Thank Goodness I’m Old

Most people would not look forward to getting old, and most of those would not look forward to beyond getting old.

I am glad that I am approaching the end of my life. Why? Because the world is getting worse and most people either don’t realize it or they don’t care.

Our way of life has changed considerably since I was young. It is difficult and dangerous for kids to walk through their neighborhood or attend public school. They may even have to go through metal detectors and have security guards there.

People so rely upon credit cards to live that now that a credit bureau has improperly handled peoples data, a majority of the public now is in danger of ID or monetary theft.

With so many scammers out there, we are unable to open email or answer the telephone without the real possibility of a scammer on the other end.

Our personal information is at risk even without the credit bureaus involved.

Casinos use facial recognition to identify certain customers. It is not just casinos because stores also use this technology. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNHAiST1eQ) Neither tell you that by entering the store, your data is being collected and stored. Some cites around the world have cameras trained on streets to reduce crime. They can zoom in on anyone. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4u4Dpl6NKk)

Prior to the Atlanta Olympics, many intersections were fitted with video camera. From my home to work (a 30 to 40 minute drive) I could be tracked by perhaps over 50 cameras. The current total of Atlanta cameras is 1600! (http://www.trafficcameras.com/70)

Browsing the internet now involves stores and websites tracking where you have been and what you do. Some data is generic such as screen size, however other data and preferences are used to target ads to you.

On Amazon,suggestions for other products are based upon a purchase or search. It is next to impossible to clear those suggestions. Searching for a book about how to support athletic teams starts product ads for athletic supporters.

Watching a movie or TV show online or through streaming services starts suggestions for similar shows, as they too save your viewing habits.

If a hacker were to be able to get into your online account, they might see that you watch a particular comedy show and then send a phishing email about that show.

Someone could hack your Google account and see what times you leave the house with your cellphone, thus knowing when to break in your home unimpeded.

Our loss of freedom and our loss of privacy is troubling and most people seem to be indifferent. We have stopped being religious, and we have stopped being respectful of our leaders, of our flag and of our country. We are allowing others to control our destiny and for that I am troubled. We ignore those who break our laws. If some faction riots, we rebuild their neighborhood. We forget that freedom of speech also means a freedom to not have to listen.

Perhaps I am getting jaded in my old age, but with age comes the ability to have seen change and to be able to evaluate it.

Not all change is good.

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The Slippery Slope

I made a comment on Facebook a while back and got some comments that showed people didn’t understand where I was coming from. That topic concerned the removal of Confederate monuments.

First, understand that I was born in the North and lived in the north off and on for a good portion of my early life. Then I moved south to the DC area, Kentucky and finally Georgia. I am no more partial to the South as I am to the North, both having been a part of my life.

I have visited battlefields in the North and South but am not an expert in skirmishes or battles and know little about the reasons of each.

Yet, I still feel that the removal of monuments to participants of the North or South is wrong. Let me explain why.

Decades ago when the Internet was young, I used to run a computer bulletin board system from my house. That system allowed people to send and receive electronic mail (email) and to participate in forums. Those emails and forums were copied worldwide by myself and other BBS owners. As you can imagine, there were times that we might see a message that we might disagree with, or was a major issue brewing. Some BBS owners began to monitor the forums that they hosted and began removing messages that they found offensive. They censored messages.

You might agree that if you are carrying a forum and people post things that you don’t agree with, then you have the right to remove them. That becomes a problem. If that forum is carried on hundreds of systems and each owner of that system deletes messages they find offensive, there might be nothing left in the forums.

Even if you find fault with the above, keep in mind what we owners soon found out. If we started deleting messages, we were moderating the forum. That meant we were reading messages, evaluating them and taking action. That also meant that we were now responsible for the content of the forum and could be taken to task for content of anything left.

Another example. My Mother was in an apartment building with other elderly people. They had a system in the lobby whereby each apartment resident, when they checked their mail each day, would flip an indicator over, showing that they had been active that day (active meaning they were alive). If a person was not able to get downstairs, but a neighbor had contacted them that day, the neighbor would flip the tag. If a tag was not flipped, the front desk could see and send someone to check on that persons welfare. That all came crashing down when it was decided that by having the board in the first place, the front office staff, and the apartment owner, were now responsible for checking on peoples welfare, rather than just offering a helpful way for neighbors to check on neighbors. The board came down.

