Ceramic Teeth

This afternoon I paid another visit to my dentist, Dr. Grimm, and was allowed to wear a pair of their festive sun glasses to keep pieces of flying tooth parts out of my eyes. Today I received a new crown on a tooth that’s never had one because the tooth was cracked. I think I now have only about six teeth that do not have crowns. Most of the ones I have are gold. I have ‘bling’.

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Today’s crown, however, was totally ceramic and made on the spot. From start to stop the process took two hours. That’s from the moment I was injected with whatever it is they use to numb teeth, until the new crown was in place, the glue dried, and I was walking out the door.

I thought that was pretty significant because the entire event was done with this one visit. Once the tooth was ground down, to a nub of its former self, Dr. Grimm broke out a handy little wand with which he digitized the area when the crown would go, then loaded the data into his 3D printer and made the ceramic cap. It was purple when he showed it to me, before test the fit. He explained that the initial stage leaves it purple to ensure some idiot dentist wouldn’t make the mistake of gluing it in right away. Apparently that was a problem at some point in time. The final step, after adjusting the fit, is to take it back to the lab, at some dye to remove the purple color, coating it, and baking it in a pressurized kiln for 20 minutes at an incredibly high temperature. Much higher than that needed to fire a new coffee cup, I learned.

I also learned that he hasn’t, yet, printed parts necessary to create a gun, and it’s doubtful he’ll do that because it would require the need to procure a gun safe for the office. So, it’s not likely to happen. I guess he’s going to restrict its use to making teeth which is prudent.

The tooth fits nicely and I don’t think it will be giving me any more problems, at least for 5 years. That’s when the guarantee expires. I suspect the shortly thereafter it will crack and I’ll have to buy a new one for another grand. Probably more than that in five years.

Now it’s done, and I’m good for a while. No more drills for a while.

Woodworking Mainly

Monday. Time to get back to work, even though I don’t have a job. I just have tasks that generally turn in to challenges, sometimes ending with a victory. I thought I was on track for a victory with my challenging task of replacing pieces of baseboard where electric baseboard heaters were originally installed when the house was built.

Things were going along fine, for one room, then a crises emerged when it was revealed to me that no one sells what I need. You see, the previous owner, and builder, owned the local lumber yard so had access to whatever he wanted or needed. As I’ve mentioned previously, he used copious amounts of mahogany for moulding around doors and for almost all of the baseboards. Nice, sturdy and very pretty wood. But, as the saying goes, “they don’t make ’em like that anymore!” I’m talking about when cars were made from some pretty sturdy metal, like my old truck. Same is true for the old baseboards. “They don’t make ’em like that any more!”

Yes, I can buy mahogany  baseboard material at Home Depot, and Lowe’s, but it is not the same dimensions. It’s all thinner, and not as tall. This becomes a problem when trying to fill gaps in existing trim … they do not match up, and outside mitres are particularly ugly. Knowing this was true, I didn’t even try. Diane and I searched all the Restore Stores in the area, numerous times, looking for matching baseboards. We did find two boards, 50 cents apiece, that totaled about 16 feet, and I used them in our bedroom during that ‘refresh’ effort. They were difficult because they were painted white at one point in their lives and all that woodwork in the house is stained and varnished. Getting the paint off was a major project.

While exploring alternatives, I discovered another method that turned out to be eerily similar to how the Federal Reserve, and our elected officials, are handling our national debt. I was going to borrow from one room to finish another. For obvious reasons, we all know that won’t work. One aspect of my plan was, however, to replace the trim in the back rooms with cheap stuff, with the same profile, that I could stain to look like mahogany. So, that’s the direction I went. I suspect the government will try something like that soon. Like right after they vote themselves another pay raise, maybe.

The hall to the bedrooms is done with ‘fake’ mahogany which I stained with DOHG-OCDIA (Dark Oak High Gloss – One Coat Does It All) from ACE. Good stuff. It’s really shiny if you let it try long enough before making a lot of sawdust in the same room.

Unfortunately, the pieces removed from the hallway were not enough to fill all the gaps remaining to be filled. So, today, I robbed Lydia’s room of all it’s baseboard and shoe moulding in order to ensure the living room gets the full treatment. They have been sanded and covered with DOHG and look really pretty but they’re not shiny enough so I’ll add another coat tomorrow. One of the boards is 12′ 7″ long.

