TURKEY AND CAICOS, PART 2

Well, as usual, my earlier blog post was only half-published. (Perhaps because it was written by a half-wit?) In any case, I was about to discuss my Thanksgiving Day dinner when I was rudely interrupted. In order to get my wife in a proper festive mood, I offered to buy her a Plymouth. (Hey, Plymouth rocks!) I don’t think she fully appreciated my generous gesture, because she gave me the bird! (No, not the one on the plate) Then she threatened to knock the stuffing out of me! We pilgrims have not made much progress. (You’ll be thankful that I have no more lame holiday puns!

And speaking of joyous occasions…. allow me to wish Ms. Christine Nickles (one of my oldest and dearest friends) a very happy birthday! Christine and I were partners in crime during my twenty-year stint in New York City. (When I was working in the high risk insurance business.) She is the lovely lass who introduced me to Bison steaks and some very good Merlot.

Speaking of New York City, I am proud to report that my recent literary masterpiece, titled, GONE BEFORE GLORY, was recently chosen as a “2022 DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE” in this year’s New York City Big Book Award Contest! The substantial prize money (and all of this year’s royalties) will be donated to some very worthy charities, so if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift (and want to do a good deed) now is the time to order any one of my brilliant books.

Time to watch the news, just to see what I missed last week. Which reminds me, why do they call it a TV set when you only have one? Seems a bit odd to me.

If you’re tempted to run off to the gym, to work off some of those pumpkin pie calories, just remember that being healthy is merely the slowest way of dying. Just saying.

In closing, I have a great deal to be thankful for, including some loyal blog followers. Enjoy your upcoming week and stay happy and healthy. (outside the darn gym!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

TURKEY AND CAICOS!

HAPPY (albeit late) THANKSGIVING! I hope that you and yours had a marvelous day together. As the above blog title suggests, I spent the holiday down in the Caribbean paradise of the Turks and Caicos Islands. We had a great time, but to be perfectly honest, I did not meet any Turks. (Nor did I run into a single Caicos!) Nevertheless, the TCI is a stunningly beautiful place, and the beaches are among the best in the world. We were fortunate enough to stay at Grace Bay Beach, which has to be seen to be fully appreciated. (Photos will be attached!) The Seven Stars Resort was our home base, and that too was lovely. Due to my literary fame (and pure luck) we were given a huge room upgrade, overlooking the beach. Lots of beach, babes, and bikinis. My kind of vacation, if I remember correctly. (A bit too much rum from time to time!)

For those who care, the Turks and Caicos is actually an archipelago of 40 low-lying islands in the Atlantic Ocean. (Southeast of the Bahamas) The place is governed, more or less, by the British and the locals, who are both exceedingly friendly. Due to its remote location, everything is imported, which results in higher prices. (but still not a rip-off like some places in the Caribbean

LIBRARIES… LITERATURE… AND LOCKHART!

Well, there’s thirteen hundred and fifty-two guitar pickers in Nashville (according to John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful) and about as many authors in Austin, Texas. Therefore, I was quite honored to be featured in this year’s gala literary event, known throughout the free world (and parts of Arkansas) as the “EVENING WITH THE AUTHORS.” The annual event, sponsored by some very generous Texans living in Lockhart, was held to raise some needed funds for the town’s beautiful (and historic) library. The library’s name is the Eugene Clark Library, named in honor of (one guess!) ….. Dr. Eugene Clark, who left the town to study in London and Vienna, returning in 1897 to open a practice in San Antonio. When he developed an incurable medical problem, he dictated in his will that $10,000 be used to build a library and lyceum in Lockhart.

And by coincidence….. this year’s event raised precisely $10,000 for the library! (Kind of spooky, in a good way, eh?)

Most of the “Adam Gold Mysteries” were available for purchase, as well as all of my brilliant non-fiction history books. I don’t mean to brag, but my books were flying off the shelves. (I still don’t understand why they were thrown out!) Just teasing. Sales were, how shall I put this, robust. And before I forget, I would personally like to thank Nita McBride and Dianne Stevenson and all the other marvelous ladies of Lockhart for putting this valuable event together. Well done, ladies!

And since we’re on the subject of libraries….. Please mark your calendars that I shall be a featured author at this year’s gala literary event in the city of Bee Cave, Texas. The good folks of Lakeway and the surrounding areas are holding an event called “SPEED DATING WITH LOCAL AUTHORS.” The up close and personal event will be held on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at the City Hall Building. (starting at twelve noon.) Admission is free, and you will be able to purchase an autographed copy of my prize-winning masterpiece, titled, GONE BEFORE GLORY. Believe it or not, you will also be able to vote! (Kindly spell my last name correctly… if you choose to cast a “write-in” ballot.) Remember, Yanoff is spelled with two “Fs” (Which, coincidentally, are the grades I got in English and Spelling!)

By the way, I am not the only world-renowned author that will be featured in the weeks and months ahead. The fabulous authoress Terri Schexnayder will be holding book signings (for her much praised book, “Selling Radio & Raising Katie in 1970s Austin,” on the following dates: 10/20 10/22 10/23 11/12 and 11/19. You can get the times and places simply by going to her website or contacting Terri at: texnayder@gmail.com

For those of you that inquired about my recent trip to Port Aransas, allow me to say that it was a complete success. (Meaning I didn’t get lost or miss the ferry to Rockport!) As you might know, I went down to South Texas to attend a family reunion. Not mine. My wife’s family. (Unfortunately, most of my family will not be eligible for parole for another five years.) Just kidding. Ten years. In any case, it was great fun and the water and weather were perfect.

Finally, if you read the New York Times (which I don’t suggest) you might have noticed a H-U-G-E article about yours truly winning a major literary award in the city. Well, I’m happy to report that the rumors are true, but I’m still debating whether I want to risk my life by attending the awards ceremony. (I suggested they keep the prize money and hand out bullet-proof vests! I haven’t heard back from the judges.) If I decide to go to NYC, and you would like to be named in my will, please send me a postcard!)

In closing, I would like to urge you to support your local library. (But do NOT spend too much time looking at those National Geographic Issues about you-know-where!) Trust me, you might go blind. (my Mom told me that) AND…. more importantly…. always remember the words of the immortal author and historian, Studs Terkel, who wrote: “All you need in life is truth and beauty, and you can find both at the library.”

Have a safe and happy week, and if you scroll down, you might just find a few photos of my recent trip to the British Cotswold area. (The church photo, if it actually appears, is the church they used in the television production and movies for “Downton Abbey.”) Take care and cheerio,

Doc Yanoff

EVENING WITH THE AUTHORS!

Well, my dear friends, the time is fast approaching for the most prestigious literary event in the great state of Texas! (Perhaps in the Free World!) Of course, I’m referring to Lockhart’s “Evening With The Authors,” a charitable event designed to support the town’s 121-y ear-old Eugene C. Clark Library. This once-in-a-lifetime gathering of some of the best authors in Texas (and me) will be sponsored by Barnes and Noble, who will be selling books (autographed by the author!) at a somewhat discounted price. In my case, I might have to pay someone to take a book!

The event will be held (at the library) on the evening of October 1st, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. During this time, guests will have an opportunity to visit with the authors, who will be more than happy to sign any books that are purchased. If all this excitement becomes too much to handle, guests will also be able to purchase appetizers, desserts, and beverages. (Including some lovely “adult beverages,” such as wine and beer.)

By the way, the shindig is being sponsored by the Barnes and Noble store at Brodie Lane, so if you’re ever in the neighborhood, you might want to stop by and thank them for their wonderful support of the library. (Personally, I would buy several “Adam Gold Mystery” books, but that’s just me!) They also have (or can quickly order) copies of my new non-fiction history masterpiece, GONE BEFORE GLORY.

