Friday, November 30, 2018


Some people rarely comment.  It's like a classroom. My experience has been that a few members of the class do speak out. But generally, if the teacher asks a particular student what they think about the topic, a good answer awaits.  It has been a mystery to me why some people speak out and many only if they get a specific invitation.

I think expressing what is going on in one's life and mind is similar to telling the Dept. of Motor Vehicles what should be on one's license plate.  Or, what should be on one's business card. Ok, you don't have a car or you want a license plate that looks like everybody else's and doesn't stand out.  

Who are you?  What do you want to stand out for?  Anything? Love dogs? Love Ghirardelli chocolate squares?  Think more people should be knitting? Frustrated by all the ads that come in the mail? In today's world, there is a continuous open mike, ready to broadcast your ideas, adventures, experiences.  You may prefer to express yourself just to close friends, maybe just one or two.

With today's low prices for a computer or other tools for communicating, it seems like it would be easy to write what is up with you once a week or so.  But why the heck should you? Personally, I think each of us may owe to ourselves, our minds, our heritage, our future and the futures of those we love, wherever they are, to put into some useable form what we think and some of what we do.

You learned to read and to write.  You have a good brain and you are in the midst of life and the world.  So, how about making some comments about what you see and feel and think?  I realize that if you live some places, the wrong words can get you murdered or arrested.  You can get nasty responses inviting you to die just by having a female name. So, don't use wrong words or a female name.  Write about your mother or the sky or how happy it is to be warm enough or miserable to be cold. If you feel no inclination to do any writing, ok.  But I hope you will at least think about it from time to time. You may owe it to yourself.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Better wisping

I use the practice of examining suffering and irritants and errors and mishaps for associated ideas that increase their negative power.  For instance, when I accidentally lose a folded $5 bill by dropping it, I could beat myself up about it, "What? You think money grows on trees?"  I notice that I don't seem to make an undue number of careless mistakes so maybe I can allow myself a few now and then.

[I enjoy asking Google rather dumb questions so I searched for answers to "How many careless mistakes do most people make in a day?"  If you ask me that, I would have to answer that I have no idea, but Google came up with many answers and documents. One of them said the average American worker makes 118 mistakes a year or about 1 mistake every 3.09 days. In case you are interested, I would create a Poisson distribution with a basic parameter of 3.09 to study things further...Ok, I just got distracted into using the current version of Excel to do that and it looks like a reasonable estimate using the Poisson and a mean of 3.09 days for a mistake that there is a bit less than a 5% chance that a day will go by with no error or partial error made.)

But I digress!! Badly!  Nerdly in the extreme!

I don't have too much trouble remembering to scrutinize my thinking and habitual reaction when I feel like "Why me, O Lord?" or "I can't have nice things".  But I do have to work at remembering my thoughts ("A bagel right now would be nice") are just wisps, floating electric impulses down this nerve line or that. Sure I can honor them or explore them or take them seriously.  But, BUT, I don't have to. I can just let them float away, as I should when good sense, or following a goal I want to achieve, tells me the thought should be sent off into the atmosphere.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Re-running Nash

H.L. Mencken was a columnist and writer in Baltimore, the city of my birth.  I never read much of his stuff but I gather he was witty and withering. I want to write about Ogden Nash, also associated with Baltimore.  I knew that Nash has sometimes been referred to as the Bard of Baltimore. Mencken also has a title or nickname and I wanted to be clear about what his was.  I searched for "nicknames for H.L. Mencken" and found

    The sage of Baltimore

    The anti-Christ of Baltimore

At one time, I had three or four books of Ogden Nash poems in the house.  During various purges and divestitures of books, I got rid of them all.

Then a friend wrote that he had given a charity donation to a man on the street and commented "there but for the grace of God…".  Usually, that phrase is used to say that a down and out person might be me except for luck and God's grace. Generally, that is true: we all have untold blessings and lucky breaks.  However, Nash has a poem in which he turns the usual idea around and says, look, but for the grace of God, I could be as rich as Warren Buffet, as beautiful as George Clooney, as popular as that crazy rock star or reality tv hero.  

Remembering that poem got me interested in tracking it down.  I haven't been able to, but I have found quite a few sources of Nash poems.  I have some posts in this blog about Nash writings:

There are several places online where you can read his poems which are quite different from typical poetry from any era.  For instance, you can sample his stuff here:  

Once you get going, the titles alone can be a chuckle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Moderation in many things

I think the accounts of humanity evolving from more ancient primates and then spreading across the planet ring true.  I realize that, yes, "race" is a series of groupings that are actually superficial. But, it also seems that all humans are related rather closely related.  Males from many different groups can mate with females from many different groups and successfully produce viable babies that grow into fertile adults.

So, saying that I do or do not have this sort of blood or relatives of that type doesn't always make sense to me.  I don't look Greek and I don't know of any connection between me and the Greeks, but there might be some. Evidently, a great many of my ancestors, including the Neanderthal and Denisovans, walked around the eastern end of the Mediterranean sea on their way to Europe.  That route would probably lie them up nicely to stay awhile in the area we now know as Greece.

I learned from friends that the ancient Greeks had three principles they advised following for a better life:

    Know thyself

    Make no promises

    Practice moderation in all things

It is hard to know myself.  I seem to be fluid and changing all the time.  It's too late to make no promises. I have already made many.  But I seem to have a feeling for moderation. Whatever it is, I can come to feel that I have had enough of it, at least for a while.  Thus arises a modern puzzle: should I be moderate in my application of moderation? Or, should I be immoderate occasionally or in some things?

I am interested in things that do not become boring or burdensome despite high numbers of repetitions. Breathing all the time, continuing every day to assuage hunger - some things don't seem overdone even with steady streams of actions while on the other hand even four or five days of hamburgers for dinner seems immoderate and unpleasant.  It's a puzzle.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Might be a good time...

to switch to something visual:

Cloudy days can be depressing so if you are feeling down, it might just be the weather.  Take a look:

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Could be getting better

Some writers like Stephen Pinker ("Enlightenment Now") and the recently deceased Hans Rosling ("Factfulness") show us that many current adults have impressions of the world that are out-of-date.  Still, humans are living longer, are better educated, and more in communication with each other than has ever before. It also seems to me that ways of understanding ourselves and each other are on the increase.  

You may know that Rene Descartes (1596-1650) is famous in the world of philosophy and in math.  He is the inventor of the way we use graphs to depict trends and interactions. He is said to have sought rigorously to get his thinking onto a very firm basis and used the principle "Cogito, ergo sum", [I think, therefore I am].  He worried that he might be a puppet manipulated by some wily puppetmaster but his principle of recognizing his own thoughts reassured him that he was himself and not an illusion.

It is difficult in any era to think clearly and helpfully and one of the dangers in his time was running afoul of the church authorities.  Since we humans take solace in believing that our souls or some part of us will live and matter longer than the century we hope to inhabit as living creatures, it seemed to Descartes and to many before and since, in any part of the world, that the mind and consciousness were different in kind, basically something quite other, than the body.  So Msr. Descartes and others, again, before his time and since, have done much of their thinking and theorizing and philosophizing mostly about our minds and not so much about our bodies.

We realize the bodies keep coming to an end and we don't want an end.  So, much of the time, we ignore the wrinkles and the arthritis and keep our eyes on the horizon, ixnaying anything to do with any kind of "end."  However, you can pick up signs here and there that we may be getting more able to think of the mind/brain along with the body. Witness books such as "The Body Keeps the Score", "Your Body Knows the Answer," and "Bodyfulness."

At the same time, using scans and other tools, answers about how our brains work are getting clearer.   "Evolving Dharma" by Michaelson, "Focusing" by Gendlin and the many sources on meditation, seeing into our minds and the way we use them seem to me to be moving us toward deeper understanding of ourselves and others.  I realize that many articles and sources today mention divisiveness, polarity and lack of appreciation of those who disagree. Nevertheless, I suspect we are beginning to see new ways forward more clearly.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ghastly news

You may have heard that you should stay alert because we need more lerts.  It is equally important that you should be aghast at all times. We need more ghasts!  

I am not a Minecraft player but I found this:

You actually have a wide set of choices of things to be aghast about.  I read that wilderness conservationists are aghast about re-introducing wolves into Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.  If that doesn't spark your ghasting engines, maybe learning about the chapter in the Bad Food Bible by medical researcher Aaron Carroll promoting the idea that artificial sweeteners in sodas aren't so bad will ghastify you.  

There are many advocates and opposers you can join.  Look at the news, local, state, national, planet or just the political and social news. Or, try religious or art news.  

If you are looking to increase your ghastification, thinking about the way you have let yourself go, or about America's debt may give you the ghast you need.  Just now, the price of ghast is low so this is an economical time to load up on ghast.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Peaceful, calm, pale Friday

There are many other roles in life beyond that of teen warrior.  I am not putting energetic young people down. We need them and their energy and their daring.  However, I read that it is predicted that citizens over age 65 will increase in percentage of the population.  So, let's sometimes look to other images and symbols beyond rah-rah and yahoo and Go,go,go!

Robert A. Johnson wrote in "Living Your Unlived Life":

I like to swim at the local YMCA; I am a regular there and many people know me. Not long ago one of the lifeguards saw me coming; and her manager had told her that I write books, so she approached me to ask for an inspirational quote to copy on the blackboard for the people who were exercising. I thought for a moment, and a proverb from the Upanishads came to mind: "By standing still we overtake those who are running." The teenager heard me out, thought for a moment, and then replied, "No way!" She walked to the blackboard and instead wrote: "Go, go, go!" We live in a "go, go, go" society. It is increasingly difficult to find a moment of repose.

Let's not be silly or shortsighted or stupid.  There is strong evidence that even trainers of powerful racehorses often give them too little rest.  This weekend, we are trying to remember to be thankful for our happiness and whatever good fortune we have, and had, and may have.  Whether you were outside the bargain door at 3:30 AM this morning or not, let's take a moment for repose and calm. We are Americans!  We can do it!!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving and gratitude

There is some good research that backs up the idea that feeling gratitude for the good things that have happened to us is good for us, individually and as a group.  Many people today have doubts about the sort of God the Pilgrims recognized but everyone can see that various difficulties that are known possibilities have not befallen them.  

Just one example of a path to gratitude is the series of events that led to a marriage.  Similarly, if you look into the process that made you and me, you can't help but realize that our moms had bodies and chemicals that took the mix from her body and Dad's and made a literally incredible being in roughly nine months.  When I think of the many other males that expressed an interest in partnering with my wife as an alternative to me, I am surprised that things worked out the way they did. When I think of the microbes and the genetic pitfalls that my child dodged and lucked out all the way to a healthy birth and childhood and adulthood, I certainly have plenty to be grateful for.  

Sometimes, people advise me to "count my blessings" but in truth, I can't.  I don't know them all. I can't count them. I do know some of them and I hold onto them tightly and thankfully.  

Last year, at Thanksgiving, I read some about the Pilgrim's first few months in the new world.  If you picture arriving at a shore at a higher latitude than you planned (Massachusetts instead of Virginia) in a wooden boat, with little knowledge of what to do and how and when, you can picture the challenge they faced. No power tools, no electricity, no front-end loaders, no roads, no gasoline, no stores, no food, no stoves, no kitchens.  

If you want, stop by the National Homestead Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska and read about those lured by the promise of land to be had if only one lived on 160 acres for five years, built some housing and raised some food.  60% of those who tried failed for one reason or another.

If you can stand, if you can walk, if you can see or hear, if you have shelter or food or heat or friends or a purpose, give thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bill's pancreas appointment

Subject: Trip to Milwaukee for Bill's pancreas appointment - by Lynn

Just a little update.

Today we went to Milwaukee, to the pancreas center of Froedtert. They did a blood draw on Bill and determined that he has no markers of cancer in his blood. They looked at the CT scan  and the MRI and saw that there is a "stone" in his bile duct, and that the rest of the duct is inflamed. So we will have to go back to have a special scan (which I was HOPING they'd do today, but no. He has to be sedated and eat nothing etc. for the scan.) We don't have a date for that yet, because they have to talk to a lot of people to schedule it.

They think now that it is benign, but might require surgery anyway, because of the inflammation.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Did I make the most of yesterday?

First, I want to recall yesterday.  I guess it is true that I might have made the most of it and yet, I might not have.  

My memory is such that I can't recall the entire day, minute by minute.  Various wisemen and wisewomen advise me to make the most of each day but it is not entirely clear what I should do for that.  The days are the same length, whether sunlit or not. I am pretty sure the intent of the advice is not to "waste" the day. I have tried staying in bed for the entire day but doing that is boring.  Besides, various health people tell me that exercise is good. However, they add "Don't overdo it".

