LOVE IS IN THE AIR!

Or is that Lysol I smell?  You can never tell during flu season.  In any case, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.  I realize that it’s February 25th, but this is the day that I have always celebrated the holiday of love.  Why?  Because candy and flowers are much cheaper.  (Like me)  I’ll admit that the leftover candy is a little stale and the flowers a tad wilted, but it’s the thought that counts.  (You don’t want to know what my wife is thinking right now!)  Women are so hard to please.

We received good news from the Princess of Portugal and her dashing hubby, Baron Lee.  The fearless adventurers managed to outrun Typhoon Gita, which recently struck New Zealand.  (They are sailing around that part of the world)  Their ship, the S.S. Minnow, fared well and stayed afloat, which ain’t a bad thing.  Hopefully they can now get back to enjoying the crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and box jellyfish.  (All three will be on the menu later in the week!)

New Zealand and Australia are not on the next book tour, but I will be returning to South Florida in May, and let’s face it, Broward and Dade County are very similar. (Except they have alligators.)  Big difference.  A croc will see you in a while, but you’ll have to wait until later to see a gator.  I once owned a pair of alligator boots, so I know what I’m talking about.

When I was a young lad, my favorite board game was MONOTONY.  I also liked SCRABBLE, but I thought they should have called it SCRAMBLE, because I always ended up with egg on my face.  (Bad spelling)  The reason I mention these games is because I’ve been watching the Olympic Winter Games.  My favorite event is the figurine skating.  I simply adored the feminine, tight-fitting costumes covered in sparkling sequins, worn by lovely skaters whose hair and makeup were dazzling.  (The women skaters looked good, too.)

I wanted to participate in the Winter Games, but I owned a pair of cheap skates.  (My parents glued butter knives to the bottom of my shoes.  The blades kept breaking on the ice.)  Well, what can I say?  Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.  My wife likes to say that time is a great healer, but a lousy beautician.  (No comment!)

When I was in Guatemala last month, I had the pleasure of renting a boat and traveling up the Rio Dulce River.  We were greatly impressed by the unspoiled beauty of the jungle, and we met some lovely folks along the way.  The highlight of the trip was a stop at a well-hidden jungle school for the indigenous people of the territory.  (I forget the name of the tribe, but they were very friendly.)  We brought along a bunch of textbooks for the children, and as I previously mentioned, I tried to sell them a few copies of my last history book, TURBULENT TIMES.  (They had no money, but I traded some books for a colorful bird.  Which we ate for lunch.)  Never order a parrot pizza in Guatemala!

As a special bonus for my loyal blog followers, I will be attaching some previously unseen photographs taken in the jungle.  The children is the photo were really cute, and very appreciative.  In fact, everyone we met in Guatemala was wonderful.  Next week I will try to post some photos from New Zealand and Australia.  (Unless you-know-who are eaten by those warriors with the tattoos!)

Until then, keep smiling and remember that laughing is like jogging on the inside!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

 

 

 

YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART!

Especially since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  Luckily, I am just about through with my minor health problem… The moment I landed in Austin (from my Caribbean adventure) I was struck with acute sinusitis.  (Although there’s absolutely nothing cute about it!)  I went to the doctor thinking I might have a deviant septum, but no such luck.  Anyway, after daily rinsing and flushing and twelve gallons of Flonase, I am almost back to normal.  (Now there’s a scary thought!)  During my recovery, I finally figured out what I want to be when I get older:  younger!

So what’s the deal with Valentine’s Day?  Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome.  Apparently, he was a romantic fellow. (The ladies said he had “Roman” hands!)  He loved wearing a toga.  So did his wife, whose name was Sarah.  (She would later be known as “Sarah-Toga.”)  Anyway, the holiday landed in February due to the fact that February 14th was the start of the mating season for birds in France and England.  (No joke)  The oldest known valentine card was written in 1415, and when I was in London a few years ago, I saw the card.  (It’s now part of the British Library in London.)

Just for the record, Americans began exchanging valentines in the 1700s.  George Washington sent a couple of notes to Martha while he was crossing the Delaware, but they got lost in the mail.  (A likely story!)  Ben Franklin also sent a few cards to his mistress, but she told him to go fly a kite.  (How “shocking”)  There is no truth to the rumor that Hamilton and Burr exchanged cards.  (Just bullets)

Believe it or not, ONE BILLION Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, and not surprisingly, 85 percent of the cards are purchased by women.  (The stronger and more thoughtful sex!)  The Post Office hates the “day of love,” (fewer bathroom breaks) but they shouldn’t complain.  An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.  Even more amazing, 7.4 billion cards are sent to me on my birthday!  (I’m rounding off a little.)

So, what else have I learned this week?  1.  Never let a two-year-old hold your beer.  2.  You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.  3.  Don’t cough when someone is cutting your hair.   If you want a further explanation of the above, please tune in next week, after I’ve had time to compose my thoughts.  Alas, these are the lessons of life that some of us must learn the hard way!

Incidentally, I recently learned that my new history book is being “seriously considered” for some sort of recognition by the National Book Awards.  (For 2018)  Naturally, I am quite pleased, but I do not expect to be included in the final list of  contestants.  Still, I’m very happy that TURBULENT TIMES has caught the eye of some important literary reviewers.  I’d like to thank my current publicist (Shifty Sackowitz) for doing such a marvelous job.  In my world, “Shifty is nifty!”

Before I forget, each month one of my blog followers will receive a lovely gift card from my (semi) generous publisher.  January’s winner was Ms. Rhonda Barton from Manchester, England.  (Is Manchester by the sea?)  In any case, Ms. Barton will soon receive a $200 gift card, which I hope she spends on me.  (Just kidding)  Enjoy the loot, and thanks for your support!

Finally, I would like to remind you NOT to send me any candy this year.  Please remember my motto:  “Boys who eat sweets, take up two seats.”  If you must send a bouquet, please send the flowers that are named after me.  (blooming idiots)  Frankly, I don’t expect anything from my blog followers, but if you want to send me some money, please send small bills.  I detest going to the bank for change.  (The last time I was there, service was very slow.  I said, “what’s the holdup?”  All hell broke loose!)  Now I know why they call it “Chase” Bank!  (No, they didn’t catch me.)

Well, my sweethearts, enjoy your special holiday, and keep smiling.  Life is full of wonderful rewards.  I started out with nothing, and still have most of it!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

SHIP TO SHORE!

Ahoy landlubbers, Captain Kidder has finally returned to terra firma!  Our final stop on this year’s Caribbean Book Tour & Rum Festival was lovely Key West, Florida.  (Where it was sunny and warm!)  We had a marvelous time cruising, boozing, and snoozing.  (Three of my favorite pastimes!)  A large number of my blog followers (two people) have asked me to regurgitate my favorite moments aboard ship…..  I learned that S.O.S. means Save Our Ship.  (I thought it meant Save Our Seats at the midnight buffet.)  Actually, if the ship starts to sink, S.O.S. should stand for “Save Our Stuff!”

On day three, the Captain insisted that I see the bridge.  I was not interested in seeing his dental work, but I took a quick peek just to be nice.  (He had more crowns than Henry the VIII!)  I shouldn’t have asked about the Panama Canal, because that led to a conversation about root canals.  (He probably thought the life boat drill was a dental instrument!)  In any case, he was often sober, so we had a pleasant voyage.  (Except for a minor incident in Guatemala.  Who knew she was a minor?)

Speaking of pleasantries…  we met a wonderful couple on the last night of our voyage.  Two highly talented and charming artists, Gus and Margaret, who now live in the Charleston area most of the year.  We enjoyed a steak and lobster meal at the Polo Grill and got to know each other quite well.  (Miss Margaret is also an author!)  What a fine way to conclude a memorable cruise!  Meeting nice people is always the best part of any trip.

Several of my Floridian blog followers have asked about the location of this year’s ceremony honoring the winners of the 2018 Florida Book Festival.  (My last history book, TURBULENT TIMES won the Gold Medal for “Best U.S. History Book of the Year.”)  I believe the event will be held at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, but I will confirm the place and date shortly.  (After I receive my room assignment.)  Last year I had to sleep in the parking lot, which was a little noisy.

When we arrived in Key West, I held a short book signing at Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum.  As some of you know, I once owned a marine archaeology firm (Treasure Island Group) and spent about 20 years scouring the Laguna Madre (along the Texas coast) for the final resting place of Jean Lafitte, the famous pirate.  I loved every minute of that work, so speaking at the museum was a joy.

The late Mel Fisher was the one who discovered the 1622 Spanish wreck “Nuestra Señora de Atocha.”  The ship was located on July 20, 1985, and it contained roughly 40 tons of gold and silver!  (Valued, so far, at about $450 million dollars!)  Believe it or not, only half of the ship’s contents have been located.  What most folks don’t know, is that the ship also contained some of the world’s most valuable emeralds, taken from the Muzo Mine in Columbia.  All that glitters is not gold!

As a special treat, I will be attaching a couple of photographs from my Key West presentation.  Please note how cool, calm, and collected I appear to be on the front steps of the museum.  This was due entirely to rum!  Even more impressive is the fact that a local photographer was able to capture a photo of a very young lady who had just listened to my lecture.  (PLEASE NOTE HER FACIAL EXPRESSION, WHICH REVEALS THE BRILLIANCE OF MY ORATION!)

Until next Sunday, I bid thee a fond farewell.  Verily I say unto thee, cover your mouth when you cough!  (Let’s Get Through With The Flu!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

****** Photographs attached!

 

 

VICTORY AT SEA!

Do you folks remember that television show?  It was broadcast by NBC during the 1952-53 season, and featured U.S. Navy exploits during WWII.  Well, my marine exploits haven’t been as distinguished, but I was victorious in a recent “literary battle.”  Shortly after leaving the port of Santo Thomas, Guatemala, I received word that my new history book, TURBULENT TIMES (The Remarkable Life of William H. Seward) won the Gold Medal for the “Best U.S. History Book of 2017” from the good folks at the Florida Book Festival.

Incredibly, (considering my poor spelling ability!) the book has now won six gold medals!  (Just for the record, my first history book, THE SECOND MOURNING, also won six gold medals, and the year ain’t over yet!)  Needless to say, I am very appreciative and humbled by this prestigious award.  The festival drew over 3,000 entrants, including two Pulitzer Prize winners.  The Miami Herald will be featuring a story about the festival, and I will try to post it on my blog.  We are sailing back to Miami today, via an overnight stop in Key West, so you can look for the article some time next week.  (The cash prize will be spent on rum!)

Speaking of rum, when we were visiting Guatemala, a nice young man took me on a private boat trip to the town of Livingston, where I was able to purchase (at a ridiculously low cost) a bottle of 23-year-old Ron Zacapa rum, rumored to be the BEST rum in the whole world!  Now all I have to do is get the bottle back to Austin without breaking it!  Wish me luck.

Yesterday was spent on Harvest Caye, which is an impossibly beautiful island owned by the government of Belize.  Think crystal clear water (which could have been a drop warmer) a gorgeously clean beach, and a daring zip line jungle adventure!  (And, of course, great rum.)  I swam a little and got some sun, and I was greatly impressed by the friendliness of the local inhabitants.

Since I knew “The Donald” from our days in New York real estate, I sent him an email (although I hear he prefers tweets) suggesting that he NOT use the term “S***hole Countries any more.  If one must be vulgar, they should refer to under-developed locales as “Turd World Nations.”  (Which has a much better ring to it, in addition to being clever.)

And since we are on the subject of clever folks, allow me to acknowledge some of our new dinner companions, who we’ve met aboard our vessel, the S.S. Minnow.  (Which was NOT named after me, thank you very much!)  These include Christine and Rick (and their amazing 94-year-old mother) from Canada, “Tequila Mary” and her husband Phil, and the captain of our ship, Dimitrios Flokos, from Greece.

Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Gustavo Turcios for providing one of the most interesting boat trips I’ve ever taken.  (We took a small boat up a long and winding river in Guatemala and saw where they filmed the movie JURASSIC PARK.  We also got to visit a jungle school and deliver a bunch of badly needed books to the children.  These were children’s books, but I offered the kids a substantial discount (10%) for ordering TURBULENT TIMES and THE SECOND MOURNING through Amazon.com  (Since we were in the jungle, “Amazon” seemed like the right provider!)  In any case, they weren’t that interested.  Probably because they had no electricity or internet service.  Well, what can I say?  You gotta keep trying.

Tonight we are dining at a joint called “Jacques,” which is supposed to be a five-star restaurant.  (Named after some French guy.)  I got a little scared when I studied the menu and saw that they offered “Poison” as an entree!  I will definitely be avoiding that dish!  The last time I ate there, they offered me a sweet tart at the end of the meal, but since I was with my wife, I had to turn her down.  Say levee.  (As they say in New Orleans.)

Well, you folks take care, and we shall chat again soon.  Have a safe and fun-filled week….  and love to all……

Doc Yanoff

 

 

SAIL OF THE CENTURY!

Well, once again, I have consistently displayed the reason that certain (misbehaving) individuals were forced to walk the plank at sea!  How did I know that the life boat drill was mandatory?  I thought they said “mundane.”  (Which was true) And who knew you were not supposed to throw the life preservers overboard after the drill?  Jeez, you’d think they would have said something about that.  (They take up so much room in the closet.  Who needs both of them?)  Anyway, other than the above, and cheating in the first poker tournament, I have been extraordinarily well-behaved during our wonderful voyage.

And speaking of wonderful….  we have met so many wonderful folks!  Mainly from the U.S. and Canada, and each with a remarkable life story.  I am continuously fascinated by the lives that people have led up to this point, and greatly impressed by the amazing contributions they have made to society.  I’d like to give a little shout out to some of my new buddies…..  Sabatino & Joyce, Tom & Sally, Ann & Nelson, Ellis, Marty & Rochelle, and Robert & Ann.  (Our sweet Canadians!)

The Cayman Islands were a tad windy, but after a short 6-mile trek across the rugged mountains (more like hills) we managed to find our way to the first book signing, which was a HUGE success.  (Yes, there was plenty of rum!)  The next stop, even more glamorous, was a full afternoon at the Grand Occidental Resort in Cozumel.  (After I tripped walking up to the stage, they changed the name to the Grand ACCIDENTAL Hotel!)  The weather was sunny and warm, and our hosts treated us to an amazing Mexican-themed buffet.  (Yes, there was plenty of tequila!)

Today we will be spending the day at a beautiful and tranquil resort at Costa Maya, Mexico.  In Spanish, Costa Maya means Costa Maya.  (surprise, surprise)  Our book signing and Gringo Inspired Lecture will take place at the Barefoot Beach Club, which should be quite interesting.  (The beach has a “topless section.”)  No big deal to me.  I usually go topless anyway.  I’ll try to take some photographs, but I got in trouble doing that last year.  I’ll see what “develops” this year!

Needless to say, we are having a terrific “working vacation” and are greatly impressed by the food and service aboard our ship.  (Oddly named “Titanic II”)  I won’t worry unless I see Leonardo Dicaprio on deck, but for now, all is well.  The seas have been rather cooperative, but I’ve noticed that much of the water in the Caribbean is salty.  (What’s that about?)  I do hope that all of my sweet blog followers are safe and warm at home.  (We’ve been watching the weather reports)  Hopefully the cold weather will soon be gone.

Well, at they say in the sun tan lotion business, I don’t mean to rub it in, but it’s time to hit the beach!  First stop is a complimentary one hour massage!  I wanted to be a masseuse when I was young, but they told me that I rub people the wrong way!  (Two “rub” jokes in one blog!)  Assuming that my dear wife doesn’t get caught smuggling any emeralds (again), I shall write another blog in the near future.

Until then, stay safe, stay warm, and PLEASE don’t worry about me.  (Hey, somebody has to support the Mexican economy!)  Love to all,

Señor Estaban Yanoff   (a/k/a Doc Yanoff)

 

HAPPY (BELATED) NEW YEAR!

Well, I told you those rumors about my demise were greatly exaggerated!  I was missing in action because I had to deal with a bout of Cedar Fever, which is a misnomer (or more correctly a “mis-namer”) since it is actually caused by Ashe Juniper and does not produce a fever.  It does, however, produce a prolonged period of complete nasal annoyance.  Luckily I have an amazing constitution.  (And a very healthy Declaration of Independence, too!)  Thus, I have literally leapt from my sick bed to be here this morning.  (Why do they refer to it as a “sick bed?”  There was absolutely nothing wrong with my mattress.)

In any case, I trust you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  We were lucky enough to spend the evening with some dear friends at the home of Jaime and Gary Rubenstein.  The menu du jour included filet mignon and lobster tails, accompanied by all sorts of delicious goodies, and some excellent wines.  We all appreciate the great food and lively conversation, hallmarks of another special evening provided by our generous hosts!

And speaking of hallmarks, the fine folks at WordPress (the company that provides this blog site) have recently published the 2017 stats for all of their thousands of customers….. and once again…. thanks to you….. our blog is ranked in the TOP 5% OF ALL U.S. BLOG SITES!  We closed the year with over 60,000 followers, and next year promises to be even better!  I cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement!

Tomorrow we are off for our annual “Shameless Caribbean Book Tour & Rum Guzzling Festival.”  Thanks to my recently paroled publicist, Black Bart Berkowitz, we will be promoting our books at the following locations this year…..   January 15 @ Books & Books on Grand Cayman, January 18 @ Lighthouse Book Store in French Harbor, Honduras, January 19 @ Rio Dulce Books in Santo Thomas, Guatemala, and a final stop at Key West Island Bookstore (on Fleming Street) on January 22nd.

