"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

About to comment here for the very first time?
Check Where'd my Comment go?!!! to avoid losing it.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


    (Originally published 1451 08 FEB 2012 - He's 86 now. ;-)

While I whine and moan about approaching 70, this guy reached his 80th birthday today (Wed, 08 Feb 2012) and is still doing his thing;  still being creative.

Happy Birthday, John Williams.

His Imdb page (linked above) lists 139 movies and television shows that he has composed the music for, going back to the mid-50s, including Playhouse 90, M Squad  (a detective series starring Lee Marvin), Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island (Ok! Maybe not the greatest thing on his resume), Lost in Space (what I said just before).

He'd been working almost 30 years when he was picked to do the score for Steven Spielberg's Jaws.  I recall an interview with Spielberg (probably on one of the DVD issues of Jaws) in which he mentioned Williams coming over to his house one evening and playing on his piano what he had in mind for Jaws.

Spielberg confessed that his first reaction to hearing what would become one of the most iconic pieces of music since Bernard Hermann's Pyscho and Henry Mancini's Theme from Peter Gunn was "That's IT?!!!"  Not even Spielberg realized just what he had at the moment.

Williams had already worked with Spielberg before, and then went on to score almost everything from him afterwards.  At present, post-production work is being done on Spielberg's latest (Lincoln) and once again, Williams is doing the score.  I've no doubt at all that the result will be worth watching and hearing.

This kind of longevity is not all that unusual in the arts, especially in classical music.  There are composers (Igor Stravinsky, Ralph Vaughn Williams) and conductors (Leopold Stokowski) that were still doing fresh, original work in their 90s.

The secret almost certainly lies in doing something that you truly love.

(Consider this post as a work-in-progress.  I'm thinking of other examples and will probably either expand it, or do a follow-on.)


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shaking our tree.

- 04 Oct 1957 - SPUTNIK!!!

This little dingbat scared the Hell out of many of us then ...
from citizenship typepad.com

Nothing but a polished metal sphere of 585 mm (23 inches) diameter with a mass of 83.6 kilograms (184 lb) and carrying only a radio transmitter, it definitely got our attention.

THEY got there FIRST! Oh, Man!!!

You see, this was the thrilling days of yesteryear when the Soviet Union was ruled by Nikita "We will bury you" Khrushchev who, just the year before, had sent columns of tanks into Hungary to crush a rebellion there (just his way of stating "THAT is a NO-NO!").

The days of "Duck and cover" drills in public schools (not at all insane; if a nuke hit several miles away instead of on top of you, that could make the difference between surviving versus being shredded by glass blown in by the shock wave if all you did was just stand there and gawk at the explosion. Nukes are powerful, but not infinitely powerful. They can be survived, and have been. See reports of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for hard evidence. (Although, in an essay on civil defense, Robert A. Heinlein advocated situational awareness (paying attention to what's going on in the world) and summed up surviving the bomb in seven words: "Don't be there, when it goes off!" ))

That innocent looking thing was placed into orbit by ...
from on6wj-sputnik.blogspot.com

... the R-7 launcher (for a long time referred to as T-3), which evolved from an ICBM whose primary purpose was to transport a thermonuclear bomb from Point A (somewhere in the Soviet Union) to Point B (somewhere in the USA).

The local newspapers ...
San Antonio Light, 05 Oct 1957 - from newspaperarchive.com

... published times of when to see it in the morning or evening, when it would be brightly lit by the sun.

To read or hear about the Soviets (listening to the radio when they were stomping on the rebellion in Hungary was heart-wrenching) while they were on the other side of the world was bad enough, but a bit abstract.

To walk out into your back yard and actually see this bright little silver dot in the sky slowly moving overhead, and realizing there they are;  well, that's a whole 'nother story.

(Originally published  1239 CST,  03 OCT 2012)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

One last thing to DO ...

Since what is coming is INEVITABLE, friends and acquaintances desrve to know WHAT made it so, and to understand that there was NOTHING they could have done to prevent it.

SO, I'll try to have a post to publish when the time comes.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Lost Cause.

I fear that I am NOT gonna SURVIVE this.

My case manager at the VA's Vocational and Rehabilitation facility gave me some homework in setting up trsumes and seeking positions on the WorkInTexas,com and Indeed.com websites;  almost MON of which I've accomplished since he assigned it, almost a week ago.

I've been UNABLE to do much, because my visionn appears to be hetting WORSE. I have GREAT difficulty even READING somre of the notes and papers I was given, and have the SAME problems on many of the websites I visit.

If THIS post appearrs to be reasonaly legeble, it is becase I'm hannering it out on Botepad, with a LARGE bs BOLD font, to help me SEE what the Hell am doing.

Because of this, I've sprnt aOT of time, curled up in fetal position, SERIOUSLY thinking of just ENDING it all.

Were he to COMPLETELY WASH HIS HANDS OF ME, I wouldn't blame him a bit. I must be a terrible DISAPOINTMENT to him, and his time might be better spent on Veterans who DESRVE his help rather than a loser who'll probably blow his brains out soon.

He wants me to go to their Mental Health department and ask for their help.

I am afraid to do that, because they may have some way to COMPEL me to give up my means of release. I'm frightened of THAT, because I really DO believe that yhere far WORSE things than that "release", and may be FACING them if that option is taken away from me.

FAR worse.

Update 1020 CDT 03 NOV 2017 - In case it wasn't OBVIOUS, "Means of release" ...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Coming to terms ...

My new header pic says it all. ...

I'm more at peace, now.  ;-)

Friday, September 08, 2017

I have been BLESSED, ...

... with SO MANY FRIENDS. :-)

Thank you;  ALL of you.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Two months ... Updated 01 SEP 2017

... is what I think I have left.

On Thursday, 03 AUG 2017, I went to the eye surgeon for a follow up exam of the left eye surgery eight days prior.

Dr. Morris was pleased with the reduced pressure in that eye (a result of the drainage tube inserted at that time). He wants to see me again on 31 AUG 2017.  

When I asked if it would be another five to seven weeks before setting up surgery on the RIGHT eye, he didn't want to commit just yet; saying, "We'll schedule it WHEN IT'S TIME".

He's reluctant to perform surgery on my best eye (it IS SURGERY, after all, and a problem during it could result in LOSING that eye, leaving me with only the LEFT, which is damn near USELESS).

On Thursday, 10 AUG 2017, I'm scheduled for a physical and lab work, taking most of the day

After THAT, they wanI to set up COUNSELING, because of suicidal thoughts I've expressed on occasion.

Problem is, NONE of THAT helps with the MONEY situation that brings up the thoughts in the first place and makes ACTING on them almost INEVITABLE.

I've asked some of their social workers to help me find SOMETHING I can do to earn PAYCHECKS again.  Because of my age and condition, they are VERY pessimistic on that score.

WITHOUT those paychecks, I will NOT survive;  it's really just as simple as THAT. When the money RUNS OUT (as it IS slowly doing;  I estimate TWO MONTHS), That's IT.  That's all she wrote.

To Alec and Melissa:  PLEASE keep the email announcing THIS post.  When you get the phone call from a First Responder, you'll know how to edit the subject line and content of that email, and pass it along to everyone, with "Reply All".

Thanks.  :-)

UPDATE - 01 SEP 2017 ...
Two months ... Updated 01 SEP 2017

I first published this post on August 6 (Hiroshima Day, ironically), as my best estimate on how long I had before my financial situation left me no alternative to ending it all.

So far, I appear to be right on schedule.

The VA is setting me up for something they call Vocational Rehabilitation, for which a Social Worker (who struck me as VERY savvy) has great confidence in their ability to really help Veterans find employment, even at MY age and in MY conditions.

Trouble is, this could take MONTHS, by which time I will be quite DEAD.

So, once AGAIN, I am BEGGING for donations, but WARNING you that it COULD be all in vain.

I STILL have the PayPal  "Medical Donation" button near the top of the left column on this page, in hope of help.

Alternatively, a check can be mailed to
 Paul Gordon
 3433 West Dallas St, Apt. 1102
 Houston, Texas 77019

 Email: gordpnp@airmail.net

I'm QUITE aware that some of you have MAJOR problems of your own.  BUT, if you CAN help a bit, Thank you.

I am ASHAMED of NOT facing this with more courage, but the closer I get, the more SCARED I get.  ;(


Friday, July 28, 2017

First surgery - results ...

On Wednesday morning, 26 JUL 2017, I took a taxi to the Michael DeBakey Veterans Hospital for a 7 AM appointment with the eye-sugeon.

This was for surgery to my left eye (the worst one), to remove the cataracts, and to insert a tube to help with drainage (to reduce pressure in the eye).

Because I would need some attention for the next 24 hours, and there was NO ONE to provide it, I stayed overnight. Had to sleep with an eye-patch taped on, to avoid injury to the eye.

When the patch was removed, I really couldn't see ANY difference in vision with that eye. The surgeon had warned me that could be the case, but felt the surgery was necessary.

When asked if I felt any pain or irritation, I mentioned feeling something between my eye and the lower eyelid. He said I was probably feeling some of the stitching. STITCHING on an EYEBALL!!!  Trying to IMAGINE that.  Perhaps I SHOULDN'T. :-)

He gave me a steel patch (with holes like a pepper shaker) ...

... to tape over my left eye before going to bed. This will be for a week.

He also gave me still MORE eye drops. I've been taking three types of drops, to control the pressure in both eyes.  I'll continue with those, but NOW for the right eye only.  The left gets three NEW types, for the next four weeks, to control any inflammation resulting from the surgery. SIX types to keep track of.  Does THAT sound like FUN?  :-)

I see him again, on Thursday, 03 AUG 2017, for a follow-up check.

They tell me it could be six to eight weeks before surgery to the right eye. Dr. Morris (the eye surgeon) is confident of more improvement with THAT eye, as its optic nerve damage is far less.

We shall see. :-)

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Selfie taken in 2009

I STILL look like this (or WOULD, with a decent haircut);  someone who takes himself WAY too seriously.  I'll try to update this evening, less gloomy than I've been lately.  ;-)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I WEAR this, wherever I go ...

- (the uncensored version) on a cord around my neck.

It's double laminated, so if whatever happens to me is messy, it can be wiped off and read by first responders.  I've checked with a few of them, and have been assured that, while their IMMEDIATE priorities may be different, EVENTUALLY someone WILL get around to calling the three numbers on this.

That's a relief, because what will come when the money runs out is SO inevitable, I'm getting resigned to it;  almost looking forward to it.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Running OUT of money; and LIFE itself ...

Got the bi-focals, about a week ago, and they DO help. But, NOT enough to get me BACK on a checkout stand.  I've lost WEEKS of work already, and it's just gonna get WORSE.

The store director is sympathetic to my plight, but MUST insure that checkers are PRODUCTIVE, and feels that I simply CANNOT meet that criteria.

He's asked me to check out possible sources for Disability payments, feeling it's unlikely that I'll EVER draw another paycheck from the store again.

IF I understand things correctly, the only such payments from the VA are for disabilities incurred from (or aggravated by) one's time in service.  The USAF had NOTHING to do with my vision problems.  I'm grateful for the MEDICAL help the VA is providing.

The only REAL possibility I see is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits from Social Security.  IF I even QUALIFY, I've heard it could take a couple of MONTHS before I see a single penny.  This week, I'll see if I can find a local office I can go to for help (trying to apply ONLINE is SO much FUN, when you're HALF BLIND :-).

This is why I've begged for donations, just to SURVIVE.  Since things REALLY started to go to Hell (in early April), I've received five donations (via PayPai - there's a Medical Donation button in the upper left corner of the webpage).

TWO of those donations were generous ones from the same wonderful lady who has helped several times before, and God Bless her for them;  they were nothing less than LIFE ITSELF.

But, I cannot ask HER for MORE (I don't think she's in a position to ADOPT me :-), but if some of you OTHERS can help, please DO.

Thank you.

PS - What's the current status on my EYES?

As I noted at the top:  Got the bi-focals.

I'm scheduled for surgery;  beginning with removing the cataracts in left eye and installing a tube to relieve pressure by helping drainage.

