Questions

Odds & Ends

I haven’t written anything in a while, not that anything is wrong, just haven’t had much to say.  Life has been quiet. So today I’ll throw out a few odds and ends on what’s been on mine and Wifey’s® minds.

Last night we were driving to the gym when a commercial for one of the big cruise ship lines came on. Doesn’t matter which one, because they all do it.  It may only make sense to those of us in Florida, or folks who like to cruise. But this is my blog, so I’m going to tell the story anyway.

The commercial will always say; “Sailing from Miami, Tampa, (sometimes Ft. Lauderdale is added here), and Orlando”.  Has anybody in the marketing departments of these cruise lines ever looked at a Florida map? Maybe they all use a marketing firm from Nebraska or another land locked state.  But in any case, here is a simple map of Florida for you to follow along with.

florida-simple-map

You will notice that Miami and Tampa are on the coast, which is good when you’re trying to dock a big assed cruise ship. Now granted if you’re in Florida you cannot be more than 80 miles from the coast (either the Atlantic or the Gulf). So where does that leave Orlando? Pretty much dead center of the state. I guess if you had a really, really good boat captain with updated charts, you may be able to sail a small, 12 foot or so, boat from somewhere on the east coast to the Orlando area. Not very likely, but just maybe. But a cruise ship? Not a chance.

So where do you sail from if you’re not really sailing from Orlando? Well, Port Canaveral of course. Even though Canaveral has the Kennedy Space Center with the astronaut hall of fame, it doesn’t have the draw that Orlando has with Disney and Universal theme parks. (You know why the Orlando airport is designated “MCO”? It stands for “Mickey Controls Orlando”).

So in truth, the cruise lines are dumbing us down by making folks think they can sail out of Orlando, which is physically impossible. Just more corporate America hoping you’ll buy into their ideas.

Next point. Something that I have hated since the Rolling Stones sold out and let Micro$oft use “Start Me Up” in a commercial for Windows 95. That’s the use of popular music in advertising. Yes, it’s been going on for ages, but it didn’t bother me until “my music” started being used. My music meaning what is generally termed “Classic Rock”, or in my day “AOR” or Album Oriented Radio.

This year’s major defiler of good music is Wal-Mart (a corporation I despise anyway). It started with their use of The Who’s “Who Are You” advertising for Halloween costumes.  It was bad enough when the “CSI” shows used that same song. Now Wal-mart is using “Get Together” by Jesse Colin Young & The Youngbloods for a Thanksgiving ad. The biggest problem? The songs fit perfectly with the ads!  DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!!!@! I want to yell and scream that they messed it up, but I can’t!

Also for all us Southeastern USA folks, the grocery store Publix used The Allman Brother’s “Jessica” as background music in their commercials for years. Guess there’s not much I (or any of us) can do about it.  Except DVR everything and skip the damn commercials.

Last thing, I promise.  And yes it’s more commercials (I hate them). Have you noticed all the medical stuff, the new medications in particular?  I love how they list all the possible side effects from hair loss, to death and everything in between. Then they tell you not to take it if you have any of the following conditions, which goes on forever. One of which is usually a very specific type of cancer or other major disease. But then comes the kicker, “Do not take if you are allergic to <insert medication they are advertising for here>.  Now how in the hell are you supposed to know if you’re allergic to it if it’s so new you’ve never taken it? I remember my days as a paramedic working in ERs and having to ask questions about drug allergies. But that was so we didn’t give the patient something they knew they were allergic to.

I can only imagine a conversation like this;

Doctor:  You have <this> condition I want to give you this brand new drug, “XYZ”, it was just released yesterday. Do you know if you are allergic to “XYZ?”

Patient: How would I know? I’ve never tried it before!

Doctor: Are you sure you’re not allergic to “XYZ”? I don’t want to get sued”.

Whatev’

That’s enough…. Let me go find a video to calm us (me) down.  This has nothing to do with the post but it’s one of “my girl’s” (Wifey® and the granddaughters – which is an awesome band name) favorites.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

 

The Problem With Doctors

Well, the problem is not with doctors themselves but when you have multiple doctors and the “failure to communicate” to quote Cool Hand Luke.

This is a relatively new issue for me. Most of my early adult life was spent in the military. So most doctors were in one building, the base hospital. For soldiers that were assigned to units other than the hospital itself, they had a “Battalion Aid Station” (BAS), basically an Urgent Care center. They could go there for “sick call” (early morning time for folks with colds, injuries etc..) and usually, they saw a P.A. (Physician’s Assistant). If they needed specialized care they would have an appointment made for them or were sent to the ER if needed (i.e. a broken bone that needed to bet set immediately).

Once they were under the care of a specialist, a surgeon, urologist,  internal med, orthopedist or OB/Gyn for the ladies, they would stop by the BAS, get their medical records and go to the appointment. This way the specialist had all tests, x-rays, lab work etc.. right there for each and every visit. It was a fairly good system. And if one doc had a question for a doc in another department, it was a simple walk down the hallway or just a phone call away.

What do we have now? Multiple specialists spread all over creation who only talk to each other when the patient asks. And then only if “the situation needs it”.

Case in point. I had blood work done last week. I asked the lab tech if the results of the labs ordered by my primary care doc be sent to my bi-polar doc, and the labs ordered by my bi-polar doc sent to my primary care. “Nope”. It’s not on the order.

Now I understand HIPPA laws. Back in the day, when I was doing websites (thankfully I don’t so that anymore), the Christian group I was playing webmaster for (and yes I was a “Christian” at that time and belonged to the group) wanted a “prayer request” page.  When I pointed out that a page listing names and illness and such violated HIPPA laws, they didn’t seem to care. They wanted it anyway. When I refused to do it on the grounds that as the “webmaster” it would expose me to a federal lawsuit, they still didn’t seem to care. The “We’re should be allowed because it’s for a good cause” was the mindset. No need to say I am no longer a member of said group.

But back to the blood work.  So I had to call my primary care doc had her office fax over the lab work to both my cardiologist and my bi-polar doc. No worries there. Her office is quite up to standards electronically, as is my cardiologist. My bi-polar doc? Not so much. The young lady I spoke to was very confused as to what I need to be sent and to where. How difficult is it to understand that I need the lab results the doctor you work for ordered sent to my primary care doc? Apparently quite difficult, as she called me back several hours later asking why did she need to send the lab results that my primary care doc had over back to them? So again I had to explain I only needed the results that YOUR doc has sent to my primary doc.

One thing that would fix that is a general repository of medical records. A giant database that everything goes to and any doctor you see, whether it be a new primary care if you’ve moved, or a new specialist you need to see, can pull your data out of the “cloud”.  But that is not likely happen. Too many hackers and that would be a prime target. If that data was breached and held captive people would die.  And that’s not good.

But what about a scheduled day once a month for doctors to get together and discuss patients that they have in common. I imagine a “Skype” or a conference call, doesn’t have to be video, where doc “A” can talk about patient “X”‘s recent lab work, and doc “B” may express concern that it may be cancer, while doc “C” says, it may just be a drug reaction. I figure if every doc took one day a month to handle their patients with multiple specialists, they could discuss every one of those patients at least once a year, and maybe every 6 months, with as many of the other docs as could attend. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but there hs to be a better way for doctors to communicate.

Got any better ideas?

Peace,
B

Saint Columbus? Not A Chance

Christopher Columbus, the explorer, the great navigator, the man who “paved” the way to the new world, governor of Hispaniola, cruel dictator.  And not the first European to sail to what is now America. The Vikings beat him by years. He was just the first to go back and bring news of a “New Land” even though he still thought he had made it to Asia.

Growing up in Miami, with Christopher Columbus High School right down the street, we were taught what a great man he was. There was never any mention of how he decimated the native Taino people of Hispaniola.

From his Wikipedia article:

Columbus’s soldiers killed and enslaved with impunity at every landing. When Columbus fell ill in 1495, “what little restraint he had maintained over his men disappeared as he went through a lengthy period of recuperation. The troops went wild, stealing, killing, raping, and torturing natives, trying to force them to divulge the whereabouts of the imagined treasure-houses of gold.” According to Las Casas, 50,000 natives perished during this period. Upon his recovery, Columbus organized his troops’ efforts, forming a squadron of several hundred heavily armed men and more than twenty attack dogs. The men tore across the land, killing thousands of sick and unarmed natives. Soldiers would use their captives for sword practice, attempting to decapitate them or cut them in half with a single blow.

Columbus was bent on nothing more than a quest for gold, land and power. He was not an explorer, he was a conqueror. Who claimed he did it all in the “Name of God”. What a load of crap.

And worst of all he opened the door for the rest of the European nations to cross the sea and colonize the New World. The atrocities that have been visited upon the natives of the Americas have been brutal. Between disease (which I think even if the white man only came to trade, the disease they carried would have killed many of the natives. Not as many as history tells us, but still some) and the basic murder of the people and rape of the land, the white man’s legacy, my legacy, is shameful.

We look at the “evil” people of history, Hitler, Stalin, Caligula etc.. and say that’s not us. But if you look, really look, at the near, if not complete, genocide the white man brought upon the Indigenous Peoples of the western world, it is us.

And of course, the colonization of Africa was no better. Again the so-called “Civilized” man needs to bring the “savages” (and by savage I mean someone who doesn’t believe like I do) under control. No different from Rome trying to wipe the Picts off the map (but they didn’t succeed, we were much too different than anyone they had faced before, they could figure us out).

The white man and his “privilege” continue today. Just look at the percentage that a person of color (Black, Native American, any Refugee) has of at the least, of going to jail, at the worse being killed, by an authority figure and you’ll understand.

My “Internet Friend” Kaitlain Curtiss is half Native American (Potawatomi) and a very strong Christian (I am neither). Her insights have led me to become more interested in the indignities that Native Americans face on a daily basis. I say “become more interested” because I have absolutely no Native American in my DNA. Despite the fact that one of my sisters would tell me we were part (insert tribe here – it changed every time). And she couldn’t even get the tribe names right, one time it was Blackfoot (not the correct Blackfeet). I could have understood the Cherokee, mom was from the Carolinas and dad just a bit north in Pennsylvania (but that would probably have been part of the Iroquios Confederacy). I would strongly recommend you follow her a learn a little more about what it’s like growing up as a Native American.  You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.  I also would recommend Indian Country Today on Twitter (don’t know if they have a Facebook presence).

So that was a lot of words to basically say, let’s get rid of “Columbus Day” and rename it “Indigenous Peoples Day” or “Native American Peoples Day” (mainly because if it wasn’t for spellcheck I would get Indigenous wrong every time).

Peace,
B

Playboy and Politics

When I was 17, way back in 1976, there was a certain southern gentleman running for President. A Mr. James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr. to be specific. And I so wanted to vote for him, but I couldn’t. My 18th birthday was about three weeks after the election. So needless to say, all my friends that were of voting age have much fun at my expense. But Mr. Carter won, so I don’t feel too bad that I could not cast a vote.

I was so intrigued with Mr. Carter that I went to my local book stand (not big enough to call it a store) and bought the November 1976 issue of Playboy specifically for his interview. And I admit this is probably the one and only time I bought Playboy for an article. (It should be noted that Wifey® gave me a subscription to Playboy as a wedding gift – which we kept up until about 1999). And I understand if you doubt that I bought it for the interview. My dad didn’t believe me either when I gave him the copy and told him to read the interview. Dad never told me his political views, in fact asked him in 1980 who he voted for, he basically blew up in my face saying “That’s a personal decision. Don’t ever ask me that again!”  I’m pretty sure he voted for Reagan. I will go on record as voting for President Carter, dad is no longer around to state his case, but I doubt he would anyway. We were not on the friendliest terms at his passing.

