Sunday, August 09, 2020

STRANGE JOB TRAINING EXPERIENCE PART 1

Years ago I was hired by a television production department to work with a live audience participation talk show that a broadcast corporation was programming at each of their three-state area stations.  They had a couple of then unknowns at their other stations, Phil Donahue, later David Lettermen. 

Years later after I left, our station briefly had as the show’s host Nick Clooney (father of George, a young boy at the time who a friend reported to me had strongly told her he was going to be a star).  His father, Nick's talents included his having been a big band vocalist, who also sang on the corporation’s mother TV station’s popular long-standing Ruth Lyons daytime talk/entertainment show.   

 

Our TV station’s original show’s host (now long deceased) with whom I worked was abruptly deposed after a few years while I was still there in what I have referred to as “the original here today and gone tomorrow business” as I watched turnover among what is called talent (on air personalities) in the television world.

 

I was delighted to take this position in the fifties at what seemed to be the beginning of a popular programming concept of talk shows no longer limited to late night but proliferating during the daytime as well.  Our show’s host said he was sought after by another prominent station in a major city but that he had declined for this production.  That station then hired a guy by the name of Mike Douglas whose show was produced by the since infamous Roger Ailes. 

 

Ailes came to be known in recent years for his less than credible approach to accurate news delivery as he developed Fox News for Rupert Murdoch’s agenda as documented in the book (The Loudest Voice In The Room).  Ailes finally left his high level administrative Fox position when a number of sexual misconduct accusations surfaced.  Interestingly, soon after the 2016 U.S. election of our current President, Murdoch was shown by the news media meeting with our President in Scotland for whatever their purposes which we are left to surmise.

 

When I was hired at our station, my training begun, little did I know I would become a critical conduit of conversation.   My on-the-job training experience for a week with the young woman I was replacing proved to be a most unusual one to which I adapted with a mix of awe, stifled-laughter at times, and with an incredulous reaction to what soon seemed to practically become normal. 

 

Reminds me that the experience could be thought of as a mild form of what we’ve been subjected to the past four years from our White House leader.  He persists in doing and saying so many truly bizarre things that they have almost begun to seem normal, but then that’s the desensitization process autocrats use.   In neither instance should we ever permanently accept such behavior as normal. 

 

The young woman I was replacing was leaving to wed.  Eventually, I learned from others she had earlier dated the host for whom we were working, but I don’t know how that relationship had ended and she was marrying someone else.  In any event an issue had arisen he, our “boss”, had chosen to interpret as her being insubordinate by failing to follow his directive and he said as much.

 

As I understood later from others, she was to go to the restaurant across the road from the station and bring patrons from there to the studio to be the audience for that day’s show.  He clearly preferred having the studio filled with a live audience on that icy cold snowy wintry day when the fifty plus people who had reserved all the seating had been unable to travel from another city to our studio in their chartered bus.

 

In the recounting of this story from others, and as I came to know him, though we never talked about that matter, I think I know what happened.  I think he had hastily mentioned where we might get an audience but had not given it serious consideration.  She had likely quickly and adamantly stated she had no intention of soliciting an audience in that manner.  Though he may not have been entirely serious about having her perform this duty, he apparently chose to exercise his employer/employee prerogative with the whole matter going out of control between the two of them, never to be resolved. 

 

This tale has become a bit long, so I’ll continue it next week and you’ll understand then why I consider my week long on the job training experience to have been unusual, strange and even a bit bizarre.

 

Sunday, August 02, 2020

LIFE'S VARIETIES -- OCTOPUSES -- FRIEND'S QUIETUS

Life isn’t much different for me right now than it would usually be this time of year when I would typically be staying indoors during the day due to the heat.  Temperatures have suddenly moved into the three-digit Fahrenheit numbers from this summer’s unusually less-warm July days.  Now, humidity is very low with winds whipping around to combine with these high temperatures creating a climate of high fire danger.

So, as I write this, three fires rage in our Southern California surrounding area with at least one having zero containment, requiring some families to vacate their homes with only one such structure reported lost so far.   Thousands of acres are burning with the possibility arson may be a cause in some situations.  How firefighters weighted down with protective clothing and equipment manage to combat these flames in such threatening conditions boggles my mind.  I’m thankful to not be in danger where I live.

Those residents needing to seek safety and shelter due to fire must also contend with the dangers associated with contracting Covid-19.   This virus complicates life for even unthreatened-by-fire ordinary people, especially those without air conditioning who need to seek cooling centers, a few of which have opened.   People seeking safety from the fires or respite from the heat, or both, are required to wear masks, observe social distancing which limits the number of people facilities can accommodate as well as the activities with which people can engage while there.    

This extremely contagious virus continues to spread excessively with a segment of the population refusing to follow recommended safety precautions.   I continue to find it disappointingly incredible that some of my fellow Americans care so little about their own well-being and not at all for that of others despite the obvious potential life and death health issues.

Life for humans and all of Earth’s other creatures continues to be fascinating to me.   I resumed participation in a book club with which I’d been involved for a few years.  Members have changed considerably since my last presence as death has taken its toll on these primarily seniors, but new readers have joined the group.  This was our first virtual meeting as a few gathered in a local retirement community where they lived, with the rest of us Zooming in from our residences.   

The book we discussed was a unique one which I thoroughly enjoyed reading:   Award winning Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.    The wonder of consciousness is explored with exceptional writing moving this story along with fascinating facts I had not known.  The author’s educated observations were colored with emotional elements I had never imagined could occur between an octopus and human beings.   Descriptions of interactions with several octopuses – yes, that’s the plural not octopi – clearly evidence they each had distinct personalities.  I could never have imagined these short-lived sea creatures could be so interesting. 

I have since pondered the lives of all creatures, including those many varieties in our oceans.  I consider what is known of dolphins, whales, sharks, fish, along with lesser-known-to-me sea life as well as sea urchins, crabs, lobsters we thrust live into boiling water to then devour their meat.  We humans pride ourselves in our superior intelligence, even our humanity, but what about these creatures? 

I found myself wondering if we do discover life on other planets, or should life forms even eventually find us to visit our planet, what might they be like physically, with what moral and ethical values, if any?  Might habitual lying as a means to an end be acceptable behavior as even some humans exhibit?  What might they be like if in possession of emotions?   What might be the implications for we humans?

Remember the original Rod Serling “Twilight Zone” episode entitled “To Serve Man”? Here’s an abridged version:



Thinking about life and death as occurs in all life forms, I’m reminded of recently discovering on the internet an obituary of a friend who died several months earlier, finally confirming what I had been concerned was likely to have occurred.  She had held the 2006 celebration of life in her home in conjunction with many of my husband’s and our old friends after his death.  My children and I with others had travelled there from our respective homes to share that loving experience with one another. 

She was my last connection with any living friend or family member where I also lived many years of my life having key experiences –- where I met my husband, had earlier become politically active, served my first jury duty, effectively diluted with like-minded friends a covert racial discrimination situation, and shared many still treasured memories with then a large family and an abundance of friends on numerous occasions.        

My friend and I had abruptly ended our last phone conversation when she heard some of her family arriving just as she had begun to discuss some concerning personal family matters, expecting we would resume our conversation later.   We never had contact after that.  My letters, while never returned, or phone messages with the number’s recorded message soon changed to be more formal, elicited no response when I periodically called.  Efforts to reach a couple of her adult children I had never met were unsuccessful.   A rumor had been shared with me a few years earlier that she might have Alzheimer’s but was not verified -- I still don’t know. 

The number of living loved ones I have left have dwindled beyond any total I could ever have imagined.  Seems strange to think of myself as the elder in my family and now even among my few remaining living friends.  Just as many have shared here, one of the more difficult aspects of aging is the loss of friends and family which never gets easier.  We treasure the memories and we get on with life as those who care for us want us to do.  

I expect some of you are reading some interesting books, too, some of which may stimulate your thinking to go in many directions.   Maybe you’re engaged in crafts, or any one of a multitude of other activities attractive to you during these challenging times.  Likely your thoughts may occasionally take you on flights of fancy and speculation as mine sometimes do. 

Do continue to stay safe and as healthy as you can be.  Treasure whatever contact you may have with family and friends.   Take comfort in knowing that in time this situation in which we live shall pass.  My only question is, “will that be before or after I do?” she asked quizzically with a chuckle! 
  

Sunday, July 26, 2020

SANITY IN AN INSANE WORLD

Still trying to keep my sanity in an insane world.   Either that or I’m insane trying to find sanity.  I continue to be alarmed by the trends toward nationalism and dictatorships around the world, including those leaders who have falsely led their populace to believe they were being offered democratic freedoms.

After the lives lost and destruction of WWII in Europe and environs I could never have imagined in my lifetime the people living in any of those countries would be seduced by such leaders again, as has happened in Poland, Turkey, Hungry to name a few.  However, in some instances citizen betrayal has occurred with their government acting contrary to the majorities wishes -- a concern about which we in the U.S. should make sure does not occur here.  

We’ve known about the repressive regimes of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Egypt and how could we forget those other Middle East nations.  Leaders of these countries have seemed to be admired by our current President which we might wonder if he wishes to emulate.

What exactly is it that allows such individuals to gain control, then keep them in power to gradually become dictators?  Some especially descriptive items follow that I’ve purloined from elsewhere -- I apologize for having lost the source for attribution. 

--creating instability, inconsistency, confusion to keep everyone off balance.
--encouraging dissension, conflict, chaos to create anger, fear and mentally fatigue citizens.

There’s little doubt all these have been and continue to be deliberately fostered in the U.S. during these past four years.

--requiring changes that violate moral treatment of other human beings.
--accepting of citizens/law enforcement by acting to enforce immoral treatment of other human beings.
--desensitization of citizens with gradually increasing immoral treatment of individuals or groups not approved of by the leader.

One such example that leaps to my mind are those adults and children seeking asylum who were and some still are separated -- how they’ve been housed/caged; the U.S. government officials and employees who’ve carried out orders from our nation’s leader causing this immorality and injustice.

-- lying excessively to their citizens and anyone questioning their lies is denied, belittled, imprisoned, “disposed of “. 
--repressing, then demonizing their news media by favoring only those printing the government’s positive news with fake facts. 

The record of our nation’s leader’s lies is endless as are instances that can be interpreted as retaliation against those questioning him.  The news media individuals, social media and organizations parroting his lies with most all others condemned by our leader are obvious to anyone paying attention to facts and truth.

--accommodating judiciary reflecting their leader’s views over what is in the best interest of the individual citizens by interpreting codes, laws, or constitution to protect the leader’s views.
--enforcing the law and using security forces who act on behalf of the leader/dictator to the detriment of any opposition groups. 

We need only look to our Attorney General to consider whether or not the above is occurring.   Now, we have questionable U.S. Government individuals claiming to be enforcing law and order that local and state officials in Portland, Oregon allege are, in fact, inciting increased violence by their actions against protestors. 

--writing laws and rules by individuals like a congress or parliament supposedly representing citizens but in actual functioning they simply parrot the acts desired by the nation’s leader.  
--maintaining quasi-government branches that are basically toothless to do anything other than reflect their leader’s point of view. 

We look to the actions or inactions of our U.S. Senate Majority Leader and that august group to see whose views they support and it’s generally not that of the citizen majority they claim to represent.   Governmental branches of our Congress, Justice Department, even Supreme Court evidence being toothless.  Multiple key government department heads have been replaced with individuals who are often without knowledge or experience in the area they direct, others appointed or hired who might be considered incompetent. 

--managing/manipulating elections to keep the leader in power.
--titling of these leaders who become dictators include calling themselves Presidents (as in Russia), or using a religious term for their leader (as in Iran’s theocracy).

Voting repression techniques, efforts to adversely affect citizen trust in our voting system, attempts to prevent mail-in election ballots being used including failure to support the United States Postal Service with adequate funding to provide necessary services are ongoing.

Do the violent acts of some U.S. Government agents in Portland concern you?   I’ve wondered if they are pawns being used -- possibly reacting to those amongst peaceful protestors who remind me of Germany’s dirty-work Brown Shirts prior to that government’s dictatorial take-over decades ago -- violence prone groups our President has been “dog-whistling” (think of Charlottesville, VA) ever since he became our leader.  Now he wants to pursue this same policy, calling it establishing law and order, in other American cities contrary to wishes of city and state leaders there. 

