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being human

This tag is associated with 96 posts

Irony

or sick comedy.  I don’t know which.

One if my many maladies is I have arthritis.  It seems to rear it’s ugly head in colder, more humid weather.

Fortunately, I live in a (mostly) dry desert.  😛

I went to the grocery yesterday, and reviewed the over-the-counter preparations. (A through G?)

Most were made of menthol, along with some kind of delivery system – cream, aerosol, etc.  I already have some Icy (something) at home.  For me, it doesn’t work as advertised, it just burns.  😦

Then I saw this cream made with emu oil.  Another preparation which had been recommended to me.  Preparation E?

I happily spent the $12 and took the 4 ounce jar home.

Remember TRIOPENIN?  From SNL?  The pill bottle of pain medication impossible for the elderly person to open, eventually ending in a hammer breaking the bottle?

I thought it was real!

This simple jar with a simple screw-top lid.  Instructions state do not use if the safety seal is broken.  If I could unscrew the lid, I could verify the seal was intact, or not!

ALAS.

Banging the jar lid on the counter.  Pounding the lid with the jar upside down. Submerging the top of the jar in hot water to make it expand.  Vice grips and a large ‘C’ clamp.

Nada. 

I began wondering if some teenager superglued the lid shut, as a painful prank?

EVENTUALLY, some combination of the efforts above prevailed, coupled with prying between the jar and the lid with the sharp edge of a Buck-type knife.

THEN, of course, I had to remove the safety seal.  No, it had not been molested.

And, I finally got to the emu-oil preparation.  Initial trials are moderately successful.    We will see about the longer term.

I’m now wondering if ALL the jars are similarly sealed?

Crap…

not this brand

not this brand

FTC – I purchased the cream, then had to painfully wrestle with it, just to get it open.  That should be enough for you.

 

No Good Deed…

You know the rest!

With both my roommate and I having infirmities and physical limitations (along with no longer being 22!) sometimes things get procrastinated about, or just ignored.

One of those things is our back ‘yard’.

Living in a small townhouse, the yard isn’t particularly large, but my roomie, with her love for the flora, has numerous plants, both potted and in the ground, which sometimes require tending.

And between recent other adventures and doctor’s appointments, the yard has not seen proper maintenance.

And a number of ‘volunteer’ plants have been added to the mix by Mother Nature.  Like lantana, which has taken over to the extent we cannot reach the hose bib or electric box!

Now, there is a time constraint, as her first shoulder surgery is scheduled for March 21.  And I suspect nurse will be added to the title chief cook and bottle washer for me.  And, with her right arm immobilized for a minimum of six weeks, her physical abilities will be severely limited.

So, Thursday last, I carved out some time in the morning to take a stab at the yard.  Because it was necessary. (It didn’t help a number of massive fronts were coming in from California starting Friday!)

My target:

wp-1487515826737.jpg

(the white structure on the right is a non-functional Jacuzzi – now a plant stand)

I popped a significant pain pill, waited for it to kick in and headed out.  Wishing in all seriousness I had a machete ala Indiana Jones.

I had a rake, a shovel, and a weed-eater.

The plan was to work until it was done – no excuses!  Then, the pain pill wore off.  At about two hours.  When not involved in manual labor, they last four or more!

So much for THAT idea.

BUT, I cleaned up 75-80% of the yard, obtained access to the bib and the utility box (getting stabbed byagave-americana the century plant at least twice!), and trimmed back the palm tree by the back gate as to only get attacked by one palm frond, in lieu of three.

With palms like these, who needs anemones? – Thelonious Monk (from the liner notes for the Dave Brubeck ‘Take Five’ album)

More obviously needs to be done.  But that’s for another day.

And Friday and Saturday I paid for my good deed…

My arthritis kicked in big time, as did muscle pain, general tiredness and malaise.

And my doc wants me to limit use of NSAIDS, having over-used them for the past twenty years or more.

SIGH.

The Polygraph

(forgetting, for a moment, one cost me a job-unfairly, I think, back-in-the-day!)

polygraph-simpson

The polygraph is an instrument which measures things like heart rate, perspiration, breathing and sometimes other body activity over which the person measured has little or no control.  A skilled operator (who should also be a skilled interrogator) uses these measurements to determine if a subject is telling the truth to certain, carefully worded questions.  It is not a lie detector, but a truth verifier.

Prior to 1988, many private companies utilized a pre-employment polygraph test, to determine if a subject was generally honest before hiring.  Some also used polygraphs post-employment, at random intervals, to see if anything had changed.  In 1988, Congress passed legislation limiting the use of pre-employment tests, with the exclusion of persons in  certain sensitive positions, security, police and a few other jobs.  Some States followed suit.

Many private companies were put out of business.

Having worked for a private investigations/polygraph firm for a number of years, it was an interesting experience.

First, some of the polygraphers (many of whom were retired law enforcement) thought themselves superior to the lowly civilian private investigators.

Second, I observed on numerous occasions, polygraphers watching job applicants arriving for a test, and making disparaging remarks, even before the interview or test began!

“This guy has liar written all over him!”

Hardly a lack of bias going in.

There was also a polygraph school adjacent to and affiliated with the investigations/polygraph company.  When I was first employed as an investigator, I was considering signing up for the school, thinking it might be an important addition to my investigative skills.  After observing and hearing the polygraphers, my interest waned.

This is not an indictment of all polygraphers, but just an observation based on some of those with whom I had negative encounters.

I suspect some of the laws have changed post 911, what with more agencies tasked with protection of the Republic from terrorists and spies.

I hope the current crop of polygraph examiners are more professional than some I encountered back-in-the-day.

We need all the help we can get.

Werd Play

I like speaking and writing correctly.  Sometimes, I even succeed at so doing.  🙂

Perhaps a better title for this post would be Word Pet Peeves.

IRREGARDLESS

I loathe the use of this instead of the correct word, REGARDLESS.  Sadly, the O.E.D. (Oxford English Dictionary) has added this variant as a real word, because it is in common use.

SUPOSABLY

My guess is people were trying to pronounce SUPPOSEDLY, and stumbled.  Or mis-heard.  Then adopted it as correct.  It’s not.

PERBATIM

I used to work with an investigator.  An educated man, I can only surmise he mis-heard VERBATIM, and ran with it.

(One from my roommate)  FORTE

When one is good at something.  You may notice an accent is missing.  It is NOT FORTE’ !  And is pronounced fortAgain, something done wrong in common usage.  Look it up.  I had to.

And don’t get me started on mis-heard song lyrics!  I blame overly loud speakers, concert noise and the tinny AM radios of my youth.  Any suggestion that over indulgence in alcohol or other chemicals does not apply – to me, anyway!  😛

There have been books written about them.

Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue

There’s a bathroom on the right.

Hold me closer Tony Danza

‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

I’m certain you can add to the list(?)

h/t Tomi

 

The Mouse On The Drain

(not to be confused with The Mouse On The Moon, or other Duchy of Grand Fenwick tales!)

“Welcome to the drain, gentlemen!”  😛

My roommate and I share both household upkeep and maintenance.  To the best of our abilities.  Between disabilities, health conditions, arthritis, age, pain and shared whining, sometimes things are not as pristine as either of us would like.

(The fact we both have an over-sufficient amount of ‘stuff’ doesn’t help, either!)

Of course, this had little to do with today’s story…

Being the male in the house, many (not all) of the yuckier tasks fall to me.  And sometimes, it’s just the “luck of the draw”.

Today was one of those days.

The past couple of days while visiting the shower, I noticed what we always called when I was married (back in the 80’s) the mouse on the drain.  That is, a disc of hair jetsam on top of the drain grate, starting to inhibit shower drainage.

Back in the 80’s, it was roughly the size of a half dollar, and easily disposed of.

And, of course, not wearing my corrective lenses in the shower, it could have been something else – as in this case it was, a small round grey plastic comb.  (My roomie and I share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.)

And she does many hair-related things in there, with a multitude of chemicals and preparations.  I have shampoo and conditioner.

Fast forward to this morning.  Having picked up the plastic comb, I thought I’d be free of the ‘mouse on the drain’.

Not so fast, there, bucko!

The real mouse on the drain – or, in this case the rat or nutria(!), had wrapped itself into the workings of the grate, and was hanging (yuch!) down into the drain proper!!  And the shower floor was beginning to fill with water!

Fortunately, my hair is in need of cutting and is maybe a third of an inch long.  So, I’m thinking I’m not the main culprit. (ignoring body hair additions here for discretion).

I was able to complete my shower and listened to the slow-but-inevitable noisy drainage, fortunately before it crested into the bathroom proper.  Then, I picked up a proper tool to remove the drain cover (a long hemostat that is left in the bath for this very purpose – what earlier functions it may have had I can only imagine!  🙂  )

And took it upon myself to remove the long, tangled, fist-sized wet hair clumps from the grate and dispose of them.

After having done that, I policed the opening of the drain pipe for any additional hair/soap remnant escapees.

And replaced the grate.

I washed my hands and exited the bath.

I’m hoping next time I will notice the impending crest a day or so sooner.  And be able leave the mouse on the drain for someone else…

😛

Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

It’s All About The Numbers 

I recently had one of my semi-annual doctor visits. Believe me, not my favorite thing to do. 😆

Last time, six months ago, my weight was up to 233 (from 225 the previous time) and (being diabetic) they ALWAYS check my A1c (a measure of how well my organs function). It was 6.2, also elevated from the previous reading.

