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♫ Ev’rything That’s Old Is New Again ♫

aka  ♫  When Will They Ever Learn?  When Will they EVER Learn  ♫  ?

I like diet soda.  I’ve been consuming large quantities of it since the late 70’s, when I largely gave up sugar.

It also provides me caffeine, as I drink little coffee.

And, my daily allowance of chemicals I know are not good for me!

I remember back in the 80’s, when New Coke came into the marketplace.  Not diet, but a big deal in the soft drink world.  And it flopped.  People liked the previous formula.

Remember Pepsi Clear, Pepsi Free and numerous other attempts by the soda industry to corner and expand the market?

Well, the Coca Cola Company is at it again.

When they initially came out with Diet Coke, I was heartbroken.  The (then) wife and I were ardent fans of Tab, with it’s high caffeine and no sugar.  I even bought a few two liter bottles and squirreled them away for an upcoming anniversary (my wife didn’t drink).

And when Tab began disappearing from the shelves and Diet Coke replaced it, we bit-the-bullet and gave it a try.

A few months later, the anniversary rolled around, and to both our surprises, we had developed a taste for Diet Coke.  And the shelved, vintage Tab tasted funny!

Fast forward to the 00’s.  A long-time Diet Coke fan, it was announced another diet drink would be added to the mix.  Coke Zero.  Alleged to taste closer to real Coke!

So, I gave it a try.

Lo and behold it was closer to original Coke (which I loved in days of yor).  Spiciness had been added!  Soon my Diet Coke addiction had been replaced by Coke Zero.

And all was right with the World!

But, ‘they’ cannot leave well enough alone.  It was announced in July, that Coke Zero sales hadn’t met their expectations, and production will end at the end of August!

And replaced with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar!  With ‘improved’ taste!

Well, last time I went for Zero, it was there, but had not been faced, and this old cripple couldn’t bend to reach it!  So, I grabbed some CCZS.

The verdict?

Bland.  It lacks the zip of original Coke or the spiciness of Zero.

Sigh.

They still make small productions of Tab, if I can find it…

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The Opioid Crisis 

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’m not.

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.

 

OK, So Which Is It? 

As my Dad used to say, “I used to be young and foolish; I’m not young, anymore!”

I remember going to a local pizza parlor chain with ‘Gramp’, my beloved maternal grandfather.

We’d split a sausage pizza; he’d get a draught beer (Schlitz?) – me, a soda. (I was a kid).

But he’d always say,” We’re going to have an apizz.” 

And, I thought he was weird and corrected him.

Well, I was wrong. 

Gramp was from Hamden, Connecticut, arguably the birthplace (New Haven area) of (thin crust) American pizza!

There are businesses there advertising APIZZ, not PIZZA!

As there have been for over one hundred years. 

Turns out, the Italian immigrants who settled this region were from Naples, and made Margherita  (thin crust) pizza.

And called them ‘apizz’.

8. APIZZA

Perhaps less well-known, although no less delicious, is New Haven-style pizza, known in local vernacular as apizza. New Haven-style is thin like New York pizza, but if you walk into an apizza parlor and order a “plain,” you’ll get one without mootz (pronounced as foots), or mozzarella.

Apizza and mootz both come from the dialect of Naples immigrants who arrived in the area in the early 1920s. Apizza is pronounced uh-BEETs, with a silent final A.  (Mental Floss)

While we’re on the subject, some parts of the country call them ‘pizza pies’.

3. PIE OR PIZZA?

While to east coasters, it might feel perfectly natural to say “pie” when referring to a whole pizza, not so for those in other regions. In an informal poll I conducted, “pie” was described by west coasters as “pretentious” and “only something someone in a movie would say,” while one Brooklynite described those who didn’t use “pie” as “heathens.” The reason for this sharp divide is unclear. (Mental Floss)

Others, no mention of pie (some places think you are requesting a dessert!)

Great.  Now I’m hungry, with no pizza places open (0730 AZ time)! (And this is the 5th largest metropolitan area of the United States!  A travesty!)

Doesn’t matter, I’m broke, anyway…

Finally, Someone Who Enforces The Rules 

(I’m generally a rule follower – unless, of course, they are silly, or put me in danger.  I DO like order, and dislike those who endanger those close to me – whether or not it’s through self-centeredness or malice. – Guffaw)

We’re staying at an undisclosed location, while the powers-that-be are repairing the shower leak in the townhouse.   Or at least beginning the process.  (The ceiling beneath the leak has been excised, and is being dried.  We await the plumbers and subsequent reconstruction.  No contractors present today!)

All guests herein are required to sign a form that this is a non-smoking campus.

Penalties attached.

My roommate is extremely asthmatic, and is sensitive to tobacco smoke.

So, this is a positive development.

