Genetics and Getting Older

Cranky maskMy doctor said one time when I was thirty, “So what could be wrong with this 30-year-old body?” He meant that I was about 20 years younger than he was and medically speaking it would be unusual for anything serious to be wrong with me. I don’t even recall why I went to see him but I am pretty sure it was nothing at all.

But now on the “Pass Go” side of fifty, I have already seen some signs of my genetic heritage; namely skin cancer which unfortunately is both a family-thing and a sun-worshipper-climate thing. Melanoma showed up in a mole on my arm back in ’95 and now basal cell carcinoma has appeared on my right ear. Both types of cancer are present in the family tree, not to mention some even more unsavory types which I hope I’ve escaped the gene lottery for.

I’m finding as I age that these genetic defects are starting to emerge and I can see why my uncle used to say, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.” Now that’s not a politically correct way to say it these days but the fundamental truth is that growing old means dealing with a lot of pain and physical infirmities that we didn’t know as youngsters. If you’re going to survive to a nice cranky old age, you need to be tough and able to endure a little discomfort.

I’ve been impressed with the way the older folks in my family handle illness and disease. They’re a lot tougher than I ever would have thought. My Dad has had a lot of procedures and a major surgery and I never heard a single whining complaint from him about it. Oh sure Mom is a bit of a wimp about the dentist but then who likes going to the dentist? Overall, I have been hugely impressed with the older generation’s ability to stoically endure pain and discomfort. No problem, just keep trekking forward.

My grandmother had terrible arthritis and she lived alone into her 90‘s almost until the day she died. She loved her independence, she loved her home and she didn’t want to be a burden on anyone else so she toughed it out alone. And I heard she loved to play gin rummy and would rap you on the legs under the table with her cane if you beat her.

I guess in the end I have to be thankful about the good genes I got than the bad ones. I may end up dying of cancer some day but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be like my favorite uncle who comforted us while we grieved his impending passing. I got some tough genes from my family tree, along with a few that sort of tick-tick-tick.

Is Las Vegas Under an Evil Cloud?

So last weekend I was in Las Vegas for business and I went on a photo walk and took the picture below.  I know you’re going to think that I altered it somehow but I truly did not.  It is exactly as my digital Sony camera recorded it.  For those of you who can’t “see” it, look at the clouds and see if you can find a sort of evil-looking face around the moon.  I saw it immediately when I looked at the picture.  I did not see it at all when I took the picture.  I was simply trying to take a picture of the moon and the turret of the Excalibur Hotel on The Strip. 
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Anyway, I think it’s a striking image and haunting!

Baseball is Becoming Un American

I’ve written on this topic of pro sports becoming elitist before so I won’t belabor it too much, but I am confused about why the Major League Baseball would choose to limit the viewing audience of the Giant’s baseball play-offs to TBS.  This channel is not available to people without cable or with basic cable. I think that at some level it’s just plain bad marketing, and at other levels it is turning baseball into a semi-elitist enterprise, sort of like Pro football has done with Monday Night Football. I believe that as these teams are to some degree supported by public money, they must have some obligation to the public.

Now I understand why you have to buy tickets to attend, and why you have to pay to advertise on the televised and radio broadcasts, but why are they limiting the viewing public to those who have money to buy cable access? Limiting the baseball play-offs and Monday Night Football to people with money just seems un American. Perhaps the old phrase “baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie” should be changed to “cable, hot dogs, and apple pie” In this MLB post-season you can’t have the baseball without the cable.