Sunday, November 22, 2015


The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram are pretty good small town country news papers to which we had enjoyed a daily subscription for several years.  That is, until a passive aggressive delivery person began rolling it too tightly in its plastic tube and then double knotting it, making it necessary to tear the bag, only to find that the paper refused to lay flat in order to read the damned thing comfortably.  Even though we had a nice plastic tube provided by the paper, the daily news ended up on the ground most of the time.  So we pulled the plug on daily deliveries.  That’ll teach them.

However, to mess with the comics - well, that’s another matter.  To their credit the Sunday Telegram once printed the comics on heavy stock that folded and behaved in such a way as to make it possible to read them without having to fight the stock on which they were printed.  It reinforced one’s sense of well-being and security on Sunday mornings while enjoying a cup of hot coffee and perhaps a sweet roll.  I would often find myself thinking how nice it is to live in a market where the publisher of the local paper understood the importance of real American values.  At least where the comics were concerned.

Alas - as the flower of youth suddenly disappears from the bathroom mirror - the wonderful heavy paper stock of the comics section was replaced with the more flimsy stuff likely to be seen in, say, the sports section.  Not only that but there was a half sheet of advertising that folded over onto the front page of the comics that I flatly refused to read. I tore it off and threw it into the fire.  How utterly disrespectful.  Give me a break!  Can’t the funnies be a discrete haven of enjoyment without the dumbed down intrusiveness of advertising to mar the experience?

So last weekend as we unfolded the comics and ripped off the ugly advertising to get to the content, we noticed that there was no Doonesbury strip.  To make matters worse there were a couple of completely brain dead substitutes.  Who is making these decisions?  Don’t these people know that satire, critical humor and yes - even a smattering of cynicism are essential to the welfare of the American Way?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I recently read an excellent post on by Shari Eberts. “I NO LONGER FEEL SHAME ABOUT MY HEARING LOSS”. If you have any level of hearing loss, Shari’s blog is a great place to begin your self advocacy.

I don’t think I ever felt shame about my hearing loss as much as ignorance. I simply did not know that I was not hearing well. I had had a hearing test a few years previously at which time I was told that I had some loss but still “scored” in the normal range. For late deafened hearing loss, hearing loss that manifests itself in adults, the condition is usually progressive. Dependence on a hearing examination that happened years ago is false security. I now know that if I had an annual hearing test along with annual physicals I would have been made aware of my deteriorating condition much sooner. This is another example of this invisible disability that was invisible even to me.

If hearing exams were made a standard part of one’s medical history, then the issue would be addressed much sooner and more successfully for thousands of people. For this to happen, however, hearing loss would need to be recognized as a medical issue, not a cosmetic or life-style problem as it is now seen by Medicare and other insurers.

As with any medical need, money should never stand in the way of receiving treatment or assistance. It is my understanding that a bill is now in Congress to remove the Medicare rule that prevents coverage for hearing aids. We can only hope that something good comes from this effort.

Your primary care physician is a good place to begin. Whatever network you belong to will have within it an otolaryngologist - an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist as well as the services of an audiologist. If you have the least suspicion that you have some hearing loss, do yourself a favor and find out for sure. You might not even know what you’re missing.