Programming my remote raises more questions than answers

Really. Should I use such a serious headline to introduce my internal psychobabble?

Here it is Black Friday. I am sitting at my computer, having just programmed my remote control. Now, if we put those two statements together one might surmise I have bought a new TV set or something else which operates with a remote control. But one might be wrong in their supposition.

The truth is that the TV remote controls works fine. That is, it works fine unless I press a wrong button. Whatever the button I pushed may have made my remote temporarily inoperable. When I say “temporarily inoperable,” I mean that I hope that that is the case. This has happened on more than one instance.

I have to always refer to the manual for the type of remote that I  have in order to reprogram it. It was hard enough to find the manual so I have the URL stored in my bookmarks. I suppose it might seem to others that if I had to do these type of technical gymnastics very often — which it seems I do — then reprogramming the control should be a snap. Yeah, it does seem like that.

Some may say: “Big deal! Go out and buy another remote.”

Right. Why not just buy another television? Why not buy one of those big honking suckers that is half as wide as your double wide and enables you to see a football game in such detail that you can see the bugs in the grass having sex?

Well, until this remote, or this TV, or both, decide to give up the ghost then I believe there is no reason to spend money on something that only causes a modicum of irritation. So does that mean peace of mind has a price tag affixed to it?

Uh, why are you, I mean, me, asking me all these questions?

I don’t know. I have better things to do. And yes peace of mind sometimes come with a price. I  likewise don’t know whether it is better to watch the television. I am watching the news after all. But since some of my time today was spent reprogramming my damned television remote, then does it not seem that I should at least spend some time using that instrument?

Questions, questions. I have no answers. If I watch more TV I may not find any answers. I probably won’t find answers. So what is the result of this exercise?

Well, it’s making my head hurt. Maybe I should go out and buy a new TV and remote. No, I don’t think so. Maybe I should have my head examined. But I did that earlier this week. I think I will watch some TV after all. Another couple of hours shot to hell!


Siri, I think I love you! No, but here is a Web page on love

Writer’s steal. That is the sad truth, but it is the truth. If that was not the case you wouldn’t hear all those bad leads — ledes to the newspaper geeks.

The Houston Chronicle had a story yesterday that waxed eloquently on how Apple’s Virtual librarian can get a bit snarky. Ask a stupid, get a stupid answer.

Yesterday, I asked her, it, — damn it, it’s not a “she” it’s a person, it’s  a recording, it’s two, smack, two, smack — something or the other. I know that talking, rather, carrying on conversations with your virtual assistant sort of shows how bad my personal life has become. What the hay. Getting on with my story, as I am in years, I told Siri “Never mind.” She retorted: “Yes it does.”

Apple’s Siri is quite the phenomenon. Stories abound here and there about ridiculous or funny things to say to Siri. So here are a few I have decided to ask Siri while I am waiting for dinner.

1. On Cosby: “It’s nice of you to ask but it really doesn’t matter what I think.”

2. On singing like the Bangles: “You wouldn’t like it.”

3. Does she eat meat? “I wouldn’t speak that way to you.”

4. Does she like short questions: “I really have no opinion.”

5. How far it is from where we are sitting to Pluto. “Here is information on Pluto.”

“Siri not available.” A sign on my computer screen informs me.

WTF? Did she have to take a break. Were my questions of those of others giving her a breakdown. Does Siri pee? Does she have sex? Ewww. Even for someone almost 60 that kind of question weirds me out.

One wonders what it would take to truly give Siri a mental break? Well, I’m not going to try. Siri is like a woman who is from a foreign country working in the U.S. as a reference librarian. She has some hits and misses. She stumbles on language on occasion. But she’s mine. All mine!

And the millions of others. That Siri is quite a dame!


Twice with “The Interview” and still no funnier

And in the end, after all the hubbub and a threats and serious talk of cyber-terrorism —  not to mention dipshit’s such as CNN’s Jake Tapper who postulated the United States lost the first cyber war — there was a movie. That movie had little going for it albeit some R-rated humor that made for some big laughs with an ending that might (no promises) have sufficed had I not already known the ending. Oh well, the movie was billed as comedy. The world went topsy-turvey for awhile aided by an electronic news media that seemed to evoke for some the second coming of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Along that backdrop did I watch “The Interview” twice. I watched on my laptop after its simultaneous release online and in “fearless” movie theaters across the US of A.

I couldn’t really complain about the price. The movie had several online outlets. The one I used,, streamed the movie at the low, low, price of $5.99  and could be watched for 48 hours. Thus, I came back and watched it again a short time ago. Not much really changed during the second viewing.

Only if someone occasionally finds low brow humor really funny can enough parts of the film remain salvageable. (Rob Lowe ‘removes’ his hair, exposing several strands extending from front to back. This leads a control room lady to exclaim: “It looks like someone’s taint!” The James Franco character finds a double entendre which only he sees the hilarity until discovered by the North Korean leader. “They hate us ’cause they ain’t us” This comes out of course as “They hate us ’cause they anus.”)

One also wonders whether the movie’s production folks were channeling Ed Wood, what with several noticeable inconsistencies — Franco and Seth Rogan whispering because of possible bugs in the Kim palace guest rooms then inexplicably talking out loud. As LA Times critic Betsy Sharkey writes: “This is, to put it bluntly, not a good film.”

As discussing with my friend across the Pacific, Paul, yesterday, it almost seemed as if watching this film somehow became an act of patriotism. Other friends sees the run up to the movie with the warnings of 9/11 style attacks as well as the puzzling water cooler gossip — the Sony email which calls Angelina Jolie “a minimally talented spoiled brat” — some kind of bizarre way to pack theaters.

The supposed hacking of Sony is one of those events which comes along leaving more head scratching than answers. To paraphrase an earlier phrase about Angelina Jolie, “The Interview” was a minimally funny comedy.

But it certainly got talked about.


It’s the same ol’ same ol’

Computer problems have raised their ugly head. I will monitor the laptop for a couple of days and see what happens. I have been intending on doing a factory restore. I just hadn’t backed up my files. I just finished that task. Now when I have a little time, then maybe I can wipe the slate clean. If that doesn’t work. Ugh! Buy yet another machine.


VA-Shinseki thoughts drafted. For now I think about knees and trees.

My thoughts on the resignation of Gen. Eric Shinseki as Department of Veterans Affairs secretary is in draft form and in the cooler. I’ve been sitting here writing for awhile and my knee has begun to bother me as it has more and more during the last couple of days. Hopefully, I will get back to my draft and publish it tomorrow.

I haven’t written a whole lot lately because I’ve gone to physical therapy several times a week around the time I usually write after work. My knee has become more painful in the last week. I was hoping surgery and some therapy would help. Something doesn’t seem right about it so my therapist said he would try to talk to my surgeon. He said it could be that I need a brace that puts less pressure on the part that is giving me trouble.

My normal routine in physical therapy has been to wire me up with a TENS-like electrical stimulus and place a heating pad on top of it. And when I say a heating pad, I mean that mother is HOT. I also have undergone some ultrasound and dry laser therapy as well as numerous leg lifts of several types and a leg lift while lying on my stomach. Usually, I have them ice down my knee for about 10 minutes before leaving. The results I have experienced have been mixed.

Now I am at a point where I wonder how long I will have to wear a brace? Is the problem I had not fixed? Will I need a knee replacement? I have already “wasted” what I consider to be four months since I first injured my knee to surgery and up to now in two weeks of physical therapy. It seems so long ago that I was hiking through the Big Thicket or the Angelina National Forest. I can’t even imagine what is in store in the future. In part, I don’t want to think about it.

If you haven’t read this blog before, then you know it is mostly for me to indulge myself in one of the main past-times I enjoy and which also has been, in the past, a living. At least I can still write. Now if only I can walk out among the pine trees again and listen to the wind whistle its song through the tree tops. That would be about all I could really ask for. That and to not end sentences with prepositions.



What one has to do to breathe these days

Probably an hour of my time was taken this afternoon learning how to use a humidifier on my CPAP machine. For those of you raised by wolves, a CPAP is a continuous positive airway pressure machine used for sleep apnea, which I have. If you want to know about sleep apnea, then I suggest you look for its meaning. Especially so if you snore so loud you wake yourself or others up in the night.

I received a new full face mask for my machine yesterday from the VA since mine has leaked air for awhile. Since the objective is continuous positive airway pressure then it would make sense you don’t want that air to leak. If you have sleep apnea like me, and you have insomnia like me, then a leaky mask is a worthless accessory to your nocturnal breathing. If you don’t know what nocturnal is, get a freaking dictionary. The new mask came with a couple of little manuals. A Velcro snap on a strap that runs across the crown of your head is meant for positioning the air hose over the back of your head, down your forehead and to the mask. I didn’t want that so it took me about another hour, manual included, to figure out how the mask fit on my head.

