Complaints & Grievances

Roof Top & Gutter Gardening….

Just a little observation of note from this past summer….

It came to my attention as I gazed around from my patio one morning this past summer that one of my neighbors must have planted their yearly tomato garden on the roof of their house. Needless to say this seemed extremely odd to me. But my initial observation concluded that it could not have been anything else. You can make your own judgement from the photos just below….

Then not long after I noticed a large apparent weed growing from my next door neighbors gutter. There were actually three or four of them along a stretch of gutter some thirty-feet long or so. These growing freaks of nature were not as alien to me as the previously noted tomato patch I discussed. They were simply the result of a gutter full of foreign material such as leaves, dirt, and acorns which had compacted themselves into the perfect medium to grow plants as reflected in the photo below….

While making these observations of my neighbors homes and perhaps some measure of neglect on their part in home landscaping I could not but gloat over my decision some years back to have the “Leaf Guard” gutter system installed on my home. A bit pricey but one of the best home investments I ever made.

Now before I give the impression that I am completely taken with myself, might I note that I did not have the “Leaf Guard” system installed on my patio roof since it did not lend itself to such a system. So the patio roof system was subject to the same invasion of foreign materials compatible for plant growth as any other open gutter.

So after due ridicule of my neighbors and their rooftop gardens I decided to step out into the backyard and look at my immaculate patio gutters just for one last ego boost regarding the subject. Expecting of course to see the results of a well-cared for gutter I was greeted by one of those green aliens of my own growing right in the center of my gutter….

It goes without saying that my pride had taken a huge hit, not to mention that over the next few days I would be working as time permitted to clean my own gutter out. Pretty much over the embarrassment now, I am proud to say I am no longer a card-carrying member of the local neighborhood roof gardening club. I ultimately of course concluded that these roof growing freaks of nature were simply the results of neglect on the part of my neighbors and unfortunately myself for not cleaning off their roofs nor cleaning out their gutters in a timely manner, thus avoiding the ridicule and embarrassment associated with such neglect. 🙁

Wheelchair Driving for Dummies – 101

Although I have not been actively blogging over the past few months, I have been actively pursuing what must surely be just routine for most elders and that is doing my best to make it from one day to the next. Over the last couple of months due to some issues with my legs and of course the always present COPD I was determined that I just needed to get me one of those motorized wheel chairs to help assist my mobility around the house and my life would be back to some measure of order.

My doctor assured me that as long as I could take a step every five minutes or so and maintain an upright position I would have to fight Medicare tooth and nail to get one through them so I just avoided that headache completely and went out and bought one myself. Got what I thought was a really nice one at not too bad of a price and I was ready too rock and roll. But mostly as it turns out it was more like “bump and bang” than “rock and roll”. She’s a beauty though….

The poor doors and door facings, not to mention the molding, have basically met their demise due to my expertise and controlling a motorized wheel chair… at least in my house. Below are a few photos of the subject demise (click on photo to enlarge)….

Those photos were taken several weeks ago so quite honestly they only reflect a minimal amount of the damage done at present. But I am fortunate enough to have save a can of the original paint and now have the wood-filler, spatula, and sandpaper required to return them to so measure of their original condition. Oh yes, and I also have some of the felt color sticks for the paneling. 🙂

And just by chance if you’re wondering whether the wheelchair is too wide to fit through certain doorways in my house… well the unfortunate response is no, it will fit through them all just fine depending of course on the skill of the driver. 🙁

Beware of “LIKE” Spammers….

Sorry about having to delete the “Likes” from my previous post. Mike Goad had left a “like” but at some point a troll or spammer, whatever you want to call them also left a “like” and not the kind of like graphic you like to see on your computer. Since there is apparently no way to delete individual “likes” I had to remove my entire “like” entry for that post.

Nuisance Dog Barking….

I have an aversion of some magnitude when it comes to barking dogs in my neighborhood.  Although there are numerous dogs in my neighborhood, there are three homes quite near me who have what I have come to define as nuisance dogs.

Yesterday morning at around 7:30 AM one of those dogs which has quite the reputation from my perspective as being one of those three identified irritants, started his barking routine. After about an hour and a half of listening to that crap I got my camera and set it up on my front porch and video taped about 5 minutes of his barking routine….

As is quite evident from the video the dog is barking at absolutely nothing. It is so obvious that the poor dog is bored to death and apparently for this dog, barking gives him some measure of entertainment. He tries to get some enjoyment out of the laundry basket but that just doesn’t do it for him. The rub of course is that it’s not entertainment for me. And where are the dog’s owners who live in the house? Probably at work and the dog will be left out all day to wreak his barking havoc on the neighborhood.

In this particular case, the dog continued his incessant barking for another hour or so before it finally stopped, fortunately for the rest of the day on this particular day…. 🙂

Arkansas, the worst state to live in?

arkansas-flag-hog-card - Small

Whoa now big boy…. that’s a quote! That’s not my own personal opinion. That’s according to a piece written by Scott Cohn who develops in-depth features, special reports and documentaries for CNBC and CNBC.com, including the influential annual series America\’s Top States for Business, which he created in 2007.

At any rate that’s the news that greeted me first thing this morning as I was reviewing the latest news on some of my personal news sources. Reading that your home state is considered the worst state in the United States to live in is not the news one cares to be greeted by first thing in the morning but this morning that was indeed the case. I’m sure many of my fellow Arkansans will be just as shocked as I am when they find out about their poor choice of states to live in. 🙂

During my tenure of some almost 75 years on this planet, during both my military service and civilian career I have lived and/or worked in several states to include Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas. And as for Arkansas, well I was born and raised here and that is where my family has always lived. As reflected in the referenced news release, the worst ten (10) states to live in are listed below with Number 10 being the best of the worst and Number 1 being the worst of the worst. And it seems I have lived in most of them. For more detailed information and the news release itself, you may click “here”. Additional information is also available in links available in the article itself.

  1. Arkansas
  2. Missouri
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Louisiana
  5. Tennessee
  6. Indiana
  7. Mississippi
  8. Alabama
  9. Kentucky
  10. Nevada

According to the author and the statistics used in the compilations, Arkansas’ “Quality of Life” ranking was 44th out of 50; it’s primary weaknesses were crime rate, air quality and health citing the high rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and it was concluded that Arkansas had ‘no strengths’ whatsoever since it was rated at the bottom in every metric used in the ratings.

When I decided to go into semi-retirement and move back to Arkansas it was certainly a conscious decision but admittedly, I have always been partial to Missouri since living there. I have to honestly say it was probably in total the state I most enjoyed living in of all the places I have lived including my home state of Arkansas. But if you refer to the list above you can see I’m not very good at picking favorite places to live since Missouri is only saved from last place of the worst places to live by the grace of Arkansas!

Then there is the Pacific Northwest which I have almost always been attracted to although I have never actually lived or even visited there. But that’s a place I shall never see, at least not in person. But then that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet I suppose, so we could visit places via Cyberspace we couldn’t otherwise visit!

But that is all water under the bridge at this point of my life. Here in Arkansas is where I live and here in Arkansas is where I will die. And although I haven’t as of yet run across any statistics addressing the fact, I hope Arkansas ranks a little better as far as the best states to die in, or maybe I should say buried in. I suppose as long as Arkansas is ranked somewhere above “Boot Hill” I’ll be gratefully dead (no pun intended)! 🙂

My bad…. David Muir is a bust!

David Muir 2Back in June of 2014 after complaining about the majority of evening news anchors featured on the three big networks of NBC, ABC and CBS, I published a post, Good News… Pun intended by the way!, elated over the change in news anchors just made by ABC. They had assigned David Muir to takeover the position of evening news anchor from Diane Sawyer and I couldn’t have been happier. Mr. Muir had been doing the weekend evening news for ABC and was doing a fantastic job.

Unfortunately, the old adage “be careful what you wish for” jumped up and bit me in the ass to put it bluntly. In the end the change ended up not only screwing up the ABC Nightly News for sure but Muir’s weekend news replacement really screwed up the ABC Weekend Evening News.

Almost from the git-go Muir began starting out every evening newscast with, “Tonight breaking news as we come on the air….” or “Breaking news tonight starting off our broadcast….”. He invariably starts off every newscast with ‘breaking news”…. did I mention “EVERY”! And it’s never really breaking news. It is normally news that happened earlier in the day but to grab attention he has to hype it up. As happy as I was to see him get the job, I almost immediately stopped watching him. He never did pull that crap when he had the weekend news.

Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas 2And to make matters worse, at least for me, his replacement on the weekend news, Tom Llamas apparently liked the hyping hook so much he started using it on his broadcasts. So now, all their evening newscasts suck as far as I’m concerned. Cecilia Vargas often does one of the weekend evening newscasts and she’s great. They need to replace Muir with her.

There are a couple of our local television weather forecasters here in the Central Arkansas area that have honed their skills when it comes to hyping the weather and 90% of the time the hype is nothing more that an intentional ruse to get people to tune into their weather-casts.

Why it is all these people want to be the bearers of doomsday news beats me… but they love it. This society and our country have enough bad news to bear without these assholes going around trying to create yet more stress and anxiety which is exactly what they are doing.

Well, I can’t say that I now feel better after my little rant because nothing will certainly change because of it, but…. Ooops, you know what? I think I do feel a little better! 🙂

The CFL… No, not the Canadian Football League!

I recently had a CFL (Compact Flourescent Lamp) in my kitchen that would begin blinking rapidly, sometimes even going off after a period of time. I would always go over and switch it off at the light swith when that happened, then switch it back on to see if it would stop the blinking. It wouldn’t but I found if I waited for a couple of minutes and then flipped the switch back on and the light would again be working fine. It would normally work fine for 30 – 45 minutes before it would start acting up. My kitchen ceiling bulb is 150 watt and they are fairly expensive bulbs so it was my intent to squeeze every penny of my purchase price out of it before ultimately disposing of it for non-performance.

Normally I was only in the kitchen for short periods so the bulb would not be an issue, it usually acted up in the evening when I would be cooking my evening meal since I was spending a longer time in my kitchen. Finally however it got to be more of an aggravation than my ‘chef’ temperment could digest so I got a new bulb from cabinet and replaced it.

End of story, right? Well, not so fast it would seem. After I removed and replaced the bulb and then began to closely look at the bulb I saw obvious burn marks at the bulb base and melted plastic which gave me a real jolt and I found quite disconcerting. It looked to me that I was holding in my hand what appeared to be a definite fire hazard. I took the photos below of the bulb, to see a larger version be sure and click on the photo….

CFL Bulb - 01

CFL Bulb - 02
CFL Bulb - 03

I decided this issue warranted some serious investigation so I immediately began checking into this issue on-line I was totally surprised at what I was to read from several seemingly reliable sources. First and foremost was the fact that what I am seeing in those photographs of my bulb are absolutely normal characteristics of the bulb and present no fire risk whatsoever. Are you kidding me? Burnt, melted bases are normal with a CFL?

Below is a specific quote from National Geographic’s ‘Green Guide’ regarding the burn marks and associated melting similar to those shown in my photographs….

“Bulbs burn out when the ballast overheats and an electronic component, the Voltage Dependent Resistor (VDR), opens up like a fuse in your home’s fuse box, shutting off the circuit and generating heat and possibly a small amount of smoke. This might sound dangerous, but the VDR is a cut-off switch that prevents any hazards. The melted plastic you’re seeing where the glass coil connects to the ballast is simply a sign that the heat is escaping as intended in the design of the bulb.”

In a nutshell, healthy CFL bulbs may emit a bit of smoke and smell and have burnt-looking bases when they die, but that’s as it should be — there’s no fire danger to any of that, and indeed the bulbs are functioning properly when they act that way.

However, flames shooting out the side of a bulb is not the way things should be. It needs be kept in mind that any electrical device can malfunction, either through manufacturing defects or as a result of misuse by consumers. Says Globe of the bulb in the photo, “As for this particular incident, the mention of flames/fire in the story is certainly outside of the norm and as such we would encourage the consumer to bring the bulb to their local fire marshal and/or safety authority to further investigate.”

Well, it may be standard operating procedure for them but I find that a bit hard to come to terms with. Besides, whose sitting around spending all their time watching light bulbs to see if their bases are melting or even worse, shooting out fire.

I’ve currently got mostly CFL bulbs though out the house with a few exceptions of some old incandescent that haven’t given up the ghost yet. I have never purchased one of the new LED light bulbs but understand they are quite expensive. Well expensive or not, it may be time to abandoned the CFL league of bulbs. I don’t think melted and burned bases is something I’m comfortable with living with…. 🙁

They Call It Ecchymosis….

They call it Ecchymosis…. I call it aggravating or tarnished vanity run amuck!

You see them often on an elderly person, those reddish looking bruises or blood spots. There are various medical terms given them, primarily based on an individual’s underlying health issues that may be the cause. Others of us like me get them due to the thinning of the epidermis thickness or walls of our veins.

There is absolutely no pain or discomfort experienced by these reddish black splotches but I do find them somewhat embarrassing in a sense. Other people certainly notice them and are certainly not attracted to them in any measure and can be noticeably turned off by them just as I am.

I seem to get the damn things on a regular basis, sometimes just from a simple little bump of the hand against something. And if you do bump your hand, you know they’re coming although it will take several minutes to a half-hour for it to fully manifest itself. Sometimes you look down and see one of those big red splotches and are clueless as to where it came from or how you got it. I even get them from time to time just from pulling my hand out of the pocket of my blue jeans. It’s just ridiculous and you can sometimes get your dandruff up a bit over them!

Just to share a couple with you, this first one I got simply trying to open the hood on my car the other day….

Hand after opening car hood

This second one had a little more ominous origin although completely painless. I had a small Melanoma surgically removed from my forearm a few years ago and when they removed the IV they had in my hand this was my reward….

Hand after Melanoma Surgery

I know, I know…. it looks really horrible but your hand actually feels fine, it’s simply a cosmetic thing. It took this one seemingly forever to disperse. And when you go out in public, you just want to wear a pair of gloves or keep your hands in your pocket to eliminate all the stares you are sure to garnish from other people. Normally however, these splotches like the one in the first picture disappear within a couple of weeks.

Okay, guess I’m finished complaining for the moment, at least about these things anyway. Just another one of those fun things we elderly folks get to enjoy in our day to day activities.

Littering – A Study in Still Life

I was recently inspired to write this post by a blogging acquaintance who resides at her blog, PiedType, who just in the last few days featured a post titled “Haute couture made of Senegalese garbage” which highlights the human pollution that is a very serious issue in areas of Africa and features photography as a means of exposing this growing problem.

I was reminded as I read the associated article from her post and viewed the associated photographs of my own endeavors somewhat along those lines although to a much, much lesser extent for sure. Nevertheless, my intent was similar in nature regarding our own attitudes here in the United States regarding litter and garbage.

Certainly our issues here are far less critical than those in Africa but nonetheless, constantly they deserve our attention. Our landfills are certainly of concern and have been for some time now but on a better note, our efforts to eliminate littering have much improved. Not solved by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly improved over what we were dealing with a generation ago.

I have submitted a few samples my own photography work in the area of littering and thought I would share them here today on my latest blog post….

Chicken Noodle Soup Can(Chicken Noodle Still Life)

Spam Can - 01(Spam Still Life)

Gold Medal Flour Bag with Flowers(Recycled Flour Bag & Flowers)

Tomato Soup Can(Portrait of a Soup Can)

The only confession I suppose I should make with regard to the subjects of my photographs is that there may be noted a palatable influence by some of Andy Warhol’s work if the soup can subjects were to somehow catch your eye.

Other than that, I figured that if we as a society enjoy littering so much that surely there is also a place in our culture for the art that celebrates such things…. 🙂

What’s wrong with this picture?

A couple of weekends ago I went over to visit with my older sister and her husband. Now during my visit she happen to mention that our younger sister had come over to her office one day that week and picked up a bag of home grown tomatoes. You see a couple or three years ago they began planting a vegetable garden in a small area of their backyard and began raising a few different types of veggies and my sister, whose quite the cook, even started canning a lot of them.

And I should mention that according to un-named sources, the little foot-tapping country ditty posted below is what she plays the whole time she is in the kitchen canning…

(“Homegrown Tomatoes” – Guy Clark)

Below are just a couple of photographs my sister has posted on her Facebook page this summer showing off their harvest and some of her canning projects….

Sisters Home Grown Tomatoes(Click on photograph to Enlarge)

I then mentioned to her while we were sitting there talking that I would like to get a few home grown tomatoes myself if they could spare them. My brother-in-law almost immediately got up and went out to their garden to apparently harvest me a few of those scrumptious tomatoes.

Now at this point perhaps some of you are thinking well what a nice brother I must be for showing off my sister and brother-in-laws veggie horn-of-plenty on my blog. And obviously how proud I must be of them… right? Well no, that’s not exactly the point I wanted to make.

As I was leaving my sister handed me a small plastic zip-lock bag noting that they hoped I enjoyed my tomatoes. My brother-in-law noted that a couple of them were still a little green so I might want to give them a day or two to ripen a little more. I then thanked them of course and left.

Needless to say as reflected in the photograph below, I was a little taken back by my sister and brother-in-laws generosity when checking out my presumed tomato bonanza. Oh, and in case you’re curious, the quarter seen in the photograph was put there just to put a perspective of the sheer volume of the vegie bounty that was shared with me.

My Tomato Bounty(Click to Enlarge)

I need to remember to do something really special for my sister on “National Sibling’s Day” next year. You know what I mean….? 🙁