Appointment on 11 JUL 2017 for pre-op discussion with the surgeon, followed by surgery on 26 JUL 2017.  I've been warned that, since I'm completely alone, I'll be spending the night THERE.

A solid MONTH down the line. All I gotta do is SURVIVE that long.  ;-)


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Frustration; followed by HOPE ...

When I checked my mailbox yesterday (SAT, 10 JUN 2017), I found a package from the VA. I thought it to be the bifocals they had prescribed for me and, (IF they worked as well as I HOPED), on Monday I would go back to the store to TRY to get BACK onto the work scheduje for some DESPERATE:Y NEEDED PAYCHECKS.

Unfortunately, insread of the glasses, it was just more of the eye-drops.

BEFORE those drops, I had spells where (with my RIGHT eye) I think I could MATCH the grouping in the pic.

But, right NOW, it looks as if I'll need half an hour* to hammer out this note (because of typos and trying to hold a magnifier to the screen to find and fix them)

If I state that the situation is such that I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, reach across the bed and feel between the mattresses to reassure myself that the .44 IS there, and READY, you probably PERFECTLY understand the "Frustration" part of the title.

So, where does "HOPE" come into this"?

Because of my (frequently) expressed fears of being driven to suicide (the financial situation really IS that bad ... becoming HOMELESS scares the HELL out of me), a wonderful lady friend emailed to me ...

"Hey Paul -  You're such a drama queen ;=)."

 ... followed with ...

"Seriously though, I think the cataract surgery might help more than you think.  My mom is way older than you and she got cataract surgery a few years back and it helped a lot."

She's probably RIGHT, on BOTH parts. The doc is VERY happy with the pressure reduction (from the eye-drops) and is optimistic that cataract surgery really WILL help (SOME), He also warned me to be carefull when driving, because of how my peripheral vision has been affected.

He strikes me as pretty savvy, and NOT sloppy with his language. Giving me THAT warning, instead of saying, "You have no business even THINKING about ever driving AGAIN." makes me hope that all may NOT be LOST.


(* = Took an HOUR and a half.)


Tuesday, June 06, 2017


I'm gonna be BEGGING for SERIOUS donations, to help weather the financial storm that is comming.

In my previous update (Thursday, 25 MAY 2017), I noted that, while there ARE some caracts, the MAIN problem is optic nerve damage from intraocular pressure caused by open angle glaucoma.

The doc has gave me three types of eye drops, to help lower the pressure, and wanted to see me again, on Tuesday, 30 MAY 2017.  Depending on how the pressure looked THEN, he'd decide whether or NOT to recommend surgery (laser?) to reduce the pressure, to prevent FURTHER optic nerve damage;  the damage ALREADY done CANNOT BE FIXED.

The eye drops appeared to make things WORSE, severely affect my focus, so I could NOT work, even with the readers I normlly use. This COULD be from the drops doing ezactly what they were SUPPOSED to do. If the eyes were a bit swolled from that pressure, REDUCING the pressure might alter the angle or distance of the lense, relative to the retina, affecting focus.

Well, I went back on 30 MAY 2017, and the doc was VERY pleased with the reduction in pressure. He wants me back on Tueday, 20 JUN 2017, when he may decide to go for catarct surgery, for the small (but distinct) help THAT might provide.

He tested my vision, with a bunch of different lenses and, while my left eye is pretty useless right now, he found some that were VERY sharp for the right eye.

He wrote up a prescription for bi-focals that (I HOPE) will help ENORMOUSLY at close and medium distances. Unfortunately, when went to their optic center, I was told that it could be THREE WEEKS before I got the glasses.

I've lost a solid WEEK of work, so far, and brcause of THIS, may loose several more.

As a result, the money isunning out, and when it DOES, that will unleash a financial SHITSTORM that I will NOT be able to SURVIVE.

SO, if you CAN, PLEASE use the PayPal Donation button mentioned in the post. Otherwise. I don't see surviving past mid-summer. the situation really IS that bad.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

"The COWARD dies a THOUSAND deaths, ...

... the BRAVE man dies but ONCE."
(Variations attributed to Shakespeare AND Hemingway)

Dear God. I wish I WAS a BRAVE man.

WHAT brought THIS on?

I have faced SO MANY fears in my life.  But, THIS one may FINISH me.

I fear that I may be slowly going BLIND.

For some time now, I've had spells of cloudy vision, that would clear up after awhile. But, they are lasting longer and longer. Bright sunlight makes things VERY difficult.

Should I see somebody about this? You BETCHA. BUT, my experience with doctors and clinics is that, before I can get past the receptionist, THIS question arises, "And HOW will you PAY for this, Mr. Gordon?". The ANSWER, "I CAN'T." is GUARANTEED to be a problem.

I'm fairly certain that a proper diagnosis will cost hundreds of dollars, and treatment (if there IS any) probably THOUSANDS.

And THEN, there is THIS problem with the car, mentioned in THIS previous post ...
Could have been KILLED today ...
... but, I lucked out and WASN'T.

At around 5 PM, today (Thursday, 06 APR 2017, I decided to take a hike to Kroger's, to get some groceries. That's about half a mile from my apartment. I can barely walk; lower back pain interfering with balance, and the sun was directly in my eyes a lot of the time, making it difficult to read the terrain on which I was walking. Less than a hundred yards from my apartment, I tripped and fell while crossing a street, and a car, making a fast turn, barely managed to stop in time.

A couple of people got out of their cars and helped to get up.  Didn't break anything;  just scraped my hands, my left knee has a hell of a bruise, and it ripped part of the left leg of my slacks. Noticing that I was trying to continue on my way (I STILL needed groceries). the one who nearly killed me was nice enough to give me a ride there and back.  (Sadly, it was a GUY this time, instead of the nice LADY who helped me when she noticed me struggling with the walk, several yeas ago. :-).

So, WHY IN HELL was I trying to WALK there?

Thursday, a week ago, I started to drive somewhere, and the automatic transmission, on my 2000 Honda Civic, began slipping and jerking when shifting, and the "Check Engine" light came on.  The next day, I had AAA take the car over to A+ Transmission Specialists. They have a fairly comprehensive set of electronic and driving tests they will do for no charge.

On Monday (03 APR 2017) I learned from them that pressure drops, in the transmission, were causing the shifting problems, but to determine the cause of those drops, they would need to completely disassemble the transmission (for $395.00), and (depending on what they find) I could be looking at a total from $1500.00 to $2500.00.

At the moment, there is absolutely NO WAY I can handle THAT.  So I got AAA to bring the car home.  I am without transportation, for the foreseeable future.  If I CANNOT get the car fixed, I can NEVER afford to get another one.  my current situation will be THE REST OF MY LIFE..

I STILL have the PayPal  "Medical Donation" button near the top of the left column on this page,
 in hope of help.

Alternatively, a check can be mailed to
 Paul Gordon
 3433 West Dallas St, Apt. 1102
 Houston, Texas 77019

 Email: gordpnp@airmail.net

If you CAN help a bit, Thank you.

In earlier posts, I mentioned the possibility of going for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help with my financial problems.  After long consideration (and research) I have taken THAT off the table, concluding that, my current circumstances being so different from the time I exercised that option in 2000, THIS time the end result would most likely be a do-it-yourself .44 caliber lobotomy.

The only REAL possibility I can see is to TRY and get myself into shape to be able to get (and be able to DO) the extra hours I so desperately need.

Today's incident has made me decide to make a note or card, listing several of you (names and telephone numbers) as people to notifiy if something final happens to me.  I should have it double laminated, so if it gets covered in blood, that can be wiped off so it can be read.

I hope some of you will KEEP the email you received about this, and if YOU get a call, you can haul out that email, edit the subject line and the content, and pass the news along using "Reply to all".

Thank you.


Put together, I'm looking at THOUSANDS of dollars worth of help that I desperately need.

HOW can I POSSIBLY ask this of you? The plain truth is that I am a very poor investment right now, as it will be a miracle if I'm not DEAD before mid-summer, probably at my own hand.

Right now, all I see in front of me is DEATH.



Stat Counter