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Too Old To Rock And Roll, Too Young To Die


      Too Old To Rock and Roll,

      Too Young to Die

      Birthday June 2015

      By Ray Cunneff

      June 8, 2018

      Happy weekend!

      Although I was born in New York City (see "the Broadway Brat" raycunneff'sblog.blogspot.com), I'm half Irish, half English.

      Perhaps that explains my affinity for British musicians, most notably Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits. But in recent months, I've rediscovered a passion of mine from the 1970's - Jethro Tull.

      I remember waiting on line to speak to Ian Anderson at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in LA on the release of "Warchild". I didn't care about autographs, I wanted a mind-meld. His lyrics spoke to me. And I never got the chance to talk to him. And when a psychologist asks me if I have any regrets, I always ask myself why I didn't stay in that line just a little while longer? *

      I'm about to pass another one of those birthdays that society tells us makes us superfluous, irrelevant and time to get out of the way and just die.

      But I'm not a "baby boomer". I'm older than that. I'm a "pre-boomer", born during the last year of World War II. (the "boom" generally considered to have begun in 1946).

      When I tell people I was born during WWII, their eyes turn as big as saucers. I might as well have said during the Civil War.

      When I say I was born eight days after D-Day, I then have to explain, for those more 'worldly', that it's not a reference to a French bathroom appliance.

      But as I contemplate another birthday, nothing speaks to this old man like Jethro Tull...

      * I have many of those "why didn't I?" moments, the first one that comes to mind is why I didn't introduce myself to my "aunt" Ethel Merman when she was out promoting her disco album in West Hollywood?

      Two decades earlier, she had worked with both my parents on Broadway, came to parties at our apartment. She knew me well as a child. Like Mary Martin and Celeste Holm, they were my "aunts".

      Yet when Ethel, late in her career, was promoting a "disco" record, and could have almost certainly have used a friend, I wasn't there for her. My only excuse was that I couldn't find a parking spot.


      (For those who don't know, Ethel Merman was the biggest name on Broadway for a generation.)

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      Pundit Post

      Palestinian Nurse Razan Al-Najjar


          This is Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar. She is 21 years old. Earlier today she was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while treating wounded protesters in Gaza. Targeting medics is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. But the world is silent.

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          COMCAST Art Of The Steal


              Is it me or are there other Comcast customers having similar problems? Again, I check my credit card expenses to pay off bill and see Comcast has decided to double, yes, I said double my monthly fee. Actually it is more than double. So I go from $41.98 per month to a whopping $91.94. Huh? WTF is that all about. I only have Comcast for internet service only and nothing else. I haven't changed my service yet without any warning or even an email Comcast decided to increase my monthly fee. Since I have been with Comcast going on 6 years now my new customer deal for 12 months was over five years ago so how can they justify such an increase. Yes, I did call up Comcast and asked them about this rate hike and after haggling with them for quite a long time we found a price we can agree upon which was $56.98 total per month. Still kind of pricey just for internet service alone but my alternative would be to drop Comcast and go with my only other choice which would have been AT&T which is the worst service imaginable. I live in a city which is the 3rd largest city in the U.S. and we only have two choices for internet service. Oh yeah, if I was some wealthy schmuck living in the ritzy part of the city along lake shore drive I could have access to RCN which only provides service in that small area for the wealthy.

              I guess the questions I have are....

              1. Why doesn't a company you are doing business with alert you to any price hike and the amount of that price hike before they bill you?

              2. As a loyal customer always paying bills on time then why is it only new customers get deals and old time customers don't get squat except to get screwed.

              Being that I am a small business owner maybe I should try that with my clients and after a year with them I should double my fees and not tell them but just put it on the invoice I send them. I bet they would be thrilled don't ya think?

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              It Happened On A Fourth Of July.


                  [Life Encounters]

                  Last week I started a topic entitled, as near as I an remember: "To Serve and Protect: Heartbreaking Traffic Stop."

                  It was the story of a cop pulling over a 65 year old female for a lane change violation and the resulting altercation of the woman being removed from her car against her will. In a response to one of the replies I wrote the words that follow. It is a telling of the last time I was ever pulled over and given a warning ticket. It got so wordy I thought it deserved it's own heading.

                  It Happened on a Fourth of July

                  A Short Recollection By ~ Dajuan Candle. (Revised Copy)

                  Now that I am older I seldom get pulled over by cops anymore. For sure that is because I seldom go any place. The last time I got pulled over, I guess it was 7 or 8 years ago now, I found it funny. So funny I had to hold in my laugh as best I could.

                  It was the 4th of July Holiday. I was home alone in my bachelors lair, my mind and body aching and tired from a grueling work schedule. Who would have thought inspecting tires for a living could be so exhausting. Luckily the company always gave us production techs a full week off for the 4th. They used this time to also double as a maintenance week. Everybody got the whole week off accept the maintenance crews, but they didn't complain because they got paid triple time. If they had offered me $60 to $90 to work on a scheduled off week I would have gladly shown up for work too! But they never offer us production techs triple pay. Only double for holidays, but not the 4th.

