Monday, September 25, 2006


Birthdays are traditionally marked with a celebration replete with cake and candles to mark the number of years we’ve been on this planet. What about pet fish?

Chances are right now you're wondering why anyone would or should care about whether or not fish birthdays should be recognized. The answer to that is: why not? It's not any more unusual than dog owners throwing a party for the pooch in their lives at upscale restaurants. A party for fish understandably, has more limitations.

Take Bubba, a Queensland grouper donated to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was believed to be the first fish to undergo chermotherapy. According to Wikipedia, Bubba, a female was donated to the aquariumin 1987 by an anonymous donor. However, Bubba being a protegynous hermaphrodite and all and perhaps bored being a female, decided to switch her gender in the mid 1990's. As a male Bubba grew to a substantial 154 pounds. A cancerous growth was discovered on her/his/Bubba's head in 2001 and the fish stayed cancer-free until 2003 when the growth returned. The fish died in 2006 due to health related problems and old age. One wonders - okay me - if anyone threw Bubba a birthday party.

Tropical fish and all fish in general should be able to celebrate their birthdays. The only issue marring this “liquid-asset” party is to determine when they were born. Fish as a rule don’t come equipped with birth certificates informing care-givers when and where they were spawned. Maybe “spawn-ers” should supply pet shops with pedi-fish papers as is the case with other pet breeds.

“This is to certify that 1 (one) black tetra was born in a river at some time in the Rio del Plata, and has hundreds of brothers and sisters who might have been hatched at the same time.”

Fish ownership can be personalized by giving them names but mistakes are sure to occur since fish seldom…rarely…never… respond when called. They do, however, rise to the occasion when they sense food is about to be served.

Speaking of food this is another problem when celebrating a truly piscatorial birthday. Traditional birthday cake and ice cream is out of the question. An extra serving of fish food for the watery gala can be a disaster and the celebrants could end up doing the side or back stroke.
The most logical solution is to acknowledge their existence by throwing a party on New Year’s Day, which marks the passing of another year. Even then how does one know how long they lived among their kind in the pet shop? Owners could be celebrating a first birthday when reality they could be seniors! Fish don’t get wrinkles or gray hair indicating they have reached the senior stage of their lives. Even then the cause of death is pure speculation since fish autopsies aren’t performed as a rule. Make that never.

So I’m thinking about throwing a birthday bash for Fric and Frac, a couple of angel fish that I know and their fellow aquarium residents. It will be a small affair with just their immediate friends. That is if they live long enough.

Writers & Friends

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


For most parents and kids Elmo is the friendly red character from Sesame Street with the high pitched voice who laughs a lot. There will be even more to laugh about with the newest version, T.M.X Elmo that was revealed today on "Good Morning America." Just in case you were wondering what the TMX stands for it's Tickle Me Elmo Extreme. According to the promotional blurb this Elmo can slap his knee and can roll over in laughter when when tickled and has actual "tickle spots" on his chin, tummy and foot. When a child tickles his tummy once, Elmo laughs, slaps his leg and falls down laughing.

As an aside the Times Square ToysRUs was almost sold out the initial shipment by 11:00 a.m. Wanna bet that Santa's sack will be filled with laughter - and Elmos' - this Christmas? How do you spell b-i-g b-u-c-k-s, parents?

Read what else Elmo does:

Writers & Friends Forum

Friday, September 08, 2006


I like Rosie O'Donnell. I like her personna, I like her interview style and I think she is an entertaining and colorful personality. That being written I don't know how long she will last being the latest member of the team - something Rosie should remember - of "The View."

To be candid prior to Rosie's arrival I seldom watched the show unless there was a special guest that I wanted to see. However as a former viewer of Rosie's show, I was very happy that she was returning to daytime TV, even if she's not hosting her own show. Something else Rosie should keep in mind.

For sure her bombastic style would definitely change the direction the show will take if for no other reason that the other members of the panel, Joy Behar, Elizabeth Hasselback and Barbara Walters will feel compelled to jump in and make their presence felt. Joy Behar is no slouch when it comes to jumping in and giving her opinion and Walters has more-or-less run the show. Until now and therein could lay the problem.

I've been watching the new version off-and-on but have never watched the show in its entirety, yet. However, what I have seen is Rosie being Rosie. Her positioning sitting in a higher seat than Walters (at least when I caught the show) is in itself an indication of where she sees her position in the show: Queen Rosie. She makes faces and the audience laughs as the other ladies interact. Not a good idea, Rosie!

