Sunday, July 26, 2020


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


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


 A penny for your 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. ( )
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


“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?