I would have voted for Mr. Carter in 1976, knowing that I had already signed an enlistment contract with the US Air Force, to go active duty in October of 1976. As little as I knew of politics, I knew that democrats were very strong in the social aspects of life, while being “soft” on military. I knew that promotions and pay raises would be far and few between. I was also certain that the chances of me being sent to some far off part of the world to support some combat mission was reduced as well. Even though as a member of the USAF’s SPEC (Security Police Element for Contingencies) I was deployable anywhere at a moments notice.

It should be noted that when I did register to vote, just after I turned 18, I registered as “No Party Affiliation” and I kept that registration until 2016. When a certain Senator, Bernie Sanders, by name came along. I changed to democrat just to be able to vote in the primary. Something I had never been able to do, ever. I believe in Bernie’s ideas. I have very strong socialist leanings. I believe in everyone helping everyone else. Unfortunately human nature gets in the way. You could definitely call me a “bleeding heart liberal” something I doubt any of my brothers or sisters (including the in-laws) will claim. My mom’s thing was “charity starts at home”. And while I understand that, I feel it may start there, it HAS to go beyond the “home” (whether that be your city, state, nation or whatever – it’s a global mission).

So now we have a most deplorable POTUS. A man who has no compassion, no empathy, no respect for human dignity at all. All he cares about is himself. There has to be a way to remove him from office legally. I understand that impeachment would be difficult as he hasn’t committed any “crimes”, but what about the 25th amendment?  He is clearly delusional, if not down right paranoid schizophrenic.  Lady Gaga, a musician that I do not always agree with, but sometimes enjoy her music, stated it rather nice (and I hope your fibromyalagia doesn’t bother you anymore lady);gaga

It’s sad to say that this may be a big part of the problem. Add into the fact the San Juan Mayor (one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited) is 1)Female, 2) criticizing Trump and 3) Hispanic tells you everything you need to know.

He can’t handle a woman in power, who’s right when he’s wrong and not WASP.

America, we need to get rid of him and do one thing he promised to do that he never did, Drain The Damn Swamp. He has done nothing but make the swamp water rise. I would love nothing better than to see him removed from office, in any legal manner, then exiled from the USA. We do not need his hate and white supremacy any longer. Let America join the rest of the world in open acceptance of our brothers and sisters. Let America stop its “colonization” of the world. We have done enough damage to the Native Americans, the People of Color, the Immigrants (all the way back to the Irish slaves), and more for a lifetime.

Stop the hate. Go read “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I just reread it last month. A true visionary he was. I’ll end with on of my favorite quotes of his;

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth101472.html

We need Love.  And just in case you’re wondering, the November 1976 Playmate was Patti McGuire (you never forget your first). She was also the Playmate of the Year… Just a FYI…

Enjoy the video:

Sit, Stand, Kneel… Good Dog

Perhaps you’ve seen this picture floating around social media. Now that the NFL season has started again, Mr. Kaepernick is making news.  I read one post that he was a “piece of shit and shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL”. That bothered me some.  As I am not a fan of the NFL (stopped watching years ago), I wondered why he shouldn’t be allowed to play.  Is he a bad player? I don’t know. I figure the only reason a person shouldn’t be able to be in the NFL (or any other job for that matter) is if they can’t perform the duties of that job.  I know I don’t belong in the NFL. At 5’10”, 210 pounds (mostly beer belly), I would curl up in a fetal position if I had a 300 pound lineman running at me.

But if the sentiment is he shouldn’t be allowed to play because he does not stand during the national anthem, then I most heartily disagree. As I said on the Facebook post I got the image from, nobody died for his “right” to stand. All through school we were told to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and the anthem. We were not given a choice. That’s not a right, that’s an obligation, a requirement if you will.