INCIDENTALLY…. Lockhart just happens to be the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” so you might want to arrive a little early and sample some of their incredible food. The best 3 joints, (in no particular order) are Black’s Barbecue, Kreuz Market, and Smitty’s Market. Hard to believe, but this one little town has 3 of the most scrumptious barbecue joints in Texas! (Save room for some blackberry cobbler!)

Speaking of books… I’d like to mention that the extremely talented Terri Schexnayder has just published a marvelous new book (something of a memoir) and will be hosting a book signing party at Tres Amigos Restaurant (7535 E Hwy. 290) in Austin on Saturday, October 8th. Terri will be there, signing books and holding court, from 1 to 4 p.m. If you find yourself in the vicinity of this charming eatery, please stop by and take a look at her literary work. (Trust me, it will be worth the effort!)

Finally, as some of you might have read in the NYT, yours truly has just won another major literary award for GONE BEFORE GLORY, and I will soon be obliged to travel up to the Big Apple to receive my humongous check and some great pastrami. (More details to follow in the weeks ahead, but this should be fun.) My overly generous publisher is going to give away some free books to mark the event, so keep in touch by reading this blog. (or sending some pastrami)

Alas, I must prepare for my grand-daughter’s soccer game, so I shall say farewell until next time. Just to make your day, I have included (I hope) some recent photographs from my trip to Italy. (Most of these pictures were taken in Positano.) Have a safe and smile-laden week! Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE ROME, I MEAN, HOME!

BUON GIORNO, my dear friends. Come stay oggi? Well, as you can see, I am still speaking (or more precisely, typing) in Italian. Perche? Because I have recently returned from a lovely 3-week adventure in grand old Europe! (I call it “grand” because that’s what it costs per day!) Alas, paradise does not come cheap. We had the privilege of spending one week in Rome and Positano, followed by a week-long river cruise in France, then 5 nights in vibrant London, England. Needless to say, we’re exhausted….. in a good way. We are also glad go be home and glad to be back to “normal” food and wine consumption. (My liver was about to charge me with abuse!)

Since many of my loyal blog followers are interested in travel, I will go into exceedingly boring detail of my adventures in the weeks ahead. But for now, I shall present a rough outline of my itinerary. (despite the fact that we were hardly “roughing it.”) Our outing began in The Eternal City (i.e., Rome) which should actually be called the Infernal City, due to the traffic. OMG, talk about crazy drivers! The traffic lights, as you’ve probably heard, are not to be taken literally. The various colors (especially red) are meant to be mere suggestions.

After surviving Rome, we drove down (with a driver) to Positano, which is the jewel of the Amalfi Coast. Since we couldn’t find a Motel 6, we were forced to stay in the magnificent Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel. (We are now up to two grand per day!) The hotel, though pricey, is truly beautiful. Our modest villa suite overlooked the gorgeous Tyrrhenian Sea, which is part of the Mediterranean, and most closely associated with the Etruscans of Italy. (Amazingly, the view was free, but staring was discouraged.)

Once we consumed our fill of GREAT Italian food (mainly at my favorite restaurant, Taverna del Leone), we drove back to Rome (with another driver) and then flew up to Paris, France. Here we hopped aboard a charming river ship called the Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life) and sailed north up the lovely Seine River. Along the way, we stopped at Monet’s farmhouse to admire his stunning paintings. As you might know, Monet was a fabulous impressionist. (Not as good as Rich Little or Dana Carvey, but still up there.) Claude’s farmhouse still retains quite a bit of charm, and if you look closely at his work, you can see elements of greatness… and maybe a hint of Bob Ross.

The next day was spent in the Palace of Versailles, which was a slightly bigger house. This humble abode (10 miles south of Paris) was the modest residence of Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and of course, Louis XVI and his cake-loving paramour, Marie Antoinette. The last tenants were a bit too lavish for the French bourgeoisie, and they eventually spent a tad too much on themselves while the rest of Paris starved. They were not stupid monarchs, but alas, they lost their heads. (Literally!) In fact, you might say they had a very close shave on the infamous guillotine.

The absolute highlight of our voyage was a day-long visit to the Normandy Beaches, which was simply overwhelming. The bravery of the American, English, and Canadian soldiers is on full display, and quite moving. Staring down the high cliffs along the Pointe du Hoc (a 130 foot cliff overlooking the English Channel) made me realize just how courageous and daring the U.S. Rangers were, and it was a sight I will never forget. Over 135 Army Rangers were killed on or near the cliffs, many of them shot down while protecting their comrades who were landing on Utah and Omaha Beaches. (Which we also visited.) What a truly memorable day!

After France, we flew over the channel to London and spent 5 glorious nights at the Egerton House Hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge. (In my humble opinion, the BEST hotel in the city.) The Egerton House is managed by the brilliant, charming, and capable Michelle Devlin, who has assembled a remarkable team of professionals. Trust me, this is the place to stay in London Town. (Most comfortable beds in the universe!)

While becoming regulars at the Brompton Pub, we managed to traipse around the English countryside and visit the interesting city of Oxford (where I was once asked to teach a course on pub crawling at the local university) and then visit the Cotswolds. (which were quite charming) Between pints of beer, we also managed to consume three (that’s right, three) Indian meals in London. OMG, what a delightful, if fattening, experience that was. (My favorite Indian eatery was called Dishroom, which is not to be missed!)

Well, my dear friends, jet lag is tugging at my pajamas, so I must take my leave. (I only got 10 hours of sleep last night) Before I go, let me remind you that today is September 11th, and as a former New Yorker, and proud American, I’d like to salute all of the amazing heroes (and fellow citizens) who sacrificed so much on that awful day. God bless the USA!

As they say, there’s no place like home!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

SOME LIKE IT (VERY) HOT!

YES, I MUST ADMIT THAT I AM ONE OF THOSE MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN WHO GO OUT IN THE MIDDAY SUN… (To quote my old friend, Rudyard Kipling) HOWEVER….. even yours truly has certain limits when it comes to heat waves which are never-ending. Thus, after 21 days of record high temperatures (i.e., over 100 degrees!) I have stopped asking my wife to mow the lawn during the afternoon hours. (She is still encouraged to pick weeds. No sense in spoiling her.) Lord, whatever you’re baking outside…it’s done! How hot has it been? I almost called my congressman so I could be around something shady! Seriously folks, our heat index is somewhere between OMG and WTF. But no sense complaining about the weather, for as we all know, ain’t nobody gonna do nothing about it.

Speaking of weather (the enjoyable kind) we just returned from a marvelous trip to Rosemary Beach, which is located on Florida’s “Emerald Coast.” In keeping with our pursuit of personal bankruptcy, we stayed at the Pearl Hotel, which is quite lovely. (and very pricey) Our room overlooked the most scenic section of the Gulf, and though expensive, we were given some (free) homemade cheddar cheese and lots of good coffee. The food at the hotel is excellent, and the folks who work there simply marvelous. This part of Florida has the best sand in the state (white and soft) and all of the beaches are clean, safe, and charming.

By the way, for those of you who live in Texas, there are direct flights from Austin to Panama City Airport on a daily basis. (Via Southwest Airlines) Flight time is about one hour and fifty minutes, and the airport is only 20 minutes from Rosemary Beach. Sure beats driving on I-10. If you want to check out the other gorgeous towns along the coast, I’d recommend a visit to Alys Beach, Watersound, Seaside, Watercolor, or Santa Rosa Beach. (Destin, further east, is pleasant but very crowded during the summer.) Wherever you go, bring plenty of sunscreen and lots of loot!

Speaking of loot, the FINALISTS of the 2022 National Indie Excellence Awards were recently announced in the New York Times, and I’m proud to report that my new history book, titled, GONE BEFORE GLORY, was chosen as one of this year’s finalists! This is truly a great honor for me, and as you can imagine, I’m on cloud number nine. (maybe even cloud ten!) The NIEA are open to all English language printed books, and books were submitted from small presses, mid-size publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. The prizes are quite generous, but the real value of the competition is rubbing elbows with some other famous authors, and being able to develop some literary friendships.

In any case, I always donate my winnings to charity, and for the rest of the year ALL royalties generated by my book sales will be given to some worthy folks, so now might be a good time to purchase a book or two for someone you love. (or for someone having trouble sleeping!) Just kidding about that last line. I think you will really enjoy GONE BEFORE GLORY, which has now won 10 national and international literary awards.

Well, if my computer talents hold up, I shall post a few photos of Rosemary Beach. So don’t forget to scroll down when you’re finished reading. I’d keep writing, but I must prepare myself (mentally, physically, and emotionally) for a wonderful evening of wining and dining with two of my favorite guests, the Princess of Portugal and Baron Lee. The royal couple recently returned from a lengthy visit to Portugal and I’m anxious to hear about their cruise on the Douro River… which is surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Ah yes, so many travel destinations, so little money, I mean, time.

Incidentally, before you ask, my favorite restaurants in Rosemary Beach are Restaurant Paradis, La Crema, and Pescado. Please keep in mind that all require reservations, which should be made 3 years before you wish to dine. (Just kidding, but you should book a month out.) Of course, if you want to save some money, you can have a small barbecue in your room, but be careful. The fire alarms are very sensitive. Just saying.

Take good care of yourselves and have a wonderful summer. Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

THE DELIGHTFUL DANUBE!

Greetings from lovely Rosemary Beach, which is approximately 5,000 miles from the Danube, but my present location. (Hence I shall be making some beach and river jokes!) We are still basking in the joy of our recent adventure in central Europe, which began in Budapest, Hungary (where I was always hungry!) and then continued onward through Vienna, Passau, Regensburg, and finally to Prague, the lovely capital of the Czech Republic. Our means of transport was the beautiful river ship, SS BANKRUPTCY, so-named due to the cost of the cabins! (The actual name of the ship was the SS Beatrice.) The cabins, service, food, and wine were all first class, and Uniworld Cruises should definitely take a bow. (or a stern, up to them.)

As I have often said, the best part of travel is meeting fellow travelers and borrowing money you have no intention of repaying. (Just kidding about the loot!) On this particular voyage, we met some GREAT couples from all across America, and as usual, their friendship was the best part of the trip. Our “best buddies” were Sue and Richard from White Salmon, Washington. Sue is an extremely talented woman who produces lovely stained-glass artwork, and Richard may have been the friendliest man I’ve ever met. What a wonderful couple to meet and spend the week with, enjoying lots of sausage and beer!

I’d also like to publicly thank some other folks for sharing their voyage with us and providing lots of laughs and brilliant conversation. (Unless I was talking!) So… a big shout out to… Linda and Greg (who can be seen on “America’s Most Wanted.”)… Rebekah and John (from sunny Florida)… Dr. Andrew Gurman, past president of the AMA… The “Marvelous Marshaks” (Stephen is known as the “painless dentist.”) Mainly because HE never feels a thing! And… all the rest of the terrific passengers who put up with some very OLD jokes night after night. (Hey, they were a captured audience!)

Several of my loyal blog followers have asked which port was the prettiest, but to tell you the truth, they were all wonderful. If I had to pick the most impressive scenery, I’d say the cruising day through the picturesque Wachau Valley was numero uno. The highlight of the entire voyage was finding one of my mystery books (RANSOM ON THE RHONE) in a local bookstore in Vienna. (Translated into German!) I probably should have bought a copy, but I’ve already read the book. (The English version)

The second round of European book tours and wine guzzling will start in August, whence I shall be making a grand entrance in Positano, Italy, Paris, France, and London, England. (assuming my books have not been banned!) Needless to say, I am really looking forward to another adventure. The temperatures down here in Texas have been close or above 100 degrees for the last three weeks! (I may have to go back to Israel for some cooler weather!)

If you’ll take a moment to scroll down, you might find some charming photographs taken in Central Europe. (you never know with my technical ability!) I’d like to wish everyone a fabulous July 4th, and hope you greatly appreciate living in the GREATEST country on Earth. Happy Birthday, America! You’re still the most beautiful thing in the galaxy!

Speaking of beautiful….. this particular blog is dedicated to my wonderful Aunt Gladys, the most beautiful “second mother” any author could want! Lots of love from your little firecracker! I hope all you folks in Nashville have a blast this weekend. (a modest blast will suffice) I love this holiday, but I’m glad I don’t have a short fuse! (These happen to be patriotic jokes, so you could at least chuckle!)

Take care and don’t eat too many hot dogs! Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

HAPPY (BELATED) FATHER’S DAY!

Did you know that there were 1.5 billion fathers worldwide? Almost 67 million dads live in the United States! We Americans spend roughly $780 million dollars on Father’s Day gifts, the vast percentage of that amount spend on ugly ties. (Just guessing about that part!) This holiday has alway been very important to me, despite the fact that my own dad refused to confirm that I was actually his son in public. (He was, however, quite nice behind closed doors.) What can I say? When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astounded at how much he had learned in seven years! (I should mention, in passing, that this was first said by some guy named Mark Twain.)

Growing up, I made my dad a special breakfast in bed every Father’s Day. Looking back, I probably should have made those pancakes in the kitchen, rather than in his bed, but the bathtub was such a convenient place to rinse the dishes.

Just for your own edification, it wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day was officially made a U.S. holiday, when President Nixon helped set aside the third Sunday in June for dads. By the way, don’t you think that Juneteenth should be move to June tenth for the sake of clarity? Just saying.

You know, I actually remember the very first words my dad said to me. I had just been born, and my mom was holding me in her arms, and she whispered, “What a darling little treasure!” My dad nodded, then said, “Yeah, let’s bury it!” Of course, he was just kidding. But I sometimes wonder why he always offered to bury me in the sand when we went to Coney Island Beach. I guess he just “dug me.”

Remember, dear ones, the difference between “bad jokes” and “dad jokes” is one single letter

On that note, I shall take my leave of thee. Best wishes to all the wonderful dads out there. Keep up the good work! If you scroll down, you might find some more photographs of my recent trip to Israel. Hopefully, you will find some lovely shots of the American Colony Hotel and its gorgeous courtyard. Be safe, and have a laugh-filled week!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

PROMISED PHOTOS OF THE PROMISED LAND!

Well, when last we met, I promised to post some (more) photographs of my recent trip to Israel. If you’ll “scroll down,” (a good biblical reference) you’ll find some lovely photos of Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, and food! Lots of great food! Most folks in Israel thrive on the Mediterranean diet, which is quite healthy, and insanely delicious. (Lots of hummus and eggplant, and assorted veggies, mostly grilled.) Seafood is also quite popular, and every time I “see food,” I stop for a bite or two. Which explains my recent weight gain!

After a week in Israel, made extremely pleasant by our wonderful guide, Udi, we flew to Budapest, Hungary, where I was also “hungry” for more delectable cuisine! (Think duck, great wine, and strudel.) From Budapest, we boarded a ship and cruised down the Danube for 10 days, stopping in many beautiful places, including Vienna and Prague. Naturally, we met some GREAT folks on the cruise, and I will tell you all about them next week. (and will include some more photographic evidence of my chicanery!)

By the way, my web coordinator tells me that we are back to our pre-Covid level of blog followers, which is somewhere around 100,000 to 125,000 good-hearted people. (gluttons for punishment, if you consider my lame jokes!) Nevertheless, I am VERY grateful for the continued support and interest. (Our blog is now viewed in over 93 countries worldwide!) No wonder the world is falling apart!

Incidentally, speaking of book awards, (we were?) my new history book, GONE BEFORE GLORY, recently received two more literary awards! The 2022 IPPY AWARDS (Independent Publishers) bestowed the Bronze Medal for “Best U.S. History Book of the Year,” and GONE BEFORE GLORY was also named as a FINALIST in the 2022 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD CONTEST! Both awards come with a HUGE monetary award (actually, a modest check) and some great publicity. Needless to say, I was thrilled to receive both awards, and I would like to thank the judges for their recognition.

