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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bonzo's Birthday

John Henry Bonham was born on this date in 1948. There are drummers and then there are Drummers. Bonham was a Drummer. Hard to imagine, but he would've been 64 had he lived to see this day. Not so old, but he's been gone so long now.

And maybe the suckage of modern life didn't start on April 9th, 1979. Maybe it started on September 25th, 1980.

Here's a bit o' Bonzo, his solo from "Moby Dick"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEG0buzCceQ
I always enjoy a good anecdote
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Led-Zeppelin-501/Zeppelin-Beatles.htm

This is a great tribute site
http://www.saladrecords.com/bonhamfiles.htm

And we have some of Bonzo's quotes about Zep life saved here
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_bonham.html

There are drummers I love for their precision and timing abilities. There are drummers I love for their solidity, or for their style of dropping it in the pocket. But Bonzo? I love him for his love of drumming. His love came out in bombastic bliss. The man brought me so much joy his drumming could and still can make me cry.
Happy Birthday, Bonzo. I miss you in this world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ack! I've Been Tagged by Lawless!

I loved playing Tag. Nothing gave me such regular adrenaline rushes as running like a maniac, laughing the whole time. The last time I played tag was at least ten years ago. I thought my Tag days were over, but no!Lawless at http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/ was tagged and tagged me in turn. There's no running in this Tag. You answer 11 questions, make up 11 more and tag 11 people to be It. Haha! Thank you Lawless!

Lawless' questions are.
You are going on a picnic.............
1.  Will you make the food yourself or get take out? Always make the food, always. Who can afford take-out these days?
2.  Will you use paper plates or pack real plates? I gave my picnic basket away, so it's paper plates now.
3.  Country or city park? We don't have a city park nearby, unless you count the Commons and nobody'd want to picnic there. So, country.
4.  Invite some friends to come along or not? Oh yes, friends.
5.  Use a bug spray or a screened dining tent? Neither. We avoid buggy places altogether and Skin So Soft is usually enough.
6.  Bring a ball and bat? Nah, we're not a very athletic crew these days.
7.  Pack the kids bikes? No kiddies around.
8.  Laze around the picnic site for the day or have an activity planned? The last picnics I've been on have involved a sightseeing place so that's the usual deal.
9.  Hope to find a picnic table or bring your own folding table? We plan for places that have tables.
10. Decide at the last minute to just go to a restaurant? So far, never happened.
11. Throw up your hands in defeat and stay home for a picnic on the deck? No deck,  but we once had a picnic in February in my old dining room. That was fun.
Okay, my turn! Questions...
1. What was the last movie you watched?
2. Did you go to a theatre or watch a dvd?
3. What's the new movie you want to see?
4. Always buy munchies at the theatre or smuggle them in?
5. Pay full price, hit the matinee, rent or buy?
6. What movie actor/actress do you make a point to always catch?
7. What's your favorite movie of all time?
8. Do you have a special movie memory (a first date, e.g.)?
9. What's the worst movie you ever saw?
10. Do you watch the credits?
11. What movie have you seen the most times and how many times have you watched it?
And Tag You're Its to:

John at http://disasterfilm.blogspot.com/
 
Rory at http://thescottishscribbler.blogspot.com/ (where are you, Rory?)
 
Wayne at http://wayneingmoments.blogspot.com/ (though he may not have time for it, I want to give his blog a plug)
Yay! Run and play, and thanks again, Lawless!

Maximum Saturation Point

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It could be a little less humid, but it's not an incubation chamber so who am I to complain. Any time there isn't condensation on the bathroom mirror before turning on the shower is a happy day.

The Battle for the Shire, part one, is shaping up. This will be longer and more involved than Tolkein ever dreamed up. Frodo didn't have to deal with paperwork and bureaucracy. 3-5 years before anything's on paper, says the BHA Director, to whom I spoke on Westy's radio show this morning. There are many bits and parts. What the gummit says, what the regs are, what funds are available, what flood mitigation can be done, what ultimately cannot be saved... there are so many things that even having a plan in 3 years is highly optimistic. Next Thursday will be the first of some Public Meetings about the whole deal. More info at
http://brattleborohousing.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/public-community-meeting-visions-and-concerns/
Everyone with an interest in what happens to Melrose, Hayes Court, Glen Park and the whole West B floodplain should get their arse there.

I've asked the local djs to announce it and will chat up my neighbors as much as I can stand to. The Princess will be going with me. I'm going to call our local tv station to make sure they're covering it.

What happened here last Summer is considered a "Hundred Year Flood", meaning it happens once in a hundred years. However, not knowing what Mother Nature may do at any time, Best Practices need to be done. We're walking into a minefield here and with the little research I've done it's obvious there are so many risk assessments and $ issues in so many areas that that alone is going to be a year. So, deep breath, we're going under for a long time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Whoopee!

We have a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and a Tornado Watch in effect until 9 p.m. I'm hearing rumbles and it's 88' F according to my porch thermometer, so there's a break to this miserable swelter in sight. Ah, sweet relief... I hope. You never know around here. Sometimes it'll pour and still not clear the air. This area has become Floridian, somehow.

But I have to say the gardens are looking lovely this year. My tomato plants are already over a foot tall and the roses are budded, just in time for June. A tad early, but looking very healthy.

Ah, more big rumbling... and sirens already. Hope the power doesn't go out... There goes the cat, and here comes the rain. Yay! 

Like the Inside of a Steamed Clam in Here

Oy, enough with the humidity already! At midnight it was the same temp and humidity as it is this morning- 75'F and 77%. The weatherbees keep saying we're gonna have thunderstorms after it climbs to near 90'F today. I may just go sit in the shower. This is absolutely disgusting. Not to mention exquisitely painful.

Let's escape via things to ponder.

But was mama good lookin'?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/28/daddy-rich-inherited-wealth-agriculture

Wait, there's a happy-go-lucky gene?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524215339.htm

The earthquake in Italy
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/29/italy-earthquake

David Gilmour's house was built over a WW2 bomb
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/pink-floyd-guitarist-wife-evacuated-wwii-era-bomb-found-mansion-article-1.1085655

To quote Mac, "I can't even":
 http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/05/25/a_memorial_day_thought_maybe_general_pittard_really_does_speak_for_us_on_suicides

Fukushima tuna in California
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/29/tuna-contaminated-radiation-fukushima-california?intcmp=122

Then we're saner than we think
http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/23/talking-to-yourself-not-so-crazy-after-all/

Stay cool, it's not even Summer yet...

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

Just in case by some chance you haven't seen it, here is the best proposal I've ever seen. Ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_v7QrIW0zY

Today is Memorial Day, meant to be a remembrance day of all those who've died in wars. Perhaps we ought also to remember to celebrate life in peace.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tout à Propos de la Bête

Un hommage à mon chat...
Bien que la Bête peut être agréable et doux au toucher, il ya quelque chose d'assez troublant.
Elle est assise avec son cul pointé vers mon visage.
Elle dort avec son cul pointé vers mon visage.
La Bête sent mille urinoirs sales.
La Bête est un porc nauséabond.
La Bête n'est pas laver son anus.
Elle a une odeur d'égout.

J'espère que mon français n'est pas aussi mauvais que son odeur ...

Saturday Rummage Box

I've had news and things that I've wanted to post lingering in my email inbox for days. There's no commonality to tie it all together so since this is the first of the Great Yard Sale Weekends I'll just clean out my spare bits and put them all here for your weekend perusal.

Here is a local newsy tv show, this episode from 4 or 5 years ago, done during that Strolling of the Heifers weekend and just posted to YT. So many friends are in it that I had to promote it- Naked Brattleboro:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkKowS7K9Ic
Need a laugh? Very funny parts from the Graham Norton Show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4by520hSFvA

The Montreal protests are in full swing:
 
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/beautiful-video-montreal-protesters-banging-pots-pans-viral-article-1.1085055
I love this guy. Here's a real cook:
http://www.youtube.com/user/FromUnderTheRock
Had an epitaph discussion with a friend which led to

http://www.reconnections.net/tombstone.htm

Straight out of my recurrent nightmare:
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120522-barcode-everyone-at-birth

Straight out of Star Trek
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/needleless-injections-0524.html

Brave, and somewhat scary, new world?
http://www.economist.com/node/21555545

In Syria:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/26/syria-houla-military-assault-children

In Egypt:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/egyptian-election-results-nightmare-scenario

Photos of the week:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/york-pictures-week-17-24-gallery-1.1084200

There, that's better. Rummage away; it's all free. Take what you like and leave the rest for the next fellow baby.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Geek Pride Day

Today, May 25th, is Geek Pride Day, also Towel Day (for Hitchhiker fans), Star Wars Day and the Glorious 25th of May (for Discworld fans).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_Pride_Day

If you are questioning your geekish orientation, consult this flowchart
http://www.flowtown.com/blog/the-evolution-of-the-geek?display=wide

Fly your geek flag, go to a geek bar, support geekdom.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Joy Abounds

Comcast email is down again. They don't know when it'll be fixed, either. And just when I was in the middle of something fairly important, natch. I'm just so happy and full of joy about the whole thing that I can't even express it. Oh, thank you Comcast, once again.

The Etan Patz Case. 33 Years Later

Etan Patz was a little blond 6 year old boy on his way to his school, only 2 blocks away from his SoHo home in NYC, when he vanished on May 25th, 1979. I lived in NYC then. The nightly news and daily papers dedicatedly followed the story. Leaflets and posters were everywhere you walked, in every neighborhood in every borough. Telephone poles and booths, bus stops, store windows, trees, all wore Etan Patz's smiling face. He was the first child ever put on milk cartons. He was never found.

33 years later the way missing children cases are handled has changed a lot. We have Amber Alerts now, a system where information about a missing child is quickly broadcasted to the public. Around here, a banner appears at the top of your tv screen, like the Emergency Broadcast System. It's thankfully a very rare sight. Most cases end with the child safely recovered. Etan Patz is still not recovered.

Recently, law enforcement revisited the case and perhaps closure is near.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/etan-patz-case-nypd-person-custody-implicates-6-year-old-disappearance-death-article-1.1083765

Etan would be 39 years old now, had he lived to grow up. This Friday marks the anniversary of the Friday he went missing. I hope his family gets the resolution they've waited decades for.

Ed. Update: There has been a confession made.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/24/etan-patz-suspect-new-jersey
Though this doesn't find Etan's remains, perhaps finally knowing what happened will bring some kind of closure. My heart goes out to the Patz family.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Weekly Reader

Remember The Weekly Reader? No? Perhaps you're too young for that. But I don't know, is it still around? It was, when the Earth was young, a newsletter/catalog for kids, distributed at school to encourage buying books and reading them. It pissed my parents off, as we'd bring it home and start lobbying for books like Ralphie did the air rifle in A Christmas Story. I still have the first book bought from the Weekly Reader when I was in first grade, Three Stories from Winnie the Pooh.

We all grew up with reading habits of varying degree. To this day Billy and I will watch tv, with book in hand, and read during commercials. It annoys spouses, I can tell you.

This week I've been reading The Portable Blake, William Blake's compiled poetry and prose; rereading A Feast for Crows (I didn't seem to absorb it well the first time) by GRR Martin; and The Book of General Ignorance, a sort of QI offshoot-companion.

The last time I read any Blake was in college and what a difference some decades make in one's understanding and reaction. Where his dramatic phrases touched my heart as a teenager, they seem morose and overblown now. I've grown old. He's still good, just a bit hysterically whiny to me. His writings about his artwork are revealing, however. The subtleties I never caught are explained. It's a good read.

The Book of General Ignorance is an unsung treasure. Its purpose is to correct common fallacies that have come to be believed, like the fact that you can't see the Great Wall of China from the moon, or even from space once beyond a few hundred miles, where even the continents aren't visible. It corrects things that were wrongly included as fact in Trivial Pursuit-type games. An interesting geek book, not for everyone.

And A Feast for Crows, on second reading, is just as dense but more accessible. The problem I have with this tome is the density. So many characters that are in the story and then gone, Houses that make an appearance, maybe something pivotal happens because of their action, and you aren't sure if they'll ever be back so you don't invest in them, and then here they are again -wait, who are they and what'd they do? On a second reading it's cohesive and it all sinks in.

The coming weekend being a holiday weekend, I'll get lots of lovely reading time in. Nothing is happening until Monday. There'll be fresh sheets on the bed, cool drinks in the fridge and a fan lazily oscillating while I escape to other lands. And I have a stack of never-reads awaiting me. Heaven.

Wednesday Already?

It's the middle of the day in the middle of the week. How the hell'd that happen? It was Monday morning about an hour ago. And here we are already with Memorial Day weekend just another few hours away. Somehow no matter how much I do nothing is ever done, there's always more incoming and every time you settle one situation down something else pops up. Life is tiring.

For one, I predict The Shire will fall. The Powers That Be had a predetermined goal all along and in a skillful game they have the upper hand because in the end they are TPTB. The game starts with a stacked deck. Combine that with who stands as their would-be opposition, a group of poor, old and disabled, some with meager education and even less experience in politics, and a couple of very crazy people. Guess who's got the best chance of winning?