                  My neighbor across the street was having her 25th annual 4th of July backyard cookout. Family from around the city, county and state showed up at her house every year. Though I am not their kin, I was welcome; but I didn't attend.

                  I got tired of being alone in my lair so I got tired body in my truck, cranked it, and headed 'cross town to visit family. But, wouldn't you know it, something unexpected happened. It had been so long since the last time I had being pulled over by a cop I couldn't remember, and being on the other side of fifty now I didn't know if I would ever be pulled over again.

                  Along the way to the other side of town a strange thing happened.

                  As I took a right turn off of the street me and my big holiday party neighbor lived, I noticed a cop car coming towards me. Just cruising. I thought nothing of it, until I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed him making a hasty U-turn. I immediately recognized what was happening and I chuckled to myself "for real? I bet he thinks I'm coming from the party and might be drinking on this holiday and he wants to see if he can make me swerve on the road out of fear? I am going to save him the trouble of pulling me over. I'm going to volunteer and pull over myself". By that time I had rounded a curve and went through an all-way stop sign. Where the road straightens out, just past the all-way stop, is where I pulled over. It was no wait. Around the curve here he comes flying, almost on two wheels. He slows at the all-way intersection, without stopping, and comes on through to where I now sit parked and waiting. Hell leaves about three cars lengths between his cruise and my truck. He gets on his radio and runs his routine checks. He exits his vehicle and approached mine with a wide sweep, out to the middle of the road, and then toward my vehicle at an angle. I'm looking out my driver side rear view. If the feelings I was having shown on my face my look would have been one of disbelief "what is this fool doing?" As he came closer he looked into the bed of my truck with a suspicious eye. Nothing there. Cautiously he stepped to my drivers side window, thank God I didn't laugh, but I almost did.

                  "License and insurance" he said.

                  I complied. As he looked over my license I'm sure he noticed my street address, which I suspect, confirmed to him, to his disappointment, that I did live in this neighborhood. And by now I'm sure he could tell that I hadn't been drinking anything on this holiday either. Bummer. He wasn't going to get to write me a ticket. I surely wasn't speeding. But wait, her he comes back to my window. I remain quiet, not saying a word.

                  "I pulled you over because you took a wide turn at a high rate of speed when you turned onto this street."

                  Still I remained mum.

                  "I'm not going to write a citation just remind you to drive safely." Then I spoke up.

                  "Okay" I said. It was only one word. Inside I was rolling with laughter. He just knew he had him one. But no, he didn't. He gave me a bogus warning ticket and went on about his day. Looking for people to pull over, especially if he thinks they may be leaving a cookout where lots of cold beer I available.

                  I added that little stop to my memory of the other 60 or more I've experience in my life, the first when I was 16 and the last when I was 51/52, the bulk coming between the ages of 16 and 32. I just had that suspicious look about me and, when I was young, I dared drive whenever and wherever I wanted. Boy, you asking for trouble. Well, I didn't ask, but it did come. Over and over, again.

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                  Canadian Cabinet Member Finds Out How Ordinary Brown People Are Treated At US Airports


                      "Navdeep Bains, the Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, likes to travel incognito—“to understand better what ordinary people are going through when they sometimes have trouble getting along with people in a position of authority,” as he put it in a story by CNN.

                      "He was doing this in Detroit Metro Airport, heading back to Canada after talks on topics which included strengthening Canada-US relations in April of last year, when airport security asked him to remove his turban.

                      "Minister Bains is a Sikh, a person in whose religion wearing a turban is a mandatory sacred act for men. In Canada, Sikh men in the armed forces and law enforcement agencies have legally won the battle to wear their sacred headgear even though it’s not the official uniform headgear.

                      "So of course he said no.

                      Bains said he initially went through a metal detector without any problem, but was then asked to go through an additional security procedure because of his turban.
                      An agent asked him to go through another screening but the machine was not working properly, Bains said. When it emitted a warning sound, a security officer asked Bains to remove his turban. "I asked him why I had to take off my turban since the metal detector had worked well," Bains told the newspaper. "I will never be asked to take my clothes off. It's the same thing. It's a piece of linen."
                      After passing a second test Bains was allowed to continue, he said.
                      But when he reached the boarding gate, less than 20 minutes before departure, a security guard approached him and said he had to go back to security because protocol had not been followed. He again asked Bains to remove the turban.

                      "It was at this point Bains decided he’d had enough of being treated like an ordinary person, and whipped out his diplomatic passport. Of course then he was let through, and ultimately received an official apology. TSA said in a statement that the employees involved are receiving further training in appropriate procedures."


