Old News-Day 44-Quarantine-Senior Living

Providing seniors with living accommodations is big business. All around the Chicago area there are numerous senior living communities that cover all the desires of older people and their wish to live independently. Not all seniors want independence, many want security, safety, and health care. Many of these businesses offer all levels of care. If all you want is an apartment without any extras, you can have it, If you want someone to look in on you every day, you can have it, if you need help getting dressed, or with bathing and toileting, you can get it. If your memory is shot and you can’t remember your name but you are physically in good shape there is an app for that too.

I don’t call my brother very often, but when the Covid-19 thing was still being referred to as the Corona virus from China I called him. When we do talk we will spend an hour covering all the kids and everything family related, then we go on to the important things in life, like world peace, war, terrorism, and corona.

Seniors at play

Two years ago, my brother Bill sold his house, and checked himself into a senior retirement community near where he lived. He likes it. His wife died four years ago and he got tired of keeping a house going. It was his time. I am wresting with the same decision myself. Getting back to my point. When the President announced his guidelines for how to deal with the virus I began my diary, and my brother’s community went into a lock-down. The management recognized that if the bug got into their halls there would be hell to pay. Immediately, they took the conservative approach. All they needed to hear is that the virus prefers older people. It wasn’t a difficult decision to make, after all the home is a money making machine. Death ends the money coming in and without money the place goes broke. That is the practical side, the human side is that pre-mature death ends the life of some really amazing people. This is a Christian home, and Christians believe in the right to life. They will expend monumental effort to sustain it.

Here are some of the things he told me today. His meals are delivered to his room every day. Normally, meal time is when seniors socialize in the dining room, but not anymore, the dining room is closed. They do not allow any visitors. Service people are allowed only after they have been checked for the virus and on a need for service basis. Relatives are not allowed. Social activities are held virtually, i.e. over the in-house tv channel. They conduct activities where you are allowed to stand in your open doorway while the activity director at the end of the hall uses a megaphone to give instructions on the game being played, or the exercise being done. Bill takes walks on the grounds and on the golf course next to the home. Any congregation of people outside is not permitted and broken up by the staff. Staff is checked every day before they are allowed to enter. They are screened for symptoms, those with symptoms are immediately sent home.

I asked Bill if they had anyone with the virus yet. “No,” he said and the residents will probably kill anyone who gets it. None of them wants to be known as the ‘one.’

When I listened to the news today, I heard a reporter interview the head of the VA. The question was a typical liberal question trying to find someone to place the blame on for the horrible stories we have heard regarding deaths at nursing homes. In this case she asked about what went wrong at the Massachusetts State run nursing home where seventy veterans died. VA Director Robert Wilkie answered the questions with a narrative of what the VA has been doing to control the virus inside the VA hospitals. He has it all right. They are not doing a single thing that can be criticized. Regardless, the reporter was relentlessly pushing to get someone to blame. My answer which was not heard because my voice doesn’t carry to New York was this: any jerk who wants an answer should look into the home where the problem is and start asking questions at the very top of the management. Read their mission statement, did they follow it? Do they even have a mission statement? Examine the records for their audit inspections, have they been cited for violations of their procedures? Do they have procedures?

I don’t know, but these reporters make some pretty big money yet they don’t seem to be able to engage their brains with any logic. I looked up reporter’s salaries and found that the one I was listening to makes eight million dollars a year. That is a lot of dollars for reading questions from a teleprompter, and watching a timer to know when to end the segment.

If COVID-19 Has any value it will be in the way we run our country and the way we live our lives from this point on. There is a good chance that the word ‘virtual’ will predominate our future. Until such a time as we can kill the COVID-19 permanently we will be social distancing, and avoiding crowds.

Today, I took package to the post office and was surprised by the crowd that lined up all the way out of the building. Everyone was staying six feet away from the one in front of him. The PO erected a barrier from the ceiling to the countertop with plastic film to separate us from them. We are paying serious attention to the recommendations. We all have the attitude that the guy next to me might be the one who gives it to me, and he is thinking the same about you.

Anyway, as the country begins to open up it is more and more apparent that seniors will have to live by a different set of rules. There is one problem with that, people like me don’t think we are old, we think we are twenty-five even though our bodies may be eighty-five. In my mind a senior is someone who is pushing a hundred years.

He is ninety-four, she is ninety-one

There is an old Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.” This is an interesting time.

Return of the Junco

Just what is a Junco? It is a small bird about the size of a sparrow. He is black to dark grey from his beak to his tail. His belly is a pure white as is the underside of his tail feathers. He has arrived from the north because winter has set in there, and he likes warmer climates during the dark months. He will stick around until April or May when it is safe to return to the mountains of Canada to begin breeding. Why he chooses to spend his winters here where the snow and cold is almost as bad as it is in the mountains is a mystery. I use his arrival as notice that our cold season has come with him. I also use his departure or rather his disappearance as warning that Illinois will be getting hot again. He is my weather detector, and I love him.

This morning I spotted my very first Junco of the 2022 winter season, welcome birdie. Officially, winter is still two months away, but the days are much shorter and cooler. His early arrival could be a sign that we will have a very cold and long winter season.

Honey Do Lists

Ever since I completed the House in a House (HIH) project I have been on a mission to do more work around the house. My newly remodeled shop is one. The shop became a repository for all things that became refugees from the remodel job. I couldn’t stand to work in the space because it was crowded, cluttered, and disorganized. Before I could even think about adding the final step of the HIH, which is a drop ceiling, restoring order to my personal workspace became the number one priority. At this point, the shop is 80% converted back to a working space. There is still one wall that needs a cleaning, purging and organization, but it is usable as is.

The final step will be completed once my honey-do list is completed. In my case I am the honey, and all the do’s are mine. One thing that happened during the HIH process was a move-in by my step grandson. He unloaded seven trailer loads of personal belongings into our living space. The entire house was decorated in simplistic modern, now it looks like an antique shop. One piece, an old TV cabinet found a home under my two hanging art-glass plates. The cabinet is a 1950’s Zenith TV console, and looked okay under the plates, but I could’t stand to see the aged finish. Refinishing it became the number one job on my list.

I uncovered a cute little table lamp with touch control in the piles of stuff moved in. It has potential as an accent piece. The trouble was that when I touched it to turn it off and walked away it turned back on. It became another line on the list.

After providing shelving in my shop for all the miscellaneous tools and materials for projects I decided it was time for better organization. I bought a dozen plastic bins that fit nicely on the shelves and sorted all my shit into visible bins; measuring tools are in one, tape and adhesives in another, chisels and sharpening tools in a third, files and rasps in a fourth, and so on. Soon the place developed an appeal for work, I love what I have done.

The sliding glass door in my bathroom was sticky and leaking. I hate cleaning the floor each time I shower, and the thought of not showering as a solution does not appeal to me, so I ordered a set of new wheels to install. They were made in China, and on the surface they looked acceptable. In practice, however, I began to wonder which Chinese MORON eliminated the hex nut on the inside of the wheels? It took me considerable effort to hold the wheel hub stationary while I screwed the axle into place. I’ll remember shoddy Chinese engineering for the remainder of my life. Little things matter and the Chinese lack any common sense toward providing those details to make life easier. Instead of stealing and extorting American engineering they should decide to go the route of Japan who decided to adopt American Quality control processes, and are now world leaders in product quality and reliability.

So, the to-do list is getting shorter, and I have begun a list of actual build projects. My old bird feeder fell apart from decay, and I still like to attract birds to my window, so I will build a new one. The same goes for replacing the four supporting legs of the tower of three bird units that have decayed. The tower became the Leaning Tower of Joe in the yard so, I took it down. I miss the family of wrens who raised a family in middle condo for the past five years. This spring they will have a remodeled home to move into. For such a tiny bird their call is very loud, and I want to enjoy listening to it once again.

Last, but not really the last ever, are two new intarsia projects. Last week I received a 2023 calendar from the Heritage Foundation and the January picture is a Bald Eagle with his wings fully extended and arched, his talons spread open to drop, and latch onto his next meal. I will develop a pattern from this photo and turn it into an almost life size Intarsia work. The previous eagle which I stopped working on when the HIH project began will be scrapped. The second Intarsia piece will be a rendition of cat tails from the fall garden. The colors will be suitable in wood and the outcome should be very natural. All I have to do is to learn how to make paper thin foliage that is twisted and bent naturally.

New Project

My winter is booked.

Be Careful What You Search For

I am sharing this article written by Daniel Greenfield.


 Daniel Greenfield  October 24, 2022

Forget Big Brother, Big MUM is Google’s new tool for suppressing conservatives.

MUM or Multitask Unified Model was hyped last year as the company’s new machine learning algorithm. MUM had been initially described as an innovative way to allow Google’s dying search service to answer natural language questions by drawing on multiple sources.

