Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nature and the Bible

Amongst all of the brouhaha, Dear Gentle Reader(s), surrounding the passage of Proposition 8 here in California, is an oft-repeated conflation of some scientific and Biblical concepts.

The most often used is, of course, the female-male element of procreation.  It is a scientific fact, with some few androgynous exceptions, as well as the old “male female He created them.”

Biblical fundamentalists, especially those who claim to believe in biblical inerrancy, use this biblical reference as their principal argument against allowing committed same-gender couples to call their union “marriage.”  “God made it that way.”

While it is true that “God made it that way,” is it not strange that fundies ignore the studies of nature/God which indicate that procreation is not a rampant element of life on earth; rather it is, in most cases, rigidly controlled.

Why is it that carnivores have limited birth rates?  Why is it that small herbivores and insectivores have larger litters?  Why do insects and smaller fishes have such large numbers of offspring?

Generally speaking, the large populations of smaller life forms feed the larger life forms.  Without the small rodent food supply of the Arctic, many wolves and certain birds of that region would perish.  Population control is a form of natural birth control.  Nature has put in place a very stern limit on wildlife carnivores—should they exceed that limit, starvation to the point of possible extinction is a certainty.

If one might “jump to the chase,” DGR(s), it is strange that fundies opposed to same-gender “marriage” don’t see there is a logical thread between the natural order of population control amongst wildlife species and the population control of same-gender coupling.  And that coupling could very well be part of the larger plan to help control the human population of the earth—which is certainly better than war, disease, famine, and female infanticide.

Just because the desert tribes of 4,000 years ago were concerned with ethnic cleansing, if not genocide, does not mean that we ought to take their dicta as literal law of our own.  We have the ability of 4,000 years of observation and learning.  That should give us perspective which those desert tribes would not have been capable of achieving.  Same-gender unions are generally non-reproductive, although they are certainly a stabilizing force in the society; and, as such they are a God given element of population control—and a much better one than war, famine, disease, and female infanticide.

To assert, as does a writer to the local Palm Springs newspaper:

Mistletoe, can only grow in/on trees.

It cannot grow in the earth.

Only in/on trees, Oak Trees.

Hearts of oak are our ships, and our hearts.

If mistletoe did not attach to oak trees it would cease to exist.

Oak trees, (men) mistletoe (women).

Mistletoe attaches to oak trees to survive, it cannot attach it self to other mistletoe, that is the order of things, nature's order.

Simple isn't it.

is erroneous.  Nothing in nature is simple.

Here’s loving response to fundies’ outrage, Dear Gentle Reader(s), “Same-gender marriage is a blessing from God.”

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In case you thought…

Palm Springs is all palm trees and xeriscape, this is a scene from last week’s snow fall.

                                            12.18.08.8.31AM

Have a good Bah!Humbug! season, Dear Gentle Reader(s)!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Tiny Smile for the Season

Over at The New York Times’ email submission today, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there’s a slightly amusing teaser sentence:  “Talk radio hosts are back on offense, with some familiar names joining the airwaves as Barack Obama takes office.”  (The phrasing in the article itself--After eight years of playing defense for President Bush, the conservatives who dominate talk radio are back on offense--isn’t as much fun.)

Haven’t they always been offensive?  Isn’t that their purpose?  Why God put them on earth?  Rather like houseflies or cockroaches?

Who knew?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Andrew’s Obsession

Poor Andrew Sullivan, he just can’t let go the bile his system holds for Senator Clinton.

Here’s Sullivan’s latest silliness as it appears in a discussion about Ms Kennedy’s interest in the New York senate seat which Mrs. Clinton will be vacating upon her move to the State Department:  “Clinton got her seat because of nepotism…”

Now, Dear Gentle Reader(s), well you might wonder about that.  Sullivan got it wrong.  Mrs. Clinton ran in the Democratic primaries; she ran against a Republican who tried mightily to run on resentment of the Clintons.  Mr. Lazio’s tactic didn’t work.  Mrs. Clinton worked hard on her campaign and won the race in 2000 handily.

That is not called nepotism; it’s called hard work. 

Mrs. Clinton had name recognition, but that could well have hurt as much as it helped.  Sullivan owes the Senator an apology, but there is serious doubt it will be forthcoming.

As to whether or not Ms Kennedy (Why isn’t anyone using her married name?  Did Mary Bono-Mack start something?  Or maybe Diane Feinstein?) should be appointed to the seat, it’s probably best to take Mr. Butler’s stance.  Remember, DGR(s)?  It starts, “Frankly, my dear…”

 

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

“I love them like everybody else.”

Um, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the above is not quite truthful.

It was spoken by Margie Christofersen about gays to Steve Lopez who wrote “Prop.8 stance upends her life” (print)/”A life thrown into turmoil by $100 donation for Prop. 8” (online).

It isn’t true, you see, because Margie Cristofersen also “…supports her church’s position [LDS] that marriage is between a man and a woman.

That support indicates that Christofersen doesn’t think gays are part of “everybody else.”  Committed relationships between two consenting adults are not equal in Christofersen’s view.  She merely mouths a platitude and seemingly doesn’t understand why she isn’t believed.  She thinks she loves equally, but she doesn’t.  Even the copious tears reported by Lopez are unconvincing.

Actions, Dear Margie, speak clearer truth than words.

It’s only logical.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

(Make a Suggestion)

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On occasion, Dear Gentle Reader(s), a thought comes to light which virtually defies description in the limited space available in a “title.”

