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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Scattershooting 02-22-15


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week


For the most part I enjoyed the SNL 40th anniversary show. Lotsa good clips and reenactments. A few flat spots but that's to be expected in a 3½ show. I do have one question, what in the hell do Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift have to do with SNL @ 40?

Only in Texas - This is a $12 million 45,000 sq. ft. facility with gun range, shopping, dining, gym, bar and more. VIP memberships available. Seems like an excellent idea to me to have a bar at a gun range. It was referred to as a guntry club in the news story I saw.

The Nation's Premiere Indoor Shooting Range


A sad entry for ‪#‎MusicMonday‬. Lesley Gore died today. She was a big singing star in the mid 60's. I saw her once live at one of those caravan of stars shows that came through Jacksonville in the 60's. Besides being sad, her death is scary because she was just a tad older than me. RIP Lesley. It's My Party was her first and biggest hit, but I like this one better. It reached #2 in 1964, here is You Don't Own Me



Watched the Stevie Wonder tribute tonight. Pretty damn good show. Lotsa different artists singing Stevie's songs most of which were just fine. All that topped by Stevie singing his own songs for the last 20 minutes. He sure had a lot of great songs. I'm sure the show will show up online somewhere in it's entirety or in pieces on YouTube.

Heads up everybody. Today (2/18) is the last day to date your checks with a horse. Tomorrow starts the year of the goat.

Happy New Year!


Life is good. Temps in the 50's, sunny and no wind. Just got back from bike ride/shopping. Saw best buddy I haven't seen in a couple of weeks. Got home, opened a cold beer, turned on Pandora and got in the recliner. The 17 minute version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida came on. Brings back memories of when FM radio was just getting started and getting herbed up. Mellow.

A short north Bedford report (2/19). Work continues, I think, at Boys Ranch. It is very hard to catch actual work being done. The lake seems to be getting lower and the ducks seem to be getting friskier. Walked through the new Dollar Bazaar next to Kroger for the first and last time. Strange conglomeration of junk and two eight-liner type machines in the corner. Also peeked into the under construction China Wok in the same shopping center. Looks like a counter service place with room for just a very few tables. The Bark Park was busy including a Chocolate Lab humping a Black Lab. I did not find a "No Fornication" rule on the sign so I guess it was OK. Don't know if humans can fornicate there too.


Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. Here is a picture from my first birthday. I'm a few inches taller now but have less hair. It has been a few years but I still have the coffee table and the couch in the picture.

Probably in honor of my birthday, the Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers reported for spring training today. I'm ready for some baseball.

GO RANGERS!


This post is purely for informational purposes. I'm sure no one I know would ever actually celebrate this event.

During the Grammy's last week they did the requisite "those we lost this year" segment. I knew about most of them but there were two I had missed. For this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ I'm featuring one of them, Tim Houser, who died last October at age 72. Don't know the name? He was a founding member of The Manhattan Transfer, a group that rarely made the charts but has made good music for years. Here is their top chart hit from 1981 that reached #4 on the adult contemporary list and #7 on the Top 100. This is The Boy from New York City -

wjh

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Scattershooting 02-15-15


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Overall I thought the Grammy's were pretty good. A few awards I disagreed with but mostly OK. Really sad my altime favorite Taylor Swift didn't win anything. Hope you like Sam Smith because you are going to be hearing a lot of him.
More corruption of the language. Just saw the pending famine in South Sudan described as "the brink of a major food insecurity crisis".


It seems to me that Alabama defied certain civil rights laws a little over 50 years ago. Them folks is damn stubborn.

Alabama Judge Defies Gay Marriage Law


Walked by the Bark Park today and finally remembered to take a picture of the rules sign. It seems to me that this is an awful long list of rules for the dogs to have to read and remember.

The Bedford Tuesday Report - great day to be out and about, sunny and temps in the 70's. I finally saw actual construction activity at Boys Ranch. They have six or seven pieces of heavy equipment but only two were in use. There were also four guys with shovels all in the standard construction worker pose, leaning on the handles. In other news, Jibaritos' Restaurant, Puerto Rican and International Cuisine is padlocked. Notice on door says they didn't pay rent. Too bad, the food was good. The big tent for Valentine's flowers and candy is in place in the Kroger parking lot. There were lotsa folks and dogs out today.


Looks like we're just going to get rid of all the old late night guys. Hopefully Comedy Central will find someone else to continue to make fun of our politicians and Fox News.


So Brian Williams has been suspended without pay for six months by NBC. That means he will only earn about $5 million this year. How will he feed his family? He may also have to cut down on his helicopter rides.


Very interesting documentary on PBS about tuberculosis before antibiotics. It brings up the issue of individual rights vs the rights, protection and safety of society. Very much like the discussion going on now about vaccines. The documentary is part of the American Experience series and is available online. "The Forgotten Plague"

Friday was the 13th anniversary of Mom's passing. For ‪#‎TBT‬ it seemed appropriate to post a couple of pictures of her. The first one is from 1948, I'm the little one in the stroller. The second is from 1995 of Nana/Mom with her boys. She was always on cloud 9 when she was with the grandkids. RIP Mom, we all miss you.
 




















Quick walk around Boys Ranch today. They are up to eight pieces of heavy equipment onsite plus some big pipes. Of course there was no activity. The lake is way down again too. Is it mating season yet, seems a little early but the ducks were very noisy. Just for Patrick, here's proof of work on the hockey rink. Several sideboards replaced. Still needs painting inside and out.

My good friends at ESPN obviously know me well. Got an email from them and for only $99.99 I can get access to all 49 matches of the Cricket World Cup. I wonder if nuclear weapons will be used in the India vs Pakistan match?

Tough Love, Nana style -

On Saturday (2/14) late night NBC rebroadcast the first Saturday Night Live from 1975. The 40th anniversary show is a big 3½ hour extravaganza on Sunday (2/15). I think much of the first episode held up. The host, the great George Carlin, didn't do any skits but did several monologue segments. The music was good too. It was fun to revisit those days, except for the fashions.

Let's make this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ a remembrance of the first Saturday Night Live. There has been lots of great music on SNL over the years and a few clunkers. The first show had two musical guests, the great Billy Preston and one hit wonder Janis Ian. Billy played his #1 hit from 1974 Nothing From Nothing. Here is just a part of that performance -

And here is the full version of Billy's Nothing From Nothing -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZjb4PCHUZ8

Janis did her only real hit which reached #1 in 1975, At Seventeenhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCp-ymJpRP4

Gotta continue ‪#‎SongSunday‬. While looking for the Billy Preston song from the first SNL I came across this video of 11 year old Billy in 1957. Oh, there is another fair singer and keyboard player in the clip too. The great Billy Preston with the even greater Nat King Cole on Blueberry Hill -

wjh

Friday, February 13, 2015

End of Life

Today, Friday, February 13, 2015 will be the 13th anniversary of my Mom's death. That makes it 13 on Friday the 13th. All those 13's might be a problem if I were superstitious but I'm not. I can't believe it has been that long. At some point in every day I have a thought or memory about Mom, that's over 4,700 thoughts. No, that's way too low a number because she often interjects herself into my mind multiple times a day. It is amazing how many things trigger those memories. It can be a smell, food, a picture, a phrase, a song, a TV show, a news story, something posted on Facebook or a thousand other things. I'm not complaining, almost all my memories of my Mom are pleasant. The only exceptions are those times I remember when I disappointed or hurt her which unfortunately happened more often that I wish and certainly way more times than she deserved. 


A few days ago PBS had a program about end of life and how patients, family and doctors deal with that situation. It is never easy and one size certainly does not fit all. The Frontline episode is available online if you want to view it. It's called Being Mortal.

Most people of my generation have had to go through the end of life ordeal with at least our parents. There may also be siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and close friends. I'm not talking about weird Uncle Ernie who you didn't really know or grandparents that died when you were two years old. I mean those who died after you were an adult and who you dealt with those last days. 


