Monday, August 31, 2009

Health Care Reform

Ten people met this morning to prepare signs for Rep. Gifford's Town Hall meeting tomorrow.

We made over 40 signs with many messages.

What we (the attending) believe:

The preamble to the constitution states
"Promote the general welfare..."
Therefore Health Care IS a right!

Health care IS a family value

We need to control the cost of drugs and
the 'for profit' insurance companies.

The Public Option IS a Choice

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Larry's Kidney

"Being the true story of how I found myself in China with my black sheep cousin and his mail-order bride, skirting the law to get him a transplant -and save his life" by Daniel Asa Rose.

I heard the author of this book interviewed on NPR and of course had to get it and read it even though I have stacks of books ahead of it. -many that I have had to rush out and get in a similar fashion. But this is a topic that has long been of interest to me, having worked in ICUs and experienced several sides of the transplant dilemma.

Daniel's cousin Larry was desperate for a kidney. Not one was in sight, for there were 74,000 ahead of him in the US.

So the two set out to search for a friendly kidney in China, the controversial hot bed of transplants. Why so many in China? Thousands of prisoners are executed each year, some true murders but some maybe not. We don't know. These prisoners offer a near endless supply of kidneys, hearts, livers, lungs and other body parts. Although it is illegal to sell kidneys to westerners, Larry and Dan were determined to find a kidney.

I won't give a complete review of this book because you can read many reviews just by googleing the title.

It is written with a great deal of humor -black comedy- and you will laugh and cry at their
journey through the black market of "Transplant Tourism". It also presents a different culture from the US where the selling of organs is considered taboo. This in spite of long waiting lists

Many medical ethicists and transplant Dr's are willing to bring up the discussion of how to procure more organs. Spain has organ donation by default. I.e. unless one specifies otherwise, organs are automatically harvested in the deceased when possible. Even this doesn't
result in sufficient organs to meet the needs. Consequently there is a huge black market in Middle east and Asian countries that prey on the poor to sell their organs to the rich. Until recently, South Africa would transport poor people from South America to provide kidneys to wealthy Americans. Truly "Global" trade.

Something more to think about. And a good read.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Black market in organs

Illegal trafficing of organs is in the news again. All three of these articles appeared in in the Az. Star in recent weeks.

*Federale probe nags.... alleged black market kidney peddler."
*A man from Israel makes a video of the selling of his kidney in the US.
*Swedish article sparks organ harvest tension -an expose'-
Israeli soldiers harvest internal organs of Palestinians who died in custody. Denied by Israel.

Last fall I included the film Dirty Pretty Things (2002) in my Olli class of films that have a message.
An illegal Nigerian Immigrant discovers a center for
illegal organ transplantation in the London Hotel where is is the night manager.
This movie generated discussion on a hidden black market that many did not know about.
I highly recommend this entertaining movie, not just for its subject but because it is a great film with one of my "all time favorite" endings.

Tomorrow a review of "Larry's Kidney" -
Should willing sellers be permitted to sell body parts to willing buyers?

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Dog Whisperer

Charley, Jenny and Buddy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movie Review -District 9

District 9

It may be the weirdest movie on the planet.
But but I loved it. 4****

Genuine "Illegal Aliens" are kept in a ghetto in Johanseburg.
Through a documentary style scenario we follow the plot of the hero tryng to socially communicate with the aliens to move them to another district. When things go awry.

What I loved.
The character development of Wilkus, the main character.
Great acting, by the way.

The human emotions of Christopher and his son.

Action, action, action.

The bad guys, who outnumber the good guys by lots.

The ending will go on my list of "top movie endings".

p.s. Not for everyone. Those who know me know I go in for the weird.
BUT 3 of us went and we all liked it. Even Mr. Vanilla.

Wild Blooms

Late summer wild flowers dot the desert floor.

Datura grows in sandy soil and often right from rocks. Poisonous to humans it has a long reputation for causing delirium and can cause death. Historically known as a love potion and witches brew.

Desert Poppy, aka Arizona poppy, is smaller than the poppies of spring. It is a creeper and now dots the desert floor. Especially seen along the freeway south to Noglaes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Night Blooming Cereus at Night

My cereus montrosa aka Peruvian apple cactus
continues to bloom with a flourish. It now combines many blossoms with the apples.

Therefore attracting the birds and the bees and the bats.

The blossoms are wide open at night, from dark to early dawn. By daylight the blooms are starting to shrink.

I don't know what the biology is behind the night blooming. Help me wikipedia. It is difficult to shoot at night because the view finder is dark. What the pros do is set up a try pod while it is still light and then take the photo after dark.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day at the Dentist in Nogales

Most of the people crossing the border are coming from Mexico to Arizona.

Sidewalks are empty of
American shoppers.

Young vendors: "You through with Dentist,
Come see my stuff"

Vendors sell to other Mexicans.

Dental Office - 55 minutes from
my door to Laser Dental.

TV plays American sitcoms -subtitled in Spanish
Large Screen TV flashes before and after ads.

Dental office is quite busy at 10:00 am. Mostly Mexicans leaving having had their dental work done.
Now come the Gringos seeking relief from high cost
dentistry. From GV, Sahaurita, Tucson, sharing stories
as they wait their turn.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Green Valley in Summer

Why I like summer in the desert

Mexican Bird of Paradise - Greens, reds and yellow

Texas Rangers
Rather bland green in the winter
Bright shades of purple in the summer

Desert floor is shades of green
Live Oak in the mountains green

Water in the Santa Cruz

All in spite of a lazy monsoon

Parking, parking, parking
Summer specials at the restaurants
Fewer traffic tie ups
less hassle in the Grocery store
less hassle everywhere

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monsoon Sky

Our monsoon season has been labeled "monlate".
Last nights sky was beautiful. Awesome clouds and lightning.

No Rain!

This mornings weather report "The monsoon is returning in a big way this weekend "

Wait and see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peruvian "Apple" Cactus

My night blooming cereus is now producing

I found a photo of an exact replica of my cactus
in Wikepedia. It is called the Peruvian Cereus.
The fruit is known locally as
"pitaya" or Peruvian apple.

It is edible, soft and with small black seeds.
I have not tried it yet but the
birds love them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rufous Hummingbird

The restaurant at Mt. Lemmon had many feeders out. And the ferocious Rufous was tormenting the little black chins.

The Rufous hummer is know for his aggressive activity at the feeders.

They migrate down the Rocky Mountain range to their winter vacation in Mexico. Every August
they come in a flurry, causing havoc. And by the end of the month are on their way.

Taking decent photos of them, especially in flight, is difficult for even the best of photographers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mt. Lemmon on a Monday

Monday is a good day to drive up the Catalina Hiway to Summerhaven and the Ski area.

Traffic is less. The Ski area and the Iron Door Restaurant is open for lunch (closed on Tues. and Wed.) Lots of good vistas, including looking back on Tucson and the Santa Cruz Valley. And what better thing to do on a near record breaking hot day in Green Valley.

I have not been up there since the fire several years ago. I remember the construction traffic when the hiway was being widened. It is now a pleasure to drive.

And I learned a new word. "Hoodoo". Those with me
were familiar with the term to describe these tall,
thin, totem pole like stone formations. The term best describes formations in Bryce Canyon and in our Az. Chiricahuas. Although not red like these areas, the Catalina Hiway has a number of these stunning rock formations. So how I escaped not learning this term until now; who knows.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mines and Mountains

Through out the Southwest mines scar the beauty of the mountain landscapes.

To what extent do we continue to tolerate the growth of this impingement on our environment?

How necessary are these metals to our economy?

I can't answer these questions.

I can say that I don't want the mines doing to our
beautiful Santa Ritas to our east as they did to the Sierritas to our west.

Top photo: Devils Canyon southwest of Globe, Az

Bottom photo: Red River north of Taos,
New Mexico

Friday, August 14, 2009

I - 10 Construction Project

As much as many people like to complain about the government, this is one project that has been done well.

ADOT and the contractors deserve praise for getting this major task nearly completed 6 months ahead of time AND under budget.

Although it was inconvenient at times, the frontage roads were made adequate to shuttle
traffic north and south to down town streets with relative ease.

Here Blue Teddy and the Prius travel north on
one of the 4 lanes north to Costco.

By the way, the Prius got between 48 and 52 mpg
on our trip. That includes mountain driving.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Az. Cancer Center

Had a follow-up Dr. appointment at the center yesterday.

With a Medical Oncologist. Nice young woman.
Gosh, they are all so young, aren't they?
Or am I just old?

She was a great listener and had all the information necessary for me to make a decision.

We agreed, since my cancer was "well behaved", and I had the high dose radiation that
......I don't need to be on any chemotherapy.

I see this "breast awareness" cement truck in NW Tucson nearly every time I am in the area.
Took this out the car window. Gotta have that camera with me most of the time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Smart Dogs

NBC Todays show listed the 3 smartest dogs.
#1 - The Border Collie - i.e. Buddy
#2 - The Poodle - i.e. Charley
#3 - The German Shepherd - i.e. Fashion, the cancer therapy dog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Migrant Deaths

Back packs found in the Desert.
Artists interpretation of
Death in the Desert

As of July 21, there have been 124 deaths in the Tucson Sector since last September. The number of migrants crossing both the Texas and Arizona border is decreasing while the number of deaths is increasing. Drug cartels are increasing border smuggling making migrant crossing more dangerous. Add to this the number of vulnerable migrants that are killed in SUV crashes and the number of deaths is reaching new highs.

Yes, President Obama, Immigrants need a 'pathway to citizenship'!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Small Towns in the Southwest

Small towns in the Southwest look so sad. I am talking specifically about the down town areas of Wilcox, Benson, Demming, Gobe, Holbrook and others.

They may have some chain motels and fast food places and even a big box store or two along the freeways, but the old down towns are very grim.

The exception is the towns that are clearly vacation destinations such as Steamboat Springs and Estes Park.

And based on ease-dropping in the small cafes, fast food places and other public areas, these town remain very conservative and unwelcoming to change.

photo of Globe/Miami, Az.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Radio on the Road

Both my husband and I are confirmed Public Radio listeners. At home or in the car the radio is tuned to KJZZ or KUAT.

On the road however, public radio station are very few and far between.

So what do you get:
Christian stations; "Not that there is anything wrong with that" but it is just not us.
Country Western; This seem to be the most frequent type of small town station. And have you ever noticed that Country Western is the only popular genre today that has both lyrics and melody?
How can you beat lyrics like: "God is great, beer is good and people are crazy" or "I would love you even if all your hair fell out".

And then their is A.M. talk radio. This is really SCARY. What are they thinking? It is loud and angry and beyond belief. When coming across one of these stations, my first impulse is to laugh - but then it horrifies me that people out in rural America actually believe this crap.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Buddy look-a-like

Although we couldn't take Buddy with us to Rocky Mountain National Park, he was with us in this photo that came across the web. This dog looks soooo much like Buddy, and the back ground looks soooo much like RMNP that I put this photo on the screen saver on my lap top.

So thanks to whoever took this photo. And if you should happen to see this post, please let me know where you were and something about this dog.

Ramblings on the road -People LOVE their dogs.

One of the bad things about going on the road is, for us staying in our timeshare, we can't take our dog Buddy. We miss him. Many people vacation with their dogs. And I am not shy about going up asking if I can have my dog "fix". 99%of the people are very friendly and flattered.
All dog owners truly believe that their dog is the cutest, best behaved, most lovable of all.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ramblings on the road -The Rez.

IMO the most poorly treated of America's minorities are the Native American.
From taking their land, to kidnapping their young people to religious schools, to assigning them to reservations, we have done them wrong.
The blacks were freed from salvery even if it took more than 100 years for them to even begin to get equality. Many more Hispanics live in intergrated communities and have attained some political power.

But many Indians still live on the reservations, often on the worst of our land.
Many in N.E. Az. just have a Hogan, a mobile home and a couple of horses.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ramblings on the road -restrooms

Utah has the most interesting rest stops/visitors centers.
Some with unique little museums and real people to
answer questions.
Colorado has the worst rest stops.
Few and far between. Yucky.

Generally speaking:
Fast food restaurant bathrooms are better than
Hiway rest stops which in turn are better than
gas stations.