Thursday, February 04, 2016

ANOTHER HUMORIST GONE

"Write if you get work!"   and   "Hang by your thumbs!"

Bob Elliot died Tuesday at 92 -- Half of the Bob & Ray (Goulding) comedy team I fondly remember first laughing with beginning in "radio days".  Click on the following link for a taste of their low-key deadpan type of humor that influenced future comedians:
 
Internet Archive building an Internet Library with streaming video.

Monday, February 01, 2016

So Cal Update

Rain and snow have come to California courtesy of El Nino, finally.  We're still shy of adequate amounts to fully replenish our needs to overcome the drought we've been experiencing.  Regrettably the storms have brought high winds with many trees felled, flooding, ocean cliffs collapsing leaving an uninhabitable dwelling, other related destructive consequences in some areas, and worst of all a life lost.  We are predicted to receive more storm than we may want in the next two to three months.

Fortunately, where I live in So Cal (Southern Calif.) we've primarily benefited from the weather and been spared most of the negative effects.  Mountain area resorts have been elated their ski area recreational activities are thriving.   I can only wish others would be spared any damages to person and/or property from the future moisture we need.

This Presidential Election year continues to be unbelievably bizarre compared to any I recall in my lifetime.   The American public is truly angry and seems to be saying, "a pox on politicians" as we know them.   Seems to me replacing some of those in our Congress might serve to be a more effective step toward having our nation's problems meaningfully addressed, but that must wait until another election.  However, this election is critical in many ways including the next President potentially needing to make several Supreme Court appointments.

Whoever is finally elected President cannot "fix" everything despite the verbose blustery pronouncements of some -- but amazingly to me there are many people who seem to believe such a miracle could occur.  Issue views espoused by most candidates so far seem to indicate a void of moderate positions.

Surprisingly, supporters for some candidates have squeeked out of the woodwork from elections-past to lend excitement to this whole affair.    Will all this hullabaloo bring out more voters?   Maybe -- in this nation that seems to want news as entertainment and worships celebrity!

I think the Republican Party is fighting for survival as they appeal to the most extreme conservative elements and nourish base divisive human instincts in their followers.  One of their candidates has literally turned this election inside out and upside down with the result their expected front runner(s) seem to have been lost in the shuffle.  Their multitude of candidates are slowly whittling down in number as Iowa and later New Hampshire are the first States whose supporters will express their opinions this month.  These States chosen candidates in either Party ultimately may not be the final Party candidate.

The Democratic Party has found itself unexpectedly having a strong race between two candidates with a third shadowing those two.  They have moved toward more liberal positions on a few issues that might not have been expected if there hadn't been such a fierce competition.  They have maintained a consistent strong stance defending all Americans,  as our nation's Constitution prescribes, in contrast to rhetoric from their opposing Party.  

Recently mutterings have been heard that a candidate might form a third Party if the surviving candidate in at least one of the Parties emerges as a nominee.  Ah, the battle of the billionaires!  I thought some of that money group were the ones everyone is angry with -- part of the 1% -- suffocating the middle class and thrusting all the rest of our population into the less-than 99%.  

So much more could be said and getting into the specific issues which is what I'm really interested in seems almost premature at this point with all the drama that's going on.   There's plenty of time for getting to those matters for some of us, I guess, after all these candidates get sorted out since Californian's don't vote until June.   Also, this will be the first Presidential Election when all of those who have registered no political party preference can vote either Party.

When all final Presidential candidates have been selected, then, perhaps, we will have a better idea of exactly what issues will be pursued so, if in doubt, our choices will be evident.  

  

  

Friday, December 25, 2015

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS.....



“All I want for Christmas …” is rain and snow! 
 (apologies to lyricist Don Gardner who wrote “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” in 1946.  Other songsters have since orchestrated their own versions -- you may even have your own!)

California’s state-wide drought issues have caused the need for serious water usage conservation efforts, hence my wish.  I’m delighted the weather effect known as El Nino is bringing snow to our mountains and rain in our valleys that will, hopefully, continue the next few months.  Even then we’ll need such winter weather each year for several years to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanza -- these are the holiday wishes with which family, friends, or others we encounter are most likely to greet us this time of year.    The season offers us all, including those not celebrating any of these holidays, a unifying opportunity.   