I had two totally different experiences with my parents. Mom went first which was the worst possible scenario. She would have survived better without dad than he did without her. Mom was never the most healthy person on Earth and in the last few years she became very frail. She was never one to give in to her medical problems but eventually her will could not overcome her failing body. She got into a cycle where she would have to go to the hospital, often the intensive care unit, they would get her well enough to eventually go home. Many times they made her worse before making her better. Often there was a stay in rehab before being released and/or outpatient rehab. Wash, rinse, repeat. Mom's hospital stays were never pleasant for her or dad and me. Every cycle the hospital stays got longer and the time at home got shorter. The last time, Mom couldn't communicate very well. I'm sure she knew it was near the end. She was ready to go and I was ready too. She was in pain and not the kind of person who wanted to be bed ridden and a burden on others. She was also very comfortable with her faith. Death was not the end to her. Unfortunately dad wouldn't give up. He wanted the doctors to do everything possible to keep Mom alive. Unfortunately again, they had a doctor who was more than willing to help prolong the inevitable. I suspect money was his and his colleagues' main motivation plus my dad's inability to accept reality. Finally the doctors gave up and sent a PA to give us the news. Chickenshit on the doctors' part. Dad was angry and mostly in shock. We moved Mom to hospice and within a week or so she was gone. I had to make the final decision to pull the plug, with Mom's consent. That was not a pleasant conversation but the love and understanding look in her eyes is something I will never forget. That's about as close as you can get to someone. Excuse me a minute, I need a kleenex. Thankfully she went peacefully. 

After Mom's death, dad was mostly an empty shell. He remained angry at the doctors and that Mom had left him. He was mostly angry with me too. His health too began to deteriorate and I had to make a few trips to where he lived to see him through some hospital stays and rehab. I was eventually able to convince him to move in with me where I live. He was pretty miserable those last few years and had a couple of health episodes. Eventually dad gave up completely and one evening he went to his room for a nap and died. He called out to me right before he died. I was with him near the end. I think he died between the time I went to him and when I went to get the phone to called 911. By the time the EMTs got there he was gone. No prolonged hospital, rehab or hospice stay. Just a short walk to his bedroom and he was gone. 

So which way is better? Dad went quickly but it was not unexpected. I am glad that he didn't have to spend anymore time in a hospital or hospice. He was an absolute terrible patient. Mom suffered those last few weeks but I am thankful every day for the time we had together. It was both some of the best and saddest time we had together. 

In the long run I think maybe they both went in the right way. Dad went quickly which spared him the misery. Mom, who was tough as nails, got some time to stay around to say goodbye to all the people who loved her, despite her discomfort and pain.

I also think that in general we pay too much attention to the quantity of life and not the quality. There are too many so called healthcare professionals willing to prolong terminal patient's lives so they can get paid for more tests, treatments, consultations and hospital stays. Many family members are unwilling or unable to admit their loved one's life is over even if there is technically a pulse. 

So you see, there is no one answer for how to handle the end of life days. I would encourage all of you to take the necessary steps to be sure your family knows what your wishes are. Spell it out, get the Power of Attorney and DNR (if appropriate) documents in place. Not for you, but for the people who have to deal with your sickness and death.

Well, that was cheery. Stuff to think about but I'll try to be more humorous next time. 

In closing, love and miss you Mom.

wjh

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Scattershooting 02-08-15


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

I thought the Nissan commercial was bad, didn't realize it was also insensitive.

God @TheTweetOfGod 
For the record, Harry Chapin died in a car crash. Thanks for the reminder, Nissan.  ‪#‎SBcommercials‬



At the half I notice a very touchy feely (schmaltzy) theme to the commercials. Remember when funny used to rule? I like funny more.

I'm sure glad they finally did a simple, unplugged kind of halftime show.

Overall I think the game was better than the commercials this year. That's often not the case.

OK, football season is officially over. The good news is that there are only 18 days until baseball spring training.

GO RANGERS!
 













