On Thursday morning (2/26), Donna had a total hip replacement. The hip had not been painful but it had been “giving out.” What made matters worse was that the bone-on-bone hip socket was causing “transferred pain” to the knee joint and to the IT (iliotibial) band. The pain was sometimes a 9 out of 10. Seriously. Soooooooooo, the decision was easy.
Donna got a brand new hip in the morning and in the afternoon she was up walking. It was a few steps, but she was walking. Friday she walked with a walker down the hall. Today – Saturday – she got out of the hospital and went to a rehab facility for some intensive physical therapy. Tomorrow she starts the tennis program but it will only be doubles for a while. . . . .
It must give some folks a warm and fuzzy – and safe – feeling when they walk into an office building, shopping mall or store and see the sharp red circle and diaganol line superimposed over the image of a handgun. “Pfew – nobody has a gun here.” And it must give politicians and store owners that sense of I’m gonna make a political statement. And they smile as they adhere their signs to door after door. Some folks even put these signs on their windows at home.
But I have to wonder if those who post – and favor – these signs are fools, stupid or just uneducated. Tell me — what do these signs convey? Are people that dumb to believe that the bad guys will see such a sign and go “oooh oooh – Khalid tell Hasam we better not go in there. . . .” With the increasing, dark drumbeat of threats against America, our citizens and “soft targets” (and the horrific and massive carnage we’ve already witnessed), we actually have people in America who want to make these targets more vulnerable. For my part, I’d prefer to leave the bad guys guessing. And if something bad happens, wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a few brave souls stand up to the bad guys as the masses stampede toward the exits.
I had a birthday this week. Funny how music brings things home.
I remember with clarity listening to John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” The music opens “He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year . . .” At the time I was 26, recently married and I wondered what being 27 would be like. A few years before, the Beatles had released “When I’m 64.” And I thought wow is that old. And now 64 is history. Pretty soon, God willing, it will be Paul Simon’s “how terribly strange to be seventy.”
There’s the classic question posed to Maurice Chevalier on his 80th birthday – “how does it feel to be eighty years old“? To which he replied “sure better than the alternative.” And now he’s long gone.
We are but flickers of light. Our task – if not obligation – is to shine as brightly as possible for family, friends, the underprivileged and our world. And then be remembered. Monsieur Chevalier also said “you don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.” That’s pretty good counsel.
For the last 3-1/2 years, I have been posting 2 or more times daily. Until mid January, it’s been every Wednesday and Sunday – for two years. A combination of “stuff” put posting on hold. I hope to be back on track shortly.
In Pakistan, 145 students (mostly Muslim children) are slaughtered by the Taliban. And the civilized world calls the perpetrators “animals.” In Western Iraq, 322 men, women and children (all Muslim) are massacred by ISIS and dumped into a well. And we call the perpetrators “animals.” In the Syrian town of Abu Hamam, ISIS assassins murder every male over the age of 15. More than 700 victims. And the media calls the perpetrators “animals.” In France – Islamic radicals just murdered 17 And the world decries the “animals” who did this. Thousands killed by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Thousands exterminated by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And let’s no forget 9/11. Mercy – when will this madness stop?
When you read and hear – day after painful and sickening day – of massacres and horror beyond belief perpetrated by Muslim extremists (and their insatiable craving for more blood), one comes to the conclusion that some people really are “animals.” Yet using that term is an insult to a lot of respectable dogs, cats, lions, frogs, turtles, porpoise, jellyfish and pigs. These “people” are worse than “animals.” These “animals” are rabid. And we all know what we do with rabid animals. They are destroyed. I don’t think even the ASPCA or PETA would object. . . .
Last Saturday, Donna asked if I would want to make dinner. I was quick to say “sure.” And I trotted off to Fresh Market to reconnoiter. The result was a 9.5.
I took flounder filets, rolled in gluten-free bread crumbs, basted lightly in olive oil and then baked for 20 minutes at 375. Flounder is a buttery, tasty fish. Hard to go wrong. My vegetable medley was a take off on a prior theme. Fresh shiitaki mushrooms, washed, dried and sliced; a sweet onion – sliced; and some organic carrots – chopped. All was put into a covered skillet, smothered in olive oil and nipped with pepper and turmeric. After about 40 minutes (stirring frequently), I drained and added a wee bit of honey to caramelize. Finally it was my fresh guacamole (avocado, cilantro and lime juice) with gluten-free hummus chips. And a few slices of fresh mango. We enjoyed a Liberty School pinot noir and some San Pelligrino. Dessert was a Talenti Sicilian pistachio gelato to which I added small chunks of 72% dark chocolate.
It didn’t hurt that I hand crafted a menu with my usual art work, put on a little Gato Barbieri, lit a few candles. And I did the dishes.
I know what you’re thinking . . . .”Petersen – you &@^$x#!% – you’re making me look bad.”
You live in a neighborhood where every time you step out the door, a group of thugs grabs you and take your money. They leave you a few bucks but they take much of it. The same thugs dictate where you can go, what you can do, who you can hang out with and how you may spend your life. They are on top of you. Always. Jamming new rules and demands down your throat.
And then someone from the neighborhood says “I moved to a new neighborhood. There are thugs but they’re not so bad.” And so what do you do? What would you do? Move? Hmmm? And so we have “inversions.”
The United States is one of the most heavily-taxed and heavily-regulated countries in the world (if you disagree – try Google). The corporate tax rate is now the highest in the world. And we punish and demonize the shrinking number of businesses and individuals who actually pay taxes (think Pareto’s Principle). We are lurching toward the insidious social system that has wrecked Europe’s economy. So you tell me — what is corporate America supposed to do? American businesses are under siege. Regulatory walls are closing in. Roofs are collapsing. The smart move is to get out of town. So some do. Moving operating headquarters overseas or at least to states which are conducive to business. After all – why stay in a neighborhood that hates you?
There’s a big difference between evading taxes and avoiding taxes. The ignorant say that corporations (and individuals) are evading taxes. That’s a lie. Businesses take advantage of legal exemptions (do you cheat because you take a mortgage deduction?). And they avoid taxes. Legally. If those in Washington were smart, they would revise the punishing tax code and make America competitive with the rest of the world. But that’s expecting way too much. Ideology and politics get in the way. Great.