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All of you professional wood working type of folks will really enjoy this next one. Despite all the clutter, It’s where all the ‘magic’ happens. Underneath it all is my table saw which I, thankfully, don’t need for this project. Yet.

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Next is a simulation of what my new work bench area will look like if I ever nail the braces to the upright panels. At the moment, the only thing keeping it vertical are a selection of clamps. There will be five areas on the top into which drawers of various size will be installed. I get to build them, if I can find my dovetail jig. If I can’t, I was thinking about getting a minnie dovetail jig for some other projects anyway so it will work out.

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“The Batchelor” just ended so I need to stop this and look busy. Diane will be here any second to check her email.

Bye!

NFL & Mass Transit

It’s been a brutal and entertaining two days of football, to see who will be in the NFC and AFC Championship games, and I’m soooo glad it’s over. We only watched three games, but it seems like seven. Really. What made it brutal was that only one of the three games were won by the correct team, from our perspective. That was the Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints game which Seattle won. Yea Seahawks!

The other two games, Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos, just went totally the wrong way, even though we’re kinda 49ers fans, which will please Jeannie. Truthfully, we rooted for the Panthers for the sole reason that their backup quarterback is a Scappoose High School and Oregon State University standout. That would be Derek Anderson, #3. We always cheer for people from Scappoose.   It’s a rule. Since the 49ers won, however, we have a problem because they will be playing against the Seahawks next weekend, in Seattle.

Since we’re kinda closet 49ers fans, as previously mentioned, we’ll have difficulty figuring out who we want to win. Using basic logic, it’s a simple choice. Seattle is closer so the rule is we must be on their side. Then, again, our church organist, Jeannie, is an avid 49ers fan, and we have relatives who kinda live all around that the bay area in California, we may have to claim them as our choice for the win. At least in public. The reality is, however that we’ll be Seahawks fans till the bitter end.

The Chargers vs. Broncos game was crappy almost all the way. Because we lived in San Diego for a number of years, we have sentimental feelings for that team. Our tenure with that team was during the 70’s & 80’s when ex-Duck QB, Dan Fouts ruled. They were fun to watch. Alas, Denver won, so the Chargers will go home and New England will travel to Denver to see who goes to the Super Bowl. We’ll be cheering for the Patriots. Well, at least one of us will be.

Now that all the particulars have been reported I have to tell you about all the noise associated with those games. It wasn’t from the TV, but from the person sitting next to me throughout the games. That would be Diane, of course. She’s fleeing better after fighting a terrible cold for the past week, and her energy levels were up, so she felt comfortable with expending a lot of that vigor by yelling at the TV set when the referees didn’t make the right calls. It was very entertaining, and she was always right. The referees do pick and choose which infractions they wish to enforce, those they don’t, and when to do it or not. I’ve always contended that the officials have a meeting before each game to decide which team will be getting the bad calls. Personally, I don’t think the NFL is nearly as bad as the NBA in that regard. Instead of determining who gets the bad calls, the NBA officials shade their calls to ensure the proper team wins. That information, of course, is passed down  to them from the top bookies in Las Vegas.

I’m sure that’s true.

To end this I need to report an event about which I knew nothing until we watched the evening news. Apparently today was “No Pants Day” on public transit in numerous cities world wide.

How fun!

Riders with no pants on mass transit.

All day.

Of course, Portland was one of those cities. The event requires coordinators in participating cities. So, if you intend to join in, make sure you contact your local representative whose job it is to ensure those who participate actually wear underwear.

Although I no longer ride mass transit, I can only believe that most reasonable people are in favor of having two layers of clothing, not just one, between the seats they may possibly sit on, and a stranger’s ass whose owner might not be overly concerned with hygiene. I cannot imagine sitting on one of those seats, in a thin pair of panties, on which someone with crawly bugs all over them, may have been sitting a few minutes before. Granted, the news photos showed that most people were standing which poses another interesting problem because for those brave enough to take a seat, all those strange asses and crotches are about nose level.

I’ll leave you with that mental image.

