Sunday, December 23, 2007


'Tis the season for all sorts of madness (not that there's a specific season set aside for madness), but small items in the back pages of the print media sometimes makes one stop, Dear Gentle Reader(s), to catch a breath.

For instance in the 12.23.07 edition of the Los Angeles Times' Real Estate section, we find this jewel of a story by Ruth Ryon: "Hip-hopping out of his Hills house." It seems Kanye West is selling his "house in the flats of Beverly Hills at $8,699,000." So? You might ask. Well, he bought it "earlier this year for about $7.2 million." In this market? A $1.2+ million profit? Hey, if it works...

Now, DGR(s), you might be wondering, yourself(selves), "Is there a point?" Yes. It turns out the property "is considered a teardown."

Teardown?!? Pay that much money to tear a house down? Madness.

'Tis the season to be jolly... but not frugal or even wise with money.

Bah! Humbug!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

O Tannenbaum! Ave, Maria!

The winter solstice is a wonderful time of the year to decorate the house with trees and statues, isn't it?

Deck the halls!

Silent Night!



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Brachy Chronicles 2

A video showing the various stages of and treatments for prostate cancer can be bracing as well as teensily unnerving. Regardless, decisions must be made.

Early detection makes decisions somewhat easier. There's always the most invasive option--removal of the entire gland. Early detection, at least in the present context (location, location, location), gives the far less radical choices of freezing the gland or "nukeing" it.

In the end, the possible side effects really make the difference: with the freezing procedure, there's a possible side effect of losing bowel control. The radiation might cause some bladder control problems. Now there's a balancing act...temporarily walking around with a sensation of wetness, or...what?...pastiness? Hmmm. Urine or feces? Number 1 or Number 2?

Decisions Decisions Decisions. What to do? What to do? What to do?

Your chain, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is being pulled. Not for a second is any option other than nuking the little scamp considered.

There will be a "mapping" session via sonogram. Then there will be the procedure itself, the insertion of radiation seeds--the size of a grain of rice--via a small incision, and Voila!, the deed is done and the patient is back home the same day. A picnic in the park (albeit with an ant bite of some significance).

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pobrecito Andrew

Andy Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), just can't let go.

Sullie saw absolutely nothing wrong with invading a non-threatening country and inflicting horrors upon its populace, but the thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency drives him bonkers.

From a recent blog entry: "Which candidate has evoked the most adamant hostility, the largest number of people who say they would always vote against him or her? You know the answer. 53 percent of men under 40 would cast their vote against Clinton rather than in favor of anyone else. I know how they feel."

Well, DGR(s), you know how I feel: Andy might "know how they feel," but he has yet to articulate exactly why he feels that way.

Language, Andrew, is your strong point. If you can't use it to describe, clearly, why you feel a certain way, perhaps the way isn't the way, after all.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Dear Gentle Reader(s), don't be fooled by statements such as this excerpt, taken from an editorial in The Desert Sun (published in Palm Springs), "...the Christmas tree, while rooted (no pun intended) in Christianity..."

Pun or no pun, the "Christmas" tree is a direct descendant of various winter solstice festivals ranging from the Egyptians to the Romans to the Druids. There is even a mention of tree usage for festivities in the Bible. It is not, in any event, "rooted" in Christianity.

Trees, or boughs from trees (is there a bough from any other source?), have been used as decorations for the winter solstice for more millennia than from its first Christian use.

There's a wonderful web site,, which will give you some information as well as the Biblical citation.

The editorial writer in The Desert Sun might better have written that the tree was appropriated by early Christians for their own purposes. The legend of St. Boniface is especially entertaining.

Rather than to decry the use of "Holiday" tree, the ed writer should have decried the non-use of "Solstice" tree.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Brachy Chronicles 1

A year or two prior to 1988, the specialist recommended a maintenance therapy of adding force to the orgasm ("try to strain"). The referring GP recommended "an orgasm at least every other day for the rest of your life" in order to preclude prostate cancer.

Neither of those recommendations is as easy as one might suspect.

There is a great deal of assumed contortions associated with the first--sometimes to the alarm of a partner, or, should one be somewhat adventurous, partners. The second becomes a matter of obeying a mandate whether or not one wishes to obey. (It takes a certain amount of the fun out of the activity.)

Alas, while the procedures perhaps delayed the inevitable (well over 90% of male cadavers of men over the age of retirement have prostate cancer, as indicated by post mortems), the inevitable, after all, proves to be inevitable.

Twenty-odd years later, then, the result of all this is "Pathology Report: gl 6 in 10-20% cores on left side."

Thanks, however, to a brachydactylic physician, the early prognosis is favorable.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Birthing Responsibility and Education

Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a very sad story from today's Los Angeles Times.

It seems one Leticia Castro gave birth to a six pound daughter, but then stuffed it in a trash bin because "she had thought the baby was a large blood clot."

Subsequent medical attention discovered " a torn umbilical cord."

This information is part of a story of a combination of murder trials and baby dumping. Isn't it, too, part of a larger story of personal responsibility and education?

Castro's story is difficult to believe...six pound blood clot, complete with umbilical cord? But I wasn't in the jury box, so we'll let the jury's decision not to find her guilty of murder go unchallenged.

There is a challenge, though, to the rest of us to look carefully and openly about responsibilities associated with procreation and child rearing.

Having a child is a life-changing experience; one not to be entered into lightly. Those children who will shortly be in the position to father and bear children need to be given all the necessary information for the best possible experience, and a good dose of responsibility also needs to be instilled in future parents.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Insulting Islam or Insulting Islamists?

Wow! Does Gillian Gibbons have a story to tell! You remember her, she's the school teacher who was sentenced to jail for insulting Mohamed by allowing a class of elementary children to name a teddy bear "Mohamed."
Insulting the Prophet? Isn't it more logical to think that people were "insulted" because they perceived something about themselves in this brouhaha? That they were protecting themselves rather than the memory of the Prophet? That imams see even the slightest virtual questioning as a threat to their power--talk about hegemony!
And a caution flag for Westerners.
One might posit that the reaction in Khartoum was fueled by self-preservation and self-respect more so than by true religious fervor.
The title of the linked story is 'I got more of an adventure than I bargained for'.
In the vernacular of the nearby Valley, "Fer Shur."

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day

Inform yourself.

Senior citizens are at risk, too.

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