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1. The Commish and Cobb: So my cancer chronicles open with a humorous story of Doctor Lessen, my oncologist, telling me I need to hydrate more.

Apparently, he does not mean with Jack Daniels though. Hell, I thought a strong dose of Jack can kill anything. But seriously, there is nothing like a fine class of Merlot with the Shrimp Escargot at Kaluz, looking out onto the Intracoastal.  

Still, drinking has limits. One hundred years ago, the Commissioner of Baseball tried to show Hall of Famer Ty Cobb how dangerous drinking can be.  

He took a bottle of water and one of Jack and put them side by side.  

First. he dropped a worm in the bottle of water, and it swam around freely, even ordering a year’s subscription to Amazon Prime.   

Then he took the second worm, the first one’s gay cousin by the way, and dropped it into a bottle of Jack. It swam for a few seconds, but then dropped to the bottom of the bottle very dead, without a pre-need plan for his funeral either. 

The commissioner turned to Cobb and asked him what he had learned from this. The star player promptly looked at the commissioner and replied, “I guess if I keep drinking, I will never have worms.”’

2. The Bucket List

I counted my bucket list items. I need 278 more years to live, startling with being a folk guitarist singing protest songs in Central Park in NYC. Not sure I can make it. May have to settle for 178. A stand-up solo performance in Ronnie Larsen’s theatre is a must. But with clothes on. Dean Trantalis will have to get his thrills somewhere else.

3. The Bank Robber 

A man walked into and robbed the new Truist Bank at SE 17th Street and Federal in Fort Lauderdale last Thursday at gunpoint, but the police decided to let him go because he was wearing a mask. Safety first! Our government is hilarious. The day I got my free COVID tests in the mail was the day the CDC said you don’t have to wear masks anymore.

4. Clean Cooking Congresswoman

I can’t cook at all, but I am learning how. My favorite Instagram account has been posted intermittently for years by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. A mom and cancer survivor, she publishes ingenious healthy recipes personally created for cancer patients, survivors, and anyone else looking to eat well. Don’t think I have found one yet on best recipes for Nathan’s hot dogs and their French fries. Try “Normie’s Brooklyn Special” though, at the hot dog cart run by John Fugate this weekend behind the Eagle.

5. The Senator’s Endurance

Norman Coleman, the former Republican United States Senator from Minnesota with an incisive line about his surviving cancer, and for any major medical adversity in your life: “Be appreciative and grateful because it gives you memories today that you might never have had before.” Thoughtful insight. Okay, Norm, but one memory we can all agree to pass on is that new national TV commercial now playing daily, with the little girl staring at her father’s toenail fungus. Gross.

6. Getting Gas from Gas Prices?

Congratulations to John Castelli’s real estate office. They closed this week on a full tank of gasoline. And just in time, JR and “Dallas” is coming back to TV. To make things more contemporary, he will be shot by a drive-by shooter instead of Sue Ellen. 

7. Judicial Wisdom 

Miami jurist Alberto Milan on Facebook: “In youth we learn; in age we understand.” OK, but Al, you left one out: “As seniors, we just damn forget.”

Alberto is a former prosecutor, whose dad, Emilio, himself was a renowned radio talk show host in Miami, tragically assassinated while practicing his profession. For two years, Al and I hosted an afternoon radio show called “Weekday Legal” at 1400 AM WFTL.

What battles we had, a conservative Cuban versus a liberal Jewish gay man. But while we vigorously debated, we loved and bonded as friends forever. We all need to emulate the musical words of famed songwriter Dave Mason: “It’s not you, it’s not me. We just agree to disagree.” You can love your partner and still disagree now and then. Just don’t do it while you are skydiving together. 

8. Police and Pot Policy

If the Manors police decide not to arrest pot smokers anymore, it does not mean I will let SFGN drivers use cannabis while delivering papers weekly. The papers may take longer to deliver though. What is this with West Point cadets overdosing on fentanyl and cocaine here in the Manors while on Spring Break? Is something wrong with good old-fashioned beer drinking? Anyway, because I have developed a reputation as a criminal defense lawyer fighting for the legalization of marijuana laws, people now ask me how much I smoke pot now that I have cancer. Irrelevant. What matters is that smokable cannabis quiets nausea and edibles can help with your appetite. A caveat, though: most edibles are very high in sugar content. But it beats fentanyl and coke because you live!

9. Conservative Columnist Passes

P. J. O’Rourke, a conservative humorist who crossed the political aisles, has sadly passed away. Funny man; great writer. One of his best lines, which I will use as soon as the Dolphin Democrats invite me there: “Republicans are people who tell us government does not work, and then they get elected and prove it.” If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.

10. Should We Not ‘Come Together for Ukrainians?'

Can all the gay bars come together on one night in a benefit for Ukraine? PLEASE someone set it up. SFGN will run all the ads for free. And by the way, we are still looking for a full-time graphic designer to layout our — your — newspaper weekly. It’s a secure, solid job, working for a good cause. Contact us ASAP.  

Take care, Norm


OP-ED | The Cancer Chronicles: Rants and Ruminations from a Medical Bed

OP-ED | The Cancer Chronicles, Part 2: Ruminations of a Chemotherapeutic Mind