It Is A White World

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Today, I can say without any doubt  that we live in a white-world. Sorry Al, sorry Jesse, this is my world. No matter how much you like the color black or how much Black Power is in the world, today it is a white world. There is one qualifier, it is a white-world in the Mid-west and on the East coast of North America. So far, we have had several inches of snow, and yesterday it began snowing at four o’clock and it hasn’t stopped yet. So far my town of Frankfort has accumulated a foot of snow, and the temperature is in the teens.

This day brings back recollections of the 1980’s when we had freezing white-world winters every year. The liberal main stream media screamed  a pending Ice Age bearing down upon us, then something happened. Our white-world disappeared and the liberal-media began screaming global warming.

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Before you jump on me about global warming let me admit that global warming does exist, but it is due to cyclical variation of the Earth’s weather cycles. Yes, I also admit that CO2 can raise the temperature of the atmosphere, but it does so naturally. Oceans put out CO2, and so do forests and vegetation. Maybe even the output from burning hydrocarbons will do it, but there is no proof that my driving a car, or heating my house or cow farts contribute to man-made global warming. Do they contribute to increasing CO2, yes, but are we the primary reason the level is rising? We will never know unless we try a grand experiment to stop driving cars, period. No more cars, buses, trucks, trains, ships, planes or hydrocarbon fueled power of any kind. We would then have to stop heating our homes with gas, oil, wood or with anything hydrocarbon. We must also forget about using  any appliance or tool that consumes electrical power from an outlet, battery, or fossil fuel generated electricity. If the CO2 levels drop after we stop all that activity, and the temperature of Earth drops, then I might agree we are the cause of global warming. The problem is that such an experiment is totally impractical to conduct. Planet earth would stop functioning and millions of us would perish. For those of us old enough to have lived through some history, the conclusion is that the earth’s weather goes through cycles.

We even go through moisture cycles. I recall a time in the eighties when the water level in big, bad Lake Michigan rose by three feet. The water level was so high it caused major shore erosion. Many people living along the edge lost houses because the high water eroded the shore from under the houses.   Has the mainstream media ever calculated how many gallons it takes to raise that body of water three feet?  I haven’t either, but it is in the billions, maybe even the trillions. Later, in the nineties I took a vacation to Traverse City, Michigan. One of the unique scenic features of Traverse City is Traverse Bay which comes up to the edge of US 33. During the year we visited Grand Traverse Bay could not be found. We had to look for it. Barb and I eventually found it a half-mile out toward Lake Michigan. All  we heard from the media were stories about how the loss of water would cause people to die from dehydration. Entire towns would lose their water supply. The government contemplated denying towns from pulling water from the lake as a method of conservation. Where did all that water go? The answer is found in unique weather cycles which we are just identifying. Why has it taken so long to recognize the cycles? One answer is there are several different kinds of cycles and many years between them, and we have only kept records for about one hundred years. Most recently we are seeing the effect of sun-spot variation and have begun to notice the effect solar flares have on the electromagnetics of Earth. The same sun-spots also cause weather variations.  Eventually, the Farmers Almanac will publish these cycles and put man made Global warming to bed forever.

The eighties gave us a January during which we had thirty days straight of deep snow cover during which the daily high temperature never rose above thirty-two degrees fahrenheit(this is a correction from my previous statement of never having gone above zero. It seems my recollection is about temperature is about the same as a fisherman’s recollection about the size of his fish.) After a few days of zero, when it jumped  to ten degrees we felt like a heat wave had descended upon us. The eighties gave us record snowfalls, I shoveled eighteen inches of snow regularly. Then I began to notice in the nineties how easy the winters had become. Today, we enjoy the same weather we enjoyed in the nineteen-seventies and eighties.

So Jesse and Al, call me a racist, but even you are white today in this white world. If you don’t believe me try standing still outside for about an hour or more in thirteen degrees fahrenheit and tell me what color your skin has turned.

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Big Brother Now In Your Pocket/Purse?

A Spy In Your Pocket?

A Spy In Your Pocket?

Everyday I review headlines from several news sites to see what is going on. Today, a headline from Rush Limbaugh caught my eye. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to explore what it is all about. Rush reports that our phone service providers have invaded our privacy with an app. It seems, a law passed in Spring of 2013 mandates that phone service providers downloaded an app that will give us emergency information. I checked my phone immediately and wallah there is was. It seems that now if Obama wants to send me some of his socialist propaganda under the guise of emergency information he can text me his message. Supposedly, the system will tell me if there is a pending tornado bearing down upon my house, or a hurricane is creeping in from the north along the length of Lake Michigan from Mackinaw Island, or the Cook County Forest Preserve is on fire and heading toward Will County thus putting my home in jeopardy. Most likely, it will be our dear president speaking about the virtues of Obama Care and why we have to be  patient with the implementation. Big, complicated 1200 page bills that our elected Representatives did not have the time, energy, nor interest to read before voting take time and a great big bunch of money,(which by the way the Reps forgot to write into the Bill), to carry out. (Sorry, that sentence is the result of two generous pours of Winking Owl).

Check your cell to see if the app has invaded your phone. Click on the link to Rush Limbaugh’s commentary and he will give you instructions for how to go ahead. It’s kind of fun to decide if you really want all the benefits of modern technology in your pocket/purse.

I’m leaving my emergency notification button turned on, I want to see for myself what kind of BS, I mean benefit, this will lead to.

Fluffy White Stuff

Very often I begin to feel sorry for myself. My kids don’t call, the sun isn’t shining, I feel lousy, my waistline is growing, all I ever do is eat, nobody reads my Blog, you know the stuff that will get anyone into a frazzled downer. Then I get a photograph like the one below, and life changes. I get invigorated, I feel lucky, my joints don’t ache anymore, life is good again. What is it that makes me feel so good, well for one thing, I love to look at pretty snow scenes, but when I have to shovel I hate snow. When all I have to do is look at it I love it.

This scene in Saint Joseph, Michigan from Sunday, 10 February 2012, is what a lake effect snow looks like when Mother Nature dumps twenty-four inches of fluffy white stuff. I love it because it is there, if it were in my yard, I’d hate it.

This is what twenty-four inches of snow looks like. It's beautiful isn't it?

Another Life Begins At Michael Reese

2929 S. Ellis Ave. Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 791...

Image via Wikipedia

The name Michael Reese was totally strange to me as were the names of any hospital.  At the time Michael Reese Hospital, a prestigious teaching hospital, pioneered in polio rehabilitation techniques.  Our family physician, Dr. Imre Horner, was on staff there. He arranged to get me in.

Michael Reese (MR), on 29th and Ellis Avenue, is four and a half miles straight east from Contagious Disease Hospital (CDH).  The two hospitals were relatively close to each other, but the difference between them was enormous.  CDH was a government operated public facility designed to control or prevent the spread of communicable disease.  Michael Reese was a private hospital in business for curing disease.

I didn’t need curing when I entered MR.  I needed rehabilitation, and Reese had a strong polio rehab center.  The polio virus damaged many of my muscles. My body needed a program of training and exercise to teach the remaining muscles to substitute for the damaged ones that didn’t work; weak muscles needed strengthening.

The aides slid me off the ambulance cart to a hospital cart and wheeled me through miles of corridors and into an elevator.  Up it went, then, a ride through more corridors to a room on the sixth floor. Immediately, I noticed the rooms at MR were different from at CDH. The walls were solid except for one which had a window looking outside.  It was dark when we arrived and I couldn’t see out of the window, but I saw stars and city lights. At CDH, with all of its glass walls, there was never a ray of sunshine or outside light to see.

“One, two, three…..move” and I was on the bed in a new home.  There was a second bed in the room, another difference between the two hospitals.  A young man just lay there smiling at me.

He welcomed me with a big “hello.”  He had dark curly hair with bushy black eyebrows and a contagious smile.  His arms and head were the only parts of him exposed. He was very thin, nearly skin and bone.

” I’m  Myron,” he said.

He also survived polio, except his paralysis affected him from the neck down to his toes.  His chest muscles functioned just enough to let him expand and contract his lungs without the help of the iron lung.  He had limited use of his right arm, which allowed him to scratch his nose.

Myron was three years older than me, and a senior at Steinmetz High School.  We became good friends during our time together.  I often wonder what happened to him and what quality of life he had.  I’m sure he had a much harder time than me because he never regained the use of his muscles like I did.

Life at Michael Reese improved over that of the Contagious Disease Hospital. There were no restrictions on getting up to walk around the room.  Visitors actually came in to sit and talk without a chalk board.  I saw more of my friends.  Mom even brought some of the girls to see me.  I recall Mary Ann Pavel from Woodlawn as one.

The window looked out on the back-end of the hospital.  The view provided a look at the roof with lots of steaming vents and pigeons.  Way in the distance, the buildings of the loop were in view.  Chicago didn’t have many sky scrapers yet, so I didn’t see the spectacular skyline of today, but I did see a 1953 skyline. Soldier’s Field blocked any view of Lake Michigan just four blocks away to the east. I didn’t care, I loved the new home.

Maggie, Where Are You?

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerReading the Sunday Tribune this weekend I came across columnist Mary Schmich’s request for leads. She is looking for material about people and happenings on the Chicago lakefront. I figure  she will be overwhelmed by input, including mine. My lead goes like this:

Two years ago Peggy and I were invited to take an evening skyline cruise off the shore of Lake Michigan. A good friend was entertaining a group of his clients. The boat was out of Burnham Harbor. i.e. the one behind Soldiers Field,  just north of Mc Cormick Place.  Since I had never driven there before, Peggy and I left early to leave plenty of search time. I know that if I miss a crucial turnoff on the outer drive, it would take a long time to recover. As it happened, I hit the correct turn and got to the harbor in record time. We were forty five minutes early. The parking situation confused me, so I left the car running in front of the Harbor Master’s building to ask for instructions. I was met outside the door by an eccentric looking elderly lady holding a cup of coffee.  The lady asked if I needed help. Before I could tell her what I needed, she was explaining the best place to park and the best place to wait for the group. Her demeanor was absolutely pleasant. She looked to be in her late seventies, about five feet tall, and thin, very thin. Under a captain’s cap, her hair was light blond turning white. She wore baggy pink cotton pants, and a lime green windbreaker. Her skin very tanned and wrinkled. My first sight of her gave the impression that she was homeless, quite the contrary, Peggy and I learned later, she was not homeless.  I thanked her for the directions then dropped Peggy at the Harbor Master’s building and parked the car. It was June, but the evening was cool. The wind blew in off the lake  from the Northeast and the water was choppy. Usually the breakwater protects the harbor from choppy waves, but this evening it was choppy. The water beyond the breakwater was sporting four foot waves with white caps.

By the time I returned, Peggy and the lady whose name is Margaret or “Maggie” as she preferred to be called were chatting away as though they had known each other for years. It doesn’t take Peggy long to make a friend, especially one whose name is Margaret. Peggy will always ask a lady whose name is Margaret if she is a Peggy or a Maggie? It seems Irish women named Margaret are never called Margaret, only  Maggie, Peggy, or Margie.

In the twenty minutes we waited for the remainder of our party to arrive, we learned much about Maggie. She was a widow, who continued to live on a boat during the summer just as she and her husband did before. When she tired of the boat, she took a cab, a few miles north, to her lakeside condominium on Sheridan Road. She and her deceased husband had used the boat for many years. I envisioned  her to be a real beauty in her youth. I imagined her strutting the deck of the boat in a bikini, sporting a tan to die for. Although age had taken its toll, she was still stunning.  Peggy and I liked her instantly, her friendliness, and desire to help a stranger was impressive. Her stories about her husband and their exploits on the boat were fun too

Peggy and I visit downtown Chicago often. Every time we pass the harbor we look for the boat and wonder if Maggie is still sporting the flashy colors and the captain’s cap looking for people to befriend. We are often tempted to park in that harbor to look for her. We wonder if she would remember us as well as we remember her. I for one would love to hear her tell the stories of her youth when she and her husband took boating adventures. 

Eventually, we boarded our boat for the cruise. The drill was to cruise along the Chicago skyline at night. There was a buffet and drinks too. As I said earlier, the water was choppy, and the boat was rocking and rolling as we cruised the shoreline just outside the breakwater. The wind made the temperature feel colder. No one wanted to stay on deck, so everyone crowded into the warm cabin holding on to anything they could. Walking inside was difficult with all the movement. Peggy, just sat in one place and turned green. She was sea sick and not having a good time. She could not wait to get off.  I sat next to a man named Ted from Ted’s Greenhouse in Tinley Park. He told fascinating stories about his business, and his cactus collection. The cruise finished by ten and by the time we got home it was midnight. Peggy and I talked about Maggie the whole ride home. Peggy couldn’t, nor wouldn’t discuss the cruise.

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