Random Thought Thread


Wow, glad to hear that you alright!


They hadn’t actually confirmed it, although they confirmed one for an adjacent county. I went a little into our woods yesterday afternoon, and I saw some additional damage to some trees. There were four that looked like dominoes in the process of tumbling each other; the first one was at almost a 45-degree angle, the second, a little less (both of these were uprooted), the third less so and not uprooted, and leaning on a fourth that bent a little. The amazing thing is that even with all that wind, most of the apple blossoms stayed on the trees.


Yeah, glad to hear you and your mom are ok.


I was out with the 8" Newtonian (telescope) last night; it was the first good clear night in a while. Jupiter was up (I had an awful time finding it in the 'scope; I need to just locate it on the low-power eyepiece and then switch to the high-power one). It was bright and detailed; in addition to the two main cloud bands that I can usually see, I could definitely, when the planet was near the edge of the field of view, see a third nearer to one of the poles (it would be the south, after allowing for the rearranging of which way was which in the telescope). I tried, but still couldn’t see any hint of the Great Red Spot (likely, it’s just not visible in my 8").

The four Galilean (sp?) moons (called that because they were discovered by Galileo) were not only visible as usual, but appeared to be as far out from Jupiter as they get from Earth’s perspective. So much so, that I think I positively identified each one, except that I see now (looking it up) that I had the order of Io and Europa reversed. With that correction in mind, to the right in the eyepiece (west; because of the mirrors, east in actuality) was Io and Europa. To the left and much farther out, Ganymede (the largest moon in the solar system) and Callisto.

I wasn’t sure that I would still be able to find it with the revolution of the Earth and the trees nearby, but I was also able to spot (with the low-power eyepiece) the M81 and M82 spiral galaxies (they’re both visible in the same eyepiece view, and are also in close proximity to each other in intergalactic terms; their gravity has a distinct effect on each other). They’re dim (dimmer than I remember; not sure if it’s because it wasn’t absolutely dark yet, or because I over romanticized my previous (first) viewing of them), and it’s impossible to see the spiral arms in my 8" (you can’t even see them on M82 in photos with large telescopes (although I don’t know about Hubble)), but you can make out the disinct elliptical shape that identifies them as spiral galaxies, and the positively-identifying angle of the ellipses to each other; and the fact that M82 shows less “face” and more edge than the larger (and more visible) M82.

Let all the moons and all the stars
In all the universe;
Sing praises to the living God,
Who rules them by his word.


That is soooooo cool! I remember seeing Saturn through an eye piece, but it wasn’t a very good one, but I could clearly see it! I was awe-inspired. The Heavens proclaim the greatness of God! I wish I had a telescope, but even if I had one, I wouldn’t be able to see much from here. It’s too close to a city. But, that would be so cool! What other planets/moons have you seen? Can you see Mars or Mercury? So cool, FC!


The four moons of Jupiter and ours are the only ones I can see with my telescopes (I’ve seen the four of Jupiter in a less-than-two-inch K-mart refractor); I tried to see if I could spot Titan when looking at Saturn, but as big as it is (second biggest moon in the solar system; Ganymede is number one), apparently, it’s just too far out.

I’ve never made any attempt to look for Mercury, but I’ve seen Mars (saw it a number of times last summer), Saturn (last summer and one before; before that was in the late '70s), and I’ve seen Venus any number of times; you see it in phases like the moon.

I’ve seen a variety of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters (not always identified). The Orion Nebula is very easy to see (I noticed detail in it last winter for the first time), and so is the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius (spotted detail in it for the first time summer before last; the upper-right portion of Sagittarius (as viewed from the northern hemisphere) is the direction to the center of our galaxy). I’ve also seen the Dumbbell Nebula, and the Ring Nebula in Lyra (although the last time I saw it, I couldn’t reveal the distinct ring shape; just a very dim fuzzy patch (not sure if it was inferior viewing conditions or deteriorating condition of my optics)).

For galaxies, I’ve seen the M31 (the visually biggest and brightest in the northern sky, and the most spectacular spiral galaxy for amateur observation, although it takes a much bigger telescope than mine to reveal the spiral arms, unless mine were set up for time exposure photography) along with its two small elliptical companion galaxies, and I’ve seen M81 and M82 (mentioned in my previous post), M101 (a “face-on” spiral galaxy which was very dim and indistinct in my eyepiece), and some others that I haven’t identified.

For star clusters, I’ve seen the Pleiades, the Beehive Cluster, a paired cluster in Cassiopeia, and possibly one or two others that I don’t remember (same for the galaxies and nebulae) or didn’t positively identify.


No big deal, but I recently found out that I have “entropion”…a condition in which the muscles of the lower eyelids weaken and the tendons stretch, causing the eyelid to curve inward, allowing the cilia (eye lashes) to touch and SCRATCH the eyeball’s cornea. If untreated, it can damage the eye and even cause partial or total blindness. On top of that, it’s irritating as Hell! I’m scheduled for minor surgery to correct this condition–which is brought on by living too long, I suppose, since it’s definitely age-related. Go under the knife next Monday at noon and should be home by 3:30 or 4:00 PM. I don’t anticipate any problems. Just thought I’d tell someone.


Luck, Pappadave!


A friend of mine had that same surgery recently. It must certainly be an irritating condition.


How was it found? Like in a normal visit to the optometrist, or was it something that you yourself noticed?

I had cataract surgery in both eyes last year (you probably have also, so I’m likely not telling you anything new . . . I vaguely remember you posting something about it anyway), and it was a breeze. They did one at a time, with a week or so between each one.

I was anxious about somebody sticking stuff in my eyeballs, but it was not a problem. They numbed the eyeball up with drops, and by the time they stuck a needle in my eye (sounds worse than it was) to rily rily numb it up, I didn’t feel a thing but a little pressure.

The surgery itself took about ten minutes . . . I spent more time on the gurney in prep (about an hour) than for the actual surgery. And the surgery itself was done with a laser, not a “knife”. It was weird seeing that red light shining in my eye, but I didn’t feel a thing.

The recovery was less than a day (about 8 hours), and I wore an eye patch for that time. It was like having a grain of sand in there for that time . . . not painful, just bothersome.

The vibrant colors that I could see after I took the patch off were remarkable. I didn’t realize just how cloudy my vision was until after the surgery. I recommend it for anybody. As I said, it was a breeze. Definitely glad I had it done.

Curious. Do you know what percentage of us oldsters (am north of 70 now) get this “entropion”?


I first “noticed” it when my eyes started being constantly irritated. I would tear up and my eyelids would actually stick together some mornings. I finally went to the optometrist and he gave me some drops to try. They didn’t do much to help, so he did a “deeper” exam and discovered the entropion. He made me an appointment with a optical surgeon. I went to see him a week or so ago and he scheduled me for the surgery next Monday. He said it wasn’t uncommon in men my age (I’m 75). It feels like I have something in my eye constantly that I can’t wash out with tears. I don’t know the percentages–only that he said it’s not “uncommon.” When I had my cataract surgery a couple of years ago, they didn’t used either a laser OR a knife. They used a small needle that vibrates at a VERY high rate. It emulsifies the cataract and draws it out, then they put the replacement lens through the same hole (rolled up) and unroll it INSIDE the eyeball where it adheres to the inside where the lens was. Mine was completely taken care of by Medicare and my supplemental. There is what is known as an “advanced” type of replacement lens that’s NOT covered by Medicare and I opted out of using it (thankfully). My best friend USED the “advanced” lens and it has been a nightmare for him. He gets “haloing” and has even stopped reading books, which WAS his favorite pastime. The whole process took me about 5 minutes, too. I didn’t have to wear an eye patch…just dark shades when outdoors for 24 hours. I had to take fairly expensive eyedrops for a couple of weeks and then nothing further. I was amazed, too, at how much the cataracts had affected my vision. For the first time, I realized that my grandkids really WEREN’T jaundiced!


Thanks for the explanation.

Amusing (not really) how things start WEARING OUT as we get old. Things just don’t work anymore like they used to, and the “machine” breaks down a lot now. I know in my youth I put a lot of wear and tear on things (for example, I ate very very spicy foods which I couldn’t even look at today; I smoked about 3 packs a day of LUCKY STRIKES . . . today, just one would knock me out and I’d be wheezing for days after . . .) and never gave it a second thought.

Now, I’m paying for all that foolishness. Had a good time though, but never thought it would come back and bite me in the a$$. At that age, I think we believe we can do anything without consequences, and that we’ll live forever.

If I could go back and shake some sense into that young man, I would likely warn, “You aren’t invulnerable. STOP abusing a machine that’s going to break down all the more because of what you’re doing now. You might laugh at the saying, ‘Your body is a temple’, but it IS, and you’re destroying that temple”

Of course, our young selves wouldn’t listen anyway, and go right on having a good time and abusing the machine.

I have a friend who, in his youth, did NOT abuse himself. I remember thinking, “That poor guy leads a pretty boring life.”

Well, now he’s having a good time traveling and such, and I’m a wreck.

I had a good time early on, he didn’t, but now he is . . . and he’s north of 70 too. I would rather have done it in his sequence now. Oh well, the good memories will have to do.

Change gears . . .

Didn’t your wife have some sort of medical problem not too long ago? How’s she doing these days?


Most people know how much I hate the heat. For me, anything over 65 is too hot. How I managed to live in south Florida for 11 years is beyond me.

BUT… I am sitting here in m air-conditioned apartment while it blisters outside. It is about 92 degrees and it is going to stay in the 90’s for the rest of the week. I have a very large slice of ice cold watermelon sitting on a paper plate and I am ready to devour it. If there is one thing I can say I enjoy about the summer, it’s watermelon. I used to love all the fresh fruit, but it’s all tasteless and mealy now. Try to find a peach that actually drips down your arm with sweet juice is like trying to find the planet Zeno. The last time I had a decent peach was back in 1988 when I went with some friends to an Indiana peach-farm and climbed a tree for some. Delicious. The only thing you can use peaches in grocery stores for is to bust out someone’s front window.


Mom has mentioned how my sister spoke of the “plastic” tomatoes you find in the store.


Yeah, what is it about peaches in supermarkets that makes them so tasteless? I’ve tried their “nectarines” too, and they are just as hard, if not harder.

It’s just peaches too. I’ve had good luck with juicy pears and seedless watermelons, and certainly pineapples.

Oranges run a close second to peaches. I like the navel orange, but you have to pick through them to find a good one. Same with cantaloupes.

And tomatoes? Which are actually a fruit, BTW. Same thing . . . pick through.

But peaches?

Compliments to your description of them, particularly the “. . . bust out someone’s front window” part.

Oh, one more thing. It was 112⁰ F here in the Mohave desert yesterday. (But it’s a “dry heat” of course. Actually if it weren’t for the arid climate here, I mean, if you added humidity to this heat, it would rily rily be unbearable. )


The wife is progressing…albeit very slowly. Her surgeon told her last week that she was being too impatient–that the surgeries she endured were MAJOR, and that without them, she wouldn’t have survived another few months! She’s slowly gaining back some weight–very slowly–and seems to be eating a bit better these days. I don’t know if that’s my cooking or something else, though.

I had a follow-up visit to the optometrist/surgeon this AM. He said that I’m doing fine. Right eye is bloodshot still and both slightly swollen. He recommended that I use warm compresses a couple of times a day and reduce the medicine to once per day (it’s an eurethromycin salve). He said the stitches were the dissolving type and will wash out in a few days.


Peaches, like nectarines, need to ripen on the tree. What happens is the producers of peaches and nectarines pick the fruit off the trees before they are ripe. And, unlike tomatoes and other fruits, peaches and nectarines do not ripen after they’re picked. So, that is the reason why they are tasteless and mealy. Even while I lived in south Florida, I’d go to the orange groves for fresh citrus (the BEST) they would often have peaches and nectarines. Those peaches were the best you could get. Mmmmm! The only way I’d eat a store-bought peach nowadays would be if it were in a pie. And that means adding lots of sugar to the filling. Not worth it. So, I generally avoid peaches and nectarines. I’ll go for some dark plums, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe (don’t buy the cut up stuff), honeydew melon, and grapes. I love making a huge fruit salad with watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, pineapple, blueberries, fresh strawberries, a banana, and anything else I can get my hands on. I cut it all up and add just little bit of vanilla-flavored yogurt, and there you have it! A perfect respite for the hot weather.

Yes, I know how hot and DRY it is in Arizona. It doesn’t matter if it’s dry or humid because if you stick your head in a 200 degree oven, it’s nice and dry…and HOT! Nah…move me to the Tundra. At least I’ll be able to breathe!


A local farm market used to have good peaches. I looked forward to them every year. But they closed down, because they all had to work on the farm since they couldn’t get any farm workers. So they all had to work on the farm.


It took ICBC near 3 months just to look at a letter from my old car insurance company stating I’m a good driver and give me the good driver discount. Car drivers pay the second highest car insurance rates in Canada to ICBC. A classic case of a govt run monopoly unable to keep prices low.

With that said, the level of ineptitude on getting State Farm to write a letter simply stating I have never been ruled at fault in my over 10+ years with them in an accident was like pulling teeth without painkillers.


Why would you need a letter stating that? Your driving record and insurance records should show that without a special letter. Perhaps you guys do things differently in Canada.