This Lights My Fuse Every Time

shutdown

Here we go again!

Here’s another rant about procrastination, except this time it’s about that of lawmakers in the U.S.

It gets down to the wire regularly with the threat of shutting down the government, if our elected official don’t do their job in time.

Since Congress plays Political Monopoly with passing or killing every piece of forthcoming legislation, the U.S. is on the verge of yet another governmental closure, if a decision is not made by this Friday’s deadline.

Every six months, last-minute action has been the norm from the politicians’ wrangling, issuing temporary stopgap measures instead of coming together to fund the government for the entire fiscal year; yet, is it they who suffer? Their paychecks aren’t delayed as a result of a governmental closure, are they?

The last time a full shutdown occurred was for 16 days in 2013, when the cost incurred by the U.S. economy was $24 billion. In their article on October, 17, 2013, Time Magazine itemized the damages to be:

  • About $3.1 billion in lost government services, according to the research firm IHS
  • $152 million per day in lost travel spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association
  • $76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, according to the National Park Service
  • $217 million per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone

The ones truly effected by this are the country’s citizens, not the legislators who were elected to protect the former’s interests; however, the latter seem to be concerned only about their own party’s interests. Negative turbulence for investors in the Stock Market is another given.

Please contact your elected officials to let them know you’re sick and tired of worrying about this, and for them to do their jobs by avoiding an unnecessary governmental shutdown.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to sneak in an additional mini-rant for the week, and for your continued support.

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Today’s Tirade: Live for the Moment

Blah-Mag-April-2017

Hurray, Baseball Season is Back!

Nothing is better for one’s well-being than a good rant now and then to relieve pent-up frustration, triggering a pressure-relief valve which sounds like the whistle of an old steam locomotive, or that of an iron kettle filled with boiling water from sitting on a stove’s flaming burner.

Procrastination, an oft-mentioned theme in this journal, took the best from me this week, when I dillydallied about doing the confounded food-shopping. What happened to the solution for my habitual dread of visiting the supermarket? I procrastinated again.

Tuesday was the day for my originally planned foray, but was put off until Friday when the only thing left to eat in the refrigerator was Stone Fruit, remember him?

“You’ve got to be kidding. Over three years living in your fridge?” you might be saying.

Yup, although the fruit is more like in suspended animation. He looks good in there, don’t you agree? His new best friend is a package of Nathan’s hot dogs, purchased earlier, which is one shy of a full pack already.

Stone-Fruit-2017

Stone Fruit

Only now, the once-thriving grapefruit has desiccated to the point of being harder than a croquet ball.

The orb would probably shatter if struck with a mallet.

No way would it now be sustenance to birds or other critters.

His weight is a fraction of what it was at the time of the last entry about him.

Tapping on the exterior of this curious science project reveals a hollow core, yet Stone is as handsome as ever.

I put him up front instead of his residing in the rear of the Frigidaire, lonely and forgotten; but my willingness to toss him to the beasts, or throw him away into the dumpster is far less now than ever, for his existence and longevity inspires me.

The trip to the supermarket was quite uneventful to rate inclusion in a proper diatribe. Even the weekly rags were mostly blasé. I was happy not to see Trump’s ugly mug on a magazine cover for once, but there was Alec Baldwin who can be just as bad.

One thing striking was it’s already one year since Prince left us. It seems like it was only yesterday.

food-shopping

Rags for the Week of April 16, 2017

Now for the tirade:

One of my pet peeves is the phrase, “Rest in Peace,” spoken by mostly everyone when paying their respects to somebody who has passed on, for lack of a better euphemism about death.

How else will a dead person rest, if that can be considered resting? Never have I heard of someone resting in shambles or chaos after dying; but then again, who knows what goes on once life crosses over the River Styx?

When I surf the news sites on the Internet, why must every article include a video that slows up my browser, even causes it to crash when I have too many tabs open? Why do they then even bother to include text, rehashing what was mentioned in the clip? Seems like a waste of resources and a total redundancy.

I make it a point to park my vehicle almost exactly in the middle of the space provided, leaving enough room on either side to open the door and get in or out without having to squeeze through, providing the car next to me does the same; but no.

Everyone mostly ends up parking with their wheels skimming the lines that separate each parking space, eliminating that buffer. Worse yet, they end up dinging my paint job with their doors as they get out, which make me wonder: why do I even bother to make sure I don’t ding the cars next to me when I exit my vehicle? They don’t.

It’s like the imbecilic driver aims for my car as they are pulling in, thinking it’s so small and needs less space.

Facebook annoys the hell out of me with their notifications of what I’ve been missing since last logging on. One can’t stay away for more than 20 hours, it seems, before they start sending you e-mails to come back. I’ll log in again when I’m good and ready, by golly.

Getting back to news sites and Social Media, I find their vernacular consists nowadays of what we need to know with regards to a certain subject. Everything is about what we “need to know.” Let me be the judge of that. Offer the information, but don’t tell me I need to know it. When I see that now on a tweet or headline, I’ll say, “No I don’t,” and move on.

Another complaint is all subject matter on the Internet comes in top-ten lists. Please, my attention span lasts for only how long it takes to read the main reason for an anomaly. The rest is a waste of time.

You’re probably saying my tirades are sort of a list of things, so why make a fuss about it?  Someone commented one time that I’m always complaining about something which nothing can be done about.

Correctomundo; so with that, I’ll leave you with my latest cover, a tune that I’ve dedicated to my dad, who is dearly departed for ten years in May. My goodness how time flies, a good reason to live for the moment before nothing is left.

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support.  Now excuse me while I raid the refrigerator, stocked up for another few weeks, to happily pig out.

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An Ode to Easter Past

Sunday Dinner

Holidays bring forth so many memories, like it or not.

For some they are painful and better if left forgot,

About what makes a person sad and melancholy.

Try to remember only what makes you jolly, by golly!

It’s not easy to suppress the many thoughts from yesteryear,

Especially of those who are no longer here.

Of all the happy times having spent together,

Each new occasion seemed always better and forever.

But nothing in life is ever eternal,

Be it mate, friend, sibling, child, or paternal.

Emotions are fleeting,

So why take a beating?

When my mind fills with gloom,

I sweep it away as if I had a broom,

And think of things that make me laugh,

About those who are missing from the past.

For this week’s entry in my journal,

I’ll express some cheer that’s mainly maternal,

About the chicken I received one Easter long ago,

Given to me by my mother whom I did love so.

I named it Peeper, such a cute little chick.

What made her give it to me, I haven’t a lick,

Of an idea other than she may have received it as a gift from a friend,

And she couldn’t be the mother hen.

She was separated from my pop,

Living in a rooming house, next town over on a hilltop.

There was no way Mum could keep the bird at her place,

She was basically living out of her suitcase.

I kept it in the basement of our duplex house.

We had no back yard and I couldn’t leave it out.

The bird was so happy to see me each day,

When I went down to feed it and we’d play.

She’d follow me around like a puppy dog,

Peeping, pecking, cackling as we jogged,

Around in her concrete playpen, for what else could we do?

But that got old very fast from my having to clean up all her poo.

My darling little chick had grown into a full-fledged chicken.

My dad’s patience waned and he started to raise the dickens,

From habitually stepping in droppings, and having the basement smell like a barn.

After all, he did say, we weren’t living on a farm.

I told my mom about having to get rid of the bird.

Pop was really fed up, especially from all the turds.

Sorry for being so gross, but when stuck to make a lyric rhyme,

I stoop so low all the time.

Mum said her friend had a chicken coop,

He didn’t mind all the poop.

She took the unusual pet off my hands,

And brought the feathered creature up to his land.

Next time we were together, I asked her about my chick,

Mom’s friend said a fox snuck into the henhouse and had eaten her really quick.

Methinks her buddy was quite a fibber,

And Peeper had become his Sunday dinner.

My 500-word post has just about been made,

And this week’s debt to the blogosphere has been paid.

So much for writing about poultry,

And so much for my attempt at poetry.

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support. By the way, my other tribute to Easter Weekend lies in my latest cover by Bob Dylan. Allow me to share it with you.

