Saturday, May 20, 2017


Roger Ailes died Thursday, April 18th reportedly following a coma due to bleeding in the brain after bumping his head when he fell.    Some people admire how he built Fox TV into a successful broadcast network.   Others have less regard for his doing so because of the methods and tactics he used -- especially the manner in which news quality was compromised -- often injected with tabloidism journalism with which Fox TV network owner Rupert Murdoch had long been associated. 

Roger Ailes began his broadcasting career during the late 1950s, early ‘60s when numerous TV stations were producing live audience participation talk shows.  The Central Ohio station where I was employed was developing their own network stations’ talk shows in several Midwest states.     One station’s host was Phil Donahue.  In a  nearby Great Lakes city another corporation decided to also launch a talk show.  They pursued hiring our show’s host, but he declined their offers.    Mike Douglas became their host with Roger Ailes producing.

Later some Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered corporate broadcasting changes occurred causing the Douglas show and Ailes to relocate to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a long successful program run.     Ailes continued to hone his producing, broadcasting skills.   Association with candidate/then President Richard Nixon figured in his history as did the first George Bush who became President with Ailes help. 

Eventually, when Ailes came to Fox TV some have reported he began gradually infusing a political perspective into news in ways that were less impartial – fostering a news department often viewed as being  politically biased -- contrary to their slogan claiming “fair and balanced” that many viewers may have naively believed, apparently without independently verifying.  
A little history ..... 
Several years ago I became concerned about Rupert Murdoch’s controversial actions in Great Britain’s media, so I followed what proved to be disturbing events there.  Years later I rued the day Murdoch was able to gain access to our United States media market, especially given his efforts to gain control of so much media in Great Britain and then here.  

Murdoch was an Australian publisher whose early publishing career focused on “…sensationalist journalism…” as described in his Britannica biography and multiple other sources.   This lesser quality entertainment approach to news infused his publishing in GB’s media which was less than welcomed by people there who valued higher quality straight forward factual news accounts minus those sometimes allegedly questionable warpings.        
Then, the Murdoch organization reputation became even more tarnished due to a phone hacking scandal and political involvements associated with some of his highest level closest employees in his growing media empire.    This affair thwarted his making more media acquisitions in Great Britain for many years. 

Most recently Murdoch and his sons’  21st Century Fox corporation have resumed pursuit of  acquiring control of Sky, theBritish satellite television giant, The Guardian reports.

Britain’s regulatory review is delaying a decision on approving Murdoch’s Sky acquisition until early June elections.  Fox News sexual harassment scandal involving Ailes and more recently their star host, Bill O’Reilly who had to resign, has cast a shadow over the British review theNew York Times reports April 21, 2017.

Since I’ve been following the activities of Rupert Murdoch beginning when his type of journalism first aroused concern in Great Britain….. then when he later came to the United States…..  made media acquisitions here -- I soon encountered the name, Roger Ailes.

Viewing Murdoch’s Fox News TV network programming had long since revealed to me that much news reporting there hardly measured up to valued high quality broadcasting standards.    Learning more about Roger Ailes politicizing approach to news I expect also the senior Murdoch’s sensationalism orientation is reflected.    Their apparent support and slant for Trump as a candidate and now President is not surprising either.    At least one opinion on CNN suggests Ailes gave us Donald Trump.

I long intended to write about Roger Ailes but have increasingly wanted to do so given some of the issues of his association and friendship with Donald J. Trump.  

Several years ago seeking more information about Ailes I read a biography with content documented sources.  The book is entitled “The Loudest Voice in the Room” by Gabriel Sherman – “How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – And Divided A Country.”  

Insight into Fox News Department operations and news formulations is interestingly presented in this Ailes biography.   That same approach to Fox news may well continue though Ailes resigned his position last July due to sexual harassment accusations with law cases still pending, but Rupert Murdoch still owns Fox TV.  (He owns other U.S. media including the Wall Street Journal which initially had some concerned about his possible editorial influence.)

TV viewers might well appreciate reading this Ailes biography for considerations when assessing production quality and influences related to Fox’s “fair and balanced” news as well as  that of all other news media.

Television viewer ratings will continue to impact all broadcasters.   Rupert Murdoch’s son’s are expected to assume more control of the Fox TV operations, so it will be interesting to see if that results in any news quality changes differing from what their father found acceptable and what Ailes influences remain.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Where has the time gone?    Mid-April after my last post here I simply focused on completing my federal and state income taxes to submit before the due date.    Then I became engrossed with other life activities and I see weeks have flown by.  Here are a few matters that have currently caught my interest. 

SWIMMING FUN?                                           
Local Los Angeles TV news accounts and videos at some of our Southern California area beaches report unusual numbers of sharks, including the Great Whites, in the waters – as many as fifteen adults and young ones at Long Beach today – only 50 yards from the shore.     Mostly they’ve not been aggressive but a vicious attack on a young woman last week at San Onofre beach has increased concern.  

