Long Time No See

Wow. Six days since my last post to Paul’s Thing. I’ll have to do better.

Along with an anxious nation, I followed the news of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s secret hospitalization. My interest was piqued by the mysterious “elective medical procedure” that landed him in the intensive care ward at Walter Reed. I don’t know about you, but when I think elective, it’s face lifts, breast enlargements, and penile implants that come to mind, things anyone might want to keep private. But surgery for prostate cancer? What’s to be ashamed of? And in what sense is it elective? Because technically you can refuse treatment and die?

When it comes to the crappy health insurance many Americans struggle to pay for, pretty much everything’s classified elective (and therefore not covered). Appendectomies. CPR. Heimlich maneuvers. Emergency thoracotomies. I’m so happy Donna and I have good coverage, one of the great benefits of a military career.

Speaking of which, our dermatologist found a lump by my left temple yesterday and sliced off a bit for a biopsy. She’s never been wrong about suspected skin cancers, so it’s almost certain I’ll be seeing her again soon.

Donna and I decided, after repeated dental insurance snafus, to do without in 2024. We’re setting money aside to pay for regular cleanings and hoping nothing major occurs. Both of us have visits scheduled this month and we’ll soon see how going it alone works out.

I’ve had pressurization failures in the F-15, but never a sudden explosive one. Those I’ve only experienced in the altitude chamber, and they’re scary as hell. No matter how slow or sudden the depressurization, the procedure engrained in every pilot’s brain is to haul ass down to 10,000 feet or lower. Why? Because you can breathe there. Easy enough in a fighter — just roll inverted and pull. Not so easy with a cabin full of passengers, but the Alaska Airlines crew was up to the task when the door plug blew off and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. They’re lucky it happened at 16,000 feet on climbout. Had it happened during cruise at 30,000-plus feet, decompression would have been far more violent, sucking out more than a shirt and a couple of cell phones.

Armchair experts are opining about quality control at Boeing, and I guess rightly so. The conventional wisdom is that Boeing began elevating profit over safety after merging with McDonnell-Douglas in the 1990s, the ugly implication being that McDonnell-Douglas built crappy planes and has now infected Boeing to the point it builds crappy planes too. I don’t believe that was ever true of McDonnell-Douglas fighters like my beloved F-15, a well-built aircraft in every respect. From all I hear, Boeing fighters coming off the line today (F/A-18s, F-15 export models and the USAF’s EX) are quality products. On the other hand, the KC-46 tanker, based on Boeing’s civil 767 airliner, has been plagued with quality control and design issues. Maybe there are different cultures in the company’s military and civil divisions.

I’ve been experimenting with Bluesky and Threads, the best-known alternatives to Twitter, but think I’m done. Done for sure with Twitter, which I left in October, closing my account and removing the app from my desktop, iPad, and iPhone. Probably done with the new platforms too.

Unlike Twitter (of old), where you could easily narrow down the tweets in your feed to those coming from people with whom you shared something — an interest in aviation or book banning, say — there doesn’t appear to be any way to tailor Bluesky or Threads. Imagine a crowded restaurant, clatter and crashes coming from the kitchen, muzak turned up to eleven, big screen TVs blaring in the bar, patrons shouting into cell phones. There’s no sense of community. Worse, both sites are swamped with sexbot scammers and Nazi wannabes trying to make the new platforms as bad as Musk has made Twitter. Threads, weirdly, is also full of posts from people pretending to be trans men and women (at least I think they’re pretending — their overwhelming presence on that platform is wildly out of proportion to their numbers in the general population).

As much as everyone belittles Facebook and Instagram, I feel part of a community there and plan to stay. Mastodon is home to a serious and somewhat self-righteous bunch of fediverse (whatever the fuck that means) Puritans and I’ve never felt welcome there, but will continue to let them know whenever I put up new blog posts. And wristwatch photos, just to mark my territory.

Our daughter Polly’s employed again, this time as an automotive service writer at a Walmart only a few miles from home. We’re hoping, as always, this job is the one that’ll work out. Keep your fingers crossed for her, okay?

Our old dachshund Mister B has had several incidents lately and we fear he’s becoming incontinent. It’s a thing with elderly dogs. We’re trying hard to stay on top of it, but can’t watch him 24/7. So far, it’s no worse than living in dog-loving Europe, where you always have to watch where you step.

Speaking of dogs, the outside temperature has finally crawled up into the 40s and it’s time I take the gang out for a walk. As I said at the top, I’ll try to post more often. Until next time …

stay fresh cheese bags

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge