Saturday, January 12, 2013

Celebrity Encounters #2: Stallone, Nielsen, Zsa Zsa Gabor


Sylvester Stallone, Bridgette Nielsen, & Zsa Zsa Gabor
Sometimes you run into celebrities right where you would expect to: a concert, the Academy Awards, the Playboy Mansion, or the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Such was the case when I had a chance encounter with Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, and Zsa Zsa Gabor at a Polo match. 

It was the Spring of 1986. My family (Mom, Dad, and youngest sister Yolanda) had gone to visit my sister, Debbie, and her family in Hollywood, which was just a short jaunt from our home in Vegas.

Celebrity Encounters #1

The evening after our arrival, Debbie invited us to go watch a polo match with her at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. She had been taking equestrian riding lessons and had gotten quite good at it. In the process, she had gained an interest in polo and acquired season ticket passes. She only had three tickets, so we did what any other normal family would do; we held an Indian leg wrestling match. Not really, but that would have been fun to watch. Actually only Yolanda and I showed any interest in going, so off we went.

Me, Justin, and Ogbar the Boxer on my sister's boat - circa 1981
I suppose by Hollywood, CA standards, my sister and her family were considered middle-class, but from my perspective they were bazzilionaires. Debbie was an executive assistant at a law firm that counted Johnny Carson, NBC executives, and other celebrities as their clients. She and her husband, Bobby, also owned and operated a respectable and well established dry cleaning business in the area. In their garage they had a Mercedes and a BMW 635SCI (sweet ride). On the ocean they had a 36’ California class cruiser (which I had the pleasure of swabbing the deck on a few times).  

I’d say they were doing alright. Nothing that I was accustomed to. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Light Bulb


Lightbulb by Susie Porisch
The other day I was digging through some boxes in the garage desperately trying to find some old photos when I can across a box with some very old Folio folders from my days back in high school. One particular folder caught my eye; it contained a stack of creative writing papers from my freshman year in high school. 

I started reading through the papers, getting lost in a time long ago. It was a pleasant trip back down memory lane. Some of the papers I remember writing, some not so much. I found it interesting (and also very entertaining) to read the grades and comments from my high school English teacher, Mrs. Walton. They all contained a reoccurring theme - great story, poor spelling and grammar.

One of the first papers I ever wrote in Mrs. Walton's class was entitled, The Light Bulb. At this point Mrs. Walton had very little exposure to my poor spelling and grammar, so her words were sweet, and so was my grade.

It read, "9.5/10 Good Job! Except for a couple of silly little errors."

As I continued to read through the papers, my grades got worse, and Mrs. Walton's sweet words began to wane. One of the later ones simply read in big read letters, "Get a dictionary!"