BARRY’S BLOG TUESDAY 12-3-13

Two stories are catching my attention this morning. The first is the report that Americans spent 2 billion dollars on line yesterday on Cyber Monday, and the admission by the engineer on the New York State Amtrak train that he was asleep when the train entered a sharp curve at 82 miles per hour in a 30 MPH zone.

The Cyber sales at 2 billion dollars which is 30% of the total expected sales for the holiday season this year should be sending a strong message to retailers that there is a major shift going on with the consumer. I liken it to the shift in the late 50’s and early 60’s when shopping centers started to appear in cities drawing shoppers out of downtown. It took a long time but was decisive and turned downtown into entertainment centers rather than shopping centers, and stays that way today. Now the shift is moving to iPhones, iPads and computers with delivery at home or pick up at stores. When the numbers on the fourth day of a four day shopping spree hits 30% of the season expectation, it tells me that shopping point of sale is electronic. The WHY?….. is probably traffic, parking, rudeness, clerks that are unaware or inexperienced, and general craziness shopping in a mob environment. We may be seeing a tipping point here which could change shopping habits for many years in the future.

The train accident in New York State, North of New York City last weekend has now been blamed on the engineer falling asleep at the controls allowing the train to seed up to 50 miles above the limit as it entered into a curve demanding the train be slowed to 30 MPH. These trains used to have a switch on the engineer’s chair that had to be depressed every few seconds or the train would slow to a stop. Where was the button on Sunday? There were stories when these buttons were originally required that engineers would purposely defeat them because of the requirement to be attentive to the switch which was annoying. This was, I believe, a requirement when they got rid of firemen in the cab as a cost cutting measure some years ago. Sleep at the wheel is a major problem. We have seen disaster after disaster with Bus, Car, and truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel and their speeding vehicles go out of control and crash killing passengers and others. Lets not forget the sleeping pilots that flew several hundred miles past the destination airport a couple of years ago. Caltrans recognized the problem several years ago and allows truckers to pull over anywhere and sleep without penalty. It will be interesting to hear the political take on this accident. Also the question should also be answered why these high speed engines are not equipped with electronics that would sense speed zones and automatically trigger a slowdown on these trains. They are fully electronic controlled in the cab and extending it to the rails and ground should only be a matter of time and money. If we can hit the moon with an electronic driven space ship, land an Airbus with 300 on board on a 100 foot runway, or a fighter jet on a bobbing aircraft carrier in the Pacific, I would guess we could slow down an electric train on rails without a lot of development. This automation of trains can be demonstrated just down the road at Roseville. They move switch engines assembling long freight trains all day long with no engineer on board. Lets take the technology forward to save lives.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG THURSDAY 11-28-2013

Well the Gall Bladder is gone. GOOD RIDDANCE! What I have learned about my system in the last two weeks equals a year in med school, at least it feels that way to me. The good news is I am repairing well, and about to leave the Sutter Auburn Faith hospital. The stay here has been a wonderful experience but ready to go home.

The world has continued to turn since I have been doing the “Gall” thing. One thing you have in the hospital is lots of time to read the newspapers and watch NEWS channels. It has been fun to watch all the various opinions that I usually don’t have time to do. Was educational.

I am fascinated at the shifting that is going on with the news coverage of Obama care. There is a definite move on by the administration to shift the NEWS coverage to positive things about the roll-out of the new health care system and get the reporters off the disaster of the WEB site and the general software development failures.

Was nice to see the Macy’s and Gimbal’s parades this morning. The North Easter’ storm that hit the east coast was a big one, and could have cancelled both parades today, both of which are traditions. The time, money and effort for these parades takes a year of planning and millions. Would have been a shame to have them unavailable.

I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving but as years went by, the time and effort seemed to be more that it was worth. Maybe age, or maybe families change as they grow and separate. The so called rule of “no discussion of politics” on Thanksgiving probably is a good one, however it usually gets broken shortly after the wine starts to flow.

One thing I am sure thankful for is being over this week and ready to go home. I am also thankful for the wonderful special friends that have been supportive and caring. You know who you are, and know how much I care for you too!

Have a great day and weekend everyone. Be kind to yourself, and be happy!

BARRY’ BLOG WEDNESDAY 11-27-2013

Well, yesterday went very well. I was taken to the “Special Procedures” part of the Sutter Auburn Faith hospital and was excited at getting this problem solved. The change from the quiet organized and comfort of my second floor room into the surgery part of the hospital was like going from Locksley Lane to I-80. Gurney’s were flying through narrow hallways calling out to seas of people standing looking at charts and chatting about patients and procedures. Man, we are at warp speed! Another world down here!

Into the prep room, lots of activity. Sort of like a holding pattern at a busy airport. We have our space, but lots of activity as patients are readied for their procedure. Great people, all working at warp speed but looking relaxed and confident. They have done this many times before.

Finally they wheeled me into the inner-sanctum operating room. Lots of exciting equipment looking like Start Ship Galactica with technicians and doctors everywhere. I was talking as they slipped me a “Mickey” which took affect immediately.

The next minute I remember was waking up in the recovery room and the “Special Procedure” was over. This procedure is called ERCP. I called it “Rooter Rooter”. They put a TV camera (talk about a small camera) and a probe down my throat and into the stomach. There they checked it out, and inserted it into a duct fed by the kidney and pancreas. There they found trouble, and quickly removed it, and cleaned it out. Does sound like Rooter Rooter, don’t you think?

Back to the serenity of the second floor, and quiet. How exciting, Feel like I have had quite and experience. Many thanks to the terrific staff of the Sutter Auburn Faith.

Today on to removal of the nasty Gall Bladder. As Lori Rheams said yesterday, “If you and it can’t play nice, then part company”. Or something like that.

Have a Great Thanksgiving, be kind to yourself and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG MONDAY 11-25-13

The past 6 days have been quite a roller coaster for me. Last Wednesday night I had an attack of Gal Bladder stones. Was really painful, and after about 3 hours of hoping it would go away, I drove about 1/2 a mile to the emergency room at Auburn Faith Sutter hospital, and entered the world of medical wizardry. I was fortunate to get there at a slow period, and after a few questions, I was in a bed, hooked up to an IV, X-Rayed and after several Doc’s poked and checked, was admitted to the second floor into a private room. What an efficient operation, and such competent professionals, and they are so pleasant and nice.

The pain stopped and all my vitals started to correct, and Friday morning they released me. Went home, did chores, felt great, and thought the problem was past. A nice weekend attending and producing one of the “Focus ” programs at the Mandarin Festival, had a nice dinner, then on to Church Sunday morning where I sing with a group. Made a visit to Sacramento to check on a friend, dinner on the river and all was well.

Sitting home and watching the “PBS” Carol Burnett Mark Twain award show, which was a fabulous two hours of quality Television production, and off to bed. After an hour of tossing and turning, another attack from the gall bladder. What GALL!

Since I knew the feeling, I did not waste much time as the pain increased. Off to Auburn Faith Sutter Emergency again. Rather than saying “You Again?” ….the professional team kicked in again, and more tests. Been here 12 hours, and with a sonogram and an MRI, I sit tethered to the IV watching Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly, local Sacramento NEWS, and working on editing and writing. Oh! for a salad and a cup of coffee!

Waiting for the Doc’s to give me the prognoses on what is really going on, and the fix. The thinking is a microscopic operation to yank the gall bladder out and get rid of all those nasty stones. Appears I am a little like an oyster….making pearls. Problem is they are not pearls…Could make a fortune in necklaces and ear rings.

This has been a brand new experience for me since I have never been a patient at a hospital. Have nothing but great appreciation for the class of medical care we have in Auburn and feel very lucky to be a guest of Mitch Hanna (CEO of the hospital) and his incredible associates. I truly feel like I am in good and very professional hands.

Hope to be back on the radio next Monday….complaining that I only had applesauce and salad for Thanksgiving dinner.

Have a great holiday, be kind to yourself and be happy.

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19, 2013

The City of Auburn is cracking down on the homeless encampments that are appearing around the city. Complaints trigger the city enforcement team to examine the camps, and then issue notices of vacate to the camps. If they have been abandoned or there is garbage and human waste present, then the city engages with a clean up to keep the area from being hazardous.

This story is being repeated throughout the foothills as the homeless communities move from the colder climates and migrate to California where it is warmer. We also have services that serve this community which gets posted in churches and public places in the colder climates.