Last night I had the mask now set to easily pull it over my head and on to my face. I had to do a little adjusting because I wear a bandana around my head that I use for a sleep mask. It has become a habit,the nighttime bandana.

In a very short period of time it seemed as if I was getting more air than usual, plus my mouth and throat were drier than the Texas sand, to paraphrase the great songster Gary P. Nunn. Finally, I had to take the mask off. I just couldn’t keep getting up every hour and getting a drink of water. So, I decided upon finally using the humidifier.

Because  water is poured into the humidifier and failure to properly clean it can get one mold in their machine I had tried to avoid the accessory. The humidifier is about the size of the CPAP machine so the breathing apparatus expands in size by approximately two. It takes up more space, in other words, which I don’t have. I also fly somewhere once or twice a year so I don’t enjoy having one more object for the TSA to examine through security check.

Finally, the machine is hooked up and it seems to be working with the humidifier, so far. The test comes tonight. We shall see if the blogmeister has mastered the operation of a fairly simple CPAP machine in this day and age. How the new generations will learn all the stuff they need to operate in their lifetime, I don’t know. I suspect they’ll have an easier time than this old dog learning new technology. Let them worry about it. Hell, they are more technologically-adroit by the time they reach middle school these days, the kids probably know 10 times as much as I know. So let them have at.



My neglected blog reason revealed. The fault was all Jimmy Leg’s.

Looks like my friend, Paul in Tokyo, did some updating on this Word Press program or whatever it’s called. As far as I know there are no obvious outside changes but there are a number on my side. For instance, there are more than a dozen platforms from which I can embed videos.

I apologize, to myself mostly, for being neglectful of my blog as of late. Part of the excuse is that I now and, have been for some time, on a 32-hour per week work schedule. That isn’t just Monday-Thursday and three days off. My schedule can be seven hours Monday through Wednesday, six hours on Thursday and five hours on Friday. Crazy man. Like way out there, as some former president in the 20th century would say. Yes, I’m talking about George Herbert Walker Rodney Andrew Jackson Gamaliel Harding Bush Sr. Wow, that Warren G. Harding was a character.

I mean, I like Obama although he has certainly disappointed at times. But the real Obama haters out there are almost as bad as all the Gee Dubya Bush haters. And I wasn’t one of the latter, as I have said in the past, I talked to him before he was even running for governor and had no one accompanying him, and I found him to be pleasant enough. I guess where I really got crossways with him was Iraq. I’m beginning to  think Afghanistan as well but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I also shouldn’t have to remind folks but the subject deserves a caveat that I didn’t like the war or wars. But I was for the military men and women.

You may say hating war but liking the warriors isn’t possible. I say it is. Hey, the conservative Christians say it is possible to hate the sin but love the sinner, when speaking of homosexuality. That is a whole bucket of fishing worms where I shall not stick my hand. That may also be a thin analogy. At least I’m writing something.

Oh, and the other reason for my neglect of the blog has been my damned knee. There was a little more to it than a simple meniscus tear. No, it also involved the dreaded Jimmy leg. Nonetheless, I have probably another month of physical therapy and several more weeks of light duty at work. This doesn’t count the number of days I lost since my knee first began to act up in January. By the end of it, when I hopefully am back in acceptable condition, I will have spent 4-to-5 months tied up in one way or the other because of this knee. How ’bout those Jimmy Legs?

Thanks Paul, for updating my system. My fellow J-school friend moves in stealth these days, free from Facebook. I envy him.




Number 2,495 and still going …

Welcome to post no. 2495. Five more and that will be … five more. Will I still be sitting here waiting on surgery or will I be in post-op world for 2,500? We shall see what we shall see. Best I can do.

Daylight Saving Time. Here we are back at Central DST. The days stay light during the summer until almost 8 p.m. I used to like it, a lot. I have not had the opportunity to enjoy it much in more recent years. One thing I have noticed about DST today more so than in past time. Time seems to speed right on by.

That’s about all I have to say about things today. Time has sure sped by. I look up and it’s time for the evening news. Now isn’t that a quaint little thought?




Open your mouth and say “Verizon.” Let your good day turn to crap on a stick.

“Your time is valuable,” says the sickeningly uplifting recording on the phone. I suppose if they were truthful and said, “Your time means nothing to us, go screw yourself,” I would be even more aggravated than I already am.

Verizon Wireless finally sent me a broadband device that works well and from which I have had no problems since it was delivered. I would cross my fingers but my right-hand second and third finger will not cross anymore. I don’t know why. My left fingers work fine. I just happened to notice the other day that my right-hand fingers will no longer cross. Not that I am superstitious, but I do cross my fingers when someone says something that requires some manner of hope. Perhaps the gesture is an act of affirmation. Still, the fact that my right-hand crossing fingers no long cross sort of bums me out. I can understand undergoing signs of aging at age 58. I’ve got plenty of them. Anyone need one? One sign of the aging process coming up!

I sent the wireless device that was replaced about three weeks ago. Verizon has never received it. Let the games begin.

Perhaps Verizon doesn’t realize it yet, or maybe they have, but what they have invented is a “mood depressor.” Hey, anything can make you happy–sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, religion, funny cat videos. People have been raking money in hand-over-foot for years to sell the items that one another seem to believe will make them happy. Of course, money is at the center of the entire kaboodle. What the hell is a kaboodle anyway? A strange land filled with nothing but kaboodles and kits, of course. What kind of kits I have no idea. First aid kits? St. Kitts? Who knows or cares?

But think of it, eventually the buzz you get from a revival or a shot of cocaine or a shot of whiskey or a shot of Rosa Lee will come tumbling down. Watch out, Junior! The Walls of Jericho are falling. Another day is about to be shot to hell. So why wait for your good mood to fall flat as a beer open Wednesday last and was never covered since.

Why not deploy yourself a good ol’ mood depressor? You have to come down from that mountain, Tillie, the sun’s about to set.

Yes, dial *611 and punch 3. Talk to a real person. Yes, speak to a real person at Verizon Wireless and your day will be all shot to hell. You know you want that feeling. Where you going, Hon? Why I’m going to the State of Pissed Off.




Where is my flying car? Why, it’s in the garage behind the boxes of Slinkys.

They’re here! They’re really here! Well, maybe not exactly …

I speak of flying cars. Flying cars, or rather, the thought of flying automobiles have be around us for a long time. During the 50s and 60s, movies and TV shows like the cartoon “The Jetsons” placed the idea in many a young brain that come the turn of the 21st century we would be driving in and out of terrestrial and interstellar traffic. The assembly-line flying car has yet to materialize, even though they have really been around for quite awhile. And while some folks who have their heads way in the clouds and feel the airborne car will be here sooner than later, a technology is already here that could be the predecessor of the modern flying car — a cross between a helicopter and a drone — could be clogging the skies carrying Amazon deliveries by 2015. That is if Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has his way.

Entrepreneur and now owner of The Washington Post Bezos sure got his PR machine on full-throttle and heading way out to the clouds, especially since announcing on “60 Minutes” last night that his drone technology to deliver Amazon products is here. It just needs a bit of tweaking.

One needs only to take their heads out of the clouds for a few minutes to realize what all is involved for a drone to actually show up at one’s doorstep with a load of books, CDs and maybe even a pizza and a six-pack of beer.

It seems like everyone and their dog wants a drone now while everyone else and their cat believes drones are a terrible idea. But what about the flying car? And flying cars everywhere? Well, it seems as if that is being worked on as we speak, and probably by more than one dreamer. It just seems as if the drone will pave the way for flying cars in everyone’s garage. And probably a chicken in every pot just for posterity. I don’t know why to expect either to tell the truth.

But those in the crossed centuries have wondered why the year 2000 came and went without flying cars everywhere. Flying cars have actually existed for awhile now, at least 60 years or more.

I was always amused by the Bob Cummings TV series of the early 60s. The comedy starred the debonair Cummings, who both in the small box and in life was a former World War II pilot. He happened to have driven/flown an honest to Abe flying car, one which known as an Aerocar. This being the late 50s and early 60s, one might have easily guessed, and correctly so, that the airborne car was peculiar looking. Of course, given Cummings’ background his enthusiasm of flight must have been predestined.

Now I have not had time to verify this, at least to my satisfaction, but I will go ahead and repeat the biographical information gleaned from the Wikipedia page for Robert Cummings. The Wiki piece notes that Cummings was taught to fly as a teen by his Godfather, Orville Wright. Yes, that, Orville Wright. Supposedly Cummings also became the first person who the government certified as a flight instructor.

Whether the Bezos octo-drone actually takes flight and delivers stuff remains tot be seen. There does seem as if an awful lot of “tweaking” would be required for such a roll out. Of course, that might just be the spark needed for flying cars. But one has to think about this: These flying cars have been wrapped around inside a time warp and still the objects have not advanced. One has to wonder why that is so.

Think about it, then dust off the old Aerocar and fly over to pick me up. I’ll be the one wearing the parachute.