Sunday, May 27, 2012


5/30/12 Up Date USS IOWA arrives off the coast in San Pedro

5/29/12 Up Date With Videos

Memorial Day commemorates those whose lives were sacrificed while serving our nation. All branches of military service are honored for their efforts intended to protect our liberties.  Ground troops, airborne squadrons, fleets of ships have been launched in our name.  
One of those ships built in 1940 was the USS IOWA.  She’s become known as the “’world’s greatest naval ship’ [based on] her big guns, heavy armor, fast speed, longevity and modernization [because] she kept pace with technology for 50 years.”   The ship is the fourth to be named in honor of our 29th state.

The USS IOWA also known as “The Battleship of Presidents” left San Francisco yesterday, Saturday, heading to her new home port in the Los Angeles area.   She’ll receive some refurbishing to become “…the most interactive and educational museum of its kind,” then is expected to provide public tours in July. in addition to the information above is providing streaming video via links, including Facebook, of the ship’s expected four day journey. 

                                                                                                                                                  6:57 mins.

Battleship USS IOWA was launched in 1942, was the only ship in her class to serve in the Atlantic before being transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1944.    She served in WWII, Korea, then in 1984 became part of a 600-ship navy plan to operate in both the Atlantic and Pacific to counter the Soviet Navy.
During WWII in addition to major combat operations she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a secret meeting.   Several serious life-threatening mishaps occurred during the time the President was on board.   Those interesting stories and many more are recounted in an extensive Wikipedia article encompassing the ship’s entire history.   One side story is that the ship had been outfitted with a bathtub for the President since he could not stand for a shower due to his polio paralysis many years earlier.  

In 1984 USS IOWA was engaged in several humanitarian efforts in South America.  On July 4, 1986 President Ronald Regan and First Lady Nancy Reagan boarded the ship for an international National Review held on the Hudson River.   In September 1987 the ship joined the 6th fleet in the Mediterranean as support in the Iran-Iraq War.    The Iowa had earlier returned to U.S. waters, then in 1989 experienced a tragic loss of lives due to on board gunpowder explosions later proven to be through no fault of one of the deceased seaman initially accused. 

Iowa earned nine battle stars for World War II service, two for Korean War service and additional awards.

There have been many cutbacks in defense expenditures through the years with the Iowa in and out of activity.  Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act 2006 requiring naval preparedness that has resulted in the USS IOWA being kept in a condition the ship could be used if ever needed. 

Subsequent years of planning, meetings, and negotiations ultimately resulted in these plans Wikipedia describes which have begun:

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s yacht, The Potomac, has escorted the Iowa out of the San Francisco Bay, and now the ship is being tugged down the West Coast to Berth 87 in the Port of Los Angeles for its final sea voyage expected to take four days. 


"This floating museum is scheduled to open to the public 7 July 2012 at Berth 87 along the Main Channel, directly south of the World Cruise Center."     

I hope this warship need only remain a museum as I think of the valiant millions in all wars who have had their lives taken from them.  I do wonder if the day will ever come when our nation's men and women can all live in peace?  I am eternally grateful especially to those WWII veterans who insured our freedom and that our  homeland remained safe. 

Monday, May 21, 2012


Solution for Senior Over-Population 

(Please note this is a much abbreviated version of an article I had written about this film which may be better.  I’m relying heavily on extracted quotes from the Producer’s email to me in the interest of publishing tonight.   My much more  original content escaped into the digital netherworld during a transfer process to publishing.)

Life after death is a familiar topic often discussed from the view of religion, esotericism, and metaphysics.   Science Fiction often recounts stories of life and afterlife in other dimensions.  A  film I recently viewed suggested the possibility of life continuance in a digital world.

Life Begins At  Rewirement,” written and directed by Trevin Matcek, is a short film recently premiered at the NYC Tribeca Film Festival.   You may view this film by clicking on the title (24+ mins. - a several sec. promo precedes.)   Public Broadcasting (PBS) is airing the film on many of their stations Futurestates series now in its third season.  

“Elder care in the future and the challenges of taking your loved one into a revolutionary retirement home” is the film focus.   Our goal was to engage and entertain while presenting a thoughtful portrait of one very difficult day for a family."

“Set in the near future, LIFE BEGINS AT REWIREMENT follows a man named Simon Ender on the day he checks his 100-year-old mother, Jessica, into a revolutionary senior care center. The strained relationship of mother and son is put to the test as Jessica transitions from her aging body and declining mental state to a data bank with infinite access to all of her memories. Simon comes face-to-face with feelings of guilt, insecurity and ultimately love, as he decides on his mother’s welfare and what is best for her.”   Related by the film’s Producer, An Tran.

Writer/director Matcek was inspired to create this science fiction film as he considered his own aging parents and health care’s future.   His hope is to stimulate conversation on some of these issues frequently not discussed in mainstream media.  

I found the film to be entertaining, thought-provoking and disturbing pending some unanswered questions deliberately left to each viewers interpretation.   Also, the mother’s dementia is actually Alzheimer’s according to the director in a post viewing chat room conversation in which I participated.  This difference did somewhat alter some of my perceptions and reactions.  All Alzheimer’s patients develop dementia, but not all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s. My view of her communication skills and prognosis allowed for a different perspective.  
Depending on how I viewed aspects of the ending my attitude toward the choice made by the son could be accepting or, possibly strongly rejecting. 

So the questions follow, including:

Is this “eternal life” option a choice you would select for yourself or a loved one?
What do you think of the language “senior over-population?”
Exactly what sort of “life” is this and is it preferable to a nursing home?
What exactly are we proposing here as a way to resolve out-of-control health care costs?

The essence of the elder or senior "lives" on as ...... 

UP DATE 5/23/12

I want to clarify that "Senior Over-Population" is a term not used within the film itself.  "Over-Population" does appear on a screen in part of a welcoming to the retirement community  introductory message the Mother receives while waiting for her son to return to her side.  There is accompanying brief comment about the burgeoning number of centenarians like her.   "Senior" added to it I encountered elsewhere, which I've learned may be attributed to others than the film's writer/director.      . 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


We Californians just received the news -- seems the State’s budget deficit projection of $ 9 billion was off a bit.   Expected monies have not materialized, so our budget deficit is now expected to be a little higher – say……  $$$ 16 B I L L I O N  !!!

How solvent is your State ... or nation, if you're a reader from another country, since there are problems over much of the world?

California has some serious choices ahead we’re told – some taxes or cutbacks to our already bleeding education system and programs for those who have the least and need the most.  

Just a few days ago a news story revealed Google’s co-founder is giving up his U.S. citizenship to move with his billions to Singapore.  This means he’ll likely not pay as much federal and state tax as he would have otherwise, so no help for California there.  

Increasing numbers of Americans are renouncing their citizenship but I don't know what all the individuals reasons are for doing so.  There are pros and cons about whether tax increases will cause even more Americans to leave the country, taking their money with them, thus avoiding taxes.

Most were probably educated in this country, or as in the Google co-founder's case (he's also a citizen of Brazil,) he attended Harvard and had the benefit of contacts he made there plus our whole system of business opportunity.  

What about all those individuals and corporations who have secretive off shore bank accounts?

Financial institutions outside the U.S. are required to report information about the income and accrued payed interest to American clients accounts effective in January 2013.   We'll see how that all works out.  

Doesn’t loyalty, gratitude, a desire to help the State, nation and people by fully paying the required tax rate rather than finding ways to avoid doing so seem ethically appropriate -- especially in these challenging times?   

Sunday, May 13, 2012


[These following recollections of mine are dedicated to all those mothers and children who did not survive the Holocaust, though my memories are unrelated to the horrific events of those years.   I am prompted to offer this symbolic commemoration since in recent months I've been listening to a child survivor of those harrowing times relate her recently deceased mother's emotionally moving words recounting the harrowing experiences of their survival.]


