Young Kipper .. Again!

Gosh look what day it is! Time to rerun this post, last seen in 2015, and edited ever so slightly to accommodate the day the holiday occurs. Some holiday — its celebrants refrain from eating, although most Jews of my acquaintance limit their fasting to between meals. And they complain about that, too!IDagwood

f you know any Jewish folks (and “some of your best friends are Jews,” right?), you might be aware that they’re in the midst of the holiest time of year. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s) and Yom Kippur (Juvenile Sardine) include Shabbat Shuva, the “Sabbath of Returning,” a period for self-reflection in which to justify their existence to god. The way it works, god opens the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah, and by the time he slams it shut 10 days later on Yom Kippur, he has determined whether or not your dirt nap is scheduled in the next 12 moons.

Sounds cut and dried, no? But the way it’s set up, you have those 10 days to repent, to cleanse, to ask forgiveness of those you’ve screwed over or treated badly in the course of the year. And if your performance is satisfactory, maybe the Big Guy cuts you a break, although let’s face it—the god of the Old Testament was known for having a shorter fuse than Donald Trump. And a little less money.

On Yom Kippur, often referred to as the Holiest Day of the Year, Jews are required to fast, avoiding all food and beverages from sundown to sundown (actually, 25 hours). In so doing, they emulate the angels, which never eat or drink—or bathe, and in fact, certain Orthodox Jewish groups practice this omission as well. In sticky South Florida, this is inadvisable if popularity is a priority. In any event, it means that at the conclusion of the holiday—yeah, some holiday, sort of like calling a trip to the colon cleanser a holiday—there are lots of teeth-grindingly hungry people let loose in the streets. Many head for restaurants to break their fast.

South Florida has a large Jewish population, which suggests that area restaurants must brace themselves for an influx of ravenously hungry diners. I called around to a few that share their neighborhood with synagogues to ask what it was like. (None of them would talk to me unless I promised not to identify them.)

“It’s the worst goddam day of the year,” one deli owner exploded. “I wanna tell you, and remember, these are my people I’m talkin’ about, they’re pushy and demanding when they’re not starvin’ to death. When they bust through that door tonight they’re positively drooling. Some of ‘em start licking the salt shakers!”

The manager of a Spanish cuisine restaurant shrugged his shoulders. “The customers are no worse than they are any other night around here,” he said. (Pause.) “They’re no better, either.”

The Chinese restaurant manager got indignant. “Jews good customers! Jews very good customers! You no make fun of Jewish customers! Thursday very big day here for Jewish customers. You come you see! You no make fun!”

The guy behind the barbecue waved his hand dismissively. “Nobody’s eatin’ pulled pork sandwiches on Yom Kippur,” he said. “A lotta Jews come in here alla time, but Yom Kippur Pork? Even I know that’s just fuckin’ wrong.”

At the pizzeria the chef laughed and clapped his hands. “Oh, boy, Young Kipper!” he exclaimed. “Bigger than the SuperBowl! Better’n Christmas and the 4th of July! What I do is I bake ahead—I got dozens and dozens of shells all set to go half heated. They come through the door all dressed up screamin’ and wavin’ and shovin’ aside the old and the lame and I’m slicin’ and boxin’ and grabbing the cash! You never seen so many people burnin’ their mouths, tomato stains all over their white shirts, neckties, and beanies. Hooey! I bring in my whole family to help out. I fuckin’ love Young Kipper!”

So there’s your story, South Florida. Family values, respect for tradition, celebration of diversity, observation of faith. Maybe a little gluttony– but it’s holy gluttony, godammit! What a great community we share.


Posted in Golden Oldies (Deja Vu All Over Again) | 1 Comment


In case you missed it, this month the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) obtained a risk protection order against one its own bailiffs, leading to a seizure of that employee’s collection of 67 weapons.

The order was signed after the bailiff, Franklin Joseph Pinter, allegedly exhibited troubling behavior in the courthouse, and he’s since been relieved from duty.

Court documents obtained by the Sun Sentinel detail several allegations leveled against Pinter by his colleagues. In one May incident, a bailiff said that Pinter told him to “get the f— out of here” and that “all you rats should be exterminated.”

In another incident in January, Pinter was allegedly seen pretending to hold a rifle and shoot the people walking below the court’s atrium. He also told another bailiff that he wanted to burn two other bailiffs with a blowtorch and “exterminate” another of his colleagues.

The court was also concerned by an alleged statement Pinter made that “nobody will take my guns, not over my dead body.” Court documents cite another incident in which Pinter showed off a new Glock in the courthouse parking lot and told a colleague that he had bought an AR-15.  [via]

Said BSO bailiff is the first neighbor I met when I moved to my current location — I’ve known him for 30 years. While it’s not surprising he has his own personal armory socked away, the only weapon I ever see him brandish is a church key. He has occasional confrontations with other neighbors, but then, so have others up and down the street among themselves, including me (although not with him). This is south Florida. People aren’t all that neighborly, have you noticed?

