Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mental Arithmetic

As I was chatting with my cousin Bertha, age 92, this morning we tried to do some arithmetic mentally. I mentioned that a champion runner could run a mile in four minutes.

The "four minute mile" had been a goal of runners for a long time, and was achieved finally.  What we tried to do, in our heads, was figure out how many miles per hour this runner achieved.

It got to be funny, we two geniuses trying to reason it out.  First Bertha said,  "A mile in four minutes is a quarter of a mile an hour." That almost sounded reasonable, for a moment.

"No," I countered.  "That is a quarter of a mile per minute. What is a quarter of a mile per minute in miles per hour?"

"There are sixty minutes in an hour," said Bertha, "multiply four times sixty. Two hundred forty."

"Nobody can run two hundred and forty miles per hour," I wailed.

We both laughed.

Later at breakfast, I worked out how many miles per hour a four minute mile runner is traveling-- in my head.

Now, I will leave it up to you to work out, in your head, OR on paper, OR with a calculator.  Your choice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Whadda ya Say

What do you say when you have nothing?


That is pretty feeble, isn't it? But it is nice.  Sunny, Warm but not hot. Nothing but Bingo on the calendar. I play a couple of games, the rest bore me silly.  The prizes are two-for-a-penny candy.  I have gone to the store and bought candy bars and donated them to the prize basket, but they go pretty fast, and when I finally win a game, they are all gone. (And what is the thrill of winning back candy you donated?)

I played my keyboard for a while, but I have nothing new to play. I am going to hook my keyboard to my computer so I can search the net for digitized music to feed into the keyboard...but I haven't yet. But going to do is boring too.

Ennui has set in the old folks home.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Morning Stroll

I went for a little "stroll" through my Photobucket file to see if there was anything I hadn't used in my journal before.  What I found were three that show what a beautiful place this "old folks home" really is.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Brain Freeze

One senior moment per day is what I allow myself, but when I have FOUR in one morning, I begin to wonder if I am aging too fast.

1. I was riding in my power chair down the driveway between the old folks home and a neighboring business. I came to a speed bump and slowed to the slowest speed and eased over it.  As I did so there was a horrible screetching noise.

  "My Gawd," I thought,"I'm pulling the machine apart."  I crept forward and went over the next bump as slowly as I could.  Another screetching.  Horrors. 

   I came to a complete stop.  And there was another screetch while I  was standing still.

  There was a roofer on top of the business building pulling off the old roof with a crowbar.  The rusty nails were screetching as he pulled them out.  That was what I heard.

2. I noticed a window I had opened earlier, was closed. I just thought I had opened it, and remembered doing something I hadn't done.

3. I told my tablemates that my step-father was coming today to help me with my computer.  They looked at me with rather blank puzzled looks.  "Oh, no, I mean my son-in-law is coming," I retracted

4  I was worried about FOUR senior moments, but can only remember three, so that makes four, I guess. If I do remember it later, that will make five.

5. Oh,yes, I connected a new hard drive to my computer, but now my printer doesn't work  I guess that does make five.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - Ooops

I was chatting with one our residents at the Old Folks Home, discussing roses.  I offered to bring in one of the blossoms from our "twig" so he could see and smell it, and maybe identify the variety of rose it is.

I scooted out to Twiggy, scissors in hand, and Whoops, My Dears, Twiggy was bare.


Rose petals covered the ground, Twiggy having shed them all since last I checked. Rose season is over. It started with a twig in February, sprouted, and then bloomed gloriously in May and June.  It had a severe pruning in July and has a final last gasp in August with four blossoms.

Or, mixing metaphors, the fat lady has sung, so wait 'til next year.

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Taste Test Continued - Root Beer

I have opened and tried one each of the two brands of Diet Root Beer.  One was A&W and the other was Mug.

I like 'em both.  The Mug was creamier and had a better after taste.  The A&W was sharper, had a bit of longer lasting after taste, and also had a nice touch of creme soda. Both sweetened with Aspartame.

The Mug was 3 cents a can cheaper... 35 as opposed to 38 cents a 12 ounce can...including the two and half cents deposit on the cans.

Which I buy next time?  Dunno, either is fine.

