The Moscow Gambit

Yes, I do hear a good bit that I don’t share. Sometimes it is because the info is suspect or can’t be verified. Sometimes it is because the info is flat out wrong. Sometimes, it is because it appears to be quite genuine and I don’t want to mess up what (may) be going on.

In regards the drone attack on Moscow, I’m simply going to suggest noting the very, very, extremely precise wording out of certain quarters. There is a world of difference between a party not being involved and not being directly involved. Which begs questions about who was directly involved and why.

Russia has had a lot of mysterious fires and such since the invasion started. Been a number of accidents rail and otherwise. Now, a larger drone attack on Moscow. Tie this in with other things going on…

The old wolf smiles and begins to whistle to himself as he contemplates the board…

Memorial Day

Sorry for the lack of posting, but things have been a bit hectic. I’ve had my pre-op testing and visit, and am now trying to get things cleared off the list as fast as I can.

I did take yesterday off for my yearly beer with the guys. It’s the one day of the year where I’m buying. Though, this year, Donna who was manning the bar at Oaken Barrel insisted that the beer for the guys was on her.

Hope you all had a good weekend, and took the time to remember the reason for the day.

French Press Review/Update

Even with not being able to do the surgery last Friday, things have been interesting. Thankful for the extra time to get things done, and to start practicing to be a one-armed menace for a while.

One of the things I’m doing is trying to “break proof” some key items, including my french press for making coffee. The one I had is glass and plastic, and frankly I’m amazed it’s lasted almost two decades around me as I am a bit of klutz. It’s also hard to clean up two-handed, much less one.

So, I was reading reviews of french press coffee makers and found two reasonable choices for stainless steel models. Both were on sale online at Wally World, and one was temporarily sold out. So, I went with the Mueller 34oz (1L) base model.

NOTE: every stainless steel french press I can find is made in China. I could not find any made in Taiwan or the U.S. At least one place hints their product is made here, but that appears to be (very) misleading.

I’m really not sure why, but there is a tremendous difference in my coffee. I had long suspected the glass and plastic bargain was not a 34 oz as stated, and that was true. I’ve had to adjust the amount of beans ground (takes more) and am continuing to play with things to get exactly what I like. That said, with pre-heating the press, and putting just enough hot water in to make a slurry with the grounds and waiting 30 seconds, then filling up I’m getting some amazingly good coffee. For anyone interested, I’m putting in a pinch of smoked salt and doing 6.5 minutes.

Plus Notes: easy to clean and operate, though trying to wash any dish one handed is going to be fun. The insulated body will keep things warm for quite a while, so I have to remember to open the lid when done so it is cool enough to wash after breakfast. Sturdy.

Minus Notes: The finish will show fingerprints and water spots in a heartbeat, so if looks are super important, it will take extra work. The lid is a little loose, which is only a problem (for me) when pouring that last bit out.

I’ve broken down and also ordered a new airpot that is stainless steel instead of glass-lined, and is made in Taiwan. I like to pour my coffee out of the press, through a filter, and keep it in the airpot. I filter because of a study I read (found through Instapundit) that suggested filtering could improve some lipid numbers. While I did not get the lipid results the researchers claimed, I did find I liked the taste of the filtered coffee.

I’ve still got a lot to get done to prepare for the surgery. Hard to believe that in effect my arm will be amputated, repaired, then re-attached and all this is now outpatient surgery. I’ve actually started practicing trying to do things one handed, and that’s been interesting. I’m also going to have to do some minor re-arranging as things are currently set-up for me being right arm dominant. Going to have to have things were I can get to them with the left arm for now.

Also, figure for the first two weeks I’m not going to be up for a lot, so am trying to cook and freeze meals. Plan to buy some frozen breakfast stuff that I can heat and eat one handed (thank you Jimmy Dean!). May not all be keto, but will make do. Actually going to get some of the Folger’s “tea bag” coffee for the first few days as hand grinding the coffee like I do is going to be a real bear. May even drink tea for a while as much easier to make.

I’m trying also to see if the laptop will do voice-to-text so I can get some posts up. It is likely to be sporadic at first, and given pain and pain pills such posts might be a more interesting than usual. So, more soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Interesting Indeed

For all I am a bit pre-occupied by the upcoming surgery, I am trying to keep up with things. I am watching Nigeria as the attack on our diplomatic convoy says interesting things.

I’m also trying to keep up with the happenings in Russia. There is a good bit going on, from smoke (the alleged upgrades to mobile missiles) to something that may be a bit more solid. I think we could see a major upheaval within the higher levels of the Kremlin in the next few months.

The source of that is, of course, Prigozhin. His feud with the MoD is in many respects as much political as operational. So much so he ended up on the outs with Vladimir and while there are some reports that there was some level of reconciliation, the response to Prigozhin’s threat to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut rather clearly indicated not so much. Nevermind that directly or by proxy he seems to be taking steps to possibly make a run at the top spot.

He very much continues to push the limits of what criticism can be made against Vladimir, and seems determined to not just push that line but eradicate it. His comments and rants are beyond current cultural norms for such, and he seems to want to go even further. That is a rather risky thing to do in Russia, particularly right now, unless he is willing to make a true play for the top.

The Washington Post “expose” of his alleged dealings with Ukrainian intelligence is not helping his position in Russia. For all the pro-forma being said by the government in public, in private far more interesting conversations seem to be happening. I do have questions about the leak, as I don’t trust anything from the Post, especially something like this.

Do I expect anything to happen in the next couple of weeks? No. Not unless someone gets a major case of the stupids. Do I think things could come to a head in regards Prigozhin in the next three months? Oh, yes. Particularly if he continues his efforts to criticize Vladimir while continuing to make behind-the-scenes preparations. I’ve talked before about the cultural norms, and by moving beyond them Prigozhin is not just alienating a lot of potential support, but ensuring opposition to any political moves in a number of quarters.

For those interested in the WP “leak” and a different (but similar) take on things, check out this from the ISW.


Still don’t have a definitive schedule on the surgery, as they are trying to get me in this coming Friday if they can do so. As a result, I’m moving fast to get as much done as I can in case it is this Friday.

My original plan was simple. I was going to clean and dust a bit, make sure I had some food put aside, and other reasonable things. Yeah, right.

The lite cleaning and dusting turned into major cleaning and minor re-arrangement of the room. Which, in turn, has led to re-organizing the shelves/pantry in the closet. To the point the strategic hot sauce reserve is now in order of best-by date. Putting the bookcase off to last, as it is a total disaster to be honest.

Nor has the bathroom been spared. Which ties into the refrigerator. Before the move to this location, one of the renters who rented a room was an interesting fellow I will call TJ for now. Pretty sure on the spectrum and a germaphobe, which made what he did to the refrigerator all the more weird. Short version is that I got the produce drawer and lower shelf out and got them cleaned in my shower. I got the bottom of the refrigerator clean by scraping it and sweeping out the debris. Which led to my shower getting rather thoroughly cleaned given the status of the lower shelf and produce drawer. On top of that, the shower massage died so had to get a new one and install it.

In addition to that, have been updating medical info, trying to figure out what I need to get now or put off, and generally get ready for a few weeks of unpleasantness. Got a baker’s dozen hamburgers cooked and individually frozen. Have some other meals frozen, and am working to get a bit more done before things happen no matter when they happen. Have been told that the first two weeks are the roughest, so trying to make sure I have easy-to-heat stuff ready to go. Waiting for my monthly payment so I can order some supplements and related. Pharmacy already has me stocked on actual prescription items, though I suspect more are to come.

Also, cleaned the little microwave out in the common area here in the basement. Want it clean and ready to go as I suspect I may not be keen on climbing up the stairs to get to the kitchen the first day or three after surgery. Oh, that’s right, I cleaned and re-organized my small bar as well while doing all this as well. Bar needs serious re-stocking, but is good to go for now since I will not be using it while on the good painkillers.

It’s been interesting as each project leads to multiple others to get ready. Especially as I want home health care to have nothing to complain about. Really not thrilled to have them come in, but also know they are probably going to be needed that first week.

So, that’s what is going on and why the free ice cream is in short supply. More soon, I hope.

Oh The Drama

This morning has seen it. The outrage. The betrayal. The infidelity! At least according to one party.

The housemate and landlord have two cats. Really, both belong to the housemate but allegedly one is supposed to be the landlord’s cat. It should be noted that I am allergic to cats though I get along with them; and, in fairness to the landlord I should note that the cats were not his idea or desire.

Flash is a ginger, not real bright, and a determined rule breaker. He is the housemate’s cat. Cappy (my name for him, short for Capt. Neurotic) is a black and white cat who is sweet and frankly stupid, and allegedly belongs to the landlord. Cappy is also my furry little stalker, as he has declared me his designated emergency human and a permanent state of emergency.

