Saturday, July 28, 2012


I've been lackadaisical about posting here and visiting other bloggers as you may note.  Had a few matters to take care of, but must confess to just being lethargic toward blogging -- though I've thought of a never-ending number of topics about which I could easily have written with all that's transpiring in the world politically and otherwise.

Today seemed like an ordinary day when I awoke after another good nights sleep.   Disappointingly I didn't recall having a dream, or one I remembered, but I figured  there would be other nights with dreams to ponder the following morning.   Preparing my oatmeal breakfast for microwaving  I was quite pleased with myself that I hadn't let my mind wander as I did  a couple of times weeks earlier with startling consequences. 

I still laugh with chagrin  when I think about those mornings when I was mentally preoccupied so I unscrewed and removed the cinnamon bottle's cap instead of lifting the lid designed to restrict any amount poured out.  I had tipped that bottle over allowing a quarter or more of the contents to spill out instead of the desired light sprinkle in my fat-free milk filled cereal bowl covered with uncooked oatmeal, and now lots and lots of cinnamon.    Once cooked, the cereal became unusual tasting hot oatmeal that I covered also with bran, fresh banana slices,  red raspberries and blueberries.  Hopefully it was nutritionally good for me.  

Today's fare was more normal and  I combined my eating with other activities.    I addressed a couple of birthday cards with mailing to be timed for specific arrival dates  -- one staying in the Southern California area and the other going further west to the Hawaiian Islands.     I could send digitally generated cards but both recipients, quite computer literate, are more appreciative of these paper cards  to hold in their hands that also bear the senders handwriting, plus they visit their email accounts very inconsistently.  The one greeting is a surprise card shower orchestrated by the Portland, Oregon daughter on her mom's 70th birthday.   The daughter tried to write or email everyone her mother ever knew and asked them to contact any others who knew her Mom to send a card, phone or an e-card. 

The daughter had done the same thing last year for her Dad's birthday and he was absolutely astounded at all the friends who made contact.    I promised in my card to her Mom to definitely arrange to keep our annual meet next Spring -- half-way between her home and mine at a restaurant we found several years ago.  (Hope they're still in business.)  I've been lax in coordinating with her so we missed the past couple of years.    I know how much to treasure friends since so many of my younger and older ones have died.   In my defense she has more children, grandchildren to visit, plus annually she meets girl friends in Europe with whom she hikes.  

Writing of girl friends, I'm reminded another friend recently sent me an email noting the content described our mutual interest in brain and neurological functions with the conclusions confirming  what we knew to be true years ago from our own mutual interactions and experience.    I don't know the writer, or original source of the emailed story that I've re-printed here,  but think many of us have likely encountered this information elsewhere that her friend sent her.  

"In an evening class at Stanford the last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well-being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very GOOD for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged — not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo, let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health.

Stay in touch with your girlfriends.  Maybe even forward this to them.   Thanks
to all the girls in my life who have helped me stay healthy, happy, and feeling very loved. "

My day continued with my writing a check to help with U.S. government expenditures, since seems I erroneously figured my income tax and owe them a few dollars more  including, literally, a few cents in interest.  I can't seem to compute my taxes correctly, (and they're not that complicated) 'cause one other year they sent me a refund I hadn't expected.  Our government is going to need a lot more money than I'll ever see since I heard on today's news our national debt is over a trillion dollars.  

Checks and cards written, I dutifully headed to my local post office, then stopped at a nearby department store, but disappointingly they didn't have what I wanted.   The clerk said, "Maybe this fall."   Before I had left home I had turned on the TV during my activities, but when I turned it off prior to going to my local postal office I noticed a strange video problem that would not correct.  I turned the set off deciding to check again when I returned.  Maybe a rest period would allow the TV to self-correct.

I stopped to purchase a fish sandwich on the way home but even this additional time had not provided healing time for my TV I noted when I still couldn't get a picture.    But I was at least pleased the fish sandwich was actually a fish sandwich, since in recent weeks I purchased fish on two other occasions only to discover once I actually  received a chicken sandwich and the last time was some sort of beef sandwich.   I ate the chicken on that first occasion, but the last time I was really angry and took the burger back.    Both times when I originally ordered in the middle of the day, the place wasn't even busy -- with no customers inside and none in the drive thru.   I've decided the moral to that story is, service is better if a business is busy.  Staff must get really lazy, careless and nonchalant when they have only one customer, one order to prepare.

But, about my TV -- no TV picture was the moment of truth.  I had to accept the fact the TV was definitely malfunctioning and I just wasn't sure where the glitch was.    What that meant was  I would not be viewing the Olympics opening ceremonies ..... unless ..... yes! .....I'll bet  I can view Olympic streaming video on the Internet!     I successfully viewed streaming video before and wrote here about it when Ronni Bennett spoke at a Washington State tech convention several years ago.  I again viewed streaming video and wrote about a Florida AARP convention event a few years later that a couple of  Elderbloggers attended.  So, I was ready.

