Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 Days Hath September

I came out of my self-imposed hibernation to wish everyone a Happy 30 Days Hath September Day!

This is one of the first days most of us ever heard of. When I was growing up, learning about the days of the year, no lesson would be complete without mentioning it. And thank God, because it rolls around every year.

Other than that, there's not much to say about it. Although, just giving it a minute's thought, wouldn't it be wild to have your birthday on September 30? As many people do, no doubt. Since no one can help when they're born. It's all up to their mom and dad. Still, let's say you were born on Sept. 30, and they were teaching you the calendar and your birthday and "30 days hath September" were the same day! You'd never forget it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Water -- A Great Diluting Agent

This post is about some troubles I've been having with heartburn. If you've ever had heartburn, you know what I'm talking about. You get this basically indescribable bad feeling in your throat. It feels like something you wish would go away.

At this point, I'm dealing with it myself. When it first flared up, I took antacid tablets, and they soothed the burning sensation. But then I had an appointment with the doctor, so I told him about it, and he prescribed some medicine for me. I took the medicine right along, very faithfully.

But I started noticing some weird stuff going on that, according to research on the web, are side effects. Unpleasant, disagreeable stuff, like loss of balance, dizziness, and vertigo. I took a trip out of state and the drive was rough. I had to stop every half hour or so and get out and stumble around just to get myself mentally halfway back on track.

So when I got home... I should back up... On the road I still wasn't really chalking up the weird stuff as side effects of the heartburn medicine. I didn't know. It was much later that the thought came to me that it could be a result of the meds, and I only thought of it when the loss of balance became so much worse. Peeing on the wall was the last straw.

I quit the meds, and everyday became just a little bit better. Finally the bad side effects were more or less gone. But guess what came back, the heartburn!

OK, this is where water comes in. I thought, hmmm, water is used to dilute things. You always hear it. If you want to dilute something, use water. Then I'm thinking, there's something in my stomach that's not quite right; if I dilute it with water, that might make it better. To a certain extent, but not fully, I've done that. I have drunk maybe an extra three or four glasses of water in the last few days. And I might drink one in the next couple minutes, thanks to me writing this and having it fresh in my mind!

Well, maybe it's what they call psychosomatic, or the positive benefits of wishful thinking, but I actually think it's helping. My heartburn isn't near as bad. Water is part of it, plus I have taken a grand total of two antacid tablets today. And another thing, which is extremely tough for me to do, I've been trying to chew my food just a little more than usual. Because I heard once that a big part of digestion has to do with chewing more. But for me it's tough, because I like to gobble my food down so I can have more time for more interesting things. That, and my teeth aren't the greatest and I don't want to overburden them with chewing.

I really think the water thing might help, drinking more. Because, aren't I right? Isn't water what they use for dilution? I've never really heard of them diluting stuff with anything but water. If I get better, thanks to water, I might literally save a fortune in doctor fees. It's worth a try!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our Hungry Feathered Friends

I'm updating everyone on how my feeding of our feathered friends is going, which I mentioned two months ago.

I would say everything has gone apace, pretty much like you would expect. When our fine feathered friends get the taste for food, it's very hard to shake them of it, and I haven't tried! They're still here eating! All I can say is, What an appetite!

It's even starting to look like maybe I'm now the only thing between them and extinction. Because they'd probably starve quite literally to death if it weren't for me. They're all so lazy, all they do is hang out in the trees and wait for me to divvy it out. Which, as long as my health and my budget hold out, I will do. But if something happens to me, they'll probably all die. Of course I'm very proud to know I'm so necessary to nature's continuation as far as being alive, not dead.

This is my vow to our feathered friends: As long as there's a hungry feathered friend anywhere in the world, my job is not done. I don't care if it takes me to every continent, to every country, and to every city and town, and every backyard in every town, they are going to eat. And as to the food, I don't care what it costs. I'll take out loans if I have to. I'll hold fundraisers. I'll sell pancakes to the neighbors, anything to get the seed, whatever it takes.

You want to hear my lowest point in this whole thing? I had a terrible rash -- a terrible rash -- break out on my left arm, the underside. I treated it myself for a week but it kept getting worse. I put Listerine on it, Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, and tons of soap, but nothing would help. Then it suddenly occurred to me. Maybe in feeding our feathered friends, I had come in contact with some kind of bacteria, the creeping crud. I said one morning, I won't feed them anymore. Because it might've gotten worse. But then I went to the doctor and he said he didn't think the feathered friends had anything to do with it. He gave me medicine and it's clearing up very well, except for some red discoloration (scarring?) that's still there.

So the upshot to that is, I didn't stop the feedings. Our feathered friends are getting their daily portions. And there's a ton of them! I want them to use the honor system, not to sit and eat more than they need, as long as others are waiting in the trees, but it's real hard to regulate.

Everyday I'm up before they are, getting the feeder filled, etc., and refreshing the water, and everyone is very very happy. I've done a lot for them, but they've also done a lot for me. They've certainly taught me the importance of breakfast, which doctors say is the most important meal of the day. That's obviously true for our feathered friends. It's so important they literally fly in for it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Believe In An America

I believe in an America where a man can start his underpants down around his ankles, and by pulling them up can get them around his waist and cover his ass.

I believe in an America where it's up to each man to tend to his own underpants. Who knows better than each man himself, in the privacy of his castle, where his underpants stand? He can look down without any help from anyone and see whether they're on. And if they're not, he can get them up over his feet, lift them up next to his ankles, then pull them up around his waist and cover his ass.

Be he rich or be he poor, if he has a place to stand, only momentarily, this is a task, a effort, an undertaking, he can accomplish.

The pilgrims and pioneers, we know, were the ones who started it all. They came over on ships, and according to the old world standards, a fact of history to be accepted and, with all due allowance made to varying cultural mores the world over, not to be deprecated, they were bare butt naked. Totally naked but for a kind of smock or tunic or robe, meant for the most part to keep them from being totally naked. It wasn't much, but they called it clothes. It helped keep them warm. But one thing it did not do -- it did not do this -- it did not cover their ass in that total way that underpants does. They could still feel the sway of their natural assets. They were uncomfortable with the chafing, but what were they to do, having grown up with different cultural mores, and totally idiotic ones at that.

Well, when they got to America, some Guiding Divine Providence, perhaps it was God, opened their eyes, that they might realize that except for those smocks or tunics, they were naked. So they sewed the first primitive underpants from leaves and weeds. And from there it was a hop, skip, and jump to the more comfortable cloth underpants we know today.

Boys and men came together around the sacred circle. The chieftain was in the middle with the communal supply. Then, and I know this sounds weird, all the participants ran around the perimeter of the circle, until they were nothing but a blur. One by one, and in some unconscious order, similar to the motions of birds, they spun inward, and accepted a pair of underpants from the chieftain. He made a silent sign to each, and each, individually, performed the ritual of getting his underpants around his ankles, then pulling them up to the waist secure, so they covered his ass.

And evermore may it be. We are not a naked race. We are proudly clothed. We wear underpants here in the America I believe in, in the America I know, and ever shall.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hair In The Bathtub Drain

I stand amazed in the presence of a hair clog, and wonder how it could ever be, eight to ten hairs and a tub backed up, threatening to run over. You're that close to catastrophe, simply because water can't find a way around a few pestilent hairs!

Hair in the drain, that's all it takes. You could build a dam out of hair and get just as good results. Beavers could skip the gnawing of trees and just lay in some hair. Lay in a few hairs in a random pattern and the water will stand forever!

You couldn't do it with rocks. If you put rocks in the tub, the water would still find a way around them, and down the drain it'd go. Or anything else except hair. Paper, bricks, even a nuclear bomb. You can't plug a bathtub with a nuclear bomb. It can't be done. Only hair. Hair and nothing else.

Somehow hair, by its fineness, has an immediate ability to form a watertight seal, and stops water in its tracks from draining out. I had a hair clog in the tub. (This anecdote is based on a true story of what could conceivably happen.) It literally took two men, seasoned plumbers, working all night, and they couldn't break through or remove a measly ten hairs! And I thought it'd be cheaper to pay by the hair and not the hour! Boy, was I wrong!

Some of the memorable hair blocks that I've seen, other than that one, and they run the gamut, would be:

1) Fairly good flow -- Only a single hair
2) Moderate flow -- A couple more hairs
3) Impeded flow -- Five to six hairs
4) Essentially blocked -- Seven to eight hairs
5) Completely blocked -- Nine still drains after some hours, 10 is hopeless. Anything greater, the hopelessness simply intensifies.

What can we do about it? There's nothing we can do. It's going to happen. Alternately, we could clean the drain after every use. And if everyone could somehow stop losing hair all the time, that would be the perfect solution.

Here's how I've found it's best to clean a hair clog: If you can get a good hold on it, it's easier to pull out. But pulling one or two hairs at a time is time consuming as well as frustrating. The best method is whatever takes the least amount of time and effort, like most things.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ice Can't Sink A Ship

Where have I been? I haven't written much lately. That's no accident, because I've been very blah and not feeling up to it. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the political scene. Presidential elections get to me. The Republicans are so completely shitty as a party, anytime the country flirts with putting one of those bastards in power again, the consequences being so mindblowingly horrendous, it's enough to depress any reasonable person. Which I am.

But then, like today, when I hear of something also revolting to me, although truthfully not as revolting, I just have to shake off the doldrums and come out and state my case. So, like the tortured genius artist with his first album of original material in 10 years, here I am again, today to offer a well-deserved defense of ice. That's right, ice, the slick stuff that water turns into when it goes from its liquid self to a harder shape.

All this has come about because I just happened to see part of a show on National Geographic about the Italian cruise ship that sank a few months ago. What was it called? The Cordon Bleu or something like that. I need to Google it. Oh yeah, the Costa Concordia. It was an accident that costa lot, and left very little concord with the passengers, who might have been eating Cordon Bleu, till it all went down.

As far as accidents go, I don't really know much about it. It seems like a rather minor thing to someone like me who doesn't know much about it. Most of the folks got help, I'm assuming. Whether anyone died, I don't remember. Be that as it may, that's not my point. That's not what outraged me enough to shake off my politically-induced blahs and come back to writing. If you had 100 people trip over the same little crack on the sidewalk, three or four of them would die. Next paragraph! 

What I saw on the show -- and I only saw about a minute and a half of it -- was that ice was the cause of the rip in the ship. Or at least, That's their claim! For I have a very hard time, an impossible time, believing that ice can do that much damage. And if it turns out I'm wrong, then so be it, but I don't think so. Still, if I am wrong, and presented with enough evidence to convince a staunch unbeliever, I will be the first to confess it. But I don't think that's going to happen.

The charge -- the false charge -- is that ice was the culprit! That the ship, apparently veering off course, slid up against a bunch of ice -- frozen water -- and somehow (no one knows how) it managed to cut a lengthwise hole in the ship, basically from the front to the back. This then, they claim, opened up what they call compartments of dead air, that then allowed a situation where air was going out and water was going in. To me, that's a standoff. But to the so-called experts, water beats air every time.

OK, so last night as I was thinking of this subject and thinking how I might mount a credible defense of ice, I had a glass of iced tea in front of me. I clinked the ice around a bit. It tinkled, that's all. I swished it harder, and the noise was a little louder. Then I sloshed it like the town drunk, and it made a somewhat louder noise, but in no case, no matter how hard I sloshed it, did the ice cut a hole in the glass. And, mind you, the glass was plastic, not the tougher material they make ships out of, iron. 

The results of my experiment prove that ice is harmless.

I've seen films of ships busting through ice. And never have I seen a ship go down in it. At least not very often. Meaning there had to be some other reason for the accident. Whatever else it could have been is anyone's guess. It just could not have been ice. OK?