On Day One here, she smelled smoke in the hall directly outside our room. On Day Two, it happened again, more intensely.  We notified the front desk.

The second day, it did negatively affect her breathing. It was definitely stronger.

And pissed us off.  We contacted the front desk.

Subsequently, we heard a loud discussion outside our room. Upon opening the door, we observed the general manager in confrontation with the tenants directly across the hall.

They were ‘young people’ (under 40).

At length, the manager called us and advised they had been charged an additional $250.  As both a penalty, and to clean the room.

And they were evicted from the hotel! 

I understand the mechanism of addiction.  And also understand one must make amends for one’s mistakes.  This is a step in the right direction.

PS – I’m NOT against smoking.  It’s a quasi-legal activity, using a legal substance.  And, I don’t like smokers being treated as third-class citizens.

But, follow the rules to which you agreed, people!

And The ‘Adventure’ Continues…

(in our last episode…)

Let’s see…Heart pain (NOT!), a rash, leg edema, J’s health, water from the upstairs shower into the downstairs…

THAT’S IT!

(It’s been a busy month!)

Shower leakage!  We’ve not taken a shower for seven days.  Not that we don’t want to.  Water began coming through the ceiling into the downstairs, and continuing to bathe in that manner just seemed imprudent.

My washcloth and I have become VERY close.

Call the insurance company, you say?  Sure, why not?  Not having the $500 deductible at hand was a bit of an issue.  Fortunately, my very kind and generous Sister stepped up with a surprise gift allowing us to begin the process of again being able to get clean!  Thanks, EL!

Of course, the process is never easy.  The plumber says first they must check for residual moisture and damage before beginning.  And, due to the age of J’s home, asbestos. 

ANOTHER $400.

Fortunately, the company who removes the ceiling (and maybe the shower pan) tells us they can eat that cost (the insurance does not cover it!)!  Whew!

This morning comes the asbestos test.  If negative, the above company may remove the ceiling w/o further adieu, and the plumbers may begin repair this afternoon.

If not…perhaps another day or two of asbestos remediation is involved.

Sigh.

At least things are in process.

Thanks, again, Sis!

As to the other ongoing issues…

J’s health.  She has many health issues, some of which are chronic.  And is seeing many physicians monthly.  She IS recovering nicely from her rotator cuff surgery, and is currently involved in physical therapy for the same.  Our thanks to you all again for your kind wishes and help!

NO heart or chest pain.  The hospital said I was diagnosed ‘non-cardiac chest pain’ – which means they don’t know, could have been gas or muscle-related.

The rash.  I finished my second 5-day run of prednisone, and the rash returned.  Going to the pharmacy today to get a third course of graduated prednisone – so when I stop, it tapers off (per the Doctor).  If that doesn’t do it, then onto a specialist.

Sigh.

The leg edema.  I completed a 10-day course of broad spectrum antibiotics, and it seems to have improved the appearance and size of the leg remarkably!  The Doctor has me picking up a diuretic to hopefully complete the job.  Coupled with orange juice.

The proximate cause of either the rash or edema?  They’ve no idea.

I’m posting this early, as the itching kept me awake, even with the loratadine I’m taking.  Anxiously awaiting the pharmacy opening @ 0900 to obtain the additional meds.

Well, that’s it from us here in The Valley of the Sun.  Hope you all are doing better than we?

This Tastes Funny 

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.

It helps.

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!

It’s Here! 

Thanks to your generosity!  The electronic controller for our lift chair is here, is installed and actually WORKS!

The chair now not only lifts the operator, but can recline fully to horizontal.

This means Judy will have a place to sleep and recover following her shoulder surgery.

She will also be getting an ‘ice jacket’ which is to help with the pain.

We cannot say thank you enough! 

At The Movies

Regular readers know I love movies and TV.  What you may not know is, I rarely go ‘out’ to the movies.

Part of the reason is the technological shift in how we can view movies.  I get them directly on my satellite dish, or through services like NETFLIX™.  I even own a ‘few’ on DVD! (I know – OLD technology!)  😛

There are more than enough from which to choose.

And there’s this (from FB, in part – not me!):

Went to the H****** Metrocenter 12 …at the 01:30pm “Jupiter Ascending”…Me and 2 others of my party had to walk out!!!
Some trashy family with 3-4 kids sat right next to us and talked and talked ..and talked…and also they let their kid run up and down in front of us!

Then to top if off….the father had the nerve to pick up one of our parties drinks and hand it to his kid to drink out of ….then said sorry and handed it back “AFTER” his kid (& himself took turns slurping it down!).

I had to had have a friend get a manager…2 (Two) times….then finally got our money back and walked out!!

BAD!!!! I wont be back to the H****** Metrocenter 12…sad missed a film that I had been wanting to see for weeks!

Metrocenter used to be a family-friendly huge, upscale mall, wherein many weekends were spent window and actual shopping.  With my then wife and young daughter.  Now, with most of the brick-and-mortar department stores closed, it’s become a hang out for misguided yutes.

I remember even in pre-VHS days, attending a different theater and encountering rude people.  As the film began, three yutes (misguided teens) began talking loudly to each other and the screen.  Against my better judgment, I approached them and strongly suggested I paid good money to hear the movie, and not to hear them sh*** and j***. (Using a 40’s vernacular with which I’m certain they lacked familiarity).

They quieted down, and I spent most of the movie checking my six for some variety of retaliation.  Thankfully, none came.

While I sometimes miss the big screens and speakers (remember CINERAMA™ and Dolby­™?), it is nice knowing I can pause the film for bathroom and/or beverage, and even watch in my skivvies.

AH! Technology!

 

How To Spot A Concealed Handgun

The Art of Manliness (a blog to which I sometimes refer) not only addresses etiquette, style and proper behavior, but also delves into ‘manly’ things such as camping, hunting, shooting, unarmed combat and other esoterica.  (Of course, many of these subjects may be of interest to women, as well!) 🙂

A recent guest post was entitled as above.  I’m posting it below, in it’s entirety, not just to entertain and inform, but to show those who do carry behaviors and appearances which may bring to them unwarranted attention.

Enjoy!

How to Spot a Concealed Handgun

By A Manly Guest Contributor on Oct 21, 2016 02:10 pm

The following is an excerpt from 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition — The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared for Any Disaster. A follow-up to Clint’s first bestseller — 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation — this new survival edition offers primers on any survival situation imaginable, from wilderness scenarios, to terrorism and kidnappings, to natural disasters.

100-deadly-survival_final

CONOP: Concept of Operations; COA: Course of Action; BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

Individuals who carry a handgun professionally are well attuned to the range of mannerisms that can indicate the presence of a concealed weapon within their vicinity. Civilians, too, can learn to familiarize themselves with these signs and signals. When combined with suspicious behavior, the suspected presence of a concealed weapon should put bystanders on high alert.

Body Language: People carrying handguns tend to subconsciously telegraph the location of the weapon via their body language. They may reflexively palpate the gun to make sure the weapon is still safely in its holster, subtly re-position the weapon prior to sitting or standing, or shift their weight away from nearby bystanders to avoid accidental contact with or theft of the weapon.

Asymmetry: Another telltale sign is asymmetry in clothing. Guns are heavy and bulky, and thus will betray signs of their presence to anyone who’s paying attention. An outside-the-waistband holster may cause a visible midline bulge, while an ankle holster may cause a bulge or tightening of the fabric at the lower leg. A gun held in a jacket pocket will weight down one side of the jacket unevenly.

Environment: Hot or inclement weather can make concealed weapons easier to spot. Rain, wind, or sweat can reveal the outline of a gun, which will generally be much easier to hide under multiple layers of cold-weather clothing.

Negligence: Weapons are also frequently exposed due to temporary negligence, flashed or inadvertently dropped as a gunman reaches for his wallet. Dropped weapons are an all-too-common scenario at public urinals, where inexperienced perpetrators may thoughtlessly unzip their pants — thereby releasing the tension that was holding up the holster.

The post How to Spot a Concealed Handgun appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

Dear Friends, Part Three

Back when I was newly married (I’m now long divorced), my then wife was interested in finding ‘couples friends’.  Basically, other couples we could hang with and share interests with.  Socialize.

Instead of the more common I had my friends – she had hers.

Thankfully, this post is NOT about that!

I am most fortunate to have a small cadre of good friends.  Some of whom happen to be couples.  I am not currently part of a couple (my landlord being an ex gf is the closest I get)  😦

But recently, two of my ‘couples friends’ have come to my aid and comfort!

After my last scheduled medical procedure, wherein I was advised at the last minute I would owe a substantial co-pay up front, and I had to reschedule for lack of funds, one of the couples came through with the necessary amount!  (Customer Service, Part Cinco)

I finally go in for that procedure this morningOut-for-the-count @ 1130.  Thank you, Dear Friends!
(Hopefully, I’ll be back in my blogging chair again tomorrow…)

Last week, yet another couples friend advised me they were going shooting at an air-conditioned indoor range.  And asked me if I would like to accompany them!

Being of limited resources, I rarely get to go shooting, anymore.  I jumped at the opportunity.

We got to go yesterday to C2!  A very nice range, staffed by young, pretty people.  And I was just required to bring my eyes & ears and whatever firearm.  (I also found some ammo, although they kindly offered to share theirs!)  Thank you, Dear Friends!

Often, I remind you to hold your family and friends close, and tell them you love them, because one never knows…

I’m taking my own advice, today, just in case something happens.

I Love You Guys!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…