I sometimes get frustrated with the ‘stuff of life’. I’m disabled, on a small disability income, my 15-year old Oldsmobile is more or less parked for lack of funds for needed repairs, and with my disabilities regarding walking, standing or even sitting it is sometimes difficult or painful. And a little less than two years ago I lost my home of 18 years.
Yes, sometimes I whine about other stuff, too.
BUT, I try to keep a stiff upper lip. And keep chipping away at those things that I can do something about.
My stand-alone desktop computer has been waylayed for a little over a month. For most folks having their home computer not functioning correctly is an annoyance, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big a deal.
BUT, not being very ambulatory, and now even less mobile, it became readily apparent my computer is a window to the outside world. My email, and 3-year-old blog being it’s primary functions. I can talk back to the TV, but it rarely responds.
FORTUNATELY, my roommate J loaned me an old laptop she wasn’t using for me to keep up with the day’s events and continue to publish my blog (such as it is) daily, as I’ve done since March 6, 2011.
For this I am forever grateful.
Being less-than-competent with regard to computer/Internet stuff, I’ve not been able to diagnose the problem with my computer, determine if it was even repairable, or what the cost might be.
J left town to visit her daughter and become a tourist for the holiday weekend, and I’m left as the dog wrangler again. This is okay, because I love the dogs (and the cat – more or less) and it gives me more time to try to move files to the laptop and play at fixing my old computer.
I DID IT!
Somehow, something inadvertently changed a couple of settings (not me!) – I changed them back (with about 100 missteps in the interim) and now the computer connects to the Internet, again!!
I’m using my original machine to write this!
This may not be watching a rose bloom, or being in love, or a new car, but DAMN I’m pleased!
Time will tell.
Or rather A.G.A. (Against Guffaw’s Advice)!
A while back, my friend Borepatch (who definitely has a right to such opinions in such matters) wrote regarding the acquiring and use of Siri, Google Now, Cortana or Alexa.
Or their fellow travelers.
I warned my roommate of such folly.
BUT, she is addicted to newfangled gadgets (as best she can afford them)!
(And, it IS her home, and she supplies the Wi-Fi…)
THIS arrived in the mail yesterday. Apparently, there was a sale…
It’s an Alexa (Echo) device (‘courtesy’ of Amazon)
(aka, “the electronic hockey puck of EVIL!” – spoken in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice)
There’s a cartoon somewhere (unfortunately, I couldn’t find it) showing government agents discussing how citizens will place wiretaps/bugging devices in their own homes voluntarily, and will allow them to record conversations and Internet activity with ease!
They were gleeful!
I am not. 😦
There has been much media attention of late regarding ‘the opioid crisis’.
This is directly parallel to the the so-called Drug War.
Or ‘gun violence’.
Those who wish to insert governmental controls into private actions often label (insert issue here) as a ‘crisis’.
President Nixon started the War On Drugs in 1971. Here 40 years later, billions of dollars later, thousands have been incarcerated, and little illegal drug commerce has been stopped.
And numerous States have decriminalized and/or medicalized previously illegal drugs.
People continue to be shot en mass in Illinois and elsewhere.
And people with legitimate prescriptions are being squeezed more and more because their physicians and pharmacies are.
By the ‘well meaning’ federal government.
A recent study noted that something like a whopping 1% of those who have opioid prescriptions are abusing them.
The lions share of abuse comes from those who steal, smuggle and illegally obtain such drugs.
Are you surprised?
I sometimes take a relatively low dose narcotic, which I get through a legal prescription, to deal with my chronic pain. I know others who take a much higher dosage than I, who must constantly wrestle with the increasing pressure on the medical community.
While the bad guys make billions from illegal users, largely unchecked.
Read between the lines.
(from TFB, in part)
They say there’s a sucker born every minute. No where does this seem to be more true than in the firearms industry. Poorly thought of add-ons, holsters, ammunition design, etc.
I remember Col. Cooper being asked (with regard to the latest variant of some pistol, which certainly was not necessary), “Jeff, what’s it for? To sell, of course!” was his reply.
I’m certain you can think of many others, as well as selections of the ‘good’ variety that didn’t get marketed properly and went away.
Such is the nature of business…
I’ve been drinking diet soda (of various varieties) for 37 years. (or so). Mostly because sugared soda is SO full of sugar. In 2002 I was diagnosed as diabetic, so I had yet another reason.
(And yes, I am aware many of the chemicals, especially the artificial sweeteners, are BAD for me. Please don’t lecture me.)
I developed a taste for Diet Coke™, which evolved into a taste for Coke Zero™. Equally bad, I’m sure, but surprisingly with less caffeine!
I take five prescription medications regularly, and a couple OTC. For diabetic neuropathy, blood pressure, cholesterol and GERD. And chronic pain.
Considering the chemistry set some folks I know take, I consider myself most fortunate.
My roommate has been taking CO Q10, and suggested that I take it as well. Allegedly good for we ‘older’ folk. Due to one of her chronic conditions, she also takes guaifenesin (Mucinex™), daily.
Due to allergies brought on by the cooler, wetter weather, I, too, have been taking it.
I began taking these additional meds about three months ago. About two months ago, something changed.
My beloved Coke Zero™ didn’t taste right!
At first I blamed the manufacturer, then maybe I had a ‘bug’. A good friend suggested my body had had enough of the constant ingestion of chemicals! 😦
Multiple Internet searches regarding formula changes and pill interactions were for naught.
What was I to do?
I began drinking more filtered water, coffee, juice, and even bought a ‘healthier’ fruit juice based soda, with a different chemical sweetener. And seltzer water – when I could find it (I like seltzer water).
But, I still missed my Coke Zero™. 😕
The weather changed, and dried. And my allergies abated. And my roomie stopped giving me the guaifenesin.
About a week later, someone gave me a Diet Coke™. I thought ‘what the hell’ I can nurse it.
It tasted fine!
I’m spending less money on beverages, but I now know I can have a Coke™ product, if I choose!
BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY!
As it states in the ‘about’ part of the blog, I’m a child of the 50’s. Television, movies, play, were all about The Lone Ranger, Space Command, Warner Bros. cartoons, Forbidden Planet, The Untouchables, and all other manner of sanitized violence.
And my green, wooden toy box reflected that.
It was filled with cars, trucks, robots, construction equipment, tools, and yes, toy guns. Including a multitude of cap guns and rifles-that-made-noise, play bullets and all manner of boy’s toys. Not a doll in sight.
Sadly, when my Dad married my step-mother, the toy box was moved to the exterior of the house. Wouldn’t want Guffaw’s toys to clutter the house, now would we? 😦
And, as I advanced in grade school, I played with them less. This meant my Mattel™ Fanner Fifty (with left-handed holster!), Detective Special (both re-loadable with Matty Mattel bullets and ignited with Greenie Stickum Caps), the construction gear, cars, tools, and everything else were subjected to the elements.
And eventually discarded. 😦
(My friend Leigh’s parents did film me in full cowboy regalia once, reenacting some scene from a forgotten cowboy TV show, running, jumping, rolling into prone, drawing and shooting one of my cap guns. Of course, the 8mm home movie is probably long lost.) 😦
This was when children played outside!
But, boys are nothing but ingenious! 🙂
My friends and I began constructing rubber-band guns, using scraps of wood we ‘found’ at housing construction sites. (Hey, we had to have guns!)
Affix a spring closepin to one end, stretch a rubber band (or a series of them for greater distance) and viola’! A toy gun with which we could play cowboy, or soldier, or spy, or whatever.
Of course, we were never happy with the limited distance or inaccuracy. (Sound familiar?)
As we got into the 5th and 6th Grade, we clamored for more.
So we attached the rubber bands to the wood (ala a slingshot) and began looking for projectiles to shoot! Obviously, after a few misadventures with pebbles and bent bobbie-pins, we made the universal decision to not shoot one another.
For safety sake.
Of course, escalation lead to model rockets, amateur rockets, BB guns, and eventually real guns. Always something to shoot.
And, we still don’t shoot each other.
This isn’t South Chicago…
I don’t get out much. Between my physical limitations (being disabled and in chronic pain, low income, crummy car) and my mental ones (I’m just not that interested in so doing), I’m lucky to get to the credit onion, grocery store, a cheap restaurant and perhaps the library each week.
This is one reason my Internet access and computer are so important to me! My ‘window on the World’, as it were!
I’m essentially the ubiquitous pajama boy, except much older, more educated, and living in a rented room upstairs instead of a stereotypical basement.
And I’m less liberal.
In one of my travels, I met a nice couple. A psychologist and her office manager husband (not that that’s of any importance to this post). Marlo and Jon are both pre-eminent in their field.
And Marlo comes from a long family history of motorcycle riders.
In 2008, she was in an accident which changed her life. And almost ended it. A car turned in front of her. (Can you see why she got my attention?)
While hospitalized and in rehab, she wrote a blog, which she later coalesced into a very personal book regarding her Chautauqua from a person with addictions to one in recovery. Her story included the courage, loyalty and love of her partner and husband Jon – whom I have personally nick-named St. Jon after reading her book.
Anyone who has had love, loss, ‘challenges’, courage and been fortunate enough to have others to help with those challenges should read this story! Be forewarned – it is not always light reading.
But, there IS most definitely a positive message!
(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for. Only friendship from Dr. Archer. Leave me alone.)
Sometimes, you are digging in the wrong place!
It was FIFTY YEARS AGO (1967!) that my interest
obsessive-compulsion in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy began. That, coupled with my family history in police work lead me to security and investigation work, an associates degree in Police Science, and my private investigation business. Followed by a career as a credit card fraud investigator.
But I always came back to the JFK thing. As a ‘hobby’.
It began when I was in high school, newly disabled, complete with a pair of crutches and my right leg in a steel brace. For a year. I’d read the condensed ‘report’ in the high school library, and soon walked the two miles to the university library.
And I found the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission exhibits and testimony. And proceeded to read them all.
See, not compulsive at all!
Years passed. Books and films critical of the Warren Report came out, And I devoured them – to the best of my ability. And kept notes.
But, there was one problem. I had no copies of the 26 volumes in my home. I couldn’t afford them, and my parents would not spring for them. (I think they were $185 at the time).
This meant many a trek to the university library, and having to deal with my regular high school work, my family, friends and life. What a P.I.T.A. ! 🙂
Time passed. I still occasionally dabbled in the JFK stuff, when my marriage, fatherhood, auto accident, etc. didn’t get in the way. I DID recognize I could be obsessive about it and would voluntarily pull back when I felt it suck me in for more than a few days
But, I never had my own 26 volumes. And the price went up when they went out-of-print. Even with the advent of the Internet, it just seemed they weren’t available.
I recently had a birthday. Good friend Biff, lauded often in these pages, and I met for coffee, and he gave me a birthday present!
Apparently, I was digging in the wrong place on the Internet! Now I can return to my obsession in peace! With my forty or fifty Warren Commission critic’s books, the few by apologist’s, the Internet, my notes, and MY 26 volumes!
(Maybe life would have been simpler had I eaten the bad date?)
The Garlic Goldfish (a perennial favorite Christmas snack) have arrived!
Actually, they were assembled by yours truly, in a couple hours standing at the iron skillet, Worcestershire, Blue Bonnet margarine and garlic powder at-the-ready. Then slow baked until dry and toasty.
(For the uninitiated, this is a snack I’ve made traditionally for years. Originally, I made standard Chex Mix, with the requisite addition of peanuts, pretzels and the like. With a tablespoon of this, a dash of that. I determined two things – people singled out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers for consumption so the other ingredients were wasted, and screw this tablespoon-dash thing!)
I cover roughly 9/10 of the bottom of the skillet with Worcestershire, add 1/2 a stick of margarine, and sprinkle garlic powder generously. Then marinate a pan full of crackers until they soak it all up, over medium heat. Transfer all to a turkey roasting pan and bake @ 300° or so, turning every 10 minutes of so to check for burning, until they are all dry and crispy. (I use Blue Bonnet because it’s cheap and takes the high heat.)
I used to make these in massive quantities for Christmas when I was employed and bring them into work. It became such a tradition that folks would start asking me in September if I was bringing in goldfish that year!
Consumer Warning – they are QUITE addictive and go great with beer! People consuming these snacks needn’t be concerned they will be molested by vampires, or members of the opposite sex. (Unless they, too, have partaken of the garlicky treats!)
FTC – neither Blue Bonnet, French’s Worcestershire, Pepperidge Farm Crackers or anyone else gave me anything! I bought and assembled it all myself. Go make your own – and Merry Christmas!
Yep, yet another TV show to which I am addicted.
A transplanted Southie Irish guy (played by Liev Schrieber), transplanted to L.A., makes his living by being a ‘fixer’ for rich Hollywood (and other) types.
Sometimes the fix is a simple contract negotiation. Sometimes it’s more complicated – like involving blackmail, kidnapping and murder. Or covering up his client’s crimes. Like murder, robbery and prostitution.
He does very well with it, too. Mercedes CLS 550. Nice house. Kids in private schools.
Of course, it’s never as easy at all that. A history of killing the priest who molested he and his brother. A wife with breast cancer. Teen kids acting out. Currently, he’s pissed off the Russian mob. And he has an ex-con father (Jon Voight) who has his own criminal agenda and cannot seem to stay out of jail.
And the FBI is on his ass!
So, many times, HE becomes his own client!
It’s on Showtime, and next week is it’s 4th Season finale. (It’s also available on You Tube and other venues).