BSO has been dodging shit flung from all quarters ever since the Douglas School shooting incident, parents, the local and national media, politicians, even schoolchildren. They manage this badly, make a lot of mistakes, and prove themselves inept at playing defense. It’s hard not to see this latest action as a bravado attempt to look proactive. I can practically hear them in executive session: “Hell, we got to do something,” to get their mojo back in the public eye, rather than wait for the next incoming splatter.

A few days after the bust, Channel 7 Local news (“If It Bleeds, It Leads!”) sends a “reporter” and cameraman out here to knock on doors and probe neighbors’ reactions. I’m out on the lawn hacking down overgrown dracaenas and clerodendrums, so I see them canvassing the neighborhood. Inevitably our paths cross, and the reporter engages me.

She asks me what I think. I tell her I don’t know anything – which at the time is true. All I see that day is a bunch of BSO vehicles outside the house. When she asks me if I’d like to know, I say Sure, and she tells me, and THEN asks me for a reaction.

With the camera pointed at me, I opine that one county law enforcement employee referring to other county law enforcement employees as rats deserving of fiery extermination is unfair to rats – call Truly Nolen. (She blanches somewhat.) I tell her that I know my neighbor casually, that we’ve talked over the years, and that he has a tough job where he says they’re trying to get rid of him: he’s been there a long time, costs them a lot of money, and doesn’t like listening to suck-up assholes with less experience than he has pushing to get ahead in government service.

Naked landscaper displaying less credibility than hair.

This is not what she comes out to hear.

I explain that over the years I observe any number of squabbles and arguments between neighbors over minor infractions and misundertsandings, and while I see this guy red-faced and belligerent plenty of times, it never escalates into genuine violence. I don’t mention the incident where I personally shove my own next-door neighbor on his boney ass, who then makes a threatening remark about “getting his .38,” in turn inspiring a call to the police who come out and tell us both to grow the hell up already.

This is south Florida, I remind her — a crowd, not a community. It would be useful if BSO’s armed clods would concentrate on the genuinely dangerous. So if you took an analysis of everybody on this short block, yeah, Frank is one of two people who might be ranked as potential threats. But in the Real World, neither one is.

Needless to say, it’s that remark about “one of two people” that makes it into her report, because teevee news isn’t really news, it’s plebian entertainment. Her goal is to advance her agenda, push this story about danger in the neighborhood, a hostile bastard despised by his own colleagues and neighbors, outed and disarmed! Film at 11! Bullshit round the clock!

Here’s her 2-minute report. She gets a few others to comment, too. Judge for yourself .

Frank’s never gonna win the Mr. Congeniality trophy, but he doesn’t deserve to be scapegoated like this, even though it sounds like he made it easy for them. There are hordes of dangerous people around, many armed with weapons they shouldn’t own, but he’s not one of them. Law enforcement as well as government need to deploy their power and resources sensibly, fairly, and responsibly, three adverbs rarely applied to their activities. If BSO and the justice system can’t tell who’s who, we’re in just as much trouble as it appears we are.

Posted in News From the Nation's Dicktip | 5 Comments

Free Ride

Maybe you heard that SunPass will be down for a weSunpass cashek starting today “for upgrades.” Evidently you’ll still be automatically charged when you go through toll stations, but you won’t be able to replenish your account on-line for a while.

The same day I read this news (yesterday), I get a notice in the mail – snail mail, not e-mail – informing me that my SunPass account balance is $0.00, which is a violation of the terms and conditions of my contract. I am to remedy this circumstance promptly, but in the meantime, I must remove the transponder and “pay cash at tolls.”

Seriously? When’s the last time there was anybody collecting tolls in South Florida? I think the last guy standing was on Card Sound Road in the Keys, and he’s gone about a year.

The date on the note from SunPass is May 14, 2018. Snail mail indeed. Maybe the post office vehicle was stuck at a toll booth.

There’s something at the bottom of the note, too, but the print is so small I can’t read it. Looks like it might be Spanish, too. That, too, sends an intriguing message, innit.

Just for the record, my balance isn’t zero: at the beginning of June, when I file for reimbursement of expenses, I visit the website to get records of payments and check the balance. This suggests the state is (1) wrong, (b) late, and (emoji confused) FUBAR.  Honk your horn if you’re surprised.

Posted in News From the Nation's Dicktip | 5 Comments


“Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April, according to YouMail, which collects and analyzes calls through its robocall blocking service. That’s an increase of almost 900 million a month compared with a year ago.” —NYTimes

I call bullshit. Or at least, a misprint: the paper left out the “azi” between the b and illion when it wrote “billion.” Counting all the phones in my household, we’ve had at least a bazillion robocalls all by ourselves.

