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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 12:38pm on 13/08/2017
It's been another series of busy days.  I had two appointments scheduled for Rochester on Thursday, both of which canceled before I got on the road. I still went through with it, though, because I had a date.... with an event of gastronomy rivaling next week's event minus the g:

Since 1929, the Flower City's professional nine has consistently been known as the Red Wings- originally a homage to their St. Louis Cardinal owners, through the transitions to community ownership and a generation of Orioles affiliation, and now as the top farm team of the Minnesota Twins.  No branding with the parent club's name, or the goofiness of Muckdogs or Rumble Ponies. Tra-dish-SHUN! Until Thursday night, when the emphasis got placed on the DISH and those almost 90 years of history were shunned for the first time.

"Plates" is short for the "garbage plate," which is to the Rochester culinary world what barbecue is to Memphis and wings are to Buffalo.  Begun 100 years ago by the Tahou family that still owns the "garbage" name, it was originally named something like "hots and potatoes" when customers would just get a burger or dog with some side carbs and hot sauce.  Legend has it a bunch of drunk college kids requested a plate "with all the garbage on it," and the term stuck. As does the grease, which can permeate steel, much less the paper plate it, by law, should be served on:

So to celebrate the centennial of the Tahou tradition, the ballteam rebranded themselves for one night- and friends got tickets.  First came the merch- they'd been sold out for weeks, but the T's and caps and (thinking ahead here) hoodies were well stocked by the time we went in:

Our seats were four rows from the first base foul line, giving us a perfect view of the custom uni's for the evening:

Virtually every stand had its own variation on the GP. I'd sworn not to give in- I've had one Nick's original and a few knockoffs over the years, but they're too hot and greasy for my no-longer-cast-iron stomach- but when I got to the Black Angus stand expecting something respectable, there it was. Buffalo chicken with bleu cheese along with the mac, fries and diced onions.

All in all, not that far off from Pilot Field poutine, a staple of their Blue Jay shotgun marriage of the past few years.  It tasted great; it wasn't less filling; and the distress waited a night, but it finally got me by the time of the next night's dinner at home.

The grandson of the founding Tahou threw out the first pitch (and presumably the first drunk). Speaking of such, we wondered whether legendary local beer vendor Conehead would be here or at the meaningless Bills pre-season opener.  Wonder no longer:

I stuck with the relatively short cash-only line at the Genny stand, which had a few of their locally brewed craft variations.  And in the eighth inning, as always, there was ice cream, but my first-ever garbage sundae:

As for the on-field product, well, there was plenty of garbage there, as well. The Plates blew 2-0 and 4-2 leads, had a 4-3 advantage going into the top of the ninth, lost it, then had at least two opportunities for a walk-off win between the 9th and 11th innings that they failed to cash in on.  One of Scott's friends announced he was leaving in the top of the 12th, and he offered me a ride back to my car at our host's house.  The ride was great (the result, less so- Norfolk scored 2 top twelve and the Plates lost 6-4), but I realized as soon as I got to my car that I did not have the phone which had taken all those pictures.

Fortunately, I did have my car keys, so I just headed back that way. Everyone was kind in helping me get parked, get in, and get back to my seat.  By this point it was close to an hour after last out, and the grounds crew was busy getting the field straightened out after over four hours of play. I'd never been in a ballpark this late, so with the phone safely found, I got to take this little video of what it looks like. Note the guy at home plate in the final seconds, taking batting swings with his broom:


After all that, I got to the kids' place close to midnight, was up just past seven and out before eight, and had a full day of appointments including one of the two postponed ones from Thursday. Eleanor had had her own very busy night and day, and we learned yesterday why she wasn't feeling so great: a Saturday trip to the local Doc-in-a-Box confirmed possible pneumonia again, so she's back on multiple antibiotics and off from work for three days.

Me? Just got my hair cut and picked up the office mail, which included this bling from the previous weekend's visits:

The 31 on the left is Mike Piazza's recently retired number, joining the other four I had on a previous version of the shirt. And speaking of previous, those are my once-lost-but-now-am-found glasses which Emily rescued for me when I broke the newer pair last week.

Now to watch the Orphan Black finale and clean up the likely head explosions from that and the weekend's news.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:34pm on 09/08/2017
Four days since my arrival at Destination: Reunion. One of them mostly driving, three of them mostly working. Plenty of stories from each.

Sunday morning and afternoon continued the Diner Tour. This is one part of Long Island Life that really hasn't changed in the 40 years I've been away. Yes, there are IHOPs and Mickey's D (but no Cracker Barrels- Noo Yawkahs wouldn't tolerate what they did to Brad's wife), but these palaces of gastronomy and grease remain the centers of food and conversation for all.  I began just north of the hotel with breakfast and a Ted talk- my friend Ted, that is, who promptly repaid the loan from the reunion's bad planning the night before. We shared stories of kids and forgotten friends for about an hour, and I then pointed west and north for the rest of the day and night.

Well, a dip south into East Meadow came first- my first in at least a couple of years. Memories just flood as you go through, between the things that are exactly the same (the site of my first haircut), those completely obliterated (the Lakeville Plaza of my mother's long patronage holds just one store from even 30 years ago- the kosher butcher) and the things that are just ever so slightly off (the Meadow DELI?!? Really?!?). Carman Avenue, the road to our high school, was completely tree-shaded the first mile or so before you pass the jail, the high school and finally the hospital- all little changed in all these years.

I stopped at, but did not work out at, the local studio of the gym I attend; I drove by, but did not stop at, the church I grew up in; and I took the obligatory drive down my old street. There, a block toward our old home, I saw one of several sad sights that had popped up in a few other places driving round: homes (two I saw) and at least one business, fenced in, headed for or already been through teardown, with ominous Town Gummint signs on the fences warning of the ongoing condemnation.  I googled this when I got home, and they are having serious problems with "zombie foreclosures"- banks which begin the process, chase out the homeowners, but then suddenly realize they might be liable for code violations or injuries if they actually take title. So they don't; they do just enough to keep their mortgages from being wiped out, but the places go to shit in the meantime. That town, unlike most closer to here, is fighting back by demanding security deposits once the buildings go vacant, and adding the teardown costs to taxes if they don't maintain them. Not surprisingly, the banks are not pleased, and threaten to stop lending in the town if they keep being mean to them.  Yeah, right.

Our old home, and our longtime neighbors' next door, looked to be in much better shape, and I continued through to the last of the diner runs- after a detour to Barnes and Noble. There was reading and writing to be done.

My Met blogger friend Greg is on at least his fourth book about the Mets- or in this case, a Met:

I have autographed copies of the previous three, but hadn't gotten out to grab this one, so I picked up one to be signed and two of another book I heard excerpts from on NPR the previous day- more about the venues than the results or players found in them. One, I gifted to the other author in exchange for his kind extra words-

- while the other, I'm already enjoying reading here.

From there, it was close to a straight shot home- just two gas stops, the second just short of my sister's where I spent an hour at the halfway point before finally pulling in around 10:30 Sunday night.


Monday was back to work, with a little twist. Several twists of udder madness, as it turned out:

Our co-worker Cindy took the day off from work for her 60th birthday, and awoke to find 60 of these in her front yard.  She usually gets milk for the office on Mondays, but I ran the errand this time, telling her she shouldn't have to spent her special day milking all those cows.

As days back go, it was pretty typical: three new clients, close to a dozen others popping up from out of left field, the people I did need to hear from not getting back to me, but overall not too bad..... except for dropping my glasses on the office floor and completely smashing the frames, one side irreparably.  I tried two different opticians, and was told to seek out a jeweler who might be able to weld it back; he was on vacation this week. Fortunately, I remembered that I'd lost, but then found, my previous pair with nearly the same prescription- but I couldn't find them at home.  Because they weren't there; I did have a vague memory of putting the extra pair in my car's glove box, now Emily's, and she confirmed yesterday that she does have them. I will pick them up from her tomorrow, try to fix the broken pair when Welder Dude gets back, and then put those in the glove box of my current car.


Then yesterday, work began and ended early, because we had an appointment for our solar evaluation. The guy had already done the aerial photography, and while he had only one picture of the house mocked up with what the panels would look like (not, you know, twenty-seven;), it was a good start to explaining what they could do, what it would cost and how much it should save:

Those are on the back (south-facing) side of the house. "Save" rhymes with "Dave," which is what we named the very large pin oak at the far left of the back of the house. He needs to do a shade analysis to figure out whether the panels will get enough sun closest to his foliage.  But overall, it looks like a good fit.  The whole shebang comes to a little over 20K to install; a state energy agency provides an immediate rebate of over $3000 to act as a down payment; IRS and state tax credits instantly knock off another $10000-plus, and you finance the balance with an unsecured 20-year loan, partly paid back by the money you save on your electric bill. And you save a lot; the system is designed to produce enough electricity in a year to cover your entire usage (not every month- some months you buy, others you sell back your excess at the same price), so in theory all you pay on average per month is the utility's minimum connection fee of $17 a month.  Or, about what I paid in college for my first electric bill for my first (small) apartment.

Wowsers.  Only thing we don't get is Why isn't EVERYBODY doing this? Well, some just don't have the right roof size or angle or orientation, while others are just so indoctrinated by Cheetotalk about fossil fuels they consider it unpatriotic.  I see it as a selfless effort to donate part of our property to the greater good. And getting a break on taxes and bills at the same time only makes it better.


Today was fairly non-descript, although Eleanor just got home from a very good experience helping a co-worker of hers.  I leave in the morning for another two days away, but these will just be in Rochester, and will be broken up tomorrow night with a ballgame downtown there. I'll explain more after the event, but suffice it there is food involved.


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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 12:17pm on 06/08/2017

Saturday, sixish p.m.

My first-ever reunion trip in 40 years; the oldest (high school) and furthest (the far county of Long Island). I got on the road right at 8 a.m. and figured a seven-hour trip since I planned it to be non-stop.  But there are always stops.  The first, once I was gassed up and on the 90, came about 20 minutes in, when a bread truck decided to come to a stop in the middle of the eastbound lanes and make a three-point turn. (Another truck of the same brand was on the side of the road and he must've overshot it.)  So, yeah. Good mark on the driving test for precision; bad for judgment.

One cuppa kawfee wasn't enough, so I made a second Timmy's stop in Batavia before taking the shortcut from there down to Geneseo.  That was when Facebook gave me a memory of exactly a year ago today:

Righhht.... that would've been on my drive back from my trip last August to see the Mets at Yankee Stadium. And I was due to head down that very road just four hours later.

So yes, that was another stop; as there were two more for gas (JARVIS gets good mileage but has a small tank).  Finally, there were hundreds of little stops once I turned back onto the Thruway, 87 division, for the last leg of the trip: lots more cars down here, and two major stops for tolls. One, on the Tappan Zee, has already gone cashless; if you don't have an EZ-Pass, your license plate smiles for the camera and you get billed by mail plus a service charge. The East River bridges go to that system next month. (Nothing of the sort is planned for the toll barriers on all sides of our fair city:P)  Even with no accidents or unusual construction, it took the better part of two hours to get through Bronx and Queens Counties, and that was even after taking a different bridge to avoid the Grand Central Parkway around Citi Field, which was just then filling with Mets and, still many, Dodgers fans.  (I did not go to Friday night's game, and am glad I didn't, since it was a rather horrid outcome.)

All in all, it was past 5 this afternoon before I got to the hotel.  Not enough time to make plans to see anyone, so I just continued listening to the Mets on my phone. (This one did not go well, either, after a promising early start:P)  When I got to my floor, the reunion was in full swing; unfortunately, it wasn't mine. Another local high school, a few miles closer to this venue, had pulled out all the stops for its 50th year alums.  Eventually, I changed, and headed past them to see if I could catch some early birds. Not a one. A dark room with warming trays not yet turned on, and a deserted signup table out front.  So we blog. It's what we do.  (We will not post until tomorrow, though, since despite this place being the priciest hotel I've stayed at in ages even with a group discount, they charge for wifi.)

I guess the moral of the story is.... make it to my 50th.


Sunday, one crummy in-room coffee down, 8:30 a.m.

Pricey hotels also don't have breakfast buffets. They have room service. But that's okay; I'm off to a nice and unexpected breakfast anyway.

When I got to the venue the second time, there were four people outside the room: two were from the organizing company, determined to not let a soul into the room with the open bar booze until the stroke of eight. The others were from our class and had helped organize the event (and all its predecesors). It was pretty clear we weren't going to challenge the old farts down the hall for attendance or energy.  In all, about 40 people had signed up; maybe a few more than half of those actually showed.

Plus two.  And they made the whole night worthwhile.

I was good friends with Ted all through high school. We never lost touch, but we're not regular correspondents, either.  He wound up marrying another member of our class, but many years later after many separate moves. I never knew Ann as well, but always liked her; she also chose the law school path and is now just moving into her own solo style of practice.

Ann does the Face-thing; Ted doesn't. (Hence my references to him as the "smartest man in the room.") We messaged the previous week about whether I'd be there, and they were unsure. Ann's mom had been in the final days of hospice, and she finally passed at the end of that week, leaving them and her remaining family with all the stress of "arrangements."  We left it that if they couldn't make it, we'd meet up somewhere nearby, since they live very close to the reunion venue.  Then, Saturday, they confirmed they'd be coming. And a few minutes after we finally broke double-digit attendance, there they were at the registration table.

Did I mention that the outside group which "planned" this event gave it something short of a five-star effort? They did virtually no promotion other than sending one snail-letter and posting a few social media things, all of them purely YOUR HIGH SCHOOL NAME HERE non-descript. After I signed up, I got only one email from them, a few days ahead: You can still attend! Well, I'd hoped so, since I'd paid and all:P But this one was just a general blast to the whole class, encouraging more. Far as I know, Ted and Ann were the only ones who took them up on it, and the two at the table greeted them with the happiest of news: sorry, cash only. And no ticket until you pay.  Between them, they fished out enough to cover one admission, and were about set to find an ATM in the middle of the industrial-park jungle that is Walt Whitman Road.

But I was here. More importantly, I just got here- and hadn't spent more than 20 bucks since I left.  What do you say to an old friend you haven't seen this century when he suddenly needs 130 bucks? You say, get me tomorrow.  Then you all go in; other people you remember fondly arrive; you drink more than you should have because you're not driving, but not so much that you get stupid; and you even get a few pictures in.


And a contemplative Ann (not the best picture, but she's still gorgeous enough not to be badly photographed;):

Across the table from her are Steve and Mary Beth; she was our year, as was Steve's brother, who was also there. I've reconnected with her in recent months and it was great to see them, too.

The easiest job of the night was the bartender; the absolute hardest was the DJ tasked with getting a bunch of tired old 58-year-olds to dance past our usual Saturday night bedtimes.

The obligatory group shot. Yes, I was really there:

And so, the Diner Tour now continues. With Ted in a few at an unspecified one near the hotel; then for lunch back in East Meadow with one of the best Mets bloggers who ever was. Dinner, not diner, will be at my sister's or home late tonight, depending on how many stops I have to make and rogue bread trucks I encounter.

All in all, I think I will try to make the 50th. We might even make it easier on the DJ, slam-dancing to the Ramones in our walkers....

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Not that it was, entirely. I count 18 outbound emails, 55 inbound ones (not all responded to, but all looked at), and close to a dozen phone calls in and out during the day.  None were major, and I kept to my goal of keeping my own mental health ahead of the rest of them.

Things I did accomplish in between all of that and then tonight on the eve of Getaway Day:

* Visited Town Hall and got the details on getting our house set up for solar panel installation. They're pushing a townwide effort to encourage this, waiving electrical permit fees and coordinating site assessments and ultimate installations with three different town-approved contractors. One of them is the one which installed our dedicated outlet for the electric car, upgraded our panel and did some other fiddlybits in 2013; we told the town we preferred hearing from them, but one of the other two got hold of our application and has been pretty aggressive in pitching us to do the work.  I'll call them Monday if the Frey Guys haven't responded by then.

* Did a bunch of things around the house and in my home office that I usually do over the weekend.

* Watched yet another laser light show as thunderstorms continued passing through here. We never lost power, but Wegmans did, briefly, and when I got to a late afternoon workout, the trainer mentioned that they'd lost power earlier in the day, killing the treadmills and requiring some serious improvisation. (None needed when I got there; thundering still went on, but the power held up.)

* Loaded up at Tarjay, mainly for dog food. The place was frighteningly empty during the thundery late afternoon, with red-shirted associates running hither and yon with surprisingly nothing to do.

 *Tried watching the Channing Tatum/Joseph Gordon-Leavitt riff on 80s communism and police procedurals, Comrade Detective. It had its moments, but not enough of them.

Now it's just to pack and get on the road.  The room is mine at 3, the reunion at 8, and I have a variety of plans of fixed and unfixed times on Sunday and possibly some other meetups before the reunion on Saturday.

And Monday, regardless, will be back to work....

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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:46pm on 03/08/2017
"I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

That, at least, was The Plan. I'd cleared tomorrow from my work calendar, the Mets were returning to Queens for their first home game in almost two weeks on Friday night, and their best pitcher was both starting and starring on a free-for-all t-shirt.  So The Plan was to leave for NY either this afternoon or first thing tomorrow, catch the game tomorrow night, and then be close by for my high school reunion on Saturday night.

I put feelers out, and got little feel back. Most of my usual compadres (notPadres, yo) replied that they would not be there. One dear family confirmed that they would be there, but I know from past experience that their season tickets are in the armed-patrol sections of the stadium right below the broadcast booths, and I have never, in several tries, been able to approach their seats with plebian ticketing.  Plus, I wound up with an unexpected, and largely unnecessary, Rochester round-trip today, and I wanted to be home this afternoon and tonight, so the extra day of the trip loomed even longer and more annoying.

And so we made the Executive Decision: No Game Tomorrow.  (The Saturday afternoon game is too close to the time of the reunion itself, and the Sunday game is disgustingly at 8:30 p.m. because ESPN thinks the whole country wants to see the Mets get slaughtered by the best team in their league.)  Instead, I will work, but not From Work, for most of tomorrow. It won't be a full Mental Health Day but will have Mental Health Components- including a workout, a trip to Tarjay for various things, and a stop at Town Hall to check out the current (see what I did there?) incentives for residents to install solar panels on their homes.

Saturday will then be a straight shot of driving to the Suffolk County hotel hosting the reunion (and my room for the night).  There've been very few details about it despite it being less than 48 hours away, but I did hear from one of our furthest-away classmates yesterday, who moved to Australia sometime in the intervening 40 years; she won't be there, but will be Skype-ing with some friends from back then who will be.

Once recovered from the reminiscences and the rubber chicken dinner, I have a fairly full day back on Sunday: stops in my old home town Sunday morning, lunch with a Met blogger friend in a famed East Meadow diner, and finally home Sunday night after the inevitable repast at my sister's at the halfway point.  I plan to be home, and unconscious, by the time the Mets are down seven runs on Sunday night.
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I know it doesn't rhyme. Don't blame me. English is weird.

John McCain redeemed himself after my last post about the healthcare debacle, refusing his support to the so-called "skinny bill" which really should have been named "Anything for a Win." The resulting tantrums from the Orange House have been predictable, along with the other distractions- from Da Mooch whacking the Cheeto's chief of staff (now replaced by the Homeland Security Secretary, a now-unfilled position because we're so safe now:P), to the Cheeto openly encouraging police brutality (what Don Imus once referred to as "the fun part of law enforcement") to whatever shit went down on the Sunday shows.  I wouldn't know; I was outside. More about that later.

The workweek up to that point was quiet- just one hearing, with the widow of a client who required some very delicate care and feeding, as another client will later this week- except for my one and, I Promise, Last Ever real estate deal going to shit like all my I Promised, Last Ever real estate deals always do- and Friday was deathly quiet. Must be vacations or something. Wouldn't know about those, either (although I will be away for two days at the end of this week for my first-ever high school reunion and possibly a Mets game).


Last night, we got out to the Spiderman:Homecoming film. I've seen all of them since the first Raimi reboot (I even remember the Nicholas Hammond TV turn from the 70s), and haven't been impressed with any of them since, well, the first Raimi reboot, not even with the last Amazing 2 end of the Garfield Administration despite many of its non-CGI Blow-Up-BOOM scenes being filmed in downtown Rochester (NYC having silly rules about superhero film car chase speed limits).  This one, for the most part, was the best since Raimi I.  My takes on it soon after getting out:

-Best of them since the Raimi original, which was homaged, along with many of the comics and even the 60s cartoon.

-Overall good weaving of the character into the MCU. When Tony Stark is understated, you've done something good.

- Good focus on Peter throughout, and best casting ever of the part, but the Blow-Up-BOOM scenes, especially the last one, could've been 15 minutes shorter and about 70 decibels quieter without the story suffering at all.

- Spoiler: the boat sinks. Well, almost.

-Special Guest Villain: Michael Mando, who plays Vulture's henchman, played Vic the Dick in early Orphan Black.

(And that's all I have to say about Orphan Black until I process what we just saw.)


That got us to this morning. Ebony and I made our usual Parp visit, meeting a couple from Maine who brought their dogs through Buffalo on a van tour of the great dog parks of our great nation.  They really liked our little Bark Park Island, but it only made it to Number 10 on their list.   After getting home, the dog settled into a quiet spot in the garden, while Eleanor weeded and I got the fun job.

At the edge of one of the front beds was a bush in need of removal.  After cutting back its evergreeny-needly top parts and machete-ing my way through the weeds all round it, it was time to dig.  Some of my oldest childhood memories are of playtime largely being "digging in the dirt," but the thrill has largely gone out of it. I pruned, I pried, I cursed more than a few times, but after about two hours and a couple of changes of clothes, I was ready to announce that I'd "found the squishy!"  (Okay, I did say something else about Orphan Black.) A few rocks with a shovel, a few snips of the final roots, and the bastard was on the ground:

My shoulders, especially, are sore as shit from all the TRX work that went into that, but I am so glad it's done.


Road trip tomorrow; court Wednesday and maybe Thursday; I Promise, Last Ever real estate deal might actually close this week, and then it's off to Queens on Friday and Suffolk (why the reunion's there, I have no idea) on Saturday.

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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 02:13pm on 26/07/2017

It's been one of those hurry-up-and-wait weeks at work. Only two court appearances all week, the second and last of them early tomorrow, and both of them local; but I'm waiting on any number of clients, courts and opponents to get off their respective arses to schedule things, and I'm largely in limbo until they do.

This gives me unexpected time to watch the Parade of Idiocy going by. Frankly, I'd rather just be busy with work.  Yesterday gave us the grand spectacle of Senator John McCain being rushed back to DC, his brain cancer freshly diagnosed and the Best Care Anywhere for him assured, so he could get a round of applause on the Senate floor before casting the deciding vote to begin the process of taking such care away from thousands of his own constituents and millions of his fellow citizens.

He will tell you it was just a procedural vote.  He followed it with a much-praised floor speech where he decried the divisiveness of the chamber he's been a part of for decades and called for a "return to regular order." This, right after enabling debate, probable bribes, an exhausting "vote-a-rama" (that's the actual term they use) and an eventual final vote on the aforesaid stripping of health care from millions- on a bill that doesn't even exist in printable form yet. THAT's regular order?

But for me, the money quote in the speech was this:

Both sides have let this happen. Let's leave the history of who shot first to the historians.

If McCain really meant that, he wouldn't have enabled the continuation of this hyperpartisan process. He might have suggested, moments after the "no" vote he didn't have the balls to cast, that we depoliticize this whole business.  As I posited last week:

Would you buy a house that was designed by a hairdresser and built by a baker? How about getting behind the wheel of an automobile engineered and sold by the Ford Anvil Company? Stupid, right? And yet for my entire lifetime, we've been entrusting the repair and reform of our health care system to a bunch of politicians of both parties who couldn't surgically reattach their asses to their elbows if they even could tell the difference between them.

The Clintons tried and failed. Dubya tried and failed with Medicare Part D. Obama tried and failed. And now the Cheeto's going down in another spectacular failure.

Why don't they all say, WE QUIT. Turn the whole thing over to a blue-ribbon, nonpartisan panel of doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and pharmaceutical companies. Lock them in a room for a month- no politicians or lobbyists allowed- and see what they come up with. It's got to be better than this shit.

But that won't happen. Because as any fan of Star Wars could tell you, the history of who shot first is established here: Greed-o did.


But at least we don't have Death Panels, like them socialist medicine countries do. Or so they would tell you- and did, repeatedly and with fake poignance, over the saga of "Little Charlie Gard."  This infant became 2017's poster child for the triumph of Make American Medicine Great Again over those horrid National Health rationers in England.  On any number of occasions during the current US health care battle, the Cheeto and his minions have trotted out Little Charlie Gard as proof that socialized medicine will kill ya.

Bullshit.  No, assholes, your disease is what kills you; it's US profit-driven medicine that turns a baby into a political football so a doctor over here can diagnose him over the Internet and propose treating him with an experimental med that the doctor has a personal financial stake in.

Now that he's been outed, Doctor Profit has concluded that, well, no, his untested experimental med won't work after all, and the tragic little kid will be sent home for a death that will be as peaceful as it was inevitable. But "Little Charlie Gard" will no doubt still be a rallying cry for those who love him as a symbol but who ignore the inconvenient truth of his status under the horrors of Trumpcare: that from the moment of his birth, Little Charlie Gard was a pre-existing condition.

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♫....nothing survives, but the way we live our lives.♫

I reference these lyrics with some hesitation and modification: the former, because the song is called Daddy's Tune while I'm using it in a sisterly context; the latter, because I'm replacing Jackson Browne's 45's with my own age of 57 in comparison to what would have been our sister Sandy's 78th birthday today.

Sandy did make it to her 45th, but never to her 50th; by the fall of her 50th year in 1988, the demons had won and the sister, the daughter, the mother we knew was no longer with us. Except she was, and is: every day her daughters and grandchildren awake and face their days. Every day her remaining sister and I remember her words, her musical memories, her unique ways of looking at the world. Every moment we tolerate a spoiled pet because we have inherited the honor of receiving those special souls who get to be reincarnated as Sandy's cat.

I am not much for family chats on the phone, on holidays or otherwise, but today, with the luxury of her 78th birthday falling on a weekend, I called both of my nieces to check in and remind them that they, and their kids, were in our thoughts and prayers and that their mom would be- is- so immensely proud of the strong, independent women they've become.

Her last birthday was her 49th.  I've now passed that on my own calendar nine times and am heading for a tenth in November.  Two weekends from now, I will spend time with people I knew from 40 years ago; few of them ever met Sandy (being 21 years apart in age and school will do that), but all I speak to will know the importance of her to me, my family, and the person I've become.

Eleanor and I began the day taking Ebony to the dog park. We gardened, we watched BBC programmes, we had a Sunday dinner befitting so many Sunday afternoons I remember sharing with her.  And we celebrated a life that will always be celebrated in this world as long as her memories and DNA and the words from us continue.

And when the morning light comes streaming in,
I'll get up and do it again, Amen.
Say it again, Amen.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 05:27pm on 20/07/2017
Since I was in Bankruptcy Court at butt o'clock this morning, it only seemed right for me to do some math. (This, notwithstanding that one of our three district bankruptcy judges has admitted on the bench that he's lousy at math.)

When I got out, I saw some birthday posts for Eleanor on my Facebook feed.  She only joined recently, mainly to connect with one art-community friend, and we cautiously friended each other even more recently so she wouldn't get a scad of friend requests from bare past-life acquaintances I still keep in touch with from church and other places.  I always try to post something a little different and unique on peoples' birthday roundups, so this is what I thought of:

Your 32nd birthday I've shared with you. May it be among the best ever. I love you.

A little further math reveals the other "half" of that story. When you add up the years, I now realize that for more than half of the birthdays my beloved has ever had, I have shared them with her. They've had their ups and their downs, they've been shared with relatives and in restaurants, but the one constant has been what our wedding service referred to as "a love which shall endure." 

