usually, watermelon, blueberries, and pineapple are the only fruits that can be found in the Marklewood refrigerator save juices.

“Who ever saw that one coming?” It was similar to most “change” in daily life these days: it just occurred without either my knowledge or approval.

Did I mention that I dislike any cooked fruit? That includes: jams, jellies, and pies. And I detest and have never understood the creation of raisons, enjoying them only in animated form..

Yes, I realize this musing may be stretching its relevance to accompany the interesting anthropomorphic Au Bon Marché trade cards above. Let’s just say that I appreciated those past fruits of choice … surreptitiously, quietly, or vicariously.

Vegetables? I have actually enjoyed them all since my toddler years, even the oft maligned broccoli, cauliflower, and okra. However, I passionately dislike rutabagas, snow peas, and beets.

I digress. Actually, that was true before I even began to scribble these humble words.

(Images: “Fruits Animé”, six of eight, Series #28, Bon Marché c.1900-1905.)

Okay, Katy. Send “Hoarders Without Borders” Right Over


The continuums from both ‘cluttered to sparse’ and ’emotional to sterile’ are perpetually lost. They are surrounded by indecision, fear, loneliness, and myriad compulsions. The universe drops a tarpe of procrastination and denial and ties it to the ancient Pines with torn strips of confusion. Forget spraying any of that Depression-XX. It stains and tears and loses its purpose.

With a little help from Henry, I have just described the complex phenomenon that often creates hoarders, at least here in the ever staid and stubborn South.

But long after my beloved is in deep slumber and the room is dark and still, I quietly insert myself between any two layers of linens. (The flat sheet is wrapped around Jon, and therefore out of the equation.)

As I wait for that Divine Collection of Ordained Sheep to march by in single file, I often ponder. And then without any prodding, I visualize our many, many collections, books, curios, paintings, and dishes that the two of us acquired separately before we met and have now merged together using all sorts of criteria, prerequisites, and standards.

Oy ve. We’re on the way. To become modern gentlemen hoarders. However, once the newspapers, mail, magazines, and shopping bags are out of both the house and the equation, most of us are the same. Mind you, we’ve peeled off only the superficial layers of clutter and stuff.

That is only the start: valiant and well-intended from inception. My beloved and I, at this point, pray to the Universe for guidance, strength, and boxes. Add to those, the largest garbage bags that Glad happily offers at the Harris-Teeter on Ten-Ten Road

Astro-Boy Abandons Red Carpet for Hooked Rug

Not all nostalgia warms one’s cockles or demands a quick sob. Some, sadly fills us with regret, loss, perhaps anger, and naturally frustration. Such is the Sad Case of Our Dear Astro-Boy.

Born in Tokyo in 1952, Ab was very active in the late sixties and seventies. However, while Reagan was President, his thoughts turned to the eventual joys of retirement. He was a still strapping young man. He had already made his fortune. And he would yet excitedly receive royalties ad infinitem.

Astro was ready to either visit his elderly parents, Chad and Debbi Atomi,  and their extended family in Tokyo. Or they’d, perhaps, travel by  souped-up Winnebago to a yet unidentified exotic location.

Or, as Astro-Girl reminded him, the pair could actually relocate to Aruba, a favorite vacation spot. She vowed to apply his sun screen every morning. In the end, though, it was his decision.

Astro and his common-law mistress agreed on one requisite: they had to leave Hollywood. The hooplah, chaos, invasion of privacy, and the sadness of his celebrity sucked the joy right out of them.

The phone was constantly humming for his attention to attend galas or fundraisers. Astro, however, no longer enjoyed the late hours. He no longer wanted to wear a tuxedo. He hated the “bump and shove” of it all. He loathed crowds and long lines.

He and Astrid enjoyed each other and their amenities at home. Their estate was grand and beautifully drawn. The incredible creative team at Hanna-Barbera was responsible for the upfitting and outfitting. Remember: the original designs were supervised by the same crew that had originally built Disneyland.

The mansion was constructed with Quick Draw McGraw’s Wright-inspired showplace to them on the left. To the right was the fabulous 6,800 sq foot bungalow shared by the first true Bel Air power couple, expatriates Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Boo-Boo Bear lived across the street with daddy bear Yogi. Yes. You got it right, Irma.

All of his neighbors and the other animated superstars now seemed superficial if not plastic. They all must’ve augmented their appearance with digital makeovers and the much more expensive hand jobs. They didn’t really have much in common with the Quests, the Jetsons, the Addams, or the unfortunate Rubbles, who had died in a tragic and uninsured auto accident back in 1992.

Astro and Astrid today smile whenever they hear of Madonna or Cher. He knew bigger one-named superstars: Josie, Shaggy, his wife and second cousin Velma, Shazam Sr., and that sometimes a-little-too-slutty trollop, Miss Dora. Don’t forget Dora’s scandalous longterm liaison with the slightly older Miss Jane. Theirs was the first “mixed medium” marriage. It was their estate, remember, to which both Portia Rossi and Anne Heche had retreated in the last decade.

Professionally, their was little to keep him from collecting his watch and moving to Florida. Disney had purchased their production company and Oprah had acquired the Astro-Boy merchandising rights. Donald Trump had seized his beloved Atlantic City casino. The mogul spearheaded a hostile takeover two decades ago and elected himself the grand poohbah of “Astro-Boy’s Golden Nugget Celluloid Casino” and its’ Starbucks-by-the-Slots.

These days, the studios looked for someone younger or, at least, redrawn. Producers had tarnished Astro’s powerful name power with gaudy remakes of his classic and pioneering television show and films. Younge wannabes were cast in leading roles in successful light porno fare such as: “I Know Why Your Feet Stick to the Floor!” And Disney’s new Broadway musical “Do Me In the Next Frame”, the Astro-Boynow in try-outs in Branson, Missouri.

As I conclude, I urge you to keep his fire alive and his name remembered. Just think Tetsuwan Atomi, or Mighty Atom.  In Tokyo, volunteers pasted 138,000 metro tickets into a collage of Astro in his iconic flying mode. “Astro-Boy 4.0” has debuted to critical success on the new Pat Sajak Network. And finally, there are several websites now dedicated to all things Astro-boy!

Henry and I have included a few photographs of the early anime star, including a rare baby picture. We both wish the couple a relaxing and fulfilling retirement wherever and whatever they do.

I am nearing sixty and will always remember Astro-boy fondly.

It’s a wrap, Irma. Oh, just watch Mighty Mouse okay?


The Visual Disturbance I Found Inside My Robe Pocket


A Brief and Late-night blurb from my robe pocket:

I was discharged late Friday, a week ago. Since then, Jon has been doting on me. His attitude hovers somewhere between clinical pragmatism, life-love devotion, and boyish wonderment. He’s also the strolling minstrel. And at least once a day I believe that his surname might just be Ratched.

While my healing continues, I spend my days revisiting more on my family and friends. Of course, I try to be appreciative and and less needy than some, the latter being a platinum-wrapped new goal. I shall work on it.

My discharge papers included a list of maladies about which someone somewhere seems to think that I complained while in the E/R. The funniest is “visual disturbances”. When I returned to my recently uncharmed life, I asked around. No one at UNC, nor of my home health team seem to know what those disturbances look like. It must be a Wake Med term for a Wake Med acknowledged and sanctioned condition.

Visual Disturbances? Are they anything like Trump’s toupee? Or America’s Funniest Videos? Or perhaps not unlike legendary automobiles the Vega, the Gremlin, and the Santa Maria? (Forgive me, Gentle Readers. I meant the Pinto.)

I am still laughing although not aloud.

And for now, I shall sleep in Slumber Land. If the future has become a static obstacle course, I must have faith that these sensitive Arms of the Universe will make us conflict-ready soldiers.

I do believe that Art will.

(Image: “Little Nemo in Slumberland” by Winsor McCay, 1906. That’s the illustrator’s spelling, not mine.)