To Boldly Go Where No Tablet Has Gone Before

A few years ago Omaha’s cable provider made the switch from analog to all-digital television. The basic subscription package offers around a hundred television channels and thirty plus music channels. But you need to rent one of their digital receiver mini boxes for each one of your analog television sets to be part of their new cable digital revolution. I dread to think of what you’ll need to do when you get rid of one of your analog television sets and upgrade to a smart TV; undoubtedly install, and configure some type of Artificial Intelligence box to descramble the cable digital services signal so it’s compatible with an internet-ready 4K Ultra HD smart TV.

image source:jmcadam

I remember back when watching TV was simple. In Melbourne, there were three stations to choose from, and they only broadcast from nine in the morning until signing off at ten at night. The stations signed off with a film montage of the queen inspecting her guard, riding her horse, walking through the countryside, and an exterior of Buckingham Palace; the montage ended with the Australian flag flying in the wind against a lightly clouded sky. God Save the Queen played throughout the montage. The three channels broadcast a black and white test pattern until their morning sign-on. Without having many choices you never made a bad decision in deciding what to watch; we felt self-satisfied with our healthy viewing habits. The Mavis Bramston Show, Pick a Box, and Demonstrations in Physics were some of my favourite shows.

With the start-up of a fourth station and twenty-four hours a day of on-air broadcasting in vibrant colour, the viewing choices exponentially multiplied and became even more choices. But the newness of colour, and having too many viewing choices wore off. The risk of making a careless choice caused one not to choose, and watching television became a mindless exercise; it was also the seventies, and there were other thoughtful mindless distractions.

image source:jmcadam

Our cable providers basic digital television package is an overwhelming deluge of choices. I’m nervous and fidgety when I chose something to watch, and I worry as to if I’ve made the wrong choice; was there something better on one of the other hundred channels. I’m wracked with the indecision of choice overload; and so I’ve chosen to watch television in the same mindless trance that I watched GTV-9, HSV-7, ATV-0, and ABC-2 back when in Melbourne. A few nights ago I was watching the nightly national news in a numb stupor. The TV was a nice fuzzy out of focus glow; I find this an enjoyable way to watch the evening news. I sat content in my television induced stupor, hearing a muffled and toneless drone from the TV

A new year and another new recall of blood pressure medication. Aurobindo Pharma announced it is taking off store shelves 80 lots of its Amlodipine Valsartan. Aurobindo said it hasn’t received any reports yet of adverse patient reactions to their products.

And I thought, how thoughtless of the makers of Amlodipine not to advertise their drug on television; they’d have been obliged to warn about the possible side effects of taking Amlodipine. How often do we hear at the end of a commercial for a pharmaceutical treatment for erectile dysfunction, plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, atrial fibrillation and stroke prevention, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis that it may cause serious allergic reactions, or could have side effects such as serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts, new or worsening depression, unusual changes in mood or behaviour, swelling, trouble breathing, hives, blisters, blurry vision, muscle pain with fever, rashes, constipation, heartburn, bladder dysfunction, tired feeling, skin sores, dizziness, sleepiness, headache, morning drowsiness, weight gain, and swelling of the hands, or legs and feet, and tongue or throat?

I remember back when taking a tablet for a headache, upset stomach, heartburn, or any ache or pain was as simple as swallowing an Aspro, taking a Vincent’s, or having a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down; and you didn’t worry about any unusual changes in mood or behaviour, swelling, trouble breathing, rashes, hives, or blisters. Aspro, Bex, and Vincent’s used to be the big three analgesics in Australia.


Aspro was simply asprin, and Bex and Vincents contained aspirin, phenacetin, and caffeine. During the fifties and sixties, Bex was advertised in all the ladies magazines as a panacea for calming down. And it worked; aunts, mums, and sisters discovered a better living through chemistry. Dissolving a Bex in a cup of tea became a common thing, and some women were consuming Bex and Vincent’s in addictive amounts; they became known as mothers little helper. In the seventies, phenacetin was linked to kidney and bladder cancers, and Bex and Vincent’s were banned. Aspro, with only aspirin as an active ingredient, has stood the test of time and today it is readily available in any chemist, supermarket, or online.