Aggressive shark behaviors that bring swimmers out of the water and prompt beach closings occur when they bump a surfer’s board, or more seriously as reported today, one shark was circling the surfer.   We’re told it’s best to swim where there are lots of people since sharks presence in the waters are of greater concern at more remote beaches.  

We actually had snow down to 4000 ft level in the mountains a few days ago – highly unusual – but this couldn’t possibly be indicative of any climate changes or warming as some our illustrious federal government leaders and other luddite-type skeptics tell us.

An enjoyable evening comes to mind which I shared with a number of younger adults aged thirties or forties to sixties.     In conversation I had revealed my age when describing a birthday celebration with my children.   Not long after I was startled to be asked by a middle-aged member of the group, "Are you still driving?"  I responded "Yes".    This was unrelated to anything under discussion and the conversation moved on to other topics.  

Later after I returned home that question came to mind and I thought, why wouldn’t I still be driving?   I have my mind, vision, hearing and physical abilities.   I wish I had thought quickly enough to say, “Yes” – adding – “Are you?”    I think the individual revealed a stereotypical bias based on age – an expectation that anyone my age couldn’t, or shouldn’t, drive.  

Driving ability, like so many other matters, is a highly individual skill.  What age each of us reach when we cease being safe competent drivers can vary widely.   I would rue the day when an age would arbitrarily be selected to define when a person had to cease driving. 

Our present U.S. Administration continues actions that are counter to the best interests of ordinary citizens and much more in favor of the wealthy few.   Those of you paying attention can likely identify some of those acts, too.  More are slated to come.  One of the most egregious is the Trump Health Care bill the House of Representatives passed.  Will those affected remember when voting in 2018 and 2020?  

Our President continues to figuratively thumb his nose at the American people by refusing to reveal his income tax information to clearly establish he has no conflicts of interest.  

Absence of transparency with the legitimate American Press often continues to be a hallmark of our leader -- partly because the mainstream Press also report truth which is frequently contrary to our leader’s characteristic promotion of obvious flagrant alternate facts.  

Did you see our President laughing with the Russians when they met which only Russian press was allowed to cover -- insultingly excluding any U.S. Media in further efforts to discredit any outlet that has reported facts rather than Trump alternate truths -- a classic tactic associated with dictator wanna-bes, just as occurs in Russia, Turkey, other such nations.

Should we just ignore the continuing flagrant promotion of our leader’s family members businesses -- violating ethical behavior with these adults offering the equivalent of, “Gee, I didn’t know….” it wouldn’t be ethical to promote a connection to our nation’s leader – also saying you get special access to the U.S.?

Our Democratic Republic continues to require persistent resistance against forces that would alter our form of government by solidifying power in the executive branch as other branches are gradually compromised, legitimate news media discounted.  

Israel’s leader (click link) seems to have chosen to address news dissension in his nation much as dictators do – by suppressing other points of view, even actual facts.    Our U.S. leader’s actions suggest he also aspires to allowing only his alternate facts in our news, also – his taking control of information distribution.   

There’s much to be concerned about in light of the recent firing of the FBI Director.  Our government systems checks and balances are being systematically whittled away.   Hopefully the Senate and other investigations will be able to either complete their work as needed, or an independent special prosecutor will be appointed to determine the facts about any Russia and Trump campaign relationships,  plus wherever else that might lead. 

We may need government whistleblowers now as we’ve never needed them before.  

Most recently we see how fragile democracy can be as Turkey’s leader has consolidated the once promise of democracy under his centralized power – much like Russia’s dictator Putin who calls himself, President.   
French voters have refreshingly survived the onslaught of populism and nationalism in Europe.   Now, the young politically inexperienced just-elected leader without a political party must meet his citizens expectations.    He will likely have to turn to Germany for support since our U.S. leader is not one to emulate if the new French leader seeks the values which have been those of our nation and which most of our populace still embrace.   

* * *
MOTHER’S DAY THOUGHTS on the link -- scroll down to Sun., May 11.     

Wednesday, March 29, 2017



My online privacy has been betrayed by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The ultimate betrayal will occur if President Trump signs their bill as he is expected to do.  No longer will Internet service providers be required to get my permission before collecting and sharing/selling my data.  Will voters remember this betrayal in 2018 and 2020 elections?


Earth's health is betrayed by President Trump  as he rolls back climate regulations and protections causing the U.S. to be more dependent on polluting fuels affecting our water, air and climate making my children, grandchildren and me more ill.  Will voters remember this betrayal in 2018 and 2020 elections?

* * * * *
Recently I came across this draft I wrote six or eight years ago but never posted here.  I decided to share this then fond reminiscence of my husband, my mundane day's activities and thoughts about work, patients I was serving then,  my future and whether I wanted to retire.  I did finally retire three or five years later, but continue currently to maintain requirements for my state license and national certification.   

Lazy Day Reminiscence - Pondering My Future 

This wasn't the first time I experienced a lazy day.     I had these days rarely in my young single adult life.  Then, when I married, for many years I had no lazy days,  particularly once we had children.   Years after the children left home my husband and I quite accidentally had a lazy day that was so successful we began to  increasingly share more the older we became.  

Initially, we felt a bit guilty deciding to indulge ourselves, so hesitantly sought mutual reassurance from each other that lazing around all day in our sleeping attire was acceptable  behavior.    Hopefully, no one would come unexpectedly to our door.   There was an unspoken sense that such an out of the ordinary activity  might best be kept secret lest others wonder about our judgment.

I suppose whatever guilt we felt was strictly self-imposed, arising partly because of an inherited strong work ethic we had both pursued throughout life.    Arising early each day we had dedicated hours to our employment -- work outside and in the home,  sometimes until quite late into the night or early morning.   Meals might on occasion  be rushed or even skipped when we were single, or before out children were born.   Recreational, relaxation and vacation time carefully scheduled still might be subject to cancellation​ due to unexpected sudden work needs.

Also, there was the knowledge a multitude of activities or chores were likely  awaiting undertaking with resultant concern we would be leaving them  undone for another day.    Sleeping late is one thing, but to lounge about all day and evening attired in pajamas and robe without having  dressed was quite another matter.   But that's what we occasionally did in our later years after he retired and I was working only part time.  

There's just me now -- awaking one morning, I  glanced at the clock's time while foggily reviewing in my mind my must-do's for the day.   I recalled from the previous day the sadness I felt that a therapy patient younger than me had to be discharged to comfort care only.   She had experienced a fluky minor medical problem when on a vacation trip with her husband in a faraway  English-speaking nation.    An infection developed unexpectedly becoming significantly more serious after they returned home.   Now she was living through her final days.    

Contrasting with a more positive outcome, an older patient I discharged that same day had been successfully safely  transitioned to regular food.   A day later she has been up in a wheelchair for the first time since admission to be wheeled outdoors into the warm sunshine by her husband.    Her expectation is to return home to independent living soon.

My remaining patient wasn't scheduled to be seen for expressive language, understanding and cognitive issues until the next day.   This meant I didn't really have to leave the house except to retrieve my morning newspapers, unless I received a phone call notifying me of any new physician referrals.

I leisurely reach across the bedside night stand to turn on L.A.'s all news radio station, KNX before making a brief trip to my contemplation/powder room.  Returning to the bedroom I thought I was up for the day but was lured, then succumbed to my beckoning bed's seduction.    Several hours later I re-awakened  to reporters voicing the continuing current local, national, international news, weather and traffic reports.   Eventually arising I finally  wander down the hallway, pausing to raise the house thermostat's temperature a few degrees.

Peeking out the front door as I slip a jacket on over my P.J.'s to make myself half-way presentable, I gamble I can sneak half-way down my driveway and back to gather my newspapers before any periodic passing cars come traveling down my street.    I like this daily outing regardless of my attire and whatever the weather conditions --  sunny, rainy, foggy, hot or cold.      Having safely scurried back inside I realize it's lunchtime.   I choose to have  breakfast which can be quickly and easily prepared in the microwave oven -- oats, ​a teaspoon of cinnamon​, nonfat milk.  

Opening the microwave door I'm greeted by a dark interior.  What's this?  The microwave power is off, so away I go to the circuit box where I determine I have to reset the breaker.   Why this breaker turned off I have no idea -- power surge or what?    Returning to the kitchen I'm relieved to find the oven's light on.   A few cooking minutes later  I sprinkle a thin layer of bran buds on the now hot cereal,  add a diced ripe banana half,  a layer of blueberries and a few luscious red raspberries.    I'll leave the refrigerated strawberries and blackberries for my evening dinner.

By now I have consciously decided, considering the time of day and my lack of any appointments, that this will be a lazy  day -- and so it became as the hours flitted by.  

Dinnertime's menu decision consists of a choice between a previously cooked braised chicken breast with a colorful vegetable mix , or an individually prepared healthy organic dinner quickly radiated.    I chose the later consisting of a nice sized salmon fillet with spanish rice (I prefer wild rice) and fresh green beans which I garnish with a handful of cherry tomatoes.  The aforementioned fresh fruits complete the meal.

Opening the refrigerator door to gather my food items,  I'm again startled by another dark interior that was well-lit earlier.  Oh dear!  No power.  I wonder how long the unit has been off?   The refrigerator was alive at breakfast.    Back to the circuit box, this time a flashlight in hand to slice through nighttime's darkness.   Locating what I think is likely the specific offending circuit breaker, I repeatedly attempt to reset it but this troublesome one does not seem to cooperate.

Discouraged, I finally return to the kitchen ruing that I hadn't discovered this problem earlier in the day since I didn't want to incur emergency rates calling an electrician at night.    I thought about food life in the freezer section as I opened the refrigerator door half hoping for a miracle.   Amazing!   The interior light was on -- the ancient breaker had caught in place despite outward protruding appearance.
The rest of my lazy day/evening would pass without complication.

