Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for September 2021

Politicians are Like Diapers …

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… they should be changed often, and for the same reason.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Humor / Quote

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Train Ticket to Luxury

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By Cecil Scaglione

The tongue-in-cheek survey taken by the couple from Texas to determine “which railroad yard had the best graffiti” went off-track as the quarter-mile-long train skirted the base of oooh-inspiring Mount Shasta.

It took most of the morning to get by California’s highest peak while the American Orient Express occupants collected “AOE souvenirs” – small bruises collected on both arms while bouncing from wall to wall in the clattering cars.

Mount Shasta

Nobody complained. They were too distracted on this week-long land cruise that encompassed wineries and waterfalls as they trundled through the West Coast’s major cities. It began with a quick tour of starting-point Seattle followed by plenty of free time in Portland to, among other pastimes, browse through the renowned Powell City of Books after a morning clambering around Multnomah Falls, which overlooks the Columbia River gorge and claims to be the second tallest waterfall in the country.

The scenery was a major improvement over the wake-up view of the warehouse in Klamath Falls where the train rested overnight. Which prompted the unofficial survey mentioned earlier.

There was plenty of train time for talk and the adventures and advantages of the train trip was a recurring topic. And, like taking an ocean cruise, “There’s nothing to worry about,” like protecting your valuables or how to get to attractions.

This AOE experience is no longer available but was aimed at travelers seeking the sumptuousness of the luxurious legendary train that began carrying countesses and courtesans, philosophers and philanderers between London and Istanbul about a century ago.

After the train snaked south along the Sacramento River, which gushes out of the foot of Mount Shasta, passengers were bused through the grape-glutted Napa Valley for a wine-tasting session at a French-like chateau overlooking the rolling vine-covered hills before crossing the Golden Gate bridge to overnight in San Francisco.  After lunch the next day on Fisherman’s Wharf, everyone re-trained in Oakland’s Jack London Square to compare notes on their vistas from Twin Peaks and Presidio Park.

The hilltop view from Hearst’s San Simeon, the next stop, was equally impressive for those who took a moment to stray from the overabundant opulence of the late newspaper magnate’s Medieval memorial of amassed art.

The slide alongside the Pacific into Los Angeles was a restful respite at the end of a relaxing trip.  Rather than stop to sample some of attractions on their own in this megalopolis – Disneyland, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica Pier, for example – a couple of fellow travelers chose to cover the rest of the U.S. Pacific shore. They picked up tickets in Union Station for the two-hour coastal leg to San Diego.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 29, 2021 at 1:30 pm

We Were Talking …

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… about how stupid the average person is.

Then it dawned on us that half the people are stupider than that.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 27, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Humor / Quote, Viewpoint

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This Blog Began …

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… as an adjunct to the Mature Life Features syndicate that, back in the ’80s and ’90s, had almost 100 monthly subscribers around the country.

We never hit 100 but had 97 for several months and more than ninety at the turn of this century. It settled down into the 60s until 2008, when the subscription list toppled to less than three dozen and slipped slowly until torn to tatters by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Word has just been received that a subscriber who’s been with us for three decades has decided to shut down, joining the list of daily, weekly and monthly publications that have withered away because of a lack of readers and revenue with the rise of the Internet.

For that reason, we’re working on this blog — — to serve as a reminder of what small local newspapers used to be like since I spent more than six decades as a reporter and editor in that business. There won’t be any crossword puzzle or comics but we’ll try to pepper our features on various topics, such as health and finance and travel, with a funny line now and then.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 26, 2021 at 5:58 am

Posted in Viewpoint

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Trader Joe’s Just Lost a Customer …

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… and so did Sprouts.

On my weekly jaunt to these two outlets just a few miles up the road from home, I found how much things had changed in such a short time.

There’s been much talk about inflation-driven price increases but it appears that Trader Joe’s has been leading the pack. Prices within its walls have laddered up 10 percent and more since my previous visit so I decided to forego any purchases for a bit and sauntered over to Sprouts.

And found the same pen strokes had settled in their bins and shelves.

After voicing my frustrated observation to a couple I knew who happened to be shopping at the same time, I decided to conduct an experiment. I priced three items in Sprouts and three similar items in Trader Joe’s.

Then I drove to a supermarket near home to compare the prices on similar items. I followed up with a similar visit to another nearby supermarket.

A simple comparison was seedless green grapes — $1.99 a pound in both supermarkets compared with $2.99 – 50 percent more — at the high-end shops.

I may have to return to Trader Joe’s at some point because that’s where my late wife – a black-belt shopper – used to get our olive oil. In the meantime, I’ll look around for a delicatessen or olive-oil shop that will undo any need for a return visit.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 25, 2021 at 8:41 am

Something I noticed …

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. . . a long time ago is that everything looks a lot easier when somebody else does it.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 22, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Posted in A Musing

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You Need a Computer …      

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…to fix your phone.

 My Panasonic landline phone receiver had an irritating glitch that I decided had to be eliminated after putting up with it for more than a week.

Where the time sits and caller ID appears when the phone rings was a constant message about getting a voice mail from my server. I don’t use voice mail and have no clue how to retrieve any voice mail I receive. And the light on the receiver that blinks ever five seconds when I have missed a call kept on blinking every five seconds.

So I called AT&T to stop this stuff.

After several stops and goes with Mr. Robot Answerer, I was directed to a human. I could hold or opt for a call back. I decided to hold on for “between 7 and 8 minutes.” Then a real person – her name was Sally — asked me what my problem was and transferred me to tech support after I told her about my problem. After a few more minutes of music, the phone went dead. I had been lopped out of the system.

So I called back. Mr. Answerer and I danced around several more rounds despite my asking for a human being time after time. The woman who answered — her name was Helen – transferred met tech service again and I got talking to a woman from somewhere across the Pacific.

It sounded like she was working in a police-station radio room. She asked me for my phone number and clicked in and out a couple of times, then for name, which I had to spell out for. Then she needed my account number, which I had handy in the monthly statement I get from AT&T.

She asked for my telephone number again and was unable to find my phone number, account number or name. So I asked to speak to her supervisor, which she agreed to willingly. However, her supervisor was busy and he would have to call me. His name was Ray.

Is was calling on my cell phone, which I use rarely but felt it was a good idea because I could them have them work on my land line while conversing on my cell phone.

I made a quick trip to the bathroom and heard the cell phone buzzing so I dashed back and the caller hung after two buzzes (rings). So I called that number back and got Mr. Answerer again.

After our verbal dance, and a chat with another female – her name was Vera – I was transferred to tech support again. This time was a charm.

The tech person found my phone and didn’t need the account number but pointed out I had to call the maker of telephone and he would get me the customer support number.

With the Panasonic number given to me, I got Mr. Answerer’s counterpart at Panasonic. I was told I could hold on or ask for a call back in “eight to nine minutes.” I decided to hold on – and on and on and on and on.

I hung up after about 30 minutes and redialed the number and waited about 20 minutes before hanging up.

While awaiting connections all through this process, I managed to pay a few bills and retrieved the instruction booklet that came with the Panasonic telephone when it was purchased. The booklet didn’t help.

So I decided to ask Google how the heck I could get rid of the message on the Panasonic.

And out came a page with instructions.

Simply hold down the # button for eight seconds and the message will disappear, it said.

It did. And so did the light.

This whole process covered some six hours when all I had to do was ask my computer.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 20, 2021 at 10:31 pm

Adding to the Confusion to Sunrise Residents …

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… are the five Bobs living here.

And there is an added problem, according to a neighbor:.

“One of them spells his name backwards.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 19, 2021 at 9:00 am

Posted in Humor / Quote

Tagged with , ,

Escorted Tours Offer Safety, Mobility

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By Cecil Scaglione

Travel in any form can be rewarding, whether its hitch-hiking solo around the world or cruising the Caribbean in a luxury liner loaded with hundreds of folks.

In most cases, people seem to enjoy traveling with other people. Cruise lines, tour operators, travel agents and the internet offer endless choices on destinations, levels of comfort, length of time, variety of activities, and type of lodgings.

If you wish to avoid the crowds participating in most of the above, you can seek out an escorted tour that is tailored more closely to your tastes.

They can make travel much simpler because your trip is preplanned and you have the safety and security of traveling in a group. When any problem arises, the tour escort handles it.

These group travelers no longer have to spend their trip packed into a bus between stops to take photos of their sites.

Now they feed the animals on the farm they visit if they wish and there is plenty of free time to tour the villages they visit on the backroads they travel.

An attraction right off is that the cost of such a tour is an all-in-on package that’s much cheaper than booking all the components yourself. The price includes transportation, meals, lodgings and activities on your schedule.

Among the major attractions of an escorted group tour is the ability to focus on a particular destination, event or activity.

You can be part of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or to the Olympic games in a country you’ve always wanted to visit.

Or you can be among a group that settles comfortably into Tuscany or southern France for a few days to sip and sample their wines.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 18, 2021 at 6:33 am

Posted in Trip Tips

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A Disease That Sneaks up on You

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By Tom Morrow

Historically speaking, a 19th century malady that is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society is Parkinson’s Disease.

PD is thought to occur primarily with the elderly. That’s not necessarily always the case. There are no easy explanations and it can hit the young.

Males are more often affected than females at a ratio of around 3 to 2. When it is seen in people younger than the age of 50, it is called “early-onset Parkinson’s.”

I was 75 when I was diagnosed.

When young people like actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammed Ali, and singer Linda Ronstadt are afflicted, the age factor sort of goes out the window. Fox was 27 when he was diagnosed. Ali was 38 and Ronstadt was 67. Older victims such as well-known actor Alan Alda are more commonplace.PD is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor nerves. The symptoms usually emerge slowly, and as the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms become more common. The most obvious early symptoms are tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking and keeping balanced.

By 2015, it was estimated PD affected more than 6 million people and resulted in about 117,400 deaths globally. The average life expectancy following diagnosis is between seven and 15 years.

The cause of PD is unknown but both inherited and environmental factors are believed to play a role. Those with a family member affected by PD are at an increased risk of getting the disease, with certain genes known to be inheritable risk factors. Other risk factors are those who have been exposed to certain pesticides and those who have had head injuries. Cognitive and behavioral problems also may occur with many victims suffering from depression, anxiety and apathy. Dementia can become commonplace in the advanced stages of PD. 

Boxers, such as Ali, and those sports figures who have sustained a number of blows to head often have developed PD. Football players often are victims.

Football organizations at all levels lately have established a number of rules and procedures to minimize head trauma.

Those suffering with Parkinson’s also can have problems with their sleep and sensory systems. The motor symptoms of the disease result from the dead cells in the mid-brain leading to a dopamine deficit. The cause of this cell death is not very well understood. Diagnosis of typical PD cases is usually based on symptoms when motor skills difficulties are the patient’s chief complaint.

The bad news is that there still is no known cure for PD.

For those of us with PD, treatment can reduce the effects of the symptoms. Initial treatment is done typically with medications such as levodopa or dopamine agonists. As the disease progresses, experience has shown these medications become less effective.

Actor Fox has greatly increased the public awareness of the disease. After diagnosis, Fox embraced his Parkinson’s in television roles, sometimes acting without medication to further illustrate the effects of the condition. He has appeared before Congress without medication to illustrate the effects of the disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Professional cyclist and Olympic medalist Davis Phinney, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at age 40, started the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004 to support PD research, focusing on quality of life for people with the disease.

Boxer Ali showed signs of PD when he was 38, but was not diagnosed until he was 42. He has been called the “world’s most famous Parkinson’s patient.” There continues to be debate on whether he actually had PD caused from boxing.

At the time of his suicide in 2014, actor-comedian Robin Williams had been diagnosed with PD.

A physician initially assesses PD with a careful medical and neurological history. Focus is put on confirming motor symptoms and supporting tests with clinical diagnostic criteria being discussed by a physician and PD specialist.

Multiple causes often mimic PD, making it look similar to the disease. Stroke, certain medications, and toxins can cause “secondary parkinsonism” and need to be thoroughly and properly assessed. Parkinson-plus syndromes, such as progressive palsy and multiple system atrophy, should be considered and ruled out appropriately due to different treatment and disease progression.

For those losing their motor skills, such as walking and difficulties in keeping balance, swallow your pride and use a walker both indoors and out. The results of a bad fall can be worse than any disease.

The above information on PD is just that … information. It is a complex disease and should be thoroughly discussed with your physician and a PD specialist to make sure you get the correct information and treatment.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 16, 2021 at 1:19 pm