They do not have access to my room, but do have access to the common area between my room and my restroom. This morning, coming back from the restroom, I encountered Flash who may not be feeling great. He just looked so sad as he sat upon the stair that I reached out and began rubbing his head to his delight.

I don’t know if Cappy has the basement wired, somehow heard Flash’s purr, or what. All of a sudden I heard whump whump whump of Cappy (who is a bit overweight) charging into the kitchen and to the head of the stairs. If there had been a door to be slammed open dramatically, it would have slammed as Cappy looked down at us and screamed “Cheat!” He then charged down the stairs and knocked Flash out of the way and put his head under my hand.

I do wish that I could have gotten a picture of Cappy’s face at the top of the stair. It was priceless with the mix of betrayal, outrage, and more. He got some love, and poor Flash was given a glare. Just thought I would share that.

By The Way, the Free Ice Cream shortage may continue. Looks as though my surgery may be moved up, and I need to get some things done before it. So, posting may be sporadic for the next bit.

Coulda Woulda Bonesa

When it comes to joint repair and replacement, there are two different issues that have to be addressed. One is the replacement itself, the construct that replaces the bone involved. The other is the material that normally fills and cushions the joint. I’ve actually had exposure to two different efforts to address those issues, and one of the reasons I’ve held out this long is the hope that advances in both areas would be more readily available.

Let’s start with the replacements. Currently, these are often metal and solid metal, which is very unlike the structure of normal bone. Bone itself is very porous on the inside, with the outside being solid and relatively smooth. This can and does create problems when trying to mate two very dissimilar structures. The differences in mass and other factors can create fractures and other issues.

Many years back, a company was doing work through the Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space (CCACS) at the Colorado School of Mines, on a advanced bone replacement materials. The immediate goal was to get the data needed to create foaming metallic-ceramic replacements that would have the porosity of normal bone as well as the hard surfaces needed for the ball or socket. The idea was to be able to custom make these in the OR, as since the reaction was exothermic they would be sterile at manufacture. The long-range goal was to create a material that would do the same, but as bone and marrow grew into it, the material would dissolve so that at the end of a given time you would have all new and healthy bone and the replacement, having completed its duties as a scaffold, would have passed from the body.

I do wish either or both were available today! Unfortunately, I seem to recall that the research ended with the loss of Columbia and have not been able to find out much since I started trying to research it.

Now, the tissue that fills the gap in the joint is somewhat the ‘Holy Grail’ as my surgeon and I discussed yesterday. Yes, we did discuss the advanced materials and the state of current research. When I was at Purdue, I had the honor of working with the legendary Leslie A. Geddes. Short version is that he and his team not only developed early astronaut physiological monitoring systems (portions of which are still in use today), but also pioneered the implantable medical device field and regenerative medicine. There’s a reason he was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2006 and it’s well worth reading even a short biographical sketch on him.

I’ve been following regenerative medicine and wish it was just a little further along (and covered by insurance). Part of the problem for me is that the osteoarthritis has done a lot of damage, and there is very little “pad” left in the joint. The majority of the area has none, and I’m pretty much bone-on-bone movement now. There are a couple of different prospects for having the body generate new filler, but neither appear to be quite where I need them to be. Five years from now may be a different story. In fact, I tried volunteering for some studies both to buy time/get some relief and help advance that research. Still wish that would have worked out.

If anyone hears of related research efforts, let me know as I would like to know more about them.

Reverse Play

Well, just met with the surgeon and had an almost relaxed discussion. We looked over the X-rays again, discussed options, went through my list of questions (or at least those he hadn’t already answered), and discussed options. I’m waiting now for the surgery scheduler to contact me.

Short version is that we are going to replace the right shoulder first, and do what is called a reverse replacement. The new ball will be in the shoulder and the new socket will be part of the arm. A major advantage of that is improved recovery time. The downside is that I will not get back full range of motion more than likely. The median is that I will be able to do the things I like to do, such as hiking, camping, shooting, etc. without pain. Oh, and going this route reduces the chances of complications.

He’s done quite a few of these, and he freely and frankly talked about numbers, problems, and other joys. It turns out he knew some people I’ve worked with in the past, and I will say that what he said matched what I had been able to dig up on him. Think I’m in good hands.

We talked procedure, pain management, and more. He’s even willing to work with me on my scapular. Good sense of humor. Given how badly the joints have deteriorated over the last 3-4 years, and cysts, bone spurs, broken pieces, etc., think it’s time and we have made the right decision. Really almost wish we could do it tomorrow. More soon!