Look Out Below

Photo taken 6/18/2015.



The average price for a gallon of regular gas has fallen to $2.064. But this figure is only an average, and there are factors that could drive the price toward $1 in some states…


Photo taken 11/24/2015


Also taken on 11/24/2015


From 2008:  How low can the price of gas fall? With drivers paying the cheapest price to fill their tanks in nearly four years, it is a question many consumers are pondering, with some experts speculating it is possible prices could even drop below $1 per gallon. Prices already have decreased to below $1.25 per gallon in some parts of the Midwest. With the economy in a freefall, analysts do not rule out crude oil, which traded Friday in the mid-$40 range, sinking to $20 per barrel, a price that could translate to gas at $1 per gallon…

Pooped On


Since I’m not a lucky person, I can’t be the only one who’s never been the victim of bird poop that falls from the sky (not counting my car). That is, until yesterday…


There I was, taking pictures and minding my own business, when the turd arrived…


It bounced harmlessly off my arm (which obviously means that the bird who delivered the missile needs more fiber in his diet)…

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This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this is the first (and hopefully only) time I’ve been pooped on.

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Maybe our poop should come with a warning sound.

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Birds be like, it’s getting cold in New Mexico, we’re outta here.

(Photos taken yesterday.)


Don’t mind us, we’re just along for the ride.

Bayer weighs in on the Claritin-D saga

From: Bayer <cc-consreldept@bayer.iconsumer.us>
To: painkills2@aol.com
Sent: Tue, Nov 24, 2015 11:18 am
Subject: Bayer Response No.: 0034133290

Dear Ms. Stahl,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding Claritin-D Allergy & Congestion Tablets. I was concerned to learn about your experience following the use of this product. We are anxious to assist you.

Claritin-D is available behind the pharmacy counter without a prescription in most states * Each state regulates purchase of these products. Please check with your local regulatory agency to determine the limits in your state.

It is very important that we receive feedback from consumers. Product quality is our primary concern and comments such as yours ensure that we provide the best possible products.

We would be interested in learning more about your experience as we do forward this information to our Medical Affairs department.

Please contact us at 1-800-252-7484 weekdays 8:30am to 5:00pm Eastern Time to provide us with more information. It would be helpful if you would contact us as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this request. We look forward to speaking with you directly.


Dawn Lockwood
Consumer Advisor

* Except Mississippi and Oregon.

Thu, Nov 26, 2015 3:16 am

Dear Ms. Lockwood,

If you read my email, you would have learned that I don’t have a phone. As for being “anxious to assist me” by suggesting I contact my local regulatory agency, that’s not much help. Again referring to my email, I’ve already done that. And in fact, no regulatory agency, local or otherwise, has been of any help.

If you want more information about my struggles to purchase a box of Claritin-D, you can find it on my blog:


Johnna Stahl
Albuquerque, New Mexico

The FDA’s response re: annual limit on decongestants


Mon, Nov 23, 2015 12:11 am
RE: Annual limit on decongestants
From: DRUGINFO@fda.hhs.govhide details
To: painkills2@aol.com

Dear Johnna Stahl,

Thank you for writing the Division of Drug Information, in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), regarding the legal limit for pseudoephedrine-containing products.

As you may already be aware, the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine is subject to limitation under the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA). This Act was passed to control the distribution and sale of drug products that may be used to illicitly produce methamphetamine.

These legal requirements restrict over-the-counter sales of products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine (PPA) and are enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), not the FDA. For further information regarding CMEA, please visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/meth/index.html. For information on registration, enforcement, and policy, please visit DEA’s website at http://www.dea.gov.

The law limits the amount of pseudoephedrine that may be purchased per transaction and per month; no more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine per month, and no more than 3.6 grams per transaction may be purchased. The table below describes how much pseudoephedrine may be purchased based upon the strength of the drug.

The CMEA, as well as numerous state and local laws, require retailers of products containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine to capture customer data at the point of sale. In order to help track the purchases of pseudoephedrine, most states utilizes the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx). NPLEx offers a real-time electronic tracking service, free of charge, to law enforcement and state governments. Please be advised that only pharmacies and law enforcement have access to NPLEx. During the application process for access to the system, the registrant is asked to provide verification of either pharmacy or law enforcement status.

The pharmacy scans a government identification or enters the data into the secure MethCheck portal. The information is transmitted instantly to the database where it is available for review by law enforcement. The NPLEx tool, MethCheck, is entirely web-based, with no servers, software, or hardware. The data is housed at the Appriss data center, subject to annual FBI audit, and under tight security policies that include independent security testing and HIPAA compliance. Appriss is also the disaster recovery site for the National Law Enforcement Recovery System (NLETS).

I assume this database is run by the DEA, through state and local law enforcement?

FDA does not have or maintain a database of purchase history. However, you may use the NPLEx website (via https://www.nplexanswers.com/NPLExAnswers/content/startForm.go) to get a summary of the purchase history tied to your identification. You will need to enter the transaction ID from the denied sale and your last name. Please be advised that the FDA does not endorse any of the information contained on non-government websites.

Why would there be a transaction ID from the denied sale? Was the Walmart pharmacy employee supposed to give me a receipt that said I was denied?

Please note that some states do not participate in the above NPLEX system. Please contact your state Board of Pharmacy to determine if they participate in the NPLEX system or for assistance with your purchase denial if your state does not participate in the NPLEX system. Please be aware that some states already have regulations controlling the sale of products containing these ingredients. In instances in which state and federal guidelines conflict, stores are to follow the more stringent of the two. To learn your state requirements, please contact your state board of pharmacy, available through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at http://www.nabp.net/.

I can’t find specific information on decongestants on the NABP website, and I’m still waiting to hear back from the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy. (Actually, I’m not really waiting, as I don’t think I’ll ever hear from them again.)


Lastly, although the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA) restricts the over-the-counter (OTC) sales of products containing pseudoephedrine, your physician can still write a prescription for pseudoephedrine that will allow you to obtain greater amounts than the maximum OTC amounts allowed by the CMEA. The pharmacist would enter the prescription into the computer as if it were a prescription drug (meeting the regulation for logging/signing a record book), and the product would be purchased at the register, like paying for any prescription medication. Please note that this action would fall under the practice of medicine and is not regulated by the DEA or FDA.

Sure, pay for a doctor appointment and a prescription. Perhaps you can understand why I choose to just pay for over-the-counter allergy medicine? Of course, with all these regulations, Claritin-D is not really an OTC medicine anymore, is it?

Best regards,

Division of Drug Information
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Food and Drug Administration

For up-to-date drug information, follow the FDA’s Division of Drug Information on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fda_drug_info

This communication is consistent with 21 CFR 10.85(k) and constitutes an informal communication that represents our best judgment at this time but does not constitute an advisory opinion, does not necessarily represent the formal position of the FDA, and does not bind or otherwise obligate or commit the agency to the views expressed.

Who would have thought that it would be this hard to buy allergy medicine? And when the beginning of the year rolls around, will I cave in and buy more Claritin-D?  (Achoooooooo!)

This Unusual Owl Has The Most Mesmerizing Eyes You’ll Ever See


Zeus the Western Screech Owl was rescued by a couple in California when he flew into their home and hit his head, falling onto their porch in a daze. Zeus is completely blind… and his eyes look like night sky…

Because of his blindness, he can’t be released back into the wild. But he doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seems relieved to have found safety.

Lawsuit claiming DEA paid New Mexico man in crack tossed


ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a New Mexico man who says federal agents wrongfully supplied him with crack cocaine, reigniting his addiction to the drug.

U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday and said the law doesn’t allow for damages when a person’s own wrongful conduct is the cause of injury.

Aaron Romero says he was unknowingly targeted during an undercover investigation because he was a struggling addict and did not know he was helping agents break up a Las Vegas, New Mexico, drug operation…

George RR Martin Has a Message for Everyone Who Has a Problem With Syrian Refugees


Though Martin ended his post by saying that Donald Trump and the U.S. governors have it “wrong, wrong, wrong,” and that his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, would welcome those refugees fleeing ISIS, his fight continued against angry commenters who slammed the author’s views…

Martin shot back, “History has demonstrated many times that immigrants revitalize a society, and create much more than they take. The sort of ‘they are just a bunch of lazy leeches’ sentiment you are expressing here was also directed at the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, the Polish, the Chinese, and many other immigrant groups in the past, all of whom over time have vastly enriched the culture of America. I have no doubt that the same will prove true of the Syrians.”

Comcast issues in-browser warnings to users who are suspected of illegal file-sharing


The alerts are an extension of Comcast’s Copyright Alert System, which is called “Six Strikes.” The warnings appear whenever a user is suspected of doing something that that has to do with illegal file-sharing. They do not come in the form of an email or phone call, though; instead, users will get a pop-up message right on their web browser that tells them to stop what they’re doing.

Consumers who don’t heed the warnings can be penalized by the company in a couple different ways. Their data speed can be slowed to a crawl or, in some cases, the company can terminate access to the Internet altogether…

The notices seem to affect users most when they access websites with standard HTTP connections, which are not as secure as HTTPS connections. For users who want to avoid the alerts, there is an HTTPS Everywhere plugin for Chrome and Firefox web browsers that could be useful.

Love Lock

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I found a curious thing on a bridge overlooking the Rio Grande — padlocks. Was this a new type of art or just another trend that I, as an old lady, was unaware of?

And then I saw a photo of Love-Locks Bridge in Paris:


Couples that have found the loves of their lives take a lock, lock it on the fence, and throw the key in the river.

But, proving once again that all good things must come to an end:


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Bob and Nancy*

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Franklin and Toby*

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Emma and Madison*

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Alejandro and Elena*

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Anonymous Swingers

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Liam and Isabella*

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Renee and Fran

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Together Forever

*The names of lovers have been approximated.

(Photos taken 9/15/2015 and yesterday.)