5 posts categorized "Science"

14 November 2016

Supermoon 'Melancholia'

Courtesy: ChicagoTribune.com

I got my love
for the movies from my Mom and my fascination at gazing at the moon from my Dad.

Here's hoping those two wondrous worlds don't collide, literally, when the biggest, brightest supermoon since 1948 passes closer to Earth than it has in 69 years tonight (Monday, Nov. 14).

I was a toddler in my Mom's arms, no doubt, when the last supermoon this exciting came calling.  I will be 87 if I'm around (and still pounding this computer keyboard) when it happens again on Nov. 25, 2034.

Will we even have computers then?  Will Mother Earth still be inhabitable then?  Will we all have our student loans paid off by then?  Who knows?

Continue reading "Supermoon 'Melancholia'" »

26 May 2016

That old doppelgänger of mine

BBpic350rYou would agree, I suppose, that when alternate universes collide, it should be duly noted.

The incident I'm entering into the public record occurred May 20, 2016 from about 9:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Continue reading "That old doppelgänger of mine" »

08 September 2014

She couldn't Medicare less

(Courtesy: freedesignfile.com)

My doctor broke up with me today.

She wants to see other people.  Younger people.  And she wants me to see other people as well.

She doesn't care who I see, just as long as it isn't her.

"Did you see the sign out front?  As of January 1, I'm not treating Medicare patients anymore," she said, shortly before getting physical with me for the last time.

"The doctor won't see you now."  How did I misread those signs?

On my last few visits, my doctor, whom I'm convinced is a caring soul but is also someone who's had it way past "up to here" with government red tape associated with Medicare patients, has complained about having to lug around her laptop computer to deal with patients like me.  You know, those who have committed the mortal sin of letting the clock tick too many times to suit those younger.

I've been grandfathered in before, but this is the first time I've ever been grandfathered out.

In as gentle voice and nicest tone I could muster during my physical -- after all, she was reaching for the rubber gloves -- I said, "I can certainly understand your frustration, but it sort of leaves guys (and women) like me out in the cold.  We have a doctor we really like and trust, and now we can't go to them anymore."

I don't remember exactly what my doctor said to that.  I was too concerned about her opening up the examination room door and calling for the nurse.  Any guy who's ever had his prostate checked knows what that means.  (That reminds me, the car needs an oil change.)

I do remember that she didn't say, "Oh, excuse me.  I forgot for a second that you are one of my original patients.  You came with me to start this practice when I was struggling and you've been a loyal patient for years.  And you have referred several people to me, who, by the way, are not on Medicare and pay retail.  So, of course, I'll treat you and be here for you as long as you need me, even if I do have to use this laptop computer and deal with a little red tape and, yes, reduced revenue.  Have you seen what I'm driving.  I think I can stand the slight financial inconvenience to care for loyal, longtime patients like you."

Nope, she didn't say anything like that.  I still can't believe I misread those earlier signs of approaching detachment.  Since that rather abrupt, "See 'ya" visit, I have noticed some other signs, though.  Like the physicians' Hippocratic oath:

"I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick."

A couple of my friends have mentioned something like, "It's nothing personal.  It's just business."

Really?  Does "care for a patient" merely mean reading medical charts and graphs, taking X-rays and prescribing pills?  Just business refers to my banker, or the cashier at the grocery store who barely even looks up at customers these days.

I think not.  Our personal care physician takes our blood, asks us what's going on and treats us, dammit, physically and sometimes a little mentally as well.  "You've gained a little weight since your last visit.  Is something bothering you?  Is everything all right?"

And, excuse me, doctor, but I'd like to point out one more paragraph from the Hippocratic oath, which, by the way, is not the Hypocritic oath:

"I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug."

It has never ceased to amaze me that even those a decade or so younger than people of Medicare age seem to have no notion that they, too, will soon be considered too old to be taken seriously in many areas or even given equal medical consideration.  

It's coming, doctor, quicker than you realize.  May you be treated more respectfully and with more caring consideration when your time comes.

Yes, my doctor broke up with me today.  Sadly, she left me for a younger patient.

I'm not litigious, generally.  But I am thinking about demanding illimony.

03 September 2014

At the movies: 2025

(Courtesy: aprillynnescott.com)

Let's begin our not-too-distant future visit to the neighborhood movie gigaplex in the parking lot.

What's a gigaplex?

Oh you silly people still stuck in the early 21st century.  Movie gigaplexes have 100 screens, of course.

Now, back to the parking lot.  No need to worry about how far away from the building you park.  That's so old learning dome.  The theater will send a personal pod for you and your guests.  Just find a parking space, glance at the button on the dash marked PI (Plug in), and your car will be all charged up when the pod returns you.

I like the pods.  Just take two or three steps from your car into the pod and those are the last steps you need to take before you return to your car.

That's right, no stopping at the ticket booth, concession stand or even, ahem, the restroom.  All of that is taken care of right there in the pod, which, when landed and locked-in-place, becomes your couch-away-from-couch.  I don't want to say too much about how the restroom-stop problem has been solved.  Just know this, catheters will soon be greatly improved.

And did I mention that movies are pet friendly now?  Sure, bring Astro along.  Each pod comes with invisible sound mufflers so your dog -- or dogs for those so-minded -- can enjoy popular movies like Guardians of the Galaxy:  Yet Another Sequel or Richard Linklater's eclectic favorite Grandpahood right along with the family.  It's all included with any $109.99 adult ticket.  That's only $107.99 for seniors, children under 3 and military (Our side only, please).

Once your pod is locked and loaded, concessions like Blast Off, the instant energy caffeine drink equal to three full pots of coffee, or Milk Duds arrive in your armrest automatically.  Yes, Milk Duds are still around but they now come in three varieties:  Melt in Your Mouth, Extra-Soft or Regular, still the favorite movie candy of dentists everywhere.

(Courtesy: tribecafilm.com)

Oh, here's a couple of things a little different than they used to be at the movies.  Talking is encouraged.  In fact, the louder the better.  Most people shout out how many likes they have on Bobybook (It's about so much more than just the Face these days).

And wristcomms -- once called cellphones -- are left on at all times in movie houses now.  That announcement comes right after President Bieber's safe driving plea to drivers 11 and younger and Vice President Jenna Bush Hager's Previews of Coming Tweets.

Goody, that includes Social Media.  That's what we've come to see.  

The 200-by-90-foot screen is filled with Tweets from us, you, the neighbors, celebrities (including any, let's just say, risque photos they tried to protect, but couldn't), world leaders and drone pilots safely ensconced on leather sofas in Washington bunkers bombing the heck out of undesirables (definition to come when President Bieber and his cabinet figure it out).

This is so much more fun now that privacy rules have been voted out by the TMZ-controlled Congress.  People can now post whatever they like and it's out there for the world to see.  Of course the fact that due to worldwide giga-use Twitter now limits each tweet to six digits, there is a bit of sameness to the futuristic movie-going experience.

As a theater full of people scream out their Bobybook like totals and wristcomms light up the auditorium enough for me to see the corpse-like pallor on hundreds of chubby faces slurping down caffeine and inhaling Milk Duds, here's what I'm looking at on a giant movie screen:

Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ... Wh up?  N much ...


16 April 2012

See, I'm no good without you

Ouch324Attention U.S. citizens who are 65, about to turn 65, who know someone who's 65 or have ever driven 65:

Your medical cares are over, or soon will be.

There's a little thing the United States of Us government has put into place called Medicare.

It's for hard working people like us who have worked all our lives -- paying into the government coffer -- to handle our ills once we are ... seniors.  (There I said it:  Seniors!)

Even if you've been without health insurance since the economy tanked and your benefits, extended benefits and way over-priced health insurance have lapsed, the U.S. of Us has your back and your front.

Just not your head.

That's why although I don't usually dedicate songs in a situation like this, I'm suggesting that you click on the link below and listen to the late, great Frank Sinatra sing "All of Me" before I explain how Medicare works, or, in my case, doesn't work.

It's the link just below.  Click on the link.  I'm begging you:

All of me, why not take all of me

You didn't click on the link, did you?  No worries, I'll walk you through it.

By the way, for those of you who did click on the link, bless you.  You will be included in my will.

All of me, why not take all of me
Can't you see I'm no good without you

Medicare, as explained in rather cryptic terms at http://www.medicare.gov/default.aspx, basically covers us from the neck down.  If you have hearing difficulties, as I do, Medicare is out.


Need help seeing, as in lasik eye surgery?  Good news!

Nope, actually bad news.  My bad.  I was looking at the glass eye section of Medicare coverage.  It's all a little blurry.

Your good-bye left me with eyes that cry
How can I get along without you

That brings us, if you'll excuse the expression, to the mouth:

Bridge over troubled molars

Take my lips I want to lose them
Take my arms I'll never use them

When I was a mere lad of 12, my mother -- a stay-at-home-Mom all her married life -- ventured out of our Grand Prairie home to work in downtown Dallas as a keypunch-operator.  The reason?  To buy braces for my teeth so I'd have a full set of impressive choppers all my life.  All my life being the key phrase.

I won't bother explaining what a keypunch operator was.  If you've read this far (and you're tapping your toes to Frank Sinatra), you'll know what that was.

To make a long sad story short, I've got serious problems with two upper molars and Medicare doesn't care.  Our Us government, you see, is only concerned about its senior citizens from below the chin to the floor.

I wonder if former president Harry S. Truman, the first U.S. citizen to sign up for Medicare in 1965 (with the-current prez Lyndon Johnson looking over his shoulder), knew that Medicare wouldn't have enough bite to provide dental care?

Look, lots of people have much worse problems than I do.  I understand that.

I'm just saying that spending a ton of out-of-pocket money on having root canal prep (i.e. drilling for oil) and another tooth pulled on the same day in one dental session ain't no Fourth of July picnic with apple pie a la mode.

I can't even ease the financial pain with a chilled glass of Chardonnay.  I'm on antibiotics, you see.  I may have mentioned I'm having some dental issues.

Oh, and a note to those who I included in my will a few paragraphs back:  Don't expect much.  Dental bills, you know.

You took the part that once was my heart
So why not why not take all of me

Sing it, Frank.  Sing "All of Me" like you're singing it just for all of us on Medicare.

Please click on the link below.  I'm begging you.


(Dental cartoon courtesy: You-can-be-funny.com)

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