My long time Southern California best friends are experiencing parent care giving challenges similar to those I had years ago, as so many Boomers face today --  needing to assist older loved ones to live independently.    Almost ten years younger than I -- both recently retired, their children now adults with families of their own -- my friends are positioned differently than I was thirty years ago to provide parents needed help.

I was fortunate that once my Mother relocated from the Midwest she lived only a mile or less from my home, whereas my friends must drive from one community southeast of Los Angles, across that megalopolis to their parent’s northern Valley area home.   They also, have brothers and sisters living in much closer proximity to their parents, but my friend, being the first born daughter, and her husband provide much of the care. 

My much older only sibling was across the Pacific Ocean and unable to participate with my mother’s daily assistance.   No other family resided in California – in fact, lived a many-States distance away.   I won’t go into other specifics as they are incidental to the day-to-day picture.  

What’s important is, that no matter what anyone’s personal situation may be, at any time we can be unexpectedly thrust into a care giving circumstance.    Our attitude, that of surrounding family members and friends, and that of the loved one or patient themselves has a significant impact on how well we navigate the after effects of such an event, while – most importantly – preserving our own health. 

My children were young, my employed husband was coping with a difficult situation himself, coupled with the beginnings of his health decline -- all contributing to marital stresses.   I was in University training for my current profession, which added to life’s complications when my Mother had a sudden life-altering event.   She never fully recovered from this variously called stroke, brain attack, cerebral vascular accident (CVA.)  

Fortunately, her mental status remained intact.  The only residual effects were balance mechanism deficits and decreased walking ability.  Her brain could no longer perceive where her body was in space – proprioception problems.     So she had to always use a walker – not a four or even two wheeler, because the wheels would move too fast. 

Critically important was the requirement that my mother NEVER lean too far backward, especially when standing, because her brain would not send body position correcting messages to prevent her falling.  She certainly didn’t need any broken bones, or even a hip fracture, much less further brain injury if her head struck some piece of furniture, the floor or ground.   

Together Mother and I determined the choice was hers to continue living independently though falling could be a risk.    If she had exhibited memory, judgment, impulsiveness, or a number of other cognitive and physical problems her choice might not have been appropriate and I would not have hesitated to say so.   She never fell.

Fortunately, our relationship was of such mutual respect tempered by love that decision-making occurred with my mother always included and participating in the process.  Her cooperation for whatever was best never presented a problem.  I think this was partly because we were always honest, open and truthful with each other, even when the message might not always be what either of us wanted to say or hear.

She had been very active though legally blind for several decades with her vision gradually deteriorating even further through the following years.  She had lived independently many years after she was alone, choosing to continue doing so after she moved across country to be nearer to me.
Living in a small Midwest town when she was widowed  she had been  able to walk everywhere she needed for groceries, the post office, church, downtown for banking and shopping, to the courthouse lawn for weekend afternoon concerts and events.  Even the train depot and long distance bus station were close by. 

Her social life kept her busy joining friends for occasional countryside drives which might include roadside market stops for farm fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables.   Much younger friends with their children  sometimes stopped by to visit her simply because all ages enjoyed her company and the positive outlook  she had maintained despite some hardships she had known during her lifetime.

My mother enjoyed volunteering at the local hospital’s ladies sewing group, creating lap quilts for nursing home residents.   Fund-raising rummage sales to help the needy were among the activities in which she aided her church women’s group.

For a number of years at home she managed to occasionally use her treadle sewing machine for straight line stitching, as with repairing a seam, or joining two pieces of material together.  She couldn't use an electric machine because the sewing was much too rapid, possibly causing injury since she often said her fingers were her eyes.
This was quite a sewing adaptation from a woman trained to be a teacher who once could observe a dress in a window display, go home, reproduce the pattern and make that same dress for herself.   Or, the much in demand lady to whom word-of-mouth brought women asking her to fit ill-fitting dresses to their particular body form. 

She was comfortable with solitude, quite able to entertain herself.   Some years earlier I had learned of Talking Books before the days when audio books with playback devices were commercially available to the public.   She was delighted to receive free books and magazines on record (later tapes) to listen to at her leisure.  She discovered she didn’t dare lie down or simply sit in a chair while she was listening to a story or she would fall asleep only to awaken several missed chapters later.

Concluding she needed some activity to occupy her hands, she successfully experimented with creating an original type of rug hooking to do while listening to the books.   Mother subsequently hooked unique one-of-a-kind colorful rugs using select fabrics based on geometric patterns she recalled from the years when she had been able to quilt.  

Mother’s  creations multiplied in number, eventually became in demand, but were first sold in a local furniture store.   Subsequent years I placed them in Scottsdale, Arizona artist crafts stores, a local California antique store when we moved here.  We were told each year a Chicagoan returned here to purchase her hooked rugs.  Another family member released a few rugs that sold on Hawaii’s Big Island.   Her rugs have been described as examples of primitive art.   

Family contact was maintained during the years with occasional visits and phone calls on special occasions.   Mother's sisters and a cousin circulated  round robin letters she could sometimes read using magnification if large black print on white, but increasingly letters had to be read to her.  

Her hearing loss (presbycusis - aging hearing loss) was, fortunately, mostly negligible.    So, when personal tape recorders with cassettes became accessible technology, my brother supplied each of us with one.   We exchanged audio tape letters after she learned equipment operational skills. 

The years before televisions had remote controls I was able to locate a then soon-to-be out-dated push button television set (I still have it,) since a channel dial presented her visual difficulties.   Again her fingers were her eyes, she said, so could feel the buttons for the channel she desired once she learned the broadcast station  sequence.

Mother enjoyed listening to a few television programs, often on public television (PBS,) music, comedy (if not too visual) and variety shows, news,  game shows like Jeopardy, other programs that offered lots of dialogue and didn't depend too much on visual action to convey crucial aspects of a plot.    Radio programming continued to be a favored medium, especially bedside if she couldn't sleep.  

The older I become, the more frequently I seem to recall my mother’s words, our experiences together.  I often wish I could talk with her now,  having gained a perspective only years lived can provide.

Sunday, May 06, 2012


Music is a language of many genres with each type encompassing variations.  We generally have favorite styles, instrumentation and performers, within any category which influences our preferences.   I enjoy many music types but not always every variation in any one music group.    Jazz is one of my favorite genres, probably stemming from my early exposure to tap dancing and piano lessons beginning during preschool years.
My older brother reinforced my jazz interest with his trumpet playing.  Years later when my husband-to-be and I met, his avocation as a professional jazz musician gave us an instant emotional connection.    His performing years in our Midwest home state had long since ended.  Six years ago he died suddenly in our Los Angeles area home where we'd lived for many years.  I’ve written here previously that my healing process has included adding to my activities attending some local live jazz venues.
NINA BECK is a classy jazz pianist I unexpectedly and delightedly encountered at the Hip Kitty, a local Claremont, CA, newly opened jazz club and fondue restaurant those years ago.    Finally, I’m sharing her talents with you which I’ve long intended doing.  She continues to periodically perform there.
This particular video is NINA at JIMMY MAK’S in Portland, Oregon, in a special performance at “One of the world's top 100 places to hear jazz." ~ Down Beat Magazine.

Nina is a professional pianist and vocalist with an extensive repertoire of American Songbook standards, jazz tunes and ‘oldies’ favorites.  She performs solo or in various size groups primarily in Southern California.  

Oregon audiences were fortunate to have an opportunity to hear her music.  Friends I met at a local jazz concert re-located to Portland so are hoping Nina will appear there again. 

Nina began playing the piano at age five, then trained through her high school and college years in New York City.   She has studied with world reknowned artists including the late John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet.   Her web site bio notes she is  

“a published songwriter and member of BMI, Nina has a catalog of well-crafted original songs in many genres including adult contemporary, country, blues, swing, jazz, retro Latin, R&B (ballads), and movie themes.”    