Was a time I had fun with these, when there were marginally human beings making calls. I do a great Peter Lorre voice, and I’d creatively curse their entire lives and gods they worshipped. “You steenking, lying, creeping waste of protoplasmic detritus….” I’d say, a tribute to our shared Hungarian gypsy lowlife breeding. If they stayed on the line, I’d start screaming at them in Lorre’s creepy accent. “You will die hor-ee-bleee in a pit of donkey dung and I’ll watch as maggots chew out your eyes….

I’d also do a “Hello, I’m Mister Ed” routine. I can do that voice real well, too. No matter what they said, I’d say, “Hello.” “Hello. “I’m Mister Ed.” Timing is important here – pause just enough to make them hopeful. One poor fool put his supervisor on, and when he heard “I’m Mister Ed” he cracked up before disconnecting.

But the new generation of calls uses robots, recordings. It’s not nearly as sporting. Now I just say, “Activate!” to get the recording to play, then hang up and block the number. I got enough numbers blocked on my cell phone to calculate the exact value of pi.

What I’d like is an app that allows me to press a key that send a tone which disables the bot, but there doesn’t seem to be one available yet. Put down your silly superhero games and work on that, willya, Nerds? The world needs you.

Posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment | 2 Comments

There She Goes

I fell in love with this photo the first time I laid eyes on it in the early 1990s. It was hanging in an Italian restaurant in south Jersey, not sure exactly where – maybe Deptford Township? – nor do I remember its name although I know it’s not there anymore. Years later I found a print in a bookstore, which I bought and framed. It’s been hanging in the hallway of our house ever since.

When asked about it, I tell everybody it’s Guido’s family.

I came across another copy, slightly larger, in the office of an advertising/promotions company in south Florida. The manager told me she had no particular reason to display it other than she liked it. Reason enough.

I never knew the story behind it until now.

Posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment | 3 Comments

Hail Gluttonious

When summer finally rolls around, Philadelphians divide into down-the-shaw people and up-the-mountains people. Me, I was a down-the-shaw people, and still am, only now, in south Florida, it’s a 12-month occupation.

Come Memorial Day, south Jersey overflowed with weekenders and vacationers, inspiring restaurants, bars, and clubs to ramp up their promotions. Back then, those businesses had to make their profits in this window between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends to survive the rest of the year.

In the 70s, my crowd spent days on the beach and nights wherever the music was loudest (I’m paying for all that now). We drank a lot of beer, smoked lot of dope, and sometimes we actually ate meals (thank the dope) – and we weren’t too picky about the food or the service.

A few miles inland, at the edge of the Pine Barrens, there stood a landmark restaurant everybody knew because it advertised via airplane banners over the beach. The busted-up building in which it resided had been part of the steel processing industry, once a mainstay of the economy, but long abandoned. The deal: all you can eat buffet for $3.99. It was packed all summer, especially on weekends, but if you got there relatively early, it was worth the trip.

The owner was this enormous grizzled biped with an accent we never identified, although thinking back I suspect he was Russian or Eastern European. He had held a series of local government positions, and knew everybody in law enforcement, licenses and inspections, procurement, etc. Jersey has always been a capital of corruption, and this guy was a player.

And while the food he served was horrible – deep fried everything, mountains of starch, steaming vats of oily unidentifiable vegetables – once you started in, you kept on going. We’d heard all the stories – the chicken, fish, and hamburgers were whatever everybody else in the business rejected; his MO was to beat everything into pulp, add mysterious strong spices, and bread it all so by the time you bit in you couldn’t taste how bad the dish was. He wasn’t above maximizing his entrees with seagulls, stray dogs, and Black Horse Pike roadkill. He employed an army of scavengers to visit supermarket dumpsters to salvage whatever looked edible and bring it back to his kitchen. He bribed local military establishments who sent him truckloads of pilfered rations at a discount.

You could buy beer by the can or take a chance on his draft specials, which always had names we didn’t recognize. He said he had connections with his family in the Old Country (never specified) that sent him kegs of local brewed product. I remember one, called “Warnichers,” which not only sounded like “Varnishers,” but tasted like it. The story we heard was he got his hands on stuff stolen from delivery trucks, and poured whatever he found into his own kegs, combining them, and adding shit like salt, sugar, vinegar, antifreeze, and Wildroot Crème Oil. We stupidly lapped it up, of course, toasting the times. We called it “Pabstweiser.”

Yeah, people got sick, but nobody died, and the inexpensively bribed Department of Health looked the other way. Given how diners stuffed themselves stupid, any sickness could just as well have come from over-indulgence as tainted product.