Which doesn't mean I'll give up. I've fought in lots of losing battles. Sometimes by luck or sheer obstinance you end up winning. We do have one card that will be turned when the time is right.

I'm meeting with a State Senator tomorrow. There'll be a better idea of the odds and what nobody's saying after that. But it doesn't look rosy right now.

Special K is moved in here, for the most part. She's kind of between places, with stuff still at the old place. But she's okay and getting help to finish things. Her aunt will be moving back this weekend, the last of the evacuees to return to homebase.

It seems a bit pointless to really settle in here if we're going to be moved in 3 years. It's kind of demotivating. When I first came here the plan was to be here for the long run, unless something of outrageously good fortune changed things. Now I don't even want to plant anything else in the ground, or unpack anything more. Why bother when in a short couple of years it'll all have to be taken down, repacked and moved to another place? Especially when you know that packing what you've already unpacked will take you long enough and you won't be in any better shape to do it, and probably worse shape.

Plenty of my neighbors are fine with that. They've been "in the system" long enough to have accepted their role as pawns and to do as they're told without question. Some, in their elder years, just don't have it to fight anymore, and say so. But it seems to me to be a dehumanizing process is taking place. We are a nation with some very very rich people and go around the world touting how good everyone has it here. Well, yes, we have a higher standard of living than others, but if we're going to shoot our mouths off about democracy and freedom and rights we ought to be respecting those ideals  across the board right here at home. What's clear to me is that in this country it's money that matters, nothing else. Those with money are always looking to get more and keep all they have while accruing. This place is prime real estate now, though it wasn't 50 years ago when it was built. It can be razed and raised above floodplain level for tax-producing McMansions to dot the lovely land beside the Brandywine. Follow the money.

And all because of a once in a lifetime flood that opened a door in a perfect way to get rid of this Affordable Housing complex. How convenient.

Monday, May 21, 2012

We Need a Hero

It's not only been a busy day, it's Amazonian climate again. This is not the May in Vermont I've known. But what can you do? Ya just have to deal.

So I won't be sitting here long but I had to share this terrific hero story. Cause we all need a hero now and then.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/upper-west-side-dad-rescues-unconsious-woman-72nd-st-subway-station-article-1.1081406

Catch up with you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solomon's Grundy

Much to report, as always. While there's good (my nephew's podcast is gaining popularity, yay!)  http://www.poddammit.com/

We've lost Robin Gibb
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/20/robin-gibb

While the spirit of protest lives
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/protesters-swarm-chicago-nato-summit-article-1.1081529

Artistic expression takes a trouncing
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/20/lady-gaga-faces-asian-concert-bans

And apart from good and bad, there's innovation
http://io9.com/5910682/a-virus-that-creates-electricity

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428654.100-braincontrolled-arm-could-beat-paralysis.html

http://www.kurzweilai.net/ultrasensitive-biosensor-promising-for-medical-diagnostics

And there's research
http://www.livescience.com/20423-alzheimers-gene-brain-blood-vessels-leak.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/05/eureka-when-a-blow-to-the-head-creates-a-sudden-genius/257282/

Exercise, genetics and your Brain
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518132812.htm

This why I read so much, they could've just asked me
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=unhurtful-thoughts-preoccupied-brain

And this really intrigues me; it could unlock so much
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/frontal-cortex/

Okay, enough for now. I'm going to go read; it's getting very humid...

Lady Windemere of Fartingale Manor

A couple of weeks ago the Beest had a pronounced gas problem. Of course, being a cat, she tooted away sans care. She seemed to rather enjoy it, stretching and sighing contentedly. I cared and I wasn't enjoying it. She lays next to me on the desk shelf, fanny pointed right at my nose all day and sleeps with her butt pointed at my head at night. Each blast was a gust from Hell. The culprit was the beef Friskies and once that was gone so were the sulphuric mushroom clouds. End of problem.

However. For the last few months I've generally been eating healthy. Fresh meats, fruits, veggies, good cheeses. Happy, no sugar, no refined starches, no unpronounceables. Just nice, Adele-Davis-would-approve-foods. Weight dropped, energy rose, everything running well. Until Saturday.

In a Summer inspired madness I bought a package of Hannaford "wieners". Totally avoiding reading the ingredients (we know what's in there), I boiled a couple up to dirty water standards, slapped em on whole oatmeal bread with relish and mustard. What could be wrong with having a couple of wieners? The whole world loves wieners!

Oh my.

I've never in my life had such an experience. I don't even know how that much gas could be formed in one body and still be alive. That amount would be, I'd heretofore imagined, what causes spontaneous combustion. Every type and variety of poot and blast. Ratatats to groaners, on and on.The intestines "wuum"ed and burbled. The Beest promptly left me alone. She stayed in front of the open window across the sitting room, all day and all night. She wanted no part of me. I wanted no part of me. The only comfort lay in the fact that we don't fart right under our noses. Maybe there was a god involved in designing the human body. Or maybe the ones who developed arseholes under their noses killed themselves without breeding.

Retiring for bed it seemed to be abating. But I sleep on my stomach. As soon as I assumed the sleeping position every rotten egg that had been hiding decided to come out to play. I eventually fell asleep but damned if I could stay there. My own ass kept waking me up. This went on all night. I'm tired.

The rest of that package of wieners is in the freezer. They're unregistered weapons. I'm sure they'll come in handy, some day... heheh.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pants On Fire

Every day I have more evidence that reality is way stranger than fiction. And people are stranger than either. Amid close encounters of the nerd kind, close brushes with certifiably nutty people and lovely time spent in good company, this week jammed on by.

Special K is moved in and I'm standing by as a home base for any needed anything. The sun is shining and my rose bushes are reaching for the source. I'm relieved and impressed at everything that survived and seems to be thriving post-flood here. Even the hummingbirds and yellowjackets are out in force. Some of the trees didn't fare as well, unfortunately.

We lost Donna Summer, Chuck Brown,  Vidal Sassoon and Goober of "The Andy Griffith Show" this week.

Some random stuff:
But was she a liar?
 http://www.weather.com/news/rocks-shorts-on-fire-20120518

Related to the PhotoPrompt? :)
http://www.9news.com/news/article/268207/188/Mystery-object-nearly-causes-mid-air-collision

Another sign of the Catholic Church's decline?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/16/1092167/-Catholic-bishops-threaten-to-sue-for-their-right-to-hate-lady-parts

Today is Food Revolution Day
http://foodrevolutionday.com/

If I don't get back here, have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday's PhotoPrompt


Tego was the first to see it. She ran back to us in the village, yelling and screaming. I thought she had been hurt. We all went outside and saw her pointing up to the sky. We stood still and watched. It was a big noisy bird but I never saw or heard one like it before. Our children were frightened and cried. It didn't come down or even hunt. It flew away toward the day's end. Maybe that is where it lives and it was lost. It did not seem to notice us. This time we were safe. I don't know what such a big bird means. But it worries me. I hope it does not come back.

