Sunday, August 13, 2017

CALMING UNSETTLING TIMES

Music for my summer afternoons  . . . .  .  


"Summertime" -- Norah Jones with a svelte voice accompanied by suave pianist, Marian McPartland  at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival August 30, 2003




“Take Five” with Dave Brubeck’s classic . . . . .



"Estate (Summer)" with Shirley Horn's melancholy vocal . . . . .



"Lazy Afternoon" with Shirley Horn’s sensual rendition . . . .  .



"A Time For Love" with Shirley Horn's refined elegance . . . . .



"Dindi" with Shirley Horn Trio . . . . . 



"Gentle Rain" with Shirley Horn Trio instrumental . . . . . 



"Stardust" with Shirley Horn accompanied by Bill Charlap (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums). . . . .



"Smile" with Steven Tyler singing, featuring Chris Botti on trumpet . . . . .



"Here's To Life" as only Shirley Horn  can mesmerize . . . . .



Sunday, August 06, 2017

GERMS -- QUESTIONS -- DIGITAL COMA


VIRAL OR BACTERIAL?

“Under the weather” – what a curious saying – is one way to describe how I felt beginning early this past week.   I was annoyed at first when I finally contacted my doctor that he didn’t see me, instead sending me to Urgent Care.  In retrospect, that was probably wise, since UC being directly associated with my hospital can expedite some necessary laboratory tests, if needed, providing results more quickly.

The UC doctor noted a summer flu was going around which was probably what I had, so no need for special medication.  She said just follow the old standard standby BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, toast.  I had previously resorted to such soft bland foods, having already weathered several days of illness.  

Fortunately, even at its worst this flu was mild – the first I’ve experienced in decades, so never imagined that’s what I had.  In fact, within a few days after I went to UC I am already on the way to being healthy again.    I might never have gone to UC – just toughed it out, as I've done much of my life, when I knew there were others in my home to act on my behalf if I became unable to do so.  Knowing when to seek help, not waiting too long until I’m unable to help myself,  is one consideration that is important when living alone.

As for “under the weather”, I made a brief search for the origins.   One such suggests weather changes sometimes affect how we feel -- not always for the better -- since some describe rainy days cause them to have increased aches and pains, for example.  The saying seems to have come about long ago when stormy weather's roiling seas rocking the ship sickened some sailors.   The seasick Gobs would go down under the deck to recuperate.  

“Gobs” you say?   Yes, that’s a slang term for sailor that H. L. Mencken described as American language war slang.    

“Gob … had been in use in the navy for a long while, though the common civilian designation for a sailor had been jackie. The origin of the terms is much disputed. Gob is variously explained as a derivative from the Chinese (?) word gobshite, and as the old word gob, signifying a large, irregular mass, applied to a new use. The original meaning of gobshite I don’t know. One correspondent suggests that gob was first used to designate sailors because of their somewhat voracious and noisy habits of feeding. He tells a story of an old master-at-arms who happened into a land aĆ«ro-station and found a party of sailors solemnly at table. “My Gawd,” he exclaimed, “lookit the gobs, usin’ forks an’ all!”


CONTINUING QUESTIONS

Why have I felt like we’ve been seeing a White House version of an old TV show called “The Apprentice” in which the host gained fame and fortune for saying “You’re fired!”?

Does our leader judge all civilian leaders as being like himself -- capable only of creating chaos – inept of skills to competently lead and direct otherwise?

Why do we need so many military leaders in cabinet and administrative positions to exercise required chain-of-command leadership for order?  

Does our Prez judge everybody by his own behavior, not recognizing most successful leaders do not follow his unsuccessful chaotic management style in govt. or business?

Or, if he ever revealed his income taxes would we learn he's not as successful as he portrays himself -- and has serious conflicts of interest – possibly involving foreign governments?    

How can any patriot not see another nation's intervention in our elections as an extremely dangerous situation, yet our Prez has not been enthusiastic about the need for an investigation?

Wouldn’t ensuring foreign nations are prevented from interfering in our elections be critical to protecting our country?


DIGITAL COMA

Once again, my trusty little netbook’s screen suddenly went to black.   I hadn’t noticed that the battery was not recharging, instead, the energy was just slowly draining away.   Interventions to rejuvenate the device have so far been totally unsuccessful.   Unfortunately, blog notes I had for future posts are on my netbook, so you see what I’ve come up with today.  I'm using my ancient sluggish laptop.  Will I finally have to get a new computer?   Who knows what the future will bring!   




Sunday, July 30, 2017

DELIGHT -- DUPLICITY -- DILEMMA

Delight

A few weekends ago I made a quick stop at one of my grocers.   Surprisingly-to-me I discovered an outdoor charcoal grill setup in the parking lot.   Barbecued pork short ribs were cooking – just like the ones I’ve enjoyed from there in years past that they featured only on a few summer holidays.   I learned these ribs are being offered every weekend this summer.   So, I’m indulging myself a bit with these tasty ribs before  I return most of the rest of the year to my usual foods. 


Duplicity

Definitions include:

contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action 

the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action. 
  
dishonest talk or behaviour, especially by saying different things to two people


Duplicity reminds me of words I hear coming from the White House almost every day.

Questions.....Questions.....Questions.....


Is there such a thing as duplicitous loyalty?

Is this President really loyal to the intent of the United States
of America's Constitution?

Is a Presidential appointee's first loyalty to the U.S. Constitution or the President?


Dilemma

Did you ever wonder what on earth goes on inside the clothes washing machine?  Ever since I’ve had this low-water-using front loading machine, all the clothes do is spin round and round, plop for a bit sopping up a skimpy amount of water that runs over them,  then sudsy water spins through them, followed by what seems to be only a bit more  water being added, and finally more spinning.    Do they really get clean I wonder, when I think of all that water they used to swish around in with my top loader? 

Then, like the other night, I took the clothes out of the washer to put in my dryer and what a conglomeration!   Somehow, in that washer, the different pieces when initially placed individually inside had developed a great affinity for one another … dare I say, possibly a romantic attachment  between and among  certain outer garments with some of my undergarments, given how wrapped around each other they’d become.   Pajama legs running through bra straps with other parts peeking out of a pull-over top’s sleeves.  Often other items are twisted around each other like pretzels.  The whole scene is clearly X-rated to the degree it might not even be allowed on the Deep Dark Web.

But, I just toss them in the dryer and hope their passions get satisfied by the time I’m ready to retrieve them.  Inevitably, that’s exactly what happens!  I open the dryer door and all are dry, just innocently lying there, quite separated from one another, ready to be removed to resume their assigned duties.  Often there is one give-away that some sort of monkey business had been going on.  How do I know?  Because there will be at least one item that is turned inside out that I must manually turn properly.  

Life goes on ….. until next time!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

STRANGE DIMENSIONS -- UNUSUAL EXPERIENCES


Unusual experiences surface in the strange dimension created by our current President – one where we’re expected to believe all his utterances just because he says so – despite the fact that so many of his pronouncements have been proven to be blatantly false. 

I continue to reasonably expect our President’s and his administrative team’s transparency to rule out financial conflicts of interest compromising their ethical and moral loyalty to our constitutional democratic republic form of government.  

So many mysterious meetings between and among our current government’s administration with Russian officials -- some trained to spy -- lawyers, bankers that these leaders somehow forget to mention until reminded later by documents revealed by others.   We are left to make our own inferences based on the gradually emerging facts.    


I have great difficulty extending trust for the unknown to those who have hidden their actions, lied by omission, even given statements contradicting themselves and others -- who continue to be less than honest and straight forward to cite just a few betrayals of the American people's confidence in whose interest they are governing.   We are entitled to full disclosure. 


MORE UNUSUAL EXPERIENCES…..   

Three times in the past decade I had some unusual experiences I’d never had before.  The first one occurred a few years after my husband’s death.   I did have some second thoughts as I pondered a couple of the incidents, but concluded there must be some other explanation than their being a connection to him.    

Something caused me to awaken in the wee hours one morning.  The slightly opened master bathroom door was just as I always leave it, allowing the night light to filter into my bedroom.  I was startled to see a man’s shadowed figure standing bedside at my feet.   I could not clearly distinguish the facial features in the few seconds before the figure vanished as I began to rise up in bed.   I soon went back to sleep and forgot about the experience in the days to come.

A few years later, I was again awakened in early morning hours to clearly see the brightly lit face of a young woman with long blond hair studying me intently.   Her head was bedside mine, slightly higher, tilted to one side as she looked downward straight into my eyes for only a few seconds and then she was gone.  Again, the figure seemed very real, but I did not recognize her.   I eventually ceased thinking about that face. 

The last instance occurred only a few years ago when I again awoke in morning hours to briefly see the shape of a man standing-height with unclear facial features at the head of the opposite darkened side of my bed.    That person too, seemed real before he disappeared. 

Those experiences have seemed strange to me, having never had such before.   Recently when they happened to come to mind I wondered if others ever saw such figures.  I did make a cursory exploratory internet search to discover various explanations.   I found these intriguing. 

One is from well-known scientist Stephen Hawking discussing the possibility of Shadow People:   

"We would feel them because gravity would spread through the extra dimensions from shadow branes that we cannot see. There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars and even shadow people." 

Another explanation comes from some Psychics who suggest these “shadow people” are often family who care about us and want to check on our welfare.   Based on that view, the first male figure could have been my father of whom I have no conscious memory of his face other than pictures I’ve seen. 

The female face must have gotten a wrong address ‘cause she didn’t look like anyone I ever knew.   The last male figure could have been that father figure or my husband, though I couldn’t discern the face. 

I was not in a dream or hallucinatory state, had not taken any medications or other drugs -- these experiences were not figments of my imagination -- but our sensory perceptions can present us with sights we do not always understand. 

Have you ever had such experiences and what are your thoughts, whether or not you have?  
   


Sunday, July 16, 2017

HANKERING -- RETRO -- SANITY


Had an unexplainable hankering recently for a chili dog -- a culinary concoction  I probably haven't eaten for a couple decades or more.   Recalled a nearby fast food drive thru featuring hot dog varieties so I indulged myself.   The chili wasn't as tasty as what I made, but I'm not about to warm up my kitchen by cooking.  We had a slight cool down outside for a couple days, but we're back to another three digit heat wave again.

The retro dog created a mind set that caused me to be susceptible to a bit of binge viewing of a long ago TV series, "Laugh-In", I coincidentally noticed being featured on current TV one recent day. I had seen some of the broadcasts when they originally aired, but missed many shows given my busy life those years, 1968-1973.   Prime time viewing, traditionally 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., might benefit even now for a similar weekly sketch comedy variety show.  The only comparable sketch comedy program for many years since is NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" currently airing well after prime time hours.

"Laugh-In" featured numerous comedic talents, celebrities and even politicians.  The show was fast-moving; colorful; full of comedy skits; outlandish costumes; humorous songs, dances, poetry;  numerous jokes often described as "one-liners" -- brief, and to-the-point on every subject imaginable.

A comedian, Henny Youngman who lived to be 92 was referred to as the King of One-Liners with his classic: "Take my wife......Please!"

Another of his many jokes:

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back".     
Mrs. Cohen answered: "So did my arthritis!"

Laugh-In's primary hosts were a comedy duo, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.  Numerous featured comic talents whose careers flourished in the entertainment world after "Laugh-In" ended.  Some of those performers include:  Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Jo Anne Worley, Arte Johnson, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Henry Gibson, Alan Sues, Gary Owens, Chelsea Brown, Richard Dawson, Robin Williams.

Flying Fickle Finger of Fate,  one of the shows segments with a serious but humorous twist was an award given "saluting actual dubious achievements by the government or famous people. A breakthrough in TV broadcasting" as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

Here's the first award in a brief  54 sec. video:



Recent news items continue to raise questions about our considerably less than transparent U.S. Administration and President's namesake son.

I can hear Lily Tomlin's little girl character, Edith Ann saying after each of  his new stories  and seemingly never-ending revelations: "And that's the truth!" followed by her making the raspberry sound.



One of Arte Johnson's characters would likely react thusly:



Perhaps this bit of humor will tide me through whatever new insanity may emerge in the week ahead.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

NET NEUTRALITY --- HEAT WAVE


FCC RECONSIDERS NET NEUTRALITY

Issues swirling around our government distract us from Internet concerns. 

On July 12th dozens of major websites and organizations are joining in an internet-wide day of action to prevent a possible FCC wrong decision in undoing the previous ruling to insure net neutrality.  Your comment to the FCC is a first step needed with this link at Demand Progress as one way to express your view.

If net neutrality protections are removed the previous rules of access will be violated to the detriment of smaller business users and ordinary people is the concern of many and one I have shared.     

SlateMagazine explains this complicated issue including:

"Most would generally agree that net neutrality is about preserving the internet as an open platform where newcomers play by the same basic rules of access as giants like Google and Netflix.  The internet is more than just a content channel.  It's also a platform for innovation that creates new jobs, new economic demands and benefits, new opportunities for democratic participation, and new applications.  The challenge here is to protect users from censorship, while also maintaining the internet as a vibrant and open platform for innovation."

Can we trust that net neutrality will be preserved if the rules insuring it are removed?


HEAT WAVE -- SO CAL CLIMATE CHANGE UP DATE 

Heat temperatures are breaking records in three digit figures here in Southern California, more typical of later in the summer than now in early July.  

Many residents are feeling a bit more miserable because our usual dry heat has high humidity with monsoon flow.  

Heading east from Los Angeles County to Palm Springs the temperatures have been even hotter into the teens. 

Firefighters are being kept busy putting out brush fires before they get out of hand threatening homes.

Power outages occurring in some of our valleys due to a variety of reasons serve as a reminder of how vulnerable we're told our power grid is putting us at risk when our power system is disrupted. 

Keeping cool, I move between my air conditioned house to similarly cooled auto and grocery stores or other businesses, so don't linger long in the heat.  Carrying a water bottle  in my car is routine for me year 'round but especially now.  We're susceptible to dehydration at any age, but I think more so as we get older.   

Here are a couple of grumpy old men noting a heat wave in their environment.


   





Sunday, July 02, 2017

BLOG CONTENT -- DAILY LIFE COMMUNICATING -- LIVING IN PLACE



HAPPY JULY 4TH !

You must read "Going Small, and Coming Home" by Shoreacres at Task At Hand

*****
Content on this blog is continuing to be an experiment with addressing several matters each post -- mirroring my daily life which also revolves around more than just one issue.    Every day is infused with living in the present through actions, thoughts triggered by daily experiences, occasional unexpected influx of memories – this is basically what I write about.    Perhaps the unsolicited inflow of memories tends to become more prevalent in proportion to my years of accumulating them.  There are occasions when I have no one here with whom to verbally engage, so some of the residual of that situation comes here.  


POLITICAL COMMENTARY 

My writings will likely continue to include some political commentary on the status of our government – more so than most of my previous years blogging which began in 2006.  My reason for doing so is that our current U.S. administration gives every indication of differing from previous ones in our nation’s history since 1776.  Their governing is not simply a matter of differing political party beliefs from those of the opposition parties views.    I perceive this administration's actions and stated intent pose a potential threat to the constitutional democratic republic principles on which our nation was founded.  I consider my moral and ethical responsibility as a citizen to question such actions, words, behaviors that I believe jeopardize my rights and freedoms and those of generations to come.

The President’s most recent demand under the guise of alleged voter fraud -- which is undocumented -- to obtain private data on voters is an example of a violation that, if allowed, is ripe for abuse of citizen’s rights by this Administration.  Given the President’s vindictive nature against anyone whose views differ from his own, his administration – or any other, for that matter – but his, especially, should not have access to this information.  Likely an “illegal” vote by his definition would be one other than for him and/or his agenda much as occurs in despotically-ruled countries.
 
Then there are his automatic condemnations of any factual news reports to which he objects coupled with his constant lying.   I won’t even discuss his most disgusting modeling of offensive language in words and writing any self-respecting adult would not admire – would not want their young children or youthful adults to pattern their lives after.  His words and behaviors do serve to distract many (which may be partly his intent) from focusing on his governing efforts that less than successfully address the needs of those other than the most wealthy while, as some suggest, his family coffers may be being enriched.  
     
Readers are welcome to be selective in choosing whatever topic segments I might write about that are most of interest to them and disregard those that are not, but that’s always been true.   I cannot avoid writing about our government’s functions since it is very much a part of my daily life, affects my future and that of my loved ones.    

 
DAILY LIFE

My real time daily activities often aren’t referenced here until after the fact, if at all, unlike the writings of many other bloggers.  This is for the simple reason that as a widow now, I live alone – as I have been for the past decade, but had not previously done except for a number of years after college and before I wed.

Publicly distributing information on the Internet about my daily routines might not be in my personal best interest should those with less concern for my welfare and safety choose to abuse that information.    Also, my life is pretty routine and probably would be considered by others to be dull much of the time compared to that of many I read about.  While I’m still active, I confess to being less so as I get older.

My family members’ excitements and activities are mostly shared via various technical devices, even, occasionally, the old-fashioned standard postal service mailings.  This is because the bulk of our time is spent physically apart since the few remaining alive live distances, even across the country, from me. 

Tech-wise, for example, my son texted me this past weekend saying, “Whas up, Mom?  Wanna Facetime?”  Timing was perfect for me, so I quickly replied, “O.K.!”  Within minutes my iPad-mini screen was filled with my son’s presence in real time, quickly followed by my 5 year old grandson’s coming into view.  In the background I could see and hear my DIL joining our conversation as she was wrapping up some activities on her laptop.

Soon my grandson wanted to read to me a book since his achieving this ever-increasing skill had progressed even more in his kindergarten year just completed.   I was duly impressed as he pretty fluently read long sentences (for him), successfully sounded out a few initially challenging words, accepted some cues or prompts on others as needed from his folks.  All in all we had a delightful conversation, then my grandson later went off to seek his own entertainment and we adults, sometimes just my son and I, caught up with the “doin’s” in each other’s lives.

Updates on my needs, concerns, welfare are always a basis of inquiry from my son or daughter though I dutifully keep them regularly posted.   My daughter and I tend to have long phone conversations, preferring our landlines when we talk, though all have smart phones (except me as I still prefer to use my old cell phone).    Shorter conversations from my now young adult granddaughter occur which I especially treasure knowing how busy young people’s lives can be.   In between these contacts we all text and email, sometimes daily, occasionally several times a day, individually or in a group dialogue. 

What a contrast all this communication is compared with what I had with my Mother, MIL and other family living then when we lived such a distance from each other years ago.   Long distance phone calls could be expensive, though we had progressed past the time when such a call meant some catastrophe had occurred or someone had died.    We did make an effort to take advantage of hours when reduced phone rates applied.   We wrote letters mostly.  I often typed mine on my Royal portable which I still have. 

I read recently typewriters are gaining renewed use and appreciation much as long playing vinyl records (LPs) -- news reports Sony is now pressing LPs again.   Increasing numbers of discerning music listeners desire the fullness of LP sound over that of digital just as I determined and told skeptical others so many years ago after listening to CDs.   

Sometimes when tape recorders became more reasonably priced and reduced in size with cassettes, we dictated verbal letters to my Mother (as her vision was failing), and brother in Hawaii – the rest of us were scattered about on the Mainland -- mailing them to each other.  I still have one tape (if it hasn’t disintegrated) of my mother’s voice and wish I had saved more, including one with my now-deceased only brother and sibling. 


GARDENER

Today, I succumbed to a personable young gardener I didn’t know or had never employed.    He unexpectedly came to my door offering to spread a combination mix of mulch and fertilizer to my yard as partial protection against our excessive summer heat.  His English was limited but he said he’d return in 14 days to see how the grass was doing.   I think he’ll be as good as his word (left a phone number), but if he doesn’t come, that’s okay with me.   I never respond to the rare solicitor at the door as they have to be licensed in our city.  I usually confront them to show me the license they’re required to carry, and I even phone the local non-emergency police number as we’re urged to do with any uninvited strangers.  “See something – Say something!” 

I still have some semblance of grass in all front yard areas but the parkway I converted to bark several years ago, disconnecting the sprinklers to that area.  Drought effects had a severe deleterious effect on my yard, but the grass never was in the pristine condition as it had been before when my husband was living and supervising the care once he could no longer do the labor himself.   I have the same gardeners but think I may not have been as meticulous in following a schedule fertilizing and whatever else my husband might have been doing. He had written instructions on everything but that in his notes, so I assumed the gardeners automatically took care of the treatments.  I will convert away from this grass eventually for less watering which I already restrict.

My gardeners are limited English speakers (Spanish) but we communicate well enough.  I’m very pleased with the tall hedges, shrubbery trimming they do, personally like any of the gardener’s young helpers with their good-natured humor and manner, so retain them.  I can always phone his home, where an unaccented native-English sounding speaker daughter will take my message which she relays to her father.

Perhaps part of my attitude somehow reflects a connection to my husband I may feel on some level – knowing they knew him.   He was discerning of human-kind.  He trusted them.  I trust them and have not been disappointed in their fairness.  They seem most anxious and responsive to pleasing me, whereas I’m more inclined to have them “just do it” and expecting them to know what to do without my direction.   I’m sure my husband had been very directive. 


LIVING IN PLACE

Being free of house and yard upkeep inside and out sometimes becomes a very attractive idea.   I review in my mind all the services available to me here in our city that will be of help if I ever need them – transportation, house-keeping, Girl Friday for errands, near by grocery/pharmaceutical/restaurants that also offer home delivery, home health care, close proximity to my top quality hospital and doctors, Meals On Wheels and even a socialization group for home-bound people if I choose to join.

I consider the reputable licensed electrician and another who is a carpenter I’ve occasionally hired, that have demonstrated their trustworthiness and assured me they’ll provide any handyman services, to be important members of any needed support team.  I’m reminded of solicitous neighbors though we interact infrequently – but like yesterday, I found outside my door a sandwich bag full of cherry tomatoes my young neighbors across the street must have harvested from their garden before leaving for a long holiday weekend since I observe their car is gone.

Most days I think only of how much I enjoy continuing to live in my home even though I’ve been so remiss in not yet undertaking long delayed much-needed redecorating of the interior.   I still need to downsize my “stuff”, sort through clothes I’ve saved in different sizes, dispose of work-related materials I likely won’t use in the future, cull my book library, just to name a few attack areas.  I don’t want to leave all this for my children to cope with.    I continue to remain dedicated to the “living in place” concept, living in my home.

I leave open the possibility of moving closer to either of my children as they have encouraged me to do for many years now.   Neither of them have any interest in returning to live in California, though I think it might be a possibility in the distant future for one of them -- I could be wrong.  My philosophy all my life has been to "keep my options open", so if circumstances warrant I will acquiesce to leaving this more desirable climate.  But I've told them both, that if my mind completely goes it won't matter much where I am.  

No doubt you have future plans or arrangements for retirement and/or older age living should you find yourself suddenly living alone, becoming less mobile, or in the event you experience unpredictable health changes.   If not, it's never too early or too late to consider.                                                                                                 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

RONNI --- FAIRNESS -- AGING HUMOR

RONNI

Surgery successfully completed for Ronni Bennett who I mentioned in previous post…..her recovery in progress ….. updates are being provided by her good friend, Autumn, at “Time Goes By”.


FAIRNESS

Health care in the U.S. continues to be in a state of flux which to my way of thinking is nothing short of being criminal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could know they would have necessary health care in this wealthy nation of ours
 – that a doctor would see them other than just in the E.R.,
 – that they wouldn’t have to worry about possibly being bankrupted from a catastrophic illness?  

Why shouldn’t American citizens be entitled to health care at least as equivalent to that which we generously pay in our taxes to provide our Congressional Representatives and Senators?

The reality is that most of those we've elected could easily pay out-of-pocket for all their medical care with little or no detrimental effect on their financial situation – not so true for most ordinary people -- not true at all for others.

Here's what fact-checker Snopes says is the current status of health insurance coverage members of Congress will receive if the Affordable Care Act (ACA aka Obama Care) is repealed:  "...members of Congress have a fallback plan. They would be able to return to the FEHBP. Twenty million other Americans won’t."

We might want to ask .....

.....what are the Trump Senate health care plan bill's provisions for members of Congress coverage?  


Why aren’t all Americans regardless of political affiliation …..


….. up in arms demanding fair health insurance coverage?

…..outraged that a foreign nation has attempted to interfere in our elections – and is expected to continue doing so in the future?

…..demanding accountability from our President and his administrators demonstrating that there is no conflict of interest between their personal business interests and actions taken as our government agents?

…..requiring actions to benefit ordinary citizens be given precedence over give--aways to the wealthy?


AGING HUMOR

Decades ago, a few years after we moved to Southern California, the Los Angles NBC-TV affiliate added a couple of new young broadcasters to their on-air talent roster.   The two separately and occasionally in tandem demonstrate some comic talents they often incorporate into their portions of the news programs which they both continue to deliver. 

One is a sportscaster, the other, a weatherman – Fritz Coleman, who has been a stand-up comedian even longer.  Here’s a short, less than 5 minutes, excerpt of Fritz’s humorous comments at a 2014 Conference on Aging in Pasadena. 



Hope you have a few laughs releasing those healing endorphins.

Monday, June 19, 2017

RONNI BENNETT ----------- GIFT CARD SAGA

RONNI BENNETT  at    "TIME GOES BY" 

 ......send positive thoughts her way as she undergoes surgery Tuesday June 20th.

We Elderbloggers have benefited from her guidance, encouragement and support as she continues to write about "what it's really like to get old" -- in addition to all the other information she provides.   

THANKS RONNI!     I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN TO BLOGGING SOON.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

GIFT CARD SAGA has also been on my mind recently..........

Once upon a time …. this mother decided to surprise her daughter who was busy with working -- making plans to transport home her daughter  following University graduation, plus her  four years of accumulated belongings -- keeping their home in pristine “show” condition for prospective buyers until sold -- just to describe her primary preoccupations.   The home’s kitchen counter had been cleared of the older microwave so that quick clean cooking convenience was gone. 

Who knew how long enduring the home selling process would be necessary.   Wouldn’t being able to use  gift cards to  some favorite eating establishments, or tickets to a movie theater be nice, if you needed to exit the abode to allow  an open house or a showing…..or after unloading the car when home from University?   If I was on the opposite coast where they live, I’d be treating both of my “girls” to ease the stress.    Mother’s Day was approaching, so the gift could be especially timely, or could be saved for the weeks ahead I reasoned.   Once the house was sold there would be more packing, moving to the new residence with no less free time for either gals than before.  
           
So, I purchased gift cards I especially wanted to insert in a morale-boosting humorous greeting card -- commiserating with the harried state of their lives.  I could picture in my mind their laughing faces when the funny card and contents arrived.    Off to the post office – wisely deciding to insure the envelope’s contents – learning the card would arrive Saturday before Mother’s Day.   Perfect!   Won’t they be pleasantly surprised!    Better alert them to be certain to retrieve their mail that day from the curbside mailbox.

The surprise was mine – the suspense, then the disappointment theirs – the card did not arrive Saturday, the following Monday or any day thereafter.  Tracking on the computer reveals the envelope was never scanned after the initial scan at my post office, so showed to be always in transit, but not where.   A couple trips to my post office elicits clerk instructions to “wait a little longer”, after they check their computer verifying what I had told them.

Eventually, I phone a couple of the gift card businesses who report their cards had not been used.  Another check with the post office clerk – to be told I could file an insurance claim no sooner than 21 days after mailing.    So, after that deadline, back to the post office where this time I was told the clerk couldn’t help me when I requested an insurance claim form -- that I had to file a claim on the Internet.

When I’m told I must use the Internet, my hackles are raised as I wonder what the statistics say are the number of people without Internet usage – how do they submit a form ?   (I miss blogger Schmidley Scribblings , retired government statistician, who could shed some educated insight on the viability of this statistical  research)…. but here’s what Pew researchers said in May 2016 – 13% of adults don’t use the Internet.

I said, “What if I don’t have a computer?”  I eventually request to speak to the Supervisor who finally decides to print a copy of the form for me, then admonishes I must submit on the Internet.  I say, “Do you mean in order to submit it, I have to take it somewhere and pay to use their computer?”   She sorta shrugs, after a pause, reluctantly saying, “Bring it in” as she turns away, hurriedly closing the door to the inner sanctum behind her.   I simply wanted to find out what people without Internet connection do.  

Following that encounter, carrying my forms and receipts back and forth to the post office, I discover that my insurance receipt was now missing.   I check the car, areas where I was in the house, for the receipt, to no avail.  I thought, maybe the postal officials will accept all the other documentation I have as adequate.   Much to my surprise and relief, several days later I found the receipt hidden under the edge of my recliner.  

A week or so later, when completing the USPS insurance claim form, I note instructions on the back provide directions for mailing-- fortunate for the population I was concerned about which includes a considerable number of our older population.    I know we’ll all eventually be “connected” but there should be some provision for those who aren’t in the meantime – and having to do so, they  shouldn’t be made to feel “lesser than” for asking.  Also, computers die – power goes out – what then?  

Reminds me -- I love it when I phone my provider’s tech support number and get a recording instructing me to solve my problem on the internet -- “I can’t – I’ve lost the Internet connection!  That’s why I’m calling!!”

My final effort before mailing involves a trip to an office supply store to use their copy machine.  This results in a quite unbelievable complication – even sounds like “the dog ate my homework” excuse.  That disappearing, then reappearing insurance receipt went to extremes this time.  Placing all the paperwork on the top of the copy machine while I select purchase receipts to copy, suddenly the insurance receipt flutters away – downward -- landing on edge -- slipping into a hairline wide separation between the wall and the eight inch high baseboard – lingering briefly with one corner protruding before sliding away into some mysterious dimension before I could retrieve it.  

Two different store clerks came to explore some possible rescue, but  squinty-eye peering into the abyss through that sliver-of-an-opening evidences no sign of the white paper receipt.  Copying the rest of my documents, I am reconciled to sending what I have, in the hopes the postal service authorities will find the data sufficient to refund my gift cards value. 

The good news is I had been able to arrange for the largest card amounts to be reimbursed.   I earlier phoned each of the four businesses to verify a second time the cards had not been redeemed, then requested they be voided and the amount be reissued in some manner so I wouldn’t have to bother with the insurance.   Two businesses,  a restaurant and a coffee house), accommodated my request, but I had them send ecards as replacements.    

The movie theater had no mechanism for handling such a process for the card purchased at my supermarket – though that’s where the others had been bought and activated also.   The other card from a popular universal pizza company has a disclaimer in the small print I was told -- “cards lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or used without your permission will not be replaced nor their funds".  


So, the latter two smaller amounts, plus my postage are what I will be expecting the USPS to reimburse.   What I have learned will influence the type card purchases I might make in the future – also, whether or not I would want to send any of these cards through the mail which, as I knew  is just like putting cash in the envelope. 

I wonder about others experiences with gift cards, if they ever mail them, and if any delivery, redemption or replacement issues?    

Sunday, June 18, 2017

FATHERS ARE SPECIAL

Father's Day honors just how special fathers can be -- giving their support, their counsel -- not only when all is well, but during challenging times -- most of all for their unconditional love.  

We honor fathers present in our lives and/or those who live on only in our memories.  Fortunate are those who are able to enjoy family get-togethers -- often with several generations enlivening the gathering.   Hope each of you enjoy the day in whatever manner has been meaningful to you.  






Friday, June 09, 2017

THOUGHT.......QUESTIONS.......JUSTICE

THOUGHT – CAUTIONARY TALE

I have this habit of writing “thot” for thought and other abbreviations based on how words sound.   I use such casual shortened words in my instant messaging and email conversation.   I know there’s a whole set of such words and acronyms being used, accessible on the Internet, but I’ve never bothered to study them.  I simply make up my own, though that can be dangerous.   

My young adult granddaughter has cautioned me “thot” has a different meaning in culture today.   So, I consulted my trusty Urban Dictionary link.   Guess we all better be careful what we write:


QUESTIONS

Questions….questions….I’ve never had so many questions.....here are a few:

Should Americans be seriously concerned, as I am, that Russia (or any foreign government) interfered in our election?

Should Americans be alarmed that Russia is expected to continue to do so?

Do we need serious investigations to identify all American individuals who have engaged in actions with the Russians to affect our elections -- even if they just encouraged or invited the Russians to do so?

Why does our President not seem dedicated to protecting our nation from a potential threat to elections in our government since this is a non-partisan issue?  

Should we believe this self-described brilliant businessman is so naive as to not understand how to behave ethically as President, but if he doesn't, is that an excuse for not doing so?

Are we ever going to see the President’s taxes to rule out any business conflicts of interest with Russia, or other countries, corporations, and why won't he reveal them?

Is this administration threatening our democratic republic constitutional government? 

Is an intent for “deconstruction of the administrative state” stated as this adminstration’s agenda by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon a betrayal of allegiance to the United States of America?  

Instead of “draining the swamp” has our President created a cesspool?

Does passing Presidential Executive Orders eliminating regulations that safeguard Americans from financial exploitation and collapse really benefit ordinary citizens?

Does passing Presidential Executive Orders that eliminate consumer protections benefit ordinary citizens?   

When White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says:  “I can definitively say the President is not a liar”, is that true?  


JUSTICE

I would enjoy returning to D.C. to sight see at a more leisurely pace than the last time I went.   Years earlier trips I had there with other family were just driving Pennsylvania Avenue and passing the White House. 

My last trip several years ago I was visiting family in Virginia.   A friend who had relocated to VA had an appointment in D.C. with the FBI for some research she was doing.  Though she had a parking pass in the Bureau’s parking garage, after our long drive to D.C. I urgently needed a rest stop.   So, we had to stop hurriedly at a parking meter practically in front of the Justice Dept. and I rushed up the steps and inside. 

Unfortunately, the Justice Dept. would not allow me to utilize their facilities, since I didn't have a pass beyond the entryway.   I could see the ladies room door tantalizingly close, but beyond my access.  That resulted in my having quite a different problem -- no justice there.   (Later I learned I had an infection.) 

The parking meter on the street required coins every two hours, so my excursions the rest of the day were limited by the need to acquire the proper coins, then to feed the meter periodically and locate a rest room.  I would like to have explored much more, including the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, but especially now, since installation of the WWII Memorial.