Happy Holiday!

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The Only Thing That’s Certain in Life is Death and Paying Taxes, and the Return of My Beloved Ospreys.

Finally filed the state and federal income taxes this week, way ahead of time this year for once, almost two weeks before the final deadline. This past Wednesday was a rainy day, which was conducive for staying in and getting it over with, instead of prolonging the agony of any further procrastination.

This early filer is getting a federal refund for the first time in a while: $12.50! Please don’t tell me not to spend it all in one place, although, it passed through my hands immediately and theoretically as I signed the check to pay for my Pennsylvania return. Easy come, easy go.

Tomorrow’s Palm Sunday, and Passover is on Monday for those who celebrate the religious events. Easter follows next Sunday for Christians, and Passover ends on Tuesday the 18th for our Jewish friends, Tax Day for 2017, sort of an irony in itself, which means I’ve got another week of biting my tongue until my Lenten fast of having given up politics expires.

Believe me, I’ve had one hell of a time keeping my mouth shut with all the nonsense that’s prevailed during this past fasting season.

I’ve finished the annual survey of beloved ospreys along my stretch of the Delaware River, given to me by William Penn in a past life; although, no legal deeds therefrom can be produced. It’s just a strong feeling and love for the area that makes me say that in jest. Perhaps that’s why I have such an affinity for Sarobia and the Robert Logan story.

By the way, recent shots of the venerable, old estate have been added to Sarobia’s photo journal, if you’re interested.

The survey comprises an area of 18.6 miles/29.9 kilometers, starting southwesterly in Riverton, NJ, extending to the northeastern tip of Burlington Island, NJ.

On the map above (click on it for the full size), the red lettering and Xs with white borders indicate where the existing pairs of nesting ospreys are found. The two entries with black borders determine where nests had been in the past but no longer are there for 2017.

The birds’ digs are all on channel or range markers in the river, as seen above. They seem to like them, as it’s most convenient for their food supply (fish); and the towers are out of the way from human and predator encroachment, except for boats and other flying creatures that have enough tenacity to threaten them, which are few and far between.

The raptors return to the same nest occupied during the previous season, usually every year around St. Patrick’s Day. This year their appearance was delayed for a week by the winter storm we had on the 15th and 16th, as seen below.

Here’s last year’s distribution map for comparison. It’s virtually the same this season, except for the Marina birds are no longer there; and a pair are on a different channel marker in Riverton, NJ. Perhaps they are the same ones. Ospreys are known to change their locations on occasion.

As was the case for last year, 2017 has eight pairs situated along the stretch of the Delaware that’s included in my avian biological study, with one rearrangement, showing the usual consistency of the species.

The next map to be produced in the future will show the success of the nesting pairs with producing progeny and their amounts, which will be tallied by the end of May. Ospreys have an incubation period of five weeks for the eggs to hatch. Some of the birds are already incubating as assumed by their roosting behavior.

For a photo journal of this season’s family of ospreys from the survey, please click here.

In closing, allow me to share my latest attempt at being a rock star with a cover of a tune by Everclear. It’s a sad tale about the writer’s feelings for having experienced the suicide of his girlfriend at the time, who jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Thanks for listening, and for your continued support.

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The Harrowing Case of the Missing Fitness Guru

Rags-03-31-17-02

This Week’s Rags

It’s been raining all day. ‘Twas a good time to work on Rie Waits’ and my duet, which you’ll find at the end of this week’s entry.

I did the dreaded food-shopping after finishing the final mixing of our tune, but bought only enough items for a week or two, instead of for the entire month, like I’ve done habitually in the past.

Being able to carry all the groceries up two flights of stairs in one trip from the car was a joy, instead of the usual three jaunts.

The only bummer is I’ll have to do it again in a couple of weeks; but that’s OK as long as I keep it light. Being an incorrigible procrastinator makes life difficult at times, like pushing off my income taxes.

The deadline for filing is drawing near, as April Fool’s Day is tomorrow. We’ve got an extra three days to push it off, if need be. The last minute for postmarking one’s return is midnight on April 18th.

Why the extra time, you might be asking? The regular filing deadline is April 15. However, due to the 15th’s being on a Saturday, and the Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday’s being observed on April 17, instead of its designated day on April 16—which falls on Easter Sunday this year—Tax Day is officially on the following Tuesday, the 18th. Got all that?

Think I’ll take time out during next week to do the dirty work. All the anxiety of waiting until absolutely the last minute is not worth it, like for my dilly-dallying to do the dastardly food-shopping.

At the checkout counter while waiting for the cashier to finish her grocery tallying of the woman in front of me, I skimmed over the weekly rags as seen in the photo at the beginning of this rant. I was tempted to buy the People magazine to see what happened to Richard Simmons, but decided against it.

Same thing happened for the National Enquirer, to read what hogwash they had to say about Trump’s discovery of a Russian mole in the White House. The only mole that’s there, in my humble opinion, is the one on Steve Bannon’s forehead; but enough of that. Lent’s not over with, and my having given up politics for the duration hasn’t expired yet.

Is that a mortal or venial sin for falling off the Lenten wagon?

After putting away the groceries, I still wondered about what had happened to the allegedly missing Richard Simmons, who had not been seen in public since February 2014. Doing a little research on the Net, this curious sleuth and cheapskate found out the poop without having to purchase one of the weekly rags.

Social Media, of course, has come up with conspiracy theories like being imprisoned against his own will by three individuals: Simmon’s brother,  manager, and live-in housekeeper.

Reports of the fitness guru’s being transported to a hospital last year for bizarre behavior were included in the Web’s speculation of malaise on behalf of Simmons, accounting for his disappearance from view. That’s nothing new. He’s been bizarre ever since I first saw him on TV.

Last March, the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” mogul had called into the Today Show and spoke with Savannah Guthrie, telling her that he was OK; no one was holding him hostage, and he wanted just to be left alone, out of the limelight for a while. Think he had been channeling Greta Garbo?

Simmons did mention one of his knees was injured, and the other started to bother him from all the years of teaching his fitness classes; and he was simply taking it easy to care for himself.

Time passed and last November, his signature Beverly Hills gym, Slimmons, which opened in 1974, closed without any explanation other than Simmons’ thanking his clientele through a spokesperson, fueling even more conspiracy theories.

Recently, Simmons’ former massage therapist and assistant, Mauro Oliveira, made a hostage claim on Entertainment Tonight, during which he said Simmons had stopped talking to old friends, prompting the LAPD to pay the fitness guru a welfare visit.

According to The Huffington Post, a detective named Kevin Baker made the visit and called the hostage allegation, “garbage.” The online news aggregator went on to say Baker told People:

None of it is true. The fact of the matter is, we went out and talked to him; he is fine; nobody is holding him hostage. He is doing exactly what he wants to do. If he wants to go out in public or see anybody, he will do that. He is perfectly fine and he is very happy. I don’t know what he is going to do, but right now he is doing what he wants to do and it is his business.

Huffington’s article stated, “Simmons’ longtime representative, Tom Estey, had already insisted that Simmons merely wanted a break from public life.”

This seems to me like a classic case of depression. All’s well that ends well, although I think there will be more to this story in the future.

So much for celebrity gossip and rag magazines. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support. As mentioned previously, allow me to share Rie’s and my latest duet. It’s a lollapalooza:

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Things That Were Hazardous To Your Health But Are OK To Use Now (and Vise Versa)

Recent photo of Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)

While finishing this weeks entry earlier than usual, by the way, I was shocked to learn about Chuck Berry’s death, another of my heroes who has left us to join Heaven’s All-Star Band. He will surely be missed.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. This has certainly saddened my Saturday.

* * *

More and more articles in publications today shed advice on how to live healthier lives and about the best ways to extend one’s longevity. However, that’s nothing new. It’s been going on since the spawn of written word.

Every generation can remember being told what was good or bad for them; and how much of each would make or break us.

My mother said eating too much sugar, or putting too much butter on something would grow worms in my stomach. Then again, she told me lots of things about stuff that would either make me go blind or go directly to Hell after doing it.

Obesity is among the top five culprits to contribute to an early grave, an epidemic in grand proportions among the present-day population of the US and other countries around the world.

Luckies

Photo: Stanford University (tobacco.stanford.edu)

Diets for losing weight have been around for ages also.

Everyone is looking for the easier way out for losing excess pounds, rather than eating less and getting up off their rumps to exercise daily.

Take, for instance, the “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” advertising campaign, based on nicotine’s appetite-suppressing qualities, if one can consider that a beneficial trait.

At the time of that advertisement (1925), cigarettes weren’t considered detrimental to one’s health. As seen in the following  1949-commercial clip from Youtube, more doctors smoked Camels than any other:

It wasn’t until 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General’s “Report of Smoking and Health” told the public any differently, prompting Congress to mandate a warning be placed on all cigarette packages in the following year, saying smoking was hazardous to one’s health. Cigarette advertisements were banned from radio and television in 1970.

I quit smoking twelve years ago while having a bout with pneumonia, which made it easy for me to stop; but that was a hell of a way to do so. Still, in this millennium, cigarettes are considered to be killers, causing cancer, emphysema and heart disease; yet, I still desire one on occasion, even dreaming about smoking now and then.

I’m waiting for the day when authorities are going to tell us cigarettes are actually good for our health. I’ll be out the door to buy a good, old pack of Newport Lights, my brand of choice back in the day; although, maybe not. I couldn’t justify paying $10 for 20 coffin nails, after having paid about $3.75 per pack, back before putting them down. Even that was a lot of money to pay.

Cigarettes, when I first started smoking, were 35¢ for a pack in the machine; but that was in the dark ages, longer than I care to admit. If I knew for certain I was going to die tomorrow, I’d splurge for a couple of packs and smoke them all today.

Eggs were lambasted in the past for having too much LDL (bad) cholesterol, leading to heart disease; and we should avoid eating them on a regular basis. New studies have found harmful cholesterol is determined and triggered by saturated fats like those found in sausage, bacon and other processed meats. Alone, the amount of LDL in eggs is negligible.

According to the University of Michigan’s Healing Food Pyramid, “Whole eggs offer almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans except for vitamin C.”  Have a glass of OJ along with them, is my remedy for that.

The aforementioned, scholarly documentation states yolks contain vitamins A, D, E and K as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which “lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration and heart disease.”

Whole milk was another no-no of the past. Authorities advised us to drink skimmed or low-fat milk, which I’ve done for years. Research published in the journal Circulation in 2016 concluded that those who consumed the most dairy fat had a 50 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, a disease that can shorten life by 8 to 10 years. It’s back to whole milk for me.

Caffeine in coffee was to blame for high blood pressure in individuals and moderation was preached by health authorities. Recently, Harvard researchers said, “People who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about 15 percent lower risk of premature mortality, compared to people who didn’t drink coffee.”

I should live as long as Methuselah, if that’s the case. Anyone for another cuppa Joe?

Salt was believed to kill, raising blood pressure, causing hypertension and increasing the risk of premature death. Now, research states salt is essential to health. Too little can lead to early death. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. What’s a soul to do?

Chocolate, which in excess, was said to cause weight gain and a predisposition to diabetes, not to mention zits; but the treat is now praised for its bounty of antioxidants that fight cancers and inflammation. However, the benefits only apply to dark chocolate. Milk mixed in chemically binds the antioxidants from doing their work to prevent malady.

The same goes for green tea. Drink it straight for the release of its antioxidants. Add cinnamon for flavor, which also regulates blood sugar.

My go-to, over-the-counter pain medication, ibuprofen, is listed these days as being something that can prompt cardiac arrest and stomach bleeding. I guess I’ll go back to aspirin, but while making sure the tablets are coated to be easier on the stomach lining.

It seems like whatever floats a researcher’s boat at the moment, whichever ingredient a study has determined to be beneficial or detrimental at the time, is what information is published and considered to be the latest recommendation for a healthy existence.

To believe or not to believe, that is the question. Anyone got an answer? Maybe the subject of my latest Cover Your Ears might be the solution.

Thanks for listening and for your continued support.

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