She's talking with Emily on the phone as I write this, and soon after we will head to a favourite Italian caffe for dinner and dessert.  It's cooled a bit after some monster t-storms came through this part of town (and possible tornadoes hit not far to the south), and tomorrow is the end of the workweek for both of us.

May the next 32 years of birthdays commence. I love you:)
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:11pm on 17/07/2017
After a largely off-things Saturday, yesterday began and ended early. Began at the dog park, where we met up, after the second go-round with Ebony and Ursula, with this beautiful grrl:

Well, four, counting Ann on the left and the traces of the pups on the ground

She just hopped up on that picnic table while our friend Dave, whose pup can't make it round twice, waited for us.  That tag is more of a chip, so we had no idea whose she was. Finally, we saw three people coming round with two dogs, and they called her over.... only to leave her at the entrance all over again as they headed down the path just as we were leaving.  Sheesh.

Once home, we turned our attention to things BBCish. News finally reached us of the casting of the first actress to portray The Doctor come next year; she looks like a worthy successor to the title.  Eventually, we got to the previous night's Orphan Black, which tied up some loose ends, opened a few other cans of clones, and of course kept us laughing every moment Krystal was on the screen. (Semi-spoiler: the bearded douche about halfway through the episode is played by Tatiana's IRL boyfriend, and she got to act two separate scenes in which Spoiler spoilered him in the spoiler- once as Krystal spoilering, the other as Sarah watching it.

Again this morning, I needed to be up and out very early for a day in Rochester- which concluded just before 2 with me finally getting one of my crazy real estate deals closed. Although they pushed every envelope, including not getting me the vital "how much to bring to the closing" figure until fewer than two hours remained before it, the session itself was quick and painless, the numbers all balanced, and the documents were all properly completed.  I think.

Rather than go back to either office, I opted for a scenic drive home, with two stops for out-of-the-way process service en route, maybe a 20-minute-south detour on Route 20 with the two about 10 minutes apart. Neither found their intended targets at home (and both were homes, despite the claims being against businesses), but at one, there was a sticker on the front door alerting first responders to be on the lookout for their seven dogs. No sign of them; at least they weren't left out on a picnic table outside:P


Before those errands, with little else to listen to in the hinterlands, I "treated" myself to the latest right-wing spin on the disastrous health care proposals now stuck in the Senate.  According to Limpbutt, millennials should be embracing the El Cheapo™ catastrophic plans that Senator Rafael "Dudley Do-Wrong of the Mounties" Cruz insists on being sold in exchange for his vote.  The pitch goes something like this: Millennials hate the cable companies, because they make you buy channels you don't want. They only want to stream the shows they DO want and they cut the cord on the rest. Well, health care is exactly the same. You should be free to buy only the services you want and not be forced to buy things you may not need and might never even be able to use (yeah, asshole, men and maternity care, we get it.)

The cynicism in this equivalence goes beyond meanness and straight into outright cruelty. Because OF COURSE deciding on the logistics and economics of covering yourself in the event of serious or potentially fatal illness is EXACTLY the same as wanting HBO and not SNY on your cable bill.  (Why, just last week Eleanor and I were trying to figure out whether a Roku or an Apple TV would deliver the best dialysis if we eventually need that. ) Oh, and worse? If a millennial does cut the cord but eventually decides he or she does suddenly need to start watching a channel they didn't originally order? The evil cable or satellite company will be more than happy to add it to your lineup for whatever it costs.  Not so under the Ryanide/McConnkill bait-and-switch currently in negotiation: if a healthy young person buys a "stripped down" plan and then discovers they need coverage for one of the "essential benefits" now required by the ACA?  Sorry, Charlie: that doesn't count as "continuous coverage," so you'll only be subscribing to the Pre-Existing Condition Channel as far as Republican Cable is concerned. You'll have to pay for that condition on your own for months or more until Mitch the Cable Guy can come out to your place and Git'R'Done.  (Even though, best as I can tell, he's Doin' his constituents already.)


Staying close to home, jiggity jog, the next three days. Only oddity of tomorrow is a meeting with a new referral who has the exact same name as one of my recent co-workers. 


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