Time to start packing for L.A. , where I will be going to an awards ceremony to pick up a Gold Medal for my last mystery novel, CAPONE ISLAND. The book was chosen as “Best Mystery of 2022” by the Los Angeles Book Awards and I hope to finalize some sort of film deal while I’m out there. Do you guys think Brad Pitt is too old to play Adam Gold? What about Ben Affected? Just curious.

Well, take good care of your wonderful selves, and we shall meet again soon…..

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff ******Photos below!*****

SHALOM Y’ALL!

Well, I just arrived back in the good old U.S.A. after a three-week adventure abroad. When I was eighteen, I asked my Dad to send me abroad for the first time. (He said he couldn’t afford to send me a girl, but gave me ten bucks to go to the movies!) In any case, my travel companion and I just returned from an amazing trip to Israel. We were lucky enough to hire a former military officer named Udi, who spent four (long) days as our guide, listening (somewhat patiently) to all of my bad jokes. (i.e., “Why don’t they put Jews in prison in Israel? Because they eat locks. ” (Lox!)

Anyway, Udi was tempted to show me his Uzi from time to time, but he managed to maintain a dignified level of tolerance. We loved every minute of our time together, and got a memorable introduction to this incredible country. Day one was spent touring the Old City of Jaffa and then driving around the very hip and modern city of Tel Aviv. (Which has some truly remarkable restaurants specializing in Mediterranean food.) On the second day, we drove up and along the Golan Heights, which was a great surprise to me. I never imagined how beautiful and plush the heights were. We also got to visit Udi’s “summer retreat” which was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, which is actually more of a lake than a sea, but still quite lovely.

A few days later, we drove down to a little place called Jerusalem, which for this historian, was simply overwhelming. OMG (good pun!) this city was simply stunning in its sheer importance and beautiful architecture. Udi spent one day guiding us through the twists and turns of the Old City, and we got to walk around the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian Quarters of the city. We spent some time at the “Wailing Wall,” which is the only remaining part of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod the Great. Nobody was actually wailing, but we did get to film an Ethiopian wedding, and that was quite interesting.

The very next day, (still digesting my previous night’s feast of hummus and Israeli eggplant) we hopped in our armored vehicle and drove south, passing numerous Bedouin villages in the desert. I think these folks are known as Bedouins because they spend so much time in beds inside their tents. Yeah, it was dang hot. One of the camels was operating a snow cone stand! (By the way, do you realize that every day of the week is “hump day” for a camel?) Where was I? Oh yes, we were driving south…..

Well, now comes a fascinating visit to the ancient site of Masada, the mountain fortress is the Judean Desert. The fortress is built on the top of a TALL mountain plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, which is quite appropriate. (If you tried to walk up the steps, you’d be dead before you reached the top!) Fortunately, the Romans built an escalator to help the tourists reach the top, which was very considerate of them. Masada was the “weekend retreat” of King Herod, who built the place around 30 B.C. Breathtaking is the only word I can use to describe the view and the palace, which became famous after a long siege during the First Jewish-Roman was, which occurred from 73 to 74 CE. Incidentally, I was only kidding about the Romans building an escalator. (They actually built a cable car!)

Our final stop was at the Dead Sea, which lives up to its billing. (It is ten times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea!) Being “a man for all seasonings” I thoroughly enjoyed dipping my toes into this famed body of water, but I would not like to own a condo there. Of course, my neighbors would be nice. The “salt of the earth,” so to speak. (OK, that’s my last salt joke!)

Once again, I’d like to thank our wonderful guide, Mr. Udi, for introducing us to the wonders of Israel. I just got back from England (a few hours ago) so I’m too tired to post many photographs, but they will be forthcoming in the very near future. You have my word!

Until then, be safe and keep smiling. I LOVED our recent outing, but there is still no place on earth like America! Speak to you soon……

(Travel-weary) Doc Yanoff.

P.S. Attached is a photo taken last night at Heathrow Airport. God Bless Guinnss!