Thursday, October 30, 2014

RIP Mayor Tom Menino

I grew up in Watertown, NY, but after finishing my education I moved to Boston. I had always been intrigued with the history of Boston and wanted to live there. Since my education was in the medical field, it made since to move to Boston, where job opportunities were abundant. So after a short stint at a private lab in Albany I moved to Boston. I can remember a small group of politicians who were infamously known for their bigotry towards anyone who wasn't Boston Irish or who were gay. I must say that I was a bit intimidated by these at first but learned to stay away from their territory in South Boston. This was in 1985 and eight years later things became to change.

In 1993, after Mayor Flynn resigned to take an ambassadorship, Tom Menino became acting mayor. He went on to become the longest serving mayor Boston has ever had, winning every election with a wide plurality. During my time living in Boston, my adopted home town, a lot changed. Menino championed the rights of all Bostonians, not just a select few. I can remember that every St. Patrick's Day, the organizers of the parade denied any gay group the right to march in the parade. I can still remember the bigoted head of the parade, Whacko. Yes that was really his nickname and he was proud of it. Menino refused to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade, but he proudly marched in the annual Boston Gay Pride parade.

He was not afraid to frequent Black, Hispanic, Vietnamese or Chinese neighborhoods or eateries, as he seemed to thrive in the different cultures that Boston was becoming a home to. I can remember when he first became mayor he attended our little neighborhood block party and came to my house to pet the dog. He was just another neighbor.

When I tell people I lived in Boston they often ask how I could stand the high taxes and big city life. The truth is I paid a lot less, about 50% less in taxes than I do now here in upstate New York and the "big city" of Boston was more like a bunch of little neighborhoods of different backgrounds, all living together.  Boston  became this way because of Mayor Tom Menino. He was truly a politician who cared for his city and its people more than politics and money. He was Boston and Boston will miss him, but she will never forget him. Thank you Mayor Tom Menino.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Life in These United States

I was passing the time a short while ago by reading Yahoo News on my IPhone and came across an interesting story, titled "The 10 States With the worst Quality of Life". The criteria for quality of life were employment rate, household disposable income per capita, health and percentage of people without health insurance. The 10 states were: 1.Mississippi, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. W.Virginia, 5. Tennessee, 6. Oklahoma, 7. S. Carolina, 8. Louisiana, 9. New Mexico, 10. Georgia.

The article described the poverty and quality of life in these ten states, without mentioning a word about politics. It did mention that in most of these states there was high voter turnout as compared to the rest of the country.  After reading the article I sort of thought there was something familiar with these states. All but Arkansas and West Virginia have Republican governors and all but West Virginia are Red states! Very interesting.

I can only draw one conclusion. With the high voter turnouts in these states, which support Republicans, maybe the electorate enjoys the poor quality of life! It makes no sense to continue voting for the party that keeps you in poverty!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another School Shooting

I have written a few posts in the past on gun violence and school shootings and now sadly I am doing it again. After each shooting there is an uproar from some parents and a few politicians calling for stricter gun laws and all kinds of nasty rhetoric from the NRA in defense of guns. Nothing ever gets done. So here we are again. In Washington state a teenage boy went on a shooting spree in his school cafeteria, because he was jilted by a girlfriend. He killed one student and seriously wounded others before he killed himself.

Once again people are looking for answers to stop the killings, but what is amazing is the number of loud voices who say this would never have happened if school officials and faculty were armed. They also warn people not to overreact because the Democrats will take every one's guns away. What complete and utter morons!

I have lived in other countries and have many friends from different countries in Europe and Asia. When I was living abroad I was so embarrassed each and every time there was a school shooting. I could never answer that question, "Why do Americans have to have so many guns?" America has more guns than any other country in the world and we also have abundantly more gun related deaths than any other country in the world, civilized or not.  Many opponents of gun control say that the violence is a result of violent video games. Japan, China and Korea have way more video games than the US, but they don't have any school shootings or gun related murders. These same opponents argue that gun violence is a result of poor mental health care. This is basically true, but we do not have a monopoly on mentally ill people and our care is much better than in many countries which have no instances of gun violence. Are Americans slowly becoming desensitized to school killings and regressing back to the uncivilized days of the Old West? It seems that way, especially in those states of the Old West.

The argument that Obama and the Democrats want to take away all of the guns is purely idiotic. I like to target shoot on occasion and I have friends and relatives that love hunting. The weapons that should be banned are not hunting rifles and shotguns, but assault weapons intended to kill as many people, not deer, as possible. These assault weapons are intended for  military use. Unfortunately these weapons have also found their way into the hands of terrorist organizations around the world, as well as high school students. Gun control opponents almost overwhelmingly follow Fox News and therefore get all of the wrong facts and outright lies. I am sorry to say that a couple of my friends are like this. You can't argue with them by using facts, as they believe Fox is infallible. 

The old argument that "people kill people, guns don't kill people" is true, but having so many guns so available to so many people, regardless of mental state, is completely irresponsible. For a long time this country was embroiled in the argument of whether or not gay people should be issued a license to marry. A license for two people who love each other to be married, which would hurt  no one, was bitterly fought over and most times denied, while any mentally unstable person could walk off the street and buy and assault weapon to kill as many people as he wished! When people adopt a dog or a cat they have to go through a process where they must prove they are responsible enough to own a pet. Not so with purchasing a gun in many states! As long as you a breathing, even better yet, wearing an NRA pin or Confederate flag, you can buy whatever weapon you want.

I doubt that things will change much in this country, especially since our politicians are increasingly bought  by the NRA and other large corporations. Conservatives in this country are increasing showing that they value owning a gun more than the lives of children.  Our democratic style form of government is slowly giving way to an oligarchic form of government and the American voters are too stupid to realize it. Sadly I will probably be writing another post sometime in the near future, after another mass school shooting. People are worried and demanding action after one person died from ebola, but show no concern about our increasing epidemic of school shootings! America has a problem!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Medications Could Kill You

When I was younger I didn't know anything about medications and I don't think too many other people did either. When you went to the doctor he gave you some medicine, which you hoped would take care of what ailed you. Most likely you didn't even know the names of the medications and didn't worry about side effects.

All of this has changed in the past few years with drug companies advertising their products. Every day we are bombarded by ads for medications for conditions including hay fever, ED, bronchitis, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and a myriad of other diseases. I think these commercials go right over the heads of most viewers, unless they are suffering with one of these conditions. So basically they are ignored by most of us. But what about those people who have a disease and may benefit from taking one of these advertised drugs?

The commercials always show patients,  who are supposedly taking the medications, as happy go lucky, smiling and sociable and without pain. The announcer suggests that you could be helped by these wonder drugs and tells you to ask your doctor about them. Then after you are told how wonderful the drugs are the announcer goes on to warn you of the possible side effects. These warnings include the possibility of stroke, heart attack, blindness and my favorite, "even death". The announcer even warns you not to take the medication if you are allergic to it. How in hell are you going to know if you are allergic to it unless you know the patented scientific name of the ingredient or unless you give it a try to see what happens?

I have breathing difficulties and have seen ads for medications that might possibly help me, but I admit that the possible complications would be much worse than having some difficulty breathing. I would think that a lot of people would be terrified to try these medications, for fear of death. I previously wrote a post on the high cost of drugs in this country, I've Been Ripped Off  by the Big Drug Companies, which leads me to make a point on that high cost here.  Drug advertising is extremely expensive on TV, the Internet and in magazines. So who's paying for this expensive advertising? We are, through increased cost of the drugs we buy! Every time you see one of these ads, just remember that even though you aren't suffering from that particular disease, you are paying for that ad when you buy another medication! Now that should make you sick!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Worry About Ebola

In the past few weeks we have been inundated with news about the ebola virus, most of which has been false and politically motivated. We've all heard a little something about ebola, the deadly disease that every now and then breaks out in Africa killing most of those affected. Most Americans didn't care because it only killed Black people in Africa. For Americans it was out of sight, out of mind. But not this time. Someone from Africa, who was infected by the ebola virus, came to the US, where he was hospitalized and subsequently died. Two nurses were infected, but are doing fine now under care.

It has been a slow past few months for the news media, so they all jumped aboard the bandwagon to flood the airways with myths, propaganda and outright lies to terrify the American public. CNN hasn't had this much fun since the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17. Twenty-four hours a day they broadcast the same nonsensical dribble and untruths about ebola. Every newscast was exactly the same, with the same breaking reports every few minutes. And of course Fox News chimed in and turned a deadly disease into a political issue. Politicians who knew absolutely nothing about the cause of illnesses were criticizing the CDC and the Obama administration for not doing enough to protect the American people. Naturally the morons at Fox  News and their Republican lackeys blamed President Obama, as they always do whenever it rains or something else goes wrong. Ironically they blame Obama for not letting the Surgeon General take care of the situation, when there is presently no Surgeon General, because Republicans in Congress have blocked the nomination of a surgeon general  simply for being  nominated by Obama. Also with the last shutdown of the  government by Republicans the CDC lost a great deal of funding for such epidemics.