In the early twenties, the Nicholas company built an Art Deco style, ten-story, office building in Melbourne’s Swanson Street as a speculative investment. The Nicholas building isn’t on the must-see list of many Melbourne tourists, but it houses what I think is one of the most glamorous deco heritage arcades in the city; a highlight is the magnificent stained glass and leadlight archways that lead into the central dome. The ten stories of the building are a warren of galleries, studios and boutiques; some would say it’s one of Melbourne’s vertical laneways.

image source:jmcadam

I started to hear once again the muffled and toneless drone from the flickering television screen and was jolted back to reality

Amlodipine Valsartan has been found to contain the chemical N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) which the Food and Drug Administration has classified as a probably human carcinogen.

I’ve been taking Amlodipine for the last couple of years, and it’s now a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.

For some time now I’ve been visiting my doctor twice a year for standard check-ups. He likes to monitor my blood pressure, and once a year take a blood sample to check the Uric Acid level in my blood and do a lipid profile to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels. During a recent visit, he recommended that I have a chest CT; explaining that persons of my age, and who in the past had spent years smoking, have a reasonable chance of developing cancer. The initial scan revealed an indeterminate right upper lobe pulmonary nodule. A follow-up scan was scheduled; a scan with a different type of radiation.

image source:jmcadam

I walked into the reception area of The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, panicked that I was already five minutes late for my follow up CT scan, and gave the associate my name and appointment time. She spent some time searching a computer appointment data base. I confirmed my name several times, and she kept searching. After I handed her my printed appointment confirmation and scheduled, she smiled and explained I was at the wrong building; I should have been at least two miles away. She kindly called upstairs and located a scanning machine that was now available; after all, it was The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

Me: g’day
CT Machine Technician: If you wouldn’t mind just lying down on the bed
Me: (with a nervous tone) They said I was getting a different type of radiation this time
CT Machine Technician: Yep
Me: (in a playful manner) Probably higher frequency EMFs; something in the ionizing radiation part of the electromagnetic spectrum
CT Machine Technician: Just like being scanned 200,000 times at an airport
Me: (in a joking way) They scan for cancer at airports?
CT Machine Technician: (checking numbers on a screen) Not really
Me: (attempting humour) What about a fluoroscopy outside a shoe shop?
CT Machine Technician: Take a deep breath and hold it
Me: Umm, you’re leaving the room

The CT Machine Technician helped me up from my prone horizontal position on the scanning machine bed and ushered me down the hallway to the way out. I took a lift to the fourth floor and the Chihuly Sanctuary. The Chihuly Sanctuary is a collection of health care environment structures created by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and is a cornerstone of the Center’s Healing Arts Program. It’s a cool program; creating various art environments throughout the Center to support and comfort people. I sat on a circular bench in the large open cone and looked up. I became absorbed in the light playing off the sculptured crystal sconces; a similar but different light from the fuzzy out of focus television screen, and the stained glass and leadlight archways of the Cathedral arcade.

image source:jmcadam

The Center’s ten-story building isn’t on the must-see list of many Omaha tourists. The Cancer Hospital along with the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the Durham and SAC Museums, Fort Omaha, and the Old Market, is on our sightseeing guided tour for any of our friends and visitors who want to see the attractions of Omaha. A highlight of the tour is the but the two-storey Chihuly Sanctuary; home to ten remarkable flowers and nature-inspired art pieces.

You’ll have to excuse me; I think I just heard the clothes washer finish it’s spin cycle so I’ll need to go and put the clothes in the dryer. But before I do, I need to check my Amlodipine to see if there’s a warning about driving or operating heavy machinery, or if any possible side effects include hallucinations or confusion.


Chihuly Sanctuary

Nicholas Building Association

History of Australian Television