News in the News

Amid all the shootings, and stories about people blowing each other up, is a scattering of nonsensical news items that make me pause and go, “Hmmm.”

First, I must tell you that I typically don’t watch the news and I rarely read the newspapers that are delivered to our door, so my news view is decidedly limited. Still, I have opinions about what I see when reading “Bing” news on my computer.

Using that handy doorway to the world I’m able to choose from many sources for any of the news items they deem noteworthy. I have my favorites, of course, but tend to look at the most recent entries available. I suspect the trivial items are included to dilute ones perception of news in general to keep their interest. You know, like scattering candy in a pile of crap to make it look more festive.

Take today, for instance. I’ve investigated the world and discovered that a “Popular Tucson TV Reporter Couple” have been charged with child abuse after their baby tested positive for cocaine. This was accomplished through the use of the former Miss Arizona contestant’s shapely left breast, while feeding her infant, after she ingested cocaine the previous evening. How fun. Now she’s newsworthy, but no longer reporting the news. Dumb.

Then there’s news about a Milwaukee woman who has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She’s the suspect in the murder of her pregnant neighbor and her unborn infant because of loud music. One source indicated that Shanika, the suspect, is Milwaukee’s first fugitive on the ‘Ten Most Wanted List’, like it’s some kind of honor, like when the Bucks win a ball game. Kinda makes you want to move to Milwaukee, doesn’t it?

How about Mark Z, Mr. Facebook? He’s making all his new Kauai neighbors angry because he’s building a six-foot high wall around his 700 acre estate. That’s certainly noteworthy, don’t you think? His spokespeople said the wall is meant to be a sound barrier but I think it’s there to keep the wild pigs out. Or maybe keep them in. One resident of the island reported that she’s 5’8″ tall and when walking along the property all she can see is the rock wall instead of the Hawaiian scenery to which she’s accustom. They want Mark to tear down the wall because it’s an eye sore. I mean, really? It was built to code, using local rocks and, most likely, local artisans. I think it’s a nice looking wall. I also think a more simple solution to tearing it down would be for Mark to build platforms outside the wall, every 100 feet or so, where those who are less than 6′ tall can ascend above the wall and take in all of Mark’s natural beauty. Each ramp would have to have wheelchair access, of course.

 For the sports minded folks, there’s news about LeBron James who declined his player option and is now a free agent. The reason, I surmise, is due to his inherently greedy nature that propels him to seek more and more money for his “talents”. Yes, he’s pretty good but, like all pro sports icons, waaaaaay overpaid for what they do. Declining the option, it is reported, James salary will increase from $24 million to $27.5 million a year, a modest 14.58% increase. Not bad for someone who already has far more money than he needs.

I know, I sound a bit bitter talking about stuff like that, and probably smacks a lot like socialism. That’s not really it for me. It’s just that I find it amazing that professional athletes, and most CEO’s make such obscene amounts of money each year when we severely under educated kids, many of whom don’t know what having a full belly is like. It’s just sad.

There are many more topics, of course, most of them about people getting shot and places being blown to smithereens. You know, fun things to read about. The topper for all of today’s news, for me, was finding out that there might be a Tetris Trilogy in our future.

Stunning news.

Commercials

Considering my advanced age, and my desire to improve my health, I’ve been paying more attention to all the advertisements I’ve previously ignored. Oh, I hear bits and pieces but mostly they flit through my brain mostly as white noise. You know, you hear it but not to the point where you actually paid attention. Lately, however, the white noise is fading and identifiable words are filtering through to the part of my brain that understands them. I’m not sure where that part is but suspect it’s somewhere a little above, and between my ears somewhere. Just makes sense. But, then, the eyeballs are connected to the back of the brain instead of the part right behind the eyes themselves. Perhaps that’s because the hearing part was already using that space so the eyeballs had to be rerouted to the back. Kinda like a detour.

Anyway, the words I’m starting to string together into coherent memories from the commercials are a bit disconcerting for me. Perhaps you have the same feeling. Take this one, for example … it’s for a seemingly benign salve for foot fungus that’s supposed to clean up your toenails. the commercial itself is fairly short, but the speed-speaking person listing the list of possible side effects is quite entertaining. It goes something like this …

The list of possible side effects includes, but is not limited to, the possibility of liver and kidney failure unless the salve is applied between 4-5 am on a Sunday morning, severe brain damage if ingested by licking the finger applying the salve within 30 seconds of application, a Viagra induced erection lasting less than 15 minutes, whether or not it was used, heart failure if do, blurred vision, impaired hearing, and possible death if you don’t get a haircut right away.

Pretty much every commercial, about anything, ends with a similar list of ill effects but in a different order. Makes me want to run out and buy stuff like that right away.

And you?

My Root Canal

I haven’t had a root canal in quite a while, so a few months ago I decided to make an appointment to get one done. That took an initial appointment so my dentist, Dr. Grimm (his real name) and I could agree on which tooth he should work on. He applied something super cold to various teeth, to see if any of them made me jump out of the chair, and he hit it on the third one. We agreed that was the tooth.

So, the appointment was made for today, at 1300, and that’s where I spent my afternoon visiting with Tracy and the good doctor. All of the dentists I’ve visited in the past palmed off root canals to another practice that specializes in them which incurs another office visit. My dentist, however, is a many of many trades and works in an office that provides all required services from start to stop. I like the change because it’s going to get done faster and I’ll only have one guy to blame if things go south on this tooth which was put out of its misery right at 1310, or so. That’s when I got the needle. A really long one.

After Dr. Grimm was almost finished, Tracy was kind enough to snap this photo of me on my iPad.

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I was pleasantly pleased to note that nothing was hanging out of my nose. That’s one of my main concerns when I visit the dentist because I know, for sure, that’s where they always look first. I guess that’s a little weird, but I’m OK with weird, as most of you know.

The red and white things are probes that are stuck into the roots so they would show up nicely on the x-ray Tracy took. Three roots were cleaned out so I don’t know where the blue probe went, unless it was deemed unnecessary for the x-ray. After ensuring himself things were progressing as planned, the Good Doctor proceeded to fill them with nifty little sticks of gutta-percha which is a latex material used to waterproof underwater cables during the last half of the nineteenth century. When it was first used in dentistry is not documented on the link, but I suspect it was not long after companies began making latex gloves for surgical procedures.

A large industry, whose name escapes me at the moment, was created around the many uses for gutta-percha, including a niche for dentists, and latex gloves used in many surgical procedures, including those for dentists who do not like slobber on their tender skin while working on teeth.

Latex gloves became very popular and, as all popular things do, also became a problem when it came time to dispose of them. Considering that anyone in the medical industry, and those who refinish furniture, use these gloves in mass quantities, you can appreciate what a burden this created for the dumps littering the world. Burning them wasn’t a solution, either, because doing so created a medical problem for pretty much anything that breathes. So, someone began collecting all the discarded latex gloves, melted them down, and began making condoms out of them as a way of helping curb the soaring world population and to ensure young girls still in school did not become impregnated before her parents told her it was OK to do so.

One day an enterprising dentist accidentally melted a brand new latex condom and, through a process only he knows, discovered that it worked well for filling reamed out roots in one’s teeth. Through this humble beginning, dentists quickly resorted to using virgin gutta-percha because none of them wanted to waste their expensive condoms by melting them down. Then, too, there were suspected cases that some dentists were using used condoms for this purpose. Such dentists were relieved of their rights to practice dentistry and forced to become lawyers who could only serve as pro-bono public defenders.

Now the process has been refined to the point where little, tiny gutta-percha slivers are used to obturate the empty space in the roots of a tooth after it has undergone endodontic therapy. Discovering that caused me a to question the use of that term, therapy. I mean, c’mon, they’re drilling large holes in teeth. How can that be therapy? Then, after a bit of serious thinking, I could only agree because they are, after all, ‘making it better.’ And that’s therapy, right?

