Saturday, February 11, 2017

Packed and Ready To Go

This time tomorrow I'll be on that silver tube in the sky (aka American Airlines) headed towards the sunny and warm skies of California. 

While on FaceTime with Pat last night, I suggested we double check our flight times. Of course there was a snag. Since we made our flight reservation last April, American Airlines has changed the time of our flight four times.  Good thing we checked because American Airlines had Pat leaving Los Angeles at 6:00 am in the morning and me at 8:20 am!  How did that happen?  I guess it was because Pat had to make a connecting flight from Toronto to Philadelphia then Philadelphia to Los Angeles. 

Pat called American Airlines and they changed my flight too 8:20 am so I could travel with Pat. No charge but I didn't get my extra legroom seat that I paid and extra $85 for.  I'm not complaining though.  Well, maybe a little bit.  At least they have us seated together and I don't have to pay the extra $200 for changing my flight.  

I always get nervous when making trips like this, worried that I'm going to forget something. I've already reminded Pat several times not to forget his passport.  Or else Trump's minions will arrest him at the border.  

I have all my chargers, underwear, shirts, socks and let's see what else. And extra pair of pants and my Macbook Air and an old iPhone that I use as a backup camera.  

Ready to go folks. The toughest part of the trip is coming up now, the airline flight out. Getting through TSA.  I should get a pass this time because I'm seventy-five years old. We will see.  

Wish me luck! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Two days ago we had spring like weather. 

Yesterday the bitter cold winds descended upon our flat coastal plains here in southern Delaware.

We had the threat of snow and freezing rain.  "Oh great!" I thought.  Just as I was going to work.  But the Gods were with us (me).  The snow missed us.  No snow, no freezing rain trapping me overnight at work. 

Was it cold?  You bet! Just one more reminder why I'm spending the next two weeks in sunny, WARM California.  

I'm packed and ready to go.  My flight leaves at 10:35 am Sunday morning.  I texted my ride and asked him to pick me up at 7:00 am.  

Am I excited?  YES!

I'm going to try and keep up with daily postings on my blog. But I can't make any promises. I'm taking my Macbook Air computer with me but when Pat and I hit the ground at LAX, we're pretty busy with our adventures of the day.  And staying warm!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

California Deaming

One more day of work then I'm off until February 27th.  

Folks, I'm ready to get away.  Big time.

I called my Airbnb host tonight just to check to make sure my reservation (that I made last year) is still on.  It is.  Super!  

We'll be staying right tin the heart of West Hollywood, just off of Melrose Avenue. Walking distance to all of our favorite haunts. 

The weather here today was positively springlike at 68 degrees. What a pleasure it was to take my daily walk.  The older I get I have a harder time handling cold wind in my face. Today was most pleasant. The same weather I am looking forward to the next two weeks in Los Angeles. Oh yes!

Wouldn't you know it, snow is forecast for tomorrow.  Just as I'm going to work. Thankfully, warmer temperatures are forecast for this Sunday, when my ride (my neighbor Bill B.) will drive me to Philly International Airport to meet Pat and our flight to Los Angeles. 

This time next week we will be totally immersed in California.  At time like this I am reminded of the old Mama's and Papa's song "California Dreaming".

Monday, February 06, 2017

California (Hollywood), Here We Come!

Our flight next Sunday from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, one coast to another coast

One week from today we'll be in California! 

I'm ready folks. In fact, more than ready.  

This year Pat and I will be staying in West Hollywood at for two weeks.  

Our bright and uncluttered accommodations in Los Angeles for the next two weeks

We'll be staying at a different Airbnb. In the past we've stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast on Hollywood Boulevard.  Perfectly lovely accommodations but a little too cluttered and dark for Pat's taste.  Last year we split our time between the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast and an Airbnb in the Hollywood Hills.  That Airbnb was a disappointment. Black sheets, skunk outside and a neighbor screaming at Pat for daring to turn around in the tight driveway to let me off.  Plus the TV was crappy. What is it anyway with the cheapo TV's in the bed and breakfasts.  We had the same problem at our B & B in Niagara Falls. 

I am so looking forward to getting away from the news and just relaxing and doing whatever.

Pat and I don't plan our itinerary except for the flight out and the accommodations. We will be staying a few days in Palm Springs for the Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour. Both Pat and I love checking out homes. We'll also be visiting Dr. Spo and his pals at their bathing suits optional accommodations. 

Indulge Resort, Palm Springs, California

Needless to say both Pat and I will be keeping our pants on. 

Now to start packing. I think I have this down pat now, underclothes and socks and not so much on shirts. And also all my electronic chargers for my Apple toys.

Not long now!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

My New Toilet Bidet

Hey folks! Tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you all a break from my political rants.  Not that there isn't a lot to rant about. In fact it's hard to keep up with the daily outrages of the incompetent, Keystone Cops antics of the Trump administration regime.

Time to catch up on the latest doings here at Casa Tipton-Kelly.  

We're getting a break from the seemingly endless succession of doctors' appointments. And to think I used to tease my Mother about her days being consumed with one doctor's appointment after another.  I remember back to my halcyon youth when I would go YEARS without a doctor's appointment.  No more folks, the Old Guy here is gradually falling apart, just like an old classic car.  No matter how much you take good care of your new car, inevitably parts start to go.  That's where I am at in life now folks, trying to keep the parts in working order.

Well, one thing I did last week has made my life so much easier is the installation of a toilet bidet.  Yes folks, after years of wishing that I had one of those toilet bidet contraptions that shot cold water up your ass after a dump, I got one!  

I have read that toilet bidets are common in other countries.  In our country I've read that many Hollywood celebrities get their ass cleaned out after moving their bowels.  I envied them.

Ever since my prostate procedure (seed implants) I have had a bowel "situation".  I sorry if I'm grossing any one out by being so blunt but that situation did and does exist.  This "situation" is one of the unfortunate by products of prostate cancer treatment.  Thankfully I don't have urinary incontinence, which is what my oncologist was concerned about.  But the other problem does exist.

I used these so called disposable wipes, which as you know really aren't disposable. 

We have a septic tank here at Casa Tipton-Kelly, which I quickly filled up last year. When the honey-pot septic cleaner guy came by last summer he advised me to NOT dispose the wipes in the toiled but put them in a trash can like his wife does. Hmmmm, doesn't that sound nice?  Hardly.

I tried a half-way measure, some in the trash (the ones that weren't too messy) and the others in the toilet.  Still, I was going through those wipes fast. 
What to do?  Stop pooping?

I had checked out different bidet attachments before and they all looked so complicated.  Then a few weeks ago I saw one on Amazon that looked simple to install and didn't require electricity. It  got excellent reviews.  It only cost $39.99.  I ordered it.

It arrived two weeks ago.  Now to install it.  I don't care how simple it claims to install I am NOT mechanically inclined. And I especially didn't want to take a chance with water connections.

I hired one of my neighbors (Scott) who is a handyman and did some work for me last summer.  He replaced the roof tiles on my garden shed. 

Scott installed my toilet bidet last Saturday.  He tested it. The water shot right up to the bathroom door! It works!

I tested it later in the day.  Folks, it was fabulous!

I was a bit concerned with the cold water but that turned out not to be a problem.  In fact, it felt rather ("rawther") good to have that cold shot up my anal cavity. And the best part, I felt clean.  

One of the postive reviews I read said "You wouldn't clean mud off of your driveway with a paper towel. You would use a hose with water. Why not clean yourself the same way?"  Indeed.

Just another small step in making life more comfortable and easier to get through the day folks. 

Life is good.  Now if we can just do something about that orange faced narcissist in the Oval Office who is making a laughing stock out of our country and making us less dangerous.

You didn't think I was going to let one day go without just one little political jab did you?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump Announces Replacement for Stolen Supreme Court Seat

Tonight Trump (I don't call him "President" because I don't consider Trump a legal president) nominated Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch as the Heritage Foundation his Supreme Court nominee.  

Trump is nominated Judge Gorsuch for the stolen Supreme Court seat denied former President Obama. The seat that was stolen from President Obama.

I will call both of my senators (both Democrats, thank goodness I live in a state - Delaware-who has honest and caring senators) to urge them to vote no on Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. 

I will urge them to support Judge Merrick Garland, who is more mainstream than Judge Gorsuch. 

Mitch McConnell set this new "normal" for Supreme Court nominees. 

Hey Mitch, what goes round comes round.

