Patriot Day - September 11, 2020

patriot-day_pixabay_1975391_1280.pngFriday, September 11, 2020, marks the nineteenth anniversary of the Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil. On that day, the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and possibly the US Capitol in Washington DC were under attack by nineteen Jihadist enemies of America. But in reality, the nineteen represented a majority of Islamic interests worldwide on that day who were attacking freedom in spirit. We saw the celebrations in Palestine and other Islamic areas on that day.

The fourth hijacked aircraft never made it to its target, potentially the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Thanks to the brave souls aboard flight 93 that fought back against the hijackers, the fourth target was spared and, of course the passengers who fought back gave their lives in the effort. We must NEVER FORGET.

The entire Whitehouse Proclamation text can be seen at this link.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2020, as Patriot Day. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day in honor of the innocent people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and its Territories and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of the innocent people we lost that day and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor those victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

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Tales of the Caduceus

caduceus.pngThe purpose of this post is not to elicit sympathy, but rather to share some of my recent healthcare-related experiences. There are several things going on with the old meat-frame, none of which, at this point in time, are too serious or life-threatening.

Eight years ago, I found out that I had a malignant neoplasm in the bladder which was transurethrally resected and my most recent checkup showed no signs of recurrence. There were some complications that needed correction after the initial surgery, but those are in the past save for some minor atrophy of my right kidney.

I’m seeing a nephrologist for the kidney function which is now diagnosed at stage 2 (of 5 stages) failure, but no special procedures indicated at this point. No dialysis is required at this time and probably never if I follow the prescribed diet and medications.

I’m scheduled for cataract surgery on the left eye next Monday. Prior to that, the hospital wants me to be tested for COVID-19. That test is scheduled for Friday. The surgery, I’m told by others that have had the procedure, is quick and painless and generally a big success.

I have been going to several dermatologists over the past 30 years, or so. I have a good one here in town who I see regularly. I’ve lost count of the minor excisions of skin cancers and other lesions on my epidermis. Squamous, Basal Cell, Common Warts and Nevi have been victims to his various cutting implements. Some of them just get frozen with several dabs of liquid nitrogen. I’m sure there will be more in the future.

It’s been five years since my last colonoscopy, so I’m due. It would be a longer interval except the proctologist removed several polyps last time, so I’m a bigger risk to have more. I have yet to set up the session, although anytime prior to December 2020 would probably be OK.

Last month, I had my 77th Birthday. Just prior to that, I had chest pressure (can’t really say pain) but went to the ER anyway. They did a chest X-ray, an EKG and blood work and found nothing out of sorts. As a follow-up, I got a CT scan of the upper torso. The radiologist found nothing to address the pressure I had, but did notice some small irregularities in my lungs. I have an appointment with a pulmonologist to further examine the radiology. I assume they will tell me my options once they have looked at the the scans. The local radiologist who wrote the report recommended another CT scan in six months to see if anything changed.

After the chest pressure incident, the family doctor ordered an Echocardiogram. The results of that test were quite normal.

I may update this post over the next couple of days when we figure out what’s to be done next with regard to the lungs. I may also update with a report on the cataract surgery.

UPDATE: OK here’s the first addition to this post - I visited the Pulmonologist (lung specialist) today who reviewed the suspicious CT scans and pronounced them “no big deal.” He wants to test me for Valley Fever (a common ailment in the southwestern US) but other than that he says to come back in a year to see if the little nodules in my lungs are doing anything like growing. Praise God!

UPDATE 2: It’s been over a couple of weeks since the cataract lens replacement in my left eye. I’m happy to say that it went well and the new lens is functioning perfectly. I am still using eye drops per the ophthalmologist’s direction for another week. The second surgery is scheduled for mid-October. There are complications in the right eye that I will post about later. Thank God again for a good outcome!

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Cabela is Twelve Today

Cabela is Twelve TodayToday, our elder dog, Cabela, is approximately twelve years old. I say that since when we adopted her from the Humane Society here in town, she was estimated to be about two years old but her actual birth date was unknown. That was ten years ago this month at the time we were having our Arizona house built.

Cabela is probably a pure bred miniature pinscher “blue” but we have no history on her other than she was found near the rodeo grounds up in Constellation Park here in Wickenburg. We figure she was cropped and bobbed by her original owners who managed to let her run off somehow. I pity their loss. At the same time, we feel fortunate to have this little dog despite her high-strung personality and a tendency to bark at most everything. She truly must think she’s ten feet tall and bullet proof.

At twelve, Cabela shows few signs of growing old. She is quite active, can still jump and run at full speed and when on a leash can drag “The Daddy” along to where she wants to go. Despite being headstrong, she can be a nice companion here at home and still sleeps on the bed with us, sometime stealing the covers. She is quite the character and we love her.

