“We Serve”

Today, I had an interesting time with my Lions Club. We cooked and served lunch of hotdogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers for 220 people. Every summer an organization called Camp Quality rents a full week at a Frankfort facility (Camp Manitoqua) entertaining kids with cancer. This is their twenty-fifth anniversary. Camp Quality is a nation-wide organization run 100 percent by volunteers. The Illinois Camp Quality serves Illinois, and part of Indiana. This year they served 77 kids with cancer, or kids in remission. Once a camper begins with the camp he is eligible to continue every year until he reaches age seventeen. Many of the campers become counselors and continue into their college years. Nationwide, there are seventeen Camp Quality’s operating.

Each camper has an assigned buddy who is older and who sticks to him like glue for the whole week. This is to prevent mishaps, and loneliness. Many of the newly diagnosed kids are on chemo-therapy when they arrive and continue to get the treatments. To do this, the camp has a complete medical staff of volunteer nurses and doctors to take care of medical issues. The entire week costs the camper zero. The entire operation, however costs upwards of two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars. All of this comes from donations from corporations, individuals, and clubs like ours.

The experience is lifting. One cannot come away without feeling a warm glow inside for having contributed to something good. All total  ten Lions gave of their time to serve the community, it is what Lions do.

Five Stars Squared

I just finished reading a delightful book which I thought would bring me back to grief. I read all the reviews and picked up the story line ahead of  time to realize the main character loses his wife to cancer. I hate stories about men who lose wives to anything disease. That is how I lost my first wife and am now losing my second. The idea of awakening grief within my body made me cringe. Yet, after beginning to read I fell in love with this story. Yes there was grief, love, suspense, and excitement, all of the elements of fiction that make a story interesting. The most unlikely character is the dog. The central character’s dog Enzo tells the story from beginning to end. The ending is sad but beautiful. You will not go wrong reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Five stars squared.

How Not To Solve a Problem


Most people who are problem solvers, or in business know that you spend your effort on things that are relevant. As an engineer, I was taught the Pareto principle which simple states that 80% of the benefit comes from 20% of the effort. I used this rule on every problem I could. When you have limited resources like engineers, salespeople, and machinists why try to solve every stinking problem at the same time? The first thing I thought of when I spotted the list above is the Pareto Principle. Using the Pareto method I can tell you that more lives would be saved if we attack heart disease or cancer first. Seven million people die from cancer worldwide. That is more than all the lives lost due to the problems in the entire list below it. I guess liberals cannot do math nor figure out that the number of lives lost to shootings is minimal when compared to heart disease and cancer.  We have all lost someone due to heart disease and cancer, yet few of us has lost someone because of a shooting. I don’t mean to disrespect any person’s life with my comments, but facts are facts.

The only time we came close to losing that many lives due to violence over disease was in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. So why are people so outraged by mass shootings? I have no clue, but it is a waste of energy to try to solve the problem when there are so many other pressing problems to solve first.

I’m thinking that the horror of mass death is too great because most of the people killed were young and vibrant, and filled with life. They had families and goals to reach. Well, how about the 1,960 kids who die from cancer every year? Dying a slow death from cancer is a lot more horrifying for the person than dying in an instant from a bullet.

Death brings out emotions within us when we hear about them, especially when they are senseless. So why spend untold amounts of money on writing laws that we will forget about within a month? We should instead spend some money on the grieving people who are outraged by these acts because they are in mental anguish. Having experienced grief myself I feel for the loved ones who survive. It is they who will suffer from grief for years, and you know what? Banning guns will not solve their problems. Chicago is a fine example of how useless gun bans are. More people are killed in a Chicago weekend by guns than were killed in Las Vegas. People who want guns get them and use them to kill regardless of the laws on the books. I read a news article this week that in London where guns are banned, and there is a ten-year prison sentence if you are caught with one, that gun crime is on the rise. In the meantime, people are still being killed by knives, hatchets, and rocks. Where are the bans on these items?

Bear With Me

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Life is like a road trip. Often, we spend time on a super highway with a very definite destination. At other times we are on a side road through a very dark and dense forest with lots of curves, and the destination is unknown. My life is now on one of those twisty paths where the next mile is unknown, and the destination is unclear, yet the journey consumes life.

My writing has been sparse of late because of the twists and turns of daily living. Many unforeseen incidents have arisen which have taken precedence over the joy of transferring thoughts to paper. A friend with dementia, a child with cancer, a second house that needs preparation for sale, all of these twists have cut me off from the interstate headed for enjoyment.

Perhaps, when this curvy road straightens out, and I return to the super highway, then, Grumpa Joe’s Place will again become a priority. Until that happens, please bear with me.

The Operating Room of the Future – InSightec – Dr. Kobi Vortman Technion Alumnus

Remember “Bones” in the TV series Star Trek. He used a device the size of a smart phone to fix most diseases and injuries. This video shows a process that is headed in that direction.

The Operating Room of the Future – InSightec – Dr. Kobi Vortman Technion Alumnus.

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