I Love a Good Game of Name That Acronym

A friend of mine put this on Facebook. I am certain that he put it there as bait and I bit. COVID is of course short for CO(rona) VI(rus) D(isease). The nineteen typically tacked on to the end is to demark 2019 as the year when the virus was first noted in Wuhan, China. The individual who first started the game apparently is displeased with the poor initial discussion of masks, personal hygiene, and vaccines.

This posting on Facebook is intended to rile folks up. I feel the pain myself. Having finished with my second booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine a week ago, I am elated. The previous leader of the free world could have celebrated his and his wife’s vaccination before they left the White House. He did not. The event was so low key that it was only reported after he flew to Miralago to resume the life of the rich and famous guy that he is.

I used to play this game when I was still working full time and some one would use an acronym with out first explaining what the term stood for. The implication being that if you did not understand the term you were not on the inside. I always made me laugh. If it showed up in an email I might ask an innocent question using my made up acronym. My favorite is SMART (Simply Magnificent And Recognizable Talent) goals. I think timely is a cop out. What does timely mean?

Think about it. Try UNSMART. (Uninformed New Sheep Mainly Are Really Trumpublicans) (political division)

Uniformly Nascent Solipsistic Males Actually Remember Transportation (random division)

Let your mind run wild. It is okay to use small articles and the verb to be in any answer. Be mean or generous, politically correct or not so, kind or not. There are no rules.

Cost Obfuscation Violates Individual Destinations (travel division)

Catholic Orthodoxy (has) Victimized Individual Dreams (religious division)

Curmudgeonly Orwellians Voraciously Imbibe Dragon-meat (Game of Thrones division)

Crash Objects Vanquish Indecisive Drivers (automotive division)

Over time some acronyms have become actual words (laser) and some words have become acronyms (smart). Language is fascinating.

Parkinson’s disease sucks but then a friend will send you down a rabbit hole with diversion of some sort for several hours of mental gymnastics. Thanks, friend.

Peace be with you

Our Stock Club Met in Person

It has been exactly a year since our stock club met in person. It is hard to express how much I missed those in person meetings over the past year. There is a lively atmosphere that does not come through the Zoom meeting platform.

Our club first met in March of 1984. Thirty-seven or so years ago a couple guys in the engineering department of a no longer existent machine tool manufacturer in southwestern Ohio said they were wondering if we could start a stock club. The Dow Jones industrial average was hovering just a tad above 1000. It was a big idea. We would all be rich men. All it would cost was $20 a month. Some things are lost to time but we started the club with ten members. We had as many as nineteen and now we are eight. Four of our members and former members are gone from this life. The rest are still here somewhere. We were all much younger then. Most of us are grandparents now, though not all. None of us are rich in a material sense, although we are rich in our friendship. It has always been fun to chase the rainbow.

We started with different expertise in each member on purpose. A stock club with only engineers was probably doomed to early failure. Every stock would be analyzed to death. One of the things that engineers are very good at is analysis. From the beginning the membership actively sought other members who were not engineers. And although today we are eight, we are only half engineering folks. We are not all retired yet.

For the first time tonight I realized how much the pandemonium has ruined our social fabric. There was a joy in the discussion about various stories, some stock talk, of course, but many other topics. Children, grandchildren, sports and travel are all fair game.

The market was up today. Or at least the piece of it that we owned was up. Life is good today.

It did not start out that way. Cheryl arose at 5 am never to return to bed. When she gets ups very early in the predawn she tends to be slightly confused most of the day. Today she did not take her meds right away as she has done in the past. She found the donuts left from Sunday and had two of those before she decided that she should take her meds. As a result she was merely thirty minutes or so early. She was, however, confused about the time and day of the week.

She was still confused about the day when she went to bed a few minutes ago.

Today was physical therapy day. Brittany (PT) spent extra time with her standing up from a sitting position and balance. She also spent time getting Cheryl to do several of the LSVT Big exercises that Cheryl struggles with.

Cheryl has never been a sports person in her life. Much of the demonstration and lecture about exercise and form is lost to her. Now that she has Parkinson’s disease it is more so. But it helped her, for, as we drove home, she suggested that we go to a park near where we live and we walk around the walking path near the creek.

So Carpe the Diem – we went.

I do not know if Sam Clemens said this or not. Somehow it does not seem curmudgeonly enough.

Bernard Clayton’s Bread Book

Potato bread

This book is a favorite of mine. If I remember to do it when I make mashed potatoes and something for dinner, I save the potato water and leftover mashed potatoes to make bread a couple days later. Two nights ago I remembered. I saved the water that I boiled the potatoes in. In his recipe he strongly suggests not adding anything to the potatoes.

Having gone through a couple of recipe cards from Hello Fresh recently I have decided that I like mashed potatoes made with sour cream and butter. Some of these were left over. I have about a cup of mashed potatoes. I used these. I am interested to discover how that modifies the flavor.

I have made this recipe with plain potatoes and with mashed potatoes in the past. Baking bread is intriguing for me because it seems very small changes to a recipe can make very large changes in flavor. Try it – grease one loaf pan with Crisco and grease another with lard. The flavor difference is noticeable. Very subtle but also very different flavor in the type of release agent used.

The round loaf goes to a neighbor who made a tuna noodle casserole out of the blue and gave it to us. She supplied it in a large ramekin bowl so I used it to bake the boole in. I hope she likes it. Potato bread makes hearty french toast.

If you can, bake something every week. Life is a one time deal but better with fresh bread!

Spring is here — FINALLY!

The Disease is Nuanced

Simple concepts are confusing.

As a part of our previous stimulus package spending we purchased new furniture for the living area of our condo minimum. (smiley face) The three pieces of furniture do not come with extra material to cover the armrests. My clever wife with Parkinson’s decided that there was no problem with that and she set off with a neighbor to the fabric store to purchase some suitable material to manufacture armrest covers.

Two of the chairs do not have arm rests that have a distinctive right and left shape. Those are easy peasy. The third seating area which is a small sofa has an ionic volute curve shape to the arms. Her arm covers have a right and a left shape to them.

The engineer in me leaped into the breach to explain how to make a pattern and plan to sew a right and a left. The Parkinson’s patient listened diligently but did not understand. Several efforts have produced two lefts, then two rights. two weeks later and listening to conversation between her and our niece who cleans for us, she is on the road to making a left which is finished and a right which she is working on.

She has started this several times before and somewhere in the project right became left. This time I will try to be unobtrusive and get to the sewing machine before right becomes left.

Parkinson’s requires gentle unobtrusiveness but it still sucks. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

What do you do to Pick Yourself UP?

I often find a song or melody that intrigues me at that moment. Kroger has been playing “Low” in some of their commercial advertisements lately here in Cincinnati.

Before that ad I had not heard the song before. It is a rap song. I have very few rap songs in my list of songs that I like. I do not have the same experience that many rap artists have, so, many of the popular songs with spontaneous rhyme and rhythmic lyrics do not connect with my old brain. “Low” does for some reason.

I told Alexa to play rap music. It selected a Hip Hop station that “you might like”. Perhaps I will listen later longer. Rap lyrics remind me of beat poetry. Recently Lawrence Ferlinghetti died. For some reason, in my younger years, his style of poetry interested me. I had his book of poetry – “A Coney Island of the Mind”. I have not seen it for years.

I vaguely recall that I had lent it to someone long in the past. Today I scrambled around to find a copy of a book of poetry that has probably been out of print for maybe sixty years. Amazon is a wonderful thing no matter what Donald Trump thinks.

I switched Alexa from Hip Hop to disco. “Staying Alive” is playing right now.

What do I do to pick myself up? Usually several things at once. Music certainly helps pick me up.

Music is very personal. Long ago I worked for a private company. One of the partners read a book somewhere that convinced him that music played over the PA system would lighten the mood and make everyone happy in their jobs. What a load of crap that book was. The music selected was what ever the office was using as hold music. MUZAK was a special broadcast on a side band of one of the local FM stations. It was perpetual elevator music. It was excruciating to rock fans like me. Christmas holidays brought a five hour loop tape of Christmas carols and other crap over the office PA system. On the second rendition of Mitch Miller’s jingle bells it was time to go home. Some were up-sot!

“Toes” is playing now. I told Alexa to play — life is good today. I need to get my toes in the water and my ass in the sand as soon as I can, pandemonium or not.

Find your music and play it!

Puzzles and Parkinson’s

An update to the story — The bottom line of the puzzle has appeared out of the sorting process.

She has decided that she will work puzzles as a hobby and diversion. I bought her a 500 piece puzzle to do. To tell the tale properly I have to go back about two years. We were Christmas shopping for the grand kids. We had passed by some puzzles in Barnes & Noble. She remarked that there was a woman at Bridgeway Point a local assisted living facility where her mom had been living until she passed away the previous year. And that she would like to get one to try it. She thought it might be fun to do.

We bought a 500 piece puzzle with a busy image of cars and buildings and dark sky with stars. We brought it home and it sat in the corner where Santa stores stuff for wrapping. After Santa wrapped the presents for the grand kids the puzzle box remained there for two more years until this past covid infested January. The puzzle discussion came back. I knew exactly where it was because Santa had not moved it in two years of wrapping.

Oh good! There it is! Where can I do it? I remarked that she could do it on the dining room table. I did not think anyone would disturb it. Only we live here.

What if Zachary comes over? Well, I do not know.

Your cousin John had a special table to put his puzzles on. It folds up when he wants to put them away. I said I would look into it. Then I bought a special mat to puzzle on. It arrived about a week and a half ago. This is a slow motion activity. One day this past week I blew up the balloon that it rolls around while watching the birds attack the snow covered feeder.

It is useful and has outlines of various puzzle sizes. Never mind that her puzzle is 20 inches by 20 inches when complete and it does not have that size printed on it.

As she stared at the rectangles printed onto the mat we had long animated discussions about how to do it. She wanted to find the center most piece and build outward. I suggested that that would work but it will be easier to find the edge and corner pieces and work in but it was up to her. Whatever she thought was best for her to do, I said.

She has decided to initially separate the pieces into groups of her own design. Edge pieces in one pile, Red here in this pile, yellow in this pile and on. I need some plastic bowls with lids that fit. I tried to purge the kitchen cabinet of the leftover bowls that went through the dishwasher one to many times and were warped by the heat.

These are okay but the lids do not fit. I need the lids to fit.

The mat is supposed to roll everything up I said. Yes, she said but I need some bowls with lids that fit until I roll the mat up. I am in the midst of hunting on Amazon for bowls with lids that fit. Looks like I can get these preloaded with cookies. That would be a real bonus.

It is interesting how a parkie mind works or doesn’t work. I am still waiting to see how the puzzle gets started.

So far we have two bowls, a box and a zip lock bag. The mat is rolled up nicely by itself.

Carpe Diem.