Friday, May 27, 2022

Miracle Cures!


As a kid I was not politically correct with the naming of my grandmothers but my sisters and I were so very young when this naming started. My sisters and I called our grandmothers Big Grandma and Little Grandma. We never thought anything about it and we didn't mean any disrespect with it, it was just a young person's description of their grandmother. My dad's mother, Big Grandma was a large woman the entire time I knew her and my mother's mother, Little Grandma, probably weighed 100 pounds. Big Grandma was a lot taller than Little Grandma and so the names just fit and stuck. If I remember right, the reference to Big Grandma and Little Grandma was mainly between us kids and our parents and when we were actually in their presence we just simply called them Grandma. 

Big Grandma believed in a miracle cure that would cure anything that ailed you. She kept several bottles around the house and would dab it on any type of wound. She swore that if you cut off a finger you could soak it in her miracle cure and a new one would grow back! Her miracle alcohol! It smelled awful and looked terrible in it's milky white bottle up on the shelf. I avoided her putting any of it on me. Google says it may have a cleansing effect on minor cuts and scrapes. I would imagine that would burn like everything! I picture in my mind the old west shows where they would pour alcohol on a gunshot wound and the gunshot victim would scream like the alcohol was worse than the actual gunshot. Grandma, no thanks!

My dad had his own miracle cure. He also thought his cure could grow a new finger. His cure......Mercurochrome! Every time we got a cut, scrape or bite we would break out the bottle of Mercurochrome and use the stiff plastic applicator attached to the screw on lid to dab the red stuff on our wound. It would sting and it would dye your skin red. I think it had a nickname of "Monkey blood". Google says it was used as a mild antiseptic. Google also says it is not longer available in the US. The FDA decided there were two issues with it. One was that it contained Mercury which is no good for our body. The second issue was that it dyed your skin red and could mask an infection. I had a few doses of this stuff in my childhood. Thanks dad! I should have switched to grandma's miracle cure!

Another medicine we used the same a Mercurochrome was Campho-phenique. It was in a tiny green bottle and we used it mainly on mosquito and other insect bites. Thank goodness, there is no FDA issue with Campho-phenique.  

Do you remember any cures that your parents or grandparents swore by? Do you have any today that you tout as having healing powers? Just thinking about all this brings back memories of the cuts, scrapes and bruises that I had as a kid and all the awesome experiences that I had while obtaining said blemishes. 

Sunday, May 22, 2022


I attended the birthday party of my three year old granddaughter yesterday. She has been all into watching Spidey and Friends as one of her new favorite cartoons. Her party was Spidey themed and Spiderman himself made an appearance. Spiderman, an orphan boy bit by a radioactive spider who then becomes a superhero with super human strength and spider senses. My granddaughter loved her party and loved seeing Spiderman in real life. 

Superman, Spiderman, Batman, The Hulk and other super heroes have been with us since the 1930's. Superheroes bring wonder and a sense of hope to the world in difficult times. They first came on the scene after the Great Depression had begun. Captain America debuted in 1941 at the start of World War II with the first cover of the Captain America comic showing him giving a left hook to Hitler. Captain America was designed to give hope to the U.S. as it entered the war. Superheroes give people something to look up to as they go about their days battling the evil villains and upholding truth and justice. 

Today, superheroes are big business. Superhero movies have made billions of dollars at the box office. Marvel has cashed in over the last decade with numerous movies involving their superhero line of characters. America and the world love their Superman, Batman, Spiderman and other series of movies. I enjoy some of these movies and the on screen action that they bring. Kids of all ages love dressing as a superhero at Halloween and birthday parties. My son-in-law seemed to enjoy being Spiderman yesterday! I'm sure he felt a little "super" and powerful dressed in his red outfit.

As a kid, I was never into superheroes as much as some. I enjoyed the comics and I liked them pretty well, I just was not infatuated with them. My superhero, as I have said before, was Evil Knievel who could leap over cars and buses in a single bound. I had the Evil Knievel lunch box rather than a Superman lunch box. 

My real life superhero was my dad. I always thought he had super human strength and was the strongest man I knew. He could always loosen the tightest bolts on a car engine and could always open the jar of pickles or jam. He could lift and maneuver all manner of things. He could do anything he set his mind to. He could fix anything and make anything. I always felt protected and safe when he was around, much like having Superman looking after me. 

Real life superheroes for most of us are evident by the network programming you see on TV or on streaming platforms. The most popular programming includes fire and emergency shows, police shows and medical shows. The firemen, policemen and doctors are the real life superheroes out there! I remember watching  Adam-12,  Emergency and Kojak among others back in the 70's. Today's lineup include numerous shows including the Chicago Police, Fire and Med trio. 

My most recent brush with real life superheroes was during our time in Houston while my wife was treated for cancer. The doctors, nurses and other medical personnel were outstanding and their dedication to their job and care for their patients was something else. It is real life superheroes like them that give real hope to the world. 

Maybe you are a superhero! You may have saved a life or rescued someone. You may be a parental figure to someone who didn't have the real deal. When my kids were young I often felt like a superhero when I picked them up after a fall or fixed a broken toy. I remember my daughter saying "You saved my life" when I rescued her from the top of her swing set slide after she climbed the ladder to get away from a bug on the ground. Super Dad to the rescue! Recently I felt like a superhero when my granddaughter said her dad broke the toilet, but Pawpaw fixed it! A chain on the flapper had come loose and I reattached it and she thought I had saved the day! I'll revel in the superhero moment no matter how small.

Who is your real life superhero? Is your hero a parent, grandparent or other friend or relative? Is your hero someone who rescued you in an emergency or gave you a kidney? What fictional heroes did you enjoy when you were young and today? Have you been the hero? And most importantly, did you have a cool, metal, superhero lunch box?

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Value of a Life


What is the value of a human life? FEMA estimated the value of a statistical life at $7.5 million in 2020. Various life insurance companies can put a value to your life based on your age, health and a variety of other factors to be able to issue a life insurance policy. Attorneys come up with values based on loss of income and length of remaining life when trying to come up with a figure for court ordered compensation. Lawsuits focus on the lost income and thus the value of life is not the same for everyone. It would be impossible to accurately estimate the life income of a 16 year old killed in an auto accident. Nobody would be able to know for certain if the person would have worked at a low wage job or would have built a Fortune 500 company. That 16 year old may have become a drug addict and died of an overdose in their 20's or they may have been the one who develops a cure for cancer or other major disease. There is no way to put a dollar figure on a single human life. 

The value of life seems to be in the eye of the beholder. A criminal will often take an innocent life for a few dollars. An enemy soldier will take a life as just another day in the field without any regard to value. While writing this, I think of the innocent lives lost in Ukraine and that fact they all are just collateral damage in the war and may not get a second thought from most of the world. Their lives are valued at $0 by Russia and seem not to matter at all. Most of us would value our lives as being greater than most of the billions of others on this planet. A Google search for compensation of loss of a limb shows that you can get $390,000 for loss of an arm or leg and $300,000 for loss of a hand or foot in court cases. I don't know about you, but I would never trade a body part for any type of compensation, so the dollar figure is just something the attorneys have come up with. My limbs have an infinite value to me. 

Another skewed value of life is with the abortion debate. Those for abortion give life no value at all unless you make it out of the womb. It is similar to the US policy on Cuban refugees. Make it to land and you are allowed to stay. A baby that makes it to daylight is safe, those that can't get there are subject to abortion. This post is not to debate abortion as most opinions will never be changed one way or the other. The costs of raising a child to 18 is estimated to be $245,000 by CNNMoney. So, for those choosing abortion, are they valuing that particular life at $245,000? 

I last thought about the value of life a couple of weeks ago when a Houston Police Officer was killed in a grocery store parking lot when he approached three men stealing the catalytic converter from his vehicle. Those three men pulled guns and killed the officer for a stolen catalytic converter that they might have sold for $50 or more. This world is bonkers! In a Jack Reacher novel I am currently reading, three drug addicts are willing to kill Reacher for a couple of Fentanyl patches. If you are a Reacher fan you know this deal doesn't bode well for the drug addicts! In reality the tradeoff of drugs for killing someone is probably not that far off. Some of the murder documentaries such as Dateline often show someone willing to murder another just to get a $50,000 life insurance policy. On one show, a desperate wife was willing to pay $500 to have her husband killed. $500!! Who in their right mind would agree to kill someone for $500?  

Although insurance companies, attorneys and juries have set dollar figures for the value of life, we all know there is much more involved in a person's life than money. You can not put a dollar value on the love a parent can give a child, the good times and laughter that a grandparent can give a grandchild and vice versa. There is so much more value to our lives in the way we live and treat our family, friends and strangers. There is value in enjoying the coming holidays and other celebrations with family, enjoying time with friends, doing kind things for others and in trying to make this world a better place!

Have you seen example of how little someone values life? Or the opposite, have you seen someone value another life so much they sacrificed much to save it? What things add non-monetary value to your life? 

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.


Sunday, May 1, 2022

There's an App for That!


In 1992, my wife and I moved from Texas to Oklahoma City and bought our first new home. At that time, and for years to come almost every driveway had a newspaper thrown onto it every morning. When I travelled overnight, I loved getting a USA Today newspaper and loved reading it in the morning at the hotel with my coffee and breakfast. And, if I was lucky enough to get the government rate at the Embassy Suites, I would get to enjoy a copy of the Wall Street Journal also. I've always enjoyed spreading a printed newspaper out on a table and browsing the various news articles and commentaries. 

Now, it is rare to to see a newspaper on a driveway and I'm not sure if our local paper even does print delivery anymore. You can't find a newspaper stand on the corner or in front of your grocery store. Most newspapers have gone to electronic publishing. This leads me to the title of this blog of "There's an App for That". This is an often used saying in advertisements and in general conversation. 

Today when I get up in the morning I open my News app on my iPhone and browse today's news. I have gotten used to this format and really don't mind it at all. The news feed has catered my news to things I'm interested in and topics I have requested news on. I start with the News app and then check my Email app for any great new offers on cruises or notification from Amazon on what my wife has been buying. I then click on the Stocks app to see how the stock futures are doing and browse the business news. Next in my routine is to grab my first cup of coffee and then check the Facebook app for more news and nonsense.

There literally is an app for anything. Apps are very handy for quick access to accounts and information. I have two credit card apps that I monitor purchases on and use to make payments in a matter of seconds. We utilize two accounts that give us airline points and cruise points and we use them much like a debit card. I may make eight payments a month as I pay the card balance frequently to keep up. I have a Great Clips app that allows me to check the wait time and then check in online so that I can get a quick haircut. I used this a few days ago and as soon as I walked in and gave my name they escorted me to a chair. I have a Chick-fil-A app that allows me to go in and pass the line up by sitting at a table and do a quick mobile order to my table. Plus, I get points towards food! 

I have a Carnival Cruise app that tells me how many days to my next cruise. A Ring app that lets me keep track of what movement is happening outside my house or at my front door. I have three hotel apps for easy and quick booking of a hotel stay, plus earn points. I have a MapMyWalk app that will map, time and mark distance for any walk I do for exercise. I have Spotify and Amazon Music for music when I need it. I have a Regal movie app to check movie times. An Uber and Lyft app for transportation if needed. Hulu and Netflix app that allows me to watch a show. Papa John and Dominos apps for pizza. I have a Checkbook app and bank app to keep track of checking and savings accounts and a 529 app that will instantly give me balance and account info on our grandchildren's accounts. 

All of these apps really make life a little easier to have access to about anything you want or need. I'm a retired federal employee and soon the Thrift Savings Program (the government version of a 401K) will have an app to check balances and make transfers. They are a little behind in their technology! In retirement these apps can help you monitor your health, finances, travel and many other things. 

For this blog, I searched the App Store on my phone to see what is out there. You can find apps for about any topic you can think of. Any hobby you may enjoy will have numerous apps to help you enjoy it more. I searched my hobby of metal detecting. They have apps to identify rocks and to log your finds.

I use the notes app on my phone for various lists and notes. When searching the App Store, I discovered numerous "To Do List" apps and want to explore that more. I am a list maker and this could be awesome! I'm sure there are a lot of apps that I could probably use but don't know they are out there.

With apps, everything is instantaneous. Want to know the weather as soon as you get up? Check the app, no more waiting for 15 minutes for the weather forecast to cycle through on the morning news. Need traffic reports, local news or what to do this weekend? There's an app for that. The best thing is that you don't have to put on your slippers and get wet or cold going out to the end of your driveway to grab your soggy newspaper in the winter!

What apps to you use in your life? Do they make your life a little easier in some way? Do you use any unique apps in retirement?