Sunday, June 15, 2008

Buon Compleanno al Gemelli

Gemelli is a type of pasta and is also the Italian word for "twins."

to the whole Pasta Family and most especially to Sammy and Chris, the tiny Texan twins born June 12, 2008. (both pictures are of Sammy but hey - they are twins; Chris looks just like his brother).

While it appears Sammy is giving a nurse the malocchio, sources at the scene say he was just winking. We'll see. (click the pictures for a larger version).

For those who like numbers they are both 3 lbs 12 ounces and 16 inches long. Both are Texans by the odd coincidence that mom and dad were with one of the twins' older sisters in Texas having surgery at the time they decided to greet this new world. Having Texans for children was not the original plan for Mama and Papa Pasta but they'll adjust and begin the re-education process in their much larger home state soon enough.

For praying types, you might include the twins in those prayers since they are so small but reports are that they're going to be a-okay after a little TLC in the NICU for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

To the entire Pasta family:

Congratulations and come home soon!
You have an adoring public who wish to shower you with gifts and love (but not in a creepy way).

Gemelli photos: Wikipedia Commons

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Herb Shaindlin, re-mix

Evidently when you search "Herb Shaindlin" on Google, you get my blog as the number one match.

On one hand, yay me!

On the other hand, two people have recently emailed me to ask if my post was a eulogy.

update October 4, 2008 - It is with great sadness I report that Herb Shaindlin has indeed passed away. His family has set up a MySpace site for people to share stories and wishes at

Here's the original item I wrote plus several pictures of a plaque I sent him via one of his daughters whom I am lucky to have as a coworker.

It's nice to have heard from so many people about how much they enjoyed the Public Opinion Hotline but I have to point out that I'm just a fan.

the following was originally posted October 2, 2005:

Herb Shaindlin’s talk radio program "The Public Opinion Hotline," which aired on AM 750 KFQD for most of my life and certainly all of my formative years, educated me in more ways than I have time to list on this post so I’ll give you just a few examples:

One is that Herb’s program introduced me to the works of Stephen King, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, Robert Service, and many other artists. One taste of each of these artists led to exploring most of their works and works of similar artists. In this way he set my compass on the course I have taken ever since.

The second is that he told stories of his life. Many of these stories rattle around in my head to this day.

Last night I saw a helicopter fly past my house at relatively low altitude, creating a certain amount of noise in its wake. From its direction of travel (and the few helicopters that would have any reason to fly over my house) I could identify it as the LifeGuard Air Ambulance.

As I watched it pass I had to smile as I was reminded of one of Herb’s stories. If memory serves, the story goes like this:

When Herb was growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he would constantly hear the wailing of all types of sirens: police sirens, ambulance sirens, fire engine sirens. He once asked his mother if the sirens bothered her or worried her because every siren meant that there had been a crime or an accident where someone was probably hurt.

Her response was a surprising “No.” She explained, “Every time I hear a siren I don’t get mad because it is interrupting my peace and quiet; rather I am happy because I know that someone is racing as fast as they can to help someone else. Sirens are a happy sound.”

Ever since hearing this story (at least 20 years ago) I have smiled a little when I hear a siren. And now I smile at helicopter noise too.

Thanks Herb, you are the very best.

the plaque was completed June of 2007

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sad Lemons? Diabolical Lemonade!!

Fake bus stop keeps Alzheimer's patients from wandering off

From the

By Harry de Quetteville in Berlin

Last Updated: 11:11PM BST 03/06/2008

The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, which pitched an exact replica of a standard stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it.

The centre had been forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their often non-existent homes and families.

Then Benrath teamed up with a local care association called the "Old Lions". They went to the Rheinbahn transport network which supplied the bus stop.

"It sounds funny but it helps," said Franz-Josef Goebel, the chairman of the "Old Lions" association.

"Our members are 84 years old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works, but the long-term memory is still active.

"They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home."

The result is that errant patients now wait for their trip home at the bus stop, before quickly forgetting why they were there in the first place.

"We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later and invite them in for a coffee," said Richard Neureither, Benrath's director. "Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave."

The idea has proved so successful that it has now been adopted by several other homes across Germany.

This is a brilliant idea. Dementia patients wandering off is a huge problem.

The fake bus stop does nothing to infringe upon the patient's rights and allows them to retain their dignity while still keeping them safe.

Talk about thinking outside the box.