When Does a Pet Become a Responsibility?

We have three cats.

We feed them, had them neutered and declawed when they were young, and in general treat them with the same respect we treat our human family members. If Riley, Perry or Charlie is lethargic and we suspect that any of them are sick, or notice blood indicating that they may have been in a scrap, we take them to the vet. They also wear collars with identification including our phone number. This, we hope, will encourage a neighbor to give us a call if they’re found, so we can pick up whomever it was that strayed away, or in a worse case scenario, was found smooshed on the road. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. No one is going to call us if they observe our cat killed on the road.

We live two miles outside of city limits. Some of the dog owners in our neighborhood have obviously bought their pets from breeders. You can tell by their (pets’) pedigree. They also walk them on leashes, perhaps for the protection of neighbors, but also to keep their canine friends and investments safe from vehicles.

Cats appear to be another story. All of our kitties came from animal shelters. Riley came from an animal shelter in Texas, Charlie from one in Oklahoma, and Perry, our oldest kitty, entered our home from an animal shelter in Pennsylvania, 17 years ago. However, there are lots of cats in the neighborhood that don’t seem to belong to anyone. We say that this cat belongs to so-and-so, or that cat belongs to our other neighbor, simply because these are the homes that we usually see the cats hanging out at. Perhaps they feed them, or perhaps they just share affection with them, but they don’t appear to take care of them. We’ve been here over a decade and our cats are the only ones we see with collars. We have a large fenced back yard that they are usually quite content to stay within. One of our kitties in particular, Charlie, likes to wander outside the gate now and then, but in general they all stick around our property and come inside at night when we call them around 10pm. In the summer we often hear coyotes and other wild dogs out in the fields behind our neighbors’ homes. We’re not taking any chances at night. Our kitty boys sleep inside.

The animal shelter that we got Charlie from told us that someone had found him huddled in a corner of their garage one winter and took him in, and then to the shelter. Charlie was already around 3 months old by then. Perhaps he spent the major part of his life outdoors prior to his trip to the shelter, and that’s why he likes the outdoors so much. However, he was a very friendly cat who had obviously had plenty of interaction with humans before. We’re especially glad to have a collar on Charlie, as one of the cats that hangs out across the street looks just like him, except for his eyes, and we’d hate to have our kitty taken in by someone else thinking that he was theirs.

My pet question, “When does a pet become a responsibility” is an old one. As a pet owner since childhood, I like taking care of my pets. I may not like changing kitty-litter, but that’s just part of the deal. What I don’t like is when people treat a local (stray) cat as a pet to a certain degree, but don’t take responsibility. If someone is going to take a cat into their family, they need to treat them with respect and look out for their welfare, as they would any other member of their family. Here’s the deal with pets… first things first: have them neutered or spayed, unless you’re going to take care of their offspring. Having your cat declawed is also a good idea if you want to have cats from the age of kittens, or you can kiss your furniture goodbye. Clean the mites out of their ears if they get them, and give the poor kitty (or dog) a flea-collar so they don’t suffer miserably in the warm months. If they get sick or you can tell something’s wrong with them, you know what to do.

Here’s a picture of our three happy boys, Charlie, Perry & Riley.

Charlie, Perry & Riley

Here’s the motivation for today’s article: I dropped my wife off at work this morning and then went for a walk in the neighborhood. If you read my post from the other day you heard about the black and white kitten that was smooshed by our house on that day. It wasn’t much later in the day before the Langoliers (in this case, turkey vultures) enjoyed the kitty for lunch. Only spatters of red on the gray concrete remain to testify of his/her former existence.

dead orange-white kittyThis was not my kitty Perry, but his look-like (though much younger) that used to live/stay across the street.

Motto of the story: If you’re going to “take in” a pet, then do it right. Be responsible.