Early in the evening a phone call comes with physician orders to see a new patient the next day. The person is known to me from treatment I provided several years ago.    I know the individual  has declined somewhat since  then, but I wonder what has transpired now that necessitates my being consulted?   Nursing and her private duty aide with whom I've long interacted will up date me on the cantankerous lady's status tomorrow.

Days or weeks sometimes pass and I have no appointments since I cut back my part time work schedule even more, mostly serving only one facility now.   Still, I'm on call weekdays which prevents spontaneous personal trips out of town.       Perhaps a driving trip temptation is best avoided given the increasing cost of gasoline which is well over $4 a gallon now and predicted to rise to over $5 here in Southern California USA.    Yesterday I overheard a colleague say in  a southeastern gulf coast city drivers were currently being charged $7 for as gallon of gas.  

Sometimes I think that perhaps I should fully retire, but then I think that during those times I'm at home, I might miss working some few weekday hours.    There's much I should, could or, would do here at home so I know I 'd have no excuse for being bored, but how much would I actually do?
Still.....maybe that appointment commitment minimizes the risk I'll be tempted to increase the number of my lazy days.    But,  continuing to work, yearly state license and national certification require attending the necessary all day continuing education seminars periodically to which I often must commute some distance.     Yet, I think,  I do thoroughly derive pleasure being part of my mostly aged 50 to 100+ years elder patients life transitioning process.    I like interacting with them, their family and friends who may live nearby or far away.   We all learn so much from each other.

The experience makes me very aware of how unexpectedly anyone including me might experience some of these debilitating  medical issues I see with others.   I'm not without a few medical issues of my own.   Should my health situation alter I wonder just how well I would cope and adjust to challenges similar to theirs?    I'd like to believe I'd be motivated to maintain a positive attitude and treat those around me genially, but I can certainly understand how difficult that might be.   No doubt one day I will clearly determine either by choice or otherwise that full retirement is my primary desire, but until then I'll likely augment my days with an occasional lazy one.

Saturday, March 25, 2017



The Trump/Ryan Health Care Act has been side-lined for now for the wrong reason – only because a minority group within the Republican Party refused to vote for it as they wanted even more draconian measures – not because the Act was a travesty against efforts to provide reasonable health care for the vast majority of American citizens.  

How about the rest of the Republican Representatives, or some of them, meeting with some Democrat Representatives – they could actually try to examine the ACA aka Obama Care to adjust for more cost effectiveness and efficiency.   Some adjustments were expected to be necessary after that legislation was implemented.   Congress could actually perform some meaningful work to earn the salary we hired/elected them to do. 


Schmidley's Scribblings  daughter reports her mother has passed away.   I've enjoyed visiting this blogger who offered a true elder's perspective, garnered from years of significant work in our government and a master's degree in history obtained in her seventies.  She was grounded in contemporary life but respected the influence of previous generations she explored in her genealogy.  Her observations were concise, evidencing humor with a sharp wit.  I only knew her through a few years of blogging, but I'll miss her photos, stories, commentary on the world we live in.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017


"Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” was an incredible understatement not long ago from President Trump – a fact that for years everybody but him seemed to have recognized to be true.  Why else would it have taken his Republican Party legislators, after seven or so years of legislative dawdling, an inability to create a plan to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) , aka Obama Care?   But what did they create by throwing together a last minute plan when they suddenly had to fulfill their President’s campaign promise? 

This blues tune was written by and is identified with jazz singer Lady Day -- Billie Holiday.    The unique vocalist Eva Cassidy, with a style all her own, performs this arrangement.  She died much too young due to melanoma.   "God Bless The Child" 
from Eva's album "American Tune" (2003).

"Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose                                            
So the Bible said and it still is news"

The lyrics seem most applicable to the Trump/Ryan Health Care Act, formally known as the American Health Care Act.   The details, kept hidden so long from the public, were finally revealed at the last minute, rushing the Budget Office to assess the particulars.   We finally learned the real beneficiaries of this health care bill are for "them that's got" from this administration.     "Them that's not shall lose" evidences in the fact that those who can least afford the costs -- and even more millions who will lose health insurance -- will be the people most heavily hurt.    Where are the compassionate Republicans?   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

Gradually, I would think eyes are being opened to the fact that those with the least, also seniors,  middle class, are all going to have even less, maybe nothing at all,  or more expense -- not what the minority of citizens whose votes enabled this administration to acquire extreme power were led to believe would occur.   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

We "ain't seen nuthin' yet" -- cuz when we get to tax reduction, other plans in the works, we can only wish we could reap such benefits like the wealthy 2%  will – nothing more than token reductions, if at all, will be thrown to the vast majority of citizens.  Who was it once said “let them eat cake”?   But – when selecting legislators -- will 2018 voters remember?

Meanwhile plans are being worked up to reduce consumer protections, eliminate financial safeguards under the guise of needing to eliminate regulations to free up the business and financial world to --- rip us off.  But – when selecting legislators – will 2018 voters remember? 

There’s so much more, but I’ll save it for another time when there are sure to be even new matters to address.   Meanwhile, I maintain my sanity by finding the humor in the ridiculousness of much that is happening, some of which is predictably unpredictable.  I recognize the seriousness of the situation.  I continue to be committed to preserving our democratic republic.  I persist in resisting the inequities. 

* * *

Behind the scenes information about those who bankroll, influence, our political candidates, even “call the shots”, or all three, can be interesting.    Here’s a link to one such article just published introducing a family some may find to be of interest written by Vicky Ward:  “The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaires”.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


When I wrote this the day had been a mixed one of accomplishment for me.  I felt really good mid-morning, finally being able to safely dispose of an accumulation of papers needing shredding -- thanks to our local Senior Center arranging for a shredder truck.   Maybe I can keep up with shredding here at home now.   Still lots of materials to sort through as I gradually whittle away in one of my latest projects.

Seem to be more spring time pollens in the air since February rains ending, temperatures warming, blossoms and blooms emerging, but stimulating a few sneezes and my eyes watering a bit.   Actually, it’s become suddenly summer with temps pushing 90 degrees. 

A handyman/carpenter was able to complete painting, weather/bug sealing a door replaced following also security screen door installations.  The latter I wanted because they allow me to look out but the person outside cannot readily see inside.  Also, the screens do allow more fresh air circulation in the cooling evenings if I want to catch a breeze.

Then, there was the matter of an incorrect phone bill invoice for the second month in a row.  I phoned at 5:30 pm successfully navigating my way through the recorded messages, instructions, inputting on the correct keys to then listen to interminable music before a live person answered.   Then, until 6:30 pm I related my past one year history since this new company became the provider of my land line and internet services.  Having exhausted her ability to correct my March bill by confirming the rate I had been promised in January, and the February bill had been corrected to when I phoned then, she then transferred me to another department.

Another recording and a hold for fifteen minutes more before, once again, I had to relate the past year history to which I added reference to all the internet connection outages to which I’d been subjected.  Presumably, her putting me on hold to seek further clarification, allowed another fifteen minutes to go by and then its 7 pm when suddenly my line is disconnected.   Knowing this service person had my phone number I mistakenly assumed, whether we lost contact by her accidentally or deliberately disconnecting, that she would phone me to apologize.  Wrong!   Is this a “wearing down” process?

I took the opportunity to fix and eat my dinner, but the call never came.  I was ready to let it all go for the rest of the evening, but then thought maybe I could actually reach her as I had her name – or at least the name she gave -- I always get names.  So, at 7:35 pm I phoned again, waded through all the recorded steps, and eventually reached a person, but had to eventually hold with this new person.  She was unable to resolve the issue, so I requested speaking to someone else.  At 7:50 pm she informed I would be called by another person but would be in two days.   

They better call today, or I’ll be calling them again – getting an address to write their President with a copy to the Federal Communications Commission who approved their purchase of our phone company with service strings attached for them to meet.    I’ve had a history of tolerance with this company since they took on the responsibility for our service over a year ago.  My patience has reached its limits.

 I was really tired by days end – all this wasted time as need to do further work on my income tax – another day, I guess.  

Monday, March 06, 2017


One day in February, on a whim, I viewed my blog "Stats", which I hadn't done for years.  I was startled to see that almost six hundred "Page Views" were occurring in Russia after I published “Spirits Huddling” -- those Russian numbers continuing most of February, finally dwindling toward month’s end.           

This caused me to start thinking more about who is blogging from where.   On our own continent I enjoy visiting Canadian, Newfoundland bloggers.  I would really like some bloggers from south of our border "down Mexico way" and any of the South American countries. 

I've gone blogging across the pond again in recent months having been intrigued by comments I've read on the blogs of others I visit.   I've already been to Great Britain, Scotland, India, periodically crossed the Pacific to Australia, New Zealand, probably some other exotic places, but more recently I stopped off in Ireland and Wales.  I thought I'd share a few brief thoughts about some of them here as I used to do when I first started blogging and featured other blogs, as I added them to my sidebar list. Please note there is no significance in terms of ranking assigned to these blogs order.

I want to note, I'm always interested whenever those in other countries write their thoughts and impressions of the United States.  Such commentary is especially of interest to me now given our government's current administration and actions.

Nickhereandnow writes from Northern Ireland and has a cadre of followers who engage in some interesting conversations.   Recently several who commented introduced terms with which I was quite unfamiliar, so quickly searched them on the internet -- expressions in common or slang usage there, just as we have our own in the U.S.  such as “posh" people.  But in another post discussing discrimination there was mentioned "pikeys" and "orange people".  I brought up "gingers" since, as a redhead, I knew the term was used in Great Britain but not so much in the U.S.  