Not so fast ..... I was disappointed to discover that those of us who choose to receive our  Olympic television signals via that simple technology called an antenna are discriminated against by NBC on the Internet.  The TV station with which I was associated years ago was one of NBC;s major network affiliates.   How could they abandon me???  The best of those Olympic opening ceremonies I could view were delayed excerpts of a few one minute or so long videos.    For example, I saw the current James Bond actor meet Queen Elizabeth and walk down the steps with the Corgis, had a glimpse of helicopter rotorblades -- but then as Porky Pig would say, "That's all folks!" 

I resorted to listening to an audio news account on that old-fashioned tech medium called a radio.   The news reporter who had viewed the actual event reported that Great Britain's elder Queen Elizabeth skydived with the Bond character out of the helicopter into the Olympic arena.  Now that would have been a sight to behold, even if it was actually stuntmen. 

Furthermore, when I discovered -- before the opening ceremonies -- this viewing complication for me -- I went to contact page to inquire whether there was a way this antenna TV viewer might access that live coverage.  I dutifully typed the requested information with my question, but was unable to send the message because.....they must have had a CAPTCHA system since they told me to enter the numbers in the picture above, but there was no picture above, much less any numbers.  They said if I couldn't see the numbers to click on the picture (that wasn't there,) so I clicked on the space where it all should have been, but to no avail.  Maybe my eyes are going.

Tomorrow (today when this publishes) I'll try a couple things with the TV -- maybe install a new converter box I have, if it's not too complicated, (my son easily installed the first one) and see if that brings back my TV picture.  Otherwise, guess I'll have to acquiesce to purchasing a new TV and subscribing to .... yuk! ....cable (pricing pkg better for me than satellite.)    Or, I could try life with my all news radio station, newspaper news and Internet news.  Will have to find entertainment (though that's what a lot of so-called news is anymore) on the Internet and maybe view some DVDs. 

I wanted to hold out on a new TV purchase until the inevitable future I see with Internet and TV more prevalently converged and get a set then -- figured with the rate tech progresses today, it could be less than a year, or maybe up to a couple of years.  I don't want 3D 'cause I learned last year watching a friend's 3D set that after about an hour I get a headache.    Without Steve Jobs maybe tech won't move so fast toward the TV/Internet convergence marketable for the masses.   I'm still waiting to get a computer tablet (may want to get one and some apps I can use with select patients.)  I don't have an e-book (have too many paper books yet to read to justify buying an e-book, though I appreciate the benefits and will likely eventually get one.)  I'm not hung-up with having to read the latest best seller.  I still like actual physical books.

Since I've evolved into talking about digital and tech, I'll mention I still don't Twitter -- my circumstances simply don't warrant doing so.   I continue to enjoy my regular old cell phone,  use only a few of the features, mostly text with it which has been a really valued activity for myself and others.   I don't have a smart phone -- yet -- but having one is an attractive option eventually.   Young and old with whom I communicate still prefer our landline and portable phones for many conversations.  I also enjoy Skype -- interacting with and seeing the person to whom I'm speaking.

I have a Facebook account on which I've put very little personal information, no photos, use only with family (only one member uses FB but very little,)  a couple old high school, college friends (we had very small classes) and rest don't use FB -- for me it's all about not wishing to provide so much personal tracking info on the Internet for commercialization tracking purposes.   I only visit FB every few months, 'cause even those people and I communicate through other means.   I don't click on "like" or sign up with anything that requires I must follow them through FB and/or Twitter.     I prefer communicating with blogger buddies via our blogs and comments, personal emails, or other arrangements we might choose.
Also, I did finally succumb to repeated invites to sign on with Linked-In and will accept or provide invitations from those I know who want to connect with this business oriented community.    Again, I've seen no reason to post information about myself there, since I work only part time, am not seeking additional employment so networking is of little value to me anymore.  Mainly, I appreciate the regular news summaries on topics of interest to me sent to my email.   Anyone hoping to make connections through my account will likely be disappointed since I'm not actively building it, or pursuing links to add to my account.  If a name pops up I know, I'll likely add it.

Well, I think I'll be able to watch selected Olympic events on the Internet while I resolve issues surrounding my lack of television.   Advertisers and broadcast media won't care whether or not I watch TV because I'm not part of the age demographic for which they make their programming decisions.    Might be interesting to experience once again what life was like in the days I remember before TV.  Of course, it won't be the same because I have the computer and the Internet.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Here's another slightly edited commentary I wrote recently at BlogHer in an effort to reach readers outside my regular reader's frame of reference.  Perhaps, some of you may be doing the same there or other places.  I would be interested in knowing about your experience in doing so.  

Well, we  have the beginnings of some effort to provide health care to all Americans in this nation.  Let's hope we can constructively build on that rather than having Congress waste time and energy trying to dismantle the program. 