Since the midterm elections are just a couple of weeks away Conservatives are calling for the banning of direct flights from infected areas of Africa, even thought there are no direct flights from these areas. Some Conservatives want to shut down the country and stop all flights from Africa, which would naturally cause an economic catastrophe. The Tea Party has once again taken a situation, this time a public health concern and turned it into hate filled, ignorant rantings to blame the President, hoping to scare the hell out of Americans before the elections, so the Republicans can win in November. Even though the true facts regarding ebola are out there for all to see, the viewers of Fox News and others of their ilk choose to panic instead of learn the truth. This is so reminiscent of the early days of the AIDS crisis!  The difference being that back then Ronald Reagan ignored the epidemic because it was only killing gays, whereas Obama is actually doing something!

One person, infected in Africa and flown to the US, has died. In the following months tens of thousands of people will die with the flu, hundreds will die as the result of gun violence and hundreds more will dies in automobile accidents, but Americans could care less! Why? Because these deaths do not serve a purpose to the media, such as Fox News, CNN and others.


So wise up America and listen to people who know what they are doing, instead of those ignoramuses with a political agenda. You are not sheep, so quit following these idiots blindly!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mind Boggling Midterm Elections

Photo courtesy:

In just a few weeks the 2014 midterm elections will take place. I have on the whole been ignoring them, as I have been preoccupied with Kevin getting his Green Card. Another reason I have not paid much attention to them and written a blog post is that the campaign rhetoric has been totally disgusting from both sides. What I do know is that in the past 2 years absolutely nothing has been done by this bunch of good for nothing, extremely partisan, hate filled, racist, Koch brother bought and paid for politicians in Congress! Looking at some of the predictions of who will control the House and Senate I just had to break my silence and post something.

Ever since Obama was reelected for a second term, the Republicans have vowed to destroy him. In an October 23, 2010 interview with the National Journal, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority leader stated, " The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." This present congress has spent most of its time trying to repeal or gut the Affordable Healthcare Act, trying to impeach Obama or trying to sue him. They have done absolutely nothing to help the middle class, the unemployed, the poor, working men and women, students under tons of student debt or to address the ever growing income equality.  There have been zero jobs plans emanating from Congress. The Republicans have offered nothing, except for suing Obama.

In all of the recent polls the favorability of Congress is extremely low. According to a Gallup Poll from September 2014  the favorability rating was 14%. This same poll puts Obama at a favorability rating at 40%. In all of the polls those people being polled say that the present Senate and House of Representatives do not deserve reelection. To the normal, intelligent sane person this would mean that there would most likely be big changes ahead with the midterm election. Oh how wrong can one be?   

The recent polls show that basically the makeup of the House of Representative will be the same after the election and there is a possibility that the Senate will be taken over by the Republicans. The same Republicans who did nothing in this congressional term.Those same Conservative Republicans, who blocked any legislation to help the poor and middle class, will be reelected by those same poor and middle class people being kept down by them.! The millions of poor people in the Red states who are now being covered by Obamacare are going to vote for those same people who want to take that healthcare insurance away from them! Those millions of people in the Red states who are receiving food stamps are going to vote for the same politicians who want to take food stamps away from them! It is interesting to note that the Red states receive the most welfare benefits and pay the least in federal taxes. Also 9 out of 10 of the poorest states are Red states with Republican governors!

The unemployment rate in the country has dropped to the lowest level in 6 years and the Federal deficit has dropped to the lowest level in 6 years. These are two facts that have been clouded over by the hateful and revengeful antics of the Republicans in Congress, who say the economy is worse. Unfortunately the very people who need help are being brainwashed by the media, especially the fantasy news of Fox News, which blames Obama for every bad situation since the fall of the Roman Empire.

I have little or no faith in the American electorate, especially in the Right Wing religious South. They are not bright enough to realize the harm they are doing to themselves at the hands of the political morons they continue to elect and reelect. They cannot see that they are getting poorer as their representatives in congress and their rich supporters are getting richer! They will  have only themselves to blame for their plight.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jills Antiques, Brockport,NY

When Kevin and I first moved to the Rochester area we had to start furnishing our home from scratch.  Needless to say buying furniture for a large house was very expensive.  We bought the basics, such as a bed, sofa, kitchen tables and chairs for the living room. As money began to run low we saw the need to economize. Both of us like vintage or antique furniture so we decided to look around the area for antique shops and garage and estate sales. One day we happened upon a quaint little store on Main Street in Brockport.  We had lunch nearby so we decided to drop in and see what was there.

