Archive for the ‘Opinions and Observations’ Category

This is a continued story and will make more sense if you start with the first post: https://midimike.com/2019/01/25/a-long-road-with-an-end-in-sight/.

The next post can be found here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/

I would never see these new friends again. I was a kid to them and although I had smoked marijuana for a long time, I had never gotten stoned. (I recall hearing a debate people were having years ago and someone mentioned that doctors should not prescribe pain killers for chronic pain because people would become addicted. The counter was that people did not feel the euphoric effects; it barely countered the constant state of pain. That is probably a crude analogy, but I knew others would laugh or be silly or energetic after smoking. I just felt ‘normal’ or calm).

Where young boys I knew wanted to get crazy drunk or party in other ways, I had the carry-over from my experience with medications and did not want to feel jelloed out, drunk or not in control.

For the first time I actually got ‘hi’. From that moment on I would feel the effects of smoking pot. I now understood why some of my good friends would smoke. There seemed to be additional benefits for me. Win – Win.

Symptoms slowly change as we get older. Early on I had forced myself into paying attention to my allergies. I watched what I ate and drank… What materials I was near… Where there any pets around?… Avoid dramatic changes in temperature, dust, exertion, perfumes, hairspray………………… carpet or drapes in my bedroom. Clean. Dust-free. That alone made me an unusual kid LOL. Eventually I could control the most basic triggers. I reduced the number of attacks and hospital visits. It also reduced the number of places I could go and feel comfortable. I could rarely visit with friends or relatives at their place and tried to avoid events or invitations if one of the many sources of my allergies could be present. Thinking just now, this might be an early influence that pushes me toward being introverted and wanting the life of a hermit. I thought it was 40 years of dealing with the general public in a sales/customer service role. Who knew?

The road has changed and the path is clearer. Now, where do we go next?

To be continued once more.

One night I was struggling with the towel over my head breathing in the incense-like vapors. My older brother David walked by and mentioned that it smelled a lot like marijuana. I was not familiar with his reference at the time. So when I was feeling better he filled me in on what pot was and that it was illegal but lots of people thought it was fun to do.

A few years later I was walking around in the city parks on a hot summer day (as I have a tendency to do). I met friends hanging out on the hill side and stopped to talk. One pulled out a joint and asked me if I wanted some. No personal experience here, but I knew more than years ago so I said sure. Almost immediately I felt comfortable and not scared or worried. After smoking I did not feel ‘buzzed’ or ‘stoned’ or ‘hi’. In fact, I felt almost nothing. Almost.

For almost a year I smoked marijuana and never did get the affects people talked about. At this point you are probably asking, ‘well, then why did you continue to smoke the stuff?’. I am not a doctor and even if I was US laws prevent doctors from testing pot. But when I smoked I felt relaxed. It reduced the panic I felt not only during an asthma attack but also doing things that were known to trigger them. During an attack I quickly calmed down after smoking it and I could lose my concentration on trying to breathe and focus on other things that did not make me panic. I stopped taking the other medications and tests.

After about a year I walked around a small pond at another local park and like a number of other people and animals….. I started walking in the shallow pool to cool down and enjoy the day. As I mentioned, there were a number of people and animals in the water at the time the police drove by, but only four people were pulled out and threatened with being “taken in”. Looking back I should not have been surprised that each of us ‘criminals’ were young and had long hair.

After the police men finally let us go (while others were still walking in the waters) I naturally started chatting with the others. They asked me if I wanted to hang out with them. I did not drive yet so I joined them on a beautiful day. They drove around and one of them mentioned wanting to get stoned. They were older than I was (college kids, I think) and they took really good care of me and checked to make sure I was OK. We stopped by one of their friends houses and bought some hash. I was not familiar with this but basically the same stuff only concentrated. We drove to their house, put on some music and then they got out the pipe.

That was when things really changed. The road got a little bit shorter that day, but the story continues.

In the 1960’s as a preteen I started to develop allergic reactions. At first it was not obvious but when I was tested, (I don’t know if they still do it the same way, but when things got really bad I went to a hospital for an allergy test. They take samples of allergens (30 or so?) and place each one on a separate ‘pin” on a bed of nails. OK, I could not see it but that is the result. Each pin stabs you in the back with a sample. If that area gets red or irritated, they look up the corresponding pin and tell you what you are allergic to and what to avoid, etc.) they could not see an area on my back that was not welted up. The doctors and nurses jokingly said I was allergic to everything. So the road starts.

In my early teen years the allergies continued and reactions got worse. I started having breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with bronchial asthma (among other things – another story). If unfamiliar, from a child’s point of view it is like having an elephant sit on your chest while you are trying to breathe. Your air pipes literally swell up from the reaction to irritants and allergens. Restrictions in your throat cause a wheezing sound that can be terrible to witness. You can’t run, play, climb or laugh. They only make things worse. After an hour or so of this you start to get scared and that is when things explode. The fear causes panic so you can’t breathe. Oh, wait a minute; you already couldn’t breathe! The child is just not strong enough to lift the elephant off their chest. As it progressed I would be gasping for more than a day and would eventually pass out from exhaustion. Sometimes I would wake up doing much better. Some times not.

From what I have been told, the difficulty is not getting air IN to you lungs when having and asthma attack; It is that your lungs are full and you can’t empty them to get a fresh breath of air. So you get enough oxygen to keep you in a state of panic.

The medications at the time included prescriptions, injections and inhalants. I was given something that sounds like “phenobarbital”?? It made me feel like jello stretched in both directions. I admit it may have reduced the number of attacks but as a preventive medicine taken daily I could not take it any more. I felt like a zombie all the time and I hated not being in control of my own body. The other remedy was inhalants.

I am not sure if the inhalers you see today were available back then or if it was very expensive but they did have a product that I remember being called Asthmador? Not sure and not worth fact checking, lol. It was like incense that you would burn and drape a towel over your head so you could breathe in all of the smoke. I am not sure if it helped much at all, but when things got really bad I would use it. Things got bad more often. Molds, mildew, dust, pollen, animals, certain foods and more were everywhere and I was not really sure what to avoid. Middle of the night hospital runs to the emergency room were common. Missing school and activities became routine. I kept walking down this really long road and found out a lot about what was to come as I traveled.

To be continued.

MSK 3
MSK 1
MSK 2

See Part 1 by clicking here: https://midimike.com/2019/02/01/the-long-road-behind-continued/

                                                                                            ©   MSK 11/27/2018

It is difficult to live in a world

Where those in power commit as many crimes in the name of faith as the poor in the name of survival.  The powerful might be among the poor in church but they don’t cross paths in the prisons or become enslaved in debt. 

It is difficult to live in a world

Built on privilege and inherited blessings that can last through the ages. Maybe at some point your ancestors did something right and earned – or stole – the fortunes you rely on.  It is frightening to think how that power can be wielded with malice.  If absolute power corrupts absolutely, imagine the impact of guaranteed absolute power your entire life.

It is difficult to live in a world

That allows greed and profit to drive one amazing creature after the other to extinction.  Not so far away now there is a real possibility we will create mankind’s own doom.  Weapons are easily financed.  The world quickly filled with needy and desperate people living in cities of ash and poisoned air, but we will be the rulers of it all.

It is difficult to live in a world

You can only survive by closing your eyes and pretending ignorance is bliss.  Knowledge is spreading and more accessible but even at this rate there is no way to keep up with propaganda, lies and distortions manufactured so easily today.  Trust no one.  Believe no one.  Agree with no one.  The powerful have won again, and will be rulers of it all.

Letter 307

On-street-parking.  I know I will get a lot of kick-back for this one but I think we should end on-street-parking.  Even in residential and business districts.  Safety issues, snow clearance, traffic flow, and maintenance costs come to mind immediately.  I know many areas do not have much parking space for residents and there are more multiple car families than in the past.  Businesses also benefit if customers can park right in front of their stores.  But I am not sure this is worth blocking local traffic including emergency vehicles, utility companies, snow plows and the like in areas easily affected by weather, accidents, building fires and a host of other challenges.

Still, if we are planning a city or community, let’s plan on eliminating this practice entirely.  Just think how much this would ease congestion, improve safety, reduce city road maintenance costs, allow for emergency vehicles and unexpected weather or unusual events and improve the look and health of our streets and neighborhoods.

Let me know what you think.  What would you suggest to your city planners?

Letter 306

Here are two little things that bug me about traffic patterns and planning.  Maybe it is just me, but if I am driving in residential or even business areas where there are a lot of intersections, I think it is weird and dangerous when you come to an intersection but the traffic coming from a dead-end street does not have to stop.  This seems to happen a lot where a main road ends in cul de sacs where the “dead-end” is only one block long.  Not much traffic comes from there and it is easy to miss the fact that on-coming traffic has no stop sign.

The second minor thing is when you have multiple lanes of road or entry ramps to a highway where the lanes merge and signs say the left lane ends!  Again this does not make logical sense.  Merging traffic in the US comes in from the right lane the vast majority of the time.  The right lane is the slow or merge/exit lane.  Faster traffic is encouraged to use the left lanes, implying they have priority.  Why tell a priority lane that the lane ends…… merge into the right lane……. and sometimes when you reach the end of the entry ramp you have to merge left again?   These little things just bug me from time to time.DSC_0010

Letter # 305 

I like to drive around cities and country sides.  It becomes obvious after a bit of traveling that some cities are better planned and have more logical systems in place than others.  I would love to have the ear of some city planners because it is clear they do not PLAN for growth and other transportation needs early enough.  I would like to share some of my thoughts with you, and hopefully you will share yours here as well.  Who knows, maybe we can get the attention of a few city planners while we are it!

One thing I would really like to see changed is the location of many schools.  I know there are good reasons, but all too often they are located on the main strip through towns of all sizes.  I thought about posting pictures as examples, but we have all seen them.  My guess is this makes the land rather expensive for all tax payers.  Or to look at it another way, the land is of commercial value and interest to local businesses.  A number of businesses could pay fair price for the prime locations and exposure the real estate could provide and that would translate to higher tax collected and business success in the area.

Now consider if the schools would be located a few blocks away from “the main drag” going through town.  Your children will be safer crossing the streets and playing in the area due to reduced traffic around the school.  People that are not supposed to be there would be more obvious if they are loitering around the area.  This would reduce risk to students.

Now that the school is not on the main road, traffic flow will be improved by not restricting speeds in school zones, reducing congestion in parts of town most people will have to travel through daily or at least quite often.  I understand this might mean a loss of revenue by reducing speeding violations through school zones, but I think we can live with that!

What do you think?  Do you see more reasons to adopt this policy?  Do you think there are reasons or situations where this would not be beneficial?

Let me know what bothers you about travel through your city and in other locations.  Who knows, maybe we can suggest changes that will help a lot of people.

I drift in thought again as I look out the home office window.  I send my wife a text while she is at work.   “… odd seeing daffodils and green grass with heavy snow fall mid-April ….”

For decades we have been feeding corn and seeds to the local white-tailed deer that live in an ever decreasing amount of free land near our house.  They have flourished here for many, many years.  I used to think they would be here long after I die.  I fear now that they will soon be forced out or killed and will no longer stop by in the spring after giving birth to their young.  Each generation bringing their new-born to our picnic tables.  We recognize familiar ones and watch them grow: then disappear.

We have witnessed within the span of a generation urban sprawl and light pollution making stars all but invisible.  My new grandson will probably have to travel many miles as a man to see constellations light up the night sky.  So few in his generation will actually see the Milky Way – from Earth.

So much beauty and wonder reduced to vague dreams or myths heard only in old folk’s tales.  How many wonderful things will will soon be gone forever?  Maybe worse; people will not even know what has been lost.

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Recently I was thinking about a work incident.  Not to go into details, but there were so many lessons to learn.  A co-worker with some minor authority over me tried to get me to ‘sacrifice something’ so that they could ‘benefit’.  There was no real reason that I could connect to this request – except that they thought they should get preferential treatment because they deserved it.

