Saturday, October 31, 2009


However, I recently had a rehearsal of that very thing when I experienced a heart attack on my body. Woke up early in the morning feeling really lousy, told Joy about it. She immediately went into speed mode, gave me an aspirin and drove me over to the nearby hospital. It didn’t take them long to realize I needed to get to the cardiac unit in Santa Rosa. While zooming on the freeway with sirens blaring I began to think that this could be serious. By the time I was on the table, it was probably only two hours since it started. They gave me a local anaesthetic in my leg, managed to get a bunch of wires up to my vein that was blocked, hoovered out the blockage and installed a couple of tiny stents to keep it open. Amazingly, I was watching the procedure on two TV monitors all the time. However, the stent looked really big as it was magnified on screen. They’re made in Santa Rosa so I feel good about buying local products. They kept me in the hospital for three days, trying to see if I could survive the miserable food they sent up. Here’s a tip. Try not to order anything that has to be cooked, no matter what kind of French fancy name they give it. Just stick with cornflakes & canned peaches. Upon release, I pressed the doc to allow some wine with dinner. He finally agreed on a glass so I took that to mean two. In France, the doc would have prescribed to cut back to a bottle a day.
Having dodged that bullet, I’m back to work full time, feel just as good as before this mishap, and am back to Tai Chi Chuan three times a week for a couple of hours.
And sneaking a spot of Whaler’s Rum once in a while.

I keep forgetting to tell you about my list of inventions. I’ve been collecting dates of inventions from partial lists I’ve come across but mine has it all (Well, almost).
It’s about four pages long but so interesting to me anyway. I only started about 30,000 BC to the 20th century , but you’ll need it if you need to know when the stirrup was invented and how it changed history. (I’m not going to tell you).

If our higher education industry is in financial trouble, let me put out there a couple of simple ideas to rekieve the crisis.
Firstly, eliminate the football, basketball & baseball sports programs. Students should have left that juvinile behavior behind in high school. After all, isn’t this supposed to be Higher Education?
Next, take a hard look at the classes that are being offered that have no relevance to getting a real job when you graduate. The following is my list from Sonoma State University.
Fondue Fun!
Pressure Cooking (Does anyone have one anymore?)
Magnificent Cookies
Baking Bread at Home
Feng Shui your Home
Faux Finishing (or Fake Finishing)
Ukulele for Beginners
Health Harmonics
Peaceful Parenting (There is no such thing)
Personal Development (Do it on your own time)
Yoga (Find a Guru)
What ever happened to calculus and trigonometry?
While your at it, stop sending me those expensive brochures, I graduated fifty years ago!

One of my favorite apertifs is Campari, a bitter, bright red 23% alcoholic drink. Concocted by one Gaspare Campari in 1867, a master bartender when he was 14 years old, it contains 60 natural ingredients, originally colored with Carmine Dye from crushed cochineal insects. I can only hope they have changed to red dye nowadays. Supposedly only one person has the entire recipe at a time, to make sure no one else copies it. (Why would they want to?). Containing quinine, it makes me realize why I’ve never contacted malaria.

Why does it bother me so much to see so many motorists sticking on decals of a ribbon? It re-surfaced soon after we got embroiled in another Crusade in the Middle East recently (Eight years ago?). I suppose originally it began during the Civil war, everyone hanging a yellow ribbon on the tailgate of their wagon. At first, it was a distorted American flag to support the war in Iraq. Were these supplied by the Bush gang? Soon the anti-war folks got their own ribbon to support our military but please bring them home (How does that work?). It wasn’t long before the women got theirs, pink, to fight breast cancer (I’m on their side on that issue!). Not to be outdone, the critter folks had a cute white ribbon with little paw prints on it (Awwwwr). The best one I saw was a camouflage ribbon, but didn’t get any real message from it. In a country where most voters get their political information from television, I suppose they believe sticking a ribbon on their new gas guzzling SUV will change my views. Right!

Once you get to know how to spell the damn word, it may be constructive to see how it affects our lives. It is apparent that as a corporation gets large enough, the wheels of efficiency begin to slow exponentially. We can all understand that governments, even small ones, gather togethe an apparatus so unwieldily that doing business with them is a virtual catastrophe. I spend a lot of time dealing with building departments here in Sonoma County and other areas. This is the side of architecture and building that almost negates the whole idea of fun. Or try to get CalTrans to OK your new drive way if you are so unfortunate to be on a state highway (and they’re all over!). Even worse, try to get PG&E to move a power pole. Months & months of inactivity will go by and yet it’s still there, impeding your work. It doesn’t take you long to realize that it isn’t the organization so much but the people that you are dealing with. Their job is secure, by some union or other, so that not doing too much becomes the status quo, If you are a motivated person, you will eventually be ground up into hamburger by your co-workers, who can’t stand the fact that you are making them look like slugs or morons. You will be ostracized and gotten out of the way. Although I can’t imagine how, as it is virtually impossible to fire anyone in these positions of tenure.

The current “Burning question of the hour” usually is “Is there a God”. Of course, first, you have to go through the whole thing of whether religion is relevant these days before you get to the basic question. I have long ago left organized religion behind me but am still struggling to meet “God”. While contemplating that one, I am first and foremost confronted with the concept of soul. Now humans have probably considered the concept of such transubstantiation as far back as 30,000 years ago (or 32,009) since they began burying the dead along with precious objects from their life (Mammoth tooth?). Let’s think about this for a moment. Is my life animated by a “soul”, a kind of energizer bunny, and when we die, does the battery keep on going?
However, since it appears that there is only a finite amount of material on earth and the universe, all the atoms of my body will be transformed into heat, smoke and other atoms, to be reconstituted or reincarnated into another baby or some other part of the earth fauna of foliage. This is where it really gets sticky. Since the number of atoms are constant, where would we get extra atoms if we needed them? Let’s assume we have souls. At what point did a soul attach itself to a Neanderthal? Or do all living things (Lichen, plants, bugs, birds, animals and fish have souls? Is a soul the actual battery/life force that keeps us alive? Does our close relative, Mr. Chimpansee have a soul?

I talked with a doctor recently who had a teenager come into his ER after drinking some poison as she was having a bad hair day. Her actions kept several professionals working feverishly all night, incurring a large hospital/Doctor fee. If she just wanted to “show her parents/boyfriend/etc.” that her life was miserable” or did she seriously want to end it all? Allow me to make one of my pithy suggestions here. Why not set up a “Suicide Hotline” where these kids could call and get some real information on how to kill yourself? You could point out graphically what happens when you suck on a 12 gauge shotgun and your entire brain box is splattered all over the room,(Like Hemingway). Point out the best, and cleanest, way to whack yourself, like maybe putting a hose in your car from the exhaust. Don’t be so damn selfish but think of your loved one (or hated ones) and friends who have to clean up your mess.
Let’s leave the desperate and misguided and look at the old infirm folks, those who are at life’s end, standing on the abyss, but are stuck in a situation of extreme pain which is soon terminal (of course, life is terminal). I am always reminded of the movie “Soylent Green”, where Edward G. Robinson is determined that his useful life time is up(He was the last librarian), so they put him in a room with his favorite music, and a large TV screen of a serene pastoral scene. A lethal but delicious cocktail thus ended his miserable life. However, I don’t support using his body in a reconstituted wafer (Soylent Green), even if it is nutritious and tasty.