MINUTES

The minutes in one’s life slip by so quickly and sometimes we foolishly urge them to fly by even faster. When one calculates how many minutes have elapsed since events important to us occurred, one is forced to wonder if they have been spent wisely. When I think of the minutes I spent in bed as a teenager some weekends, I wish they were available again so I could use them in a better way.

     I was born in Portsmouth, England forty-two million, forty-eight thousand minutes ago from the moment I started this memoir. When I was two and three years old, I spent many a night in an air raid shelter in our back garden in the company of my mother and our next-door neighbors, wondering from minute to minute if the bombs intended for the naval dockyard would hit us instead. For some families in our neighborhood, those were their final minutes.

     I started school at age five and could already read well. My mother gave me my first book titled Christopher Robin Verses when I was four years or two million, one hundred and four thousand minutes old. I had spent those two million minutes learning to eat, speaking baby babble later followed by more advanced babble, walking, running, reading and writing.

     A week after Victory in Europe Day, we had a wonderful party at the school.  The tables were spread with all kinds of goodies, some of which we kids had never seen before. The boy sitting opposite me licked his index finger and stuck it in a cream cake to claim it for himself. I didn’t like the taste of the tea in my mug and commented on it to the girl sitting next to me. Many years later, I suspected that evaporated milk had probably been the cause of the unpleasant taste but, at the time, the girl next to me explained, very seriously, that the woman making the tea had added dragon’s blood to it and that’s what had given it the strange flavor. I accepted this explanation completely. In school next day, we were all asked to write an essay—or a composition as they called it then—describing the party. Apparently, I did a good job because my essay was read to the entire school. To my embarrassment, several teachers assured me I would be a great scholar. How I wish that had come to pass! That embarrassment occurred thirty-eight million, six hundred thousand minutes ago.

     Upon graduating from college in London, I purchased my first car, a green Austin Healey Sprite coupe. That was thirty million minutes ago. Soon after, I started working for a multi-national manufacturing corporation in Wales, where I met by wife. We were married just over 29 million minutes ago and I must say that I cannot imagine how I could have spent those minutes with more care and attention lovingly bestowed on me. During those millions of minutes we raised a boy and a girl who have matured as two delightfully kind and loving specimens of humanity.

     Eventually, I retired from my lifetime manufacturing employer, after a career of nineteen million, four hundred and forty-seven thousand minutes. That happened exactly ten and a half million minutes ago and I’ve spent those minutes enjoying the location, weather, amenities, and inhabitants of southern Arizona. The big question now remaining is, “Will I live for enough additional minutes to finish writing my autobiography, and to let everyone know how much I’ve appreciated their kindness, love, and friendship?”

     It took only ten minutes to write this brief memoir and it takes no more than a minute to have a really wonderful idea or to fall in love. Do not readily accept someone telling you to, “Wait a minute” because every minute is precious.

Posted in Essays, Humor, MEMOIR, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

PEACE PERFECT PEACE

Election fights at last are o’er and all is now quiet in the towns and across the meadows.

Media waves no longer insult the air and placards have gone off the streets.

No longer need to call our rivals liars or cheats thru clenchéd teeth,

but smile most earnestly, promise them understanding and

enduring cooperation across the aisle.

All nature is restored to bliss.

Until January.

Posted in Humor, Poems, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged

MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS

 

You call the office of your primary care physician, dentist, or blood testing laboratory for an appointment. After a little back and forth you both agree on a date. The provider asks if 3 pm will be suitable for you. Having a busy afternoon on that day, you check your calendar and decide that you can just get to this appointment from a prior engagement (provider A) that starts at 2:00 pm and will allow you thirty minutes to reach provider B for the 3 pm appointment. You are ready to finish the call and switch off your phone when provider B’s appointment clerk tells you that you need to get there by 2:45 pm to fill out paperwork. Reaching B at the earlier time is now impossible so  you need to start over with the appointment.

