Road Rage!!!

Me and Car-EditJump from the car! Run to another driver! Give them a piece of your mind! In front of a police officer! No swearing, no violence, no guns. Just let that millennial and his girlfriend know the frustration they were causing.

Today was the Pittsburgh Marathon. Forty-thousand runners moving through 26.2 miles of city streets wreaking havoc on travel on the day of my mother’s 90th birthday brunch in the middle of Oakland and the race route. Planning a route around the race that would bring Peggy, my best friend since 10th grade, and I to the rear entrance of the University Club was developed days ago, all but vague, but felt assured it would work. Well, being a few streets off, the car ended up in Penn Hills. With some GPS moves on Peggy’s part, we got back on track. Through miscalculations on my part, we did not cross the Allegheny River and return on the 16th street bridge retracing the mileage by traveling on Bigelow Boulevard through Baum Boulevard to the back of the venue. DAMN!!! Instead, we sat in line at the top of Main Street and Liberty Avenue, awaiting breaks in the runner’s path to FLOOR IT across Liberty to the Bloomfield Bridge. Only seven cars were in front of us. Three left the line. Only four cars ahead of me. The first break happened and enough space opened between runners for three cars to sprint across Liberty, under the direction of two Pittsburgh Police Officers.

Finally, after waiting in line for 20 minutes, only one car remained between my car and the Liberty Bridge. Freedom, once across the bridge, and another three-minute drive to being one hour late to my mother’s birthday party. The two millennials in the car in front of us gabbed, laughed and smoked cigarettes, looking at each other seeming to have a party in their vehicle. Peggy and I were on a mission. To get to the birthday party. I watched the two police officers turn to the guy driving the car in front of us with arms out in a “get ready” position. They waved the car on as the driver visibly laughed with his head turned toward his lady passenger, ignoring the police. I honked my horn. It was too late. The car in front did not move. Another chunk of time went by and the police officer turned again to the car in front of mine to ready him to gun it across Liberty Avenue. The sea of runners parted and the car jerked, but did not cross the river where the runners parted.

I let loose. Turned to Peggy and said, “Want to watch road rage?” She would soon see a new side of me. I turned off my car, jumped out slamming the door behind, and stormed to the inched down window of the millennial’s car. With a police officer right behind me, I forcefully said, “Pay attention! I’m trying to get to my mother’s birthday party! Move when the police tell you to!” Yes, forceful, no swearing, no violence, no guns. The millennial said, “yea, yea, yea…” The police officer asked me to get back in my car, very kindly. I did. Finally, at the next break in the action, the millennials moved. We were the first car. At our turn, I gunned it across Liberty Avenue, on to the Bloomfield Bridge and off to the University Club, so happy to finally make it to my mother’s birthday party.

I could have really let loose on those millennials, but instead was just forceful and calm. Might have been arrested? Never thought I would be the purveyor of road rage. When I told the story to friends and relatives at my mother’s party, no one could believe I could possibly get up enough anger to jump out my car and approach another. I was surprised I did, too. But one can only take so much. No violence, but only so much.


Let’s discuss… My treatment for breakthrough migraines…

I have been suffering from severe, chronic migraine headaches for about the last 10 years. They are debilitating. Light, sound, walking, talking, thinking – just any activity of daily life become impossible when a migraine hits, literally smacking me in the head. It rears its ugly head, no not once a day, no not twice a day but sometimes 2 to 3 times a week, sometimes sticking around for weeks, literally 2 to 3 weeks at a time. I found a physician who helped me with them and now I am on six pills a night to keep the headaches at bay, four Topomax sprinkle and one Cymbalta and one-half Klonopin. Without them I am a basket case. But sometimes with them, my world spirals back into the intense cruelty and anguish with what is called “Breakthrough Migraines.”

As a child, I also suffered from migraine headaches. The severe headaches began when I was about five years old, continuing until I was 23. They would show up probably 10 to 15 times a year. I would see a cloudiness round me. I felt like I was in some sort of bubble. My brain felt kind of fuzzy — I guess that’s the only way I can describe it. Light would hurt my eyes. I would get a feeling in my body that something was about to happen. As I grew a little older, I was told by a physician that this was the “aura” that would show up before the headache would come crashing. When I was very young it was just called a big headache and I would hallucinate. One day I was screaming at my grandmother close the window across from my bed. My mother started yelling at me that my grandmother was not in the room. My mother ran out of my bedroom crying thinking that I was doing something to purposely upset her. All I saw was my grandmother standing across from my bed underneath the window with her arms folded refusing to close the window where the cold air was pouring in rushing at me making me feel really awful as I laid in bed under eight blankets, freezing. As I got older, about 12, the doctors started to use the word “migraines” to describe my bad headaches. They never gave me any medicines to make the suffering go away. I would take any kind of sinus medication, usually Dristan, climb under the blankets, naked, flipping covers off and on to regulate my temperature, keeping the space as dark and quiet as possible. After hours, the pain would either abruptly stop or slowly fade away.

Then, magically the migraines disappeared when I was 23 after one mild bout. I was working at a television station, due to Direct a pledge break the next morning. My boss, having experience with migraines in some way, showed up to Direct the break pledge break, knowing that I had a migraine the day before and how devastating they could be. He thought I might not show up and, just in case I did not, though I said I would call the night before if I was too ill, he came in to work to make sure the Directing shift was covered. One thing that he said to me that morning as he stood behind me watching me Direct that 7:30 a.m. break was very curious to me at the time. He said that he heard that marijuana helps migraine headaches and it may be worth a try for me. I was so shocked to hear those words come out of my boss’ mouth, but I thought I would try anything. Little did I know that that was going to be my last migraine for quite a number of years. Little did I know that migraines and marijuana would come up again later in my life.

Now switch to 2007. Severe headaches came rolling back. These were extremely severe headaches, similar to the ones I recalled from my childhood and young adult days. But these were very different headaches. The onset was quite different. I didn’t know whether to call them migraines or not. The initial onset came, as I found out through medical testing, as the result of a hormone imbalance that is hereditary. I’m on hormone replacement therapy which helps with that health issue, but it has not helped the headaches. My general practitioner sent me to a migraine specialist to discuss these new headaches. I thought that since they were so foreign from migraine headaches of my youth, they may not be migraines and they may be related to the stress I was under at the time because of the hormone problems and other issues in my life at the time. The migraine specialist prescribed a week’s worth of testing. My head felt like a pin cushion and a balloon about to explode during the testing.

Before I go any further I need to tell you about the results of those tests and the nature of my new, 2007, and current migraines. I suffer from two types of migraines: one known as “dizziness migraine” and the other, “migraine without an aura.” Actually, I have two types of dizziness migraines, one where the room starts to spin and the other one feels like my brain scrambles like eggs inside my cranium. The dizziness migraines seem somewhat under control. I rarely get those anymore. The medication works pretty well with these types of headaches, but when they don’t, the dizziness of one sort or the other comes back, I get immediately nauseous, then the headache starts and it quickly grows in intensity. Nothing stops the spinning of the room or my brain. My head, for some reason, begins to feel like it has a point at the top of it and the spinning brain begins to squeeze out of the point. The migraine without the aura is another type of intensity that comes on with a bang is if somebody shot me in the head with a gun. I can be shot anywhere in the head, not necessarily the temple, like most. I can be bored in the side of the head, down from the top of my head, from the back of my head, the base of my skull, straight up through the top of my head, from my jaw or through my forehead. It hits with a sudden bang. It is excruciating.

So, my migraine doctor put me on six pills as I mentioned before four of one pill and two others. They keep the migraines at bay pretty well, but not always. Nothing holds off a migraine permanently. I have no idea what brings on my migraines that breakthrough the medication not stress, not freshly mowed grass, not changes in the weather, not foods, light, dark, pet dander, cat fur or any of the allergens that I know I already have. They just splat. Hit me. Shoot me like a rifle in my head when they break through. With no aura, I have no warning.

Many people have medications that they take for breakthrough migraines such as Relpax, Imitrex, and Zomig are popular on the prescription side, or Tylenol or Excedrin Migraine on the over the counter side. All are like popping candy to me, candy that tastes like crap and does nothing. I’ve tried them all. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get a really upset stomach from them. That used to get exciting, a massive headache and an upset stomach from the supposed cure for my headache. I’ve tried them all. What seems to keep my headaches at bay is fine, but nothing really helps me with the breakthroughs from the realm of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

So, there must be treatment options because I’m still alive and those breakthrough migraines can last as long as the standard migraines prior to having medication. The breakthrough migraines can last a day, a week, three weeks, a month or two months. There’s no telling when a breakthrough migraine will just decide to stop by. I don’t want to put a bullet through my head to make it stop! That’s not an option. I want to live.

Excedrin migraine is made of aspirin and caffeine. The aspirin will literally rip apart my stomach because I have stomach issues, but caffeine is helpful for my migraines. Too bad I can’t split the two. So, from time to time I choose to use a little bit of caffeine. Caffeine is very hard to regulate for someone who does not use caffeine, ever. Caffeine makes me shake and keeps me awake. Caffeine is not a good drug for me. 1 ounce does nothing, 2 ounces does nothing. Sometimes 3 to 4 ounces is fine. My limit is 6 ounces. But there’s a trade-off. If I use caffeine I may not sleep for up to three days. So, I lie awake and the shakes may come back. It may be difficult for me to do anything because I have not had any sleep, but the migraine may go away so I’ll be half-asleep, unable to function, but my body will not let me sleep.

