Wednesday, January 31, 2007
How about... "Something that is forgotten in all of this is people like to do meth. It’s enjoyable and there’s not an alternative product.".
Or, "Something that is forgotten in all of this is people like to do cocaine. It’s enjoyable and there’s not an alternative product.".
Or, "Something that is forgotten in all of this is people like to do marijuana. It’s enjoyable and there’s not an alternative product.".
What are these people thinking?
In Iraq..."Unemployment remains high, contributing to the insurgency because it sours the population and leaves idle young men to their own devices, according to the report.
The government's "most significant challenge continues to be strengthening rule-of-law institutions -- the judiciary, prisons and the police," the report said. "The United States has spent billions of dollars in this area, with limited success to date."
Shouldn't that tell you that combating unemployment is more important than building prisons? Hello?
The conservative mindset is a true mystery!
Kommersant – “Germany issued arrest warrants for 13 persons involved in the CIA kidnapping of Lebanese German Khaled al-Masri, BBC reported.”
What’s missing here is the 14th warrant. The warrant for the man responsible for the actions of those agents.
What changed? One thing that changed was our governor and later, our president. Of course he gets the blame; Reagan’s rule embodied all of the petty meanness of the conservative movement.
Imagine; 16 hours a year of drug advertising per viewer. Would any of that increase the cost of health care?
And print advertising isn't mentioned in this article. How many hours of that do we see?
38598 Dunn 66 M 2:54:45 3:21:26 64 93.1%
Bib#..............Age.. Time..... Gun Time.... Age graded
Oddly enough, if you were to look at the finish line photos, you would see me staring at my GPS unit in almost every frame they shot of me. I was intent!
No, it wasn’t the fastest time I ever had but it was the time that I thought I had; that’s important. After a couple of years of this kind of racing you get a feel for how fast you are and you can almost forget the watches and other timers. Almost.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
And don't forget to download the manual.
(This is so good!...how did I forget about it for so long? It's definitely better than it used to be!)
A few thoughts on aging. Last week, during the short time I was at the endoscopy clinic, I noticed that I really enjoyed the fact that someone, the nurses, cared for me. They were very kind and supportive during a time of some fear. My fear. So I can see where you could become attracted to that feeling. As you age, you feel less and less valuable and now…out of the blue, here’s someone that seems to think you are special. It’s probably no wonder that that the elderly need more health care…in some cases, they like it!
No, I don’t think I’m in danger of becoming addicted to healthcare. For one thing, it’s too expensive! Secondly; my wife values me; we support each other. But it has made me think; how do you feel valued again? When I was working I had a prominent role as an instructor, an estimator and as an expert in computer estimating software applications. Before that, I was a superintendent/project manager for large construction projects. (I was the "Decider"!) And long before that, I was a foreman on those same kinds of projects. I was important. At least that was my perception; they paid me as if I was important and that was my validation. Good enough.
But now we have to create our own validation of worth and it doesn’t involve our salaries anymore. So where does it come from? Well, I just read that with the “Baby Boomers” retiring, there has been a sharp increase in the number of volunteers helping at local charities. And that’s happening nationwide. It would be nice if the volunteering was all about helping others, but I do believe that it is also all about us!
But that’s OK. It’s better that we’re helping out instead of hanging out…at the doctors office.
A flue fire is an experience that you don’t need. We had a few of them when living in Janesville and although there was no damage done, it was quite frightening to see flames shooting out past the chimney cap and to hear the sound of a large locomotive coming from within the woodstove. Once the fire gets started in the creosote, it sucks air from every possible source and even the best of air tight stoves have small air gaps and that’s where the sound is coming from. I would swear that I saw our Earth Stove vibrating during one fire.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Boo, the cat has been hanging around the cold woodstove and looking up at me expectantly. She probably thinks we’re crazy… "Why don't they put a log in this thing?"
We’ve been told that the heat exchanger needed to repair our heating system will be in transit for 5-10 days. And then a 2-3 day wait before scheduling the actual repair. So it looks like we need enough wood for a couple of weeks yet. Darn! It will take weeks before the smell of wood smoke is gone from the house.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Here’s an article I can completely agree with. How can we put people in prison for using and selling marijuana and not jail the executives of tobacco companies? I know…this is an old, old argument and people with closed minds find it boring. But that doesn’t make it any less valid. And I certainly don’t expect this to change in my lifetime; there is far too much money at stake.
"The problem isn’t whether or not nicotine levels are increasing; it’s that this deadly, addictive product is available in the first place."
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
By SARAH ABRUZZESE
Representative Duncan Hunter of California said his candidacy would emphasize his support for the war in Iraq and his opposition to abortion.
Obviously a man who can't read...or think.
According to B’tselem, an Israeli human rights group, Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians in 2006. Almost half were innocent bystanders, including 141 children. In this same period, Palestinian forces killed 17 Israeli civilians and 6 soldiers.
I don’t know if the link above will take you to the story, it’s a week old, but here are some excerpts.
“What rarely get into the media but make up the staple of Palestinian daily conversation are the countless little restrictions that slow down most people's lives, strangle the economy and provide constant fuel for extremists.”
“A new order due to come into force this week would have banned most West Bankers from riding in cars with Israeli license plates, and thus from getting lifts from friends and relatives among the 1.6m Palestinians who live as citizens in Israel, as well as from aid workers, journalists and other foreigners.”
“If they can travel, how long they spend waiting at checkpoints, from minutes to hours, depends on the time of day and the humor of the soldiers. Several checkpoints may punctuate a journey between cities that would otherwise be less than an hour's drive apart. These checkpoints move and shift every day, and army jeeps add to the unpredictability and annoyance by stopping and creating ad hoc mobile checkpoints at various spots.”
“Because of the internal travel restrictions, people who want to move from one Palestinian city to another for work or study must register a change of address to make sure they can stay there. But they cannot. Israel's population registry, which issues Palestinian identity cards as well as Israeli ones, has issued almost no new Palestinian cards since the start of the second intifada in 2000.”
And on and on it goes…
This brought back some memories for me. During the 1940's, in Manahttan Beach, there was a family of burrowing owls living in a culvert near the railroad crossing on Center Street. We would see them standing outside their manmade burrow as we passed by on our way downtown. Then, one day we found them dead and bloody, killed by a hail of stones. Why? That terrible image is still with me almost 60 years later.
Maybe not, but there is an awful lot of news to digest these days. And I was thinking of the word, unimaginable to describe some of it. After all, our world and our actions are only limited by our imaginations. For good or for evil…imagination drives us forward. Lack of imagination stops us in our tracks. For instance; in 1925 it was unimaginable that a great depression would grip this country. In 1936 it was unimaginable that one man would kill over 6 million people because of their ancestry. In 1938 it was unimaginable that Japan would attack our nation at Pearl Harbor and our fleet would lie in ruins. In 1943 it was unimaginable that we could turn this new power of the atom into a weapon so horrible. And after 1945 it is unimaginable that we might use it again. In 1960 it was unimaginable that a sitting President would turn out to be a criminal. And fast forward to the 21st century; it was unimaginable that terrorists would fly airplanes into buildings, killing thousands of innocents in their efforts to spread their brand of terror across the world stage. And around that same time, it was unimaginable that we would still be fighting a war in a far away land in the year 2007. But we are.
So, name your own unimaginable. It can happen.
And here’s a news story that may turn out to be unimaginable in its impact.
In Clue to Addictive Behavior, a Brain Injury Halts Smoking
By BENEDICT CAREY
“An injury to a specific part of the brain can instantly and permanently break a smoking habit, scientists reported.”
If this turns out to be true, as I believe it will; if addictive behavior can be traced to a specific physical defect, then our society will be changed forever. Because this is not simply a way to stop smoking. This will affect our perception of all addictive behavior.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
World's oldest person dies at 115
Antara - 6 hours agoNew York (ANTARA News) - Emiliano Mercado del Toro, who spent just a month as the world`s oldest person, died on Wednesday at his home on the northern coast of Puerto Rico at 115, the Associated Press reported, quoting his grandniece, Dolores Martinez.
He can't be the world's oldest person...he's dead! It's someone else!
Now that you know what I think of telephones, I need some help in buying one. We have an odd assortment of phones in the house; a wireless set of two that is completely useless. Two cheap ones that work are in our study, a pricey one that always needs batteries is in the kitchen, one in the garage, one in the bedroom and one in the TV room. That’s 8 phones! And that doesn’t include our two cell phones; also useless.
I guess we have bad karma when it comes to phones as we have bought cheap and we have bought pricey. It doesn’t seem to matter. The phones know! And they quickly fail once they reach our house.
So we’re looking for someone to buy a 2 or 3 phone wireless phone system for us…we’ll even provide the cash up front. But we can’t be directly involved in the purchase or the phones will know.
We need reliable phones that re-charge in a minute and won’t be upset if one of us turns on the microwave while the phone is being used. We need ones that provide intelligible sound with volume control. And the system needs to include an answering machine. They also need buttons that are approximately the same size as fingertips; big fingertips...my fingertips. Is this too much to ask?
On an entirely different note; I have safely made it through a day in the colonoscopy factory. Believe me; the word “factory” is appropriately used in describing the North Valley Endoscopy clinic in Chico. My appointment had already been set back by about an hour and when I arrived it was quickly apparent that there were more delays. Trouble on the assembly line! I had been told that there were 8 or 9 patients ahead of me and more were on the way. I started doing the math and came up with this; 8 patients @ $3,000 each = $24,000, and that’s before noon. Maybe another 6 patients after noon would make that a $42,000 day. 5 days a week gives a total of $210,000. Let’s use 50 weeks a year and the total is now $10,500,000. I don’t think these three doctors, the owners/operators, are worried about their retirement portfolios.
As for the preparation beforehand and procedure itself, it’s a piece of cake. It’s vastly overrated. The staff was great; the doctor…not. As I was being unhooked from my monitors, I was handed a small piece of paper that stated all was well for now; that I should return in 10 years and it was signed (electronically) by a Doctor Pearce. That’s it? No face to face and no question and answer time afterwards? For that kind of money you would think you could get his attention for a bedside chat.
So why did I go through this hassle? Well, it was recommended (strongly) by our family doctor and most health care sources will tell you that you should have a screening colonoscopy after the age of 50. (I have definitely passed the 50 mark) And we did it because we could. Our insurance will pay for most of this. Last, because my dear friend, Frank Tucker, died from colon cancer and his death is always on my mind. (Frank was only in his 40’s when he died) That should have been the first reason and not the last, but I’m not always that smart.
But, what if you don’t have insurance? Or what if your insurance pays only a small fraction of that amount ($3,000)? Do you do the right thing and save your money until you have the entrance fee to the “factory”? Or do you just shrug it off and pass on it for now? Maybe next year.
So I want to know which came first, the high cost of the procedure? Or the high cost of insurance? Or…is there some collusion between doctors and insurance companies? Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies? Heaven forbid!
Bottom line...if you're close to 50 or over 50 and you have insurance, you should do it and make an appointment at your local factory.
And last...A personal note; Judy was the admitting nurse and she was perfect for the job. Very personable and chatty. She really put you at ease in an atmosphere that was pretty much clinical and cold. Remember, it’s a factory. She started the IV with a minimum of fuss and very little pain. But she had one bad habit… when I was in Hospital Corps School, one of the things we were told to never do was to use the patient as a desk. And Judy did. I had papers, equipment and charts from my toes to just under my chin.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
But, as I was wandering around Trader Joe’s the other day, I ran across the “Super Amazing Kitchen Cloth”. Two in a package and the text on the back of the package was filled with superlatives. So I bought a package. The jury is still out on this one, but so far – so good.
My daughter talks about coffee in her blog, but I doubt that you would experience a caffeine headache when you missed your daily mocha or even mochas. But, I could be wrong…
This little early morning exercise in “Coffee Appreciation 101” only proves that I’m addicted to it. Nothing to be proud of. And the statistics show what we all know to be true, there are fewer “plain old coffee” addicts today then there were 50 years ago…by percentage of course. I guess we will end up being lonely addicts.
Funny, but the first news item I ran across was not about the State of the Union speech. It was this…
Defense says Libby was 'sacrificed'
By Richard B. Schmitt
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby feared that White House officials were conspiring to make him the fall guy in the CIA leak scandal to protect political strategist Karl Rove, Libby's lawyer argued Tuesday. (Listen to the rats squeal!)
And in the LA Times newsletter, the State of the Union speech is 5 down from the top. The New York Times newsletter kept the speech in the top 2 spots. Is that significant? Nah! And neither was the speech. Or the Democratic rebuttal.
And then this… Bush's Health Plan: Does It Help You or Hurt You?
ABC News - 8 hours agoBy LAURA OWINGS. Jan. 23, 2007
- President Bush's new health plan could either put more money in or take more money out of your pocket.
You mean, nobody knows? What kind of a plan is that? Shouldn’t we find out the details before we even call it a plan? Oh, I forgot; it’s a government plan which means that the details will be added later.
On a different note; I called the chimney sweep and it appears that we’re in for a bit of a wait. He can’t be here till next Monday and the fire has to be out 24 hours before he arrives. And without any other source of heat, it looks like we will be bundling up on Sunday evening.
And now I have to worry about not having enough firewood to last until the heater is fixed. If it isn’t one thing…
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Good news...we didn't die because of it. The unit was pumping lukewarm air and unburned natural gas into the house.
OK, I'm calling the chimney sweep right now. And I will probably need more firewood.
"Nearly two-thirds of Americans appear to have given up on success in Iraq and also on his presidency, when President George W. Bush is to deliver State of the Union address Tuesday night to sell his troop increase in..."
I really thought it would be more like 3/4ths...
FOX News - Jan 21, 2007 - By Susannah Cahalan. AP. UNION, Mo. - The hulking pizza manager accused of snatching two boys in Missouri is so ...
How does one “hulk”? And the police; were they “hulkier”? They must have been if they were able to capture him.
Ya gotta love that Fox News!
Scant evidence found of Iran-Iraq arms link
By Alexandra Zavis and Greg Miller
U.S. warnings of advanced weaponry crossing the border are overstated, critics say.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Does it remind you of the hunt for WMD’s?
China confirms anti-satellite test, says no threat
What isn’t reported is the fact that China routinely lifts foreign satellites into orbit for a fee. “Foreign” includes the US of A as a paying customer. Yes, we outsource our satellite placement.
Again, the news is interesting. Here’s a good headline…
"We are looking at a $100 million entry fee."MICHAEL TONER, chairman of the Federal Election Commission, on the presidential race.
One hundred million dollars. That’s per candidate, not the total. That’s also the publicly recorded amount of money and not any money that slips in under the radar. And I suppose you thought that they were elected because they were smart, talented, “the man (or woman) for the job”, great patriots, etc, etc. Obviously, none of that applies. Only money and lots of it. The presidency is for sale and has been for quite awhile. But, denial is an All-American trait; so we pretend that money isn’t that important to the final selection of our leader.
Monday, January 22, 2007
From what I read, the mental state achieved through yoga might be more important than any flexibility. The author describes “retreats” or Ashrams where you can obtain spiritual relaxation. I have been to many so called retreats with the various churches I have attended and they all seem to have the same theme; an hour or so of lecture and then lots of free time where all are encouraged to play basketball or ride bikes… just do something! (It’s the American Way!) And I’ve always been disappointed by the fact that no “retreat” ever takes place in an atmosphere like this. I always vow to never go back, but then the promise of a new “retreat” lures me once again. I’m always hoping it will be different.
I just checked out the first pose and I think I can do it… the Stitha-Prarthanasana, or Prayer Pose. Yes, no pain at all!
Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made. -
Otto von Bismarck
Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation. -
A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done. -
We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine. -
Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner. -
If it weren't for my lawyer, I'd still be in prison. It went a lot faster with two people digging. - Joe Martin
It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it. -
Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others. - Edward Abbey
Lobbyists find new Congress is open for business
By Tom Hamburger and Janet Hook
Lobbyists who dreaded Democratic control find they're being heard.
Richardson enters presidential fray
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
A Democratic longshot, N.M.'s governor would be the first Latino to win the White House.
(Here’s a guy that deserves a lot more attention. In 1999, we were in New Mexico on vacation and I was reading a local newspaper during breakfast. Naturally, I found some printed words from the governor of that state and I was startled to see how sharp this man was. I told Laurae at the time that I thought he should be heard from. And I also wondered aloud as to why we were stuck with Gray Davis?)
Insurers have own ideas on coverage
By Lisa Girion
Big health plans share Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's goal of trimming the ranks of the uninsured, but they have their own ideas about how to do it - such as taxes on cigarettes and service charges on patients every time they visit a doctor.
Showdown Looms in Congress Over Drug Advertising on TV
By MILT FREUDENHEIM
Drug advertising will face hard scrutiny in the new Congress as it considers the renewal of fees that manufacturers pay to speed reviews of new drugs.
(Can you imagine television or magazines without drug advertising? I might even hook up my television again!)
Note to the Senate and House of Representatives; pass a law that requires the president to fire all of the speechwriters and give us his own thoughts. Sure, you’ll have to override a veto to get it passed, but it needs to be done.
And I found out what has been causing IE7 to crash; it’s the Skype Toolbar and I’ve turned it off for now. And speaking of Skype; I first downloaded the software for the program in 1999 as part of an experiment within our department at PCG. We all thought it had promise, but bandwidth was so variable at the time that the application suffered from it whenever you had less than the maximum. Voices would slowly fade away and then suddenly go back to full volume as the bandwidth fluctuated. Our first thought was to have it available for all corporate long distance calling. Since we had so many offices in so many states, it seemed to make sense… free long distance calls! But it never caught on and the idea was dropped.
Since I had been the one to bring Skype up for review, I kept the software on my computers but never did anything with it except to make the occasional upgrade. Now Skype is the Number One provider for Voip calls and the cost of a Skype to Skype call is still zip, zero, nada. And I see that you can make unlimited calls in the US from your Skype account to plain old telephones, anywhere, at a cost of $15 a year. I also see that I should have bought stock in the company.
But I hate telephones! With a passion! So why am I rattling on about some telephone that connects to your computer? Ah! Because it’s the perfect way to merge the technologies. My computer becomes my answering machine, a two way answering machine that lets me know if someone is busy and doesn’t want to be called and I can do likewise; letting others on the Skype network know if I wish to be called or not. You can view the status of all of your Skype contacts from a single screen.
Let’s face it, telephones are rude. Impolite. They interrupt people. They butt in. They take up valuable time with chatter. With Skype, you have the freedom to continue on with whatever you were doing before the phone rang… and now they have Skype cellular phones; just needing a WiFi hot spot to call.
Now I need to find out why the Skype Toolbar causes problems with IE7. I have a feeling it doesn't happen with Firefox.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Why, you ask? Because Hillary is only a politician, and pretty much one of the standard variety. She didn’t use to be and I respected her before she became a Senator and learned the wily ways of the political life. She once told the truth and told it boldly…but now she just says whatever is PC. She is certainly not someone I would want my daughters or granddaughters to emulate.
And since she is a lightning rod for controversy, the wacko Republican conservatives will have a field day as they take the electioneering process to some new lows in political behavior. And you thought that *bush polarized the country? You haven’t seen anything yet!
I guess they must be overjoyed in the Republican camp today…
I was busy reading this page when IE7 failed on me. Do you think the FBI was behind it?
I’m sure that the smoky conditions are caused by a lack of draft which is caused by a constricted stack which is caused by a creosote buildup; all of which means that I need to call a chimney sweep this spring. That’s not something to be taken lightly as a few of the roof tiles were broken by a chimney sweep who was working for the previous owner of this house. I don’t want that to happen again. The tile roof was definitely a selling point for me when we bought this house; a solid roof over our heads with little chance of ever wearing out in our lifetimes. But solid means unbroken…
On a different subject; because my computer is getting old; (Arriving in November of 2003 – Ancient!) I’ve been trying to make sure that all of my data is backed up and that has become a real chore. I bought the computer with 2 hard drives with a combined capacity of 120GB, plus I added a third drive, a stand alone Seagate with 250GB capacity. Now, I am pretty good at organizing computer files and folders, but with this much capacity it’s like having a closet that is far too large; where is everything? And I have duplicates; boy, do I ever! I save them here and then I save them there as if I had a real plan at one time. Simple is better and I need to get back to having one set of data on one hard drive and a copy on another.
I want to build a computer this year and so I have begun doing some comparison shopping as I look at the basics; the case and the motherboard. And I have already found it to be quite challenging. There are hundreds of motherboards available and each has a different set of specs and a different chip set. Which one is best? I tried various on-line sources and came up with Tiger Direct and Overstock as my choices for supplying the parts for building a new computer, but they don’t have much in the way of tutorials. And the on-line tutorials are loaded down with advertising. I think I need to find a good book on the subject.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
And this morning I read that (unconfirmed) Senator Obama is a smoker. Is he? If so, I couldn’t vote for him. In fact, that little story has already changed the way I view him. If true; how much money will it take to change my perception of him as a drug addict? $1 million? $10 million?
At this time of the morning, the cat will usually want to hang out with me here in the study, sleeping on my lap. Not this morning; as soon as I let her in she headed for a choice spot in front of the woodstove and has remained there ever since. As I walk by to get another cup of coffee, she will raise her head to greet me with a contented meow, but that is the full extent of her movements. She is not a fool.
Yes, I can see a need for another laptop computer. Then I could join her at the fire by using our wireless router to stay in contact with the storage drive and the internet. And I would be a few steps closer to the coffee as well.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Interesting. At a meeting at the church last night, I heard one man give his opinion; that the war in Iraq was simply wrong and we shouldn’t be there. There was a lot of nodding of heads and not one person spoke up to disagree. A far cry from the attitudes of only a year ago. Could it be that people are finally getting “it”? Not that it matters to the Decider. Going against all advice and rejecting his own promise to always listen to the military leaders, Dubya has removed any dissenting generals from the field. Generals Keane and Petraeus will now implement the Deciders wishes. Both of these men agree that the war has been mishandled so far. In other words; my words… we spent $300 billion and lost the irreplaceable lives of over 3,000 men and women because our leaders didn’t know what they were doing. And we should trust them now? Why?
Those of us that are old enough to remember Vietnam, remember that we were told it would take more troops, more dollars and even more troops… to obtain victory. It never happened and those of us that opposed the war were proven right. You cannot win a war of insurgency. Yet, here we are, 40 years later, still trying to prove that the lessons of history are wrong.
Speaking of history; King George (the English king…not our current leader) tried to fight an insurgency in the late 1700’s. He failed despite his numerical advantage over the enemy. Shouldn’t we have learned something from that simple lesson?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
We really don’t have to look very far to see how well this mandatory plan will work; simply look at the mandatory automobile insurance plan in the state. That was supposed to drive the costs of insurance down. Has it worked for you?
I spotted a news article on a subject that’s dear to my heart…
Governor blames public indifference for prison ills
By Jordan Rau
“Saying that Californians have "lived in denial" about the crisis in the state's prisons, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained that apathy in the electorate is to blame for the lack of will in the Capitol to address the corrections system's overcrowding and rising costs.”
This man’s lack of intelligence and moral courage is appalling! We, the public, are to blame for the fact that the legislators and governor didn’t do their job? Didn’t we pay them enough? Are their offices too small to work in? Not enough staff? And what else have we failed to do? I know for a fact that we have failed to elect responsible people to high office.
Our acting governor never fails to raise my blood pressure. Every time I think he is finally “getting it”, he comes up with some idiotic statement. Doesn’t he have a handler?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It had been a great trip, getting to see Kitty and Dean, Mike, Erin and Sophia…and where they live. I love the fact that we can now imagine them at home and we can see that image of their homes. And speaking of Erin, she has surpassed most of us with her choice of a “kitchen counter trophy”… while we have added a mere Kitchen Aid mixer to our counters; she has a Jenn-Air mixer. Who knew they made mixers?
While it truly was a wonderful trip, the hassle of getting there and back never seems to change. Airports have become similar to Greyhound bus stations, except you don’t have to take off your shoes to get on a bus. Despite all of the money spent on airport remodeling and maintenance, it’s hard to see any difference between our airports and what I imagine they must be like in a third world country. Service is non-existent and it’s obvious that no one cleans the place.
Of course the cat is happy to see us again. We stopped at the veterinarian’s office on our way home and picked her up. We also learned that she has become quite fond of the staff now and was reluctant to leave at first. But as soon as she was home, she began racing from end of the house to the other, inspecting all of her usual haunts and then doing her best to stay close to me while trying to get me to “play”.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
We drove downtown (Phoenix) so that I could complete my race registration, pick up my timing chip and my t-shirt. Even though it was early on the first day of registration, there was a crowd, a large crowd! Traffic around the convention center was a mess and the construction zones for the new light rail system didn't help the traffic situation. After picking up a few items at the Race Expo we were out of there and heading to Glendale to see the new Cabela's superstore. As usual, we just wandered through the store, buying very little but marveling at the excess. And I did discover that there is hope for the Cabela starved citizens of Northern California; there are plans to build a store in Reno...
Since it had been such a long time since our last visit to Scottsdale and the valley, we were amazed at the number of stores and houses that now exist here or are being built. Incredible! On all of my previous (recent) trips to this area I had been focused on the Chandler - Tempe area, to the south, as that was where our office and construction projects had been located. It's been close to 40 years since we last spent a lot of time in this area. In fact, we went by the site of the first building I worked on here, the Broadway store on Camelback... and it still stands! Although it has been renamed "Macy's".
To finish off our day, we went to Flo's and enjoyed a great meal.
Today we will be looking at some art galleries in the area. Then, Sunday is the race and that will be over by noon... Monday's plans now include a visit to the Barrett - Jackson automobile auction. Mike was able to get us tickets for this very private affair, so we will be viewing some of the priciest cars in the world that day. Since the lottery in Arizona is up to a $150 million payout level, I may buy a chance and perhaps we can drive home in style instead of flying.
Sorry about any typo's...I'm used to having Word take care of me and Google Docs makes me depend on my wit and skill. That's not a good thing!
Friday, January 12, 2007
Google Docs doesn't have the comfortable feel I associate with Word, but it's working! Like all things new, it will take some getting used to.
And I notice that my sister is not using the latest version of Internet Exploroer...I had no idea that I had become so attached to the Tabs feature of IE7, but without it, I'm floundering around here, trying to read this or that without having to open IE once again. It doesn't work.
And I spotted something else...When I open my blog on my own computer, I see all of the links and archives on the right hand side of the screen. On my sisters computer, they are gone? Oh, I found them alright, but they are all of the way down at the bottom of the screen...100 posts away from the top. I wonder how long it has been like that? I use a pretty high resolution setting on my monitor and so I think that may be the reason that it looks fine to me.
There are cats here...one, named Mijo (sp?) and one named Spanky. Mijo is a large black cat; I mean large! Our little black cat might come up to Mijo's shoulder. All things being relative; I had no idea our cat was so tiny! I have an idea that if he were properly trained, Mijo would make a great "watch cat". He's the size of some dogs I've seen. I'm glad he's friendly...
Thursday, January 11, 2007
“I just read the other day that western oil companies stand to take 75% of all the Iraqi oil profits over the next three decades. It's a bill before Iraq's Parliament. Check it out. So our long day ended with snow and a snowjob”
Now, why would Iraq's parliament do something like that? For money?
Experts are at a loss to explain rising gasoline costs in California, but some expect relief soon.
Experts? I wouldn’t think it would require rocket scientists to figure it out, but hey! what do I know?
And it’s already cold this morning, down to 31 and falling. But I see that the “chance of snow flurries” has been removed from the forecast.
The polls are in! And most of us don’t believe… Sorry, but that wasn’t surprising. “What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” But…he’s still the Decider and he’s not going to listen to you or me.
"The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will."PRESIDENT BUSH
The real question are...do I believe him? do you? And why?
The last question. How do you define "success"? Funny; but no one has told us what victory looks like.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It was only a temporary setback, probably caused by a rush of traffic to the site. Three attempts later and I had them printed.
Weird...I couldn't see a line, but it was obvious that I was in one. With Southwest, even being on-line is a form of lining up.
The weather for the ½ marathon on Sunday is predicted to be sunny but cold. A low of 34… sounds like layering is mandatory for this race.
I read that Mitt Romney is ahead in collecting the millions needed to run for president. (Like I said, it’s the $$$ spent and not the talent that makes you the president.) He has over $65 million now and that makes him a frontrunner for the nomination. If he becomes the Republicans candidate it will be quite interesting to see what the right wing Evangelicals will do; Romney’s a Mormon and the Evangelicals hate them with a passion. Do you think the right wing will ignore his Mormonism in order to keep a Republican in the White House? I don’t doubt it; they have fewer scruples than the Democrats…
And I read that that there is a chance that mental health issues will be covered in future medical insurance. Most people don’t realize that mental health problems are usually not covered in standard health insurance until they have to pay. Even though at least 25% of Americans are afflicted with mental health issues at some time or another, as a society we do our very best to ignore that fact. Imagine what kind of an outcry we would hear if 25% of Americans developed polio? Or cancer?
Let’s see…Presidential politics, right wing Republicans, Mormons, right wing Evangelicals and mental health. Do these subjects go together? You bet!
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Looking at the headlines I see that World War III has escalated once again with an airstrike in Somalia. According to the reports, a small village; real estate, humans and animals were destroyed in the hunt for three terrorists. Collateral damage.
Related news occurred in Venezuela as Chavez reveals plans to take over the oil fields from the four foreign companies now running them.
Related? It’s oil that ties the stories together and Americans will have to understand that we are not leaving Iraq or any place else in the Middle East because of it. Iraq has too much oil to ignore and it’s still the only reason for our being there. Democrats or Republicans, it doesn’t make any difference. Oil will bind us to the Middle East as long as it flows from there. And with Chavez threatening our supply in this hemisphere, Iraq’s oil is even more important.
Monday, January 8, 2007
The news from my first inspection of the "aggregators" is filled with stories on a “new plan” for Iraq and they all invite comparison to Vietnam; as they should.
War Could Last Years, Commander Says
"I believe the American people, if they feel we are making progress, they will have the patience. I think the frustration is that they think we are not making progress."LT. GEN. RAYMOND T. ODIERNO, the American operational commander in Iraq.
He also says that it could be another 2 or 3 years before they gain the upper hand over the insurgents. Or, maybe not…
But there is A PLAN…
"President Bush’s new policy establishes benchmarks for Iraqis to ease sectarian tensions and bring political and economic stability." And I would bet that there is also a great PowerPoint presentation that explains all of the benchmarks.
And was this part of the plan?
Bush Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich, Study Finds
“Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply in 2004 than any group in the country.”
Sunday, January 7, 2007
I don’t know whether I should be fascinated or upset that Google can do this? My first response was driven by my geeky side and I did find it most fascinating. But do I really want Google staring over my shoulder? Of course I know, intellectually, that gathering this information is a piece of cake for them. But at the gut level, I would rather not know they are doing it. Fooling myself. And then I read the report again; obviously I don’t share well. Must work on that!
Of course I had to think about the fact that I’m going to be racewalking a ½ marathon this coming weekend and I was able to hold my great grandson the weekend before. Now that’s a blessing!
Colum won’t remember our meeting, even though we spent some quality time staring into each others eyes. As it is with most babies, he was only looking for a meal while I was looking at the future. That’s all right…I’ll remember.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
It’s time to see what’s on the internet… and since health care is going to be a big part of this political year and the next; I’ve been reading various opinions on the “cure” for health care maladies. And one that got my attention was not an opinion so much as it was a question. What do you want from your doctor? Good question and one that ought to discussed thoroughly before laws are passed that tie the hands of doctors.
The answer is easy. I want a doctor like the ones I remember from the 1940’s. (OK, I know it won’t happen. It was just a fleeting dream.) Those doctors had time for you, or so it seemed. I do remember that they made house calls and that was normal when there was some indication that you were quite sick. Sick people shouldn’t be sitting in waiting rooms.
Health insurance didn’t exist then and you paid cash for a visit to the doctor. It was expensive, but it wasn’t outrageous or unaffordable. Most doctors fit their fees to the patient and the locale. They had to. That’s where they lived as well.
Let’s say we can’t remove the grip that the health insurance industry has on the system; which is probably going to be true. Now what kind of doctor do you want? Since the main complaint of patients is that the doctor doesn’t spend enough time with them; that should be the first problem addressed.
Empowering the nurse/practitioner seems like the only sensible solution. The doctor sees you once a year and then gives a nurse/practitioner all the time in the world to tend to the patients. And allows them to make decisions. And there needs to be a different billing rate for visits with the nurse versus the doctor. I understand that in most cases, you are billed the same amount. That’s wrong.
My case in point; I have seen a new doctor and he has become our family physician. I saw him one time and for less than half an hour, for which he was paid an exorbitant amount of money by the insurers. I have no sense of who he is. He is simply a face and not even a familiar one. If we passed each other in the market, I would never notice him. Perhaps we have? And I already have an appointment to see him in October of this year, a full year from the first visit. That’s good; I’m relatively healthy. Or I hope I am.
That’s because I noted that he seemed busy during that first visit, I didn’t ask him all of the questions I should have. Just being polite. And he didn’t invite a lot of questions. That’s wrong on both our parts. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to ask the insurance company to pay big bucks for another visit just so I can ask those forgotten questions.
Now suppose that first visit had ended with a similar amount of time spent with a nurse/practitioner. 30 minutes to get to know each other, to relax a little and ask those inevitable questions. Some questions could be answered on the spot and others would be noted for follow-up. And I would be invited to e-mail or call them if I had any other concerns.
If all went well, within an hour you would now have a friend, one who cared about your health and actually knew you. You would have also seen a “real doctor” and that would assure you that the nurse/practitioner had professional backup for any problems. That would work for me.
By the way, my doctor works within a group that seems to pride itself on being just "regular folks", approachable and dedicated to your care.
And then I read this; made my day!
“Bush claims power to open Americans' mail without warrants.
'Signing statement' says he has power to do so in 'emergency situations.'”
First, lets get real here…terrorists are going to use the US Mail to communicate with each other? Why?
Second, when is someone going to take him up on this “signing statement” nonsense, where he Decides what a law means to him. Under his rules, if he says it while signing a bill into law…his words become part of that new law. Even if the law, as written, disagrees with what he said. His words become the law. It’s nonsense and it’s time for the courts to say so.
“Even if it's creepy, cloned meat is safe and tasty, says the Food and Drug Administration.”
Why would anyone call it creepy? Who are these people and where are there brains? We have been eating “cloned” fruits, nuts and grains for years. Generations of Americans have eaten fruit and nuts that can’t exist in a natural world. Grains have the same story. Read the story of Luther Burbank, “Cloner” of the plant world.
Friday, January 5, 2007
Thursday, January 4, 2007
I know that pharmaceutical companies have always claimed that the high prices are justified by the cost of research for new drugs, but the stories I have been reading seem to indicate that most research is now done to “rejuvenate” old drugs and make them patentable once again. And the budget for advertising is now larger than the one for research. I think that helps to set this record; the US spends more for drugs than any other nation! All other nations control drug prices for the good of their citizens.
Skeptic that I am, I use Google daily to verify or disprove what I’ve read or heard. Sometimes, all I get is a tie; can’t be proven one way or the other, but that’s OK. And I just read that Google is now the target of most search engine companies; they all want to topple Google from its place as #1. I hope they do! It can only be good for us, the information consumer.
Here’s some specific information that couldn’t be proved or disproved. But, both sides agree that the numbers are huge. And growing bigger every day.
“In 2006 domestic marijuana cultivation was worth $35.8 billion, more than corn and wheat combined. Over 56 million marijuana plants were cultivated outdoors with a value of $31.7 billion and 11.7 million plants were cultivated indoors at a value of $4.1 billion.”
Now add in the cost of Federal law enforcement, that’s $20 billion a year. State law enforcement costs vary from state to state, of course. And prison costs aren’t included here, nor are the social costs that we all have to pay for.
All of this money ($150 billion per year?) is related to the War on Drugs, so I guess it would be fair to ask… how’s it going? Any victories? No? Perhaps we’re just not spending enough!
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Pat is simply an amazing guy! I wonder if he can tell me which horse will win the 6th race at Hialeah this afternoon? Now that would be handy!
"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will start moving many of its 1.3 million workers from predictable shifts to a system based on how many customers are in stores at a given time, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday."
Does everyone get a pager and then live in the parking lot?
Which brings up the question… who decided to call it Normal? You have to admit that it’s an odd name for a very important template. Who’s to say what Normal is? Well, you can of course. It’s your Normal and my Normal doesn’t look like your Normal. Can you imagine the programmers all sitting around the table in the conference room Redmond as they debated the merits of naming this template, Normal?
And I used to share my Normal. Normal can contain all of your favorite macros and so I would gather useful Normal’s from various offices; combine the good features and then spread them around to those in need of a better Normal.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Now there's a man that needs to blog!
"When Democrats take power on Capitol Hill this week, House leaders will kick off their legislative campaign with a lightning-fast 100-hour agenda."
If they were smart… a very big “if”, they would gather themselves into a collective force and pass a few needed pieces of legislation by passing the bills in both House and Senate, taking the expected presidential veto and then forcing the bills through by passing them once again. When was the last time a presidential veto was overridden? It needs to happen again, just to get W’s attention. Sort of like a 2x4…
Chaos Overran Iraq Plan in ’06, Bush Team Says
The plan to turn over security to the Iraqis collided with the country’s ferocious unraveling, which took most of the president’s war council by surprise. (What?)
But…you were told this would happen. Weren’t you listening?
Something else to look for in the squares; names and gender. The Jose’s and Manuel’s. The Linda’s and Sarah’s.
Maintaining warmth makes for an interesting subject in itself after watching the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. But first… my complaints about the movies “star", Al Gore.
I know it’s simply perception on my part, but they really should have gone with another face to present these most compelling facts. He is flawed. Yet, he is part of the story; a vital part. Al Gore, a child and then, and now, an adult of great privilege and it shows in everything he does and says. I don’t believe he knows how he comes across to people; no one would consciously try and act this way. His constant references to celebrities of science and world leaders, always prefaced by the words, “My friend… the Pope” OK, bad example. And his references to all of the places in the world that he has been, “I went to the North Pole and then to the South Pole and then to the Amazon…and then…”
He is a man that is used to being on a stage, but he doesn’t have the “common touch” that lets him communicate well; or maybe it’s just me? I have a feeling that he would be the kind of person that I would greatly enjoy talking with in person and privately because it’s obvious that he is extremely intelligent and a man of many interests, with words and thoughts to share. My kind of guy!
But the movie is the important thing; that and the very graphic facts. (The small political digs scattered throughout were not needed. We already know what kind of a leader we have and telling us again won’t make things better.) In fact, the facts are so disturbing that there is a temptation to shut them out and say, “…it’s too late, it’s over! We’ve ruined our world.” Yet, we know we can’t do that. The movie should be seen by all and then we might be able to come together to do something about a very real danger.
And it’s interesting that no one has been able to refute the facts that Mr. Gore presents. Here was a perfect opportunity for the conservatives to embarrass him and to mock those who call themselves “Green”. Didn’t happen.
Small things: I couldn’t help but notice that Mr. Gore used an Apple computer. Sure, they are probably the best when it comes to graphic presentation materials. I’m certain that his presentations come off without any stumbling, no computer malfunctions for us to see and wonder about, but PowerBooks are also a perceived tool of the wealthy and privileged. Ordinary people use PC’s. (Oh, stop! Why do I do this to myself?)
Bottom line...watch the movie! Take notes!
Monday, January 1, 2007
I have to wonder what this year will bring. Don’t we all? 365 days. A lot can happen, but if you think too much about it, it could scare you with all of the possibilities! I do have plans for the year; but they are only the kind of plans that my personality type enjoys. Flexible or none.