Monday, July 29, 2013

Feel Free to Copy This and Post it On Your Wall


She Might Be Watching.

Howie will be on the "radio"

A Courtesy Announcement - Please feel free to share 

  • When:  This Thursday, August 01, 2013 at 12:00 pm (noon) Mountain Time, 2:00 pm Easter Time
  • Where:
  • About: His latest book - Stumbling Through the Sixties
  • Huh: you can get his book at

Hey, email me and tell me where you were when you listened to me. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Mommy Principle

Turn on the news. Pick up a newspaper or open a news blog. You are confronted by the term “sexting”. Wikipedia tells me that sexting “is the act of sending sexually explicit  messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones”.  In their race to be relevant, recent cop shows on TV have a plot revolving about this problem.

Contrary to popular belief this is not a new problem. Users will use any new technology negatively rapidly. Long before the Internet, decks of punch cards were circulated that when printed with a simple program, yielded large pictures of women in various states of undress. These pictures used letters and numbers took up 3 or 4 sheets of large green-bar paper and started popping up on computer room walls (Guilty).   When the Internet became easily available bulletin boards popped up all over the place. These were simple online sites that allowed people to chat and discuss significant topics. Of course prurient topics made their appearance. As the Internet, World Wide Web and telecommunications became more powerful their misuse swelled.

Some years ago I was a team leader at a local consulting company. Each member of the team had a workstation giving that member full access to the Internet. We were asked to keep our non-business web surfing to non-billable hours. One day I was asked by our manager to stop by his office. I was silently handed a report and asked to “deal with it”.  The report, a computer usage report, listed a few prurient websites and the names of people who had visited them. Two of my people’s names were highlighted. I went back to my desk and thought about the proper way to handle it.

I wrote a memo to each of the people identified, explained the situation and asked them to remedy it. I signed the memos, put them in sealed envelopes and inconspicuously dropped them on the men’s desks. Then I called a team meeting for the next day. When the team had gathered I quietly explained the problem without identifying anyone’s name. Then I handed out a one-page flyer with the words “The Mommy Principle” in large letters.   

I explained that whenever they were using company equipment they were to imagine that their Mommy was standing over their shoulder. Imagine that they would have to explain to her what they had just done. I asked them to hang these flyers on their cubicle walls. These flyers were the talk of the office within hours. The next day or so every cubicle in the floor had one on the wall.

Perhaps some our government would be well served if these flyers were on many walls?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Next Rant

And in conclusion

We've all sat through long boring lectures. We tend to snap to attention when we hear those words: And in Conclusion. Now that I have your attention  I can begin my rant?

The American industrial machine is still the the most powerful machine in the history of the world. We were born in the aftermath of what should rightly be called "the First World War." We called that war "The French and Indian War. Our British cousins call the war "The Seven Years War". It was the first war to be fought by countries on various continents  throughout the world. The war brought to the forefront  Americans like Washington,  Franklin and Jefferson.  The war laid down the birth place of the American Revolution

 The industrial revolution spawned two children, each designed to remedy the abhorrent conditions of the working class: Socialism (with it's political cousin communism) and Free Market Economy.

Socialism is  built on the negative aspect that people are unable to manage their own destiny. Under socialism wealth is shared by all and those with marketable skills are guaranteed a style of life that compares favorably with everyone else. A free market economy approaches a meritocracy. Those with marketable skills are rewarded for those skills. Are there inequities? Of course. But unlike socialism or any form planned economy, incentive is rewarded and therefore flourishes.

Today our nation is under fire from within and without. Op/ed's in many of our leading newspapers talk about American power In the past tense. We are portrayed as another mercantile empire that got rich off of the sweat and labor of the poor.

Over 58,000 of my brother and sister veterans are memorialized on a wall in the DC mall. This wall is a memorial to a war that We Did Win in spite of the actions of the nay-Sayers and their intellectual parents. I Include the current president of the United States, Barack Obama in that group.

To the progressive mind all war is evil. Progressives look at concepts such as nationalism  and patriotism as self defeating by their very nature.  Unfortunately bullies do exist. However symbols are created and people flock to their standard for a reason.