Under no circumstances should this President be given cause to be able to declare martial law!

I’ve never before in my lifetime felt my freedoms so threatened.   Does any of the above give you cause for concern?  Is our Capitalistic Constitutional Democratic Republic with our freedoms in jeopardy at risk?   Is this actually occurring in the United States? 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

UNPREDICTABILITY, PRIORITIES, SIMPLIFICATIONS

  
We’re well into the summer which brings three digit temperatures some days here in Southern California.   Given that I adhere to staying indoors during such times, my air conditioning system having been serviced to prepare for such weather, I haven’t been bothered by this heat.

Perhaps, like many of you, I continue to follow the “stay at home” health scientist’s admonitions we’re given to minimize contracting Covid-19.  I find it incredibly unbelievable that there are those continuing to fail to recognize or respect the seriousness of this virus for themselves and others.

They seem to not have a mind of their own, blindly following our nation’s leader – as do so many in his administration, our Congress and even the Justice Dept. – by taking few precautions to lessen the potential of spreading this contagious disease.   Future generations studying history will read of this time, incredulously wondering how so many people could use such poor judgement as to make no effort to stem the tide of illness and death in the U.S. from Covid-19.

We do know life is unpredictable but there are some actions we can take to enhance our own lives and minimize events we might wish to avoid happening.  My own most recent unpredictable experience has resulted in my welcoming visits from a home health nurse who has aided in addressing some continuing frustrating medical issues.   

I recently chose to use our city’s local senior transportation system as I have done twice in past years when it was either most convenient or I felt it was unwise to drive myself.  Unfortunately, this outing was not as satisfactory, but I may be able to avoid the issue in the future.   The driver returning me home told me how to circumvent her office’s repeating the problem.      

Those I’ve encountered have worn masks and observed the recommended six feet separation.   I’m still able to avoid grocery store shopping between internet ordering, and younger neighbors purchasing items I request when they shop for themselves.   I expect to soon drive myself to occasionally pick up orders and go to select restaurant drive thrus as I had been doing. 

When I encounter limitations causing changes in my daily activities I can find myself simplifying my life, reassessing what is necessary, establishing priorities.   I’m frustrated with having to allow some needed tasks to go undone, but sometimes we have no choice but to proceed taking care of only the bare necessities. 

Simplicity and what is necessary is relative, perhaps on a continuum as I’m reminded of reflections I’ve had on the topic.   Time spent housecleaning is one such item for consideration.  My view about what matters, what is important, has changed through the years, just as has my differentiating between wants and needs, a matter of judgement.  

If I want to get down to the basics/minimum, all I need is food/nourishment, shelter to stay dry, cool, or warm, and clothing though some might question that latter need.    Everything after that may be optional, governed by what else I have incorporated into my life. However, I must admit there does seem to be much more I’ve grown accustomed to thinking of as necessary that has evolved over time in terms of possessions and their care including the house interior. 

I’m not really desirous of acquiring many items so that poses little problem.  Caring for my house interior does present a problem as I’m reluctant to have someone unknown to me come to provide interior help during this virus, but I’m way past due in being able to keep up.   

A most recent contact I was given seems to no longer be available with the phone not accepting calls.  So, my challenge has become reconciling myself to seeking assistance elsewhere and trusting it will be a safe experience.   Clearly, this is a need at this point, a necessary simplification to my life.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

 A penny for your thoughts.....as we’re nickeled and dimed…..dollared, too?  Reminds me…..

You may have guessed what has prompted this topic -- a fast food restaurant employee, then the manager on another occasion deliberately withheld a penny I was owed in change.  The employee said they were deliberately doing so to eliminate dispensing loose pennies.   When I called each of them on the error, at least the employee appeared chagrined, but another time when the manager shortchanged me, I didn’t even get an apology, just a silly grin, even after I said I lived on a fixed income and every penny counted.   I figure if he gets away with cheating me on a penny he might just decide to escalate the amount to see how much more he can get away with doing. 

This restaurant has since closed for remodeling, has remained so for months now since the Covid-19 virus emerged, so I’ll have to wait a while to see how they conduct their business when they reopen. 