I remembered what that boss told me back when I was 23 just after I completed Directing that 7:30 a.m. pledge break. When he told me that marijuana might help my migraines I thought, it’s worth a try. I’ve tried it. Two to three tiny little puffs do not make me high, but they make a migraine go away within 20 minutes. I can sleep that night and function the next day. The breakthrough migraine is gone. Sure, a breakthrough migraine is going to return at some point, they always do. Marijuana is not a cure, but I have found it to be an incredible form of pain management. But three puffs and the migraines gone for months, I can sleep and function rather than staying awake for days with caffeine or ingesting all sorts of chemicals that don’t work or make me sick in other ways with those over-the-counter or prescribed medications? Which makes sense? What would you do?

My Dream Series: The Beginning

Stories of my dreams

I love going to sleep, at night or any other time of the day. It leads to dreams. Continuing from the night before, reality, science fiction, nothing I know, people I know or have never seen in my life, but a great story all the same. Always in living color, bright and clear with a beginning, middle and end. I enjoy them no matter how frightening, funny, fictitious, painful, participatory or voyeuristic. Often, I wonder if I could be heard laughing or crying, could be seen with a smile on my face or have tears rolling from fear or fun. What would my dogs think?

I entertain my friend and family with the stories that come from my sleeping brain. The slightest detail is not missed.

“The eggs that came out of the chicken were the brightest teal with the north and south the pink of Pepto and a band of American flag blue at its circumference.” That paints a picture! The egg was no Easter egg, at least, to me, it wasn’t.

“My brother was there, too. At least I could see him in the corner of my eye, but then as I turned my head to see him, he was gone!” I couldn’t tell if he was really there to begin with or I was just imagining his presence.

Then, I have all the standard dreams that psychologists have analyzed for years. I think I have them all because I enjoy hearing about other’s dreams. Yes, people have been chasing me, I’m falling and I don’t reach the bottom (some psychologists say you die if you hit the bottom, but I know no one who has come back to confirm that story), walked around nude or partially naked and all the other dream and nightmare stories one can imagine.

I fall asleep easily. I go to physical therapy where I have myofascial release
Done for my back. During each of the stretches that are performed on me by my therapist, I fall asleep and usually dream, even if its for two or three minutes. My gynecologist and dentist say I’m the only patient they have to awaken while awaiting their arrival in the exam room. My dentist could have music blaring and people talking around me, but it makes no difference. Why not close my eyes if I have noting else to think about and I’m relaxed? Whoever gets relaxed before the dentist and gynecologist appointment? Me.

No, I rarely fall asleep right after dinner like a lot of people I know. My father, may he rest in peace, and my older sister are pros of the dinner, den, then sleep effect. If I cook the meal all day or if it’s that delicious Thanksgiving turkey, well, that’s another story. On my Facebook page, you’ll see a shot of my brother and I fast asleep while sitting on my Mother’s couch post-Thanksgiving feast taken by out baby sister. I love it! It embarrasses my brother.

In this volume, you’ll participate in my slumber’s entertainment, the “good,” the “bad,” and far fetched.

I Love Jazz

I love Jazz, yes I do.  I’m still mourning the demise of WDUQ and I go to school at Duquesne University.  I’ve gotten to know a lot of jazz performers in town because my son, (Charles) Alex Byers, went to school at CAPA and Duquesne for Guitar.  He played Jazz for 8 years.  Now that he’s out of school, he doesn’t want to play jazz because he had to play it for 8 years, but he’s still fantastic at whatever he plays.  The head of the guitar program at Duquesne, in the middle of graduation, stopped the proceedings, looked at my son and said – wait a minute, if you ever want to hire a guitarist, hire him.  He can play any piece of music you put in front of him, any genre and he plays it well, very well.  He’s just a great guitarist, so hire him.  My son’s face turned red and he walked off the stage.  He’s a confused 22 year old, but it’s better to be confused at 22, working to figure out what you really want to be when you grow up, than doing it when you’re 60.  

Well, getting back to my love of jazz.  I get an e-mail from “Jazz Near You” every so often.  I’m posting here their list of upcoming concerts.  I would like more work and I have homework to do, but there’s nothing like live music, and to me live jazz.  So, here’s a list of concerts from the e-mail I received today:

<!– Jazz Near You Calendar Widget Starts Here –> <script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript” src=”″></script&gt; <!– Jazz Near You Calendar Widget Ends Here –>

I think this is how it works.  If it doesn’t work once this blog is published, I’ll come back and  fix it.  

Do you miss WDUQ?  I used to work at the original WESA as a news reporter way back in 1980 when the station was in Charleroi, the owner was a drunk and we edited audio tape with scotch tape and scissors!  The new WESA has the second channel of jazz, programed by my friend and former radio co-worker, Bob Studebaker.  It must be pretty good.  I trust Bob. But I can’t pick it up.  Does anyone know of a good on-line music station that plays jazz?  I have a few on my Fios television that aren’t too bad.  I miss hearing the local people, especially the young ones, many of whom I know because they went to school with my son at CAPA.

Well, tell me if you miss WDUQ and what you miss about it.  We can share notes.  I’ll share a tear or two, but you won’t see it.

Take care,


Things I’m happy about! (not necessarily in this order)

1- I was unanimously elected to a three year position on the Community Advisory Board of WQED Multimedia, a wonderful place where I worked full-time for 7 years and freelances with for 7 years. It’s still my home away from home even with all the changes over the year. It wouldn’t be a good TV station with out progress! Want a tour?

2- I took my son, Alex Byers, with me to see The Who. I loved hearing all of Quadrophenia and so many of my favorite hits. Roger Daltry still has those golden pipes, still blows a mean harmonica and strums a great guitar. Pete Townshend rips a guitar as intense and still his pipes, too. Videos in the background showed the history relating to the music including tributes to John Entwistle and Keith Moon with whom the band played along. Playing along with pre-recorded video / audio without missing a beat is very difficult!. It was a great concert! Alex wanted to hear Eminence Front, but they didn’t play it, so I danced my way out of the Consol singing it all the way. My son smiled. He knows how crazy his mom can be.

3- I like remembering to bill my clients so I can get paid for my work.

4- I LOVE talking with my media people

5- I LOVE news and the definition there of

6- I love Pearlie Mae and Ella Doe especially if we’re out and Ella is wearing her muzzle.

7- I Love my clients! I’m having the time of my life with all of them!

8- I can’t wait to see my article in the Allegheny County Medical Society’s November 2012 issue of Bulletin. I think it’s made its way to the doctor’s offices, but not to me. Whatever happens, I’ll get a copy soon and it will be on line a month later. I’ll post I find it in the correct form.

9- SLEEP! Who after a certain age doesn’t need or want more?

…more later.

Tired! It’s a Communication, too!

When you’re tired, you’re body’s telling you something.

Am I just tired/
Am I sick?
Do I have a disease or a parasite?

Check with your doctor, but there could be a lot to check before you know.

Hey, and with Obamacare, there will be more need for doctors, because with more people with health insurance, there will be no need for hospital emergencies for a just sniffle in the middle of the day. Open those medical school enrollments so these new people with health insurance cards will have doctors to treat them! I know. I had no health insurance and I am still paying the cost of a broken hand. Not pretty.

Now, I’m tired. NOW it’s bedtime!

How to get from Philly to Santa Barbara During the Pain of both Hurricane Sandy & Orbitz

In August of 2012, I purchased a airline ticket for departure date of October 25 to Philadelphia , Pa, then to Miami, Fla. then back to my home in Santa Barbara Ca. I also purchased insurance for a extra $39in case I needed to make a change I wanted to be safe.
Let me start at the end, NEVER buy a ticket from Orbitz online. They are a rip off organization that will take your money and not provide the service you purchased. As the “Inventor of the MP3 Player” as well as many other consumer products and customer service departments –in my 30 years of being a industrialist, I have never seen a company operate more fraudulently and sleazy than the online travel site
I tried to make a change in my flight after paying for the insurance they sold me at a extra price. I spent seven days, 15 hours and 4 1/2 hours on hold still not getting results. After twenty hours, 8 hours on hold they still could not change my flight. I finally reached a agent, I explained my change and she said she could do it but I would again have to be on hold. At this point I had my cousin help on the phone due to my total exhaustion and frustration with Orbitz, I thought I might have to stay here forever! The Agent put my cousin Twink on hold for more than another 2 hours. TWINK, who is a famous actress starring in movies like “Look Who’s Talking,” “Clueless” and “Knight at the Roxberry,” and she is an extremely patient person. After the more than Two hour on hold, Twink was now getting frustrated and angry. The agent finally came back on the line and said we would have to go back on hold for a indefinite time. TWINK explained we were in town for a wedding and needed to make a small change. She said she could not honor the insurance they sold me and I would have to pay a exchange fee. I said fine let me give you my credit card and make the change. The agent said it will take her some time for her to find out how much to charge me. She put me on hold again and after another 1 1/2 hours, we finally hung up. I went to the front desk and explained to the desk clerk what happened. He said “Orbitz is the worst, many of our guests have had the same problem. I can’t even begin to tell you how many complaints we get every week regarding”
I am writing this editorial because this is the only way I know to expose fraudulent companies.
Maybe this company should be sent back to Russia or whatever foreign country it came from!

Nathan Schulhof
” The Inventor of The MP3 Player”