Socialism and its political cousin Communism were a response to the negative social aspects of the industrial revolution. Dickens wrote extensively on this topic. America, on the other hand, was blessed with a boundless set of natural resources and, to quole Daniel Boone, lots of elbow room.  Those who tired of living in the mill towns of the east could pack up, buy an ox-cart and head west.  While socialism has planted its foot in crowded eastern cities, The west is still relatively free. 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Dialysis & Medicare

In response to my fight to reverse medicare's attack on dialysis, A well known MD sent me this. I did remove all names:

I am spending hours every week fighting with Medicare who now denies life saving drugs (cell cept, rituxan etc) that  my patients have been on successfully for years. 

They now have low level government bureaucrats send me form letters rejecting my written appeals. They never have a physician/medical director review these cases in contrast to every insurance company. We are seeing socialized medicine rapidly evolve into the European style which rations medical treatment by non accountable clerical individuals. 

Medicare used to be a great insurance plan…it never was an entailment since eligible seniors paid into this program their entire working lives. As Medicare has gotten worse in the last 3 years,  I share your concern Obama care will make care for patients even more of a problem. We will do what we can at Our Hospital to provide the best quality care for our patients until our Government transforms our nation’s healthcare system to that of Europe, which is a fine system ……..unless you have a serious illness. 

Join my fight. The word IS getting out


 p.s. I've paid into Medicare for 50 years - Howie

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dialysis & Medicare

Five days a week I sit in my chair and get hooked to my dialyses machine for three to four hours. If I don't then I will die. It's as simple as that.

A law was enacted some years ago to allow dialysis patients to get onto Medicare before they turn 65. I got on medicare when I was 64. Medicare is looking at reducing the amount that it pays for dialysis.

As a Dialysis patient, here's what can happen:

1. Medicare pays less for Dialysis
2. private insurance picks up the difference
3. Private insurance has to increase premiums

If the increased premiums are too expensive, or private insurance refuses to cover dialysis I will either hope Obama care covers it, or quietly (?) die.

Please go to:   and support us. 

Howie Flomberg

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Books Matter

I have always been a reader. When I was young I remedied the effects of Dick and Jane by reading Tarzan adventures. Teaching children to read by cramming Dick and Jane down their throats should be a capital offense. As I got older I was hooked on the Black Stallion series. The lady at the library used to save the new ones for me.  Books are my escape mechanism. They always have been and they always will be.
I enjoyed about 30 years as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Business of a local college.  One of my favorite courses to teach was “Introduction to Business.”  It’s a survey course and I had the freedom to take the course anywhere as long as I covered the topics in the syllabus. I noticed that when I made literary references most of the students stared at me blankly. I decided to bring a novel into the course. I thought the humor and subtlety of Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court” would be ideal. The novel discusses a direct confrontation between late nineteenth-century industry and medieval superstition. As always Twain’s humor makes some fascinating points. I used this novel in class for my last year as a teacher before I was forced to retire.
I assumed that this novel had been a staple of high school literature. How wrong I was. At most one or two students had read the book.  Many of them were totally unfamiliar with Mark Twain. I was stunned. I could not imagine getting through High School without reading Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. In my opinion these two books are the finest in American literature.
Reaction to the book was mixed. I’m sure that many of my students read the Cliff Notes instead of the book. When I discussed the book in class I brought up some subtleties that were only obvious if you had read the book. When I wrote the test I’m sure that the students who relied on Cliff Notes were self-identified.
Two things are obvious when you look at my personal library. I have collection of Twain’s books.  A couple of shelves down you will note my collection of books about the Arthurian legend.  Next to Malory’s classic treatment of the legend I have a book by Steinbeck about the legend. Steinbeck’s book is famously unfinished. I disagree. The last section of the book deals with Lancelot and Guinevere.  The last line of the book is “And Lancelot wept.” Apparently Steinbeck could not get past that point. That relationship marked the end of Chivalry. The relationship destroyed the Round Table and led to the death of Arthur. Just thinking about the power of those three words:  “And Lancelot wept” moves me to this day.
There is one other example of the power of books.  One semester I had a Russian woman in my class who was an excellent student. I asked her if she had ever read Ayn Rand’s autobiography – We the Living. She had not read it so I gave her a copy.
About a week later she came up to me in tears. She had no idea of what happened after the Russian revolution. The book opened her eyes.  Books matter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Don't you love it?

NO, I didn't post yesterday. I had an unbreakable morning appointment. I scheduled my day around it. When I got there I was greeted with the words "Didn't anyone call you?" Err - no?

I'm sure that it as an honest mistake, yet "ZOUNDS", "REALLY".

I am no longer Middle Aged. I have crossed the line from Middle Aged to Elderly. Funny thing tough, mentally I feel no different than I did in my - let's see - err - twenties? Yeah, outwardly I'm that crotchety old guy in a wheel chair, sucking oxygen. But inside there's that young guy screaming - "Hey, what about me?"

I was raised in a different universe. I still say "Please" and "Thank you". When I'm motoring down one of the paths in my Electric Chair and someone steps out of my way I say "Thank you sir/ma'am". When I meet someone I still call them sir or ma'am, even though inside I'm screaming, "what the hell do you know you know you young punk?" This "young punk thing" now extends to people in their fifties.

I must admit though, the other day I saw a twenty-ish man playing with his two young kids and the only emotion that I felt was jealousy. Was I jealous of his youth or the fact that he had two youngsters? Does it matter?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And an announcement from our sponsor

My son and heir has a book out "Management for Zombies". he has a radio interview scheduled here

Dave Flomberg is the author of Management for Zombies.  Dave used to drink for a living, covering bars and clubs across Colorado for the Rocky Mountain News in his column, “The Buzz.” Sadly, that kind of career is more of a labor of love than a real payday, so he supplemented his income by selling out for the corporate dreams of health benefits, home ownership and working for The Man. It wasn’t long before he discovered he was marching with a zombie horde in and out of the office every day, and decided to capture the experience in this handy how-to on managing a staff of bloodthirsty flesh- eaters who want nothing more than enough to live on and maybe a really rare steak once in a while. Join me for a very entertaining hour as we discuss humor in literature. 
Time: July 17, 2013 from 5pm to 6pm
Location: CTR Network
Event Type: live, show

Friday, July 12, 2013

This is Probably a Trivial Post.

I love writing. It doesn't pay much. It's great retirement fare, however. My last book, Stumbling Through the Sixties has gotten some great reviews, both personal and written. I seem to have developed a writing style that is easy to read. 

Now I'm writing the sequal Recovering From the Sixties. This one is a lot harder to put in paper. The ideas are there but they are not forming into concepts that I can put down on paper. 

My biggest problem has always been personal discipline. This blog is a daily activity. If the discipline of a daily writing schedule can ingrain itself into me, Perhaps?

I welcome ideas and suggestions on topics for the blog. Those of you who went through the sixties, how did it affect you afterwards. I'll credit you in the book if I use your ideas. Promise.

Oh and by the way. I notice that the most read post in this blog was a section from my next book -- well, not a bad idea, see you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Who re-wrote Tarzan?

When I was a kid I was a "bookworm" I was in the library so much that the Librarian recognized me. She quickly learned my likes and dislikes and always had a book in the shelf under her desk for me. I devoured Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. I got lost in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court". I loved, and still love biographies. My secret passion was for the Tarzan Series. They were not considered "good" reading, I didn't care.

A few years ago I bought an iPad 2. I quickly downloaded the Kindle Software (free) and went looking for the free books. The entire Tarzan series was out there for free. I down loaded them and found a quiet spot and read them.

There was a sadness to the "ubermench" that I had never picked up before. Tarzan was trapped between two worlds and didn't fit in either. His hut was his refuge and the only place he felt he belonged. I don't remember this aspect of the books when I read them as a kid. Does Clark Kent feel this way?

 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court was my next disappointment.  Instead of being an adventure story it was - of all things - satire. I found myself laughing out loud at the satirical aspects of the book.