Dr. Grimm filled three roots with gutta-percha, then broke out another entire set of little tiny rasps and began scraping the nerve from a 4th root he had found. Thankfully he found it before it was all closed up. Once done, he filled the 4th root with gutta-percha slivers, then applied a nifty little tool that melted them into the holes, sealing them from further incursion by bodily fluids. Then he topped it off with something else. I don’t know what it is, but it dried very quickly, it was ground off a bit, and I was sent on my way to schedule my next visit for the crown. That’s going to be on January 15th.

If you’ve read this far, not knowing just a little bit about how my little head works, most of what you’ve just read is not true. Not all, just most. I leave it to your discretion as to what parts you wish to believe.

Again, if you read this far, thanks. I appreciate it.

Chicken Pox

Today on the news we learned that Barbara Walters recently fell, bumped her head, and got chicken pox. All of this concerns me because I bump my head a lot and, to my knowledge, I’ve never had chicken pox. Luckily I don’t fall often, so that takes one of the elements out of play.

I wonder, however, how bumping ones’ head could bring on a case of chicken pox. Perhaps it’s the combination of falling and bumping ones’ head, not bumping ones’ head all by itself, like walking into a cupboard door, or a really low door jam. Something like that. Just sayin. I always thought it was caused by a virus so I wasn’t prepared to learn that falling and/or bumping your head could bring it on. There’s nothing about that in any of the books I’ve read, or the research I’ve done on the internet. Maybe Barbara Walters is a special case. Maybe what happened to her was only a coincidence. No one on TV is talking about it – just a brief mention on the evening news, then …. NOTHING! They just left me hanging out there. I want to see pictures of all of Barbara’s poxes. C’mon.

Because of all these new fears I have about catching chicken pox I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life either in bed, or on the couch. If things go OK for the next week or so I might make it into the Man Room to sit at my computer.

No, I’ll just sit here on the couch with my laptop. That will work until the battery dies. When that happens I’ll have to ask Diane to get me the charger for it. And to plug it in. If she’s feeling OK, she might do that. Then again, she might find a reason to get mad at me and tell me “no”. That’s probably what she’ll do. Then I’ll get mad and say something stupid. She’ll yell at me for absolutely no reason, and I’ll wind up having to call a lawyer.

Then she’ll really get mad and I’ll have to sleep on the floor. Of the old Winnebago.

After not sleeping all night I’ll get up and walk to Bugerville for breakfast, unless I forgot my wallet in the house. That’s where the car keys are, too, which is why I must walk. It’s a long way away and I’ll be very tired when I get there. All the way there I’ll be terrified of falling down and bumping my head and getting chicken pox. That would be really, really bad because if I caught chicken pox on the way to Burgerville they probably wouldn’t let me in.

Then I’d be hungry all day, wandering around town with the pox breaking out all over, people staring, little kids pointing at me until, finally, the bars open and I stumble into the Past Time tavern. It will be noon. Time for a beer.

Since I don’t drink beer the first one will make me dizzy and I’ll fall off the bar stool, bump my head and get a double-dose of the pox. When the bartender comes around to drag me out of the place he sees I have two cases of chicken pox, screams and runs, urging the other patron to follow him. She does, after finishing her drink. On the way out she kicks me because I’ve ruined her day she had planned that included drinking herself silly and picking up some strange guy, who she thought was going to be me when I stumbled into the place. She kicked me because of all that. How was I to know?

Suddenly, my phone rings. I’d forgotten that it was in my hip pocket. That’s where I carry it, like a teen age girl. It’s comfy. I look at it and see it’s Diane calling. It scares me because I know she’s going to be mad since I didn’t have permission to leave the property. I answer it anyway. She asks me where I am, stating that she’s searched everywhere for me and is scared that I’ve bumped my head and caught chicken pox.

Sadly, I must report that such is the case … then I realize I’m still sitting on the couch and she’s sitting right next to me where she belongs. I pull up my sleeves and hem of my shirt to confirm that I really don’t have chicken pox because none of that really happened. When she asks what I’m doing I tell her I thought a spider was crawling on me. Thankfully, she buys it and we continue with out evening of TV.

On another note, Jack and Wynette stopped by this afternoon. It was really great to see them. The last time we did that was when we went to Arizona. They drove up last week so Jack could talk with his doctor. Apparently his doctor doesn’t have long distance because the appointment was via a local call, not in person.

Now I must stop.

Jail Time !

Diane was released from jail this morning at 0800. I was very thankful because she’s been locked up at the court house all week and the house is getting pretty dirty. I’ve managed to feed myself and it’s not as bad as it could have been because Diane pulled my travelling bib out of the car before she left. The laundry’s piling up, too.

But, shes home, and I’m thankful for that. I actually would have vacuumed but the rule about “using things that plugs in” was invoked prior to her departure, so that was ruled out as a viable activity in her absence. So, I had to make things up.

Since there was a 20% chance of rain yesterday afternoon, I bought some new tarps at ACE so I could adequately cover the motor homes parked out front. I got to see Jack, too, because he was working at the St. Helens store yesterday. It’s always good to see Jack. I was his designated driver after he got off work at 1700 because Wynette had the truck and she was in jail with Diane. Go figure. That was OK because we got to visit for a while and I got some free plants from ACE for Diane. They have a rack out front with a bunch of them on it that they are trying to give away.

This morning, before she was released, Diane called from jail telling me that I would need to get Jack to work by 0800 because she and Wynette were still incarcerated with no release date/time in sight. Since the call came at O-dark-thirty, I had plenty of time to get myself together before making that gruelling, eight mile trip to Scappoose, and back. Getting there isn’t a tough as getting back. That’s because Jack & Wynette live on a road to the west of Highway 30. That means it’s a right turn when heading south. To get home one must make a left turn onto Highway 30, crossing the path of all those insane people who drive from St. Helens to Portland, and from Scappoose to St. Helensa everyday for work. It’s a solid line of vehicles – I was going to say ‘cars’, but most of them are pickup trucks – with very few openings. Since I used to be part of that traffic pattern, heading to Portland, I know that most of them would do pretty much anything to avoid an accident that would cause them to be later for work. This bit of knowledge bolsters me after I’ve waited for a large enough opening, without success, for more than 10 minutes, and causes me to just close my eyes and jump out there. Most of the time I don’t even hear squeeling tires, or horns, because people expect this and, once they are past me, they are more concerned with getting into the left hand lane so they can spend the next 4 miles getting past the two people in front of them who won’t get out of the left lane and, for some dumb reason, are driving the actual speed limit. The nerve…

I got him to work right on time and he gave me another plant from the free rack. Since I was out and about, I went back to Safeway and got some coffee creamer, which I cannot survive without, and four apple fritters. When I got home at 0815 Diane was already there, but she didn’t want a fritter. She wanted bed because while in jail she wasn’t allowed to sleep for approximately 23 hours. The reason she wasn’t allowed to sleep is because here in Columbia County, those in jail during an election are required to count ballots. They do a good job, too, because if they don’t, they lose bathroom priveledges and will be forced to return to count for the next election.

Now she’s home, I’m home, the dogs are fed, the cat is out hunting birds, and I must do really quiet things until she wakes up. That’s why I’m doing this … my keyboard hardly makes any noise at all. The only danger is if I have to lean over to get a pen, or my coffee cup, I may fart. No, there’s no ‘may’ about it, I will fart, and the decibel level is low enough to carry through many doors eliciting the ever joyful, “I heard that”, from the east wing.

We don’t really have an East Wing. We don’t have any wings. We just have normal house rooms. I just like to say we have wings. Our ‘lower 40’ is the back yard, too.

I feel a bit of rowdiness descending on me so I better stop and take a nap so I can remain quiet like a fuzzy little mouse.

Happy Birthday Daniel !

Greetings Humans.

Today is Daniel’s birthday. He’s our son’s, Jeff’s, brother-in-law. He’s also Tiana’s,  Gillgan’s, Baylee’s, and Jerrie’s Uncle Daniel. He’s 22 now. That’s a lie. He’s 37. If he was 22 he would’ve been 8 when Cedric was born. I don’t think 8-year-olds are allowed to have kids. Not in Oregon, anyway.

After Dan and Jen visited briefly this morning, it was downhill for me because I went golfing with Doug. Golfing with Doug is always fun. I golfed terrible, like normal, but I beat Doug on one memorable hole. It was # 7 and I got a par. First one in the last 15 years. The rest of the holes summed up my typical game by being double par efforts. I actually hit the ball more times than that, but you can’t count more strokes than double par. For 9 holes I got a 68. That’s pretty darn good for someone fairly compentent for 18 holes. So, I play the equivalent of 18 holes whenever we hit the links. Like I told Doug, I’m getting far more for my money than he is because I get to hit the ball more often. As for the par, I have no idea what happened there. I just wasn’t myself for the 4 stokes on that hole. As a result of that stunning effort, I’ve ensured that my handicap remain at 36. Pretty sad, huh? Good thing I’m not serious about it.

After the game I returned home to an empty house because Diane took her Mom, Jean, to the eye clinic in Portland where they both had exams. I didn’t get to go so I have to keep my old glasses. In a few weeks I just know I’ll be walking down the street and my perscription will expire and I’ll go blind. Hopefully it doesn’t happen while I’m driving. That’s unlikely, of course, because I’m rarely allowed to drive by myself, and never while Diane is in the vehicle. Unless it’s the RV. Somehow that just doesn’t make sense to me because the RV can cause way more damage than the car. I told her she’s going to have to learn how to drive it just in case something happens to me. Like I forget how to drive it myself, or my glasses prescription expires. Or she’d rather have me clinging to the passenger seat in abject terror instead of her.

Good news on the RV, by the way. It must have rained about 5 inches today and not a drop got inside. I was ecstatic! My drainage ditch was a veritable river, too, keeping the water out of the garage and most of the driveway. That’s a major coup. But, the floor drain under the washer backed up again. Just a little, nothing like last time. Still, I need to get some more of that nasty drain cleaner before it gets really bad. And, I may have to pour it all over the laundry room floor first, so it will all be clean like the large area that got cleaned the last time I used it. It absolutely sparkles, as much as cement can sparkle.

This afternoon I did some running around town to do some things I needed to do. I can’t remember what they were but I came home with a burrito from a taco wagon that’s been parked along the highway for a while now. Good thing, too, because I was hungry and I knew Diane would’ve been cranky if I didn’t eat something before she got home. It was almost gone when she arrived, so I was safe.

Diane’s in shopper’s heaven now that Scappoose has it’s very own Goodwill store. That’s her favorite place to shop and where she gets all my underwear. Most of them are pretty clean, too. She spent $8 and got a whole bag of “stuff” that she had to have.

I don’t have any pictures from today’s events, but I do have some from yesterday that you haven’t seen. First is my yard trailer that I decorated for the St. Helens Parade … Diane said it won’t last until July so I just drove it down to the burn pile and decorated that. Kind of festive, don’t you think? I’m going to hate torching that until all the blossoms turn brown. And, here’s a picture of 3 or 4 of the 35 rhododenrons surrounding the house.

These aren’t bad, and I imagine most of the others were “cute” when they were little, and only 2 feet apart, but now they’re overgrown and in need of an introduction to the dogwood limbs on the burn pile. As soon as my handy dandy electric chain saw battery is chaged up, and Diane’s gone somewhere, I’m going to do some thinning. There aren’t really 35 of them – more like 15 or so.

Next is some of the many calla lillies that were apparently planted to hide things. When we moved in they weren’t doing their job very well, but have begun to prosper since we cut down all the “stuff” that hid them from any possibility of getting daylight. Now they’re doing quite well and will, one day, cover the gas meter, and the furnace exhaust (not pictured).

As I was snapping the last picture, Diane arrived so I had to hurry back in the house to finish my burrito. This is Diane arriving … just before she started quzzing me about what I had for lunch.

I was happy I had anything left of the burrito because it was on one of the many tables surrounding my computer. The big dog, or the cat, had plenty of opportunity to liberate it, but they didn’t. Ozzie didn’t have a chance. Too high up.

Diane says it’s time for me to go take a shower, so I’m off to scrub various parts of my body. She said I have to use soap this time.

The Betty Cat is Back

So, there I was, next to the garage, digging a ditch to drain the water out of the driveway, when Diane came out to make sure I was really working, and she looked up and said, “There she is!” Following her line of sight I saw the Betty Cat in our neighbor’s garage window. She’s been gone a week, but I’m sure she hasn’t been trapped in their garage for that long because they go somewhere every day. So, I suspect we were just being shunned for a while. Anyway, Diane’s happy because the last time she saw the Betty Cat was just before it got all stormy and she wanted in pretty badly. But, we made her stay outside. So, we both thought, perhaps, a coyote snacked her up. That’s a pretty common thing around here. Cats go missing all the time. But, she came back for a visit.

After making sure I was still working, Diane took Ziva to the vet to see what’s going on with the area around her tail. Ziva’s tail, not Diane’s. Ziva worries it all the time and has managed to remove some of the hair and make little scabby patches on her skin. Doc said she had allergic dermatitis. Probably from a flea. She said it only takes one flea bite on some animals. Ziva doesn’t have fleas so it must have been a visiting flea from some other country. They are not allowed in our house, so she must have encountered it in the back yard as the flea was passing through. Who knows? Certainly not me.

Diane went to visit her Mom, Jean, a while ago and has since returned. When she got back she decided we needed a pizza for dinner so she went back to Papa Murphey’s to get one. We really like Papa Murphey’s. She’s since returned from that trip, too. As a matter of fact, the pizza just finished cooking while we were on the porch watching a spectacular thunder storm. Lightening abounds. I tried getting a picture but my camera isn’t fast enough to do that. So, I’ll just share a picture I found on Bing…

That’s actually the picture of a lightening strike in Oregon that I could have easily took had my camera been of a better quality. But it isn’t, so I couldn’t. But, what we watched was pretty much like this. The storm didn’t last very long but it was pretty dramatic. It provided Diane a chance to ensure the ditch she made me dig worked adequately. I was pleased that it did, otherwise I would have had to go outside in the cold rain to fix it.

While Diane and Ziva were at the vet, I left the door open so the Betty Cat could enter if she wished. She did and it made Ozzie run around in circles like a … well, like a little poodle on speed. He does that a lot. Spin in circles. We think he does it when he’s happy, or excited, or needs to go outside. We’re not quite sure which it is, but he, and the big dogs, know what “Outside” means. At that word they all head for the door and Ozzie starts spinning in circles, barking with his annoying little voice.

The cat went in and out, like all cats do, and we decided she’s an outdoor cat because that’s where she appears to be most comfortable. She did come in for a while, however, and sat in my lap long enough to make Ziva a little jealous. So, Ziva jabbed her nose at the cat, daring her to do something about it, and she did. She whacked Ziva on the nose about six times in a matter of milliseconds. She’s fast. The problem was, being in my lap and all, created a situation where the cat had to secure herself in case she had to attack. meaning that her other three feet had to dig in, if you know what I mean. The end result of all that excitement was about a 3 inch gash on my right foot, which I happened to have in the chair with me. It bled severely. Sadly, the camera was too far away for me to get it before Diane covered it with bandages. It took three large ones. And it hurt, a lot.

Now it’s late and time for bed so I must quit. But, I’m in the process of printing out our church’s newsletter, which I’m forced to create each month, and can’t stop until it’s done. I would have done it earlier, but Diane made me eat pizza and watch TV with her instead. So, I’m running a little late. Actually, she didn’t make me watch TV with her. I made that up.

Tomorrow I’ll take a picture of my cat wound after the bandaids fall off in the shower. I’m sure you’ll be impressed to learn, after you see it, that I did not cry. Not once. But, I did reintroduce the cat to the porch. We were both happy about that.

Now I’m really quitting.