I was not amused. My doc wasn’t all that concerned, though.

But, I took it to heart.

My current weight is 215!  I cannot remember the last time I was 215.  I have been 350.

And my A1c was 4.3! Which is miraculous. They stop charting me as diabetic @4.7!

Just got the other lab numbers – liver, blood, etc. Even my Ldl (bad cholesterol) was good!

Now comes the tough part. Maintaining or improving… 

Short Distance Travels

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!

UP FROM THE PAVEMENT: Triumph over Grief and Trauma through Medicine, Miracles, Love, Laughter, and Faith Paperback

Be the first to review this item

See all formats and editions

(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for.  Only friendship from Dr. Archer.  Leave me alone.)

Ringling Brothers Circus Is Closing Down ‘The Greatest Show On Earth,’ After A 146-Year Run.

elephamts

Tempus fugit.

I was never a huge circus guy as a kid, probably because I wasn’t a very good athlete – although the acrobats did impress me.  Of course, being feet from large wild animals was thrilling!  (except for the smell!)  And being a ‘semi-professional’ magician (starting in the Fourth Grade) I was drawn to performers like clowns – even considering crossing the makeup line and becoming a clown magician myself!  I’d read of Harry Houdini, and how he got his start in traveling carnivals performing feats of strength and ‘oddities’, like being able to pick up needles with his eyelashes while hanging inverted!  (How one does this for an audience – who knows?)

But what really got my attention were the oddities, the Sideshow.  The beginnings of the traveling circus.  People and animals with disabilities or birth defects – Siamese twins, women with beards, two headed snakes – that sort of thing.  Obviously, middle-America in the early 1800’s needed some kind of diversion, right?

And this is precisely why the circuses are ending.  If one wants to see an elephant, there are thousands on You Tube.  The same for magic, people with birth defects and feats of strength.  No longer must one wait in line for tickets, endure the crowds, animal smells and over-priced popcorn to see such things.  The circus can come to you!  And there are TV, movies, shows – all stream-able to your TV, computer or cell phone.

Jeff Cooper sometimes spoke of seeing the elephant.  In the olden days, a farm youth (as most were prior to 1920) had little or no exposure to life outside that which was on the farm.  Birth, death, butchering, harvesting, hunting, planting – all hard physical labor.  But little else.

When a boy ‘came of age’, his father would shove a few dollars in his pocket, point him to town, and tell him to go ‘see the elephant’.  The circus was coming to town!  The boy would dutifully go, see the elephant, the sideshow, perhaps have some liquor and engage in games of chance.  If he had any money left, he might find a woman of ill-repute with whom to ‘spend some time’.

It was all about a rite-of-passage.  Learning something about the outside world.

But, in today’s instantaneous electronically-connected world, there is no rite-of-passage.  Boys (and girls) learn about sex from the Internet.  Not exactly seeing the elephant.

No wonder instant gratification is the motto for the Millennials.

And we as a society are lesser for it.

Go see the elephant before the circus closes forever!  Reportedly, they will stop using elephants by 2018.  of course, the circus will end before that…

Find a woman?

😛

 

 

 

Remember ‘Green’ Army Men?

Like when we were kids?

plastic-toy-soldiers

Well, they’re back!  Kinda…

US Army wants bullets that turn into plants over time.  Projectiles and casings can take “hundreds of years” to break down.

The US military may not seem like the greenest of organizations, but if rising seas and temperatures produce worldwide chaos, they’re the ones that have to deal with that shit. Now, the Department of Defense is trying to tackle environmental problems caused by spent bullets and casings on its firing ranges by using composite materials laced with seeds.

The military fires hundreds of thousands of rounds during training, ranging from bullets to 155mm artillery shells. While casings are collected, and often recycled, the bullets themselves generally aren’t, and can take “hundreds of years” to break down in the environment. That can pollute the soil and water supply, harm animals, and generally look like crap if you stumble upon them.

To tackle the problem, the DoD has made a proposal call for a biodegradable composite bullet impregnated with seeds that will survive the initial blast and searing velocities. The seeds should only sprout after being in the ground for several months and be safe for animals to consume.

(in part, from Engadget, courtesy of Doc in Yuma)

Now, I’m all about being green, as long as doing so isn’t tied to some phony, leftist political agenda (like ‘global warming’ mentioned above).  Or if the newfangled green technology does more harm than good – like the ‘wind farms’ killing birds in exchange for sketchy power.

Should the military be concerned about what they leave behind?  Certainly.  Look at the land mines and unexploded ordinance problem.

How much is being spent on this?  Versus the veterans with PTSD and debilitating injuries?

Frankly, I’m more concerned with those being left behind.

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…