Laura Was…

When I’m reading a news story online I rarely look at the column of other stories that run down the right side of the screen.

But one headline caught my eye – it contained the words  “surgery,” “life support,” and “Mexico.”


I knew this story was going to have a bad ending.

And it does.

A woman – and it seems these stories are always about women – goes under the knife for cosmetic plastic surgery.

not good enough_01I’ll never know this woman’s reasons.  But I think women undergo cosmetic surgery because they believe they’re not “good enough.”

They want a “better” nose or breasts or thighs or butt or upper arms or chin or face or eyes or ears or lips…

And then – what?

She’ll be “good enough”?

She’ll be “happy”?

I have never met a woman who was happy with how she looked.  When I compliment a woman, her response usually sounds like this:

My compliment:  “What a great picture of you!”

Her response:  “Are you kidding?  Look at my thighs.”

I don’t know how Laura Avila, a 36-year-old realtor in Dallas, TX responded to compliments, but apparently she believed she wasn’t “good enough.”

So she decided to get some parts of herself “fixed.”

In my opinion, Laura was already a very attractive woman:

laura_01 laura and fiance_01

Laura, before surgery

Laura and fiancé Enrique Cruz

Laura scheduled “cosmetic surgeries” including “a nose job and breast implant replacement” at a RinoCenter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:


Americans traveling to foreign countries for medical procedures is a common story.  This process even has its own name – “medical tourism” – and according to The American Journal of Medicine, in 2017 more than 1.4 million Americans sought health care in a medical tourismvariety of countries around the world.

Cost is almost always a factor, and in Mexico procedures can cost anywhere between 40 and 65 percent less than in the U.S.

And Mexico wasn’t “foreign” to Laura and her family – when she was growing up, they traveled there often from El Paso to see relatives.  “To us, it’s home, it’s familiar,” said Laura’s sister, Angie Avila.

And Laura’s fiancé, Enrique Cruz, had researched the RinoCenter clinic and found positive reviews online.

I have so many issues here.  First, I think reading online reviews is a good idea – for restaurants and hair salons and movies.

But for surgery?  Life-threatening surgery, which means any surgery that involves anesthesia?

Second, instead of looking online for clinics for Laura’s surgery, why wasn’t fiancé Enrique saying, “Sweetheart, you look great and I love you just the way you are”?

Third, why wasn’t Laura’s family saying, “Laura, you look great and we love you just the way you are”?

you-re-fat-you-re-ugly- croppedFourth, when will society and advertisers and loved ones and the world stop sending women the message that “You’re not beautiful enough, thin enough, young enough, good enough?”

And when will woman stop listening that message?

Laura and Enrique traveled to Ciudad Juarez for her October 30 procedures.

But the surgery didn’t happen.  According to Enrique, eight hours after the procedure started, doctors told him there was a problem.  They’d taken Laura to a hospital because “the anesthesia wasn’t wearing off and they didn’t know why.”

Heart Monitor Flat Line DeathDoctors at the Mexican hospital where Laura was transferred told Angie that the clinic had put the anesthesia in the wrong place in Laura’s spine.  Her brain swelled, her kidneys failed, and she went into cardiac arrest.

Laura is now in an El Paso hospital and, according to doctors there, Laura’s brain damage means “she is not going to be able to eat by herself, or talk, or walk or even taste food,” said Enrique. “She might be able to hear what we’re saying, maybe blink.  But as far as being any kind of normal, they don’t see her doing that.”

Here’s the most recent picture of Laura:

laura hospital

According to a November 19 story, Laura was breathing on her own.  She has no insurance, so the family has started a GoFundMe page.  Mexican authorities raided the clinic and are investigating:

Clinic Partial Close Headline.jpg

There’s talk of the family suing.  “As long as my heart is beating, I will make sure they pay for what they did and this can’t happen to anybody else,” said Angie.

This is where Laura’s quest for “better” – better nose and breasts and who knows what other procedures – has brought her.

If only the people who love her had told her.

If only Laura could have been at peace with who she was.

Laura’s story has dropped off the news cycle.  We’ve all moved on, all except for Laura and her family.

They’re left with a bad ending.


As of this morning, Laura’s profile is still on her employer’s website, where it details her background and interests:

laura realtor page underline.jpg

They should take down Laura’s profile – she won’t be helping anyone find their “dream home.”

Laura died November 24.

Not Their Finest Moment In America’s Finest City

When:  December 14, 2017, around 9pmfinest_02

Where:  San Diego, America’s Finest City

It was that time of year when for many people, thoughts are turned to the holidays, and Christmas shopping.

Two of those folks were Stephanie Majsterski, 26, and James Graham, 41.  Steph and Jim were strolling around the Pacific Beach area, a nice neighborhood with a boardwalk lined with trendy hotel bars and casual cafés.

It was a cool, crisp evening, and Steph had added a blue jacket to her ensemble (see above image).  Jim had forgone the jacket, possibly to better display an impressive set of arm common_01tattoos.

The couple was no doubt chatting – they did have so much in common, after all:

Steph was on probation for DUI and resisting arrest, and Jim was on parole – he’d had 10 robbery convictions going back to 2008.

However and whenever they met, clearly it was kismet.

It seems likely that holiday shopping was on their minds, too, when they walked into an apartment and demanded the occupant’s money and her car.  Why else would they want money and a car except to hit the pre-holiday sales at the nearest mall?

However and whyever they chose that apartment is unknown.

But that may have been a teensy-weensy mistake; breaking into an occupied residence hot prowl_01 croppedtransitioned their act from a plain old burglary to something called a “hot prowl.”

Judges and juries tend to frown on burglaries, a “hot prowl” even more so.

Judges and juries tend to really frown when the occupant is a woman, alone, and seven months pregnant.

The victim, Caroline Souza, told Steph and Jim that she didn’t have any money, and here the couple showed some nimble thinking:  Jim grabbed a wallet, laptop and some other items off a table.

While Jim did this, Steph stood blocking the front door, in case Souza tried to escape.  Clearly Steph and Jim were in sync – simultaneously grabbing and blocking, all hand in hand_03bases covered.

Then the couple left the apartment, walking “hand-in-hand,” according to Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde.

Coverage of the story isn’t clear on who notified the police, but when police arrived the couple ran in different directions.  See?  There’s that in-sync thing again.

Jim was quickly caught – perhaps weighed down by that wallet and laptop and stuff – and Steph got away.

But Steph must have circled back, because the next thing she did was steal a police carsdp  at the scene of the crime.

