Health report, from head to toe

Golden Oreos

headtotoeI haven’t done a full-scale health report in a while. Actually, I’ve been impressed how Arthur, for instance, here and here and here, has been quite open about his health challenges. So from head to toe, me.

Head (inside): I briefly saw a shrink online in 2021. Part of it was technological, specifically that I was supposed to use my old phone, and it didn’t work to their office’s technological needs. In any case, I was put off by the process. Then the personal connection with the therapist just didn’t happen. Maybe I’ll try with someone else this year.

Skin: As noted, I have vitiligo. I had been getting an annual full-body skin exam for three years running. The next appointment was scheduled for June 2020, but of course, did not happen. I had one scheduled for January 2022, but then got an appointment at the very end of 2021. Except for my feet (see below), A-OK.

Eyes: my vision is such that I need a good amount of light to see some objects. For instance, if the remote control, which is black, were sitting on the dark brown cabinet in the underlit living room, I’d have a difficult time seeing it. If I were driving, I’d probably not do so at night. I’ll likely have cataract surgery in 2023.

Nose: occasionally runny, but the allergies are mostly under control.

Teeth: Cavity in the lower left part of my mouth. It probably would have been caught earlier if not for COVID.

The heart of the matter

Heart: As I’ve noted, I may have a congenital bicuspid aortic valve. At some point in the next year or two or five, I’ll need surgery. Meanwhile, I’ve taken my blood pressure almost every day for nearly two years. It’s amazingly consistent, for the most part.

Body: Too much of it. I’ve been flirting with diabetes and hit the magic threshold. Now I’m seeing a nutritionist. My levels have clicked back down to pre-diabetes levels, but naturally, I still have to be vigilant.

One very bizarre thing I’ve discovered recently is that, when I’m grocery shopping, my desire for certain snack foods is driven by price. I can walk by those Golden Oreos, which I love, when the package is $5 or more. But when they were on sale for $3 in December, I was sorely tempted, especially since my wife and daughter like them as well. But no. And I actually had my hand on a packet of bakery-quality apple turnovers. A four-pack, two for only $5. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Knee: Specifically, the left knee I tore the meniscus in 1994, and it’s hurt pretty much since. I wore the knee brace back when I played racquetball, and I put it on now when I know I’m going to be walking a distance. If I’m walking on an uneven surface – lawns are particularly treacherous – I use the walking stick someone made for me.


Feet: I was going to say that my feet are my Achilles’ heel but decided against it. Back in Binghamton, when I was 12, a bunch of us walked to see our 6th-grade teacher, Mr. Peca, who lived near the airport, about 10 miles each way. By the return trip, I had ruined the shoes with my pigeon-toedness. I got frostbite in both feet when I was 16.

Wearing hard-soled shoes has been an agony for decades. That’s why I almost always wore sneakers. I made the tactical error of wearing a  pair of shoes, new ones at that, when I was on JEOPARDY in 1998! By the end of the second game, I was pretty miserable. This is why I believe in function over form.

For the last year or more, I have had neuropathy in my feet, especially the left one. For a time, I was so miserable – they felt as though they were burning from the inside – I was literally in tears. Since I’ve been taking Gabapentin, the misery has stopped, but they still as though someone has bound them. I COULD take more medicine, but I am loath to do so.

Only this fall, I got orthotic inserts for my shoes. This required getting better shoes, which I got at an SAS shoe store in the area. GOOD service, BTW. (And not a paid endorsement.)

I tend not to write this stuff often, less out of a sense of privacy and more about not wanting to bore myself, let alone y’all.

Health is a human right

Injustice has a cure

healthI had a spare $15 to spend at the DFTBA store on stuff randomly selected for me. The acronym means Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. I’m familiar with it because I follow the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green (no relation).

Among the merch, besides a Pizza John mug and various pictures and postcards were two magnets that read; “The idea that some lives matter less is the ROOT of all that’s wrong with the world.” – Paul Farmer.

Of course, I needed to know who this guy is. He’s a physician and anthropologist. The statement is “shorthand for the mission statement of Partners In Health (PIH), the organization he helped found three decades ago to advance the belief that health is a human right.

“With a growing team of health care professionals, volunteers, and donors, Farmer is spreading his philosophy of social justice and quality medical care to the most destitute parts of the world.”

The Vlogbrothers are supporting the PIH initiative to A Bold Solution to a Maternal Health Crisis in Sierra Leone, where “1 in 17 women run the risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth.” I had made a contribution to this specific PIH project last year, and will likely do so again in 2021.

There are PIH programs around the world, including the Navajo Nation. PIH “acts on the belief that the best way to guarantee high-quality, dignified care is to rely upon and invest in local health systems.

“What does building a health system look like? It requires–among many things–well-trained staff; proper and ample medications and supplies; health facilities with reliable space, electricity, and running water; and universally shared best practices that ensure patients receive quality care.”


I’m not suggesting that Partners In Health is the only vehicle for addressing health crises, only the one that appealed to me. I would however suggest that, before donating to any cause, check out the Charity Navigator. This link vets 900+ health-related organizations. PIH, BTW, received four stars.

I remember watching television

In the spring of 1962, I had only two TV choices

cbs eyeMark Evanier posted the openings to the 42 different television shows that comprised the spring 1962 prime-time TV schedule for CBS. Of the shows, listed at 23:45 of the video, the only shows I never heard of were Ichabod and Me, Window on Main Street, Oh! Those Bells, Frontier Circus, and Father of the Bride.

I’m not sure I ever watched Hennessey, Checkmate, or all of the anthology dramas. But I surely viewed the others, especially the Saturday night lineup of Perry Mason, The Defenders, Have Gun Will Travel, and Gunsmoke.

He also posted the lineups for NBC for Fall 1962 and ABC for Fall 1961 (both at 24:50). I recognize many, though not most of the NBC shows. Maybe it was that WNBF, the CBS affiliate was on VHF, Channel 12, while WINR was on the UHF range, Channel 40.

But I recognized a LOT of ABC shows, even though Binghamton didn’t have an ABC affiliate until November 1962, when WBJA, Channel 34 came on line. That’s likely because WNBF carried a lot of ABC shows.

Unsurprising, I ran the category  Old TV Theme Songs on a recent JEOPARDY! 

Meanwhile, Ken Levine, who has written for prime time network television, recently noted that some recent network shows, one that had been on for four seasons, had been canceled and he had never heard of them. I’m very much in the same boat.

It’s a different time. Netflix and a bunch of platforms followed by a plus sign, from Disney to Paramount. And even shows that others recommend to me I can’t find the time/inclination to watch. As a result, I’ve seen NONE of the programs nominated for this year’s Emmys that weren’t on broadcast TV.

Just a few

So what I DO watch is heavily influenced by what my daughter views. She got into Station 19, which is a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. These stories are so intertwined that if you were to see one without the other, it might not make as much sense.

It reminds me of when I was collecting comic books, and you didn’t understand what was going on in the Fantastic Four or the Amazing Spider-Man if you didn’t also check out a particular issue of X-Men or The Avengers.

The other thing odd about the 19/Grey’s series is that the storylines were almost a year behind “real-time” this past season. So the narratives in the spring of 2021 took place in the height of COVID and demonstrations right after the murder of George Floyd. Then in the last episode of Grey’s, but not 19, the story fast-forwarded almost a year.

I have a friend who writes, every time I mention television, that I should not watch it. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. It’s bad for your sleep, your health, your brain, your self-esteem, maybe your eyes.

I take my blood pressure daily in the morning, before breakfast. If my wife’s had the TV on, even if it’s off the ten minutes before the reading, my BP is about 15 points higher systolic and about 10 points higher diastolic.

I’m sure watching far less, and the pandemic did not increase my consumption by one iota.


February rambling: Perseverance

Chick Corea

perseveranceShe counted ballots in a pandemic, and he killed two people. Guess who gets treated like a hero?

One county, worlds apart: Bridging the political divide.

Weekly Sift: Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Fixing our Democracy.

Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm.” by the late former secretary of state George Schultz.

Detailed interactive map of the 2020 Election.

How 100 years of Democratic rule have shaped the city of Albany.

How I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs.


Rick Perry and the Hard Libertarian Formulation.

How the Bush family turned off the lights.

El Paso Heeded the Warnings and Avoided a Winter Catastrophe.

Ted Cruz is feckless.

Perseverance needed

Fascist insurgency persists with the merging of QAnon, militia movements, white extremists. They spread new conspiracy Trump will be president again on March 4, so Trump’s D.C. hotel nearly triples its rates.

History Will Find Trump Guilty.

How the Proud Boys Pitch Themselves to People of Color.

Health  and wellness

COVID-19 Is Ravaging Local Newspapers, Making it Easier for Misinformation to Spread.

John Green: I Predicted the Pandemic (over and over and over again).

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship

Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells. Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.

I’m getting good at this grief thing.

Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s

Embrace the nap


How to be a  genius

Bill Mahar gives the Baldy Award to policy wonk Henry Waxman.

17 years ago, Jason West, mayor of New Paltz, NY set the groundwork for the 2011 marriage equality law by presiding over same-sex marriages in his community.

“When in Doubt, Do Something.” Harry Chapin in Recent Media.

Jaquandor reviews the 1994 film What Happened Was… 

After GM poked fun of Norway in Super Bowl ad, Norway painfully hits back.

The Curse of the Buried Treasure

The Hollywood Con Queen Who Scammed Aspiring Stars Out of Hundreds of Thousands.

Missed: He flew to Paris to surprise his girlfriend. She flew to Edinburgh to surprise him

Larry Flynt paid me $1,000 to keep my clothes ON.

She traded her way from a bobby pin to a tiny house in 6 months.


Alex Trebek’s family donates his wardrobe to charity.

Brayden Smith 

The guest host schedule.

Now I Know

Frederick Douglass  Is Not Amused. The Hunger Stones.  When Ziggy  Should Have Zagged. The Little Bit of Sun That Cost a Half-Million Dollars.  In the President’s Dog House.  The Search For Life on Earth.

Black History Month

Black Futures Month

Jacob Lawrence painted Black America for Black people — not the white gaze.

Jim Crow Filibuster

The history of overalls

Caste book supplement.

Lift Every Voice and Sing, A Celebration of African American Music – Sounds of St Olaf.


With God on Our Side – The Neville Brothers.

Who’s Yellen Now? – Dessa.

Marjorie Taylor Greene – Randy Rainbow.

I Won’t Dance -Willie Nelson ft. Diana Krall.

Tribute to Pops and Ella – Leonard Patton with Rebecca Jade.

Sixteen Tons – Geoff Castellucci.

Psychedelic Jazz Guitar – Boogaloo Joe Jones, 1967 album.

Sweet Blindness – The Fifth Dimension and Frank Sinatra.

A video analyzing in extreme detail Lady Gaga’s rendition of the national anthem at the inauguration. (ht/ch)


1344: Cover Stories for Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, and Phil Collins.

1345: Justin Timberlake Cover Story and Delvon Lamarr Interview. 

1346: Cover Stories for Gene Pitney and Feist. 

1347: Stone Roses Cover Story and the 50th Anniversary of Tapestry

Chick Corea

Obit and photo tribute and Remembrance and video link.

A random look at the 2020 blog

Thank Allah for music

while blackSome blogger buddy used to do this look at the previous year. He’d select a post date and a sentence from that post at random.

I’ve found it interesting to see how well, or poorly, it reflected the past year. So, the 2020 blog in one post. Sort of.

January: “Willis was the son of people identified only as Jacob and Charlotte.” This was the first of two posts that week about Raymond Cornelius Cone, who I had just discovered was my biological grandfather. Willis was his father.

February: “Those particular matinees mean three things: cheaper tickets, a lot of older patrons, and best of all, a discussion with the cast after the shows.”This was back in the days when I was going to Thursday matinees at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.

March: “She had to go into work on Monday and Tuesday last week, which I thought was crazy.” An Ask Roger Anything answer about retirement. I was referring to my wife’s school’s COVID methodology.

April: “Yet, and ‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules.” The 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I was pessimistic.

May: “The United States was allegedly staying out of it.” The music of 1940. The “it” was WWII.

June: “In light of the nationwide outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, movies like Just Mercy and I Am Not Your Negro are available to stream.” Juneteenth links.

Caesar months

July: “He believes the continued popularity of white depictions of Jesus is ‘an example of how far in some respects the United States has not moved.'” He being Edward J. Blum.

August: “He often combined the two.” Another Ask Roger Anything answer about why I’m a duck. “He” was the late Raoul Vezina, who combined his love of art and music.

September: “The moderator said a particular bill meant X.” A discussion of the Federalist Paper No. 62 of James Madison and how far we’ve moved from it.

October: “The search committee was afraid that these folks wouldn’t cotton to working with a black person.” This was the job I held for over 26 years but almost did not get.

November: “Freedom for the Stallion – the Oak Ridge Boys.” A link to a song by the legendary Allen Toussaint.

December: “If I were to have major surgery, such as for this situation, one doesn’t want to deal with the complicating factor of this patient having a bad reaction from the antibiotic.” So, I’m NOT allergic to penicillin!

People who do not read this will ask, “What is your blog about?” Other than About Me, I have no retort. So maybe, just maybe, this shows what was reflected in 2020. Music, COVID, race, genealogy, health, politics. I guess that’s about right.