Month: January 2017

On the Lighter Side….

This is actually an old post of mine from an earlier blog published in March of 2009. It features two of my favorite videos and I wanted to re-share them. In the first video Conan O’Brien does a little bird-watching and in the second video Christopher Walken gives us a gardening tip.

If you are a die-hard “bird-watcher” with a sense of humor or even, for that matter, just a backyard bird watcher then you need to click on the link below and watch the excerpt video from the Conan O’Brien Show….

And if you are into ‘horticulture’; a plant grower; the green-thumb type, then you certainly don’t want to miss this excerpt from Saturday Night Live. Especially if you like Cactus and you’ll get a great gardening tip! That video link is just below….

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…. 🙂

How ’bout some “Drop-Dead” shower caddies….

I can’t recall that I have ever purchased a ‘shower caddy’ before but was certainly familiar with what they were and the purpose they served. And given the fact that a shower caddy is such a very common bathroom accessory and available product, well past that I never gave them much thought. That was until yesterday morning when I decided I needed one to hang on the shower door of my home’s half-bath.

Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and of course Amazon, I just knew they would be available from all types of outlets. So as always the first thing I did was consulted the Google search to see who had what and exactly what style might catch my eye. Given the fact that these are but mere shower caddies probably selling from between $10 to $30, it shouldn’t be hard to find one I liked.

Search engines are a bit like roulette wheels given you never know who is going to show up in the number one position of Google. But coming up first yesterday morning was the big box hardware store Lowe’s. Now at that moment I thought that was great, after all I only live about a mile or so from a local Lowe’s store. So I did a search on the Lowe’s website for shower caddies and the first of those drop-dead caddies showed up. Now trust me, before you look at the Lowe’s ad shown below you need to have taken all your heart medication because I guarantee you’re about to see a drop-dead shower caddy….

OK…. now if you’re still with me I hope you noted that the caddy is even made of plastic and it looks like a 3-tier soap dish to me. And that price does definitely say $399, I know cause I stared at it for almost five minutes, mouth open thinking I was hallucinating. Then I thought that perhaps the shower caddy was somehow permanently attached to the shower so the shower itself came with it. Now that would make sense but alas, the price was just for the shower caddy it turns out.

After regaining my composure I concluded that surely that was simply a typo in the ad with regard to the price. So I dropped down to the next shower caddy and there it was, the generic shower caddy that one would think they could get just about anywhere for $15 to $20 but not this one, this was another one of those drop-dead Lowe’s shower caddies….

Well, that was the last straw for me. Time to leave ‘la-la land’ or OZ or where ever the hell I was, regain my composure and go find one of the surely millions of shower caddies priced accordingly. I decided to go to Amazon next and within a matter of minutes had found the caddy I wanted.

As you may have readily noted the Amazon caddy which is quite similar to the Lowe’s caddy just above, it is only $19.99, made of steel and is available in two different styles and three different finishes. So not only is it $295 dollars cheaper but it is actually more versatile. Now I don’t pretend to know what is going on with the Lowe’s shower caddies shown above nor do I intend to pursue an answer. Fact of the matter is I was simply so taken back and shocked at the Lowe’s prices that I just had to share the experience and of course, the “drop-dead” shower caddies! 🙁

Remembering those Social Security deductions….

This morning for some reason right out of the clear blue something I hadn’t thought of in years popped into my mind. I remembered that increase in pay you hopefully use to get at some point each year, dependent of course on your salary, after you had paid in the maximum amount of Social Security established by the Social Security Administration for that particular year.

The first year I reached and exceeded that maximum Social Security deduction was 1970 when the maximum deduction number was $7800 and I made $8600 that year. I remember first seeing that extra amount in my net pay on my pay check and simply thought I must have gotten a raise. What was odd is that I had not been informed of any such raise. Hearing of my curiosity about the pay increase, one of my coworkers clued me in as to what the increase was all about. Up until that point I was really a bit clueless about how all those deductions like Social Security and Medicare worked.

Having said that, shown below is an interesting chart of the yearly Social Security deductions beginning in the year 1937 and going thru the year 2016. For this year as a matter of information, 2017, the maximum is set at $127,000.

And so it was that from that first year that I received that increase forward, through my career as the latter part of the year approached with each pay check I anticipated that perhaps it was this week that I had reached that Social Security payoff threshold. And after looking at your pay check and another week was going to pass you by there was certainly at least a brief moment of disappointment if you did not see that increase.

The last year of my working career that I had met the Social Security deductible maximum was before the end of the year, 1989, when it had reached $48,000. I went into semi-retirement in 1990 so I had a substantial decrease in income from that point on and that Social Security deductible became but a fleeting memory of the past.

In looking at that chart today I am amazed at how high the Social Security deduction has gone. I did check however and according to the Pew Research Center Institute the income spread for a middle class family of three is anywhere from $42,000 to $125,000, dependent of course on many factors, the least not being where you are living and the associated cost of living. In other words, if you live in Vicksburg, MS you are far less likely to come close to that threshold than if you were living in New York City.

Now at age 75 I find myself on the other end of this discourse, benefiting in my old age from all those years of playing that waiting game, more thankful for what I paid in than for those token raises I was enjoying along the way…. 🙂

My final goodbye to the game of golf….

Remembering back a few years ago, one of the more personal sad days of my life was the day I donated all my music equipment to the local high school. I had pretty much lost my voice and some measure of the tremors had affected my ability to play my keyboards. It was the first major reckoning that I was entering a different phase of life. Not a little hick-up but a life changing moment. I had been a musician and playing one instrument or another since age thirteen. And singing, well that had always been my first love no doubt.

The music was the first to go and then came the outdoor activity which had been over the course of my lifetime the only outdoor game or sport, however you want to define it, I had really participated in with any measure of regularity. And that would be the game of golf.

In a journal entry of mine back in September of last year titled “Bucket List Item…. Clean out the old man’s attic!” I discussed the cleaning out of my attic as a self-proclaimed act of burial preparation. Of course as one soon realizes when taking on of such a project is that you will quickly find that what was a rather neat and organized living area, you are now faced with crap lying around and stacked up in almost every room in the house. I certainly realized this was going to be the aftermath of such a project but if you suffer from Organization Compulsive Disorder your anxiety and stress levels are sure to elevate.

And so now I had a clean attic but the inside of my  home looked like “Hoarder’s Paradise”. So my first idea was to just photograph everything and either offer it for sale or just give it away. After all, with my COPD there was little else I could do anyway. A garage sale would have been an excellent way to dispose of a majority of items but not a chore that I could have easily handled physically. I did over the course of a few weeks manage to give away some old picture frames, framing mat boards and a few of those metal cookie/candy storage tins.

But the elephant in the room was my golf clubs. Selling or even giving them away would mean final closure on yet another of my life’s pleasures and enjoyments. But at this point it had been several years since I had even picked up a golf club so I gathered up my two sets of clubs and my mother’s old set she used when she was alive and prepared them for a donation to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters local donation center along with a ton of my old clothes. As the adjacent photo reflects, there they were ready for the next leg of their life’s journey and my best hope could only be that the clubs would bring as much enjoyment to their new owners as they had me and my mom.

Perhaps it seems that I am wallowing in large measure here in good old self-pity but not really. As I grew older and began to reflect on old age and what it would bring I knew that many of my life’s passions and pleasures would have to be set aside at some point along the way. So now that most are gone I try not to reflect on what I have lost but rather the joy that all had brought to my life. And I have to say given that, that the joy and pleasure I received leaves the loss of those things but a fading mist for the most part.

Over the next few weeks I finally got the house back in shape storing many of the items in spare closet space to include closet floors. One closet is where I stored my CD collection, some 425 of those, so I gave all of those to my little sister which gave me a lot more shelf storage room for some of those smaller attic treasures. I made one more call to Big Brothers/Big Sisters and had them come by and pick up my final load of donations from the big attic clean out.

Rogue Camera Murders Local Lakewood Resident

Speaking of senile ramblings, it is at times quite curious as to the things we can dream up with plenty of time on our hands. Such was the case sometime back when I purchased a new camera and it struck me that perhaps cameras actually have some measure of feelings. I wondered what my old camera, which worked perfectly by the way, could possibly be thinking when confronted by the fact it had been replaced by a newer, perhaps more sophisticated type of camera. Those results are reflected below….

Read about it here – Murder On Oaklawn Drive

A “Some Final Thoughts” Update….

Some may or may not be familiar with the term ‘redirect’ as relates to the URL’s we use on the Internet. But basically, that is a way to tell a specific URL that if someone tries to go to it or clicks on it, it will send you to a different URL. This ‘redirect’ is normally created and initiated by the URL’s owner.

That is what I have done here this morning. If you try to go to or click on my “Some Final Thoughts” URL (www.somefinalthoughts.com), you will be redirected to this blog which is my reincarnated blog “Writing To Myself” (www.writingtomyself.com). I have had to do this based on all the issues I have been having over the past three weeks with the blog, “Some Final Thoughts”.

All the previous posts and comments from the blog “Some Final Thoughts” have been migrated over so at this point “Writing To Myself” is a mirror of “Some Final Thoughts” with the exception of the post you are reading.

Although “Writing To Myself” is on the same server with the same IP Address as “Some Final Thoughts”, I am hoping this ‘redirect’ resolves the issues and it is just the WordPress software being used by “Some Final Thoughts” that has been corrupted.

If I haven’t run you off my now… thanks for your patience!

Trouble right here in River City….

I have been having all sorts of blog problems here over the past three weeks but particularly the last three days. I won’t go into all the gory details because unfortunately there are a lot of them. I’ll just keep it simple for the moment and perhaps share details later. The picture above is quite apropos for the moment.

This blog has been doing strange things of late and seems to be in complete conflict with Google sites such as forums and Google+. For some reason those sites are treating the blog as if it were Blacklisted for some reason. My old blog, “Writing To Myself”, actually still exists works fine which is odd since both blogs are hosted from the same IP server address on the same server.

So… I may have to just stop using “Some Final Thoughts” and move back over to “Writing To Myself” which I don’t want to do, or there is always the option of creating a new blog with a new domain name with a new IP server address. I have talked to so many people about my blog issues I am about done in and no one seems to know what the problem is other than continually saying, “Well try this.” or “Try this.”

Anyway, that’s what is going on with the blog so don’t be surprised as to what you may or may not see for the next few days… 🙁

The VCR Movie Recycling Project….

I am not by any stretch of the imagination a recycling fanatic but I do try my best at keeping our environment vitality in a manner fitting for future generations. With that in mind, I suppose one has to have an exceptional amount of time on their hands when they approach some of their brainstorm projects. Certainly one of my most recent would fall into that category. And one cannot deny that retirement often breeds extended moments of complete boredom.

Perhaps like me many of you have a stockpile of no longer wanted VCR movies and recordings. I never have been a prolific movie buyer and remain so yet today however over the years when VCR tapes were the norm in spite of my restrained movie purchase habit I still managed to accumulate some eighty or ninety tapes.

After making an exerted effort to educate myself regarding the disposal and discarding to VCR tapes so as to not be guilty and complicit in contributing to the demise of my home planet’s environment, I found myself in pursuit of a prescribed method for the disposal of such items. One tantalizing recommendation was just to take all your VCR tapes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But it was strongly noted that those organizations would only be interested in the commercial movie tapes in their appropriate boxes and further went on to state that even then, they might end up in a land fill somewhere.

The only other option seemed to me was to disassemble each tape into its various parts and dispose of the various parts accordingly, which I found to be comprised of three parts. A few metal parts to include normally five screws and a few metal clips, several plastic parts to include the covers, the plastic tape reels, and finally the VCR tape itself. The plastic and the metal can be recycled but unfortunately the tape/film can not be so it has to go to a landfill.

On the morning that I began the project I cleaned of a large table and began the disassembly. From start to finish it took me a few hours spread over a couple of days to complete breaking all the tapes down into their various components. I have included a couple of photos below showing the disassembly in progress. Be sure to click of the photos to enlarge….

With regard to the time required to break down the VCR tapes into their degradable parts it was noted on one of my referenced websites that this was the price we pay for manufacturing products with no forethought to their end of life. Certainly it would have been so much easier to just pass these items off to a charitable organization but my gut feeling is that in the end, regardless of any further legitimate use, they would have not been disposed of properly.

In the end I am not sure what the most honest response is in regard to why I embarked upon such a project. I’ve never been to a “save the  planet” rally or anything like that. In fact, I’ve not even crafted a “save the planet” poster. Given that, it seems my efforts to reach environmental Sainthood were nothing more than a way to keep boredom at bay…. 🙂