Friday, September 12, 2014

Pour It On! AGAIN!

The pouring of ice water in the Ice Water Challenge may seem a little stupid, but it went viral. It accomplished the goal of raising the awareness of ALS. Its one thing to get in on the fun and challenge, but if you didn’t follow through with a donation, then it is a wonderful cause stiffed by pop-culture. It would be nice if we perhaps had another challenge for Alzheimer's. It too is a nasty incurable disease.

ALS and Alzheimer’s are a wicked ways to end one a life. I guess the saving grace is that in Alzheimers, the victim doesn’t know what’s going on. I often wonder what is going on in their mind when they don’t recognize family and friends and just sit and stare. It is the family and friends who see this degenerate state. They mourn the loss.

My father-in- law died in a nursing home of the disease. I know Healthcare center is a more politically correct term used by relatives feel better, and relieve their own guilt. Whatever you call it, it is a warehouse for the old and infirmed and very much needed. The experience is often harder on the family than the patient, particularly, an Alzheimer’s patient.

On one visit I made both my sons go to experience what tragedy this disease can do to a human being, their grandpa. Bud didn’t recognize us and peed his pants, and what he did say didn’t made much sense. How degrading. Before he had to be committed to the nursing home, the signs emerged daily, each day going faster down hill. Later my mother-in-law admitted she waited too long to make that awful necessary decision to send him where he would get the care he needed. I know that feeling. I saw it in my dad when we had to re-admit my mom to a nursing home. My mom did not have Alzheimer’s yet, but she had a lot of dementia.

With Alzheimer’s, sometimes it is the funny things they do that makes us laugh and get through this sad event of the human experience. One time Bud was about to walk out the door, he had on his shirt, tie, hat, shoes and socks. Unfortunately, he forgot to put on his pants. Luckily my mother-in-law caught him before he got out.

When my father died, our mom sat across the visitation room pretty far away from where my father rested. She was greeted by family and friends through out the visitation. When we got home, she plopped herself in her chair and said, "What a good time I had", virtually oblivious to why she was there. At the nursing home she would always say that my dad was having an affair with a rather large black caregiver. She also wrote us boys a note that my father found. When my brother and I were in Marion, he pulled the note from his ratty old bathrobe and asked how we would feel if we got this note. The note,” Dear boys.Your father and I are getting divorced and I am moving to Arkansas. I’ll be in touch.” My brother and I laughed, but he certainly didn’t find any humor in it.

Sadly, Bud and my mother’s Alzheimer’s stories are not the end of tragedy of Alzheimer’s in our family. My brother-in-law, Larry, has Alzheimer's. He was committed to a facility about four years ago. He is now totally bedridden and virtually comatose. I didn’t live around him, so I only saw him every year or so. The time I remember most was when I noticed there might be something wrong. It didn’t register with me time, it is only in retrospect that I remember this because of course we didn’t know what was coming. We were playing golf. We had all teed off and waited for him. He was just standing there staring. Finally he slowly walk to his bag a pulled out his club. We didn’t really notice because Larry always moved a little slow, but there was something about this time that caused me to store it in my memory bank.

During all this time his wife visits he him virtually every day. How hard is that on her? We cannot judge unless we have been there.

Larry weighed 300 lbs, give or take, much of his life. His current weight is 114 lbs. We all wonder why God has not taken him. Perhaps it is not right to pray for someone’s death, but in this case we wonder what God is waiting for.

So pour a bucket of cold water on yourself and contribute to this dreadful life sucking disease,

Peace be you, Larry.


Thursday, September 11, 2014


September 11, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy. It was a day that will never be forgotten. America was attacked on its own soil. What was that day like for me?

I looked out from my covers to be greeted by a sunny fall day. I usually doze for a while and turn on the radio. Sometimes I turned on the cable news channels to get a start on today’s news stories.

At about 7:50 Central Daylight time I turned on the TV.  The first image was of dark gray smoke rising out of one of the Twin Towers at the foot of Manhattan.   It was the beginning of a new day in history. The TV reporter did not know what happened yet. They were reporting that they thought a small plane had crashed into the towers. Details were still sketchy. As I lay in bed watching the story develop, there was a huge explosion with a ball of flames shooting out of the side of the building.  Because of the camera angle, my first thought was that there was a second explosion in the same tower.  It was then reported that a second plane crashed into the second tower. Unbelievable! The pace of bad news accelerated.

A few minutes later there was a report of a plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington. It was still unbelievable. A little later it was reported that a plane had crashed in Central Pennsylvania. Unbelievable! The chain of events was surreal. What was happening in my country?  The smoke on the towers continued to grow. Black smoke against the bluest of God’s sky. Panic began to ensue in the buildings. Some people from above the floors where the flames raged jumped to their death. Office papers floated down like huge snow flakes. The street scenes were incredible. Finally the building themselves fell to earth. This was not a movie, it was real. It was a terrorist attack. The world is full of evil.

The rest of the day and much of the following days was spent watching history unfold.

Planes were ordered out of the skies. I later saw a screen at the FAA that showed hundreds of lights representing the position of all the planes in the air.  One by one the lights disappeared from the board as the planes found their emergency landing airport.  The screen finally showed no lights. America was dark.

Just Remember Forever!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

So Blessed!

I have often said that I am the most blessed man on earth. Today I believe that even more.

Yesterday, I was invited by my Rock Church friend to join her to help prepare and feed the homeless near Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

I had be looking for a volunteer project and had not found one in which suited me.  I had thought about volunteering for a homeless project, but had put it off, not sure how to go about it. When my friend asked me if I wanted to go with her to serve, I said sure. This would be a test for me to see if I felt comfortable. 

The charity is a non-profit named Just Call Us Volunteers. It was started by Chef Julia Darling in 2005. It started as Christmas homeless feeding, but expanded to Thanksgiving and now year around. The organization receives support of Chefs and hospitality industry throughout San Diego County. For me this was a big plus. I was in the foodservice industry for almost 60 years. I love this industry and the people in it. It is supported by donations of food and supplies from various purveyers and cash from people.

We drove to a strip mall where the charity had a full preparation kitchen. The first task was to prepare the food. Although I spent years in the industry, I cannot cook. I was assigned to shuck corn and the strip the kernels from from the cob for a delicious Mexican corn dish. Next I removed seeds from cucumbers. All fit my skills perfectly.

When everything was ready we loaded our cars and drove toward downtown. Of course we got lost, but finally found the place. Even getting lost was fun. Especially, since I was not driving. The area has several shelters in this neighborhood, and a very large population of the destitute. There are so many homeless. It is so sad.

We set up the table, mixed the salad and laid out the chili (vegetarian and beef), cornbread and cookies. The people approached us five at a time. It is a very disciplined and everyone followed the directions. And they all said thank you..

Now I was face to face with the homeless. Some of whom were still drunk or extremely hungover. There were druggies, PTSD veterans, and who knows what else? Most were not very clean. Teeth were missing. There were a couple of younger people dressed nicely and must surely be newcomers. You would like to think they had a chance to move forward in a positive way.

As a writer I often use the saying, "Every Life is a story, some are long, some are shorter, but still a story of mankind and history." I couldn't help but think that each of these poor broken people had a story. It would seem that their stories were a trip to the bottom. They had lives before becoming homeless. What were those lives? They all were beautiful babies, and now they are ugly dirty people, destroyed by drugs, alcohol, the wars of their times and poverty and joblessness. I would so love to write their stories, but that would seem to be intruding and perhaps judgmental.

We served 75 people a nutritious meal. We packed up and drove back to the kitchen, passing a few homeless napping on the sidewalk. It was a learning experience for me and requires a lot of thought about those who live amongst us on the streets with all their belongings in a shopping cart or on the back of a wheelchair. It is difficult to absorb. How did they fall so far, stripped of their pride and humanhood? So very sad.

I was glad I did this, and I will do it again. It is God's work and he has blessed me. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

This Just In!

1. According to the New York post, a Russian man was attacked by a bear. As the bear was ready to attack, the man's phone rand with a Justin Bieber ring tone. The bear turned and ran into the woods.

One smart bear. He knows good music from bad.

2. From the Drudge report and UPI:" Medical marijuana smokers in San Diego say the city has forced their pot shops to locate in remote areas and that means the drives to and from will increase air pollution--- and ultimately harm their lungs. On top of that, some patients without cars, will now have to grow their own marijuana plants, an activity that further contributes to global warming."

I sure hope a judge throws this out and charges them with stupidy.What next? The whole thing is an oxymoron. You do have to give them credit to being eco-friendly while getting stoned.

3. A Florida man accused of killing his roommate used his iPhone to ask Siri how to hide the dead body, according to evidence presented at trial.
Strangely, the Palm Beach Post reports that Siri actually responded to Pedro Bravo's request, giving suggestions like: "Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps."
Aside from wondering what Apple's programmers might have been thinking, can this sort of Siri "testimony" be used as evidence ?

The defense attorney will place an IPHONE on the stand for questioning and of course Siri will not understand the quetion.

4. A small Minnesota village has a new mayor. Duke, the dog is Cormorant's newest mayor.
The 12 people who live there elected the 7-year-old dog as its leader.
Duke may not understand politics too well but he's been doing a great job guarding the town. He even makes sure cars aren't going past the speed limit.Duke will be sworn in on Sunday. He won't be getting a salary, but a pet store has agreed to donate a year's supply of food to reward Duke for his service.

Now there's a town that knows what to do. Friendly, loyal, honest and will work for food. We need more politcians like Duke. The only thing the town has to worry about is a sex scandal with the dogs of Cormorant. He's still a politician.

5. San Francisco strip club host job fair. With a better economy the club finds itself short of strippers who have been hired at other jobs.

 Now there's an HR department I can get behind.

6. According to the Austrian Times, Bernhard Pauer, a priest with the Diocese of Linz, went to police after parishioners said they recognized their church in the video.
After the footage was screened on local television, a tipster came forward and said he recognized the woman's breasts. Horsching police were then able to track down the 24-year-old amateur video star, who confessed. She now faces charges of offending religious feeling and desecration of a church.

 Mr. Tipster, you got some "splaning" to do.

7. I've been pondering underwear lately. What is the big deal about Hanes underwear beating their chest that they are now tagless? That's not even a close to my biggest underwear problem. Secondly, is it tidy-whiteys or tighty-whiteys? Today's underwear laundry tip of the day. Wear the colored ones because you don't have to separate the coloreds from the whites. Diversity in my underwear drawer saves time.

8. According to the Huffington Post, a man in Grimsby England decided to light a fire cracker in his cargo shorts. He light it. It went off. His pants were torn to shreds. His leg looked like it had been hit by an asteroid.  His friend who was videoing the event called him a "dopey bastard".

Ya think?

9 Recently Comcast has received some bad publicity, including recordings of a Comcast employee berating a customer, who was trying to cancel his service. The employee berated him in every way and kept offering freebees if he would keep he service. The customer said no to every thing. Just cancel, cancel, cancel, cancel. The treatment was awful and somewhat disturbing. Later the company apologized and that the employees had gone a bit (?) over board, but also said this was part of the training for the special forces for customer retention employees. Really? The conversation lasted eight and a half minutes. You can check it out on YouTube.

Wow! Training employees to insult would be cancelers is quite a atep backward for the term Customer Service. How did that work out for you Comcast?

10. Two gunman jumped from behind some bushes an topped a woman of her chicken nugget meal. The men demanded money from her and fired a shot into the air and then fled with her #7 combo meal from McDonalds.

A lot depends on the size of the McNuggets. The 20 piece size carries a higher penalty, not to mention armed robbery.

And that's the news, or not.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Sound of Silence

It was a summer night at the lake. I walked down to the pier that extended out into the water about forty feet. Across the yard fireflies showed their tiny yellow beacons to light the night, ever so slightly and soundlessly. The lake was without a ripple, as smooth as glass. The temperature and humidity fit together in a perfect balance of comfort. I lay down on the wooden planks and looked up at the bright light of a full moon and the twinkling of the stars against the darkness of the night. It was a golden silence, occasionally punctuated by the sounds of summer at the lake, a screen door slamming, some conversation and laughter of people having a good time. There were sounds of clicking crickets and crooking frogs, hidden somewhere in the grass. Even the noises fit into the silence, like the music of a symphony.  It was a perfect storm of silence and peace. It was a moment of Nirvana here on earth.

Suddenly, the sound of a stereo reverberated from across the lake. It was Simon and Garfunkel singing, The Sound of Silence in perfect harmony.

                                             Hello darkness, my old friend,
                                            I've come to talk with you again,
                                           Because a vision softly creeping,
                                         Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
                                     And the vision that was planted in my brain
                                                        Still remains
                                                Within the sound of silence.

And all was right with the world.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ring a Ding Ding!

I did not grow up in an era where we did not have phones, although I have been to rural areas in my early days where they had no phones service. I have, however, have witnessed the evolution of telephonic communications from near the start.

My life started when there were party lines, as well as private numbers. A real opeator would answer when you picked up the phone with, "number please?" you would then give her a four digit number of your party. Long distance was accomplished by asking for the "long distant operator." Our number was 2703.

Next came the rotary dial. Finger in the number and pull the rotor right, then when the dial returned back the second number was dialed and so on.

Next was push buttons. Phone numbers were also expressed in words, Pennsylvania 6-5000. When the phone company decided to go to seven digit numbers only, no prefixes, people were up in arms. How are we supposed to remember all those numbers. Next came area codes. Holy cow, another three digits to remember. Just when we got used to knowing various area codes, they split the code into more area codes. Holy crap, but we survived the numbers invasion.

Next was the wireless remote phone, where we could pace around the room while we talked. Certainly as a boon to the Type "A" personality.

Of course the voice answering machine created a convenience for you and your friends, when someone called and you were away. Imagine that before, if someone called they would have to call back. What a damned inconvenience by today's standards. You kids got it easy.

When the first cell phones was introduced, it was like talking into a phone the size of a shoe. The cell phones began to shrink in size. I must admit, I was a late comer to the cell phone. When it made me look like an old man, I got my first cell phone. we all moved through generation after generation of smart phones. Wow, what it can do. The wonders of this new communications phenomenon hit me as I was driving down the road with my friend, Carolina, in Minnesota, and she was talking to her mom in Mexico. I can literally access the world from anywhere. We have come so far in my lifetime, and I am a participant, like the Man of the 21st Century I am.

The cell phone becomes an extension of yourself like an arm. If we forget it or are in a area where there is no service we feel lost. Anxiety sets in. Gosh nobody can reach me to see if I can go to lunch. I heard a line the other day that captured what we see everyday when out and about. "Where shall we go tonight to watch our phones and text?"

Today I forgot my phone at the coffee shop. I discovered it was missing when I was driving down the highway. Crap! Too late and too much trouble to turn around. However, my first thought was to call them and see if they found it. A light went on. They have my phone I can't call, dumb ass. Dah?

Of course now we don't have to call. We can text, avoiding personal contact.  Ever call someone just after they text you and immediately called them and got no answer.?Hell, they had their phone in their hand ten seconds ago.

That brings the question, Has the current communications tools taken away too much personal contact? The answer is, yes, but it has also let people keep in contact more often. I'll prefer the later. Facebook is an issue for some people, on occasion me, but when Mark died, it was comforting to see the posts from his friends. They still post on occasion. It allows me to look at moments of his life. I have recordings of his voice, his appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, his remarkable photos put to music and his documentation of Hurricane Sandy. I have the last post he made the night he died. It is sad, but also heartwarming to have an electronic album of Mark as he was.

I don't know what the next big thing is, but it's always something and it will be exciting. It's been a great ride. so far.

Have a nice day.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Goin' to the Dogs!

From the Coronado Eagle Journal, July 30,2014.

                                        “Yappy Hour” at the Hotel Del
“Join animal lovers and Wizard of Oz enthusiast alike at the Oz-themed “Yappy Hour” where dogs can lap up complimentary Evian water and yappatizers (organic dog food treats) , while their owners sip on Oz-inspired such as Kanas Twister and Ruby Slippers on Sundays in August from 4 p.m. to at the Sun Deck Bar & Grill located at the Hotel Del Coronado.”

I hardly know what to say, but, of course I will.

First of all, I don’t think a dog really cares if its Evian Water or not. This is an animal who often drinks from the toilet. “Organic Happitizers?” This is an animal that will eat its own vomit on occasion. Don’t forget they can often be spotted licking their butt in public. So it’s more about the owners self-gratification than trying to make their dogs feel special. They will sip on their “Foo Foo” cocktails at $15.00 a pop and watch their dogs mingle with other dogs sniffing each others asses. God forbid, if a Mongrel showed up. A Mongrel is a true American, a mixture. This superficial gathering is what replaced Ron’s Garage Band after 19 years of weekend music, that was a cornerstone to summer weekends in Coronado.

I don’t have anything against dogs. Dogs are friendly, loyal and company to the lonely. They are also very promiscuous. If they can’t find a willing doggy in heat, they will hump your leg. They are wonderful pets. I would like having a dog, if it weren’t for the taking them out all the time to do their business. In these cases doggy bathroom needs take precedence over a nice time on a date. “Oh, I have to get home. My dog needs to go out, “Bye.”

Let’s talk about the other side of doggy bathroom habits. Leash them up and make sure their little costume is on properly. We wouldn’t want them to catch a chill. Get them outside where they sniff around for those who has peed there before. After things are considered all right, they lift their leg and pee on the wall, tree or bush. The world is their toilet. Classy.!!!!The walk continues until the dog feels the urge to poop. He squats, poops and then the owner pick it up with a little baggy.  If another dog is encountered, they sniff each other's butt. This act gives a dog the information on the other dog, its gender, emotional state, diet and more. A dog has a second olfactory system that's known as Jacobson's Organ. Its nerves direct chemical information it detects directly into the brain so there's no interference from odors. Now you know everything you wanted to known about Fido's anal fascination. (Source: I Googled it.Yes, I Googled it.) Sort of like a proctologist examination. Oh ,and let’s not forget when they return home, they often lick their balls in the middle of the room, if they have them. Gross. Have they no shame?

A cat is different. He or she is not your friend, EVER. Cats always have an attitude. If they could talk, and they got a phone call, they would tell you to take a message. They don’t give a damn if you are home from tough day. They only are loviy, when they had a hard day of sleeping or are hungry. The good thing is that they have a bathroom filled with absorbent material, and they cover up their stuff afterwords. They actually get pissed if you leave them at home when you go on a couple of day’s trips. We had a cat left alone, and he peed in the corner of my office. I don’t like cats, but at lest they have good bathroom habits, unless you have pissed them off.

A friend of mine was scheduled to go out with a woman he had met online. She called to tell him she would have to cancel, because her dog had “separation anxiety.”  WTF is that all about?. As we talked more about dogs and dating, he told of a woman he went out with had three dogs. That got my sense of humor going. I said, “Picture this. You are on the couch making out and three dogs bounce into the room and right on top of the moment. But that is not be the worst part of my imaginary tale. She laughed hysterically at the dogs behavior. My advice, Run, Michael, Run away as fast as you can.”

I have to give dogs credit because they are “chick magnets”. Female dog lovers will always make conversation with other dog lovers they meet on the exercise and bathroom walks. A conversation is struck up, while the dogs sniff each other's asses.

They say, masters begin to look like their dogs. I agree. You know who you are.

The movie, Best in Show, captures the world the “Yappy Hour” type of dogs and the people who love them. I also catch the Westminster Dog Show, every once in a while. I love the action of the handlers (great waddlers or prancers) and the so serious words of the announcer.

I know I have pissed a lot of people off with this commentary.

One last thing. Every female dog should have a male poodle for a friend.

Bow Woo!

Have a nice day and stay out of the dog poop.

Sammy Carl.