A Supernatural experience

I have been watching the TV series, "Supernatural", on Netflix. I really like the show, it's terrific! The show is about two brothers who are "hunters", i.e. humans who fight supernatural demons. So far, I have watched 10 full seasons. Yes, this TV show has been on for 11 years! So far I have watched 230 episodes, thankfully not all at once! I usually watch one episode per night. Every night. 7 days a week. On Netflix. Thus, Supernatural has supplied me with 32 straight weeks of nightly entertainment and enjoyment. And, over these past 32 weeks, I have looked forward to viewing every single episode and have not been disappointed once!

The show's characters are very interesting, very entertaining, extremely well developed and unpredictable. The demons are truly fascinating if not downright scary. I don't know how they dreamed up the hundreds of incredible demons who have appeared in the show over the 11 seasons, along with the remarkable special effects. And kudos to the writers of this show - they are amazingly creative and the dialogue is always a delight!

My thanks to everyone involved in this wonderful show. Thanks to you all, I have had a Supernatural experience. I am also especially fond of the main characters: Sam and Dean Winchester (hunters), Crowley (The King of Hell), Castiel (a heavenly angel), Bobby Singer (older hunter and friend of Sam and Dean and who often calls someone an idjiot) and Charlie, the red-haired hacker/hunter lesbian. And my special thanks to Netflix, who has allowed me to partake of 10 seasons of this terrific TV show.

Thank you "Supernatural". Thank you Netflix. You have entertained me and enriched my life.

my medical miracles

Recently, I had two medical miracles. Really. No, I am not delusional or taking hallucinogenic drugs. Two serious and severe medical issues that I had mysteriously resolved themselves, without medication or surgery.

Here's the story ...

Years ago, due to painful peripheral artery disease (PAD) in my leg, I could not walk more than 50 feet. I had a stent surgically implanted in my left leg. For seven years everything was fine. I was able to walk the equivalent of six football/soccer fields daily. Then, in 2016, I started having severe calf cramps in that leg and was only able to walk less than half of my usual distance. After a short distance, or going uphill, I was forced to stop due to the constant severe pain. I went to the doctor who sent me to a cardiac surgeon. The surgeon scheduled an ultrasound and after receiving the results told me that the stent was no longer working; it was totally blocked, known as an occlusion. He said that he could not open, repair or replace the stent. There was no medication that would help. If the situation got worse he said I would have to have bypass surgery on my leg, an invasive complicated procedure. I was not pleased. And I could no longer walk a reasonable distance. The surgeon suggested that I walk every day, as far as I could. He hoped that, in doing that, maybe the blood flow in my lower left leg would "find another way through the blockage". Huh? That didn't sound possible. Or probable. I went home, a bit distressed. I started my "medical walking" the next day. It was difficult. It was painful. I could not walk very far. I walked as far as I could every day for a month. My leg was not improving. Then, suddenly, one day in March, I was able to walk my old distance, double my current distance. I was able to walk as far as I used to, with no pain, no calf cramps! What happened? I did not do anything different. I resumed walking the equivalent of six football fields for a week. I was able to walk up the steep hill near my residence. No pain. No problem. How did this happen? Why was I suddenly doing so well? Was my leg fixed? Did it fix itself? I was stunned. Was I cured? Was it a medical miracle? I notified my cardiologist and my primary care physician. They did not know why or how I was suddenly cured. I researched this online and found nothing which explained the sudden medical restoration of my blood-blocked leg. I decided to accept the wonderful news and enjoy my new found health and freedom. I decided that it was, indeed, a medical miracle.

The second medical miracle has to do with prostate cancer. An indicator of possible prostate cancer is a rapidly rising PSA number. PSA is a chemical in a man's prostate gland. A man of my age should have a PSA number of under 4.0. My PSA had been rising over a couple of years and was now 22.2. Not good. Too high. A biopsy was indicated. A prostate biopsy is an invasive uncomfortable procedure, which for weeks often produces blood in your urine, feces and semen. Ugh. I was scheduled to have the biopsy in April and was trying to get used to the idea that I probably had prostate cancer. On the day of my biopsy I went to the urology surgery suite. In the end, I refused to have the biopsy. I wrote about what happened: Booties and Booty. Read that and then come back here and continue.

After I refused to have the prostate biopsy, a few weeks later I had an appointment with my primary care physician. I was due to have lab tests (including a new PSA test) and did the lab tests on Wednesday, in time to have the results when I saw the doctor the following Monday. On Monday, I went to the doctor, resigned to being told that my PSA number was still high (over 22), or had gotten even higher. I was resigned to being forced to undergo the prostate biopsy. The doctor informed me that my current PSA number was 7.8. Lower. MUCH lower. It had dropped from 22.2 all the way down to 7.8. "What?" I exclaimed. "How could that be?" I was shocked. Stunned. I had him double check the number. He did. He showed it to me. PSA Total = 7.8. I got happy. Very happy. "Wow! Now I don't have to have a prostate biopsy!!! Maybe I don't even have prostate cancer!" I had dodged a bullet! A big bullet. My PSA number was in a more acceptable range, requiring no surgery, no medication, no treatment. How did that happen? How did my PSA number go way lower? WHY, after steadily rising for years, had it suddenly dropped so much? No one knew. I looked it up online and found no clear medical answer. I decided instead to happily accept the good news, the great news. I decided that, indeed, this was yet another medical miracle!

Do I believe in miracles? Now I do. I had TWO medical miracles - in one month!

this smoker is not dead yet

smoking turns you into a zombie

To listen to the anti-smoking zealots you would think that everyone who ever smoked died, or will die, a horrible death from lung cancer. Or live a miserable unhealthy life with emphysema. To listen to the anti-smoking zealots you would think that ONE cigarette will kill you. They are wrong. And, no, I am not promoting. defending or excusing smoking, even though it legal for adults to smoke - IF they can find a place to legally do it.

Today, to listen to the anti-smoking zealots, you would think that electronic cigarettes are as bad, if not worse, than traditional cigarettes. Yet, there is no credible scientific or medical research that proves this is true. In fact, there is credible evidence that e-cigs are MUCH safer than cigarettes AND an excellent tobacco cessation device.

Let's make this personal ...

I smoked for over 50 years. A pack a day. Every day. X-rays over those years showed my lungs to be 100% clear, with no medical issues showing up via chest x-ray. No lung cancer. No irregularities. How could that be if "smoking kills"? After 50 years of smoking my lungs were clear. Then, after 50 years of smoking, I discovered electronic cigarettes. I switched to "vaping" and after 50 years I quit smoking ... in 1 day. Yes, thanks to e-cigs, I stopped smoking in one day! Did it work? As of today, I have not smoked a cigarette in 4 years and 4 months. Now, I use e-cigs. I vape. I don't even want to smoke a cigarette. How do I feel? Having stopped smoking and started vaping, within in a week I felt cleaner inside, I didn't stink of cigarettes, my residence and my car no longer stank from cigarettes, and I was no longer emitting deadly second hand smoke. That is still true 4 years later. And I just had a chest x-ray and my lungs are fine.

The anti-smoking zealots (and the government which is pressured by them) want to stamp out electronic cigarettes, incorrectly placing them in the same category as tobacco products like cigarettes. Again, they're wrong. Electronic cigarettes contain NO tobacco. They are NOT tobacco products. The anti-smoking zealots use the argument "children will become addicted to nicotine" and I agree - if children use nicotine they will likely become addicted to nicotine. Except that nicotine-containing cigarettes and nicotine-containing e-cigs are ILLEGAL for underage persons to buy. Therefore, if the anti-smoking zealots want to protect their children from nicotine, if they want to protect children from legal-substances-obtained-illegally, I suggest they concentrate on ENFORCEMENT OF THE EXISTING LAWS, instead of overly restricting or banning the purchase and use of a legal substance for ADULTS. That is basic common sense, something the government and the anti-smoking zealots are not using and apparently are not interested in using.

And, no, I am not endorsing the use of e-cigs, I am shaming anti-smoking zealots - and the government.

Further to the above here is a news report published in the Wall St Journal on Thursday, April 28, 2016:

"Substituting electronic cigarettes for tobacco is beneficial to public health and should be encouraged for current smokers, according to a report from the U.K.’s Royal College of Physicians.

The report, released early Thursday morning in the U.K., rejects several safety arguments marshaled against e-cigarettes in recent years. It argues that smoking tobacco is so deadly that any small potential risk from long-term e-cigarette use is outweighed by their lifesaving effects.

Among the report’s conclusions are that e-cigarettes aren’t a gateway to smoking tobacco for current nonsmokers and that they likely lead tobacco smokers to try to quit regular cigarettes when they otherwise wouldn’t.

“This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the U.K.,” said John Britton, director of the U.K. Center for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, who chaired the panel responsible for the report."

gender-neutral toilet revolution

and we mean everyone

A Los Angeles high school has opened the first gender-neutral restroom in the nation's second-largest school district in a move geared toward accommodating transgender students.

That means ANY student (and every student) can use the 16-stall all-gender restroom ... at the same time. This includes not only transgender students and gays and lesbians but "all-gender" means they must also allow heterosexual boys and girls to use it also. At the same time. I don't know about you but I am not comfortable with horny young heterosexual male students and high-school-aged females being in the same bathroom at the same time ... with their pants down. Or for that matter, adult boys and girls, of any age.

Think about it. It's a recipe for disaster.

Gender-neutral bathrooms? Yes, bathrooms for everyone. Including heterosexuals. Boys and girls together in the same bathroom, with their pants down. Yes, it's "fair and equal" that transgender students (and adults) should not be made to feel uncomfortable. God forbid that someone in America might feel "uncomfortable". Transgenders account for less than 1% of the population. What about the vast majority of other students, students who are heterosexual and who might not want to go to the bathroom next to someone heterosexual of the opposite sex. Their discomfort doesn't matter? It's worth the cost? The end justifies the means? Diversity takes precedence over common sense? We have to accommodate even a minority of one, at the expense of the majority? And where are the urinals??? Gone? Now, guys have to unbutton and unzip their pants, lower them, and sit down to take a leak? Now, guys have to pee like a girl? That's inconvenient. It may be "fair and equal" but it's inconvenient and stupid. I am not insensitive to the needs and feelings of transgenders. I can sympathize with the complex issues which they face. However, gender-neutral "for everyone" bathrooms are not the answer for "which bathroom do I use?"

Gender-neutral bathrooms. ANOTHER good liberal idea that doesn't work. Why doesn't it work? Because there are unintended consequences of forcing people to use gender-neutral bathrooms, consequences which liberals NEVER take into account before they make radical changes. Do we need to wait for sexual assaults to take place in gender-neutral high school bathrooms to realize those unintended consequences? Apparently. And when it happens that will be truly horrific. That will be a lesson no high school student should have to learn.

If you are interested, I also wrote a companion piece previously, called Transgenders in the Shower

UPDATE: From MyNewsLA - "A suspect sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl at Santiago Elementary School in Santa Ana on Friday afternoon, April 29, and remains at large, police revealed Tuesday.

The girl told her mother Friday night about the assault, which she said occurred in the school’s bathroom at 2212 Baker St. about 2:20 p.m., after classes were dismissed for the day, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. The suspect, who wore a dark-colored hoodie, was a Latino man in his 30s, who had “buzzed dark hair with shaved horizontal lines cut into both sides of his head,” Bertagna said. He was unshaven with pock marks or tattoos under his eyes and possibly another tattoo near his neck, the corporal said."

And he had a right to be in the girl's bathroom? Bathrooms for everyone?

dumb, dumber, dumbest

Americans are dumb. They are getting dumber. Soon, at this rate, Americans may be the dumbest people in the civilized world. Blame it on the educational system, the Millennial Generation, bad politics and bad parenting.

From globalresearch, Canada:

Out of 22 countries, the report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency. We were also dead last in numeracy (numbers/math) and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency…

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

A statistic from USA Today about the declining state of college education in America:

“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

Like I said: dumb, dumber, dumbest.

What's the point of going to college if you don't learn anything, are ill prepared for life after college and can't get a job if you do graduate?

Why is college so expensive if students don't learn anything (except maybe political correctness).

Why do parents allow their children to do and think whatever the kids want? Kids are kids, they don't know anything about real life. It's the parent's job to teach them values and maybe some discipline.

I used to say, "The older you get the stupider everyone else gets." Now, apparently EVERYBODY in America is getting stupider. And the main cause is liberalism. Yes, liberalism. Liberals love their "Fair and Equal" doctrine. Everything should be fair and everyone should be equal. Fair and equal? Life is not fair. And human nature can sometimes be nasty. It's called reality. Today, there is no reality. People don't deal with reality anymore, instead they ignore it or deny it even exists or try to change it into some fantasy - a liberal fantasy - a liberal fantasy that has failed miserably for the past 50 years. Oh, and by the way, everyone is NOT equal. Some people have more natural talent than others and some people work harder and smarter than others. And, today, instead of being praised for it, they are penalized for it and indoctrinated by liberals that this is unfair and unequal, and therefore a bad thing.

Dumb, dumber, dumbest. Welcome to the new America. After 240 years, we're now fast becoming a third-rate dumb country. And this is good, how?

And no, for the record, I am not an old white male Republican. I am an old white male Independent. And a dinosaur.

Courtesy Patrol?

I live in a huge apartment complex. I have a musically noisy neighbor. I complained to management about it and was told that I should call Courtesy Patrol and they would handle it. Courtesy Patrol? What the heck is Courtesy Patrol? We used to have Security Guards on the property, now we have Courtesy Patrol.

What does Courtesy Patrol do? Do they park your car for you? Walk you to your door? Carry your groceries? No. Then why do they call it Courtesy Patrol? Because they are courteous? Perhaps they will go over to my inconsiderate a-hole noisy neighbor and politely say, "Hi! I'm with Courtesy Patrol. Would you mind terribly if I asked you nicely if you would consider lowering the volume of your music, as it is shaking the whole building. Since you are a millennial, I know it's an insult to ask you, could be considered profiling, possibly racist if you're not white, and maybe even an upsetting microaggression, for me to ask you. And you don't have to turn down the loud music if you don't want to, even though it's disturbing all your neighbors day and night and is against the rules. No, you don't feel like turning down the music? OK, we thought we would ask you. I'll tell your neighbors they all have to suffer your loud music. Have a nice day."

Courtesy Patrol. Sounds polite, doesn't it? What rule breaker or law breaker would be scared of something called a Courtesy Patrol? The name Courtesy Patrol sounds like they would deal with complaints and bad tenants by being nice and polite and non-confrontational ... and toothless. Give me the old school "Security Guard". A Security Guard who would bang on the noisy neighbor's door and say to the offending tenant, "Hey, turn the music down. You're disturbing your neighbors and that's not allowed here. If you don't turn it down, and keep it down, we will evict you."

Hmm. Courtesy Patrol or Security Guards. New school or old school. I choose old school. It gets the job done. Unfortunately, I am stuck with Courtesy Patrols. Welcome to the new America.

age is just a number

Thanks to the Baby Boomer Generation, age is just a number.

In previous generations, you retired at 65 ... and died at 67. Then, after WWII, young people started living longer, until age 80+, with plenty of time to do fun things after they reached retirement age. 50 became the new 40. 60 became the new 50. 70 became the new 60. "Old age" no longer existed.

As the first original Baby Boomers now approach age 70, things are about to change. 70 may be the new 60 but, at age 70, people can no longer believe they are still young. They're not young. At 70, they are old. Damn! 70-year-olds can still have fun and think and act young but it looks (and feels) stupid. Because 70-year-olds are now dinosaurs, young dinosaurs. And dinosaurs became extinct.

So, 70-year-olds can continue to enjoy life but have to stop acting like a 40-year-old. Or a 50-year-old. 70 is the new 60. And 60 is not young. At 70, you're old. And a dinosaur. Accept it. Embrace it. Live with it.

"We may be old but we're not dead yet".

Booties and booty

So, today I had a prostate biopsy scheduled at 2 pm. Yeah, old guys have lots of problems with their prostate, including prostate cancer.

The pre-instructions said to take the included antibiotic pills 24 and 12 hours before. I did. It also said to do 2 fleet enemas 2 hours before the procedure. I tried. I did half of one and it did pretty much nothing except give me stomach cramps. I have had constipation since recently starting a cholesterol drug, Lovastatin, and since stopping it two days before I was still having the problem. The fleet enema made my stomach worse, so much so that I was considering canceling the appointment and biopsy. I went anyway though I was not feeling at all well.

I went to the surgery suite and signed in. They had me take off all my clothes and put on a gown and pretty blue booties. Then they sat me down and went over the paperwork prior to my urologist coming in and doing the ultrasound and biopsy. The nurse explained that the doctor would be puncturing my prostate gland twelve times, after which I could expect to see blood in my urine, in my stools and in my semen, for up to 3-4 weeks. "WHAT?" I exclaimed, "I don't want to see ANY blood, from ANYWHERE down there! EVER." I said that if I had known about that BEFORE, I would not have agreed to have the procedure. The urologist came in and I repeated my concerns. I told him that ever since childhood, I have had a real issue seeing my own blood, let alone any blood from "down there". In addition, I said that I have a major milestone birthday coming up and could not imagine getting laid and seeing blood cum out of my penis. Ugh. Ew. No birthday booty for me. I said I did not want to celebrate my milestone birthday by seeing myself peeing, crapping and ejaculating blood! He said, "Don't look." I did not laugh. Instead I said, "Forget the biopsy, I'm not doing it. And I'm keeping the booties." He reluctantly accepted my refusal.

I got dressed, left the surgical suite, and went home. With the booties.

France bans sex

France just passed a law against paying for sex.

That means that many guys can't get laid in France and many women can't make a living renting sexual favors.

from the Huffington Post:

France passed one of the toughest laws in Europe against buying sex on Wednesday, but supporters say it’s one of the most progressive for prostitutes.

The bill puts the onus of prostitution on the client, and decriminalizes the act for prostitutes,

Those who buy sex will be punished with fines and compelled to attend classes to learn about the harmful effects prostitution has on sex workers, according to the Associated Press.

The client will first face a $1,700 fine. That would climb to $4,250 for a second offense.

Equality Now, a group that fights for the rights of women and girls, says that this model –- first adopted in Sweden in 1999 –- helps curb the demand for commercial sex, which fuels sex trafficking. It also promotes equality between men and women, according to the group.

“Sweden understood that gender inequality and sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, could not be combated effectively as long as it was considered acceptable to purchase access to another –- often more vulnerable and disadvantaged –- person’s body,” Equality Now said in a statement.

Speaking for all us horrible and horny males (according to many liberals, ALL men are horrible and horny), what about all the lonely ugly guys and old guys in France who have to pay in order to have female company? Now they can't get laid at all? Wait a minute. Men in France who pay for sex will be fined but the woman selling her body will not? Hey, morons, it takes TWO to tango! Penalizing only the man is discrimination not "equality between men and women". If idjiots make prostitution punishable, according to the liberal's "fair and equal" doctrine, you have to punish BOTH male and female participants!

As for gender equality and "fair and equal", since the beginning of time many adult males have had to pay for sex and women have not - many females generally can get laid anytime they want. How is THAT equality? The normal human reality is that women biologically have something men really want - sex - and sometimes the only way men can get it is to pay for it. And that's a crime? How about making prostitution NOT a crime and regulating it properly so that no one is exploited???

The Robot Revolution

The robots are coming.

Many people, many workers, will be replaced by a robot. Soon. Within 10 years. Sorry about that. This is not new news. I was already reading about it in the 1950's, in the classic novels of science fiction. And the fictional Dick Tracy wrist radio of the 1940's came to reality in wrist watches and cell phones. Science fiction has become science fact. And robots will replace humans. Why? Because a $20,000 robot is cheaper than paying a human an median annual wage (median net wage per working individual in the US in 2015 was $28,031). Plus, robots don't need health care, pensions, vacations, don't take sick days, breaks, or slack off on their work.

Yes, the robots are coming. In fact, they are already here. Car manufacturers have been using robots for decades, agriculture uses robots for crop harvesting, the construction industry uses robots for welding and floor finishing. Many industries are already using robots. The medical profession even uses robots for surgery! And your ATM is a machine. And I often check out at my local supermarket using their express checkout machine; non human, it even talks me through the checkout process. Amazon wants to deliver your purchases by drone and self-driving cars are likely to make you a passenger in your own car.

And many retail businesses will soon be replacing hourly workers with robots who do those jobs. Lowe's, the parent company of Orchard Supply Hardware, is testing robots - called Oshbots - that can help you with equipping your DIY home improvement projects.

Yes, robots are here and here to stay. Welcome to the Robot Revolution.

According to CNN Money:

By 2020, "nearly half of all U.S. jobs will be at high risk of being lost to computers, according to experts at Oxford University, with an additional 20% facing medium risk.

Could you lose your job to robots?
Here are some examples of jobs most at risk: Administrative staff, manual workers, data processing jobs. Bank of America estimated that there's a 90% risk or more of the following being replaced: Tour guides, bakers, butchers, pharmacy technicians, insurance sales agents, retail salespersons, tax collectors, telemarketers, accountants and clerks.

At the other end of the spectrum are professions such as physicians, psychologists and clergy. Jobs that require empathy, intuition and lots of social interaction are least likely to be threatened by technology. They include mental healthcare workers, social workers, police and detectives, teachers and artists."

The robots are coming. Welcome to the Robot Revolution. Good thing I'm too old to worry about it. Good thing I'm a dinosaur and will be extinct before the robots get here ... and take over :)

slow workers

I was in the supermarket today, in the "Express Line", trying to check out, trying to quickly pay for my 5 items and go home. The line was moving slowly, barely crawling. The checkout clerk was the reason. He was sloooow. How slow? People in line in front of me were taking tabloid magazines off the rack and reading them.

Why do employers in the private sector allow hourly workers to work too slow when interfacing with customers? It annoys the customers, lowers productivity and is bad for business. I realize that the more slowly hourly workers do their job, the longer it takes and the more they can earn. Until they get fired for being too slow.

My solution? If you are paying slow workers by the hour, why not also dock them for being too slow! "You earn $12/hr but that task took you twice as long as it should so you're getting paid $6 for that hour". That'll make them work faster.

Yeah, we customers are standing in line ... waiting. The more slowly retail workers work, the less they should earn. That'll solve the problem ... quick. That, and replacing slow hourly workers with robots.