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Published Tuesday, August 09, 2016 @ 8:37 AM EDT
Aug 09 2016

Capital One never called back, but the mysterious $299 pending charge has disappeared.

Had to endure another three-day "pre-authorization" wait to get a prescription refilled. It irks me that some clerk at an insurance company can interfere with the treatment prescribed by a board-certified physician with 20 years of experience.

Speaking of medical stuff, got my flu shot yesterday and beat the rush. Here's hopiing they guessed correctly about the strains that will be prevalent this winter. According to the manufacturer's website, it takes about three weeks to develop whatever immunity the vaccine will provide and, if I'm reading the chart correctly, it's supposed to be 60% effective, which, frankly, doesn't inspire confidence.

But I haven't had influenza for seven years running now. I did spend three days in the hospital in 2012 with mycoplasma pneumonia, a bacterial infection for which there is no effective vaccine. I asked my doctor about those pneumonia vaccine commercials which promise protection from 13 strains of the illness. He pointed out there are about 30 different types of pneumonia, and the two times I had it (another time back in the '80s), it was mycoplasma and therefore the vaccine would be ineffective. Incidentally, mycoplasma pneumonia is commonly referred to as "walking pneumonia." Still no vaccine for the boogie-woogie flu, either.

Pumpkin, the 19+ year old feline and senior lesser mammal is going to the vet today for her feline distemper vaccine. More importantly, I hope to find out the cause of a recent bout of ongoing hair loss (not shedding) and atypical behavior. Veterinarians are surprised when they discover her age. Her blood panels and dental condition are like those of a ten year old cat, at least at her last visit two months ago. She's taken to lying at the top of the steps and staring into space, unresponsive until you actually touch her. Her age is equivalent to a human in her mid-90s, so it's perhaps not unusual, but the rapid onset of the behavior has us concerned.

And tomorrow, the small, insane dog-like creature, Pixie the Shih Tzu, goes in to be spayed, have a breed-typical minor umbilical hernia repaired, and to have some deciduous (baby) teeth removed. In some dogs, the baby teeth don't fall out. This is also not unusual in Shih Tzus.

My first job out of high school was veterinary assistant. I've seen scores of spays, neuters, and other surgical procedures performed. The Doc never lost a patient or, for that matter, had to deal with any complications. That was 45 years ago, and there've been significant improvements in anesthesia and surgery procedures, but I have to confess I'm worried about the little stinker. Small dogs (she's 12.5 pounds) and brachycephalic breeds, including Shih Tsus, have more problems with anesthesia. They can suffer from hypothermia and hypoglycemia, and the squished face can cause breathing problems.

Anesthesia deaths in canines is rare, about 1 in 2000 (0.0005%). SHe's young and healthy, though, so I'm not going to worry about the surgery. Instead, I'm going to worry about how I'm going to keep that Elizabethan collar on her and prevent her from hurling herself from beds and couches, one of her favorite activities.

Her other favorite activity is napping with Dad. We'll try to focus on that.


Categories: Capital One, Cats, Dogs, KGB Family


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Pet food and life expectancy
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Published Thursday, June 30, 2016 @ 7:49 AM EDT
Jun 30 2016

Pumpkin, our 19-year-old cat, doesn't really like canned cat food, but she loves the gravy that floats to the top of the container. In her mind, when the gravy is gone, so's the cat food. So when she wants more, she gets our attention by knocking the can to the ground. The dogs, knowing that there are a lot of chicken and cheese morsels remaining in the can, engage in a textbook Pavlovian response to the sound of the can hitting the kitchen floor. It's usually quite amusing.

Except at 5:08 am. When I'm in bed. Upstairs. In the bedroom with the door closed. With the dogs.

This cat may not make it to 20.


Categories: KGB Family


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Father's Day... Breakfast with the grandkids
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Published Sunday, June 19, 2016 @ 10:12 PM EDT
Jun 19 2016


Categories: KGB Family


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The Watcher
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Published Wednesday, June 01, 2016 @ 6:09 AM EDT
Jun 01 2016


(Grandma and Edie, 1972)

My paternal grandmother, Esther Schotting, passed away on this date in 1979. She and my grandfather raised me for the most part; they and the late Earle Wittpenn are mainly responsible for the person I am today. I remember her watching me as I walked home from elementary school in the afternoon, or crossing Eighth Avenue to go to Isaly's or McCrory's. She was always at a window, always looking for me.

In her last years, when I was changing buses to go to my job in Pittsburgh, she was there in the window in the apartment on Ann Street. I probably looked like an idiot, waving in the dark to no one visible. But I knew she was there.

The only time I ever saw my grandmother in a church was when I got married. She claimed she was an "old-time Baptist" and liked listening to Mahalia Jackson records and watching Billy Graham on the tv.

The local Baptist minister graciously agreed to conduct her service. I was holding up pretty well during the service, until he ended his eulogy to a woman he never met with a poem by Margaret Widdemer that precisely described her:

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.


Categories: KGB Family, Passages


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Weapons grade cuteness
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Published Monday, May 09, 2016 @ 12:32 AM EDT
May 09 2016

My granddaughter Joelle's third birthday party.


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Passages
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Published Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 8:27 AM EDT
Apr 17 2016


Granddaughter Leanna becomes a teenager next week. Her mother took us out for dinner to celebrate.


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Easter 2016
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Published Sunday, March 27, 2016 @ 11:12 PM EDT
Mar 27 2016


Granddaughter Joelle and son Doug on their way to church.


Categories: KGB Family


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Halloween 2014
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Published Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 11:31 PM EDT
Oct 31 2014

One of the mammals in this photo had a good time.


Categories: Holidays, KGB Family


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If they mated...
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Published Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 6:36 AM EDT
Oct 28 2014

An Ewok and Wilfred Brimley.

(Pixie, the small, insane, dog-like creature, was groomed yesterday.)


Categories: Animals, Dogs, KGB Family


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Photo of the day
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Published Friday, July 11, 2014 @ 6:46 PM EDT
Jul 11 2014

Pixie, the strange, insane, dog-like creature:

1. Communicates telepathically with her masters from deep space, the Dark Overlords of the Universe;

2. Really likes having her butt scratched.

"Ah. Familiar that pose is."


Categories: Dogs, KGB Family, Photo of the day


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Kids and animals
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Published Monday, July 07, 2014 @ 12:38 PM EDT
Jul 07 2014


A picture of granddaughters Joelle and Leanna from their vacation cabin.

>

Pixie the Shih Tzu (Klingon for "small, insane, dog-like creature") attacks: a) invisible bunnies under the comforter; b) my socks; and c) her older "sister," Sassy.


Categories: KGB Family, Video, YouTube


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Winding down
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Published Sunday, July 06, 2014 @ 3:54 PM EDT
Jul 06 2014

Appropriately attired granddaughter Joelle hopes you all had a great Independence Day weekend.

Now get back to work.


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Bow WOW indeed...
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Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014 @ 9:33 AM EDT
Jun 25 2014

If you live in the greater Pittsburgh area and, like me, rank the experience of taking your dogs to the groomer just above getting a root canal, you're in luck.

Just call the lovely Shauna Caudill, a certified groomer and owner of Bow WOW! Mobile Bath and Grooming, and she'll bring her spiffy specialized vehicle to your home and work her magic.

To be honest, taking the shelties to the groomer was never a problem, other than spending a week trying to get all the fur out of the interior of the car.

But Pixie the Shih Tzu (Klingon for "small, insane, dog-like creature) was another story. Within five minutes of leaving the groomer's, Cindy received a call telling her to return asap and retrieve the wee beastie. They couldn't handle her. I imagined it went something like this:

Our experience with Shauna was decidedly different:


Sassy is ready for her close-up.


Before Shauna, Pixie looked like a rabid tribble with legs.

Shauna abandoned a successful but unsatisfying career and decided to take a chance and do what she truly loves. Her drive and dedication are estimable, and her skills are obvious.

We've already scheduled our next appointment.


Categories: Dogs, KGB Family, KGB Opinion


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Transformation
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Published Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 6:50 PM EDT
Jun 09 2014

On the left, granddaughter Leanna beginning fifth grade in September, 2013.

On the right, granddaughter Leanna today, on her last day of fifth grade.

Wow.

She's a high honor student and this fall will attend Pittsburgh Classical Academy (PCA), a magnet middle school in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She's also in the district's gifted program.

PCA's unique approach features interdisciplinary units organized around ancient civilizations: Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in grade six, the Middle Ages and Renaissance in grade seven, and U.S. History in grade eight.

In addition to "modern" courses like communications and computers, the core classes include health, library, mathematics, science, social studies, and Spanish.

Or, as we used to call it, "school."


Categories: KGB Family


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Cleaning off the desktop
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Published Sunday, May 25, 2014 @ 9:52 AM EDT
May 25 2014

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Pope Francis will bring a rabbi and a Muslim leader with him when he travels to the Holy Land this week. Or as bartenders put it, 'We've been expecting you.'
–Jimmy Fallon

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Godzilla, in happier times.

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Sad but true: Radioactive kitty litter may have ruined our best hope to store nuclear waste

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Quote of the week:
Don't force stupid people to be quiet. I want to know who the morons are.
-Mark Cuban

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BBC says Senators have called for a new name for the Washington Redskins. They suggest the Washington Powerful Old Honkies.
-@PaulaPoundstone

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The outstanding problem of cryogenics isn't whether future advances in technology will enable you to be unfrozen and brought back to life 10,000 years from now. The outstanding problem of cryogenics is whether 250 consecutive generations of security guards earning $6.50 an hour will remember to check the thermostat every night.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

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Skies over Chicago, Wednesday evening, May 21:
a) lightning
b) they crossed the streams
c) Dr. Jenning is summoning the Dark Overlords
(Photo by Andrew Chase)

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There's a certain satisfying irony in the fact that the speed with which same-sex marriage is being adopted is due not to states passing bills in favor of it, but in the courts ruling as unconstitutional the bills prohibiting it. An excellent example of the law of unintended consequences. Interesting trivia: John Jones III, the federal court judge who ruled Pennsylvania's defense of marriage act unconstitutional, was nominated to the bench by then-Senator Rick Santorum.

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Hate to say this, but because of Pat Sajak's awful remarks, I will no longer look to game show hosts for moral guidance.
=@FrankConniff

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"Oh my God, we're all gonna die! You know this is serious if someone on Fox News just said 'climate change is real.' I believe that is a sign of the Apocalypse."
-Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

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It seems that trying to fix stupid just makes it worse.

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Daugher-in-law Angela, granddaugter Joelle and son Doug celebrating the at the little one's first birthday party. (It was a WonderPets theme, hence the cape and tiara.)

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I was rinsing out a plastic Dairy Queen cup which had contained one of their "milk" shakes, and one minute of full-force hot water failed to melt or otherwise remove all of the residue. I don't know whether I should throw it in the recycling bin or call a hazmat team.

And... the desktop is clean.
--KGB


Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, KGB Family, KGB Opinion, Politics


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All in the family
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Published Sunday, May 04, 2014 @ 12:09 AM EDT
May 04 2014


Granddaughter Joelle all tired out after a fun day with her cousins.


Granddaughter Joelle gives me the look I get from most young ladies...


Just a couple buds hanging out on the couch.


Sleep barking.


Categories: Animals, Cats, Dogs, KGB Family


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First Easter
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Published Monday, April 21, 2014 @ 4:24 PM EDT
Apr 21 2014


Granddaughter Joelle nailed it.


Categories: Holidays, KGB Family


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Spring!
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Published Monday, March 31, 2014 @ 4:04 PM EDT
Mar 31 2014

Granddaughter Joelle takes advantage of the relatively warm weather by taking a ride and picking her first flower.


Categories: KGB Family


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Ritual
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Published Wednesday, March 19, 2014 @ 7:00 AM EDT
Mar 19 2014

The small dog-like creature demands peanut butter toast every morning. It's not pretty.


Categories: Dogs, KGB Family


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Trimmed
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Published Sunday, March 09, 2014 @ 8:13 AM EDT
Mar 09 2014

It took an hour, mild sedation, three Milk Bones, my beard trimmer, two adults and an oven mitt, but we finally trimmed the hair around the eyes of the small, dog-like creature (aka Pixie the Shih Tzu).


Categories: Dogs, KGB Family


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Still the one...
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Published Sunday, March 09, 2014 @ 7:53 AM EDT
Mar 09 2014

Pumpkin turns 17 today and retains the title of oldest non-human mammal in the house.

Her nickname for the longest time was "Demon Cat From Hell." She does not suffer fools gladly, and she pretty much considers herself to be surrounded by fools.

Fortunately, she's mellowed somewhat in her old age. Treat her with respect, and you'll get it in return.

As long as you feed her.

Now.


Categories: Animals, KGB Family


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Granddaughters
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Published Sunday, March 02, 2014 @ 5:17 AM EST
Mar 02 2014


Granddaughter Joelle has the official Star Fleet wardrobe, is working on the Vulcan salute...


YouTube video: 3,965-day-old Leanna and 296-day-old Joelle hang out.


Categories: KGB Family


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Happy Birthday
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Published Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 8:41 AM EST
Feb 28 2014


Doug, Joelle, and Angela

My son Doug turns 38 today.

Despite having what can be most charitably described as a semi-feral übergeek as a dad, he somehow managed to thrive. He's an independent, responsible adult with a droll sense of humor; the ability to write complex yet accessible biographical narratives; possesses impressive typing skills; loves animals; is a scholar of the works of the giants (Python, Landis, Ramis, and Cameron); is a great uncle; and last year became a father.

That last achievement is what I find most impressive. When I was 38, Doug was a junior in high school; he graduated before I turned 40.

I remember being a dad when I was a strapping youth of 21- the dense fog of sleep deprivation; the indescribable aroma of baby powder, loaded diapers and regurgitated oatmeal; the sleepless nights due not to a crying infant, but worries about the future. I try to think of dealing with that as a late thirtysomething, and my mind seizes up and goes blank.

One thing I do know- Joelle is lucky to him as a dad, and I can't believe my good fortune to have him as a son.

Happy birthday, Doug.


My son Doug and I meet for the first time.
He is not impressed.


Categories: KGB Family


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Cleaning off the desktop
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Published Sunday, February 09, 2014 @ 5:53 PM EST
Feb 09 2014

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I can communicate through a series of short & long groans & sighs. It's called 'morose code'.
-Robb Allen, @ItsRobbAllen (h/t David Kifer, alt.quotations)

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Somewhat alarmed to discover some teens don't recognize "Uncle Sam," I checked with my daughter about my soon to be 11 year old granddaughter's status:

KGB: Does Lea know who Uncle Sam is?

Sara: Oh, I think she would.

KGB: Ask her when convenient.

Sara: She said yes, it's the guy pointing and saying "I want you."

KGB: Excellent. Our nation is in good hands.

Sara: She said "Yes. Yes, it is."

Can't argue with that...>

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"I give them a year."
-Ray Bloch, musical director for "The Ed Sullivan Show," on the Beatles, when they made their first live appearance on American television 50 years ago.

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"Ah, hell. Let's call Froot Loops what they really are: Gay Cheerios."
-Bill Maher

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Those who feel that humans are essentially good and altruistic have never read the comment sections on YouTube.

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I actually used to date a girl named Christie Benghazi, so it's funny for me now when I flip between those two channels.
-John Fugelsang

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The Star Trek Facepalm collection, although I don't think Spock actually qualifies.

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“If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?”

Let me ask you this: If you came from parents, why are there still parents?

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"Fortunes have been lost underestimating Jay Leno."
-Lorne Michaels


Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, Harrison Ford, Jay Leno, KGB Family, KGB Opinion, Linked In, Michael Collins, Miscellany, NASA, Star Trek, YouTube


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My Facebook Movie
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Published Wednesday, February 05, 2014 @ 11:41 AM EST
Feb 05 2014

Aside from the first photo, Facebook's automated movie generator did a fairly decent job.


Categories: Facebook, KGB, KGB Family, KGB Opinion


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