Friday, April 29, 2011

Maybe I Misjudged Them

April 29, 2011

Maybe I misjudged the people who were griping about the weather.

According to the paper, we usually have 7 days at 70 or above in April. This April we've had one—on April 1st. That almost doesn't count!

In fact, as I write, it's snowing.

At least it's not tornadoes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fashion Non-Sense

April 21, 2011

Dear Clothing Manufacturers:


Thank you.

Getting Old may be Hazardous to your Health

April 21, 2011

"Well, she's old."

When you take your mother to the doctor, that's what you hear.

“Mom's been gaining a LOT of weight lately.”

“Well, she's old. As we reach middle age, our bodies are programmed by evolution to retain weight as a defense against lost teeth, lowered ability to gather food and decreased resistance to hard times.”

“Yes, Doctor, I realize that (having studied my fair share of evolution), but 12 pounds in 6 months seems excessive.”

“Well—she’s old.”

True Story: A woman told a doctor that, due to several incidents, she was concerned that her mother might have Congestive Heart Failure. The doctor said, “Look, your mom's 82 and she's not complaining.” He explained that to have Congestive Heart Failure, her mom would have to have severe edema. Then he lifted the mother's pants leg and, surprise! surprise! found out that she had a severe edema (water retention).

But what do we know? We're not only lay people (doctors don't think much of us), but we're Children of an Old Person, who don't have sense enough (I assume) to sit back and let nature take its course.

And if you're wondering why nobody at the nursing home seemed to notice the water weight, despite relatives' repeated concerns about the mother's weight gain, all I can tell you is what they tell the family: “We’re not an individual care facility.”

OK—so why, on your building and your letterhead, do you say, “Nursing Home”? and “Residential Care”? Why don't you just say, “Warehouse for old people. We stick ’em in the rooms and drug ’em for you.”

The scary part about this is that this family DOES interact with the nursing home. What on earth happens to people who never have visitors, or anyone to stick up for them, or whose relatives believe what the doctors and caregivers are telling them? “Well, she’s old. It’s only to be expected.”

And frankly, this nursing home is better than the last one, which prescribed drugs that altered the patient’s mental state so much that they claimed she had Alzheimer’s. Because she’s old, and Alzheimer’s is to be expected.

I’m sure that there are super-duper nursing homes where this wouldn’t happen. And I’m sure that you have to be a millionaire to afford them.

So, my advice to you is to never get old, unless you have millions socked away for a good nursing home. (Forget college, kid. I’m saving up for my elder care. Get a scholarship, I’m in a time crunch here.)

Don’t get old unless you have somebody you trust who will come and check on you. Somebody the health care “professionals” will listen to. (Preferably someone with both a medical and a law degree.)

Ah, heck. Just don’t get old.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Hope This Guy's on the Level

April 20, 2011

Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, is on the hot seat because of allegations that his book is not strictly factual—in fact, his critics say, it's a load of malarkey.

I sure hope The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba,isn't also perpetrating a fraud. I saw him speak, and I liked him.

(Kamkwamba was 14 when he found a book in the library written in English—a language he didn’t know—that told him how to make a windmill to generate electricity. Even though his family and his village thought he was nuts, he persevered until he built a windmill that would generate electricity for his house, making life incredibly easier for his family.)

Leave us one hero, please!

What's the Issue?

April 19, 2011

The Idaho Statesman reported on a bill that would force libraries to install software that would block patrons from viewing obscene websites—“even if you are an adult” says the Statesman. They didn’t gripe about an unfunded mandate, or trying to figure out where to draw the line at obscene; their beef seemed to be that adults were having their viewing choices blocked.

My own feeling is that if you’re an adult, you can go get your own dang computer—or get some magazines. You’re still exercising your First Amendment rights. And nobody else has to see it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Sign of the Times

April 18, 2001

Sign of the times: The sign at the Boise Army-Navy store reads “Potassium Iodide Pills in stock.”

(In case we get poisoned by radiation drifting across the Pacific from Japan.)

TV Notes (or Bring Back My Happy Endings!)

April 16,2011

So here’s my TV update for the 2011 Season:

“Men of a Certain Age” is still as good as ever, and they didn’t have any sex scenes in Season 2. Good work. And Joe brought tears to my eyes when he was signing the divorce papers. Wow!

“Chuck” has a tendency to overdo wedding angst. Just walk down the aisle for Pete’s sake—not every wedding has to be a major production!

