Doctor Monica, At Your Service!

Doctor Monica, At Your Service!

A wise woman once said, people are either selfish or stupid. And she is right. Take the ones who don’t clean up after their dogs. Selfish! Or the fella who thinks he’s being funny when he boards a plane and says he has a bomb. Stupid! How about The lady at a party who gets tipsy and then puts a lampshade on her head, when you and I know that putting a lampshade on your head is no longer fashionable. Stupid strikes again! Continue reading



My pal Brian said that because of all the hostile, freezing weather we’ve had this winter in certain parts of the country, we’re in for one hell of an allergy season this year. Boy is he right! Here in San … Continue reading

My TiVo Hates Me

Late last night, while I was typing away at my computer, and Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, lay cozily napping on my bed, I heard a voice whisper loudly,

“Hey, Monica!”

I looked up. No one was there. I resumed typing.

“Psst. Monica. Over HERE!”

Again I turn around. Henry opened one eye.

“Henry, was that you?” I asked.

He shook his head and fell back asleep.

“Psst, behind you!”

Looking around the other way, I noticed the sound was coming from the vicinity of the TV.

TiVo? What are you doing on at this hour? I haven’t watched you in days!”

“Days? More like weeks. I’m getting overloaded here. I’m going to pop a cable if you don’t start watching your shows soon. I can’t keep saving everything, you know. Something’s gotta give if you’re not going to watch, and I’m afraid it’s going to be me.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” I respond. “Cut me some slack. I’ve just been so busy with my writing.”

“How do you think I feel? You used to love me and watch me all the time! Now, you only have eyes for that thing.” TiVo shrugs and aims it remote at my computer.

“One of these days I’ll get to you.”

“One of these days? How about now? Parks and Recreation isn’t going to stay around forever, and besides, don’t you want to know if Leslie Knope wins the election? And, Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but not that cold.”

“And what about me?” came another voice from within the TiVo box.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s Brian Williams,” TiVo responds.  “He’s getting a chip on his shoulder and is feeling snubbed. Wolf Blitzer isn’t too happy either, and, believe me, you don’t want to get him mad. I’m running out of excuses for you.”

“What do you mean? What have you been telling them?”

“First I told them that you were on vacation.”

“Where did you say I went?”

“Atlantic City. I loved that show, Boardwalk Empire.”

“TiVo, what did you say I was doing there? Going on some sort of Prohibition run?”

“Hmm…I hadn’t thought of that. Well, after a while they stopped believing it, so I said you were being held in North Korea where you were being forced to serve as a propaganda mouthpiece for Kim Jong-Il.”

“Did you get that idea from a 30 Rock episode in which Jack’s wife, Avery, was kidnapped and being held by the government?”

“Well, maybe. That’s on your season pass, is it not?”

“Touché. Anyway, TiVo, have you gotten around to telling them the truth? That I’m busy with my writing?”

“No, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I might have said that you went off to Afghanistan and were hunting for Osama Bin Laden.

“TiVo, the Navy Seals got him a year ago.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. Remember you made me record that CNN coverage? You never did watch, but I did.”

“That’s because I ended up getting all my information from Twitter.”

“There you go again. Always with the computer or social media.”

“So, TiVo, what excuse are you giving them these days?”

“That you left for Antarctica to save the polar bears from extinction.”


“Yeah, I saw that on an episode of National Geographic.”

“TiVo, for crying out loud! Look, I’m on deadline. I’ve got to get back to my writing.”

“Sure, be that way.”

“I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

“Okay, but no guarantees as to what you’ll find on your “Now Playing” list when you do return. I may just start recording my own recommendations and deleting yours.”

“So, how can I make it up to you?”

“Start watching and ease my load! Oh, and you can tell that dog of yours not to stare at me whenever I’m talking. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

“Henry? He doesn’t stare at you.”

“He does whenever he sees a dog in a commercial. Then he barks like a coyote at a full moon.”

“Ignore it. Just, go back and tell Brian, Wolf and all the others, the truth about why I haven’t been watching.”

“I think I’ll tell them you’ve just left for Spain to run with the bulls.”

“Excuse me, TiVo? What show did you see that on?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Goodnight, TiVo.”

“Chaio, bella.”

“Let me guess. Roman Holiday on TCM?”

“No, Lady and the Tramp on in-demand.”

So tell me, readers, do you have a DVR that’s overloaded and giving you grief? How do you manage your television viewing?

Goodbye, Mr. Peanut!

Friends, there’s a crisis amidst, one that I’m horrified to say, is getting scant media attention.

It’s much bigger than Herman Cain’s did-he-or-didn’t-he tabloid headlines, which have been replayed over and over again on the nightly news. (Curse you, Brian Williams!)  I assume, of course, they’re referring to whether Cain ordered his pizza with, or without, pepperoni.

Price of peanut butter has just gone up as much as 40%.

But the situation, to which I’m referring, is a ticking time bomb, one that is bound to have an explosive effect on the economy. It’s bound to change the way you live your life, and may well leave millions of parents uncertain as to what to pack for their children’s lunches.  (On the plus, every kid with allergies to this product can finally breathe a sigh of relief.)

Why, you ask? Because the future of Mr. Peanut is in jeopardy. So hold on to your monocles and listen up!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the price for a ton of runner peanuts—used to make peanut butter—hit an all-time high, up $450 per ton from a year ago.  If that is as hard for you to understand as it was for me, then know this:

The price of peanut butter just skyrocketed, smack though the roof of my peanut butter-laden mouth. Up by 40 percent, which means you’re going to have to start shelling out a lot more, just for one jar of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth. It’s as if Mr. Peanut has been kidnapped and now we have to pay the ransom.