Events this year have elicited emotional reactions from some across this country on how to insure future safety for all that have raised questions challenging our values -- personally and as a nation.    Hopefully, we'll all continue to practice tolerance throughout the coming year as we offer others respect, love one another and seek peace. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

TRAGEDY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA -- Update 12/04/15


"Act of Terriorism"  declared by FBI -- Fri., 12/04/15 Update


More violent madness unbelievably explodes, but now in  Southern California east of Los Angeles in  San Bernardino -- Redlands -- a mere thirty minutes freeway drive east of my community.   This has been a day of mayhem, tragedy and mystery.   We're all mourning.

All media news has been focused on this evolving story beginning with a mindless shooting event around 11 o'clock yesterday, Wednesday,  morning.   Law enforcement is laboring through the night as I write this to ensure public safety -- uncover the facts.   You can readily access particulars through your news source as ongoing information continues to surface surrounding the circumstances of this tragedy that has taken lives, maimed others, grieved so many of us, but still has unanswered questions.

Two now deceased shooters in their twenties, engaged or married (with a six month old baby girl they left with her grandparents)  have been identified.    The male, born in U.S., was a five year San Bernardino County Health Dept. employee. Further information about the female presently not known.

A distraught member of the male shooter's family, supported by cultural and religious community leaders, briefly spoke on TV expressing their surprise, shock and sadness this had happened.  Religious leaders stressed such violence was not supported by their religion.

Law enforcement investigation continues disarming bombs and considering the possibility of other conspirators.  Meanwhile, thank you to law enforcement for swift and effective efforts to prevent further carnage.

Police officials revealed additional specifics that the male had angrily left an annual holiday party, then returned later with his companion to initiate the shooting.  Officials speculate all the equipment and masks worn by the shooters, their firearms, bombs in their possession and left in other locations raise questions about motives for the shootings and suggest long term planning.

So many questions in the beginning and continuing -- work place anger -- terrorism ?  Maybe it's both.   Other conspirators?  The FBI's investigation is now considering this a possible act of terrorism, but we don't yet know for certain.

News reports state two recovered guns involved in the shooting were legally purchased.

Would tightening gun control laws in this country have lessened or prevented this happening?

Does it make sense individuals on airline watch lists who are prohibited from flying be allowed to purchase guns?

Should there be limits placed on gun purchase by those with select diagnosed mental illnesses?

What if gun purchase registration was required at gun shows?  Would it be different than what we require to buy and sell a car, motor vehicle? 

When do we start answering these questions ...... taking action?

We must find a way to preserve our liberties and be safe.

Why isn't Congress addressing these issues?












Saturday, November 14, 2015

VIVA LA FRANCE !

May the French people receive some comfort from knowing there are many people such as me, even our whole nation's population, sharing their grief following the tragic events in Paris.  




Wednesday, November 04, 2015

WHAT'S CHANGED?

Pollsters report a few ranking changes in the Presidential candidate political world since my previous post.   Perhaps in the months ahead we'll begin to hear meaningful news reports that all the candidates are primarily only debating the national and international issues that really concern each of us.

Age change occurred when I entered another decade.  I was delighted to celebrate with family from age 4, 20 years and up.  Then, I enjoyed a visit with a decade older cousin beginning her journey to 100.   Finally, a special get-together with college friends I hadn't seen for over fifty years capped my activities.   Wonderful memories!

There were numerous flight delays on my travels due to aircraft mechanical problems.   Little did I know my initial departure on a major airline I hadn't previously used  would be only the first of what was to come.   Just as I settled into my seat, buckled up, ready for take off, the pilot's voice came over the speaker causing me to laugh incredulously to myself.

"Ladies and Gentlemen" ... in a slightly subdued embarrassed sounding tone ... "A knob has fallen off and we've been unable to reach it.  So, we have a contract maintenance man coming to correct the problem.  Fortunately, he only has to go across the tarmac where he can get a pair of needle nose pliers, to bring back here to retrieve the knob."  

I only hoped the rest of the plane would hold together.   I made a mental note to carry needle nose pliers on all future flights to hasten repairs and facilitate on time departures.

Then there were the frantic issues associated with making the next flight's connection.  How could I fully appreciate the stressed out manner of the cart driver transporting some of us, since I didn't know airport police had threatened his job for reckless driving through terminal passengers when he was rushing to meet our plane?   Why couldn't he and we passengers have been told no need to rush as so many from different flights making this connection that the flight was being held?  

I'll spare you the coming home saga of the multiple delays with first one plane, then the replacement plane, all due to mechanical problems.   I took as a good omen a most beautiful red sunset visible through the airport window as we awaited boarding and departure.     A race was ensuing between our flight getting airborne so I could make a connecting flight several hours away and  a hurricane before  the storm arrived there from Mexico.    Even finally arriving home near midnight was not uneventful through no fault of my own.    A few days later I began to feel rested. 

Weather change has come with rain actually finding its way to Southern California bringing snow in our mountains yesterday.  We're hoping for more moisture and snowflakes in the weeks and months ahead.  El NiƱo is the weather condition expected to provide some relief though won't eliminate our drought condition.





Sunday, August 23, 2015

TRUMP "PUTTING ON" AMERICA???

Is Donald Trump "putting on" America ala the TV character created by Stephen Colbert on his former show ???
                                --  real issues presented in outrageous manner!!!

Should we take this candidate at his word and seriously?  

What are the repercussions for all of us if some do? 


Is his type rhetoric what is required to arouse people to take action to resolve these long-standing American problems?   


Just asking! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

SKIP-A-DAY SYNDROME NOT AGE-RELATED

UPDATE 8/14/15:    Kenju's serious take on what I wrote here prompted me to do a search on SADS, an acronym that just happened to come together as I wrote this Skip-A-Day  piece.  I just now did a Google search and was surprised to learn SADS is an acronym for a seriously legitimate organization dedicated to making people aware of Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome.   I was aware of SAD as referring to seasonal affective disorder, but by adding the "S" I concluded I would not be confusing matters with that group.  However, I did not know there was an official SADS organization when I originally wrote and posted this Skip-A-Day piece. 

I'm acutely aware of the serious nature of the  medical  diagnosis arrhythmia, but  I want to clearly state it was not my intent to infringe on the SADS organization's acronym.  If I ever inadvertently create what I think is an original acronym in the future, I will certainly search to see if it may already exist in some other context, or represent an existing real organization I hadn't known about..  Meanwhile, though arrhythmia has absolutely nothing to do with what I intended as a humorous post, I'm  providing a link to the real SADS organization.  I strongly urge you to click on that link and learn about this arrhythmia syndrome.. 

Then, re-focus by reading the unrelated topic of my Skip-A-Day and hopefully, have a chuckle or two.  You will have to suspend belief since there are arrhythmia disorders in the ICD  code listings, but just not Skip-A-Day which was something else entirely in my imagination. 
    
                                      *                                              *                                                        *

Skip-A-Day Syndrome (SADS) is not a medical diagnosis you’ll find in the ICD (International Classification of Diseases -- official listings of diseases, functioning and disability – nor among specific psychiatric and psychological disorders.)  The ICD is where coding numbers are assigned to each of the listings – a system that brings order and chaos to health care -- the latter when getting into the billing for services provided – but that’s another story.

ICD 10 updates 9 this fall with continuing refinements and improvements, hopefully outweighing any new system complications.   But, medical science being what it is with new discoveries and research findings, we can be assured change will continue to affect ICD, as it does most aspects of the world in which we live.   Who could possibly become bored when change is everywhere -- so much a part of our lives?  

As for SADS, I hardly think ICD inclusion is appropriate, nor is official or even unofficial consideration being given to the syndrome’s listing.  In fact, this SADS account is what the medical community considers to be strictly anecdotal.  I would agree with that.   This may even be the first place the syndrome has ever been identified, much less written about.   Who knows if others have ever experienced or observed SADS behaviors?      

I’ve only recently been able to “connect the dots”, so to speak, tracing back in time to when I experienced what I now recognize as my first SADS episode.    My young children had started attending school .   One week there was a day when all their classes were cancelled due to special teachers meetings.   Normally, the only time during the school year they were ever home during the day was on weekends – Saturdays and Sundays.   Of course, if they were ill, or there was a special holiday, they would be home on a weekday, but there would be pronounced activity in our home memorably different from “every day” type living.   So, SADS episodes never occurred those weeks.  But I discovered …..the week they were home on one just plain ordinary unmemorable weekday was what had triggered my SADS!

I lost track of what day it was, because, clearly, it seemed as though this had been a weekend day or they wouldn’t have been home.    Yes, I could have looked at a calendar, but that doesn’t always help unless you’ve been marking the days off.  Besides I was really busy around the house and with them -- who cared what day it was!  My bedside alarm clock featured time only.  We didn’t have computers or smart phones then, where the day, date and time appear on the screen when the digital devices are turned on.    But directing ones attention to the specific screen area where that information appears is required. 

After that first SADS episode, I realize now, I continued to have such lapses periodically until my children graduated from high school.    Those day disorientation events were infrequent because the teachers didn’t have too many all day meetings during each school year, fortunately.

The following years of my life I may have had an occasional SADS episode, but I don’t recall any of them specifically now.   Consequently, I’m unable to connect them to any one stimulating causal factor, unlike the teachers meeting events. 

I had completely forgotten all about such SADS episodes until the past year when I began to work less, eschew obligatory commitments and generally revel in engaging in whatever, whenever I felt like doing so – or even doing nothing.   I, truly, could lose track of time – delighting in not even looking at the written pocket calendar I prefer to keep vs using one of my digital systems. 

None of those latter digital systems are the first thing I look at each morning.  In fact, I may not look at them until evening, or may even skip a day or two, including reading my email.    After all, this is not a business I’m in and I’m no longer on call every week day – this is my life, now.  (Using the devices in business is a whole different matter.)  Just as long ago, I ceased allowing the ringing of a phone to command my presence (answering machines helped) -- no digital device – cell/smart phone, computer – is going to usurp my control.  

I’m not completely irresponsible -- a few significant people are able to text me, so when that signal goes off, I attend to it immediately, thus I recognize importance where I think it matters.

Sometimes, I don’t even direct my attention to the day/date/time on my digital device screens.   I don’t deliberately think about not doing so, but just doing so is not an established habit.  Consequently, seems I might have had an occasional day slip by but “no harm, no foul” as the saying goes.  And then ……..

This is how I became aware of Skip-A-Day Syndrome (SADS) -- how I searched my memory to discover and conclude this was not an age-related disorder as some might be quick to ascribe to any such slip-up by an older person.   Am I rationalizing or deluding myself?

One morning I rolled out of bed, took care of my morning personal care, dressed, then drove to my early annual eye doctor appointment only ten minutes away from my home.    How strange!   I observed the gates to the office and parking lot were closed, but noticed cars lining both sides of the street for half-a-block, though no people were in them.   I discovered an open area where I was able to park across the street from the doctor’s office.   I was actually a few minutes early for what would be the first appointment time of the doctor’s day, so I waited.   He always seemed to have lots of people in the office booked for the same hour.

No one showed up outside at the time the office would open.   Oh, I thought, the staff must already be inside….the parking lot is probably locked to keep cars out because they’re going to resurface it today.   So, I exited my car, walked to the sidewalk gate, only to discover that it was still locked.   Did they forget to unlock it?  How would those people from the other cars have gotten in?    Maybe they didn’t go to his office but to some other location nearby. 

Hm-m-m .....I turned and walked back to my car.   Using my cell phone, I called his office number printed on the annual reminder card they always send me.  I reached an answering machine – surprised a live staff member hadn’t answered my call.    I left a short message, thinking they must be busy as usual, would hear me and call right back saying they’d unlocked the gate.   After a few minutes I decided maybe I better double check the date – after all, it’s right there on my phone’s screen. 

Well, whaddya know!   It’s Sunday!  My appointment is for Monday.   I quickly phoned his office again and laughingly left a brief message that gave them a chuckle to start their Monday morning workday and another chuckle when I spoke of it the next day at my appointment.   Even my doctor was laughing when he came in the examination room.   

That must be my purpose in life – to make everybody feel good.   Laughing releases those healing endorphins you know!


   

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Profound U.S. Changes

Profound changes have been occurring in the United States of America during my lifetime over the past three-quarters of a century.   Recapping the progressive nature of all these changes would require describing considerably more than what I want to write here now.

Most recently our Supreme Court has ruled in favor of individual freedoms for all Americans to wed their loved partner.  This act will result in significant benefits for many individuals who deservedly will now become full citizens. 

Another Supreme Court ruling has made it possible for this richest of nations to continue to provide health care for some of our citizens who might otherwise have been without such assistance.  More plan refinement must continue for the ultimate benefit of all.  

Other issues involving symbols associated by so many with racial oppression are finally being relegated to a long overdue status of significantly reduced prominence as evidenced beginning with South Carolina's Confederate flag relocation.  Tragically, the life of many innocents allegedly taken by a hate-filled mentally-warped-thinking youth with allegiance to that very flag has been the impetus to arouse Americans to examine our morality on this issue.

Perhaps now we'll -- once again -- following another killing disaster -- seriously consider action to curtail the role of guns in our society.   We might even want to re-examine the use of the death penalty in our criminal justice system for all, but especially for the sake of wrongly convicted innocents.

We still have many important domestic issues to resolve over which we have some control and must act on them.   Clearly there are other unpredictable external forces we're unable to control taking actions that we will simultaneously need to address.  We must demand those elected legislators mired in obsessive ideology to the degree they neglect realistic practical action recognize compromise is an art they must acquire and practice for us to have an effective government.

The Supreme Court still needs to reexamine their erroneous decree interpreting corporations to basically have person status.  We, the people, have reaped the lopsided results allowing our political system to be corrupted even more by big money -- this in a time when such inequity exists between most citizens and the small obscenely wealthy percentage of those absorbing the bulk of all profits.

History is fraught with lessons of what can occur in a nation where such financial disparity is present.  Those who seek to be our government leaders, plus our nation's financial and corporate leaders would be well-advised to re-establish parity with citizens.  We citizens would be wise to take more responsibility for our government and its actions so discontent does not build to a potentially destructive force imperiling our democracy and republic.  Forces exist that all too readily want to usurp our way of life, belief in individual freedom and free speech.


Monday, January 26, 2015

WHALES BREACHING, DOLPHINS LEAPING

Whales breaching, dolphins leaping had passengers with whom we shared passage on a Dana Point, California Catamaran oohing and awing with excitement recently.  The weather was ideal -- just enough sun to warm the not-to-cold sea air that made wearing a light jacket sufficiently comfortable.

Seagulls and pelicans had flown gracefully around the wharf, sometimes swooping down to skim the water's surface as our boat departed the shore at noon.   Though weather reports had cautioned those along beaches this was a high tide day with rip tides swimmers would need to avoid, the minimal increase in wave height our boat encountered was of no concern.  Ultimately, we went about six miles out to sea on occasional roller coaster Pacific Ocean waves before our return trip to shore.  No one became even queasy with the motion. 

My lively red-haired soon-to-be four year old grandson was wrapped between his father's legs behind a safety screen in the boat's bow with an unimpeded view of what was for a time only the vast ocean ahead.   Suddenly, we were all ecstatic with the sighting of the first grey whale's blowing, followed by a revealing glimpse of the mammal's barnacled back.   Beginning with that event we periodically encountered more whales gliding through the water, blowing, tail flipping -- others leaping upward from the ocean to then dive downward back into the dark waters.   

At one point, from the boat's interior one of the mates retrieved a pole on the end of which a small GoPro camera was attached.   He rushed to next to where I was sitting, then lowered the pole's camera end into the water boat side to capture a view of what surface-water appearance suggested was a whale swimming underneath closely by the boat, but in the opposite direction passing by us.   Later the mate launched a drone from the top of the ship to hover over ocean areas where whales were thought to be underwater, but no noticeable creature reaction was elicited.

Unexpectedly, a dolphin fin was spotted ahead at one o'clock slicing through the ocean -- then another was seen elsewhere in an arching leap above the surface in a dive back into the water.   A shout alerted all to yet another dolphin at ten o'clock, then one seen at 2 o'clock as we aided others sighting by using the clock technique for position identification.

Amazingly, we soon began to see dolphins in all directions around us -- scattered all over the ocean -- swimming, jumping, singly and in seemingly coordinated pairs -- groups of three and four flying briefly through the air like synchronized swimmers.   These ocean entertainers provided what seemed like a grand finale to our two hour voyage before we finally turned back toward shore leaving them all behind.       

Dinosaur figures have been replaced in the bathtub by small replicates of whales and dolphins by my grandson -- joining the more sublime, such as sharks, starfish, seahorses, jellyfish -- his father tells me now that they've returned home.