Category Archives: Senior Citizens

The futility of pessimism

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I swan, every time I get feeling low and remorseful, which I mostly don’t, I just can’t hold onto it.  Slips right between my fingers the way a broken egg gets away from a person.  Doesn’t even leave any particles of eggshell hanging around to try to pick away so’s to save the goo.

What I’m saying is I could get used to this.  Something awful.  Here I am, snow outside, me inside.  Jeanne never lets it get below 63 degrees F here in the house, which isn’t something I’ve experienced since sometime before Y2K.  And I’m having to count calories instead of just counting miniscule particles of sodium.

Heck, when I checked into the hospital here almost a year ago I weighed in at 145 lbs, and didn’t have an ounce of body fat.  Fasting before medical tests was agony.  And here I am at 190 pounds, being careful not to gain any more.  I figure I’m around 10 pounds heavier than is ideal for me.  But I’ll take it off gradually, or it will rot off if I croak.

I’m cooking a lot of salt-free stovetop bread, both for bun-type [hamburger-like] or somewhat cake-like.  Or pizza-like.  And no sodium or low sodium isn’t cramping my style one bit.  I can whip out curry fish, curry chicken, ginger beef, sauteed mushrooms, and more kinds of siamin than anyone ever heard of using mung-bean vermicelli and no sodium chicken or beef broth.

Jeanne found some extremely low-sodium Swiss cheese and I’ll confess I almost found myself wallowing in ecstacy with the first, pizza, then omelet that resulted soon thereafter.

Whip over to the double-sink with hot and cold running water, spang wash all the dirties quicker than I can tell about it.  Sheeze.

Here I am gazing out the window, Otis Redding playing on the gramaphone, Hydrox snoring on his wool old-man army blanket.  Shiva the cow cat nosing around finding things of interest under Jeanne’s Christmas tree, curling up on the ‘tree skirt’ [an item I never knew existed].

So here I am trying to work up a good pessimism but it escapes me.  Got an old Frederick Pohl novel [Far Shore of Time] about a third read.  Finished a pretty good biography of Captain Woodes Rogers, a surprisingly scholarly piece of work by David Cordingly.  Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean.  Thinking of passing it on to one of Jeanne’s sons, it’s so fun reading.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not falling into any pit of joy, getting snagged up by the trap of hope.  I’m just muddling along grateful as hell it’s so warm in here, watching it snow.

Old Jules

The Who-Ya-Gonna-Kill-Next Lottery tickets on sale at your Army Recruiter

Hi readers.  Back in the summer of 1961 the Rooskies were building the Berlin Wall and naturally we were all scared shitless they’d be wanting France or Britain next.  Because we were all dumber than cluckshit and we believed what the US government told us.

Anyway, July 1961, I was feeling patriotic as hell, wanted to kill me some young Russian guys.  Maybe shoot them, blow their damned brains from hell to breakfast.  Or maybe stab them with a bayonet close up, personal and bloody.  So I joined the US Army figuring they were the only branch of the service that actually rubbed up against Rooskies.

Damned Navy guys just floated around safely out in the ocean in ships loaded up with guns and munitions, never get a shot at a single Rooskie, most likely.  And the Air Force guys trained with .22 caliber rifles.  Jeeze.  Whoooo wants to shoot a damned Russian kid with a .22?  Stupid damned Air Force guys didn’t even march around carrying full field packs.

And the US Marines sounded okay, but how the hell would a Marine get all the way over to where there were Rooskies to be killed?  Ivan was going to be trying to hide behind that Berlin Wall.  Getting at him would be a job for good old American dogfaces, climbing over that wall and charging into machine guns aimed by Rooskie kids.  The best a Marine could hope for was maybe getting a chance to kill a Chinaman.

Whell hayuls bayuls!  I spent three years, went through the Cuban Missile Crisis, sea cruised to Japan and Korea and back, and never got to kill nobody, and especially not some Rooskie teenager with a bayonet nor hand grenade.

So I came home and the Vietnam War geared up, and I got out.  The guys who went in just after I did ended up killing all manner of brown people who didn’t need killing, but no damned Rooskies.  Nor Chinamen, either.

Later on guys volunteered to go kill brown people in wossname, Kuwait, Iraq, and that other place over there, Africanistan?  Something along those lines, anyway.  But the Rooskies had donealready pulled all their teenagers back inside their boundaries and good American boys couldn’t get at them.

But there’s still hope.  Some damned warlord over there is making a nuisance of himself and threatening to send some teenagers off to get their asses blown away, and the guy, wossname, in the White House is making noises suggesting he might lie claiming those Rooskie kids need killing.

He ought to have a belly full of killing brown people by now.  Rooskie white kids would be a refreshing change.  And meanwhile there’s that hodgepodge thing going on over in Western Iraq and Syria where the sky’s the limit.  Hells bells, just kill anythng that moves and you’ll hit someone who hates our guts.  Because we’ve probably blown the legs off their relatives one-time-or-another.

As a backup plan, if our boys run out of people to drop explosives on, there’s always white people living in Israel, but they’re harder targets, hiding in colonies over in Palestine.
Old Jules

 

 

 

Community ‘Personalities’

Hi readers.  This town where Jeanne lives and I currently reside on her couch gave me a strange arrangement of ponderings yesterday.  I knew my physical therapy at the hospital will be fading in July.  By coincidence the Olathe Community Center is opening, and I’d heard it would include exercise machines, etc.

By golly I don’t ignore coincidence.  Figured I could buzz over there three times a week as long as I’m here, work out, maybe connect with local seniors to play some chess, chew the fat, exchange low sodium recipes.  Old guys did those things on the Courthouse lawn when I was a kid, playing dominoes and spitting tobacco.  A piece of getting old.

To my surprise, that new Olathe Community Center is a bastion of healthiness, classes on Zombi or somesuch dancing, Yoga, big TV screens people can watch while stationary biking.  A room full of water capable of being peed into from everywhere within 100 yards any direction.  Maybe a hundred walking machines, weight machines, and combinations of all three.

And for kids?  Wow.  Two story water slide indoors with signs saying they don’t want heart patients [me] using it.  Piss on them.  I’ll use that thing if I want to.

Because in that entire enormous structure there is not one, not one single item specifically intended to be used by the elderly.  Not one ping-pong table, for that matter, to allow fast action small area activities, either.

I’d been casually searching for some while for a Senior Citizen Center in Olathe.  There ain’t one, even though the senior population here’s quite large.  Closed down a couple of years ago when the city sold the building, never reopened somewhere else.

Fairly strange.  A rich, rich, how you say, affluent community here with a large area of old, low-income houses in the older part of town inhabited by lower middle class non-upwardly mobile working-class scum and senior citizens.  And that new community center forgot they exist.

Hell, every tiny community everywhere has a Senior Citizen Center, or failing that, a pantheon of senior activities incorporated into the local community center.  Andrews, Texas, out on the high plains desert has a big one.  Half deserted towns all over Texas and New Mexico dying of thirst and hunger have one thing left functioning:  Senior Citizen Centers.

And this beautiful old farming community that’s become the home of thousands of high-income soccer and tennis playing SUV driving tofu eating Kansas Citians during the past 20 to 30 years has the singular distinction of having nothing of the sort.

Jeanne’s jobs are over in the neighborhood of Lenexa. Another grown-over KC bedroom community.  And when she got tired of my berating Olathe regarding the new Community Center and the implied attitude toward senior citizens she took me over there.  They’ve got a center about the size of one in Zuni, New Mexico, or Andrews, Texas.  About the size of each of the three in Kerrville, Texas.

Fine people over there in Lenexa.  We got there around noon, just looking around.  Maybe fifty people hanging around in there chewing the fat.  A lady running the place came up, introduced herself, showed us around.  Full of enthusiasm, got more programs going on than you could shake a stick at.  Even computers, computer instruction.

I asked about chess.  “We don’t have a chess program, but we can!  You can be the first one to get it started!”  Turns out they have a couple of exercise machines, too.  ping-pong table’s next door at the ‘regular people [read upwardly mobile SUV driving, tofu eating] living in Lenexa. 

Well, they ain’t new, and they ain’t as close as the brand spanking new shiny Olathe Community Center full of water sports and rosy-cheeked mamas with healthy white kids screaming their heads off.  But if I’m around here a while and decide to do anything senior citizen-wise, I have a feeling I’ll either try out Lenexa or go another few miles out and do it in a place where they still have real people driving 15-year-old pickups.

If such places still exist. 

Might even swing over into Missouri, where they remember what Jayhawk meant back when it actually meant something.  Lots of little towns over that way still no further than this from the VA Medical Center.  I’m betting they have senior citizen centers, too.

Not to say it’s a big item for me.  I honestly don’t like senior citizens all that much.  Too opinionated, though not as bad as younger people.  But old folks tend to be fairly obnoxious, on the whole.  I don’t blame Olathe Parks and Recreation Department for trying to forget they exist.  Old bastards need to check in at the Emergency Room down at the City Morgue.