Good intentions often create a slippery slope.

The issue of removing statues comes to mind. Someone or some group decided to have monuments or statues removed because they don’t like what it stands for. In this case, Confederate statues. Then you begin to think, OK so what does that encompass? Just Confederates? Slave Owners? People who supported slaves? If the slaves were brought over in U.S. ships, what about boycotting companies related to the owners? What about Africans who sold their own people into slavery and sent them away? What about the old Southern Democrats who create the KKK? What about the streets named after Robert E. Lee? What about high schools and roads named after these people. What about parks?

A sportscaster with the last name of Lee was pulled from a broadcast because of his last name to ease potential problems. That he was Chinese didn’t come into play.

Fort Bragg is named after the Confederate General.

What about all these places? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._counties_named_after_prominent_Confederate_historical_figures

See how the slippery slope starts?

Some things start out with good in intentions but can quickly become mired in issues.

The $15 minimum wage comes to mind. To help people have money to live on, the suggestion has been made to raise the minimum wage. All that does is add to inflation, but people ignore that fact. It would serve the same goal to find ways to reduce costs rather than increase wages. If everyone making less than $15 an hour magically made $15 a hour, what happens to the people performing harder or more technical jobs who were currently making $15 an hour? They are going to want more money because they are doing more and deserve more. So the whole pay scale gets pushed up. Many of the companies employing these people will charge more for their goods (to make the same profit) and that adds to inflation. Yes, there are some cases where towns have raised pay rates without this happening, but I say to wait!

Once they burned books because people felt they were evil or sexual or whatever. The idea was that if there was no book about the subject, it would go away.

Trying to hide something because you don’t agree, does not make the discussion go away. Sometimes it makes it more in the forefront.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

If you are a schoolteacher, you might place a list of commonly misspelled words on the wall as a reminder to the students.

The Ten Commandments are a reminder of all the things the church wants ou to think about.

While some may consider Confederate monuments as wrong, they ARE a reminder of a troubling time in our past and a war not to be forgotten.

 

 

 

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The Highs and Lows Of Weather

WEATHER NERDS: I noticed something when I started looking at my weather data. The air pressure was changing in an odd way. As you know, barometric pressure changes when storms approach. Here in Hawaii we are in the middle of the pacific, close to the equator and our pressure does not change much unless there is a storm brewing. I was seeing a rhythmic wave twice a day. Take a look at my station and click the left button to go back day by day.
 
https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KHICAPTA15#history/s20170831/e20170831/mdaily
 
There is a low at about 4am and 4pm and a high about 10am and 10 pm. Our pressure does not change all that much during the day, fro example 29.00 to 29.06 which isn’t much at all.
 
It seems some scientist also noticed this and wondered why. Here is their reasoning: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081203092437.htm
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The Highs and Lows Of Life

So it has been quite a year so far.

My tractor had some real problems requiring thousands of dollars worth of repairs. When it is out of service grass and weeds grow at such a fast rate that I get overwhelmed with the effect that I usually have to pay hundreds in weed whacking costs to get the weeds removed. I have tried to keep from using Roundup but will have to on occasion now.

Over the past year or so I have been managing a neighbors farm while he and his wife transition to the island. That is overwhelming me too. There have been a few people there who have paid rent and or offset rent with work around the farm. If they pay rather than work, I have to find someone to work and pay them, thus doubling my work. What would work better is someone who does the work and stays for free. The owners are due back before the end of the year to live here permanently.

I am continuing to work on websites for neighbors and friends. I hardly charge them anything and may have to modify that in the future. In some cases I do a trade out for something, but it is not on a direct basis. In one case I run a domain for a volunteer organization which a friend is a member of. He lent me a mini refrigerator that one of the renters of the farm I am managing for that friend above is using. It all works out in a loose web of neighborly help.

I promised the lessor that I would repair the roof or take down the garage. It seems to want to come down itself. I and scheduling a time to have a couple of neighbors here to help. One neighbor suggested that I burn all the wood, but I don’t know that I want to do that. I’ll have to fix the garage canopy that got destroyed in the last storm so my tractor will be out of the weather. Maybe I’ll move it under the house instead. I don’t know. That may be a decision for another day.

I ordered a file cabinet online and was going to pick it up at the OfficeMax store in Kona. The order was cancelled the next day as they were out of stock. The manager ordered one from the Hilo store (across the island) but it missed a couple of the trucks that traverse the island. I went to the Kona store on Thursday and it was there. They also had a wooded lateral file cabinet at greatly reduced price which I also bought. I have lots of filing to do and am in the process of changing how I have filed everything. These cabinet should help me separate personal from farm from website paperwork.

I bought a couple bluetooth speakers from Amazon one each for myself and a neighbor. We are both happy with them. Then the other day I bought a bluetooth USB dongle for my computers. This will allow me to stream music to the bluetooth speak which I can carry about the house. Sometimes I want to lie in the bathtub and listen to music and my wifi for the tablet doesn’t work well in there.

I have been tired of late; I had thought mostly from life itself. It also seems that my blood pressure was somewhat low. After my heart surgery they changed my medicine and I guess for the better. I had been taking a ‘water pill’ which helps you eliminate from the kidneys. It seemed to lower my blood pressure too, however at the initial dose, I was in the restroom more than necessary. We halved that dosage over the years. My new blood pressure medicine is based upon the same chemical in pit viper venom. After the surgery I was taking 20 mg and if I bent over felt like I was going to pass out. That was changed almost instantly to 10 mg (half a pill). That was working fine but my pressure was still low. The other morning when it was time to take my daily dosage, my pressure was already low (like 100/70). The doctor suggested that I stop the water pill and see how it goes, I will admit that when my pressure is up higher, like 120 or 130, I am not as tired.

My Brother In Law passed away suddenly less than a year ago. My nieces partner died in a traffic accident in July. July was also a bad month as my Mom passed away at aged 96.

My dog Koa had a couple of lumps which are usually fatty growths common inb Labradors. I had taken him to a neighborhood Vet (a mobile Vet) and she operated to remove them. The first was easy but the second was larger and under the muscle. She had to close without removing that one because she was not prepared to go that deeply and get under he muscle without an ultrasound. I took him up to the Vet in Waimea who had seen him before and they did an ultrasound there and are pretty sure the lump is in the cavity and not attached to any organ. Because there may be mesh needed to place in there if the mass is large and attached in certain ways, I have to schedule a biopsy and operation with a Vet able to do that. The Vet in Waimea didn’t have mesh on hand and the local neighbor Vet has never used mesh. So it will be a 4rd Vet that will have to do the operation. Still, it is my buddy Koadog (as I call him) and it needs to be done. O’lena the yellow female keeps looking at me wondering why Koa gets to keep going on trips in the truck. She just has no clue!

So it is after 2am now and I will head BACK to bed. The dogs decided to go out and woke me up to let them. Just after they came in it started to pour for a few minutes.

 

 

 

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Wilma Shultise (1921 – 2017)

My Mom’s health has been declining over the years and finally passed away today. She was 96 and will be missed.

My family is creating a tribute webpage for her and it is in progress.

Wilma

More photos and stories will be added as they come in.

 

In Daytona Beach

 

Race for the Cure – Cancer Run. She was 1st in her class. Well, actually she was the only one in her class AND was the oldest to participate!

 

 

 

Standing next to a tiki on her trip to the Big Island

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Fast Food And The Elephant In The Room

You see the ads with giant sandwiches but when you get your order the sandwich looks like an elephant sat on it.

I went to Jack In The Box, a fast food outlet here which advertises a giant sandwich. Imagine my surprise when I got it. Keep in mind that it is messy and comes wrapped in a piece of wrapper inside a box.

Still, I think I got what I ordered. The top photo is of their bacon version but you get the idea… no elephant sat here!

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

At the time, people would have considered it risky.

In the late 80’s I was starting to lose my hair. I heard about a drug trial for a product the company thought would grow hair. At the time, this was as crazy an idea as someone telling you they could guarantee you could go into a casino and come out a millionaire an hour later. There had always been baldness cures and they were all scams. Nothing was ever found to grow hair.

