Thursday, July 26, 2007

It appeasr that having a lot of money and being adored by pappirazzi and fans takes the thought process out of celebrities heads. I hate the term celebrity, it implies that their lives are cause for jubilation and that those around them are being graceds with their presence. I don't mind Star as the entertainers of yore were called I don't even mind famous. Celebrity makes my stomache turn.

I have known a lot of people over they years that I loved being around and I listened attentivly when they spoke. I felt I was lucky to know them . Some of them were very well known in scientific circles, some were heads of very large corporations a few were in the arts as actors or painters, or writers and a couple were sports stars. In fact, I was taught to drive by a man who was a legend in stock car racing. He was known as Fireball Roberts, but I called him Glenn. All of these people had one thing in common. They didn't see themselves as the end all be all in their field and they all were courteous, low key, kind and understanding.

When I see the antics if Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Tom Cruise, Nick Nolte and many other "celebrities" I wonder what happend to them? Certainly they had parents, teachers, pastors and friends who tried to show them right from wrong. It seems that the more famous they get the more selfdestructive they get. Look at Miclael Vick. He makes obscene amounts of mony for playing a game. Its true he is extremely good at playing football but it is still a game.

I don't know Michael Vick and I won't pass judgement on him but I question his motivation and intelligence for putting himself in a position where he can not only lose his huge salary he can get up to 6 years in prison. If he did in fact run a dog fighting arena he is sick and needs psychiatric help. Why would anyone want to watch 2 dogs rip each other apart? Is it transference? Is it what they would like to do to someone but the price is to high to actually do it?

I sincerely hope Michael Vick is found innocent of the dog fighting allegatios, not in the way OJ was but that is innocent without equivication. I have been a Falcons fan for years and I would hate to see them have a lousey season, they have enough already, because of Vick.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Trials and Tribulations

Today I fought a titanic battle with the Mustang. I put the dash back in. This might seem like a simple thing to do but it isn't. First of all there are agazillion wires that have go to different places in the dash and the wiring harness isn't designed so that you simply start at one side and work you way to the other. Another thing is that the connectors (plugs) may have wires of one color in the female connector and a different set of colors on the male connector. The wires are color coded but in some cases the connectors are transitions to an accessory which has it's own color code. Fortunately the connectors are made so they only match their mates but sometimes when an accessory is involved the connector may be duplicated someplace else in the harness.

Well, after struggling with the wiring and the dash I finally got it in and boy, did it look good. Then I noticed it. A wire unconnected to anything dangling from under the dash. Sometimes the manufacturers will terminate a wire in the harness if the accessory it is supposed to service is not installed.

Anyway, I now know the best way to re install the dash so I will take it back out, find the mate to the phantom wire and re re install the dash. I think the car will look very good when I finish and my Daughter will have her first cool car.


Worst President Ever

Last night I saw a news bite where Harry Reid declared without equivication that "George Bush is the worst president in history". What rock was this clown hiding under when Jimmy Carter was president?

Carter managed in his 4 years in office to bestow upon the American people the worst inflation ever, allowed the Shah of Iran to be overthrown and replaced by Muslim zealots, allowed those same Muslim zealots to storm our embassy and hold our diplomatic mission hostage for over a year, and then he had the temerity to declare that we were in a national malaise and that we needed to learn to live with declining prosperity.

Carter was without doubt the worst president ever. Second place has to go to Lyndon Johnson.

Johnson did get the Civil Rights act passed which elevates him above Carter but his handling of the Vietnam War has to be one of the worst blunders in American history. He totally disregarded the advice if his military commanders and allowed an accountant, Robert McNamara, to micromanage the war. He allowed General Westmorland to stay in command of all forces in Vietnam even though it was obvious that the man was totally incompetent. Then the coup de gras was the Great Society, a policy that cost billions and instead of elevating the poor, it dragged a sizable portion of what was the middle class down. I won't even go into what became entitlements under the Great Society because they are so stupid .

