And Now…Something Sort of Different

A few years ago I had a great idea to change the name of the blog. The Real Reality Show Blog made sense in the beginning as a response to the reality being foisted upon us by cable television so-called reality shows. Come on now, let’s have a show of hands, how many think those housewives are really real. And not to spoil anybody’s surprise, on almost any of those shows where somebody gets surprised, didn’t you ever wonder how the producers managed to get the surprise-ees mic’ed up without them knowing it. So, since the reality of those shows was more than a little in question, the Real Reality Show Blog filled the gap with real stuff, real places, and real people from wherever I really happened to be.

Over time (a lot of time – I started writing this drivel in 2012!) the reality wasn’t any less but it was sometimes augmented with commentary, thoughts, and suppositions. It became more the musings of some old, single, white guy. In fact, the first alternate name I thought of for the blog was just that – Old Single White Guy. Even though it describes me to a T, it really pushes the bounds of political correctness. And then I thought, oh no, I can’t call it that because any time I started following a new blog the blogger would get an e-mail from WordPress stating, “Congratulations! Old Single White Guy just started following you!” and I just don’t have the money to spend on keeping a lawyer on retainer.

It was clear that my first thought was not my best thought. Not surprising considering I recently wrote an entire post about poor first thoughts. And then it hit me! The famous sign from that post, the one I’m looking at while I’m writing this. The one I’ve looked at writing almost every post for the last almost ten years. Don’t Believe Everything You Think. That’s it! I got it and I got it good. Or bad.  Or whichever is good nowadays. That could be “THE” perfect name for this perfectly imperfect nonsense.

Yep, Don’t Believe Everything You Think. But I’ve built a brand. How will people find me? Duh, who the … um, who might be looking for me. I’ve never “advertised.” I’ve never linked from there to here from the various there’s I haunt – cyberly speaking that is. Yet somehow in just the last 4 years people have landed on this site over 20,000 times. If I only had a nickel. [Sigh] Not to worry though. I’m not changing the name of this blog so if you haven’t subscribed but you just know how to get here you can keep getting here however that is. But I am using the name for a new podcast version of this.

You’ve all seen the notices from WordPress, turn your blog into a podcast. Well, it seems easy enough and I want to experiment a little.  If I’ve done this right, you should find a link Don’t Believe Everything You Think on the Anchor platform where you will hear me reading this drivel. And some other stuff. And each time I do this there’ll be more other stuff. Go listen and please come back here and tell me what you think. (This particular drivel you should find right here.)

01a39c24efcfb5bde1debe2de75e473c90853c0da5e44078e88df466a2e22901.0And remember, even though you may not have known it, chances are pretty good that there’s an old, single, white guy following you.

Oh, one more thing. When I set that up over there, or over here if you’re now listening instead of reading, they ask for a category I guess so they can figure out where to pigeonhole you. What could I say about this? There isn’t a category for claptrap. So I called it a personal journal. And that reminded me of something. You’ve heard me speak of my daughter many times. She does many things, including writing. For her though it’s professional. Yeah, she actually makes money writing. She’s written something new that’s not meant to be read but to encourage others writing. I thought of this when I was selecting “personal journal” for my category. She’s written journal prompts, but I think pretty cleverly. She’s developed a card deck of prompts. According to her, “Everyone has a story, but not everyone knows what their story is.” The deck has 52 cards packed in a study box. Go check them out, at Untitled. She doesn’t know I’m telling you this, so if you see her, don’t say anything. Thanks.

Under Pressure

May is an interesting month. It starts out somewhat Spring-like with weather in the “Not Too Warm Days, Not Too Cool Nights” range, newly planted gardens beginning to flower and promising what one hopes will be a bountiful harvest, lawns fresh from their first cut already starting to show the unmistakable lushness from the early application of grass food, and energetic people everywhere waiting for the first long bike ride or counting the days until the outdoor pools will again open. And then it ends with hot dry days and hot humid nights, the sun so high you’ve already gone through a year’s allotment of sunscreen, weeds, weeds, weeds and more weeds where you were sure you have planted zucchini, that grass needs cut again(!), the bike rack is still in pieces in the garage and the pool looks more like a mosh pit from an early 80s Slayer concert! Perhaps this explains why May is also National Blood Pressure Month. With escalations like these your blood pressure has a good chance of escalating also.

But May is also a month filled with days dedicated to practicing self-care, self-restraint and self-satisfaction, and keeping that blood pressure in the “Make Your Doctor Happy” zone. Seriously, can you imagine stressing yourself to the point of elevated blood pressure readings on Dance Like a Chicken Day?

May’s earliest days have already gone and we may have missed National Fitness Day or World Laughter Day, but you don’t need a special day to stretch out those winter bound muscles or snicker at a corny knock knock joke. We might have missed Garden Meditation Day but meditating any day will increase your positivity.

I’ve listed some of May’s contributions to keeping your blood pressure down. You can keep this list handy whenever your day starts mounting more pressure on you than you are comfortable with and remind yourself of the many ways a little physical activity or mental and spiritual awareness might ease some of that pressure and lighten your heart. (Warning: Visit Your Relatives Day might have the opposite effect on some!)

I have my favorites that I’m looking forward to. Please join me in a discovery of how you can celebrate National Blood Pressure Month and add to your health – body and soul!

Navy Blue Oranges Squares Weekly Calendar

Smoking or Non? 2021 Style

There is a new movement afoot in Western Pennsylvania and, because we are not known for groundbreaking thought, probably across the rest of the US, and likely Canada too. But then this is pretty self-serving so maybe not in Canada. This is the pandemic version of the smoking section. You certainly recall the days of being greeted at the hostess stand with the initial query, “Will that be smoking or non-smoking?” (They always put smoking first. I wonder why.)  I often asked for the first available because in most restaurants, particularly the smaller diner types that I was apt to visit, you could section off the smokers, but not the smoke.

Several establishments, notably the concert and sports venues, have asked city, county, and state authorities for permission to ease pandemic related seating limits by permitting non-distance seating areas for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Personally, as a fully vaccinated individual I like the idea of mingling with others who take their health and the health of those sharing space on the planet seriously. Personally, as a card-carrying cynic I am certain three-quarters of the individuals claiming to be fully vaccinated are more full of lies than vaccine. Especially now that news broke on internet sites with templates and instructions for forging COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards.

I already can hear the hue and cry. You’re making us second class citizens! You’re taking away our rights! This is no COVID! Regardless of the incorrectness of those statements, they will be the justification for opposing Vaccinate and Non-Vaccinated seating sections just as they are the uninformed persons justification for not getting the vaccine and not be asked the question at all.

For my other life I have been working on an article about vaccine hesitancy and its less famous cousin vaccine confidence.  While doing research I discovered an alarming fact. When asked if they have plans to be vaccinated, 13% of the people in the US eligible for vaccination responded they had no intention of receiving the vaccine. An additional 7% would consent to the vaccine only if required. That is alarming. It is expected that there would be some hesitancy but basically 20%, one-fifth of the people who could get a vaccine, a free vaccine, are saying no thank you. Still not the really alarming part of the survey. The really alarming part is that of healthcare personnel, 18% said they had no intention of getting the vaccine and an additional 12% answer they had not yet decided. (Kaiser Family Foundation COVID Vaccine Monitor) Think of that the next time you go to the doctor. After being greeted by a receptionist, you will be escorted to the exam room and prepped by a medical assistant, have your vitals measured and history reviewed by a nurse, and then be seen by the doctor. Of those three people caring for your health, one has chosen to not receive the vaccine that will reduce the risk of exposing their patients to the virus that has as of May 1 already killed 576,339 Americans. (New York Times compiled from state health agencies) And we call them heroes. (pfft) (Expressed as a card-carrying member of the health care personnel world with as much venom as I can muster in written form.)

In the United States, even as vaccination rates have slowed, variant cases of COVID-19 are escalating. Earlier in the pandemic the question was raised if vaccination should be mandatory. Opponents argued that the 14th Amendment prohibits mandated vaccinations as an arbitrary legislative action. Supporters cited the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision to allow mandated smallpox vaccinations in part because “liberty for all cannot exist if each individual is allowed to act without regard to the injury that his or her actions might cause others.”

Attempting to argue the legality of mandatory vaccination is out of my league as I am not a constitutional lawyer (although that stops so very few nowadays) and about as satisfying as arguing with a Trumpican about who won the election. Arguing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is a different story and firmly in my wheelhouse. It is. Period. Go get the shot. Just do it. You don’t need any other reason but if you insist, get it because you will be protecting liberty for all.

And if you don’t, don’t be surprised if the next time you stop for dinner and drinks after work you are greeted with, “Welcome to Henny’s! Will that be Vaccinated or Non?”

Not Vaccinated Section

The Shortest Distance

Let me get my geometry on. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You can say the same for geography and sometimes interpersonal relationships. Apparently, the shipping magnates of the world have not heard of this concept. Or perhaps what I am about to recount explains the mysterious handling portion of the “shipping and handling” duo.

Last week I found myself with the last straw, the one to break the camel’s back even, on my formerly trusty, old cell phone. It was once smart, but the years have not been kind to it and it was time to send it to a memory care center for phones that have run out of memory. And touchpad sensitivity, And a willingness to connect to voicemail. So I marched myself right over to the New an Improved Smart Phone Store and Service Center and purchased myself a New and Improved Smart Phone. Actually I purchased myself to right to have a New and Improved Smart Phone shipped to me because they were out of the one I wanted.

“No problem, We ship 2 day [company that sounds like MedTex].” That was Friday.

Wednesday the phone arrived. Had it been a steamer trunk in a 1940s musical it would have had a variety of stickers from all the ports of call it visited. It had a wonderful time, wish I was there!

Had I known where it was being shipped from I would have driven out and picked it up. It was only a six hour drive. That would have been better than the six day “2 day” nationwide tour it was on. Observe:

PhoneMapThat’s roughly an 1800 mile trek to go about 310 miles in a straight line. Or at least as straight as the Pennsylvania Turnpike can manage. (If you’re wondering, the Memphis to Pittsburgh leg of the journey itself was a foot or two less than 770 miles.)

I suppose somebody figured that is the most efficient way to ship cargo. Somebody who studied the right classes in college might have even chosen the economies of scale in bulk shipping for a dissertation subject.

I’ve always had a nagging suspicion that we tend to make things more difficult than they have to be. I’ve often wondered if that is because the more difficult we make it the less attractive it will be for somebody to compete with us. The less competition we have the less we have to improve ourselves and the less we have to improve ourselves the less we will improve ourselves. Why else would a couple pound package, no bigger than a cell phone, ride on six trucks and 2 planes when I know I’ve passed [Company that sounds like MedTex] trucks on the Turnpike, driving freight directly across the state.

I’m sure there is a better way, not just to ship phones but to streamline life and still reap the benefits of new and improved when new and improved comes along. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of opening our eyes and being more aware of what is around us, having a firm idea of where we want to go and how to get there without undue stress on ourselves and others. Think the goal, make the plan, then go out and do it. In as straight a line as you can manage.

I think I’ll take my own advice today and, having already failed at making a long story short, stop here. Bon voyage!

Suitcase

Tell Me a Tale

Finally! Yesterday they finally awarded this year’s Oscars. Sorry, Oscars®. You’ve read me long enough to know I like movies. Old movies. Not so much old as good movies, so yeah, old movies. I don’t particularly care who won yesterday. See me in 24 or 25 years about the 2021 awards. We’ll see then which ones stood the test of time. I’ll tell you right now, it won’t be the ones that told a story. It will be the ones with a story worth telling.

Quite coincidentally this year, tomorrow is National Tell a Story Day. When one thinks of “a story” the first thought is usually a tall tale, perhaps inspirational, perhaps traditional, maybe something fictional with just enough truth in it to keep it interesting. Few stories hit all the notes although through the years you will find one or two each generation that live on through many generations. They are the ones with a story worth telling and telling again.

Today, everyone can tell a story. All you need is a connection to the Internet. Thirty years ago I would have said all you need is a typewriter, a fresh ribbon, a ream of paper, and a willing audience. Twenty years ago I would have said, all you need is a word processor, access to email, and a willing audience. Ten years ago I would have said, all you need is a keyboard and a connection to the Internet. Today you don’t even need a keyboard. A phone, a camera, a screen and access to your favorite social site, and the modern day storyteller has all the tools needed to tell the tale. You will note that the willing audience has dropped from the list of needs. With the internet comes an audience. Willing or not, there are people there. When we accepted losing the typewriter or keyboard as tools of the storyteller, we may also have lost the criterion that a story, a good story, be one worth telling. Another loss in many stories we hear today is the presence of truth.

Of course truth is not necessary for a good story. Any successful novelist knows the truth is incidental to a good story. Any successful novelist also knows nobody expects fiction to be truthful or accurate. That’s pretty much the point of fiction. But just to be on the safe side the successful novelist also…well, go pull your favorite novel off the bookshelf. I’ll wait. {Dah di dum di dah di dum dum dum} Oh good, you’re back. Okay, now turn to the copyright page. There, do you see it? It says something like:

[Name of Book] is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents are the product of the imagination of the author or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any event, company, country, or location is entirely coincidental.”  

Disclaimers have long been used on fictional works, written and filmed. They aren’t on computer, tablet, or phone screens even though it is more likely that fiction will be taken for fact there than on the pages of that book you pulled off the shelf or in the movie theater. The social media storyteller specializes in sharing and forwarding unconfirmed material in the guise of news or pertinent information is as guilty as spreading lies and fabrications as the one who intentionally misleads or deceives, and the one who intentionally misleads or deceives is no more than a common liar who isn’t worth the electricity needed to post a rebuttal. But rebut we must. The charlatans foisting untruths, fact-sounding fallacies, misinterpretations of scholarly works, and ugly harassment must not be allowed to spread misinformation without challenge. If the social network platforms will not police their lines of distribution themselves then the professionals must remain vigilant to the lies circulating, whether about health, policy, government, or safety and security. Those who use the internet for news and information must recall the social networks are entertainment and any “information” gleaned from a social post should be taken with the consideration afforded to the “news” heard over the backyard fence or while standing in line at the supermarket deli counter. Consider any story heard on line as just that, a story, no more factual than Snow White and the Three Big Bad Wolves.

Hopefully your only encounter with storytellers will be with those with a story to tell that is perhaps inspirational, perhaps traditional, or maybe something fictional with just enough truth in it to keep it interesting – and with a story worth telling and worth telling again. No disclaimers necessary but there – just in case.

Once upon a time they lived happily ever after

Discard Unwanted Medications Safely

I have a special post announcement for my fellow American bloggers. Saturday, April 24 is National Take Back Day when you can discard old medication safely, securely, and responsibly.

Having unused, expired, unwanted, and unneeded medication around is an open invitation for bad things to happen. Throwing medications in the trash is unsafe and unsecure, flushing them is unfriendly to the environment, and most states prohibit pharmacies from accepting returned medications. So what do you do with those pills and capsules hanging around medicine cabinets and cupboards.

Twice a year the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Take Back Days with local police departments to provide a safe, responsible means of discarding your unwanted medications. 

To find the location nearest you, go to takebackday.dea.gov. If you miss it, another opportunity will come around in October or you can search on that site for all year authorized medication discard locations. 

TakebackPSA

See, when I’m not waxing philosophic I actually do stuff. Although I left active practice shortly after my first surgery I still keep my hands in pharmacy with a support program for pharmacist and other pharmacy and medical professionals.

Really I should have put this out here earlier this week although sometimes I don’t think to put my two lives together yet this information is pertinent to everybody.

P.S. – If you’re like super interested in me and are looking for new ways to stalk me, please feel free to go see what I do at www.roamcare.org.

Happy Day, Earth!

Like Easter and Christmas, Earth Day is becoming more about the commercial than the cause. A headline in yesterday’s New York Post read, “Celebrate Earth Day with 19 best sales, deals and freebies.” I know, it’s the Post and most of those sales were on “sort of” sustainable products, like, you know. “The Today Show” spotlighted food discounts (because everybody likes a good deal on a good snack) including a brand of “compostable” coffee (there are some that aren’t?) and then there are the ubiquitous reusable tote bags, free with $100+ purchases.

I suppose if there was a World Used Tire Pressure Gauge Day somebody would find a way to work sales on recliners and shower heads into the celebration. Like Earth Day (not to mention Christmas and Easter), the ones who can devise such a sale would splash World Used Tire Pressure Gauge Day prominently throughout the ad but likely won’t address why we’re celebrating used tire pressure gauges.

EarthDayPinMany posters, PSAs, and other communications will remind us that we have only one earth, we should take care of it. And we are getting better. In 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, there were actually two Earth Days. The first was celebrated on March 21 suggested by newspaper publisher and environmentalist John McConnell to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mr. McConnell became involved with environmental activities when he began manufacturing plastic and realized how much plastic was being discarded. He presented his vision of a worldwide holiday “to celebrate Earth’s life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends,” at the 1969 UNESCO conference in San Francisco. His vision saw the holiday celebrated on the Vernal Equinox (the first day of Spring) symbolic of an equilibrium between man and the planet. Earth Day was first celebrated on March 20, 1970 by proclamation of the city of San Francisco. The following year UN Secretary General U Thant issued a proclamation declaring Earth Day thence to be celebrated on the Vernal Equinox.

While that was going on, US Senator Gaylord Nelson was trying to get national attention on the lack of controls on environment damaging activities. In September 1969, seizing the energy of youth, he assembled a team of campus activists to rally around environmental related events culminating with a “teach in” to be held April 22, 1970 (a date selected because it was late enough on most college calendars that it was after spring breaks but early enough that is was before spring finals). The idea was to hold an event so large it would force environmental issues onto the national agenda. On April 22, twenty million Americans demonstrated in various cities across the country. This became the impetus for President Richard Nixon to then establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by executive order that December.

HeartIsland1Clean air, clean water, and clean land deserve to be celebrated but not just one day a year. A few miles from my front door there is a county park with a hiking trail labelled on maps as the Rachel Carson Trail. Rachel Carson probably is known best for her 1962 book Silent Spring which questioned the “better living through chemicals” attitude of the time and warned of the dangers from the misuse of chemical pesticides. Many cite her book as the stepping off point for the environmental movement. But Ms. Carson was not an angry activist. She was a noted marine biologist and wrote three earlier books on sea life and marine activity, winning the 1952 National Book Award for nonfiction for The Sea Around Us. In 1935 after graduating from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) in 1929 and receiving a Master degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932, Ms. Carson was hired as a junior aquatic biologist at the US Bureau of Fisheries (which would later be reorganized as part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service) to write radio programs on marine life. She stayed with service, advancing steadily until she resigned in 1951 to write full time. Despite undergoing multiple operations from 1950 to 1960 for breast cancer, Ms. Carson continue to write and lecture until her death in 1964.

Rachel Carson’s last book, The Sense of Wonder, published in 1965 encourages adults to nurture children’s sense of wonder about nature. It is that wonder I return to when I step off the trail at its terminus facing a wonderful tree rimmed lake in the park. I wrote, “there is a county park with a hiking trail labelled on maps as the Rachel Carson Trail,” and that is true but misleading. The trail is only partly in that park, not even 3 miles of it. That’s the trail where I will wander. The entire trail is nearly 46 miles long and connects two county parks, running through and near several other parks. About 9 miles of the trail at various points follows roads. The rest of it goes where nature leads. There are no shelters, no campgrounds, and often the trail where crossing a stream literally crosses the stream, no bridge included. It’s quite primitive. And quite beautiful.

That is the sort of place one should go to celebrate Earth Day. Maybe you can visit sometime on one of the other 364 days this year. Today celebrate with a cup of compostable coffee and a renewed tire pressure gauge. After all, what says “Happy Day, Earth!” better than a good cup of coffee and a tote bag.

20201015_172059

Beware the Raptor! (And the Garlic)

Happy National Garlic Day. The National sort of suggests USA origins but if you call one of the other countries that populate our planet home, feel free to celebrate the stinking rose along with us.

I’m not sure why somebody picked the middle of April to celebrate garlic. Apparently neither do the organizers of the many garlic themed festivals, picking instead mid-summer for the every July Gilroy Garlic festival in Gilroy California where 140% of the world’s garlic crop is grown and smells like it, or mid-winter for the every February Delray Beach Garlic Fest in Delray Beach Florida where little garlic is grown outside of backyard gardens and it smells sort of like Florida.

While the uncertainty of when to celebrate garlic may lead to some organizational questions, at least garlic is something real. You can see it, taste it and smell it (sometimes far longer than you expected), and it is a part of modern life. Unlike, say, the velociraptor.

Yesterday was National Velociraptor Awareness Day. Again, there’s that “National” designation suggesting not all Americans are consumed with political-oriented lunacy and can go out on limbs of their own making. I guess anybody can celebrate anything, but do we really need to be “aware” of an animal that hasn’t taken a breath for roughly 70,000,000 years? (Spelled out that would be seventy million years.) If one felt the prehistoric bird has been slighted in film and fiction, maybe a Velociraptor Appreciation Day is called for. But awareness? I don’t think I need to be as aware of what a velociraptor might do to me or my environs as perhaps I should be of a cavalier attitude to continuing masking and social distancing. Now that’s something to be aware of. But I digress.

If you have an inordinate amount of free time (like I clearly do), you can search National Velociraptor Day and find no end of information about the apparently feathery dinosaur including its average height, weight, wingspan, stance, fight speed, running speed, habitat, and diet. There is a huge number of “facts” about this thing that disappeared over 69.5 million years before man showed up. But then the world is also gaga over the paleodiet and I don’t think anybody was writing cookbooks back then and that was a lot more recently than velociraptors flew over the earth. (Personally, given that the world was so waterlogged then, I think the typical paleodiet was likely lizards, snails, and little amphibians (perhaps as something akin to frog legs) and more likely resembled a high end (aka snooty) French restaurant.) But boy do I digress.

Although none of the National Velociraptor Awareness Day sites mention how its predator enjoyed this early bird at mealtime, there are several that note the velociraptor du jour did not resemble the flying dinosaur depicted in most movies featuring return to life prehistoric creatures, instead they more likely looked like big chickens. So go out on your own limb and celebrate both National Velociraptor Day (a day late) and National Garlic Day (right on time) with a robust chicken dinner smothered in garlic, perhaps the famous Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic recipe. Stick that in your search engine and you’ll come up with about 2-1/4 million results which is only about 250,000 less than if you searched for velociraptors. Sigh.

Untitled

Be A Hero

April is half over! In closer to normal years, people throughout the United States would be rushing to get to a post office to have their tax returns postmarked before midnight. It’s not a normal year. For the second April 15 in a row, it’s not been a normal year. For some.

Then there are some 107,000 people who would like today to turn extraordinary before midnight. Those are the people waiting for a transplant. Wait. Make that 107,001. About every 9 minutes another person is added to the list, another person moves another step away from normal. By the end of tonight 17 people will move off the list but not because they got their transplant.

DLAIf the numbers don’t get you – 107,000 waiting for transplant, a new person added every 9 minutes, 17 people dead each day because they did not get their transplant – how about this? April is half over. April is National Donate Life Month. There’s a Presidential proclamation and everything even. How many times did Donate Life Month headline a news report this month? How many people took to the streets to protest the needless loss of life of seventeen people yesterday, and the day before, and before that and before that and the one before that too?  How many times did you even hear about Donate Life Month before today?

Last year, 39,000 transplants were performed. I’ll do the math for you. That’s 106 transplant operations each day. At one added every 9 minutes, that’s 160 new additions to the transplant list. Every day we add 54 more people than we are transplanting.  That’s why the average waiting time for a kidney, which is the most common transplant performed, is 3 to 5 years. (Since I know you’re curious, lung and heart transplant waiting lists are about 6 months, pancreas about a year, and liver close to 5 years. Of course, a patient’s time on a waiting list is a factor of organ needed, blood and tissue type needed, and severity of illness.)

Saving lives is rarely a trending topic of Twitter, there are not many infographics on giving life on Facebook, and I haven’t seen one of those “How You Can Help” Instagram posts on alleviating the pain and suffering of up to 8 people with one act. More actually, and some even while you’re still alive! 

The number that gets thrown around a lot is that every organ donor can save 8 lives. One heart, two lungs, a liver, a pancreas, two kidneys, and the intestines. You can add to that two cornea, a lot of skin and a handful of other non-categorized tissues like the abdominal wall. That’s from a deceased donor.  Want to be a hero and still be around to feel good about it after the transplant. Living donations aren’t restricted to kidneys although they are the most common living donor organs transplanted. In addition to giving a kidney to transplant you can also donate a portion of your liver, pancreas and intestines, and one lung, For the most recent period, March of this year, the Organ Procurement and Transportation Network of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported 9,878 transplant surgeries of all types performed for March 2021 from 4,740 donations.* But that’s just solid organ donations. You can also donate bone marrow for transplant. And if all of that seems too icky for you, there’s still blood donation.

Don’t let the second half of Donate Life Month go by as innocuously as the first. Do something. At the very least register to be an organ donor after life when you renew your drivers license.  For more information on solid organ donation and transplant in the United States go to https://www.organdonor.gov/. You won’t make the news, nobody will say you name, and there will not be parade in your honor. Do it anyway.


* How can you perform more surgeries than you had donations? From living donors you can’t, but from deceased donors you can transplant multiple organs. In March there were 1,463 living donors responsible for 1,478 transplants (multiple living organ donations are rare but possible with kidney/pancreas transplants) and 4,740 deceased donors contributed to 9,878 transplants.

 

Trash Talk

We are already firmly into the fourth month of 2021. That itself is frightening, but more is that we still are filling our conversations with 2020 sound bite phrases (and some even older) which even in 2020 was depressing. So in the spirit of culture cancelling, let’s make a Second Quarter Resolution to, in no particular order, cancel these.

Eraser

Cancel Culture: Cancelling is becoming the new fad falling somewhere between hobby, and cottage industry. Old fogies like me tend to confuse cancel culture with “the mob” burning books or tearing down statues. It originated with some fashion or beauty type person who apparently was tight enough with the Kardashians to have amassed close to 2 Billion views on his YouTube channel lost over a million followers in a single day because of some spat he had with another YouTube beauty person. Seriously. You know I don’t make this stuff up. With origins that trite it’s time to cancel this bit of unculture.

Unprecedented Times: Many of last year’s news stories were unexpected, life-changing events. Of that there is no question. Were they unprecedented as the hyperbolic news media introduced every story. Consider this. To be unprecedented something must not have a precedent and a precedent is not merely the first of something, but the first of something to be used as an example for others to follow.  Let’s look at some of 2020’s “unprecedented” happenings. The pandemic was responsible for many of these events. First, there is the pandemic itself. Unprecedented, yes? Well, no, the WHO is currently tracking twenty different pandemics across the globe. Since 1900 there have been 12 worldwide pandemics, the most recent pre-CoViD were the 2013-2016 Ebola virus and the 2015-2016 Zika virus pandemics. Surely the vaccine response was unprecedent. Impressive yes, particularly in scope, unprecedented no. The 1947 smallpox vaccination drive in New York City claimed to have vaccinated 5 to 6 million people in less than a month. Verifiable data indicated 1.2 million doses were administered in the first week and a total of over 4.4 million administered during the 18 day campaign. Other “unprecedented” news stories from mass closures, to social unrest, to riots, to elections, even to the storming of the Capitol had precedents. The January attack on the Capitol was the sixth time the building had been breached and two other deadly incursions involving Capitol personnel occurred within its perimeter fencing.

Essential Worker – Clearly almost every worker can make an argument that a job is essential to somebody. Weather forecaster in San Diego might be stretching things but given that is only sunny there 362 days a year it could be essential for residents to know which three days to stay indoors. While I’m on this topic, there is no question of who qualifies as a Frontline Worker. If you have to ask, you aren’t one.

The New Normal – Do I have to say more?

Uncertain Times – A second cousin to Unprecedented Times, “Uncertain Times” is the nice little catch all to define any time that is uneasy or induces stress, real or imagined. Back when I was ineligible for AARP discounts, we called it a Get Out of Jail Card, AKA An Excuse to Get Out of Anything. You wanna know something, every time is uncertain. It if wasn’t it’s already past.

And finally, one to nip in the bud – Herd Immunity – Yes, it is a real thing, but unless you have a PhD in epidemiology or are a physician specializing in infectious diseases, you don’t know enough about it to carry on a Facebook level conversation let alone an intelligent one. Leave this to the experts. Hey, nightly news people, I’m talking to you, too.

There are a few hundred other choice words and phrases due for retirement: Blursday, Election Fraud, Super-Spreader, False Rumor (can a rumor actually be true?), and Remote [Anything]. Eliminate these and we have a good start on the return to intelligent life on this planet.

Genius