My mind is a strange thing. For some reason 2:10, 6:18, 10:44 popped into my head. Those lines are part of the lyrics to Doesn't Anybody Know My Name?. The song was made famous by The Kingston Trio and written by Rod McKuen. Rod died last week and yesterday (2/1) was original K3 founder and only surviving member Bob Shane's birthday. Here is a ‪#‎MusicMonday‬ entry -

And here is the much more raspy version by songwriter Rod McKuen -


And here I thought a crocodile was involved -

Good news, bad news with my buddies at AT&T. I called today to make some changes to my account. I got cut-off once and on the second try got into some kind of forwarding loop. Seem ironic that the phone company has such a crappy phone system. Third time was the charm. Got the changes done by Bud, a very competent service rep. On a related note, I received an email from AT&T yesterday stating that I could double my internet speed and get $5 off my bill for 6 months then the price goes up. Bud, without me asking, found that I could triple my internet speed for one year at no additional cost and no contract obligations.

We went to Everything German today (2/3) for lunch. First time we had been since they moved to their new location on Grapevine Hwy. It's a much nicer space, the food is still delicious and they now serve beer and wine. They also have added a German deli next door that we didn't have time to check out this trip.

OK, how do you misremember that the helicopter you were in was hit by enemy fire or in this case that it was not hit? It seems to me that having your aircraft hit by an RPG might stick in your mind. Just another example of more hype by the media. No need to distinguish between fact and fiction.


Today (2/6) would have been Bob Marley's 70th birthday. Here's a little tropical music for this winter. Happy Birthday Mon - 

Seems fair that Bob Marley the steer won best in show at the Ft. Worth Stock Show on Bob Marley the reggae singer's birthday -
Bob Marley the Steer
So now that RadioShack is going casters up, where in the hell are we supposed to get our TRS-80's serviced? Plus I need an RCA to coax to colorstream to cat 5 to USB to HDMI cable.

I was doing my usual computer stuff while the TV was on. It was tuned to a second tier cable channel like History or Travel or Science. Just background noise for the most part. I notice that Jose Canseco was doing a commercial for some kind of testosterone supplement and stiffy pills. Two separate bottles. I can't imagine anyone listening to Canseco for advice on any subject. Better living through chemistry.

Since the Grammy Awards are tonight (2/8) I thought I'd give this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ a Grammy flavor. What was song and record of the year in 1965, 50 years ago? Rock & Roll was firmly entrenched by that year. The Beach Boys and Beatles were topping the charts. Despite that, the Grammy's were kinda stuck in the past. The song of the year was Hello Dolly by Louis Armstrong and record of the year was The Girl from Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz. Both good songs. The Beatles were named Best New Artist. Here's the Song of the Year 1965 - 

And here is the Record of the Year 1965 -

wjh

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Scattershooting 02-01-15


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Did anybody else watch the premiere of Backstrom on Fox the other night? I think it has potential but the first episode was uneven. It's a very strange comedy/drama about a dysfunctional but of course brilliant detective. Big cast so it may take some time to sort it all out. I'll give it another look next week before deciding if it's worth the time investment. 


God @TheTweetofGod -
The ‪#‎blizzardof2015‬ is coming so please stay safe inside, unless you're a TV reporter whose job is to stand in the snow like a dumbass. 

Apparently I missed the Miss Universe contest once again. I certainly hope an Earthling won again. I'd hate to see one of those babes from Saturn win and break Earth's winning streak. BTW, in 2015 shouldn't it be called the Ms. Universe contest?



This is my preconceived notion of Fox News & MSNBC -


Jim "Blizzard Boy" Cantore is loving the weather in the northeast. Based on the Weather Channel, I predict that Boston will be completely destroyed by this blizzard. They seem to be backing off the complete destruction of NYC. BTW, there apparently is absolutely no weather in any other part of the country.

I'm thinking that with a high temp of 72° on Tuesday (1/27), the blizzard will not be a problem locally.

How true -

Seems like a perfect way to ruin both a hotdog and a piece of fried chicken. Another reason the rest of the world hates us.

Last night on The Nightly Show the discussion was about vaccines and immunization. One panel member was a doctor, one a pro vaccine parent, one kind of on the fence and one very anti-vaccine parent. The anti-vaccine one brought up the same tired and often disproved stuff about autism. Larry Wilmore, the host, asked this woman if they developed a vaccine that would prevent autism would she have her kids take it. She said no, she wouldn't trust science or the government that it would work. Wow, that is amazing thinking. Hope she has a large supply of tin foil hats.

Be prepared. The next few weeks will have many more catastrophes, crimes, government screwups and general bad stuff. Why you may ask? It's because TV rating sweeps start tomorrow and continue through February 25th. Be sure to check your hype meter because it will be under severe strain.

I am all in favor of immunizations but I do find it ironic how big a deal the news outlet have made of the current measles "outbreak". There are around 100 reported cases in the country. That is headline news. There was a time when a single school might have that many cases of measles, chicken pox or mumps within a couple of weeks. Yes, I had them all. Except for the missing school part a shot or two would have been preferable to the actual disease.

Watched the hour long interview of now baseball commissioner emeritus Bud Selig on the Charlie Rose Show. According to Bud he did everything perfectly during his tenure. Not a single mistake. Even the PED stuff was handled exactly right. Kind of reminds me of Jimmy Carter's opinion of his administration. I may have a slightly different take on both of them.

Just heard that Rod McKuen died today (1/29). Back in my high school days he was a big deal as a poet and part of the folk music culture. I had several of his poetry books. As I grew older, I wasn't nearly as enamored by him and found his stuff to be pretty shallow. Pop poetry is probably an apt description and as the 60's flower culture faded, so did Rod. Hey, at least he got many of a certain age to read poetry. RIP.

Strange, I finished watching some recorded stuff and checked to see what was on broadcast TV. It seems that the 1992 PBS/BBC series Sherlock Holmes (not the current Sherlock with Cumberbatch) is on at the same time as the CBS series Elementary which is about a direct descendent of Sherlock.

I watched the second episode of "Backstrom" tonight. Strange, unorthodox, bizarre, different plus a few more adjectives. I can't imagine that the Portland PD or now the fire dept. are thrilled with their portrayal by this show. Backstrom showed some actual human emotions in this episode. It's interesting, probably have to watch episode three next week.

Misleading numbers - Statistics

I am really tired of the way the media manipulate statistics to scare the shit out of us. It is especially bad now during TV sweeps. For instance if 0.0002% of the general population has an ailment and if you drink 15 beers a day it will double your chances of getting the ailment, that means 0.0004% of the beer drinkers will get the ailment. Not exactly time to panic although that might be a few too many beers. Unfortunately the scare inducing media never tell us the starting number so twice as many or a 35% increase, etc. always sounds terrible.

Perfect -

Boys will be boys -

Watching the Gators basketball game and listening to Pandora on this dreary day. A rendition of a favorite song sung by a favorite artist came on that I had never heard. Pretty good. Here is the great Dusty Springfield singing How Can I Be Sure -

And here is the Rascals version in a fuzzy video. Looks like it was on Hullabaloo -

We sure have some doozies in our Texas legislature. This representative is from the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area. I wonder if Muslim visitors in our military would have to take the pledge? It's obvious she doesn't represent all the constituents in her district.

Rep to Staff: Ask Muslim Visitors to Pledge Allegiance

Seems there is some sort of football contest on Sunday. It is so complex, interesting and important that NBC will begin TV coverage at 11:00 AM CST for a 5:30 PM game. Not to be outdone, ESPN will begin at 9:00 AM. By the way, what is this xlix thing on all the promos?

I was wondering what to post for this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ when I stumbled upon the fact that today is Bob Shane's 81st birthday. Bob is the only surviving member of the Kingston Trio. He had to quit touring a few years ago after a heart attack. Bob was always my favorite member of K3. He was the cool guy. He had a great voice and this is one of my favorite all-time songs. Here is the great Bob Shane singing Scotch and Soda. Happy Birthday Bob.

This is a much later version of the song. If the 8/18/07 date is correct it is probably the last time the guys were together. Nick and John both died in 2008. Bob proves that he's still got it. The story about the song is interesting -

wjh