While MUM’s applications initially appeared to be apolitical, that quickly changed.

Google first unleashed MUM to fight what it considered COVID “misinformation” by making sure that everyone saw “high quality and timely information from trusted health authorities like the World Health Organization”. By reducing the number of sources to only those that agree with its agenda, Google is able to deliver fast results while getting rid of different points of view.

A Forbes article described how MUM would “check information across multiple reliable sources” to allow “the system to come to a general consensus”. Google had once built its search around the vast diversity of a bygone internet, but it has spent the last decade draining the diversity and depth of the pool and replacing it with the shallow manufactured consensus of its agenda.

Google long ago ceased being a way to find different answers and its search results are deliberately repetitive. Search is an illusion. The user thinks that he’s browsing the internet when he’s actually spinning his wheels in Google’s walled garden. This is most obvious in shopping and in politics: two areas where Google has strong interests and tries to manipulate users into believing that they are exploring options when they’re being hand fed variations on a theme.

Or as Pandu Nayak, VP of search at Google, wrote in a recent post, “By using our latest AI model, Multitask Unified Model (MUM), our systems can now understand the notion of consensus, which is when multiple high-quality sources on the web all agree on the same fact.”

The last thing the world needs is another centralized computer system enforcing a consensus.

Google disagrees with many of its users about what “reliable sources” or “high-quality sources” entail. MUM helps the Big Tech search monopoly manufacture a consensus, on what it claims is a universal fact, and to promote snippets on its own site that promote that consensus.

The monopoly doesn’t see its search service as a way to rank sites. The Big Tech monopoly, like its counterparts, doesn’t want users actually leaving its sites, and wants to force a “consensus” answer on them in its search engine. MUM is another tool for keeping users on its digital plantation. The underlying notion behind MUM is a continuing redefinition of search, not as browsing an array of sources, but as a way of delivering a single instantaneous answer.

Googlers have long been obsessed with the idea of replicating Star Trek’s fictional computer which would offer the answer to any question in a robotic female voice.

MUM is the next step in this Big Sister quest.

“The Star Trek computer is not just a metaphor that we use to explain to others what we’re building. It is the ideal that we’re aiming to build—the ideal version done realistically,” Amit Singhal, then the head of Google’s search rankings team, boasted.

Singhal was later forced to leave the company over sexual harassment allegations.

“It was the perfect search engine,” he gushed about the Star Trek computer. “You could ask it a question and it would tell you exactly the right answer, one right answer—and sometimes it would tell you things you needed to know in advance, before you could ask it.”

In 2022, Google’s search is hopelessly broken because the company no longer has any interest in providing the search service that made it a monopoly, giving a ranked list of diverse results, but wants everyone to speak into their phones and receive a single answer. The consensus.

Google’s snippets and knowledge panels displace links to actual sites and provide what the monopoly claims is the definitive answer. Its search assistant is similarly set up to provide a single answer. Google doesn’t want you to compare answers, but to listen to MUM.

And sometimes Google wants to give you the information before you ask it.

If you own an advanced Android phone, you may find that Google Assistant will interrupt conversations to offer its own “insights”. Google is also pursuing “prebunking” of what it considers “misinformation” with preemptive propaganda campaigns.

Jigsaw, the company’s most explicitly political arm, is researching what it calls “prebunking” or attacking views it opposes before they can even gain traction. Prebunking is currently being experimentally tested by Google’s Jigsaw to fight “misinformation” in Poland and other Eastern European countries against Ukrainian migrants. This is only a test and Jigsaw expects there to be much wider application for the information techniques that its “researchers” are developing.

Google’s YouTube already has a broad set of bans covering everything from questioning global warming, contradicting medical experts, and debating 2020 election results. These are a window into the company’s political agendas and how it seeks to enforce political conformity.

While it seeks to narrow the sphere of acceptable information in its platforms, Google is working with the leftist Poynter Institute, one of the most notoriously biased fact check spammers, to develop “media literacy.”. The company claims to have spent $75 million on efforts to fight “misinformation.” And who determines what misinformation is? He who controls the algorithms.

As the midterm elections approach, YouTube spokeswoman, Ivy Choi, promised that the video site’s recommendations are “continuously and prominently surfacing midterms-related content from authoritative news sources and limiting the spread of harmful midterms-related misinformation.” The technical term for this is mass propaganda. That’s what Big Tech does.

The internet was revolutionary because it upended the central systems of mass propaganda which allowed a government and a handful of men to enforce their consensus on a helpless public through the mass media of newspapers, radio stations, movie theaters and television sets. Big Tech’s Web 2.0 killed the revolution and restored the oligarchy. Its monopolists see the internet as only a faster way to deliver more immersive propaganda to the masses.

The Big Tech monopolies took off by taming the web, shrinking its vast promise and diversity of content into smaller walled gardens that they could dominate and monetize. Facebook inhaled most of the social interactions on the internet and locked it up in its private platform. Google is determined to do the same thing to the bewildering parade of ideas of the entire internet.

When Google’s senior VP Prabhakar Raghavan first introduced MUM, he suggested that the goal was to “develop not only a better understanding of information on the Web, but a better understanding of the world.” What happens on the internet doesn’t stay on the internet.

Conservatives are one of the cultural barriers because their existence is a marked reminder that Big Tech does not control everything. While its executives and employees are socially insulated wokes operating in major urban centers, they manage systems that extend around the country and the world. When they encounter different points of view, they seek to wipe them out.

MUM is yet another tool for enforcing a totalitarian conformity on the diversity of the internet.

Google doesn’t want you to think differently or to think for yourself. What it wants users to do is to shut up and listen to Big MUM.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Probed In All the Wrong Places

One of the drawbacks a man faces during aging is a body part called the prostate gland. My prostate was referred to as a basketball by my latest urologist (U2). Latest because I out lived my first one (U1). The prostate encircles the urethra and as it grows it squeezes the urethra to narrow. The narrowing then makes urine flow slow down, and sometimes can be slow enough to become non-existent. Luckily, my Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) has not reached the point of a completely blocked flow. When that happens a man is brought to his knees with kidney and bladder pain that only catheterization and morphine can relieve.

Over the past fifteen years I have been able to control the need to pee by taking a drug called Flomax. U1 informed me that after about seven years Flomax can stop working. He recommended surgery which at the time was a ream job under sedation. I chose to tell my regular MD about the problem and he doubled my dose of medication. It has been working, but in recent months I have noticed the symptoms reappearing. U2 recommended two options: 1. Surgery, or 2. An in-office procedure called UroLift.

Before he asked for a decision, U2 told me he had to rule out any other conditions which might cause a problem. He had to do an internal bladder inspection, and then take a volumetric measurement of my prostate. Evidently, the UroLift is only recommended for men whose prostate has reached a specific size, and there is no sense in talking about a UroLift if the bladder is found to be cancerous and needs to be removed surgically.

Friday was the day I was scheduled for these two tests. If you have ever been told to drop your drawers to the floor by a woman in preparation for the almighty U2 you know how humiliating an experience it is. Even though I have had the bladder test twice by U1 it remains humiliating to me. Although I don’t remember it being painful when U1 did this test. U2 however has the finesse of a Yeti and seemed to be in a hurry, because his moves were rapid and I felt every twitch and every squirt of water he made. “Everything is okay,” he mumbled, you’ll have pain for a couple of days (He was absolutely correct on that matter). “Get your pants on and wait.” I sat waiting and had a super tremendous urge to relieve myself. I opened the door and asked for a toilet. A nurse showed me to the door. It was locked, someone was using it. I danced while I waited for the room to clear. The first pee after this inspection was really painful as was the second, third, fourth, etc. When I finished I opened the door to find a nurse waiting for me she pointed at another room. “You mean I have to go through this again,”?

“Yes” she said. “Take you pants off and lay on the table on your left side facing the cabinet.”

I did as she ordered, and waited for U2 to reappear. It took a few minutes for him to come in. “I’m going to take a picture of your prostate to measure it’s volume.”

“Is this an ultrasound?’ I asked.

“Yes”, and with that he shoved a dildo up my ass and waved it around all the time talking to himself. It felt like two hours, but it probably was only two minutes to complete. He showed me a photo of a very gray something, He said, “there is your prostate”, pointing at a darker grey image in a gray field. You are at 82%, and then mumbled something about my choices with a suggestion that I might want the UroLift option. Actually, he was right, I do want the UroLift, as I had already been researching the procedure and the system since U1 had told me about it three years ago. Finally, he told me to get dressed and to stop by the front desk to make an appointment before I leave.

The next day, I had a sharp pain in my lower back which I haven’t had in a very long time. I wondered if it was related to the probing of the day before.

I survived the humiliation of the testing and have forgotten about it, but now I look forward to the procedure with anxiety. I only have six weeks to be nervous before it happens.