In yesterday's show I watched Walters face as Rosie spoke and Rosie cut to commercials and Rosie was...Rosie. It was as expected, control personified but there were times when she dropped her eyes and stared down at her knees while Rosie spoke, indicating to me at least that she (Walters) was somewhat perturbed. In the end it will be the viewers who will benefit from any type of power play by the two. Let's not forget that there can only be one Queen Bee in "The View" hive and Barbara was there first.

("The View" broadcast live on ABC Monday through Friday from NYC (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET; CLOSED-CAPTIONED; broadcast in stereo; TV-14).
Writers&Friends Forum

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Some people hear normal things like birds in the trees, cars zipping by, music (some people even claim to hear dead people but that's a whole different subject) - your everyday stuff. Then there are people who hear paintings. You read it right: hear paintings!

While most of we "normals" enjoy the visual value of a painting, there are some of us who not only SEE things in the images but hear things as well.

According to a report in Reuters a neuroscientist working out of the University of London (notice how British scientists find some of the most..."interesting" subjects to study)some people are "synesthetes" and hear paintings or the paint anyway, talk to them! Next thing you know people will be offering themselves as synesthetes mediums and a whole new industry will be born...


To test his theory the scientist he performed a series of experiments in which he asked the synesthetes to draw and describe the music played by the New London Orchestra. Read the story for the results.

So have your paintings talked to you lately and if so, what do they say? Anything interesting? Enquiring minds want to know!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Each night – maybe not every night but at least once per week before going to bed, I imagine what it would be like to be rich. We’re not talking here about being a “thousand-aire” but really rich. Since millionaires don’t run in the family and being a writer, the yearning for wealth has remained strictly in the dream stage. Still as long as there’s life, there’s hope…at least that’s what "they" say.

There is a plethora of how-to books out in the market place offering the way and means to achieve success and accompanying riches by merely visualizing one’s objective. In other words, dreaming will make it so. Shades of Walt Disney! Buying the books certainly help the authors fantasies come true by making them rich and prosperous.

Still, it would be nice to be able to go out and shop-‘til-you-drop and name drop famous designers.
"Oh it's just a little something I picked up at Dolce and Gabbana, dahling!" I would tell anybody within hearing range about the big-bucks outfit I had just bought.

Being rich means that I’ll be able to walk into any office supply store and not get “the look” for trying out all the lap top computers and not have to supply the excuse of browsing when approached. When a sales clerk appears I’ll merely smile and say, “gimme your most expensive model, please! I’m a writer!”

Being rich is the ability to take trips to stimulate my creativity and imagination wherever and whenever the mood hits. A mere phone call to a travel agent to book a trip around the world is all that’s required, first class of course. No plastic cutlery or pedestrian table wine and I’ll smile patronizingly with a “been there – done that” look on my face as they pass by to use the first-class bathroom.

Being rich suddenly eliminates invisibility.While visiting Paris I’ll emulate Hemingway while sipping a café au lait at a sidewalk café while watching the world go by and in Rome, I’ll freely toss Euros into the Trevi Fountain because I can. Tourists will gasp in awe, pondering my identity and begging for my autograph after which they will whisper to each other: “is she famous?”

Being rich will allow me the opportunity of producing my plays without having to depend on the “kindness” of others. Of course they will be wildly successful and critics will laud them with wonderful write ups in newspapers.
“Where has this playwright been hiding?” they will ask readers. “A definite ‘must attend’ they will say of the play.

Being rich means being able to take advantage of movie premieres and theatrical productions anywhere in the country, and knowing the producers and performers by their first names.
“Is Paris here?” I will ask the host. “What about Angelina and Brad? Aren’t they supposed to fly in?”

Being rich means never having to line up while waiting for a table in an up-scale restaurant. The mere mention of the family name and fame as a writer will be sufficient for waiters to go rushing around and moving diners from the primo tables to make room for us. There will be no more waiting to be served or munching on stale bread sticks while signalling madly for a waiter as a reminder of our presence.

Being rich allows one the luxury of moving in to a dream home replete with servants to handle the drudgery of cleaning the oven. Asphyxiation from oven-cleaning products will be a thing of the past. Never again will there be fights over who unloads the dishwasher…or make the beds…cut the grass and other mundane, every-day chores.

Reality check here.

Upon waking up and looking out the window, there is always the expectation and hope of seeing the publisher’s clearing house truck pulling up in front of the house, along with a brass band and someone walking up the path holding a million dollar check in their hand. So far it appears the truck has lost my address but I’m sure it’s just an oversight.
Writers & Friends