I know I did get out of bed and move around yesterday.  Maybe the best idea is to see if I can recall any lapses or errors or sins or missteps.  I realize that not recalling any negatives is not necessarily the same as not having any.  If I do recall some negatives, I can aim at avoiding the same thing tomorrow.

It may be that I could try a young person's approach.  They often seem to decide they made the most of yesterday if they know they got drunk.  I am not entirely in favor of that criterion but I do remember some sweet compliments, some loving glances, a delicious black russian and brie and triscuits.  I don't recall any missteps, errors, sins or lapses but I wouldn't, would I? I do have a habit of downplaying the negatives and by a day later, they are downplayed right out of my mind.

I plan to take better notes tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What is the best way to laugh?

We can laugh quietly or really loudly.  We can titter behind our hand. If we have a surprising thought, laughing may occur involuntarily.  Giggling, especially prolonged giggling, as when a child is tickled and is delighted to be tickled, can go on for quite a while.  

The queen famously said,"We are not amused" but I haven't heard that she said, in an equally restrained way, "We are amused."  

It seems likely to me that the queen saw and heard many things, both privately and publicly, that seemed amusing but at which she declined to laugh or even smile.

American pragmatism is often attracted to whatever works successfully.  It may be that the best or most appropriate or accepted manner of laughing in one situation is not optimal in another.  Sometimes, we are in a situation where laughs are prompted so steadily that we just keep a smile locked on our face. I don't know if a person can get hoarse from too much laughter but I suspect it is possible.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

For a minute

For a minute there, I understood it all.  In a flash, I saw the history of the universe, the birth of Earth, the birth of life, the unfolding up to the present, the way forward, the joys, the sorrows, and all like that.  But then it faded, I forgot what I had just grasped and I fell back into more or less what I usually am.

I have told a few others that I saw the whole bit but I have not always been believed.  Full documentation of my insights may never be forthcoming. I think I am just going to have to get used to knowing I knew but now don't.  It is a little frustrating to understand that life has a meaning, the way forward can be worked out, there is a balance possible between self and others, but be unable to find that meaning, that way and that balance.  I'll try again later.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sitting with myself

There have been expressions of interest in meditating.  That's good. In my opinion, if you haven't delved into a practice of meditation, you aren't really educated, regardless of what else you know or how many degrees you have.

The basic steps are simple: sit comfortably and be still for a period. Focus your attention on a spot in front of you or on gentle breathing in and out.  Almost invariably, your mind, built to think, ponder and alert you, will suggest one topic after another for you to think about. Once you realize you are thinking, stop and go back to your anchor.  

It can help and be fun to watch a focal spot intently, to see if you can catch it moving.  It can be fun to ask yourself what your next thought will be.

Every time, you catch yourself thinking about a topic, any idea or subject, you have reached the golden moment.  The moment you reject the thinking subject and return your attention to your focus, your anchor, is the golden moment, the move that trains your mind to be aware of where you are putting your attention.  Such awareness is mindfulness, and having that awareness empowers you to notice what you are doing with your mind.

Your whole being - breath, posture, limbs, nerves, memories, hopes, goals, fears - all of you contributes to who you are, what you feel, and what you think.  If you set a timer for one minute and quietly enjoy sitting with yourself, you may come to enjoy the time, look forward to a session and decide to lengthen your sitting.  

Reading and maybe re-reading good writing about meditation can assist in deepening your appreciation of meditation and of your inner self.  Jack Kornfield and Chade-Meng Tan have both been helpful and educational for me. The book "Redesigning Mindfulness" by Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic is good and so are the books by Sylvia Boorstein, especially "Don't Just Do Something - Sit There!".  My most recent discovery is Dr. Jay Michaelson. He has several books but I have only just started my first one of his and it is terrific. It is "Evolving Dharma". His writing is super! Here is a page of quotes from the early pages:

Friday, November 16, 2018

Having a full and friendly relation with yourself

Pema Chodron (an American-born superior in a Canadian Buddhist monastery:

The basic creative energy of life bubbles up and courses through all of existence. It can be experienced as open, free, unburdened, full of possibility, energizing. Or this very same energy can be experienced as petty, narrow, stuck, caught. Even though there are so many meditations, so many instructions, the basic point of it all is just to learn to be extremely honest and also wholehearted about what exists in your mindthoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, the whole thing that adds up to what we call "me" or "I."

Excerpted from: Awakening Loving-Kindness

by Pema Chödrön,

page 40


Who is the "Witness"? By Jay Michaelson (Meditation Weekly #76)

From 10% Happier

You may have noticed that experienced meditators sometimes speak in code. For example, "I'm sitting with a lot of anger right now" is meditation-ese for "I am extremely pissed off at you." Or, "It's interesting to watch all of these thoughts come and go" is meditator code for "I can't freaking sit still for five seconds right now!"

One term meditation nerds often use is the word "Witness." Usually as a noun, though sometimes as a verb. "Rest in the witness," many meditation teachers say. What does that mean?

What the word means, in practice, is that there's a faculty of the mind – a capacity, if you like – to notice whatever is happening, and not be affected by it in the way we ordinarily are. To take a trivial, but common, example, suppose you're driving in your car, doing errands, and someone cuts you off. Reactions may vary, but if you're like me, you might get instantly swept up in anger, resentment, frustration – or, perhaps, fear, surprise, or anxiety.

As you practice mindfulness, though, you'll gradually begin to see that these reactions don't always have to happen, and you can instead "witness" what's happening without necessarily reacting the way you ordinarily might. You can, as the nerds say, "rest in the witness."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Retirement can be stressful and too busy

There are a million blogs and some are just too good to miss.  You are aging and I hope you are keeping all the right documents in good order and a secure place for your next of kin to do what has to be done later, when, you know, you pass.  But in the meantime, how about talking to the local Kiwanis club about that trip you took?

Some of your friends would love to have lunch with you.  But you can't do it over the next few days: you have that checkup, you want to talk with your investment guy and the car needs an oil change. It helps to exercise so get that morning walk in.  And, how long has it been since you attended your yoga class?

The evidence is strong that five or ten minutes a day devoted to quiet meditation helps you stay in good contact with your body, your mind and your feelings.  There are a ton of Great Courses and another ton of truly wonderful TED talks. Don't miss out on them. Your local library is full of good books and good videos that are free for the borrowing.  I hope you aren't skipping them.

When you are employed, you know what your job is.  When you are retired, the whole world is open to you.  How about a Road Scholar trip to Europe? Ok, at least Canada or the Caribbean.  The League of Women Voters could use a little help from you, the Boy Scouts and your favorite political party are both looking for help, too.

As the years pile up, as the body ages, you can see how a person might be quite drawn to just pulling covers back up and staying in bed. At least once in a while.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Thanks to two friends

An English prof and a librarian have given me the author and title I was searching for: "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell.

What was that book?

Within the last year or so, I read a novel aloud to Lynn.  It was about a young, unattached man who was hired to come in at night and read the emails that employees of the company had sent to each other.  His job was to search for people who were violating company policy. He was fairly attractive and a pair of young women employees emailed each other back and forth during the day.  Their emails included comments about the young man and the interest in him that one of the women felt.

I am not sure if it was the structure of the story or what it was that stuck in my mind.  I know that I read it on my Kindle and I know that I read it aloud.

I recently joined a book club with some other men about my age.  We were supposed to recommend a book of fiction and one of non-fiction that the group might like.  It is no surprise to me that a very high percentage of the books I have purchased for my Kindle are non-fiction.  So, it is easy for me to select a book I liked for the non-fiction recommendation. I chose "Incognito" by David Eagleman.  

I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to track down the email story but I have not succeeded.  I did review many lists and I came across examples of fiction that I like. I thought I would fall back on "Big Trouble" by Dave Barry, a book that I have enjoyed and which is well-written, witty and worthwhile in my opinion.  I also saw on my iPad Kindle app, in the grid view which allows books covers to show in rows and is quick for review, some books by Donald Westlake. One of Westlake's characters is John Dortmunder, a thief who often barely escapes capture and injury and rarely makes a good haul.  I knew that Westlake's books would be a good recommendation as soon as I saw his name.

I was also reminded of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  That I listened to in audio form and it struck me as one of the finest audiobooks I have ever heard.  

I enjoy looking at Amazon's Charts (, which show fiction and non-fiction that has been sold and read over the last week.  I often hear how Google and others, like Amazon, are tracking me and recording everything about me. I hear that they can predict me every move and see deeply into my life.  My one little life, seems to have twists and turns that make it difficult for me to follow, much less a big corporation. For various reasons, like a Kindle malfunctioning a while ago and needing to be totally cleared, I cannot find the damned story about the email reader and his romance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Suspicious of superlatives

This is an age of marketing.  

  • Buy from us!

  • Get the best!

  • Our product is No. 1!

It helps if we only use a single rule, contest, criterion or variable.  

  • Ours is most popular! (in the continental US during 2016)

  • Our is most durable! (if used every other week)

  • We sell for the lowest price (today only)

I wrote a master's paper on Herbert A. Simon's idea of satisficing, as opposed to optimizing.  Maybe we don't seek the all-out BEST. Maybe there isn't really a single best except under special circumstances, measured in a given time and place.  Who is the best batter? The best quarterback? It may be better to aim to have a good product that serves us well, to have a good batter and a good quarterback.  

You may have heard the statement that 98% of statistics are made up on the spot.  I just made up the 98%. I chose it. Truthfully, I doubt that fake or unfounded numbers are quite that common. I don't doubt that there are claims of numbers and of quality ("Ours is the best!") that have little or no evidence behind them.  I also don't doubt that what's best in one setting may be "sub-optimal" (less than best) is another.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Research and real life results about head injuries in football

I don't usually pay much attention to OnWisconsin, the UW-Madison alumni magazine but the cover story on Chris Borland, college and pro-football player who withdrew from playing after reviewing research results by researcher Anne McKee, also a Madison alum now at Boston University's CTE (brain damage) center is very worthwhile.  As a fan of meditation, I am interested in the part meditation plays in helping players handle stress, strange circumstances, and transitions.  

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Gripping pictures and facts

The Atlantic magazine ran an article showing some of the world's libraries.  It was put together by Alan Taylor, the magazine photo editor.  My friend, retired pastor Ken Hansen, recently did a similar presentation about world libraries and bookstores so I looked at the article.  

Picture 11, taken by the photographer Adek Berry, shows a very different sort of library.  An Indonesian donkey with baskets of books hanging on his sides. The baskets are filled with children's books and the animal is surrounded by village children looking at the books, choosing what to borrow.  When I think of the selection and freedom available to me as a child in a large city's libraries, I realize I had access to a treasure. I feel that all kids should have such access.

I hate to think of children with good minds and good potential who don't learn to read or kids who don't have access to a good library.  

Another big contrast showed up in an article in the New York Times about Sundar Pinchai, the CEO of Google.  The man who heads one of the most powerful and recognized companies in the world grew up in India.  His house had no refrigerator and the family slept on the living room floor. Quite a contrast with what happens to me.  I imagine we all are better off with some CEO's who know other lives than our typical American ones.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Signals and pictures

I had in mind to write about signals, especially wireless signals that fill our house and enable devices to connect to the internet wherever we are in the building.  They are on my mind since Prof. Buchman of the UWSP music department talked to our learning in retirement group, "L.I.F.E." about music streaming services such as Spotify.  He pointed out that in the 1920's and 30's, the only streaming service was the radio disc jockey who played a song you liked. You might be able to phone him on the job and request a given song, but that was it.  

Now, we have

Which streaming music service is right for you?

  • Apple Music.

  • Spotify.

  • Pandora.

  • Google Play Music.

  • Groove Music.

  • Amazon Prime Music and Music Unlimited.

  • SoundCloud.

  • [And quite a few others not listed here]

There is quite a bit about these services I have yet to find out about and I will get to learning more over time.

However, this morning as I signed on to my Acer Windows machine, this image came up:

I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand how to get more information on what it is, where it is and how to do similar inquiries in the future.  I did learn that Windows 10 has a setting on personalization and that the pictures that appear from all over the world are part of a feature called Windows Spotlight.  

I haven't mastered how to quickly and easily find information about the picture but I did learn that a park of islands and water areas in Thailand called Koh Tarutao in the scene shown.  I was able to copy the picture shown and paste it in the Microsoft browser called Bing.

Evidently, on the rock pictured or nearby, there is a prison which was entirely dependent on regular food deliveries from the mainland.  As the invading Japanese had more and more difficulty in WWII doing all the things that they had taken over, both the prisoners and the guards fell to piracy just to survive.

Friday, November 9, 2018

About managing last days

I am not entering my "last days" but I feel that I can understand some of what they may be like.  I had a cousin who was one year older than I was die at the age of 6 from a blood clot to the brain.  I realize that blood clots can kill and maim. So, hearing that I have some blood clots in my body gets my attention and that of my wife.

We have friends who have died suddenly, and died recently.  So handling matters related to dying at older ages (past 70 years or more) is not foreign topic for us.

Some of our friends and some instances we hear about relate to extensive medical treatments that fail to prolong life or fail to extend life enough to matter, or involve serious deterioration in the quality of life.  So, one issue that arises is refusing to accept further medical treatment. Such refusal involves questions of capability and likely amount and quality of life extension. Do I have my wits about me enough to know what I am choosing and what I am refusing?  In truth, we don't know the future and we don't know my body. Neither the physicians nor my relatives nor me know exactly what is going on nor what is likely to happen in the coming years. Naturally, one's wife wants continuation of mind and body and one's physicians feel they have seen enough and experienced enough to be capable predictors.

If I go through extensive treatment, how much life extension will I get?  A day? A month? A year? We aren't likely to be facing this question seriously at this time but if not this time, maybe next time.  So, how much of an extension matters? Besides, in what condition will I be during that extended life?

My priorities matter, of course.  Besides the priorities in question are MINE!  So, I can feel at the moment that my grandson's wedding is important enough to me that I am willing to skip an appointment with my doctor in order to attend that wedding.  My wife or my grandson may feel that is a stupid decision and my presence at the wedding may simply be a downer and a reminder of death and deterioration. I may develop pain or loss of energy that changes my priorities suddenly and unexpectedly.

My purpose in writing a blog is to express the nature and feel of my days and my thoughts.  A day can have one character while one's thoughts may roam to a very different subject. I repeat that this day feels quite typical and not predictive of a sudden end.  Just thinking and writing at this time.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Update on Bill's health by Lynn Kirby

Yesterday Bill had an appointment with Dr. Islam, here in Point. He is a hematologist/oncologist. First, they took some blood, then Bill had a very long MRI,  and then he met with the doctor. The results of the MRI were not yet available when we saw the doctor.

They said that as massive blood clot as he has is usually caused by something in the body--that it can be a warning sign of something else. Although the blood clot might have been exacerbated by the heavy weights he lifted, they said that it could not have caused such massive clots. So they are looking for something else.

Usual causes of such things are malignancies, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, infections or viruses, and various drugs. It can also be caused by a hereditary tendency to clot. His blood work showed that that latter thing was not the case with him.

There are two areas of interest, a couple of "thickenings" in his small intestine, and something about his pancreas.

The results of the blood work show some things are high and some are low, but we don't know what they mean. I intend to look them up to find out their meanings, out of curiosity.

He will see Dr. Munck, our regular doctor, in December, Dr. Islam in February, and Dr. Kim, a gastroenterologist, soon. And he sill stay on blood thinners at least 6 months.

In the meantime, Bill has been told that he can resume his regular exercise, as he feels like it. He shouldn't overdo it, but there are no restrictions. That makes Bill very happy. Life actually feels quite normal, except for a fat leg on this man.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Other interesting finds on the internet

I habitually use two browsers, Google's Chrome and the Firefox browser.  Firefox is supposed to be somewhat independent and is related to Mozilla, the organization behind the first browser I used to roam the worldwide web.  That one was called Netscape.

The browser that comes with Windows was called Internet Explorer and was symbolized with a blue lowercase e.  Now it is symbolized with a similar lowercase (not a capital letter) but the e has a modern "haircut" that supposedly gives it a jaunty look.  I also use the browser that comes with Apple products once in a while, "Safari" and I use another browser "Opera" sometimes. I am far from an expert in browsing programs but generally I like Firefox.  I open Chrome everyday and I use Google email (gmail) and websites (Sites) and my blog Fear, Fun and Filoz is housed in Google's blogging service, called Blogger.

Firefox still has many good things about it and I use it every day.  Of the browsers I have mentioned here, it is the only one to house "Pocket" on its new page page.  That's the page that comes up when you click the plus sign in the top line of the window on the right hand edge of the tabs that are open.  The other browsers put the sites the user often clicks on or searches for on that new page page and so does Firefox. But it also has Pocket, which tries to search out content and other web pages that the user, given where he has been, might like.  I have been impressed at the quality and imagination of the finds Pocket has suggested to me.

Here is a page on my own web site of some recent suggestions Pocket has given me:

The links are live and the articles are actual items on the web.

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