Dave's Journal, Jan2017

* * 2017 * *
Yesterday it was 1966 !!








New Year Resolutions

This week's news ..... not much to report

Yesterday's pre-op exam was a non-event. Good thing that I brought stuff to read!

Have been battling my buy-another-lens daemons, and .... well .... I lost.

Fuji wants $900 for their 23mm/f1.4, which is about $800 above my willingness to pay, so I took a chance and spent $100 on a Chinese (Zonai) 25mm/f1.8, and it came yesterday.

Cute little thing. Am stuck in the house, so haven't shot anything with it, except a few downstairs. Not bad, really. Need to shoot more with it.

Here it is on the Fuji ....


I also enhanced my duct tape carry-thing, so it now includes my e-book reader, cell phone and reading glasses. Tough as all hell, very fashionable.


Cochlear implant videos

Most of the Youtube videos are not helpful at all. They show deaf girls and babies crying when they first turn it on. These two videos do a good job showing this guy's experience. They are long videos, and somewhat tedious, but they're worth viewing (if you're curious).

By all realistic accounts, it takes 12-18 months to learn how to recognize words using an implant. I hope my experience will be shorter. I hope. I hope.

That is my big anxiety. I'll be even more deaf through 2017.

I am going to start a separate page here on my deafness, hearing aids, and this implant experience.

(These will take you over to Youtube.)

Video #1

Video #2

I have been promising (threatening?) to do this for a long while. Through 2017, I am going to maintain a page "On Being Deaf", that will document my deaf / cochlear experiences.

I started it just an hour ago: On Being Deaf.

The national average cost of a cochlear implant operation is $24,000. Covered 100% by that socialist entitlement federal giveaway program - Medicare.

On November 19, 1945, seven months into his presidency, Truman sent a message to Congress, calling for creation of a national health insurance fund, open to all Americans.The plan Truman envisioned would provide health coverage to individuals, paying for such typical expenses as doctor visits, hospital visits, laboratory services, dental care and nursing services. Although Truman fought to get a bill passed during his term, he was unsuccessful and it was another 20 years before some form of national health insurance - Medicare for Americans 65 and older, rather than earlier proposals to cover qualifying Americans of all ages - would become a reality.

President John F. Kennedy made his own unsuccessful push for a national health care program for seniors after a national study showed that 56 percent of Americans over the age of 65 were not covered by health insurance. But it wasn't until after 1965 - after legislation was signed by President Lyndon B Johnson - that Americans started receiving Medicare health coverage when Medicare's hospital and medical insurance benefits launched for the following 12 months.

Well, I'm on a roll now, so let's keep it rolling .....

Nixoncare vs. Obamacare (from Univ. of Michigan):

Few people today would dare call President Richard Nixon a radical liberal. But 44 years ago, he proposed a health plan that went far beyond what today's Affordable Care Act includes. After the first plan failed, he did it again three years later.

And just like today's heated rhetoric from opponents of the ACA, also called "Obamacare" after the president who introduced it, Nixon's plans were met with inflamed opposition from the other party [the Democrats!].

...... Nixon's proposals were far more "liberal" than what passed under the Affordable Care Act during President Obama's first term. Yet, he notes, the rhetoric directed against the ACA - as "radical liberal plan," "socialized medicine" and a "job killer"- seeks to paint the law in extremely inflammatory tones.

At the time of Nixon's proposals, those seeking a single-payer plan, led by Senator Ted Kennedy, scoffed and said that his plans did not go far enough. The Democrats' early-70s health proposal was far more liberal than anything the party has proposed in recent times, and they heaped scorn on the Republican plan.

..... the approach Nixon took, which preserved the insurance industry's role in health care, would have covered more people than the ACA does.

At the time, Nixon put forth this rationale for his plan: "Those who need care most often get care least. And even when the poor do get service, it is often second rate ... This situation will be corrected only when the poor have sufficient purchasing power to enter the medical marketplace on equal terms with those who are more affluent." Employees around the nation supported Nixon's plan as a welcome alternative to the single-payer proposals.

Both the Nixon plans and the ACA were driven by a desire to provide health coverage for the uninsured segment of the American people ...... and to keep health care costs from continuing to rise out of control.

"It would be a very different country today if the Nixon plan had passed ....... Instead, we had 30 more years with one-third of the population uninsured," even after the expansion of Medicaid to cover near-poor children in the late 1990s.

From the Boston Globe:

[Ted] Kennedy came close to backing Nixon's plan, but turned away at the last minute, under pressure from the unions. Then Watergate hit and took Nixon down. Kennedy said later that walking away from that deal was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.

"That was the best deal we were going to get," Kennedy said before he died. "Nothing since has ever come close."

I have been "News Free" for over a week, and I feel clean and healthy and have this wonderful sense of well-being. My blood pressure is lower, the tension behind my eyes is gone, my nose stopped twitching, my heart beat has stabilized.

News Free - better for you than any drug !

Before and After

jpg jpg

Aside from waiting waiting for hours (poor Deb, poor Mike), the hospital event was rather pleasant. Nice people there, and funny too !

And .... thank you for Tylenol. Not intense pain, but a very annoying pressure. They told me not to touch that contraption on my head for 5 days. It feels like a very tight hat on top of an earache.
Sleeping in the recliner.

That ear is now 100% dead. I don't even "hear" that constant whistling any more.

Strangely the clone of me that Mike gave me years back has gone through similar surgery. These things happen.

Chris and Mike brought sauce, meatballs and facoccia bread, driveway salt (!), and a new shower head (thank you, by the way). Next we'll be signing me up for "meals on Wheels" and "Medicab".

Actually I feel just fine except for the pressure and ache in my ears.

On Being Deaf

Well, my ear still aches enough to be annoying, the weather is bad and I'm stuck in the house.
It could be worse though.
I could be this poor little guy, sitting outside the parlor window in the freezing rain, waiting for the old man with the camera to stop screwing around and put some birdfood in the feeders.


Abstract Expressionism: Painting What Doesn't Exist

I must start off saying that the classic paintings (portraits, landscapes, still lifes) of the 19th century are my very favorite. I can get lost in them. I love nearly everything about them, the talent and craft it took to paint like that, and the feelings they give me.

Now that's out of the way, let me say that modern abstract art sometimes fascinates me, even though I may have no clue about what the artist thought he / she was making a picture of (and titles don't mean much in this arena).

"It's not a picture of anything. The painting itself is the thing" .... I once read in a book and that opened my mind to appreciating (some) splotches and squiggles and slashes that don't look like they belong in this universe.

Now, I just look at the thing and see if I like looking at it or I don't. No thinking. Just looking and feeling (if feelings happen).

I'd say that I have liked about 5% of all the abstract pictures I've seen, and there are maybe 3, 4 or 5 artists who have painted all of them.

Roberto Matta is one of these artists. I like his stuff for the layers (somewhat transparent layers) of strange shapes and lines. I have no idea why I like these. I just do.

Some of his stuff makes me feel I am looking through a portal into another universe.



I tried my hand at explaining the technical workings of a cochlear implant. It kind of explains what is going on and why it does not equal normal hearing: Implants Explained.

I am studying up on implant technology, preparing for Feb 21st activation. I figure the more technical details I understand about how it all works, the better chance we have of getting the implant electronics tuned as best we can. Am learning that each case is different; there is no definite outcome.

A bit nervous, a bit excited. There's no turning back at this point. That ear is 100% dead.

The birdbath out back.
It cracks every winter.
I should cover it?


Populism: a population of simple minds who want simple solutions to complex international problems.


I was doing so well in rehab....

Camera junkie rehab that is. Although I bought a few lenses during the time, it had been months since I bought a camera body. Then Mike sent me a picture of the newly released Fuji. He's the guilty party; he's the drug dealer; I'm the victim / junkie here.

I definitely will not spring big cash for the new camera - as wonderful as it looks, it honestly is not worth that much (of my) money.

But that doesn't mean all my options are off the table. There's always the option of a "new" used, mint, 2-generation old Fuji. "There's always that option", the voices told me.

So, I found a mint Fuji XA1 body for not much cash, and I sprang for it, and it looks brand spanking new. Here it is in my window with a 50 year old Russian lens that I had lying around. Cute as all hell.


Wicked nice camera. I had one and sold it a few years back, and regretted it the day I mailed it away. Took it to the (awful, boring) Worcester car show today, that is really just a multi-manufacturer showroom. Most exotic car was an Alpha Romeo - actually, the ONLY exotic car was the Alpha.


(Because I had dressed like a homeless person, I made $56 in change by the time we left.)

Elaine's Birthday

Deb's mom, Elaine, is a "good kid" - has a kind heart and cares about the world. It was her birthday yesterday, and we celebrated at Karen's & Rick's.


My new charm bracelet came in the mail today.


Can't talk about America anymore - not politics, not the government; every place you go (parties, lunch, whatever) we say to each other "No politics".

In past times in my life, no matter how divided we were (about half the people I know are on "the other team") we could at least talk, even argue, about what Washington is doing or not doing. But the recent campaign and the (stunning) outcome has highlighted our differences, even among friends and relatives. We turn off the news - sometimes because it makes us sick and sometimes because it makes a friend or family member sick.
Some people want simple solutions - "build a wall" . Others feel that is absurd - "a ####ing wall ???" .


Despite the public outcry and demonstrations around the country (I expect these will continue through the current "era"), our personal opinions now stay off limits for conversation. Feelings are too explosive. There is the awful invisible wall (sorry about the analogy) that divides us as individualls and prevents us from talking about our country and trying to meet somewhere in the middle.

I expect the political situation in America, and our explosive personal opinions, will get a lot worse before they get better.


Loretta's Craft Web Page

Need baby stuff? Here's what you are looking for......


That is Loretta's craft page. We got some of her winter scarves that are warm and yummy !!

Had my 3rd week post-surgery checkup today: all is well and ready for the big "turn on", Feb21 (concidentally my birthday).

Little kid in the waiting room (6 years old?) had two inplants in his head and seemed to be doing fine, as he talked to the lady behind the counter. His littler sister (4?) was signing to him.

These Kids Put A Weather Balloon into Space !