 Old Jules

The white man’s burden: My lucky goozle

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest.  "I can't believe it ain't cancer!' Chorus of GI specialists declares.  "Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!"

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest. “I can’t believe it ain’t cancer!’ Chorus of GI specialists declares. “Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!”. It ain’t all because I’m a white guy. White guys, it turns out, are one hell of a lot more prone to cancer of the goozle than non-white guys. And nobody likes to see anyone win in lotteries of this nature. It makes everyone look bad.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I just this morning had my third endoscopy in two months.  Not to mention various CAT Scans, etc, and one of those big things involving a donut and a magnet on a rolling human-scale tray.  Jeanne tells me it’s the MRI, which I can’t have anymore because of my electric cow-prod defibrillator.

This week I had a manometry, gastric emptying tests, and fights with the VA hospital concerning whether I ought to be letting them do nothing instead of going to the private physicians and them doing stuff.

In fact I’m bankrupting Medicare with my heartfelt cardiac flaws and my Disneyland esophagus darling of gastroenterologists and Asian male physicians.  They do the snake swallowing a camera routine, take pics and biopsy it.  Look at the pics and say, “Ohshitohdear!”

“It MIGHTN’T be malignant,” they cautiously confide.  “We won’t know for certain until the biopsy results come back.”

Well, the nice Asian GI specialist today came after I regained my cogitude to give me a puzzled frown and tell me it ain’t cancer again this time.  But it’s inflamed as hell, got a grotesque growth about it, and has every right to rear up on its hind legs and be what it damned well wants to be.  Thinks they’d better have another look at it as soon as they can forget it ain’t.

What I haven’t confided to them is the part about Caisse’s herbal tea.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm all boiled together half an hour in stainless steel, left 12 hours, boiled again, strained, and taken in increments of an ounce morning, another nights.

I call it making my own luck.  I’m not evangelical about it, but if anyone ever tells you you’ve got terminal cancer and you might as well go home and tell the heirs who’s getting what, consider remembering it.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm.

My lungs and goozle think it’s death to oncologists.

Old Jules

 

Easy no-salt potato-jalapeno pancakes

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I gather some of you besides me count sodium mgs in your diet the way overweight people used to count calories.  If so, and if you’re on the lookout for a tasty treat you’ve probably never encountered before you might try this.

Blend or process a potato, a jalapeno, half an onion, a tablespoon of minced garlic and a teaspoon of grated ginger together until they reach the color of guacamole and the consistency of pancake batter.  [Works well without the ginger, too, whole different culinary experience.  I’m betting cinnamon could fit into it somewhere, to doctor it up into a mutation worthy of a space alien.]

[Edit:  Cilantro.  I forgot to mention adding some chopped up fresh cilantro.  Important, too]

Pour the mix into a sizzling pan of olive oil or butter and flip them a couple of times as they cook until they’re brown on both sides.

Pop those moneymakers into a dish and eat them like pancakes, or let them cool and eat them the way you’d have a bagel or donut.  Great under blackstrap molasses and buttered, great dry.  Name your own poison

Remember where you heard it first.

Old Jules

Radiation ain’t all that bad

sunflower asbestosHi readers.

I saw a movie on Netflix named, Pandora’s Promise.  It was interviews with all manner of people who used to be against nuclear power plants, but changed their minds.  ‘Good’ environmentalists, mostly.

Their logic is that they were duped by other ‘Bad’ environmentalists into thinking nuclear power plants were bad and dangerous, but that not all that many people died from Chernobyl, and not all that many are dying from Fukushima.  And that most of the time nukes are cleaner than coal and don’t kill as many people.

These ‘Good’ Environmentalists understand that without nuclear power they can’t do anything about climate change, which of course, they haven’t been duped by Bad Environmentalists about.  All that stuff about health consequences of radiation exposure was BS.  Bad Science.  Whereas, everything about climate change is GOOD science.  “How dare they,” one pro-nuclear environmentalist shouts of climate change ‘deniers’, “Deny SCIENCE?  This isn’t the DARK ages.”

Convincing movie.  Leads me to think we were all duped a lot earlier than that, back when the USSR was making such a nuisance of itself.  We could have bombed those people back to the stone age if we’d never had our heads confused about fallout shelters, genetic drift, mutants, nuclear winter and all the rest.  Hell, if someone had told us the only thing we had to worry about was the blast, EMP, shockwaves rolling around knocking things down, firestorms, hell, I think we’re all big enough we could have handled that.

What Fukushima actually proves is they’re spending way too much money building safety features into those nuclear power plants.  Those they had didn’t help, and when the whole thing went south it just hasn’t been all that bad.

Plus there are a lot of people alive today who wouldn’t be if we hadn’t let ourselves be duped into believing getting nuked would be a bad thing because of radioactive fallout.

It’s a heartbreaker.

Old Jules

 

Post-Pyramidial and Post-Mass-Grave grave concerns

21st Century cemeteries mostly require stones to be flat with the ground and uniform in size to allow only a name and birth/death dates.  However, this sign outside Andrews, Texas offers a potential solution for communities everywhere.  A single stone the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall telling everything the people in the cemetery believed would be a huge benefit.

21st Century cemeteries mostly require stones to be flat with the ground and uniform in size to allow only a name and birth/death dates. However, this sign outside Andrews, Texas offers a potential solution for communities everywhere. A single stone the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall telling everything the people in the cemetery believed would be a huge benefit.

Hi readers:

The grave markers depicted here are located in the Olathe, Kansas, Desoto, Kansas and Lawrence, Kansas [Oak Hill] cemeteries.  Lawrence is probably best remembered for the Quantrill raid and massacre of the men and boys of the town slaughtered by Quantrill’s Irregulars during the Civil War.  The town was burned to the ground and most of those killed are buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in a mass grave.

Hand signs and finger signs decorate the surface of a lot of gravestones around here.  Pointing upward, sideways, down fingers, etc.  I'm guessing some might be secret society signs of one sort or another.  However, Jeanne tells me this one is a 'deaf person' sign.

Hand signs and finger signs decorate the surface of a lot of gravestones around here. Pointing upward, sideways, down fingers, etc. I’m guessing some might be secret society signs of one sort or another. However, Jeanne tells me this one is a ‘deaf person’ sign.

cable grave

This stone and the one below have been selected by geographers to serve a dual-purpose. Initially they both merely marked the location of buried telephone cables, as noted on the orange tape. But later circumstance conspired to make them useful as markers for human burial locations as well.

Phone cable memorial marker

Limestone or marble markers are probably inexpensive, but they are prone to become unreadable in a century, century-and-a-half. The stone dissolves in acid rain, accumulates lichens and moss, and break more easily than granite, steel, or wood of most types. This is unworthy of concern unless the people placing the stone intend the grave to be identifiable over a period longer than a few decades.

bookout

A person who went through life being called by the name, King David Bookout, probably won’t object to large granite stone sitting above him a few centuries afterward. Nothing any stranger says while looking at the stone generations later is likely to be original. It all got said while he was alive.

sitar or oud teachout

Patricia Ann evidently played the oud or sitar during her life and someone considered it enough a part of her to be noted on the stone. The name Teachout would be less intriguing if the grave were located further from that of King David Bookout. A Bookout buried 50-100 feet from a Teachout seems more coincidence than needed in death.

Finding a purpose in death isn't necessarily easier than finding a worthy one in life.  Vernon Robert Phillips elected to use his to advertise Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

Finding a purpose in death isn’t necessarily easier than finding a worthy one in life. Vernon Robert Phillips elected to use his to advertise Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

This touching marker manages to convey the anguish of the surviving family.  Probably it's actually what graveyards and gravestones are all about, or at least something valid they are about.

This touching marker manages to convey the anguish of the surviving family. Probably it’s actually what graveyards and gravestones are all about, or at least something valid they are about.

Here's an example of what happens to limestone when it's utilized as burial marking material.  Fortunately there's nothing on the stone to suggest anything was worth remembering about Wheeler Green anyway.

Here’s an example of what happens to limestone when it’s utilized as burial marking material. Fortunately there’s nothing on the stone to suggest anything was worth remembering about Wheeler Green anyway.

Another emotional demonstration of whatever causes human beings to want grave markers and graves as a piece of their lives.

Another emotional demonstration of whatever causes human beings to want grave markers and graves as a piece of their lives.

Sharon Snow Fogarty is evidently still alive, but she knows how she wants to be remembered: "She never met an animal she didn't like."

Sharon Snow Fogarty is evidently still alive, but she knows how she wants to be remembered: “She never met an animal she didn’t like.”

The elaborate grave-marker phenomenon spans cultural boundaries.

The elaborate grave-marker phenomenon spans cultural boundaries.

If those people killed in the Quantrill raid had survived they might have accomplished great things.  Some might have been able to be part of the Wounded Knee incident.  As the song says, “Only the good die young.”

Old Jules