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Showing posts from 2017

New year alert

Friends, I hope that you had the opportunity to spend time with those you love over the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays recently.

I'm working a short week this week, as my current company affords its employees with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as company holidays.  And given where the days fell this year, I was off last Friday and will be again tomorrow.  Plus I'm taking Tuesday off, so that will be essentially a five day weekend.

Good thing, too, as I'm just about over the nasty respiratory disorder that has had a grip on me for over two weeks.  As reported here previously, my wife has had something similar, was diagnosed with Type A flu and is about a week behind me in terms of the progression of her discomfort.  So the light schedule and extra time off has been very helpful.

The time has also allowed some introspection, as 2017 is almost over.  I made no resolutions, usually don't, but experienced some good ch…

The joys of being sick at Christmas

Greetings, friends!  Is your house fully decorated?  Gifts purchased and wrapped?  Shipped those that need to go elsewhere?

In today's hectic environment, there are so many things to check off and keep track of for Christmas planning.  We all try to be in several places at once and make it to every party or work/client function.

And that's just a little harder when you're sick.

I had an interesting experience a couple of Fridays ago--the day of my last post.  If you recall, my flight was delayed in leaving south Florida, and, well, it never left.  Not that day or the day after.  I wound up staying through Sunday morning, when I finally was able to get a flight north.

Didn't feel any ill effects from the extra time there until I woke on Tuesday with a sore throat and cough.  Uh-oh.

The disorder escalated from there, and I'm managing the symptoms with a variety of over-the-counter medications.  I usually don't head to the doctor when these things arise, as I woul…

Christmas shopping while delayed in an airport!

I used to travel pretty often for work, as long-time visitors to this space will attest.  However, I have been on a weeklong trip to my company's offices for meetings and now find myself with time on my hands.  Not only is it a Friday afternoon, but with weather rolling through parts of the southeast US today, the air travel system is chaotic, at the least!

So what better way to while away some of my delay than by sharing some ideas about Christmas gifts and shopping?

Now, I'm not dumb enough to reveal what those close to me may be receiving for Christmas this year (well, maybe not), but I can tell you somethings I like and I'll let you make the decision.

Are you or anyone you know in the market for a new phone?  I like my new iPhone 8 Plus, as this is the first trip where I've used it.  Love the brighter, more vibrant screen and the speed at which pages and apps load and react.  The sound is also quite something.  Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and I apparently agree …

Apple II

Happy post-Thanksgiving Saturday.  Unusual day for me to post, but, well, I'm kind of off schedule in a lot of ways right now, as many of us who had the last two days off work probably are!

Wanted to share another experience with Apple (and, no, I'm not on the payroll).  My wife and I had planned to go to see a movie yesterday, opting for "Murder on the Orient Express," but were thwarted by our inability to get seats at our preferred multiplex at the time we preferred.  So I headed outside to do some yard work, and to run the gasoline out of our lawn mower.  My wife used that time to put away her Halloween and Thanksgiving decor in anticipation of decorating the house for Christmas during this weekend.

Anyway, after I got a shower and was ready to do something, we decided, unexpectedly, to go to the mall.  I have railed against doing so for some time, but we went with a specific purpose in mind.  I had finally decided to upgrade my iPhone 6 Plus and get an 8 Plus, an…

Gratitude

Thanks for stopping by, especially on this, the single busiest travel day of the year.  Did you see that footage of cars on the freeway in southern California yesterday?  I've driven that very road, but in mid-April and, thankfully, at off hours.

If you're traveling today or at any time during the holiday weekend, please be safe.

I'm grateful for many things, as most of us are, but want to express a few brief thoughts.  Most of all, I am grateful to my loving wife and family, and most thankful that they're all healthy and productive.  And as I've mentioned here, our family will grow by one in about a week with the arrival of our fifth grandchild!

I am also grateful for my friends.  As I've mentioned here, I have a lot of friendly acquaintances but not as many true friends.  All of you know who you are, so thank you for being my friends.  Your friendship means a great deal to me!

I'm also grateful that I have a decent job, a good roof over my head and enough…

It's that time again

Good Thursday morning to everyone.  Or, should I say, early Black Friday?

That's right, friends, it's already Black Friday, and I haven't even had turkey yet (though I did prepare chicken last night).  The retail industry finally figured out that they might sell more products if they go ahead and start their sales early a couple of years ago, so now the television blares announcements about Black Friday sales here and there.

Think about this....we're not that far removed from the novelty of stores opening early the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Now they're offering drastic discounts roughly a month BEFORE that holiday!  Consumers rejoice, right?

Not quite.  Experts have long said that many of the "deals" to be had on Black Friday and Thanksgiving evening are not that attractive, and while they create traffic, they don't necessarily offer significant discounts on the latest and greatest items that we want for our loved ones and ourselves.  Seems that som…

The Apple gang

It's Friday, people....we made it!  Well, we will have when this day is over!

Apple has been in the news a lot lately, first for their new iPhone X (pronounced "ten" if you're scoring at home) and then for problems people were and are having with their iPhone Xs.  Problems like how typing "I" in the Messages app produces a symbol and "!" right alongside.  Like how it won't operate correctly in low temperatures.  Little annoying stuff.

But I give them credit, as they figured out how to fix both of these issues and pushed out a software fix yesterday.  My wife is always astounded at how frequently we need to update our operating software, and with two iPhones and three iPads between us, it takes a little while.

I also want to share some credit for the folks in the Lexington Apple Store (or just "Apple," I think).  Over the past few weeks my wife has commented that the battery in her Apple Watch (yes, we each have those, too) was wearin…

"Thoughts and prayers" are simply NOT enough

Good morning, my friends.  Once again, we have experienced yet another tragedy in the United States that might have been prevented.

I say "might" because we may never know whether better controls on the sale of guns, especially assault-style weapons, would have prevented Devin Kelley entering a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday and opening fire on the congregation, killing 26 and injuring more.

Blaming individuals or organizations for this specific act of unspeakable violence isn't enough.  The United States Air Force, of which Kelley was once a member, acknowledges that it erred in reporting his court martial for domestic violence to federal authorities.  And he was shot and wounded by a person outside of the church as he exited following the shooting, an act President Donald Trump lauded as the action of a "very brave person."

The President also told the media that it was "too soon" to talk about gun regulations, preferring to instead fo…

All Hallows' Eve eve

Good Monday morning, everyone.  Looks like fall is really here in central Kentucky, as reported in this space last week.  Hard freeze the last couple of nights, and spits of snow were visible while I was wrapping up some yard work yesterday.

Will you be wearing a costume for Halloween this year?  I had to think about the last time that I dressed up for the occasion.  It was probably the Halloween that I was working at a nursing home, as employees there were encouraged to dress up.  We had bought our son a replica of a classic flannel Chicago White Sox jersey, so I appropriated that (already had the hat) and went as a quasi-baseball player.  Got high marks from my associates, who assumed I was too serious to come in actual costume.

This year?  I'll probably dress as "Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire," borrowing that character's phrase from "The Dark Knight Rises."  My Halloween job is to hand out candy at my son's house, so that he and his wife can ta…

Now we're cooking

Good morning, friends.  It seems that fall has "fell" here in central Kentucky, so to speak as I played golf in shorts on Sunday and today I expect to wear a jacket all day.  It IS late October, of course...

I love to cook.  I don't recall mentioning that in any detail in the past in this space, but it's something I really enjoy.  Strangely, neither my mother, who was what I would call a "utilitarian" cook, nor my father, were that interested in preparing interesting dishes.

I think my first efforts to cook anything to actually be eaten came when I was ten or twelve, when my mom allowed me to heat up a can of pork-and-beans for lunch.  That was fine, but my next attempt involved adding stuff to the canned goods to the point where I was taking more time to find my add-in ingredients than to actually cook the final blend.

Fast forward to my first years post college, where I devised a recipe for chili that has served me, my family and friends well ever since. …

All in the family

A very good Wednesday morning to all, at least at the time of this writing....

I want to first say "thanks" to those who have discovered this blog over the past couple of weeks.  I have taken note of a much larger group of viewers than previous entries had enjoyed, and I appreciate more people reading and hopefully enjoying these posts.  Please feel free to comment as you like.

We just said goodbye to our daughter and her family, as they came to visit a couple of Fridays ago and left last Saturday.  I've mentioned here before that this branch of our family tree resides in the Denver, Colorado area, and we used to see them two or three times a year.  But between the high cost of air travel, their kids both being school-aged and the fact that I no longer travel by air for my work and collect frequent flier miles to use, those visits are now annual.

And it's probably for the best, as we heard what our "Colorado grandkids" (my colloquialism, not my wife's, …

The more we listen...

...the more we realize that what we hear is real.

How true is that?

Well, for instance, President Trump is now tired of waiting for Congressional Republicans (those in the Senate, specifically) to deliver to him a bill that will, once and for all, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.  Yesterday he signed an executive order that will allow government agencies to relax restrictions on health plans that don't cover certain conditions or those that exclude pre-existing conditions.  And he appears ready to follow that by withholding funding to insurance carriers who are providing coverage to low-income people.

Remember, he's been saying he would do this for some time.  The House passed a bill and the Senate tried more than once to follow suit.  Did the spectre of a Democratic bill co-sponsored by some TWENTY Senators force the hand of the President and/or Republican Congressional leadership?

Disaster relief came relatively quickly to those a…

This must stop

Sunday night's horrific events in Las Vegas are dominating the news, as they should, as this is now the single most severe mass shooting event to take place on American soil.

We have a major problem in this country, and I'm not the right person to adequately detail all of the varying aspects of this maze of issues and positions and policies.  But what I do know has already been said by people far smarter than I am:  we need more than the "thoughts and prayers" of our representatives in Congress to address this insanity once and for all.

I honestly thought that the shootings at Sandy Hook in 2012 would finally be the tipping point, where a man who was determined to be suffering from severe mental illness opened fire on a group of children and their teachers.  And it seemed at the time that something positive would come from that unspeakable tragedy.

But members of Congress stayed true to form, cowed by the financial shackles placed on them by substantial financial con…

Finding our happy place

Good Thursday morning, friends!

My schedule has been so haphazard lately that I really don't have any kind of pattern of when I find time to post, so I hope that this hasn't been an issue for any of you super-organized types out there.

Interesting times we're living in within these United States.  We have one active war, two other conflicts in which we're involved overseas, humanitarian disasters in Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico and yet our leader seems obsessed with petty grievances with other politicians and with professional athletes electing not to stand for the National Anthem before their games or to visit the White House.

This same leader is being investigated by no fewer than four congressional committees and a special counsel for, well, a lot of things.

Talk about leadership.

Closer to my home we have the former basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, now the head coach at in-state rival Louisville, having been effectively fired yesterday over the…

Saw this on TV, too

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope your weekend was smashing, and that all of your teams won if you're into that sort of thing.

One of our teams was struggling last night, as it got close to bedtime, so we watched a bit of the Emmy Awards ceremony. You know, the awards for stuff and people on television. Important to note if Shailene Woodley is reading this, since she made it abundantly clear to a reporter prior to the ceremony that she does not own a television, she READS BOOKS. So there.

Anyway, I wanted to tune in because I like Stephen Colbert when he's not on so late at night (old guys can't stay up like they used to). In the twenty-five minutes we watched I saw him twice, once to say "Good night!" So that was a bit disappointing.

And as the public address announcer, the show employed some standup comedian who apparently specializes in imitating another comedian, Chris Rock, as this guy sounded like him and all of his comments about presenters and winners alike were …

Credits and debits

Good Thursday morning to everyone.

Here in my area, we're getting that promised portion of the remains of hurricane Irma, but a fraction of what folks further south experienced.  My thoughts are certainly with those affected in Florida and the Caribbean.

The Equifax hack that we all learned about late last week is more evidence that nothing and no one is entirely safe online.  Try as we might to be cautious and use the kinds of safeguards that make the most sense, someone's always out there trying to extract information from banks, retailers and now credit reporting services.

A good friend works in compliance and security for a regional bank and is a certified auditor, so I consulted him for advice.  His comments were simple and straightforward--freeze your credit reports immediately and consider a security product to protect your information from such attacks.

I spent a fair amount of time Sunday evening moving gradually through all three credit reporting bureaus' website…

21st century consumerism

Good Tuesday morning....and, yes, I actually typed "Monday" before catching my own error.

I had the pleasure of playing golf with some friends yesterday.  One is a friend through golf whom I had not seen in some time, the others I see regularly.  Somewhere along the way through our time together our conversation turned to golf courses in our home area that are no longer in operation.  We collectively agreed that those who were now out of business had flaws and issues that likely accelerated the circumstances that led to them ending their operations.

The comments continued, and we began to collectively name restaurants and stores that have left the scene over the past few months.  It's a longer and longer list, and while new shopping areas open frequently, many bringing with them new retail and dining choices, some of the old stalwarts continue to leave.

For instance, here in Lexington we once had THREE K-Mart stores.  I was just saying to a friend of mine that when I was…

The storm(s) and what followed

Greetings to all.

Sincerest sympathies to those in Texas and elsewhere in the path of Harvey who have lost loved ones,  property and all semblance of normalcy.  Things will get better, I'm sure, but not quickly enough.

Here in Kentucky we're getting some wind and rain, but not so much as was seen and experienced elsewhere.

We're in a strange place as a country right now.  We're in a position where the people whose lives were upended need help in the worst way, yet the second-highest-ranking member of the Executive branch of our government lobbied AGAINST relief after Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago, on the basis of what it would do to our deficit.  Both he and the President have visited Texas, as that's now an expected element of disasters and recoveries.

It appears that we're going to be hearing a lot about tax reform, though I don't yet have a clue if MY taxes will change or if that "reform" will extend only to those who most likely don'…

Travels and tales

It's me again, friends.  Just have a little more to say!

I was on the road in Louisville for work yesterday, in the process of returning to Lexington and decided to jump off the interstate to get something to drink, as I had spent the better part of my work day talking (but I'm in sales, so that happens)!

As I reached the top of the ramp, my car kind of bucked and sputtered and then THREE warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel!  I chugged into a gas station lot, the nearest place I could go.  Pulled out the manual, and by this time I was down to just one light, the engine symbol.  Remember, this car is ten years old with almost 160,000 miles.  Manual says it could mean MANY things and that I would risk serious damage by driving it while the light was illuminated.

I called the dealership in Frankfort, where we bought the car (new owners now, though, but they had provided service on it a little less than a year ago).  Roughly halfway to my house, they said I could dr…

Dog days

Here we are, friends, panting our way into the Labor Day weekend a couple of weekends from now.  August finally arrived here, from a weather standpoint, in central Kentucky, with all of the heat and humidity and discomfort that we normally expect.

It always feels this way, yet I marvel at how things seem this time of year.  My Cincinnati Reds are in "rebuilding" mode (hopefully there's an almost completed structure by now, but I kinda doubt we're there yet), so they're not competitive.  So my interest in baseball wanes.

College and professional football will be here soon.  My teams (college: Kentucky, professional: Denver Broncos) have some uncertainty surrounding them.

The bigger movies have come and gone (not that I went to see any of them) and the fall will bring some bigger releases, but most are the variety that is designed to build critical acclaim, at least until Christmas, when it's presumed that people go to the movies and the more popular fare comes…

America first

Good Monday morning from central Kentucky, where it's been raining.  One of the oddities of life as it stands now, is that we're getting semi-cool weather with ample rain.  In Kentucky.  In August.

I call your attention to the title phrase for today's comments.  This phrase has been coming up again and again, mostly in our political discourse in this country, for a couple of years.  But what does it mean?

Apparently, that depends on your perspective.

As I understand it, those who were protesting in Virginia in the first place believe it's important to preserve certain aspects of American history that others feel are best put aside, at the least.  Others seem to define that term as denoting the importance of keeping people from other countries and other cultures and religions out of our country, keeping our current America as it is, or, better yet, taking it back to how things used to be.

Here's how I define it.

I want an America that tries to live up to the lofty i…

Journeys and rewards

Hello, friends.  Spent a good part of last week on the road for my new job.

I'm way out of practice as a regular air traveler, but most of the older habits tend to fall right back into place when you resume a formerly common activity.  For instance, I always managed to get to whatever airport I was departing well over an hour before my flight.  Why?  Well, for one thing, you just never know how long it will take to get through TSA security screening.  Now that people are being asked to separate their tablets as well as laptop computers and liquids from the rest of their carry-on baggage, there's a lot of stopping and starting in the security lines.

Anyway, this trip had me traveling to a location in south Florida, but for reasons I still don't quite understand, my itinerary went from Lexington to Atlanta to Key West, Florida and then to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.  First two legs were no problem, both flights departed and arrived on time.  The second plane landed in Key Wes…

Making the transition

Good Saturday morning to all.  We're supposed to have a couple of great weather days here in central Kentucky, with moderate temperatures and somewhat less humidity.  And we actually had some rain a couple of times in the past week, which is a rarity this time of year!

I thought I'd post this morning concerning my work status.  As you know, I don't delve into specific names nor do I often talk about my occupational life very often.  But this is a little different.

For the first time since 1996, I voluntarily left a position in order to accept another.  Between then and now, though, I've involuntarily left five positions, mostly due to the sales or reorganizations of my employers.

Not this time.

I have been exploring the market to some degree for a while, as I'm still working to recover the ground I lost during an extended period of unemployment last year.  The job I was in was satisfactory in most respects, but its compensation was considerably lower than what I ha…

The Spectrum of negative experiences

I have been a Lexington cable television customer since the days when the provider was known as Telecable, and have continued using this service since that time.  During the years I have had this service, I would characterize service as uneven, pricing as endlessly escalating but overall have been more satisfied with this service than the few viable alternatives that have existed.