The drug was a high blood pressure medicine that had what people called a “werewolf effect” in that clumps of hair might grow in various parts of your body. They felt that if the drug was used topically (on the skin) it might just grow hair. Since it was already approved for internal use, the concern was whether it would cause issues with blood pressure if used externally.

I and hundreds of others went to the discussion they had an NIH in the DC area and listened to the talk. It sounded real and viable. I did not participate because they said that my hair was too light in color and thus, too hard to count hairs in their periodic medical test.

I spoke with a guy who medical background and he said that everything I had heard was correct. I decided to buy stock in the company (Upjohn) and encouraged everyone I knew to “mortgage the house” and buy stock. Within a very short time, word got out and the stock started going up. Within 9 months I had tripled my investment. I sold my stock just before the FDA announcement as to whether the product would be approved for external use. The stock went up a bit more before profit-takers sold it. Thus I got out at just the right time. You see, if the product was not approved, the stock would drop, otherwise I figured it would drop because people like me would sell to take their profit. I was right.

Of course you know that the product was approved and Minoxidil is now marketed as Rogaine.

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Washington DC Was A Novel Place To Live

Decades ago I lived in the Washington DC area in places such as Arlington, Fairfax, McLean in Virginia and then in Gaithersburg and Mount Airy Maryland.

My Dad worked for a real estate company which was well-known and respected. The wife was a well-known seer into the future and met with a couple of the Presidential families.

Another real estate concern my Dad worked for was in McLean near the Kennedy compound. One of the Kennedy kids came by often to visit the bosses son.

John Glenn lived nearby and had his phone number still in the book. I called once after his flight and asked about it. Seems the number disappeared from the book soon thereafter.

I was a Ham Radio Operator and once did a demo at the Gaithersburg Fairgounds for the Boy Scouts. I took a handheld walkie-talkie with a touchtone pad on it, (we didn’t have cheap commercial cellphones yet) and I made a phone call. That was not the exciting part. The phone call went from our repeater in  Rockville Maryland to Comsat Labs up the road from me. There the call was patched into the upling to the orbiting Anik satellite. The satellite was undergoing testing beoe being placed into service so I was the only person on that massive orbiting satellite. The call was then routed back down to Comsat, back to the repeater by phone and sent back to my handheld by radio. My explanation was that in an emergency, we could find a way to make a communication possible anywhere in the world. Aniks’ signal was Alaska and Canada I think, but you get the idea. From just a walkie-talkie we could provide communications.

That idea was made more interesting when most Shuttle Astronauts were licensed Hams and there were Ham setups at schools whereby students in a classroom could talk to an astronaut who was passing overhead.

I once visited the Garber facility where the National Air and Space Museum restored planes. I was within feet of the Enola Gay while it was being readied for display. Another plabe there was one of Howard Hughes. My Uncle was a Ham and supplied weather reports to Hughes on his round-the-world flight. My Uncle said they were friends.

Outside Gaithersburg I also got a chance to go into an underground center further out in the country. It was the location not widely known to the public. There was a giant parking lot in the middle of nowhere and in the center, a small building which looked like it could hold 20 or 40 people. There was a spiral stairway down to the center. There were bunk beds and food supplies. The toilets and sinks had flexible hoses to ensue that any movement would not rupture pipes. This was not for earthquakes, it was for nuclear war. You see, we were on the ‘radar’ so to speak for a nuclear strike. Those map of books you might buy for your city are different from the ones in DC. There were concentric circles on the maps emanating from the zero milestone (just outside the White House). It kinda told you if you knew what it was for, how likely you were to live after a nuclear blast.

When I lived in Gaithersburg Maryland there was a Nike Missle silo in the back yard. It had been decommissioned though.

There are various places for politicians to hide underground in case of an attack.

I used to be a Net Control Operator for the Ham Radio group RACES who worked with Civil Defense. While not government we did provide a communications link between services which they lacked. When Air Florida crashed into the Pacific, Ham were on their way to help provide inter-agency communications but were stopped short. The subway which would have allowed us to get there was closed because of ice on the tracks.

