Life 2016


Out Damn Gout!
Tesla Titillation
Requiem For America

Out Damn Gout!                                               February 9,2016

Oh, the trials of aging! One more reared its ugly head or more accurately, foot. Last month I was introduced to the wonderful world of gout, not golf, gout. For that matter, they can be equally exasperating. However, one can walk away from golf.

In the world of pains, it’s up there with the most notorious. Well, I’m not qualified to compare it to labor pains. Still it gives one the impression that a foot has been inserted into a vise which is then tightened down with a bone-crushing tenacity that makes sleep impossible. Anything remotely resembling a jar sends new shock waves of pain brainward (leave me alone, spell-checker). A friend said footsteps in the room, never mind a sneeze, were enough to trigger it for him. It’s easy to see why kings in days of yore became cantankerous in later years.

A little background for those blissfully ignorant about gout. It’s caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood which then crystallizes in a joint much like arthritis. Oddly, it almost always strikes one big toe first. Why only one toe? I don’t know. But it lays you low. Nowhere to go.

Now for the good news. Turns out there’s a miracle remedy not involving drugs. Cherry juice. Not just any cherry juice – tart black cherry juice not made from concentrate. May not be a drug but it tastes like medicine all the same. And half a glass a day makes the gout go away.

On a graver note (poor choice of words for us old-timers), a change in diet provides more permanent protection. Big contributors of uric acid in order are beer, alcohol, fish, red meat, caffeine and soda drinks. (My first bout of gout came a day after spending an afternoon at the golf club drinking beer on the patio.) I have no intention of becoming a uric acid freak, however, I am cutting back on some of these culprits – and stocking up on cherry juice. Enough of this. It’s probably already more than you wanted to find out about gout.


Tesla Titillation                                   April 7, 2016

Last week I joined the Tesla bandwagon! Submitted an order for the new Model 3 sight unseen. Since the $1,000 deposit is totally refundable, there was no risk. Still, waiting for the unveiling, I wondered if it would be a Tesla-worthy design or follow the path of glorified golf carts as other manufacturers have done. After all, with the price of a Lithium battery pack, how much of the $35,000 price tag is left to put into the car?

Turns out a lot…


Industry-beating crashworthiness, zero to 60 in six seconds, over 200 mile range, supercharger compatibility, five passenger comfort, front and back trunks, autopilot, etc. More than I expected. And since I’m somewhere within the first 115,000 buyers, a $7,500 rebate for going electric is promised.

Elon Musk appears to be accomplishing his long-term goal of selling the world on pollution-free transportation. Not only is he proving the viability of competitive electric cars, he shares his technology with other manufacturers. And his giga-factory will produce as much Lithium battery power as the rest of the industry combined. He is systematically removing all barriers for car manufacturers to follow suit. Yet, many resist or at best pay token attention. I’ve seen claims that people won’t tolerate the home charging time nor the 200 mile range. They poo-poo the use of supercharging stations and I even saw a fallacious claim that the Model 3 would cost $60,000. Time will prove them wrong.

With its autopilot and surrounding sensors, Tesla is breaking new ground for visionaries working on development of an autonomous auto; that is, a car that drives itself. As a passenger, you give it a destination and sit back. Even the steering wheel will be eliminated. These cars will communicate electronically with others in their vicinity and are expected to deliver passengers quicker and safer through elimination of traffic congestion. Like many, I have trouble contemplating life without a steering wheel, accelerator and brakes but maybe when they finally arrive, age and eyesight will make me more tolerant.

There is one area where autonomous vehicles can’t come soon enough—trucks. How much safer would highways be without truckers falling asleep or endlessly pulling out to pass each other blocking two lane highways. Of course, a major shift in employment would be needed. But that’s a temporary pain as can be attested by railroad firemen, navigators, flight engineers and keypunch operators. Job market shifts are an inevitable product of our rapidly changing world.

But enough about the long-term future. I’m more interested in the next year and a half when my Model 3 materializes.


Requiem For America                            November 9, 2016

A sceptic might say the claim of a rigged election was right after all. Rigged by bullies with megaphones in Florida scaring away Hispanics, intimidation and Constitution violating voter restrictions in other states, an eleventh hour red herring flung by the FBI Director and Russian flooding of social media with partisan comments/articles. Regardless, the outcome remains.

When I wrote Ickee Mushta in 2014, the idea that it might turn from fiction to reality seemed farfetched but in a sense, it has.

Though it won’t show, I weep for the millions who will sink further into poverty; for the minorities who will now live in fear of abuse and deportation; for the women who must live with, or die from, unwanted babies; and for those who will no longer afford health care or send their children to college. But most of all, I weep for an America that has sacrificed the values and ideals that made it a respected leader in the global community.


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