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Completing Another Trip Around the Sun

77-no-shadow.png

The Gothic Script above is the translation of Seventy-Seven (literally seven and seventy) as I recall from my high school (der Hochschule) German Classes. I took two years of “Die Deutche Sprache” as my language credit towards graduation. I made the graphic posted above for the occasion of my turning 77 this month.

“Ich habe zwei jahre in der Hochschule die Deutche Sprache gelernt” which, I’ve been told is grammatically correct for “I have learned two years of the German language in high school.” Truth be told and in 20-20 hindsight, I would have been better off taking Spanish in school, given the places I lived and the fact that Español is primarily the language spoken by most illegal invaders of America these days.

As for the birthday, I am happy to say that whatever ailments I may have or had seem to be in remission and we can cope with those minor things that generally prevail with age. I thank GOD for His blessings. We may make it to octogenarian temporal territory after all.

On another topic, last evening I witnessed the apparition of the comet NEOWISE, currently visible above the western horizon after sundown. I resolved the fuzzy coma and a fair amount of the gaseous tail using a pair of 10x Image Stabilizing Canon Binoculars. Unlike Comet HALE-BOPP of 1997, this comet was difficult to see, even with the optical aid. NEOWISE is not as bright as HB97 and not easily seen with the naked eye. Despite the relative dimness, many amateur and professional astrophotographers are getting some great imagery and posting the pictures online.

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Night Blooming Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

Night Blooming Cactus Flowers

Our Argentine Giant (Echinopsis candicans) offered these two beautiful flowers last evening. This is the second blooming on this cactus this year. Since we purchased this cactus in 2011 and planted it in front of the house, it has reliably given us flowers every year. This year, it is also starting to grow “pups,” which are the three buds seen near the base of the cactus in the image at the left above. This variety of cactus spreads out as it ages with several pups, each eventually producing flowers.

About Argentine Giant from Wikipedia:

Echinopsis candicans has a shrubby growth habit, with individual stems up to 60 cm (24 in) tall. The plant as a whole can be as much as 3 m (10 ft) across. The stems are light green, with a diameter of up to 14 cm (5.5 in) and have 9–11 low ribs. The large white areoles are spaced at 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) and produce brownish yellow spines, the central spines being up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long, the radial spines only up to 4 cm (1.6 in).

The fragrant white flowers open at night. They are large, up to 19 cm (7.5 in) across and 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) long.

Summer is not over by a long shot and there are more desert flowers to come. Stay tuned.

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Tropical Weather Activity

Tropical Storm CristinaAs we enter mid-July, the tropics are busily producing waves of disturbances and low pressure systems both in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Pictured is Tropical Storm Cristina in the Eastern Pacific currently moving westward and away from Mexico. We also have Tropical Storm Fay which is currently dumping moisture on the Northeastern US and Canada.

Image: T.S. Cristina (courtesy NOAA and GOES West). Click on the image to enlarge.

While Fay is drenching areas of New Jersey, Delaware, New York and beyond, Cristina poses no weather threat to land areas although it could still develop into hurricane force and dangerous to shipping in the 15° to 25° N latitudes in the Eastern Pacific. The storm is drifting westward at a rate of about fifteen knots.

The only effect Cristina is having on us here in the middle of Arizona is a few high clouds. We have summertime temperatures here for sure with forecast highs in the 110-117° F. range for the weekend. We almost wish the storm would make a hard right turn and bring us some monsoon weather, but I guess monsoons will be coming sooner or later without the help of T.S. Cristina.

In other news, we have been doing genealogy research here and have been discovering some interesting things about our ancestors. We now know that we had several ancestors who were in the military for the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War (on both sides of it). We already knew about our grandparents and parents involvement in WW1 and WW2.

We also submitted a DNA sample and found out our roots from a general ethnic standpoint. The results dispelled a family rumor that we had Native American ancestors, which proved not to be the case. We have DNA in common with English, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch and Swedish ancestors with a possibility of some other European lineage thrown in the mix.

The DNA result also proved that I’m related to other family members who also submitted samples: a nephew (my brother’s son) and a granddaughter (my daughter’s daughter). The DNA also shows we’re linked to other users of the service, most of whom we don’t know nor care much about (fourth to eighth cousins twice removed?). Some of those are sort of interesting in understanding the family tree, but we don’t especially want to dig any far distant relatives out of the woodwork at this point.

We are still sorting out facts and hints in the family tree (from a pedigree point of view) and are halfway through our third great grandparents level (of which there are 32 potential ancestors). I will post something further on this if I discover an ancestor built the Brooklyn Bridge or something of similar magnitude.

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Happy 4th of July!

Town Flags

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Damsel) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Damsel prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America - may she keep on going strong!

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