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                      How Training Doctors In Implicit Bias Could Save Black Mothers' Lives


                          'There was a pool of blood, a look of panic on her husband’s face — and then everything went black.

                          'Alia McCants was back at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where nine days earlier, she had given birth to healthy twins. She and her husband had brought the babies home to their apartment in Harlem, and everything seemed all right — until complications from her cesarean section caused her to hemorrhage.

                          'She rushed to the emergency room, where her vision went dim.

                          '“My husband said, ‘You have to stay here, you have to stay here.’ And then I thought: I’m going to die,” she said.

                          'Each year in the United States, about 700 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery issues — while 50,000 experience severe complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide; in New York City, they are 12 times more likely to die. Postpartum hemorrhaging, or heavy blood loss, is one of the leading preventable causes.

                          'McCants, who is black, did not know the grim statistics in December 2014, when her twins were born. Her birth experience was generally positive, and she credited the hospital staff with later saving her life when she needed emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging.

                          'But she has since wondered if there was anything her doctors could have done to avoid such a near-death experience in the first place — if they might have been more open to her concerns about her care if she were white.

                          'She recalled that her obstetrician was dismissive of her desire to avoid a C-section. While cesareans are common when delivering twins, McCants, who had a complication-free pregnancy, had hoped for a natural birth.

                          'Then, McCants said a social worker who stopped by her hospital room seemed “visibly surprised” to meet a black couple who were both working professionals — McCants is a director at a graduate school and her husband, Christopher, who now works in software, was a manager at a TV network at the time.'


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                          Inside VA Healthcare - A "Tease"


                              Inside VA Healthcare

                              Building 500 - West LA Medical Center

                              Prime Property - Westwood adjacent - 388 acres

                              By Ray Cunneff

                              April 27, 2018

                              Consider this a "tease".

                              As some of you know, I've been away from Yabberz, in fact completely off the computer, for over six weeks. I had hip-replacement surgery on March 13th at the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles and there were complications that I'm still dealing with.

                              Now that I'm home and allowed to climb stairs for the first time (my home-office in on our second floor) I'm still mulling over how to write about this experience because it's more than a personal story, it's also a window into the state of Veteran's Administration healthcare, both good and bad.

                              In all, I spent almost three weeks as a patient in a major VA hospital, initially for scheduled surgery and physical rehab, then an unscheduled return to the emergency room and recovery, first as the "perfect patient" and then as a problem patient whose post-op complications weren't supposed to have happened - but did.

                              And as positive as the first part was, the second was almost equally negative.

                              But I believe these are more than personal anecdotes given the current controversies surrounding VA leadership, the shortage of doctors, the political fight over healthcare privatization, the problematic "Veteran's Choice" program, and the calls for commercial development of prime real estate, including veterans cemeteries, currently under VA administration.

                              It's a bigger story than just me and I'll need a bit more time and thought to do it justice.

                              Stay tuned.

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                              Pundit Post

                              Historically, Respect Is Always Earned


                                  “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given.” -Hussein Nishah
                                  In pre-colonial and capitalist African societies everyone had roles in the community. These roles afforded the individual the opportunity to earn respect within the community. Respect was never given, it was always earned based upon the roles that the individual held in society. As a Black man, I have learned the art of respect from my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.

                                  I have decided to write this piece because the lack of respect on this site is getting out of hand. In my opinion, what I have learned is that the elders on this site are some of the most disrespectful people. They also believe that they are entitled to respect because of their age, which is inherently false. Some may view this as ageism, but that is false.

                                  “In most indigenous African cultures, there was a significant division of roles between the youth who provided the warriors to defend society against aggression and the elders who were the adjudicators, mediators, and peacemakers. Associated with the role of the elders was political-and administrative leadership.” http://democracy-africa.org/articles/afr997.html

                                  “The pre-capitalist and matriarchal societies throughout Africa allowed women to have substantial control over politics, the quintessential example of this cultural practice was found in ancient Egypt. In 3,000 BC, Egyptian women managed real estate properties, slaves, livestock, endowments, and annuities” https://study.com/academy/lesson/women-in-ancient-...

                                  Allison Chavez stated, “Just because someone has managed to live past 50 does not mean they automatically have respect from everyone else” asked, “What exactly is it about being old that makes you think you deserve respect?”

                                  Our elders have a responsibility to set the example and teach civility. However, when they fail to meet the needs of the community or society at large. They can no longer expect to be respected unless they are willing to accept their roles. Respect is defined as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

                                  If you are an elder on this site and over 50 years of age, it is important of you to either accept your role and the responsibility that come with it. Failure you to do so indicates that you are not fit to be a leader of the community and provide the necessary leadership that comes with the position of being an elder.

                                  “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you've got to give it.” -R.G. Risch


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                                  Pundit Post

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