Going Gently is a blog I just found.    Chickens pictured in the head bar greeted me at this blog, but then a whole raft of side bar and other colorful photos of various animals really intrigued me.   I especially enjoyed seeing Albert and Winnie.   Their home in this picturesque small Welsh village where all reside will have me visiting to learn more about the community.

Betty Bishop Hangs Here presents some of her interesting paintings, and drawings.    Recollections are prompted with one of her paintings "back in the day" where she stayed at Manhattan's famed Chelsea Hotel.   This Canadian octogenarian activist's various posts reveal a wide variety of experiences including the tragedy of her brother's death.    

Big John, having survived the WWII Blitz, Cold War and heaven only knows what other calamities, especially in the 20th century, is in Great Britain presenting as a great danger with his blogging as might be expected from an elder.  So, all should be wary about visiting there -- do so at your own risk!

Write Into Life by Rachel McAlpine in New Zealand features poetry, prose and photos for a stimulating variety of words, thoughts and ideas that can be a real pleasure to read as she shares her joy in writing. 

Ramana's Musings from India I've been visiting for a while, as well as a few of those above.   He writes especially with several others regularly on a variety of thought-provoking topics.   He also shares interesting commentary on his homeland.  I always welcome reading what he might have to say about events in the U.S. as I do with all those in other countries listed above. 

Day to Day Life of a Very Busy Gardener  in Scotland posts infrequently, but I've done much the same at times, so doesn't prevent me from stopping by occasionally to see what she's been up to.  Most recently I became interested there because she was incubating some chickens of a breed I was unfamiliar with -- and heaven only knows I'm no foul expert,  though my parents did raise chickens of a few more common U.S. breeds during  several years in my youth.   While the outcome wasn't as she had desired, I'll be checking back periodically to see what's next in her Scotland garden, or other "stuff" in her life.   

Still the Lucky Few sheds some interesting observations from Canada.  She writes about her pre-Boomer generation and why they are important.  She grew up on a farm but now lives in a major city with her husband, "a talented piano maestro".   Their family adds to her life's pleasures.  Her wide variety of interests reveal themselves in the topics about which she chooses to write.

The Other Side of Sixty I've been visiting for a while.   Wisewebwoman, "Irish by birth, Newfoundler by avocation"  introduces many subjects that set the wheels turning in my head.   She presents such a broad range of topics from the seemingly mundane, that can subtly transition into the profound, to a major idea that might not be so overwhelmingly important after all.  Her observations and photos keep me returning.

Vagabonde and her recollections must be included here, even though she resides in the U.S.  She is originally from France, a nation I hold in high regard.   The United States and France have a special bond, I believe, for many reasons, but especially because of their significance to our nation's founding.    Our Statue of Liberty is  also a very symbolic gift from France.   What it stands for as printed on the statue's base are sentiments that are so pertinent now  -- perhaps more than at any other time in our nation's history. 

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The writings at Vagabonde's blog reflect her views as a world traveler that I enjoy as being informative,  entertaining and educational about France, at times, as well as historical sites in the United States.  She and her husband visit interesting places that she describes in fascinating detail and share in often spectacular colorful photographs.   Recollections with visual memorabilia add special attraction to her thoroughly researched subjects.  I also appreciate the observations and commentary she offers about our nation from a unique perspective.

I especially enjoy all these blogs above because while serious topics are sometimes explored, each of these bloggers demonstrate a delightful sense of humor which has always been an important quality I've valued throughout my  life.

I mentioned earlier there is no significance in terms of ranking assigned to these blogs order, but in retrospect,  there might be one exception.   I may have saved the best 'til last.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017


Truth Or Consequences?

Listened to President Donald J. Trump address Congress and the nation.  For the first time to my ears and eyes, he actually behaved and spoke like he might be a country’s leader -- but what kind of leader?   Knowing his history, the words that flowed from my television’s speakers accumulated very deep in my room as I waded through them.  Some of them sounded good as I wanted them to be.  Still, when he has so repeatedly violated trust with his mendacity, how do I know much of what he said isn’t more of the same?   
When I texted a friend for their reaction, the response I received was:

"He’s acting as if he was on the Apprentice.   Someone else wrote the script -- he rehearsed  -- and delivered!  Maybe he should get an Academy Award.”

I found myself wondering -- has the leopard changed his spots?   

We’ve heard his talk -- now let’s see his walk.     

Tax Time

Time for me to go to work on my income taxes.  I’ve been doing them myself as my husband had, when he was living.   I still do them by hand rather than on my computer.  I like math.   I know there are internet programs available, also software programs that can be purchased, or even can hire someone -- the idea of paying money in order to pay taxes just doesn't sit well with me.   Why should a person have to pay money to pay taxes?   That's right!  I'm not a member of the 1%.   

Where do you want to live?   

There are many considerations when we think about desirable places to live: 
Health Care, Education, Crime and Corrections, Infrastructure, Opportunity,  Economy, Government are factors in the following report.