Posted in 2010 May | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Unnoticed Deaths

A Patient, a Death, but No One to Grieve

Published: May 17, 2010, The New York Times


My patient’s body was unclaimed, and it had already been sent for burial by the time I learned of his death on a Thursday afternoon. It had happened on Saturday, at another hospital. He hadn’t left any next-of-kin contact, and it had taken that hospital’s social worker four days to trace a trail back to me.

“Did he have any family?” the social worker asked me, her voice urgent. “Anyone that he stayed in touch with?”

I hunted through his chart while we spoke on the phone, and found my first visit with him, three years earlier, when he was 56. He’d come to me with a hernia the size of a softball. The surgeons wouldn’t operate until his blood pressure — a sky-high 215 over 110, despite five anti-hypertensive drugs — was controlled.

He was 5-foot-6, thin, compact, with short-cropped graying hair and a distinctive raspy voice. “Miz Ofri,” he’d always call out to me from the waiting room, his choice of appellation an endearing mix of Southern manners and the reality of Bronx casual.

At one time he had used heroin, but he quit drugs — and methadone — in the 1970s. He served a decade in prison in the 1980s but had led a clean, quiet life since then. He was divorced, and had lost touch with his four children while he was incarcerated.

We spent nearly a year controlling his blood pressure on a complex, ever-changing regimen of pills. But the surgery never happened. “I’m afraid of needles, Miz Ofri,” he said. “Once you’ve been off heroin, you can’t look at a needle again.” The idea of an IV was simply too much.

Over the next year, diabetes crept into the picture, and we added several more pills to his regimen. He decided to try again for the hernia repair, but then his blood pressure spiraled out of control and the surgery was canceled.

I saw him at least once a month. He never came with anyone, nor did he ever mention anyone in his life. He always maintained the same address in the Bronx, but his phone service was intermittent, generally in tandem with whether or not he had a job.

“Didn’t you ever ask him,” the social worker from the other hospital pressed me, “who you should call in case anything ever happened to him?”

I felt a twinge of embarrassment. It seemed obvious in retrospect, but clinic visits for a walking, talking, self-sufficient adult weren’t the same as a hospital admission for a critically ill patient. Next-of-kin issues rarely came up, and, in any event, his medical concerns were too pressing to worry about other things. The hernia, too, had receded to a back burner.

Just in the past few months, I had achieved what I considered a major success. I introduced my patient to an insulin pen, a newer method of insulin delivery that didn’t remotely resemble drug paraphernalia. The needle was minuscule.

It was touch and go at first, but I finally got him to try a tiny dose. My plan was to get him over the hump of actually using the insulin, then increase the dose to control his blood sugar. His kidneys were starting to fail, and anything that might delay dialysis would be a major victory.

The week before the call from the social worker, he was at our clinic for a prescription refill. A physician assistant gave him the medicine and reminded him of his appointment with me next month.

On Friday, he apparently began experiencing severe abdominal pain. He was taken to the nearest hospital, where a CT scan revealed “free air,” an ominous sign that indicates an intestinal rupture.

The social worker connected me to the surgeon, who told me that the hernia had become a strangled a knot of intestine. “It was already gangrenous when we opened him up,” He said. But the operation was a success, and the patient felt better post-op.

“So how did he die?” I asked, trying to keep my voice steady.

“I’m not exactly sure,” the surgeon said. “He was fine the next morning when the nurse gave him his morning meds, but an hour later he was unresponsive. They coded him but couldn’t bring him back. Either a heart attack or major blood clot, we’re not sure. I tried to get an autopsy, but our hospital doesn’t do them anymore.”

I held the surgeon on the phone as long as I could, as the emotional calculus took hold that this would be my last connection with my patient. It might be the last time anyone thought about him or spoke his name. Once I hung up the phone, that would be it. The surgeon and the social worker would move on to other patients: this would be just a transient case in their vast medical enterprise.

It was frightening to realize that someone could die and there might be nobody to mourn, much less reflect or even react. It dawned on me that I might be the only person who had any regular contact with him over these years. I wanted to attend his funeral, to do something to demonstrate that his life had some connection. But even that wasn’t possible: his body had already been sent off to be buried by prison inmates at the potter’s field on Hart Island, a tiny sliver of land in Long Island Sound where unclaimed New Yorkers have been interred since the Civil War.

Finally I hung up the phone, but continued fingering the pages of his chart, the only palpable evidence of his life. I read and reread all the words I had written about him over the years — his kidneys, his glucose, his hernia, his fear of needles — until my eyes were blurry with sadness.

I took a deep breath and then wrote an “expiration note” in the chart, a postscript to the official documentation of his life. And then I wrote this essay, needing to solidify my recollections before they could fade.

Perhaps someone out there would recognize him, I hoped, and offer a small prayer of condolence. Maybe someone else in this world would join me in carrying a bit of him in their memory, so that he wouldn’t have died completely alone.

A few weeks later, his name popped up on my roster for his scheduled visit. I was unprepared for the claw in my gut that seized me. I wanted to hold on to his memory, to share it. But there was no one. My thoughts of him felt like a balloon straining from a child’s hand. At some point the balloon would escape the grasp, despite my best intentions, and steal silently, forlornly into the endless sky.

Dr. Danielle Ofri is an internist in New York City. Her newest book is “Medicine in Translation: Journeys With My Patients.”


This article touched me. Not sure why. I think it’s because I felt a bit sad over a squirrel I flattened last week. Not that an unknown person’s life and the life of a squirrel are the same, but somehow, there was a connection. Hopefully while we’re here on Earth we can be happy and go our merry way all the days of our lives. As for us individually, once we’re gone, it won’t matter to the one who’s passed away, only to those of us that around to reminisce. The day the squirrel got flattened was a sad day.

Then yesterday as I was driving home I saw a small kitty that was hit by a car, or killed by a dog, either way, it was dead. Another sad moment. Perhaps I’m just in a melancholy frame of mind lately.

dead kitty on the road

Some might think it’s odd to connect thoughts of the passing of a transient man and an untagged, unclaimed kitty. But I don’t. They both appeared to be insignificant in most everyone’s lives, but they were both significant to someone. The transient man to doctor, and the black and white kitty, at least to me.

Posted in 2010 May | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

We Survived; 5 Did Not

Oklahoma had it’s first Tornado of the year yesterday. It touched down all over the place, traveling at 50mph. Not just did it touch down in and around Oklahoma City, but many other areas as well. Unfortunately it even struck in Lone Grove, an area that was decimated last year. Many homes just finally being reestablished there were flattened again. But in Durant we were lucky. No direct contact with this one.

Touching down in Oklahoma

Picture courtesy of KTEN.com.

Iris and I had been watching the tornado approach on our local TV news station. We were in the direct path of the tornado, and this was a “Tornado Warning” not a Tornado Watch. A watch means that the conditions are ripe; a warning indicates that a tornado has been spotted on the ground and is heading your way. This became more of a reality for us as the sirens started blaring. Not once, but over and over. We do not have a storm shelter. We keep our guest bathroom on standby as our storm shelter. We keep bottled water, a flashlight, spare meds, a weather radio, gloves and blankets in there for these special occasions. After we collected our 3 kitties and got them comfortable in there as well, Iris and I hopped into the tub. If we were directly hit by the tornado, our last flight together might be in our bathtub, but the way we look at it, at least we’d be together. Once again we were spared. All we had was a wind, rain, and a bit of small hail.

A family on their farm in Braman, OK was not so fortunate. This photo is from a news station in Oklahoma City, with their accompanying description.

farm destruction

Picture courtesy of KTEN.com.

Tornado damage north of Braman, Oklahoma. Completely destroyed home and farm. The house was lifted off the foundation, floor included. Half the house was rotated and dropped 20 feet away, the rest of the house is in shreds scattered across the farmland as far as 1/2 mile away. The homeowners were in the basement and watched their house lifted right off them, they were covered in straw and debris. Walked away with minor bruises. This was the second time their house has been damaged/destroyed by a tornado.

I’ve been living in Southeastern Oklahoma for over 25 years now. I’ve heard of pea-sized hail, quarter-size hail and even golfball-size hail. This tornado threw down larger-than-baseball size hail. I sure wouldn’t want to get hit on the head with one of these. Needless to say, this size hail is extremely destructive and possibly lethal.

larger-than-baseball size hail

Picture courtesy of KOCO.com.

Sadly, 5 people lost their lives in this tornado. Despite all of the advanced weather precautions we now receive, we still can’t prevent all fatalities from happening. For now, Iris and I are glad that one of these twisters has not visited our GPS coordinates. My father grew up in our same area and told me that the entire time he grew up here, a tornado never came directly through this area. Close, but not directly. Hopefully we will continue to be this fortunate. If not, we’ll be back in our tub in the room with no windows. However, if it’s our time, then so it goes. For now we’re thankful for another sunny day.

Posted in 2010 May | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

A Sad Morning

Accidents Happen

It was inevitable that this would happen. At 7:45am this morning driving Iris to work, the rear driver’s side tire of my SUV flattened a squirrel.

It wasn’t the first living creature I’ve hit with a vehicle, but the first squirrel. As far as I am aware of this makes my third hit. Previously I hit a bird that attempted to fly across my path at windshield level. I would like to believe that due to the angle of the windshield, he was perhaps not killed but just shot back into the air, quickly recovering and flying on his way. I’ll never know for sure. A small bunny jagged in front of my vehicle and met the same fate as the squirrel. A quick glance in my rear view mirror confirmed that he had hopped his last hipitty. My total number of kills now stands at three.

I’ve always loved animals. I was never one of the kids that were cruel to them. The apartment complex that I grew up in as a kid had tons of squirrels. In fact, they were integrated. We had both gray squirrels and black ones. They were so used to tenants feeding them that I question whether they could even have made it on their own. But it’s different in Oklahoma. For one, we only have gray squirrels. They fend for themselves with rare donations from humans. They diligently seek for food and stash reserves away for the winter. Not that Oklahoma has much of a winter to speak of.

Twenty-five years ago, when I first moved to Oklahoma, I bought myself a long barrel, .22 caliber pistol. It was my first firearm. Nobody in New York City (except the criminals) owns guns. You have to have a permit, and a viable cause, and a previously angelic life, and a police report verifying that you have been a victim of a violent crime in the past, to even apply for one. If you meet all of the criteria, you may be able to get one. Maybe.

My father retired in New York City and moved back to his home town in southeastern Oklahoma in 1977. Still owning 40 acres of land in the country that had been our family’s since it was Indian Territory, my father and I went out to roam around on it. I brought my .22 along, guessing that there would be bottles and cans around to take shots at, without people around to endanger. At one point on a whim, I took a shot at a crow high up in a tree, but missed. Immediately after pulling the trigger, the question flew through my head, “why in the world would you take a shot at and possibly kill a harmless bird for no reason?” I didn’t have an answer. I don’t know what made me do it, but I instantly felt guilty for doing it.

That was the last shot I ever took at a living creature. Needless to say I’m not a hunter. I don’t like the thought of killing another living creature for game, for food, or for any reason. But today’s story isn’t about intentionally killing any thing or any one. Today’s story is simply about a squirrel, that having run underneath my vehicle between the front and rear wheels, made his last gamble and lost.

It started me thinking… what must it be like for our men and women of the armed forces who have had to kill people in the name of service to our country? I think that killing in defense is about as much as my psyche would let me handle without taking too much of a toll. Even harder to ponder, how do people who intentionally kill innocent men, women and children live with themselves? How can they then return to “life as usual” and stroll around in society?

I’m sure that there are those from hunting or military backgrounds that  look at me as a wuss for my sentiments. That’s okay. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. If anyone was hurting my son, daughter or wife with what looked like might be deadly force, I wouldn’t hesitate to use 20 times the amount of force to stop them. Even deadly force. I no longer own a gun to make it easy, but that’s another of my choices, for other reasons. But I wouldn’t stop at using any amount of force necessary to defend my loved ones.

But today I hit a squirrel. Much different circumstances than the ones I just described, but still painful. I’m thankful I’ve never hit a person, or even a dog or cat. I’ll always remember today’s squirrel, the distinct “thud” that marked his demise, as well as the bird and the rabbit of years gone by. Each happy squirrel running, jumping and playing in the park will remind me of the one today that didn’t quite make it. That’s life. Sorry, little fella.

Posted in 2010 May | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

A Photoshop Picture Enhancement

A Nice Photo Made Even a Bit Nicer

Here’s a quick look at how you can make a nice picture look even better. This artistic shot was made with a Canon point-and-shoot camera using “macro mode.” It’s a nice pic. However, see the subtle differences in the second one? The yummy food is sharper, the background is not as intense, the saturation of the color in the background is calmed down a bit, and the richness of the food enhanced? All easy modifications done through Photoshop. (No, I don’t work for Adobe.) This shot was hard to improve on, but I think the tweaks help.


Original Image

And Photoshop Tweaked:

Image Photoshop Tweeked

These were put up for a friend as an example. See Lesley’s great foodie blog at The Mija Chronicles.

However, beware of a crummy practice of Adobe: They allow you to have their software on a desktop and a laptop, but NOT cross-platform. In other words, the only way you can have it on your PC desktop and Mac laptop is to buy TWO versions of the same program. With Photoshop costing hundreds of dollars, who wants to do that? Another great option is to buy Adobe’s Photoshop Elements, a somewhat trimmed down version that offers 95% of what you can do in Photoshop, without spending hundreds. (Street price is around $60 – $79.) Easily found using Google. Photoshop Elements even offers some features that are not yet in Photoshop. There are free tutorials by the hundreds and thousands on Photoshop, so you’ll never be without something new you can learn.

Posted in 2010 March | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

February 2010: What’s new.

Still Job Hunting. Finally, a few more interviews.

February is almost over. I’m still hot on the trail of employment. I’m now doing my online job hunting at our local library. I actually have a “room with a view.” I’m sitting at a desk with my trusty Macbook, conveniently next to an electrical outlet, and directly facing floor-to-ceiling windows. The street may not be much to look at, but I can see the wind blowing through the trees, and the clouds passing by. It’s more of a view than my office job ever had. Seeing an occasional passerby also reminds me that I’m not the only one left in civilization, as staying at home and researching job opportunities often makes me feel.

My wife works just around the corner and today we had lunch together at one of our local eateries, Sundays Heartland Cafe. It’s a great little family restaurant that’s only open for breakfast and lunch. Full floor-to-ceiling windows on the storefront make it a nice sunny place to enjoy a quick meal. They’ve had such success that they just leased the space next door and tripled their seating area. The owner told me today that even with the expansion they’ve been full for lunch every day this week. I hope they have continued success. They’re very reasonably priced, personable, clean and fast. Not to mention they’ve got a good variety of tasty meals and daily specials. Get there early enough and you’ll get a free piece of cake with lunch. Not much help with a diet, but it’s tasty. (No, I don’t work for them, I just like good food.)

A restaurant mini-review may not have anything to do with job hunting, but if you live in the Durant, Oklahoma area and are reading this, at least you found another place to drop in for a bite. I’ve already posted a link at the top of the page about my job hunting adventures, so I won’t repeat them. Maybe this will be my month. Okay… back to my quest.

Posted in 2010 February | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

A New York Times Article on End of Life Considerations

Quoted here in its entirety, this article has special meaning to me. Having had a couple of heart attacks when he was younger than me (53), my father lived in pretty good health until he was 82. However, at 82 he had a stroke which started his rapid decline. After our local hospital said there wasn’t much they could do for him and sent him home, we took him the following day to a rehab hospital in Dallas. He never came home from there. Due to a bleeding ulcer which they could not locate, transfusion after transfusion, being fed intravenously for weeks (he couldn’t swallow easily), and other complications, he finally died.

My father did not die peacefully. For whatever reason, my father was not even allowed to drink water. When he would say “water, water…” over and over in a low whisper, all we could do was wet his lips with a moist Q-Tip or ice cube. Drinking water, if he could have swallowed, would have worsened his condition. Could it really worsen? He was already dying. It was time, but I wasn’t convinced of that yet, still holding on to hope and the weak encouragements of the doctors. My father eventually found the strength to yank all of the tubes, IV’s and monitors off of himself and he died shortly after. He managed to assert his belief that his time had come, even when no one else wanted to accept it.

I now have a living health care directive, and hope that it will be honored in the end if I wind up in a similar helpless condition, unable to communicate or make my wishes known. The following article is offered in hopes that it will help you consider your wishes for your inevitable end, to encourage you to prepare your last wishes. With your desires on paper, your family members or caregivers will have an easier time following your last wishes, knowing that by doing so they have done all that they could for you. Comments and your stories are welcome.

An Ill Father, a Life-or-Death Decision

Published: January 25, 2010 Correction Appended

We have been through the drill so many times that when the nursing home calls to tell me the ambulance just left, I do not even bother to phone my siblings, who live in other states. I leave a note on the kitchen counter for my teenage children, grab the small bag I’ve already packed for these occasions and speed to the hospital on quiet streets.

In the E.R., I greet my father with a kiss. He is propped in a sitting position on the gurney, struggling to breathe. His eyes are closed and he does not respond to my voice or presence, but I take his hand in mine as I position myself opposite the medical team. I answer their questions in the clipped shorthand I know they prefer, eliminating pronouns and adjectives.

“Sixty-nine years old.”

“Bipolar alcoholic.”

“Yes, two open-heart surgeries.”

“No, can’t speak much since his last stroke, but his mind is fine.”

The doctor does not cut me off, so I add: “His liver is also shot, but that’s not because of the drinking only. It’s because he really tried to beat the bipolar illness and faithfully took his lithium.”

The doctor explains what I already know: my father’s heart is weak, his kidneys are failing and his lungs are filling with fluid. For the second time in six months, he needs to have a tube inserted in his windpipe.

I nod, waiting for him to continue listing procedures and tests. Instead, he takes a small step back from the gurney and asks, “Does your father have a living will?”

I freeze. No emergency room doctor has asked me this before. I answer, evenly, yes. “Do you have durable power of attorney?” Yes.

Visibly relieved, he looks me in the eye and gently but pointedly asks: “Does your father want us to employ extreme measures” — he pauses one heartbeat for emphasis — “knowing that he is not likely to improve?”

The two nurses flanking the doctor look at me kindly.

I smother my rising panic. I must stay calm. I need to think. The doctor has given us an opening, a chance to consider our options.

I know what I want: I want to stop the insane cycle of hospitalizations and heroic life-saving treatments. It is not helping my father. He is getting sicker. He is dying. And I am exhausted beyond belief. I have no energy for family or friends, and my career has suffered. I want my life back.

I am acutely tempted to answer, “Of course not — my father would not want heroic measures.” But I hesitate because I know it might not be true. In the past, he has wanted everything possible done. This night is different, but I do not know if his answer would be different.

I look at my father. It is hard to tell if he is conscious. No one else is looking at my father. Everyone is watching me closely.

Finally, I say out loud the only thing I know to be true. “In the past, my father has asked that everything possible be done.”

Then I bend over my father and ask him in a clear, strong voice: “Daddy, do you want to be intubated again? Squeeze my hand if you want to be intubated.” I wait, but he does not squeeze. Instead, he surprises us all by nodding his head. He is weak, but the nod is unmistakable.

One nurse grunts and rolls her eyes dramatically. The other mutters, “Oh, brother — here we go again,” and shoves a stainless steel instrument cart closer to the gurney. The doctor, more professional, remains impassive as he suggests I leave the room. “It is difficult to watch this procedure. Most patients struggle and flail, so we will have to use restraints.”

Yes, I know. I kiss my father on the cheek, tell him I will be back soon and head to the waiting room.

What the doctor and nurses do not know, what I hesitate to admit even to myself, is that I almost gave them the answer they wanted: the reasonable one. But I would have been terribly wrong.

My father never really recovered. He could never again breathe without a respirator, he never left the hospital bed, and he eventually needed dialysis and a feeding tube. Six months later he died of heart failure.

I suppose my father’s decision was a mistake. But it was his mistake to make, not mine. My role was to support my father, no matter what, and to tell the truth, no matter how hard.

Alicia von Stamwitz is an editor and writer in St. Louis.

Correction: January 30, 2010
An essay on Tuesday about caring for a terminally ill parent gave an incorrect side effect for lithium, a drug given for bipolar disorder. Lithium was not responsible for the liver damage found in the writer’s father because the drug is filtered and excreted by the kidneys.

Please share your personal stories. Your experiences could benefit others. The “comment” button is at the top of the article in the left hand column.

Posted in 2010 January | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love And The Unceasing Wonder Of Life

I don’t know when I first stumbled upon “This I Believe.” However, today I happened upon this brief essay which I’d like to share with you. Better yet, it’s only 4 minutes and you can listen to it. It’s nice. Perhaps it will hit home with you as it did with me. It’s the belief of two ordinary individuals.

If you want to visit the site, the addy I found this article on is http://thisibelieve.org Their tag line is A public dialogue of belief — one essay at a time.

Love And The Unceasing Wonder Of Life

Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Hale – New York, New York
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, December 4, 2009

The Hales - 1950s - photo courtesy of Judith Shaw

As a New York City couple married for 30 years, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Hale found that their love for each other inspired compassion and understanding for all of their fellow citizens.

Listen to what they have to say. Close your eyes and let them speak to you. Go ahead. Click here to listen to Love and the Unceasing Wonder of Life.

Posted in 2009 December, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’ve had 2 interviews in the last ten days. Things are looking up!

Better yet, one of them was a second interview. Those are always pretty hopeful. I don’t want to jinx myself, so I won’t go into details at this time. Wish me luck.

Posted in 2009 December | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Another insight into the Flu combinations in the Ukraine


image created by Emma Lurie

Okay. A team has clearly quenched the talk of a flu combining with a plague. However, flues can certainly mix with other flues. Say hello to HPIVs, Human Parainfluenza Viruses.

The latest exposé comes from a site I don’t want anything to do with, but the interview is with doctors. Check it out for yourself . If you can read Russian, you can read the original article. Human Parainfluenza Viruses (HPIVs) can be clearly diagnosed, but guess what… though we’re working on it, we don’t have a vaccine for it quite yet. Doctors also know they’re not to try to treat them with antibiotics. That can probe toxic. This according to the CDC. A more general explanation is offered by Google Health.

I really hope some top secret Gov’t agency, of any country, is not trying to stir up a pot of some nasty virus soup. That would be terrible.

I’m still keeping an eye for anything about the plague on the net. HPIVs come in four flavors. There is a lot of information about them on the net. Much more than I have the time to read through. I’ll scan HPIVs from time to time to see if there’s anything new and of interest.

As for now, it’s time to go to the grocery store. It’s time too get ready to make dinner.

Posted in 2009 November | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments