Sunday, June 30, 2013

Heat Tolerance

I didn't move to the San Francisco Bay Area until the age of 29 and, oddly enough, besides my family and friends, the thing I missed the most was the extreme weather.  You would think that would be something that was a blessing, as all native Northern California residents believe, but it was actually the opposite.

In the summer, Kansas is a sauna.   In the winter, it is a refrigerator with wind.  I never tolerated the cold very well (I freeze!!!), having inherited those genes from my maternal grandfather whose ancestry was Irish, yet the same genes gave me a marvelous tolerance of heat.  Go figure.  Ireland isn't exactly the tropics, as Grannymar can attest.  Some of our relatives also say there is Cherokee blood in that line, which might explain it.

In the summers, I always worked in fields or doing physical labor jobs in hot places when I was in my teens and early twenties.  Working in the heat of a feed mill, they would put me up top in the warehouse pulling and stacking the 50 pound bags of feed, because the temperature up there would top 120 F and this would make the regular guy that did it sick.  I could do it all day long with no ill effects whatsoever and go out after work to drink prodigious amounts of 3.2% beer at the local tavern.  The only day I had to bail out was scooping grain with a power scoop from a railroad car when the temperature outside was 113 F and there was no telling how hot it was in the rail car.  The sweat poured off in a steady running stream, literally, and I finally had to tell the boss that I was fine but within the hour would not be!  He agreed and we shelved that task til the next morning.

When I was 39, I paddled a paddle boat all around Lake Havasu with my son for 2 1/2 hrs in 116 degree heat.  Again, no ill effects at all, just got tired legs and weary of being a human sweatball!  He was only nine and I couldn't get much work out of him.

That extreme heat tolerance led me to appreciate what I read this morning from a guy who lives in Death Valley.  He actually went jogging yesterday when the temperature was 127 F !!!  What caused him to stop was not the effect of the heat on his body, but that his running shoes were literally melting and falling apart.  Now, as they say, THAT is nuts.

This is the extent of the work I do in 109 F heat now:

I'm far less nuts than once I was.  At least about heat.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This is why we don't live in Death Valley!

This is the temperature at 9:00 this evening.  In Metric for the sane measurers among us:

It is going to get hotter.  The predicted high in a couple of days is 129 degrees!  But, that's OK, it will cool down to a nice, mild 98 degrees at night.  Here is the 15 day forecast:

Death Valley, CA has now been officially certified as the hottest place on the planet.  In two weeks, it will be precisely one century since it set the all-time record for reliably recorded high temperature: 134 degrees!  A news reporter traveled one day with a State Trooper whose job it was to patrol Death Valley and the reporter recorded that the cop drank 32 quarts of water that day.  He said that as long as you stay hydrated, you have a fighting chance.

The Lady F and I don't want that kind of heat, so we are staying this weekend in Fresno, CA, where Lafawnda has her internship.  The predicted high for here is only 109 tomorrow, but it will be up to 111 by Wednesday.  It was still 101 at 8:30!

I'm kind of glad I grew up in Kansas so I know what to expect.  At least I don't have on full pads for a two-a-day, shackman!

Puppy Love

This topic was brought to the LBC this week by one of the originals - in most every sense - and has two obvious meanings.  I want you to know at the outset that I know the other meaning of Puppy Love, but choose a different path for the post.  This is one of the delights of the LBC, a group of people writing on a topic simultaneously and following different paths.

This is a cabinet in one corner of our family room and on it we pay homage to some of the dogs we have had as part of our pack.  I was raised in a dog culture that went back to my parents and beyond.  Nostalgia takes me back ...

Taig and Jiggs: these were the dogs of my grandparents on each side.  Both could be a bit ornery with kids, so my memories of them are not all that positive.

Pedro: my mother brought home a dog when we lived in Manchester that she was told was a chihuahua mix.  Well, maybe, but he would have needed to be mixed with a dinosaur of some kind to achieve the size he did.  He became so big (and docile), we kids used to ride him!  We had to give him to a farmer, because he was simply to big for the house.

King: one of the most beautiful collies imaginable.  Looked just like Lassie.  I loved that dog and unfortunately at the age of five got to watch from the front yard as a stranger pulled up to my grandparents house, called King to his car, and stole him!  Tore me up!

Squirt: one of Taig's pups.  A fox terrier with amazing speed and athletic ability, he lived to be 16!  Squirt was so named because he squirted on things as a pup and I named him based on that.  A great family dog, he had the unfortunate habit of biting strangers and we had to keep him isolated for that reason.

Munchkin: named for the little people in The Wizard of Oz, which as Kansas children we watched religiously every year!  I have seen it about 20 to 25 times.  Munch was about 25 pounds, long hair, water spaniel of some type, great temperament and good buddy for Squirt.

Honey: a Brittany Spaniel given to me by someone after college because she had a fine pedigree to be a hunting dog, but she was afraid of guns.  A sweet dog, she made a great companion and eventually ended up with my parents.

Maggie: a magnificently loyal and loving German Shepherd that I had in my mid-twenties.  She gave the world a couple of fine litters until she was unfortunately killed in traffic trying to follow me in a car one day. That was a sad day indeed!

Jake: the pick of Maggie's last litter, I kept Jake.  Jake grew up to be quite a dog!  He weighed about 110 lbs and was very powerful.  When I moved to California, I could not bring him with me and gave him to the son of the Governor of Kansas.  Later, I heard that Jake had take umbrage to a guy going past the house on a Harley Davidson and had pulled the guy off the bike in midstream!  That turned into quite a controversial affair!

Lady: the Lady F and my first dog as a couple.  As with each of the dogs we've had, each was a rescue of some kind.  Her claim to fame was that she would try to smile when you smiled at her and it was quite a sight!

Trapper: a husky mix.  Good, big dog!  At least we thought he was big until we had his fur trimmed one summer to tolerate the heat better.  We then realized that he was a medium sized dog, LOL.

Scooby: the most idiosynchratic hound we have ever had.  We thought she hardly had a personality when we first got her at the age of seven, but thought we could give her a few good years.  Wrong on both fronts!  One of the most expressive and eccentric hounds ever, she had become a legend by the time she passed at the ripe age of 18!

Rascal: one of the best "dog" dogs to ever grace the planet.  He was powerful, brave and as loving as any pet we have ever had.  He summarily dispatched any other creature that made its way into the yard, though.

Eligh: our last dog.  Pit Bull.  Eligh was left to us by our son and we played with him and took him for walks a lot in his seven years.  He is the only dog we ever had to put down for behavior, though.

And, the last of the bunch was Louie, who adopted us for 90 hours.  I've written about Louie before.  I was sad when his owner showed up to claim him.

Are you getting the gist of this?  We are dog people.  Life has us so busy and on the go right now that we have no dog, but I'm sure another will  find us.  Have the rest of you had your love affairs with pups?

Late as a way of life for awhile

For awhile, you will see my Friday posts late on and off.  Such as today.  I will probably post later today or this weekend.

Don’t confuse this with lack of respect for the LBC, for it definitely isn’t.  I have had a load of various kinds of business drop into my lap and all of it is good.  It is just taking a lot of my time and energy.

One friend sent me an email wondering why I had not been appearing on Facebook, fearing I was unwell.  I am happy to proclaim that is definitely not the case and I am doing well.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My First Kiss

This devilishly clever topic was brought to us by Delirious.  Oh, girl, this should be interesting around the LBC ...

My first kiss was with a woman who is a reader and commenter on this blog.  Of course, being the gentleman I am, I would never kiss and tell.  Heh, heh ...

Well, except for this ... I was awful!  First kisses almost always are!  That is the main reason that the appeal of 72 virgins has always been a mystery.

And, second observation, I've never been to Ireland, so you can rule out the obvious candidate!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feel the Spirit

Nandu and I have been discussing fine scotches lately while our friend Ramana has foregone this pleasure because of spiritual pursuits.  Indeed, he has told us of gurus coming to the home through books and other sources, so we felt like we needed to follow his fine example.  We even decided to go the hard path to do the traditional mountain climb to find a guru and here is a picture from our journey:

We are glad we followed Ramana's advice.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What I Do (Did) For a Living

The array of jobs a person has in a lifetime is both formative and reflective of a life path.  My wife has only done one kind of job ... ever!  She has always worked in a dental office, since the age of 16.  She has worked at her current position for over 35 years.  It pays well, it has been recession proof and she likes the patients she works with.  The downside is that she has become so tired of cleaning teeth that she could spit!

I'm from the other end of the spectrum, the person who has moved from position to position freely thoughout his life, having worked at 45 different places in a variety of fields.  For the past 20 years, I've had my own company and have done software application development for various corporations in the San Francisco Bay Area, but even that has had a wide range of variability.

For your entertainment, I list below the jobs I can remember:

Nursery field worker
Souvenir Shop Assistant
Grocery Bagger
Door-to-door Bible Salesman
Feed Mill Worker
Cab Driver
McCall's Pattern Company factory worker
Meat Packing plant hamburger mixer
Playground supervisor
Jr. High Science Teacher
Substitute Teacher system wide
High School Chemistry Teacher
State Mental Hospital Teacher
Menninger's Institute Child Care Counselor
Emotionally Disturbed Children Counselor in San Francisco
Pine Tree Nursery Foreman
Construction Worker
Oil Rig worker
Railroad Gandy Dancer
Rock Quarry Worker
Adult Computer Educator
Computer Technical Support
Type shop programmer
Customer Support for Graphics / Typography system in Silicon Valley
Manager of that Customer Support
Started my own software development company

I think that is fewer than 30, but give me allowance for age, LOL.  Also, if it didn't hit the list, it is probably so boring I just can't remember it!

I'm late with this entry, but I need to get around to the other members of the Loose Blogger Consortium - with clickable links on the right - to see what they came up with last Friday.  Since we all write on the same topic totally independently, you never know what any member will bring out.  I think I'll go see right now ...

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Friday post will be unavoidably late

Please forgive me, but appreciate the irony.  Those of you making the rounds know today’s topic and that yours truly brought it to the Consortium.  Know also that it is the very current substance of that topic that is preventing the writing.  Right now.

But, soon.  Very soon.

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Healthcare vs Private

shackman brought us a topic hashed and rehashed over the past five years here in America.  And I don't have a good answer.  How can that be?

The problem is obvious.  A rare piece of good journalism - let's face it, this isn't exactly the age of Murrow - followed the path our healthcare dollars often take right now.  They followed a guy who needed some hospitalization, something that wasn't life threatening, but needed to be attended to.  They also asked for a detailed breakdown of all expenses incurred.  What they found was ridiculous padding.  For example, one ibuprofen tablet cost our patient well over $100.00!

So, they took this outrage to the management, expecting a little shame or contrition - or at least some effort at distraction, a little mendacity.  What they got was bald faced honesty.  The hospital said this was the only way they could recoup the huge losses being incurred with the uninsured.  The ER has become the doctor's office for a huge number of uninsured patients.  The hospitals incur the expense without any choice, for they are mandated by law that they must accept people who come to these rooms for help.  It becomes worse if the person is admitted, for they cannot release those who have no place to be released to for care.

So, they went to the insurance company and asked why they didn't do something to stop this waste of money.  The insurance company said they didn't even examine any claims of less than $100,000.00.  Basically, they cover it with high insurance rates and high deductibles.  In other words, the burden is on the shoulders of those of us who ARE insured.

So, what has happened here?  Why doesn't the free market solve this issue like so many insist it can?  I'm thinking that it is because it is not and cannot be a fully free market situation for one thing.  It is not just to simply let the uninsured die and I don't think any of us want that as our solution.  And, we don't want the insurance companies working to solve this by dictating what treatments each patient is to get, something far too many of us are facing from time to time, treatment prescribed based upon judgment of cost rather than as a medical decision.  So, unless someone can plainly explain to me how the free market is supposed to solve this, I am at a loss to see how it can work.

And that last comment by me is part of the problem I have with this whole situation.  The national debate has not been helpful!  I don't want attack politics on this.  I don't want ideology and I'm tired of nasty substituting for knowledge.  This is too important for the health of people and the health of the economy.