Stephen Kahn

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Slow Extinction #1

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Slow Extinction.

In less than two weeks I will turn 71. As my father died at the age of 43, I am a bit surprised to find myself alive and fairly healthy, though I can feel my body breaking down slowly and I know that I will die. I have tried to prepare for death in a responsible fashion, creating a will and filling out my final medical directives (e.g.. don’t pound on my chest if I go into cardiac arrest, don’t keep me on life support if I am brain dead, etc.).

As there is some dementia in my family, I suspect there is a considerable likelihood that I will loose my mind before my physical body dies.

Just as each individual human dies, species die. We call it going extinct. Perhaps the most glamorous (to us) extinct species are the dinosaurs. We are still arguing about what wiped them out. It might have been an asteroid hitting the earth or some other phenomena. (Check Wikipedia for more information on these scientific arguments).
It is entirely possible that our species, known as homo sapiens, will go extinct in the 21st Century. A book titled THE SIXTH EXTINCTION by Elizabeth Kolbert argues that humanity will destroy itself. The destruction of our species might happen rapidly. It might occur because of a natural event such as an asteroid hitting the earth or a rampant plague such as ebola running through the entire population of the planet. It might happen because of actions we take such as engaging in nuclear warfare, or generating plagues as weapons of war. It might happen slowly by a variety of causes, though at the moment, global warming seems to top the list.

Is there anything we can do about it? Should we do anything about it?

AE Meets RG, scheduled to turn into RD

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2013 at 3:02 am

I’ve told this to David. Perhaps the three or four remaining readers will want to discover this. Millions of years ago, I wrote a blog about a little girl with, real name sort of “AE,” with two mommies and two daddies, chronicling what a brat she was from the ages of two to seven years, for her privacy calling her Random Granddaughter (RG for short). Some of the twenty or thirty or so occasional readers suggested that I present the blog to her some day. As I am getting old, & perhaps near to death (more info after I get the results of my first PSA test next week), I thought to myself it is time to reveal to granddaughter that she has a hidden and secret past and a secret name perhaps revealing she is the lost princess Anastasia, heiress to the Czars.

One year of her secret chronicle was lost forever, perhaps consumed by a wicked troll, but more likely the result of an Internet Server (foolishly not backed up) crashing. I am printing (a slow and laborious process) all the remaining blog posts, which run from 2007 to 2011, covering her misbehavior from the age of 3 to the age of 7. (At which time she learned to read and could no longer be hidden from herself.)

A birthday party for Mrs. Random and for AE was held at the best Danish pastry shop in Seattle and at the small house in the medium-sized city, located near the NE Library. AE is getting her ears pierced for her 9th birthday. The cast is off her arm, broken while learning gymnastics. She will appear in a minor role in Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

I showed her a huge binder. I said, as your crazy grandpa, I have been keeping a secret history of you. As some of it is too adult for a nine year old girl to read, you will get it, if you grandma (who doesn’t much approve) or your two mommies (who just now are learning about it) don’t try to block it when you are 18 years old. 

I am printing it all out and punching all the pages, reversing the usual front to back blog order, and putting it in this huge binder. I asked, “What will happen on your 18th birthday?”

Although she attends a private school for young geniuses, and allegedly has an astronomical IQ, and shows genuine artistic talent (not to mention a definite prima donna artistic temperament, though much improved table manners and willingness to eat a variety of foods, her math skills are mediocre. She had trouble calculating how long until she is 18.

However, when I asked, “What happens when you turn 18?” she was all over it, instantly responding I will be an adult!” (This bodes ill for any mommies who hope to be “control freaks.”)

I said, as the evil, or at least indiscreet and not politically correct grandpa, I task you to demand the Random Granddaughter secret blog print out on your 18th birthday, whether you are studying at Pearson College on Vancouver Island, or at Oberlin College in Ohio, or at the University of Washington in Seattle, or run off to Sydney Australia to study art with Trucie/Woo, or to Taiwan to meet your Chinese cousin, or married to a boy or a girl, or pregnant, or in orbit, or taking over the world. She listened politely and then tossed her reminder note on the floor carelessly and began to bat a birthday balloon around with Grandma and Mama. I read the Martha Stewart Grandma Helps RG Make Chocolate Cupcakes to Mommy who approved of it. The Mommies debated whether to add “RD” to her nicknames. 

Chances that she will get the blog, read it, be interested in it I put at 10%. Chances that she will become a Christian? If she reads what I have to say, and thinks calmly about the matter, I put at about 10%. However, as she is currently mourning and  grieving the death just before Christmas  of her sweet cat Sylvie, who knows. At the moment, she is wearing a bracelet with a small cross. So the matter is a free for all.

Just remember, AE/RG, both Sylvie, the darling little black and white kitty, and Crazy Grandpa, will be pattering around in Heaven keeping an eye on you. And several chickens, and perhaps a dog or two. So decide wisely.

A Hawk Celebrates Thanksgiving

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

On Thanksgiving, two days before our 47th wedding anniversary (which happens to be today), we went to the mommies’ house in Seattle. We joined up with a daddy (Tim), a grandma (Barb, birth mother of Random Granddaughter’s birth mother) and Barb’s second husband Ken. Also present was Tim’s stepdad, Joe. As well as Dana, birth mother of Tim. I should not forget, Sylvie, the world’s most lovable cat. Even though Sylvie is fatally ill with cancer, she managed to purr and come down stairs and demand laps to sit on.

My wife said, when we arrived, “Don’t talk about religion,” a few minutes after we arrived Joe (who is a Methodist minister in Colorado), began talking about religion. I told him that I am an atheist and had started an atheist “church” on Whidbey Island. Joe said that he is an agnostic, and would like to meet with the members of my atheist group to chat with them. Ken said that he was happy now being retired, and had been a minister at one time. I told Joe to tell my wife that he had started the discussion about religion.

We ate well. The turkey (and everything else) was done to perfection. (My wife had brought peas with bacon, also excellent.) Eventually, sated and happy, we headed for home. My wife said, “Check on the chickens.” The chickens, supposedly safe behind a closed gate, mesh, and electric fence had put themselves to bed on the roost.

I looked in the coop door. I counted three gray chickens and one black chicken. There is supposed to two black chickens.  Outside, it was dark and wet. I began to search in the dark with my electric torch. After a while I found a shredded black chicken carcass in a corner of the run. Once before a chicken hawk had squeezed through the mesh and attacked Big Mama, my wife’s favorite chicken. It seemed obvious to me that a hawk had got in again and had black chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. It was too dark to examine for more clues. I went inside, ruined my wife’s Thanksgiving by telling her about the loss of a hen. Sadly, we went to bed.

In the morning we went outside. We put the dead hen in a paper bag. We cleaned up the feathers and mess. We put her in the woods and covered her with the dirt we had dug up. We did not provide a funeral service.

We thought one of the elder hens would be the first to go. They are now close to too old to lay eggs any more. We had not figured out what to do with them when we get some new chicks and there will not be enough room. Now we will be down to one egg a day at best. The one black hen looks very forlorn out scratching and pecking by herself for most of the day.

At the gym, another person told me, “I moved to Whidbey in 1972. I bought a farm. I bought some Bantam chickens and let them run loose in the woods. They laid eggs and raised chicks. They roosted in the trees. At night I would hear an occasional squawk as an owl caught a chicken.”

A lot of people on Whidbey Island worship nature. Nature is nice, but it’s not that pretty.

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I am convinced I will finish my Kenyan millionaire story some day before I die, but as it may be self delusion, don’t hold your breath. We have just returned from a 2-week or so trip by rail across Canada and back by way of Amtrak. We are still alive. Our five hens are all still alive. I visited the relatives I can still stand (and who can stand us) and my favorite niece has two children I never met before who seem quite delightful.

I’ve lost the passwords to my main email accounts. At the moment, this blog is the only electronic way to communicate with me.

While traveling in Canada I met a couple of atheists I like. I met a Cuban taxi driver who said he can’t go into the United States. We had breakfast at a restaurant owned by a Lebanese woman who said that Iran has Lebanon by the throat.

If I figure out my email problems I will email you. Otherwise, I will post another email address for contacting me here on this blog.

How I almost became a Kenyan Millionaire. (Last story, Part 2)

In Humor, Uncategorized on July 20, 2012 at 12:06 am

This would be more likely to apply to my brother, who actually lived in Senegal for three years, and actually became fluent in Wolof, and who actually learned how to be a silversmith, though it didn’t make him a millionaire (or he wouldn’t whine about money so much and would offer to pay our train fare on our trip from Whidbey to Portland, ME via Canadian rail this fall.) Though to be fair, he did offer to help pay for part of our fare from Halifax. If we figure out how to get from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine Though given all the difficulty we are having making connections, I do not know how people ever manage to travel in darkest France or Eastest India or even More Easterly China, where my cousin became an actual millionaire. And, I should add, my brother became lead guitar for a Senegalese rock and roll band, as I guess he failed to convince them to become a bluegrass band, which he much prefers to rock and roll, even Senegalese variety.

Anyway, in my last year teaching computer classes for the library system, an Indian man from East India took a class, and then asked me if I could do some consulting work for him. When I went to a meeting with – Hasan, I will call him, which is something like his real name and typical of his religious group, I found myself in a room with about a dozen people. One of whom was a man who taught fifth grade and ran a small business on the side. Another one was an attractive woman in her 30s who ran a small limousine service with one vehicle. There were about twenty or so other people who ran very small and very marginal part-time or full-time businesses.

This was a time, not that distant from the attack on the WorldTradeTowers, when America was nervous about Muslims. (Now, of course, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. all live in peace and harmony in America.) So Hasan cut right to the chase, explaining that he was a Muslim from India, a member of the sect headed by the Aga Khan. If you go to Wikipedia you can learn everything you want to know (and probably a great deal more than you want to know) about the Aga Khan. I’ll boil it down to: he is one of the richest religious leaders in the world. Millions of followers pay him tithes. He is too busy occupying himself with important religious enterprises such as breeding and racing horses to indulge in silly activities such as spreading Islam by bomb, sword, firearm, or crashing airplane.

Is there a placebo practioner in the house?

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2012 at 3:04 am

It has been said that” The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.” The same thought may apply to medical care.

My HMO is considered to be one of the best in the United States – or so they often tell me – and as I am still alive, and my infected leg seems to be getting better – I will go along with this assertion. In truth, the medical staff who cared for me were careful and kind.

Even so, I got a much closer examination of medical care from the “inside” than I have ever needed before, and various aspects left me uneasy. Doctors are spread very thin, rotating quickly from one venue to another; one day at the hospital; another day at the clinic; another day on a different shift. On several occasions, I met a new doctor unfamiliar with my case so I had to brief him or her on everything that had occurred before. I could see the wheels turning in the doctor’s head as he sized me up and made a diagnosis. Also, I was treated with a complicated witch’s brew of medications, with an almost infinite possibility of interactions and side effects. I had a variety of side effects; trying to isolate what medication caused which particular side effect – such as the incredible itching I experienced – was almost impossible to isolate.

One of the medications listed as side effects the possibility of rupturing a tendon. My wife says she knows someone who took this medication and ruptured a tendon (which never really recovered). Several doctors were dubious – “We have used this medication – cipro – and we haven’t observed any cases of tendon rupture” was a typical response, making me feel as if I was at casino with very high stakes and dubious odds.

David, whose opinion I value highly, said

Here’s my weirdo suggestion: if you are at all open to strange alternative shit — and even if you’re not — it might be worthwhile to try Reiki, which is unusual in that it tends to be beneficial even if the person receiving it thinks it’s complete crap. Luckily we live in a part of the world where energy workers are pretty common. Even if it doesn’t help the infection or the itching, it can “purge” side effects of drugs, which may be useful since you’ve been on several strong ones recently. Usually for stuff like this, one session is enough, or at least causes a measurable improvement.

Also, don’t die. That would be bad.

I mentioned this to the last doctor I encountered, a handsome, pleasant young man, who tactfully expressed doubt about Reiki, but indicated as he has an aunt who is into it, he wasn’t going to say anything negative about it. My wife has used acupuncture, and thinks it may  have helped her, and the doctor expressed a little more confidence in it than Reiki.

My gymnasium has a Reiki practitioner. My wife (who is also dubious) thinks she knows a couple, but she can’t remember their names. None of this is free. Is one better than another? How do I tell?

I am tempted to see if there is a Placebo practitioner who works for free. Or at least in exchange for very fresh eggs from very happy chickens.

Is there a placebo practioner in the house?

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2012 at 3:04 am

It has been said that” The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.” The same thought may apply to medical care.

 

My HMO is considered to be one of the best in the United States – or so they often tell me – and as I am still alive, and my infected leg seems to be getting better – I will go along with this assertion. In truth, the medical staff who cared for me were careful and kind.

 

Even so, I got a much closer examination of medical care from the “inside” than I have ever needed before, and various aspects left me uneasy. Doctors are spread very thin, rotating quickly from one venue to another; one day at the hospital; another day at the clinic; another day on a different shift. On several occasions, I met a new doctor unfamiliar with my case so I had to brief him or her on everything that had occurred before. I could see the wheels turning in the doctor’s head as he sized me up and made a diagnosis. Also, I was treated with a complicated witch’s brew of medications, with an almost infinite possibility of interactions and side effects. I had a variety of side effects; trying to isolate what medication caused which particular side effect – such as the incredible itching I experienced – was almost impossible to isolate.

 

One of the medications listed as side effects the possibility of rupturing a tendon. My wife says she knows someone who took this medication and ruptured a tendon (which never really recovered). Several doctors were dubious – “We have used this medication – cipro – and we haven’t observed any cases of tendon rupture” was a typical response, making me feel as if I was at casino with very high stakes and dubious odds.

 

David, whose opinion I value highly, said

 

Here’s my weirdo suggestion: if you are at all open to strange alternative shit — and even if you’re not — it might be worthwhile to try Reiki, which is unusual in that it tends to be beneficial even if the person receiving it thinks it’s complete crap. Luckily we live in a part of the world where energy workers are pretty common. Even if it doesn’t help the infection or the itching, it can “purge” side effects of drugs, which may be useful since you’ve been on several strong ones recently. Usually for stuff like this, one session is enough, or at least causes a measurable improvement.

 

Also, don’t die. That would be bad.

 

I mentioned this to the last doctor I encountered, a handsome, pleasant young man, who tactfully expressed doubt about Reiki, but indicated as he has an aunt who is into it, he wasn’t going to say anything negative about it. My wife has used acupuncture, and thinks it may  have helped her, and the doctor expressed a little more confidence in it than Reiki.

 

My gymnasium has a Reiki practitioner. My wife (who is also dubious) thinks she knows a couple, but she can’t remember their names. None of this is free. Is one better than another? How do I tell?

 

I am tempted to see if there is a Placebo practitioner who works for free. Or at least in exchange for very fresh eggs from very happy chickens.

 

Last antibiotic infusion

In Good news, Uncategorized on June 13, 2012 at 1:42 am

In about 15 minutes I am supposed to receive my last antibiotic infusion. I guess that means I am cured.

In my health care team my Polish-Japanese (but American born) personal physician has turned over my care for the moment to my Indonesian physician, who has authorized the stopping of my antibiotic, but is juggling my medications, though so far nothing has fallen to the floor.

Tell me why you stopped reading this post

In Bad news, Good news, Hard to tell, Humor, Uncategorized on June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Getting back to the cults I belong to, I will briefly and redundantly review the ones I have described.

Transition Whidbey. Worthwhile points: realize that we are running out of fossil fuels and that economics based on never ending growth cannot continue. Silly points: Failing to realize that humans are dangerous, wicked creatures; failing to acknowledge we need to shoot people before they shoot us; and thinking that positive thinking avoids conflict and tough decisions.

Trinity Lutheran Church. Worthwhile points: treating each other kindly and supportively; outgrowing nastiness and cruelty of earlier versions of Christianity. Silly points: Believing in unreal and imaginary concepts such as God, Satan, Heaven, and Hell and life after death.

Another cult I belong to is the Red Cross. As with other cults to which I belong, I am completely unsuited to this cult. Worthwhile points: The Red Cross acknowledges that bad stuff happens in this mundane life, and tries to prevent such events (where possible) and prepare for recovery and aid. The bad stuff occurs because of natural disasters – storms, earthquakes, floods, land and snow slides, forest fires, epidemics, and a multitude of other such events, as well as from human caused disasters, whether wars, genocides, land and snow slides, epidemics, forest fires, and so on.

As unsuited as I am for the Red Cross, I am even less suited to be a First Responder, a person who rushes to the scene of an disaster and provides immediate medical attention or SWAT team firepower. For example, if trying to perform CPR I would forget the exact steps and be squeamish about breaking the victim’s rib cage.

Transition Whidbey talks about future events that may not be occur or may be forestalled. We may not really run out of fossil fuel, or may at least discover some substitute that does just as well – solar energy, tidal power, bicycles. Religious believers talk about events that can’t not be proved or disproved – Heaven, Hell, etc.

The Red Cross forecasts events that occur often enough – such as hurricanes and tornadoes – that they seem likely to occur again – and also forecasts events rare enough – that many people consider them unlikely, and prefer not to spend time thinking about them, much less energy and money preparing for them. For example, the most likely disasters where my wife and I live are probably a major earthquake and/or a tsunami. My wife and I have prepared in ways large and small. Small: we have placed a sturdy rubber band around the knobs of our main kitchen cabinet. In the event of a moderate to strong earthquake, the band will (we hope) prevent the doors from flying open and all our china dish ware flying to the floor. It’s a little inconvenient because we have to remember to put the band back on each time we open the cabinet doors to remove or return a dish. Large: We have installed (at some expense) a large water tank outside our house. If power is out for days, our well pump will not work, so we may need to have enough water to live on for weeks. Also, we have purchased a large (cranky) generator so we can run the well for short periods of time, run our refrigerator-freezer, for short periods of time. If no earthquake occurs, this will all be wasted time and effort. On the other hand, if a major earthquake occurs, we will be glad, though we will then be faced with the issue of whether to share with (or leach off) our sparse neighbors, mostly (like us) living on acreage in the woods.

Some of the possible disaster events are unlikely indeed, but not impossible. For example, consider volcanoes. Having lived in Portland, OR at the time Mt. St. Helens erupted, and having quite a bit of volcanic ash land on our roof and our street (and having driven through a serious and almost blinding ash cloud on a trip between Portland and Seattle), I don’t consider volcanic eruptions impossible. However, scientists talk about supervolcanoes that have occurred in the past. Some have occurred in fairly recent times, one of the most famous being Krakatoa, in Indonesia. Just as the Richter Scale measures earthquakes, the Volcano Explosive Index (VEI) scale measures volcanic eruptions. Krakatoa was probably a VEI6, killing somewhere between 30,000 to 120,000 people. Geological records indicate that some volcanic eruptions have hit VEI8. In modern times, a VEI8 eruption would quite likely destroy humanity.

A lot of speculation focuses on Yellowstone, where VEI8 eruptions probably occurred before humanity was around to wipe out other species, such as dodo birds. If a VEI8 occurred, we (people living on Whidbey Island) would probably not have much time to worry about anything, but it’s quite possible that a VEI6 or VEI7 might occur, and then all our preparations for disaster might prove useful, or might simply prolong our agony.

But not to worry, there are lots of other natural and unnatural disasters to fret about, such as Electromagnetic pulses (EMP). During the cold war, both the United States and USSR considered using EMP pulses as weapons, as they might destroy the infrastructure of an enemy, particularly communications, power generation and transmission, and the like. Although the cold war has subsided a bit (though not dangers of various kinds of warfare), nature still likes to yank human beings around. So our old friend SOL (the sun at the center of the solar system) creates its own EMPs, by occasionally sending us star signals (solar flares.) We may be due for some jolly ones next year. Probably the largest documented solar “storm” in human history was in 1859. While there was no Internet at that time, humans did have some “modern” devices, such as telegraphs, and they were hit hard.

“Around the world, telegraph systems crashed, machines burst into flames, and electric shocks rendered operators unconscious. Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist. For the first time, people began to suspect that the Earth was not isolated from the rest of the universe.”

One of the projects the Red Cross works on is encouraging people to be prepared for disasters. Mostly disasters likely to occur in our geographic region. My brother lives near Joplin, MO, so he should be prepared for a tornado. My brother’s situation is complicated as 1) he was a weatherman when he was in the Navy and 2) he is crazy (either schizophrenia or bipolar, depending on which of his psychiatrists you talk to). The last time there was a frightening storm in his area, he was looking out the door with interest describing the weather cells while his wife (who related the story to me) was urging him to get downstairs into the storm cellar. Also, a lot of people in these area don’t have storm cellars, though after a tornado hits, quite a few people who were not hit, rush to buy one. I think they may also be called “barn doors” as a nickname, as in “Closing the barn door after the horse has been blown away by the tornado.”

Here in Puget Sound, we are not likely to have a tornado. However, a few weeks ago I was a bit surprised to read in the local newspaper that a “twister” hit a nearby town, knocking down several trees (though injuring no one). Near the end of the story, a person who had observed the storm said that he had lived in the Midwest, observed tornadoes, and would have to describe our storm as a “tornado.” (I am guessing that the newspaper decided not to use the word “tornado” in the headline or lead paragraphs of the story.

Problems with trying to alert people to prepare for possible disasters include objections such as 1) “Prepping” (apparently “preppers” is now a term preferred to “survivalists”) is expensive; 2) Prepping is difficult; 3) thinking about disasters is frightening; 4) leading to “I don’t want to think about something so scary.”

If this blog post was so frightening (or boring) that you stopped reading about ten or twenty paragraphs ago, please leave a comment about why you stopped reading.

The bitter libertarian who hates social workers

In Hard to tell, Humor, Uncategorized on June 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I met J at the gym. Gradually, we found we have much in common, but are also quite incompatible.

For example, in the stuff in common category, we are both Jewish (though do not much regard it as a meaningful label), both come from unhappy families, both at times lived in the New York City area (though Joe much longer than I), both have had some slightly dangerous and disquieting experiences. (J worked for an alarm company for a while.)

For one thing, my wife and I are both still alive, and both in reasonably good health, despite a variety of aches and pains (not unsurprising to people in their 60s) and despite my recent leg infection and hospital visits.

J, on the other hand, lost his wife to an illness a few years ago. Evidently, the experience left him bitter and angry, as he was I gather, quite fond of her. (Perhaps there is some guilt involved, but I can’t really decipher if this is the case.)

J has contemplated suicide, and as he is a bright fellow, he has thought through the most effective way to perform such a deed. He finds it difficult to amuse and distract himself, but he says what works best is to read books with short anecdotes. I tried to find some books for him that fall into this classification, but he is very prickly and and more often than not, says, “No. That does not amuse me that much,” when I suggest something, though on a couple of occasions I did have some success.

J, also considers himself a libertarian, and rails about big government and taxation. I gather (though I am not sure) that over the years he has amassed (through investments) quite a bit of money. We don’t have much money, though, for now we get by comfortably enough. I suspect, that now that his wife is gone – his money does not comfort him that much.

I attended the recent Republican presidential caucus for my part of Whidbey Island, though through most of my life I have more often voted Democratic (though not rigidly or exclusively). As this was before Romney became the probably nominee, people were all over the map in their choices, with interesting ironies and paradoxes. (Such as members of the party of “family values” fervently supporting Newt Gingrich, hardly a paragon of keeping it in his pants.)

There was a strong contingent of libertarians present. I was not entirely surprised to see J there, advocating for Ron Paul. I have an emotional attachment to anarchism/libertarianism, though I consider it quite impractical as an actual system of organizing human society.

J was there, crankily muttering about Ron Paul. Everyone got a minute or so to speak to the assembled group, before breaking up into small groups and then with members of our own precinct). I spoke in favor of Gary Johnson instead of Ron Paul. Gary Johnson is younger than Ron Paul. While Ron Paul seems fit and coherently incoherent, he is a bit on the elderly side, and as I am as well, I felt entitled to speak in favor of a younger person. Also, as Gary Johnson has actually held public office (as governor of New Mexico), he seems surprisingly pragmatic for a libertarian. No one paid any attention to me, including my acquaintance J.

Washington State is going through a commotion about gay marriage. My daughter and her partner don’t want to settle for civil union or domestic partnership. I spoke to others asking them not to sign the petition to repeal Washington State’s gay marriage law. [A while after the caucus I write about, it has been submitted, and there will indeed be an election in Washington state.]

I was amused. In a small group where I spoke in favor of gay marriage, limiting myself to one minute, and disclosing that my daughter wants to marry her partner). A gentleman politely responded, explaining that some of his best friends were homosexual, and that he had nothing against homosexuals, etc., etc., and going on for 15 minutes, (I checked my watch) and explaining about what God and Jesus wanted, etc.

Finally, after listening and not arguing, I politely said I had to rejoin my caucus group and left his table, where he may still be going on about what God and Jesus want, for all I know.

J has a thing about social workers. Apparently (I never quite got all the details), as his wife was dying in her hospital bed, a social worker told him something, or reassured him about something, or simply said something that upset him. Anyway, he speaks of social workers with great bitterness and contempt.

I have known a few social workers. Similar to how I regard people of various religious groups, ethnic groups, etc., I think they come in a variety of qualities as far as intelligence, ethics, likability, etc. J was having nothing of it. On the other hand, he doesn’t care a whit about homosexual marriage, though I doubt he objects to it. Side bread is buttered on, etc.

After listening to him rant about social workers a few times, I finally revealed to him that my aunt Arlene had been studying to be a social worker at UCLA and was murdered. J had the grace to restrain himself from blurting out, “Served her right,” though I suspect the thought ran through his mind. Whatever.