Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crabby Old Man

I received this in an email and thought I would share it with you.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? ......What do you see?
What are you thinking.... ..when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, ...not very wise,
Uncertain of habit ........with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food.......and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice....."I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice ...the things that you do.
And forever is losing .............. A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not...........lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding ...... The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,' re not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am .......... As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten.......with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters ..........who love one another
A young boy of sixteen ...with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now. ..........a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at twenty heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows........ that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now .......... I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . And a secure happy home.
A man of thirty ......... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ........ With ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons ....have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside see I don't mourn.
At fifty, once more, .......... Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children ......... My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me .......... My wife is now dead.

I look at the future ............ I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing ...young of their own.
And I think of the years...... And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man......... and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age .......look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles..........grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone........where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass ...... A young guy still dwells,
And now and again battered heart swells.
I remember the joys.............. I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and over again.
I think of the years ....all too few......gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact........ that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people and see..
Not a crabby old man. Look closer....see. .......ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.....we will all, one day, be there, too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The History of Aprons

Author Unknown

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ' old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

REMEMBER:Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lifesaving Bird Gets Award

Parrot gets award for warning about choking tot
Willie repeatedly yelled ‘Mama, baby’ and flapped wings to alert babysitter

Willie, a Quaker parrot in Denver, Colo., has been given a lifesaver award by the local Red Cross chapter.
This AWESOME little bird saved a life! He deserves the award and maybe a few extra crackers every day for the rest of his life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scott Savol - Upcoming Album and Tour!!!

I am so excited! My favorite American Idol contestant of all time, Scott Savol, has announced that he will have an album in stores on July 7th!! I'm saving my pennies, believe me! Plus he will be doing a series of concerts this spring and summer. The spring ones will be in Cleveland for the Cleveland Idol contest. Of the summer ones, only a few dates and locations have been announced so far. I'm really REALLY hoping he goes outside of Tennessee for this, as I don't know if I will have enough money to travel in late June. My daughter's getting married in Vegas at the end of May, so unless I decide to gamble (which I don't do, except on virtual pets sites and that's not real money) and win big, I probably won't have the funds for any travel for a couple of months. Maybe I will get lucky and he will come to St. Louis or even (dare I breathe the words?) do a concert in Kansas City.

Here's a part of the Urgency Records website and promotional information:

Scott is to begin his "Ordinary Man" Tour June 20, 2009 at the Rivergate
Mall in his hometown of Nashville, TN. This marks the beginning of a sixty city
tour to promote and showcase his debut album "Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Gift" which is scheduled to release in stores July 7th, 2009.

And if you want to hear a little bit from the album, click on this link:

LOVE IT!!!! I can't wait for more! I'm so proud of Scott and
excited that he will finally have an album out. If you like this sample, watch for more news and buy a copy when it comes out in July. YEAH!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bailout Boondoggle - for Cartoonists

Done any political cartoons? Here's a topic from the New York Times article that came out this morning (February 24, 2009, U.S. Pressed to Add Billions to Bailouts).

My idea involves an elderly gentleman (Uncle Sam in tatters) sitting on a park bench and tossing food to pigeons (the banks), squirrels (the automakers), and some other small animal to signify A.I.G., the insurance company - with labels on their little bodies to help those who don't figure out the symbolism. All the creatures are fat and greedy-looking and they are starting to get menacing, demanding more and more food from the little old man and even tearing at his clothes and hair in their greed. Somewhere in the background will be the states clamoring for crumbs.

It's too bad I can't think of a way to toss in images of children in the background (the children whose lunches he tossed to the creatures), to symbolize our futures being tossed away to feed the already bloated companies that have squandered their own funds are now are begging for even more money in the bailout boondoggle.

If this creates a good image in your mind's eye, think about drawing it and submitting it to the editorial section of your favorite newspaper. And send me a copy, please.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Circadian rhythms and sleep cycles

Now that the "bug" has departed, I am working to flip my sleep schedule upside down. I miss sleeping at night like most humans. I've been awake 15 hours so far and working at my computer, and so far I have survived. My previous attempts have ended in failure, but surely today will be the day I succeed. I can almost taste my victory...okay, it's just that lovely little Hershey Nugget that melted all over my tongue and dissolved into a pool of chocolatey ambrosia in my mouth. Already I want a nap, but I know that a 9-hour sleepfest would ensue if I go upstairs to catch 40 winks. I daren't allow myself even 10 winks until my work is done for the day. Zzzzzz....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Germs (continued)

Okay so let's call it a 96-hour bug. I still don't feel "right" and can't face the idea of eating anything except carbs - toast, applesauce, even some plain pringles (but those made me burp). Very weird.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Germs etc.

Turns out it was some kind of 24- to 48-hour bug. Kinda funny, really, because the day before that I had filled out a survey about health care and checked the box saying I never get a flu shot because I hardly ever get sick.

I was miserable last night. I had a fever that turned me bright red (that's what a creamy complexion gets you when you're sick), shakiness, a horrible headache, and let's not even talk about that pesky little lower GI problem. And now my sweetie's sick too. He's about 8 hours or so behind me in symptoms...and he missed his first day of work in 6.5 years! You've got to be pretty miserable for that.

Anyway I'm feeling a bit better now and I need to get to work. I'm behind on everything (that's what happens when you lose a whole day). I'll bring you up to date here when I can.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Angst and Malaise

Do you ever feel like running away? That's me today. Call it a brain short-circuit, if you will. Nothing I can say today would be worth your time to read it, so I'll refrain from posting until the steel wool in my brain goes away.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Moment of Silence

A moment of silence for Guido Carabajo, please, and a tear for another life unlived, another promise unfulfilled.

A Birthday, Then a Grisly End That Spanned 20 Miles

Elder Care and Big Brother

Sensors Help Keep the Elderly Safe, and at Home

My comments will follow in the next post.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Granddaughter update

I wish I had more to discuss today. This will be a short post (please hold all applause until after the conclusion of this message).

My granddaughter now has 7 (count 'em!) teeth - four on top and three on the bottom. According to my daughter's phone report today, there is also a 2-year molar waiting in the wings and ready to pop out prematurely. Of course I advised her that I want pictures. A grandma can never have enough pictures, in my opinion.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bailout Blathering

I have decided (for today at least) not to comment on the bailout, especially on those bailout sums already extended to (and misspent by) the banking industry. I may reconsider if I run out of things to talk about, but this particular topic gets me all hot under the collar (and we're not talking about hot flashes here!). My disgust for the avarice shown by some of those recipients borders on making slanderous comments alleging misappropriation of funds, greed, and thievery, and once I get started I am inclined to suggest all manner of medieval torture methods to first divest them of those ill-gotten gains and then divest them of various bodily parts. Tis best that I keep quiet for now, methinks.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Conversion to Digital TV

I found this in an AP article posted on Yahoo News. "In the U.S., most of the spectrum has been sold to wireless companies, reaping $19.6 billion for the Treasury. Some of the buyers plan to start using the airwaves this year — potentially giving the country a multiyear jump on advanced wireless services."

But the President's economic stimulus plan "is likely to contain $6 billion to $9 billion to help fund landline and wireless broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas. It also is likely to give tax incentives to encourage companies to invest in new or faster broadband networks," (this from another AP article at Yahoo Tech.

Jiminy Christmas! We'll be giving the money right back to those wireless companies if this provision is included in the stimulus plan. I realize it's important to extend options to rural areas and parts of the country that currently have limited or no access. But since the wireless companies are some of the FEW companies still registering healthy profits in this economic downturn (okay, let's be honest and call it a recession), I figure there should be a way to mandate their expansion of the infrastructure into those areas. After all, the people who ultimately will be paying for broadband and wireless services in those areas are the consumers of those services. Why should U.S. taxpayers foot the bill? Congress needs to find a way to require those companies to repay any funding obtained as part of the stimulus plan. Maybe they could have 5 or 10 years to do so, but it should be done.

Smiling Owl and other Cute Stuff

I dunno why I love this picture, but I do! It's from I try to go there every day to see the latest goofy kitty pictures. Its counterpart (also a site I visit every day if possible) is I also love the pictures and videos on I'm such a softie.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Delay in Digital TV conversion date

I am now convinced that President Obama reads my blog. Okay, maybe mine and a couple of hundred others...and he listens to his constituents and advisors who remind him that the elderly and low income populations may not yet be prepared for the transition. Although many stations intend to go ahead and stop broadcasting in analog on February 17 anyway, I'm glad he (and Congress) have listened.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Leapfrog's new "Baby BlackBerry"


Leapfrog unveils 'baby BlackBerry' for tots
By David Carnoy, CNET News

There's good news for parents who are tired of having their toddlers getting their grubby little paws on their BlackBerrys and other smartphones while they're not looking. Leapfrog has announced a product called the Text & Learn, or -- as it's sure to be known in the blogsphere -- the "baby BlackBerry."

Now kids can mimic their parents and send text messages and check their schedules at all hours of the day. The device, which is a bit bigger than your average BlackBerry, is geared toward preschoolers who are just learning to spell and includes games that focus on spelling and basic computer skills.

Virtual pal Scout is onboard to help; youngsters can exchange text messages with the little guy and check Scout's planner for meeting conflicts (OK, I'm kidding a bit there), and explore in a "pretend" browser mode. Other learning activities include letter matching, shape identification and QWERTY keyboard navigation.

The Text & Learn was unveiled at the U.K. Toy Fair this week and isn't supposed to be announced in the U.S. until next week, but we do know it will be available this summer and will cost $25. No, it doesn't have any sort of wireless capabilities (what did you expect for 25 bucks?), though it'd be scary if it did.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Can't believe my eyes!

Either my eyes are getting worse or all my text is now shrunken to teeny letter size. I'm wearing the same glasses I wore yesterday. What gives?

I'm Ready for Football!!!

I don't know about anyone else, but I am ready for the SuperBowl tomorrow. Not only do I have hotdogs and buns, relish and fixins, potato salad and pork 'n beans (and liquid refreshments) waiting for my couch-potato hours in front of the big screen TV, but I even bought a new set of multiple crochet hooks (8 of them!!) that will see me through most any football game.

I already have a big collection of straight and circular knitting needles of all sizes, but those crochet hooks come in handy for weaving in the loose ends of my creations. Now I'm teaching myself to crochet. I have turned out some beautiful little hats already. My method is rather like Michelangelo's sculpting method - he would look at the huge chunk of marble and chip away everything that wasn't the statue. I had no idea what stitches I was making, but I made some very cute little flippy-brim hats with crocheted flowers on them. Here's one of them - see?

Then my daughter wanted an aviator-style hat for my granddaughter. Take a look at the result:

I love knitting and have made some cute things for my granddaughter (unfortunately I took so long to make them that they were too small for her by the time she received them). But they are cute - take a look:

I felt like showing off and was going to post other pics from my computer, but I couldn't find them (of course). I guess I will have to save those for another day. Aren't you lucky?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Freezing death of elderly man

From an AP article I found on Yahoo news today (1/28/2009) at

This article sparked anger all right, then tears, and then bitterness and cynicism over the idiocy of a utility company that could even THINK about shutting off someone's power without an in-person check first. Yes the neighbors should have spoken up and need to keep an eye on one another, but the biggest responsibility lies with the bureaucratic staff at that utility company. "Oh no, that's not my job," they would probably say. BULLPUCKEY is my response. It's everyone's job. What a horrible shame. And they should be ashamed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Freezing death of Mich. man in house sparks anger

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press Writer David Eggert, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jan 28, 6:58 pm ET

BAY CITY, Mich. – When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur's house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

He froze to death — slowly and painfully, authorities say — days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills.

The old man's sad end two weeks ago has led to outrage, soul-searching and a resolve never to let something like this happen again.

"There's got to be a way in today's computer age they can find out if someone's over a certain age," said Chad Sepos, 37, a copy machine installer who lives a block away in this Lake Huron city of 34,000 people, about 90 miles from Detroit. "It's just sad."

One of the saddest things of all was that Schur appeared to have plenty of money, and, in fact, one of the neighbors who entered the home reported seeing cash clipped to a pile of bills on the kitchen table. Schur's nephew suggested the old man's mind may have been slipping.

Schur, or "Mutts," was a retired foundry worker who lived alone, his wife having died a couple of years ago. The couple had no children. He could often be seen through the big front window of his comfortably furnished home of 50 or 60 years, watching TV or keeping an eye on his neighborhood.

On Jan. 13, a worker with the city-owned utility installed a "limiter" on Schur's electric meter after four months of unpaid bills. The device restricts power and blows like a fuse if usage rises past a set level. Electricity is not restored until the device is flipped back on by the homeowner, who must walk outside to the meter.

Bay City Electric Light & Power did not contact Schur face-to-face to notify him of the device and explain how it works, instead following its usual policy by leaving a note on the door. But neighbors said Schur rarely, if ever, left the house in the cold.

At some point, the device evidently tripped and was not reset, authorities said. Schur's home was heated by a gas furnace, not electricity, but some gas furnaces do not work properly if the power is out.

Neighbors discovered Schur's body on Jan. 17 in his home, a yellow house with peeling paint. The outside temperature ranged from a high of 12 degrees to a low of minus 9 on Jan. 15, the day he was believed to have died. A heating pad was on his favorite armchair by the window. The oven door was open, perhaps to heat the place.
"The body has a tremendous fighting power for survival. He died a slow, painful death," said Dr. Kanu Virani, who found frostbite on Schur's foot when performing the autopsy. Investigators are trying to establish how long he was without electricity.

City officials are reviewing their procedures and in the meantime have suspended shutoffs and removed all limiters from homes after using the devices for 18 years.

The medical examiner is looking into whether Schur suffered from dementia, particularly after police found enough cash lying around in the home to cover his bills. His nephew William Walworth said Schur told him two years ago he had $600,000 in savings.

"It's definitely not a situation where money is an issue. The issue has to do with the mental faculties you have and your ability to make good decisions," said Walworth, 67, who lives in Ormond Beach, Fla.

"I think the utility's policies are horrible and insane," he added. "For 50 years he paid the bill on a regular basis and never had problems. If people would know who their customers are and take concern for their customers, maybe they'd go knock on the door and see if everything is OK."

Neighbors and others have posted messages on the Internet, complaining it was a shabby way to treat a veteran and demanding city employees be fired or prosecuted for not taking a few minutes to check on Schur, who was a medic in the South Pacific and earned a Purple Heart.

One blogger noted that even a pet owner who leaves his dog outside to freeze can face charges.
Sharon Gire, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, said Schur's death was preventable. "He was one of Michigan's most vulnerable citizens in need," she said. "It is a tragedy that he had to suffer such a painful death."

Michigan's big, state-regulated utilities are not allowed to shut off power to senior citizens in the winter and must offer payment plans to the poor. State regulators also discourage the use of limiters. But Michigan's 41 smaller municipal utilities — Bay City's included — are not overseen by the state.

Schur's death has prompted Michigan lawmakers to start writing legislation that could ban the use of limiters by municipal utilities.

"The concern was particularly with elderly customers; they can be frail or confused," Public Service Commission spokeswoman Judy Palnau said. "Anything that can require some sort of mechanical intervention can be overwhelming."

Bay City Manager Robert Belleman said that he was "deeply saddened" by Schur's death and that State Police will investigate. But he also said neighbors have a responsibility to each other.

"I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To all Pets and their Owners

I got this in an email and LOVED it so I am posting it here.

To all Pets and their Owners

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator
door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm..

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, and try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it 'fur'nature.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called (well, OK, the cat thinks about it)
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a 'gazillion' dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Playing with Flash

Digital TV conversion may be delayed

The Senate has passed a bill to delay the switch to digital TV by four months. I just saw the article on Here's a link if you haven't read it.

That doesn't mean that this is official. The House would still need to pass it and Obama would need to sign off. Don't get excited yet.
Delaying the upcoming DTV switch is the right thing to do," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., author of the bill to push back the deadline.
Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal policy at Consumers Union, argues that millions of Americans — particularly low-income and elderly viewers — will pay the price because "the government has failed to deliver the converter boxes these people deserve just to keep watching free, over-the-air broadcast signals."

When Congress made the decision to require the switch from analog to digital signals in 2005, where were we? How did they pass this through without anyone taking notice? It was a blatant act of service on behalf of commercial wireless services (translation - the people who suck money out of your wallets). Those "valuable chunks of wireless spectrum" are being yanked away from the elderly and low income viewers who, isolated from society due to infirmity or circumstance, rely on broadcast TV for news, entertainment, and a sense of belonging to a world from which they have become increasingly marginalized.

My bet is that Congress was sold a bill of goods. The article also states that some of those "valuable chunks of wireless spectrum" would be used for interoperable emergency-response networks. Tack on the "public welfare" perspective and you can sell the idea! It almost makes all the billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers are coughing up to subsidize the converter box coupon fiasco worthwhile, right? What exactly is an interoperable emergency-response network? How much bandwidth would it REALLY require? In the meantime, our hard-earned money is being used to pay for the converter boxes and for all the administrative costs that go along with the switch.

Who are the largest beneficiaries of this ill-conceived plan? The wireless companies - yup, those folks to whom you are probably paying $60 a month for a $40 wireless phone plan (plus taxes and fees, of course). Don't forget the companies that make and sell those lovely converter boxes. They're making a profit, you better believe it.

True, some "public safety agencies waiting for the airwaves that will be vacated" will be inconvenienced. And true, a delay would "create added costs for television stations that would have to continue broadcasting both analog and digital signals.

A delay until June would be beneficial IF the time is well spent. The coupon distribution process needs to be monitored. Reselling the coupons should be prevented (yes, profiteers are thinking of ways to make something from nothing - why are you surprised?). And the marginalized populations that need those coupons the most should be targeted to ensure that those needs are served.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birth of a Blog

Today my first public blog was born. It wasn't much to speak of, but it's open and public and naked for the world to see. Here goes!