"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")

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas ...

... and Happy New Year :-)

To those of you who occasionally check my blog to see how I'm doing, well, I'm hanging in there.

I had my accident (breaking my right arm) on 24 Jul 2013.

The next day, I posted "A Scream of Pain" ( http://paulinhouston.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-scream-of-pain.html ) , telling all about it.  I updated that post 15 times, the last update on 05 Sep 2013, when I had reached the point where I could resume work.  That semed a good place to cease adding to it, while it still remained shorter that "War and Peace".

But, not putting up ANYTHING afterwards, for a long while, resulted in one of my Air Force buddies calling the store where I work, to see if I was still ALIVE.

My "Hamlet" post ( http://paulinhouston.blogspot.com/2013/11/hamlet.html ) was in response to that, meant to demonstrate that ...

 1) I WAS still around, and ...

 2) I was NOT completely obsessed with my financial crisis (not more than 95%, anyway :-)

As of today, FIVE months after the accident, I am STILL awaiting some MAJOR bills from Memorial Hermann Hospital.

I plan one more (hopefully FINAL) post on the situation, to be titled "Death by a Thousand Cuts", in honor of hospital billing systems dribbling out seperate bills for various services, over long intervals, so you're never quite sure when you've reached the end.

Because of the holidays, it will almost certainly be after New Years Day before I have it ready to post.

The experience I've had with the bills I HAVE received (and began making small payments on), while exasperating, actually give me hope that the post wont be as depressing as the "Scream" post.

The grand total, from two different hospitals (with 7 or 8 different accounts) looks like it will be in the $6,000.00 ballpark. As I am 71, it seems quite likely that I will be literally paying on this for the rest of my life.

On the other hand, the payments may be ones that I CAN make.

So, THAT's where things are right now.

I AM trying to keep the perspective that, of the 7 BILLION people occupying this planet, quite likely at least 5 BILLION of them would swap places with me in a New York Minute*.

* In keeping with my obsession with the meaning and origins of terms ...
New York Minute - an infinitesimal amount of time.  I think Johnny Carson once defined it as "The interval between the light turning green, and a Manhattan driver behind you laying into his horn".

To those of you who HAVE helped (and some of you have been absolutely amazing), Thank You and God Bless You.

Bottom line:  For all of my moaning and whining, I'm actually pretty good.

I hope you all are too. :-)

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Bah. Humbug!" :-)

There are three absolutely perfect movies for Christmas. This is about one of them.

First, of course, is Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946), starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a bank officer who attempts suicide in desperation after losing a large sum of money entrusted to him.  He is saved by Clarence, a guardian angel tasked with convincing George that the world would not really be better off without him.
   Clarence: "We don't have money in Heaven."
   George:  "Well, it comes in mighty handy down here, Bub."

Second is Bob Clark's A Christmas Story (1983), about Ralphie's desperate quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, against all obstacles ("You'll shoot your eye out!").

And then, I found this at Walmart, on their $5.00 shelf ...

A Christmas Carol (1984),  a made for TV movie that I saw when it was broadcast in 1984, and which I recalled as being pretty damned good, with George C. Scott just maybe being the finest incarnation of Ebeneezer Scrooge that I ever saw.

That recollection was validated when I watched this DVD. I love it when I get occasional reassurance that my memory is just fine. :-)

Although temporarily upstaged by Edward Woodward as The Ghost of Christmas Present ...
Original photo from thomasorourkeactor.blogspot.com, 
but considerably brightened by me

... this is George C. Scott's movie, and he is at his best. ...
From www.cedmagic.com

Find it, and give it a look.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And that's all she wrote ...

Ever wonder how that phrase came to mean "It's over!" ?
No? Never?!!!   Well, tough.  I'm gonna tell you anyway.

It's from a Hank Williams song of late 1950 or early 1951 (Dear John), and each verse ended with that phrase and a chorus of  'Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)'.

To me, that's the big mystery of the song. 'I've sent your saddle home' is perfectly clear English.  At 71, I just haven't been around long enough to understand its use here. I have searched and searched (and searched). In this matter, google is not your friend.  All I've ever been able to accomplish is to verify that those are the actual lyrics.  If any of you can answer, I'd love to hear from you.

As for "That's all she wrote" becoming synonymous with "It's over!", I think the verses make it pretty clear how.  Especially the last one. :-)

Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)
 Written by Aubry Gass and Tex Ritter
 Recorded by Hank Williams  12/21/1950

Well when I woke up this mornin'
There was a note upon my door
Said, 'Don't make me no coffee, babe
 'Cause I won't be back no more'
And that's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)'

Now Jonah got along in the belly of the whale
Daniel in the lions' den
But I know a guy that didn't try to get along
 And he won't get a chance again
And that's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've fetched your saddle home)'

Now she didn't forward no address
Nor she didn't say goodbye
All she said was if you get blue
 Just hang your little head and cry
An' that's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)'

Now my gal's short and stubby
She's strong as she can be
But if that little old gal of mine
 Ever gets a hold of me
That's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)'

Now Jonah got along in the belly of the whale
Daniel in the lions den
But I know a man that didn't try to get along
 And he won't get a chance again
And that's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've fetched your saddle home)'

Now I went down to the bank this morning
The cashier said with a grin
"I feel so sorry for you Hank
 But your wife has done been in"
And that's all she wrote
'Dear John (I've sent your saddle home)'

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