Studio City, Laguna Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach clubs.....are among the locales where Nina has lately appeared, sometimes with her 4-piece band and vocalist Andy Cowan, whose performance includes Sinatra-like renditions of tunes.

Here's Nina on keyboard with her trio and Andy Cowan singing "The Moon Was Yellow"  (most fitting since last night was the Supermoon when the brilliant yellow globe was closer to Earth than most years.)

Nina provides an entertaining enjoyable music listening experience whether a club date or one of her private bookings.   

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Remember that limerick we used to sniggle conspiratorially about  in our youth because of that forbidden 'bad' word that we dare not say aloud -- at least if any adults nearby?    Those were the years long before George Carlin and his seven dirty words made this verbiage quite tame by comparison.

Spring has sprung,
Fall has fell,
Winter's here,
and it's colder than .....  'last year'
(we would giggle and say)

 And then, for English grammar rule lovers was this enlightened tidbit:

We conjugate swim ..... swim, swam, swum
Now conjugate dim .....

Back to the topic of weather -----

"Soupy marine layer" is what TV's weatherman forecast for  this coming morning -- again.    I don't mind since we have an over-abundance of sun days most of the year.   Six weeks ago I was delighted to observe what I thought was one of the first signs a California spring had arrived. 

I was about to exit my parked car at the retirement community where I provide some health care rehabilitation services.   Suddenly, movement under the green leaf-filled umbrella-like tree next to the walkway caught my eye.  There they were -- tumbling around, flitting here and there in short jerky movements as they ran a few steps, stopped abruptly, frozen in place, surveying their surroundings, probably for any signs of predators.  Then, with a flick and swish of their bushy red tails, as though they were mechanical toys winding themselves up, they resumed their antics. 

Transfixed, I soon concluded what I was observing was a courting dance.  The same slightly larger squirrel was making mounting advances on the smaller one who would repeatedly simply sit down each time the pursuer made his critical move.    He would then temporarily scurry aside, but soon return to repeat the flirtatious  process.    Each time the object of his attention would quickly sit down thwarting his efforts for a more intimate relationship.   Aha, I thought!  I have just witnessed the practice of squirrely world  birth control.  

I wonder if the squirrels were as misled as I was that spring had actually arrived.  Since that time my weather prognostication on seasons of the year has been turned upside down.  Our weather has seemed bizarrely unusual in keeping with climate changes continuing to be in evidence all over the world.  Southern California, where I live, can definitely attest to our weather becoming much more erratic in recent years with this one  no exception. 

My Christmas cactus has really been traumatized.  The hearty green plant has adapted in a strangely unique way.   The bright fuchsia red blooms have blossomed in staggered sequence each time on a different portion of the plant on three different occasions since the beginning of the year.     This week, one lone blossom has emerged in what must be a final fourth attempt to synchronize with nature.

I am of the persuasion that the world macro weather picture can be attributed primarily to two different causes for climate change.    Scientists have said our earth is slightly tipping on its axis which accounts for some of the changes we're experiencing.  Scientists have also determined man-made pollution in the atmosphere is contributing to climate changes.   This laypersons opinion is that there is no simple black and white, either/or, one or the other explanation.  Both events are at play.
I become annoyed with all the time, energy and words spent arguing over which cause is responsible.   Why can't we all just acknowledge the scientific facts indicating both contribute?   Why not recognize the axis tipping which we know is  beyond our control?  Why not devote ourselves to addressing those pollution factors over which we have control?    Why don't we concentrate on making accommodations to these changes with a goal of human adaptation so we can survive on this earth?

Meanwhile, we better be checking for another planet to which a select few of our species can migrate, just in case we fail to preserve life as we know it on Earth.  Perhaps, that's how Earth became populated in the first place.  Species on another planet had to leave, came to earth and here we are.   I don't find this earth-settling  scenario  incompatible with various religions beliefs.   Perhaps we'll eventually have to leave our planet.  Perhaps this is our history which we're doomed to repeat if we don't learn from past lessons.