Steal a police car.  Wow, talk about nimble thinking!

(Later, a San Diego police officer said he left the keys in his cruiser while he and his partner chased Steph and Jim.)

Steph hopped on the freeway, headed south at 90mph to Fiesta Island and then crashed into Mission Bay:

Map Final_01 with path.jpg

Showing even more of that nimble thinking, Steph jumped out of the cruiser and into another car, this one occupied, and asked the driver for a ride.

In a clear demonstration that chivalry is not dead, he apparently agreed, but policebusted_02 stopped the car and after a struggle, Steph was arrested.

In August Steph pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, theft of a patrol car and two counts of resisting arrest.  In late September she was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Jim faces trial December 4 on charges of robbery, burglary, false imprisonment and resisting arrest.

Goodbye JimNow, Steph is only 26 so five years puts her release at age 31, assuming all goes well.

Jim, however, at 41, is looking at 55 years to life, says Yturralde.

No Christmas shopping for him for a long time.

But once he’s out, this hand-in-hand couple?

They’ll have even more in common.

hand in hand_04

Book Review: “Dear Mrs. Bird” Is A Bit Of Alright

Publication date:  July 2018

Review, short version:  Four roses out of four.

Review, long version:anglophile-

I am an Anglophile:

I love many things British.

I love British history, British royalty, the history of British royalty, British castles and churches, colloquialisms and accents, and exports, like the Beatles.

I don’t love all things British – mushy peas, for one:

mushy_02 croppedMushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water with sodium bicarbonate, then rinsed in fresh water and simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy mash.


A new British export I love is Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce.  Pearce was born in England, and this book, her first, begins in London, December 1940.  World War II had started in September 1939, and the “Blitz” – the German bombing offensive all over England – began in September 1940.

A daily scene during the London Blitz.

So our narrator of Dear Mrs. Bird, 22-year-old Emmy Lake, is in the thick of Hitler’s bombardment of London, and Germany was relentless:  attacks mostly at night but also during the day, on industrial areas, government buildings, military targets, and on civilians – not accidentally, but deliberately.

Thousands of Londoners killed or injured, homes and businesses destroyed, life uncertain except for the certainty of more bombs, deaths and destruction.

Emmy’s parents live outside London, in a safer (though not safe) area.  Emmy says,

“Mother always worried about how we kept going.  I had no idea.  We just did.”

Londoner having a nice cuppa tea, surveying her former home.

And Pearce puts us right there with Emmy who keeps going, like most people in England:  determined to be brave, continue on with her life, and never, ever allow Hitler to defeat her, military-wise or morale-wise.

Emmy goes to work, volunteers for the Fire Brigade, hangs out with her best friend Bunty, and meets a nice, young man, Charles.  The English are known for their stiff-upper-lip outlook, and also for their understatements, and here’s a perfect example, as Charles and Emmy head out one evening to the cinema.  In reference to the bombings Charles’ brother says,

“You know it could be a heavy night, don’t you?”

“That’s all right,” says Emmy.  “We know all the [bomb] shelters on the way home…And I reckon you may as well be a moving duck as a sitting one.”

jolly_01 croppedStiff upper lip.  Good show.

When Charles calls Emmy the morning after another bombing:

“Charles said how pleased he was that I had been all right during last night’s raid and I said it wasn’t that bad really and didn’t mention seeing two children and a Fire Brigade nearly get squashed to death in the street.”

Understatement, yes?

Another delightful aspect of Dear Mrs. Bird is the characters’ so-very-English colloquialisms:



“Really does take the biscuit.” Someone has done something you find very annoying or surprising.
“I’ll have his guts for bloody garters.” A threat of a serious reprisal.
“Make not too bad a fist of the thing.” Try not to mess up too badly.
“I was a pretty thin show.” I messed up badly.
“In the bag, sir.” It’s handled.

At this point I realize I haven’t said much about the plot of Dear Mrs. Bird, why thebook book is called that, who Mrs. Bird is, and what she and the war and all the rest have to do with Emmy.

And I haven’t conveyed the full horror of the Blitz, its impact, and the astounding courage, fortitude, and “just carry on” attitude of the people during this terrible time.

But Emmy does all that, and it’s a bit of alright.

Dear Mrs. Bird may not turn you into an Anglophile, but don’t be surprised if at some point you find yourself saying,

Bobs-Your-Uncle-3 cropped

Movie Review: This Movie Is A Riddle Wrapped In A Mystery, Inside An Enigma

Release date:  June 2018

NatashaJ osefowitz
Josefowitz – “peripheral person” or collaborator?

Review, short version:  Thumbs up for the story; thumbs down for the perpetrators.

Review, long version:

In the documentary Three Identical Strangers we meet her at her apartment – petite, silver haired, and gracious, everyone’s dream grandma or, at 91, great grandma – offering coffee before conversation.

She obviously enjoys walking her visitors through her photo gallery of “buddies,” as she calls them – pictures of herself with “Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Robert Redford, Al Gore, Errol Flynn, Picasso.”

She is Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D., an internationally recognized poet and lecturer, author of 17 books, inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015 for her dedication to empowering women.

Louise-Wise-Services-e1535574312199-768x430Unfortunately, she apparently wasn’t interested in empowering a small group of women back in the 1960s and 1970s, when she was part of a secret scientific study that deliberately separated multiple-birth children who’d been put up for adoption by the Louise Wise Services agency.

That group was up to a dozen unmarried birth mothers who didn’t know that their twins – and in one case – triplets – had been separated.  The adoptive mothers (and fathers) didn’t know, either.

peter neubauer
Neubauer, mastermind of the secret study.

Josefowitz is adamant about distancing herself from the study, conducted by psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Peter Neubauer.  She was a “peripheral person,” she insists.  She was “not part of the team.”  “I was in the office,” she shrugs.

She makes excuses for Neubauer’s years-long plan of studying the nature vs. nurture debate, portrays it as benign, calls it “an exciting time.”  Calls him “Sexy.  Nice looking.  Interesting.”

The triplets discover each other…

I call Josefowitz a damn liar, a hypocrite, and a collaborator in what one of the adoptees angrily described as, “This is like Nazi shit.  They studied us like lab rats!”

That adoptee is Bobby Shafran, and he was one of not the twins, but one of the triplets, separated shortly after they were born in 1961 and adopted by three different families.

Three Identical Strangers is the story of how Bobby and his brothers, Eddy Galland and David Kellman, found each other 19 years later, after growing up within 100 miles of each other in New York.

triplets with brokaw
Then the media discovers the triplets.  With Tom Brokaw, soon after their story went “viral.”

The brothers bonded instantly, became inseparable, and became the focus of massive media attention, the 1980 version of “viral” – newspapers, national magazines and network television, the triplets’ every outfit, word and gesture (many of which were often identical) admired and exclaimed over.

It was a fairy tale, and no one – including the brothers – spent much time wondering why they’d been separated 19 years earlier.

triplets at restaurant
The triplets at Triplets restaurant.

No one except their angry adoptive parents.

The six parents asked for a meeting with representatives from Louise Wise Services, “the pre-eminent adoption agency on the East Coast, for Jewish babies in particular.”  They were lied to, told that no adoptive family wanted multiple children.  The parents went home, unsatisfied and still angry.

But Bobby, Eddy and David were having the time of their lives.  They opened a restaurant in New York, named – of course – Triplets, in 1988, described as “wildly successful.”  They married and started families.

They also met their birth mother but, sadly, didn’t connect.  It was a “prom night knock-up type of thing,” says David.  But “it was OK.”

There’s much more to Three Identical Strangers including reporter Lawrence Wright’s movieinvestigation into the triplets’ story, where he learned a lot about the Louise Wise agency’s cooperation with Neubauer.  But Wright ran into a stone wall:  Neubauer’s nature vs. nurture study was never published, and on his death in 2008, Neubauer’s papers were placed at Yale University, sealed in a vault until 2065.

What conceivable reason could there have been for that, other than to conceal the secrecy – and the separations?

By 2065 all those twins – and the Three Identical Strangers – would be dead, and couldn’t cause trouble.

In a June 2018 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune Josefowitz continued to insist she wasn’t a part of Neubauer’s study.  She was “unhappy” that the documentary suggests a conspiracy between Neubauer and the adoption agency.  She was “saddened” that information is locked away.

Perhaps Josefowitz could ask for assistance from some of her highly placed “buddies” in getting that information unsealed.

Before she, too, is dead.

David and Bobby cropped
David and Bobby today.  Eddy committed suicide in 1995.

This Could Happen To You…Your Child…And…

At first, exploding toilet sounded funny.

A joke, at about the level of whoopee cushions and plastic vomit.

There’s even a name for it:  Bathroom humor.

Funny, at first.

But then, as the story continued, I pictured myself with an exploding toilet and it quickly went from funny to unfunny.

Let’s say it happened when I wasn’t home.  Imagine the mess I’d come home to.  Like a exploding toilet aftermathbomb went off in my bathroom.  Where do you start cleaning up a mess like that?

Or suppose I was home.  Even if I’d had the TV on or the earbuds in, I would have heard something very damn scary.  Was someone breaking into my house?  Had my house been hit by something falling out of the sky?

Then I’d discover, no – no break-in, no meteorite.  But what a mess.

But then suppose – suppose I’d been in the bathroom when the toilet exploded.  I’m picturing sharp, lethal shards of porcelain and metal flying everywhere, including at – and into – me.

And according to the stories, that has happened:  at last count 23 people injured, one requiring surgery.

Close to $1 million in property damage.

Not funny at all.exploding toilet aftermath-01 cropped

It turns out that the exploders are pressure-flush toilets, vs. the gravity-flush toilets that we’re more familiar with, the latter having been around for more than a century.

The pressure-flush toilets are the Flushmate II 501-B, which Flushmate discontinued in 2013.  The company says it’s received 1,453 reports in the U.S. and Canada of the units bursting.

I can’t help but wonder how long those reports have been coming in – and why we’re only now hearing about it.

But wait – we’re not only now hearing about this.  Check out these headlines from 2012…

2012 Headline


2014 Headline


2016 Headline

Oh, yeah.  Flushmate has been having serious problems for years, and so have its victims.

So serious that in 2014 Flushmate “agreed to pay $18 million to resolve multiple class action lawsuits”:

Class Action

And I have to believe the company knew about the issues with the Flushmate II 501-B, since they stopped making it in 2013.

cpscWe have a government agency, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC), that’s “charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.  Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually.”

And CPSC has dutifully posted a Flushmate recall notice on their website, dated October 18, 2018:

CPSC Recall Notice
Note in the lower right:  “The series 503 Flushmate III was previously recalled in June 2012, January 2014, and July 2016.”  Hello?  Is anyone at CPSC reading what’s on their own #%&!#* website?

Considering the injuries that have happened since 2012, and the potential for more “unreasonable risks of injury or death,” wouldn’t you think maybe just one of the 500 CPSC employees might pick up the phone, call the company and say, “Flushmate, we have a problem”?

toilet explodingI realize the CPSC’s budget is only a measly $123 million, but hey – Flushmate has a toll-free number (844-621-7538) so the call is free.

So here’s where we are:

Flushmate estimates there are almost 1.5 million Flushmate II 501-B exploders – I mean systems – in the U.S. and Canada, and the company is telling people to “turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet to release any internal pressure.”

And then, says Flushmate, “We are communicating with customers who may still own the product to offer a free Flushmate replacement unit and installation by a technician.”

So if I have a Flushmate II 501-B system, I’m supposed to go toilet-less until their technician shows up?

I’m supposed to smile and agree that, yes, I want a replacement, and a technician, from a company that’s had recalls of their systems in 2012, 2014, 2016 and now in 2018?

Fortunately, there are no Flushmates in my home.

What about you?

What’s in your bathroom?


Americans Invent, Then Invent Some More, Part II

Back in May I wrote about the inventiveness of Americans, specifically, how we invent something…

MY15-POLARIS-SNOWAnd then invent a crime to go with it.

One example I cited was the snowmobile.  Some creative American invented it, then another one stole it and rode off into the sunset.

Voila!  The new crime of snowmobile theft.

Now let’s get current.

In November 2017 Kate McClure was driving into Philadelphia.  She ran out of gas, pulled over, and started walking to a gas station.

Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless man and Marine veteran, approached McClure and told her to get back in her car and lock the doors – he’d get the gasoline for her.  A few minutes later he returned with a full can of gas.  He said he’d used his last $20 to pay for it.

McClure was so touched, she started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Bobbitt get back onto a better path.  The goals in the story she posted on GoFundMe included a new home for Bobbitt, his dream truck, and two trusts, one for daily expenses and one for retirement.  Kate’s goal was $10,000.

Go fraud me Bobbit page

McClure’s post went viral, and therein lay the magic:  More than 14,000 people were touched by Bobbitt’s situation and his gallantry in rescuing McClure, and they responded with donations totaling more than $400,000.  It looked like Bobbitt’s random act of kindness was going to lead him to a better life.

Bobbitt and Couple cropped
(Left to right) Bobbitt, D’Amico and McClure.

Only, it hasn’t.

Bobbitt is suing McClure and her partner, Mark D’Amico, because the $400,000 is gone.  Bobbitt says he did receive about $75,000, which he used to buy a camper and SUV – both of which he no longer has.  He also, sadly, bought drugs.

As of early September:

  • Bobbitt was entering a 30-day residential treatment program.
  • Authorities had executed a search warrant at McClure and D’Amico’s home, towed a BMW off of the property and removed boxes presumed to contain evidence.
  • McClure and D’Amico were asked by a judge to appear and explain what
    kate bmw_01
    Towed Beemer – Bummer.

    happened to the money. Their lawyer said they are “unable to defend themselves or respond in any meaningful way” to requests for financial statements made by Bobbitt’s lawyers because the couple no longer had access to the records.

  • The judge postponed legal action in the case until December 7.  Maybe between now and then McClure and D’Amico can raise more money on GoFundMe defray lawyer expenses?
  • GoFundMe has promised that Bobbitt will receive the rest of his $400,000, so perhaps this Good Samaritan’s cloud will have a silver lining, after all.

People who commit fraud are scum.  People who defraud a veteran are…

super scum cropped

OK, I realize that McClure and D’Amico are innocent until proven guilty.  But it sure looks like American inventiveness at work again:

  1. Americans invented GoFundMe.
  2. Then we invented a name for it:  Crowdfunding.
  3. Americans invented GoFundMe fraud.
  4. Then we invented a name for it:  Crowdfrauding.

Crowdfrauding is so egregious that in 2016, freelance financial reporter Adrienne Gonzalez started where she writes about fraud occurring on GoFundMe.

Go Fraud Me home pge.jpg

In the FAQs Gonzalez says, “You really have no way of knowing which fundraisers are legit and which are cooked up by modern-day robbers using technology rather than guns.”

And the variety of those modern-day robbers is staggering – here are just a few recent headlines from Gonzalez’s GoFraudMe site:

  • Prosecutors:  Mom Who Stabbed Two Sons to Death Hoped for Lucrative GoFundMe Payday
  • GoFundMe For Georgia Widow Removed After the Woman is Charged in Husband’s Murder
  • Marine Scams Fellow Marine Into Starting a GoFundMe for Him, Fails to Mention He’s Facing Several Drug Felonies

Go Fraud Me Headlines

And the really bizarre thing about GoFundMe is, it appears that someone you know – or don’t – can set up a fundraising page on your behalf, for a real or fraudulent reason, collect the money.  And vanish – without ever meeting you.

Here’s the story that motivated Gonzalez to start GoFraudMe:

In Florida in early 2015, Bart the cat was hit by a car. His owner, thinking Bart had died, buried him in the backyard.  Five days later, the cat rose from the dead and crawled back to the house.  The story about the zombie cat spread far and wide, and someone quickly set up a page on GoFundMe to pay Bart’s mounting medical bills.


Except there were no bills to pay.

According to Gonzalez’s reporting, Bart’s medical bills were being paid for by the Humane Society, and the cash from GoFundMe was being collected by a neighbor.  Despite Gonzalez’s best efforts, GoFundMe did not take down the campaign.  It ended up raising more than $6,000.

I don’t know what prompts people to donate to GoFundMe but a lot of them do; according to the website, “more than 50 million donors…helped organizers raise over $5 billion.” 

And I don’t know how people decide which plea to respond to – the parents who need help paying for their baby’s cancer treatment?  The family in need of funds to bury a loved one?  Another veteran, like Bobbitt, who served his/her country and has been abandoned by the VA?

I do know that I believe the two guys who started GoFundMe back in 2010 did it with the best of intentions, including making money, which is, after all, the American dream.go fund me scam

I believe McClure and D’Amico started the GoFundMe for Johnny Bobbitt with the best of intentions, but that $400,000 was just too tempting.

And…I believe Americans will go on inventing, and Americans will go on creating new crimes as new inventions come along.

As I said back in May:

What a country!

Headline Indictment


I wrote this blog when the lawsuit story appeared in September, but hadn’t posted it yet.

At the time, I easily believed that Bobbitt was the victim of two scammers, and the generous people who had donated to the GoFundMe campaign were victims, too.

Now it appears that the whole world was scammed by McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt.

On November 15 this story appeared:


The irony is, if Bobbitt hadn’t sued McClure and D’Amico over the money, the three apparent scammers could have gotten away with this.

So how do I feel?  Duped.  Naïve.  Sad.

And if it turns out that Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico are scammers…

I’m hoping all three go to prison for a very long time.

fool me shame on you twice_01 cropped

Find The Story, Then…

Here’s the headline:


Here’s the name of this new addition to our family of opioids:  Dsuvia.

dsuvia logo

As I read the article I had two questions:

First:  Why does this country need with another opioid?  Especially when there are nearly 400 opioids currently on the market, including brand name and generic drugs.

Especially in a country where opiod-related overdoses killed 49,000 people in 2017?

Second:  I wonder who owns AcelRx – the company that makes the just-approved Dsuvia – and could it possibly be a bunch of rich guys who will get richer from this?

acelrxRich guys who smiled on October 10, when it looked like Dsuvia was on its way to approval and AcelRx stock skyrocketed nearly 36%?

Rich guys who smiled even more when they heard that AcelRx projects $1.1 billion in annual sales of Dsuvia?

Could rich guys have anything to do with the FDA approving yet another opioid?

So who owns AcelRx?

According to CNN Business, here are the top five of the top 10 owners of AcelRx:

Top Ten

Here’s how Nasdaq slices the owners’ piece of the pie:

Pie Chart

To get an idea of the value of these top five, I had to learn about something called AUM – Assets Under Management:

AUM is the total market value of assets that an investment company or financial institution manages on behalf of investors.

Now that I knew what to look for, I spent a fair amount of time looking at (rich) pale males in gray suits.

Here are some of the key people at those top five owners of AcelRx, and each company’s AUM:


The Vanguard Group, Inc. Vanguard F William McNabb III

F. William McNabb III, Chairman

AUM:  $5.1 trillion in 2018 Vanguard Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley, President & CEO



Blackrock Fund Advisors

Blackrock Larry Fink.jpg

Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO


AUM:  $6.3 trillion in 2018

Blackrock robert kapito

Robert Kapito, President


Renaissance Technologies Renaissance James Simons

James H. Simons, Co-founder
& Board Chair


AUM:  $84 billion in 2018

Renaissance howard-morgan-w800

Howard L. Morgan, Co-founder


Fidelity Management & Research Fidelity Morrison

Charles Morrison, President


AUM:  $219B in 2018

Fidelity McGraw-Gerry-1-500x500-c-default

Gerard McGraw, CFO, Director



Geode Capital Management


Geode Gubitosi

Vince Gubitosi, President


AUM:  $84 billion in 2018

Geode Miller_

Jeffrey S. Miller, COO

But Dsuvia isn’t just for rich investors – the Pentagon has spent millions of dollars helping to fund AcelRx’s research, and where does the Pentagon get its money?

From us taxpayers.  So you, too – willingly or otherwise – had a hand in bringing a new fda_approval croppedopioid to our nation.

And there you have it.  With all the readily available opioids in this country, and with all the opioid-related deaths, our FDA saw fit to give yet another opioid the nod.

Is there a connection between that FDA approval, and the owners of AcelRx making more money?

You connect the dots, and then you tell me.

In closing, here’s an old melody, What The World Needs Now, with new lyrics written especially for this occasion:


What the world needs now

Is drugs, more drugs.

It’s the only thing

That we’ve just too little of.


used needles

What the world needs now

Is more opioid drugs.

No, not just for some

But for everyone.


pills and u.s. map

Doc, I don’t need another aspirin.

I’ve got Advil and Motrin and Tylenol.

I need real stuff, the hard stuff

That gets me high, the stuff that kills,

If you want to know.


no aspirin

What the world needs now

Is more opioid drugs.

New one just approved

Catchy name:  “Dsuvia.”


dsuvia logo

Just a tiny pill

Slides right under my tongue.

No needles for me –

Got Dsuvia.


dsuvia under tongue

Doc, can I have some more Dsuvia?

Cause my knees hurt, my back hurts, they’re really bad.

Please just write a prescription, and no more pain.

I’ll never feel…

Anything again.


Dsuvia with applicator


What the world needs now…





It’s True, I Do…

The last time I went to the dentist, I sat down in the waiting room, opened the newspaper, and started reading.

OMG_smallerOut of the corner of my eye I noticed another patient glance at me, then do a double-take.

“OMG!” she said.  “I haven’t seen anyone actually reading a newspaper in years.”

I LOLed and went back to my reading.

The newspaper she was referring to was the kind printed on paper.

The kind that’s delivered to your front porch and you read with your morning coffee.dinosaur newspaper

The kind that you hold in both hands and leaves traces of ink of your fingertips.

If you’re thinking, “Geez, what a dinosaur!” I just smile.

Unlike the dinosaurs, there are still some of us around, and we actually do read paper newspapers.

With no apologies.

Every Sunday I read a page of brief stories called The (almost) Back Page, assembled by the Associated Press, or AP.  Talk about dinosaurs – this newsgathering agency was Back Pagefounded in 1846.

The AP stories fill about two-thirds of the page, and the rest is two columns devoted to News of the Weird.

And these stories are weird – like a recent one about a guy in Florida who got annoyed at his mother when she accidentally bumped into him while she was cooking his dinner.  He started pelting her with the sausages, then put his hands on her neck.  He later said news-of-the-weirdhe just wanted his mom to apologize for bumping him, but police arrested him and charged him with misdemeanor domestic battery.

Weird, yes?

On the rest of the page, the AP story headlines range from Man Rescues Five-Week-Old Kitten Glued To Busy Road (yikes!) to Authorities Capture Suspected Serial Diaper Dumper (huh?) to Military Officials Say Humvee Dropped From Plane By Mistake In Rural Area.

Since I love seeing our tax dollars at work, I decided to check further into that last story.

It turns out that this was a routine training exercise performed in late October.  The military takes a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, an HMMWV nicknamed “Humvee,” straps it onto a platform, attaches parachutes, loads it onto a plane, and then flies to a ground target.

humveeTo goal is to land the Humvee on the target, platform-side-down, detach the parachutes, disconnect the platform, and drive the vehicle off to its mission.

The military in this case were Army testers from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate at Fort Bragg, NC.  The plane, an Air Force C-17, was stationed at Joint Air Force Base Charleston.  The reason for dropping this vehicle from an airplane was to “test new equipment and procedures to support the aerial delivery and transportation of military equipment.”

Something went awry, however, and the vehicle landed seven miles from its target.

Now, I’ve heard of target practice, though not with Humvees, but maybe…

I can imagine the dialogue:

“Dude, you wanna go do some target practice?”

“Yeah, man.  My Humvee or yours?


A spokesman later said the aircraft was flying at 1500 feet when the Humvee was launched out of the plane about a minute too early.

I’m imaging the soldiers on board:

“This hitting the target thing with a Humvee has gotten really boring.  Why don’t we aim for that spot over there instead?”

“Right on!  Ready?  One, two…push!”

humvee plane_01 reversed.jpg

Three tons of vehicle, palette and parachutes crashed in a wooded area between two homes.

And I’m imaging the homeowners:

“Honey, what was that noise?

“It’s the military doing that Humvee target practice thing, but they won’t be driving that sucker anywhere soon!”

humvee crashed

“Everything went as planned except for the early release,” allowed the spokesman.

Air Force Mug Time Mag Nov 5 2018
(The military isn’t big on bargains.)

And the landing, I’ll add.  The platform and damaged Humvee were loaded onto a flatbed truck and taken away.

Apparently the “new equipment” being tested was a new “heavy drop platform.”  If this was a new Humvee – modified or “up-armored” as they call it – and new parachutes, and knowing that the military isn’t big on bargains, I figure the cost for this target practice (including airplane, fuel, personnel, etc.) was around $1 million.

Oh, well.  A Humvee here, a platform there…

At this point if you’re thinking, “Paper, schmaper.  You had to go online to get all that information,” you’d be right.

So I’m not a complete dinosaur.

But as long as paper, schmaper newspapers are around…

I’ll keep sipping my coffee and turning those pages.

Ink stains and all.

ink stained fingers

Rant: When Ripped Is A Rip-Off

Fads can be fun.

Well, until you look at an old picture of yourself and wonder, “What was I thinking with that outfit?”  Or, “Please tell me my hair didn’t really look like that.”

And fads can be fun to watch.

We’ve watched some fads come and go, and come back again:

Platform shoes were hot in the 1970s, then disappeared, and now they’re back… Platform shoes 1970s



Platform shoes 2018


Likewise, bell bottoms came and went and came back again… bell bottoms 1970s cropped


bellbottoms 2018 cropped.jpg



Then there are fads that come and go and – fortunately – don’t come back.  Some 1950s fads come to mind:



PhoneBoothStuffing 1950s


eating goldfish cropped.jpg
Car stuffing… Phone booth stuffing… Goldfish stuffing…yes, he’s eating live goldfish.

And how about fad diets?

Scarsdale_diet 1970s zone_01 Keto diet 2018

Scarsdale diet, 1970s…

Zone diet, 1990s…

Keto diet, 2018

Lest you think fads are mostly followed by women, check these out:

egyptian_01 louis
Ancient Egyptian male royalty – wigs, eyeliner, serious jewelry… 17th century male royalty – wigs, furs, stockings, high heels.

But here’s a fad I didn’t get then – and now it’s come back and I still don’t get it:

ripped jeans 1980s ripped jeans male model cropped.jpg

Ripped jeans, 1980s…

Ripped jeans 2018

And not just jeans –

ripped t-shirt ripped skirt with fishnet Ripped-stockings-featured-progressed cropped

Ripped shirts…

Ripped skirts…


Here’s a brief tutorial on ripped clothing, culled from various online sources:

There are two classifications of ripped jeans:  Distressed and Destroyed.

Distressed is where you can see the inside of the fabric – the white horizontal threads (weft); and Destroyed jeans are completely torn-off garment areas.

Distressed denims are given their vintage worn-out look in the manufacturingripoff cropped processes.  Jeans are faded on purpose.  Additional methods to distress denim include extreme stone washing, enzyme washing, acid washing, sandblasting, emerging, and micro-sanding.  Frayed hems and seams are also popular in the distressed denim category.

And talk about ripped – let’s talk about ripped off.  Meaning, how much you can pay for someone to rip, distress and/or destroy your jeans before you buy them:

ripped women designer cropped ripped men designer.jpg
Women:  Mr. Porter Farfetch Amiri Crystal Painter Jeans $1500 40% Off $954 Men:  Mr. Porter Amiri Thrasher Skinny-Fit Appliquéd Distressed Stretch-Denim Jeans $1770

For that kind of money send me the jeans and I’ll rip them.

And distress them.

And destroy them.

blowing up

Heads Up San Diego:  Community Choice Aggregation Or Expensive…

bill_02 cropped reversedIn 2017 a number of residents of America’s Finest City – San Diego – opened their mail and found something not-so-fine:

Their water bills had increased dramatically.  In some cases, doubled.  In some cases, a 500% increase or more from one billing cycle to the next.

Bewildered, these residents called the water department at San Diego Public Utilities for an explanation.  The residents knew they weren’t using more water than the previous month – in the drought-ridden, fire-prone San Diego area most of us tend to be very vigilant with our water use.

The water department offered a number of possible reasons for the residents higher water usage:Voting and protest concept

  1. Higher water rates
  2. Longer billing cycles
  3. Changes in the weather
  4. Overwatering their landscaping
  5. Leaks inside their homes
  6. A child home from college
  7. Relatives visiting for the holidays

At no time did any water department customer service rep indicate that the water bill amounts might – just might – be an error on their part.

The unhappy customers, as the song goes, couldn’t “get no satisfaction.”

And since they didn’t want their water shut off, they paid up.  Emphasis on up.

Here’s just one of many examples:

kelli sandman-hurley billKelli lives in a 900-square-foot house with her husband and their nine-year-old.  For years, she’d received San Diego water department bimonthly bills of around $150.

Then in January 2018 she opened her bill and saw that the city had charged her $3,334 for using 234,140 gallons of water, up from 6,732 gallons in the same billing period last year.

Kelli knew there was something wrong because “We did not use that much water.  It’s impossible.”

Following a February 2018 story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, her bill was lowered from $3,334 down to $187 after officials confirmed that her meter had been misread.

So I guess it wasn’t her nine-year-old “home from college” (see #6, above).

In addition to coverage by the Union-Tribune, additional help was at hand.

One of San Diego’s TV stations, Channel 7, is home to Bob Hansen, better known as Consumer Bob_01“Consumer Bob.”  He’s been covering consumer news in San Diego for close to 30 years, and in 2016 launched NBC 7 Responds, to “research concerns, look for answers and find solutions to make things right” for consumers.

I’ve watched a lot of Consumer Bob’s stories and I’m telling you – this guy is a pit bull.  In the best possible way.  When he and his team “make things right” for consumers – and that happens a lot – he does a follow-up story on the news.

And I cheer.

Consumer Bob wins another one for the little guy!

So when those water department customers couldn’t get any satisfaction regarding the spike in their bills, some of them contacted Consumer Bob.

In January 2018 viewers learned that NBC 7 Responds had been investigating the water bill situation since July 2017, and that – if you’ll allow the expression – opened the floodgates:

February 2018:

Feb 2018 Headline

July 2018:

July 2018 Headline

October 2018:

October 2018 Headline

At the same time, other water department stories were surfacing about:

  • Meter reader error – one reader alone misread 334 meters.
  • Meter reader employees who’d learned ways to hide mistakes made out in the field.
  • San Diego’s $67 million+ problem-riddled “smart” meters program, which won’t be completed until 2020.
  • A backlog of 21,605 water meter boxes in San Diego that are in need of replacement or repair; perhaps not a surprise when …
  • In August 2018 an auditor found staff for the Water Meter Box Repair and Replace Division worked an average of 3.6 hours a day during a full eight-hour shift:

Cutting Out Early Headline.jpg

And the hits just kept on coming:

  • June 2018 – Deputy Director of SD Water Dept. retires.
  • August 2018 – Director of Public Utilities Dept. resigns after less than a year.
  • August 2018 – Installation of “smart” meters put on hold – no new meters are being connected to that system, according to NBC 7 Responds.


October 2018:

Channel 10 Headline

What’s it all mean?

It means San Diego is doing a lousy job managing your water.


Now San Diego wants to manage your electricity, too.

warning cropped

It’s called CCA – Community Choice Aggregation.

Dumbed-down so I can understand it, in some parts of the country, cities are entering into or considering CCAs:

national_map_9_18_18 CCA

Community Choice Aggregation allows “any city, county or combination thereof to form an entity to take over the responsibility for purchasing power for their community.”

The goal of CCA is to reduce power costs to customers, and to go greener by obtaining more power from renewable sources like natural gas, solar, and wind.

Once elected officials decide in favor of CCA, customers have these choices:Community-Choice-Aggregation icon

  1. Staying with CCA.
  2. Opting out and continuing as is with their current power provider – in this case, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

With either option, the traditional power provider (SDG&E) continues to maintain the transmission and distribution system, and handles billing and customer service issues.

Sounds grand, doesn’t it?  Stay with CCA, spend less on your energy bills, and feel good about getting more power from renewable sources.

A win-win!

I think not, and here’s why.

warning cropped

In San Diego, the elected officials who will make the decision about entering into CCA are the mayor and city council.  They are, bottom line, responsible for running the city.

Including the water department.  See above.

With CCA, elected officials are responsible for making decisions about where and howmoney_02 much power will be provided by other sources.

And as we all know, elected officials are never subject to greed, graft, bribery or corruption.


Since elected officials often don’t have expertise in energy markets, many CCAs hire third parties with experience in energy markets to perform all sorts of complex scheduling and marketing transactions.

They are paid by CCA organizations, using rates charged to their customers.

Another charge – customers who opt to stay with CCA will pay a monthly Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), or “exit fee,” to the traditional provider.

In California, the California Public Utilities Commission sets the amount of the exit fee.  For San Diego it was first set at 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, then raised to about 4.25 cents.  For the average customer, this amounts to around $17-$20 per month.

Raised the exit fee.  CCA has not even been approved and it’s become more expensive.  And there’s no doubt there will be future increases.

On page 23 the city’s October 2018 CCA Business Plan estimates start-up costs of $105 million:

Start Up Costs

Page 24, here’s the ongoing administrative costs of CCA, estimated at $16 million a year:

Ongoing Costs

And as we all know, bureaucracies never spend more than they first estimate.


In October San Diego’s mayor announced his support for CCA.  The City Council is poised to vote in December 2018 to move forward with it.

This could put CCA up and running in 2021.

As I research CCAs I see a lot of words like “could” – I call them hedge words, as in

Hedge (verb):  To avoid making a definite decision, statement, or commitment.

CCA could save customers money.  CCA could help San Diego reach its renewable energymaybe one day cropped goals.

And here’s another hedge word:  “should.”  With CCA it should be cheaper than buying power from SDG&E.  It should provide more renewable energy jobs.

And “may” – other cities in the county may join San Diego’s CCA plan.  And their customers may save money, too.

Check out another hedge word, the “Uncertainties” from page 32 of San Diego’s CCA Business Plan:

Uncertainties page 32_01 with lines

Based on this business plan, one media source stated that with San Diego’s CCA:

A Joint Powers Authority (JPA) would be formed in 2019, along with the appointment of a board of directors.  From there on, the board would hire an executive leadership team, a chief executive and a chief financial officer.

These executive positions would guide the JPA through the CCA implementation process, in hopes of delivering power to customers by the plan’s target date of 2021.

“In hopes of.”  More hedge words.

“A billion-dollar bureaucracy,” summed up another media source.

There are many individuals and groups both in favor of, and opposed to, CCA for San Diego.

Supporters say that 18 other communities in California have adopted CCA, and many more across the country.

I say San Diego is doing a lousy job managing your water.

Now San Diego wants to manage your electricity.

Heads-up, residents:

you have been warned.png

Wow!!!  I’m Getting A Refund!!!


You’re right.

It is my money, and it never should have left my hands.greedy-man-wide

But I had no choice.  I use electricity, so I pay my utilities bill.  That means a monthly payment to San Diego Gas and Electric, SDG&E.

SDG&E = Secretive Diabolical Greedy Enemies.

In early September SDG&E’s 1.4 million residential and business customers received the following announcement:

Announcement new

SDG&E is “giving” customers a one-time “big” reduction in our October bills, and ongoing piddling deductions in future bills.  The amounts will depend on how much electricity and gas we use.

The ongoing deductions will continue until SDG&E has returned the approximately $750 million we didn’t owe them and shouldn’t have paid them.

Why did SDG&E take our money?

Back in the 1960s, when some people thought nuclear power plants were a great idea,songs_01 cropped SDG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE) built the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, cleverly nicknamed SONGS.

SDG&E, owner of 20% of SONGS, is owned by Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 publicly traded company.  SCE, owner of the other 80%, is owned by Edison International, another Fortune 500 publicly traded company.

SONGS was built on what was a lovely piece of Pacific coastline, about 50 miles north of San Diego and 68 miles south of Los Angeles:


In 1968 SONGS began generating energy, and lots of nuclear waste.

Fast forward to 2012.  SONGS developed serious problems and had to be permanently shut down.  Without going into the technical stuff, SONGS was toast.SDG&E cropped

Very expensive toast:

$4.7 billion in costs related to the shutdown of SONGS.

The investors didn’t see any reason why they should be on the hook for $4.7 billion, so it seems to me that SDG&E and SCE would be paying for their cleanup.  If I owned a hair salon and it burned down, I wouldn’t ask my customers to foot the bill, would I?

I wouldn’t, but they did.

And in 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) agreed.  They decided we SCE croppedcustomers should pay $3.3 billion of that $4.7 billion.

Customers were now going to pay for a power-generating facility that was producing…


We weren’t happy, but what were we going to do?  Stop paying our utility bills?

The CPUC and SDG&E and SCE were happy – a veritable alphabet of happiness, until two local attorneys sued and won.  The settlement:

SDG&E and SCE would shave $750 million off that $3.3 billion.

And customers then owed a mere $2.5 billion for our “responsibility” in the SONGS debacle.what's wrong with this picture cropped

But in the interim, SDG&E had been charging customers at the rate of collecting that original $3.3 billion from us.  When the amount was reduced by $750 million, it turned out that now SDG&E owed us money.

Money we should never have paid them.

SONGS still sits, shut down and useless, on that lovely piece of coastal property:


Its ugly buildings store 3.5 million gallons of nuclear waste.  That’s 29,190,000 pounds.

That’s 14,595 tons of nuclear waste that has nowhere else to go.

Waste that could spill into the Pacific Ocean.  Waste that threatens harm to the eight million people living within its 50-mile radius:


But SDG&E is happy.  SCE is happy.  The investors are happy.  And those two lawyers who filed the suit?  Their fee was $5.4 million, so they’re happy, too.

And me?

Well, here’s my October bill, with my “big” credit indicated:

New Bill with Arrow

Where, oh where, will I spend it all?

hand holding pennies

Book Review:  I Like Lettice

Publication date:  March 2018book

Review, short version:  Four roses out of four.

Review, long version:

I highly recommend Elizabeth’s Rival, with this caveat:

It helps if you’re crazy for English royal history, as I am.

Otherwise the focus of this biography, Lettice Knollys Devereux Dudley Blount, may appear just another bewigged, smothered-in-clothes, aristocratic but obscure Elizabethan Englishwoman.

Well, the wig, the clothes, aristocratic – yes.  But obscure?  Lettice was anything but that.

The book is subtitled The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester:  The Romance and Conspiracy That Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court.

This extraordinarily long subtitle is appropriate for a woman who, in an age where the average life expectancy was about 40, lived an extraordinarily long life – 91 years.

Born in 1543, in those 91 years Lettice arrived in one reign, survived five more and lived into a seventh:

Greys Court, Oxfordshire
Greys Court, Oxfordshire, Lettice’s birthplace.
  1. Henry VIII, reigned 1509-1547
  2. Edward VI, reigned 1547-1553
  3. Jane Grey, reigned 1553
  4. Mary I, reigned 1553-1558
  5. Elizabeth I, 1558-1603
  6. James VI, 1603-1625
  7. Charles I, 1625-1649

Just that fact that Lettice managed to keep her head on her shoulders when throughout these reigns, people all around her were – literally – losing theirs, is also extraordinary.

Especially after Lettice secretly married Queen Elizabeth’s long-time favorite, Robert Dudley, in 1578.  Elizabeth could have had Lettice’s head – or at least imprisoned her for life – for this (to Elizabeth) heinous offence.

Henry_VIII c. 1531
Henry VIII, about age 40; was he Lettice’s grandfather?

As it was, Elizabeth never forgave Lettice, though she forgave Dudley easily enough.  Perhaps it was the fact that Lettice and Elizabeth were blood relatives that stayed Elizabeth’s hand?

Lettice was the daughter of Katherine Carey, who was the daughter of Mary Boleyn, and Katherine may have been Elizabeth’s half-sister as it’s highly likely that Katherine and Elizabeth were both fathered by Henry VIII, when Mary Boleyn was his mistress prior to his marrying Mary’s sister Anne.

And if you followed all that, then I know you’re crazy for English royal history.

Biographies can range from semiarid to Sahara dry, but Tallis has written one that, while full of information about Lettice and her times, is not at all dry and is easy to read.

Dudley tomb, St. Mary's Church, Warwick
Lettice and Dudley’s tomb, Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick.

Tallis doesn’t pull any punches, though.  Early on she describes Lettice,  when portrayed in a 1971 movie, as “outspoken, haughty, arrogant and unrepentant,” and concedes that Lettice “did display some of these traits.”  Tallis also portrays Lettice as a loving daughter, sister, wife and mother, a woman who wasn’t afraid to take risks, and to speak up for herself in a time when women were barely supposed to speak at all.

And above all else – Lettice was a survivor.

She survived her three husbands, all six of her children, and six monarchs including Elizabeth, who didn’t hesitate to behead, or hang, draw and quarter, or at least imprison people who pissed her off.  Elizabeth did behead another blood relative – Mary Queen of Scots – as well as Lettice’s oldest son, and her third husband, but…

Lettice survived.  And not just survived:


In the book’s introduction Tallis notes that Lettice “has never been the subject of a full-scale biography.”

I think Tallis did Lettice justice…

Even if Elizabeth never did.

Lettice parents' tomb flanked by 15 of their children, Lettice far right.JPG
Lettice’s parents’ monument in Rotherfield Greys Church is flanked by images of 15 of their children; Lettice is on the far right.

Squirrel CPR And Selfie Stupidity: Are These Stories Related?

I’m not sure, but I think my alliteration is great.

When I saw this headline:

Squirrel headline

My first thought was…


squirrel mouth to mouth
Squirrel-to-squirrel I’m OK with, but human-to-squirrel?  Ew.

CPR on a squirrel?  Are we talking the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation thing?

Who knows where that squirrel’s mouth has been, or what she/he has put in it?

Major Ewww.

Then I read on and learned that no, it wasn’t mouth-to-mouth – it was chest compression.

OK, chest compression.  On a squirrel.

But why?

The “man” in the headline was Chris Felix, 19, of Brooklyn Park, MN.  Recently he was Squirrel and Chrisdriving to work, encountered the squirrel in the street, and his car hit or stunned or something-ed the squirrel with enough force to knock it onto a front lawn, where it landed on its back.

Apparently unconscious, no visible bleeding.

Chris stopped his car, threw open the door, rushed over and squatted down next to the motionless animal.  He then did what few – if any – of us would do:

He started applying chest compressions to the squirrel.

A police cruiser happened to be in the neighborhood and when they saw the abandonedHigh five car and the man at the curb poking at something, understandably they were concerned.

The officers stopped and, with body cams recording, approached Chris, who explained what had happened as he continued the chest compressions.

After a short while one of the officers suggested turning the squirrel over, which Chris did, and he began stroking the squirrel’s back.

Shortly after that the squirrel blinked, came around, and dashed for the nearest tree.  Happy ending and high fives all around.

We now segue into no happy endings:

Selfie headline.jpg

What else can I call it but “stupidity,” when people are so in love with their own images – and posting them on social media – that it costs them their lives?

This is according to a recent study by researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, which found that 259 people died while attempting to take selfies between October 2011 and November 2017.  “This is just the tip of iceberg,” said the APTOPIX Spain Financial Crisisstudy.  “Many cases are not reported.”

About three-quarters of the deaths were men, with the study suggesting men were more prone to risky behavior when taking selfies.

The average age of among the 259 people was 22.9 years, but the recorded ages ranged from ten to 68 years.

An article in Rolling Stone called this “The never-ending pursuit of the ultimate shot for social media sharing,” and listed just a few of many stories about just how far people will go to get “that killer shot”:

  • Two Russian soldiers in the Urals region west of Siberia posed for a selfie with a live grenade.  The grenade detonated unexpectedly.  Only the phone with the photo survived.selfie_03 cropped
  • A man was gored to death after he left the audience-protected area at the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  A bull came from behind and fatally pierced his neck and thigh with its horns.
  • In Colorado a pilot lost control of his Cessna 150 while posing to take a selfie.  The plane crashed, killing both him and his passenger.

To return to my title’s question, Are these stories related?  Perhaps the commonality is life:   One is life saving and one is lives lost.

The first story makes sense.

The second story:


makes-no-sense-at-all-79 larger