First they would take our pennies – rounding off to the higher number i.e. $6.00 if actual cost is $5.99 – then, could nickels be next, followed by dimes, etc., I wondered?   This called for a Google search which led me to discover pennies were phased out in Canada beginning in 2013.   And…an economist there has said the nickel could be next.

Coin elimination discussion has been occurring periodically, prompting pro and con responses you can access by clicking on either of these nation links: United Kingdom, U.S.A. (https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/02/two-senators-announce-plan-to-eliminate-penny-replace-dollar-bi/22022666/ )
But could the paper dollar be turned into a coin as was proposed in recent years?  Really?  Remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar?

Actually the United Kingdom has decided to keep pennies in circulation even as we move toward a cashless society. 

As for eliminating our paper dollar the view on doing this has flipped since discovering over the last decade the dollar bill is actually lasting twice as long as it did so no reason to change now.

Whatever your point of view, this minor insignificant coin issue does serve as a slight momentary distraction from all the other world matters boggling our minds. 

Now, it seems we have an actual coin shortage in the U.S.   Actually, officials describe the issue as simply a supply and demand problem, that there is no real shortage.

“The coin shortage could renew the debate about the fate of the penny, which has faced calls for abolition because its purchasing power has fallen and its cost of production has eclipsed its value.”

Eliminating the penny in the U.S. has not yet occurred.  Until it does, then I expect exact change when I make a purchase, and that includes receiving even one penny if that’s what I’m due.  If a business wants to keep that penny, then they need to ask my permission to do so or raise the price of their product to eliminate needing to give me a penny in change. 

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to count my pennies, pick one up from the sidewalk as I did when a child, since finding one is considered to be a good luck sign, even though I claim to not be superstitious.  

Pennies From Heaven

This youtube video is from the 1981 movie of the same title starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Christopher Walken.  The original movie starred Bing Crosby in 1936.  This 1981 movie version is an unappreciated musical showcasing Steve Martin’s talents beyond being just a crazy comedian as he was known at the time.




There are some additional videos of music, dance scenes you can view including Christopher Walken in his prime dancing “Let’s Misbehave” – a male striptease act bar none.




Sunday, July 05, 2020

THRIVING IN PLACE LESSONS LEARNED

“Life gets more exciting with each passing day” she said sarcastically.  So many lines like that one come to my mind from song lyrics, though the song subject from which they come has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what I’m writing about here.

So many lessons I’m learning in this adventure of “living and thriving in place.”  Most recently I was simply minding my own business preparing to perch myself on the throne in my bathroom when all the lights went out.  They didn’t seem to be coming back on any time soon so having completed my business I arose in the deep dark blackness of night to carefully exit the room, slowly walking down the hallway to my bedroom, then feeling my way over to my bed where I keep a light within easy reach for just such emergencies. 

Having managed to not trip or fall, I then comfortably lit my way back to the living room.  I learned from this excursion I need to strategically place some little flashlights around the house to augment what I thought were sufficient placements.  Existing flashlights for my bedroom,  one handily placed in my living room and kitchen (where I once experienced a similar sudden light loss) are insufficient.  

Definitely, I want a flashlight of some sort in each of my other rooms, including my bathrooms.  So, I’m acquiring several of those inexpensive little LED lights to use for just that purpose.  In addition to always keeping my cell phone in my pocket wherever I go around the house, should I now carry one of those little flashlights, too?  Lights can unpredictably go out at any time.   During the worst of our fire season there can be more such incidents.  Though this is an infrequent event, when the lights go out it can be dangerous, especially if walking has become a bit less secure than it once was. 

Life has continued to be a bit complex with issues surrounding this Covid-19 virus only complicating matters.   A specialist I was to see for a second visit suddenly retired.  Efforts to obtain information or even reach a person with whom to talk, since my repeated messages left, go unanswered, have elicited no response for a couple weeks.  This matter is yet to be resolved.

Recognizing I can benefit from some assistance at home, even if just temporary, I finally concluded after considering the virus spreading situation, to allow a person known to me to begin regular visits.   After my helper’s first visit she phoned to advise recent L.A. County Health Department news reports of increasing virus infections leading to recommendations residents ratchet back their outside activities and to stay at home had given her concern.  She had decided to stay home, so I was back at square one in obtaining the assistance I sought.   

There has been an increase in the number of infected people in our city, two people have died.   Our closest local area hospital is reported to be at 80% capacity with beds for Covid-19 patients but say they are well positioned to accommodate more, if need be, and to safely accept the general public with ordinary needs. 

The only other person to spend time in my house since February was an AC/Furnace person to provide general service preparatory for our summer heat.  I had my unit go down once during a heat wave and had to wait several days before service could be provided.  Weather extremes don’t agree with me as well as they once did when I was younger, so I judged this visit a welcomed risk since he was masked and the area indoors he needed to see was limited.   

There are more incidental issues with which I am dealing, all of which are time consuming, none the least of which is needing to complete my income tax forms, which infringe on time I might otherwise focus on blog visits, so please know I’ve not forgotten readers here.

Are those of you living and thriving in place learning any adaptation lessons, or have you encountered any unique complications aggravating your life because of this virus?

Sunday, June 28, 2020

HUMEROUS OR OTHERWISE FAMILY STORIES

Escaping the ever-present effects on our lives from “the virus” – that viral one in the atmosphere and the other one in the White House, my mind has taken respite in all sorts of humor-eliciting matter – cartoons, satirical writing and viewing performers whose perspective on daily life often reveals a bizarre point of view reminding me of just how crazy life can be. 

Also, crossing my mind are recollections of laugh worthy events or circumstances I’ve experienced.  I am reminded of stories generations share that are unique to each family contributing to the special bonds to one another we feel. 

My mother shared a few tales from her early nineteen hundred’s young life that titillated our family.   We were still primarily an agrarian society just beginning to give way to becoming industrialized.   Small farmers prospered as did her father.   Homes were gradually becoming modernized with electricity, telephones, outhouses giving way to indoor plumbing, likewise well water pumps were placed inside the kitchen.   

My maternal grandfather was considered progressive, so his neighbor farmers sometimes razzed him by asking when he was going to get one of those new-fangled automobiles.  He would respond that he was waiting to get an airplane. 

Mother would relate neighborhood tales that aroused her community at the time, such as one Halloween some enterprising young farm boys thought it would be hilarious to upset one farmer’s outhouse, so they did.  What they hadn’t counted on, was that someone was in it at the time.

Then, there was the young niece who took great delight in explaining to all who would listen who the relatives were that were pictured on the wall.   All would wait to hear her say, “And that is Grandpa Hall’s Hyde!” 

One of mother’s favored tales was about her father when their rural farm community finally had a telephone system – one with party lines shared with a few neighbors.    Each person’s phone line had a different ring, such as one short and two long rings, or one long, a short and another long ring, for example.  The caller cranked their phone accordingly to reach the party they wanted.  If one party was on the phone, none of the others could make a call.

One day, some sort of problem came up for my Grandfather who felt he needed to make a call post haste.  He kept picking up the phone to find the same neighbor lady, known for using the line a lot, was on the line talking to another woman.  Considerable time passed and each time my Grandfather picked up the phone she was still on the line. 

Phone users on the line could tell if someone picked up the phone as there would be a click when they picked up their phone and another click when they hung up so this would discourage eves-droppers.  Also, it would indicate to the phone line user that someone else wanted to use the line, so as a matter of courtesy the user typically would make an effort to end their call quickly.

On the occasion of my Grandfather’s call effort, considerable time elapsed and she remained on the line.  Quite contrary to his character, my grandfather became quite exasperated.  Finally he picked up the phone once more, heard the woman say, “...so I washed down as far as possible and then ....” to which my grandfather interrupted by saying, “Well, why don’t you go wash possible and get off this line so I can make a call!”

I still chuckle to myself, picturing that scene, though I never knew my grandfather since he had died years before I was born. 

Are there stories unique to your family that are shared with great relish with one another?

Sunday, June 21, 2020

SPECIAL FATHERS

This will be a unique year to celebrate Father's Day as we cope with Covid-19, striving to protect loved ones, friends, others and ourselves from this virus.    I'm not getting around to visiting other's blogs but hope to get back to doing so soon.   Please know I continue to be interested in what you each write and will catch up eventually.

Father's Day honors just how special fathers of all races, creeds and colors can be.   They can provide their support, unique counsel -- not only when all is well, but during challenging times.  Most of all they can be treasured for giving 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 though that may not be possible this year.  I hope each of you enjoy this celebration in whatever manner is meaningful to you. 


Sunday, June 14, 2020

LIFE MOVING FORWARD

Blogging was mostly not on my agenda this past week.  Now that I’m feeling closer to being back among the living, thought I’d put a few words here. 

Life has presented another of its unexpected intrusions into my usual activities which accounts for why I haven’t written here since the end of May.   Seems ordinary infections (likely not Covid-19, though I haven’t been tested) decided to gang up to complicate my life.  I could easily write pretty negative commentary on how my medical needs were addressed, causing me to experience more pain than I should have though I have a high tolerance level.

Suffice it to say for the first time ever I finally had to resort to using telemedicine which, so far, has proven to be a correct choice.   So with medication quelling infection I can get back to any follow-up with my regular GP’s and specialist’s medical care without needlessly having to call 911 to go to the hospital emergency room. 

In addition to regularly checking my temperature, I had recently purchased a pulse oximeter to track my oxygen saturation levels since people with Covid-19 can experience levels out of the norm in some instances, according to this Yale Medicine article discussing whether or not everyone should purchase an oximeter. 

...it’s important to know that a level between 95 and 97% is considered normal by the American Lung Association; anything below that would be a reason to call a doctor, and anything under 90% would be a reason to go to the emergency room.”

I continue to have real concern with the instances of individuals gathering without following safety precautions, the ramifications for the future spread of Covid-19.  I will remain “safe at home”,  limiting my outings to only being in my car for pick-ups, select drive-thru restaurants. 

Some poor troll or their bot with nothing better to do keeps trying to obtain free promotion leaving cutsie comments on many of my blog posts, current and earlier.  After multiple efforts to publish on the same post you’d think they could figure out it wasn’t working – is easy for me to send to spam. 

Unfortunately, I reacquainted myself with the floor in my bedroom the end of the week, so have some re-strengthening or acquiring possibly more support for a rebellious leg in my immediate future.  Getting up off the floor when you live alone can present a challenge.  I have invented in my mind a “tush lifter” but won’t pursue manufacture.

So much more happened this past week with which most reading here are likely quite familiar – a social justice long overdue in this nation evolved into Black Lives Matter groups protest marches across this nation.   A triggering video showing the death of a black man as an example of alleged police brutality enraged all.   Protests have emerged around the world.   I could elaborate extensively on how the White House occupant, and other so-called administrators party to his antics, have or have not addressed these issues, but will say only he continues to disgust me.  

Before I started feeling less healthy I drove for a pickup I had scheduled.  A half mile from my home on famous old Route 66/Foothill Blvd. officers had just stopped traffic as a never-ending line of masked marchers streamed across the street headed downtown.  I was soon directed to turn, so had to circle around for a different route that initially took me up the street the marchers were coming down.   Uninvited tears came to my eyes seeing all ages, all genders, all races carrying their signs in a line of people that just went on forever.    I occasionally tooted my car’s horn, gave marchers a thumbs up which was all I could do.  I am past actually marching ability though my active involvement in issues has always taken a quite different form. 

Local news reported our police found a number of metal baseball bats, one filled with material to make it heavier, planted in bushes on a corner one block from my home.  The parade did not go that route as they headed to our police station.  Clearly some individuals had what could have been unpleasant actions thwarted.  Reportedly while march arrangements were made in advance with the police, those directing the action did not reveal their name(s).   

I wonder now -- will change actually continue to be made when the marches end?   Will the issue of racial discrimination and all that entails finally be confronted in open discussion by all?  Will serious sincere efforts be made to recognize we are all human, to treat all people equally, that skin color has nothing to do with equality?   What do you think about those prospects, oximeters or anything else I wrote about?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

PEACEFUL PROTESTS HIJACKED

I hardly know what to write since describing the relaxation of some Covid-19 virus restrictions in Los Angeles County where I live was among the items of my expected focus.  I intended to note I thought this re-opening businesses might be premature – that I expected to continue to observe “staying at home”, wearing my mask when I do go out only to drive-thrus or for pickups. 