Darn it, Now I have to re-read all of my childhood favorites. "The Black Stallion" is still just an adventure story about a boy and his horse, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Points of confusion

Any new technology eventually falls into line behind a standard.  Writing seems to be following that path. Right now we have three main formats -  Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's nook and following and gaining strength is ePub.

I have eight books listed on Amazon. Three are textbooks so they don't count. The rest are available either as paperback or kindle. Why Kindle? I write using Amazon's publishing tool "CreateSpace". I can simply move it to their kindle tool - KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). I miss the fairly large Nook audience if I commit exclusively to Kindle - I would get a higher royalty. We are talking about .25 per book in a small - tiny - market.

Ok, to the point, I'm betting that at some point  both Kindle and Nook will center on ePub.  What do you all think?

A brief message from our sponsor

I posted the following on Facebook this morning.

Howard Flomberg: Confessions of a Neophyte Author remember that title, I have it linked below. I've always had a fascination with blogging. many years ago I had a blog called "The Flomblog" that was gaining readership. Family and Work got in it's way. I started "Confessions" it was peripatetic at best. Now I'm retired. I write. it all works, join me!


Tell your friends and join me.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Brave New World, or was it.

What follows is a small section from my next book "Recovering From the Sixties". Criticism is welcome and requested?

The sixties were coming to an end. The honest fight for civil rights had been replaced by a violent anti-violence movement. Beatniks were replaced by hippies. Sitting around singing folk songs with the backing of bongo drums and guitars were replaced with the loud, booming repetitive noise of three and four chord rock and roll. The Beatles “Love, Love Me Do” was replaced by anything by the Fuggs. 

Woodstock, that paean to civilization was held on August 15, 1969, peculiarly the day that I got on the airplane to return to the States from Southeast Asia. Bob Dylan showed amazing taste by choosing that day to embark on the QE2 to England.  What started as a dedication to free love degraded to a romp in the mud. Am I ranting? I guess I am.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Did you realize that the entire NFL is morbidly obese?


BMI – Body Mass Index, according to Wikipedia, is heuristic[1] proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. According to my BMI, I am obese. However, so is probably the entire NFL? The formula involves dividing a persons weight by their height, squared. I am 5’7” or 67 inches tall. However in my youth – before I started to lose height due to aging – I was 5’9 or 69 inches tall. My weight is 113.7 Kg or 250.7 pounds. Therefore the according to the formula my BMI is 37.0.

The BMI ranges are:

·               18.5 or less      Underweight
·               18.8  - 24.9      Normal weight
·               25 – 29.9         Overweight
·               30 or greater    Obese

What are the problems with using BMI?
·               Actual measurements of body fat are ignored
·               Bone Structure is ignored
·               Gender is ignored
·               Fat to Muscle ratio is ignored
·               Race is ignored
·               Nutrition is ignored
·               Genetics is ignored
·               Age is ignored

The entire concept of analyzing dead people for their BMI has, to my knowledge, never done. The BMI formula was devised in 1832. According to the website The-f-word

[2]The project was intended to describe the standard proportions of the human build.  The equation was largely ignored by the medical community even though insurance companies began using somewhat vague comparisons of height and weight among policyholders beginning in the early twentieth century.

Therefore the most commonly used measurement of human size to weight was instigated as a means of denying life insurance to large men.  I cannot find any reputable study measuring the correlation between height and weight.

What is an appropriate sample size? World population is estimated at seven billion (7,000,000,000) people. If we are looking for a 90% confidence level; assuming that the statistic will be statistically significant[3]; yields a sample size of 15,006.

For an overly obvious example; some assumptions have been made – Geography – do you take the sample in an American community? Do you take the sample in an Asian community? 

Do you see my feelings about BMI? It is impossible to accurately compute. It makes assumptions that are not valid. Most importantly, age, body type and family are ignored.  While BMI is an invalid statistic with no actual statistical validity, it is commonly used by the medical community.

So, dear doctor, shall we discuss me as an individual and lose the shamanistic bone rattling?

[1] When a real world solution an educated guess can be used as a heuristic approach
[3] Using a p-value of .5