Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Recurrent Pet Peeve

When I wear the higher grade of foul weather jacket, I am usually in some place where I have one thing in mind besides being cool. That thing is being seen should I lose consciousness, lose my boat, or find myself otherwise in deep nautical shit.

Despite a culture which values SUVs that never go off road, and expedition pants for people who never take expeditions except to the mall, I do think that a critical mass of people who buy such things as foul weather gear share my concern. We like colours not seen in nature, thank you very much.

Last Sunday, the Globe reviewed foul weather gear and I went in pursuit, shortening the list to the North Face and EMS candidates.

EMS, I'm sorry to day, thinks the best colour choices are black, navy and dark green...just the thing to wear floating in an angry ocean. The North Face has something cutely called "yam," which resembles an orange slickah that's been around too many fish guts and diesel fuel. It's the closest thing I can see to a safe colour in apparel which should at least help to keep one safe.

In foul weather gear, I think it's time yellow became the new black. Geez.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The moment has arrived

I've been hanging onto these images, waiting for the right moment. It has come.

Note to Bobby: Al Franken retired as a comedian before becoming a politician. You should retire as a politician before trying to become a comedian.

But as they say, don't quit your day job.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dept Plus ca Change

I'm reading--this time on Yahoo--the headline "Get a job in the booming healthcare field!" This comes after having heard much the same line from a number of pundits over the last couple of weeks.

I have a job in the booming healthcare field. It's sort of like the last job I had in the booming IT field five or six years ago. I have it now, but we'll see what happens next quarter.

Everywhere, hospitals, practices and other health care providers are sinking into a sea of red ink because we've reached the magic moment: people are dying because they cannot afford health care, often even when they have insurance. People who should have elective surgery aren't having it. People who should get treated for life-threatening conditions aren't being treated.

People who manage the "booming healthcare field" can hardly talk about anything but the sudden and astonishing meltdown of revenues: and it has just begun. All this is in addition to the uncomfortable little fact that you just don't walk up to the hospital door and get a job, unless it be sweeping floors. You have to know something, and you have to lay out some money to learn it.

Years ago, when I was an actual working historian (for just over minimum wage) a co-worker passed around a matchbook that got a laugh from us all. It read "earn big money! Become a historian." So here I am again.

What I wonder about the pundits and puff-piece journalists is what are they smoking? I want some.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Maybe I just never noticed

So far, the one downside to my new gym is the frequency with which Fox News shows up on their TVs.

I suppose it shows my biases, but I have never voluntarily watched Fox News. And perhaps when the sun was on their side of the hedge things were different.

All I have to say now is geez! What a bunch of mewling, whining, pessimistic crybabies!
There you have it: the pathetic aftermath of the conservative generation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well, that sucks

A couple of weeks on Zantac may tell the tale, but it seems I have a peptic ulcer. I had one 20 years ago and remember the symptoms and the medical indignities all too well. This is called getting the short straw: After three months post-op eating Advil like M&Ms, something like this was bound to catch up with me.

At least the procedures will be one way of getting a day or two off, and fortunately I have a professional interest in what's being done to me.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cabin Fevah

February really is the time that tries the soul. It is the start of four to six weeks, in the up country, when one just clamps down and does one's best to avoid suicide, homicide, or any other 'cide you care to mention. Because you have just about fucking had it.

Two recollections. When I was a high school junior, we had to read Ethan Frome. The experience was lost on us. All of the characters' angst was, for us up there, just slice of life. What, hate each other? What, kill one another? Big frickin' deal! A point comes when one is just a machine for clearing snow and slogging though schmucky roadside crud to get to school.

The chief benefit is that one appreciates the first hints of spring so much more when they come.

The other was that of my daughter. When she went to college in upstate NY, her first two winters there were unusually mild. She was almost disappointed, and sure that everything she'd heard was a lie.

Then came the third winter. As she described things, it rarely snowed very much, but it snowed all the time. Four inches this night, six the night after, then another six, and so on: and it never, ever melted.

When she told me this, I nodded and thought: see?

It just went downhill from there. We went to the kid's final state championship swim meet in Rochester the year after that. While we were there (this was late February) we saw a weather report that said it was the 48th straight day in which it had snowed for some part of the day or night...and then, in spite of this, my daughter went to Rochester for her graduate studies: Yankee girl, meet lake effect snow.

Under those conditions, it becomes easy to think of prolonged sunlight as a freak cosmic accident...something like a solar eclipse, where people gather to look up at this rare phenomenon.

Small wonder the beer in upstate NY is pretty good: they sure as hell need it.