And, oh, add Hansen's.  Also okay, but not as rich as the other two.  However, had to cross two busy streets to get it at Rite Aid Pharmacy. Sweetened with sucralose, not aspartame.  Six pack 2.55 or 42 cents a can, and don't like having to risk my life to get it..
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Embedding Myself - Third try

Third time is a charm... I am told.  Since I embedded the "Four Little Swans" video in the entry below, I will now try to embed the video of my interview with the Merced Sun-Star. (First two tries failed)

Embedding a little Swan

Testing to see if I can embed a video in the journal. This was a pretty nice clip... hope it works. Enjoy.

Worked for me, hope it did for you.

You tube difficulties

How do you get You Tube to work right?  Most often when I try I get a few seconds of play, a still frame stuck for several seconds, a few seconds of play, a stuck frame for seconds...etc.

Other times, I click on a start and it plays right through.  Now what am I doing right sometimes, and wrong others?

I suspect I have to set some memory cache somewhere, or something to some setting I am not doing.  Maybe my video card or my router or my something is not right. So why does it work sometimes?

AND... how do I capture the whatever (EMBED?) that enables me to post a You Tube link in my journal?

Seriously, your distressed correspondent 

In comment #2 below, Jackie poins out that "dial up" does that pausing bit too.  I had that trouble with dial up too, but now use a router and AT&T  service.  so I should get whole thing.  I once unplugged my router..let it sit for a bit..plugged it in again. and that helped...but that seems more like "magic" than science. But I may try it again later.

Photo Shoot - A Picture from 2003

John Scalzi, in his blog By the Way which has reached the advanced (for Blogs) age of four, asks us to post a picture from 2003. 

Here's mine.  Me on my first scooter, a "City Bug".



The City Bug was mobile and fast.  Too fast I figured, for if I bumped something going that fast I was sure to be injured.  It had a "stool" for a seat, and you had to hang on for dear life. It had no reverse.

I replaced it with a "real" sit-down scooter and gave it to the old folks home.  The maintenance man used it for a while scooting from job to job, but now it  mostly sits in the card room, waiting to be scooted, looking forlorn.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Taste Test

Why do I torment myself like this?

I bought a dozen cans of A&W Diet Root beer.  I also bought a dozen cans of Mug Diet Root beer.  The difference was 3 cents a can.  The taste test will follow.  The difference if I like one better than the other will be only 36 cents.  So why do I torment myself?

If I like one better than  the IT   The difference is less than ten percent of the cost.  Stop with these silly cost comparisons.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Blogger Extrordinaire

The story about my blogging appears today in the Merced Sun-Star.  It is a quite a fair interpretation of the hobby and what it means to seniors.

The on-line version even has a video of the interview with me.  Of course no one likes to see himself as others see him, but I can live with it.  I like it better than I thought I would.

(I had trouble viewing the video.  Here is link to the video on Youtube. Here. It may work better for you. I am still having trouble with it.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Strange Phenomenon

There were more American made cars than foreign cars in the parking lot of the old folks home.  Can it be that American made cars are making a come-back?  Or was this just a TE, Transitory Event. 

Of the foreign cars Honda was most evident, and there were a Mazda, a Nissan, and a something-else.  No Toyotas, I wonder why.

Of the U.S. cars, Ford led with Chevrolet close behind.  There were three Dodges in a row, seemingly flocking together, and a Chrysler.

Strange, it seems that almost anything manufactured nowadays was made in China.  Why not Chinese cars? I don't know of any.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - Twiggy's Last Dance

The season is almost over, but Twiggy is still doing her "thing".




Ollie Ollie Oxinfree

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last Rant

And this will be my last rant on the topic... promise. 

It doesn't take very long for technology to trickle down to the end  Nor does it take very long for us to get so used to them that we fail to marvel at the wonder of them all.

For instance, almost all of us have "wireless telephones".  We walk about the house carrying the phone with us talking conversationally with someone miles away.  Then we stick our "cell phone" in our pocket and go shopping.  While we are shopping we can conveniently call home, or our spouse at work and ask if we need more celery or radishes, "they are on sale."

The caregivers at the old folks home wander about, interconnected by radio with one another.  And we residents are connected to them too.  We pull a cord on the wall and it flips a tiny wireless switch and an automated voice says "Assistance required in room 109" and a care giver pushes a button and the voice says "Request in 109 cleared by Joyce".  I don't even have to pull the cord.  I wear a pendant with a push button on a lanyard.  One push and it says "Chuck Ferris requests assistance."

The same goes outside of the home too.  You can put a device on your car that shouts "Hey, I am being stolen. And here I am...HERE."  The police can catch the car thief before you know the car is gone.  If no one has stolen it, you push a button in your hand and unlock the car when you come out of the store...and if you have forgotten where you parked it, it beeps the horn for you and flashes the headlights.  All wireless.

I decided my apartment needs a doorbell.  I bought a wireless, battery operated doorbell and button.  I don't have to connect any wires to it.  It too is wireless.  I merely stick the button to the door frame with two sided tape and put the bell anywhere.  I put it in the book case with the books. 

You open the garage door without getting out of your car. That is nice in the rain.

You bored with miracles yet.  Too common to even mention?  And I haven't even started on maps from satellites in your car yet.  And aerial photos of your home from space courtesy Google.  We used to think it was clever of the car to say, "A door is ajar" when we drove off without slamming everything shut.  But that is such old hat now that we don't even notice. 

Aircraft talk to pilots, "Lower the landing gear..NOW". Autos talk to drivers, "Take the left lane now and turn left in 500 feet." Telephones talk to residents, "If you'd like to make a call...hang up and dial again."  The phone tells you "Mother is calling...again."  (Well, it doesn't say "again", Mother might be offended.)

Toy airplanes and cars are driven and steered by radio control. We tune our television sets and operate the entertainment center from our chairs...unless we lose the remote. Our activity director talks to us through the public address system as she walks around with a wireless microphone in her hand. 

All these things are commonplace consumer items now Most of these marvelous messages come through the air. When I was a ham radio operator years ago, I thought it was a miracle to send dots and dashes through the air, and the airwaves were crowded even then.  What is common now seemed impossible then.

And all of this has been developed in my lifetime as a consumer.  I marvel, so I take this moment on this OTHER miracle, the Internet, to remind you to marvel too.

(I forgot to mention the spell-checker.)

(What prompted this diatribe? I was out in the hall early this morning while people were still sleeping, and the care giver silently attracted my attention with a LAZER beam.  She carries a lazer in her pocket. Imagine.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mother Nature is Our Friend

Yesterday I pontificated about the wonders of the natural human body.  Today I pontificate about the wonders of natural science.

I was riding my electric scooter from the old folks home to the doctor's office and back, and suddenly marveled at the miracle I was performing.  I had taken a little plastic box of chemicals, and used the electricity they produced and the power of magnetism to propel me along my way with no more effort than steering and pushing the "go" button.

What a wonder.  Mix some chemicals, string some wires and away we go. 

It's all in mankind's reach. Harness the natural energy in the right way and you can send a message to outer space as we have done with "Voyager". It all comes from the natural elements and the mind of man. 

We have even harnessed gravity, for that is what all those satellites have done. They have harnessed gravity so they can hang in space and watch hurricanes and weather.

Just wait until we harness the energy of those hurricanes that now plague us. Won't that be awesome. 

Well, it boggles my mind.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

   Pretty clever, the way the human body was designed.  It heals itself when cut or broken.  The threshold of human hearing is just below what it would take to hear our heart beating, our food digesting.  Nor can we hear the high pitched squeals of insects as we step on them, nor the groans of plants when we pick them.  The architect of the human body was a pretty smart fellow, or gal if you call her Mother Nature.

But what we do to test those limits is incredible.

   Nature never intended us to drink liquids that are ICE cold.  And if we do drink them too quickly, we suddenly get "brain freeze".  Not the brain cooling itself, I imagine, but the nerves in the esophagus and tummy shrinking in protest and sending howling pain to the brain...and does it hurt. 

   And nature never intended us to drink beverages heated in a microwave either.  It is easy to scald oneself.  I have blistered the roof of my mouth more than once on Pizza right out of a 500 degree oven.

   Nature has taught us that "sweet" is good.  That was so we would enjoy fruits that grew on trees. But we learned to refine sugar and sweeten anything.  Oh, what we do to our systems, and teeth, with candy. We eat the sweet, not the source of the sweet.

   We learned to distill grain and make alcohol.  Wow, says the I am removing toxins from the food and drink, and here comes pure poison.  Well, I must do my best.

   Nature gave us natural circadian rhythms for sleep and wakefulness.  But we have learned to travel faster than the sun and lengthen and shorten our days with jet travel.  I have never had "jet lag" but many of us have. 

   Our bodies are wonders.  They cope with unnatural environments they were never designed for.

   Thank you, Mother Nature, for this body.  It's the only one I have.

Happy Birthday, Cousin Bertha

Cousin Bertha turns ninety-two today.

She lives alone in Hesperia, California, about an eight hour drive away.  I'd sure be there if it were less.  She had lunch out, at the Home Town Buffet, with her son yesterday.  And a friend is taking her out today, too; probably to the Home Town Buffet- it is her favorite. ("Better selection than Sizzler, and cheaper," she says.)

She likes to draw little people, and has created a whole family of characters.  Here is "Hulsa" and "Prieta".. 


Why "Hulsa"and "Prieta"?  I don't know.  Are they even a real names?

Here is a picture of Cousin Bertha a few years ago, age 88.  She still has red hair, though she says "It is turning a bit yellow at the temples."

Happy Ninety-Second Birthday

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Motoring History

Cars I have owned

1938 Chevrolet two door. My first car, bought by my mother so I could drive to UCLA, 1942. (owned 11 years)

1946 Chevrolet two door. New, bought for me by government for losing a leg in action in WWII (owned 1 year)

1947 Four door Oldsmobile. I sold the Chevrolet and bought the Olds on a program for amputee vets. My first automatic transmission. (Owned 10 years)

1930 Packard Convertible (very used) Bought it to "tinker" with.  Overhauled it in back yard. Sold it to two guys who never finished paying for it.  I still have the pink slip -- somewhere.

1952 Morris Minor convertible New .(Owned 7years)

1946 Oldsmobile coupe. Used as second car in family (Owned 5 years)

1957 Ford Four door. New. My daughter cried when we left the Olds coupe behind as a trade in. (owned 9 years)

1959 Chevrolet two door Biscayne. New. Traded in the Morris Minor. If anyone cried, it was I.

1964 Buick Station Wagon with a sun roof. New. The family drove it across the U.S. and back

1973 Ford…new Big Orange two door (Owed 7 years)

1964 VW Kharman Ghia (used) Sold to daughter -creamed by uninsured driver)

1964 VW Kharman Ghia (used) To replace one sold to daughter Sold as-is to friend who managed to get it started and drove it home in second gear. (Had it for un-remembered number of years)

1980 Buick new Four door (Traded to my daughter for Volvo four door. And traded back after year)(Owned it on and off for about seven years)

1979 Volvo four door (Owned less than a year)

1978 Ford Pick up truck.  Inherited. Had long range fuel tanks. Gave to daughter... wrecked in accident. alas.

1990 Dodge used year old rental two door hatch back compact (Owned 6 years)

1995 Chevrolet Astro Van year old rental(Owned 11 years, so far)

Wow, I really had to bust the old memory cells to come up with this list. Hard to remember when I bought and sold, and I am sure I have missed some. Been a delightful career. What pleasure driving has given me. I have also been a boat and airplane owner/driver.

Five A.M.

Five AM is the most wonderful hour of the day.  Usually I sleep right through it, and I suppose most people do.


   The grocer is up putting the produce on the shelves for the day.

   The trash men are driving their trucks along their route, banging the cans loudly as a wake up call for sleepy citizens

   The breakfast cook has started the first pot of coffee for the morning rush.

   The Postal worker is starting to sort the mail for delivery to homes today

   The night shift policeman is back in the office, filling out forms and getting ready to head for home and bed.

   The night hospital nurse is waking up patients she had to give sleeping pills to just a few hours ago. (Why do they wake patients up so early?)

   Today (only) Chuck was out enjoying the sunrise


Blogger Blocked

Dear Silk and Dave, and other Blogger users,

   I'd like to make comment in your journals but somehow I can never get my "Google" password right.  And even when I do, I cannot read the keyword meant to thwart "machine readers".  It thwarts me instead.

   I loved the picture of yellow HumVee that Silk posted.  I would love to see that yellow one and the red one I pictured in a parade.  I wonder what other colors they come in.  Yes, I know they come in Desert Camouflage. Probably Navy Battleship Gray, too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - In Spite of the Gardener

Our "twig" that has grown into a wonderful rose bush as we watched, and was once covered with gorgeous blossoms, has defied the brutal pruning of an overly ambitious gardener, to provide us with one final, second bloom.

Farewell, My Lovely

This is my most recent car: a 1995 Chevrolet Astro Van.

My love affair with automobiles started before I was old enough to drive one.  As a kid I could name the make of every passing car.

I got my drivers' license on my sixteenth birthday, the very first day I was eligible. 

I used to drive off road, just to get in tough spots and have to dig my way out or ingeniously get myself and my car home.

In WWII I trained to drive Jeeps, two and half ton trucks, half tracks, and even a tank.

I courted in a car.(Well, who didn't?)

I have owned a dozen or so different cars.

Yesterday I took my van out for a drive, the first time I have driven in many, many months.  It was like I had rarely driven before.  It was a delight... but it was scary. My reactions are slower and less sure. I had trouble seeing both the traffic and the instrument panel. I managed to get out and enjoy a rural dirt road for a bit. And I managed to get home.

I keep my van for sentimental reasons.  I wonder how long I can afford to do that.  I may have to say "Farewell" soon to my love.

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You Write the Caption

What should this photo be captioned?

1. Is this car owned by an introvert or an extrovert?

2 Where does the owner of a Fire-engine red Humvee park? Any place he wants to.

3 Sorry for taking your picture, sir, I didn't know you wanted to be inconspicuous.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Senior Moments

Senior Moments:

   #1  I rolled into the other room of my two room apartments looking for my wheelchair... the one I was sitting and rolling in.

   #2  Tablemate Wilma said she needed to "see me".  This is Thursday, her "hair" day, and I know she hasn't been to the bank of a couple of weeks.  She needs to borrow money to pay her hair dresser.  I put a twenty dollar bill in my pocket and rolled out to find her.

   I met her in the hall, my hand on the twenty in my pocket, ready to pull it out and amaze her.  She said, "I wanted to ask you for coffee."  She didn't need the money at all. 

#3 (Not MY goof, this time)  There is a right way to cut back rose bushes and our gardeners way.  The right way allows new stems to grow and bear buds and blossoms.  Our gardeners cut all the roses bushes off at the four foot level, regardless of the consequences.

   As a result, "our bush", the one we follow and photograph, has been left with only ONE stem with buds.  At least, those few buds have produced one baby blossom that burst out its bud this morning.  By tomorrow, or the next day, I will be able to bore you with another picture of a rose... a new rose on "our" bush that grew from "our twig".

   Love is lovelier the "second time around" according to Frank Sinatra.  Our rose blossoms may be lovelier the second blooming of the season.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


As I write this, a newpaper photographer is snapping my picture.  It is a bit un-nerving.  I do not like to be the subject of the feature story that the paper is preparing, but it is about Blogging, and I do want to represent bloggers in a good light. I guess an eighy-three year old blogger is a bit unsuual.  This photogrpaher knows the secret....take lots of photos and throw away the dull ones.

He says he is "almost done."  Thank goodness.

The snapping is strange...I didn't know they still used film. Well, he explains, it all goes on a little chip, not film.  Photography has changed.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay

I touted my Son-in-Law, Roddy Jackson, and his rock and roll skills in this journal a couple of entries ago. I told how his long forgotten master recordings as a teen age phenom rock and roller have just been released, fifty years later. 

Now, someone recorded one part of his 2006 performance at Rhythm Riot in England and put it on Youtube..  It is a kick seeing Roddy and other famous musicians of the 1950's gathered to wow the young rock and roll fans in the UK.

If you are a rock and roll fan, here is the LINK.

Quick Quiz

Of  whom was it said, "Never has so much been owed by so many to so few."  Who said it"

Run your cursor over the answer here >->The pilots of the Royal Air Force who daily battled bombers from Germany.  And it was said by Winston Churchill.


Since Yesterday

Since Yesterday I have been eighty-three (83), count 'em, years old.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

At Last

Home, at last. 

For several days I have been in solitary confinement.  That is, I could not connect to any part of the internet.  Couldn't order prescriptions, couldn't read my email, couldn't read my own jornal or write in it.

I couldn't read the news, I couldn't get the baseball scores.

I was distressed, to say the least.

This morning I unplugged my DSL router, let it sit for a while, and replugged it in.  At least I have my journal, my faithful old Blog, A man's best friend is his Blog.

Hopefully the rest of the internet will follow.

Hi, loves, I'm b-a-c-k-k--k.