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Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Nice pass, McDougall!" by Charles J. de Bisthoven

[Charles, a 21 year-old Belgian student of painting, and I met at a coffee-house/bar called Venus, about 100 meters up the street from the dormitory Economica, where I was living this past spring, in Cluj.  My report on our meeting and trip to Suceava is found here. The following is Charles' viewpoint on those, and subsequent, events.]

  • Charles JB .

    • Jun 13

    • Duncan C McDougall

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Mr. Giuliani, Please Run for President

    Back in 2008, when Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, America's Mayor, ran in the Republican primaries, I was a supporter.  My reason was simple.  "Of all those running," I said, "Giuliani is the only man in the field able to stand up to Putin."

    Today, the facts of life and geopolitics demonstrate the need for such an American President.

    Please, Mr. G., this time start early, raise plenty of campaign cash, and compete in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, before Florida.

    Mr. Giuliani, I believe that our country needs you as its President, and I believe that you can win the 2016 election.


    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    What's New, in my Sight?

    It is a bit of a technical post, but it's all good news.

    I spent three hours at the Ophthalmology Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center yesterday. My left eye has improved to 20/20 (-), meaning that it sees well.  However, vision in my right eye has not improved, and has in fact gotten somewhat worse since my visit last month.  The three hours were mostly spent waiting, but actually there were six periods of medical activity.  First, the routine eye test, technician's exam, eye pressure test, and administration of dilation drops.  Second, I sat for a topographical scan, done on a remarkable machine that provides an electronic picture of the macula, in cross section.  This scan allows the doctor to see and assess the degree of edema, fluid build-up, that may be affecting visual acuity.  Third, I met with Christopher Chapman, MD, my respected specialist, whose interpretation of the pictures called for still more pictures.  Back I went to wait for procedure four, an angiogram of my eyes.  In this session at the photographer's office, I was injected with a "vegetable dye" that, I was told, would likely have me urinating bright yellow and seeing things pink, while possibly making my skin look jaundiced for a day or two.  I laughed, and said, "I doubt that with my tanned face, anyone will see that last effect."  Fifth, I met again with Dr. C., who showed me that in the deeper views of the angiogram images, there were microscopic cysts that were containing the fluid, and that in my right eye, they were located so as to block much of the light as it passes through the macula to form its (normally) inverted image on the retina.  Hence, cloudy vision.  Dr. C. has decided to continue aggressive treatment using Avastin injections to try to shrink the edema, hopefully reducing the size of the cysts, if not eliminating them, altogether.  So, sixth, he moved me into a procedure room, where my right eye was prepped, and an injection performed.  I go in on 6 August for another, to my left eye, which also shows edema, albeit less disruptive to my vision.

    I offer my thanks to my son Alex McDougall, who arrived at HNH at 06:00 yesterday to act as my driver, and waited patiently for all three hours.  Fortunately, Alex is a voracious reader, so I imagine his time was not wasted. When we finally got back to Campton, I cooked us rare beefsteaks and broccoli au gratin for lunch!

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Putin's Ploy

    Those watching closely the developments in Ukraine will please comment on today's Yahoo News report, found here:

    Did Putin just bring Russia in from the cold?

    Is Putin backing down, or just making a head-fake?

    I refer you to the post in this blog dated 17 July and 19 July, 2014.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    A Joyful Scot's Techie Tale

    Some IT people make wonderful friends to those of us with Scottish blood in us.

    I bought my Dell Latitude 620 laptop from the PSU Computer Repair Shop, where the University sells off machines being rotated out of faculty and staff use.  It had been issued to me for three years, back around 2007, and was still running Windows XP, when I bought it for $100, about four years ago.  It's been a highly reliable workhorse, right up until last night, when the space bar on its keyboard stopped working.  (And, of course, Microsoft has recently stopped supporting Windows XP.)

    This morning, I took my machine in to Frank Oz at the computer store, and asked what he recommended.  He said they could swap in a used keyboard from another obsolete machine, for a nominal service charge. I asked if there were any newer machines for sale in their inventory. Frank produced a newer Dell, offered for $200.   But, he explained, it was running Vista, an operating system that many hate.  Frank recommended I go buy a new machine for $450 from Walmart or Staples.  I then said, "Can I buy an external keyboard from you."  He replied, "No, we give those away to PSU people."  He went and got one for me.  I am using it to type this post.

    I shall soon have to upgrade to a modern machine, but now there is no rush.  Many thanks, Frank!

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    Thought for Mourning Morning

    A Poem Upon Awakening

    If I should die,
    I pray I am awake,
    That I might devote full consciousness,
    To enjoying life's most remarkable release.

    Copyright By Duncan C. McDougall, 2014
    All rights reserved.
    Permission hereby is granted to any who wish to share this poem on condition that its author be cited, as well as this web page.

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

    An "out" for Vladimir

    Sent yesterday to

    Subject: MH17: Idea to defuse tensions

    Dear Mr. President:

    If Russia were to admit that the shooting down of MH17 was done in error by the separatists, it could save face by arresting and punishing the people who gave the order to fire at the plane. That alone could take much of the onus off of Putin & Co., and perhaps calm things in Europe a bit.

    Thank you for listening,

    Duncan McDougall