Who knows now how the protest events of this weekend you probably have heard about will impact the virus spread.   Maybe the infection will primarily be spread among the criminal element.  We’ll see when the infection rate surfaces in a couple weeks after the incubation period.    

Across the U.S. there have been peaceful but angry protests over the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Three other officers stood by as the victim was saying “I can’t breathe”.   

These erupting protests have descended into violence, rioting and looting in at least 30 U.S. cities. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Ana, Portland, Miami, New York City, Washington D.C.,  Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Denver, Salt Lake City, Nashville among others with some having instituted curfews earlier, bracing for unrest.

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An NBC-TV News reporter said he was told an L.A. protest march was initiated by a 17-year-old
with the aid and support of his parents, including their plan to hand out water bottles, to peacefully bring attention to the death of George Floyd.  As the protest proceeded increasing groups joined their march which was also infiltrated by some motivated by other than peace who eventually subsumed the peaceful element.   

Professor Erroll Southers, a former FBI Agent interviewed on NBC-TV, described how extremist organizations have been reported to leverage Covid-19 to recruit others to their cause and into criminal acts just as they also use protest marches to incite civil violence.   

Los Angeles County Sheriff  Alex Villanueva describes them as “professional anarchists” – starting fires, vandalizing, creating havoc.  There are also the garden variety hoodlums, criminals and opportunists ready to create or take advantage of any situation.  Hundreds can be arrested though most are released the next day with only misdemeanor charges.  A few hard criminals are retained with felony charges, some including arson, burglary, vandalism.

The extremists often are the ones who may actually initiate breaking businesses windows and doors, then stepping back as the crowd mentality prompts others to invade the premises to steal all they can carry.  I feel so sorry for the violated businesses, most especially the small business owners who are struggling through the virus lock-down and some who were readying to open on a limited basis beginning today. 

TV news covered events as they were happening in Los Angeles Saturday – people scurrying in and out of businesses with their loot which they loaded into curbside cars, setting fires, some instances of throwing rocks other items at police.   There was an attempt to break into CBS studios which was finally thwarted by closing the gate.

LAPD and the Fire Department were stretched thin with over 1500 calls for firefighters.  Officers had to be assigned to accompany firefighters to ensure their safety.  Friday firefighters had one of their fire hoses put into the fire by the criminal element as attempts to extinguish a fire were being made.   

L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s ultimate request to California Governor Nusom resulted in a State of Emergency in Los Angeles being declared with a thousand National Guardspersons arriving Saturday at midnight.   A city-wide curfew was declared from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. this Sunday morning.  Anyone out is subject to arrest as a misdemeanor.

The concentration of TV news on Los Angeles events caused me to wonder what was happening in the multitude of surrounding L.A. county cities.  The decline of press and media available through local newspapers and especially free radio stations news shows can make citizens less informed about immediate events in their community.   I was able to find an area newspaper, Daily Bulletin, which has developed a website to carry timely local news, reporting protests that have been occurring nearby where I live. 

There was some reason for my concern since one of my town’s next-door city neighbors east of Los Angeles has often had some worrisome activities in year’s past before we moved here when there was a riot in L.A.    Years later there was an event causing significant unrest in response to a trial acquitting white officers of beating a black man stopped for arrest, Rodney King, who later made a simple plea in a press conference apropos today.


The neighbor city did, indeed, have a protest march involving 250 people organized by three high school students.  They reported people were reluctant to become involved because of violence that had erupted in other cities but said they were trying to make it safe as possible which it was for several hours.  

They did march north closer to our city but were blocked by the California Highway Patrol from entering a major freeway.  However, in the evening 40 marchers went south on to another freeway slowing traffic but followed by law enforcement that halted traffic behind them.  The marchers finally left the freeway and dispersed.  

As serious as this situation is let’s not give a true protest a bad name in the memory of George Floyd.   Let’s not allow the criminal actions of some across this country to end our right to have peaceful protests.

There are limits as to what more law and order can achieve though some will press for that alone.  Tougher laws are not and have not been the solution.  The issues that precipitate inequality in our great nation must be strongly addressed in addition to ensuring our safety if we genuinely desire to resolve these issues.