Is Jeeves a Robot?

Seeing that I will turn eighty later this year, at times my mind wanders to what the future might hold for us. We (my wife and I) celebrated fifty-seven years of marriage in May and we would hope that should one of us take sick or become disabled, the other will be around and will be both physically and mentally able to provide whatever care is needed.

That being said seeing that we are living in such a high-tech world today with so much being discovered about Artificial Intelligence, is it possible that some may think that we should entrust the care of our senior citizens (in their upper 70s or 80s) to what have been defined as artificial assistants?

There are quite a few robots in place today that were designed for and are actually providing support for older adults (senior citizens such as my wife and I) who are – how do they like to put it – aging in place. What this means is, most of us prefer to stay at home and care for ourselves as best we can. The alternative would be being forced to relocate to assisted living or nursing homes.

The big thing about such robots is that they will not necessarily look like people. With so many robot movies being around for years and the role robots tend to be portrayed as, it is not any wonder why some people are reluctant to face what the future might hold regarding seniors and robotics. Fact is they are not all like that.

Take, for instance, Hector. As we all know, most robots are mobile. They are usually designed to work in collaboration with a smart home and remote center. Some of the things they are capable of doing is to support older people living at home versus an assisted living facility. Some of the tasks they can perform is keep track of a senior’s eyeglasses, hearing aids, as well as remind the senior citizen to take their prescribed medicines and even quite possibly help in the case of a fall the senior might incur.

We know that as we age, we usually tend to lose muscle mass (unless we are fortunate enough to go to the gym every day). I know for a fact pushing our vacuum cleaner (ours is an old Kirby, fantastic vacuum cleaner but heavy as @#$%^*) just wears one out even if it is self-propelled. You still must get it from point A to point B. Enter small, specific devices such as iRobot’s robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba. These small, specific devices are just what the doctor ordered for those senior citizens that are unable to vacuum their own house anymore.

As we seniors age, we may need assistance with everyday tasks, tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, and standing up – you know – what many of us know as the “activities of daily living”. Add to the mix is help needed with cooking or managing our medications. Enter the possibility of ‘a robotic hand’ which might also be available to assist when we do our laundry and other tasks around the house.

Think about it – I am sure we already have robots mopping floors, mowing lawns, lifting people into and out of chairs and beds when the individual caring for them is not physically able to do such tasks. Sound unbelievable? But then along came AI driven cars. Who would have believed cars could parallel park themselves or even drive themselves? That one still surprises me although some movies have eluded to it for years.

And then there is the thought that with more advanced robotic technology, things that caregivers are doing now could be replaced with robots freeing up time for relatives and social workers to visit elderly people more often no matter where they live. Some people may not be in favor of robots replacing some of our everyday activities. But, if AI (artificial intelligence) applications can remind seniors of things that are pertinent to their everyday living, chances are that doing so may just remove some of the anxiety and confusion that seniors face every day.

It has even been suggested or mentioned that AI-powered social robots may just provide some level of companionship for lonely seniors. I mean, we all would like to think that we and our mates will be around forever. But truth be told, other than buying a puppy for companionship once a mate is gone, a robot might just be the next best thing. If nothing else, they would be someone to converse with.

The plus side of this equation is that these AI robots are able to work around the clock and are available 24/7. Who says they cannot support aging in place?

Welcome to the future! Interesting concept is it not?

Stay safe and be well.

Until next time!

The Aging Man

We grow too soon oldt und too late schmart!

It is that time again and not wanting to allow another day to go by without writing something – anything that will hopefully elicit a smile from those of you as mixed-up as much as I am (why else would you be following my rants and raves) – I decided to post an oldie but goodie that many of us have enjoyed through the years. Enjoy! And for some of us it is re-happening today!

Just a line to say I’m living,

That I’m not among the dead.

Tho I’m getting more forgetful

And mixed up in the head.

I got used to my arthritis and to my dentures I’m resigned.

I can manage my trifocals, but God I miss my mind.

For sometimes I can’t remember.

When I stand at the foot of the stairs,

If I must go up for something,

Or have I just come from there.

And before the fridge so often

My poor mind is filled with doubt

Have I just put food away, or Have I come to take some out.

And there are times when it is dark with my nighttime cap on my head

I don’t know if I am retiring or

Just getting out of bed.

So if it’s my turn to write you,

There’s no need for getting sore,

I may think that I have written and don’t want to be a bore.

So remember that I love you

And wish that you were near.

But now it is nearly mail time

So must say goodbye my dear.

There I stand beside the Mail box,

With a face so very red,

Instead of mailing you the letter,

I have opened it instead.

I’m so confused!

Stay safe and well my friends!

One Man’s Opinion!

Here it is time for my weekly post and I am at a loss for words. I keep up with a lot of blogs from other great writers and yet at times have a hard time getting my own thoughts down on paper or in this case, my computer screen. So, I am going to cheat a bit today and go back in time and I am going to share with you a piece I shared with the members of our community via my column entitled “Irwin Ponders.” The article seems appropriate for what we all are going through right now. Not exactly on point – but if you take the time and read between the lines – you should get my drift.

Irwin Ponders

Normally my posts are based on my experiences but every now and then I read something that strikes a chord or something and as such resonates with what is happening at this precise moment in time. Such is the case with what I am about to share with you. The piece refers to something George Carlin said a few years before he passed.

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate.

Wondering what has happened to the world today!

An observation by George Carlin:

Quote:
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin”

How many see the world today – Upside Down!

I believe, after reading this, that George was much wiser than many people gave him credit for. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The sad news is that it pretty much says quite a bit about how the world (our world) is seen by many today! Change is definitely needed. The question everyone asks themselves though is: “Will we see it in our lifetime?” One can only hope!

Until next time!

Castaways!

Getaway from it all!

How many months has it been now – going on three months – since we have been told to stay indoors and stay well. We are doing this to expedite the world getting back to normal, whatever normal may be. Hopefully by doing so, we will see the numbers regarding Covid-19 get lower and lower. Of course, one has to ask: “What is normal?”

Me – normal!

But being completely honest with everyone, now and then I just feel like disappearing into a scene such as the one that I used to open this post. Can you picture it? No worries, nor a care in the world. Just a little escape to “Never-Never Land!” A land of dolphins, birds, turtles, frogs, and the like, and guess what – they do not talk. Okay, so maybe after a while I will get lonely for human companionship.

I know, should I want for human companionship, in addition to my wife perhaps I could round up five more individuals and we could have ourselves whisked off to an island, somewhere in the South Pacific. But the ship would not stay. We would not have the comforts of home. Why no comforts of home? Because, this is an adventure! As the ship sails away from the island and we see it disappearing over the horizon, we realize that we are now ship-wrecked and must fend for ourselves.

I can picture it now, Dolly would be the skipper and I would be her first mate and if anyone would be responsible for us not getting off the island, it would be me. A boy scout I am not! Good luck with me starting a campfire by rubbing two sticks together.

Of course, depending on the individuals chosen to accompany us on this adventure, we, in all probability, would have dissimilar tastes. But that is where the fun part would come in. Chances are after a very-short time, most of the others would want to escape back to the real world, if for no other reason than to get away from me. And thus the challenge begins.

However, due in part to my being the dysfunctional individual I am, their escape plans would back-fire due to my usual and sometime dumb comical shenanigans. I am sure that if anyone would be responsible for us not getting off the island, it would be me. An outdoorsperson, I am not.

I am sure it would not be long before the group of us would end each day singing:  

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
the Skipper brave and sure,
five passengers set sail that day,
for a three hour tour,
a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
the Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.

Is that Robinson Crusoe or me?

Why did I write this little story? Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I was becoming a bit dis-illusioned and feeling somewhat walled in, if you will. But now that I have channeled my frustration into my writing, the good news about writing this little post – is that it took my mind off everything (Covid – 19; politics; protestors; and so forth) happening in this crazy mixed-up world of ours today.

So, by now you are thinking, okay, how is he going to end this wild and crazy story. Well, seeing that it is  nigh onto eating time as I am finishing this little post of mine, I have but one question: How does one open a can of sardines? What? You didn’t think that just because I was stranded on a deserted island that I was going to fish for my own dinner did you? What type of castaway do you think I am? Now where did I put those crackers?

Din-Din!

If by chance, this little romp into Never-Never Land made you, for one short moment, forget about Covid – 19; politicians, protestors and so forth, well then – my work here is done. Done that is until next week. I try my best to look at our lives as this great comedy and we are merely some of the many characters within said comedy. What about you? What are you doing during this time to keep yourself sane? Stay safe and stay well my friends.

Until next time!

Growing Chin Hair

Not a picture of me!

One might think that I would receive tons of emails from adoring fans of my blog posts. Ok, as we all know, the only types of emails I probably would receive for my blog posts would be from people in Nigeria who have millions of dollars they need to deposit into my bank account or individuals that want to sell me some Viagra. When and if I do get a genuine piece of mail, it would probably read as follows: ”Where do you come up with such wild and crazy blog posts each week?”

I am sure that many of you following my dribble wonder the same thing, so I’d like to give you a peek behind the logic I use to write a blog post. Beware though, the making of humor blogs resembles the making of scrapple; traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices; it’s not always a pretty sight.

The hardest thing facing me when trying to write a blog post is coming up with a topic. While I tend to think of myself as having both a wild and crazy brain, that doesn’t say I always have a topic on the tip of my tongue. One can always think of a family member or even a friend that does something considered funny or ridiculous and once that thought is implanted in my brain, well, I just let my fingers do the rest while either writing with pen and paper or typing on the computer as I am doing this moment.

In these wild and crazy times topics are usually so plentiful. For instance, should one go to their class reunion, just think of the stories one might come up with. And then there are always the presidential debates and upcoming campaigns. Both instances have a bevy of ideas that could strike me upside the head. But, as most of us know, without such ideas, those of us that enjoy writing are left with our usual ways of arriving at many rants and raves – by conducting in depth topic research.

My usual research occurs either immediately before I retire for the evening or first thing in the morning. Although I have been known to do my best research while I’m asleep. After reading some of the rants and raves I post, one might think that I sleep a lot. Truth be told I am somewhat of an insomniac. Fact is though, enough sleep or not, when I do come up with a humdinger of a topic I awaken at least long enough to write a few notes in the notebook I keep by my bed so that I do not forget what the idea was.

Then when I wake, I head to my office and get more of my idea down on paper or on my computer.  As a matter of fact, being a blog writer, as I write this blog post, I am sitting in my favorite recliner which is conveniently placed in front of the TV. What? How else can I keep up with the news and other items worthy of my writing a blog about.

While I am sure those who actually make a living writing, be it a novel or having created a successful blog site, will admit that writing can be a grueling, even painful, endeavor. And some, may even be driven to the edge of madness in their quest for perfection. I must admit that while I do enjoy writing and attempt to do it somewhat often, the one quote I try my best to follow is a quote by George Singleton who said:  

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.”
—George Singleton

At my age, and not having any true schedule to follow other than the one I set for myself, I do not attempt to be so driven that I would go mad (the thought of Van Gogh slicing and dicing his ear comes to mind) if I didn’t write.

My wife teases me every now and then when I attempt to grow a mustache or a goatee because it takes forever to even see the indication that some fuzz hair is straining to make its appearance on my cheeks and chin. Let’s just say that I have been known to pluck some of these straggler chin hairs while waiting for my creative muse to strike. I am attempting to do so during this lockdown period we are enduring.

Lately, what with the lockdown and some other personal crisis we have been going through, my muse has tended to be what one might call fickle, that is if she even shows up at all. It is tough to be witty and brilliant (a much better choice of words than wild and crazy) when faced with personal crisis, lockdown due to the Coronavirus, trying to grow a mustache and goatee along with insomnia. But wait, if memory serves me right, Van Gogh had both a mustache and a goatee.

Hmmm, maybe I could write a blog about growing chin hair!

Until next time!

P.S. By the way, I got tired of trying to grow a beard and mustache so I shaved everything off. What took two months to grow took all of two minutes to shave off.