DISAGREEING WITH LIKABLE CANDIDATES

After watching the Democratic debates, I find myself disagreeing with the three most likable candidates.

I really like Pete Buttigieg.  I think he has the perfect style befitting a president of the United States.  He’s cool, calm and collected.  He’s intelligent and articulate.  He appears to be kind, tactful and diplomatic. And, I’m proud he’s a fellow Hoosier.  But do I agree with his proposed policies?  Not so much.  Here are his policies I don’t like:   open borders, popular vote.  I like the idea of Medicare for all, but don’t think it’s  economically feasible right now.  Maybe later.

Mayor Pete came into the debate as a lightweight underdog, but came across as a classy intellectual
Mayor Pete came into the debate as a lightweight underdog; he came out as a classy intellectual

Obviously, an octogenarian’s opinion  such as mine will not be mainstream.  Most Democrats seem to like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but they strike me as far too strident.  When Bernie starts shouting and waving his arms, I’m afraid he’s about to have a stroke.  Elizabeth is a fireball speaker, but somehow, I don’t trust her.   Even Canada doesn’t offer a free college education for all.  I can’t imagine how we would pay for that, or all the money that would be wasted on kids who don’t want a college degree so much as a free ride for four years.

Biden?  Way past his time.  And, I don’t like his touchy-feely-smelly style with women.  Kamilla Harris?  I don’t see a former prosecutor as presidential material. The way she attacked  Biden  during the  first debate may have been her break out moment, but I think it was mean spirited  and uncalled for.

Booker and Gabbard have that likability factor

Besides Buttigieg, I like the way Tulsi Gabbard says it like she sees it—but her plan to pull out of Afghanistan is worrisome.    Cory Booker  reminds me of a better looking Obama.  He’s got that spark, but his  minimum wage plan is myopic.  $15 an hour in my city would result in a much different  lifestyle than in The Big Apple.

After watching the Democratic debates on television, my top likability picks are Booker, Buttigieg and Gabbard.   But if I ever met them face to face, we’d have to agree to disagree.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SWEET CORN

This July was  a bummer for sweet corn in Indiana.     Just a couple years ago, there were farm stands all over the city, with piles of corn just picked that morning. You didn’t have to wonder if it was fresh, because you knew the guy who sold it, and trusted his college age kids who were bagging it and ringing up your sale.

It’s been a bad year for Hoosier farmers.   It rained so long and hard that they  weren’t able to plant corn in May.  Even at the first of June, the ground was still too wet.  They were finally  able to plant in the middle of June, but this was not good news for corn lovers.  The grocery stores had sweet corn over  the 4th of July,  but they imported  it from someplace else, and it was old and starchy.

Seet corn should be fresh picked and cooked for 10 minutes
Serving good sweet corn starts with choosing fresh ears, then cooking to perfection

Serving a delicious ear of corn  on the cob is a two step process.  First, and most important, is making sure that the corn you buy is fresh.  If it’s not, don’t even bother putting it in your basket. I’m always surprised at supermarkets that  sell sweet corn with dried husks and moldy tassels.  More surprisingly is that people will buy it.  Do they not know how good sweet corn should look, and taste?  You don’t just buy sweet corn, you choose it.  The husks should be green and almost damp to the touch, not dry, shriveled, or slightly yellow.

Fresh sweet corn is a heavenly treat, especially when cooked to perfection and slathered with honey butter.  Once you’ve purchased your ears of corn, you must know how to cook it. Over boiling will make it hard and starchy, so it pays to use a timer.  Boil  between 4 and 10 minutes.  

 Sweet corn on the cob is a perfect accompaniment to any entrée—especially salmon.  And it’s easy on the cook.  No peeling of potatoes or steaming of rice.  It’s one of the best things about summer.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T MOW YOUR GRASS?

Most people who live in a house with a yard mow their lawns..   But what about those who won’t?  in my city, lax code enforcement procedures actually encourage lazy property owners.  The officers are supposed  to patrol the city and find violations.   But in fact, they sit back and wait to receive a complaint before taking any action.  Shouldn’t they be more aggressive?   What if you don’t mow your grass.?

MANY CITIES IMPOSE STEEP FINES ON THOSE WHO DON’T MOW THEIR LAWNS

If you contact Code Enforcement here about someone’s overgrown lawn, the department will issue a citation which says they’ve received a complaint.    This creates a tense situation between neighbors.   Consequently, very few people will call to complain about their neighbor’s yard. Anyone driving around  our town will see numerous empty houses  and vacant lots with sky-high grass and weeds.  One housing developer, located directly across from a beautiful park, is allowed to let tall weeds proliferate on  acres of land.

Other towns have more pride in the appearance of their city.   This year, In  Dunedin Florida,  one man was fined $30,000 for not mowing his lawn

https://www.tampabay.com/pinellas/dunedin-fined-a-man-30000-for-tall-grass-now-the-city-has-foreclosed-on-his-home-20190508/

Many cities impose fines, liens, and even foreclosure on property owners who refuse to mow their grass.

https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/landscaping/fines-liens-foreclosure-refuse-mow-lawn/

Along our street,  one  able bodied homeowner has been reported to Code Enforcement more than once for letting weeds and grass grow way beyond the allowed 8 inches.  Obviously, this  devalues all of the surrounding property.  You would think this individual would be on probation, or on a list of problem homeowners.  But apparently, the agency has no follow up procedures.  This homeowner continues to violate city codes –mowing only when he chooses– with no apparent  repercussions or penalties imposed.

If code enforcement officers  in this town can’t get up from their desks,  they should at least make it easier for those who complain.  Anyone should feel free to report a problem anonymously, without fearing reprisals from an angry neighbor.

You would think the Economic Development department might take a stand on lax code enforcement.  A city that takes no pride in its appearance isn’t appealing to new business.  In fact, our city has been steadily losing population for decades.

There are times when a homeowner is going through a bad time due to illness,   disability or family problems.  In this case, kindly neighbors might volunteer to help out with the yard work.  Most would be glad to do whatever it takes to maintain the appearance of their neighborhood.

Lax code enforcement is bad for the city,  bad for economic development,  and bad for homeowners who spend money and effort to maintain their property.

WHY DID RUSSIA DO IT, & HOW?

Now that we’ve endured endless hours of Mueller’s testimony before Congress,  we know for sure that Russia interfered in our election.  The question is: Why did Russia back Trump, and how ?  You have to dig pretty deep to find out.

why putin hated clinton
Putin hated Clinton for interfering in his 2011 election

Back in 2011 , when  Prime Minister Putin was running for President,  then Secretary of State Clinton interfered with his election bid against a guy named Medvedev.   It seems she bet on the wrong horse.  Putin won, and he’s held a grudge against Hillary ever since.  I think it’s important for Americans to understand why Putin didn’t want her to win. .    https://time.com/4422723/putin-russia-hillary-clinton/

Speaking from personal experience, I can remember many Facebook advertisements  slamming Clinton and supporting  Trump.  I saw them as spam.  I was annoyed when Facebook allowed  all of these unwanted posts on my page. Why aren’t they  now sharing some of the blame for what happened?  It was quite obvious that someone had it in for Clinton.  Are we supposed to believe Facebook executives  didn’t know the origin of these posts?

The media has led us to believe that Trump was doing something illegal by trying to establish a hotel in Moscow.  If that is true, what about the other 3,000  American companies that currently do business in Russia?  My former brother in law was with a big accounting firm that  had an office in Moscow over 30 years  ago. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/08/03/headline-halah-t/#6db933635f99

After listening to hours of tedious testimony by Mueller in the hearings this week, It seems to me that it was all much ado about nothing.  As FBI agent Peter Storzok said in his famous e mail, “ I’m afraid there’s no there , there.”

Let’s stop wasting money on this investigation that means very  little to the average American.   Why doesn’t Congress focus their efforts on lowering prescription drug prices,  cleaning up the mess at the border, improving our crumbling infrastructure, and changing the way we grant student loans?

Get to work, guys.

ARE BAREHEADED CYCLISTS SELFISH?

My first day on the job as a hospital dietitian many decades ago was memorable. One of the patients I saw while making rounds was a young man paralyzed from the neck down.  The nurses said he had been in a motorcycle accident.  He was handsome, well built, with curly blonde hair.  And he would never walk again. This was not only a tragedy for him, but for his family, and the health care providers who would have to take care of him for the rest of his life.  So now, when I see a motorcyclist without a helmet, I can’t help but wonder: Are cyclists who refuse to wear helmets selfish and/or irresponsible?

INDIANA IS ONE OF TWO STATES IN THIS COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T HAVE A HELMET LAW

In most states, the law requires cyclists to wear helmets.  But not in my state.     In Indiana, it’s unusual to see motorcyclists wearing helmets.  Often, a male passenger will have a female on the seat behind him, hair blowing in the wind.  They look free and happy.  While I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle, I envy the joy they must feel as they embrace the outdoors with abandon.  And, I can understand why they prefer not to wear helmets.

Their counterparts in Amsterdam would agree.  https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/why-dutch-dont-wear-helmets.html  Accidents involving cyclists are rare, because it’s a smaller country where people don’t drive crazily.

But, in fact, traveling without a helmet on a motorcycle in the US and  other countries has been proven unsafe.   An international study concluded that the “protective effect of helmets was about a 42 percent reduction in risk of death in a crash and 69 percent for risk of a head injury in a crash.”

https://www.cochrane.org/CD004333/INJ_helmets-are-shown-to-reduce-motorcyclist-head-injury-and-death

Back to the hospital where I worked.   Once, a nearby nursing home was flooded, and had to be evacuated. Our hospital took  about twenty of the most critical patents.  Of those patients, three were  permanently disabled victims of motorcycle accidents,  who would live out their lives while Medicaid paid for their care.   I’m not sure whether wearing a helmet would have saved these men from this fate, but since head injuries are the most frequent cause of death and disability while driving a motorcycle, it would seem that a couple of these tragic situations could have been avoided.

I’ve never tried on a motorcycle helmet, and I’m sure they can be somewhat annoying.  But it seems to me a small price to pay to save one’s family from the heartbreak of caring for a brain damaged loved one.

7 THINGS YOU NEEDN’T DO AFTER 80

     1. Host holiday meals.   No one expects you to do that much work anymore.  If your children can’t do it, there’s always carry out from the supermarket.

   2. Get your teeth capped.  At this age, you’re lucky to have any of your original teeth at all.  Maybe they’re a little crooked and stained, but they’re yours.

     3. Go to church every Sunday.  Organized religion is the reason we have a civilized society, so I’m not knocking it,   But by the age of eighty, our own moral compass is set,  and we don’t particularly need spiritual direction.  If we want to go for fellowship and inspiration, that’s great.  But sometimes, we’d rather just stay home on Sunday mornings.

     4. Keep  up with the Joneses.  There was a time when we  envied our more fortunate neighbors. We wanted a bigger house, a newer car, and a more exciting social life.  Now, we’re satisfied  just to be in familiar surroundings and able to get around. Half the people we once envied are either dead or disabled.  Traveling is a hassle and we don’t have the energy to go places and do  the things we once craved. .

After 80, you can stop worrying about what other people think
Eleanor Roosevelt had her own moral compass; she didn’t care what other people thought

5. Care what other people think.  As long as you ’re not hurting anyone, you can feel free to express your opinion , even if it’s politically incorrect.  Your  kids may cringe, and you  might make some people mad, but that’s their problem, not yours.   Anyway, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “ you wouldn’t  worry so much about what others  think of you if you  realized  how seldom they do.” ”

     6. Read  self help books.   You  aren’t going to be any more attractive, successful, confident and sane than you are right now.  This is as good as it gets.  You’ve  done a lot of changing over the years.  In fact, you aren’t the same person you  used to be.   .\https://www.huffpost.com/entry/personality-changes-age_n_58ac6736e4b02a1e7dac16b3  But after 80 , you’re pretty much a done deal.

   7. Improve your game.  Whether it’s golf, tennis, bowling or racquetball, you probably aren’t going to set any new records. .Just relax, and enjoy the exercise.

Finally, you no longer need to worry about an early demise.

7 THINGS TO DO DURING A HEATWAVE

One good thing about this hot weather.  It’s given the media something to talk about besides politics. Instead, they’re scaring people with dire warnings about what might happen.   It’s almost as if  we’re facing an attack from outer space. Most octogenarians  have survived many heatwaves. This is not our first rodeo.   Assuming  that you live in air conditioning, and you’re smart enough not to run around outside, here  are 7 things to do during a heat wave.

     1. Walk around a big box store.  Mall walking peaked out about five years ago.  But now, malls are like a graveyard.  It’s dreary and depressing to see the demise of your favorite stores like Macy’s.   Big box stores are spacious and very cool.  You can easily walk a mile, and it’s fun to meander through the aisles and find new products.  Last week I came home with green jalapeno jelly and spiced peaches.

     2. Sleep in the buff.. You may think this is the height of debauchery.  But if you’re over eighty, you don’t have to worry about the kids seeing you naked.   It’s much cooler, and you don’t have bunched up pj’s or a nightgown waking you up at night.

     3. Start a decluttering project. I began at this time last July https://livingwellafter80.com/decluttering-diary-day-one/and wasn’t finished until November!   It gives you a productive way to spend your time indoors.  Much more satisfying than watching television.

     4. Get creative. Write a blog.  Paint a picture. Needlepoint a pillow.  Get  out that old guitar and write a song. Make a YouTube video.

     5. Clean your refrigerator and freezer. This cool task won’t make you sweat.

     6. Weed out your photo album. I don’t know about you, but my cell phone and computer are loaded with photos I will never look at again.  It’s a tedious task going through them and deciding which ones to eliminate, but it gives you something to do while you’re shut up inside in air conditioning.

A cool, fresh smoothie makes a great summer meal
Start with some Greek yogurt,add 3 or 4 fruits, and whip up a cool smoothie in the blender

7. Whip up a cool refreshing , healthy smoothie.  I start with half a cup of Greek yogurt, then add 3 or 4 pieces, each, of fresh or frozen fruit: Try different combinations of banana,  blueberries, oranges, grapes, pineapple, mango, peaches etc.  If my smoothie tastes a bit sour, a handful or grapes or a few pineapple chunks will sweeten it up.

Finally, you might download  you tube music “HeatWave,” , and listen to Irving Berlin’s popular song  from the thirties  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5PpCCfhBhY

Irving Berlin wrote "Having A Heat Wave:in 1933
We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave

Oh! We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave
The temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising,
She certainly can  the can-can
She started a heatwave by letting her seat wave,
In such a way that the customers say
That she certainly can can-can