Thursday, January 28, 2021

Stopped in my tracks with a big reality check

A couple days ago I posted a (rather silly) blog comparing my 7 year old self’s delusions about Batman to today’s Qanon.  Just poking fun at myself (and them), I was trying to look at current events a little light-heartedly. 

Anyway—it was shortly after I posted my bat-blog that I got some bad news which prompted me to take it back down.  A former coworker who has been more like a big brother to me over the years (his name is Steve, I’ve written about him here) is sick with covid, enough to be taken to the hospital.  What made it even worse, his wife Cindy is sick with Covid too. 

I’m positive they’ll pull through, I suppose what made it so worrisome was that another former coworker, Ed Mills, had just retired in December—then got covid and died from it in a matter of days.  He was 64 and hadn’t been retired a whole month.  We weren’t friends, but that makes no difference.

A little later on I learned we lost 2 residents in my building.  Joe (who lived in a studio apartment on my floor) passed the night before; he was a small trim man and only 66 years old.  He liked to talk about his 40 years as a cable guy (whew the stories!) and that he had bad feet now, but a good pension.  I wouldn’t say we were friends, but when you see & talk to someone a couple times a week…

And Betty, who suffered a stroke on Inauguration Day (and laid on the floor by her bed the entire day before anyone suspected something was wrong).  She hasn’t died (yet) but her family cleared out her apartment this past weekend.  

I’ve written about her before on my blog, we did NOT get along; she was a very outspoken Trumper who questioned my heterosexuality because I never married and liked to cook and didn’t watch football.  I’ll say one thing for Betty, she changed any preconceived notions I had of how 80-something people are supposed to think or act.

Little old lady my foot, she was more like a little old land-mine.  Oh Betty… I don’t know what to say.

Anyway, things just got very heavy on Tuesday, and it all seemed to come at once. 

The good news is, Steve & Cindy are back home recuperating.  Maybe I’ll put Tuesday’s Batman blog back up when no one is looking, and hope for more good news soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hmm…. I think I can share this crazy little Bat-story now

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, or grew up with me as a friend or member of my family…  you would know I once had a big thing for Batman.

Lots of kids did, and still do.  Boys & girls both.  There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.  Well… usually nothing.

Wayyy back in the mid-1960s, when we still lived in town, there was one year when I walked home alone from school.  When I was in 2nd grade at North Ward Elementary, my older brother went to South and our younger sister went to kindergarten at East Franklin. 

I would go thru Waynesburg College Park on my way home (to stare at the college girls and hippies) then down High Street, turn right at the police station on Morgan to head down towards Greene and our town’s volunteer fire station.

Once, a friend of my mom’s drove past and saw me skipping down Morgan past the “Wagon Wheel”, a pretty shady saloon.  When I got home, Mom had a fit.  She let me know in no uncertain terms she didn’t want me walking that way home again.  Okay, no problem.

(By the way, that was a pretty long walk from North Ward to our house on Cumberland; I can’t imagine second graders walking home alone from school that far now…  I don’t even think it’s legal!)

Anyway, one day in school some of us were told we’d won ribbons for our submissions at the annual Bowlby Library Art Show.  We were sent there to collect them and our artwork, and go straight home.  I can remember plain as day what mine was; a (pretty large) watercolor rendition of ‘The Marriage of Batman & Batgirl’. 

On my way home, carrying that painting in front of me like a tray, two college guys came over to see what I was walking with.  When I showed it to them, one of them joked he recently met a girl who looked just like the one in my painting at the Wagon Wheel. 

Wha wha wha….??  I remember this all too well, because I almost had a 7 year old heart attack.

Now you know kids at that age are crazier than they let on.  When the live action show ‘Batman’ first aired on tv, I asked my dad if he wondered if Batman & Robin were real, and he told me I knew better than to ask. 

Well, I couildn’t help but wonder myself; they certainly looked real enough on tv. 

So when I heard about this supposed Batgirl sighting at the Wagon Wheel, I knew I had to see for myself.  I began walking home past that rickety saloon again, but would linger in front for awhile, and pretend I dropped or lost something or had to tie my shoe. 

Now it’s called Waynesburg Hotel & Lounge, but 50 years ago this decrepit place was the Wagon Wheel.  Trust me, it looked even worse then

And then one night I had a dream that I was in front of the Wagon Wheel, and a black limousine pulled up and a woman in a skin-tight costume got out; at first I thought she was Batgirl but it was Catwoman. 

She saw me watching and yelled “Grab that kid!”  

I woke up petrified with fright that one day I’d be punished for not listening to my mom and get kidnapped by some lady who thought she was Catwoman.  I never walked past the Wagon Wheel saloon again. 

(And the following year, my sister Shawn went to North Ward Elementary with me so I knew my Batgirl spotting days were over.)

I thought I’d share this cuckoo memory, because I was just watching yet another news story about those Qanon believers in disarray.  They really thought that once Joe Biden stood to take his oath as President, he and Kamala would be rushed, possibly executed, and their glorious leader Donald Trump would come out of the shadows to reclaim his rightful place as President again.  

They are FINALLY accepting the fact they might’ve been duped.

I know just how those Qanon feel, because I never saw Batgirl (in her costume or regular street clothes) come out of the Wagon Wheel Saloon either.

Of course, I was seven years old when that crazy logic was rolling around in my head.  What’s their excuse?

Friday, January 22, 2021

All together now…

It’s not just me… it’s not just the Democrats in this country.  It’s the people in Canada and the UK, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, the world over.  They are all breathing a collective sigh of relief that somehow a fallen United States has managed to right ourselves and set our sights once again on the path of truth, justice & yep, the American way.  

I know that sounds corny, but when you consider the fact that our precarious government was set to topple just a couple weeks ago… the mind bloggles.

Last night I saw the above photo of President Biden on BBC News, and I’m not sure what came over me but I had to wipe my eyes.  They sure don’t come any more truthful or decent than him.  He’s a kind, unselfish man who came out of retirement for one reason, to help save our democracy.  Man, I love Joe. 

My friend Danielle volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2012, and got to meet Jill Biden.  (Or rather, Dr. Biden… ahem!)  I was envious then, and I think I’m feeling a little bit of that jealousy again now. 

I have big hopes for Kamala too.  As much as I was stirred by Lady Gaga’s powerful rendition of our National Anthem, watching Kamala Harris beam on Inauguration Day gave me real goosebumps.  What a terrific team she & Joe Biden are. 

I know I’m gushing a little too much here, but I can’t help it.  These past 4 years haven’t been good ones for tens of millions, myself included.  Besides dealing with kidney disease and chronic jaw dysfunction, having to worry daily that Donald Trump and his GOP cohorts were doing everything in their power to strip me and millions of other Americans of our healthcare thru the destruction of the Affordable Care Act…  I think the stress was literally killing me. 

(And of course the child separation policy at the border, the Muslim & transgender bans, those awful tax cuts for the very wealthy, a thousand other things—and that dumb wall.)

But I didn’t get on here to talk about what was.  I just want to bask in this week’s ‘changing of the guard’ for a couple more days, keep my fingers crossed that this recent TMJD flare-up is just that (a flare-up) and then cross my fingers again and hope that more of us--Republicans, Conservatives, Trumpers, Qanon, Evangelicals, Fox Newshounds, Blue Meanies (and you too, Libertarians) can move on while Joe & Kamala gets done what needs done. 

Whew!  Thanks, I just needed to get that out of my system.  Nerd smile



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Losing my teeth and dealing with a touch of ageism, all rolled into one

Darn it, I’m a little down, a little worried.  A couple days ago I was eating a tuna sandwich, when the crown on my third molar on the bottom left broke and came off.  (That’s the one with the big red X.)

When I went to get it re-cemented, my new dentist told me she couldn’t do that; the tooth beneath was fractured in several places and would have to come out.  That’s what happened to the second molar on that side in 2010, and to the FIRST molar on that side in 1990. 

Just one month ago was my first teeth cleaning since 2017—I hated not being able to go to the dentist for 3 years, but it’s taken that long to recover enough from TMJD to get my jaw opening wide enough again.  Anyway, in those 3 years my dentist of 25 years had retired and his former office only does x-rays & cleanings now. 

So when my crown broke, I was tasked with finding a new dentist, pronto.

I lucked out and found a dentist who is new to my neighborhood, across from the library.  I have to admit, when I saw her photo and read her bio, I was hesitant.  She’s tall, slender, blonde and married with 3 blonde daughters, all under the age of 12.  She’s as waspy as they come.

There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but my former dentist was an older gentleman, gay as he was Jewish.  He could be quite dramatic and we got along like bread & butter.

It turns out Dr. Shannon is as kind as she is smart.  In fact, she radiates such good vibes that I liked her 30 seconds after meeting her. 

I just didn’t like the news she delivered, that my LAST tooth on the bottom left has to be pulled.  The partial denture I’ve worn for 10 years was molded to attach precisely onto that tooth.  It cannot be altered, so it feels more like I’ve lost 3 teeth.  

Here’s my partial, now rendered useless.  This cost me $750 ten years ago!

She wrote a referral to have an oral surgeon pull it and implant a ‘locator’, a brassy knob where a new partial can be anchored.

But I KNOW the oral surgeon I’m being sent to, and he’s going to tell me I don’t have the bone mass for a locator, let alone a $4,000.00 tooth implant.

