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As an eight year, three time, cancer survivor, I always read with interest about the latest advances in cancer treatment. Over the years I have been poked, prodded and probed. I have been subjected to MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, PET scans and frequent Blood work. When I had my prostatectomy, my surgeon said if I had waited 2-4 weeks longer, he wouldn’t have been able to save me. I have endured a few rounds of chemo and a few surgeries. I also had several months of radiation therapy at CCS in Lockport with Dr. Yi, which I credit as the treatment that saved my life.

I had so many doctors, procedures and was administered so many drugs that I had to carry a small note pad with me so I could remember them all. I also had a port installed in my chest that made it necessary for me to carry a card so I could pass thru airport security.

Because of this, I am intrigued with the latest course of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. A recently discovered method that uses the patient’s own body to cause the death of cancer cells that scientists have said might be more successful than the present treatment procedures.

Most current anti-cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation work by killing cancer cells through a process called “apoptosis” which activates proteins called “caspases”. This leads to cell death. However in apoptosis, the therapies used often fail to kill all the cancer cells which can lead to the disease recurring or relapse.

This is what happened with me. The prostate cancer I had been treated for reappeared in a different location on two separate occasions, years apart. This is caused by the cancer cells breaking off from my original tumor and swimming around till they found a nice place to live and multiply. The first time this happened was in the fatty tissue below my liver. The last time I was diagnosed as having stage 4 cancer. I had 3 tumors. One in the lymph nodes in my lower abdomen and 2 along my windpipe.  I now am looking at my 4th fight because my Prostrate Specific Antigen went up. This usually indicates a return of the cancer.

Chemotherapy, due to the fact they infuse toxic poisons into your body can cause nasty side effects. The chemo I had put me in the hospital and caused all my hair to fall out. Scientists from the University of Glasgow sought to create a way to develop a therapy that kills the cancer cells while reducing the unwanted toxicity.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment designed to allow a cancer patient’s very own immune system to discover and eradicate cancer cells where ever they are in the body. New immunotherapeutic methods have been successful when used for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung, melanoma, bladder and kidney cancers. Clinical trials are under way for over 25 additional types of cancer. Patients who do respond to treatment have a much higher probability of a continued response because the immune system’s memory leads to an extended protection.

Scientists say they discovered a method to separate cancer killing immune cells from a donor’s blood and then multiply them by millions. The “neutrophil” cells are a part of your body’s primary line of defense against foreign invaders. This is also known as the “innate immune system”. These cells are thought to be the reason that some people will naturally reject powerful cancers in circumstances that are described as a “miracle recovery”. And the clinical trials for this new therapy may possibly be happening as early as this year thanks to LIfT in conjunction with researchers from King’s College in London, England.

“It is something that I don’t believe has been done before, and producing these specific cells with cancer-killing ability is a notion we had not thought of before. We are excited by these early results.” Said Alex Blyth, chief executive of LIfT Biosciences, whose mother Margaret was killed by pancreatic cancer in 2014. The team will focus on pancreatic cancer as this is one of the most lethal solid cancers. Mr. Blyth says neutrophils can be given to anyone without fear of serious rejection.

There is evidence the neutrophils can often become “blind” to cancer, but when they do target the cancer, they eradicate up to 95% of the test cancer cells within 24 hours.

LIfT’s team has collected thousands of cells discarded as unwanted waste products by blood banks and is mass-screening them for their cancer-killing potential.

Unlike apoptosis, which is a silent form of cell death, when cancer cells die through Caspase Independent Cell Death, called CICD, they alert the immune system through the release of inflammatory proteins. The immune system can then attack the remaining tumor cells that evaded the initial therapy induced death.

The trials, if they go ahead early this year, will involve a small number of patients with pancreatic cancer. The new method of killing cancer cells has led to the complete eradication of tumors in experimental models.

For those of us who have had cancer or are fighting cancer, these are exciting times. I hope the Food and Drug Administration approves this therapy as soon as possible. No one should have to go through what I went through.

Norb is a writer from Lockport. His blog is at


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” (MLK)

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The civil rights leader Martin Luther King was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, his father who was a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, journeyed to Germany and became passionate vis-à-vis Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation leader. Because of this, Mr. King changed his name and the name of his 5-year-old son.

