05 August 2016

Warren’s E-Book Addendum

First photo in Warren’s e-book:
Sydney and Beag (courtesy of Rachel)
My last blog post, Warren’s Pet E-Book, described my new e-book, No More Cats, Please! I noted that the e-book was available from Amazon and Smashwords. I’m happy to announce that Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other bookseller websites are now carrying the book.

If you don’t have an e-reading device and don’t wish to download a free e-reader app from one of the booksellers, Smashwords offers a variety of book formats including one for plain old online reading.

Last photo in Warren’s e-book:
Mandy and Mindy
(courtesy of Vicki)
Again, if you read it, please let me know what you think, or just review the book where you buy it. Thank you.


Bookseller Links:

23 July 2016

Warren's Pet E-Book

E-book cover.
No, I'm not ready to start blogging again, though I have been writing. In fact, I just self-published an e-book, No More Cats, Please! I’m announcing the book’s release here to promote it, but also because the book evolved from a handful of the posts that appeared on this blog.

The book reviews my life with pets. The memories I recount are of my and my family’s dogs, fish, turtles, gerbils, a parakeet, a horned lizard, salamanders and, of course, cats, which dominated my last quarter century.

If you've followed this blog over the years, you may remember the cats--cerebral Lassie, disappearing Rex, Boss, the cat of lesser intelligence, and especially Henry, who, among other achievements, sent Boss into protective custody and so intimidated a pet sitter with 20 years’ experience, she was unable to enter the house.

Writing the book, I pulled together selected posts, filled in lots of detail and added cement. Then I prepared an appendix whose content goes beyond my life with pets. Since many of the blog posts reviewed research, including studies of animals and pets, I summarized several pet research posts.

The book is currently available for 99 cents (cheap) from either Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/More-Cats-Please-Warren-Philipson-ebook/dp/B01IPY78B6/) or Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/652117).

If you do read it--and I hope you will--please let me know what you think. (I can take it.) Or review the book where you buy it. Thank you.

19 January 2016


Today’s blog post marks a milestone, 500 posts. That’s probably enough. At least it’s enough to stop and decide if that’s enough.

It’s a little hazy, I’m not sure what’s around the bend, but I’ve arrived at 500 blog posts.

Thank you for visiting whether regularly or occasionally or, by chance, this one time. I’m grateful and honored. I hope you enjoyed the posts--the writing and photos, mine and those of my special guests and contest winners. I hope you laughed and learned and always found something of interest.

The blog will remain active for the time being and all posts should be accessible. If you’d like to look around, you can search the Blog Post Topics column of links on the right side of the blog website. (If you’re not on the website, it’s at www.retired--nowwhat.com) If there’s a specific post you can’t find, email me at RetiredNW@gmail.com.

If you email me, I’ll be happy to advise you when I know the blog’s future and when, where or what I’ll be writing again.

Be well. Thanks for stopping by. –warren

15 January 2016

Farm Equipment Disposal

Welcome back. Do you need any farm equipment? I mean old, used farm equipment. Last summer, Vicki, Cam and Muns started wondering why they were keeping equipment, pipes, posts and, well, stuff that hasn’t been used for years, which they couldn’t envision using. Thus began their disposal process.


The farmhouse and adjacent
garage apartment.
Seconds after my wife, Vicki, retired in 2012, an incredibly powerful tractor beam, emanating from her family’s farm in Wisconsin, locked in on her. Resistance, of course, was futile, and we now live in an apartment over a garage in a former barn, adjacent to the farmhouse where Vicki’s father, Muns, resides. The two buildings have stood for perhaps 150 years, and Muns has lived here all his life. 

Lower level of barn where
contented cows once lined up
for milking twice a day.
The farm was once dairy with some 160 cows kept content by Muns, my late mother-in-law Shirley, a helper and a series of proud bulls, replaced by artificial insemination. In the 1980s, they sold off the herd and switched entirely to field crops. When Shirley passed away in 1997, Muns retired from active farming, sold much of the larger equipment and began renting out land with grain bins for others to farm with their own equipment.

Vicki and Muns needed the lift
to replace the windsock for the
farm’s grass airstrip.
Although some equipment is kept at the ready for farm maintenance, the unused equipment and sundries were stowed pretty much everywhere.

Taking Inventory and Craigslist

Vicki and her sister, Cam, hauled multiple pickup-truck loads of scrap metal to the local salvage yard. But the heavy lifting began when conversation with knowledgeable friends suggested that functioning or interesting equipment could possibly be sold on Craigslist. That would at least save trips to the salvage yard, which would be no mean feat with the bigger equipment.

They began a systematic inventory, making lists, reading name plates, taking photos, consulting Muns if they had no idea what they were looking at or what it was called, and collecting information about each item’s value and price. Muns’s approval was sought before adding any major item to the dispose-of list.

Given my vast experience with Craigslist (Selling the Car), Vicki knew better than to seek my assistance, though she did allow me to tweak the first round of photos. Since equipment in many of those photos was subsequently re-photographed after being spruced up or moved to a less cluttered setting, most of the photos I tweaked didn’t make it to Craigslist. I was shattered.

Enough chit-chat. Let me show you examples of the 20 or so items that are or were for sale, even if the photos never made it to Craigslist.

Items on Dispose-of List

A motor scooter sold as soon as it was spotted by the Saturday coffee klatch attendees (Saturday Coffee Hour). Two Yamaha 100s motorcycles remain.
It’s a long story, but Muns had acquired pieces of a Farmall-C tractor. That sold quickly.
An old plow also went quickly.
You’re too late if you’re after a double-screen grain cleaner.
Someone expressed interest in the 4-ton fertilizer spreader, but he wasn’t prepared to patch a hole.
How about an 8-foot Hansen snow blower? (Not the tractor in back.)
Maybe you’d like a gravity box hay mower.
This John Deere flight elevator is still available.
Wrap Up

Since Muns won’t be flying again, they also decided to start selling the aircraft. It didn’t take long for the homebuilt RV-8 to find a new home. And making everyone happy, the fellow who worked long and hard to complete the Wittman Buttercup (Building a Buttercup (Airplane), Wittman Buttercup Addendum)
took ownership of the plane and got it approved by the FAA.

The Pitts Special aircraft, in front, and the Cessna 182, in back on right, are still in the hangar, but the RV-8, whose tail is visible in back on the left is gone.
Wittman Buttercup taking off from the grass airstrip (From youtu.be/GEYorWQOp1M)
Vicki and Cam continue to remove and add items and may take a whack at the farmhouse attic treasures. If you’re interested in the current list, email me and I’ll pass it to Vicki. (I won’t vouch for any photos she might send you.) Thanks for stopping by.

12 January 2016

Brain Training Addendum

Playing brain games may be fun, but as discussed in last Friday’s blog post, Brain Training Games, the jury is still out on whether it has any significant effect on cognitive decline. That said, what has shown promise is described in the Institute of Medicine report cited in the blog post.

Three sections of the report address “Risk and Protective Factors and Interventions” in different contexts--Lifestyle and Physical Environment, Health and Medical Factors, and General Cognitive Aging Interventions and Next Steps--and there are separate “action guides.”

Stay active to stay sharp.
(multiple websites)

Despite individual variation in cognitive function, the authors judge the scientific evidence sufficient to recommend that everyone be physically active, reduce and manage cardiovascular disease risk factors (hypertension, diabetes and smoking), and regularly review health conditions and medications that might influence cognitive health with a healthcare professional.

No, it doesn’t have to be that
active. (multiple websites)
Other interventions they recognize as showing promise include being socially and intellectually engaged, continually seeking opportunities to learn, getting adequate sleep and eating a healthy diet.

On the flip side, they note that research has not supported any available medication or vitamin supplement (or gingko biloba) for improving cognitive function; and as you’d expect, excessive alcohol consumption and stress can decrease cognitive performance.

Sitting here, writing, with my mug of coffee close by, I’m happy to convey that caffeine has shown short-term beneficial effects on some aspects of cognition.

Proprioceptively Dynamic Research

Before leaving the topic, I thought I’d take this opportunity to review a recent pilot study that showed climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can improve cognitive skills. To be clear, the study was not from the Institute of Medicine’s report, and though it involves interventions recognized in the report, it’s not for me to say, “Hey, this works.”

The study deals with proprioception, which MedicineNet describes as the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion and equilibrium. Even blindfolded, you know through proprioception if your arm is above your head or hanging by your side.

University of North Florida researchers enlisted participants, age 18 to 59, tested their working memory, then led them through activities that required proprioception and at least one other element, such as locomotion or route planning, e.g., climbing trees, traversing a 3 inch wide beam, navigating obstacles as well as lifting and carrying unbalanced objects. 

Climb a tree to improve
your cognitive skills.
(multiple websites)
The researchers retested the participants after two hours of such activities and found their working memory capacity had increased by 50 percent!

For comparison, the researchers also conducted before and after tests with two control groups: a college class sitting in a lecture, learning new information, and a yoga class performing static proprioceptive activities. Neither group experienced any working memory benefit.

The researchers attributed the cognitive benefit of proprioceptively dynamic activities to the demand the activities placed on the participants’ working memory. As the environment and terrain changed, the participants had to draw upon working memory to update information and adapt.


National Academies Institute of Medicine’s notice of the cognitive aging report and full report:
Research study on proprioceptively dynamic activity in Perceptual and Motor Skills journal: www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/22.PMS.120v18x1
University of North Florida press release and article on study on Time website: