Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm Going Back To Bed

     Just an hour or two more of sleep and then to the doctor.  I went to bed at eight last night, never slept longer than three hours at a stretch, and woke at six as tired as when I went to bed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hey, It's Not Snowing

     It snowed most of the day yesterday, though here in Indianapolis, none of it stuck.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sleight Of Word

     Yesterday's blog post had been drastically edited from the original.  I am once again having some mild but annoying health issues, and I started to whine.  Oh, dear!  So -- remove a few words here, trim a couple of paragraphs there, add a photo and taa-daa, nice walks and ice cream!

     I loathe whining.  Oh, I do it well, as well as most people if not better, and there's a certain dull, childish comfort in it.  But it solves nothing, cures nothing and invites hapless onlookers to indulge in well-meaning -- if often half-baked -- quack-doctoring.

     The weekend had good points.  It had not-so-good points and I'm starting the week with a little uncertainty -- well, so do we all, every week.  I shall drink my water and take my acetaminophen and ibuprofen and in all probability, my health will be fine.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

How To Spend Saturday Morning

     Yesterday, Tam and I walked to The Gallery Pasty Shop for their delicious weekend brunch, and (because I had only an omelet, no sides) on the way home, I got a small vanilla ice cream cone, in a real waffle cone, at Tiny House Treats.

     A wonderful late-morning it was. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

If House Cats Were Larger

     Acquaintances -- non cat-people acquaintances -- have told me, "Cats aren't really domesticated.  They're vicious predators.  If they were larger, they would hunt us and eat us."

     This is, of course, arrant nonsense, a vile canard.  Out cats love us.  If they were larger, they wouldn't eat us, they'd eat our neighbors; our neighbor's cats would eat us.

Friday, April 13, 2018

And They're Off! And They're Further Off! Oh, They're Way Off...

     In the three-way Republican race to unseat Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly, a very-nearly Blue Dog who paints himself even more blue, the candidates have almost achieved Peak Accusation: none of them (if you listen to the others) loves President Trump enough to be worthy of the job!

     Self-positioned outsider (despite two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives) Mike Braun hit first, accusing his more experienced opponents, U. S. Representatives Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, of being "almost identical" and having "voted to fast-track Obama's trade deal," while he's the guy "President Trump needs."

     Congressman Rokita hit back, calling out the other two as "not conservative;" his ad describes two-term GOP state legislator Braun a "lifelong Democrat" who "voted for Hillary or Obama" and "hiked our taxes forty-five times," while Messer is named a "never-Trump lobbyist" who "supported amnesty for illegals and raised our taxes by a billion dollars."

     And one of the other two -- I can't find the ad now -- has found a quote from Todd Rokita critical of President Trump and is featuring it in their commercials.

     According to each of them, the other two are not nearly Trumpian enough.  Possibly they're all correct.

     All three men are four-square against abortion -- just like incumbent Joe Donnelly -- anti-(illegal)-immigration (the incumbent's a little wishy-washy) and pro-gun (Good Ol' Joe is A-rated by NRA, but he's squishy and took part in the 2016 Democrat filbuster for gun control).  Each of the Republican candidates promises to be President Trump's BFF.

     Meanwhile, a series of lower-key pro- and anti-Joe Donnelly TV commercials both feature frequent mentions of his name and images of the Senator himself, in all his suit-and-tie glory.  After either one, you're left with a strong impression of his face and his name -- which may be the point.

     Senator Donnelly is rated as one of the most vulnerable of the Democrat incumbents up for re-election in 2018.  I'm starting to see why the incumbent so often has an advantage: by the time the general election comes around, the other party's primary fight has given them all the opposition research they could hope for, free and clear.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What? WW III?

     I am fortunate to have a live-in war/history/foreign policy nerd.  When politicians arch their backs and commence hissing, analysis is no farther away than a yell down the hall:

     "Tamara, will there be war?"

     "What?"

    "You know, toe-to-to with the Russkis, sort of thing...?"

     "What?  Wait a minute, I have to turn down the television.*  Now, what?"

     "World. War. Three?"

     "Oh, that.  No, nobody's that crazy.  Oh, there might be some tit-for-tat over Syria, and if we lose a destroyer....  But Putin's not crazy."

     I hope not.  The Army and Air Force still process their payroll and Accounts Payable right here in Indianapolis (well, Lawrence, IN) and that made us a fine target during the Cold War: capitalist troops would surely refuse to fight if they weren't getting paid!

     Also, who knew H-bomb torpedoes and depth bombs were a thing?  (No, you can't call them depth charges: they're too big.)  And Tom Lehrer's still around to write the soundtrack!
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* It was either Jeopardy or a newscast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sick Again

     I shan't dwell on it -- I have a buddy in hospital right now who has a great deal more to deal with -- but I've been slightly ill the past week or weeks, and only Sunday hauled myself to the doctor.

     Yes, this is exactly the behavior over which I chided Tamara recently.  We're both too good at denial and both too fond of one of the worst habits of the Stoics: we want to believe that most physical ills can be solved by gritting one's teeth and outlasting them.  Lovely if true, and it probably was true in a time when 50 was elderly.  We get a lot better mileage from our meat machinery these days but the price of that is an increased need for skilled maintenance.

     Going to the doctor late Sunday meant the pharmacy closed before they filled my prescription; I didn't start drugs until Monday night and spent nearly all of Tuesday in bed.  Much of the day (and evening, not to mention both nights) I was blessedly asleep, and perhaps it has had a restorative effect. 

     I can only hope my friend is feeling better at a similar rate, if not even more quickly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Water, Water...Everywhere?

     The mighty brains who write books about why your brain is going to melt unless you follow their advice often share an amazing new insight my Mom was well aware of all her life: drink tap water.  It's good for you,* full of essential minerals and trace elements.  There's such a thing as too filtered.

     On the other hand, if you want me to laugh at you, even if you have a Ph.D. and say you've got a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study Alzheimer's disease and women's brains, just say this:

"Purified and distilled waters are just fluids," [she'd love the free mention] said. "There is nothing hydrating there."

     Stop and let that sink in.  Here, let me help:  "...water...there is nothing hydrating there."  I'm not a Ph.D. biologist, but I did all right in etymology, and when water has ceased to be hydrating, both studies are too broken to be of any further use.

     Or, a-hem, it might just be pretentious nonsense to sell fad-nutrition books.

     Drink your damned water.  If you're the kind of idiot who drinks distilled water, take your vitamins and, you know, electrolytes -- or wise up and switch to tap water or the tastier water they get from taps elsewhere and bottle up as spring water. 
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* This presumes you don't live in Flint, Michigan, and that if you're on a well, you haven't dug it too close to your privy or a leaking tank of benzine, etc.  Most city water and well water is clean and wholesome, or at least until TV ratings time, when they'll set it on fire and explain how it will kill you dead.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Tom Lehrer Is Turning 90

     Tom Lehrer, whose lyrical wit hovers between "acerbic" and "acidulous," in sharp and delightful contrast to his upbeat, Broadwayesque tunes, turns 90 this month, and he is, notably, still turning.

     He's not turning out new songs; he's not written much since Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973,* an event he said, "Made political satire obsolete."

     It's a pity.  Agree or disagree with some of his more-partisan stances, you can hardly dislike such gems as "National Brotherhood Week," "Lobachevsky†," or "The Elements."  Tom Lehrer made erudition a doorway to humor -- and with eloquent cleverness, lampooned a lot of things too often taken for granted.   We could use more of that.
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* In fairness, Kissinger tried to give it back after the Vietnam cease-fire failed.  Turns out the Nobel doesn't work that way, no doubt to the acute relief of later winners.

† "...Some of you may have had occasion to run into mathematicians and to wonder, therefore, how they got that way...." always gets a smile or a snicker from me.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

AARP, Unrepresentative Lobbyists And Lifeboat Ethics

     The late Robert A. Heinlein remarked that though elderly retirees made great political volunteers, they were a dangerous constituency, since they had no direct long-term stake.

     I'm on the threshold of joining them; at 59 I have, with luck, twenty mostly-hale years left, followed by a decade or two of decline, maybe even three, which is the stuff of Greek tragedy.  My Mom was more fortunate than most and I wouldn't wish her final decade on anyone, with falls and clumsy care-givers and frequent hospital trips.

     But despite my years, the AARP just loves me and wants to be my friend, sending promotional mailers almost weekly and look at all the lovely perks they offer -- discounts for travel and dining out, and my-oh-my, the insurance.  Yes, the insurance -- AARP's co-founder Leonard Davis went on to found the Colonial Penn Group insurance company, and who did they partner with for years and years, right up until a 60 Minutes expose prompted competitive bids?  You won't have to guess.

     The elderly, supposed beneficiaries of AARP's vast clout (their membership makes them one of the biggest lobbies in Washington, D.C.), are a captive market and one with no say about what the organization might lobby for or against -- and AARP doesn't have to care what they think: wait a decade, and most of the critics or supporters of this or that bit of legislation will be dead or incapacitated.

     There's only so much room in the lifeboat.  There are only so many dollars in the Federal Budget.  How will you spend it?  Who will you save?  My goodness, Granny is in dire straits -- and so are the thugs trying to use her as a flotation device.

     I haven't joined AARP.  You know what the biggest difference is between them and the NRA?  No, not politics; sure, one leans left and the other right, but not so much you won't find their well-suited flacks at the same D.C. parties, grabbing after the same mixed drinks and laughing politely at the same tired jokes.  Here's the difference: I get to vote on NRA board members and they send me surveys to get an idea of what matters to the NRA membership.  I have some input into what they do and how they go about it.  AARP has none of that; they just keep pushing those lovely discounts and that fine, fine insurance.  (Income from lending use of the "AARP" name to products is a bigger source of group's income than membership dues.  Consider that A Clue.)  Maybe someday I'll have to join up to get supplemental insurance -- but not today, thank you very much, and not if I can find some other way.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Silent Cal Speaks

     Today's aphorisms come from President Calvin Coolidge:

     "The words of a President have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately."

     "I think the American people want a solemn ass as a President and I think I will go along with them."

     Ah, those were the days.