Well needless to say we fell in love with the store. I think Kevin would love to have his second home here.We found Jill, the owner to be very pleasant, knowledgeable and helpful. We have bought many items of furniture, old vinyl records, old lamps and other antique collectibles.Jill also has quite a collection of vintage clothing, photos, toys and china.

We have also purchased an old radio and a vintage turntable from Jill, which are in prefect working condition. It is very assuring to know that when you purchase something like antique radios or other such equipment, that it actually works. And that's because Jill's father,a semi-retired radio and electronics technician, makes sure they all work. He also works there Sunday afternoons and is always willing to answer your questions about the radios etc.

I am by no means a person who knows what they are doing when it comes to antiques, but I know what I like and I can usually find it here at a reasonable price. If Jill doesn't have what I am looking for I can ask her to keep an eye out for it. Many times we go in the shop to browse or simply chat, because the atmosphere is so comfortable and we just feel at ease looking around.

I usually don't use my blog to promote businesses, as those who read this can tell, but I believe in supporting those who have supported us in our move into our new home town. If you are in the neighborhood of Main Street, in Brockport, NY, please stop in at Jill's Antiques and Collectibles at 65 Main St.. She is open Mon.-Fri. 10:30-6, Sat.10:30-5, Sun.12-4. Her website is
You won't regret your visit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Couple of My Pet Peeves

Instead of posting something about my experiences moving back home or about politics,  I have decided to post something about a few of things that really irritate me. I have been thinking about writing something about a couple of annoyances I have had for quite some time, but some of them really got to me these past few days.

Whenever I go shopping for new clothes I can't wait to get home and try them on to see how they look. This excitement quickly fades into frustration. Why does every little piece of clothing have to have those plastic tags attached to the clothing? Often times they are inserted through the clothing so that when you attempt to remove them one end gets stuck inside the seams forever. You have to take your time to make sure you cut them so that both ends of the tags can be thrown away. Many times I have discovered the cause of an itch on my back or stomach was one of these lost loose ends! Why can't they use tape, which can be peeled of simply and quickly?

Courtesy of
 Have you ever had diarrhea or needed to take an allergy pill quickly? You go to the medicine cabinet, find the proper medicine, peel off one of the blister pack sections containing one tablet and then the fun begins,.Usually there is a small perforation that says "cut or tear here". Yeah right. Try cutting or tearing here, especially in the middle of the night, when you are suffering. You end up having to get a pair of scissors and cutting the pill out. I realize that this packaging is child proof, but it is also patient proof!

And last, but not least is one of my favorites.I love buying light bulbs or other gadgets and items which are vacuum packed in plastic. You can't tear the package apart. You need to get a pair of scissors and perhaps a crowbar to pry the item free. This usually takes a bit of time and can become dangerous. On a number of occasions I have cut myself on the jagged plastic edges. I also have had friends destroy the item they are trying to get out , while the package is being opened. There must be a better way of packaging some items that would be more environmentally friendly, less dangerous and cheaper!

Well that's it for now. I am sure I will be annoyed at other things in the future and will be sharing them with you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I've Been Ripped Off by the Big Drug Companies

A short time after moving back to New York State I visited a doctor to get a couple of prescriptions I needed. This was in April and I was not as yet receiving benefits from Medicare Part B. Since I was living in a foreign country, Medicare pays no benefits even though I had been paying into it my entire working life. I take medicine for high blood pressure and I use an inhaler for shortness of breath. In Malaysia I would simply go to the pharmacy and ask for the drugs, as these were not controlled prescription drugs. The BP medication was about $6 and the inhaler was $3. I used to buy more than one inhaler, so I could keep one in the car, keep one in the bedroom and carry one.

Well I went to the doctor and wasn't too upset at having to pay $75 for a visit which I was used to paying $15. I sort of expected this. The shock and anger came went I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medications.The pills were $30, but the inhaler was $50! I was used to paying $3 and now I have to pay $50! I was outraged. 

When I got back home I did some research on the inhalers. It appears that a couple of years ago our less than benevolent FDA banned the use of CFC's (chlorofluorocarbons) in asthma inhalers, thus dealing a serious blow to everyone who suffers from asthma. This allowed the drug companies to find a replace for the CFS' to propel the medicine into the lungs Naturally the drug companies found a method and promptly patented it. So for the next 15 years or so the American public has to pay exorbitant prices if they want to alleviate their suffering. 

While I was really pissed of by this I wondered how many people, children and adults, are held hostage by these guiltless drug companies, who want to protect their profits more than help the sick and suffering. I used to work in the Longwood Medical area of Boston and saw the magnificent towering structures erected by the major drug companies. I saw the elaborate facilities serving 5 star cuisine and offering the employees every amenity imaginable. I can remember reading about  the enormous salaries of the CEOs. That's why our drugs are so expensive, as compared to our neighbor Canada and the rest of the world! This is only going to get worse in this county as the drug companies have one of the largest and most powerful lobbies in Washington. In other words our useless politicians work for them, not us!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My First Medical Emergency - Strong Memorial Was There

For quite some time I have been suffering from occasional sever upper abdominal pains that lasted anywhere from a hour to several hours. The pain was excruciating and nothing eased it, except for a shot of painkiller at the emergency room. When I first experienced this pain in Boston I was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) for which I was given medication to take, probably for the rest of my life. The medication didn't exactly work perfectly, as I still had occasional attacks. I had a few attacks while living in Malaysia, which brought me to the ER, where I was given a shot of morphine and a diagnosis of gastritis. Last month I had an extremely bad attack one Thursday afternoon, which I tolerated until the next morning when Kevin brought me to URMC (University of Rochester Medical Center)-Strong West Emergency Room nearby in Brockport. Within minutes I was told that I had pancreatitis and very high levels on my liver function tests. Since they do not have inpatient beds there I was transferred by ambulance to URMC-Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

A short time later I had an ultrasound which showed I had an inflamed gall bladder full of gallstones, to go along with the inflamed pancreas. I was put on antibiotics and waited for the inflammation to subside before anything else was done. For 2 days I had nothing but IVs and pain killer. The third days I had water and jello, which tasted wonderful. On Sunday evening I was taken to the OR and had my gall bladder removed. The next evening I returned home, a bit sore, but minus my troublesome gallbladder.

I have to say that the doctors, surgeons and nurses at both Strong West Emergency Room and also Strong Memorial Hospital were fabulous. Everyone from my surgeon to the people who cleaned my room were kind, friendly and attentive. I can't thank them enough for making a bad situation a lot more bearable and even pleasant.I feel very secure now that I know we have such wonderful medical facilities so close to us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

You're in Good Hands

One of the more important things I had to do when I moved back home was to buy a car. This was a necessity if we wanted to look around for a house and become independent. I had already basically made up my mind as to what car I wanted and all I had to do was to get the best deal possible. I finally settled on a new Ford Focus hatchback, which was the most practical and economical for the both of us at this time. Even though I wanted a sportier car, the Focus made more sense when it came to shopping and driving in the snow etc. I can always get a sportier model the next time.

All of the paperwork was done and I paid for the car, without a hitch. All that was left was to get the insurance. This was no easy task. On the way home from the car dealer we stopped at a well known auto insurance company to check on the rates. You know the one with the good hands. When I told them I only had a Malaysian driver's license, even though I have had both Massachusetts and New York licenses for years and was an American citizen, they didn't even want to talk with me. They told me there is nothing they could do and then proceeded to treat me as though I wasn't there. I was really surprised as to how rude they were. A few doors down from here we visited an office that dealt with multiple companies. Once again after I told then I had a Malaysian license, they acted like I had Ebola. They did find a company, but the premiums were just a little over $6000 a year! When we got back to my nieces house, where were staying I called Geico. I love geckos and have always loved Geico's ads. I talked to the agent over the phone and explained having a Malaysian driver's license. No problem! I got the policy and was not charged exorbitant rates because I happened to live outside of the country for a time. Ironically after we bought our house a short time later, the same insurance company had the balls to ask me to insure our house with them! Naturally I called Geico and got a policy with them at a much cheaper rate. Thank you Geico.

After purchasing the car and getting the required insurance I had a rather not so pleasant surprise when I looked for information on getting my NYS driver's license. I thought, like Massachusetts and many states, I only needed to trade in my Malaysian license. Wrong! Just as if I had never stepped food in a car I had to take the learner's permit test to get my permit and then take a road test again. But before I can take the road test I have to take a 5 hour course on how to drive! I was being treated like a 16 year old again! What was really funny is that every time I mentioned I had a Malaysian driver's license and I had lived in Malaysia for 7 years, these morons didn't even know what or where Malaysia was! Well I got the permit and one of these days I'll sign up for the class and then take my road test again. What a pain in the ass!

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