Pulmonary Tales: Crazy In A Birthday Way

Crazy In A Birthday Way

On Dec. 6th, 1955, at 8:31 PM, a crazy guy came into this world. He probably came out blowing raspberries, but out he came anyway. The same year, this crazy guy’s favorite animated film LADY AND THE TRAMP was released and the original DISNEYLAND opened for the first time.

In 1955:
* Marian Anderson become the first black singer to perform at NYC’s Metropolitan Opera
* The game of SCRABBLE made it’s debut
* Ray Kroc opens his first McDonald’s
* BLACKBOARD JUNGLE opens in theaters, causing an rock and roll uproar
* The WARSAW TREATY is signed
* THE $64,000 QUESTION premieres on ABC
* GUNSMOKE begins its run on CBS
* JAMES DEAN is killed in a car crash
* OKLAHOMA is the first 70MM film shown in theaters
* ROSA PARKS refuses to give up her seat to a white person on a city bus in Montgomery, AL and is arrested.

56 years later, I love, admire, and respect those things and a lot more from 1955.

CRAZY IN A WAY THAT NO ONE ELSE COULD BE is a line from my favorite Barry Manilow song ”ALL THE TIME”. Yep, I love Manilow music. I’ve been a Fanilow ever since my little brother Tommy started to love his music and respond to the rhythms and the words. This song is the story of someone who has always been blind to what he has. He constantly searches without stopping to see that he may already have what he needs. He is crazy in his own unique rhythms and thoughts and actions. He is not nuts but just too driven to stop for a second.

As I battle this Interstitial Lung Disease and work to delay the inevitable for as many years as possible, I also am “crazy in a way that no one else could be”. I’m still crazy in my dreams and expectations, but this craziness is not tempered with reality. Reality intrudes all too often. Reality must be obeyed. However, “crazy in a way” people will always challenge reality, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But challenge they will, and always will.

As this disease progresses, it is crazy in a way to think that something that will eventually get progressively worse can be turned into a positive. It is crazy in a way to think that something that physically disables your ability to do some basic daily things can be held at bay by exerting yourself as much as possible. It is crazy in a way to dream of doing what you used to do or what you were once capable of with your oxygen buddy now tagging along. It is crazy to think of and mourn the loss of the past without using that to drive your future as far as you can.

And it is crazy to want to sit and mope on your 56th birthday but you do it anyway. ALL THE TIME is about missed opportunities, missed connections, missed chances and missed craziness. But it is not about regretting them, it is about embracing them and moving on. That is what today is like for me. Missing what I had and could have had. Embracing my dreams and not letting my crazy in a way reality hold me back from trying.

It is a daily struggle turning 56 when you don’t know how much farther you will count. It is crazy to hope to find 10, 20, 30, or more fingers and toes to count as high as you can dream. It is crazy in a way to think you can tackle your own personal Everest going forward. But it is crazy in an irresponsible way not to remember the outpouring of love and support from family and friends both near and far. Just a check of my Facebook and Twitter feeds will show you how crazy in a way it is to have such treasured people along with my on my journey.

Today I had a good checkup with my primary care doctor and on Monday I see my lung specialist at Penn Lung Center to see how our crazy in a way method of attack on this disease is going. I still have my maintenance workouts twice a week and Bryn Mawr Hospital. Thanks to a good friend, I am going to tackle my crazy in a way fear of large crowds while wearing my oxygen by going to the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS game on Saturday.

If you want to read more about my lung disease, check out this link from the MAYO CLINIC.

Mayo Clinic Interstitial Lung Disease Info

I am turning my attention to developing a support network among other ILD patients so we can share our crazy in a way life. There are so few out there for my disease and frankly very little real world knowledge of it.

And I am going to try to enjoy my birthday in my own crazy in a way method. That will involve family and friends.

in a wonderful way, that ain’t so crazy, is it?

Born on Dec. 6th: Judd Apatow, Larry Bowa, Dave Brubeck, Tom Hulce, Joyce Kilmer, Agnes Morehead, Baby Face Nelson, Randy Rhoads, Ryan White, and Steven Wright, among others

ALL THE TIME by Barry Manilow.

All the time I thought there’s only me
Crazy in a way that no one else could be
I would have given everything I own
If someone would have said “you’re not alone”

All the time I thought that I was wrong
Wanting to be me but needing to belong
If I’d’ve just believed in all I had
If someone would have said “you’re not so bad”

All the time, all the wasted time
All the years waiting for a sign
To think I had it all
All the time

All the time I thought there’s only me
Crazy in a way that no one else could be
I can’t believe that you were somewhere, too
Thinking all the time there’s only you

All the time, all the wasted time
All the years waiting for a sign
To think we had it all
All the time

Pulmonary Rehab: Magna Cum Successful

I’m going to do a longer post on my last day of Pulmonary Rehab at Lankenau Hospital for posting tomorrow, but I just wanted to brag for a quick second.