If you find yourself anywhere near these stores, please stop by and say hello.  (And if you BEG me for an autograph in front of the store owner, I will send you a paper bag full of pesos whence I return to America.)  We are also bringing several cases of books (THE SECOND MOURNING and TURBULENT TIMES) to donate to schools in Guatemala.  Hopefully, these books will shed some light on our amazing history, and provide a flattering look at some of our past political figures.  By the way, just to show you what a truly incredible person I am, we will not be selling any of these books to the residents.  (However…. we will be accepting priceless antiquities from any period, as well as jade and emeralds.)  God, they just don’t make guys like me any more!

Between stops in Florida and the Caribbean, we should be gone about 3 weeks, which will be plenty of time for someone to rob us blind.  I should mention that our house will not be completely vacant during our absence.  My nephew, currently serving as a sniper in the IDF, will be house-sitting.  Best to knock loudly if you visit while we’re gone, and don’t wear anything that might look like a kefflyeh.  (My nephew is a little trigger happy.)   You know, now that I think about it, this might be a good time to increase my homeowner’s policy limit!

Well, dear friends, I must leave thee now.  Time to pack up the old suitcases and then have the wife carry those heavy suckers outside.  I hope she takes her time this year and doesn’t scratch the bed of my pick-up truck.  Women are awfully unpredictable nowadays.  Last year she demanded a tip!  (I told her to marry a younger man next time!)  God, is she lucky to have me, or what?  (You know, I could have gone with the “old bag jokes,” so don’t complain

HO HO HO, HERE WE GO!

Merry Christmas everyone!  In deference to the holidays this blog will be short and sweet…..   Incidentally, the definition of deference and difference is difficult to delineate.  (Duh!)  So how’s that for a Christmas Eve tongue twister?  By the way, if a person is tongue tied does that mean they speak knot?  (I’m just trying to “string” you along!)   Let’s start a new thread…..

My dear wife is busy preparing a Christmas Eve feast for our family.  Last year she made a lamb shank, but the meat was a little tough.  (I had to use a hacksaw to cut the darn thing!)  She’s hoping to redeem herself with another lamb shank this year.  No big deal.  They actually made a movie about our experience.  (Have you ever seen the “Shank Saw Redemption?”)  I know, it was a long way to go for a laugh!  What can I say, I’m not “sheepish” about these bad jokes!

Speaking of bad jokes, our Human Resources Manager (yeah, we finally hired someone) has recently issued some Christmas guidelines concerning the politically correct terms we are allowed to use this season…..    1.  Snowmen will now be referred to as “snow persons.”   2.  Reindeer will be called Air Freight Specialists   3.  Elves will be known as Vertically Challenged Gift Assemblers   4.  The song “White Christmas” is banned altogether.  5.  In deference (there’s that word again!) to the folks at PETA, no animals will be allowed in any Manger Scene.  (Potted plants are okay, but only one politician per scene!)   6.  Children must leave SKIM milk and vegan cookies for Santa.  No exceptions, per Mrs. Santa.

Lest I forget, congratulations to my dear friends, Jaime and Gary Rubinstein.  The lovely couple, Broadway producers par excellence, now have 3 shows running in New York and London.  If you like thespians, or even if you’re straight, you should see one of their shows.  Which ones, you ask?  ANASTASIA, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, or DREAMGIRLS.   If you mention my name, it will get you nowhere, but I would appreciate the publicity.  And by the way, the “Royal Rubensteins”  (their stage name) will once again be hosting a magnificent New Year’s Eve party at their humble mansion in Lakeway.  (The menu du jour includes lobster and steak!

And just in case you’re wondering…..  last night’s Gala Pre-Christmas Eve Pork Party and Laugh-Fest was a blast!  This annual event was hosted by the Princess of Portugal, Baron Lee, and their royal visitor, Countess Connie.  (Who was accompanied by her bodyguard, Mark “Boom Boom” Bomblatus.)  What a night!  Laughter!  Wine!  Food!  Wine!  Joy!  Wine!  (I sound like I’m whining again!)  Thank you, dear friends.  All was superb!

Well, I must take my leave.  One of our relatives has requested that we include some wild game on tonight’s menu.  (I’m on my way to Target to pick up some checkers.)  I’ll show him a wild game!  Crown me, baby!  (Don’t ever say that to a dentist)

I do hope that each and every one of you that celebrates Christmas has a wonderful holiday!  Sincere best wishes to you and your families!  Old Doc loves you, baby!  Feliz Navidad!