Dr. King was such a very gifted student and he skipped grades 9 and 12. He enrolled at Morehouse College in 1944. This was the alma mater of both his maternal grandfather and his father. King was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers but he did not want to stick to the family vocation. Morehouse president, Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him to do otherwise. Dr. King was ordained before he graduated college. He attended graduate school at Boston University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1955.

Dr. King once said, ““Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will, and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters…then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

This quote puts into words his resolve that segregation and violence had to be eliminated at once. He stressed that lives and the well-being of oppressed people were continuously at risk until those in power took the responsibility to change this issue.

Historians, political pundits and cultural critics, have seen how MLK was disliked and even feared by people in power. These include police officers, politicians, etc. while he was alive. Now they only embrace his work in a superficial way after his death.

Dr. King barely escaped an attempted assassination 10 years before his death. On September 20, 1958, he was in Harlem where he was signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom.” This was in Blumstein’s department store. He was approached by a woman named Izola Ware Curry. She asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. When he said yes, she said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she rammed a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest right alongside his aorta. Dr. King underwent hours of very delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told him that if he sneezed, it might have perforated his aorta and killed him. Laying in his hospital bed where he recovered for weeks, he delivered a statement confirming his nonviolent values and said he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.

Dr. King was in Memphis during April 1968 to support a strike by the city’s black garbage workers. In a speech, on the evening before his assassination, he told an audience at the Mason Temple Church: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Dr. King was murdered by James Earl Ray using a single bullet fired from a Remington rifle. Dr. King was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Ray had a history of criminal misconduct including armed robbery. He was prejudiced against black people and intended to flee to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), following the killing of King.

Ray, a career criminal, pled guilty to King’s assassination but later recanted. King’s son Dexter met publicly with Ray in 1997 and argued for the case to be reopened. Because members of King’s family did not think James Earl Ray acted on his own. King’s widow, Coretta, believed the Mafia and local, state and federal government agencies were deeply involved in King’s murder. She praised the result of a 1999 civil trial in which a Memphis jury decided the assassination was the result of a conspiracy and that Ray was set up to take the blame.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy has created a change in American culture. While he is currently viewed as an iconic civil rights activist and he has been regarded in this way since before his shooting, some may argue that his quotes and activism have been misrepresented in a way that softens his perspective on racism. His quotes are often shared or presented to solely imply that prejudice is wrong, but his quotes that address holding people with privilege responsible for changes are often ignored. He didn’t only think racism and race-based discrimination were inappropriate but he also wished for people in power to abolish oppression.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King. The holiday, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s birthday on January 15th.

Safety during the Holidays or Santa doesn’t deliver to the ER.

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The holiday season is fun for all, but Holiday decor, and celebrations can cause problems. Estimates of reported home fires are taken from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The survey show that in 2011-2015, decorations, excluding Christmas trees, were the cause of an average of 840 fires that were reported home fires each year. These fires resulted in an average of two deaths, 36 fire injuries and caused $11.4 million in direct property damage per year.

Candles were listed as the heat source in 36% of the fires. The decorations too close to a heat source in two of every five (42%) of the fires.

Even if it’s fake, trees are a fire risk. Fire departments report an average of 210 Christmas tree fires every year. When tree fires do happen, they’re more apt to be serious. Keep your tree at least 36 inches away from all heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents. If you get a real tree, don’t forget to keep it well watered. Drier trees ignite more easily. “Your stand should have a water reservoir that can hold one quart of water per inch of the stem’s diameter,” says Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s technical and engineering director. Also select a well-made stand so the tree can’t tip over.

Don’t overdo the lights. You may want to cover every inch of your house with lights like you are on The Great Christmas Light Fight but you may have to scale back depending on your outlets. Check the lights’ packaging for the power requirement and never plug in more than what a power strip or outlet says it can handle. Also you never should connect more than three lights strings of lights together.

If you’re using old lights, look at the wiring to ensure there aren’t any signs of fraying or cracking. You should unplug all indoor lights when you leave the house, even the ones on your tree in the bay window.

December is the prime time of year for candle related house fires, says the NFPA. They do set a holiday mood, but lit flames and decorations don’t mix. In a five-year study, the NFPA found that 52% of fires related to decoration-were started by candles. Candles are pretty, but they’re still open flames. Keep lit candles a minimum of 12 inches away from other objects and never leave candles lit in a room that’s unoccupied.

Don’t burn trees or wreaths in your wood stove or fireplace, these burn much faster than logs, creating sparks, which can fly into the room or onto the roof. They can cause a build-up of highly flammable creosote in the chimney. Don’t burn the wrapping paper it might contain metallic materials that can be hazardous to breathe in.

Make sure your fire is out and the embers have cooled before you leave the house or go to bed. Put the ashes in a metal container and put this at least 20 feet away from the house. My daughter had a house fire from putting ashes in her plastic garbage can. Have a certified professional come out once a year minimum to inspect the chimney.

If you drop a Christmas ornament and it shatters, carefully pick up the large pieces and wrap them up in a paper towel or newspaper before throwing them away. You can use a fresh piece of white bread to pick up the little pieces. Sweep the floor and vacuum it thoroughly all over.

A cat could see a piece of shiny tinsel as a toy, but strand can become tangled in his intestines, causing serious damage. As someone that has had to remove a piece of tinsel from a pet’s anus, it isn’t fun for either one of you.

Mistletoe, Holly and poinsettias are poisonous to dogs and cats when eaten. Candy canes (the real ones, not the dog-toy variety), with their curvy shape and wrapper can present a choking hazard, and the sugar-free ones made with xylitol are toxic to dogs.

Don’t forget to take care of the outside of your house. Keep your walkways and driveway clear of snow and ice and be careful when you’re shoveling your property. Approximately 16,500 Americans go to the hospital each year because of injuries that occur while shoveling or removing ice and snow, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Wear boots with enough traction and take small, slow steps on ice or snow.

Keep all the kids in mind when picking out gifts. People tend to focus on what’s age-appropriate for one child, but younger children always want to play with the toys that the older kids get. This could be a problem if an older child’s toy comes with a lot of small parts. In 2013, there were an estimated 256,700 injuries caused by toys that were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, according to the CPSC.

If you’re going out of town for a few days, you have to do more than just lock your house up. Tell trusted neighbors that you’re going away and ask them keep an eye on your house. Have the post office stop your mail or have someone pick it up daily. Get yourself a timer that turns your lights on and off at random times during the night if you can.

Norb is an OSHA General Industry Outreach Trainer and has taught safety for several years.

Holiday Snowflakes.

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The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”  is seen as sexist In the current #MeToo era, and is being banned by some radio stations. The radio stations have stopped playing that classic holiday song because it has lyrics that suggest date rape threats rather than proposing an innocent situation of flirtation while being snow bound. SMH.

As long as we are eliminating everything that could offend people, I have a few more suggestions.

I think we should ban “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby because this might offend non Caucasian people. We also need to eliminate “White Is in the Winter Night” by Enya” and “The White World of Winter” by Bing Crosby for the same reason.

There are many, many songs that reference Jesus that should be forbidden because many religions don’t believe in him as God. They have their own Gods. In fact the very name Christmas should not be permitted just because of the Christ part. This word might offend the Jewish people, the Muslims. The Buddhists. The Hindus and the followers of Confucianism.

Now I see that there some “Holiday” movies that people want to ban. The first of which comes to mind is the classic Rankin/Bass holiday offering “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” They want to ban this because an elf throws the toy bird out of the sleigh even though the bird mentioned that it can’t fly. Then there is that bully with the whip, the deer who are abusive towards Rudolph, the dentist shaming and the unloved toys from The Island of Misfit Toys.

While we are at it let’s look at a few more Christmas classics. We have “A Christmas Story”. It’s just not Christmas in America unless there’s a bullied gun hungry child in a pro-NRA marathon. And how about washing your naughty kid’s mouth out with soap? Oh fudge, that is child abuse! But corporal punishment was the norm back then. I am old enough to have suffered this punishment myself. Good times.

Then we have the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. I think it is very insensitive to call him a Grinch. Clearly he has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Notice isn’t there even one person of color in all of Whoville. Then be aware of the fact that they didn’t actually accept the green guy until he gives everyone presents! Looks like racism to me. And what about making that poor dog wear a heavy antler and pulling that giant sleigh. Someone call PETA.

The movie “Elf” features, unwed parents, bullies and a father disowning his son. “Frosty the Snow Man” has the evil magician Professor Hinkle attempting to kill Frosty by locking him in a greenhouse where Frosty is melted.

“Home Alone” is about a young boy who is accidentally left home during the Christmas holidays by his parents when the rest of his family goes to Europe. I think being forgotten by your parents is a bit of a problem.

I see that some people are trying to prohibit all Christmas related symbols in the schools and have suggested a ban on a list of Christmas themed items in the hopes of being inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of the students.

A list of the suggested items would include the singing of Christmas carols. Even the Elf on the Shelf is on the hit list because that’s a Christmas related symbol. I think some people are spending more time working on these lists than they are taking time trying to understand diversity.

We now can’t see Nativity scenes on governmental land due to “the separation of church and state” activists. Wal-Mart has switched its banners to “Happy Holidays” from “Merry Christmas”. It is Wal-Mart’s and other retailer’s participation in the moneymaking side of Christmas that is the real attack on this beloved holiday. One more time, the liberals have co-opted a cultural tradition that most Americans have enjoyed.

Enough is enough! I think I am old enough to decide on my own which movies I watch and which music I listen to. I love watching the old Christmas movies and listening to the old Christmas songs. I love sharing them with my grandchildren. I will always wish you a Merry Christmas no matter who you are or what you believe. Christmas is the Holiday I celebrate. If you want to respond Happy Hanukkah or Happy Ramadan because that’s what you celebrate, I promise not to be offended in fact I may respond in kind with your religious preference.  I welcome your heritage as well as my own.  Instead of us getting offended by each other, why don’t we just try to get along? This is supposed to be the season of peace on earth and good will towards men no matter what you believe, not the season of hate and discontent.

In closing, I will wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Ramadan or a Joyous Yuletide season, whatever works for you, from my home to yours.

Western New Yorkers know how to party.

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With all the thrilling things happening in Western New York all year, you will never run out of things to here. From the Taste of Buffalo which is the largest two-day food festival in the United States, Art Festivals, Garden Walks the National Buffalo Wing Festival to free outdoor music concerts and ethnic food festivals, our night life and festivals bring visitors to our area from all over the world. Last call in Buffalo bars is 4 a.m. and I’ve closed a few myself. Yes, Western New Yorkers know a thing or two about having a good time. From old-school working man, corner bars to, casinos and live music, Western New York parties from dusk to dawn.

We also have sports teams. There is a sport for everyone in Buffalo from Football to hockey to Baseball. We even have the Buffalo Bandits, a professional lacrosse team and a win by any one of them is cause for celebration.

Cities struggle for their own identification and often point to their growing food experience and talented chefs. But people are probably not coming to Western New York for the avant-garde of American food. I never did understand “small plates” anyway, where you get just a little food for an exorbitant price and have to stop at Mighty Taco on your way home for dinner.

That’s not to say there aren’t many great new restaurants here. It’s just that when you are in Western New York, eat what Western New York does best. Even when the fashionable food writers come into town, they don’t want to go to those new, innovative restaurants. They want to go to places that serve our local favorites.

That’s fine with me because nothing says Western New York to me like beef on weck, chicken wings and grease filled, Pepperoni cup, pizza, the best comfort food in America. Restaurants here are quite happy to just serve these regional hits. Things that they just don’t do right elsewhere.

Locals debate who serves the best wings until the bars all close, but Duff’s seems to be the number one pick. But who can forget the Anchor Bar, the birthplace of what the rest of the world calls “Buffalo wings.” This is what passes for a tourist trap in Buffalo

When every American city begins to seem the same, when Boston looks like Dallas looks like Chicago, Western New York feels one hundred percent like Western New York. It doesn’t have sky scrapers but it does have grain silos and every block has corner taverns that stay open until 4 in the morning.

You’ll find nightspots to party at all over the Nickle City, from Elmwood Avenue and Hertel Avenue to the Chippewa Entertainment District right in downtown Buffalo. Dance the night away at many of the local clubs like the Club Marcella, 67 West, Bottoms Up in Buffalo and The Vault or Nfusion Night Club in Niagara Falls.

To comprehend why Western New York is such a great area to live in, you need to know where it came from. It is situated on one of the world’s greatest inland waterways and as such it brought great wealth with it. Today, 70 years after its populace has hit it’s highest point, Western New York still has the Albright-Knox art gallery, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Many churches and world-class architecture from Frederick Law Olmsted and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The people here are real, hardworking folks. They’ve repurposed beautiful old architecture without any hint of pretentiousness. They party harder, eat much better, and make many more new buddies in one weekend than any other place in the country. This is truly the best area to live in.

Recently Western New York is being called upon to produce new opportunities. Instead of endeavoring to attract old industries back into town, Western New York has looked into technology and life sciences to boost itself. When young workers came here to find jobs, they found affordable housing and a rich cultural diversity parties and Festivals. Not a week goes by without several options to get turnt, one that is lit.

Buffalo has witnessed an uptick in residents aged 18-34 of over 10%. This is one of the largest rates in the country. And these new, young residents have modified the great things about old Buffalo and have turned Western New York into a hard-partying museum of this areas industrial past.

At The Old Pink, a sticky-floored, graffiti-walled, cheap beer watering hole, located in Allentown there is a view of everything that’s awesome about Buffalo. Here you will find college kids tossing back tallboys next to senior citizens. No one ever worries about what you do. In Buffalo, friendliness means pouring you shots of Jägermeister at 1:45 and telling you, “In Buffalo, this is how we get the party started.”

“Going out in Buffalo between 3 and 4am is one of the most unique drinking experiences in America. Crazy things that can happen,” says city planner Chris Hawley “The best nights in Buffalo are the ones you don’t remember.”

Make as many jokes about Western New York as you want, and there have been many but the people here know they’ve living in an amazing place.  Spend a little time here, and you’ll understand it, too.


Christmas traditions

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I have written about family traditions before, this time I would like to share a few Christmas traditions from my past and a few that my children, grandchildren and I practice today.

My memories of Christmas as a young boy took place at 496 Berkshire Avenue, Buffalo. About a week before Christmas, we would go shopping for a tree. It had to be a long needle fir tree and it had to be symmetrical without any bare spots, nothing else would do. We would sometimes have to go to several Christmas tree lots that popped up on every vacant piece of land in the city. We would then tie it on the roof of our car and take it home like some kind of hunting trophy and I guess it was. It would spend a few days trussed up like a bird being prepared for cooking by on our front porch awaiting it’s role in our house.

The dining room table was disassembled and put in my sister’s room to make room for the Christmas tree. Once the Christmas tree lights were untangled, which sometimes took quite a bit of time, they had to be tested. My father was the only person allowed to put these on the tree. My mother would supervise and my father would have to swap bulbs until no two adjacent bulbs were the same color. We would then decorate the tree with all kinds of ornaments, both store bought and homemade. The final decoration would be “icicles” made of thin ribbons of lead.

On Christmas Eve my brother and I would retire to our bedroom on the second floor where we would have a hard time falling asleep in anticipation of Santa Claus paying us a visit. For some reason or other Santa would wrap our presents in the Sunday comic pages. I always thought he had run out of wrapping paper and was surprised that he got the Buffalo Courier Express. I think my favorite toy that Santa ever brought me was a battery operated, walking robot with flashing lights and “sound effects” that I received one year.

Many years later, after I got married, Donna and I moved to Massachusetts while I was in the Navy. We had a small tree but we couldn’t afford many ornaments. We made do with what we had and what people gave us. One thing I did was affix a starfish to the top of our tree that a buddy Ed and I collected from a local beach and had dried in the basement of my apartment.

That was fifty years ago. We still have that starfish adorning our tree. This has developed into a family tradition. All of my children have a starfish of their own now that sit atop their tree. A few years ago I gave all of our grandchildren a starfish so when they are on their own they will remember us with this tradition.

According to an old German legend, if you find a bird’s nest in your Christmas tree you and your family will experience health, wealth and happiness in the coming year. Who can’t use some good luck like this?  We always have a bird’s nest in our tree and my daughter Liz has one in her tree also.

Other Christmas traditions our family has involve food. Every grandchildren gets to select, as part of their present a “Christmas” food from Nana and Papa. They have picked things like Ramen noodles, potato chips and whipped cream as some of their choices.

My son, Erik and his wife, Heidi also host a Christmas Eve dinner that starts with snacks during the afternoon, Olives and Pickles, Chips and dip, Buffalo chicken wing dip etc. Actually you could graze your way thru the afternoon and not need anything more.  But then they have a full blown meal in the evening. We can choose from a cold cut platter and rolls, Beef on weck, Beans, macaroni and pasta salads, regular salad and many other dishes. They also set out Christmas cookies and various other sweets. One year they offered us homemade marshmallows.

Just in case you didn’t have enough to eat, the following morning my oldest daughter, Liz had a Christmas day brunch at her house. We have Stuffed French toast, Breakfast sausage links, Potatoes, Muffins, Eggs, and many more things to eat. With all this food, I was ready for a nap.

After Brunch we would all settle into the living room with me in a recliner in front of her roaring fireplace to open presents. I love watching the eyes of Ian and Kaelen, the younger grandchildren, light up as they rip open the colorful wrapping paper and see what gifts they have received. What starts as a controlled afternoon quickly turns into chaos. It is wonderful having all our children and grandchildren under one roof on this day.

This year unfortunately, her house has been sold and she is temporarily staying with us. My youngest daughter, Dawn has offered up her house for Christmas brunch as long as in her words “I don’t have to cook”. Dawn serves a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner so I don’t blame her not wanting to also do Christmas, so I guess Liz will be spending time at her house cooking our meal.

It really doesn’t matter where we hold our holiday celebrations though, they could be held in my garage or a storage shed on Transit Road. It’s the people and the food, the conversation and the laughter that make this season important to me.

Norb is a writer from Lockport that has also lived in Buffalo and Massachusetts.

“As close to home as your VCR”:  Remote Control (Movie) (1988).

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As I sit here typing I look over at my end table and see four remotes. I also have a cordless phone there. It is not unusual for me to grab the wrong remote to try to change the station or even to grab a remote when the phone is ringing and try to answer it.  I have on occasion pushed the buttons on the phone when I wanted to change channels, wondering why the damn thing isn’t working. This happens occasionally when I’m “resting my eyes” after lunch or dinner. Donna, my wife would frequently ask to go out to dinner right after I woke up. She knew I would agree to anything then and not remember it later.

There are two remotes for the television. One for me and one for Donna. (Don’t ask). There is one remote for my Roku device. Roku allows me to access thousands of sites including television programs, movie, music and social media sites. The fourth remote on my end table is for my Amazon Fire Stick. Again this device allows me to access thousands of television programs, movie and music sites. But these aren’t the only remotes in the living room.

I have one remote for my VCR so I can play all our children’s wedding videos and several old movies we have. There is one last remote that controls our DVD player. I don’t remember just why we got this because our VCR is a combination VCR- DVD player. They sit in the cabinet under the TV.

My children and grandchildren would make a game of trying to take a remote from my end table when I was in my recliner “resting my eyes” after lunch or, as my grandson calls it, my “napatizer” after dinner. That’s the nap I take before going to bed. They would wait until I was snoring like a lumberjack and then try to pick up the remote without waking me. This never worked out for them. They would inevitably be caught red handed before they even got it off the table. Just the action of their touching it was met with a stern “I’m watching that”.

If it is summer we also have a remote for the air conditioner in the dining room that I have never figured out how to use yet. It has only been five years so give me some time. I just press buttons until it seems to be doing what I want it to do.

Next we go into the recently built, first floor master bedroom suite. There we have another TV and another Roku. Both of these remotes work differently than the ones in the living room.

If you go to our second floor, there is a television and a third Roku device in our old master bedroom. In the summer there is also an air conditioner with a remote in this room. This is one of the three guest bedrooms we now have. On the third floor, the man cave, the walk up attic, there is an older analog TV and a digital to analog converter both controlled by their own remotes.

None of these remotes are alike except for the fact that they are black and have buttons. They don’t even work alike with some of them having the volume controls on the left and the channel selector on the right and some are the other way around. This isn’t very helpful late at night when you are tired and the lights are off.

I know there are “universal” remotes but believe me I have used a few of these and they aren’t universal. They have hundreds maybe thousands of codes you can punch in to try to program them for your device but if you find a code that does work, at best, you will be able to turn your set on and off, change the channel and adjust the volume.

Remotes worked better when I was a child. My father would say, “Norb turn the channel” or “adjust the volume” or “turn the antenna.” This worked 100% of the time and the batteries never died. That’s what kids were for.

This is the other thing. Every one of these remotes has two batteries in them. My best count is we have over 20 batteries running these remotes. Most of them are either AA or AAA. We go thru them so fast that we buy them in the large economy, family size packages. I believe the battery manufacturers and the television makers are in cahoots. I think the TV people get a royalty for every battery of these sizes that are sold.

Not to worry though. I see there is a smart phone APP you can use to control your electronic gadgets. That way when your phone dies, you have to get up and figure out how to use the buttons on your devices. According to WebMD Instead of using the remote, you have to get walking to the television to change the channel might give you some exercise and even help you lose weight.

We now have remote starters for cars, remote wall switches, remote thermostats even remote control bugs, (