Archive for January, 2006

Dark of the moon

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Fun for a rainy day

Friday, January 13th, 2006

I have a notion to write and haven’t a thought in mind so I will write words and see where they go. The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain but it cannot possibly compare with the rain in Bellingham. Every day the rain falls, usually not in the hour I walk in Whatcom Park, but always before and after. The size of puddles on the trail do not reflect the amount of rainfall. Sometimes when it rains all night the puddles are smaller than when rain falls for a few minutes. I keep comparing that phenomenon daily and the reason eludes me. Not the reason I make the comparison, just the reason for the unexpected variation in puddle size.

Now rainfall in Bellingham must be explained. Water falls in small drops spread over large spaces. I can walk for a half hour and only get marginally wet. That may not describe the rainfall you are acquainted with. I recall being rained on while walking across a parking lot in Montgomery, Alabama. That rainfall was intense. It can only be described as coming down in sheets. Without an umbrella I would have been soaked to the skin. Come to think of it, I got soaked from the crotch down anyway. Small umbrella. Sideways sheets.

When I drove out of Houston, Texas, 14 years ago, the Texas sized deluge did not begin until I was out in the middle of an Interstate freeway during a convention of 18 wheelers and I found little consideration among them. Were my arms stiff in the time it took me to work my way to the right lane and find an exit! Yes they were! Whew! That was an experience I do not want to repeat. There have been one or two such experiences on other freeways in other states where I was able to exit in shorter order. But you know what? That was easier than driving in a blinding blizzard and I’ve done that too.

Now the point of this exercise is an illustration for wanna be writers who always ask: Where do you get your ideas? Answer: You go hunting. You find them among the cute little square blocks on your computer keyboard – the ones that have letters of the alphabet printed on them. You can use the other blocks because they are sometimes useful. I use them mostly for cuss words that explode from the mouths of uncouth characters in my stories.

Or if you are still in possession of a manual typewriter you can hit the cute little circular blocks connected to actual letters that are catapulted to the plenum and hit the paper to print the words right before your eyes. Bet some of you can’t visualize what that machine is all about. But see what I mean? A writer puts fingers to a keyboard or a pen and words come out. Frequent writers get words together that form articles and books that people pay money to read. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Try it. It really is fun.

Caught in a bind

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

A toothpick dislodges a grizzly piece of salami from between my aging teeth and I am reminded of the question asked by the hospital preparatory nurse: Do I have dentures? No. I don’t know what that had to do with a cataract removal. And I admit that it is an odd luck that I have no dentures. The truth is the luck of being poor. Well that is odd isn’t it? For the most part, when a tooth was too decayed to repair, I had it pulled and not with full approval from the dentist. No money in our growing family for a cap or bridge. Over 78 years I’ve only lost two. I never had any wisdom teeth. Lack of adequate diet on my mother’s part accounts for that.

The lack of money was the same reason I never smoked, especially in 1945 at the atrocious price of ten cents a pack. The luck came from the fact that during the height of the smoking craze I was not old enough to join the armed forces to become indocrinated by the exotic advertising of tobacco companies and addicted to cigarettes. There is probably more to it than that because two of my siblings served in the great war to end all wars and never took up the habit. They turned their free cigarette allotment into cash for purchase power later when they got home.

This entire reflection came because of recalling my health history which was scrutinized earlier this week while registering for an operation to remove a cataract from my left eye. Before measuring my eye for the replacement lens I was given a full page listing of risky conditions that may have occurred in my family. I was happy to check “no” all down the list. I had most of the childhood diseases before age six, brought home by older school kids, except for mumps. They visited me ten years later forcing me to miss a senior high school assembly to receive my National Honor Society pin.

Recent operations? None. Medications? None. Am I bragging? No, but I can tell you it is no small economic drain to face medical procedures and I’m happy not to have had the burden of either surgeries or prescriptions. Medicaid coverage and my pension benefits include insurance if I really need it, as I do now. Big fat companies want universal insurance instead of universal health care. Is it possible that people will fall for that substitution? Maybe so. We look to the health care system for every little ache or pain. Witness the advertisements on prime time television. Take a pill to prevent gas. Take a pill to prevent high cholesterol. Take a pill to prevent incontinence. Take a pill to sleep. Take a pill to stay alert. Take a pill for any pain. Ask your doctor if it is ok for you. The side effects may be worse than the problem.

Our free enterprise system is not free. Our naivety allows free tax breaks to giant corporations that freely sell us all the answers.

Caught in ignorance?

Friday, January 6th, 2006

A toothpick dislodges a grizzly piece of salami from between my aging teeth and I am reminded of the question asked by the hospital preparatory nurse: Do I have dentures? No. I don’t know what that has to do with a cataract removal. And I admit that it is an odd luck that I have no dentures. The truth is the luck of being poor. Well that is odd isn’t it? For the most part, when a tooth was too decayed to repair, I had it pulled and not with full approval from the dentist. No money in our growing family for a cap or bridge. Over 78 years I’ve only lost two. I never had any wisdom teeth. Lack of adequate diet on my mother’s part accounts for that.

The lack of money was the same reason I never smoked, especially in 1945 at the atrocious price of ten cents a pack. The luck came from the fact that during the height of the smoking craze I was not old enough to join the armed forces to become indocrinated by the exotic advertising of tobacco companies and addicted to cigarettes. There is probably more to it than that because two of my siblings served in the great war to end all wars and never took up the habit. They turned their free cigarette allotment into cash for purchase power later when they got home.

This entire reflection came because of recalling my health history which was scrutinized earlier this week while registering for an operation to remove the cataract from my left eye. Before measuring my eye for the replacement lens I was given a full page listing of risky conditions that may have occurred in my family health. I was able to check “no” all down the list. I had most of the childhood diseases before age six, brought home by older school kids, except for mumps. They visited me ten years later forcing me to miss a senior high school assembly to receive my National Honor Society pin.

Recent operations? None. Medications? None. Am I bragging? No, but I can tell you it is no small economic drain to face medical procedures and I’m happy not to have had the burden of either surgeries or prescriptions. Medicaid coverage and my pension benefits include insurance if I really need it, as I do now. Big fat companies want universal insurance instead of universal health care. Is it possible that people will fall for that substitution? Maybe so. We look to the health care system for every little ache or pain. Witness the advertisements on prime time television. Take a pill to prevent gas. Take a pill to prevent high cholesterol. Take a pill to prevent incontinence. Take a pill to sleep. Take a pill to stay alert. Take a pill for any pain. Ask your doctor if it is ok for you. The side effects may be worse than the problem.

Our free enterprise system is not free. Our naivety allows free tax breaks to giant corporations that freely sell us all the answers.