“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer wins the Pulitzer Prize for 2018

I’ve added the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction to the reading list.  We’ll be reading it this coming September. Please review the Epilogue reading list for the up-to-date reading list.

SHARED: Flickr bought by SmugMug, which vows to revitalize the photo service

I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for several years now, and I’m glad to read this announcement this afternoon. In the last several months I’ve cleaned up my Flickr account and have started taking pictures with my good camera in my quest to become a better photographer. I’ve been uploading my better pictures to my Flickr account, which you can view here.

“SAN FRANCISCO — Flickr has been snapped up by Silicon Valley photo-sharing and storage company SmugMug, USA TODAY has learned.

SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA TODAY he’s committed to breathing new life into the faded social networking pioneer, which hosted photos and lively interactions long before it became trendy.

SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, will maintain Flickr as a standalone community of amateur and professional photographers and give the long neglected service the focus and resources it deserves, MacAskill said in an exclusive interview.”

read more here: SmugMug snaps up Flickr photo service from Verizon’s Oath

SHARED: Facebook knows a ton about your health. Now they want to make money off it. – The Washington Post

I think this is pretty creepy. What do you think?

“Let’s say you like a Facebook page devoted to breast cancer survivors. It has been a useful forum for comparing treatment options with others who have dealt with similar health issues. There’s only one problem: Facebook has now categorized you as a patient, and you constantly receive precisely targeted ads about cancer services available near you. They are showing up on your computer screen at work, for all your co-workers to see, right when you’re up for a big promotion.

Many users experience a version of this scenario when they receive creepily personalized ads while browsing on Facebook. When those ads follow users onto sites outside Facebook, it feels like an invasion of privacy. But how do you regulate data privacy in an age of big-data black boxes?”

Read more here: Facebook knows a ton about your health. Now they want to make money off it. – The Washington Post

Finished Women’s 5K

It was a nice day to be outside and I had fun mostly walking the Women’s 5K on Saturday.

I’ve participated in this 5K many times over the years, but this is the first year my sister has joined me. My sister ran most of it, leaving me to bring up the rear, but next year, I hope to be in good enough shape to run it.

Last year, the 5k was held around Chastain Park, but this year, it was held around Grant Park. The Grant Park course was much easier than the Chastain Park course – not so many hills.

The race is put on by the Atlanta Track Club and at the end every woman is given a medal, a really nice Mizuno tee shirt and a long stemmed rose. I love all of the positive energy I feel when I am standing with all my sister runners & walkers. It’s really a great way to start off a Saturday morning.

Shared: How Profiteers Lure Women Into Often-Unneeded Surgery – The New York Times

I have a dear friend who had mesh implant surgery about 5 years ago, it hasn’t gone well for her.  She has regretted her decision and for the last year or so she’s been hounded by one of these law firms to join in their class action lawsuit.

At the time she mentioned that to me, I was suspicious.  Generally, lawyers that actively seek out people for class action lawsuits are not necessarily looking out for the plaintiffs…instead they are looking to pad their own pockets with their share of any damages they are able to recover.

After reading this article, I sure hope my friend doesn’t follow through with any lawyer-assisted reversal of her mesh surgery.

“Jerri Plummer was at home in Arkansas, watching television with her three children, when a stranger called to warn that her life was in danger.

The caller identified herself only as Yolanda. She told Ms. Plummer that the vaginal mesh implant supporting her bladder was defective and needed to be removed. If Ms. Plummer didn’t act quickly, the caller urged, she might die.

Ms. Plummer, 49, didn’t ask many questions. Her implant was causing her discomfort, and she was impressed by how much Yolanda knew about her medical history. She was scared. “It was like I had a ticking time bomb inside of me,” she said. Yolanda assured Ms. Plummer that all her expenses would be covered and that she would be set up with a lawyer to help her sue the mesh manufacturer, Boston Scientific.

Days later, court records show, Ms. Plummer was lying on an operating table in a medical office in a shopping mall in Orlando, Fla.”

Continue reading article at The New York Times

Bert’s stitches are out & he’s eating on his own.

A slimmer cancer free Bert

After about a month of syringe feeding, we noticed that Bert was licking out the little bit of milk that was left in the breakfast cereal bowls. My cats are discouraged from get on the kitchen counters, but we’ve relaxed lots of rules around here ever since Bert got sick.

I stopped by the pet store the following Monday and spent a lot of time perusing the cat food aisles. All along, Bert has been eager to lick the gravy from any canned cat food we opened for him, leaving the shredded pieces or morsals for his brother Ernie to clean up. I  hoped to find a hearty gravy only type of food at the pet store, but only saw gravy packets or “toppers” to pour on top of dry food, these packets are hardly enough to sustain a cat, much less to help a cat gain weight (Bert lost a quarter of his original body weight in the 10 days after surgery).

In the weeks of syringe feeding, I have tried many things to get him eating on his own, laying out a buffet of pungent foods every morning, only to wind up spooning most of the buffet into the garbage that evening. I have ground up his favorite dry food with chicken broth in the food processor, creating a soupy, stinking goo that he was very interested in, but that he would only lick at for a few minutes before walking away and leaving it to go rancid. I have heated his buffet of foods in the microwave, creating a tantalizing aroma which brought him running to see what delights were being placed on his buffet, only to turn away after a few moments of serious sniffing.

And so for 4 weeks I picked him up each morning and each evening, carried him into the basement bathroom, closed the door, dampened a rag (for cleanup), filled the syringe with watered down A/D cat food – amazing stuff, but only available by prescription so costs some $$$ and not readily available – and pushed the syringe into his mouth. Luckily he accepted that mode of feeding and didn’t fight it too much. When I took him to the vet a few weeks ago to have all of his stitches removed, he had only lost .1 of a pound and was holding fairly steady at 9 lbs . . . and there was no sign of the cancer’s return.

Thank goodness for small favors, for in the early days of his recovery – the first days after I brought him home with his greatly altered lower jaw – he didn’t understand that he had to learn a new way of eating and drinking. He would reject the syringe, run away from me, hide under the tables, boxes and doodads that fill the basement. I would grab him and hold him tight while he fought against my embrace, scratching me and eventually getting loose and running to hide again. I changed my tactics somewhat…he HAD to eat, to drink, to get his antibiotics. So I enlisted my husband into the struggle and we’d try holding him tightly wrapped in a towel but that didn’t work so well either. I was stressed out, Bert was stressed out, and hardly any food was being eaten.

At night I dreamed about ways to get food into him and woke up one morning with a new plan. Instead of attempting to restrain him I decided to give him some space. So I stopped trying to force the syringe on him. Instead I brought him into the bathroom, placed him on the toilet seat and offered the syringe to him. Surprisingly, he calmed down, accepted the syringe and when he realized I was feeding him, he got a little greedy. Oh joy! He was eating!

It was messy and slow and discouraging to see the food falling out of what used to be the bottom of his mouth, but I learned to take it slow and easy, tilting the syringe back in the side of his mouth, to place the tip above his tongue so all he had to do was swallow. It worked and his weight stabilized. I suspected he was drinking some water on his own during the day when I was at work, although not from the expensive water fountain that I bought to attract him to drink. I have yet to see either of my cats drinking from it.

Instead he preferred to drink water from  the dogs’ water bowl in the kitchen. We would see him standing at the water bowl, lowering his chin into the water.

Over the last month, I’ve made regular trips to the cat food store. I know the aisles intimately.  I’ve brought home samples of Sheba Perfect Portions, Fancy Feast Classic Pate, Meow Mix Classic Pate, Delectables Stew Lickable Treat, and I bought a case of the A/D cat food from the vet.  With each opening of a can or envelope, there’s been encouraging interest, where he’d eagerly lap up the contents for a few minutes, then lose interest and walk away.  It has been discouraging and a week ago I had to resort to syringe feeding him some of the A/D.

Last weekend, I had another idea and went out and bought a small blender (I have a Vitamix blender, but it’s really too large for blending up small meal sized portions of cat food – any success I’d had with Bert eating this stuff was only when something was freshly opened or blended).  I bought the Magic Bullet – and it’s working!  For the last couple of days, I’ve opened up a can of cat pate, put a teaspoon or 2 of water into it and blended it up in the Magic Bullet.  He’s eating it and I’m so pleased. I am hopeful that the Magic Bullet is the silver bullet I have been searching for to get Bert eating on his own again.

Shared: CubeYou, a Cambridge-like app, collected data on millions from Facebook

I think this sort of behavior has been commonplace with the entities that gained legitimate access to Facebook’s user data. I think we’re going to find out that this privacy violation is much larger and much deeper than we ever imagined it to be.

Data analytics firm CubeYou uses personality quizzes and apps clearly labeled for “non-profit academic research” to aid marketers in finding customers.

Source: Facebook suspends another data analytics firm after CNBC discovers it was using tactics like Cambridge Analytica

Shared: Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit

I’ve known a lot of people that have been taking some kind of anti-anxiety or depression drug for years. I’ve wondered what the plan was to get them off of the medication…this article seems to indicate there is no plan. . . their continued dependency is by design . . . JD

“Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/health/antidepressants-withdrawal-prozac-cymbalta.html