The semi-annual checkup

I went back up to Tripler today for another exam by the ENT guys. They poked around and sent the fiberoptic laryngoscope down my nose, looking for any tumors or spots. They always spray an anesthetic up your nose before they run the scope in, and lemme tell you, once it drains into the back of your mouth it tastes awful.

The results were good again. It’s now been two years and eight months since my second oral surgery and everything continues to look just fine other than the doc saying one of my lymph nodes under the jaw is “squishy,” which he said was nothing to worry about. I don’t think looking up “squishy lymph node” on Google is going to get me anything helpful, do you?

Huckabee

This guy is no longer the charming bass-playing guy who ran for President back in 2008. Either he’s become a full-on right-wing nut job since then or he was that all along but he hid it better.

The Iran nuclear deal is equivalent to marching Israel “to the door of the oven.”

Er, aside from the revolting and ludicrous accusation, which country’s Presidency are you running for, Huck? Most Americans think you owe your allegiance to the USA if you want to be its leader. You seem to be saying you’d rather be in charge of Israel’s protection than ours.

Sights one sees

I went to the neighborhood barber shop this afternoon. There I saw a motorcyclist getting a foot of hair cut off (literally; the barber gave it to him to put into a plastic bag, presumably for Locks of Love or some similar charity). He then put on his leather jacket to cover up this t-shirt:
Physics

I had to hunt a little using Mr. Google, but it turns out that’s a shirt sold by the Physics Club of the University of Portland in Oregon back in the 2010-2011 academic year.

Neat, huh?

50 Years Ago Today

The crowd was startled, to say the least. Dylan only played three songs with a rock band backing him, but the legend of this performance lives on. Some say the crowd booed, some say otherwise. Some say Pete Seeger wanted to cut the power, others say no, he was frustrated by the microphone’s distortion. The controversy will probably live on as long as Dylan’s music does.

204 in 204

204 is the number of mass shootings in America in the first 204 days of 2015. So say the proprietors of the Mass Shooting Tracker, a database created by the people in the sub-Reddit community called GunsAreCool.

204 mass shootings! Not individuals shot by accident or even by design, but groups of people shot by one or more perpetrators!

This is unbelievable. Most of these don’t even get national attention. Take a look at any random week in the database and see if you’ve heard of those crimes.

Thank you, Wayne LaPierre and Charlton Heston of the NRA as well as all the leaders of the other gun promoters.

One-percenter runs true to form

Jeb Bush wants to phase out Medicare.

They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits,” Bush said. “But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything.”

This is no way to campaign for your party’s nomination, Jeb(!).

Besides the fact that most of the Republican party’s voters are older and thus either using Medicare already or about to become eligible to sign up for it, it’s a very popular program among all Americans.

In addition Bush is flat wrong on the facts. Yes, the program still has long-term financing difficulties, but those are now thirteen years further out than they were before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

Health reform has contributed significantly to Medicare’s improved financial outlook, boosting revenues and making the program more efficient. The HI trust fund is now projected to remain solvent 13 years longer than before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted. At 0.68 percent of taxable payroll, the HI program’s 75-year shortfall is far below the 3.88 percent that the trustees estimated before health reform.

Despite what we’ve always been told, Jeb Bush would appear to be as stupid or as poorly advised as his brother.

Poorer but safer, I guess

I got the Mini back this morning for the ridiculous price of $1,839.87. For that I got four new tires (they didn’t have three to match the one they put on in January, so they gave me a fourth free to replace it). I also got new front struts and a wheel alignment, and something else I can’t remember without looking at the bill, which is in the glove compartment.

The tire/mechanic place has a deal with a neighborhood car rental agency in which they’ll pay for a rental car (you buy the gas) if they have to keep your car for any length of time, so I found myself in a Hyundai Elantra yesterday afternoon and this morning. They call that thing a compact? It was a four-door sedan, for crying out loud.

I was driving it back to the agency this morning and found myself in an awful traffic mess. Apparently a cement truck dumped its load on the freeway going westbound, and the only road which I could take to get to the car rental place is also an alternate route to the freeway entrance. So what might take me 8 minutes during a normal day took me 25 minutes at 10:00 AM this morning, and I’m afraid I used a few bad words while I was traversing it.

I got there and dropped the car off and was given a lift down to the car repair place where I was able to retrieve the Mini with its new tires and its lovely silence when making turns. It hurt the wallet, though.

Expensive screeching noise

That’s what I hear when I turn my car’s steering wheel hard to the right or left. The shop says “We’ll put it on the lift and take a look. Might be control rods, might be suspension. Maybe it’s just a lubrication thing.”

At least the guy heard the same thing I did. That’s an improvement on the usual, when the customer hears a noise but it never recurs when you get to the mechanic.

Update: Expensive is the right word. Here’s the noise and its source: the front struts (click the right-hand radio button at the bottom for audio and video). Between that and three quickly-failing tires, we’re talking 1850 bucks.

Afternoon reading

I read this a zillion years ago but somehow lost or gave away my copy. It’s a 1954 book which appeared first in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, slightly abridged. The Star Beast is one of Heinlein’s juveniles, and it’s great fun. It holds up pretty well 60 years on, at least in part because there’s very little real “science” in this book. It’s a pet-and-owner tale.

StarBeast