Helplessly Hoping

Never a dull moment. I'd like to have some dull moments.

The Battle for The Shire has started. Which is on my mind and what I can't talk about here.

But superceding that right now is the news that my Indy SIL's Dad has Alzheimer's Disease. This is devastating to the family. Yes, he's quite up there in years and it's just the beginning of the disease. He's 90. He's had a good run in life and up til now has lived on his own and done what he wanted. That's over; lately he's had a few episodes that scared the bejesus out of everyone. Alzheimer's can run any of several ways, lasting years or just a few months. Deterioration can be slow and subtle or like a landslide. I lived through my StepGranny's horrendous ride and witnessed a good friend's Father's demise a couple of years ago. My SIL has to deal with this all on her own, finding a place for him to get assisted living for now and then deal with the advanced stages as they come up. I am so glad to hear she won't be trying to have him live with her and take care of him herself. That's a nightmare even with 2 people to split the work. Doing it alone? No, that's beyond impossible.

Losing someone to Alzheimer's is different from anything else I know and I can't find anything to compare it to. My friend Lise wrote about it after her Father died
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php?story=20091125112247759
But every situation is singular. For some people the decline is so slow it's easy to think it's not really happening; an episode here and there until the final stages come. For others it's rapid; so fast, in fact, that nobody has time to wrap their heads around what's going on day to day. That may lead to only a matter of months til death. Suddenly it's over and you're in a PTSD-like state, and second guessing yourself in guilt forever afterward. It's been 29 years since my StepGranny's death and I still don't have peace with it. She was bedridden and my Mom and I were her caregivers, and I wouldn't wish that role on anyone. Those 6 months were a Twilight Zone. I went home to help, worked at a bakery 3a-11a and took the day shift with her so Mom could rest. I hate to say it but it was a relief when she died. I moved back to Brooklyn and went on with my life, and worked through the after-effects with the help of my friends. It's not an experience I'd recommend. No matter what you do it never seems right or enough. No matter how much you care or give it's a losing battle.

And now my SIL and my whole Indy family have to deal with it. She's very close to her Dad. He's always been a force to be reckoned with and now this happens. There are no words. I just hope they make it through okay.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thunderbolts and Lightning...

very very frightening the Beest. She hid under the bed. Then under the sofa. Then behind my chair. Frankly, I didn't think she could fit back there. That lusxious wave of cool air came down. Aaah. But wait, there's weird light coming from the east. It's after 8 p.m. That's not right.

Aha. There's a "Severe Thunderstorm Warning" in effect until 10. Doesn't bother me. I like these things. Tomorrow's supposed to be beyoootiful.

The meeting? Yes, it happened. Really wish I could say more (a LOT more) but it wouldn't be prudent. Now starts the real work, for me, anyway. Oh how I wish I could tell the story. But not til everything goes public and it's over.

Tonight I'm fitting the pieces of my head that fell apart back together. In the morning I'll summarize the plans cooked up in an organized fashion and send them off to those involved.  If all goes well, tomorrow I'll be back blogging as per usual. For the rest of the night I'm vegging out and watching Grant's last GhostHunters episode, then taking my slaggy old ass to bed and reading my way to dreamland.

Night-night, dear reader. I'll see you tomorrow with news and adventures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hello, I Must Be Going

I feel badly that I just don't have the time to blog this week. If I could, I'd offload all that's going on and freckling my balls but I can't without causing damage so I won't. That's what friends are for, they say.

So thank you, Stevil, for letting me vent at you.

I did receive a great present yesterday. My Niecely made me a handstitched House of Stark bookmark. It's much too nice to stick in a book, though, so I'm hunting for a frame. Yes, the hanging of things is back, about one year after the first hanging of things project. lol

But everything will take a number while I take meetings and brainstorming sessions. And try to keep my patience and temper when I'm in a huge amount of weather-caused pain. I really am a right bitch when things hurt this much. 4 Aleves in me and it's only taken off the edge. Enough with the rain already. What are we, in the Amazonian jungle?

Anyway, here's my song of the day, "A Matter of Trust"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaOZ3Gkoruw

Did you hear France's new President's plane was hit by lightning? No joke, it was! Everyone's okay. Ach, don't get me started on the news. I have things to get done before I have to fall out.
Everyone hang in there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Painy Days and Mondays

It's incredibly warm and muggy in here today, that Florida effect of living in a valley in the rain.  Which does no good for arthritic things and tests my coping skills.

So I'll post the news highlights and reserve the rest for when I'm not so bitchy.

And I thought Time's cover was a new low:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-named-gay-president-newsweek-magazine-cover-article-1.1077462

2,000 dead birds in Chile
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2-000-dead-birds-found-beaches-chile-article-1.1077026

Horrors in Mexico go on
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/13/mexican-authorities-find-mutilated-bodies

The EU is not OK
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/13/eu-leaders-showdown-eurozone-crisis

The dead don't get to rest anymore
http://entertainment.in.msn.com/hollywood/freddie-mercury-to-come-alive-at-queen-show-3

They didn't miss our 18 dollars:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18053563

And though I have mixed feelings about Disney, I'll have to see this
http://www.disney.co.uk/brave/

On with the day!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers, Movies, Geraniums and Bragging

Happy Mother's Day. The Shire was at capacity parking today as everyone from miles around came to take Mom out to lunch. I associate Mother's Day with the smell of geraniums. Every year our church gave the kids little geranium plants to give our mothers, and I'd walk home with my face in the plant. I love that ozone-y smell.

We didn't get it together to go to the movie today. The week was so full and everyone's busy. There must be a dozen things in a day that aren't done. I remember things I was going to do when I'm in bed, and sometimes make a to do list for the week ahead. Everything is a long-term project because I have to fully figure things out before physically doing anything, so they get done when they get done. This week, next week, whenever I can. Neither my mind nor body work as they used to, so the way to make that acceptable is to think ahead. Trouble with that is there's always something half-done or ready to be done and your dance card is always filled, even when you thought you had free time. Going to a movie is a luxury and can't be a priority in a busy Spring like this one. Since I blocked time today, I watched movies on tv (a great way to do nothing). The "Star Trek" movie from 2009 was terrific! In the Way Back times I was a devoted Trekker, and seeing a prequel of the tv series done so well was a treat. I'm kind of half-heartedly watching "Avatar" now. The CGI and animation are fab, but nearly an hour in the story hasn't grabbed me. Different strokes.