After a long two years of what seemed like constant running in place, including my diagnosis of an Interstitial Lung Disease, this is a moment that made me the happiest I have been in years.

I GRADUATED! (details to come)

FALLING SKIES: Yeah, I’ve Been Watching The “SKIES”

A quick note about all my FALLING SKIES:

I have become hooked on FALLING SKIES on TNT (This Sunday is the Season Finale at 9 PM). However, my love of the way the show works comes directly out of my past experiences.

I have always been a huge TV and Movie fan. That may be the reason why I spent 27 great years in the home video industry. It was great while it lasted and it was great to have an impact on an area of creativity that you personally love.

Much of what I did for 27 years was creative, as well. While the stores were retail based, the business always required showmanship. The business always required knowledge. The business always required love of product. And the business always required a personal need to share something you love with so many others.

I got to do that from early 1983 until late 2009. In that time, I met many stars and creatives (Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall, Ted Turner, Roy Disney, Robin Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Selma Hayek, Barry Manilow, Barney, Henry Winkler, Steven Weber, Charleston Heston, Ice-T, and many others).

I also wrote for a video trade publication called VIDEO INSIDER, my stock in trade being Children’s Entertainment. I conducted interviews with MisterRogers, Shari Lewis, Raffi, Frank Zappa, Ithzak Perlman and many others who had family videos out.

I loved writing, but retail was my main profession. It also allowed me to attend annual VSDA conventions for retailers that put the Sand Diego Comic Cons to shame. The studio events were spectacular and the people I met were and are amazing.

Now that I can no longer work due to lung disability, I find the need to discover a way to continue these conversations about things that I love. Hello, Twitter (and Facebook).

One thing I’ve always loved is intelligent sci-fi. While I am a big fan of the 50’s sci-fi genre, much of the more recent sci-fi strikes me as too intent on overwhelming us. A great sci-fi story doesn’t hit us over the head with action because the story gets room to breathe and to involve.

That is why my favorite TV Show has been the original TWILIGHT ZONE. I was able to have a brief Twitter conversations with Colin Cunningham (John Pope on FALLING SKIES) about this, since he too shares a love of all things Rod Serling. In our “chat”, the importance of story and writing comes to the forefront. I don’t care how spectacular the visuals are, if you do not have the bedrock of great writing in place, you have nothing more than bright flickering lights.

That is what has struck me about FALLING SKIES. As you view it, there are so many nuances in the show and all of these nuances are well-thought out in the script and executed by the cast. Many of these are overt, many of them are under the surface, and many may be conclusions I’ve drawn based on past movies and shows. The intelligence of the writing allows for entire episodes like SANCTUARY PART 2 to unfold without ever showing a gooey alien. That is my favorite episode.

To go along with this, TNT TV has partnered with KLOUT to work out a social media campaign to drive conversation and promotion of FALLING SKIES through Twitter. This involves that hashtag that you’ve seen: #fsincentivized. This allows for tracking of tweets and is attached to an ARMY OF INFLUENCE LEADERBOARD. The Top Person at the end of Season One wins a walk on role for Season Two.

In addition, each week, items have been delivered to advance the story. These SURVIVAL KITS were sent to a limited number of people for this effort. I’ve had a blast doing it because I get to talk a lot, but also because I get to learn more about these social media campaigns and hopefully find a way to use my now limited abilities to get involved in these as a profession.

The top prize would be cool, but I’m having a blast talking with new friends like Hokuboku, NZRobFL. Sookietex, kimmyxoxo, DieselBT, jgraziani, Gizmotastic, and many more, plus cast members MphoAK, RVRocket, ConnorJessup, CunninghamColin, PeterShinkoda, TheStevenWeber, and others. In case you haven’t guessed, these are their Twitter names but these are also how I know them and love talking with them.

So, there is a brief reason why Skitters, Mechs, and harnessed kids are in my time line, along with the Phillies, Flyers, politics, sports, music, etc. And judging from the fun I am having with my new friends, I cannot wait to bring the rest of you into the 2nd Mass Resistance


FALLING SKIES: Ep. 8 What Lies Beneath

FALLING SKIES: Ep. 7 Sanctuary PT. 2


FALLING SKIES: EP. 6 Sanctuary Pt. 1

FALLING SKIES: Ep. 5 Silent Kill

FALLING SKIES: Silly Questions

FALLING SKIES: Separated at Birth


FALLING SKIES: Ep. 3 Prisoners Of War

FALLING SKIES: Ep. 1-2 Premiere

Hope you enjoy them all.