Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bloggus is still sorta interruptus

Loyal Readers will remember that life here at The Freehold has, well, been forcibly reorganized due to the medical and other needs of an aging set of parents. While my parents have not gotten any younger, we are making some progress.

My Dad is doing much better. So much so, he's getting to be a bit much to try and deal with. Not impossible, just back to his normal, stubborn self. He wants to do everything for himself, even if it kills him. Luckily, I can reason with him if it's done in small doses, over time.

I've also been able to make certain improvements in his household. We now have most of the necessary, proper equipment to care for someone who is bedridden, as my Mother is. I've also managed to change her doctor to someone who doesn't have a bone through his nose. (Don't *even* get me started on her old doc. F'ing quack.)

My Mom's new doctor has already made some changes, including getting a physical therapist in to see if we can get her back on her feet, even just enough to get out of bed and into a wheelchair. That would be a huge improvement for her "quality of life" and make it a lot easier to care for her as well.

I have also persuaded my Dad that he needs much more help than before to care for my Mom (and keep an eye on him, although I haven't said so). And trust me, private duty CNAs are much less expensive that a service. (Buying factory direct as opposed to wholesale/retail, I suppose.) I now have a spy in place for 60 hours a week. That is quite a load off my mind and body, as well as his checkbook. He can support this expenditure for the foreseeable future, and he needs to. At 81, burning the candle at both ends just doesn't work.

Things are starting to settle into a new normal, although I expect more ups and downs as we progress.

I've been able to get some time (last Sunday in particular) to catch up on the home front. Right now, I'm just bone tired. Some of that is mental, some physical (lack of sleep, mostly) and some is just plain old stress. I've also been able to get back to work on a regular basis. Luckily, I have a lot of accrued leave time built up; at least I haven't missed any paychecks during this period.

Weather cooperating (they're calling for sleet, snow and ice Saturday and Sunday), I'm going to go to a gun show over the weekend. That will be a nice change and a big move toward resuming a regular life. Hopefully I can get back to doing some blogging on a more regular basis as well. Oh yeah, and sleep! I want to sleep an uninterrupted 8 hours once again before I die. :-)

Good night, all.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Damn.

Johnny Carson is dead at 79.

Damn. Damn, Damn, DAMN!

I started watching "The Carson Show" when I was a teenager, probably around 14. Then, I could only watch it during summer vacation. As I got older, I watched it more often. I always tried to catch the monologue, even if I couldn't watch the whole show.

When I finally decided to go to college (for the third time), I was usually able to arrange my schedule so that I could stay up late and watch the whole show. (That's one of the lessons I learned in college--you have to have your priorities straight.)

Because I was out of work during the summer of 1992, I was able to watch each and every show of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson during those final months. It was magic TV, even if it was sad watching the parade of true greats stopping by to bid Johnny a fond farewell.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing that has come on Monday-Friday at 11:30 PM to replace it, and I suspect nothing ever will.

Say it ain't so!

For many years, one of the eco-whatevers big issues has been to force us gas-guzzling unwashed off our vehicles and onto public (government supported, paid for with your tax dollars) transport. Given that any sort of centralized, scheduled transport is an abject failure when it is employed outside of major metropolitan areas (intercity/interstate/intercountry isn't what I'm talking about here), even when gas taxes cost more than the gas itself, their next choice was "cleaner" or "zero emission" vehicles.

Of course, anyone of moderate congnitive ability can see that there's a problem here. Let's take electric vehicles--the ones meant to run on batteries and recharge between trips. Outside of initial cost, limited range/speed and long term maintenance issues (battery replacement is expensive), there are several big pollution issues to deal with.

First, you create a lot of pollution just manufacturing the thing. Metals must be mined, refined and crafted, plastics refined and formed, etc. Second, there are those batteries--lots of batteries. Typically some sort of lead-acid type, these things are environmental disasters if not recycled properly. (They're merely dangerous if you do the job right.)

Second, you have to generate electricity to charge them. OK, the greenies say we can use wind and solar and other "renewable" methods to generate the juice. The problems with these are that the wind doesn't blow steadily everywhere and solar is unreliable and expensive on a large scale, outside of very specific geographic areas. Biomass might work, but methane stinks. (Don't believe me? Drive by a commercial chicken raising operation in high summer. Don't eat luch before this experiment. Trust me.) And all of these technologies generate huge NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) outpourings when someone is crazy enough to actually try employing them.

The current craze is hybrid cars and trucks, such as the Toyota Prius. My employer has one of the early versions of these, and while it drives just fine, there are some problems, such as the batteries again. I will admit it's an improvement over the all electrics, especially if your driving is mostly in the city. However, the greenies still aren't happy, since it burns evil petroleum products.

For some years, our ecologically-correct friends have been salivating over hydrogen power. Many folks, far smarter than yours truly, have tried pointing out that hydrogen has the same issues (minus the battery business) as the electric car (as Jerry Pournelle has put it so many times, there are no hydrogen wells), but hydrogen-powered vehicles have remained a Holy Grail (if those of the Earth Mother persuasion will permit me a religious reference).

Well, it seems that the critics are starting to get a hearing. FOXNews has this piece, short though it may be, on the problems. Perhaps we can save ourselves the next "this will save the planet" craze if we can just get some people to listen.