February 17, 2017

Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of February 17, 2017. Worked on my book this week. Introduced “the villain”:

“Derrick Nixon was not a happy man. The Chief Executive Officer and only shareholder of Environmental Fracking Energy and United Environment felt that some members of his sales staff lacked drive. He had read a book about the Luzier Color Inventory that purported to predict “drive” by what colors an individual preferred. Derrick had just fired two salesmen because they had chosen to do their respective offices in earth tone browns. Supposedly, earth tone browns were preferred by people who were contented; Derrick knew that a “content” salesman lacked the “killer” instinct necessary to close a sale. He was an expert on the bottom line; Derrick knew about “killer” instinct.

            Derrick Nixon, forty-seven years old, a graduate chemical engineer had always, “followed a different path”, (as his father used to say). The path had been a hard one strewn with the carcasses of those who had gotten in his way. He sat in his office on the edge of his large overstuffed executive chair, like a spider, viewing the silk covered remains of it’s latest victim. On the floor of his office sat two cardboard boxes containing the personal effects of the fired salesmen; plagues, desktop knickknacks and of course, pictures of their families. He remembered “Demetrious”.

            At seven, small for his age and sickly, Derrick had been a disappointment for his father, who had wanted a football player. The little boy’s mother had been dead for almost a year. He missed her terribly, blaming her for leaving him with an indifferent, unapproving, alcoholic father. Derrick loved his mother and she him. She had repeatedly told him how special he was, how smart and how she would never leave him; but she did. The little boy didn’t understand. A promise was a promise. As a result, the little boy, didn’t believe in promises; he didn’t trust anymore. He had only one friend; “Demetrious”.

            At seven, Derrick had a small world; a bedroom and a small backyard. He spent most of his time in the bedroom, engrossed in fantasies. He escaped into his books and the worlds they held. These worlds were populated with larger than life hero’s and villains. With his little boy mind, he learned to like the villains more than the hero’s; the villains were free to do what they wanted. The little boy wanted to be free but was not mature enough to realize that freedom always had its price. He thought the villains always lost because they made mistakes. Derrick swore never to make mistakes.

            The little boy looked out the bedroom window and wondered where he was going to get a meal for “Demetrious”. The bedroom was small, papered in dark little boy patterns, and had one window overlooking a weed invested back yard. The room contained all that the little boy held dear; some toys, a picture of his mother and his books. Lots of books.

            The window, though standard size, was double pane and had a screen and storm window attached and held in place by an aluminum frame. Trapped between the inside double pane window and the outside storm window was a spider; a garden spider. The spider was large, approximately one and one-half inches in length. The little boy had caught the spider in the backyard and carefully transported the insect between the panes of glass in his bedroom window. The spider was pampered; well fed.

            With fascination, Derrick watched the spider as it sat on the edge of a web it had built during the night. The silver edge of the storm window accentuated the dark colors and malevolent looking hairs on the spiders back. Derrick’s eyes searched the room for movement, hoping to see a fly, or an insect of any type. There was no movement.

            “Don’t you worry ‘Demi’,” he thought, “I’ll make sure you get breakfast”. The spider ground it’s mandibles and seemed to acknowledge the boy’s presence. Pulling on his clothes the boy left his room and headed for the backyard. Once there, he easily trapped a fly and returned to his room. Opening the window without breaking the web, he injected the fly into the spider’s space.

            The fly buzzed against the outside pane unable to comprehend the barrier that separated him from freedom and safety. He did not sense his danger; with his multifaceted eyes, he only saw a fly’s world; the yard.

            Derrick sat before the window, lost in the struggle between a predator and it’s victim; in his eyes a battle between good and evil. Derrick, had fixed the odds in favor of death, the ultimate evil. There was not enough room for the fly to avoid the web; escape was impossible. Demetrious, feeling the buzzing of the fly, vibrated the web causing strands to whip the air like a lasso. The inevitable happened quickly; the fly caught itself on a strand of web and buzzed helplessly. It’s struggle only caused it to ensnare itself further. Demetrious, grinding his mandibles in anticipation, followed his web toward the fly and pausing watched it struggle against the silk strands that bound it to it’s fate. In Derrick’s world, the villains always won.

            The fly, unable to escape and overcome with frustration ceased it’s struggle. It was a victim and like victims everywhere awaited his fate. Nature, in her great scope, does not allow suffering; does not allow pain for her innocents. The spiders venom paralyzed the fly; it felt nothing as Demetrious fed on it’s vital fluids. Derrick watched with satisfaction; his one and only friend had breakfast.

            Derrick Nixon smiled as the memories of Demetrious washed his mind. He had learned two great lessons from Demetrious; spin your web carefully and don’t make mistakes.

            “After all,” he thought, “Mistakes are only mistakes if you are caught.” Derrick had never been caught.”

My book is taking shape.

I didn’t have toys like this when I was growing up!! (BBC NEWS) — German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears. “An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data. The warning was issued by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications. Researchers say hackers can use an unsecured Bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it … The Cayla doll can respond to a user’s question by accessing the internet. For example, if a child asks the doll “what is a little horse called?” the doll can reply “it’s called a foal”. Wow!! Think about the questions a kid can ask   … and the possible answers? “Cayla. Where do babies come from?” “Mommies and Daddies go shopping in the baby isle at Wal-Mart.”

Don’t think they would want my brain.(BBC NEWS) — Scientists appeal for more people to donate their brains. “Scientists are appealing for more people to donate their brains for research after they die. They say they are lacking the brains of people with disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In part, this shortage results from a lack of awareness that such conditions are due to changes in brain wiring. The researchers’ aim is to develop new treatments for mental and neurological disorders …   More than 3,000 brains are storied at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center at McLean Hospital just outside Boston. It is one of the largest brain banks in the world. Most of their specimens are from people with mental or neurological disorders.” They don’t make tweezers small enough to handle my brain. Frankly? If you could convert my intellect into horsepower? I wouldn’t have enough to power an ants motor scooter around the inside of a Cheerio!!

Susan has made it home safely: she is in bed reading and watching TV. Her babies are on the bed with her   … later, I will have to fight for room. Any more, seems like our evening ritual. On Facebook, the anti and pro Trump nut jobs continue to feud. Like either one will change the mind of the other? I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t some form of political masturbation? Susan is off tomorrow, so we will start cleaning up the yard. This year, I want a raised bed garden. I have the requisite CCA Treated 12” x 2” x 16’ planks to build the beds. 3 beds, 16’ x 4’ x 12”. Getting the dirt to backfill the beds will be a problem. No football, so we have Sunday Lunch and a Movie. Lunch? Bacon, Chicken Stir Fry. The movie? “Manchester by the Sea [2016]”.

Time to post these Ramblings. Later … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) I am now close to 4 years nicotine free. Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. As always …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri   …   now retired and living in Pascagoula, Mississippi   …   and the Editorial Staff)

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February 10, 2017

Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of February 10, 2017. Freud taught that a life worth living must have “lieben und arbeiten”, literally “living and work”   …   in a philosophical context: “purpose and passion”.   For 36 years, I was passionate about helping the law evolve/adapt to changing times and my purpose was representing clients during some of the worst times in their respective lives. I was their “champion”. That changed when I retired. Purpose? For a little over a year, I floated, from day to meaningless day. Of course, I was passionate about my art, but creating art, within itself, was not my purpose. Classical signs of depression   … I drank way too much. I had a hard time getting out of bed. In my mind, there really wasn’t any reason to do so. That changed when Susan was diagnosed with kidney failure and the resultant pending dialysis. I have purpose: she needs me. This week, her kidney function dropped from 14% to 10%. 8% triggers dialysis. Together, we will get through it, day at a time.

As for passion? In 1987 I started writing a book, a fictional novel about the enforcement of environmental protection laws. An environmental, action, romance novel. I wrote 3 chapters and then lost interest. A couple of weeks ago, my computer, (a 12 year old HP Workstation), went the way of the buffalo   … so I bought a new one. In the course of transferring files I found what I had written 30 years ago. Four nights ago I had a dream about finishing the novel. I finished the plot outline today. A short snippet:

“Elizabeth Whitehair was satisfied. She had received a one level raise and had set her prosecutors up for a successful set of indictments. Linn had been unable to get any information about Von Zimmer but that said more about Von Zimmer than any printout. The man had to be “Company”, probably with a new identity. That intrigued Liz.

She walked into her apartment, tearing off her clothes as she walked into the bathroom. “Lord, I need to lay down in my bath tub and relax”, she thought as she drew the water. While the tub was filling, she turned on her stereo and put a Coyote Oldman tape in the player. The soothing sound of Native American pipes echoed through her apartment. She lit some candles as the apartment took on an eerie glow. She hummed with the melody of the pipes as she climbed into the tub.

 The warmth of the water relaxed her muscles and seemed to pull western civilization from her body. She cleared her mind and dozed in the warm water. Her heart beat in tune with the gentle rhythm of the pipes; she was attenuating to the natural rhythms of her being.

 “Welcome home daughter”, the Voice said. “Come and share in the being of all my spirit. Refresh yourself in the history of those who came before you. Feel the strength of seeing through the shadows. Know, that when all is done, you will return to me and I to you.”

 “I am with you, Mother”, thought Liz. “Let me rest in you.” The old warmth came over Liz. It seemed as though she had never left. The strength of belonging and being part of all returned to her. Like a battery charging; a glass filling with the finest wine, her being filled with life. She was refreshed. She knew that her body was only a container that sooner or later would decay with use; she knew that, THEN, she could return home to the earth. A part of her longed for that time.” 

In other news. (BBC NEWS) — Male contraceptive gel passes monkey test. “An experimental new type of male contraceptive that blocks sperm flow with a gel has been successful in monkey trials. Vasalgel acts as a physical barrier once injected into the tubes that sperm would swim down to the penis. The company behind it says a two-year trial, published in Basic and Clinical Andrology, shows the gel works and is safe – at least in primates. It hopes to have enough evidence to begin tests in men within a few years. If those get funding and go well – two big “ifs” – it will seek regulatory approval to make the gel more widely available to men.” So you wind up having sperm back up in the testicles, no doubt causing the testicles to grow in size. That begs the underlying question and concern. In the vernacular: “Will growing a bigger set of balls make a man more aggressive?” I suspect so.

In other fertility news: (BBC NEWS) — Can I trust a fertility app to stop me getting pregnant? “Sexual health experts say more research is needed into the effectiveness of fertility tracking apps in preventing pregnancy. The warning comes after the first such app – Natural Cycles – was given an official approval as a method of contraception. In 2015 a clinical study showed that the app was as effective as the pill. The app works by getting women to enter their body temperatures, ovulation test results and date of menstruation. An algorithm (a set of rules to help solve a problem, run by computer software) then determines whether a woman is fertile on that day.” In the “clinical study” paradigm   … the app was 100% successful, when the female subject held the smart phone between her knees.

In the “how cool is this” news: (CNN) — Why 1,000-year-old olive oil is Spain’s freshest new flavor. “It’s a sight that’s been greeting travelers for thousands of years. On the Montsià plains of southern Catalonia, about a two-hour drive south of Barcelona, lies the Mar de Olivas, or Sea of Olives. Here, shielded between two small mountain ranges, in a broad dry valley near the mouth of the Ebro River, olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see. And not just any olive trees: This area hosts the largest concentration of millenary olive trees anywhere in the world. To qualify as one of these ancient olive trees, the diameter of the trunk has to be more than 3.5 meters, measured at a height of 1.3 meters from the ground. More than 4,400 trees thought to be 1,000 years or older have already been located and cataloged, while many more may be waiting to be discovered.”  Olive oil from trees that are over a thousand years old!! The same olive oil consumed by the citizens of Rome.

Sitting here editing these Ramblings. Susan just made it home. We will spend a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman, Susan watching TV and me, working on my book. Today, sunny, 74 degrees. The same projected for tomorrow. May go down and walk on the beach, since Susan has to work tomorrow. Watched folks in the North East living through another snow storm. Sure miss my friends in Missouri   … but sure don’t miss the weather. Since the football season is over, we will have Sunday Lunch and a Movie, again. Lunch? BBQ’ed Ribs, baked potato, corn on the cob and a garden salad. The movie? “Dr. Strange [2016]”.

Time to post these Ramblings. Later … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. As always …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri   …   now retired and living in Pascagoula, Mississippi   …   and the Editorial Staff)

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February 3, 2017

Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of January 3, 2017. Got my new computer up and running after my old one, (12 years old), went the way of the buffalo. What a Pain in the butt to transfer files and restore programs I use. Restored all my old client files and form bank   … not that I would need them, since I no longer practice law. Although I maintain my Missouri Law license. The biggest pain? Transferring almost 3 terabytes of images going back to 1996!! My new system? An Intel i7 processor 6700, 16GB DDR3 memory and 8 terabytes of hard drive space, in a modified Acer 710 mid-tower case.

To update the medical news: Susan’s kidney function has gone down one point from 15% to 14%. Hopefully many months away from the 7% to 9% kidney function that would trigger dialysis. Her blood pressure seems to be under control. As for me? The good news? Finally have figured out what drug regimen keeps my blood pressure acceptable. Down from an average of 220/120   … to 130/70. The bad news? The neuropathy in my feet is getting worse and they have no clue why. I had an MRI in April 2016   …   and after another MRI to make sure my acoustic neuroma, (a benign tumor wrapped around the acoustic nerve), was not impacting my optic nerve causing double vision. It isn’t. I was prescribed a prosthetic: a pair of “prism” glasses. Difficult to get used to, but makes the double vision manageable. Still, the vision in my right eye is blurry due to cataracts and the scar tissue from macular degeneration. The vision in my left eye is 20/20. On my right? 20/300.You learn to compensate.

Had an appointment with my Retina Specialist at the VA today. The scar tissue from my macular degeneration has increased. Usually, AVASTIN is the preferred drug of choice for “wet macular degeneration”. I have had 5 injections, directly into my right eye, over the last couple of years. Had another one today, even though the new scar tissue is from “dry macular degeneration”. May or may not help.

In other news: three weeks ago, I got a referral to a non VA neurosurgeon. I thought it was to discuss options for removing the acoustic neuroma. It wasn’t. Apparently, the latest MRI showed “a spot” on my brain stem. It is in an inoperable location, no radiation or biopsy possible. I have another MRI scheduled the first week in April. They have no clue what it is. In life, you play the cards you are dealt   … and if you are a person of faith   … you trust THE DEALER.

And in the “anal retentive” news. (BBC NEWS) — Canada mint worker who hid $130,000 of gold in rectum jailed. A former Royal Canadian Mint employee has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing gold coins by concealing them in his rectum. Leston Lawrence stole $127,116 (CA$165,451; £100,000) of gold in 22 pieces. The 35-year-old, who was found guilty last November, was caught after he had successfully sold 17 of the gold pieces through Ottawa Gold Buyers. Ontario Court Judge Peter Doody ordered Lawrence to pay a $145,900 fine.” So much for having a “heart of gold”.

And talking about the intestines: (CNN) — The mesentery: A ‘new’ organ you didn’t know you had. “In case you’ve ever wondered what connects your intestine to your abdomen, there’s a word — and now, a single organ — for that: the mesentery. But don’t worry; you haven’t grown a new organ. It’s always been there, performing important functions that affect systems throughout the body, from cardiovascular to immunological. Leonardo da Vinci depicted it as one contiguous organ, and it remained that way for centuries until 1885, when Sir Frederick Treves’ findings presented the mesentery as fragmented amongst the small intestine, transverse colon and sigmoid colon. The research of Dr. J. Calvin Coffey, foundation chair of surgery at the University of Limerick, is reclassifying this part of the digestive system as a contiguous organ. In a new study, Coffey has established the anatomy and structure of the mesentery, using images and compiling research to show that the organ’s continuity can be seen only when it’s exposed in a certain way. “ Frankly, I really haven’t spent any time thinking or asking questions about my intestines. I spend more time wondering my heart muscle runs 24/7, flawlessly   … while my butt muscle, which works a couple of times over 3 – 4 days   … well   … has it’s problems.

Who knew? Beijing (CNN) — How to drink baijiu: Beijing’s pros share their tips. “It’s the most widely drunk hard liquor in the world but it’s rarely found on cocktail menus. Baijiu, distilled from sorghum and rice, rules every festive occasion in China, where it’s the tipple of choice for everything from wedding receptions to business banquets. It’s especially popular during celebrations for the Lunar New Year, which began Saturday, when shot glasses filled with the potent spirit are thrown back and slammed down on the table in endless rounds of toasts   … advice for baijiu newbie’s is this: “Don’t drink with Chinese people.” Baijing, because of its clarity can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but has a significantly higher alcohol content than, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). It is closer to vodka in strength. Wonder if the Chinese drink Baijing Collins??

And in the no accounting for taste news: (CNN) — Cambodia cuisine: What it’s like to cook and eat a tarantula. “The giant tarantula dangling from my mouth might be dead, but it’s still terrifying. Objectively, it doesn’t taste too bad — similar in style to crab. However given that scientists say flavor is influenced significantly by the way food appears and smells, it should come as little surprise my mind’s made up the moment I look at this hairy beast. It’s disgusting It matters not that I fried the tarantula myself in traditional style under the guidance of an expert spider cook in the northwestern Cambodian town of Siem Reap. The scent and taste of garlic just can’t overcome the nightmarish appearance of my snack.” Honestly? I thought garlic could overcome any and everything! Oh wait!! It snuffs vampires!!

Sitting here editing these Ramblings while waiting for Susan to come home. Her “furry babies” are waiting by the door. On the evening news? ABC, MSNBC, CBS and CNN coverage of folks upset about Trump following through, implementing campaign promises he made. I think they did not vote for him? According to the news   … 48% of American are in favor of his pausing immigration from 7 Islamic Nations until they provide/show an effective vetting process. I don’t have a problem with that since Presidents Obama and Carter did the same thing during their tenure. Susan is already all geared up for Superbowl Sunday. Me? I’m focused on Sundays meal   … and snacks for the game. The meal? BBQ’d baby back ribs, French fries and coleslaw. And of course, BBQ’d chicken wings for a snack during the game! And “yes”!! I remain nicotine free!!

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman. Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. As always …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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January 6, 2017

Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of January 6, 2017. Southern culture is way different from the culture in Missouri. As Roman Catholics, Susan and I celebrate the formal end of Christmas and the beginning of the Carnival Season with the “Feast of the Epiphany”. “In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, Epiphany celebrates the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God. It focuses primarily on this revelation to the Three Wise Men, but also in his baptism in the Jordan and at the wedding at Cana. In the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church, Theophany – as Epiphany is known in the East – commemorates the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity at his Baptism in the River Jordan.” Here, in the south, “Carnival” is party time from today until Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent, begins on March 1, 2017. This is a time for partying, drinking, letting loose   … and the reason there is a spike in the birthrate in November. 

During Carnival, just about every grocery store and bakery bakes and sells “King Cakes”. “What started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread–type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside now comes in many varieties depending on the country. Some king cakes are made of a sweet brioche dough in the shape of a hollow circle with a glazed topping sprinkled with colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season. In other countries, king cakes are made with a puff pastry, filled with one of several fillings (e.g., almond, apple, chocolate/pear, etc.), and have a small figurine hidden inside. The figurine changes from bakery to bakery and often represents a hit movie or other cultural icon. The cake often has a small plastic baby (to represent the Baby Jesus) inside or underneath; and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.” My favorites? “Cheeky Monkey Cake Company” A pulled pork king cake with BBQ Sauce and a bacon filled king cake with a maple-cream cheese filling. 

A politicians mind set is universal, isn’t it? (BBC NEWS) — Taiwan politician’s funeral features 50 pole dancers. “A Taiwanese funeral featuring 50 pole dancers has become the talk of the Chinese internet this week. Videos of the funeral procession, which took place on Tuesday, have been circulating online showing skimpily-clad women gyrating on top of jeeps in the southern city of Chiayi. The funeral was for local politician Tung Hsiang, who died last month. His family said they wanted to honor Mr. Tung, who loved “having a lively fun time”, local media reported. The procession, featuring the convoy of colorful jeeps blasting loud music, brought traffic to a standstill in the city centre.” No doubt if Mr. Tung were alive   … he would enjoy the company of 50 pole dancers   … or perhaps just send the message that he had shafted his constituents at least 50 times.

Some people just need to have their butt kicked!!! (BBC NEWS) — Mums against meme trolls. “The mother of a terminally ill 3-year-old-boy whose image has been turned into a mocking meme, is fighting back against those who have used him as the subject of their jokes on social media. And she’s not the only mum to make this stand. Grayson Smith, from rural Alabama, was born with a number of conditions including epilepsy, apnea, a heart defect, and protrusions of brain tissue through his skull. His mum Jenny says when he was born, doctors gave him just weeks to live … But in November she was horrified when one follower of the page alerted her to a meme featuring a photo of a smiling Grayson, holding a pumpkin. It was captioned “that face you make when your parents are actually cousins” – a reference to Grayson’s appearance. “When I saw it my heart just sank,” Jenny says. “It was Grayson’s first field trip to the pumpkin patch when he’d been able to pick out his very first pumpkin; and I had to fight back because I didn’t want people to take such a special day from Grayson and turn it into something so cruel.” You would have to be a real looser to post stuff ridiculing this child? A “Scumbaggus Americanus.” My heart goes out to the mother!

Medical news: (BBC NEWS) — Doctors confirm 200-year-old diagnosis. “Doctors have confirmed a diagnosis made more than 200 years ago by one of medicine’s most influential surgeons. John Hunter had diagnosed a patient in 1786 with a “tumor as hard as bone”. As well as confirming the diagnosis, the cancer team believe Mr Hunter’s centuries-old samples may give clues as to how cancer is changing over time. Mr. Hunter became surgeon to King George III in 1776 and is one of the surgeons credited with moving the medical discipline from butchery to a science. He’s also rumored to have given himself gonorrhea as an experiment while writing a book about venereal diseases.” He must have been a real hands on guy, if he gave himself gonorrhea. 1776 wasn’t exactly a banner year for King George III either.

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, watching the evening news and waiting for Susan to come home. Another mass shooting at the Ft Lauderdale Airport: 9 shot, 5 dead. In other news, they are calling for a hard freeze tonight and the possibility of a dusting. The last time they had snow here in Pascagoula was in 2006. It is unlikely to stick but will make bridges slick. Something for me to worry about tomorrow because Susan has to drive to work and folks down here have no clue about driving in this type of weather. Sunday Lunch and a Movie? Chicken Stir Fry and Garden Salad. The movie? “The Light Between Oceans [2016]

Time to post these Ramblings. Later … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. As always …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri   …   now retired and living in Pascagoula, Mississippi   …   and the Editorial Staff)

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December 30, 2016

Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of December 30, 2016. So … it’s Friday evening and time to post another “Ramblings”. The definition of “Tragedy” is: “A serious drama in which a central character, the protagonist — usually an important, heroic person — meets with disaster either through some personal fault or through unavoidable circumstances. In most cases, the protagonist’s downfall conveys a sense of human dignity in the face of great conflict.” An example of “Tragedy” is: (BBC NEWS) — Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher: Joint service planned, reports in US say. “The family of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are reportedly planning a joint memorial service. The Singin’ In The Rain star, 84, died from a suspected stroke on Wednesday, while grieving for her daughter Fisher, who died just a day earlier. Fisher, 60, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series, died after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Todd Fisher told the New York Daily News a joint service was “likely”. Reynolds’ son said: “It’s what we want to do, but we’re still working on the mechanics. “We like the idea, if it’s at all possible. I think it’s appropriate.” From all reports, they were really, really close. I guess you really can die from a broken heart.

This is a fascinating read about genetics!! (BBC NEWS) — Could just two people repopulate the Earth? “The last man on Earth is a common trope in fiction – but what if it actually happened? How many people would it take to save our species?” As an example:   “To understand why inbreeding can be so deadly, we need to get to grips with some genetics. We all have two copies of every gene, one from each parent. But some gene variants don’t show up unless you have two exactly the same. Most inherited diseases are caused by these “recessive” variants, which sneak through the evolutionary radar because they are harmless on their own. In fact, the average person has between one and two lethal recessive mutations in their genome. When a couple are related, it doesn’t take long for the mask to slip. Take achromatopsia, a rare recessive disorder which causes total color blindness. It affects 1 in 33,000 Americans and is carried by one in 100. If one of our post-apocalyptic survivors had the variant, there’s a one in four chance of their child having a copy. So far, so good. After just one generation of incest, the risk skyrockets – with a one in four chance of their child having two copies. That’s a 1 in 16 chance that the original couple’s first grandchild would have the disease.” 

Something to look forward to in 2017. (BBC NEWS) — 10 Films to watch in 2017. “From an ‘auteurist’ Marvel movie and Star Wars: Episode VIII to new work by Christopher Nolan, Edgar Wright, Sofia Coppola and Alexander Payne, look out for these, says Sam Adams.” This article has a breakdown for each the these 10 movies being released in 2017.

And the “monkey’s uncle” medical news: (BBC NEWS) — Hip pain may be ‘hangover from evolution’ “Scientists at the University of Oxford say a hangover from evolution could help explain why humans get so much shoulder, hip and knee pain. And if current trends continue they predict the humans of the future could be at even greater risk. They studied 300 specimens from different species spanning 400 million years to see how bones changed subtly over millennia. The changes came as man began standing up straight on two legs. Other researchers have noticed similar evolutionary quirks in humans. Some people prone to lower back problems, for example, could have spines closer in shape to those of our nearest ape relative – the chimpanzee.” Some folks with lower back problems also have an affinity for bananas. 

Interesting. (BBC NEWS) — Some young dinosaurs shed teeth, say experts. ‘Some dinosaurs lost their teeth as they grew up, according to fossil evidence. The hatchlings ate meat with their teeth, then used beaks to peck at plants as adults, say scientists. The discovery is a surprise and has not been seen in any other reptile. Limusaurus inextricabilis lived in China around 150 million years ago. The first fossilized remains of the animal were discovered about a decade ago. “Initially, we believed that we found two different ceratosaurian dinosaurs from the Wucaiwan area, one toothed and the other toothless, and we even started to describe them separately,” said Shuo Wang of Capital Normal University in Beijing, China, who led the research. The paleontologists then realized that the dinosaurs looked remarkably similar, except for the presence of teeth. They found that the dinosaur lost its teeth over time, making it the first known reptile to do this.” Isn’t losing your teeth a natural part of aging?

Want to save some money?? (BBC NEWS) — How 2 Math Grads are Disrupting the Auto Insurance Industry. “Jackson, Mississippi – Recent studies indicate that drivers are paying too much for car insurance. Are you aware that you could receive a large discount just for using this new startup’s service? In addition, if you are currently insured and live in a qualified ZIP code you may get an extremely high discount. For a long time, there was no easy way to compare quotes from all of these huge car insurance companies. You had to check one site, then jump to another and enter all of your information all over again. Drivers were stuck doing all the work to save money. Now, all that has changed. Thanks to this new startup, EverQuote™, the information you need to help you save can be found in one place. Featured in the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies for 2016, it is not a question that customers are finding what they are looking for – lower quotes.” Well worth visiting their website.

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, waiting for Susan to come home. Her “furry babies” are waiting for her by the door. She has to work tomorrow   … and we will spend a quiet New Years Eve, just the two of us. Honestly? I doubt we make it past 10:00 pm!!   Our New Years meal? A Corned Beef Brisket, Black Eyed Peas, Cabbage and a Garden Salad   … and an afternoon of Susan watching football   … and me watching Susan.

Time to post these Ramblings. Later … I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can. If my post offends, I apologize … that is certainly not my intent. As always …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri   …   now retired and living in Pascagoula, Mississippi   …   and the Editorial Staff)

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