When I was quite young I used to spend many days over the weekend or during the summer downtown. Often visiting the museums I was quite familiar with the various Smithsonian museums. Little did I realize that years later I would be part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian. We were providing communications for a Cherry Blossom Parade and I was Net Control. I was sitting at the Smithsonian Ham Radio booth behind glass and within sight of Archie Bunkers chair.

When I lived in Mt Airy Maryland I often traveled north near Mt Weather (another underground city). My house was on the flight path between DC and Camp David. I could watch the President leave DC in a helicopter and minutes later see it and the attending ones pass overhead.

As you can see, it was an interesting time. It also seems as though many of the experiences involved aircraft.

 

 

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Sunday, Monday, Happy Days

No it’s not the theme for a weekly TV show with the Cunninghams and the Fonz. With thousands of blog entries it is difficult to come up with titles that are unique and not just a number or a date.

Today is Sunday so let’s see what is happening in my corner of the world.

On Friday we had our pot luck again at two-step, the snorkeling spot near the ‘Place of Refuge’. I had been up at a farm nearby and didn’t want to head all the way into town to Costco or the supermarket, so I decided to shop closer to home. Some weeks I take a baked item sometimes a desert, it just depends upon my mood at the moment. So Friday I went to Choicemart Supermarket and decided upon pie, blueberry pie. Whether it is made locally or not I didn’t check, but it did turn out to be a big hit.

Also at the pot luck, two neighbors came for their last appearance (at least for quite some time). Someone made an offer on their farm which they could not refuse. So although they will still be working with local customers of theirs, they will be moving to the mainland. I am not sue that the family who bought their farm has the ability or desire to farm it, but time will tell.

I have been working with another farm to figure out a way to place and get data from a weather station located far from the conveniences of electricity and internet. There is a cell tower nearby but the signal does not go up the mountain from there, only down. There are few if any people living up the mountain.

I have also been helping with a Mailchimp emailing that will be going out soon.

Another neighbor asked me to help find ink for his printer and I was able to order if from HP with my discount. It arrived Fedex Monday.

I ordered a wifi security camera system which should come Tuesday. I will immediately demo it for a neighbor and if it does what it purports, they will immediately order a system too.

On my trip into town yesterday I bought the brake shoes for the rear of my truck. Somehow I misread their website and was ready to pay $50 or more for the shoes, but after discounts (and the refund from an old car battery I found) I think I ended up paying $15. I need one last item before I replace those shoes. Hopefully that will stop the squeak I hear when I make a sharp turn.

I have been selling coffee from my neighbors farm and it had a slight sharpness to it. Upon getting a recommendation from a roaster, I decided to test roast it as a medium roast and the sharpness went away. I’m now selling out of what dark roast I have and can get to a medium roast. That farm has a ‘boatload’ of coffee coming in and I am working to keep it in shape until the owner returns.

I have a guy weed whacking over there and although he has tried to be careful, he has gone through 2 saw blades in a couple days. I go through them in a couple weeks at my farm. I just ordered 10 more and they will be a week or so before they arrive.

I am still waiting for my tractor parts to arrive. They should ship any day now; having been held awaiting one part I guess to be manufactured. There may have been some damage to the steering assembly and the mechanic is checking that to see if I just need a new seal. Seems leaking hydraulic fluid when you turn the steering wheel is a bad thing 🙂

I’m still waiting on my solar panels to be shipped; no word yet.

I have been spending quite a bit of money the past month or two so it may be time to dip in the till, so to speak. I have not removed any money from my retirement funds in the past couple of years, but now may be the time.

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Getting Another Break?

After doing the front brake pads, calipers and discs, I noticed a funny noise coming from the back when making a sharp left turn.

I pulled one side of the rear wheel off and although the one brake shoe is pretty worn, I see no major issue. It can wait a couple weeks although I’ll get to it sooner. I may try to pull the other side today and look, but it is difficult finding a safe, smooth place to put the jacks and stands. I wish I had a concrete pad here. The concrete company might have trouble getting to the house with their big truck. However, I might put a pad up at the top. I could use a solar panel or two there and some type of roof that could direct rainwater into one of the upper tanks.

Just a thought if I get a bit more time.

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