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!

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.

After Effects of Self-Isolation!

Same old – Same old!

They say that this self-isolation may last another month or more and that is fine with me if it keeps everyone safe and may assist the coronavirus run its course.

Of course, that will mean I need to put my brain in gear and come up with more material to share with everyone. Not an easy task but a fun one. It would also appear that the longer one is in self-isolation – the wilder and crazier one’s imagination might be.

So, I got to thinking – seeing that we have been cooped up for so long and haven’t been out to restaurants and/or shopping,  (for many of us it has been over two months now), what wild and crazy things would I like to do once we get the go ahead to be around other humans again. By the way, before leaving the house, I would stick a banana in my pocket (I’ll come back to this later).

Below are just a few of the wild and crazy things I might be prone to do.

They say that public bathrooms are places we should avoid but if necessary, we need to be extremely careful when frequenting them. Seeing so many wild and crazy things one can do in a public bathroom, I couldn’t resist sharing some of the shenanigans I might concoct when visiting same. Come take a walk with me on the wild side as we visit a bathroom or two. Having been cooped up so long – who would blame me, were I to – while visiting a public bathroom:

Make loud groans after I entered the stall and then drop a cantaloupe in the toilet and sigh in relief.

Or

Upon seeing that one of the stalls was occupied, I could enter the one next to it and after smearing chocolate on my hands, reach under the other occupied stall and ask for toilet paper.

Or

One more wild and wacky thing I could do when in a public toilet is I could pass a note under the door next to me saying, “They’re onto us. We need to go.”

Let us leave public bathrooms and go to a shopping mall.

When visiting a furniture store, I would love to hide in a wardrobe and when someone opens the door scream, “Welcome to Narnia”.

Upon leaving the furniture store, I  could just linger outside the store for a moment waiting for that one customer who always needs to know the time and when they ask me if I know what time it is, say yes and walk away.

As we all know, people are constantly on their cell phones no matter where they are, at the mall, restaurants, and wherever. Not wanting to be different and trying so hard to fit in, I could call someone and when they answer I would just tell them that I can’t talk right now.

Okay, you’re still in the mall but you see this electronic store across the way. Time to bring out the banana I mentioned earlier. I would go into the electronic store and handing the banana to the clerk, I would say: “I want to upgrade this to an apple.”

Okay time to leave the mall but before I leave, just to have more fun, I would linger around the exit and as people pass me, I would stop random individuals, show them my ID, and say, “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?”

What’s that you are saying – he needs to get out! I agree, but not just yet. I’m having too much fun enjoying Groundhog Day! Stay safe.

Until next time!