In this era of computer scheduling, it’s apparently too difficult for medical providers to use a simple scheduling program that will give you an appointment time that includes filling out paperwork etc. Can the Chinese do it, I wonder?

Posted in HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, Uncategorized, WASTE | Tagged ,

ELECTION SHENANIGANS

Perhaps it’s been happening for generations and I’m only now aware of it, but I’m disgusted with the shenanigans that have occurred in this 2018 mid-term election, and it appears that the Republication state governments are primarily to blame. This bending of existing laws or creation of new laws/regulations have been aimed at preventing citizens from performing perfectly legal voting under scurrilous pretexts of illegal acts. These misdeeds are made worse in my view because state or federal judges have sat back and watched it happen. In Republican governed states, of course, the judges have no ethical interest in seeing that these misdemeanors are terminated as soon as they start.

The worst example was the situation in Georgia where the Secretary of State was controlling the election and also running for the position of Governor. He was holding back some 30,000 voting applications from mainly minority citizens under the pretext that the names on the applications did not match the names on other legal documents. No attempt was made to prove this allegation or to give the citizens involved the opportunity to prove their legal standing.

In Kansas, the only poling place made available for residents of Dodge City was 30 miles outside town with limited or no public transport available. Again the purpose was clear: to prevent minorities who had difficult or impossible tasks reaching the poling location from casting their vote. Those running the Dodge City election knew that the minorities concerned were mainly if not exclusively Democrat voters.

In my own state of Arizona, there is a close fight between Democrat Krysten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally for the US Senate seat. All was just fine when McSally was ahead, but at the time of writing this blog, Sinema has taken the lead. Wow! We cannot let that happen; it might weaken the GOP strength in the Senate. Accordingly, four county Republican parties are claiming that signatures on thousands of voting forms may not be legal. They filed suit Wednesday to prevent county recorders from trying to verify signatures after polls closed for mail-in ballots.

These are just a few examples of the dishonesty in our elections. We do not need Russian interference to skew election results when we have very successful home-grown efforts at work. We also have the nerve to visit other nations during their elections to act as moderators and assure fairness. This nation has a lot to do to overcome bitter hatred in its citizens and to get back on the road of honesty, fairness, and justice; also to stop poking its corrupt nose into other nations’ domestic affairs.

Posted in In The News, JUSTICE, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

FEDERAL TAXPAYER WASTE

An interesting report on waste by Federal Agencies was released by the Congressional Research Service on July 16, 2018. It detailed several areas of waste between 2004 and 2017. Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. The report stated that the total for mistakes and improper payments distributed by 20 agencies was an almost unbelievable $1.2 trillion.

The largest departmental waste reported was made by Health & Human Services. Mistakes and improper medicare payments amounted to $387 billion. The same department wasted $234 billion on mistakes and improper medicaid payments during the same period.

To show the ridiculous nature of many disgusting wastes of public money, I selected the following item published by OpenTheBooks.com on October 1, 2015.  For the previous decade, the Environmental Protection Agency spent $92 million on upscale office furniture, including $800 pencil sharpeners and $7,000 executive desks!

An incredible list of similar wasteful activity can be found in the report titled AMERICA NEEDS A WAR ON WASTE by OpenTheBooks.com

 

 

Posted in ECONOMICS, Government, WASTE | Tagged ,

THE BOMBER(S)

It really isn’t surprising that some psychotic freak or freaks should send bombs to prominent Democrats when our President deliberately arouses to anger, and potential violence, the mindless fist-shaking mob that gathers around him at his rallies. Today, President Trump used his all-too-usual hypocrisy to decry the bombing as unacceptable political violence when he is the most prominent person in the nation to frequently promote violence in an indirect way.

The latest example: at a campaign rally in Missoula, Montana, Trump told the wildly enthusiastic crowd that Democrats were financially supporting the 4,000 caravan of Central American refugees on its way to the U.S.  “Go into the middle of the caravan, take your cameras and search. Okay? Search. . . . You’re going to find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern, you’re going to find everything. You have some very tough criminal elements within the caravan. But I will seal off the border before they come into this country, and I’ll bring out our military, not our reserves. I’ll bring out our military.”  This speech, unsupported by fact and containing inflammatory code words, was pitched to increase voting support for Republicans by stirring mob anger and aiming it at Democrats.

The Department of Justice should charge Trump with inciting mob violence – one more crime to add to the growing list.

Posted in Anger, In The News, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

MY LIFE AS A CUSHION

Sometimes I think events in my short life, which began full of promise, have almost knocked the stuffing out of me. I say full of promise because Sally made me in her workshop from the very best materials, and since her business was making and selling furnishings for patios, pools, and gardens, I imagined the prospect of a life of ease: lying about in the fresh air and soaking up sunshine by the pool behind her workshop. You’re probably thinking that sunshine is not good for a cushion on a permanent basis, but I was handmade from Sunbrella acrylic fabric, and guaranteed for ten years, so it was a good feeling. I was made as a chaise lounge cushion, and you may be unaware that we chaise cushions have a male gender. Sally was an attractive woman with a good figure, and when I saw her in a swimsuit one day, I decided that her nestling up against me was an additional benefit that I hadn’t foreseen.

Alas, how wrong can one be? Soon, she placed me on a lounger frame in her showroom. On Saturday morning, promptly at opening time, the showroom door was flung open and the noisy Glum family entered. The family included a ten-year-old boy, nicknamed Blubber, with dirty pants and boots, and his teenage sister, Frantic, who was wearing five-inch heels and drinking Coke from a plastic cup. I was right to expect trouble. Each member of the family wanted to try every piece of furniture, and sit on every cushion, in the showroom. The boy was one of those kids over whom the parents have no control. He jumped on me and wriggled around, wiping his dirty boots all over my pristine fabric. In a lifeless, bored voice with the authority of a neutered mouse, his father said several times, “Don’t do that Blubber” while continuing to test the destructive limits of a rocking chair. When the wretched Blubber got bored and went off to see how high he could raise all the patio umbrellas, his sister collapsed on me and dripped Coke in several spots on my pillow while digging her stiletto heels into my fabric.

Because of the damage caused by their youngsters, Sally insisted the parents purchase me and the frame supporting me. The Glums wanted a discount. They said, “The cushion looks worn and dirty, and we’re concerned our delicate son Blubber might have picked up an infection from it.”

On Sunday, in my new home, Mr. Glum invited his parents, Fred and Nellie, to join them for a barbecue supper. Fred and Nellie Glum spotted the new lounger as soon as they entered the back yard, and jostled each other in their eagerness to try it. Fred Glum won. He probably weighed in the neighborhood of 275 pounds, making breathing very hard for me, so I was relieved when he discovered a lounger is unsuitable when one needs an endless supply of Budweiser. It’s difficult to gulp greedily while lying down. His stick-thin wife, Nellie, with a fixed, vacant expression, replaced him as he staggered to his feet. I took a deep breath, but only just in time before discovering she had a gas problem, a very noxious gas problem.

I never thought I would owe any thanks to the teenager, Frantic, but she complained of the bad odor around me, prompting everyone to move to the table and chairs at the other end of the patio. When she moved away from me, Nellie stared at me accusingly, insinuating I was responsible for the odor.

As soon as they had moved, Tiddles the Glum’s cat, crept out of the house, surveyed the scene, and decided that a new, yellow sun lounger would be eminently suitable as his new home. Since then he stores the occasional dead mouse or bird on me. Except when Blubber wants to use me as a trampoline, or his sister to transfer sun-tan oil from her body to mine, Tiddles asserts his supremacy.

For the first summer, Mrs. Glum used to grumble about cat hair on me, and clean me with a stiff brush or hold me by one end and whack me hard with the back of it. After that first summer, however, I was forgotten and left outside in wind and rain, with dead leaves collecting on me — not the fun life I had imagined. Now, however, I’m on my way to the local thrift store where an exciting new life awaits me!

Posted in Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment