Monday, December 14, 2015

The Cost of Dying

Some of you may know that my dear mother passed away last July.  I wrote about it here - RIP Mom. I received a string of sympathetic comments, many from readers that I've never heard from before, for which I'm very appreciative.

Last Saturday I got an invoice from ProMedica, listing the following items:

Cardiology $1,875.00
Emergency Room $6,068.00
IV Administration $1,009.00
Pharmacy $126.00
Procedure $2,847.00
Radiology $280.00
Respiratory $2,691.00
Treatment Room $2,066.00
Total $16,962.00

Seventeen large to cash in your chips.

Somehow, there's something inherently wrong with a system that charges you seventeen grand and fails to keep you alive.

I, by the way, am doing okay.  Not great, not bad.  Just okay.  Some days are easier than others, and the estate is difficult to pack up and sell.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Happy Repeal Day!

On December 5th, 1933 the infamous 18th Amendment was repealed, ending prohibition and legalizing what most Americans had been doing anyway: Drinking.  It also cut the incomes of famous, upstanding citizens such as Al 'Scarface' Capone, Bugs Moran, Ellsworth Raymond "Bumpy" Johnson, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, Owney Madden, Big Frenchy De Mange, and a host of other upstanding citizens who made their fortunes on illegal liquor (the manufacture, wholesaling, retailing and import of same) and often came to an untimely demise.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Way CCW Ought To Work

When Ohio passed CCW law (many years behind everyone else), they got the application wrong.  Getting licensed to carry a concealed weapon is a good idea, but the practical application of having a license has a glaring error in it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Restaurant Review: Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano
Levis Commons
1320 Levis Commons Blvd.; Perrysburg, OH  43551
Hours: Mon-Thr 11:30 - 9:30Fri-Sat 11:30 - 10:30
Sun 11:30 - 9:00
(419) 872-6100
Biaggis on the Web

Managing Partner: Tavis Hissa
Chef Partner: Justin Nye

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ammo Review - Winchester Train and Defend

About a week ago, I got an email from Anthony Welsch from Lucky Gunner offering me free ammo in exchange for a review.  I wrote about it here: Free Beer!!. The long and short of it is that the ammo arrived in time for the irregular Toledo Talk shoot and social hour.  This is where a group of opinionated, erudite contributors and lurkers to the Toledo Talk message board gather up their guns, ammunition and whiskey, then head down to Shooters of Maumee to put some holes in the backstop.  Some of us even manage to hit the paper, and I'll cover that event in a separate post.  This one is about the review of Winchester Train and Defend .38 - Train versus Winchester Train and Defend .38 - Defend and Winchester Train and Defend 9mm - Train versus Winchester Train and Defend 9mm - Defend. Keep reading for the results.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Free Beer!!!

About a week ago I got some email from Anthony Welsch over at Lucky Gunner, asking me if I'd like some free ammo for evaluation and review.  Naturally I thought the whole thing was a scam of some kind, but you never know...


An urban land mine by any other name will smell as sweet.
- M. Jack

Even have one of those days?  You're raking the leaves in the front yard, minding your own business and maybe wondering why your neighbor's leaves end up in your front yard instead of his, and why the lazy so-and-so doesn't get them raked up to the curb so the city leaf pick-up, funded by your tax money and staffed by union labor that's probably earning around $80 an hour - and your reverie is broken up by that old, familiar smell.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust

The other day as I was on my way to the liquor store choir practice, I felt that nasty old crick in my back come to trouble me like an ex-wife with an ice pick and a sense of humor.  I cursed the world in general and blood sucking ex-wives in particular, then on impulse I decided that since I was in the neighborhood I'd make a quick stop and get an expert to take care of my back pain.  What I found gave rise to a truly artistic stream of invective.

Charity and Junk Mail

Back in June I wrote about Mom, charities and her overdrawn checking account.  You can read about it in: Mom, Money and Charity, but suffice to say that Mom was invariably softhearted and generous to anyone, or any charity, that had a good story and an outstretched hand.  As a result, she ran her checking account into the red.  I spent six bills bailing her out and forbid her to write any more checks to charities.  I tracked twenty-some odd charities, contacted them and told them to go away, but the mail kept right on coming.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Election Results

I found this somewhere on the web, and I'm using it without permission.  It's truly too good not to share.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

You'll Do Better

Today is election day in Ohio, and among other things we're being asked to legalize marijuana, known in the 1950s as the killer weed.  Beware when you're out at a bar somewhere, least the 'friendly stranger' slip a marijuana cigarette into your cocktail and you'll get addicted to 'Mary Jane'.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bike Route Closing

There are a few things in this world that just ain't right, and here's one such.  The Bike Route, a local bicycle shop, is closing.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

R.I.P. Mom

It is my duty to inform everyone that my dear mother passed away last night (7/8/15, Wednesday) around 11:00 PM.

I left the house around 8:00 to return some videos and make another stop or two.  When I got back around 8:45 I discovered that Mom was sitting in her recliner (where I left her), but she had vomited over everything as was semi-conscious.  She told me she'd had a heart attack. I called 9-1-1 and the EMS team arrived promptly.  They worked on Mom for a while, started an IV and such, then loaded Mom onto a stretcher and took her to Flower Hospital ER.  Mom's heart stopped at the ER, and the Dr. at the ER (Dr. Wilson) managed to revive her.  This happened several times, then the doctor explained to me that the medication was keeping her heart beating, but each time it wore off her heart stopped.  The kindest thing to do was to stop medicating her.

So that's what happened.

Main Lady was with me, and we said good-bye to Mom.  I told Mom not to worry about me, that the Lord was looking after me and I'd be alright, and we'd see each other again in heaven.

I have a few phone calls to make today, but I'll be checking my email and blog as time and energy permit.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Vigilantes at ToledoTalk?

I don't spend much time on FaceBook, but today I was bored and so spent a few minutes browsing around. I was surprised at what I found.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mom, Money and Charity

Last Tuesday I was minding my own business and about to freshen my morning bourbon glass, when I found Mom on the phone arguing with The Bank.  Wondering aloud what was up with this deal, Mom told me she was trying to find out the balance on her checking account.  I told her I could help with that, and proceeded to go online, logged in to The Bank and displayed Mom's account.

My very own dear old mother is in the red.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Silver Lining

During my bout with cancer my weight went from 305 to 220, where it tends to fluctuate between 215 and 220.

So I'm going through my closet and separating my pants out by size.  This means I have to try every pair on and decide if they go into the way too big pile, the a little bit large but they'll do pile, or the these fit pile.  I planned to have a too small pile, but I can't find anything to put in it.

I know things have changed when I found a pair of pants that I knew were too small for me, and they fit.  Not snugly, not suck-in-your-gut fit.  They just fit.  That's a silver lining.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

PET/CT Scan Update

On Monday, May 4th, 2015 I had another PET/CT scan for multiple reasons.  One, my radiation therapy doctor wanted to see how I was doing, because if the cancer came back, now was the time to do something about it.  I got the results on May 11th, and with one tiny exception I'm free of cancer.  The exception is the salivary gland on the right side, which shows an abnormality.  The sawbones thinks this is due to being bombarded with more radiation in 7 weeks than most folks see in a lifetime, and so is not worried.  So neither am I.

I'm still recovering from the treatment.  My sense of taste is about 75% normal.  Beef, for instance, doesn't taste good to me.  Ice cream doesn't taste like much of anything, and I can't taste the hot fudge on a sundae at all.  I suffer from a lack of saliva (dry mouth), so bread or bread like products are inedible for me.  This includes crackers, cookies, cake, pie or anything remotely similar.  I couldn't choke down a saltine cracker to save my life, and pills are extremely difficult to swallow - although I've learned that taking pills with milk makes it easier.

I'm cold most of the time; it's hard to stay warm, even at 70 degrees.  I suffer a nagging backache and general muscle aches that occasionally make me reach for the pain meds.  And that's all the bad news.

The good news is that I can go out dancing with Main Lady, I can do housework and general housekeeping chores.  I have a circle of friends that are glad I'm on the sunny side of the lawn, and I'm able to use my experience to give other people a little encouragement.

And that's the latest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Yesterday (May 4th) was Star Wars Day.  May the fourth be with you.

Man oh man, is that bad.  Today is a little better, and as the day grows older I'm predicting it will be a lot better.  Today is May 5th, you see.

May the fifth be with you.

Happy daze!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Local Bird Cage Liner Does It Again

Our local scandal sheet is the Toledo Blade, a newspaper who's flair for creative journalism occasionally reminds me of News of the World. This is one such occasion.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Spring has sprung.  The current temperature is 30°, and the weather nit-wit predicts a high of 54° and a low of 42°.  This is not the new normal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Book Announcement: Aviatrix: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest

You know what really pisses me right off?  Sexual harassment.  When I started teaching ballroom dancing back in 1973, I was sexually harassed by the gay guys that worked in the studio.  I was 21 at the time; what did I know about gay men and harassment?  Nothing.

Getting right to the point here, a lady I know has just released a new book on Amazon that's worth reading.  Aviatrix: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest by Mary Shipko is an autobiography about her career as a commercial pilot, overcoming discrimination and dealing with sexual harassment in the airline business back in the bad old days.  This one is a good read.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 17

This may be the end of it.  I had a PET/CT scan along with a flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy (they shove a narrow tube up your honker to look at your throat) which concluded that:
  • The tongue is clean.  No cancer on the tongue.
  • The lymph node on the right side of my neck may be cancerous.
  • There is a shadow of some kind on one lung, which the doctor says is nothing to worry about.
So it's off to get a biopsy of the lymph node, then wait around for two days for the results.  Today the results came in.


So I am now officially cancer free.

Now all I have to do is wait for the deleterious effects of the radiation and chemotherapy to wear off, and I'll be back at my usual bar stool.

Thanks to all of you for helping me through this.  When I was at my worst, I'd re-read your comments and my spirits were lifted.  That helped.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 16

Here's the latest health news for those of you bored enough to read it.

I had a Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scan last week, and the results are in.  Back in June of 2013 cancerous lesions were discovered on the base of my tongue.  These cancerous lesions have vanished and the tongue is completely clean.  The lymph node on the right side of my neck is still questionable; it may or may not be full of cancer, so I'm having a biopsy done on the 21st at the uncivilized hour of 7:30 AM.  The biopsy involves the CT machine, needles and drugs that make getting dressed up in an angle robe, tying a bedpan to your head and riding around on a gurney playing an imaginary game of polo seem completely normal.  I suppose this is not the worst experience possible, but given a choice I think I'm a little old for polo.

If the lymph node is cancerous, then it's off to surgery to have the fiendish thing removed.  With a knife.  I'm told this operation is not a walk in the park, but compared to many of the other things the surgeon does, it's pretty simple.  I'll be in the hospital 2-3 days.

Then there's the lung.  The PET/CT scan revealed a dark shadow at the bottom of my left lung.  I'm told that this may be nothing at all, or it may be a train wreck with attendant haz-mat spill, or something in between.  No one can tell exactly what it is without use of a knife on yours truly, which I'm trying to avoid.  The future is very uncertain here, and there is a likelihood that whatever it is might just go away on its own.

The good news is that ever since I had my gastrostomy tube (g-tube, used for feeding nutrients directly into the stomach) removed, the chronic nausea has vanished.  Not being sick to my stomach all the time has made it easier to eat, so my weight has stabilized around 221, down from my original 305.  My doctor says he wants the weight to remain stable for four to six weeks, then I can redouble the efforts for weight loss again.

Another problem is that I can't sleep nights.  I stare at the ceiling, toss and turn, drop off for maybe an hour before I wake up again, usually at 3:00 AM.  Nice, huh?  So it's off to my primary care physician I go, where I'm given a prescription for Ativan and instructed to get a blood test on my way out.  You see, back in June I was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, probably brought on by obesity.  I got the news this morning that I no longer have type 2 diabetes (or any other type), most likely due to weight loss.  So I'm happy about that.

My last problem involves my gall bladder, which is malfunctioning.  The surgeon who discovered the problem wants to operate, but since I'm not feeling any ill effects from the busted gall bladder I nixed the surgery.  My radiologist agrees with this - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  So the gall bladder can stay like it is and I'll be fine with that.

And that's it.