Category Archives: Family

OK… next step.They are going to get me ready for surgery.

Hope this doesn’t take long…. I don’t really want to be knocked out for a long time. It’s my right brain that this tumor is on and I hope when they take it out I’ll still have mind enough to do this blog…an activity I am unusually fond of.

 

 

I guess I’ll be signing off now.  I’ll try to get back up tomorrow or Sunday.   –  Bill

 

Harold Kepnes, my friend, has died. I’m very sad.

Harold S.Kepnes, 1947 – 2012

He was a year younger than me, but we were both in the Class of ’64 at Tabor. Harold was my best friend and in the summers, when I worked on Cape Cod at the Candle Factory doing tours, Harold, who lived close by in Hyannis, had the home I hung out in.

Harry and Billy… that was how everyone knew us… wandered the Cape, went to drive-in movies, chased girls and hung out at his family’s private chunk of Craigville Beach. Even when I went off to college in Illinois and Harold went off, too, we would get back together in the summer.

Harold was the kind of friend you didn’t have to see in years and yet nothing changed. You don’t get many like that.

He spent the last couple of years fighting pancreatic cancer… in and out o9f hospitals and with the caring support of his wife, Monica, and his daughter, Caroline, who came in from California to be with her Dad. Caroline, a television writer of talent, has been keeping everyone informed about Harold and his condition.

Now he has died at age 65 and I shall miss him. What awful news to get from Monica this morning as I packed for Georgetown Hospital.

Packing for the hospital…

I have to get to my daughter’s house before 10 AM with all my clothes and meds packed to get down to Georgetown to the hotel by the hospital. I’ll bring my laptop and hopefully I can review the news or arts events and have another post for my friends later.

My thoughts are all tied up with this brain surgery and I’m not even exploring the Susan Rice SOS nomination… something I would ordinarily be dwelling on. Or Netanyahu‘s new attack on Gaza which is likely to bring us even farther into Middle East hostilities. You’ll have to trot around to the sites I regularly quote to keep up with everything.

Soooo…Have a nice day and occasionally think of me.    -Bill

 

Artist Will Barnet dies at 101…

Will Barnet, a titan of the visual art world, died at his home in New York on Tuesday. He was 101.

His family said the cause of death was old age. “He died peacefully in his home,” said Phil Alexandre of New York’s Alexandre Gallery, which represented Barnet.

Barnet, an art educator and a lifelong champion of the arts, inspired generations of artists and lived long enough to enjoy many honors that most artists receive only posthumously. In 2011, President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for an individual artist in the United States.

This year, France recognized him with the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Barnet and his wife, Elena, lived in a duplex at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park in Manhattan. They were without power for a few days because of Superstorm Sandy, and had to move to a warmer apartment.

“Woman Reading” by Will Barnet

Barnet got “a touch of pneumonia” during the power outage, Alexandre said, but had been feeling better in recent days.

His daughter, Ona, said her father visited many art galleries on Saturday, “doing what he loved the most.”

Hard of hearing and unable to walk, Barnet never allowed his physical ailments to limit his love of art, said a longtime friend, Ira Goldberg, executive director of the Arts Students League of New York, where Barnet studied and taught.

He was as committed to his work at 101 as he was when he was a young man making his way in New York, Goldberg said.

Barnett was probably best known for paintings and prints of women with their cats.

[thanks to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald]

 

Starting the day in Hell…

Last night, on our way home from the MRI, we stopped at my daughter Penny’s to pick up our dogs where they were staying all day. Getting out of Cassandra‘s car and walking toward her house, I tripped over the base of my grandsons’ basketball net… painted black and invisible at night… and fell hard on the driveway and impacted my already weakened left side.

Getting up off the ground required really focused assistance from Elly and the girls who brought out a dining room chair for me to pull myself up using my right arm. This took about fifteen minutes and made my girls worry a lot.

While I don’t seem to have broken any bones, nor did I open any of the breaks I had in August/September, but my right arm hurts too much when I try to lift it that I’m really worried about what they are going to try to do at today’s exam in Hagerstown.

I spent the night switching between ice packs and a heating pad on my left shoulder and I have a little more movement, but not much, this morning. Elly made me a new ice pack for the morning.

I hope this doesn’t have the effect of cancelling Friday’s surgery on my head.

Just finished my MRI…

Elly and Cassandra say I had a seizure going into the test… apparently I was “babbling”…but I don’t remember it. I was under the MRI’s spell for about an hour. Now we are having dinner and getting ready to drive back home.

They have added 2 more doctors appointments in Hagerstown tomorrow. There goes my last day off. I’ll be glad when the brain surgery is all over with this weekend.

Posting from my iPhone is a new experience for me. These fat fingers on a teensy keyboard really means not much writing. Sorry.

Down at Georgetown having lunch before tests…

Georgetown Hospital

If you ever have to do something at Georgetown University Hospital, let me recommend a wonderful on-campus restaurant, Empire and Company, a great classic buffet with a side pizza parlor.

We arrived an hour and a half early leaving time for my wife, daughter and me to have lunch and discuss this afternoon’s tests and what we are required to bring with us. I’ll do a blood test just before we go over and see if I need any insulin before the tests.

I’d like to thank all of you e-mailers and commentators and friends for contacting me and wishing me well and praying for me (can you believe it, an old, publicly avowed atheist like me?). I probably won’t be back to this until much later tonite or tomorrow morning, my last day at home this week. I’ll be back with a report on what’s going on.

Meanwhile, General Petraeus may be off the news and we can get back on to the economy.

OK… it’s off to Georgetown today for the last day of tests before surgery…

Something called “Pre-Surgical Intake” and ending with a new MRI. Then we’ll be chugging back to Harpers Ferry, I get a day off and on Thursday night I’m back in Georgetown at the hotel next to the hospital waiting to have a hole drilled in my head the next day.

Looks like we’ll be driving down in the rain.

I can’t say this is the week I’m looking forward to, but if it ends up solving the problem of my seizures and other things and I am allowed to drive a car again someday (that’s something a guy who goes around to visit friends really misses!) and maybe live a while longer who could complain?

Hey… a note to my wife… Let’s assume I’m going to make Christmas this year. Know what I want? The new DVD of the revival of Sondheim’s company with Neil Patrick Harris, Patty LuPone and… Stephen Colbert! You can get it at Amazon.  Don’t order it until after Saturday.

 

The questions you ask yourself…

I’m discovering as I face brain surgery and it’s unknown consequences that I find myself asking questions about what I have and have not accomplished over the last 66 or so years. It’s not a pleasant experience, btw, only one that makes me realize how many things I REALLY wanted to do which will probably never be realized. I guess, however, that this is common to just about everyone.

(Sorry… this is much longer than I expected and it will not hurt my feelings if you sign out right now,   – Bill)

Starting with the basics:

  • I have a wonderful wife who is taking care of me when she also maintains a full time teaching job that keeps us supported and in our mandatory health insurance mode.
  • I have three impressive and incredible grown children, Cassandra, Penny and Will (who we call Buddy… I don’t know where “Will” came from), and four wonderful grandsons, 3 in Maryland and one in Connecticut. (Allow me to say while I’m in this particular note about how lucky I am to have my son-in-law Matthew Corrigan in Connecticut who has made sure Cassandra could be down here with me during all of this.)
  • I set out many years ago for a life in the Arts, something I really discovered while a prep-school student at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA.  Between painting and sculpture creation under Lou LaVoie, drama and theatre discoveries under Tom Weisshaus, ending as President of the Drama Club where i acted, but didn’t do much in tech theatre, I was poised to take off when I headed for The School Of Speech/Theatre Department at Northwestern University in 1964.

And just what did I do that I remember proudly?:

  • After I discovered systems analysis through an amazing engineer, art collector and professor, Dr. Gustave J. Rath, I created my first small theatre company, Systems Theatre, which applied this amazing intellectual technology to performance creation. Our first major production was an adaptation of Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” which eventually played Chicago’s Performing Warehouse between sets by the two great bluesmen B.B. King and Albert King (who I got to give a ride home to later… wow!) When I ended up in NYC in 1971 I restarted Systems Theatre with some of the same people who were with me at Northwestern
  • There were a couple of plays that we did at Theatre at St. Clement’s, one of the really great off-off Broadway locations in the city. Well reviewed, well attended and most important to me was my adaptation of Thomas Merton’s “Original Child Bomb” which had gothic-y chants composed by a wonderful musician, Ed Roberts, who I had met when teaching for a year at Tabor. Ed and I went on to do several shows together… at St. Clement’s and other places. My greatest pride came in a project we did a little later:
  • Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, an opera for children, was presented at the Whitney

    The Whitney

    Museum of American Art, thanks to a contact I made with one of the most  influential people in my life and someone who I am so proud to call a friend today, Berta Walker. Berta was working as the Administrative Assistant to Steve Weil at the Whitney and was looking for children’s programming. Ed and I suggested doing “Snark” which we had just started working on and now we had a reason for pushing through. We opened to great reception at the Whitney and, a little bit later on, Berta and I produced it for a few weekends at a little theater on the East Side of Manhattan. Following that, it was taken to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a major museum which had been started by Berta’s grandfather, where it was also successful.

  • My friend and former Northwestern student John Driver, who played the original Bellman in “Snark” had been writing a musical based on Samurai warrior Mushami called “Ride The Wind” with pretty much of a rock ‘n roll score and martial arts based choreography. This was during the time that “Kung Fu” was a big television show, and we thought we were really on something here, so Berta and I decided to produce it (the company we created was called Snarkophilus Productions after our big success). We started out aiming for Off-Broadway, but then the Bijou Theater, a little house at the end of Shubert Alley, became available and we booked it. We were now a Broadway show… albeit a very small one. My set design professor, Sam Ball, agreed to do the sets, which were built by Northwestern students and which I brought to New York driving a truck across country. A number of the actors who auditioned were folks I had known from the New Theatre Workshop, a small non-profit group which acted as a try-out location for new plays that writers were working on. I was their stage electrician for a year before they tore the theater down to build the CitiPlace Center on 57th Street.
  • Unfortunately, “Ride The Winds” didn’t pass the New York Times test and I was no longer a Broadway producer.
  • I had to work, so I took a job as Administrator of the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, where I structured classes, set up concerts, scheduled movies and ran the books. It was there I met Elly, my current wife, who I hired to teach Photography in the class size darkroom I had built in the Center’s basement (I took up photography, too… something I really loved.)  Eddy came down and we did a little revival of “Snark” in Jamaica for the kids in Queens. When I was hired later on by The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, by their Board President (you can probably see this coming… it was Berta Walker), Elly came with me and we settled in on  lower Cape Cod. I helped the Work Center fund raise, grow and prosper over three years, then spent another three years on it’s Board. Elly and I however, moved down to the mid-Cape where we started a business that would keep us in debt and development for the next decade: Our photo studio, Photography Associates of New England Inc., and U-Design, Inc.
  • The appearance of the Apple Macintosh computer, the laser printer, a piece of software called Aldus PageMaker and things like scanners, modems, etc., inspired us to set up a rental-area business where folks would come in, rent space in a booth, and lay out, with our help, their ads and brochures. After a couple of years, we moved it to Hartford, CT… back in my home state. At one point we had U-Designs in three cities in CT (that was a mistake!) and we started doing more jobs for clients ourselves rather than booth rentals. We worked with major and minor companies, lots of non-profits, plus we offered desktop publishing classes. At one time we had a dozen or so employees. During this time I did no theatre, maybe a little painting, but not much (Elly was our painter and her work was wonderful.) While in Marlborough, however, I was recruited to be a Justice of the Peace, where I married several couples (I specialized in non-believers who I thought should have a person of their own.) I did start designing computer fonts at this time… still do it, especially my “picture fonts” which have been used on this blog many times. U-Design Type Foundry has attracted hundreds of buyers, for which I have great appreciation.

More recent years… “Things fall apart, the center does not hold” – TS Eliot.

  • We had built a passive solar house in Marlborough, CT, where we moved so Buddy could go to school there and we could lead the suburban life (eventually, we moved the last vestige of U-Design to Marlborough where it finally ended up in our house until it died.) I started going out and getting jobs as an Information Technologist at some larger companies, finally ending up at Computer Sciences Corporation, where I spent five working years. For most of that I was commuting to the Maryland-DC area every week to do a major piece of work for the Internal Revenue Service with a bunch of my colleagues. I made more money here than I ever had before. When my whole department was laid off after three years I even got six months of part-time work for the IRS itself to finish some of the project stuff.
  • Elly and I sold the Marlborough house and bought a historic co-op space in Old Greenbelt, MD, where I was still doing CSC work. Eventually, when there was no more work and a guy in his late fifties had a hard time finding IT jobs when the market was stuffed with lower earning young guys. I had to take early retirement which, thanks to CSC’s salary, brought me a higher Social Security than I had expected. Elly took a teaching job in Graphic Design at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD, and we eventually moved to

    Ride The Winds

    Hagerstown, then Shepherdstown (our favorite) and now Harper’s Ferry. While I was living in Greenbelt, I got involved with two community theatres, the Laurel Mill Playhouse and the Greenbelt Arts Center. Amazingly enough, with the entrance to all of this I made by meeting Linda Bartash, I directed several plays and musicals. The highlight of these was a revival of “Ride The Winds” which I got John Driver to rewrite the second act for. It was well-reviewed in the Washington Post and local papers and I breathed a sight of final relief. I also, amid all the shows I did, had a really good production of that unusual musical “Urinetown” at Greenbelt, also a success.

  • I got involved with a new Community Theater in Shepherdstown, The Full Circle Theater, where I

    The Hunting of the Snark, in Shepherdstown

    became the House Electrician and ran lights on a bunch of shows, And then, can you believe it, I go to to do a revival of “The Hunting of the Snark” and Eddy, who was then living in Pennsylvania, came down from time to time to help my friend and music director, Ruth Raubertas, get our favorite opera for kids off the ground. Everyone seemed to like it, but this was my last chance to direct anything and I sank into an ongoing depression hoping I would get to do it again some day. I don’t think, now, that it will happen. I have to say, though, that I made a great friend of John Case who played the Butcher in that last production. John had a weekday morning radio show on WSCH 89.7FM on Shepherd University’s radio station and originally he invited me on for an interview and eventually I was on every Friday, which John started promoting as “The Bill and John Show.” I guess I did OK, since a few months later the station manager, Todd Cottgreave, gave me a show of my own on Saturday mornings which I called “Talk To Me” and which I made into a call-in production. I think the radio shows really saved my intelligence and ability to carry on while under depression.

So those are things I’ve been thinking about. What I haven’t discussed here is this blog, which is the major occupation of an old, retired guy’s day. I hope I can keep it going for years (as you can see, I love to talk)… if it has to cease, however, someone will put up a final post.

Time to feed the dogs.

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

Lunch with the family…

Oy! Three flights of stairs!

My sister took Elly and me, my mother, my son and his wife, my two daughters and three of my grandsons to lunch at Lightfoot’s, a former bank turned into a restaurant in Leesburg, VA. Supposedly, this restaurant is at a halfway point between my mother in Manassas and Elly and me in Harpers Ferry (and my daughter Penny and her kids in Williamsport, MD.)

This was put together so everyone could give me their best wishes before I go into the hospital next week and for all of them to wish me their best.

Buddy and Rachel

We were up three flights of stairs in a private room in this old bank building, where we (or at least me with my current balance and dizziness) slowly walked up and then spent two hours in one place.

It’s full of old French theatre posters, which was sort of neat for my 12-year-old grandson John who is learning French in school this year…”Mais oui!”

My Mother

My son Bud and his wife Rachel are in from Wisconsin.. they’ll be flying back early tomorrow. Penny and the boys, of course, only live a little bit away from us and will be involved in watching me when I recuperate so Elly can go into Hagerstown Community College and work.

Me, of course

My daughter Cassandra who will be here for another week is coordinating all the hospital and doctor stuff with Elly. She is a very organized and impressive woman and has everything going on schedule… more tests next week before surgery, hospital be rental for after (not sure why I need this, but I’m told not to argue.)

Anyway, I can’t get over thinking that this is everyone’s chance to say goodbye to me in case anything goes wrong in surgery (I think there’s a 7% chance or something.)

No radio shows this coming weekend… perhaps the week after. Let’s hope.

It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

Hey Radio Fans… I’ll be on from 10:30 to Noon today…

This will probably be the last time in the next two weeks that I can be on the air, given my forthcoming hospital visit next week. So… I’ll be thrilled to get your call-ins on “Talk To Me” (304-876-5369).b You can talk about anything you want to, as usual, or make an esoteric music request that you challenge me to find in a few minutes… it’s always fun for me.

If you are not in the 50 mile radius of WSHC at 89.7 FM, Shepherdstown WV, then you can go to 897wshc.org/listen-live. There are folks all over the country who listen, now (and a few friends in other countries) and I look forward to playing for everyone.

So, tune in this morning to “Talk To Me”. BTW, my daughter, Cassandra (from Connecticut) is my guest this morning. You can talk to her, too.

- Bill

 

 

A quote for the week – I can hardly believe someone would say this…

This is a quote that was published today by Buck Banks in Pensito Review. It was headed “Now This Guy Is A Sore Loser!”

Eric Dondero

“All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt…. I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.”

— Former Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero, asserting that the only recourse to President Obama’s re-election is “outright revolt” and therefore is launching a “personal boycott” of Democrats.

Eric Dondero blogs at LibertarianRepublican.net.

I am impressed with how much difference can be read into the American psyche. What is wrong with these people? What good is a country where everyone believes the exact same things? How woud progress ever happen? Who would have invented the goddam lightbulb?

 

Looks like I’m on a revised schedule and a doctor change for brain surgery…

My wife, daughter and my son (who just came in from Wisconsin to see me) have just returned from a long morning and early afternoon in Georgetown (northern DC) where we have been at the hospital and physicians‘ center at the University.

It now seems that this is where everything will take place with the actual surgery one week from today. Tuesday we’ll have to go down again for more testing.

My new doctor comes with a very fine reputation and many years of experience. The hospital is one of the best rated in the country (something the Hagerstown hospital was far from) and it looks like they know what to do. The results of the surgery will take out part of the tumor, discover what kind it is and whether it needs chemotherapy, radiation or both. Then I will have an idea of how much living I will be able to expect… realizing that there is no 100% cure here.

Me and my brain. So this is what it looks like!

I now have much more need to research the idea of a brain tumor and how it will continue to effect my life. When you are 66 and facing something major like this in your head, it is also concerning how much life there will continue to be to effect.

I can, however, do my radio show tomorrow morning on WSHC, Shepherdstown. If you aren’t in our 50 mile radius for 89.7 FM, go HERE and listen live on line. Tomorrow I’ll be on from 10:30 to 12:00 ET and I look forward to calls and requests (and I think my daughter Cassandra is going to do the show with me.)

Hope you all had a better day than I did.       – Bill

(thanks to my daughter, Cassandra Corrigan, for the photo.)

My daughter, Cassandra, has come down from Connecticut and is helping my wife coordinate all the brain surgery problems…

I don’t know what I would do if I were on my own, here, dealing with doctors changing schedules without giving us warning, accidentally taking medications that should have been discontinued before certain tests, getting up at 5:00 every morning to get into three or four appointments which don’t seem to get us anywhere.

The newest big problem is reports we have gotten from friends, employees of the hospital and others, where we have been told that the particular hospital we were going to have the surgery in is not one ANY of them would use. Isn’t that thrilling?

Now we are in a holding position. We haven’t cancelled the now set Monday surgery or anything, but tomorrow we are interviewing another practice at a much better hospital with a much better reputation and this may stop everything and set up a new schedule.

Cassandra

Fortunately for me, my daughter Cassandra Corrigan who is a private school Senior Database Administrator in Connecticut (Loomis, Chaffee School), took off from work, drove down here to West Virginia, and has been coordinating with my wife on getting all the papers ready, information on MRIs and other tests that have been collected in the last couple of weeks to bring to Ge0rgetown, down near DC, for the new practice interviews. We will be making a new decision after that, so surgery will most likely be postponed some more.

I am so impressed with Cassandra… my first-born, a fine wife and mother and a brilliant woman. I taught her to use her first computer and now she outshines and outperforms me in all things technical. Wow! And she and my two other kids (can you still call them kids after they are older, married and out of the house?), my Mother, My sister and so many friends have been so concerned that the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing with folks wanting to know what’s happening.

Cassandra is just doing a spectacular job of getting me organized with all of this. I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes back up to the snow.

We’ve spent this morning and into the afternoon tracking down test reports from four doctors’ offices and we had a new blood test at a lab… and Elly got to go to work and teach her classes while my daughter brought me from office to office. I’m so glad Elly got to go to work today… she’s been giving up so much of her time for me, and when you are in a one-income household, the thought of impacting that one income is awesome.

A day of celebration underscored by personal madness…

AT 4:30 this morning when I posted Obama‘s win I had had 2 1/2 hours of sleep and needed to be up by five to drive to Hagerstown for the first of five different scheduled lab visits, Doctor conferences, and tests based on the notion that I’d be in surgery with my little brain on Friday.

Then, in the middle of all this, as my wife and I went from office to office (I had fasted for close to 11 hours because of one of the tests… so tired AND hungry) trying to get our neurosurgeon on the telephone to find out the results of yesterday’s testing, we were told the surgery would be moved to Monday from Friday!

Well, you’ve never heard anyone yell as loudly into a cell phone as Elly did to one of the front desk ladies at the Doctors‘ office who informed us of this unannounced time change. You have to understand, she takes time off from her work at the College to take me to these appointments and she manages our schedules and expenses, and she expects that professionals follow professional guidelines and maintain their schedules. They don’t.

There is a chance that they may not be able to do the surgery Monday, either, or that my wife will insist that we find another doctor (my daughters, I think, agree with that, too… I’m to worn out and dizzy to even think about it now. I’ll do what they say.)

So, if there is no surgery Friday, we will probably be headed to Georgetown ( 2 hours away) to interview another neurological practice.  If that does happen, I’ll probably be able to do my Saturday morning radio show on WSHC.

There is Joy In Mudville, though… Mighty Mitty has struck out. If you heard that snivelling concession speech he made (gracefulness is not a Republican skill) at 1:30 in the morning, then you have an idea of what kind of president he would have made.

Now we still have the House of Representatives with a big margin for the Repubs and John Boehner  which will let them trample the legislation we need for the economy, for single payer healthcare, for rebuilding our country and for getting out of all this war. I’m afraid it will be a difficult 4 years. Our support for the president will help get things done.

It will be one of the functions of this blog as long as I can keep it going.

- Bill

 

 

I might have limited posting for a while…

Due to a medical emergency (the discovery of a potential brain tumor… aint that a kick in the head?) I’m going to be going in for several days of testing, etc., but I’ll try to keep up with you folks. I want you to know how much I appreciate the readers of Under The LobsterScope, and your e-mail to me is always welcome, as well as your likes and comments.

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE THIS MORNING IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

I don’t want to wake up in a hospital and find that Mitt the Twit is president.

English: Nate Silver in Washington, D.C.

 Nate Silver

I’m glad that Nate Silver in the NY Times, 538 column, is still got his usually very accurate poll predictions on Obama carrying most of the swing states… and his prediction that our president will be re-elected.

Your e-mail is always appreciated… Bill.

So how is Romney’s plan to send Foodstamps to the states going to effect his voter base?

That is a good question, after looking at this article in the Bloomberg News. Here’s a clip:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in May that he’d written off votes from 47 percent of Americans who are collecting government aid. Turns out many of them are part of his political base.

Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include Republican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed Republican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado.That means Romney is counting on votes from areas where lower-income people have become more reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps.

Let’s see how it really fits his base support. Get the word out!

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Realizing how much I have come to depend on my wonderful Superfocus glasses.

For the last few weeks I have been wearing my new Superfocus Leonardos, the new Italian design frames for the amazing focusable glasses I discovered a couple of years ago.

My original pair is a very modernist design called Bauhaus. My wife was so impressed with them that she bought a pair as well.

People are always asking “Where do you get those glasses?” and we give people the source and refer them to the Superfocus web site, show them the Penn Gillette ads, and demonstrate the ease of use and the focusing action of our specs.

The Bauhaus focuses with a sliding device and the new Leonardos have a rotating dial that is virtually invisible to onlookers. Both methods are very easy to use and I am so used to them I rarely even realize that I’m carrying out the focusing.

Interested? Go Here:

Halloween tonight…

Elly works late today, so the dogs and I will be ready to greet any costumed kids who come to the door with a bowl of miniature candy bars. I know this is going to drive my dogs crazy, but I’ll put up with it.

It looks like the rain has finally stopped outside. Hopefully it will stay this way. It would be very unfortunate for kids to have to go house to house in the rain. Out here in rural Harper’s Ferry the houses are spread pretty widely apart and it would be a very wet walk.

So I’m wishing all of you a happy Halloween out there. Let it turn a Wednesday evening into fun.

 

Our first view of what’s coming with the storm…

Elly’s job at Hagerstown Community College is off for two days as HCC has announced closing due to the approach of Sandy.

The rain has already started here this morning and we are soon expecting the wind.

Hope you are all keeping an eye out if you are in the storm track and please take care of yourselves. here’s a chance that we’ll lose power and the blog will be down, but as long as I can I’ll keep it up.

 

Just Returned From Early Voting…

After having done the Friday Morning radio show on WSHC with John Case, Elly and I set out to go to Charles Town, WV, for a visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse for early voting. Since John and his wife, Carol, were already planning to vote today, Elly and I arranged to meet them at the polling place and to have lunch afterward at our favorite Charles Town restaurant, Mezzaluna.

We spent over an hour from getting into the Court House line through voting at the booth. I never expected that it would take that much time, but the lines were very, very long. It seems like many of our fellow citizens were there to vote early… but remember, this was the third day of early voting and it was still mobbed this morning.

But we HAVE voted and I feel very good about it. The odds are very low that West Virginia will agree with me on most of the votes… particularly it is not considered likely that WV will go for Obama. But you have to vote your conscience anyway, and I did.

The Courthouse is a famous location in Jefferson County since it was here that John Brown was tried and convicted for the Harpers Ferry raid during the Civil War. Now it’s famous as the place where Elly and I do early voting.

I hope everyone out there remembers to vote, either early or on election day.

 

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