I second Senator Elizabeth Warren's statement she made tonight in response to the nomination of Judge Neil Garland to the Supreme Court:

President Trump had the chance to select a consensus nominee to the Supreme Court. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he failed that test. 
Instead, he carried out his public promise to select a nominee from a list drawn up by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests.
Judge Neil Gorsuch has been on this list for four months. His public record, which I have reviewed in detail, paints a clear picture. 
Before even joining the bench, he advocated to make it easier for public companies to defraud investors. As a judge, he has twisted himself into a pretzel to make sure the rules favor giant companies over workers and individual Americans. He has sided with employers who deny wages, improperly fire workers, or retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. He has ruled against workers in all manner of discrimination cases. And he has demonstrated hostility toward women’s access to basic health care. 
For years, powerful interests have executed a full-scale assault on the integrity of our federal judiciary, trying to turn the Supreme Court into one more rigged game that works only for the rich and the powerful. They spent millions to keep this seat open, and Judge Gorsuch is their reward.
Every day, our new President finds more ways to demonstrate his hostility for our independent judiciary, our civil society, and the rule of law. Now more than ever, America needs Supreme Court justices with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and all other protections guaranteed by our laws. We don’t need another justice who spends his time looking out for those with money and influence.
Based on the long and well-established record of Judge Gorsuch, I will oppose his nomination.

Monday Night Massacre

In 1974 I was a Republican.  I voted for Richard Nixon, twice.

I believed Richard Nixon's explanation during the Watergate break in.  Then there was the "Saturday Night Massacre."  That's when I stopped believing Richard Nixon.  That's when I knew he was a crook.

When Donald Trump came down that escalator with his glamorous wife, and announced he was running for president.  I was favorable to him.  I thought the system needed shaken up.  But as Donald Trump's campaign progressed and I realized that he was an immature, divisive, misogynist, bully; he lost my support.

Saturday night Donald Trump fired the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, because she couldn't in conscience defend Trump's Muslim ban.  Trump cannot do this (the ban).  We have a Constitution in this country and we are a country of laws. We are not ruled by a king.

Check our the video I posted above of Senator Sessions questioning Sally Yates during her confirmation hearing. He asked "Would you say no to the president if he asked you to do something you considered improper or unlawful?" Of course the irony here is that Senator Sessions is now Trump's candidate for Attorney General. Do you think Senator Sessions would say "No"?  I think not.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Clarifying Moment in American History

This morning I awoke with this continuing feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.  Ever since Donald Trump was inaugurated I have had this feeling of the bottom dropping out of life as we know it.  

I love my country. I am proud of my country. 

Fifty six years ago on January 27th, a date I will always remember as long as I am alive, I volunteered for service (Army) for my country. I am no hero and I was scared to death when I boarded that Trailways bus from Philadelphia early on that cold January morning to Fort Dix New Jersey.  I was putting my life on the line for my country because I felt it was my duty. A small price to pay for living in the greatest country in the world. 

Thousands of other men and women have paid the ultimate price, their lives, in service of our country. Why?  So we can have the freedoms that no other country on this earth has.  

And now what do we have?  A despot in power who is ignoring the usual norms of a democracy. 

I cannot escape this feeling of dread that I have. Already he has insulted our neighbors and friends. He attacks Meryl Streep but praises Vladimir Putin, a thug and murderer. 

I struggle for words to express the great danger that faces our country right now.

We elect a president to protect us.  Instead this country has a president who is making us less safe.

This morning I read a column by Eliot A. Cohen, who was a counselor in the United State Department under Condoleeza Rice from 2007 to 2009. Mr. Cohen expresses my feelings more than I ever could with my limited skills of expression.

A Clarifying Moment in American History
There should be nothing surprising about what Donald Trump has done in his first week—but he has underestimated the resilience of Americans and their institutions.

I am not surprised by President Donald Trump’s antics this week. Not by the big splashy pronouncements such as announcing a wall that he would force Mexico to pay for, even as the Mexican foreign minister held talks with American officials in Washington. Not by the quiet, but no less dangerous bureaucratic orders, such as kicking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff out of meetings of the Principals’ Committee, the senior foreign-policy decision-making group below the president, while inserting his chief ideologist, Steve Bannon, into them. Many conservative foreign-policy and national-security experts saw the dangers last spring and summer, which is why we signed letters denouncing not Trump’s policies but his temperament; not his program but his character.
We were right. And friends who urged us to tone it down, to make our peace with him, to stop saying as loudly as we could “this is abnormal,” to accommodate him, to show loyalty to the Republican Party, to think that he and his advisers could be tamed, were wrong. In an epic week beginning with a dark and divisive inaugural speech, extraordinary attacks on a free press, a visit to the CIA that dishonored a monument to anonymous heroes who paid the ultimate price, and now an attempt to ban selected groups of Muslims (including interpreters who served with our forces in Iraq and those with green cards, though not those from countries with Trump hotels, or from really indispensable states like Saudi Arabia), he has lived down to expectations.

Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.
The question is, what should Americans do about it? To friends still thinking of serving as political appointees in this administration, beware: When you sell your soul to the Devil, he prefers to collect his purchase on the installment plan. Trump’s disregard for either Secretary of Defense Mattis or Secretary-designate Tillerson in his disastrous policy salvos this week, in favor of his White House advisers, tells you all you need to know about who is really in charge. To be associated with these people is going to be, for all but the strongest characters, an exercise in moral self-destruction.
For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.

Rifts are opening up among friends that will not be healed. The conservative movement of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, of William F. Buckley and Irving Kristol, was always heterogeneous, but it more or less hung together. No more. New currents of thought, new alliances, new political configurations will emerge. The biggest split will be between those who draw a line and the power-sick—whose longing to have access to power, or influence it, or indeed to wield it themselves—causes them to fatally compromise their values. For many more it will be a split between those obsessed with anxiety, hatred, and resentment, and those who can hear Lincoln’s call to the better angels of our nature, whose America is not replete with carnage, but a city on a hill.
This is one of those clarifying moments in American history, and like most such, it came upon us unawares, although historians in later years will be able to trace the deep and the contingent causes that brought us to this day. There is nothing to fear in this fact; rather, patriots should embrace it. The story of the United States is, as Lincoln put it, a perpetual story of “a rebirth of freedom” and not just its inheritance from the founding generation.
Some Americans can fight abuses of power and disastrous policies directly—in courts, in congressional offices, in the press. But all can dedicate themselves to restoring the qualities upon which this republic, like all republics depends: on reverence for the truth; on a sober patriotism grounded in duty, moderation, respect for law, commitment to tradition, knowledge of our history, and open-mindedness. These are all the opposites of the qualities exhibited by this president and his advisers. Trump, in one spectacular week, has already shown himself one of the worst of our presidents, who has no regard for the truth (indeed a contempt for it), whose patriotism is a belligerent nationalism, whose prior public service lay in avoiding both the draft and taxes, who does not know the Constitution, does not read and therefore does not understand our history, and who, at his moment of greatest success, obsesses about approval ratings, how many people listened to him on the Mall, and enemies.

He will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in our grandchildren’s history books. To repair the damage he will have done Americans must give particular care to how they educate their children, not only in love of country but in fair-mindedness; not only in democratic processes but democratic values. Americans, in their own communities, can find common ground with those whom they have been accustomed to think of as political opponents. They can attempt to renew a political culture damaged by their decayed systems of civic education, and by the cynicism of their popular culture.
There is in this week’s events the foretaste of things to come. We have yet to see what happens when Trump tries to use the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to destroy his opponents. He thinks he has succeeded in bullying companies, and he has no compunction about bullying individuals, including those with infinitely less power than himself. His advisers are already calling for journalists critical of the administration to be fired: Expect more efforts at personal retribution. He has demonstrated that he intends to govern by executive orders that will replace the laws passed by the people’s representatives.
In the end, however, he will fail. He will fail because however shrewd his tactics are, his strategy is terrible—The New York Times, the CIA, Mexican Americans, and all the others he has attacked are not going away. With every act he makes new enemies for himself and strengthens their commitment; he has his followers, but he gains no new friends. He will fail because he cannot corrupt the courts, and because even the most timid senator sooner or later will say “enough.” He will fail most of all because at the end of the day most Americans, including most of those who voted for him, are decent people who have no desire to live in an American version of Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, or Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account. Those in a position to take a stand should do so, and those who are not should lay the groundwork for a better day. There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him.