Sam Bauman: A memory of bad old days of MAD, novel ‘Fail Safe’ |

Sam Bauman: A memory of bad old days of MAD, novel ‘Fail Safe’

Sam Bauman

I seem to have a knack for stumbling on books that seniors will remember. Latest example is “Fail-Safe,” by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. It dates from 1962 during the early stages of the Cold War days when schoolchildren were taught how to huddle under their desk in the event of a nuclear strike. An earlier version of the “mutual assured destruction” concept was Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” or “How I Learned to Live with the H-bomb.”

“Fail-Safe” is pretty grim reading, a portrait of technology that fails and attempts to prevent the end of Western civilization. But it’s pretty exciting reading and a vivid look at how we had to live with fear daily. I’m sure some seniors will remember those days and the book.

In 1962, I was in the Air Force, having spent two years on active duty, mostly with SAC arranging car races at Air Force bases for race car fan General Curtis LeMay. But I remember wondering if I was part of that “Fail-Safe” world.

This is hardly one time that seniors may not want to revisit, but it can remind us of how far technology can take us. Incidentally, Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22” came out at the same time with a much lighter tone. If you’ve noticed that about every five miles on the interstate, there’s a mile-long stretch of straight pavement. That’s because when the interstate was built in Cold War days, every five miles there had to be a mile-long stretch of straight pavement for emergency plane landings in case of war.

An eyeful

Dr. Sophie Bakri is a vision specialist at Mayo Clinic.

“It’s my privilege to serve patients who’ve experienced age-related vision loss. But frankly, I’d rather you never need the services my colleagues and I provide. We much prefer you prevent age-related vision loss and enjoy clear vision for life,” Bakri said. “Yes, we can help you prevent age-related vision loss. Our book ‘Mayo Clinic Guide to Better Vision’ provides reliable, practical information on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of serious eye disorders and on basic eye care and safety. Much of the information comes directly from the experience of health care professionals at Mayo Clinic, a world leader in medicine for over a century.”

Age-related eye conditions include farsightedness, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, eyelid problems and dry eyes. Preserving your vision and eyes by avoiding or slowing these problems is a key investment to make for the future.

Regular eye exams are essential. Early detection means easier, more successful treatments — improved treatments you can learn all about as well as the advice for an eye exam every one to two years.

Are carrots really good for your eyes? It turns out mom was right … foods high in vitamins A, C and E are essential for protecting the health of your retina. Carrots, berries, cantaloupe, mango and half a dozen more delicious foods are all good sources of these nutrients.

“Go get yourself some cheap sunglasses.” That was a pretty catchy tune, and it’s pretty good vision advice, too. Whether you prefer designer shades or bargain brands, choose lenses that filter 99 to 100 percent of ultraviolet A and B rays.

Permanent vision loss is no longer an inevitable consequence of macular degeneration. New research is changing how the disease is treated.

Tear-related problems create dry spots on the surface of the eye, leading to irritation and reduced vision. If that’s a concern, wear eye protection not only on sunny days, but windy days, too.

The book is available at

Local politics

I sat in with the Carson City Senior Center political forum last Friday to try and get a sense of local politics. I used to enjoy hearing from the Conservative Corner on Mondays at Grandma Hattie’s, but I’m no longer welcome there.

So I joined the forum in the lower reaches of the senior center, where four men and two women were waiting, along with a center moderator. All had strong political opinions and were happy to share them. They made sense, but it wasn’t strident; all made their points and moved on. Too bad it can’t be that way in national debates. Trump wasn’t loved and other candidates got their lumps.

And we didn’t get around to local races, such as for city mayor. But it was refreshing to hear locals expressing opinions in moderation. The forum meets the first Friday of the month at the senior center. Think I’ll join them again next meeting.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.