Since this is a Presidential election year, is it too much to expect our Congresspersons to concentrate on creating meaningful legislation instead of all these phony political posturings I'm seeing them take?  If many of them received job performance reviews they'd be quickly judged to be engaging in "busy work" that offers no value to the recovery of this nation from one of the worse financial situations our country has endured.

But then, many of them are millionaires in their own right or will be, so have an increasing disconnect with the majority of Americans like you and me.  Some do still identify with us and are capable of fully appreciating  our work situation, health care needs and living choices.  Others don't have the faintest notion of what ordinary survival living entails, including one Presidential candidate who never experienced such a life in his privileged childhood, much less as an adult.  Unfortunately, by his own repeated words and actions, he seems unable to empathize or even imagine what a regular American's life is really like, since he had been busy investing the monies of already wealthy individuals to make them even richer.  No matter if a few companies and workers jobs were lost in the process -- just the price of doing business to earn investors more money. 

The country's problems can be attributed to those in both major political parties, our government and even some of our ordinary citizens seeking to fulfill the American Dream.  Yes, and us, too, because we didn't carefully monitor and make certain those we entrusted were functioning in their positions as they should.  As the popular Pogo comic strip of years ago said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Contrary to what we would all like to believe, or is being promised by various candidates, there is no quick fix.   There is much that can be done to aid in the recovery but not if ideologs fail to refocus their attention from self-interest.  We each need to closely scrutinize what activities and actions engage each of our Representatives and Senators.   We need to directly contact them to express our expectations to these individuals who are our employees and hold them accountable in this Nov. election and those elections to come.

We need to pay attention to sources that reveal where our Congressperson derives his/her financial campaign support -- "Follow the money!"   How do those $$$ correlate with his/her legislative positions?   Take SuperPac ads content as a grain of salt, if you're unable to avoid seeing or hearing them,  since they are suspiciously secretive about revealing their contributors.  You can be confident they have an agenda for what is in their funding sources best interests -- but not likely in the best interests of the average American.  

If you limit the intake of your news sources to a select few whose views mostly coincide with your own, or who promote emotional rants and rhetoric  as a way to distract from the facts, do yourself the service of listening to calmer more rational reports so you can discern what is really happening.  There are neutral non-partisan  fact-check sites you can easily access on the Internet to verify truth from fiction.  There's a lot of fiction being spread.  We must do our homework -- men and women have died protecting our right to have these  freedoms we enjoy. 

Some of you live in critical States said to be the ones to determine how this 2012 election will conclude.  I don't happen to live in one of those States, but it's vitally important to me that you take your responsibilities seriously, know the facts for what and whom you vote since your actions, or lack thereof, will affect me and my family.  I know my Congresspersons and their stance on issues, how to contact them to provide support and/or express my wishes (not that they're always followed,) but the point is the action is vital for this Republic to survive.

I do not want to live in a plutocracy (a nation run by the extremely wealthy,) or a theocracy (a nation dictated to by any religious group,) or any such combination thereof, much less a faux republic/democracy.

Let's move forward toward the gradual rejuvenation of this nation in a manner dedicated to re-building our middle class.....

...creating jobs that are not limited to just the service industry as being good enough,

... insisting our government take action to rebuild our nation's infrastructure,

... re-assessing the allocation of government funds that do not penalize the least among us,

...expecting all, including the most wealthy among us.  to pay their fair percentage of taxes,

...determine government budget cuts in many unnecessary subsidized areas,

... institute budget cuts the military/Pentagon has even specified as being appropriate,

... reassess the allocation of all foreign aid within the context of today's world government alignments, 

....revolutionize drug purchasing practices with pharmaceutical companies for Medicare/Medicaid/insurers, 

...demand accountability for the financial industries giants and corporations through the regulation with which they do not self-police and our officials have been negligent in enforcing.

Let's do more than just yell out the window... "we're .mad as hell and not going to take it any more!"

What are you doing or what all do you think we need to do?  

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Independence Day celebrations are occurring across these United States.  My community has an annual parade, then a fireworks spectacular in the evening.   In years past our young children rode their decorated bikes down the shaded tree-lined boulevard past our city Memorial Park.    At night some years we parked in a Claremont Colleges parking lot to observe the sky-filled fireworks, missing only the ground displays since we weren't in the grandstands. 

Other years we drove part way up Mt. Baldy Road parking in a pull off spot overlooking the entire mountain valley allowing us to view fireworks displays in a multitude of communities.   Recent years I've attended with friends open-air spectacular concert extravaganzas about which I've written here previously.   I'm quite content some years to observe TV's colorful  4th of July coverage in locations around the U.S.  One TV  favorite of mine is the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Here's our ".. traditional July 4th celebration in Claremont, a city 25 miles east of LA, with games, booths, marching bands and, of course, fireworks. July 4th 2006."


Here are a couple of colorful fireworks displays from other communities in recent years:

Seattle Fireworks: 4th of July 2005


4th of July fireworks in Boston 2006