It’s an interesting world in which we live, don’t you think?

My Workbench, Kids, and a Dead Chicken

Hi everyone. I trust that none of you have been concerned about my absence, thinking maybe my advance age is the cause. That’s not it, at all. Though the ‘advanced age’ part is a daily issue, you shouldn’t worry about me. It happens to all of us … we age, we get some incredible wrinkles, our skin loses it’s elasticity then we shrivel up and die. Unless, of course, we have a chance encounter with a Tri-Met bus, or a semi truck, or just some schmuck who decided to spend too much time in a bar and had to rush home to beat his wife, killing you along the way. Or, you happen to be in close proximity of someone who wishes to kill themselves, and everyone in his or her vicinity, in the name of all that’s holy. It happens every day and, I suspect, will continue happening till the end of time. People are also killed every day in seemingly innocent accidents … they just happen. No apparent rhyme, or reason, they just happen.

I believe, however, that everything happens for a reason. We just have to be patient and wait a while to see what the reason is. Sometimes it takes so long that we forget the association between the event and the reason.

I don’t worry about those things. Whatever happens, happens. That’s why I’m seemingly careless in pretty much everything I do but that’s because those observing my activities have dissimilar thoughts of what constitutes careless behavior. There should be a standard of careless activity to which everyone can be held accountable instead of leaving it up to individuals to make the call.

The past few days have been filled with tasks that, once again, reaffirmed my appreciation of all that she does. That’s because she went out and caught a cold, probably from Jeran, and it really drug her down. She’s been through three boxes of kleenex so far and the she’s not done. She’s better, but not much. Not a lot of coughing, just a lot of draining. I always find it truly amazing how much mucous a body can produce in a short time. Anyway, so I’ve been taking care of her, as best I can, as well as continuing with my woodworking efforts with the baseboards. I’m ready to move into the living room area, now. Doing this serves a couple of purposes … it keeps me out of Diane’s hair, and it keeps me away from all the germs clinging to her body. So far it’s working and I have been spared, but I fear it won’t last long. I’m bound to catch something.

While working on the baseboards, I decided to dismantle my workbench. Not the entire thing, just half of it. I couldn’t do it all because I needed a large horizontal surface on which to stack everything from the part I took apart. My plan is to lower the working surface to a more manageable, for me,  36 inches from its current height. For me, that’s just below my nipples, too high to make it comfortable. It will be different for everyone because no one’s nipples are the same height above the floor. Also, as we age, they actually get closer to the floor. We all know that’s true.

At this time, I have the dismantled side pretty much clean, and yesterday I cut out six pieces of 3/4″ plywood which will serve as supports for the new work surface. Each piece is 29 3/4″ x 35 3/4″ and I cut them all from the same piece of plywood. If you do the math you will discover that the original piece of plywood was a bit larger than the more common 4×8 foot sheet. It was, in fact, 5 x 9 feet and it was once the playing surface of a ping-pong table used by the previous occupants. They left it when they moved, probably because the lone occupant was moving to a smaller facility and she had no future desires to play ping-pong. So, I’ve had it stored, on edge, next to the basement stairs for the past 5-6 years. Amazingly, it’s still straight and true.

Cutting proved to be a little problematically because I didn’t have the space to whack it up, and it was far too large for my table saw which made it unnecessary for me to remove all the clutter stored thereon. Plan B turned out to be my handy-dandy B&D jig saw which allowed me to take it apart one piece at a time. I drug the large piece of plywood as close to my shop area as possible then drew random lines on it approximating the six pieces I ultimately obtained from it. Knowing the approximating wasn’t the right thing to do, I got my tape measure and drew nice straight lines … One in the middle across the long way at 30″, and two others for the short side cuts marked at 36″ intervals. In a perfect world that would have resulted in 6 almost perfect 30″ x 36″ pieces. Using a jigsaw to make the cuts, however, doesn’t result in perfect cuts.

After squaring up the pieces, as best I could, I wound up with six 29 1/4″ x 35 3/4″ pieces. I find that remarkable. I also was amazed that they are all within 1/16″ of being square and the same size. A few skinny shims here and there and I’m good. Now all I have to do is decide how many draws and sliding shelves I want so I can finish it, load it, and move on to the other half. Since I don’t have another giant piece of plywood, I’ll have to procure some normal size pieces and make them work.

