12 February 2020

Tomorrow Might be too Late

You always hear people say that they look at a major event in their lives (cancer, heart attack, etc.) as a wake-up call, as their chance to change how they live their lives, to have a better appreciation for people and things and life in general. It didn’t work that way for me.

See, I was diagnosed with a heart defect in 2014 and had surgery to correct it in 2015. I was then diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2015. Not once have I thought “Well, here’s my second chance,” or “I’m going to appreciate things now,” or “I’m finally going to live life to the fullest.” You know why? Because I’ve always appreciated the good things in my life, I’ve always tried to live my life to the fullest, and I don’t really need or want a second chance.

But, something did change for me.

After my heart surgery, when I was fifty-five years old, I started noticing when people died younger than my age. I would think “Wow! I’ve lived ten years longer than that person,” or “I’ve had five more years in my life than that person had.” I don’t know why I started noticing that, but there you are.

Now, even that has changed.

My husband (of twenty-five years) came really close to dying of a heart attack on 20 January 2020. We reacted to his symptoms right away, got him to the hospital where he received a stent, and he’s back to almost-normal. But now, whenever we do anything, I think “This wouldn’t be happening right now if he had died." Like, when we went to the cinema to see “Parasite,” when we sat together and watched the Oscars, even mundane things like going to the grocers.

I’ve always loved doing things with my husband: he’s fun, smart, cute, comes up with all kinds of ideas of things to do. It’s literally never a dull moment with him around. I’ve always appreciated doing things with him. Maybe now, I’m noticing those things more and appreciating them even more than before because it’s quite possible there will come a time when we won’t be able to do things together ever again. That would be sad.

So, yeah, life can change that quickly. Don’t wait for a “wake-up call.” If you don’t already, start appreciating what you have – and what you might lose – right now.

29 January 2020

Another installment in our show “Fun With the Insurance Company”

You know I need chemo pills every day. I get a prescription filled each month. For January, this happened:

I called my supplier 1C (as usual) and started the monthly process. 1C called me THREE WEEKS LATER and told me they no longer have a contract with my insurance to provide my chemo. Told me I had to call supplier 2A. I called them to start the process.

The next day, 2A called and told me I needed to have 1C call them and give them a verbal transfer of the prescription. Called 1C and asked them to call 2A and give them verbal transfer. 2A said it is against federal drug laws to give verbal transfers for chemo drugs. They said to call my doctor’s office and have them send the paperwork to 2A. I did that.

The next day, my doctor’s office called to tell me 2A no longer had a contract with my insurance and that he was trying to figure out what to do. Doctor’s office called back and told me that he was told that supplier 3A would now provide my chemo. The next day he called to tell me that 3A said they no longer have a contract with the drug company to sell their product and that I would have to get my drug filled with company 1C (remember them from almost a month earlier – the company that no longer contracts with my insurance?).

As of today, doctor office trying to figure out where I can get my drugs and who will pay the $31,000 monthly cost. Keep in mind that I start my chemo cycle the first of every month which is currently three days away and the drugs have to be shipped to me from wherever in hell they come from.

21 December 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen: Sincerely, Dina Lamont

I'm really excited to announce the publication of my 17th book -- Sincerely, Dina Lamont. It all started one day in Palm Springs, CA., when I found a box in a storage unit...

That’s all there was: a small box, big enough to hold about two reams of paper, sitting in the middle of the otherwise empty storage unit. Inside the box were three manila folders, innocent-looking enough. There was also a mostly completed manuscript. But there was something else: a canceled check in the amount of $50,000.

This is how it began. This is how I first learned about the once-famous actress Dina Lamont. It was a discovery that led to five years worth of research to uncover the story of this lost star. And now, in print, fifty years after the project was started, you will read the greatest story never told, about how one of Hollywood’s biggest stars got lost to time.

Dina Lamont, nee Harris, is the young daughter of a once-famous theater actress. She and her mother strike out into the big world of entertainment thanks to a modeling job advertising the new invention of sliced bread. From there, it was a brief hop to the silver screen by way of a short film. Then it was onto the vaudeville circuit and a railway trip to Los Angeles that left the two women stranded and without any work. But, that was okay: the flickers beckoned, and Dina answered. A chance encounter at a flashy Hollywood party put Dina on the screen. It was a small role, but it would be the beginning of a life of celebrated success, stunning defeat, and renewed dreams.

Here, then, is the story of a woman who would rise to the pinnacle of success in Hollywood. She would be famous the world over, appearing in magazines and on the cover of newspapers in every language. Was it all worth it? We’ll never know. Not only is Dina long dead, but her tale remained untold until an unnamed author stumbled onto her in the last months of her life. He wrote her story and then put it all away, in a box, just barely big enough to hold about two reams of paper.

That’s where our story begins.

Read more about Sincerely, Dina Lamont and her journey from obscurity to fame, by clicking the link on the right-hand side of this page.

19 December 2019

Happy Anniversary to Me!

I just realized today is the 14th anniversary of this blog -- begun on a whim in 2005. Kinda fun to know it's been around this long. I've had fun writing the various entries -- and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. 

07 December 2019

Pearl Harbor Memory

USS Arizona before the war.
In 1991, I wrote and produced a documentary for KFYI-radio on the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I had the honor of interviewing Garth Brown, a survivor of the USS Arizona that was hit and sunk in the harbor. Other interviews include a Japanese man who was interred, and a woman who remembers seeing the attack. You can hear the entire documentary here.