Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sex Sells: I was very low on money and I received a call from an old friend. "come over to my office, I have a job for you and you can make some good money". I got in my 1978 Fiat convertible and drove over to his place in the Valley. I made it to his office. He was now a porn producer and he offered me a job directing porn and using my 16mm camera. Directing porn! Oh my God, what has my life come to. He said they wanted the "adult" film shot on film. He offered me $5000.00 up front and then another $5000.00 when I finished. I was tempted but I said no. I didn't want to do this. He made fun of me saying that I didn't have a pot to piss in and I'm turning down good money that I can make in one day. I just couldn't get myself to do it. I didn't know that the San Fernando Valley was the porn capitol of the world. That's what he told me. There was lots of money to be made and he was making a fortune. He had diamonds on his fingers, a fancy car and a nice house. He told me to think about it. I drove off thinking about it. That night I had a dream or I should say nightmare that I was directing a porno. I had on fancy shoes and was all dressed up sitting in a directors chair. There were two people in the bed and then all of a sudden they started fighting and screaming at each other. Everyone started to scream and I was yelling "cut". I woke up in a sweat and I new I made the right decision. I didn't have any money but I did have morals. I wish I didn't have them but I do. The money sure was attractive. I wish I didn't have a conscience. I would be so rich if I didn't have a conscience.
My First Job: Kids today don't like working because they can just get money from their parents. I didn't have it that easy. I had my first job when I was about 14. I worked at the Kelly's grocery store in Jersey City. It was next to the railroad. The store never really had a lot of groceries in it. It was more of a numbers racket and place for loan sharks to make their deals. Mr. Kelly was a nice guy and Mrs. Kelly seemed to run most of the stuff. I think they both drank a lot of beer. They had three kids and they all lived upstairs from the store. I made sandwiches for the railroad workers and sometimes stocked cans on the shelves when we had some and I watched the kids. I would deliver some packages and then I would usually get a piece of paper with numbers on it and bring it back to Mr. Kelly. At the end of the day all the numbers would have to be run over to someone else's house or they would be picked up. I remember the loan sharks would come in. They lent lots of money to the railroad workers and then they would come to collect the money. Frank was very well dressed. He was the guy that gave the money and collected it from some of the guys. If Frank couldn't collect the money then Tony would come in. Tony had very large hands and I don't think the railroad workers liked dealing with Tony. He usually got the money from them or else. All this would usually take place in the back room. You had to pretend it wasn't going on.
One day I walked in on Mrs. Kelly when she was having sex with two of the guys that lived in the neighborhood. They were about twenty. They were having sex in the bathroom so that Mr. Kelly didn't hear them. I was embarrassed to see it and the guys never mentioned anything to me about it. Mrs. Kelly never mentioned it either. We pretended that it never happened, I guess I did a lot of pretending. One day Mrs. Kelly tried kissing me on the lips and I turned my head. She got really angry at me and said "How dare you turn your cheek to me?." After that I kind of faded away from my first job. I used the money I made to visit my cousin in Miami, Florida. It was my first trip out side of New Jersey and my first trip traveling alone. I was 15 and the thing I remember most after arriving in Miami was that the sky was blue. You would never know that living in New Jersey.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I should have been a drug addict or at least faked it. If you're a drug addict in Hollywood then everyone wants to help you. You get to go away to a "rehab" where you meet other drug addicts that are producers, directors and actors. Then when you come out they all help each other get work. There are many alcoholics, too, but that’s so plebeian nowadays. Hollywood alcoholics, however, are not homeless street people. In fact, the only way to find out which of our better known stars imbibe a tad more than the average person is to go an AA meeting. When I first heard this, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to find out for myself. When introduced myself, I heard a resounding, "Hi Vinny" from the nearly 100 people who were attending. I was so astonished, I had to go back a second time. If felt like I was entering “Cheers” and expected to see Sam Malone behind the bar (except of course there are no bars at AA meetings.) And of course depending on which meeting you attend, determines where you’ll see the most stars. My preference is the Brentwood AA, but the Hollywood one runs a close second. And one thing you must remember is “I know nothing, I see nothing, I hear nothing.” After attending a meeting in Santa Monica, I noticed female twins in their 40's, oddly dressed. Later I saw them in a grocery store and said hello. They harumphed and walked past me as if I were invisible. If you’re visiting LA, rather than take the tour of Hollywood homes, get the book that lists the AA meetings in the area and visit a few. Just don't bring your autograph book.

Al-Anon meetings are a little different. This group is made up of those who have to deal with an alcoholic – a spouse, child, mother, father, whatever. They suffer as much as the alcoholic and need a shoulder to cry on. When you hear their stories, you wonder why some of them don’t just up and leave. And yet, they’ll attend meetings for years and years and years. Same as the alcoholics, some of whom have attended meetings for decades. They collect these chips that they wear around their necks to show how long they’ve been sober. Seems like a high price to pay, but I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t judge. But I just don't get it.

The dumbest meeting I ever went to was Co-Dependents Anonymous which consisted of six guys who had problems dealing with their fathers. One guy wanted to tell his father he loved him but he didn't know how and he didn't know what the father would say. Another guy didn't like the idea that he had to borrow money from his father. I just didn't understand these people. I never went back.

I went to Sex Addicts Anonymous. At first I couldn't find the room it was in and was too embarrassed to ask where the Sex Addicts Anonymous class was. I peered into each room and knew when I’d found the right one. They looked at me like I was an Oreo Cookie at a Weight Watchers’ meeting. There weren’t many attendees but the sessions was very intense – and a little frightening. I listened to this one girl as she talked about her desires and twirled her hair at the same time, she batted her eyes a few times at me. Thank God I was spared from speaking at the first meeting. I never went back to this one, either.

The Marijuana Anonymous meeting was the most fun. Although the idea was to quit smoking marijuana, I had the feeling they were all stoned. There was just too much laughing and too many munchies. Try to make one of these meetings if you can – even if you don’t indulge. They’ll never know the difference. In Hollywood there's a meeting for any thing you want. AA, Friends of AA, Drug addicts, Sex Addicts, Tranvestites, Sex Changes, Lesbians that want to be straight, straight women that want to be lesbians, overeaters, undereaters, you name it and you can find it.

As I said before, the drug addicts of Hollywood are the A-list of dependencies. So if you want to make it there, fake a drug addiction. Sprinkle some talc under your nose and sniff a lot. Then go to the Betty Ford Clinic. Meet some people. Fake your recovery but while you're there make friends with all the stars. You never know who you might meet.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Arriving in Hollywood: I was about to fly to Los Angeles when a friend, Michael Sklar, asked me if I wanted to drive with him. He rented a truck and was moving out there. Michael was in the Broadway show Scapino. That’s where I met him and he was going to drive out with a friend of his Mark Ruttenberg. I had no idea that by the time we arrived in Hollywood I would hate Michael and not care about ever seeing him again. He thought it was very funny when he shot me in the face with a water bottle during the trip. This was funny the first time; funny the second time but by the twentieth time it was really pissing me off. I also didn’t know that Michael expected me to drive most of the way. Michael didn’t like driving and Mark couldn’t drive a long time so I was driving most of the trip. The drive took about seven days. That’s seven days of corn, potatos, white lines and Michael on the spritzer bottle. We first arrived in West Hollywood where Michael rented an apartment on Sweetzer Ave. Michael has since died, I’m sorry to say. And Mark Ruttenberg works for Robin Williams. I used to see Mark once in a while on the set of Mork and Mindy and I’ve also seen him around at parties. He’s always nice and the last time I talked with him he was moving into a new home.
When we arrived in West Hollywood I had to figure out what I was going to do so I walked around getting an idea of the area. I found a theatre and I walked into it. It was the Callboard Theatre and I met John Allison. John was a hippy looking guy with an English accent. John was very nice and the director of The Callboard Theatre. He was very dedicated to theatre in LA. He filled me in on the theater scene. I helped him out with a couple productions. He was a great guy. I also found the Matrix theatre and I heard they were looking for someone to work at The Los Angeles Theatre Alliance. I went there and got a job being The Administrator of The Los Angeles Theatre Alliance, a group of 32 non-profit theatres. I helped the theaters with publicity, marketing and everything else. I was the only paid person on the staff and I had to work with a bunch of people from other theatres like Cindy Turtledove, Estelle Busch, Jacque Lynn Colton, Ron Sossi, John Allison and many others. It was great fun and I had a good time. I also started writing a column for a magazine that came out of the Inner City Cultural Center. I can’t remember the name of the magazine but I will later. The only problem with the LATA was that I was the only paid person and I had to do everything. Fortunately I loved the theatre and would do anything, kind of like Circle In The Square. Backstage Newspaper and DramaLogue wrote about what we were doing all the time and the Equity Waiver Theatre scene was happening for awhile.
But theatre in Hollywood was a lot different than theatre in New York City. For one thing in Hollywood everyone is showcasing for casting directors. In Hollywood there was no place to make mistakes. If you were doing theatre and a casting director or producer saw you and you weren’t good they would forget about you for the rest of your life. Most casting directors in Los Angeles were just secretaries that were promoted. They didn’t know anything about acting or how to even talk to actors. Only a few select casting directors are truly casting directors and they respect actors. In NYC you can make mistakes and still get another chance. I don’t recommend actors to do theatre in Hollywood unless they know they are going to be good. It’s just not worth it. Most actors in Los Angeles are looking to be stars in a movie or TV series. If they really wanted to act they would be in New York. I totally respect the actors that do theatre in New York and then come to Los Angeles for films or TV casting.
After living on Sweetzer I moved over to Highland Ave just down from the Hollywood Bowl. My friend Tom Jackman managed the apartments and my AADA roommate W.K. Stratton lived there. I moved in with WK. We were good friends until W got a lead on Baa Baa Black Sheep and we kind of drifted apart. I moved to another apartment right next door on Highland Avenue in a great apartment and stayed there for a little while. I was used to moving so I moved a lot. In the middle some place I lived on San Vicente with my friend Belle. We lived there for a couple years. I also lived on Banner Avenue in Hollywood just up from Vine and Santa Monica. Today that whole area of Highland and Hollywood Blvd is the place and I’m sure the apartment that I paid $400.00 for is now over $1000.00.
When I moved to Highland I didn’t really know it was the drug and hooker area. I used to walk down the street and I didn’t really know why cars were beeping. Once I was pulled over by the cops; they pulled a gun on me and pushed me against the wall and searched me. They asked where I was going and I told them “to the supermarket”, they told me not to look so suspicious and they left me and got back in there car. That was the first time that ever happened to me. I guess I looked like a street hustler or a drug dealer.
Tom Jackman was a good friend. You would know him as The Winston Man. That was him on all the posters. That was back in the 80s. There have been many Winston men since then. Another friend that lived on Highland with us was James Keane. Jimmy was in a couple movies and also graduated from AADA with us. Occasionally I see Walter Okelwitz on TV. He lived next door to us. You might not know his name but if you saw his face you would know him. I haven’t seen WK in anything in a long time. Hollywood is funny because it gives actors a taste of the good life and then takes it away. After the first break, the second break is much harder.
This is when Hollywood Blvd was sleazy. Hookers were all over the streets and the place really came to life at night. The police have cleaned this all up so that tourists could come and not fear for their lives. Oh, there are still hookers around; they will never get rid of them. Whatever you want you’ll be able to find in Hollywood at any price range.
LIFELINE: Today they hooked up "Lifeline" to my phone. This is a system where I just have to press the button on my watch like bracelet and then the phone calls a service that checks to see if I'm OK. You might have seen the commercial where a little old lady was on the floor and she couldn't get to the phone. I have that now. They will then call my sisters or they will call 911, if I tell them but if I can't talk they will call my sister and then my sister will tell them what to do. If they can't get a response they will call a police officer to come and see if I'm OK. The system is for someone that might not be able to talk. That happens to me when I can't breath. So this will be good to have. I sure hope I never have to use it. I would prefer to just call 911 and get the ambulance here faster. I have on my door all my medications and what is wrong with me so that any one coming to help me will know. The most important thing for them to know is not to take my blood pressure on my left arm and not to give me any needles on my left arm because that's my dialysis access arm. They should also know about my COPD.
I have to find a hospital down here in Brick. They knew me up at St. Claire's in Dover. I also want to find a dialysis center so I can have dialysis down here once in a while.
Today I got Comcast Cable put in. About $55.00 a month just to be able to get CNN and Fox News and some of the other stations they call "Premium", otherwise you just get what they insultingly call "the basics".

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

MY NEW DIGS: I'm here in my new apartment at the Jersey Shore. It's different from living in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey and very different from Santa Monica, California but I enjoy it. It's a big apartment complex and it seems like it has a lot of seniors in it. I'm the "young man" to them. One of the guys, he's about 80, said very loud "Vinny, Where's Matty". I didn't know who he was and I didn't know who Matty was. I told him "I don't know Matty". He said "sure you do, Vinny, Matty Rega". Oh, this is Mr. Rega to me. He's about 80 and he's my nieces father-in-law. I don't know him as Matty. It seems that he knows Mr. Rega from their young days in Hoboken. This guy's name is Charles and he has a nick name. You know like the Italians, like Joe Bananas, Something like Charlie "gardenia". . He wants Mr. Rega to stop by and say hello to him. I told him I would let Mr. Rega know. I've seen Charles again and he yells across the lobby so all can hear, "Vinny, you're in apartment 408? Right". I couldn't believe him. He also asked If I was just getting home from the hospital. "A long day at the Hospital" he said. I was happy that the elevator arrived .
The next day my godson Mickey (also a Vincent but we call him Mickey) came over to help me unpack and help me with my laundry. In the laundry room he met Millie. An older woman that drilled him about me. He asked if I was the new person in apartment 408. She asked if I was Italian? If I was the one with plants on his balcony? If I was bed ridden? And If I need anything she was in 405. She told all this Mickey and he relayed it to me. This place seems to have an unusual amount of Italians. COMCAST CABLE: You know in south Jersey you can't even get regular TV without paying for cable and I think that sucks. You can't get 2, 4 or 7. The basics. I had cable coming today. They were suppose to be here from 9 to 11, then I called them and they said "1 to 3. I called them at 2:45 and they said they are running late. I was fourth on the list and they would be there. Then they called me at 5:00PM and asked me if the tech person arrived. I said "no" and they said we would have to make another appointment. I was annoyed and she said we will give me a $20.00 credit and waive the $9.95 installation fee. What can I do, I rescheduled for Friday but I'm still annoyed that we even have to pay for cable. What ever happened to just plugging in a TV and getting to watch a program. I guess those are the good old days.
There was a knock on my door! It was Mable. She said she lives next to me and she was afraid that my plants were going to blow off the balcony because there is a storm coming. She was about 80 and very sweet wearing a house-coat / mo mo type dress. I told her I would move them. She ran around to her balcony and then said "I don't care, I just didn't want anything to happen to your plants". Another new friend. Mable.
BROADWAY: After graduating from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts I thought it would be a good idea to work on Broadway so I got a job at Circle In The Square uptown. I had a great time working at Circle. I did everything for Ted Mann and Paul Libin that helped them save money. If they had to make plastic cups and the prop guys would charge union fees, I would make the cups for my "I love the theatre" salary. I went shopping for the wardrobe girl, I shopped for props, I even ran the lights once in a while when the lighting guy wanted to take a break. I helped the actors run their lines, I took notes for the directors in the viewing booth. I was everywhere. Ted Mann directed but he really wasn't a director. The director was his old partner Jose Quantero but when they ended their working relationship Ted started to direct. Paul ran all the finances with a steady flow of pretty actresses going back to his office. Although he had nothing to do with casting I think he lead them to believe that he did with the old "I'll put in a good word for you."
I worked on several productions. "An American Millionaire" was one. This was written by Murray Schisgal. The play read funny but it sure didn't play very funny. I helped in the casting. I read with the actors that were auditioning. The two funniest actors were Austin Pendelton and Danny Devito. Austin did get the role but both were so funny, I never could get through a reading with them without laughing. I knew Danny a little only from saying "hello" because he also went to AADA so I saw him in the halls. Paul Sorvino was also cast in the play as the lead. Paul wasn't a fun person to work with. Paul decided he didn't like the play and he wanted out so he didn't really give his all. He didn't like the director Jerry Freedman. He complained the because Jerry was gay that he didn't know anything about married life. I had to wrap Paul before the performances because his back hurt and then we had to listen to him sing back stage. Murray was a great guy to work with. I spent lots of hours in the viewing booth with him taking notes and watching him pace back and forth. Dustin Hoffman was a good friend of Murray's and Dustin would come and watch the rehearsals once in a while. Oh, there was Josh Mostel in the play, Zero's son. He was cast because Ted was good friends with Zero. The play ran it's course and I never heard of it playing again. I personally liked the play.
"The Iceman Cometh" was a four hour play that had more drama backstage then on stage. By the end of the run the actors were getting into fist fights. The producers were up in the viewing booth cursing the actors and threatening to pull the lights before the play was over and all hell was breaking loose. One of the main reasons was that the actors weren't happy with the producers and they were always threatening to make the play run over midnight which would put them in Golden time and they would make a lot of extra money. The actors would start talking slower and slower during the end of the play to see if they can streach the play and Paul would be right up at the light booth ready to shut the lights right before midnight whether the play was over or not. James Earl Jones starred in the play and I liked him a lot. He was very easy to work with. I spent lots of time back stage with him. I had to shop for him because he had to break a pocket watch during one of his scenes and he wanted to break a real one each night so I had to go out and buy a box of pocket watches. He also used this green stuff to shave with. That was the first time I ever saw that. He gave me some to try but it burned my face. Jimmy's face was kind of rough so he couldn't use a shaver. The play had a big cast. I'll get all their names later and add them but they were Jenny O'hara, Lois Smith, (the only two girls). Then there was Stefan. I'll come back to this later. I'm tired.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Personal Management: I started being a personal manager in the 80s. My first client was Greg Bradford. Greg was a teen idol. His credits include "Chips", "Facts of Life", "Skatetown USA". "Skatetown USA" was the first time I made a 3 picture deal that was over 1 million dollars. It was with Columbia Pictures/ Ray Stark. It never came to be like lots of 3 picture deals but I did make it. Greg stared in Skatetown with Patrick Swatze. Pat lists Skatetown as the worst experience of his life. He was a good actor and he hated doing the publicity for the film. I liked Pat a lot. He's really down to earth and a nice guy. Not something you find a lot of in Hollywood. I always liked running into him. Making films you usually work eight weeks or more with actors. You get to know them and you don't see them again for months or years. Dorothy Stratton was also in "Skatetown..". This was the last film that Dorothy was in before she was killed. Greg also starred in "Zapped" with Scott Baio, Willie Ames and Heather Thomas. I think Scott is in a new movie now, I'm not sure. Scott was always nice on the set, it was his father Mario that was the tough guy. Mario was not only Scott's father but also his manager and security. Mario is one of those examples why parents don't make the best personal managers. He was a little too over protective of Scott to the point that I think some producers didn't want to use Scott because they had to go through his father. I liked Mario because I was used to over protective Italians. Then there was Willie Ames. Today Willie is born again and touring the country as Bibleman. I'm sure he's making a fortune doing this. I don't know where Heather Thomas is. I do know that the producers tried using someone else's naked body and Heather was going to slap a lawsuit on them for doing that. Heather was the sweetest and most fun person. I hope whatever she's doing she's enjoying life.
Greg was also on the cover of Chippendale Calendar one year. He never danced there although he did go there to pick up girls. This is the place that was owned by Steve Banaje. A major story that I'll get into at another time but Steve wanted me to work for his once and I'm very happy I said no. He was later arrested, jailed and he commit suicide in prison. A very weird story that Greg knows a lot about. Greg later found out that photos of his that were taken by Chippendale were being sold all over the world and he wasn't making any money from them. He had to take them to court and he won.
Another client I had was Betsy Russell. I met Betsy through Greg. At the time Betsy was a very beautiful 18 year old. Betsy starred in "Private School", produced by Ben Effraim. "Private School" also starred Phoebe Cates and Matthew Modine. This was a film in a series of films that were produced by Ben Effraim. Matthew Modine is one of those actors that I would be friends with. A great guy, very talented. Phoebe was lots of fun. Always having something going on. Phoebe was in the film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." This is the film where she comes out of the pool topless. One reason Betsy got this film was because she had to be topless and she had to be topless on a horse when it was galloping. Not easy. But Phoebe taught Betsey a little trick of the trade. Just before you shoot the topless scene but ice on your nipples and they will be firm for the shot. I had to hold the ice because it was a closed set for this shot. Betsy would ride by grab the ice and then they would say "Action" and she was ready. This gave a new meaning to "The Iceman Cometh" and I was the Iceman. She had to do this a few times and it really hurt Betsy to do this. She had to do take after take and she was crying by the end. Phoebe didn't have to do topless scenes although you can be sure that the producer tried to get her to. Young stars sometimes have to do nudity in their first film. It's a way to get a film. Betsy did a few more films but decided to do the best production she can do and that is to raise two beautiful boys. Betsy married Vince Van Patten and then got divorced after it was discovered that Vince was cheating on her with the star from his soap opera. Vince is now remarried and Betsy is living in Malibu. After two children Betsy is still beautiful and I hope someday she goes back into acting. Betsy has remained a good friend. I'll always love her. She's like family. More about management to come.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Most memborable things in my life: My father died when I was 11 and I always hate a desire to visit the village he was born in and see the house. I remember sitting on his lap and him telling stories of a fishing village, of goats and mules and a farm. I also always remember a picture of a post card that he had of his home town. I dreamed about going there. My father still owned property in the town of San Giovanni a Piro but after he died my mother gave the land away for $1.00 to a relative. She figured who wants to visit the old country. In 1988 I packed my bags and without knowing anything about where I was going or what I would find I set out for San Giovanni a Piro. I know it was about 150 miles south of Naples. After taking a plane, a bus in Naples then a train to Scario; the village just below San Giovanni. I was there. The next morning I got up early and walked around. I went into a store and talked with Dominic Palumbo. Dominic spoke English and I told him I was looking for the house my father was born in. Dominic lived in New York once and now ran a supermaket store with his children. He said he would help me and for me to meet him tomorrow in the trabachi (bar) up the block. I did.
That day he took me to his house and called downstairs for someone to come up. It was an old man named Pepino. I told him that my name was Vincent Sorrentino, my father was Vincent and grand mother was Rosalie Calabria. I was looking for the house my father was born in. Pepino's eyed filled up, he said oh my God, you're Vincent's son. I started to cry and he said "Come, I'll show the house your father was born in". We ran outside with him holding my hand and there was the house. I cried, I was so moved by this. For the next 10 days Dominic took me out of the hotel I was in and moved me into his house and I spent the rest of the time meeting relatives I didn't know I had. Pepino turned out to be God Father for my cousin, Josephine. I met cousins and second cousins and third cousins. People would come up to me and tell me how they were related to me. In America we wouldn't even pay attention to those relationships but over there we were "Parente". It was so exciting. Pepino told me how my father always helped everyone that came from San Giovanni to America. They all know they could to visit him and he would help them. He said he tomorrow he would show me the land my mother gave away "To the wrong relative". I'll talk more about this later.
It's Monday and I finally got all my stuff in the new apartment. I slept here last night and it was very comfortable. My sister, Rosemarie, and my nieces and nephews came and helped me put things away. Today I have to go to the hospital for an appointment with the vascular department. I think they might have to do something with an aneurysm that I have on my dialysis access (fistula). I'm also going to arrange for Helios O2, which is suppose to be much better than the O2 that I'm using. The Helios lasts for about 10 hours. Mine only lasts about 3 hours the most. My new place is about 10 minutes from the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005

Malcolm-Jamal Warner ( The Cosby Show) called me and asked me if I would produce a film for him. He was on hiatus and wanted to make his directorial debut. He wrote a script called "This Old Man," a short film that would be produced from Paramount Studios under a special arrangement with the then president Brandon Tartakoff.

I liked Malcolm. I knew him from several sets I worked on, plus he and I were both born in Jersey City at The Margaret Hague Hospital. I agreed and started right away.( I forget what year this was. I'll remember later and put it in.) Producing this film wasn't easy but I did it. There was one thing about Malcolm that drove me nuts. If I were to walk up to him while he was talking or laughing with others and say "What's up?" he would reply, "You wouldn't understand, it's a black thing." They thought this was funny but I'm sure if the situations were reversed and Malcolm asked me what was up, he wouldn’t be too thrilled to hear "It's a white thing."

Malcolm made his mother Pam the executive producer. She was also his manager. Because I was a personal manager, I didn’t think it was wise to have a parent in this particular role. Malcolm wasn’t pleased with the film and doesn’t screen it much. It was his last stint at directing.

Directing a film is quite different from directing a TV show which really involves nothing more than showing up on the set and saying "action.", especially after many years. When a star wants to direct they are getting the job because they have it put into their contract. The producers make sure they are covered. TV stars, when directing, have a tendency to be “full of themselves.” They’re accustomed to being pampered and flattered. Making films is a different ball game. Malcolm has it in him and perhaps someday he’ll try again. In all the years I’ve been in the business I’ve seen many, many actors who want to direct and Malcolm was no different.
Friday: 3:00PM - I just called JCP&L (New Jersey's Power and Light). I asked them if there was any program that might help someone that had to use oxygen twenty-four hours a day. Any discounts because it's medically required. They said they didn't have a program but they referred me to The Heat & Energy Assistance Program (Ocean, Inc) at 732-244-9041. I asked them and they said yes but we have no funding available. I asked them what they do then. The lady said we have other things that we do. So I asked what they were and can any of them help me. She said in November they will have funding for heat assistance and I should call again then. I would like to know what these people do if they don't have funding to do their jobs. She never told me what else they might have to help people. I have to find out a congressperson or senator that will help.
I had some crazy jobs but one of the most fun and the wackiest was running Greenside Records, a Latino rap record label. Leading the label were Lighter Shade of Brown. I really didn't get along with them and I don't know where they are today. I was starting to promote their new CD and I booked them on LA's leading radio program. The one with the big fat guy. I was at the show with them when they were being interviewed and Bobby made an announcement that they were looking for a new record label. I couldn't believe that he did that when this record label was promoting his new CD and we owned the CD. From that moment on I pulled all promotion for their CD and I never talked with them again. I heard that Robert was a dj now and Bobby was born again. But I'm not sure. Then there was Night Owl, a gangster rapper from San Diego area. Night Owl was always calling asking for money. He had a following and sold a lot of his CDs from the back of his car and at his concerts. There were several others but for some reason I can't remember now. I'm sure it will come to me during one of my primal screams. We couldn't do concerts because they were afraid of drive by shootings. They mostly did car shows and a concert or to in Mexico. There was money to made in distribution but the trick was to try to get your money because the distributors never wanted to pay you what they owe you. They always had a story why they were paying you just a small amount of your money. The artists didn't understand this and they always thought you were holding money from them. Eventually we had to put a law suite against one of the distributors and we won. The big problem with that is the cost of a law suite was so much money you really had to make sure you were going to get a lot and it took over a year. There are lots of people out there that are eager to screw the young artists. Artists have to watch out for them and they have to check their finances regularly. This is how it is for all artists, not just the rappers. Oh, one of the other artists was June Bug Slim from Sacramento. Very talented. I don't know what he's doing now. I'm sure he's cooking up something though. I ran the label from a small ranch in the San Fernando Valley that had about 4 horses and one pony. The pony used to run after me and bite my ass when ever I went back to feed him. One day, I locked myself out of the house and I had to go in through the back window. I put up a chair and was climbing through when the pony came by knocked the chair over and I was hanging out the window. The Pony started biting my ass that I had to get in the window as fast as I can. I guess that was his way of getting me in the house.
Medical Bills: How do people do it. Thank God for Medicare but even the balance due is outrageous. An ambulance ride is about $1400.00, intensive care is $11,000 a day. Hey, I'm not complaining because they kept me alive but that's a lot of money. What do people do that don't have Medicare and have no insurance to cover the balance. I only have Medicare at this point. If I had a house, I would have to sell it to pay my bills. A person could have second thoughts before calling 911 but I'm not even thinking that. I would rather have bills and life then no bills and no life. I guess that makes sense. I try not to think about all my medical bills as they arrive every day.
A psychiatrist came in during my dialysis and talked with me. He asked me how I was doing and if I ever think about ending my life. I told him that I don't think about that at all. I'm thinking about how to live not die. He also asked me if I was depressed and how I was sleeping. Today, my goal is to figure out how I'm going to move my stuff to my new apartment. I have to find a van or small truck. I feel pretty good. I'm breathing easy and that's a good thing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

One of my lung doctors suggested I look into a lung transplant. A LUNG TRANSPLANT. She mentioned it like I was going to buy new shoes. A lung transplant is a big deal. It makes getting a kidney transplant feel like a dental appointment. I guess if I was getting a lung, I might as well get a kidney too. Too bad they just can’t take my head and put it on a new body. Or maybe just switch my brain so that I still have the same memories. Wait; there are some things I don’t want to remember. Maybe they can take those out and replace them with nice memories from someone else. I can go to the Memory Bank and buy some nice memories. That would be good. Maybe I can make a little extra money by selling some of my nice memories to The Memory Bank. Oh well. I’ll do a little research to find out who’s doing Lung Transplants….successfully.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Edward James Olmos cast my buddy Steve Wilcox in his new movie "Walk-Out". Steve has been doing the Hollywood hustle for several years. He's a very good actor that isn't afraid of doing theatre; naked.
Wednesday, July 20, 05
I just heard the best news. My good friend Joan Herndon's cancer is in complete remission. She will still have to go to chemo but this is awesome news. I'm so happy for her. God is good. Joan is an outstanding writer and award winning screenwriter. I know she will eventually be discovered by the powers that be and they will make films from her projects.
I'm moving into an apartment that is "accessable" for disabled people. That is kind of strange because I really don't think of my self as disabled. My sister Janet said she hopes this is the last apartment I'll have to move into. That was a scary thought. I don't like to think of anything as "the last". I have moved a lot in my lifetime. My parents moved from house to house when I was growning up so I'm used to it. Of course Caroline called me from Sweden and she wants me to get a live in person to watch me, a person to wash me, a person that could help me with organizing and someone to make me meals. If it it was up to her I wouldn't even have to get out of bed in the morning. It is hard for me to cook because whenever I cook I seem to burn something and then I can't breath. The bathroom in my new apartment is so big I could put a bed in it. The shower is massive. No bath tub just a very large shower. I had to walk through the lobby and I could see some of the olde ladies wearing house-coats and eyeing me. You know the feeling you get when you know you're being talked about. I was pulling my oxygen. I felt like new fresh meat. I'm 55 but I haven't seen anyone there that doesn't seemed to be on Social Security. Will I be playing Bingo with them soon and joining in on $3.00 pizza night. Oh Lord, what have my sisters got me into. From Santa Monica, California to Bricktown, New Jersey..........WOW, I need to lay down.

Monday, July 18, 2005

In the 80s I created The Video Fan Club, a mail order video club for teens. I started this because I was working with young teen stars at the time who received tons of fan mail which, between the volume and postage, was unmanageable. My thought was to produce a video of “Frequently Asked Questions” and market it directly to their fans. When the fan mail was answered, the letters included a photo and an invitation to purchase the video. Sorta like having their favorite stars in their living room with them. The videos were a big hit. One of the stars I did this for was Stacy Ferguson, now known as Fergie of the group Black Eyed Peas. Stacy is one of the most talented young actors/singers out there. If you haven't heard her sing, you're in for a treat. She's going to a major star. If you've seen Black Eyed Peas, and who hasn't, then you know what I'm talking about. We had the best time making that short film. Stacy was absolutely beautiful in it. I also used Stacy in TeenVid Video Magazine, the first video magazine for kids. It was distributed by BMG and executive produced by Stuart Shapiro. TeenVid was way ahead of its time. Fergie is also in the movie "Posiden Adventure" and Caroline Lagerfelt ran into her on the set and let her know I was in New Jersey. Stacy was surprised. I hope I'm well enough to see her when she comes to New Jersey. I'd love to take my nephews backstage to say hi and of course, get an autograph for them.

Other interviews I produced for TeenVid were Mark Wahlberg, Vanilla Ice, The New Kids On the Block and many more. I think I did Mark Wahlberg's first interview before he was a big star. He was a great guy and we had a good time in San Francisco on the trolley cars.

I have to go to sleep now. I have dialysis at 6:30AM tomorrow morning. The things I do to stay alive. I could use a good dialysis, it's been warm and I think I drank too much water. They will drain me and I'll be like new. Oy.
For years I worked for Allen Carr, one of Hollywood's most flamboyant producers. Allen produced the film "Grease" which was his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He lived in Ingrid Bergman’s beautiful old house on Benedict Canyon. It was great fun working there. I was usually the first one there in the morning to wake Allen up and the last one to leave. Every night Allen rented a movie (the full print) along with a projectionist and would screen it in the living room. This is how the rich see movies in Hollywood. The projectionist alone cost about $350.00. But Allen was receiving million dollar residual checks and money was no object. He loved living the Hollywood life. And he treated us like royalty. We had everything we wanted. A cook, a nurse, a chauffeur, a limo, Allen even let me use the Rolls Royce a couple times. If we wanted lunch, we picked up the phone and called Greenblatt's. Allen paid for everything.

It wasn’t uncommon to receive calls from Elton John, John Travolta, Jane Fonda, gossip columnists, Anne Margaret, Marvin Hamlish, Ray Stark as well as all other top producers, directors, photographers, designers. Everyone wanted to get to Allen. As he said "Everyone wants my money". The first time Jane Fonda called Allen refused to take the phone knowing she was calling for some kind of donation. He cursed and cursed, but finally answered the phone. He sweetly replied, "Hi Jane, Yes of course" and he gave her $5000.00 for her charity. Once Allen's mother called to say she was in the hospital suffering chest pains. Allen wouldn't take her call. He said to tell her he was in a meeting. We (Rand and I -- a fellow-employee) just looked at each other. But we were kind of used to it by then.

I had a good lesson in People Skills 101 working for Allen, who wasn't a very nice person sometimes. In fact, he could be downright mean. He was a screamer. He yelled at all his employees. He started the day yelling. Maybe that's why he always had lots of security around him. Gavin DeBecker was head of security.
Allen had no self-control. He had gastric bypass surgery and once even he had his teeth wired to keep him from eating. That was the worst! We had strict instructions not to order for him. We had to "help him save his life". After a while, Allen bellowed, "If you don't order food from Greenblatt's, you'll all be fired. ........"Hello Greenblatt's". It was like a scene out of “Fatso,” the one with Dom Deluise. The food arrived, Allen ate and we were still employed.
During the filming of "Grease" Allen had a fancy office at MGM. He loved that office because he loved playing the Hollywood Producer. I was at the house and Allen called to be picked up so I told the limo driver to go get him and then realized that the driver was very drunk. I called Allen and told him not to get in the car. Allen got so pissed at me. "What do you mean my driver is drunk?" I just laughed and told Allen I wouldn't get in the car. Well, the car never even made it to the studio and was found a few days later in East Los Angeles. More on Allen Carr

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I started making films in 1988 with a short 16mm film called "Evil Jay". It was in black and white and shot MOS. I shot it over a weekend after a client of mine, Rob Stone, who was in the series "Mr. Belvedere" said he didn't think I could produce a film. I told him, “Not only can I produce one but I'm going to produce it next week.” And I did. He liked the film so much he asked me to produce a film for him. That film was called "Recess" and it was my second film, also shot on 16mm and directed by Rob Stone. The film began in black and white and then turned to color.

When I first met Rob Stone he was a freshman at USC. You wouldn’t dare strike a match next to him, he wore so much polyester. I used to take casting directors down to see his plays. One of the casting directors was Robin Stoltz Nassif and when Robin was working at ABC she called me and said she’d found a series for Rob. So without me, Robin and Belle, Rob Stone wouldn't have had that series.

After “Evil Jay,” I decided I wanted to produce a film on 35mm and Rob said he wanted to direct so I set out to produce "The Sidewalk Motel". "The Sidewalk Motel" starred Christopher Hewitt. Caroline Lagerfelt is in the film too. The film was a big job as I learned while producing it. I wore many hats during production, including promotion. Fuji Film helped me with deals on film, Panavision helped with deals on the cameras, Deluxe helped with processing and the film was produced under a special arrangement with Screen Actors Guild so we were able to use SAG actors. I screened the film around the country as "The Canned Film Festival" since admission to the theater was canned food which was collected and distributed to food banks. I never accepted any money for the film. The film was produced to bring awareness to the problems of homeless families with children. It eventually screened on WABC in New York/ New Jersey area and won a Gold Award at the 1990 Houston International Film Festival.

At the time I was Rob Stone's personal manager. I helped him get the television series and worked with him for over eight years. Belle Zwedling at Progressive Artists was Rob's Agent. Everything was looking very good for Rob and my goal was to start producing films so that he could direct but, unbeknownst to me, Rob had other ideas. Others, more powerful than I were wooing him telling him that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. That's what happens in Hollywood. The minute you get an actor who’s half-way decent and isn’t wearing a toe tag, someone else takes him away. This time it was a guy named Jay Swartz, a publicity person at PMK. Strangely enough, I introduced them. As Rob’s manager, I was looking for a publicity person to represent Rob and found Jay who encouraged Rob to sign with a more powerful and influential manager who would make him a bigger star. Rob fired me with a letter from his attorney and to my knowledge, he hasn’t worked since.


I left Hollywood then and returned to New Jersey for a few years. I was burned out and needed a break. I was hurt by Rob. I actually thought, after eight years, that we were friends. Oh, well. You live and learn.

I stayed away from Hollywood for about five years and regrouped. When I returned, it was with new goals. A funny thing happened upon my return. I ran into my good friend Greg Bradford who told me that Rob Stone said I had gone back to New Jersey and died. Greg was very happy to see me alive. Strangely enough, that past week I had received a call from a casting director friend asking me if Greg Bradford had died and I had been worried about that. I was happy to see Greg was alive too. Greg and I celebrated the fact that reports of our deaths were grossly exaggerated.
When I was in the hospital I can remember coming to and seeing my sister Janet. She was telling me that I had twenty-two white t-shirts at home and did I know that. Here I am coming out of a medically induced coma like state with tubes in my mouth and she's telling me that I have twenty-two white t-shirts. "Why do you need so many white t-shirt?". I couldn't answer because I had tubes in my mouth. She said we have to throw a way a few of them. No one needs twenty-two t-shirts. My other sister, Rosemarie, was also sitting there but she was just smiling and said hi. I remember seeing her blondish yellow hair. Everything else seemed to be like an outer body experience. I saw myself in the bed too.
Caroline Lagerfelt just left my house. It took her 23 hours to travel from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. The flights in Washington DC were all cancelled last night so she had to sleep over there and she arrived in Newark at 3:00AM. Like a homeless person she slept in the airport until a shuttle took her to my house at 9:00AM. They lost all her luggage. She has to now catch a 5:00PM flight to Sweden so she has to be picked up at my house at 12: 30PM to get to the airport so she can find her luggage and get over to SAS for her next flight. We were able to spend three hours together. During that time she made lists of things that I could do, so that I could be more relaxed. I didn't take my blood pressure while she was here but I'm sure it was up. I know I had stomach cramps whenever she started to tell me things that I could throw away. Like old clothing that I haven't worn in a year. She's gone now and I'm going to take a rest. I'll see her again in August. I hope for more than three hours. During the three hours that she was here she stepped on my oxygen hose about six times, setting off alarms.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My dear friend Caroline Lagerfelt is stranded in Washington DC. All flights were cancelled because of bad weather. When I talked with her she sounded OK. I hope she just has a martini and relaxes. When those things happen you have to just relax and accept. We'll have coffee in the morning. Maybe she'll poach me an egg. She makes great poached eggs. What an old man I sound like. When you start looking forward to a poached egg.....
My Mother's Words of Wisdom: "Always be one month behind in your bills, this way when you die you got a month free."
Just returned from Dialysis. It still amazes me that they take out my blood, clean it and put it back in. It's like getting an oil change. They take off pounds of fluid. Today they took off four pounds of fluid so I went in weighing 127 and now I weigh 123 lb. You can watch the blood coming out and going back in. It's warm. There's about 15 others having dialysis at the same time. It's something being kept alive my a machine. I'm kind of like an alien. I have to make it back to the mother ship every other day for my "oil change". Then I'm ready to go for a couple more days. I am tired after dialysis and usually have to rest. A lot. We do have the best nurses taking care of us. Now, I should be feeling ok until Tuesday but If I think I need some fluid out, I'll call them and go in on Monday. I'll know if I have too much fluid because I'll start to get out of breath. Fluid in my lungs.
I've been on predisone since being in the hospital and now my face is getting a little fat. Kind of chimpmonkish. I'm gradually getting off the predisone by cutting down 5mg a day. I only have about 4 more days then my normal face will start to come back. I also had a nose bleed today for a few hours. That could be the predisone. I'm not sure but it's finished now. It's not easy doing oxygen while you're having a nose bleed. You know I just don't understand why CNN, Fox and all the other news stations call the guy that blew up the London subway a "Mastermind". They make him sound smart and like this is something others should aspire to be. They should say the depraved mind or the Sick Mind. This person was not a "master" mind. I just don't understand the press. I woke Caroline Lagerfelt up at 3:45 PT so she can go off and catch her flight to Newark, New Jersey. She will arrive at Newark at around 4:30PM. I'll be dialysis all day today so I will see her by the time I get home. I'm always a little light headed after I take the predisone but I'll be ok after a while. It's Saturday. For breakfast I had waffles, 100% maple syrup, 2 scrambled eggs, Thophyoline, Multiple vit, Folic Acid, Celexia, Clonidine, Spirvia, Xopenex, Atrovent, Albuterol, Advair and that was just breakfast. I read in the New York Times the other day that the FDA said that "three inhaled asthma drugs should remain in use despite safety concerns.." The concerns are with advair, serevent and Foradil they could cause "life threatening asthma attacks. I was in the hospital three times in about two months. I was taking all of these medications, especially Foradil. All three times were life threatening. I have to show this to my doctor. I tell you, I'm very appreciative of the VA and the benefits but once in a while they almost kill ya. You have to get used to it. Once they lost me in the system and my family couldn't find me for days. I think they got me mixed up with someone else. I went in for surgery to get my dialysis access, the first thing I did when I got out was to check and make sure they didn't take off a leg. I think all the young doctors get extra credit if they check your prostate. As soon as they find out you're over 50 they check your prostrate. You can hear the rubber gloves snapping and then that's it. I have to get ready to go to the hospital. They pick me up at around 10:00AM. Dialysis takes about 4 hours. I have to put this cream on my arm called Lidocane. It keeps the needles from hurting. I highly recommend it to anyone on dialysis because those needles are very large and they hurt. But with the cream you don't feel them at all. Later

Friday, July 15, 2005

My film is in storage in Los Angeles but I lost the key to the storage area. I sent a note to the company asking them to help me but they said that the signature on the letter I wrote wasn't the same as the signature on the agreement that I signed. I don't mind because I don't have to get this right away but I said what if I pulled the credit card, would you know then it was me. I'll just send another letter. I can't get all the film to an editor yet anyway. Caroline will help me when she returns from Sweden. I would like to contact Sundance to see if there any grants that might be able to help me get this competed. I've been shooting for a few years. While I was filming all my other projects I was filming this at the same time. I have hours and hours of 16mm film transfered to video. I guess now I have to have everything transfered again to DVD. I shot most of the stuff myself on a 16mm Frezzolini Camera. A great sync sound camera. I also shot my Arri and 16 mm Mitchell Cameras. But the Mitchell was all in time lapse photography. My Friend Greg Bradford, an actor that was a teen idol back in the 1980s. "Skatetown USA", "Zapped", "Facts of Life", is now an editor and he might be able to edit the film for me. He's always very busy and he's very good. We'll see.
Friday, July 15, 05 - a short note: Actress Caroline Lagerfelt was just killed on Poseidon Adventure so now she's coming to visit me in New Jersey. They shot all morning. Her trips are usually a little frantic. She's always rushing and I'm always calm. You can watch my blood pressure go up when she's around. I don't mind, I just take a few extra Clonidine when she's around and sometimes something for my stomach. I have to clean the bathroom and straighten up the house. Caroline loves to throw things away and she loves cleaning. I better get to work, I only have a day to pull everything together. I wish I call one of those apartment make-over TV shows to help me. I also better buy some Gin. I don't drink but at 6:00PM Caroline loves to have a very dry martini, olive and a twist.
July 15,05 memo, I was in the hospital for a week. The bills are outrageous. In order to try to get some help with the bills the government wants you to collect past checking account statements for 36 months. I called Bank of New York. They charge $7.50 a month plus a $20.00 an hour service fee. This will cost over $300.00. I can't do it now. It would be free if you had $5000.00 in the bank. The computer banking would be free also if you had $5000.00 in the bank, otherwise they charge you a monthly fee. I have to find another bank soon. They really get you coming and going. Lesson to be learned. Save all statements for three years or keep $5000 in the bank. Later
July 15, 05 again, Today I get Lifeline put on my phone. This will be a button that I just have to push in case I can't get to call 911. They will be able to connect me right away to 911 so that I can get help if and when I can't breath. It costs $15.00 a month plus about $150.00 to have it set up on the phone. I got the deal through the VA, I think it cost about $40.00 a month regularly but I'm not sure. I haven't decided if I'm getting a bracelet or a necklace. Most likely a bracelet because I get a little claustrophobic when I have things around my neck. Later
Friday, July 15, 2005
My Friend, the actress. Sandy Martin emailed me a photo of her from Napoleon Dynamite where's she's kissing a llama. It's a great photo. I asked her to send it to me signed. That was one funny movie. It would be a nice film to have framed.

I'm feeling good today and breathing on my own, so that's a good thing. Funny how life is. It's about 5:30AM, I have to start taking my medications. It's an all day event. Of course, my dear friend Caroline asked me to wake her up at 4:30AM PT (I'm 3000 miles away) so I have something to do. She likes to make sure I always have things to do. I'm sure she asked about ten people to wake her up. She's not happy unless she has all of us working for her. Even Nick called her from Gotland. She's filming the remake of "Poseidon Adventure". I'll find out more about it. I have to set my alarm clock so I don't forget to wake her up.
Sandy will be watching Caroline's dog and rabbit. I should say "new" rabbit. It was my birthday, November 14th. I invited a few friends in Santa Monica. One of them was my friend Belle Zwerdling the agent at Progressive Artists. She came with her dog. In a matter of minutes the dog ran in the backyard and came in the house with Bumbles in his mouth. It wasn't the birthday present I was looking for. I had to call Caroline in New York and tell her. It wasn't a fun day but it's over now and Bumbles is happy. A day I will never forget.
Gotta get back to taking some medications:
Pills, inhalers, powders, nebulizers, liquids, solids, discs, ....You name it, I have it.
Later, Any questions you can always email me.
Vinny

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm always happy when I wake up (Hip, hip, hooray) and I can breath easy. I do thank God for the simple things in life. I've learned to take nothing for granted, which I used to do until my life changed forever. I was living in Hollywood, minding my own business and living my dream. Driving around in my 1978 Fiat convertible. I was making my documentary films and producing some other promotional films when all of a sudden fate intervened. For the first time in my life, I became extremely ill. I was told I had End Stage Renal Disease (I never even heard of this) and would have to go on dialysis immediately or I would die. I go to the VA hospital and they have a way with words. They just tell it like it is. In addition to that, I was told I had severe Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease and would need oxygen 24/7. I know this sounds like a Tennessee Williams play but for me it's real life. Needless to say, my life changed irreparably.
It’s now been three years since that fateful diagnosis. I moved back to Brick, New Jersey to be closer to my family and I'm just trying to live with these diseases although the prognosis is bleak since there is no cure for either one. But I think I found the cure………….laughter.
I thought a kidney transplant might be an option but because my lung capacity is only 15%, the doctors fear that once I'm on a respirator, they won't be able to wean me off and that's a chance I'm not willing to take. The kidney disease is from FSGS. Not your usual kidney disease.

Apparently, this COPD is related to smoking, and yet I haven't smoked in over 25 years. It just doesn't seem fair. You'd think the tobacco companies would put some of the money they make from peddling their cancer sticks to better use -- like finding a cure.

Wanna know what keeps me going – prayer, positive thinking and laughter. It may not be curing me, but it's keeping me from falling into a pit of depression that I might not ever recover from.
So, I start my blog telling you about my little setback and that I'm learning to live with these diseases and I'm not going to let them get me down. Plus, I've recently learned that I have a heart murmur and high blood pressure. So I went from being a fit, healthy, vibrant individual to the VA poster boy for life-threatening illnesses.
But don't feel sorry for me. I am determined to do a few things before I leave this life, one of which is to complete a film I started that sits in storage in Los Angeles. My goal is to get it out, logged and edited into a completed film. The problem is in my weakened condition, I can't do it alone. I need help. My functioning capacity is limited to a few hours a day, if I'm lucky.
I have an appointment today with my pulmonary doctor at the VA hospital. My little "bump in the road" this week was a breathing problem - which was that I simply couldn't breathe - and needed to be intubated. You can finally call me “deep throat.” I was in Intensive Care at St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover, NJ. with tubes down my throat. It wasn’t fun but my family was there and after I got the tubes out we laughed more then I remember laughing for a long time. I sure have a great family. I have to find out why I stopped breathing. They say it was a carbon dioxide buildup in my lungs, whatever that means, but I will try to find out.

I’ll talk with you later,
Vinny