It’s 1406 in the afternoon and I’m still in my jammies. So is Diane. I’m cooking a chicken so I can make some soup for later, then I’m going to watch Lydia play a basketball game against Silverton. She’s still on the JV team, but rumor has it she will be called up to varsity for the next game. It’s interesting because basketball isn’t her favorite thing to do. She has mixed emotions about the move but we all know she will give it her absolute best effort.

The other day I picked Jeran up from school because Jennifer couldn’t get away from work. When I got him home it was just him and me so we played the piano. He’s been taking lessons for about a year and he’s doing real well. I got to hear his next recital piece, then we messed around playing duets like Chopsticks, and a couple of others I remembered. He’s a quick learner and really enjoys it. The piano he’s using is pretty pitiful, but he doesn’t mind. We got it from a yard sale for $50. I suspect he’s hammered all the spiders, that were living in it, to smithereens so they are no longer a problem.

Now I must desert my bride, who is reviewing one of the many stacks of magazines she’s been saving for moments just like this, crossing her name off the labels in preparation for delivery to the local emergency room and various doctor’s offices in the area. Because of her contributions, many of the doctors have cancelled their own subscriptions. We’ve had threatening phone calls from Publisher’s Clearing House demanding that we cease and desist this practice, but we won’t. That’s a lie, of course. PCH has never called us even once.

Now I must quit and move on to the dead chicken in the boiling pot. It’s been there long enough that I should be able to just pluck out the bones and add the noodles.

Airline Delays, Wood, and H1N1

OK, I get it that folks might be a little upset about flight delays. I get it that many travelers might have a critical need to arrive at their intended destination at the scheduled time. I get it. The networks love it because I think it gives reporters something to do besides go outside and point out it’s snowing, or raining, or windy. I love when they do that, stick the reporter with the short straw on a hill, next to a freeway, and have them explain what the white stuff is that’s landing on the roads and the danger of not being careful while driving in it.

What I don’t get is those passengers who get all upset with the airlines for cancelling their flight and not getting them another one in its place. It’s like they’re blaming the airline for the crappy weather.  Then there are those who must think their planes fly around everywhere else, so why not fly when it’s 50 below.

No thanks. Not me. I’ll take a bus.

The foregoing, incidentally, is pure conjecture by me. I have no basis in fact for any of it other than what I see and hear on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. All the noise I hear from those stations is consistently the same so at least some of it must be correct with regard to how travelers are playing the “woe is me” card.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not insensitive to their dilemma because I’ve been in it myself. Delayed flights. Rerouted flights. Cancelled flights. It’s just one of those things people should expect when traveling in the ice age. Plan for delays and deal with it. If you make your destination on time, and your luggage arrives at the same time, it’s a good day.

Bottom line on this is that the extraordinarily cold weather isn’t something that can be planned for. Entire cities have shut down because of the cold so I don’t see a problem with airlines doing the same in the name of safety.

Sorry – I meant to touch on that briefly then move on to something else, but the latter got lost in the melee in my head. That, and the ringing in my ears. Both are a bit distracting, making concentration necessary, something I’m normally not very good at. If I have to think about doing something, or how to do something, I’ll usually get it wrong. I do best what I do impulsively, without thought. Granted, impulsive behaviour has placed me in pits of peril more than once, and hindsight always points out the faults with decisions made under those circumstances, but in the heat of the moment, it’s exciting. Kind of an auction mentality where you buy things you really don’t need, or want, because you just can’t keep your hand down.

For the past two days I’ve been installing baseboards. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for the past 5 years. Baseboards needed to be installed for two reasons: 1) to fill the gaps created when the baseboard heaters were removed, and 2) Diane scrunched her eyes and convinced me it would be a good choice of projects while it’s cold.

Yesterday, I worked in the garage, cutting pieces to length and getting the mitres just right. Since all of yesterday’s work had outside mitres, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s just a simple matter of make two 45 degree cuts, on the correct end of the boards, and shoe moulding, then make them match at the corners. Simple, right? I have to admit that it’s far easier with my cutoff saw than with a manual mitre saw. With the cutoff saw I can come up with a solution much quicker, although it also makes it easier to whittle my way through a pile of wood quicker, too. Here’s some of yesterday’s efforts, the hall to the East Wing …

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I did the entire hallway which included 5 outside corners, and 5 doors. One of the doors is for Diane’s shoe closet. One of these days I might do a post on that.

Today was a bit different because I had to deal with inside miters and chose not to. Instead, I coped the corners because doing so makes them much neater. No 45’s to deal with. I’m not taking a picture of that, yet for two reasons: 1) it’s not finished, and 2) I don’t want to. Yet.

What makes this project particularly difficult is that the existing baseboard is mahogany that was installed in 1957. I’ve tried to acquire more of it, but no one sells it in the dimensions I need to match them up. So, I gathered what I had and pieced them together to fill the gaps in our bedroom, the front hall, and the dining area, but there won’t be enough to do the living room. And, there wasn’t enough to do the hall so I used what I could get from Home Depot that was smaller, but had the same profile. Now all I have to do is engineer it avoid situations where I need to match up old with new because it won’t work.

Our thoughts are with family and friends in the east who are dealing directly with the reality of this Arctic vortex we’re experiencing. We are blessed in our little town because all the bad stuff is just blowing over the top of us. So far. Things can change quickly, however, so we have a plan B should that happen. I don’t know what it is, but we have one somewhere.

Now, about that flu … Oregon has been relatively flu free until recently, but the H1N1 has struck close to home. A good friend, Jeff, is in intensive care at the VA Hospital with pneumonia and H1N1 virus. Diane and I got our flu shots in October when they were first available and, so far, have escaped the bug. We tend to stay home, away from large groups, when this stuff is going around, finding it increases our chances of escaping without catching anything.

Bundle up.

Insomnia and a Cold Church

Last night was brutal because I didn’t sleep. Hardly a wink at all. Instead, I drifted in and out of lucidity, thinking about unfinished projects and planning on how they will be completed. While laying awake, I finished almost all of them in my mind. We all have that ability, to pretend we get things done. I’m an expert at that. Making that fantasy reality is more difficult. But, it’s fun to hallucinate.

I really didn’t think I’d be able to function this morning because while golfing yesterday, on one particularly exciting effort hit the ball, I missed it. Since I was intending to hit ball really really hard, I wound up pretty tight. When I unwound, things went quickly and the torque loss my body expected, at the point of impact with the ball, was missed causing me to bend in ways I hadn’t anticipated. The result was a brief, terrible pain in my back that I thought was going to drop me to my knees, embarrassing me in front of my friends. I fought through it, though, and remained erect. The price for that, I anticipated, would be uncommon agony when I attempted to extract myself from bed this morning. Thankfully, I was able to arise easily which gave me confidence I would be able to navigate OK throughout the day.

So far, that’s been true. I made it through a very cold church service and a festive, post holiday lunch at Burgerville. Our church was cold because it’s really old and all of the heat goes quickly to the 30 foot ceiling, and stays there. We do have ceiling fans installed to circulate the warmth, but it takes a while to get enough warm air up there to move around.  There are only two heat vents in church and both are at the front of the church. When they are closed, there’s no heat to circulate and the basement gets really toasty. The vents are remnants from the past when the church was built in 1908. Directly below the vents was originally a wood fired furnace contained in a small space. The heat circulated into the church via convection. When an oil furnace was installed, when oil furnaces were first invented I think, they were connected directly to the old convection vents, and an air return was added at the back of the church. So, the warm air would go up in the front, across the ceiling to the back of the church, and down to the air return. All the people between those two points remained the same temperature they were when entering. So it was today, even though we have three fans across the top, and a new gas furnace. It was cold. Everyone was cold because the vents were closed during Mabel’s funeral service.  I just so happens the only place to place a casket is over the vents. So, they were closed and didn’t get reopened until this morning, shortly before church which isn’t nearly enough time for the heat to get all over. It needs at least 24 hours. Not economical, but it works. The hamburger warmed me up, as did the cup of coffee after service.

 To ensure a successful conclusion to this day, I’m not going to do anything else except sit on the couch, eat popcorn & fudge, and watch TV, like normal. Well, not totally like normal because we don’t always have fudge. We could, but we don’t because I only make it at Christmas.

Winter Golf and BLTs

I regret not getting something posted yesterday. Because of that I’ve already failed in my unspoken goal of posting every day in 2014. Therefore, I can pretty much relax the rest of the year because my other goal, of not gaining 125 pounds this year, is a relatively safe one. I may, however, make it up by posting multiple times one of these days.

Though I’m sure everyone finds that bit of information incredibly interesting, I must move on to more important issues. One of those is the weather.

The Mid West and East Coast are getting pummeled with terribly cold storms due, no doubt, to global warming. It has to be that. In stark contrast, we here in normally rainy Oregon are the recipients of some unseasonably beautiful days. Even the flowers think it’s time to rise and shine. Daffodils are popping up all over the place. Then, today, just because we could, Doug, Junior, and I went golfing. The 4th of January in Oregon and we went golfing!

Sure, there was frost everywhere, and the roads were very slick on the sections that hadn’t yet seen the sun, and the greens were cement hard, but it was a good day. I had my best round of the year. It wasn’t a particularly good one, but it was my best one so far and guaranteed to ensure my handicap remains one of the highest allowed. Here’s what we had to contend with …

The vest stayed on during the entire game. So did the driving gloves I decided to wear. They worked better than the golf glove I usually wear, when I remember.

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This was interesting … it’s a line of frost going directly away from the hole which was in the shadow of the pin. Pretty cool.

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Here’s Doug contemplating whether to get his putter or just finish out the hole with his 5 iron.

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It’s just too nice for words …

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Like normal, Doug and Junior got to the course before me and already had a cart. Normally, they would get one for me, too, and we’d split the cost for both three ways. This time, however, they didn’t do that. They told me they thought I preferred to walk, which I did the last couple of times because I need the exercise. So, they made me walk the entire course, in the cold, knowing my feet were getting all wet as the frost melted. Oh, they tried to get me to ride with them, by standing on the funning board and holding on to the little  golf cart chicken bar, but I declined. Doug did his best to make me feel bad about it by driving slowly along side of me as I struggled from hole to hole, but I didn’t let him get to me. I toughed it out. I might not be able to walk tomorrow, but I did it.

After we finished with golf, we made up and were tentatively going to Sunshine Pizza for lunch. I got permission from them to invite Diane,  but she replied that she had made BLTs for us. By “us”, I mean Diane and me. That was a lunch date breaker. I love BLTs so I went home. On the way I stopped at cousin Don’s house to wish him a Happy New Year, and had the added pleasure of greeting Herb and Christy, too. Herb is Don’s best friend who lives just across the street. Christy drives car #44 at the track. All these folks are gear heads and I’m just a wannabe one of those.

I got home and Diane constructed my sandwich. I gotta tell you, this is the BLT of all BLTs. Even though I chipped one of my front teeth on it, it was awesome.

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Now we’re kicked back on the couch watching the Philadelphia Eagles play the New Orleans Saints in a wild card bid for the NFL playoffs. We’re rooting for the Eagles because their coach is Chip Kelly who is the ex-Duck coach. He’s finishing his first year as a pro coach and is doing pretty good.

Now it’s time to stop, but I have to share my favorite quote from one of the movies being advertised on TV. I don’t know what the name is, but it has a guy who said, “lick me all over till I shine like a trout.”

I already know I’m going to love that movie.

Searches

Sadly, I haven’t been very productive this year, but I have every intention of turning that around.

Soon.

While being unproductive, I found it necessary to review comments I found on a web site I follow called Slashdot.org. It’s an interesting site that touches on a ton of subjects, many of which interest me. Many of which do not interest me, also. I get daily emails from the site with links to the day’s selected topics.

Like this …

Every once in a while I find one that interest me enough that causes me to read the inevitable comments from people all over the world with wildly varying points of view. The one that caught my eye today was Suspicionless Border Searches of Laptops Ruled Constitutional . Some of you may find that boring in the extreme, and probably rightfully so because I think the minority of people in the world travel without laptops. Tablets and smart phones yes. Lots of them. The ensuing comments regarding this issue, which you can read, if you are moved in that direction, was interesting because they cot into quoting Consitutional Rights, and how risky it is to enter the US with a laptop. Personally I don’t see any problem with that because getting searched when going from one country to another is pretty much routine and expected.
I just don’t see the problem. Your suitcase is going to get searched, too, and everything, including your laptop, is going to get x-rayed. And, if a customs official, from any country, deems that you look a bit “iffy” then you will get more in-depth scrutiny. Some may call that profiling, but I’m OK with the term “gut instinct”. Someone makes a judgement decision and you get to visit with the security team, for whatever country you’re trying to enter, a little longer than most.
Big deal. I’m guessing that most of those spouting about abuse of our rights with regard to this topic would freak out if they found out you can’t take an apple into California from Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona. I’m here to tell  you that I’m less worried about my laptop on entering the USA than I am about attempting to get past the Fruit Guards at the California borders with an unauthorized apple, banana, or orange.
If the guard has a suspicion about you, they’re going to search everything in your vehicle. I think they even have dogs and cats trained in the art of ferreting out hidden fruit. I either read that somewhere or just made it up. Hard to tell. Now, the issue with laptops is that there doesn’t have to be a suspicion to search it. If the guard wants to do it, it’s going to get done.
So, does it concern any of you? The laptop thing, I mean. If you leave the country, are you worried that you might be subject to a frisking, of yourself and your electronic toys?
I’m curious.
Personally, I’m all in favor of frisking, electronically or otherwise. Wave your magic wand over me, or touch me if you must …

Parades, Football Games, & The Cone of Shame

Today I flipped over to a new page of the playbook I just found and didn’t take my traditional morning nap. Nope, I got up and stayed up, and I actually feel pretty perky. At least I do right now, but it’s only 0954 and there’s a lot of time remaining in this day. I figure that as long as I keep moving, I won’t fall asleep. Coffee helps, too. Lots of coffee. And snacks.

I can hear your minds whirling with the mention of snacks which you all suspect, I suspect, think will contribute greatly to defeat my 2014 resolution of not gaining 125 pounds this year. Fear not for that won’t happen. I know that because I’ve been up for three hours now and haven’t gained even one ounce.

The Tournament of Roses Parade, from Pasadena, is currently streaming across our TV screen. Diane set it to record from HGTV which is pretty cool because there are no commercials. Just non-stop bands, pretty girls, beautiful floats, and lots of horses. It’s fun to see the return of groups that participate every year but more interesting is seeing how the floats evolve from year to year. They get more elaborate and technical every year.  Pretty amazing. Watching this parade, and recognizing how special it is, I must report that the Portland Rose Parade is pretty darn good, too. Growing up in Scappoose, and being a member of the high school marching band, as a drummer, I was fortunate enough to march in two of those parades. That was when the snare drums were huge and not strapped around the drummer’s waist. Nope, it had a horseshoe attachment that was way too big for my tiny little thigh allowing it to bounce all over the place for the entire parade. But, you know, I do not have any memories of ever getting tired while doing that.

Actually, I don’t have any memories of actually marching in the parade. I just know I did it. Someone told me that.

One of the announcers mentioned that one of the many high school bands in attendance was the largest marching band in the world. Maybe for high school, but the biggest, ever, that I know of, is the One More Time Around Again Marching Band (OMTAAMB). They have around 500 members and their signature song is “Louie Louie”. Surely most of you have seen them before. If not, you should. They have a ton of fun, and they’re fun to watch. Our good friends, Jeannie and Mary, play with them and I know Jeannie will correct all my mistakes. She’s that way, and that’s OK.

Now, for one of the best news events of 2013, that I can remember, Panzie has been release from the Cone of Shame. I took it off two days ago to see what she would do and after cleaning all the dry skin off her bare knuckle, she left it alone. The hair is growing back, and she can now effectively lick her butt. That’s important for a dog, as I’m sure you know. Though Ozzie didn’t seem to mind doing it for Panzie, it bothered Diane a little when we had company.

Here’s proof  the cone is gone …

Photo on 1-1-14 at 11.03 AM

So, it’s a good start to 2014 for us and our pets. Things are well with us and we hope it also is with you and yours.

Peace and Love