“Hawaii Five-O” was off to a good start, but for some reason is slowing. I still like the action, but Danny and McGarrett don’t really have any new interaction—just the same old lines over and over. Chin and Kono are getting a little more recognition, though, which is good, because I thought they were getting stiffed before.

“Harry’s Law”—a nice, quirky David Kelley production. Good for a laugh and good for making you think about things. (If you know your client’s guilty, why do you have to pretend he isn’t?)

NOW—My big complaint about TV shows:

They never have complete, upbeat endings any more. The reason I loved “Chuck” so much (besides the fact that it was smart, funny, and not a cop or medical show) was that you always felt good when the episode was over. Same with “Men of a Certain Age.” The episode where Owen gets his building permit is priceless—the triumphant ending to end all triumphant endings.

But now, the shows give you a nice resolution to the day’s problem, then introduce you to another one before you go. Like if they don’t, you won’t be hooked. In that respect, I was VERY disappointed in “Men of a Certain Age” this season—I didn’t feel good at the end of the episodes. You too, “Chuck.”

Dang it, folks, I LIKE happy endings! Bring ’em back! Of course we’ll keep watching! Leave us feeling GOOD, not like nothing’s ever going to go right.

(From a purely commercial standpoint, I will point out that I tend to re-watch shows that wrap up the stories; and I don’t watch reruns of shows like “Ugly Betty”, which was a VERY good show for a while, but always had problems hanging over the characters that carried on into further episodes. So, from my perspective, royalties and DVD sales are going down the tubes, for all your efforts to tantalize people in the short run.)

And quit fooling around with extended “Will they or won’t they get together” storylines (“Castle”). Sam and Diane wore it out, Ross and Rachel ran it into the ground, and everybody else is just taking a shortcut to get viewers’ interest. As much as I love “Chuck” I was ready to see the show end, just so Chuck and Sarah would cut to the chase. And that’s saying something!!! So quit being lazy, and find other ways to keep us watching.

Also, you shows that have people searching for criminals who murdered family members (“Castle”, “Mentalist”, “Hawaii Five-O”): Find the bad guys, dispense justice, and move on. If the show’s good enough—we’ll watch. If not—get off the air.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Doctor is Coming

April 13, 2011

For some reason, none of my friends on Facebook responded to my excited post about the new season of "Doctor Who" starting on April 23rd. Why do you suppose that is?

Also, I was listening to "Jesus Christ Superstar", with its hilarious lyrics, and I thought, "Wow, suppose Tim Rice wrote for 'Doctor Who'. How unbelievably cool would that be?" I don't suppose TV shows hire lyricists, though.

If any of you knows somebody who knows somebody, suggest it. I think it would be stunning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time Out

April 7, 2011

In February, police in Lakewood, Colorado pepper-sprayed an eight-year-old boy who was threatening other students and teachers, and also threatened police when they came to the school to deal with the situation. They squirted twice, but he blocked the first shot with a cardboard box, so they did it again. Now his mother’s crying foul. (Although at first she said he probably deserved it.)

On the “Today” show, the boy himself said he probably deserved it.

So the big question for me is not, “Mom, why is your head in the sand (or somewhere)?” (although it is a major question). It’s not even, “Why, since the boy had a history of behavior problems—police had been called to the school before to deal with him—was he still in that school?”

No, for me the big question is, “Why are ABC and NBC rewarding both the mother and the boy by giving them national attention in the first place?”

(Side question: Did either show interview the teachers or kids who were driven into the storage closet by the rampaging youngster? Or don’t the terrorized would-be victims have good publicists?)

Springing (or not) into Spring

April 4, 2011

“The triumph of hope over experience.”

Samuel Johnson was referring to a second marriage. But that’s how I feel about spring-clothes shopping.

Speaking of Spring: People are griping that Spring isn’t behaving properly. It’s been rainy and chilly, with occasional snow flurries.

What is this mythical “perfect Spring” that people dream of? I don’t recall many springs where we got a lot of sunny, warm days. The Springs I recall are rainy, chilly and annoying (except in the South, where it’s rainy, warm and sticky) with, every once in a while, a perfect day or two—temps in the seventies, sunny, maybe a light breeze. Then, boom! it turns hot. Every year.

It’s not that I mind people having their illusions; they give us hope. I just get tired of hearing people recycle the same gripes every year.