And in the cause of shameless family promotion I have a grand announcement. My nephew Derek, a natural-born critic, has founded a website where he reviews podcasts. He's aiming to get at least one done a week, and today is working on the 2nd edition. I'm putting up an adult warning, because as he says, it's "Profane Podcast Reviews". It's funny and biting. I think he's found his calling. But I'm prejudiced because he's my favorite nephew and I think he's brilliant. ;) See or rather listen for yourself at
 http://www.poddammit.com/

The sun is sinking, the Beest is stinking up the house and I have to go turn on lights and get things ready for tomorrow. I'll be back with news and such in the morning. Enjoy the evening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tat's the Way I Like It

With all the hoohah I never did get around to telling you all about getting the tattoo done, which I'd promised.

We pulled up to the place, a storefront in a small strip mall. "Viking Tattoo and Valhalla Gift Shop" said the sign in the window. Inside the store cum living room of the owners, there were some showcases, mostly empty. Some nice blown-glass hash pipes, stash boxes, a couple bongs and hookahs. I didn't see any "adult" things, just these cases and a large Rottie behind a counter, who "Bo-roff"ed up a storm until an owner came from the back room. That was Donna, who runs the front of the biz. She confirmed our appointments and left us to look at the hanging catalogs and various reams of tat pix. Since I wasn't shopping, Special K began her hunt for a butterfly that she wanted on her back.

The tat artist who was going to do mine, Jim, was busy with other people so I went through the catalogs, hunting for a Thor I might like for the future. Only found 3, and didn't like any of them. There wasn't anything particularly Viking about the place either. It's a regular wood-paneled, indoor-outdoor carpeted storefront. Meanwhile, Special K's artist came out and conferred with her. He went back and forth a few times, bringing reworked art for her approval until she was happy (not an easy achievement). They took off to his station and got going. Jim emerged from his office and took me back to his station.

Things have changed in tat world. I had to sign things saying I saw him open a new needle and such, he scrubbed like a surgeon and put on gloves. He alcoholed my arm and got right to the outline. Greg had signed from the top of the muscle down and around at an angle that ended on bone. Tatting on bone is painy, but not much, and the only part that hurt at all. I don't understand how people can say tats hurt. Like I said, unless it's banging on bone it doesn't. I was glad that the fat lines of the "G" and "L" were on muscle, though. It's a big signature for 8 letters and took a long time. Jim and I chatted about the changes, things that should've changed in 40 years but haven't, and music.

Special K was just getting done when I was talking about future tats with Jim. He's a nice guy, been at it since 1982. Your regulation biker type. He looked at my old tats, said he could re-ink them for $125. I'm still thinking about that. He said he'd have to make Coney Island Freddie's tat bigger, and I really don't want that changed. It's an original. I want a second opinion.

I scrutinized Special K's since she couldn't really see it. Good job that guy did. He's talented. We got our care instructions and paid up. As we were leaving I noticed the family migrating to the sofa in a corner of the store to watch a widescreen tv. Their day was winding down, it was 4 p.m. Freshly tattooed, we headed back here for Happy Hour and to cluck over our adventure. I was proud of Special K; I didn't even hear a whimper out of her through the whole thing.

"Greg Lake
     xxx"
is permanently on me. It's 16 days old now, pretty much healed (but I have to keep moisturizing it, the skin's not as young as it used to be). I don't recall peeling before like I did this time, but things have changed, and it's fine.

If I ever go up there again, I'm gonna ask about the "adult gift shop" part.

NYC Street Foods: Knishes

I grew up with street food. Vendors were, and I suppose still are, on most busy corners. The variety is amazing. Every ethnicity of the city gets represented, which changes over time as the immigration waves change. Back in my day, the staples of street food were pretzels, hot dogs, chestnuts (in winter) and knishes. Pronounce the "K". :)
 
Knishes are technically somewhat junk food. They're fried. Mashed potatoes and onion in a shell. But they're so good, so economical, and they'll carry you through hours of whatever it is you have to do. A perfect street food, and a perfect handwarmer in winter, but yummy anytime.
 
Knishes  
 
1/2 package defrosted egg roll wrappers (a 1# pkg is usually 20 wrappers- you'll need 10)
 
In a large bowl, mash and then whip smooth, or blend in a processor;
 
1 large onion, minced and browned in skillet
2+ lbs potatoes, peeled, well boiled and drained very dry- 
to make 4 cups mashed potatoes (one may use 4 c. instant mash if wished)
1/2 stick butter, soft
1/2 c. 1/2 & 1/2
salt & blk pepper to taste
 
Cool to room temperature.
 
In a cup:
1 egg, whisked with a little water
 
Assemble:
Lay a wrapper in front of you, points out as in a diamond. 
Spoon a bit of the mash into the middle (not too much) and turn the points in over the mix to make an envelope over the potatoes. Brush the top and seams well with the egg wash to seal. Repeat until all wrappers are done. Refrigerate to dry (about 20 minutes).
 
In a deep fry pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil to sizzle but not smoking. Fry knishes on both sides til crispy. Dry on towel, serve while hot. Split and dress with horseradish, mustard, onions, sauerkraut, etc. or simply eat whole.
 
Serves 5-10 people, depending on their appetites.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Starting Over

Following the Great Greg Caper my eating went all to hell. The birthday is a mini-holiday season; the difference being that it lasts about 2 weeks instead of a month. I knew it would happen; my friends like to eat, drink and bake. So there was pizza. And chocolate. Ice cream. Little chocolate donuts. And even Oreos. A steady stream of sugar, in fact, that culminated in mocha-choco-latte-yayas and Grotke cupcakes. After 4 months of good eating, my system rebelled at everything. Nothing settled well and yet I ate on, knowing full well this episode would end in the bathroom just like the rest. Insanity.

I felt like a sugar junkie, incapable of saying no to it, relishing the burn and the high and puking every time I ate it. My body just doesn't want it in my system anymore.

So on Monday I stopped the insanity. Cleared the starches and sugary stuff out and gave them to neighbors. But the craving is there. Making the shopping list from the supermarket website I noted every baked baddie, every bit of junk on sale. Spaghetti made it onto my list, then was scratched out. Just say no, right? It ain't that easy, Nancy.

So tonight I baked up some sweet potatoes and onions. It's a healthy middle ground. I'll be damned if I regain the 40 pounds I fought off. Sugar is like junk to me. So things like carrots, sweet potatoes, onions... I figure they're like methadone. They're sweet but healthy, and cheap enough, too. Toss them in a roast pan and in an hour there's a dinner that staves off the craving without blowing my waistline, budget or guts later. I really wish I'd just stayed with the eating I was doing. That was a reckless detour that did nothing but get me sick. But I've started over and it's going well. I've learned that lesson, I hope. 

Now What for %$!#s Sake?

What is the issue now on Blogger? For days and days I've had trouble signing in, commenting, or merely viewing anything. Now I can't even respond to comments on my own blog.

Yes, it's free, and most of the time it's been wonderful.

But lately, really not so much. Why don't they leave well enough alone and knock off all these changes that make everything worse? Since last April it's been one issue after another. Even then, it wasn't as frustrating as it's been lately. Ach. Bah. Feh.

Gimping On

Hallelujah the email's back and it seems things are in order. It's really a lovely day, blue skied and breezy. Even the maples are leafing out.

The day started off with a surprise meeting in my living room at 9 this morning. The town (and apparently our administrators) are working to tear down The Shire. We Hobbits are not amused. There are some sharp brains involved on our side. But however fast we move, they have a running start and we don't know what deals have been made because the PTB insiders aren't talking. With little background on what deals were cut, we're at a loss. These things do have transparency rules, so I've put out feelers to the folks who pay attention and know how to get that info. The second Battle for The Shire begins.

It's Thursday already. The week's almost over and the weekend looms. I do believe some of us are going to see "The Avengers" on Sunday. We'll see how that turns out. My niece raved about it and I have googly eyes for Chris Hemsworth so it's a must-see in my book. This is a nicely social Spring. No grand gatherings as we once did, but small get-togethers. I'm still trying to get the Sorting Hat Party sorted. Everyone's so busy it's like herding frogs to get three or more in one place at one time.

There isn't much news that you all haven't heard by now so I'm ignoring it, except for the death threat to Claire McCaskill:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/kill-claire-mccaskill-applauded-son_n_1503243.html

And away we go...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And Speaking of Little Things

Comcast email is down. Again. The message says the server is under maintenance and I should try again in a few minutes. It's said that for hours now.

The bedroom is almost done with all things but 2 in place. I need to switch out a bedside table and move the lamp... no big deal. Moving the heavy oak bedframe wasn't as tough as expected. If you get the right angle on things it works to your advantage, especially when there are wheels. ;)

So yeah, a good day of small accomplishments. Except I don't know where to put the other table... the Chinese puzzle strikes again.

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe email will be back, maybe it'll keep saying to try again in a few minutes. I can't get all worked up about it. I'll just curse like a longshoreman and let it go. :)

My Aim is True

My lights are back, my sink's draining just fine and the Beest has been unsettlingly sweet. Liitle good things. Which are important when there are many bad things.

Some people are blowing trivial spats way out of proportion while huge meteors have lately fallen on people I care deeply about. Really, try to get me to care about your pissy childish tantrums over next to nothing? Sure you wanna do that? Go on then. Whine and kvetch and demand sympathy when you're making much more of it than it needs be. You'll only get a pointed stare from me right now. But stay away from the tops of staircases. I'm not the only one who doesn't want to hear it.

Catastrophies fall on people and there's nothing you can do but be a witness, hold a hand, be available. All the support and love you offer can't stop them from happening. We are all woefully impotent in the face of disaster. After all the questions are answered and all the options explored sometimes there's nothing but living with the Bad Thing That's Happened. Maybe that's why we make gods. Humans have a sense of what's right and wrong, what's fair and unfair. And when there's wrongitude and nothing to be done for it we still need hope that somehow it'll be put right. A celestial court where in the end, the good will prevail. I stopped believing in that a long time ago. Pie in the sky isn't for me.

Things are what they are. Do your best, however limited or feeble it seems. Sometimes even knowing what your best is in a situation is boggling. But keeping your aim true is what matters.

I struggle to have perspective. Most things aren't worth "getting your bowels in an uproar", as Mom used to say. Indulging in petty squabbles is a waste of time and is, in the end, meaningless egotistical games of dick-dick. Call it out and leave it. As Herman said, "Wish them upon themselves." That keeps the way clear for dealing with the real meteors that fall from nowhere and change things forever. I've found that with perspective my own meteors are manageable. Things really can always be way worse. Some things never get better. It's enough to deal with things as they are. Nobody needs to dramatize them if they're truly bad.

And if someone wants drama, there are always staircases...

Here are some great quotes by a wise man, William Blake

And when things are much too serious there's silly comedy

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It Was a Dark and Rainy Day...

The kitchen light bulbs blew and it's quite dark today. It's one of those brooding Spring days when there isn't much light making it through the new canopy of leaves and gray clouds. The rain's steady, too. I'm waiting for one of the guys to show up with new tubes when I read the news that Maurice Sendak has died. As my Mom would've said, the angels are crying.

And that's just the start of the news today.
Sarkozy's out, Hollande is in
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/07/francois-hollande-nicolas-sarkozy

Merkel tells Greece and France to budget
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/07/eurozone-crisis-merkel-athens-paris

Santorum contradicts himself
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election-2012/rick-santorum-endorses-mitt-romney-calling-gop-rival-worst-choice-battle-president-obama-article-1.1074168

The least bang for your buck? In the US, of course
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/health-care-spending-highest-japan-lowest-spending-8000-person-compared-countries-europe-article-1.1073819

Why are the wild things dying?
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/world/americas/peru-has-no-answers-on-dead-dolphins-and-seabirds.html?

I'll refrain from the Stones song references
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/science/wild-horses-fate-in-outer-banks-lies-in-preservation-clash.html?ref=science

Must be a Romney relative
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10232297

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Thoughts and Long Talks

What a weekend. Not only is it really good to hang with old pals but some real talking goes on. Of course nothing was solved, more questions were raised if anything, but I'm surprised at how relieving it was. I've been sleeping so well after these gab sessions. From the trivial to the deep, ideas and thoughts, reasons explored, the things we can't understand, all of it was pulled out and examined. And a lot of laughing and good food thrown in, too. From Wendy's 7-Layer Salad to Grotke's cupcakes (I swear they could cause world peace) we ate well. And who knew that eating well and sleeping deeply (even if not as long as one would like) would be so restorative. We didn't solve anything. We didn't find any brilliant new directions. We just got it out, and we can do that without trauma or pressure. I'm tired this morning but it's good.

Very exciting is that Lise and Chris gave me new art supplies for my birthday (yes, it goes on). I've never even heard of these new pencils that are solid graphite and I can't wait to use them. Drawing pens! With archival ink! And acid free, smooth, thick drawing paper! Just when I was down to the last pad of rough stuff and didn't know how I'd get Daryl's present done on that. Things come together in miraculous ways.

There's a lot to be done this week, but I'm not hassled by it.

Today starts the "PhotoPrompt" challenge for bloggers that Lawless invented. You can give it a whirl by visiting her blog at
http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/
and let her know you're in. Each Monday there'll be photos from which you can be inspired to write a post. I've seen today's and am letting it sink in before I write. Too many ideas can be as distracting as none at all!

Okay, time to get the day moving.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Can't! Busy!"

That's a quote from a friend's 5 year- old granddaughter, who was too busy to come to the phone. This is a busy weekend. Company, things to do, meals to make. So today I'm sharing "Joe the Republican" and hope that tomorrow I can sit and write for a while. Enjoy your Saturday!



Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican
By John Gray, Cincinnati, Ohio


Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.
All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.
Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.
He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day)  Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.
By John Gray, Cincinnati, Ohio

Friday, May 4, 2012

Today in Our Police State

This just in, from Alternet. I had to read it over twice because I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. What the hell is going on in New York City?

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/912131/what_it%27s_like_when_the_nypd_raids_your_apartment_at_dawn--_because_your_roommate_is_in_occupy/

May the Fourth

It's deep Spring here. Vivid greens, trees filling with new leaves...though the maples are still holding out on us. It'll be warm and soggy for the next week, the weatherbees say, good timing for the tomato plants to go out. Time to sow. And sow it goes.

Today is Star Wars Day (May The Fourth Be With You)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/may/04/jedi-religion-star-wars-george-lucas

The May Gardening Checklist
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/apr/29/gardening-may-jobs-checklist-dan-pearson

Hitler's medical records are at auction
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/medical-reports-show-adolf-hitler-cocaine-suffered-extreme-flatulence-article-1.1072271

This is too freaky, even for me
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17925309

Tomorrow is Derby Day
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Sports/2012/0503/Kentucky-Derby-2012-Who-to-watch-in-first-leg-of-Triple-Crown

Pete Seeger's 93?!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/pete-seeger-birthday_b_1474636.html?ref=culture&ir=Culture

The Beest has gotten herself stuck somewhere. I know that yowl. She probably jumped down behind the boxes in the closet again. Must go rescue her.

Shopping Tip

I just saw this and must have it


So far I haven't found any version but this one, cut-off bit. It must exist somewhere. If anyone knows, please tell me where to find it!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Right Here and Now

At this moment, Greg Lake is being interviewed and his music is featured here

http://www.logosradionetwork.com/pm.cgi?action=show&temp=listen

for the next hour and 50 minutes.
Am I a diehard fan or what?

Desperately Seeking Leah Stuart

If any of you Brattleburgers know how to reach Leah Stuart, please tell her to go read this or just read & send her the info. I've tried every avenue I know to find her but all dead ends so far. Cam just announced it on the air too; the wider the word goes the more likely we'll reach her. This is urgent. The people who posted to iBratt didn't include that they're looking for her, but they are:

http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120502195955435

Lilacs!

Since I didn't get to sleep til 4 a.m., I got a very late start on the morning and it was a rush of things to do. When I opened my door I found a big bag of lilacs, bleeding hearts and fairy bells. How lovely is that? Working through my emails, I see they're from Paul, who had no idea how much I love lilacs. Thanks Paul!

So much going on for a random Thursday! Everyone's on the radio, everyone's in the midst of the pre-Strolling of the Heifers rush. I seem to forget this is such a busy time of year every year. At least I'm not in any competitions and can lend support help this time. Oh, here's the Strolling of the Heifers, in case you're curious:
 http://www.strollingoftheheifers.com/

On to the news:
More political bloviating
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/02/romney-british-pm-obama-london

Even the French are doing it
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/03/french-presidential-rivals-grand-debat

Talk about an old bloodline!
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0502/Oldest-human-blood-cells-found-in-well-preserved-iceman-say-scientists

Here's a miracle of technology
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/bionic-eye-implant-helps-british-man-regain-sight-article-1.1071846

Shoulda seen this coming
http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/40330/?p1=A1

Is organic sustainable for a bursting population?
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679767/will-organic-food-fail-to-feed-the-world

All I want is to dance like them:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2012/0502/Why-everyone-wants-to-be-like-Brazil

LARPing is big these days
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17914502

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Song Remains the Same- a Reposted Rant

This was written in January, 2009. And aside from my having kicked opiates over a year ago, the rest remains the same. I'm having a sciatic thing today, a remnant of the EMG I reminisce about below. Sorry for the rerun, but I can't sit for very long today.

I'm watching exactly how they treat a friend's injury, and comparing that sitch with my own and 2 other people's disability processes. Four of us have motor functioning issues as well as pain and site-specific joint and spinal problems.

He is the second medical field worker I've watched, too. I assumed that medical folks would be treated better than laymen by their own, and to an extent that's true. They are, in my experience, given total pain relief from the beginning. He was given the same drugs, in the same order as I was. But he was given narcotics right from the beginning, where I didn't receive them for years. And he was given higher doses from the beginning. He can call his narcotic script in, where I have to have someone pick it up and fill it.

However, that seems to be the end of special treatment. As in my case, where only surgeries will change anything (and they won't do it til I'm past 60), they are saying the same treatment course I took should be his course. Namely, steroids, shots, anti-inflams and narcotics, and then surgery. (Though they'll operate on him when he wants it, as they did the other med pro).

In short 4 of us are being treated for effects and never going near the cause. In my case, they know the problem but won't fix it. In other cases they don't really know what the problem is but want to go in and look. The other disabled folk I'm referring to have had surgeries but haven't been relieved of either condition nor pain. They are on a combo of drugs and have started to have complications from the drug use. But none of us are quantitatively better at all.

We have all undergone steroid shots, which are painful and do nothing, and actually can cause more damage. A nurse finally intervened in my then-Ortho surgeon's office, telling me I shouldn't have had so many cortisone shots as I'd had already. In research, the protocol says 4-6 and no more, as cortisone breaks down cartilege. I had either 8 or 9. Since I'd started with little cartilege to begin with, the cortisone removed what little I had left. Then I had lydocaine shot into the hip joint and the pain was numbed for roughly 18 hours. While that was a pleasant change and it was nice to walk up a flight of stairs like a person, was it worth it? The procedure required a surgery room; though I only was given a local, an anaesthetist was in on it. The doctor had a hard time getting the flexible, 6" needle around a hook that had formed on the edge of my femur. I watched the whole thing on a screen, with him. He was very nice, and apologized when he saw me crying from the pain. It took 3 times longer than he'd planned and I was numb in the leg from all the local shots the anaesthetist kept shooting me with to finish the deal. The next morning it was as if I hadn't had a shot at all, except for the huge bruises on my hip. All the pain plus some new from the needles and the interior efforts at getting into the joint.

The sum of our combined medical bills must exceed a million dollars. One of the group has had 14 surgeries around one nerve. His last neck surgery was a success only in that it didn't make him worse and he wasn't paralyzed, which was the risk. I've had more CT Scans, MRIs and x-rays than a person should have. Doctors have halted procedures in flagrante because other docs sent me back to radiology too soon. That's not a commonality to the others. However, each of us has been thru so many tests that availed doctors nothing that I have to wonder if the tests were necessary at all. It does seem to be the system they employ blanketly. But does it do anything else besides keep radiology busy and billing?

Ever have electrically charged needles pushed into your nerves to raise a noise on a machine? That's an EMG, an ElectroMiloGram. If you didn't have neuropathy before it, you will afterward, and for years. It's a pain you'll never forget, it will make you cry, it will change your outlook on life. It's what they use to measure nerve damage. There's no pain relief, barely a human element at all, as neurologists really aren't the warm type. But if you're being evaluated for any injury or unknown cause of pain, you'll probably be told to have one. Don't do it. You have the right to refuse. I consider it as barbaric as trepanning. Or waterboarding.

So is this just another rant without purpose? Well, yes and no. There's the point that though med pros may get a bit better care, they get the same carnival of souls treatment as the rest of us down the line. So where's the real dividing line in treatment? It's pretty apparent to me that it's economical.

For instance, I can cite 2 people who've needed hip replacements. 1 is an old acquaintance who's an importer with fabulous private insurance. The other is a local now on Disability.

The importer had both hips replaced within 2 years and never lost a day to being disabled, as they replaced his hips at the first signs of degeneration. The first hip healed within 2 months after surgery and he was back traveling; on a cane for a while, but getting around nonetheless.. The second hip healed a little more slowly but he still lost only a couple additional weeks to PT before he was taking off to Europe on a buying trip. He has full use of his legs and you'd never know he has total hip replacements.

The local lived for 6 years in pain, becoming more and more unable to walk. They gave her a cane, then a walker. Then drugs. They wouldn't give her a motorized chair. Eventually she became housebound, then bedridden. She became very morbidly obese. Her mental and emotional states were horrible. People took advantage of her incapacity. To her, it was a choice of being ripped off or being alone. Finally, someone advocated for her and she got her hip replaced. However, they'd waited so long that her leg was 2 inches shorter than the other, too much of a difference to adjust the parts to compensate. So she has a limp and a lift. She also got minimal PT, and now, 2 years after the THR, she is still on a cane or walker and some days she can't walk until she's pumped on narcotics. She won't be going back to work. And she's nearly ten years younger than the importer. And me.

Yes, medical care is given, but it's certainly based on how much money you have. Hers is the most glaring example, but I know of many, many others. Right down to a retired policeman on Medicare, denied a prescribed third hormone shot due to the expense. Or the AIDS patient on Medicare, a flaming queen, who was told he was just panicking when he'd had a stroke. The overweight new mother on Medicaid, told she should go home and take some antacid and not eat so much, when her gallbladder was about to burst. I'm certain that poor patients are treated as second class citizens. I see and experience it all the time.

So how to adjust this? I'm not sure even SPH would fix this. The insurance companies won't go out of business, so private insurance will continue, and doctors will always go for the full dollar over the 86% or whichever Medicare/aid pays now. Perhaps it would make a difference if unions and large companies dropped BC/BS, GHI, etc. and joined the rest of the public in a national health system. With that large a consumer pool, they'd be hard pressed to give poor care to those who have an option and aren't poor. In fact, the doctors' office staffs could no longer say "Medicaid, right?" with a sneer. They wouldn't necessarily know the poor from the middle class.

All of this is not to say that you're treated like filth to your face. Most of the time there remains the stonefaced politeness everyone gets. Nurses most often are the most alert and concerned for patients' wellbeing. Personally, I've had nurses that were angels and nurses that should've worked at Gitmo. It's further up the chain that the prejudice really shows- in the nontreatment, in decisions left to the system rather than the patient. And while it continues, patients are more beaten down, nurses become sick and tired of the stress, good docs do what they can and shake their heads.

It was recently disclosed that several local doctors are being investigated because of all the money pharma companies have been paying them. The docs and drugs in question are all in psych specialties.

I once lived with a young doctor. He and his friends all became docs for the money and prestige, and no bones about telling you that with a dismissive laugh. I'll spare you their horrifying other stories, all told with laughter.

Sorry, no answers, no happy ending. I just know that nobody talks about these things and I'm determined these facts get out there. It really is true that there are things you can't understand, things you may deny, until it happens to you or yours. But they are happening. It's just that nobody tells you. Why don't people talk? Fear. Especially in small towns, if a doc has a problem with you, your name will be Mudd. It's medical blackballing, and I know 2 people who've been denied treatment by new docs because of what the old doc said. It's corrupt, it's lousy and it's true.

So if you're monied, congrats and expect good med experiences. If you're poor, lower your expectations. And your life expectancy

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just a Spring Clean for the May Queen

The outdoors is so fresh and clean right now. Ah, Spring!

It's my own tradition to stand barefoot on the ground on May 1st. I got one foot outta the clog, stepped on the very cold, soggy lawn, and quickly hobbled back inside. It's about 50'F out there, and the grass felt just above freezing to my toeses. Brrr!

And yes, the cleaning bug has bitten me. I want to go on a rampage and toss out everything. I want to throw out whole boxes of things without even looking inside them. None of that will happen, but the urge is there. I'll quell the jonesing with some sorting and putting things where I want them. That should keep me busy all week. And keep me from doing anything really stupid.

Oh crap on that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZA4jnvdYog
Run and play, get in trouble.
:)

Il Pleut

When it rains it pains and I curse a lot. But we need it. It's been dangerously dry this Spring, with Fire Hazard warnings all the time. My front garden is responding happily, the bleeding hearts standing lazily and the hostas swirling up in a cluster of healthy green and white. It seems that only one of the rose bushes died in the flood. A small blessing, there. I love my roses. I'll need to replace that one.

Seems the wind knosked my phone out yesterday. I was working on Gimp's Guide and didn't notice til I looked up at 9 p.m. and realized it hadn't rung in hours and hours. I checked it, it was dead. But I checked again this morning and it was back. When we drove down to CT I saw the damage- still not cleared- that Irene's winds had done to the trees in the highway meridians in Massachusetts. Big trees snapped or ripped down the middle. A grim reminder of what we lived through last summer and fall.

There have been rumors and talk about the Shire being torn down in 3 years. So far I haven't gotten a straight answer from anyone, but I need to make a key phone call and get the scoop. Maybe I'll get to that today. The Town officials have wanted this land to sell for a long time. And as usual in this pig country, money gets what it wants.

Today being May Day, there are many Occupy and Labor protests going on
  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/01/may-day-occupy-protests-live

The livestreams are here
http://www.livestream.com/occupyunity