The owner raised two party animals. The hirsute son was a born loser, hanging out at Dunes ‘Til Dawn, an after-hours club in the isolated no-man’s land between Ocean City, Somers Point, and Longport, getting into scrapes in the parking lot and arrested every weekend. He got a choice – jail or the army – and was sent to Vietnam. Everybody knew the sexpot daughter, a student at Glassboro State famous for her lustful adventures at parties. That ended when entire frat house populations came down with crabs, STDs, or UTIs, and her reputation suffered. She dropped out when the action dried up. Nobody would go near her, despite her awe-inspiring boobs.

Aah, the memories. Some clearer than others.

I don’t think about these days for a while, but one lonely evening while Guido is off chanting spells with her coven, I see what I can learn on Google and Facebook. As usual, there are surprises among the fully-expected.

The restaurant is no longer around: a mysterious fire one night in the off-season burned it to the ground. Just by fortunate coincidence, the night of the blaze much of the equipment had been disconnected and sent away “for maintenance.” I never knew the owner’s name, so I don’t know his whereabouts. My guess is he and the insurance money vanishes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up in Florida. (Cue joke: “So how do you start a flood?”)

The son returns from Vietnam more fucked up than when he left. Within five years he’s dead, Jim, thanks to his healthy lifestyle and an even healthier drug habit.

But at some point the daughter gets herself an advanced degree in counseling, heads out to California, and secures a teaching position at UC Santa Barbara plus a private practice specializing in sexual addiction, deviancy, and abuse. She apparently creates a name for herself among specialists, and conducts webinars, makes radio appearances, and provides expert testimony in criminal trials. No doubt the voice of experience informs her professional status.

So all’s well that ends well, mostly, which isn’t exactly wisdom, but what do you expect from a blog? Best I can offer is, stay away from the Pabstweiser, no matter how cheap.

Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 7 Comments

What A Drug It Is Getting Old

Guido and I just don’t get sick very often. I suspect this is a matter of good fortune as much as lifestyle and diet. Neither one of us takes any medications, either, other than the occasional weekend gallon of tequila.

Buoscillot we’re not immune. When Guido feels a cold coming on, I go out in search of Oscillococcinum, an OTC medication we need infrequently, but works very well to reduce symptoms if taken before the cold or flu takes hold.

First stop: Walgreens. I’m not good at shopping, and asking me to find something even here in my own refrigerator if I don’t know exactly where it is usually fails. I’m told this is a Male Thing. I personally am a Male Thing (yes, just checked again). Add blindness and you have, well, me.

Anyway, I don’t find it, so after 10 minutes of searching I ask at the pharmacy desk for help. Naturally, I forget the goddam name of the medication, but I tell the scrub-attired clerk it has about 15 letters and begins with Oxy (not Contin) and is a powder one administers under the tongue. She gives me exactly the look you imagine she would, relays the request to a colleague behind the desk, who turns to me and says something that I can’t hear because not only am I blind, thanks to tinnitus, I’m often deaf.

The first one comes out from behind the counter saying, I think I know what you mean, and leads me to the precise spot in the aisle I had searched through. This happens to me all the time – I look right at it, and don’t see it. But not this time. “Here’s the problem!” she says – “We’re out!” There’s an empty slot in the rack where the product usually goes. She checks inventory, and returns to say there ain’t no mo’ – “Everybody’s sick right now,” she explains, sadly.

So I head on over to Publix, go to the same section where the product wasn’t to be found at Walgreens – and I can’t find it. Replay the wait at the counter for the pharmacist, who scurries out and goddam – finds the empty slot on the rack where the product used to be. He tries to get somebody on the phone to check inventory, but can’t. Says somebody will be out soon to help me. I ask him what “soon” means: this is a pharmacy where they take an hour to pour pills from a big bottle into a little bottle when you hand in a ‘scrip. He says just a few minutes.

It’s longer than that, but as a blind deaf old Floridian I have nothing to do all day but bitch and fart anyway. Eventually a chirpy creature comes ‘round to whom I explain the dilemma. She advises that there’s no more – she’s sure of this, there’s been a run on it because “everybody has something” – and the next supply will arrive Tuesday (today), but won’t be on the shelves before Thursday. It takes 2 days to get a product on the shelf when they know it’s in high demand? Yep. Sorry.

So maybe I’m doing this wrong. Why am I flitting about in meat space talking to apathetic drones when I could see if Amazon carries this, and arrange for fast delivery?

And of course they do. It’ll be here tomorrow. All you can eat. Free delivery. And please fill out our on-line survey so we sell your personal data to the highest bidder.

Meanwhile, there’s Vitamin T. Pass the bottle. It’s 9 AM somewhere.

Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 4 Comments