Because from here on out, I get to work on my Bucket List because I've got the Monkey off my back!


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Men’s Underwear: Daily Problems Facing the Modern Man.

I would like to announce that after years of contemplation, and testing, I have finally decided on how I am going to organize my underwear drawers from now on. Its important to have a separation method. Your childhood selection process of rummaging through a drawer when your still half asleep in the predawn light becomes obsolete when you leave your mother and go out into the adult world. It eventually becomes apparent that going to the right drawer at the beginning of the day is the adult alternative to your mother controlling your underwear selection process. (This is what your mother was warning you about when she brought up getting hit by a car and ending up in an ambulance, realizing half way to the hospital that your not sure if you made the right choice that morning.)
gettingoldI have tried the "Fresh-date method"; newest ones separated from older ones, but all that did was make me aware that underwear losses its 'newness' very quickly.
I tried the sight test, but all that did was make me aware that there really is a time that you need to through a pair away (following established ceremonial practices of course).
I tried the color method, but when you realize your white undies are decreasing in number and your grey undies are increasing in numbers, and you haven't actually bought any new undies lately, you find that this method is very depressing. Its bad way to start your day.
I even tried a 'class' method, whereby I keep my 'dress up' undies separate from my casual everyday undies, but this was even more discouraging because I realized that I can't remember the last time I felt that I had a reason I should don my dress-up undies. (I decided that it was important to put the dress-up undies in the regular rotation, a guy needs to occasionally feel special, even if it is at random.)
angelawThe method I've decided on is... drum roll please..... boxer and briefs.
Now you ladies out there are rolling your eyes... and now I'm rolling my eyes because any ladies out there should have stopped reading this long ago. Of course to you the boxer and briefs method seems like the obvious method from day one, but let me remind you that, the only idea us guys have about how you 'ladies' organize your undies is because we have stereotyped images in our head that there all labeled by day of the week. At some point in our lives we are made aware of the existence of the horrifying 'granny underwear'. So obviously there is more to it than seemingly logical gender stereotypes.
You have to understand that through most of the male lifespan we start off with one or globalwarmingthe other and stick with it most of our lives so the boxer and briefs method would be non-existent. We might try a switch from one to the other late in life, and maybe after a short time switch back, but even then we maintain our choice adamantly.
But, in this day and age we find the boxer or brief choice complicated by colors, patterns and new hybrids like boxer/brief and brief/boxer combinations, and for the weirdly independent among us who find ourselves in the back of the ambulance in a panic, there is the dreadful 'thong'.
It is because of these complications, and reality that our 'boys' find themselves being neglected in our old age, that the boxer or brief separation method becomes important, because we realize that our boys have their up days and their down days and those dispositions need to be catered to.

by: GlennDL Retired: "...living in poverty and loving it"

Dilbert 5-6-02

Monday, April 13, 2015

I’ll finally get an I.D. card that says I’m a Vet.

1stBN 1stINF40 years after getting out of the service, with 4 years of duty with the highest security clearance while serving in a critical MOS, an honorable discharge and several letters of commendation, I am finally approved for medical benefits from the VA, after ten years of failed attempts. The last seven of which have seen my retirement savings dissolved by medical bills. The last year alone, medical bills accounted for a fourth of my gross income. Sadly with the last of my retirement savings gone and on a fixed income I finally have sunk to an income low enough to be within the VA Threshold limits.
Granted when I first got out of the service I didn't seek medical benefits from the VA because I had a family and needed family coverage. So I sought out and obtained commercial insurance, but about ten years ago as situations had changed I tried to get benefits. It was like pulling teeth. The DAV, VA and other agencies did everything to discourage me from even trying.
Their attitude seemed to be that because I was not an 'in country' vet I was just looking for an entitlement. This was a most hypocritical attitude since most of the agents were about my age, Vietnam Era Veterans like me, and probably Vietnam Combat Veterans.
I say hypocritical because the attitude that they displayed towards me was very similar to the one that WWII and Korean Vets at the VFW, American Legion, and the VA inflicted on Vietnam Era Vets when they got out of the service. An attitude of disdain, of shame, because they (the Vietnam Vets) didn't win their war... or theirs wasn't a real war... or they were all 'dope heads' looking for drugs (through the VA Hospitals).
When reading about homeless Veterans I can't help but wonder if negative attitudes like these, from their own VA, have not contributed to their situation, especially the older Vietnam Era Vets. I have known many Veterans, myself included, who have at one time or another swore they would never set foot back into a VA facility.
whatisaveteranI am no stranger to the VA. I spent over 15 years chauffeuring and accompanying my father to his VA medical appointments and benefit hearings. I had seen the 'entitlement' attitude directed towards aged Vets by young hospital staff and clerks who saw these Veterans as freeloaders who were getting 'free' medical care while most of them couldn't afford or had to pay for their medical insurance.
Most were too young and uninformed to realize that a price had been paid for those benefits. A price paid by my father who was awarded 3 Purple Hearts for his wounds received in Korea. The price his best friend, John Pittman, paid when he threw himself on a hand grenade to save their squad. For the two of them, between the two of them, 4 Purple Hearts, 40 years of service, and the Congressional Medal of Honor still couldn't get either of them 100% Veteran Disability.
I am not disparaging all workers at the VA, but many who've worked there will tell you the same. I know there are many conscientious and hard working people who care are there. And yes, things have definitely improved over the last 20 years, but the recent scandalous waiting times at VA hospitals are not an overnight occurrence. Those problems are long term and have existed for years before reaching their current newsworthiness.
Its unfortunate that the country, WWII, and Korean Vets dumped on Vietnam Vets, that Vietnam 'in country' Vets dump on Vietnam 'non-combat' Vets, and that our public is unaware of the difference between an entitlement given freely and a benefit earned and paid for.
It should be noted that ALL Veterans; combat, non-combat, volunteer or draftee all signed on the same dotted line "....a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to including their life."
ps. I do not yet know what my benefit eligibility will be as I was unofficially told I qualified. The irony is that in the beginning all I really wanted was a VA I.D. card, but now, hopefully I will at least be able to get my medicines from the VA. That alone will be a big financial relief.

update: “Effective 2015, VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and co-payment responsibilities. This change makes VA health care benefits more accessible to lower-income Veterans and brings VA policies in line with Secretary Bob McDonald’s MyVA initiative which reorients VA around Veterans’ needs.”

“Many vets have to submit a means test to be enrolled, but it's not required for combat vets, who are automatically eligible for five years of free care.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/veterans-denied-health-care-computer-glitch_55c4cc45e4b0923c12bc8d04?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Everyman Needs A Man Cave

themancaveIt doesn’t matter if you’re a married man who seeks refuge from the female rabble that infest your home or a single bachelor that requires a place to escape the reality that you are left alone to tend to duties that would normally fall on the females in your household. If there were any.

It could be that you just need a place of refuge to sort out answers to the questions that plague the male mind: How do I get that strange women out of my bed and apartment without addressing her by her name… that I don’t remember? Why do I have to express my feelings? Can I lock up my teenage daughter until she’s 30 years old? How do I get my 30 year old daughter to move out on her own? etc.

As a once married man I have fond that a ‘Man Cave’, whether in physical or a mental form, is necessary for ones sanity, especially in dealing with one needs that were formerly handled by women. New found needs of a poor disposed of husband cast out into the cold harsh world where there is no apparent answer to the question, “If you have to separate whites from colors, then why don’t you have to separate reds from blues from greens, etc.?

To deal with these formerly senseless concerns and trivia, the place for mental and if possible physical refuge, whether married or thethronesingle, becomes paramount. There needs to be a mental cue or a physical place where your environment signals your mind that you are free to escape these concerns. That it’s time to take a breath, wipe your mind and clear your soul.

Whether it’s a dedicated room or space in the basement, a favorite spot on the couch, an easy chair, or the throne room, where you can lock the door and know well that all will fear the consequences of opening that door at the wrong moment.

anim (8)Even if its just the physical act of putting your fingers in your ears and reciting a monkish chant; “LaLaLaLa” to drown out the physical world and release your mind for more productive examination of the greater world around you, “Why don’t easy chairs come with wheels?”

The unfortunate truth though is that as I have aged I have succumbed to old man tendencies that never garnered my attention before (a craving for plaid is not yet one of them). Tendencies and cravings that could never be exposed to the scorn and scrutiny of the so called weaker sex.

36_7_10Things such as… hats. Because of my large brain I have never been comfortable with baseball caps (one size does not fit all if your size is 7 3/8 with a haircut). As I entered middle age I shunned the idea further because of a fear that hats contributed to baldness, and then when I realized baldness wasn’t going to be a problem I wanted to flaunt the fact that I still had all my hair (and teeth too, but that’s another story). But lately Fedoras, Panama Jack, and cowboy hats have appealed to me, but hat care and etiquette were new encounters for me. “Does this hat make me look fat?”

homerSo too was the case of neck ties. Thirty years ago I knew how to tie a tie, but after 30 years of casual wear as a postal worker I have forgotten how to tie one. The occasional shirt and tie event sent shivers down my spine in the fear that my clip-on would be discovered.
As someone who grew up in the ‘shaving cream in a can’ era I recently switched to an old fashion shaving mug and brush with no expertise in its proper use. Help.

7_17_4Having lacked or forgotten early male training in several areas, gathering information pertaining to these more natural masculine needs (i.e.., I’m a man, I don’t belong in the kitchen). It is apparent that a physical or mental sanctuary is a requirement for maintaining everyman's sanity. A Man Cave is needed.

Ladies, get over it.


gettingold (2)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Outhouse Races:

Michigan, Nevada, Washington. All occur in January.ATT00164

For a quarter of a century outhouse racing has taken place annually in Conconully. The event features head-to-head races within stated divisions with champions being crowned by the day's end. The race course is a snow-covered Main Street. Each entered outhouse may participate in as many divisions as its sponsor can find teams to race. Questions? Call the Chamber of Commerce at 826-9050 or 1-877-826-9050.

My interest in this is purely as a spectator.

Click on arrow to start / click on a second time to enlarge.

Monday, January 26, 2015

One of the Great Mysteries of My Time:

or “I never had time in the past, but now I can waste my time anticipating a discovery.”

socksSocks, missing socks, more surprisingly missing multiple socks, but never a pair?

Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians have made careers of analyzing the mundane. Were does that sock that abandoned its mate go? Did it make a break for it during the spin cycle? Did it hide in the ceiling of the dryer drum, using it saved up static electricity to cling to the drum wall in the hopes that the cycle would end with it clinging to the ceiling, holding its solitary breath instead of being in that bundle of wretched laundry at the bottom of the drum? His buddies doomed to be shoveled out into the laundry basket, sorted, fluffed, folded, and stored in some drawer until another fateful day when it would be pulled out and… ugh! Worn. Sure that was the fate of all laundry, to be worn, or worse yet, used to dust, clean or dry.

laundrystainsBut a sock has some of the most arduous duty. To be worn all day, draping an odorous and sweaty foot. Constantly pounded with every step. Partially encased in a shoe that was barely less smelly than the foot they both encase. Is there any wonder that socks routinely come up missing.

But the life of a sock does not explain the disappearance. Why doesn’t a ‘pair’ ever come up missing? The sock, the most populated wardrobe group, would seem less adept at striking out on its own. Not just because of its social network, but also because it, with the exception of gloves, is the only monogamous item of clothing. It’s easy to see why gloves are content with their place in the wardrobe world, with their passive nature and only seasonal duties, they live the ‘life of Riley’ for most of their existence. 

perm markerShirts, pants, and ties are consistently paired with each other with an ensemble, but never a tie with a tie, pants with pants, etc.  Those pairings were based on the politically incorrect basis of color and style, but are often enough mismatched to the point that they would seem more prone to venturing out. Perhaps the ‘ensemble pairings attitude towards socks can explain the ‘exodus of the socks’ phenomenon. While the ensembles look upon the shoes and socks as no better than making a good look not look bad, they are especially harsh towards the socks for their potential to destroy a good look. Ties are particularly snobbish towards socks (silk versus cotton bigotry) and can even be very ‘snooty’ towards each other while getting along ‘maaavelously* with pants and shirts.                               *(see Ricardo Montalban)

264476_10201331150145809_37472624_nOn the basis of social structure socks are the least independent piece of clothing, more suited to remaining in the collective, or at least with their mated pair.

If its because they draw such punishing duty then why doesn’t underwear or even jockstraps make a break for freedom? Surely their job is even more disgusting. The jockstrap, the least social item of clothing, would be more adept at striking out on its own as befits its ‘lone wolf’ existence. Underwear? Its a wonder there isn’t a mass movement by other items in the dryer to throw them out forcibly.

The great sock mystery, however, no longer intrigues me. At my age, I’ve moved on, accepted it, and even expect it. The only thought I give to it now is to never throw away a solitary sock. I now keep them in the bottom of the sock drawer in the expectation that another sock, similarly sized, colored and sufficiently maintained will be abandoned so as to accommodate a coupling. While socks supposedly mate for life, let’s admit that is always a myth. Be for real.

imageIs it possible that I adopted this policy because subconsciously I have hope that a missing sock may return? Maybe, but I do not mourn the absence of a solitary sock. Just like the fear of losing a tooth doesn’t decide the fate of my teeth, even though it may prove once and for all, that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist, I will face the disappearance of a sock the same way I’ll face the truth about the tooth fairy when it comes, Kay Sara, Kay Sara.                        (see Doris Day)

I‘m getting older and that means that footwear casualties and tooth fatalities will happen. I live with it.

What does intrigue me, befuddles me, and in the words of Khan* ‘task me’, is the question of what is up with my CDs and DVDs?              *(see Star Trek)

It defies logic. Not just where are they going, but the fact that a case is just as likely to go missing as a disc. A secondary concern might be not knowing if the rate of disappearance is undetermined because I only notice a disappearance when I go looking for a particular title.  It’s understandable that I might have put 2 disks in the wrong cases but too often when I go to find the case matching the wrongly placed disk either the case is empty or it, along with the mismatched disc, are both missing.

imageYes, it is possible that I lost or misplaced the matching disk and case, but what are the odds of me repeatedly, almost systematically, losing matching ‘mismatched’ combinations? My library should be depleted by now if this was the case. Once I caught myself about to dispose of a DVD player with a DVD still in it, but I do not replace players that often, and even in this event I could not find the DVDs case. Yes, I occasionally might loan a disk to someone, but for this to account for the attrition rate the borrowers would have to be guilty of never returning a disk. Mmmmmm?

Yes, this is what intrigues me, not smelly socks. This is a fresh mystery, technologically based, costly and new. This is what retirement is about. That and living in poverty and loving it.

updated from 2015

Also from Glenn: