Tuesday, December 27, 2011



3 - Kings of Denmark 
2 - Kings of the Franks 

King Henry I of Germany:

Philip – Emperor of Germany:

5 - Kings of Hungary 
King Saint Stephen I:

King Alfonso I of Portugal 
3 - Kings of Sweden
4 - Kings of the Visigoths 

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor(14th great grandfather)

5 - Emperors of Byzantium AD 813-1175

Constantine IX:

These are my most famous ancestors 
found so far.

Currently, I have relations in many houses of Europe: the closest ones being King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prince Albert II of Monaco and King Harald V of Norway—all blood cousins. While Aunt Queen Elizabeth I and Aunt Queen Victoria were close blood cousins to my lineage, the current Queen, Elizabeth II, is a distant blood cousin.

I want to pay homage to my mother, whose family I inherited!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



His 23rd film, "VANILLA SKY" at 39 was obtuse. It starred his then girlfriend Penelope Cruz.
But he did garner the "Best Actor Award from The Academy of Science Fiction."

"MINORITY REPORT" was a fascinating film that requires two viewings. Colin Farrell stars in an early role.
It was directed by Steven Spielberg.

A beautiful and intriguing film was "THE LAST SAMURAI."
He was nominated for the Golden Globe!

"COLLATERAL" saw a gray Cruise in a very different role—a bad man!
It was inspired. Jamie Foxx co-starred.

Another Steven Spielberg was the H. G. Wells thriller, "WAR OF THE WORLDS."

I got on eBay a reproduction of the leather jacket Cruise wears in "War of the Worlds." 
They were made by the same English company that made Tom's.

Next, his latest films.

Thursday, December 15, 2011



My one-week anniversary of my Gastric Sleeve finds me well and happy, bruised and recuperating.

BEFORE 12/5/11, 225#

12/14/11, 213#
225# to 213# = -12#.    GOAL: 165# or 60#.

I'll tell you an interesting story. When I awoke the next morning after surgery, I had a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I figured it was from my arm being held out from my body to receive anesthesia, but I learned that the cause was this: when they fill the abdomen with CO2 (so they can have room to work) removing the gas is imperfect, leaving some in the cavity. This puts pressure on the diaphragm. There's a nerve in the diaphragm that when activated gives phantom pain in the left shoulder! Isn't that something.

Still on clear liquids. January 7, 2011, is my EATING DATE! I get the 10 stitches out next Monday.

I'll report back on the one-month anniversary..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Finbar is a relatively new place, adjacent to Dogfish Head Restaurant.

It's rather elegant for a pub! Nicely furnished and decorated.

And the food is above par. An altogether fun place.
Bill and Rick
While I was there, a New York Times reporter flitted around for a story. It appeared two days later telling what a great place Rehoboth Beach is.

Sunday, December 11, 2011



The surgery in Tijuana went fine. I was very anxious but it turned out to be better than I thought and LESS painful than I imagined. Dr. Andres Betancourt was superb and very nice. The hospital was in the middle of a shopping center which surprised us all. But the inside was clean and efficient.

Wish I could have had this done FIFTY years ago, but, alas, it wasn't available.
The hospital couldn't have been better. It was clean and efficient. The first night I spent in the hospital. The next two nights were spent in Recovery House, a renovated home set up for excellent care in the hills overlooking Tijuana.

(GORY DETAILS: [SKIP if you wish.] After full anesthesia, they put a large tube [40 fr Bougie] down into your stomach to act as a form to reduce the stomach onto. 
Dr. Betancourt
They then make five small incisions for the laproscopic instruments. One of the incisions is 1 1/2 inches long to accommodate the taking out the stomach! They then insert a light and camera, and fill the abdomen with gas to make room for the surgery. The stomach is first released from the surrounding fat and connective tissue. Cutting off 80% of the stomach is the goal of the procedure. It's done by an instrument that looks like vice-grips that seals the cut line with heat then cuts the line in the middle. Therefore, no stomach contents leak into the abdomen. They had to be very careful at the top as this is the place where most leaks occur [1%]. An overlay of sutures is followed by Titanium staples to securely close the stomach sleeve. Afterward, the incisions are sewn closed. A vessel for fluid collection is put into the abdomen. 
One Hour Post Surgery

A day later they did a barium swallow X-Ray to check for leaks. [I have a copy.] NO LEAKS!)

Copious amounts of pain killer was given to me along with antibiotics. All food (sic) was provided in small, frequent amounts. I had to drink A LOT of water. Walking, though slightly painful, was very much encouraged.

My first night in Recovery House
my roommate was a young man from Saskatchewan. He was an oil rig operator! The second night was a man from Chicago who kept me awake all night due to his loud snoring. I suspect he had bad sleep apnea.

On the second day we went shopping! What a delightful experience. We ran into Dr. Betancourt and had a very nice visit.

On the third day after surgery, they took us directly to the airplane gate in San Diego, via the hospital van.

I'm black and blue but survived the airplane trip with only mild discomfort. Mary Ann and Ted picked me up at the Baltimore airport thankfully.

Being home is nice. I'm better every day, not hungry and doing well.