U.S. News and World Report offers a ranking of what states best serve their citizens.

This can be of special interest since expected federal government budget cuts will require individual states to have to assume more responsibility for many services to their citizens (cutting or eliminating services).  Middle class, poor and the less affluent segments of the population in many states may not fare so well, contrary to what citizens are being told by this administration's good intentions wishful thinking.  

As with many such rankings we may not necessarily agree with all their assessments. For many these rankings would be weighed against many other factors, not limited to, but including, cost of living, environment, and climate.   

--  No.   1  Massachusetts 
 -- No. 23  California

What do you think about where your state is ranked?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

RESIST ----- PERSIST ! ! !

Muzzling and Intimidating the U.S. Press

There is no longer room in the United States for dissension as continuing actions by the country's current administration demonstrate, despite what our leader would have us believe.

Excuses and reasons the administration gives for why "pick and choose" news outlets are blocked from White House press briefings simply are smoke screens in our leader's ongoing efforts to demean, discredit, destroy the Fourth Estate -- our free press.

More and more the question arises as to whether or not this leader has much to hide -- so, no wonder he wants to curtail press and other investigative efforts with loud pronouncements -- "not true" -- "did not" -- "lies" -- reminiscent of past presidents' later proven false claims.  "Methinks the man doth protest too much" to paraphrase Shakespeare's Hamlet.  So far, though truthfulness has hardly been one of his strong character traits, we've given him the benefit of the doubt as is the American way. Would he do the same for us?  His words might say, "Yes", but his actions likely would say, "No".

Only a Press that supports our current leader's point of view is permitted -- his administration's alternate facts -- fake news -- reporting his outright lies, distortions of which he's proven to be a master.  Eliminating such phony reports is laudable, desired by most, but this administration arbitrarily excluding credible credentialed news outlets from Press news briefings is a blatant effort to control the news the media reports that has little or nothing to do with the accounts legitimacy.

These news media attack actions also serve as a distraction -- a tactic our leader often uses when there are matters he doesn't want the public and news media to focus on, such as issues like
-- questions of  Russia's involvement in U.S. politics, even our government,
-- questions of conflicts of interest with his business dealings,
-- questions about what he may be hiding by not releasing his income taxes.

Citizens, who in good conscience to safeguard our democratic republic.....

    -- our nation's founders, WWII veterans, especially, other military service men and women fought and died to preserve,
    -- those in the Press who attempt to provide the truth to the rest of us to preserve our nation's sovereignty and freedoms, some of whom have also died in the process,

are under assault by this administration!

The 'Cool' Aid (misspelled deliberately to not malign the commercial product) that this administration's leader serves -- already drunk by a large but minority number of our population -- is addictively sweet to the many drinking it.  His possibly hypocritical words often espouse their morals and values, that some of them are all too willing to impose on everyone else rather than allow all individuals the freedom of determining what is best for themselves -- contrary to what our nation promises us.  

His words feeding false fears of inadequate existing security measures with a need for excessively more, scapegoating others, fosters a willingness by a worried segment of the public to relinquish freedoms, little by little, for contrived safety.

History tells us this is a repeat of the pattern that ultimately resulted in nations leaders evolving into dictators.   Before that final step occurred some of a leader's programs might even temporarily have increased his country's prosperity, disarming his people into believing he has their best interests at heart.  They were increasingly willing to grant him even more power unaware he was becoming what seemed to be a benevolent dictator.  The price they paid -- their freedoms -- for too many, even their lives -- was high.

Those who recognize the danger today -- who express disagreement with any of his actions -- who publicly resist his efforts to thwart reality and the truth -- are increasingly prevented from expressing themselves -- chastised from his bully-pulpit.   In time, probably subjected to much worse.  His vindictiveness for those who disagree he freely demonstrates.

Early on in the leader's campaign to gain power -- by making gross flamboyant statements to appeal to the basest of human nature's qualities -- his words (later excused simply as violating political correctness which many applauded) incited the subsequent unleashing of an unsavory segment of supporters to begin initiating violence into the community.  Later lukewarm statements condemning such actions are periodically uttered by the leader, but they know through subtleties unknown to the public that he doesn't really mean it.   The documented instances of racist, sexist, other discriminatory violence increases as is happening in the U.S. such as this most recent crime.

In fact, this administration's leader wants the violence to increase the public fear which he can grandiosely exploit with a promise to quell by using more and more law enforcement -- hopefully, for him -- to a level he can marshal the military, declare martial law(?)   Then, his power will have no restraints.   Our leader's supporting segment of the public embrace their, essentially, benevolent-seeming dictator so they willingly relinquish each little freedom for safety like mindless sheep led to slaughter.

Just the other day one of his most trusted advisers in a rare public interview stated an intent for "deconstruction of the administrative state" which clearly could lead to a different form of government (bet you didn't know you elected as pseudo-President the author of that statement).   Continued characterization of  "media" as the "opposition state" dominates the White House position.   Our leader in another context used the term "military operation" inappropriately toward those he's scapegoating that discloses his real mind set on executive actions he's ordering as his minions rushed to try to explain away what he said as being otherwise.

In the meantime, the Legislative Branch of our democratic republic's government has decided to go along with this leader in order to accomplish some of their goals --  and they like the power.  After all, they believe, they can control him if he goes too far astray.  They're thinking, don't we have checks and balances to protect us?   History in other nations shows us some supporting government officials thought that once, too, only to be rudely disabused of that notion when they realized too late they were impotent and dissident purges began sweeping up even some of them.
Our Judicial Branch becomes subverted with appointment of an Attorney General who seems likely to have a rubber stamp perspective on his leader's views.  The Supreme Court may take a bit more time to mold but expected additional appointments may bring them around.   We might wonder, will they be a check and balance to protect our democratic republic?

The Fourth Estate -- the Press -- the last bastion of the people to help us preserve our democratic republic -- continues to be under assault by an administration that is busily.....
.....disparaging, demeaning, destroying all Press dissension,
.....punishing perceived Press dissension by exclusion from attending briefings,
.....preventing true transparency in disseminating executive branch government actions information,
.....obfuscating executive branch actions using the smokescreen of necessary secrecy from the press,
.....eliminating the means by which citizens can expose government wrong-doing,
.....requiring all news stories about government be reported only in a positive light, even if untrue.

When this leader happily tells the American people all is progressing just fine for his administration, he's correct.   He's thinking of the plan above, not the people's goals they're thinking of, no matter what verbiage he spouts to them.  We already know he speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

The chaos and confusion his governing manner creates that is so distressing to so many in the U.S. and around the world is exactly what he wants in his march toward consolidating power in himself despite --
--his behavior, whether rational or irrational,
--his words, whether or not factual and true,
--his actions, whether in the best interest of the people or not.

Make no mistake, this administration is not just a routine change of one political party assuming office over another so many want to believe as has been the case throughout the history of our country which so many of us have accepted in the past.

Mollifying this administration is exactly what they're counting on -- the people's belief their leader shares their basic ethical, moral and spiritual values despite the fact his lifetime of actions, words have demonstrated otherwise in his personal and most notably business practices.  A failure to recognize that their leader's pursuit is primarily for his own personal interests -- anything that's legal, or not, if he can get away with it.  

Our system of government.....our democratic under assault by means of taking over from using our own systems of law, then stretching and going beyond laws limits -- in the beginning -- then, further and further afield.   Laws will eventually be whatever the government dictates with no freedom protections, quite unlike today as imperfect as law may sometimes be.  



Monday, February 20, 2017


Rain…rain…rain…glorious rain for drought-ridden California!

Our  multi-year drought may well be coming to an end -- at least as far as surface water, streams, creeks,  rivers, lakes, reservoirs, mountain snow packs are concerned.  

Some experts say we shouldn’t be too optimistic, too soon.   Not only do we depend on surface water, but underground are aquifers, some shallow, others extremely deep that fill more slowly.   Our towns and cities are drawing increasing amounts of water from the aquifers, depleting them, due to more irrigation and industrial use.    

They say some agricultural areas may never completely recover to pre-drought levels.   Ground water will stay low leaving some wells stranded causing increased pumping costs for years and maybe decades.   

There are even more long term effects on California’s forests which have been depleted of water.   Warmer temperature trends continuing could permanently alter the ecology.  Populations of native fish eliminated will need years to recover since their ecosystems have been altered by the drought. 

We’re told we should think of California as a dry place with permanent water shortages.   Landscaping designed to not require a lot of watering is needed.  Conserving and not wasting water needs to be our way of life.  Increasingly, this may be true in other states, too.

But rain is not wonderful for all .....

Snow welcomed in our Southern California mountains has seen a couple avalanches burying skiers ….

Hikers requiring helicopter rescues.

All this rain, which is predicted to continue through this month, in our normal rainy period, has brought disaster to many. 

The drought all these years dried so much greenery. 

Fires consumed more -- stripping ground cover from the mountainsides. 

Mudslides ensued – threatening lives -- necessitating evacuations.   Some homes destroyed – causing family heartbreak.  

Huge old trees uprooted, falling on cars, homes, and even a few people, as tonight’s news reports a young girl found by her family under a fallen tree when she didn’t arrive at a neighbors to walk their dog.   She's hospitalized in critical condition.   

A few sink holes developed -- consuming houses or vehicles such as a van and car in last night’s news – but both drivers rescued. 

Floods – sweeping cars away -- causing others to be stranded – needing rescuing. 

Unfortunately, in all these events there have been some injuries and a few lives lost. 

My immediate community has not incurred instances of high winds, water devastation, uprooted trees, as far as I know.  Only ten minutes drive west, mud slides from fire-stripped mountain sides have been a concern for several years -- with every rain they have evacuation alerts.

More rain is coming that I welcome here, but I hope others are spared tragedy.