(I visited him 5-6 years ago to see about getting a couple of implants and was told I wasn’t a good candidate.)

Dr. Shannon “polished down” the jagged remnant to be level with my gumline, so now it’s like I don’t have any teeth there already.  It’s difficult to chew on that side now, my bite is really lopsided.

It’s also embarrassing.  I’ve always brushed regularly, gargled with Listerine (or Natural Dentist) mouthwash daily.  But I did smoke for years before quitting in 2008, and smokers are 3-5 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers. 

Anyway…. I’m putting off that oral surgeon for a few days, until Joe & Kamala’s inauguration is over! 

Gee I never got around to the ageism thing.  When I arrived at Dr. Shannon’s office, there was a sign on the door saying I couldn’t enter because of the pandemic; I’d have to call the number provided and the receptionist would let me in.

I stood there, unsure what to do as I currently don’t have a cellphone.  The door suddenly opened and the receptionist welcomed me in.  I apologized for being unable to call from outside.

She said “That’s okay sir, when I saw you out here I guessed you might be confused or didn’t have a phone.  A lot of our older patients don’t.”   

Older patient??  My hair’s mostly gray now but I’m still a whippersnapper!  Still, she looked around 20 so…. you know.

After I hung my coat, she handed me a tablet to enter my patient information, and asked if I’d ever used an ipad before.  When I said no, she patted my wrist and said “Well don’t worry, they’re very simple” and proceeded to show me how to dab or swipe a touch screen.  I didn’t say a word.

It’s true I’ve never owned or used an ipad, but I’ve been going to bed with a sexy Android tablet for a few years now, and I suspect they work pretty much the same!


Saturday, January 9, 2021

A horse—rather, a house of a different color: It’s a pretty scary thing

I don’t have much to say about it.  It seems the more I learn, the less I want to know.  Yesterday (Friday) around noon, tired of the same talking heads and the same footage of rioters hanging off the same walls surrounding our nation’s capitol, I turned off my tv, snapped on my computer and looked on Youtube for a little lighter fare. 

(I suppose that’s the 21st century way of sticking one’s head in the sand.)

I saw my favorite political satirist (Randy Rainbow, a pretty outrageous comedian) had posted a new Trump video; I watched it, had a good laugh and decided to share it here on my blog.  And an hour later, watched in disbelief as MSNBC showed us what went on INSIDE the capitol the day of that attempted coup.  I took Randy’s video back down, as there wasn’t anything here to laugh about.   (I’m going to put it back up though after I post this; one of my resolutions for 2018 was to stop deleting posts.)

I feel like a fool, but when you don’t belong to any social media sites like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook… I had no idea Wednesday’s attempt to OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT had been in the works for weeks.  It shouldn’t make a difference, but I honestly believed that had been a “spur of the moment thing”, an angry mob incited by Trump to riot.  How could I have been so naive, so stupid?

(Not as stupid as his crowd, though.  Lucky for us, they had all the precision of Fred Flintstone’s sundial wrist-watch.  Still, there is strength in numbers.)  But 5 dead, while a pandemic killed 4,000 that same day.  It’s both surreal and postively weird that both numbers are shocking.

What’s also shocking—last night as I readied for bed, listening to the news while I brushed my teeth, Brian Williams reported that even after the events that have transpired in the past 2 weeks, 77% of the people in this country who consider themselves Republican STILL approve of Donald Trump.

I don’t get it, I know now I never will.  I think instead I’ll just be thankful for the friends I have that see Trump for the monster he is, and do my best to steer clear of the more than 3 out of 4 “Conservatives” who see Trump as their leader.  They may not all be fascists, but he sure is.

And after seeing that noose on the Capitol building waiting for Mike Pence, I’m going to stop being so darn proud of having no religion and start praying for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris’ safety instead.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Here, in the year of our Lord 2021… how shall I continue to write my blog?

It’s hard to believe, but I am starting my 16th year of this blog.  For many of those years I wrote for myself only, as I didn’t have an audience.  I knew some of my blogs were too long, or childish—what did I care?  I was happily surprised if I got 2-3 visits total in as many days.

Eventually I got tired of hearing myself talk and began looking for blogs similar to my own.  Personal blogs that didn’t focus on model airplanes or 1960’s television or early retirement, just people like myself, sharing their lives. 

I was fortunate to find several I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s been great getting to know these kindred souls.

But I can’t deny that as I’ve gotten more attention here, it’s had an impact on what I share (or how I share it).  For example, the other week I was watching the news (ABC News, hope that’s real enough) and there was a segment on Donald Trump’s latest effort to overturn the election, which got me fired up enough to come on here and share some of MY feelings about him, before he rides off into the sunset. 

Then I worried I’d offend one or two Conservatives that visit my blog, so I wrote about a childhood bully instead (and uitimately how the two relate). 

I was able to get some of my feelings out, but I definitely stifled the dingbat in me.  (Darn it, I don’t like to stifle my dingbat!)

More & more lately I’m questioning everything I share; I saw an old tv-movie a couple nights ago that surprised me and I wanted to write about it here.  Am I going to bore people to tears if I do?  I’m guessing probably.  I’ve started it—stopped it—started it 2-3 times already.  What to do, what to do…

This reminds me of something that occurred a year or so ago, when I saw a young woman in my apartment building’s lobby in her underwear.  (I wrote about it here.)  A friend of mine saw my blog about it and accused me of sounding more & more like a grumpy old man; I made myself a promise to write “younger”. 

And then the next couple weeks I wound up feeling stymied.   Darn it, grumpy old man or middle aged nerd, I gotta be me.

Trump, Pence, McConnell, Trump… Cruz, Trump, Flynn, Trump… TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP!!!

NOW I feel better! 

I always assumed people that visited here more than once or twice knew who I was: a single man nearing 60, a moderate manic Democrat with liberal leanings, an agnostic with a flair for the dramatic!

And (until Trump came along) believed I could get along with just about anyone.  I know now that’s not the case. 

I just want to share my feelings on here without having to listen or provide a soapbox for people who’s political beliefs differ from my own.  Everything else… great!

Do you really believe alien beings are coming to swoop you off planet Earth with the next comet?  Fascinating, tell me more!  

Do you honestly think the human female form is a higher step in the evolutionary process and human males are still Cro-Magnon?  I’m beginning to think so too! 

Are you really a Trump supporter after all the diabolical crap he & the GOP have pulled these past 4 years?  Amazing, now go away.

Where was I going with all this?  I’m not even sure anymore.  I guess I’m just posting a disclaimer that topics here in 2021 may be anti-Trump, mental and/or boring.  As Sammy Davis Jr sings below… you know!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Shopping on Ebay: Looks like I’ll be spending New Year’s Day with Bob & his gang

A lifetime ago when we only had 3 or 4 channels on TV, I lived for Saturday nights on CBS.  All in the Family & MASH from 8-9pm, Mary Tyler Moore at 9, The Bob Newhart Show at 9:30.  Oh and The Carol Burnett Show at 10pm, that was my sister Shawn’s favorite.

Often, my mom would send me upstairs to tell my older brother Duke his favorite show was about to start.  I’d knock on his bedroom door, the clacking of his typewriter would stop.  I’d yell thru the wood “Duke, All in the Family is about to start…”  He’d bark back “I’m busy!  I have to finish writing my novel or I’ll never become a celebrated author and get the hell out of this rural sh-thole!” 

I’d yell back “But tonight’s the episode where Archie meets Mike’s study partner who’s a liberal AND a homosexual!  You missed it the first time ‘round!”  He’d yell “Oh!  Alright, I’m coming!”

My favorite was Mary Tyler Moore (who I loved and still do) but when I grew up I wanted to be Bob Newhart more than anything.  Well, his character Bob Hartley.  Live in a big city, work in an office downtown and come home to my modern high-rise apartment and sexy as heck wife Suzanne Pleshette. 

Well, I didn’t get Suzanne but I DID wind up moving to the city and working in some nice offices downtown for 30 years… and I’m typing this from my high-rise apartment!

  • What’s in the box:  All 6 seasons from 1972-1978, a bonus disc containing the unaired pilot, a ‘Making Of’ documentary, a blooper reel and two anniversary specials.  25 DVDs total.
  • Did you know:  Do you remember how primetime tv shows had a ‘Christmas episode’?  The Bob Newhart Show had one for each of it’s six seasons.
  • Anything else?  Yes, a surprisingly nice book on the history of the show
  • Price: $43.18 (the “Buy it Now” price which included shipping)
  • Bought at:
  • Who should I thank:  Shout Factory, who produced the set and I suppose my sister Shawn too, who inspired me to look on Ebay.  A few weeks ago she asked if I still had an active Ebay account, there was a rare Helen Reddy CD she wanted but didn’t want to reactivate her account.  (I said I was sorry, closed my own account years prior.  Her daughter-in-law Jessica purchased the CD.)  But it made me think, I’ve had this Bob Newhart boxed-set in my Amazon cart for 5-6 months, waiting for the price to drop.  I looked on Ebay and sure enough, a seller had 3 of these (factory sealed) at less than HALF of Amazon’s price!

Well, I hope everyone out there has a Happy, Healthy New Year and a much better year ahead.  As for me, I’ll be spending the day in my robe, on my couch watching Bob here in his robe, on his couch.  I’ll probably be wearing the same expression too, knowing we have 20 more days of you-know-who!