We have talked about the problem a lot over the last several months. What has become clear is this homeless population has several personalities. The one that gets most attention is the crime element that follows this population. The homeless population has grown this past two years since the State government passed AB 109 realignment act. This act shoved non-violent state prisoners from state facilities down on county prisons and state parolees also to more county levels. Placer County and Auburn became a target as the state shutdown parolee offices.

So, the “Bad” element swells up because these out of area people are thrust on our streets, and also increased the overall homeless population, stressing our services and enforcement teams. What our representatives should examine is the taxpayer cost to manage this population vs. creating a facility or supporting non-profit services so they can rise to the problem. In any case, this problem certainly will not go away, and appears to be getting larger by the week.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG FRIDAY 11-15-13

Placerville 16 months ago tried a social experiment by issuing a permit to a local land owner that wanted to give the homeless a pace to habit, safely. A non-profit group formed an association to manage the community named “Hangtown Haven”. Background checks were required to keep out felons and sex predators, and the donated land became a tent city for about 40 homeless families and individuals. The city had a large TV serving as an outdoor theater, and a small book library. Police officials say the area was clean and crime free.

So why is the city refusing to renew the permit, and have closed the tent city down, turned off water and electricity, and forced everyone technically on the streets, homeless again? It is because the experiment received to much publicity and attracted a larger element of homeless, panhandlers, and a crime element who took up residence on the parks and streets of Placerville. One official said, “We’ve become a destination point for this element”. This so called “Element” brought drunkenness, drugs, and crime to such a degree the neighbors rose up and complained to such a high enough degree to force the city council to shut down the experiment.

So what is the answer? A lot of very nice and giving people are working daily to try and help this element of homeless. The obvious problem is there is a stigma that all homeless are drunks and dope addicts which is not true. There are true needy people that need help. Churches, the Salvation Army, many individuals and service organizations with some local and county help do a great job helping these unfortunate.

OK, so what about the “Bad” element that is attracted to this world. Well, the change by state government to move less level prisoners and parolees down on the county and city governments has increased the “Homeless” community which stresses the systems that are trying to help.

Over time, we probably will be able to increase the services to accommodate this increase but for now, the system is stressed and increasing Sheriff and Parole services, food and home shelter services will take time and money.

Have a great weekend, be kind to yourself, and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG WEDNESDAY 11-13-13

The situation with Obama Care appears to just be getting worse and worse as each day proceeds. There seems to be a total chaos from the top to the bottom of the project along with fraud running amuck as the infra structure is falling completely apart. The reaction by the officials that are responsible for this project remind me of a Naval Admiral in WWII that was hit unexpectedly by the enemy and when questioned by the Naval Brass what was going on he reported: “Sir, we are surrounding the problem with activity”. The difference is the Navy had trained for, had procedures for and common sense to fix the problem. This appears to be lacking on this one.

The disaster is the mass cancellation of policies by insurance companies shocking millions of people. Reports out this morning that over 1 million have been cancelled just here in California. The panic that is triggering this blight across the nation is like a plague. There is also a backlash from young healthy people saying “No Way as long as I am healthy”. The mind set is the young are not going to support the sick and will keep their money and spend it the way they want. This could defeat the sole purpose of how Obama Care was supposed to work and be funded. Does this mean a raise in taxes to support it? Some think so!

The mass cancellations by insurance companies could also be their counter attack to the government’s attempt to take over their business. Could this be a deliberate hurt put on innocent people causing massive angst as a way to put pressure on the politicians to kill this take-over? Well, we are a government by the people, for the people, and now the people have been aroused into anger and may rise up to almost rebellion. This could be a tipping point in our country. We are seeing high level politicians like Bill Clinton shifting to a point of criticizing the President and suggesting he reverse the law. I am guessing President Obama is having a bad day.

You have a great day, be kind to yourself, and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG FRIDAY 11-8-13

Auburn is the busiest town I have ever lived in. Last night there were at least three major events and maybe more, all important to attend. I was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies at the unveiling of a bronze statue of the local WWII Triple Ace Flyer Bud Anderson. Col. Anderson is truly a local hero serving his country as a volunteer and becoming one of the War’s greatest fighter pilots. His abilities have been animated by the History Channel and locally we have named the Airport Road after him, and now a fabulous bronze statue created by local well known artist Douglas Van Howd. The project when completed will feature the statue of Col. Bud and a scale model of his also famous P-51 fighter plane “Old Crow”.

Timing on this event dovetails with Veteran’s day which is this coming Monday. This is the day we honor the men and women who have volunteered and some were drafted into our military forces. Most of our local vets are part of the “Greatest Generation” class of people that have lived and been a part of what maybe the greatest time of our society. Many of them started their young lives on farms and with families that worked hard at growing food or working in industrial or building trades. Salaries were very small in these times with most people making as little as $50 dollars a week.

There was no unemployment insurance, welfare, medicare or health insurance. Prices were relative with Gas at 25 cents a gallon.The period was marked with several Wars. WWII was the big one and was to end all wars. Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and current Eastern Conflicts expelled that belief, and Monday we honor those who gave their lives, or survived these conflicts.

Each War brought its own life altering affects on our lives, the nation, and the world. These events also shaped our society with drugs, other addictions, job and career opportunities and massive leaps in mechanical, industrial, business, educational, medical, Government,communications and technologies.

So Monday, think about those that served and serve. Our lives today could have been a lot different if our foes had won the wars that were fought. We as Americans are blessed to live in a free society. You don’t need to listen or travel very far to realize we are truly blessed!

Have a great week end, be kind to yourself and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG THURSDAY November 7, 2013

The basic person in the USA is feeling sick in the stomach. We have lost faith in our leadership and it hurts. We have all grown up believing that our leaders at all levels of our lives have goodness and our best interests at heart. The recent revelation that the country’s leadership at several levels knew what has become “The Big Lie” on the activation of the Affordable Health Care, or named Obamacare. This program is really a democratic dream program that has been in the works for over 30 years. Obama just became its Sales manager.

The real question is why “The Big Lie” and what we are hearing is that it was conceived by the drivers of this program deliberately because the truth would have defeated its passing into law. In other words, deception is OK if the end means are best for all concerned. What hurts the most is the end means appears to be causing massive emotional hurting and robbery at the wallet of many people who are struggling to stay afloat.

So who’s to blame for the great deception. Some say the politicians, others want to blame the Secretary of Health and Welfare demanding they fire her. Some of us see a different failure….the Press. Our founders knew that political systems will always use deceit when it comes to control over the population and money. It is the nature of the beast and there is lots of history to prove it. The staff is also often very political and suffers from being required to follow the leader at any cost.

So our founders put the freedom of Speech and PRESS into the constitution believing they could count on it being the watchdog over the process outside the control of the three power structures of the government. What has happened however, the PRESS has largely fallen in love with many leaders in Government, and tend to support rather than report when the general public is being lied to. There are many that believe that lying is a form of freedom to speak and report. OMG.

I guess that leaves it up to us to be learned, read the documents for ourselves, and use the ballot box to stop the bad stuff. As Pogo once said: “We have discovered the enemy and the enemy is US!” Or close to it…was some time ago!

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG TUESDAY November 5, 2013

I attended a press conference yesterday held near the bottom of Folsom Dam. Several dignitaries were present with some making speeches and others attending to see why we all were there. The reason was to kick off a campaign “FOR THE SAKE OF THE LAKE” hoping to draw attention to the State plan to build two large tunnels in the Delta that will syphon off water for Southern California. The affect is that as the Delta drops in volume the drain will be on our Northern Rivers like the American and Sacramento Rivers. This will potentially rob several of our cities of drinking water in the future.

Standing on sandy and rock ground well below the low water dock was frightening enough but looking down several more feet to see what appears to be just a river was scary. The dam is at only 23% of its almost million acre feet capacity, and if we don’t get a wet winter this year, drinking water to Folsom, Citrus Heights and other cities is at risk even this year.

The status of water in Northern California could be at crisis levels if some one doesn’t do something, We have increased in population over the last 20 years, but have done nothing to increase our water supply. As other parts of the state increases, they are exhausting their supplies, and want ours. There is some history here. The Southern California population growth has caused the draining of the Columbia river from what was a vibrant body of water. Lets hope the powers that be keep that from happening to our Northern Rivers.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!