Sunday, August 5, 2018

Addiction to Search

Addiction to Search

 August 4, 2018

690 words
2 min 51 read

On my way to research the search phenomenon, I just recognized, my addiction to ‘SEARCH’

I found an equalling interesting subject: ‘FAKE NEWS’ NEWPHILOSPHER Issue #17: Communication, September 1, 2017
By Tom Chatfield

He quotes philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his 2005 book ‘ON BULLSHIT’.

Quoting Mr. Frankfurt “The essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony.”

“A liar and an honest person are interested in the truth, they are playing on opposite sides of the same game.

A bullshitter, however, has no such constraint.”

A politician witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

During a campaign interview in 2015, he proclaimed that New Jersey, which had a heavy Arab population, he saw the Muslims cheering the collapse of these towers.

A normal politician caught in a lie would offer an apology, or an excuse or offer some reason when he knew he was caught.

However, this politician made up a different rule: claim what is false is FAKE NEWS.

I read the other day a summary of FAKE NEWS as being ‘propaganda’.

I now have to concede that calling it ‘BULLSHIT’ is far more accurate and, I dare say, more enjoyable.

For Frankfurt, a bullshitter “is neither on the side of truth nor the side of false… He does not care whether the things he says describe reality. He just makes them up to suit his purpose.”

Our author, Tom Chatfield, continues “these words capture something central to the phenomenon that is called fake news: the belief that emotive impact is not only the supreme test of a story but the only metric that matters.”


Two perceptive insights in four paragraphs.

I have to move onto the main reason for this post but I will leave you with Mr. Chatfield’s observation: we are in a “FESTIVAL OF BULLSHIT” (caps mine).

What a fabulous metaphor!

Enjoy slogging around in this bullshit for a long while longer.

In the 1950s, psychologists found that, when an electrode was placed in a rat’s brain, the lateral hypothalamus, they would give themselves shocks.

They would do this rather than eat or drink.

They would do this up to seven hundred times per hour!

“What is especially troubling is that humans have a brain system similar to rats.” Antonia Case 11/14/2014 in the NewPhilospher Issue #5: ‘self’

Think about this for a minute.

How many of us can lie around, on a couch, doing nothing? Not reading, not watching TV just staring off into nothingness?

Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp was a neuroscientist and psychobiologist at Washington State University.
He and other researchers say that we are happiest when we ’re in search mode, seeking rewards of some kind.

Apparently, it doesn’t make much difference what we are searching for.

“We seek new weather, new disasters, new ideas, new inspiration. The more novel and unexpected, the bigger hit we get from it.”

Ms. Case uses the analogy our seeking is a “conveyor belt that’s forever moving onward”.

We may profess that we really want to “lay up in a hammock and happily look at the sky, neuroscientists give us the unfortunate verdict, that no, we’ll simply replace the search with another.”

“Our seeking pathways, called dopamine transmitter, which energizes us while seeking, are firing best when we are in search mode.”

Professor Panksepp says “animals can be driven into a frenzy when rewards for search are dished out in minuscule chunks; unable to be satisfied, the search continues, at a more frantic pace.”

How do you react when the ding announcing a new text message or email tinkles on your phone? This is the” bell Pavlov rang for his dogs.”

“We become sweating rats in the laboratory, pressing the lever to get our fix!”

Are you like a drug user?

“Drug users get to the point where they can’t stop seeking drugs, even as the rewards for using decline over time.”

“We keep hitting the refresh button because we have no choice–we’re caught in a loop.”

Are we doing harm?

Thanks for stopping by.


PS I am a rat on a conveyor belt hunting for a sugar fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             internet search addiction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sleep Soundly My Friend

Sleep Soundly, My Friend

August 3, 2018

1804 Words
7 min 19 sec read

Have you ever had trouble falling asleep?

Have you ever gone days or even weeks without a refreshing, recharging sleep?

You know then of what I speak.

I had trouble sleeping as long as I can remember and even longer.


In 1997, I was working in the porch on our house.

I was stripping paint from the narrow beadboard woodwork.

It was a long, tedious, and exhausting project.

After using a gel stripper to remove the paint, I still had to sand where each strip of board met up with the one next to it.

This was taxing when I was working overhead. It has extremely punishing work on the neck and shoulders.

Well, I finally finished the overhead part and began work on the door frame and was not doing the walls or window frames.

Hopefully, when completed it would appear that the stripped and varnished parts would be an accent to the white walls and window frames.

This was a porch built in 1927 so there were a lot of windows.

By many, there were exactly fourteen. Fourteen frames, with an upper and lower section. Fourteen dividers between each window.
Dividers above the windows and below the windows.

Dividers above the front door and the exterior door.

Lots of stripping to do. And after that, I had to strip the floor.

I thought the floor would be the easiest part of the job since it was flat and I didn’t need to stand on a ladder.


There were eight coats of paint on the floor to strip before I got down to the wood grained floor.

 Stripping that many coats of paint resembles playing in mounds of slippery, wet gunk. A challenge to wipe up too.

But that is getting ahead of myself.

I had the front door frame to strip.

The beautiful door was varnished. A light steel wool to sand and remove the old checked varnish. Apply a new coat of fresh polyurethane varnish would make the door beautiful again.

There were eight frames for the windows. The windows were six inches by eight inches. The framing between the windows was narrow but detailed.

I patted myself on the back and decided to just touch up the framing and just put on a new of varnish.

I started to paint the gel stripper on the vertical portions of the door frame.


What just happened?

The whole floor was ablaze!

Flames licking from the edges of the floor where stripper had fallen. Encircling the whole outside edge of the porch!

I was stomping as fast as I could.

I panicked and hollered for my wife to help me.

It was scary. Flames licking every there was stripper.

Finally, we put the flames out.

Sitting outside on the front steps I couldn't catch my breath!

I huffed and huffed and gasped and gasped. But I still could not catch my breath.

It was late summer, and the evening was cool which made breathing easier.

What a relief!

What in the world had happened? How did the fire start?

It took several days to figure that mystery. 

Later I examined the door frame.

A doorbell buzzer!

I hadn’t disconnected the power supply from the button.

As the gel slide down the wood frame, it eventually came in contact with the live wire of the doorbell.


A fireball flew out of the connection and dropped to the floor where more stripper awaited the flame.

The flame spread lightning fast around the inside edge of the porch.

I don’t know how long we took to stomp out the flames, but it felt like an eternity.


The next day was a Monday, a workday.

I drove to work still feeling punk from the prior evening’s excitement.

I got to work and sat in the breakroom.

I still couldn’t catch my breath!

I called my doctor, and he said to get to the hospital at once.

The hospital was a short drive, around 10 miles.

I stood outside the emergency room door and sucked down another cigarette!

I figured it would be a few days before I would be able to light up another.

I entered the door and walked the few steps to the desk.

When asked  I said I couldn’t catch my breath.


An orderly pounced on a wheelchair and flew me into an awaiting room.

It was a long time from getting underdressed to the time a doctor came.
The prognosis?

I was on my way to undergo heart catheterization.

What? I couldn’t catch my breath! It was my lungs not my heart!

The nurse assured me it was my heart. A wire would be inserted in an artery in my groin and the cardiologist would snake it up the artery and see what was going on in my heart.

Four blockages. Four!

I later learned that I qualified for the ‘real’ heart repair club. The requirement was to undergo more than three blockages to qualify.

Of course, this made grown men giggle during rehab (it hurt to much to laugh!).


Now you know the back story. We can move forward.

While in the hospital I complained of my legs were driving me to DISTRACTION! 

A discussion with my wife and doctor ensued.

I didn't remember my wife telling me my legs would jump at night and kick her. We had a kingsize mattress, so we weren’t sleeping squished into the bed.

Now the story begins.

They told me I woke up frequently during the night. What?

They scheduled me for a sleep study for a time after my convalescence.

They diagnosed my kicking legs as Restless Leg Syndrome.

In 1997 there wasn’t much known regarding this condition and much less medication to help in resolving it.

The Sleep Study was not painful. A bit aggravating yes. But it was nothing I had to study for.

I check into the section of the hospital where the studies were done. I was glad there was nothing I had to prepare for or study to take the test.

After checking into the hospital, they hooked me up with as many wires as they attached during heart surgery or so it seemed.

They assigned me a room and told to sleep. Yeah right!

A strange bed, a strange room, and a strange pillow. Not to mention as a jumble of wires sticking to every section of my skull and chest.

Did I mention I am blessed with a large quantity of chest hair?

Good luck getting the sticky pads removed that were attached everywhere!

I dozed off because they woke me up and hooked me up with a mask.

There was a machine that pumped air into the mask was attached to my face.

Later I was woken up again. This time it was morning!

The nurse asked me if I was refreshed.

That stopped me like a thunderbolt.


I had not felt so good after a spending a night laying in bed in… forever. And it was only four hours!

During the sleep study, they discovered I stopped breathing 90 times A MINUTE!

Sleep Apnea specifically obstructive sleep apnea was my curse.

They asked if I wanted a machine like the one they had attached to my face.


I learned it was a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine.

I ran to the Medical Equipment store and requested one ASAP!

They had one in stock and I snatched it up and received instruction on how to use it.


The first night was a struggle to figure out the contraption and how to fit in on my face whether to start the machine with ‘ramping’ the air flow or just start full blast.

I much preferred the full blast when laying my head on the pillow. No messing around here!

The next morning I woke.

I felt like I had just drunk nectar from the gods (I was hung up on Greek Mythology at the time).

Boy, I felt like a new person, I had not slept like that in many many years, if ever.

I was now on a CPAP machine and could be given medication to help resolve the Restless Legs.

There were only a few choices at that time.

My doctor and I finally settled on clonazepam. It came with its own set of issues.

When I kept an appointment at the VA Hospital in Mpls, the doctor put me on ‘Ropinerole’ (generic 'Requip').

That worked wonders to help get to sleep and stay asleep.

It too had its own issues as I was to find out later.


If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, help is available.

Check with your doctor. Your local hospital may have a Sleep Study Lab.

If possible, please use it. You deserve a much more comfortable life.

Don’t worry about the cost of the CPAP machine. Insurance will cover the cost of it (around $1,500+).

The supplies are not exorbitant.

Even when I didn’t have insurance, I found a supplier on the internet that supplied me for a very reasonable cost per month (less than $10).


By whatever means get the Sleep Study test.

You will then have a diagnosis on why you can’t sleep.

I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

I have heard people, usually, men, don’t use a CPAP machine. They don’t like it.

I have rarely heard such cockamamie nonsense.

To not sleep when there is relief baffles me.

Some people say it takes time to get used to the machine blowing air down your throat. I can understand that. There are times my mouth feels dry and irritated.

The dry mouth also has a nasty effect on your teeth.

If I had a do-over I would you a mouth 'moistener'. Bacteria grows fast in a dry environment.

I didn’t have an issue once the Restless Legs were under control.
I have listed an article from the Mayo Clinic on tips for avoiding the 10 most common problems you may encounter using a CPAP machine.

The issues range from the noise that might irritate people. The machines are comparatively quiet now but my wife still wears earplugs.

Some issues are due to the mask itself. It might not be the correct size or it may have a leak along the edges. They will be overcome with practice and patience.

Then there are the psychological issues.

Perhaps you may feel claustrophobic.

You might notice difficulty tolerating the forced air.

As the article “CPAP Machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems” encourages: “Time and Patience are the keys. CPAP can positively affect the quality of your life and health.”


Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Stay on the Duluth Waterfront Part Two

February 3, 2018

You may want to read my first post on this subject "A Stay on the Duluth Waterfront (Almost).

I am sitting in a room at St Mary's/Essentia again.

I had a six-day break while I was at Ecumen rehab and a less than full day at home.

This visit will tone down my effusive praise for this facility. I don't mean to denigrate the facility because the issue is really with the healthcare system.

Men of a Heavyset Form Factor

A few caveats for men over 280 pounds. 

The commodes for use at the bedside are too small.

The hospital has at least one powered commode that appeared on my last day. I didn't get a chance to use it. 

Also, risers that fit over the top of a toilet are available but they too are a bit small for my size. 

You will also need a bariatric walker. Yes, the smaller aluminum ones work but you will be immensely more comfortable using the heftier one.

The Problem

Now the crux of this post. It is not specific to St Mary's but it is a glaring screwup in the health care system.

After the initial hectic craziness of the Emergency Room or Urgent Care, YOU need to take the initiative and ask if you are being admitted to the hospital as a patient or just being admitted  'for observation'.

'Observation' is a fast way to perdition.

If you are in for observation your insurance company will no doubt not cover the cost of your medication.

An example: I went to the emergency room with a problem with my legs. I was in the hospital. But I found out later I was NOT IN the hospital. 

I was only there for 'OBSERVATION'. 

I found out later from my insurance company in such a situation your hospital pharmacy is considered 'OUT OF NETWORK'.

In which case they cover only a MINIMAL amount of expenses.

In my case, the bill for one day's medication was $890. The insurance company was covering only about $120.

So I am on the hook for almost $800 of medical expenses!

When I was talking with an account representative from the hospital I admonished her that I should have been up told ahead of time.

If I had known I would have brought my drugs from home. "ON NO YOU CAN'T DO THAT!  

We don't allow you to bring drugs from home!"


What is a person to do? I don't have the answer. It is up to each individual to answer that. In my case, Essentia sent me to a collection agency. 

What is a person to do?

A very wise and caring nurse explained that patients were bringing medications that were not in their original containers. 

That leads to a very dangerous situations if medications brought from home are mislabeled. 

I know I've never dumped a few pills from a bottle I didn't like into a different bottle. 

I keep trying to figure out how to keep the good features of St Mary's at the forefront of this article.

I keep coming back to its people.

There must have been a big disruption in its recent past.

To say that it's staff is younger is to imply age discrimination which is probably not true.

But I queried almost every team member as to how long they have been at St Mary's and there was only one that has been there for seven years.

The RN's are predominantly young women that have been with St Mary's for five years but most two or three.

CNA's even less. 

Most CNA's have longevity in the two to three-year range. 

Many are studying for their nursing degree. 

They are articulate, knowledgeable, confident, and smart. 

Management has done a good job in hiring and training their staff.

An example of the staff's exceptionalism occurred last evening.

I was scheduled to be No Foods after Midnight (including water!). 

So I ordered breakfast to come by 7 PM since the kitchen closed at 7.

This was the only major major screw up by the kitchen staff.

This meal was the 'breakfast didn't show up.' 

The staff was aware that this 'breakfast' meal would have to last me at least 17 hours by the time test were completed the next day.

A young CNA graduating in May as an RN went to a hospital cafe and bought me a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET! His name was Zach.

I hope many people read this blog so he gets the recognition he deserves.

Again thanks for stopping.


A dear friend (even though he may not know that, has given me permission to use his images in my posts). Thank you Rick Rice Duluth MN

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Stay on the Duluth Lakefront (Almost)

Laker ship entering Duluth Ship Canal Rice Rice Duluth MN

Steam Plant City of Duluth Rice Rice

A Stay on the Duluth Lakefront (Almost)

Date January 16, 2018

It has been my good fortune to spend five days at a 4-Star Bed and Breakfast in Duluth!

Great Staff! Great Food! Great Results! 

OK. I will stop with the games!

My stay has been at St Mary's Medical Center. 

It seems that the older I get the more I frequent this Duluth Landmark. 

I do not mean any slap in the face to St Luke's since I have not had the good fortune to visit their accommodations.

I know several doctors in that establishment and I used to donate blood in an office there. 

I know the staff is excellent I just can't speak to any other  evaluation categories. 

So what do I base my evaluation of a hospital on? 

I will share my judgments if you don't mind.

First I look to the staff.

A well-trained staff will not be regimented.

Their personalities show thru the corporate mask of 'must does and do nots' in other words they can toe the corporate line without being stiff and regimented. 

They are given the opportunity for their personalities to show thru. 

Characteristic of Excellent management.

I have always believed that you can walk into an establishment and know almost immediately what the management is like. 

We are off to a great start.

The most important part of what I expect in a hospital is the medical team. 

The nurse that is assigned to you straddles both the staff and medical team categories.

At least I haven't figured out a way to separate the two.

The doctors are a big part of the final score. 

I have them second in line only because I want to make sure the staff gets the 'Attaboy/Attagirl' they deserve.

The doctors at Essentia/St Mary's have always been excellent.

Skilled, professional and friendly each and every time.

Dr. Mary Boylan for a quadruple bypass. 

Dr. Kevin Treacy. Wait a minute, he and his eye surgeon clinic are associated with St Luke's. Yes indeed he is but I have to give him the extra big kudos he deserves.

I had a cataract removed under his skilled care. They are removed on a Friday and each patient is scheduled for a Monday followup. 

Well during the weekend I was assaulted with a virus that attacked my small bowel. 

While I was laying in a temporary room in comes Dr. Treacy. 

He had borrowed the equipment he needed to evaluate my eye from St Mary's and began his examination. 

What impressed me the most that he was performing this exacting feat using extremely expensive equipment while sear next to a commode of my sweet smelling vomit! 

Imagine that! 

Going out of his way, after normal business hours, making the arrangements for the equipment AND SITTING NEXT TO A BIN OF MY PUKE running an exam.

That is "going the extra mile". 

I had heard he was an excellent doctor but he is immensely more than that. 

The next most important aspect of a well-run hospital is the commissary/food service program.

St Mary's operates a meal on-demand service for patients. 

When you want to eat grab a menu, grab the phone, call room service, order your meal, and wait forty-five minutes. 

Your meal is delivered.

The best part is that the food is good. 

Maybe not great at times but well prepared and delivered hot.Salad greens are fresh.

Beef and gravy are not overdone and full of flavor. 

Grilled salmon was not to my liking but that is no doubt because it was salmon.

Baked cod was firm and flaky.

I did miss the salt on m low sodium heart healthy meal plan but that is what I will have to learn to live with.

Mrs. Dash seemed an acceptable substitute.

The next category to evaluate is the facilities.

Clean and orderly can't be beat.

Messes were cleaned up normally within minutes. 

It was a busy time at St Mary's. 

There was talk that it was the peak of the flu season.

That was the same report as on the national news.

Beds were getting an air mattress for patients that needed them.

They were nice to sleep on but to maneuver around on one or exit the bed was another story.

I am used to pushing off with my right hand but with only air for resistance it was more than a bit difficult.

I am sure there are workarounds but I didn't have the energy to figure them out.

I rate the facilities for cleanliness and safety as excellent.

The Staff seemed to take care in making sure that a patient was following their safety program. 

Another point on the facilities is that I was on the campus between Third and Fourth Streets East.

This is not the new construction. 

I have been in that building and the towering glass windows framing the Duluth Harbor make the interior breathtaking when the sun comes in just right the scene is outstanding.

A beautiful moment standing in the Duluth Harbor.

I believe St Mary's has positioned itself as the preeminent medical facility in the Northland.

My opinion is that thru the facilities, the staff especially, the food service and all of the intangibles that St Mary's Hospital has achieved its mission.

I spent part of the time with a second patient in the room.

This man was from central Wisconsin and was a bit concerned trying a new hospital. 

But to each staff person he talked with, or a personal friend on a phone call, he sang the praises for each phase of Essentia's environment including doctor’s thoroughness, support personal availability (physical and occupational therapists etc) and food (quality and quantity). 

I must give one ding though. Yesterday and last night the wind was blowing. 

A cold wind off the lake. This description is well understood by a Duluthian.

The old inside wood windows were no match.

The temperature in the room dropped dramatically and stayed there as the wind howled all night. 

I am sorry to end on a sour note but such is life.

Good first impressions can always be erased by lousy second impressions.

Thanks for stopping.

A Dear Friend, has given me permission to use the images he makes in my blog. Thank You Rick Rice

Laker's last Port of Duluth Entry for 2017 Rick Rice Duluth MN

Addiction to Search

Addiction to Search   August 4, 2018 690 words 2 min 51 read On my way to research the search phenomenon, I just recognized, my ...