Carter not only enbraced the Great Society, he actually believed it was working, something Johnson never did. To Johnson the Great Society was strictly a political expedient intended to assure his re election but Carter actually thought it was a good thing. Fortunately Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War took him out before he could do any more damage. Johnson at least had the good grace to fade away and die in relative obscurity.

Carter turned out to be the Gift that keeps on Giving after he was beaten by Reagan. He has set himself up as the world expert on electorial processes around the world, has meddeled in foriegn affairs policies of sitting presidents, has embraced every despot on the planet and has done everything he can to undermine the security of Israel.

Yep! Harry Reid was wrong. Jimmy Carter is the worst president ever while Harry Reid is well on the way to being the worst Senate Majority Leader ever.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

I saw where Russ Feingold is planning to introduce a measure to censure President Bush. What does he think that will do? Bush could part the seas, cure all ills, make everybody rich, bring peace to the world and walk on water and the democrats & MSM would still criticize him. An official, honest to goodness censure would have about as much effect as shoveling shit against the tide.
Feingold is an arrogant ass who will do anything to get publicity. I believe he would give a blow job on the Capital steps if he could get his face on the front page. Needless to say I don't think very highly of Feingold. I rank him just a notch above Schumer who has to be the sleaziest human being ever to walk God's green earth. Where do these scumbags come from. Are they jacked off on a rock and hatched by the sun?
I wish, before I die, that we will manage to expell the current crop of butt wipes we have in congress and elect a new crop with the intrest of the US at the top of their priorities. It probably won't happen but I can hope.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Marvels of Medicine

Yesterday my wife was operated on for her eye cancer. The operation took about 45 minutes and she was not put to sleep. After the operation, she was taken directly to her room where she will be semi isolated until Friday when they will remove the radioactive plaque they placed on the tumor. Then she will be observed overnight and she will be released Saturday morning.

Prior to the advent of the procedure that they performed yesterday, the only treatment for this type of cancer was to remove the eye. Of course that procedure resulted in total blindness in that eye. With this procedure, her vision should be about 90% and will gradually get worse until in about 10 years that eye's vision will be reduced to about 60% of normal. I'd say that is pretty damned good considering the alternative.

In the past 1 1/2 years I have gained a new respect for health care in this country. My wife had lung cancer and had to have the bottom lobe of her right lung removed in May of 2006. She was initially diagnosed as a result of a very astute family doctor noticing a odd sound in her breathing during an annual physical. The cancer was confirmed by a PET scan and they immediately scheduled her for surgery. The PET scan is an amazing, relatively new diagnostic procedure that can supposedly detect a single cancer cell. I don't know if it really is that good or not but if it is it should be made a part of routine examinations. Just think of the number of cancer victims who could be given a much better chance of survival . The PET scan is fairly expensive but I think the cost would be offset by reducing the costs of treatment for advanced cancer cases.

In December of 2006, my wife broke her hip and they did a partial hip replacement. They replaced the femural stem and she was in rehab in 3 days. Unfortunately the new hip slipped out of the socket twice and caused her a great deal of pain but finally the muscles got strong enough to hold the hip joint together. Now she walks without a limp and can do most anything she wishes with little discomfort.

Finally, and I do hope finally, the eye cancer. Amy has had a lot of serious illness in a short period of time and hope that she will catch a break now. She surely deserves one. Through it all she has maintained a positive attitude and done very little complaining.

I marvel at the progress made in medicine during my lifetime. When I was a child a broken hip in older people was pretty much a kiss of death. A diagnosis of lung cancer was definitely a death warrant. Now survival rates for all of those old maladies is pretty good. I wish more progress had been made for breast cancer but it too will improve. Even chemotherapy has improved and isn't as debilitating as it once was.

When I first started making chemotherapy agents about 20 years ago, some of the raw materials we used were so toxic that we had to wear moon suits to protect ourselves during production and all of the equipment we used had to be either disposed of or quarantined for future use on that product only.

If the progress in medicine continues at the pace it has during my career, cures for the most horrible diseases such as Ebola should be right around the corner. Of course we need to make the same kind of progress in the field of mental health that we have in physical health before we can breath a sigh of relief. Treatment ofAlzhiemers and other mental ilnesses have seen little progress over the years and it seems that the Psychiatry has gone backward.

For those who think health care in America is substandard, you are wrong. We have a great healthcare system, we are just impatient and have come to expect instant cures. I, for one would rather get sick now in America than I would at any other time in any other country.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mustang Update

Sometimes it is better to just let a sleeping dog lie. Because the Mustang I'm restoring is for my Daughter, I am trying to make it as perfect as I can. I managed to get a good paint job on it and I got all the interior components in good shape. The engine runs well and the drive train works as it is supposed to.

When I put the fenders and grill back on the car I tested the horn, lights and wipers. The Parking lights and side marker lights wouldn't work so I started investigating. While rummaging around under the dash, I noticed some frayed wires and some areas that looked like they had been burned. Being a devoted father and not wanting to turn a potentially dangerous car over to my Daughter, I removed the dash and went through the wiring with a fine toothed comb. There were in fact several wires that had burned so I repaired them and rewrapped the harness. Has anyone ever tried to stuff a wiring harness for a car with all the options back into it's original location. Don't bother, it won't fit. There ar at least 100 wires in the harness and I think they must have swollen over time.

I will eventually get it back together but it is frustrating that all the stuff that came out so easy won't go back just as easily. The whole thing reminds me of the proverbial blivet. Five pounds of crap packed in a 2 poung bag.


Friday, July 13, 2007


Sunday I have to take my wife back to Miami where she will undergo treatment for the cancer on her eye. We will be driving since airports are such a hassel and airline service is terrible. The last time we flew was to visit our daughter in Albany, NY. Our luggage got lost and we didin't receive it until we about to leave for home. I remember the good old days when flying anywhere was an event where you dressed up, and the whole family came to the airport to see you off.

The first time I ever flew was on a Pan American Clipper. It was actually a flying boat which made a lot of sense then because airports were few and far between. Taking off and landing on water is quite an experience. Flying at that time was an adventure.

As I look back at how things have changed in my lifetime, I think the 2 areas that have had the most impact on society are transportation and information technology. When I was young, it took about 14 hours to fly cross country now it takes about 4 hours. There was no such thing as a non stop flight across the US. The planes couldn't carry enough gas. I think that is why Kansas City, Dallas, Denver and several cities became large airline stops. They were strategically located to allow refueling stops. Even though I have flown all over the US, Europe and parts of Asia, I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to get from one place to another. One trip I took to Germany was routed directly over the North Pole. Think of how many people died trying to get there and what a big deal was made of it when Admiral Byrd did it.

Anyone who has given any thought to how we live today has to realize that for better or worse, the explosion in information technology made it possible. I well remember the party lines of yore and how there was always someone who tied the line up for hours on end. Now you don't even need a telephone line. Mobile phones are rapidly making land line phones obsolete. You can take your phone almost anywhereand make calls with very little impediment. If you want to be able to make a call from even the most isolated place, you can get a satillite phone. Just look at all you can do on a wireless telephone that were not even dreamt about when I was young. Text messaging, streaming video, internet connections, GPS tracking and the list goes on. Remember Dick Tracy and his 2 way wrist radio? That was unbelievable at the time but now with a device not much larger than a watch you can communicate worldwide.

All of these developments are not without cost. The calculator has changed how math is taught and how it is understood. Before the calculator, you had to know step by step how to solve an equation. Now you punch in some numbers and hit the function butto and there is the answer. How many people today understand how the answer to a math problem is determined?

I guess that the evoultion of the Internet has changed society more than any other bit of technology. Banking/ financial enterprises can now move funds around without the actual money ever moving. Where would we be if transactions still had to be conducted by mail? You could lose your entire fortune while waiting for a check to clear.

I can't help but wonder what the world will be like when my grandchildren are my age. Will people still have to work or will they haveelectronic devices to work for them? Will people still use a pen and paper, will people know how to spell or will a computer program do it for them.

A lot has changed in my 66 years and I think mostly for good. I will probably live to see some more life changing developements but at the rate things are changing now, in another 66 years the social structure will probably be unrecognizable to me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Professional Commentators- bleeeech

I don't normally watch Sunday talk shows because most of the content is so inane as to be childish. Today is one of those days when I did watch and on Fox there was a segment on the internet. The general premise was that the internet is making people stupid because it provides a conduit for ordinary people to express their views through blogs and sites like my space and U Tube. The bottom line was that professionsl reporters and commentators opinions are valid while the opinions of people like me and other bloggers are totally wrong and make people stupid.

Needless to say I disagree. I think my opinions are just as valid as any of the talking heads. They are my opinions and anyone who disagrees can do so which is not the case with the "professionals". My opinions are based on my life experiences which include serving in combat, raising a family, dealing with illnesses and deaths of family and friends, rising to upper management positions in the pharmaceutical industry, participating in competetive sports, and a miriade of other things that have shaped my opinions. I have been to all 50 states, lived in 15 states, and Puerto Rico, traveled in Europe and Asia and was one of very few Americans who went into China in 1968. I would hazzard a guess that the person who was postulating that bloggers opinions are stupid has done very few of the things I have done.

I really don't care what a blogger puts up on his/her site. If I disagree with what they post, I can comment, or if I find that I have no common ground with a blogger, I don't bother going to his/her site. Show me any "professional" commentator or reporter who has the courage to open him/herself up to anonymous commentors. The simply don't do it. They hide behind subscriptions or screens to protect themselves from the possible negative comments from the unwashed masses.

I, for one am sick of the talking heads who represent themselves as experts on everything. In the end the opinions of the "professionals" are no better than mine and in most instances the "professional" cannot draw on the 66 years of experience I have.

So. there, Mr. "Professional" commentator/editorialist/ reporter, blow it out your butt. Your high and mighty opinions are no more valid than anyone elses. Opinions are like ass holes. everybody has one.


Friday, July 06, 2007

From a Diamond to a Lump of Coal

I haven't been to Miami in quite a few years so when I went there to take my wife to a hospital specializing in eye care I was expecting to see at least a little of what it had been in my previous visits. Boy, was I surprised.

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel on Biscayne Blvd.. an area that used to be a "go to" place. Although the area still has a lot of the better hotels, they are completely surrounded by very seedy shops and very run down buildings. The streets are full of panhandlers, gang bangers and human flotsam. Every building has storm shutters that are pulled down during non business hours, not to protect them against storms, but to protect them against smash and grab robbers.

I needed to get gas so I went to the first gas station I could find, which was about 2 blocks from the hotel, and found that the gas transactions were conducted through a window made of thick bullet resistant glass or plastic. The area around the pumps was filled with men hanging around waiting for a gas customer to pull up and they would practically grab the gas nozzle out of your hand to pump your gas and then receive a tip. The smell of cheap booze and beer breath was palitable and overpowered the normal smell of gasoline. Naturally you had to pay before pumping but the attendant was so cowed by the vagrants he wouldn't even come to the window to make the transaction. Naturally there was no pay at the pump capability so you had to navigate your way through the derelicts to go to the window.

Fortunately I am a fairly large person who looks stronger than I really am so I was not hasseled by the very unhealthy looking gas pump hijackers. My wife was extremely apprehensive of me even getting out of the car and was p[robably was concerned about her own safety as well.

When it became apparent the station attendant was not going to conduct the transaction, I walked back to the car where one of the pump hijackers was holding the gas nozzle. I took the nozzle out of his hand, put it back on the pump and proceeded to get in the car. The hijacker said "hey man, don't you want gas?" . His breath would have killed the canary.

In the time we were in Miami, the only person I met who spoke unbroken english was the doctor. Everyone else spoke Spanish or Hatian French.

Next time I go to take my wife to the hospital, I will stay well north of Miami and make the drive into town in the traffic that closely resembles the chaos of Mexico City.

We should erect a fence 20 miles out from the Miami city limits and turn Miami over to Cuba. The Cubans own it anyway so it would be no loss to us.

I'm sure Cuba wouldn't welcome the gift of Miam since it is largely populated by people Castro shipped here from his prisons and asylums during the Mariel Boat Lift in the 70s while Jimmy Carter sat in the White House picking his nose.

Yes. I blame Jimmy Carter for the sad state of decay that is now Miami. Carter managed to take a diamond and turn it to a lump of coal.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Balls at Last, Balls at Last! Great God Almighty Balls at last

I was gratified that after President Bush read my previous post he immediately grew a set of big brass balls and commuted "Scooter's 2 1/2 year jail time.

He commuted the jail portion of Libby's sentence because he believes the sentence is excessive. How true! Fitzgerald should be the one with the jail sentence along with being disbarred for conspiring to create a criminal case where none existed He should lose his protection against being sued and Libby should sue him into bankruptsey. After suing Fitzgerald. Libby should turn his lawyers loose on Plame/Wilson and soak them for everthing they are worth or will ever be worth.

I heard thatin exchange for getting his sentence commuted, Libby has to change his name from Scooter to something more appropriate for a man of his age. When he called me and asked my opinion, I suggested TRUCK. It is much more grown up than Scooter,


Monday, July 02, 2007

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In general I don't get worked up over politicians and political staff people getting into trouble and having to serve time. I think Randy Cunningham got what he deserved and probably should have gotten a longer sentence than he did but at least he was punished for selling his political influence and general corruption. The Florida congressman who wrote E Mails to pages was at least disgraced and lost his Congressional seat for his actions. Richard Nixon had to live with his disgrace until he died. These are instances where the high and mighty get their comeuppance for their transgressions.

Today "Scooter" Libby was denied his freedom while his case is appealed. In my opinion this a grave injustice when one compares his his "crime" to that of Sandy Berger. Berger stole classified documents from the National Archives during the hearings of the 911 Commission where he was a witness. Not only did he steal the documents, he was caught doing it and after giving several lame excuses such as (I was pulling up my socks and the papers just jumped in) or (I had a hole in my pants and used the paper to keep my butt from showing). Obviously the scenarions I cited here are ficticious but his excuses were every bit as far fetched. Then on top of stealing Classified documents he hid them under a construction trailer.

Compare Berger's crimes to Libby's saying he didn't remember who told what to whom or when regarding the "outing" of Valarie Plame and in my opinion the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Libby gets a prison sentence and Berger gets a fine and some civic service.

On top of all of the above, the Special Prosecutor knew from the beginning who really "outed" Valarie Plame but chose to seat a grand jury at great expense to the government and then proceeded to conduct a witch hunt. There are several things about this case that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
1) Valarie Plame was not undercover as defined in CIA procedures and practices when she was "outed". By definition you can't "out" someone who is already "out".
2) As soon as Fitzgerald learnd who had actually "outed" Plame, the stated reason for his appointment was null.
3) Joe Wilson used the whole sordid affair to promote his own personal intrests and to make a great deal of money accusing the Administration of conspiring to "out" Plame for revenge.
4) Plame and Wilson scooped up a book deal about the whole "non- crime" and stand to make a lot of money.
5) Not only did Libby get a jail term and a large fine, his career is ruined.

Meanwhile back at the ranch. Berger voluntarily relinquishes his law liscense in order to avoid testifying in follow on investigations regarding the way the Clinton administration dealt with terrorist threats.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a great deal of regard for Libby. For that matter, I have little use for any 40- 50 year old man who allows himself to be called Scooter or Billy or Jimmy or any childhood name. I also don't care much for sycophants who hang around the fringes of power.

What irks me about this whole thing is the double standard. Berger in effect commits burgularly(sp) and gets a mild tap on the wrist and Libby forgets some unimportant detail about a non crime and gets hammered.

The whole double standard thing really gets my shorts in a wad. Clinton fires all of the Federal Prosecutors and not a word is said, Bush fires 8 or 9 and the entire Democratic party has conniptions. Go figure.