I agree with the two soldiers in lower right side, men and women died for his right to protest. If his chosen protest is to sit or kneel during the anthem, HE HAS THAT RIGHT!  I am a retired Army veteran. I dedicated 20 years of my life so that all Americans have the right to speak their mind, no matter how much you agree or disagree with them. Non-violent protest is an accepted form of self-expression in this country.  So much that’s it’s baked into our Constitution, to paraphrase the first amendment;

Prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.” (source: Wikipedia)

It is well within Mr. Kaepernick’s First Amendment Right of Free Speech to take a knee. If I was on the bench with him I would be sitting or kneeling right with him.

After all what is he protesting? Only the discrimination and abuse that people of color (I would include Indigenous People as well, even if he doesn’t) have suffered at the hands of the white powers for centuries.  The colonization of America has been nothing short of either long-term slavery for the black people or near genocide for native Americans.

As a white male, I know I have had “white privilege” all my life. I drove for 14 years on an expired driver’s license. Luckily I was only stopped three times, once the officer didn’t even check my license, once he told me to have someone else drive and once I had to pay a $75 ticket. If I had been a person of color, or an immigrant, I’m sure I would have been in handcuffs all three times.

And just in case you’re wondering, the folks who are yelling at Mr. Kaepernick and calling him names have that right too.  It goes both ways. I may not agree with it, but I support your right to voice your opinion. Peacefully. Once you throw violence in the mix, I believe you lose that right.

But what do I know?

Peace,
B

Image source: The Other 98% Facebook page.

Anger & Resentment

I have just come from two doctors appointments today.  The first was with my primary care physician (actually her Nurse Practitioner) to find why after more than 18 months of dieting and exercise (including the cutting out of all alcohol, watching my carb intake, both Paleo & Keto plans) I have continually gained weight, without adding any noticeable muscle mass. In my Army career (and honestly my entire life) upper body strength has always been lacking. Push-ups, pull-ups and such were so tough I usually only made the minimum to pass.  Sit-ups weren’t so tough, but still not easy.  And I won’t even go into the 2 mile run.

This afternoon I meet with my respiratory doctor. I know have an official diagnoses of COPD/Emphysema and now need a nebulizer four times a day, along with 2 daily inhalers and a rescue inhaler.  I’m turning into my dad. He had emphysema and used a nebulizer for years. But he smoked 2 – 3 packs of cigarettes a day for many years. I have smoked maybe 10 cigarettes in my life.  I would say it’s not fair, but then no one ever said life would be fair. How I came to have the lungs of a 2 pack a day 20 year smoker is beyond faith.

Let’s talk about my mind/brain. I’m bi-polar type 2. Have been all my life. There is a good possibility that all of these conditions can be blamed on the fact that my mother smoked and drank while she was pregnant with me.  Not that I blame her. In 1958 it was par for the course, doctors didn’t know any better. so nothing was said.

So who can be blamed? Some might say, the sins of the fathers have been passed down. I don’t believe that, since I don’t exactly belive in the Christian God. At honestly, at times like this my belief drives me further away from a “true and just God”.

While I admit I never was one to “treat me body like a temple”, the  military made sure I was in the best shape I could be. I know my body has broken down over the years, I’m 58 now, not the 17-year-old kid who first enlisted. But dammit, I’m still too young for this shit!

I want to see my granddaughters graduate high school. Maybe get married and give me great grand children. Now I’m not sure I’ll make it to retirement. Wifey® and I want to buy an RV and travel the country. For all I know, I’ll never leave this house again.ZXZZZX

I go see my psych doc near the end of the month. I want to talk cannabis oil with him. It has to be oil, since my lungs are so fucked up I can’t smoke a joint. I’m hoping it will alleviate some of the bi-polar problems so I can deal with these other issues with a “sane” mind.

But for those that hold to the maxim that “God won’t give you more than you can handle” I say bullshit.  It’s not in the Bible. I’ve looked, Wifey® has looked, and my seminary friends have confirmed this fact. And I have to ask why was I born broken? What sin did someone in my family do that caused me to be the scapegoat? It couldn’t possibly be for the Messiah to prove his claim.

I am ready for it to end. I am not contemplating suicide, so don’t go calling anyone. But I wish it was over. And as I’ve said before, it would have better if I had never been born. As my sons like to say “No good can come of this”. I truly hope that when I die my conscience doesn’t go somewhere, that I just get reabsorbed to the universe and hopefully stay there. maybe become the “star-dust” of another spirit, maybe on another plane of existence. But not to come back to this hell on earth.

I never wanted this to become a “whiny” blog, so I’ll stop here. But I will say again. There is no “True and Just God”. Someone prove me wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for sign from Brigid, maybe she’ll bring me peace.

Peace,
B

Disappointment Sets In

So, for the last two months, give or take a few days, Wifey® and I have been eating the cleanest we have ever eaten in our lives. We are limiting the carbs, making sure the protein and fats balance as much as possible and eating lots, and I do mean lots of veggies. We have found we absolutely love “Zoodles” (hipster term for Zucchini spiral cut noodles). They are great with just about any protein we use (especially with sauteed shrimp with sun-dried tomatoes).  As of tonight I have not had any beer for 19 days (my usual intake was a six-pack a night with a twelve-pack or more on Saturday and Sunday – each).  I would estimate Wifey® has had maybe 3 glasses Pinot Grigio during this same time.

Using a keto tracker on my phone, I am usually about 10G of carbs over (but still well within the limit of 50G of carbs per day, my protein is usually within 10G either way, but the fat intake is always quite low. The app recommended a 2000 calorie per day range for me to reach my goal weight of 175 (currently at 206ish). Most days I am 800 – 1000 calories under this.  Wifey® didn’t install a tracker so I don’t know where her numbers stand. Of course, I wouldn’t post them here anyway as that’s her business. If she wants to share them with the world, no problem. But I wouldn’t do it without her permission.

Our usual week look like this:  Four days a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday) we do 30 minutes of cardio, I use an elliptical while she uses a treadmill.  Wifey® is only 4’9″ so the stride on most ellipticals are too long for her, hence the treadmill.  She will keep the speed and incline pretty high and we burn roughly the same amount of calories in our cardio sessions.  We then will do 30 – 45 minutes of weights. Nothing too heavy as we’re not trying to add mass, just tone up.  Oh and in case you’re wondering we take Tuesdays off it’s because we’re old and need a break, and on Friday and Saturdays we have our granddaughters and the gym does not have daycare.

Now here’s the question; why are we not losing any weight?  I would think (again just for myself) that cutting out the calories and carbs from 3 cases of beer a week alone would make a difference. Add in the better eating choices and exercise and the pounds should be falling away like crazy.  But so far?  I’ve lost half a pound. That’s it. I seriously doubt it’s “muscle mass” as my doctor tries to tell me (encouraging, but doubtful).  especially since my beer belly hasn’t gone down any (think of me as Homer Simpson, but with better hair, which drive my high school buddies insanely jealous since they’ve all lost their hair).

I was reading in a Keto group on Facebook and one lady claims to eat only 5G carbs a day and is losing 10 pounds a week. I find that very difficult to believe. I usually manage to eat half an avocado (not my most favorite food) for breakfast. According to MyFitnessPal that’s 2G of net carbs right there. Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, which typically consists of a meat, some veggies and maybe a fruit bowl (typically 3 melon salad). I didn’t look those up, but I sure I’m way over 5G of carbs already.

As far as losing 10 pounds a week, that sounds dangerous. Even if she’s morbidly obese that is too fast of a drop.  In my 20 years as an Army para-medic, I was taught that 5 pounds a week was a good goal to lose.  Anything over and serious metabolic problems could occur. But that was 22 years ago, so the research may have changed.

So for any and all fitness type folks out there, please pass along any tips or tricks and advice as to what I’m doing wrong. Otherwise, next weekend I’m having a beer or three.

You can leave comments below, there’s a link down there somewhere…

Peace,
B