The reason? Part of it has to do with peanut production being down 13 percent. The rest can be blamed on intense heat and drought in the south. Couple that with demand. The National Peanut Board says Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter, consuming six pounds of it per year! And if anyone knows peanuts, it’s the Peanut Board, which I assume is run by Mr. Peanut, himself.

Given the bad news, I’m on the prowl for a recipe for homemade peanut butter—preferably one that doesn’t involve using peanuts. You see, I’m addicted to the stuff, which, to me, is as American as hot dogs, apple pie and waving the red, white and blue.

Mr. Peanut talks to a young fan in Atlantic City, circa, a long time ago.

Yet, buying it is now out of my league. Which is why, Mr. Peanut and I are going to have to part ways.  Herewith, my open letter to Mr. Peanut:

Dear Mr. Peanut,

I bid you farewell.  I’ll never forget our time together, nor how we met. It was when my mother first brought home a jar of peanut butter from the A&P.

Sure, she purchased a generic brand then, but she didn’t know any better. She hadn’t seen the countless commercials I got to watch daily, in between The Flintstones and Bugs Bunny cartoons. How I grew to love those ads that exulted your amazing attributes, all determined to convince me that they had the “peanuttiest” tasting peanut butter.

According to one manufacturer, my mother clearly wasn’t a choosy mom, which probably meant she didn’t love us, kids, as much as other moms loved theirs. At least, that’s what the commercials wanted me to believe. But, what can I say? She was from Venezuela, where peanut butter isn’t nearly as popular, and she didn’t yet know about America’s love affair with the peanut.

Oh, Mr. Peanut! I learned early on that adding peanut butter to any product was a guarantee it would become an instant hit with my family. Items like Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal, and Nutter Butter cookies, which boasted, “Made with real peanut butter,” were scrumptious! Later on, we discovered Little Debbie Nutty Bars and Drakes’ Funny Bones, a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling that was sold only on the east coast. And of course, let’s not forget that long-time standby, the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. Mr. Peanut, it didn’t get any better than that.

Well, goodbye peanut butter treats, many of which I haven’t tried in years, but still remember fondly. Let’s hope the peanut farmers have a bumper crop next year. Maybe, former President Jimmy Carter can put together a delegation with you, Mr. Peanut, and all the little peanut runners, and arrange a summit with Mother Nature, to ensure we have an abundance of peanuts next season.

Until then, Mr. Peanut, I will wait for you to come down in price. I’m also going to be snacking on gold bars instead. I hear their price just became cheaper than buying a jar of peanut butter, smooth or crunchy.

Six Degrees from Fame

Some people are just six degrees of separation away from Kevin Bacon. Well, I am six degrees of separation away from just about everyone else. Clearly, that can only mean one thing:  I’m famous! I dare you. Name one famous person—as long as they’re not from a reality show, that is–and chances are, you will find that we are kindred spirits. Odds are, I can show you that we have at least one thing in common.  Here are a few, just to get you started:

Note the watch. I have the exact, same one! How uncanny is that? Photograph from People Magazine.

Bruce Springsteen:  No brainer. We share the same birthday, September 23rd. Look it up if you don’t believe me! Plus, he’s from New Jersey and I’m from New York. Why that’s practically one and the same, if you ask me!

Amanda Knox:  Now, if you had asked me last month, I would have said, what? Me and Amanda? That’s crazy talk. But, now I know better. That girl and I are two peas in a pod. She’s from Seattle and I lived there once. She spent a couple of years in an Italian prison and I visited Italy once. And we both wear the same Swatch. I bought mine in France during a trip there, and she must have acquired hers while serving time. I’m assuming it came with the prison garb. In any case, do you  see how much we have in common? It’s plain eerie if you ask me.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates:  These two weren’t particularly fond of each other, but that’s nothing compared to what they both thought about me:  Nothing! They never gave me a second thought, for crying out loud. Nor a first thought, for that matter. It was as if I didn’t exist in their eyes. But here’s the clincher: all three of us were born in the same year. You can look it up if you don’t believe me, but why should I lie? I have nothing to gain, except my six degrees, that is.

Princess Diana:  I wrote a whole blog once on all that the People’s Princess and I had in common. What’s more, she had ties to royalty and so do I, in that, my dog, Henry, is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Which means, he descends from royalty. Need I say more?

Kevin Bacon:  He’s married to Kyra Sedgewick and her show, The Closer, was one of my favorites. Plus, I’m fond of eggs and bacon for breakfast.

Bernie Madoff:  We’re both from New York. He allegedly made investments; I invested a little in stock once. His was a Ponzi scheme, of course, and my investment ended up losing money thanks to the economy. Anyway, Bernie went to prison and I once considered dating men in prison. Sheesh, give me a break. Men in stripes are an untapped dating market, after all.

Brian Williams:  He has a nightly news show, which I watch regularly. He also makes guest appearances on two of my favorite shows (not counting The Closer):  30 Rock and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bingo!

Joy Behar:  Joy Behar is a hoot and I like her a lot.  If I met her on the street, I’m sure we’d be fast friends. We’re both from New York and we both have New York accents, though mine is better. Sends chills down my spine to even think about how alike that makes us.

Courtney Cox:  My name is Monica and she played a character named Monica on some show about relationships. I’m blanking on the name of the show, but, trust me, it was funny. Besides, the character she played was a chef and I spent a whole day working in a McDonald’s while in college, and I’d probably still be there right now if it hadn’t been for an early spring blizzard in May. Plus, her show was on TV and I love watching TV. Enough said.

So you see? I’m just a few degrees away from just about any celeb. Ergo, I must be a celebrity at heart! So, now that I’ve proved I’m famous, how about you? Which personality are you six degrees from?