When I refused with a simple but unmistakable rejecting statement, the ‘bully’ came out.  Intimidation, threatening, and harassing behavior flew rapidly in my direction.

I am a rather easy person to get along with.  I do not get into gossip, rumors or status.  I just want to do my job, have a little fun if I can, and go home.  Sometimes that is not possible, and the occasional confrontation will creep in.  If personal friction happens, I will usually smooth it over and try to let it affect me as little as possible.  I would rather forget it and start fresh the next time I meet the other person.  But this time I wondered about being that passive and easy-going.  Was I improving things?  Did it make the day or life in general better?  Does it really help to let people take advantage of my flexible attitude and/or position in life?

I came to the conclusion that it did not help or improve things at all.   If I let a bully succeed at threatening, intimidating and harassing me, they will take their successful strategy and slam it on the next guy or girl.  As a friend of mine put it; I am more likely to speak up if someone else becomes a victim than if I do.  In some way to connect to the #metoo movement without being insensitive to that real concern, I needed to find not just the ability but the benefit in raising my voice.  I went to company admins and filed a formal complaint.  Doing nothing and ‘rolling with the punches’ does not and should not always work.  At some point I learned I needed to speak up and highlight an event that in my age I could brush off easily, knowing others might not have the ability to defend or endure the hostile environment.

Is there a reason they feel so privileged and deserving of what others are denied?

I wonder why so many people in power feel it is OK to mistreat others.

Why do they think they can get away with this kind of behavior?

 

Because historically: they can.

I would like to break from history and change the future.

 

I heard the other day that about 10% of people are left-handed.  This generated a few thoughts that I have been rolling around in my head.  I have been surrounded by lefties most of my adult life.  Sometimes I get confused and try to do things like a left-handed person would.  It usually does not work out very well!

Now, think about 10% of the population that most people perceive to be ‘backwards’.  In schools when I was growing up and long before, educators would try to ‘correct’ what they saw as defiant, wrong, defective, backwards (and the implied stupidity). Many teachers and nuns would crack a ruler over your knuckles if you used the ‘wrong hand’, or did not correctly follow instructions on how to do a particular task.

Unfortunately in this day of political extremism, I see many similarities.  Think of one party as left-handed and the other as right-handed.  I will let you choose which one is which for this analogy.  For many, many years the minority of left handed people were forced to conform.  This not only made them feel as if they were being unfairly punished but also made it almost impossible for them to excel and improve using their natural gifts.

When politics are split drastically, one group could dominate the other.  The traditions of the right-handers are forced onto the minority.  There is no concern or sympathy for the minority group and they will not be given the opportunity to voice their concerns let alone suggest alternative solutions.

So let’s pretend that over the last few years the number of left-handed people increased dramatically and now they are close to a majority.   The lefties are now teachers and policy makers themselves.  They encourage children to perform tasks that make use of their natural tendencies.  They pass laws giving them ‘permission’ to do what everyone else has done in the past – to be human.  They demand equal policies and fair treatment.

But the right-handers refuse to allow that to happen and believe it is their duty to fight changes every step of the way.  They see no need for change.  This does not help them at all and now they have to be ‘tolerant’ of these people.  They feel uncomfortable watching or learning from a leftie, and certainly do not want their children to become one. (OR MARRY ONE).  They twist the truth and use marketing techniques to discredit the opposition.  The Defense of Marriage Act is an example……. unnecessary as no one was attacking marriage or trying taking away any rights.  The people that were not allowed to marry needed defense against the majority.

Whether it is equal pay, marriage, educational opportunities, housing, jobs, criminal sentencing and a long list of other ‘privileges’, you cannot be a more perfect union and still deny these basic rights to minority groups.  Sure enough, one day they may be in the majority and will remember how they were treated in the past by those in power.

Left handed people are not trying to ‘convert’ you.  They are not trying to take something from you.  They are not denying or laughing at what you feel and believe.  They are not traitors or devils or the enemy.  They are human beings deserving of the same benefits in life the right handers have taken for granted.

I am a right-handed patriot and I approved this message.