Friday, December 28, 2012

Lake or Bay?

Which is "Best" the Bay or our Lake? Well as lovely as it is to have a view of The Chesapeake Bay I have to go for The Lake as my favorite view (Except for Julia).
When you live on the Bay you do indeed have a wide expanse of water in front of you. And yes you can often see the Eastern Shore, even if it is rather a long way away. Of course there are the boats, big and small, which add interest. The birds are also fun to watch.

But, The Lake holds a bigger place in my heart as well as in my vision. Yes the Bay has lots of water, but just how much water do you really need? The Lake has about 40 acres of water and lots of trees too - which is something usually missing from the Bay view.

I think you could compare Bay and Lake views to a large crowd of people at a big party or a small group of friends and a more intimate party. Which do you prefer? Apparently I like the smaller gathering.

At The Lake I can look out and see most of The Lake all in one sweeping glance. Even the trees on the far side are easy to see. There is a bigger variety of birds. Sometimes I can even see fish! Yes there are Carp in The Lake that are 4 or 5 feet long, I have seen them!

The Osprey often snatch a fish out of the water and fly off with it in their talons! Can you imagine being that fish? Swimming quietly along, looking for a tasty bug or other snack, when suddenly WHAM! you are out of the water and several feet above The Lake in a world that you didn't even know existed! If you get lucky you will be dropped back into your world and live to tell the tale. What a story to tell at the next fish cocktail party!

And it happens, more often than you would think. Some other bird comes along and tries to take you away from "Your" bird. Maybe another Osprey or even an Eagle. There are at least two pairs of Bald Eagles that I have seen here. Also Buzzards, Hawks and of course Ducks, Crows and Seagulls.

Across the road is the Bay. In the mornings the sun rises above The Bay, beautiful I am sure, but here on The Lake we also get to see the beauty of the Sunrise. As the Sun rises I am often sitting in my armchair with my first coffee of the day watching the sky turn from darkness to a variety of colors, usually pink, but it can vary depending on the time of year and the kind of clouds, or even no clouds. Every morning, like every snowflake, is different. As the sun climbs higher and gets above the rooftops it first begins to hit the trees on the far shore of The Lake. This can be breathtaking, especially in the fall when it literally looks as though the trees are on fire. The "Fire" spreads quickly as the sun's light reaches further and higher until soon the whole forest is "ablaze". Even before that happens The Lake itself begins to "Burn". Just as the conflagration is about to reach a flash-point the light softens and morning arrives. At this time The Lake, which had been up to now a mirror, starts to move. Tiny ripples disturb its smooth surface. They grow as the breeze increases and life returns to The Lake. Fish start breaking, birds start diving into the water. A Great Blue Heron lands on my pier and another appears in the water wading along with its eyes fixed on something. Suddenly, there is the "something", struggling briefly in the Heron's bill before it is swiftly swallowed in one smooth movement. Almost without a break the Heron snatches up another fish and yet another.

Meanwhile the first Osprey of the day has arrived for his (her?) breakfast.

And so it goes. Never a dull moment on The lake.

Soon, sometimes all too soon, the sun starts to go down. We have lived here for 4 years now, 4 years and 5 months or about 1600 sunsets! No two the same. As you can imagine we have not seen all of them, but I have seen a lot of them. When we take a trip, sunsets on The Lake are one of the losses that I have to take into consideration when I make the decision on whether or not to go! You have to see a Sunset on The Lake to understand this.

I could probably go on for hours talking about The Lake. Obviously this is impossible. For one thing you'd be bored out of your teeth, but more importantly, I would not be able to watch The lake!!

But I will take a few minutes to list some of the other things that make The Lake better than The Bay.

We have a beautiful pair of White Swans here. There are all kinds of Ducks, including of course Mallards and the little Diving Ducks, as well as numerous other Ducks that I don't even know the names of. Then there are the Cormorants. Sometimes there are just a few Cormorants. But one year there were literally hundreds! There are even land based birds, mostly what we call LBJ birds (Little Brown Jobs) I have of course already mentioned the Eagles, Buzzards, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Seagulls, Crows and Ducks. But there are others that we did identify using our Birds of North America book. These include, Bittern, Night Heron, Egret, Great White Heron, Tern, Woodpecker, Dove, Owl, Kingfisher, Swift, Hummingbird, Hawk, Falcon, Canada Goose, then of course there are all the LBJ's, not to mention others that we were unable to identify. Of course many of those that we did identify had several different types in the same species.

Other than birds? Yes, fish - Carp, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Shad, Herring, Sunfish, Minnows, Eel, Catfish, Pike, Shrimp, Turtles, Frog, Snake, Crab, Clam, and I'm sure that I missed some.

More? How about animals? Deer yes but rarely, Possum, Raccoon, Fox, Mice. Trees? Lots of beautiful trees including of course Maple, Various Oaks, Holly with many red berries, Locust, Poplar, Cherry, Willow and many more.

Yes The Lake wins hands down.


Those who know me know that I like numbers.

I just heard that Chicago passed 500 gun deaths for the year. I tried to check those figures, but it is hard. I think that is just murders by gun, but I am not sure. But I am sure that if we add in accidents and suicides it would be well over 500. That is like 20 Newtowns - in just ONE American City! Can you imagine that? More than 20 Newtowns!! in just ONE city. To put it another way 30,000 gun deaths a year in the US or well over 1,000 Newtowns!!

These figures are just unbelievable. ONE HUNDRED TIMES HIGHER than many other civilized countries! And still we say "Guns don't kill people"! The murder rate by gun in just ONE American city is higher than the murder rate, or death rate, in countries AT WAR!! You would be safer in Iraq, or Afghanistan than in Chicago!!

And we defend our right to own guns! We would KILL to allow Criminals to own guns, Alcoholics to own guns, Wife beaters to own guns, Mental patients to own guns, ANYONE to own guns!

We want anyone to be able to legally own a gun without a thorough background check, without even being registered or being fingerprinted. Yet to own a dog you need to have it registered and get a license. But not a gun!

Want to drive? You have to take a written test, and a driving test, and get a license, and your car has to be registered. For a gun? Nothing! Nada. You can walk in to a "Gun Show" and buy a gun without any record of the transaction at all! You don't even have to know how to fire it! In many states the laws are the same as a gun show - anyone can get any weapon for any, or no, reason. Including assault weapons with 100 round magazines, or hand grenades, or machine guns, mortars, maybe even missiles? Just to defend yourself against a mugger!

You can even buy assault guns at Department stores - like Walmart! What next? At Safeway? At 7-11? Who knows, anything is possible in this crazy country.

If this isn't ABSOLUTELY CRAZY then I don't know what is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fog - again.

Those little cat feet are all over the place again this morning. In fact they have been there almost every morning for the last couple of weeks. But today it is thicker than usual, and more persistent.

Strangely enough we cannot hear any fog horns. At our last home - Brent House Farm - which was on the water, but at the head of a creek and at least a mile from the Bay proper, we often heard them. Now that we are literally right across the road from the Bay, which we can see from the kitchen window, we can't hear them!

I wonder why that is? Do they not use fog horns any more, or is the fog much thicker than it used to be and blankets the sound completely? No, I don't think so either.

Are we just older and our hearing has gone? Or is the part of the Bay that we are close to devoid of fog horns? Are the foghorns that we used to hear on ships or on buoys or lighthouses? Maybe that is the answer, we used to be close to an automatic foghorn, now we are not. That must be it.

If you know the answer to this mystery perhaps you can tell me?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Disability Rights Treaty anyone?

Can you say Disability Rights? Surely a non-controversial subject wouldn't you think? So would I. A no-brainer? But no, the usual applies, if President Obama is in favor of it, we MUST vote it down!

The treaty requires countries to recognize the rights of disabled people. The US of course already has laws that do this. The hope is that it will encourage other countries to develop laws to help the disabled.

But the paranoid members of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party voted it down! Even Rick Santorum and Marco Rubio who both have disabled members of their families voted against the treaty! Marco suggested that the US could promote disability rights. I wonder why both the US and the United Nations can't promote disability rights?

Most countries in the world have signed on to it. It is not controversial anywhere, even in America, except for the extremists of one political party
Where is reason in the minds of these people? Why is it in such short supply there? And why do the rest of the Republicans bow down to these extremists?

On another subject, but with the same lack of reasoning, why is it so hard to get on board with what would seem to be such a simple solution to our lack of funds. One party wants to tax 2% of the population who have more than 50% of the country's wealth and yet pay a lower tax rate than the average American. The other party wants to tax 98% of the population who already pay a higher rate than the 2%. Surely this too is a no-brainer. But apparently not, because once again the Party of No, the Republicans, are interested in one thing and one thing only, voting against ANYTHING that President Obama is in favor of.

They are in favor of cutting taxes, but even more than that, they are in favor of voting against any proposal of President Obama's. Even to the point of voting down tax cuts proposed by the President for citizens and businesses! And voting down spending cuts proposed by him!

I had this idea, why doesn't the President propose a tax cut for the wealthy? Lets say anyone making over $250,000 a year only pays 10% tax? That's what many of them pay anyway! It is what the Republicans want, but they would be FORCED to vote against it, because President Obama proposed it!!!!

He could even put forward a proposal that the rich pay NO tax. And let the Republicans vote that down! Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho ! (There are at least 3,000 people in the US who make more than $3 Million a year who pay NO tax at all!! Does that make them a part of the "47%" ? It sure does! And that doesn't even count the businesses making Billions in PROFITS who pay ZERO tax! Companies like Verizon who made a PROFIT of $33 Billion last year and paid NO tax - in fact they received a 'refund' check from the government of about $1 Billion.)

Well there is a precedent. There is a tax that all Americans pay that the rich don't pay. You don't know about that? Let's say there was a tax that ALL Americans had to pay, except the rich. Well there is! As you know in most countries of the world, except the USA, the more you earn the higher the tax rate you pay. Here in the US of course the more you earn the LOWER your tax rate goes!

Well, here in the US once you reach a certain point, in this case $110,000 - which believe it or not is pretty rich in my book. I have never earned even half of that much in a year. But once you reach that, you stop paying that tax!! I pay it, and all Americans pay it, 100% of us, on ALL of our earnings - up to $110,000. When you reach that figure, which I call rich, or close to, certainly I would love to earn that much, you STOP paying the tax. So right away the rich start paying 6.2% LESS than the poor and middle class, just on that one tax. Yep from then on they pay ZERO on that tax, even tho' the rest of us pay it on ALL of our income.

Take Mitt Romney for example. You pay 6.2% on all of your income. So if you made $110,000 last year you paid $6,820 in Soc Sec tax, or 6.2% of your income. Mitt Romney, who made $21 Million last year, on the other hand paid .03%. So you, and I pay 6.2% Soc Sec tax and Mitt Romney pays .03% ! You and I pay at a rate that is 206 times more than Mitt Romney pays! Now he could well afford to pay this tax, much more so than you or I. But he doesn't have to. I wonder why that is? I suspect that the rich and wealthy are able to nicely ask their politicians for them to be exempted. Maybe some help to their own personal politicians in some area. A nice trip in a private jet to a private island for a nice break. Or some repairs to their house. Or maybe just some help with the bills. Things that you and I can't do for our elected representatives, but the very rich can. Which is why they get richer and richer, at our expense.

How does this sound for an idea? Tax everyone equally for the Soc Sec tax, don't even raise it higher as you earn more, just keep it at 6.2%, but for ALL of everyone's earnings, not just all of my earnings and your earnings. There would then be no problem with SS payments. No fear of SS funds running out in 30 years, or whenever it is supposed to happen. In fact it would probably be possible to LOWER the Soc Sec deduction!! Say to 5%. So those less able to afford it would even get a break, while those who CAN afford it would be paying as well. After all if you can make a million, or 5 million, or 10 million, or even 50 or 100 million and more in the USA you SHOULD be HAPPY to give back to the country that enabled you to get rich. Shouldn't you?

Just saying.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seventy Two Degrees?

Yes that is what it was outside today! It was 70 in Chicago yesterday! It is supposed to be in the 20's in Chicago at this time of the year I think.

Yesterday and today one of the big stories was about a New York policeman who bought a pair of shoes for a shoeless, homeless man. I thought I would tell you about my Grandfather.

In fact if you go back about 7 or 8 posts and read one entitled a visit to the dentist or something, you will see a bit about my grandfather. By coincidence I had posted this story about boots.

Anyway, my Grandfather - Thomas Howard Nethercott - was in the First World War. He was in the mudddy trenches and fields of France, and in the blazing hot deserts of North Africa, and on the demon beaches of Gallipoi, in Turkey. And doubtless in other horrific, nightmare places too.

In France he was up to his knees in mud and snow, he had his appendix removed, "With a Rusty Bayonet", as he once told me. I'm sure an exaggeration. I think. He was gassed with mustard gas and lost his sense of smell and taste. Definitely not an exaggeration.

In North Africa he told me about the heat, and the smell, and the sand in everything and everywhere. And the flies. He said that when he had a jam sandwich it would immediately be covered in flies. He said you had to hold the sandwich in one hand and pass your other hand across the sandwich knocking off as many flies as possible and then quickly put the sandwich into your mouth. You always got some flies with the sandwich. The trick apparently was to get as few flies as possible. It was not possible to get none.

In Gallipoli. Well you have to read about Gallipoli for yourself, it would be useless for me to try to tell you about it. You definitely would not believe me. This story was told to me by his son after he, my Grandfather, had died. He carried a spare pair of boots with him. I don't know where he got them. He once told me that his boots rotted off of his feet in the trenches of France and the only way to get another pair was to kill a German and take his. "I had to kill 10 Germans." he said, "Before I found a pair that fit me." Another exaggeration, at least, I am sure. So, I did not know where he got his spare boots. Probably from a dead mate or soemething. I'm sure a spare pair of boots were a necessity - walking around in mud filled trenches, rough, hot, stony deserts and running out of the sea and up the machine gun raked beaches of Gallipoli. He probably needed a lot of spare underpants too I would think! Anyway after they took Gallipoli they had a lot of prisoners. One of the prisoners had no shoes. My grandfather gave him his spare pair of boots.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More Poetry Anyone?

I was thinking about poetry after writing my last Blog, about poetry.

And I thought I would do another little piece. That's the way this old mind works nowadays, in little pieces.

Nice to meet you,
I am Sarah Leigh,

Now you could continue in this fashion, like I did last time, just putting down stuff as it comes to you, or copying someone else's format, or making up your own format, use your own foibles, errors, successes, failures, wins, losses. Put them all down. Use your own shape or arrangement or the conventional ones whereby every other line, or every third line or every fourth line rhymes. Or how is this for an idea - put a rhyming word at the end of every line? You don't see that very often. Probably a reason for that? Maybe it would be boring? Or hard to do? Hey there's an advantage right there - it might have to be a short poem!

Let's see how many words rhyme with Sarah Leigh?
Well we might have to start the poem differently, instead of Nice to meet you, I am Sarah Leigh, how about Nice to meet ME, I am Sarah Leigh.? There are other words that rhyme - like see, sea, Bradley, Zachary, gee, lea, hee hee, honey hey there are lots!! So it shouldn't be too hard to write at least a short poem with a rhyming word at the end of each line. But would it be worth reading? Who cares? As long as you like it! It's yours, your poem. No one else has to like it, or even read it. No one reads my Blog, except me, so you can just do stuff for yourself.

Have fun,
Think of Mum,
Chew some gum,
Load your gun,
And shoot a bun,

See, hey don't be glum, have some fun, eat a plum, wipe your ***

Well enough of that!

Enjoy life kids, I did, friends are one of the most important things for a great life.

Love you.

David. (Grandy)


What is it about poetry? Do we all like poetry, or just some us? If we like, are we different from those who don't like? Can we really not like poetry? Surely there must be some poetry for everyone. Poetry doesn't have to rhyme. It can just be words that sound nice, or nasty, or loving, or tell a story, or are just poetic. Whatever that is.

If you "Don't like Poetry", write your own. Just dig into your mind and find something. Dig deep, into the hidden corners, or the wide open spaces, some minds have lots of space! Some are cramped and closed. Some are full to bursting, but all have lots of stuff, pull some of that stuff out and put it into some words. Use your favorite words. Use words about people and things that you love, or hate.

If you "Are Not Creative." Read. Yes, read poetry. But also read stories. Stories that you like, but also ones that you don't like. And do things. Things that you like, and also things that you don't like. Go places, see places, experience things,

Then write about those stories and those experiences. Write about what you have seen and done, places you have been and things that you have experienced. The more you see and do, the more you are.

Then write about what you are.

Like : -

Nice to meet you,
I am David Arthur,
I like cats and dogs and words,
I am a fan of beautiful women and golden sunsets,
Coffee and newspapers and friends,
I have one daughter,
She surprises me every time I think of her,
Which is often,
She has four boys,
They like me to write on their arms, and their legs,
And their faces,
Mum always says - "He Was Fine When He Left Me!"

As you get older, you get more in there, in that mind, let some of it spill out. Tell the world about You. And about Them. That is Poetry. Who can not like some kind of poetry?


Today was fog. It came in on little cat feet. It crawled into my mind like you. You crawled in on June 15th 1962 when I saw you dancing on the deck. You've beeen there ever since. With all the other stuff. With the fishing, and the sunsets, and the politics, and the family, friends, grandsons, and the pain, and the pleasue, and the fun. But everything else is transitory. I don't care if they are there or not, they can come and go. It is of little interest. As long as you stay inside my mind, inside my head, by my side. with me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Amazing Human Body.

Or more specifically, My Amazing Human Body.

When I was about 8 years old builders started to build some homes next to our home. I lived in England at the time. Houses in England are built with bricks. Trucks (Lorries in England.) delivered the bricks and the men stacked them in piles that seemed to us to be about 10 feet high 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. However we were 8 years old so the piles were probably more like 5 or 6 feet high by 8 to 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Being small boys and being told to stay away from them, we naturally climbed onto the piles.

Once on top we removed the bricks from the middle and stacked them around the edges working our way down until we had a nice "cave" where we could sit out of the view of the adults. This den made an ideal place to sit and drink "firewater" - which was water, and supplied by me - and lemonade which was supplied by my rich friend Charles. Well his parents were "Rich". It was also an ideal place to smoke, something else that was forbidden, so we had to do.

In the 1940's in England everyone smoked, well almost everyone did. My father did, but my mother never did, and dad quit when he was in his 30's. There were a lot of brands of cigarettes available. I remember Weights, Woodbines, Players, Craven "A", Senior Service, Gold Leaf and there were others, including a French? brand called Galouses? But the only ones for us kids were Woodbines because they were not only the cheapest but you could buy a pack of five cigarettes!

I don't know if it was illegal to sell to kids then, but we never seemed to have any problem buying them. Maybe we just said, "They are for my dad." Not that we bought cigarettes very often anyway. For one thing it didn't matter how cheap they were when you didn't have any money - - -. And they tasted bloody horrible! We had to smoke because we weren't allowed to, but I can honestly say that we hated it. Well I did anyway.

Now where was I going with this? Oh yes the pile of bricks. Well I fell off and hurt my shoulder. Years later an X-Ray for something else found that I had broken my collar bone. But I didn't know that then, only that it hurt and I was not going to tell my mum and dad because I had been told not to play on the bricks. I don't know why I didn't tell them because I can never remember them punishing us. Although dad did slap me on the leg once when I said something rude to an aunt.

Anyway, apparently the bone healed itself.

I'm sure there were other cuts and scrapes. Like the time I came off off my home made go-cart onto some gravel as I negotiated a curve at high speed. A lot of blood that time, but mostly they were mild injuries.

The next major injury was a broken heart at age 19. That hurt bad. But again my Amazing Body healed itself.

Then at age 26 I was body surfing at Cape Cod in Massachusetts when a particularly large wave picked me up and tossed me unceremoniously onto the hard packed sand on my right shoulder. It hurt. Well it would wouldn't it? Hard packed wet sand has about the same consistency as hard concrete. Julia suggested that I lay in the warm sun and "Keep moving it."

We were sleeping in the back of our Oldsmobile Station Wagon and in the early hours of the next morning, when the pain became unbearable, we drove to the Hartford Hospital where an X-Ray revealed that I had broken the ball of the ball and socket joint in my right shoulder very neatly in half. The doctor wanted to put me into a half body cast or something. But it was summer and very hot and we had to get back to Baltimore and I was a guy. So he strapped the arm securely to my body, put it in a sling and told me to see my doctor when we got home. He also said "Whatever you do don't move it." (Please note Julia's advice at the end of the last paragraph.)

Back in Baltimore I went to the company doctor - we had just come to the US and didn't have a regular doctor. Plus I expect the company doctor was free. He told me to keep the straps and sling on for, I think it was 4 or 6 weeks, without moving it. The company gave me a job of taking messages, drawings etc around the offices, which was rather good of them. As it was my right shoulder I couldn't even write!

After 6 weeks the doctor took off the sling and told me to move the arm. He repeated the order when I didn't comply! I couldn't move it! Try strapping your arm to your body and not moving it for 6 weeks and see what happens! He grabbed it and moved it. I screamed, well grunted anyway. Once he got it moving he gave me some exercises to do, one of which was to "walk" my fingers up the wall. A little higher each day. This I did, along with other exercises. I did this compulsively because the doctor told me that I would never get full use back in my arm. But I did, and have had for 45 years now. It has only been in the last few months that I have been having pains in that shoulder and even then only at night and not during the day. At night if I sleep on my right shoulder, the bad one, it can be uncomfortable, but if I sleep on the left side the right shoulder is very painful. Go figure. Any ideas why? Anyone? So I now sleep on my back and that works. Not easy after sleeping on my side for most of my 71 years!

Still not a bad result for an arm that I, "Would not regain full use of." as the doctor said. My Amazing Body.

Next. After being laid off from the newspaper business, The News American, on Christmas Day 1979 - the newspaper business is definitely not sentimental - I started a Chimney Sweeping business.

In July of 1989 after almost 10 years of uneventful work, with only the occasional scrape or bruise, I fell off of a roof. My leg was Hyper Extended at the knee (The knee joint bent the wrong way!) The knee swelled up something awful. It looked about the size of a small soccer ball. The doctor looked at it and said, "It could be blood or it could be fluid." I said, "It's fluid." He said "It could be blood." After several repetions. He said, "We have to find out." and I said, "How?" The answer was simple, "We take a needle and draw a sample and look at it." Well that didn't sound too bad so I said OK. Doc went accross the room to a cabinet. When he returned I almost passed out. He was holding a syringe about the size of a litre bottle of soda with a needle the size of a pencil! But it wasn't as bad as I thought. The needle went in easily and when he drew back on the plunger a dark black fuid filled the syringe. Obviously blood, a pint or two of it!

It seemed that bending the knee the wrong way had torn the tendons causing them to bleed. They wanted to operate. I said no thank you. So a knee brace was fitted and set to move about 15 degrees, which made walking awkward and climbing a ladder impossible. After a cuople of days I reset the brace to allow about a 30 degree movement, which made walking easier and also made it possible to climb a ladder. Which I did. I know, stupid. But that is guys for you! I was back to normal in a few weeks. Not even missing any work. And no operation!

My daughter was living in one of our apartments and when it needed some landscaping, I was there for it. The faithful station wagon was ideal for picking up 6 railroad ties at a time. Hey I was only in my 50's. I loaded and unloaded several loads of railroad ties. alone. Then dug out the area to be made beautiful and laid the ties in place. When I had laid about 10 or 12 in place my 50 something year old back decided it had enough. I fell to the ground screaming. The ambulance rushed me to hospital where the doctor pronounced that I had popped a disc and would need an operation. I said no thank you very much. And instead went to see a physical therapist at the Sports Therapy place in Annapolis. My physical therapist's name was Kayla as I remember and she put me on a special table where I did exercises. Within a few weeks I was as good as new. Maybe better. And no operation!

Building, lining, repairing and cleaning chimneys is hard physical work. In October of 2000 after some 21 years of hard physical labor I was lifting a very heavy stove with another man when I discovered that I had osteoporosis. There was a loud bang from the region of my back, followed by a loud scream from the region of my mouth and I fell to the ground in what I can only describe as agony.

An ambulance took me to Annapolis hospital where a nuclear scan revealed severe osteoporosis and two collapsed vertebrae.

Unbeliveably I returned to work a couple of weeks later, mostly just doing desk work.

Three months later, when an employee didn't show up and I went to do his work, I collapsed another vertebrae while lifting a ladder. That was pretty much the end of my working career and I thought, my life as I knew it. In a matter of minutes I had lost 2 inches in height, lost my business - which I, along with my partner Bob, had spent 20 years building to be probably the biggest Chimney Company in Maryland - and a lost a life free of pain. I also lost my freedom to do anything that I wanted to do, including working 12 hours a day.

Life changed. And I changed. I was taking pain pills daily, in fact several times a day, just to be able to function. My business had been wrenched away from me. I thought my life was over. I "Sold" my busines to my partner. Gave it really. The fight had been knocked out of me and I had pretty much given up.

But that Amazing Body rallied and I managed to pull it back together. I applied for and received Social Security Disability which gave me the freedom to be able to work towards rehabilitating my body. This took several years and I was just starting to think that I might be able to find something that my recovering body could handle when - -

WHAM, at the end of March 2005 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. On the 22nd of March I saw my family Doctor, Dr Shantz. He sent me to see Dr Alkaitis on the 23rd. On the same day Dr Alkaitis sent me to see Dr Soloman who called Johns Hopkins hospital while I was there in his office and spoke to and made an appointment for me to see Dr Weingart the next week. He, Dr Soloman, said, "If I were having this operation Dr Weingart is the doctor that I would want to do it."

I went to see Dr Weingart. I remember that he washed his hands when he came in to examine me and I said, "That's what I like to see." He looked at me puzzled and said "What do you mean?" and I said, "Someone who washes his hands when he is going to be putting them inside of my head." There was no reaction. He may have been a good doctor, and I'm not sure about that either, but he certainly had no sense of humor! And that was proven more than once during our association.

He operated the following week, after which began another long ordeal for my Amazing Body.

Suffice to say that I could write a full length novel about my experiences over the next few years. I would argue with the finding that Johns Hopkins Hospital is "The number one hospital in the world." In fact if they are, I certainly cannot imagine how bad the others are!

For one thing they lost my bridge. And that was the least of my problems!

On my way home from the hospital a week or two later Julia had to pull over so that I could get out of the car and lean on it while my body was wracked by a series of pains that were like severe electric shocks. Over the next few years I suffered these severe convulsions or shocks sometimes several times a day and sometimes so severe that they literally threw me to the ground. The doctor said that he had done many similar operations and never heard of any such symptoms. In spite of repeated calls to him I was never able to get an answer to what was happening and almost never able to get him to call me back.

Over time the frequency and severity of the attacks gradually reduced until after about 5 years they only occured once every month or two and were usually little more than a slight inconvenience. Now, 2012, I still get the occasional pain, but they usually only last a few minutes and are little more than a shadow of they what they once were. About two or three times a year I get a longer more severe occurence of The Pain, but again nothing like what they were in the first few years. Then they were so severe that the only thing that I could do was lay flat on my back and remain absolutely still. It would usually go away within minutes, but if I got up it would come roaring back. I found that I had to stay absolutely still and flat for at least one to two hours before it was gone and I could get up without it returning immediately. Bear in mind that at first this sometimes happened several times a day! And my doctor refused to believe that it was happening!

But I recovered. I return to hospital (The University of Maryland Hospital now.) every year, usually in January or February, for an MRI of my brain. The tumor remains, they were unable to remove it, it is right in the middle, but it has not grown appreciably. My Amazing Body. What was next for it?

Well it's next test came in June of 2012.

My parents still live in England and Julia and I went over to visit them in June of 2012. I was now once again in "peak of health". Really, I was feeling great. No signs of any of the past traumas. Then I was walking down the hall one day and my left knee started to bother me. Nothing big, just discomfort at first. After a few days I was limping, but still able to walk a couple of miles without too much problem. Gradually it got worse and worse untill I was using a cane. Then one night at about 2AM it was so bad that I had to wake Julia and call my brother-in-law to ask him to pick us up and take us to the local hospital. I was afraid that it was a case of delayed DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) from the flight. But they did an X-Ray and some blood tests and said no. So I took Ibuprophin and Tylenol until we got back to the US where I had more X-Rays, a CAT scan and an MRI, after which they determined that I had a cracked femur. No, I have no idea how it happened. Also I had two tears in the meniscus of the left knee - that is the cartilege. The doctor gave me a pair of crutches and told me to stay off of it as much as possible. Extra strong Tylenol and Codeine enabled me to continue with my hectic lifestyle - just kidding. He also gave me an injection into the knee, which did nothing at all to help. I returned to him in a couple of weeks expecting him to do "keyhole surgery" and go in to repair the torn cartilege. But he said no he wanted to wait and see what was happening with the cracked femur. He had examined the CAT scan and MRI carefully and seemed concerned about what he described to me as "Fluid inside of the bone". My question of what does that mean, elicted a worrying reply (To me) of "I really don't know, come back in 4 weeks and we'll see how it is". Four weeks later I was back with my usual question now of, "When are you going to do the keyhole thing and fix the cartilege? Oh, and by the way the knee is much better now." He said no to the keyhole surgery because he was still concerned about the water, or fluid, in the bone. He told me to come back in a couple of weeks. Fast forward 3 weeks. By this time the pain had gone completely, I was no longer limping, not using the crutches and felt almost normal! He asked me to walk around, felt the knee pushing hard on the two places where the torn cartilege was - had been? - and said, "Well, whatever it is you are doing, keep on doing it. Come back and see me if it starts hurting again."

And that was it. I have had no pain whatsoever since then and if I didn't remember which knee it was I would not know! That's how completely 'healed' it is!

I'd kind of like him to do another CAT scan and/or MRI to see what has happened. My understanding is that cartilege does not repair itself after you reach your early 20's. So it can't be healed, so what has happened? And what is the deal with the cracked femur? Did it heal? Did I imagine the whole thing? No, I don't think so either.

So I guess I just wait now to see what is next!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well it feels like winter is here. It was 32 degrees this morning when I awoke. The trees have lost pretty much all of their leaves. Thanksgiving is over and December is only about 5 days away so I guess there is no point in trying to fool ourselves any longer.

I mowed the leaves, yes the leaves, a few days ago here at Lake Drive. It is quite remarkable how just mowing them seems to get rid of them. They get so broken up that most of their bulk just falls down into the grass. I am just hoping that we will have enough warm days coming that the worms will come up and drag all those little tiny pieces of leaf down under the ground.

I also mowed over at Brent House Farm which REALLY has a leaf problem! You cannot even see at least half of the lawn for leaves. As I mowed I looked more like a snow plough with huge piles of leaves being pushed in front of the mower and mowed and unmowed leaves coming out the side like snow out of a snow blower. But I mowed in a circle as much as possible starting at the outside and throwing the leaves into the middle of the circle so that that got mowed over and over again. Once again it was quite successful. When I was finished you could again see a lawn instead of just a leaf desert.

However, although at least 95% of the leaves have already fallen from the trees, there are acres and acres of leaves on the ground, which will undoubtably spread out when the wind blows and cover the lawn again.

But maybe not. We lived at Brent House Farm for 29 years, during which time I never once raked leaves! And the lawn was never leaf covered except briefly. The reason was, I think, that the lawn is surrounded by woods and when the wind blows it blows the leaves into the woods where they become trapped by the trees, bushes, fallen branches etc, and stay there. Lets hope that this happens again. We don't want prospective buyers to see leaves covering everything and thinking, "I will spend my weekends raking leaves. Let's find a place with no trees."

Anyway, I am checking the house every couple of days and if the leaves look like they are getting out of hand I'll just mow them again.

It is looking a bit like that here at Sunset Cottage so I may need to mow the leaves here one more time.

Meanwhile The lake is looking Pristine and Beautiful this morning. I sat and watched it early this morning as I sipped my coffee. As it often does it looked like a mirror. Except for one scar right across the middle caused by a small duck padding across, quite unconcerned and unknowing that he/she was producing such delight in the mind of one of natures biggest lovers and destroyers - a human!

HUMANKIND - you can be both!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A nostalgic visit to the dentist.

I went to the dentist last week after suffering a couple of very slight "twinges". Afraid that it would develop into a full blown toothache I bravely made an appointment.

The day of the appointment arrived and I showered, dressed and, forgot to go!

They called me and set up another appointment for another day, which I remembered.

My dentist is a woman. After determining which was the offending molar she gave me several injections into the gum with a very very thin needle that looked more like a hair! I barely felt it. She then drilled and filled the cavity. I hardly felt anything. It was no more painful than getting a haircut, picking my nose or cutting my toenails.

The only painful part of the whole operation was - the bill! OOuucchh!!

As I exited her office I passed a wall display with a collection of dentists tools from bygone era's. I fervently Thanked God, and the modern dental business that I had not been born in an earlier time.

I then remembered my grandfather, my mothers father who was what most people would describe as "A Character". He would often tell me tales from his lifetime. Some of which I doubted and some of which I believed. My mother and father told me which ones to believe and which ones to - "Take with a pinch of salt". Some that I did not believe, were true. The one about "dentists" of his day that I am about to tell you, is true.

But first, just to get you "in the mood" about my grandfather, I am going to tell you a couple of his "less than true" tales.

The first one he told me when he visited me in hospital after I had my appendix out. It is short, and basically it went like this - "I had my appendix out in France during the first World War. It was during the Battle of the Bulge and we were up to our knees in mud. They took it out with no anesthetic, using a rusty bayonet." (Actually I think it may have all been true except for the no anesthtic and the rusty bayonet bit!)

Another one, which again was set in World War One occured when I proudly showed him a new pair of shoes that my parents had bought me. I think I was about 10 at the time. It went like this - "We lived in trenches, up to our knees (or sometimes it was waists) in mud. Our boots would rot. The only way to get new boots was to kill a German and take his. I once had to kill 10 Germans before I found a pair of boots that fit me."

Having set the scene with a couple of his "Tall Tales." I am now going to tell you one which was COMPLETELY TRUE! I didn't believe it until my parents told me that it was indeed true.

When he needed a tooth extracted he would go to Charlotte Street. Charlotte Street was a road full of market stalls. They mostly sold food or clothes, but one was a "Dentist". He had two prices for removing teeth. This was in England so rather than use the local currency I will use dollars. The two prices were one dollar or two dollars. For one dollar he would remove your tooth with NO anesthetic. You sat in the plain wooden chair. For two dollars you sat in the comfortable upholstered armchair and they used anesthetic - gas. My grandfather took the one dollar price. And that my friends is a TRUE story.

To use the vernacular of a famous man I am now going to tell you "The Rest of the Story." about my grandfather killing ten Germans to find a pair of boots that fit.

His son Clive, who was also a World Class Storyteller - in fact even better than his father, told a true story of a pair of boots. This story gives a much better idea of the true nature of my grandfather.

My grandfater was also in Gallipoli (Turkey) during the war. (If you like to read horror stories like Stephen King etc, read about Gallipoli. I guarantee that you won't sleep for weeks!) Anyway, my grandfather survived the beaches of Gallipoli - as well as the mud of the fields of France and being gassed in France and the heat of the desserts of North Africa. After they took Gallipoli they also took a lot of Turkish prisoners. My grandfather had a spare pair of boots. Whether they were British, or German, or Turkish I don't know, but I guess it was important to have a spare pair of boots when you were trekking from the Fields of France to the Beaches of Gallipoli, to the Desserts of North Africa. Anyway one of the Turkish prisoners that he was in charge of, had no boots, so he gave him his spare pair!

That is a true story, and was told to me by his son years after my grandfather died. Even after he had seen thousands of his comrades killed by the Turkish machine guns as they ran up the beaches of Gallipoli he had the humanity to treat his enemies with decency and respect and kindness.

There are many stories about my family in war. If you have read my blog and the 'book' that I gave to my family and friends for Christmas a few years ago you will have seen some of them.

There is much history over the years of my family, the Liddles' and Julia's family, the Roberts'. Learn about it, and PLEASE learn FROM it!


Sunday, November 11, 2012


Is it a policy of No Compromise that is killing the Republican Party? A Grand Old Party that has a history of sensible, moderate, friendly politicians that were able to sit down with their friends from the House and the Senate and talk about their shared goal, which was whatever was best for their country, not their party.

Now we seem to have a group of Fundamentalists preaching NO to virtually everything that the opposing party wants to do irrespective of whether it is good or bad for the country. Good or bad for the Country and the American people does not seem to feature in their minds at all. It is all Party, with no room for compromise at all.

When far-out kooks make far-out statements that even those right of center in their own party can't possibly agree with, nothing is said! Someone can say, "The Earth and the Universe are 6,000 years old." or, "Contraceptives are the same as Abortion." or, "The Theory of Evolution is an idea from the Pits of Hell." and their so called leaders say nothing! But vote for a common sense bill such as supporting the EPA, or reducing pollution, or putting restrictions on Banks and Wall Street and even if you have a record of voting 98% or 99% of the time with your own party, you are immediately branded as a traitor and hounded out of office. To be replaced with someone who "agrees" with the party line - meaning he/she will vote along party lines however crazy the bill may be!

No-Compromise is a strict party line. Just think of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Self Deportation, Rape, Contraception, rejection of Science, rejection of Climate Change, complaining about mounting debt and then calling for tax cuts, dereguate Big Banks and Wall Street, tax cuts for the rich, end Medicare, cut Soc Sec, remove Obamacare and replace it with Romneycare - which is virtually identical, we were not far enough to the Right. Every one of these far out archaic statements/ideas was guaranteed to lose them votes and maybe the election.

Continuing to lobby for this kind of crazy stuff will lose them the next election, and all future elections if they don't come to their senses and open their eyes.

And it is just fine with me if they keep on trucking along with their eyes, minds and senses firmly in the closed position!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Obituary.

Just a few "Highlights", or "Lowlights!" - depending on which persuasian you are.

One of the first of the facts that really hit me in the face was that Single Women went for The President over Romney by a margin of 38 ! Almost an unprecidented gap for any category !

Going to places that know Mr Romney, his home State of Michigan - where the trees are "Just the right Height" - was a Landslide for The President. Moving on to his other home State of Massachusetts, I guess you could call it a Double Landslide!

Moving on again, this time to Utah, which he did win, duh! But, George W Bush did better with Mormons than Romney did ! !

So, anywhere that the people really know him - the State that he was born in, the State that he was Governor of, and the home State of his Religion, it would appear that he is not that popular, to put it very mildly.

Just saying.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What happened?

Well that was unexpected! An "easy" Obama win. I was preparing myself for a Romney win and had even told a Republican friend that a Romney win would be better for the country!
My reasoning for this? Well if the Republicans had won, I feel that the Democrats would have co-operated with the Republicans to get the country moving again. Democrats are much more moderate, less polarized and more likely to "Reach accross the Aisle." But now we have the same stalemate that we had before. I am afraid that the Republicans will continue to stonewall the President and stop any movement towards change.
President Johnson (LBJ) had to deal with just one filibuster during his Presidency. President Obama has had to try to work with more than 250 ! And a filibuster now is not even the same as it was during Johnson's time. Then, a Senator had to stand up and talk continuosly for hours or even days on end. Now all they have to do is make a phone call and say, "We are going to filibuster that." But still, to end a filibuster you have to be able to get 60% of the vote - 60 out of 100 senators must agree !!!
So in effect instead of needing to have a simple majority to pass a bill - 51 to 49 for example - you now have to have a "Super Majority" of 60 to 40. This why nothing gets done. So even having "Control" of the Senate, means nothing!
Republicans were able in this way to block all President Obama's efforts to do anything. Even when he wanted to cut taxes to small businesses The republicans blocked him ! ! ! When he tried to cut spending, the Republicans blocked him ! ! !

What else lost Romney the election? I think the extreme extremism of his party and himself, although he had himself moved enormously toward the center, because of his extreme views during his selection process people did not know whether to believe what he was saying now, or what he had been saying for the last 1 1/2 to 2 years!

Then there were what I call The Crazies in his party, especially the Tea Party people. We have the people who think the Earth and the Universe is 9,000 years old, or is it 6,000 years old? Evolution is a theory from the "Pits of Hell." A woman can't get pregnant from rape. No women can die in childbirth now. How is it possible to govern when you have such fundamentalists preaching this kind of rubbish?

Finding abortion unacceptable, except in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother, is certainly understandable and accepted by most people. But here again the Republicans, once a reasonable party with its fair share of Moderates, have said no to abortion, even where the life of the mother is in danger or in cases of rape or incest. But some of them have gone even further, they now want to ban contraception! In a world that is already vastly overpopulated.

Then there are the extreme views that we will not accept $1 in new taxes even in exchange for $10 in spending cuts! ZERO negotiating in ANY area.

There are many more examples of the modern Republican Party not fitting into today's world but I will end with one final example that may have been the final nail in Romney's coffin - apart from the doubt about if he pays taxes - and that is his view that 47% of Americans are layabouts who don't pay taxes and just want handouts! That may have been the final thing. Especially when it sank in that he and many of his rich friends and corporations (Who are people too!) don't pay taxes or pay very little in taxes, certainly less than the average American pays! And many of these Giant Companies and Banks and Wall Street get more in handouts than anyone.

(On the positive side - I think we are less likely to go to war with Iran now. We will now have affordable health care for everyone. We will now continue to search for affordable, environmentally clean energy. Our environment will gain as we continue to have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency.), Clean Air and Clean Water Acts will remain, the Banks and Wall Street will be regulated, the increased mileage requirment will stay in place. And maybe we will even address Climate Change.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guns, again.

I know, I know, enough about guns already! But this is just in - well its been in for a long time - so lets just call it a reminder.

The rate of firearms related homicides in the USA is 20 TIMES that of the next 22 richest nations COMBINED!!!

And that is just the homicides, if you include suicides and accidents it is even worse!!

And it would be so easy to reduce it considerably if it were not for organisations like the NRA and the Republican Party. Just a tiny little bit of common sense would say, "Don't let Alcoholics, and Drug Users have guns. Or people under 21, hey they can't drink, but they can carry handguns around, is it just me or is that dumb? Also anyone convicted of a gun related or violent crime, (including domestic violence.) And lets ban Assault guns too." Hello, Duh, even blondes know that is Dumb!! But not Republicans and NRA members.

If you value your life and that of your family, friends and neighbors, banning ownership of guns by Alcoholics, (Including people convicted of drinking and driving.) Drug Users, people convicted of Gun Crimes or Violent Crimes and anyone under the age of 21, would probably cut gun deaths by AT LEAST 50% or MORE! All people in these groups have reduced ability to forsee the consequences of their actions.

Those changes, plus requiring stricter background checks and a requirement to report all gun sales would I think reduce gun deaths by as much as 80% or 90%. Surely worth doing? How can any intelligent American with even a modicom of common sense object to that? Wait, we are talking about NRA and Republicans. Forget it, no common sense in either of those camps!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I'm guessing that you know by now who I am talking about - yes, Republicans, or more specifically Tea Partiers.

Let's see now, we have Richard Mourdock. He recently said "If a woman gets raped and becomes pregnant, God intended it to happen." Insensitive to say the least. But in my mind Simply Stupid.

Then there was Todd Akin. He famously, now, said, "A woman who was 'legitimately' raped would not get pregnant because her body would shut down the reproductive process."

Next we have Joe Walsh. He said that "Abortion to save the life of the mother has become a tool for abortions at any time." He also said, "It is a ploy because the mothers life can always be saved now with no harm to the fetus."

Then there is Paul Ryan, you have heard of him? He co-sponsored the bill with Todd Akin that would redefine incest as something that only happens to minors!

Last, but not least, on my roster of "Stupid White Men." is the prehistoric Paul Broun who said that "The earth is only 9,000 years old and evolution is a lie that is straight from the pit of hell."!!! He is on the Republican Science, Space and Technology Committee!! He is also a medical doctor!!

And if Romney becomes President I'm sure that the world's oceans will be happy! They will have freedom to take over the world! What did he say to Obama's "It is time to slow the oceans rise."? He said I'm not worried about the oceans or the world I'm worried about you. (the people)

New Yorkers are saying, "We are getting 100 year floods every 2 years!"

All these idiots - sorry, I really do hate to use such a strong word and I considered long and hard before deciding that it is indeed appropriate - are right behind the man who will be leading this country soon and who will be inducting these people to run our country and ruin it. He, Romney, will doubtless be putting forward new names for the Supreme Court who have these beliefs. Roe vs Wade will be reversed. Abortion, for any reason, will be outlawed. (Good news for the back alley abortionists.)

The brothers and sisters of these crazies are waiting anxiously to vote out the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. And of course the Affordable Health Care Act (Also known in Mass. as Romneycare - because it is virtually identical.) And Family Planning along with well women visits, insurance coverage for contraception, breast cancer screening, other cancer screening for women, violence against women help, etc etc etc. We can also say goodbye to the EPA, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water, any controls or regulation of Big Banks, Wall Street, Big Business, Big Agriculture, Polluters.

Let's see who else has a limited lifespan if the Tea Party Republicans take over? How about Public TV and Big Bird, Public Radio, protection of our National Parks, our waters, rivers, education help for those who can't afford to pay for higher education themselves, science, research and development, Social Security, Medicare, you name it.

And if you think that I am exaggerating just read what Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and others in the Tea Party controlled Republican Party has been running on, and the septic nonsense that they spout out.

It is obviuos to me that Conservatives are unable to see just what is being said by these people in the name of the Republican Party. Because they consider themselves Republicans, they think that whatever their Republican leader says is what they themselves believe. If they could only look at it, read it and think about it, surely at least some of them would be able to see what is being fed to them in the name of the once great Republican party.

To repeat - from men who are NOT doctors, women cannot get pregnant if they are raped, if they do get pregnant, God intended it, doctors can always save women without harm to the fetus. Real doctors all say this is BS. Then we have men who say incest only happens to minors, the world is only 9,000 years old. Do we really want these people leading us??

I certainly hope not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yum Yum!

You would not put pesticides or insecticides, herbicides or weedkillers, fertilizers or chemicals on your childs plate, or your own for that matter - would you?

I thought you would say that. But you do!!!

Let me explain that. If you put weedkillers, insectkillers, fertilizers and chemicals onto your lawn or garden this is what happens to them. When it rains those poisons are washed into the roads and gutters, and from there into storm drains and then streams and rivers and finally the Bay and the Oceans where they are taken up by the fish and crabs, which are caught, sold to stores, supermarkets and canneries where you buy them and put them onto your and your childs plates.

So you see you DO put those weedkillers, pesticides, chemicals - which includes the bleach and other chemical cleaners that go down your toilet and sinks and bathtubs - right back onto your plates!!

Yum Yum! Enjoy.

Foreign Policy Stuff.

Mitt The Twitt as a representative of the US. Romney is probably the least diplomatic politician in America.

During a one week tour in Europe he managed to insult at least three countries including our biggest ally, the UK. He continued on to insult Israel and the Palestinians. Oh and don't forget his own wife when he said that he would not be watching her horse competing in the Olympics. In fact he said he didn't even know when it would be.

Then he told Iran to launch a dirty bomb at the US, specifically Chicago I think it was.

Let's see, what else was there from this great diplomat? Oh yes, "Russia is our number one enemy." And then he insulted Spain saying we don't want to go down the same road as Spain, when they actually have a lower debt rate than the US! And they have a Conservative government!

Oh yes and while I'm onto who he has insulted let's not forget 47% of the American public!

This man is scary in the extreme. If he can't even meet our allies without insulting them what will happen when he gets out there with countries who are not as friendly? We could be embroiled in more wars than Bush got us into, and with 20 and 19 year old grandsons it is too frightening to think about. With the length of today's wars I will even need to worry about my 11 and 13 year old grandsons.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Will you be voting to give EVEN MORE money to Millionaires?

I won't of course, as I seem to be one of the few out there who don't think Millionaires deserve even more of our money, but many will!

My poor wife and I have already given very generously - and unwittingly as well as unwillingly - to Millionaires and Billionaires, not one of whom thanked us even a little bit. Ungrateful lot!

But many of you will be voting to give money to Millionaires. If you vote for Mr Romney for example (Or Mr Rob Me as I like to call him.) you will be doing just that. How, I can hear some saying. Well here's how - Mr Romney is in favor of Corporate Tax Breaks.

Please don't believe that hogwash about US tax rates for American corporations being the highest in the world, they are in fact the LOWEST in the world! That is from The Wall Street Journal. I think their wording was actually "- effectively the lowest in the world -" That is of course because their buddies in Congress would not allow corporations (Corporations are people too!) to pay a higher tax than anyone else in the world, so they have created loophole after loophole after deduction after deduction to ensure that it doesn't happen, and it hasn't happened, as the Wall Street Journal (that Liberal rag - not!) said, after all the deductions and loopholes available to American companies, their effective average tax rate is around 10%, or less.

Also Mr Rob Me believes in income tax loopholes - for the rich. And of course a low capital gains tax rate - and who benefits from those? That's right, the rich.

Income disparity is at the highest level since the Great Depression, wealth is concentrated as never before at the top with the top 1% of Americans having 50% of all of it's wealth!

Does that sound like we are waging war on the rich, as we keep hearing them whining? They, the 1% have already won that war. But they are complaining that we are bigoted against the wealthy!

Maybe the fact that 1% of Americans own 50% of it's wealth doesn't sink in.

To make it really easy to understand, look at it this way - there are 100 people. They order a large pizza. When it arrives it is cut into half, and half (50%), is given to ONE person. The other half (50%) is shared among the other 99 people! That is what it means. Is there any way you can say that is fair?

The wealthy are paying the LOWEST tax rate in over 60 years. AND they pay the LOWEST tax rate of any other civilized country in the entire world! Does that sound like "The Unctious Impoverishing Bigotry of Class Warfare." as one writer said on last week?

Obama has suggested that the Bush era tax cuts be continued for people earning less than $250,000 a year and should be stopped for people earning more than that. They would STILL be paying a lower rate than most of us!!!

But no, most of us are going to vote to give The President of the United States, Warren Buffett, Mitt Romney and all the other people already more fortunate than any of us can ever expect to be, even more money!

I doubt that they even realize that it will cost THEM money to give this to these elite few! The Trillion dollars that it will cost to make the richest among us even richer will have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is from us - the 99%.

It will come in the form of HIGHER taxes for us and in the loss of "Entitlements", like Soc Sec, Medicare, disability and affordable health care. Which the rich have managed to make us feel bad about, by calling them "Entitlements", even though we have paid for them every week for 50 years.

Incidentally the rich did not pay their fair share for those "Entitlements", while we, the 99% pay 6.2% of our income into Soc Sec, someone who makes $1 million ayear only pays in .6% and someone who pulls in $10 million pays only .06%. That is because they only pay on the first $106,000 of their income. They pay NOTHING on the next million or 10 million or indeed 100 millon!

So as well as paying a lower tax rate than us, they get it even further reduced by another 6% or so by not paying payroll taxes on all of their earnings as we do!

No I am not jealous or bigoted, it's not classism, or socialism. It's just plain outrage at the rich asking for even more tax breaks, and Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Tea Partiers and Republicans falling over themselves to comply.

Friday, October 19, 2012

David on how to cut America's energy consumption.

As I promised in my last post I am going to make a couple of suggestions for reducing the amount of energy that we use - with a minimum of bother or inconvenience or expense.

The easiest and cheapest way to accomplish that by is conservation.

Now wouldn't you think that with a name like conservation - about as close as you could get to Conservative - that would be the Conservatives area of expertise? But you couldn't be further from the truth. Conservation is the last thing on the mind of a Conservative. Presumably that is because conservation is somehow synonamous with Liberal!

If we spent half of what is being spent by Democrats and Republicans, to smear the names of their opposite numbers, on educating the American public on ways to use less energy we could cut our energy use by 10% to 20% with no trouble at all.

Just by explaining that a vehicle sitting idling does not do so without using any gas! Or by suggesting that we use our smallest most economical vehicle when there is only one or two, or even 3 or 4 people making the trip. Or by explaining that every time you accelerate hard or you brake you are wasting gas. Or by suggesting that your next car be one that is small and economical, we could EASILY cut 10% to 20% of of the amount of gas that we use.

If we also explained that by using less gas we would have more money in our pockets to spend on other things . . . !

A small car that gets 30 mpg or so uses 2 ounces of gas a minute while idling, a medium sized car getting an mpg in the low 20's uses about 3 ounces per minute and a large SUV or Pick Up uses around 4 ounces of gas a minute while idling. So, sitting in your SUV waiting 15 minutes for your child to come out of school with the engine running uses 15 times 4 oz = 60 ounces of gas, almost a half a gallon!!! For nothing! Doing nothing except dirty the air that you and your child have to breathe! And putting money into the pockets of those that hate us! And which they can then use to buy arms and make bombs to further hurt us.

Most Americans could easily save a gallon of gas a day, many of us probably a lot more.

Instead of leaving my car to "Warm up" for a few minutes, I drive off right away - the recommended thing to do by car manufacturers. If I go to my bank drive through I shut off my engine while doing my transaction - usually 5 minutes or so - thus saving between 10 and 20 oz of gas, depending on my vehicle. I see people leaving their car running while they go into the 7-11 to get coffee and cigarettes, and to talk about how expensive gas is! I see them sitting at the kerb waiting for their spouse who just went into the supermarket to pick up a few things, or to use the bathroom, or to try on the latest fashion item in Sears or The Gap, all the time with the engine running.

At any one time there are millions of vehicles sitting idling, polluting the air, emptying their owners wallets and making some Arab richer!

Moving on to our efforts to reduce energy use. Julia and I reckon that we easily use half, or less, than most families in our day to day energy use. Possibly 1/3 or even 1/4 as much!

How do we accomplish that?

Well for one thing we drive a Prius, in which we get 56 mpg - four times the mileage of your average large SUV or PU that gets 14 mpg - That means 1/4 the gas use! Actually we use even less because we try to plan our trips carefully. Also we don't leave our vehicle idling. (We can't even if we want to because the engine automatically shuts off when the car stops, even at traffic lights! Further saving gas.)

We also have Geo Thermal heating and A/C. That uses a little more than half the energy of what the conventional heating and cooling system uses.

We also have Solar Hot Water. So we spend almost nothing for hot water. Quite a savings,

We also have a 6KW Solar Electric system. Cutting the cost of our electricity considerably.

We also have a woodstove, thus once agin cutting the cost of our heating.

And we are carefull in our use of all our resources. We keep our A/C set at 80 degrees in summer, turning it down to 78 if we have visitors. We set our heat at 68 in winter, but our living area is usually warmer due to the woodstove.

I just know that you are dying to say, "You must be rich, there is no way that "regular" people like us could afford to do that." But the fact is that there are very few people more "Regular" than us. Almost certainly you earn more than we do. Most people do. In fact almost anyone could do what we have done.

Start with the Prius. The average person drives 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year. If you drive an SUV that gets 14 mpg and drive 20,000 miles you will use more than 1420 gallons of gas which at $3.80 a gallon will cost you around $5,400. (I contend that most people who drive large SUV's or PU's use more than that because they don't plan their driving as carefully as we do and because they let it idle more than we do.) 20,000 miles in my Prius uses 357 gallons, which at $3.80/ gallon costs me $1356 or more than $4000 LESS than the SUV or big PU driver!

Over 10 years that is more than $40,000, or enough right there to do all the energy saving things that I just listed - just by driving a Prius! That is just doing one thing. It doesn't take into account any other savings. For example if your next car was a Prius, or similar, car you could install a hot water solar unit just from your first year savings in gas use! (Not to mention putting less CO2 and other pollutants into the air.) So with virtually no cost for hot water you would be saving EVEN MORE! And by turning the A/C up and the heat down (Take off clothes in summer and add sweaters in winter) you save even more. Within a couple of years you should have enough to "Go Solar". And when your heating system goes up replace it with a Geo Thermal system too which costs a little more initially but saves money, and energy, every day thereafter. (Again not to mention reducing air pollution and our dependance on foreign oil and our need to send our children off to war to fight for oil and to lose limbs and lives. All that just by being sensible AND saving money too!)

I could probably go on for pages and pages with similar ideas. In fact I know that I could. But here is just one more. If all cars had an instant display showing gasoline use at that very moment, the Prius and several other cars already do, we could save even more gas. A Jaguar that I owned more than 20 years ago had a display that showed the mpg at that very second, so I could see that if I stomped on the gas the mpg would drop to like 2 or 3 mpg - really! - and when I let up on the gas and just accelerated gently or took my foot off the gas and cruised along it would go up to say 15 mpg (It was not a very economical car!) but just like in the Prius you can see instantly - which is the way we all like to do things nowadays, right? - just what our mpg is.
I find it quite energising, even exciting, to see my mpg at at 100 plus as I go downhill or at 50 mpg plus as I cruise at a sensible speed on the flat. Just knowing what your mpg is at any given time would save gas. Well it does for me anyway. Maybe a $ sign getting bigger and bigger as you do "Bad" things would bring the cost of using more gas home to some people? And having the engine stop even when I stop at a traffic light! Wow that is almost sexual! I ALMOST enjoy sitting in a traffic jam now, with my engine safely in "Using NO gas mode" while the Big Pick Up next to me is going Boom, Boom, Boom as it idles, and RRRRR, RRRRR, RRRRR as its owner revs up in frustration, sucking up that gas!

There are dozens more ideas for saving energy that I could tell you. Well, probably hundreds!

Wouldn't it be great to say to Ahmadinajab, or Prince Fatso, or Mohammad Whatsit, "Fuck off drink your oil and eat your sand"?

Just saying.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who has the most sensible energy policy?

That would be for the USA and the World.
Should I discuss the differences or just come out for one or the other?
The answer is obvious but if I plump for one you might not bother to read any further if your opinion is different.
It really doesn't matter because my choice will be obvious very quickly anyway. The policies on one side make sense for the US and the World while the other sides make no sense for either.
One side says drill baby drill, cut regulations, keep subsidies on profitable oil companies, cut out any help for clean energy, oppose raising fuel efficiency standards and so on. That is the Republican side.
The other side instead want to cut energy use. They want to do this in several ways, the easiest, cheapest and cleanest way is to reduce demand. One way to do that is increase fuel efficiency standards, which Romney opposes! Another way is to produce energy cleanly with solar, wind, wave, geo thermal and other non-polluting methods. Romney opposes these too, threatening to eliminate tax breaks for any clean energy, renewables or green ways of producing energy. This has already resulted in the loss of jobs as wind and solar companies pull back after threats from Romney to kill tax credits for clean energy efforts, but to keep them for extremely profitable oil giants. Then he blames Obama for the loss of jobs in the renewable energy fields!
The "Etch-a-sketch" man who was a big basher of coal when he was the Massachusetts Governor, has now made a 180 degree change on that and he now woos the coal companies.
Romney wants to increase oil and gas production in the US. Oil and gas production in the US is already at record highs. And oil imports are at record lows! Even after the BP oil spill oil rigs are at record high numbers. Oil companies have over 7,000 permits to drill on Federal land that they are not using!
Romney wants to help the oil barons even more by reducing air pollution standards. Obama opposes that.
Obama wants to cut tax breaks for the spectacularly profitable oil companies. Romney opposes that. Obama wants to encourage clean energy production. Romney opposes that. Obama wants to increase fuel efficiency. Romney opposes that.
Who has the most sensible energy policy?

In my next post I will offer some ideas of my own on ways to cut America's energy use.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


That stands for the Enviromental Protection Agency - obviously a Liberal Agency! Therefore it MUST be destroyed. Conservatives - in this context is that not a major misnomer? - want to shut down the EPA. They feel that the Environment is already way over protected!
Now I don't know about you but does that not sound like they may be living in a different world to the rest of us?
Is their world not warming? (Yes it is. For every one of at least the last 360 months the average temperature over the world - that's the one that we both live in whether they like it or not - has been above average. To repeat that, the average temperature over the entire world has been ABOVE average for every single one of at least the last 360 months!) Does their world not have insect, bird and animal species that are not becoming extinct at the rate of at least a hundred a year? Do they not notice that children are suffering from asthma and other diseases relating to bad air and bad water at an ever increasing rate? Or perhaps they just don't care? I really don't think that is the case, it may be more a case of ignorance.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could make ignorance extinct? Without making Conservatives extinct. That seems to be where most of the ignorance in this world, and about this world, exists!
Just saying.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


What did the first fish(s) say when they crawled out onto land and evolved?

Do you give up?

They said, "Let's build a wall so no one else can crawl out of the water and evolve!"

Sounds about right don't you think?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A self made man.

That is how I just saw Mitt Romney described!!
Consider, when he was born it was no doubt in a hospital with the very best health care that money can buy.
He came into a world of wealth and privilege, just like everyone else, right? No advantage over the average person? NOT!
He lived in an area that was average, with average neigbors. NOT.
Of course he went to your average school and your average University where he met avarage people, just like you and I did. NOT.
He didn't have to worry about paying for his education or getting and working jobs to pay for it. By the time he finished his schooling he had met more people that would help him through his "self made" career than 100 average people had met, or would meet, in their whole lives.
Calling him "Self Made" is insane.
My Grandson would love to have just a tenth of the help that Mitt had. Bradley is working three jobs and going to college, And that is with his parents, grandparents and great grandparents helping him. He has been saving up his pocket money and baby sitting money and Birthday and Christmas money for some 10 years - he is 19 - just like Mitt doubtless did. NOT.
Calling someone who started off near the top and made it to the top is not the story of a self made man.
In fact with the kind of help that he had how could he possibly fail?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Take our country back.

The Republican war cry. But just where is they are going to take us back to? How far back? To a time when women and blacks could not vote or own property or speak up? Back to when no one paid taxes and the wealthy owned slaves? When we had dirt roads, worked dusk to dawn seven days a week, had no unions, no rights, no Social Security, no formal education?
That seems to me what they would like AND what they are working towards.
Obama is fighting for fairness for everyone. Rob me is fighting for the rich. The Republicans want to Remove Obama - not help him save America. They want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act - not improve it.
They want to put God into Government, which our forefathers specifically wanted to keep separate. They want to make rape OK, send jobs abroad, trash our environment, eviscerate the EPA, Clean Air and Clean Water, and get rid of Soc Sec and Medicare.
I hope and pray that they fail - just like their hero Rush said about Obama when the people of the United Sates voted him to be their President. And the Republicans have tirelessly fought to bring Rush's words to fruition, even if it would mean destroying America, voting down eveything that would help our country and the economy. It is the Republicans who are sabotaging our recovery.
Just saying.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Retarded Mosquitos?

Is there such a thing? If there is I encountered one last night. Sleeping soundly - a real rarity for me - I awoke to a an itch or even a pain in my hand. It was almost immediately apparent that I had been bitten on my wrist, which was itching, but the palm of my hand was hurting more. Now even at 71 years old I work every day, if not in my garden or the yard at Dock Road, then in my workshop or around the house. So my palms are quite hard. In fact I cannot ever remember being bitten on the palm before. I have been bitten by mosquitos many, many times, in fact I am a veritable Mosquito Magnet! So with all that soft delicious flesh available, why would the creature choose my tough palm? I can only assume that it was retarded.

On a more calm note as we lay on the bed in the early morning and watched The Lake together Julia was moved to say, in her soft beautiful voice, "Mirror Lake." I agreed. The Lake was indeed a perfect mirror.

A small bird was perched on one of the pilings at the end of the pier. It was unusual enough that I was prompted to pick up the binoculars for a closer look, it was a Banded Kingfisher. Quite small and apparently common here, according to the bird book that I looked at. It was about 12" long and I think that I have seen one here before but it was definitely worth a mention. Heck ANY bird is worth a mention nowadays!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting a few facts straight in my head.

Mr Romney tells us that 47% of Americans pay no taxes. This is correct in only one small area - Federal Income taxes. They do of course pay other taxes such as payroll taxes, State taxes, sales taxes, property taxes etc.
Now, of the 47%, sixty percent work. The other 40% is mainly made up of retired people, military people, students etc.
The people who pay no Federal income tax range in income levels from those who earn very little to more than 3,000 people who earn more than $3 million a year!
And in fact it is very likely that most of the 47% who "Pay no tax" actually pay a larger percent of their income in taxes than Mitt Romney pays! For starters if they work - and 60% do - they pay 6.2% in SS payroll tax alone. Mr Romney doesn't pay this -actually he does but it is 6.2% of $110,000, not 6.2% of all his income, which is what you pay. As his income last year was $21 million, 6.2% of $110,000 represents .0003% of his income, compared to the 6.2% that you pay!(21,000 times more than he pays - as a % of income!)

Mr Romney also thinks that President Obama wants to "Redistribute wealth". This has already been done. By the rich. The "top" 1% of Americans own 50% of its wealth! Lets use a simple little story to give an idea of what this means. There are 100 people in a room. They order a pizza. When it arrives it is cut in half - 50% - and that half is given to one person in the room. The other 99 people in the room get to share the other half of the pizza. That is how the wealth in America is "Distributed".

And it is getting worse :-
The "top" 1% owned :-
in 1960 10% of America's wealth.
in 1976 35%
in 1982 40%
in 1992 43%
in 2002 65%

Seems pretty inequal to me. Obviously these wealthy 1% have much more access to lawmakers than the other 99% and so are able to get laws passed that favor them.

Another little fact - while the top 1% own 50% of America's wealth, the bottom 50% of Americans own just 1% of it's wealth! That is HALF of ALL Americans TOGETHER own just 1% of America's wealth!

One more comment here, Mr Romney has been saying for some time cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes, now that the result of what this policy would do is shown - that less and less people would be paying taxes - which is what he keeps advocating, he gets all disgusted that there are people "Not paying taxes". Just what does he expect if taxes get cut? That more people will be paying taxes? I also suspect that he is one of the people who pay no taxes - why else would he refuse to show his tax returns? Every other President and Presidential aspirant has shown their taxes - but not Mitt ! ! Hmmm.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


A Presidential hopeful who cannot think before he speaks.

This man insulted our closest ally, the United Kingdom.

A Consulate employee sent a tweet saying that the policy of the United States is for freedom of all religions. This was sent BEFORE the attack on the Consulate. Mr Romney immediately interpreted this somehow as an apology by President Obama!

At a time when we were being attacked, a time that most politicians stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, support each other and the country, Mr Romney instead attacked the President without even waiting to find out the facts.

I am really scared that if this man gets into The White House we are toast. He speaks and acts before he thinks, before he has the facts. Not even caring if the people he is speaking to or about are our allies or our enemies!

This is no way for the most powerful man in the world to act. Nuclear weapons by the thousand are pointed at every country on the globe. A stupid statement by a stupid man like Romney and we are back to the Stone Age.

Just saying.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hell Yes!

The question was - from Mitt Romney, "Are we better off than we were 4 years ago?"
And I repeat Hell Yes. If you don't agree then you must have a VERY short memory.
I remember 4 years ago we were : -

Losing around 800,000 jobs a MONTH!

Involved in 2 wars.

Terrorism was rampant.

Our economy was headed downhill, fast, in fact we were headed for a depression.

The DOW was under 7,000.

Gas was over $4 a gallon.

Our auto industry was ready to collapse and close down.

Corruption was rampant on Wall Street and in the banks.

Banks were failing.

Mortages were failing.

Home prices were dropping.

The military budget had almost DOUBLED in the 8 years of the Bush 2 administration.

The National Debt had DOUBLED.

In spite of the HUGE deficits Bush had cut taxes on the richest Americans.

Now we have some hope : -
When he came into office President Obama found a worst mess than almost any President has ever found. He has worked to stop the depression, and succeeded, at least in part, despite a determined Sabotage by the Republican party, who were determined not to compromise or co-operate to help save the country at all.

Without any help at all from Republicans, in spite of President Obama reaching accross the aisle repeatedly, he has : -

Changed from Losing 800,000 jobs a month to Adding jobs for the last 30 months in a row - a total of 4 1/2 million jobs, with no help at all from the Republicans. In fact with them voting down every attempt by the President to improve the economy. Never has there been such a disgusting show of non co-operation in our entire history.

Ended one war and ending the second one.

Acts of terrorism greatly reduced. And several dozen terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden, killed. (More than all other presidents combined)

Economy stabilized, again with NO help from the Republicans.

DOW over 13,000.

Gas prices down. Oil imports at their lowest in years. Oil and gas production in the US the highest ever.

The auto industry back on track. And well over a million jobs saved. Republicans called for the industry to be allowed to go bankrupt.

Wall Street, banks and mortgages, well some improvement, maybe. Some controls imposed - which the Republicans are determined to remove as soon as they get into office! And in fact to remove many regulations on banks, Wall Street, Clean Air, Clean Water, and all forms of Big Business. Which will put us right back where we were before, only worse. The businesses that almost caused our complete demise will be given free rein to rape us again. Unless you are very rich, in which case you will have your taxes cut even more.

Home prices seem to have finally stabilized and are even creeping up slightly, along with sales.

Attempts are being made by President Obama to get military spending under control. With half of all military spending on the planet we are spending an insane amount of money. And don't forget that most of the other half of the worlds military spending is by our allies!

Yes the National Debt is climbing. But not as much as it will if the Republicans get into power. They want to raise military spending even more. They don't want to get out of Afghanistan. They seem to want to start a war with Iran. They want to cut taxes to the richest Americans even more. And how will they pay for this largesse? None of them will say, except for some vague promises to cut loopholes. Many think these "Loopholes" mean cutting the mortgage deduction and the health insurance deduction. Which will affect the middle classes.

Mitt is also determined to end The Affordable Health Care Act. Which he seems to hate, which is strange to say the least as it was first proposed by Republicans and was introduced, successfully by Mr Romney in his home State of Massachusetts! Basically it was copied by President Obama! Surely a compliment? Revoking the Affordable Health Care Act will put millions of Americans where they were 4 years ago with no affordable health insurance. Anyone born with a defect, illness or disease will be denied health insurance for life. Anyone having the temerity to get sick will once again find that their insurance company doesn't want to cover them any more! "Yes we know that you have paid every month for 20 years and hardly ever made a claim. But now you have cancer/AIDS/some other dread disease and we don't want to cover you any more! And we don't have to!"

Same for Medicare, gone, same for Social Security, gone. Yep you paid in for your whole life, but we spent the money on tax cuts for the rich and now we can't afford to pay you!

Just a couple of Facts - 2/3 of the National Debt was incurred under Republican Presidents.

The cost of Health Care rose 4% last year, and 4% the year before - the LOWEST rise in over 50 YEARS ! !

My 19 year old grandson helped me with some work today. Under Bush he would have been getting blown up by IED's in Iraq or Afghanistan. I hope and pray that Mitt Romney does not get elected as he is determined to get us into another war and my 4 Grandsons look just fine with all their arms and legs.

Please do not vote for these extreme Republican Politicians. They really are crazy. Fundamentalists. If they are Christians then GOD help us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poor Dave.

I try not to do a lot of complaining - well except about politicians! I do try to do a lot of that!

No, I mean I try not to complain about my lot in life, because let's face it, I am indeed blessed. I cannot imagine a more beautiful wife, my daughter is almost as beautiful as my wife, and my grandchildren are all, well, Grand! My house is almost perfect, with a view to take your breath away. I have a myriad of friends, well several anyway, and I could go on and on. But I won't.

The area of my life that I refer to in the title is of course my health. Now I am not completely unaware that there are many, many people out there that are far, far worse off than I am. However, that does not make me personally feel any better or healthier than I am, which is not very.

This is made worse by the fact that I have generally been in good, even excellent, health for most of my life. Apart from the usual minor maladies, like chicken pox, (twice!), and a bunch of other non-deadly diseases I have of course had my appendix and tonsils removed. I suffered less than your average number of broken bones as a child, plus of course a few scratches, cuts and abrasions - all worthy of nothing more than a few band aids, kisses from my mother, uplifting words and stories of horrific injuries to his poor body "when he was my age" from my father.

But as time went on and I saw my contempories slowing down, getting, and looking, older I instead continued on without slowing down at all. In fact in my 40's and 50's I had no trouble at all out-working my employees who were in their 20's. The golden years approached and I (silly boy) thought that they were indeed going to be "my golden years".

I, unlike all those other overweight, cigarette smoking, drug taking, unhealthy looking senior citizens, was obviously going to be doing all kinds of intense, athletic, virile things well into my 90's. What else could I think when here I was at age 59, hale, hearty, robust and yes. even tough. I was convinced that I would be one of the miracles that we read about, running marathons at 100. Hmm, I think I may be going a bit far there, as I had never run a marathon at any age let alone 100. But you get the idea, I felt great.

Then bang - literally - I was lifting a heavy stove when there was a loud "bang", I fell to the floor screaming, the man 3 or 4 feet away helping me lift the stove said "What was that?" referring to the bang, and life as I knew it ended there and then.

The bang had been two of my vertebrae collapsing. I was suddenly an inch or two shorter. An ambulance transported me to hospital where I was met by my wife and daughter. Osteoporosis was diagnosed.

I would like to interject a reccomendation here that when you go to a hospital you need a spokesperson with you like my daughter. Perhaps she would be available for hire? The nurses and doctors thought I might have osteoporosis. My daughter asked "Well how can you tell?" They said "There is a test where you drink a special liquid, we wait for it to get to your bones and then we do a special nuclear x-ray, blah, blah, blah" So Sarah said "OK when are you going to do it?" To which they replied, "Well it takes a long time."

Here is where Sarah came into her own. I am lying there squirming in pain, not paying a whole lot of attention to what was going on around me, just trying to get the nurses attention to get some more of that Morphine, please! When I almost sat straight up as Sarah said, loudly, with authority, "Well you had better get started then hadn't you? The sooner you get started the sooner we will know. What do you need to do first?" Which galvanised them into action!

More Morphine was administered, thank you, thank you, to whoever discovered Morphine. A nasty container of "Nuclear waste" or some such, was poured down my throat, and after 2 hours or so, during which time Sarah organised the staff of the Annapolis hospital that I had been transported to, to produce chairs and coffee for everyone, more painkillers for her father, a description of what was happening, and what was going to happen over the next few hours, I was tended to.

I am sure that no collection of hospital workers has ever been so glad to see the back of someone as those poor scrubs were of Sarah.

Suffice to say that I WAS diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. And so my life began to change. I started to see myself as I had seen all those other "Oldies".

One thing led to another. I won't bore you except to say that the brain tumor was no fun. And continues to be a real pain - so to speak! Literally! My torn knee, with two tears in the cartilege and a cracked femur makes me even more of a "Gimp" as I hobble around with my crutches and cane. And so on.

It is a flare up of the brain tumor pain which brought about this post - Poor Dave - and prompted me to ask for sympathy. But I think just writing about it has cured that! So no need to send sympathy. (But money would be nice!)

Well gotta get on, things to do.

Have a nice day.

God Save The Queen.

Call your mother.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spend more, get less.

I wonder what that refers to? Well it refers to the US Health System (Or as I like to call it The US Health Business)

The WHO - World Health Organisation - has a report comparing the health systems of the world's countries. Herewith some of the figures. (John Boehner says that the US has the best health system in the world)

The WHO says : -

The US is FIRST - highest in cost. No contest.
The US is 37th - in performance.
The US is behind, France (1st), most countries of W. Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, the Middle East and even Columbia, Cyprus, Morrocco, Dominica and Costa Rica. We did beat Slovenia - by 1.
The US is 39th - in infant mortality.
The US is 42nd - in adult male mortality.
The US is 43rd - in adult female mortality.
The US is 36th - in life expectancy.

So we spend more, and get less.

Oh and we are 72nd in health!

And 46% of personal bankruptcies in the US are from medical debt. (Most countries that have a national health system have no bankruptcies from medical debt.)

Just saying.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An amazing story about bad timing!

Our neighbors decided to take their grandson on a short break to Ocean City. Feeling a little nervous about taking her jewlery to Ocean City and having visions of seeing it washing away in the breakers but at the same time not wanting to leave it at home either, she decided to take it to the bank and put it in their safe deposit box. Her husband having recently had surgery after an horrendous injury suffered while playing Raquetball had lost weight, so his wedding ring was loose. He too decided this would be a good time to leave his ring behind.
So, on the way Downey Ocean, they stopped at their bank - M&T to deposit the valuables. (Have you ever thought what a ridiculous name that is for a bank? Empty Bank!)
Anyway, they deposited said valuables into their safety deposit box and headed off to OC relieved to know that their prized possesions were safe in the vault.
They awoke the next morning to big thunder and lightning storms. And news that their bank The Empty Bank had burned!
Can you imagine their frustration and horror? So Can I. Here they were stranded in Ocean City 150 miles away from home and their burned down bank.
Phone calls at 3.00am? produced an answering machine - of course. Their call was returned the next day and assurances made that their
"stuff" was probably OK as it was in the vault! And anyway it was insured for up to $5,000 !
Needless to say they did not have a good time.
To follow up, as of now, almost 2 weeks after the fire they have still not received a letter or any notification of the fire. If they had not seen the news story they still would not know about it. As they did see the story they have kept in touch by phone. There is still no access to their box as the building is considered dangerous. Good job they don't need their passports or anything else important.