The regimen from now on is only clear liquids for two weeks, then full liquids for another week, then pureed foods (baby food) for a week, then soft foods for the next week. Then on January 7th, I can eat most regular food albeit in small amounts. After 10 weeks, I can have coffee, wine and can lift things again. I want to lose 60#.

I'm looking forward to all the benefits.


Friday, December 9, 2011


1968 JAGUAR XJ6 (1976-1984)

Everyone wants a Jaguar: James Bond, Ted Wilson, Don Voth.

I wanted an old Jaguar that had classic lines—the so-called "saloon" type that you see in the movies.

I got one. It was a 1968 XJ6. She was a classic. Rounded lines, protruding headlights, neat grille

 ---an all-around classic.

I enjoyed her for many years, motoring around the city, taking her on cruises and generally having a good time. I shall always remember my Jaguar.


Sunday, December 4, 2011



I am, on the 7th of December 2011, having bariatric surgery: VERTICAL SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY SURGERY! aka The Gastric Sleeve.

No place in the United States will do this surgery on me because I'm not heavy enough! But in Mexico, they will!!!

Through laproscopic incisions, 80% of the stomach is removed and the stomach is stapled together to resemble a sleeve. This not only reduces the capacity of the stomach, allowing only small meals, it removes that section of the stomach that produces Ghrelin, a hormone that induces hunger and increases appetite. It's the latest of the bariatric surgeries and destined to become the most popular. Unlike the "by-pass" surgeries, it's less invasive and it preserves the pyloric valve and duodenum.

Weight loss is very successful. Losing most of the excess weight in about a year is normal. Mine will be slightly quicker as I have less to lose than the typical patient. I'd like to lose 60 lbs. (225-165), BMI of 22.1.

In the U.S., one needs to have a BMI of 40 (300#) or with complications, 35 (257#). Mine is currently 32.5 (225#). (It's been as high as 35.6 (259#) in 2001.)

I have FIVE comorbities that weight loss will help: Diabetes 2 (A lot of patients are cured!), High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease and Sleep Apnea. And my constantly sore feet will benefit as well as my psychological well-being. It'll help my hurting feet and getting off some of the medicines will reduce, if not cure my shaking hand. It also adds to my life expectancy.

My primary care physician, Dr. Alarcon is delighted I'm getting the surgery. He has done blood work and adjusted my chemistry. I'm suitable for the surgery. Also, Dr. Rosa, my cardiologist, has OKed me for surgery.

Louise Johnson is weightlossagent.com. She was excellent and a good reference.

The costs are $4,500 for the surgery and $1,100 for the airplane. (I'm coming back first class so as to be more comfortable.) The surgery in the U.S. would run $12 to 20,000! No insurance covers it in either place.

I'll be home early Sunday morning, the 11th. I'll blog on the 14th about it all.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Washington, D. C. (1978-1996)

Ed came to me one day and said, "There's a neat house for sale in Northeast!" Well, it was 919 and it was very neat.

I looked over the outside carefully then sat in my car for two hours studying the house and getting more and more excited.

I bought it in 1998. And it became a renovation project that transformed the house into a wonderful home. There was also a two-bedroom apartment in the English basement.

The back outside area was a pie-shaped sliver of concrete overlooking the neighbor's gardens. I designed a two-story steel balcony to take advantage of the limited view, making the first floor area off the two-bedroom apartment a lovely rain-protected patio.

A totally redesigned sleek kitchen was built, with a very streamlined electronic stove; very tall cabinets; a huge antique pot rack 8-feet long occupied the entire ceiling with theater, barn-door lighting; under-counter incandescent, dimmable lighting and a 2-inch thick butcher-block counter.

A special sculpture furniture cube was brought from Italy for the only piece of furniture in the living room. Assembled, it was a huge cube. Disassembled, it was two chairs, a chaise, and a foot rest—smashing! 
My home was great. In May 2001, it was on the Capitol Hill House Tour. There were seven bouquets displayed.


Next, More 919.

Monday, November 28, 2011



I've struggled with my weight all my life—going down with great effort and then back up again (with no effort).

I've kept a chart of my high and low weights during EVERY month since high school! It's fourteen pages long. Here's an excerpt:

Once when I was at the doctor's, he asked me to list all the diets I'd been on. It filled two pages! I was up to 259 pounds once—that's where I'd be, I'm convinced, if I didn't watch my weight!

I been through hypnosis, Weight Watcher's, Jenny Craig, Stillman, fasting, Atkins, South Beach to name a few. I've even had behavior modification and liposuction!

In 1986, I went to a bariatrics doctor, Dr. Frank at Washington University Hospital, who put me on a powder diet. I had nothing to eat except this pasty, awful tasting stuff for seven long months!!! I went from 218 to 146! It didn't stay off though. I went to him two other times over the next few years. We even tried various drugs, some experimental.

I've wanted to get bariactic surgery. I've called several clinics and talked to several doctors. They won't do it because I have to have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 40. It helps to have diabetes, as I do, but it still doesn't get me accepted. Recently they lowered the diabetic threshold to 35! But, alas I'm not eligible for that either. I'm at around 31.5. But there's hope if they keep reducing the requirements.

So, I continue to struggle with my weight. I'd LOVE to be skinny. For those of you who say, "Just eat less." I tell you, you don't have a weight problem and literally don't understand.