Blog Archives

Romney doesn’t seem to know why airplane windows don’t open.

 

Romney commenting on a forced landing of a plane his wife was in when there was an accidental ekectrical fire:

When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.

The Republican nominee’s command of airplane needs and technology lets us see the weakness of his intelligence. Just think, he could be running the technical needs of this country.

 

 

Intro to Solar Class Offered at No Cost to WV Residents

 

 Thanks to a state grant, Mountain View Solar, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, will be offering “Introduction to Solar Energy Systems” in Berkeley Springs, WV and in Martinsburg, WV. The class is available at no cost to WV residents and can be taken for college credit and as a requirement toward a NABCEP certification.

The class will be held on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 PM from September 11 through November 13, 2012. There are still spots available for students who are interested in a career in solar energy or simply interested in how solar works.

For more information, email John@mtvsolar.com or to register contact Blue Ridge College at 304.260.4380 ext. 2411

 

Healthcare Question: WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?

My friend Ted Czukor sent me this essay and I am pleased to pass it on to you:

WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?
By Ted Czukor

info@tedsyoga.com

I’d like to take a poll of all readers over the age of 30. How many of you think that life is going to unfold the way you had envisioned? It certainly hasn’t been like that for me! I’m 65 now, and on the one hand I’ve had some wonderful experiences that I never could have predicted, while on the other hand some experiences have been the sheerest crap; but very seldom in my life has my planning brought about the exact result to which I had looked forward.

One of the more disturbing surprises I’ve had recently is that finally getting Medicare health insurance is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving proper medical attention—because healthcare providers are sometimes slow to order medical tests. I say “sometimes” because it’s a very mixed bag. Sometimes our doctor may send us immediately to the lab for something that he feels is necessary, but other times we may have to come back to his office for multiple appointments over several months with the same persistent complaint before he will decide that the quickly-written prescription isn’t doing anything, and we really do need to have a tube stuck down our throat or a picture taken of our brain or joints to see what the hell is actually going on.

It’s hard to predict when our doctors will jump on a test immediately or delay one for several months—but it seems clear from the national discussion on TV that some tests are being delayed due to concerns about cost. Our healthcare system is losing money, and some patients are guilty of what the insurance industry calls “over-utilization of services”—which makes it damned hard on those of us who legitimately need the testing.

On the Today Show on Wednesday morning, August 28th 2012, Dr. Nancy Snyderman actually suggested that any medical test will come up with something treatable, so therefore people in their 90’s should hold off on such tests so that younger people with longer-expected life spans can benefit from the treatments instead!  We like and respect Dr. Nancy, and we never expected her to take such a cold-blooded stance on the subject. It sounds logical and fiscally responsible on the surface, but how low on the age scale should we set the cutoff point? Age 80? 70? What about people over the age of 60? Shouldn’t other factors besides age be considered in such a decision?

Such a stance is easy to support, so long as the older people in question are generic groups whom you have never met. But when that older person is suddenly a personal friend or a member of your own family—or when, God forbid, it’s actually you—then you will probably take a second look and decide that in this case, at least, an exception should be made!

Another unexpected and recent surprise has been that we have to do our own diagnosing. More accurately, we have to research our symptoms on the Internet and take our questions about possible causes to our doctor, to get him to look into them and determine whether we are barking up the wrong tree—or not. Only our doctors and their labs can diagnose for certain, but we have to tell them what to look for! This is doubtless due to the overwhelming number of patients they see every day, with the result that even the most conscientious physician can only pay full attention to the patient who is right in front of him. As soon as that patient has left and a new one has come in, the first one better receive proper follow-up from the doctor’s staff, because the doctor himself will have forgotten about him until their next scheduled appointment.

In the last three years my wife and I have been successfully treated for degenerated hips and shoulders, melanoma and allergic reactions to various medications—but in every case we were the ones who had to self-diagnose the condition and then go to the proper specialist to have it verified! Until we did that, we were simply given prescriptions for pain or infection in an attempt to mask symptoms.  It was never suggested that surgery might be needed, or that a medication should be discontinued because it might be messing us up.  Suggestions of that nature had to be put forward by us.

I have two reasons for writing this essay and sharing it with others. For those in the medical profession, I want you to know that educated patients understand your dilemmas concerning healthcare costs and the limited time you are allowed to spend with each of us—but we insist that attention be paid to us as individuals, rather than as generic members of a certain age group. For my contemporaries who are experiencing the same frustrations that I am, I want to encourage you to Keep Doing Your Searches on WebMD, and Keep Asking Questions. Don’t take a doctor’s “I don’t know” for an answer. Get your facts lined up, and insist on getting tested for anything that alarms you and that your doctor isn’t completely sure doesn’t need a test.

For those of you who aren’t wealthy and are under 65 without health insurance, I empathize.  I went without insurance for two years before finally making it to Medicare age. The best advice I can give is to do whatever you feel is necessary to maintain your functionality, until you can finally get coverage to see doctors again. The trick is to just stay alive. But remember that getting the insurance won’t be enough. You will have to be an active advocate for your own health and for the health of your spouse and parents.

Sunday Farmer’s Market in Shepherdstown…

Since I am trapped in my recliner with my broken bones, Elly has already gone without me over to the Shepherdstown Farmers Market to buy our weekly supply of organic vegetables and field-raised meats that show up there. We are fortunate in our geographic area to have several farmers markets…  Saturday is the one at Morgan’s Grove and of course we also have them in Charles Town and Martinsburg and recently we saw signs for one one over in Hagerstown at the VFW Hall.

Our local farmers make a point of raising organic foods and for that we can be thankful. There are plenty of places in this country where organic foods are not available. Also, GMO foods are becoming more and more pervasive in our grocery stores. Thank you, Monsanto.

I hope you have great food available to you wherever you are. and I hope the organic food world expands everywhere. Support your farmers markets.

Political humor gets too close to reality…

 

MoveOn.org has put out a new anti-Romney commercial called “Pickpocket” that went out today in swing states.

Funny, yes… but as close to the real potential circumstance as you can get.

 

A research visit to an Earthship…

English: A picture of the workings of natural ...

English: A picture of the workings of natural ventilation in a earthship. Schematic was based on a picture found in the book “Earthship Vol 2:Systems and Components by Michael Reynolds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elly and I are in the planning stages of our earth bermed house project which we hope to be living in in a year or so. About a mile or so from our current house is an “Earthship“, a particular style of earth bermed house, originally designed and promoted by New mexico architect Mike Reynolds.  It is built with walls made out of earth-filled automobile tires that are then covered with clay and cement.

It uses south-facing solar windows and a number of other things (like greywater cisterns) which we are planning on.

While this is not the method of building we are looking at, it has enough of the same features that we felt it would be a source of information for us. Owners Larry and Karen spent four years doing much of the building themselves and they were a fountain of information answering all of our questions and giving us advice. We have a number of leads to look up that they have directed us to.

I’ll be getting into more stuff about our new house plan as we go along.

Side view of the Earthship near us.

Today is the day the Supreme Court weighs in on Obamacare…

The news media is waiting with baited breath for the decision of the SCOTUS which is due today on the President’s health care plan. So many questions are waiting to be answered:

1. Will the Court’s decision be primarily political?

2. Who will suffer the most if it is overturned?:

- Young people under 26 years old who are able to be on their parents’ health care plan, who could lose that  advantage unless the insurance company itself allows it.

- Protection for sick patients who can lose their coverage due to a mistake in paperwork.

- People in southern states who have the least amount of state-mandated protection on their health insurance as opposed to more progressive states.

- Women will not be able to get free birth control (this is Planned Parenthood‘s major worry.)

- The risk of coverage will increase immensely for insurance companies who will not be as supportive of the users and more supportive of themselves.

3. Will the Court separate the Mandate (the requirement that everyone have insurance) from the rest of the law?

So we await the decision which will be written by Justice Roberts and see if they use it as the standard  anti-Democrat response the court has made since putting George W. Bush into office.

 

Things are looking up for the Housing Market…

Permits to build new homes rose sharply in may, suggesting a beginning housing recovery remains on track.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that although groundbreaking on new homes dropped last month, upward revisions to data for March and April put starts above 700,000 for five straight months, a first since 2008.

This means a big turn of eventst is under way: while the broader U.S. economy appears to be losing steam, housing is gaining traction and has become a relative bright spot. Homebuilder sentiment has risen to a five-year high.

“The incipient recovery in housing market activity, in short, seems not to have been affected by the recent softening in much of the other economic data,” said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

Starts for single-family homes, which account for most of the market, increased 3.2 percent.

How the Rich earn money with no work, create no jobs and pay minimal taxes…

Without money

Great article in PoliticusUSA this morning. It’s called Republicans Twist Capitalism Into a Democracy Killer. Here’s a clip:

One thing the Tea Party crowd must know, but seems incapable of comprehending, is that most of the 1% modern day money is accumulated through doing no work at all. NONE! It comes from investments. A 1 percenter buys 1,000 or 10,000 shares of a stock for $40 a share; the stock appreciates to $75 a share. The holder sells the stock for a profit. He or she has done NO work; has created NO jobs. Nor will he or she investor EVER work for that money or create jobs. As a single entity, they buy the stock, sell the stock and deposit the money in their account and will probably pay little or no taxes.

The republican power elite is now working day and night to see to it that those capital gains and dividends where applicable are not taxed. So you have a class of people who can make enormous money and will give none of it to the U.S. Treasury. Do you get more patriotic than that?

Go HERE and read the whole article.

Now don’t you think the tax structure should be changed so the one-percenters pay the same tax rates on their income, however they get it, as we the people? Can you get more patriotic than that?

I doubt it.

The Power is Back! (9:00 AM)

We just finished a 13 hour power outage due, I am told, by a tree falling over a line down Uvilla Road.

Elly and I drove over to Charles Town to have breakfast (and COFFEE) at the Mountaintop Diner and came back to the lights being on (although the Potomac Edison trucks are still working on the lines around the corner from us.)

The wind and thunderstorms last night blew all kinds of things from Elly’s gardening around the yard and it will have to be picked up today… although it is getting up to near 90° outside… and there are more thunderstorms due later this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day.

The Plastic Bag…

Elly and I went to Martin’s without our cloth shopping bags, so, of course, we were trapped into plastic bags.

Makes you think of the great Mockumentary narrated by Jeremy Irons:

Over at Mellow Moods having coffee after the show…

Not a bad show on WSHC this morning… a lot of song request challenges (and I found all of them) from my regulars and nothing went wrong with the equipment (Ta Dah!).

The weekend looks lovely. After coffee, I’m on my way over to our now up-for-sale town house to get some hardware off the garden fence. Then back home to make up the sleep that I DIDN”T get last night.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Best Commercial Idea I’ve Seen This Year…

Do people steal your lunch out of the refrigerator at work? A company called “the” has come up with the answer: anti-theft lunch bags.

For $8, you receive 25 plastic sandwich bags with strategically placed green splotches on the surface, to make the contents inside look like something no one would want to steal, let alone eat.

Five percent of the lunch bag proceeds will go to Freedom From Hunger.

To order go HERE.

4 and a half minutes with the Medical Industry

I blew my morning this morning with a Neurologists visit in Hagerstown. I see this doctor every six months because he has me on a prescription to not have the strange blackouts I had last year (he says they are seizures, but apparently I function normally during them…I just don’t remember what I’ve done when  I recognize my surroundings again.

Anyway… it takes close to an hour to drive to this Dr.’s office, five or six minutes to go over insurance information and copay stuff with the girl at the front desk, then, being shown to a little room, I wait.

By around 10:30 I have been waiting for my 10:15 meeting with the Dr. for fifteen minutes.

Then he comes in and asks me if I’m taking my meds (yes, I say) and have I had any seizures (no, I say)…good, he says, I’ll see you in November.

My total time with the Dr. is 4.5 minutes. I don’t know how much the insurance company is paying for this, or what they are going to charge me, but my main thought is “I could have done this over the phone.”

You’d think he’d tap my knees or look in my ears or something. But he didn’t (I didn’t even get put on a scale…the girl who checked me in asked me what I weighed. I could have said anything.)

The medical world is a gaggle of thieves.

Here’s part of my Yard Sale…

No one around here would seem to need these, but I’d like to sell them,

These are 2 30-year-old (or so) TV Camera rolling tripod/stands… before rolling up the heads they are about 4 feet tall. The heads need new handles, which appear to be rods set in a hole with a set screw.

I’d like $50.00 each for these (or both for $75.00). These are awfully big for shipping, but if you can pick them up here in Harper’s Ferry they will fit in a station wagon.

 

 

Drop me an e-mail here if you are interested.

The Mellow Moods sign… Bradley Sanders’ Best

I’ve been watching Bradley make this in his shop for some months now. Cutting and carving the names and decorations into the wood, working the copper for the centerpiece with the tree, forming and welding the decorative arms that hold it to the front of the building… all of these things made as fine craft.

Yesterday morning, Bradley and Mr. Bill came over and hung it over the Mellow Moods entrance as we all watched. Phil Mastrangelo, owner of the Mood, kept going in and out to check the progress, worried that the height was too low (which it wasn’t) and smiling like you can’t believe.

Anyway, here are both sides of the sign which now bring new life to German Street:

 

 

This is a great addition to our historic and arts-oriented district. Bravo to Bradley and congrats to Phil.

 

 

The Restaurants folks eat in as an economic indicator…

The New York Times has pointed out that…

…when Americans feel better about their finances, they are more likely to eat at restaurants with full service, including bringing the food to the table, rather than at restaurants with limited service. At the moment, both the restaurant sales and the falling unemployment rate indicate the economy is doing better than the Gross Domestic Product figures would seem to show.

Here are the stats:

So where have you been eating lately? I’ve been going over our cc receipts for the last month or so and discovered that my wife and I fit right in with this recovery crowd… we don’t eat at fast food joints at all and our sit-down restaurant visits have been predominant.

Where have you been eating?

To answer a question received by e-mail…

…yes, I change the background pattern on the blog every day (or two) and try my hardest never to repeat a pattern.

Paisley

I spend a lot of time searching for new patters that will make the blog stand out. Following users comments I stopped using moving images a while ago since they

detract from the posts. I do, however look for color that makes the pages stand out and patterns that make me relatively happy (like the “Paisley” I have up today.)

If you have a pattern you haven’t seen here that you’d like me to use, click on the mailbox and attach it to the e-mail.

Thanks, Bill.

Ongoing chapter of the Comcast battle…

Well… here I am after the Comcast installation didn’t show up this morning (although the man they call the site survey came yesterday and said our connection to the cable was there on the outside of the house and we were ready to go.)

Installation was supposed to show up between 8 and 10. At 11, after there was no sign of a Comcast installer, I called the delightful folks and, guess what? They had no record of an installation appointment, nor any record of our address.

So I asked the rep – Devin – (and this was the fourth guy I spoke with after 45 minutes of being on hold with three other people), how did your site survey guy know which address to come to yesterday? Devin said he didn’t know how to explain it… he tried four different ways and our address didn’t come up.

While I was holding on the phone as he checked, I got on line to Comcast.com and found on my billing account that they were billing my old home’s service to my new address… I had him look up my bill and he saw it was so. But he said the address still didn’t come up with any request to reinstall my service.

Finally, after an hour and a half on the phone, he gave me a new work order number, told me he was putting it on an emergency alert and would call me back as soon as it was set up. That was almost 2 hours ago.

I’m still waiting.

First night in the new house…

No TVComcast hasn’t shown up yet.

Dogs are going crazy…they have a long way to go getting used to a new existence.

Unopened boxes, big black plastic bags stuffed with clothes, misplaced furniture everywhere. Organization starts tomorrow (we’re lucky we have a bed ready to sleep in.)

Hope everyone out there has a great night.

A Quote on Gas Prices…

We’re hearing the primary campaigners accuse President Obama of personally seeing to it that gas prices have gone to extremes (I saw one station at 3.95 a gallon in Charles Town yesterday). Well, I think we should hear what the President has said on the subject:

“You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas — and I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling. We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years. Well, the American people aren’t stupid. They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling. That’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.” -Barack Obama

Frankly, if any of those yo-yos (Newt, especially, who is left with not much else to push than this) could actually get gas down to $2.00 a gallon they have enough congressional support to do it now.

Have you wondered why they don’t?

Just brought my first load over to the new house…

…not a lot. Just my tools and tool tables, some folding chairs, Elly’s bicycle and some glass lamp covers to install upstairs (Elly’s project). I’ve also got a bent mailbox outside that I have to fix… then I’m going home to pack more stuff and take care of the dogs.

The pups don’t realize it, but we are installing one of those electronic devices to keep them in the yard using a transmitter and zapping collars. It turned out to be easier and cheaper than putting in a new fence. We have 30 days to try it out, train the dogs to it and make sure it works.  Does anyone out there have experience with this that you would share?

Figured I’d take my photograph sitting in the new house while I post this. The house is pretty empty, but there is a nice light coming in from the windows and I don’t look that bad.

OK…time to go. Can’t waste more time.

Just got back from a Solar Project lecture at Town Hall

Than Hitt starts it off...

Sustainable Shepherdstown had David Brosch of University Park Solar LLC from Maryland to discuss how that organization created an investor solar project, got some state laws changed, and got small investors involved in solar energy.

This is the project that Than Hitt spoke about on my radio show last Saturday, and the show and a Sustainable Shepherdstown mailing brought in about 30 people (would have been more if the Chronicle had run the release, but it didn’t.)

David Brosch

The concept of setting up a (small) profit-making LLC to get groups of people involved with solar power for multiple locations with a 20 year profit of about 7% (money deducted from the electric bill). It has been successfully started in Maryland and could be done in West Virginia.

This was a good start and everyone left Town Hall interested to take it further.

Getting closer to moving…

The House inspection was finished yesterday and there is a small list of things we have to fix up… not too bade at all. Now we just have to get the final bank and legal papers done and we can close and start the (miserable) process of moving. We think it will take us about a month to change houses, fix up the town house and put it on the market. Hopefully we’ll have it sold by the end of April or mid-May.

There are so many things to plan in moving here… getting fencing up for the dogs, figuring out what Elly needs to raise chickens (this is her first major farming item), having Dave come over to put in a door for the room we are converting into a first-floor bedroom, etc. etc.

So, plenty to look forward to… alot for an old guy like me.

Not everyone recognizes true talent…

I found this little graphic on Facebook this morning:

Of course, I read it with no trouble, but the comment of being a pointless talent means the idiot who wrote it would probably have been a failure at old time typesetting.

In the days of moveable type, all words and sentences were set backwards (and often, in the old time newspaper production area, upside down as well.) If you couldn’t read – and write – backwards with clarity, you were prone to typos and would not hold a job very long.

This may be a talent which the time of desktop publishing by computer has relegated to specialty shops, but a talent it certainly is. It also promotes discipline and concentration, something we have
very little of in the work-a-day world these days.

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