One such thought appeared in The Desert Sun, the local paper in Palm Springs, in a letter to the editor on December 11, 2008:

A man and woman are equal partners, but different and complimentary in so many ways. That is why Adam was pleased with God's gift of Eve. Only the combination of man and woman can produce children and hence the continuation of a society.

Might one extrapolate?  “…Adam was pleased with God’s gift of Eve.”  Um…What?  God “gave” Eve to Adam?  Eve was a gift?  Did anyone ask Eve if this was OK with her?  God gives gifts?  Is there a receipt for possible exchange?

The letter writer lives in Indian Wells, a quite wealthy community in the heart of the Coachella Valley.  It is the home of the tennis tournament which brings thousands to Southern California.  It once tried to foist its low-income housing requirements onto a neighboring city.  One might think, then, that the writer is not completely a sheep, blindly following a religious tenet.

So.  What to think?  How might one write a headline which encompasses a person’s insensitivity, ignorance, audacity, virtual blasphemy, and courage to face his female spouse as well as another’s astonishment that such a thought would be uttered in the first decade of the 21st century?

Suggestions are welcome.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

So much for redemption

The Vietnam War, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has left an indelible mark, hasn’t it?

Remember the brouhaha over William Ayers, the erstwhile Underground Weatherman which the Republican campaign tried mightily to associate with Mr. Obama?

Well, today in The New York Times  he offers a sort of mea culpa.  If you have the time and inclination, the column is accessible here.

Expect to see the Republican bloviators to respond with found and fury along these lines of one Hilzoy,  in his blog Obsidian Wings.  After going back in history (one year prior to Ayers’ start in his column) and fairly well rebutting some of Ayers’ points, Hilzoy ends with this:

Ayers may think that there's still a debate about the Weather Underground's effectiveness. And he might also think that he "acted appropriately in the context of those times." To me, though, he's just a shallow rich kid who took himself and his revolutionary rhetoric much too seriously, helped inspire people to do things that got them killed, and helped to discredit the anti-war movement and the left as a whole.

He has done enough harm already. Now he should do the decent thing and leave us in peace.

That’s good advice.  One problem with the advice is that Ayers has been trying to leave everyone in peace, especially himself since those days of stupidity.  It was the opposition to Mr. Obama which resurrected Ayers and his wife, Bernadette Dohrn.

And from the tone if Hilzoy’s retort, it’s obvious that there’s no such thing as leaving someone in peace.  Ayers’ subsequent laudable behavior does not seem to have counted for anything among the right wing.  They could take a lesson from G.B. Shaw who wrote:

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.

Redemption?

Piffle!  Not for those who took to the streets against the Vietnam War.

Do you ever suppose, DGR(s), that we’ll learn to take “measurements anew” anytime soon?

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Class Warfare!!! (snort!)

A most recent teapot tempest, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has arisen over the different (?) treatment given by Congress to the Wall Street financiers and to the automobile CEOs and union bosses.

When it is pointed out that the financiers were treated with respect and the CEOs are being treated with some derision (You had the audacity to fly!?!), Republican types are immediately crying “Class warfare!”

Um…in case no one has noticed, the class war is over, and the rich folk have won.  President Bush has presided over the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper class in the history of the world.

Don’t believe me?  Look around.  How many rich folk are in default on their mortgages?

Thought so.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ann Richards” “Poor George” was never more appropriate!

Hie thee, Dear Gentle Reader(s), to the Telnaes animated cartoon over at washingtonpost.com.

Although Gov. Richards made the statement about Bush I, it is very appropriate to Bush II.

Animated cartoon eyes are quite telling; notice, especially Telnaes’ ability with W’s eyes.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

S&L Guilt?

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Andrew Sullivan has a snippet about President Bush’s pardons.  It seems Bush is being generous to “S&L executives and others who swindled thrifts in the mid-1980’s...”

Hmmm.  Wasn’t there a Bush brother, or two and a father, involved with an S&L in Colorado?  Didn’t he come out without doing time?  Something like Silverado?  (Gotta love Google!)

Just askin’.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh, Please!

It isn’t often, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that a liberal comes to the virtual assistance of Governor Palin, but it’s time.

This brouhaha about the press statement backdropped by a couple of turkeys being slaughtered is a lot of ado about not much.

One remembers, for instance, watching one’s mother grabbing a chicken by the head and then twirling it around until the neck was broken.  (Then one remembers pouring scalding water over the chicken to prepare the feathers for plucking—not to mention the subsequent gutting!)

One also remembers one’s mother being given the knife when one’s father and neighbors were preparing to slaughter a young pig.  One gains a certain respect for one’s mother who is capable of slicing open the neck of a pig, and placing a pan in the appropriate spot to catch the blood—to be used later in sausage.

A turkey being prepared for a Thanksgiving table?  Bring it on.  It’s the way of a carbon based world.

Go Sarah!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A not-so-funny thing happened…

…on my way to buy a new food processor, Dear Gentle Reader(s).  The stock market fell to new lows.

Hmmm.  Perhaps one ought to wait on new purchases…just in case one needs the money later on for macaroni and cheese boxes.

Nice going, deregulators, whoever you were/are.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Justice, Alas

Dear Gentle Reader(s), there’s a teensy bit of evidence that the Bush II legacy has done more damage to the Justice Department than originally thought.

It’s a crisis of diminished confidence.

In today’s Los Angeles Times the lead editorial carries this title and subtitle:

Seeking Justice

Eric Holder has the credentials to be U.S. attorney general, but he may be seen as too close to President-elect Barack Obama.

Holder has the credentials, but is possibly too close to Mr. Obama?  How close is too close?  What was the relationship between John F and Robert Kennedy?  Was AG Kennedy deemed a failure in the job as is the case with Alberto Gonzales?

The Times editorial board worries that Holden’s association with the Obama campaign might make him someone who could “be caricatured as a presidential insider.”

If the Obama administration is to be careful of caricature, then we are in for a very long 4 years.

The Gonzales Justice Department, and, to a lesser extent, the John Ashcroft Justice Department, were anomalies.  The whole Bush presidency was, one is hopeful, an anomaly.  That said, there shouldn’t be an undue amount of caution in supporting a President’s choice for a cabinet member just because of fear of caricature.

Let’s all get a grip, DGR(s).  Our long winter of discontent is about to become a summer.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), occasionally mystifies.  His obsession with Senator Clinton is well documented, but little other than his “gut” can account for it.  He is rapidly amassing the same amount of virtual ink with his relentless focus on Governor Palin.  Those are, however, gut mysteries which actually have no rationale beyond a sort of irrational rationale; and that’s Sullivan’s personal problem.  Who cares?  It’s his occasional logical mystery which is most bothersome.

Here is a quote about the current debate on the fate of Proposition 8 from “The Daily Dish,” Sullivan’s blog, which is offered for your consideration: 

Both supporters and opponents have asked for a judicial ruling on whether the initiative can stand. My own view is that it should stand, and the court should decline to reverse it. We lost. They won in a fair fight.

They won in a fair fight.”  Really?  One wonders.  If the proponents of  Prop 8 had not focused on children the final weeks of the campaign, would they have “won?”  Had the focus of the campaign been totally about whether or not civil rights, found to be guaranteed under the California state constitution, should be stripped from neighbors, colleagues, and family members, would “they” have won?

Everyone talks about dirty campaigns; all’s fair in love and war—all bromides which paper over the immoral tactics some who debate an issue pursue.  It’s one thing when “rogue” partisans run the Willie Horton ads, or the 527s demean Senator Kerry, or when Sarah Palin implies Barack Obama hangs with terrorists, but it’s quite another when a religious-based political group, with religious financial support and pulpit support resorts to lying and using children in the lie.

The proponents of Prop 8 were/are odious liars.  Their campaign was not honorable.

The three witches never else spoke so much truth.

How, Andrew, is it that “They won in a fair fight?”

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ya Gotta Love ‘Em!

One has a deep and abiding admiration, Dear Gentle Reader(s), for persons who have the ability to “play” with words and to see possibilities in the written language.

Today, for example, at the Palm Springs City Hall demonstration against Prop 8, there was a sign which originally read

                                                     ONLY

                                               MORONS

                                                HATE

and which had been changed, but a carat and a tilted M to read

                                                 ONLY

                                               MOR^M ONS

                                                    HATE

Well, you get the picture.

God bless America!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Governor Palin v neo-cons v RINOs

It's hard to believe, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that there is so much vitriol being hurled towards Governor Palin lately.

Frankly, it must be said loudly and often that Senator McCain and Senator McCain alone is responsible for Palin's disastrous debut on the national political stage.  He hadn't met her, she wasn't properly vetted, she was not ready for the job, and she's been treated shabbily lately.  He should be ashamed.

For the senator to choose an unprepared political tyro for the vice presidential nomination solely (sometimes the conventional wisdom is incorrect, but there's virtually no other rationale for her choice) to stir up the Republican base of evangelical Christianists was beneath contempt.

Presidential politics isn't, true, beanbag; but it doesn't have to be shooting a fish in a barrel, either.

Palin has energy which served her well on the stump.  If she were more seasoned in policies outside of Alaska and if she were a Democrat, it would be easy to see her in federal politics in the future.

Until then, people should back off.  While she bears some responsibility for accepting McCain's offer, it is McCain himself who bears the most responsibility.

Put him in the metaphorical barrel.

It's just logical.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Words, Words, Words..."Faux" is the mot du jour

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George Will, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is not one of the most pleasant rightwing pundits for a progressive to read.  It's easy to think of him as supercilious. 

Today, however, in the pages of Townhall.com, Will presents an interesting article about the state of the Republican Party, circa 2008, which affords progressives an insight and perhaps some understanding of what they've seen coming out of the RP-2008. 

"Ah Hah!  So that's it.   It's a faux Republican Party!"

One agrees.  Hie thee thither, DGR(s).  You'll be educated and will enjoy "The Downfall of Faux Conservatism."  

(Reading the screeching in the comments section is fun, too)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a condition which concerns over 2 million Americans directly, and another several million indirectly.

It came to visit last Friday.

There's a fluttering of the heart.   It's enough to make one pause; generally it lasts for a few seconds, then the regular heartbeat returns.  If it lasts longer, one might seek advice.  If nothing else, one gets a couple of nights in a hospital, where there are supportive people taking every effort to make one comfortable.

A-Fib is not to be taken lightly.  It could result in severe consequences, such as stroke, if not controlled.

No pain.

With proper medication, no problem.

Obviously.

(whew!)

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hubris? One hopes not.

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Dear Gentle Reader(s), occasionally, in order to help keep myself on an even keel, to remind myself of exactly where I stand in the greater picture, whenever a friend or acquaintance complains about this, that, or the other (movie tickets are up to $6.75!), often I will say something like, "At least I don't live in Baghdad and I'm not an Afghani woman," or "Yes.  And those whiners in Baghdad!  What do they know of suffering?"

Salondotcom offers a new reality slap in the face for all of us:  In Mumbai, slum dwellers "live in areas with 100 public toilets for 45,000 residents."

Ponder that, my Dears. 

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Small World Part II

This, Dear Gentle Reader(s), from Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times in which he discusses the financial crisis in which we find ourselves:

Why do we need international cooperation? Because we have a globalized financial system in which a crisis that began with a bubble in Florida condos and California McMansions has caused monetary catastrophe in Iceland. We’re all in
this together, and need a shared solution.

Remember the line from "Gone With the Wind"--"Miz Scarlett, you ain't nevah gonna have a 17 inch waist no mo'"?
Well, we are never going to have an isolated, Fortress America again.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

It's a small world after all

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Depending on where one lives, Dear Gentle Reader(s), yesterday/today might one day be considered the day when the world became "one world" after all.

What else could be indicated by a coordinated effort of the major banks in the world to lower interest rates in an effort to solve the current world wide economic problems?

 

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 10.8.08

The procedure was undertaken on February 11, 2008.  In three days, the nine month mark will arrive, and all of a sudden it feels like labor pains have begun.

Woke up, on September 26, 2008, with a cramp in the general area of the prostate.  Today there are continuing muscle aches near the sphincter.  Hmmm.

Waiting it out.

Be of good cheer.

Getting old ain't for sissies. (Thanks, Bette!)

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Words, Words, Words, I'm so sick of words!

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A hearty declaration, Dear Gentle Reader(s), by Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, with which one might be reluctant to argue, except for the delicious moments which occur in the most unexpected places.

For instance, W (if you have to ask "Who?" you haven't been paying attention) once said, "Is our children learning?"

Last Saturday night this memorable line from Tina channeling Sarah on SNL:  ""I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."

True, Sarah didn't say that, but the evidence is strong that the basic idea is true. 

Free Bristol!

Free Levi!

Words!  You have to love them.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

OK--Greed didn't start with Ford, but...

...when the moral and ethical history of the 20th century is written, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there will surely be a paragraph, if not a chapter, on Ford's behavior with regards to the intermittent windshield wiper--at least as is presented in the recent movie Flash of Genius.

Greed will be punished.  Unethical behavior will be shown to the world.  Scorn will be heaped. 

Here's a good mantra:  Capitalism--Good; Greed--Bad.

 

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Enter Tom, Stage Left

The New York Times has, of late, done some strange things, i.e., hired Bill Kristol.  It does, however, maintain the likes of Frank Rich and Tom Friedman, much to its credit.  (Mo Dowd is wonderful to read, but when she gets her Irish up, she borders in irrelevant.)

Today's Friedman column, "Green the Bailout," contains this line, "The American Dream is an aspiration, not an entitlement."

That line is one which should be emblazoned on every baby crib mobile all over the world.

And it should become part of morning prayers/meditation, along with "Capitalism good; greed bad."

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Here's the Pig, Where's the Lipstick?

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Ahh, Dear Gentle Reader(s), language is so much fun.  With all the brouhaha going on about the financial negotiations in Washington, it's amusing to take a brief digression into what what some observers, and it turns out some observers have a vested interest, are saying, with some attention given to the diction they are using.

Take, for instance, this little ditty found in a web site identified as IBD Editorials, an organ of Investor's Business Daily:

Hubris and hypocrisy aside, it's important to recognize the legislation for what it is — a rescue, not a bailout, of the financial system.

What's the difference between a rescue and a bailout?  Each implies a tough situation from which one is extracted by another. 

Perhaps the difference lies in connotations associated with the words.  Is it that rescue has a more "elite" connotation than bailout?  A more honorable effort?  Would one rather be rescued or bailed out?

Who was it making hurling derision at elites lately? 

Rescue v Bailout.

Are we using Avon products or Maybelline for this particular pig?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Opus' opus

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Of course, Dear Gentle Reader(s), no one knows what the future holds, but one can certainly hope the current "arc" over in Opus is not going to end with the demise of this wonderful comic strip.

A toast to "Bloom County," "Opus," and Berkeley Breathed!

Thank you.

 

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Anthropological Arrogance

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Far more years ago than I care to say, Dear Gentle Reader(s), an anthropological professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, discussed a certain arrogance which he observed as one society commented on the perceived weaknesses of other societies.  The professor's point was that if a society thrives, it works.  When societies don't thrive, they disappear. 

Here in California a Proposition 8 has been placed on the November 4 ballot.  It "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

In today's Los Angeles Times, readers are treated to an essay which argues that the proposition ought to be passed in order to protect children.

Here are some quotes from David Blankenhorn's piece for your musings:

1.  [Marriage] is primarily a license to have children.

2.  Family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. (Statement from a 2002 study)

Now, DGR(s), #1 above is an unusual declaration.  Given the throw-away kids littering the streets of our major cities, one would hope there would be a "license" needed in order to procreate human beings.  Alas, it doesn't seem to be the case.

Very few people would even attempt to argue against #2 above.  Of course that would be optimum.  The question is how realistic is the optimum? 

Blankenhorn admits (reluctantly? but necessarily as a self-proclaimed "liberal Democrat"--we do have a tendency to bare our souls to all of our faults) "Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes."  So, the children in same-sex marriage families will "benefit?"  What's the problem, then?

The problem is with the language, with the word "marriage," which Blankenhorn feels will be re-defined, and the re-definition will undermine "the birthright" of each child to know his/her biological "maker."

That doesn't seem like a logical problem, given our society.  Perhaps the arrogance of the late 20th century's moralists needs to come under scrutiny.  Blankenhorn's is not necessarily better than what's being offered by the opponents of Proposition 8. 

And besides, Blankenhorn doesn't even live in California.  (OK, that's a little petty.) (Another Democratic conscience driven admission)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Baa Baa

This subject matter, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is nothing new, but perhaps it ought to be revived on a rather regular basis.

The old metaphor of a shepherd and a flock of sheep used in religious settings is a true puzzlement.  After all, for what purpose does the shepherd protect the sheep from the ravenous wolf? 

What happens to a sheep which is not eaten by a wolf? 

Anyone see many sheep dying of old age, surrounded by teary ovine eyes?

Sheep are shorn.

Sheep are butchered.

Cute, frisky, little lambs are butchered--ever had a lamb chop?

Thanks a lot, shepherd, buddy.

And the dog you walked in with.

Yet, we have: "The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want."

Hmmm.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Question(s) for Contemplation

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A.  Just how efficacious, Dear Gentle Reader(s), are our religious institutions, not to mention the basic family unit, at teaching morality?

In all the brouhaha about, say, abstinence-only-before marriage v sex-education in the educational system, isn't there an underlying rationale that the teaching of morality and responsibility done at home or at religious educational facilities isn't working?  If church and home were doing such a good job, why do we need laws restricting behavior?

B.  What, really and truly, is the difference between a fundamentalist Christian, an orthodox Jew, and a fundamentalist Moslem?  They all, literally, pray to the very same Deity.  Yet they gleefully strive to kill off those who do not pray in the same manner as they.  Do we really trust the rationale of anyone whose mantra is "God's will?"

Do we want a fundamentalist to be given the power of the button?  "It's God's will that I push this button and destroy a middle eastern city so that the End of Days might commence."

Just askin'.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

...and Agnew's son!

Dear Gentle Reader(s), not to put too fine a point on it, there're some knockout people in the Palin camp.

Waaaaaay back when RMN was running for his 1968 term, there was a claque of gay guys in Houston who were taken with Spiro Agnew's son...and who remembers his name?

At a brunch the guys had a hand painted sign at the front door which read:

NIXON'S THE ONE!!!--AND AGNEW'S SON

Well, McCain's not the one, but oh, that Palin son (and incipient son-in-law)!!!!!

Excellent genes, Sarah and Todd.  Excellent genes!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Does "No, but..." equal "No, Butt."?

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What, Dear Gentle Reader(s), does a tendency to preface responses with "No, but" do to a conversation?

Doesn't it raise one's hackles (whatever they are)?  After making a clear, succinct, and virtually unassailable point, what is a person to do if a respondent's first word is "No"?

Shut down?  Curl up like an armadillo, and present a shield to the world?  Hide one's head in the sand?  Turn, like a porcupine, and unleash dozens of stinging quills upon the miscreant?

Rather than engaging in cowardice or mayhem, perhaps it is possible to convince the perpetrators of this negativity that too many noes is bad for conversation, and bad for the no, too.  Spread anything too thin and it loses its value.

Let us begin a campaign, then, DGR(s), to retire the ubiquitous No and to proselytize for the use of "Yes, and, too..." or "May I offer a slightly different view?"

That way your conversing partner is at once applauded for perspicacity and invited to participate in a new intellectual adventure.

Yes.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 8.13.08

Should PSA tests be such a major factor in diagnosing prostate cancer?  The answer to that is a continuing discussion.

How about the effectiveness of radiation seed implants (Brachytherapy)?  Here're a couple of test results.  November, 2007, a PSA result of 4.7; August, 2008, a PSA result of 1.23--six months after brachytherapy.

We'll see.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Celebratory Wank

Tsk.

You're so easy.

:-)

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 8.10.08--Whither Courage of Conviction?

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Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), you might wish to skip this chapterette of the Brachy Chronicles; certainly TMI might well apply.

The 6-month mark post procedure is tomorrow, August 11.  There will be a PSA taken, and results will indicate a lessening of the PSA number (4.7 prior to seed implant), which will be good-ish or an increase in the PSA number which will not be good-ish; or even a static PSA number which will be whatever-ish.

There are other indications, however, which are additional to the physical effects of the seeds, which give one pause.  Primarily, the reference is to the 70th birthday in April.  A couple of relatively benign, but unsightly, developments in the male body become more apparent as said body accumulates time.

To wit: the scrotum tends to lose elasticity, especially the ability to contract.  It is unsightly and, juxtaposed with the slight swelling of various parts of the body associated with radiation, uncomfortable.  It is also without remedy. (Well, one supposes there is some sort of plastic surgery procedure, but Puhleez!)

What to do?

After much deliberation and experimentation with various supporting accessories, the decision was made to chuck all pretense and embrace geezerhood.  Bravo seersucker suits!  White shoes!  Snowy white long sleeved shirts--with muted bow ties!  And, most important of all--TA-DA!!--Old Spice after shave!!!

What could be more perfect?

Set off to accomplish the mission, DGR(s), and you will discover the fatal flaw in the perfect solution--the $9.99 cost of a bottle of Old Spice.  Alas, geezerhood is more expensive than one supposed.

What to do?  After long deliberation, it is decided, rather reluctantly, to embrace miserhood.  One needs no further preparation than one's current existence.  Further, it is easy to change one's conviction, especially when the financial cost is beneficial.

So much for conviction. 

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Whither logos? Quo verbum?

Just about the time, Dear Gentle Reader(s), one thinks monotheism is about the most illogical of religions, our brethren come through and discombobulate our thinking.

The New York Times reports today on unrest in Kashmir.  It seems the Hindus and Muslims are at loggerheads about Hindu access to a shrine:

The crisis centers on a Hindu shrine that, according to local legend, was discovered by a Muslim shepherd more than a century ago. The cave shrine, known as Amarnath and situated at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet, contains a stalagmite of ice that Hindus consider a representation of Shiva, one of their most important gods.

According to the report, 15 have already died,  and thousands of troops have been deployed to keep the peace.

"...a stalagmite of ice..."

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008 Quickies

How do you suppose Monica Goodling and her cohorts at the Justice Department sleep at night, knowing that she and her ilk violated their oath to support the Constitution of the United States?

Whenever one sees a driver coming to a complete stop at an intersection with a stop sign, it's a sure indication of two possibilities:  1) that person is an above-average driver; 2) that person is within 18 months of the last time a moving violation citation was issued.  Just sayin'.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Deja Marshall Vu, All Over Again

This, Dear Gentle Reader(s), from The New York Times' web site:

Young people “aren’t as troubled as some of us older folks are by reading that doesn’t go in a line,” said Rand J. Spiro, a professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University who is studying reading practices on the Internet. “That’s a good thing because the world doesn’t go in a line, and the world isn’t organized into separate compartments or chapters.”

If that doesn't sound familiar, may one refer you to Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media.  In it, during the 1960's, McLuhan discussed the "linear" and the "mosaic" as metaphors for acquiring information.  Pre-electronic age Westerners (one hedges, just in case one doesn't remember accurately) learned to process information in a linear fashion...that is, a log line of information, analogous to the moving headline around the New York Times building in Times Square.  Electronic-age Westerners (same hedge) learned to process information in bits and pieces, analogous to a mosaic.

And that's what Professor Spiro is saying.

Good ol' Marshall.  We knew he was a prophet. 

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Did you pay attention?

Dear Gentle Reader(s), when you ere enrolled in your English classes in K-12, it is hoped you learned a lesson or two about reading...especially that it is important to think  as well as to call words. 

For instance, here's a quote from the White House web site:  "...a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals..."

Now, look carefully.  What do you remember about the word horizon, DGR(s)?  What is unique about the horizon?  It never can be attained.  By definition, it always remains unreachable.

Think.

Peace.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Whither Reading Skills?

Alas, Dear Gentle Reader(s), somewhere along the way a child (or two) didn't get the message that reading involves understanding as well as calling words.

Take, please!, the example to be found today on Page A10 of the Riverside, California's The Press-Enterprise (print edition). We have this headline: U.S. wary of Israeli strike on Iran, and this sub-headline: HIGH-RISK: The Joint Chiefs chairman an air assault on nuclear facilities could destabilize the region.

Now, DGR(s), if you're thinking, as I was, that this chairman must've lost his chair if he thinks the region is stable--after all, "could destabilize" implies stability in the first place--you'd be correct, up to a point.

Here's the point. In the story the chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, actually is quoted thusly: "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don't need it to be more unstable."

Whoa! The chairman did not say "could destabilize." He said it is "very unstable."

The headline writer at The Press-Enterprise erred; the editor in charge of overseeing the headline writer erred.

Back to school, folks.

This time pay attention to your poor beleaguered English teacher.

[And I know, DGR(s), how dangerous it is for an ex-English teacher to point out weaknesses in language skills of others. Alas, I know all too well.]

Have a good 4th!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Context Matters

Of course, Dear Gentle Reader(s), context matters.  There really isn't any discussion about that.  Why, then, does context so often disappear from discussion?

The current brouhaha regarding General Wesley Clark's comments about Senator McCain's Vietnam war experiences is an excellent case in point.

Here is a quote from Salon.com, it's from Joan Walsh's July 1, 2008, column

Slamming Wesley Clark

I was sorry to see the Obama campaign "reject" Gen. Wesley Clark's remarks about John McCain on Face the Nation yesterday. I think the context of Clark's remarks mattered (although that's gotten lost in the right wing blogosphere's attacks on Clark). Clark was baited into his statement by host Bob Schieffer, who took issue with some earlier, milder remarks Clark had made about McCain's military service not being direct preparation for the presidency.

Here's what was said:

Schieffer: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean --

Clark: Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

Schieffer: Really?

Walsh goes on to wonder why Schieffer said "Really?"  We should do that, too, DGR(s).  While McCain's subsequent POW status and the treatment he endured during that time might give us some indication of his character at that moment in time, it does nothing to tell us of his decision-making processes; it tells us nothing of how much the young serviceman of the 1960's has changed into the Republican nominee of 2008.

Context. 

We should judge the presumptive presidential nominees in the context of 2008.  We should be careful about making a decision today based on what little we know of the context of various yesterdays.

We are going to have to be especially alert to what is being said in this presidential election year.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ouch! That Hurts!!

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Dear Faithful Reader(s), not only has the dollar dropped against the British pound and the Euro, but the esteem awarded to the American public has suffered a most grievous wound at the hands of BBC America.

Where once we could watch MI-5, Life on Mars, the various Robson Greene dramas, and other quality programs featured on such anthologies as Mystery Monday, now what we get is the Brit TV equivalent of Jerry Springer and Fox Noise panels.

How's this for a line up?  "Britain's Worst Teeth," "467 pound Teenager," "My Big Breasts and Me," "Teen Transsexual," and "How Clean Is Your House?"

Have we sunk so low in the esteem of the world that we're reduced to accepting anything they throw at us?

Alas.  One can only surmise it's true.

Spread the word:  MI-5 will be on at an off hour in early July.  FLOOD BBC America with letters.  One might even buy a Ped Egg. 

Um.

No.  Not even for MI-5.

I'd rather watch PAX.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Alas, the saddest day of this year...

Today, at 4:59 p.m. PDT, Dear Faithful Reader(s), the summer solstice occurs.  The available amount of sunlight begins its yearly retreat.  Each day a touch gloomier than the day before. 

Tristesse.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 10--Light in the loafers6.12.08

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), here's a bit of TMI for you regarding the after effects of radiation seed implants. 

1) The abdominal muscles go unexercised for a few weeks, and that results in a slight beer gut.  Of course, it could be a brownie gut or an ice cream gut.  Who knows.

2) One person described the sensation experienced when sitting as "sitting on a golf ball."  It's somewhat true.  It's also somewhat true that the "ball" decreases in size.  I'm experiencing a good-sized marble right now.

3)  A side effect, which one hopes will fade, is the inordinate amount of methane gas produced during the digestive process.  It gives a totally new meaning to "light in the loafers."  That is, an additional, meaning.  Alas.

4)  After some 4 months, the sensation of heat has abided.  One is still "cookin'", but the flame is quite lower.

5)  One is able, still, to impart too much information.

Agape

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

When Words Lose Meaning

Dear Gentle Reader(s), one of the insufficiently discussed issues of the primary run-ups to the 2008 election is the loss of meaning for some words.

Dear, sweet Andrew Sullivan, for instance, has somehow managed to expand the meaning of sociopath from "a person suffering from psychopathic personality, whose behavior is aggressively antisocial," (Webster's New World College Dictionary, 3rd ed., Macmillan) to include Senator Clinton and her campaign staff because of his personal distaste for her.

It's absurd for Sullivan to throw words around without regard to their application. What a disappointment.

In another few years Sullivan will become a person who has lived for more than half a century. He ought to begin to think of how his work and the words he used in his work will be regarded at that time.

Sullivan is too old to be so immature.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Heroes--Past, Present, and...? Really?!?

 

Dear Gentle Reader(s), recently there was, over at Trust, but Verify, a small step wondering about the definition of "war hero."  No one over at that modest effort has ventured an opinion, so let us see if someone here would care to offer an opinion.

The question arises from the oft-repeated phrase of "military" experience as being a qualification for the office of president of the United States.  So, one is forced to ask, in the face of three potential nominees, only one of whom has any military experience, if that experience is absolutely necessary, and, if so, why?  What does it add which is so essential?

A brief history:  President Clinton had no military experience.  President George W. Bush did.  He served in the Texas National Air Guard during the Vietnam war.  He most famously "disappeared" for several months, after flying sorties over the Gulf of Mexico.

Neither of the two leading Democratic nominee-seekers served.  Senator McCain served, but his most prominent military experience was that of a prisoner of war.  What about being a prisoner of war, aside from the emotional content which one remembers virtually all Americans felt at the time, is a requisite for the Commander-in-Chief?  As a colleague of mine at the Palm Springs "Condom Club," another story at another time, commented:  "That shows he wasn't very effective.  He got shot down."

What, then, is a war hero?  I'm thinking the grunt who followed orders.  I'm thinking the G.I. who followed orders and charged the beach on Normandy, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, who peeled spuds to feed the troops.

What think'st thou, Dear Gentle Reader(s)? 

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Paying Paul by Pissing Off Peter

(Oh, Dear Gentle Reader(s), I feel I must apologize for the heading.  I apologize, but I really like it--alliteration is the joy of the poet, and the listener.)

 

The topic is the use of Red Light Cameras. 

The Los Angeles Times today has an interesting story about the use of red light cameras in L.A. County.  It's an interesting reading experience, all the more because it validates what many have believed--those cameras are more of an ATM for quick cash than they are for safety.

California drivers have long enjoyed the oxymoronic "rolling stop."  Mostly used for the right-on-red turn, it consists of reducing speed, keeping one's foot on the brake pedal, looking for pedestrians and other cars, seeing no potential collision, removing the foot from the brake pedal, and transferring said foot to the gas pedal and driving merrily along to the corner store for a bag of potato chips.

The red light camera is bringing this joy to a slow demise.  Here's a quote, "The city of Los Angeles issued more than 30,000 photo tickets last year at 32 camera-equipped intersections. About eight in 10 involved right turns..."  Here's the kicker:  in Los Angeles, the fine is "only" $159 for a right turn violation caught on camera.  (Only because the left-turn or straight through violation is considerably more--$381.)

Here comes the pissed off  irritated part:  The next time the city council of an L.A. county municipality using red light cameras, and the right on red option, puts a tax measure designed to support the police on a ballot, how likely is it that those 8 of ten are going to be thinking, "I've already contributed my share; I'm voting NO."

It is good to made drivers more aware of the dangers associated with lax driving habits.  It would be more efficacious, in the long run, if there were an educational program with less of an annoying factor to do the teaching.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Words! Words! Words!*

 

How's this, Dear Gentle Reader(s), for a headline:  "Obama Admires Bush"?

Well, since it appears in the only-slightly-less-esteemed New York Times, it immediately strikes one as implausible.  Ergo, one hies to the page and discovers that good ol' David Brooks has snookered us once again, albeit rather pleasantly.

The article is a discussion of the teapot tempest swirling around President G. W. Bush's recent speech to the Knesset of Israel in which he spoke of "appeasement" in such a manner as to suggest he was interjecting criticism of Senator Obama into a speech on foreign soil. 

Mr. Brooks relates parts of a conversation he recently had with the Senator, and in it Obama, much to Brooks' approval spoke words of admiration for the policies of President George H. W. Bush during the Desert Storm period in 1991.

The column speaks well of the Senator's understanding, as Brooks sees it, of the use of diplomacy as a tool, along with the military, to be used in the effectuation of foreign policy.

Would the current Administration had as much understanding.

 

*Intro to "Show Me" from My Fair Lady.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sacrifice

 

Language, Dear Gentle Reader(s) is fungible, but it oughtn't be. Take, for instance, the word sacrifice

The sacrifice of the Mass; the sacrifice of the Cross; the sacrifice of a mother and father in raising a child; the sacrifice of a serviceman or woman in blood, limb, or life in the Iraqi war.  These are examples of sacrifice which stir the blood.  On the other hand--

We have the media announcement that George W. Bush, President of the United States, has given up/sacrificed his golf game because of the Iraqi war.  He doesn't want a mother who has sacrificed a son for her country to see "the Commander-in-Chief" playing golf.

Language.  If you're not careful with it, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it can come back and bite you on the ass.  Or at least solidify the negative impression people might have of you.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

When is a draft not a draft?

 

Long have we argued, Dear Gentle Reader(s), for a revival of the Selective Service System.  As a matter of fact, we feel it should be universal. 

Current political leaders claim the "draft" is not necessary.  Some even go so far as to say that the current armed forces are better for not being a mixture of "Regular Army" and "U.S."  (Army service identification numbers began with RA--volunteers--or US--draftees--ours was RA--a draft dodger!)

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the Pentagon's program of "stop loss," that is, those volunteers whose enlistment is about to end are prevented from leaving the active duty military and are liable to be re-deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, reached a high of 12,235 in March of this year.  From the beginning of theIraqi/Afghanistan military operations until the end of 2007, a total of 58,300 were issued a stop loss order.

That pretty much sounds like a involuntary draft.

If we are in this struggle, we should all be in this struggle.

A universal draft is the only fair manner in which to provide troops for the effort.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Automatic Honorific Epithets

Over at Trust, But Verify, Dear Gentle Reader(s), one might find modest efforts at saving such words as Reverend and phrases such as War Hero for those rare instances where they are, indeed, applicable.

Not to let Logorrhea go unnoticed, there is one more which might be mentioned: holiness.

The last such person to occupy the papal throne at the Vatican, in one's humble opinion, was John XXIII. All those introductions which included "His holiness, X.." since the mid-60's were more wishful thinking than fact.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

As a matter of simple logic,

Dear Gentle Reader(s), doesn't it make sense to identify humanity as, essentially, agnostic? 

We don't know.

Many of us believe, but that's not the same as knowing.

The phrase, "In my heart I know" is actually meaningless.  It is a virtual admission a topic unknowable.  All this brouhaha about atheist, agnostic, and believer is just so much smoke.

One might hope, but one cannot, as this stage of the development of the human mind, know.

Agape.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Um...

Dear Gentle Reader(s), does anyone really buy the kinoki foot pads? 

How does the company keep on advertising?  Who pays for the ads?

Foot pads?  Cleansers?

Sheesh!

 

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Friday, April 18, 2008

An April Shower? (Pun intended)

Dear Gentle Reader(s), time for a giggle provided in part by the highly esteemed Andrew Sullivan.  Under the title "Peeing On A Bug" Sullivan offers this: 

One memorable example of the power of choice architecture comes from the men's rooms at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. There the authorities have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal. It seems that men usually do not pay much attention to where they aim, which can create a bit of a mess, but if they see a target, their attention and accuracy improve. Spillage at the airport decreased by 80%!

Now, if they could only figure out how to make the ersatz fly move around a wee bit, that spillage would decrease even further!

 

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Massive Misjudgment Echo?

Dear Gentle Reader(s), our favorite conservative, Andrew Sullivan, has penned a brief on his view of the problems facing America today.  You can catch the drift of it here.

As loyal reader(s) of these maunderings, you are well aware of this writer's unhappiness with Sullivan's treatment of Senator and President Clinton.  He freely, virtually with glee, uses many forms of hate in his writings of the Clintons.  One might, and often has, protested the word does not belong in a civil, public discussion of political ideas, but so far, to no avail.

In this particular piece, Sullivan is trying to account for his "own massive misjudgment over Iraq and near-disbelief at what has happened to limited government conservatism in the past decade."  That is to his credit. 

What is not to his credit is that the possibility never seems to occur to Sullivan that his perception of the Clintons is another "massive misjudgment." 

Think on't, Andrew.  Disagreeing with a political posture is one thing; hating is quite another.

Don't let, Mr. Sullivan, another massive misjudgment come back to nip at your posterior.  Take the high road.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

11 Days and Counting

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it's been 11 days since landing at Gatwick Airport, south of London.  There've been many miles, kilometers, recorded on these old feet.  There've been paintings galore, statues galore, street scenes galore, a near miss with an Olympic protest (as usual, just missed out--so many times), churches a-plenty, a basilica or two, unusual architecture, all sorts of human beings, good food (in Paris), mediocre food (in London), the smallest hotel room in all of Christendom, astonishing excess viewed at the Louvre, and snow, and sleet, and the common cold knows no geographical bounds.

An astonishing accumulation, considering who accumulated it.  (And drinking buddy Marlin (Bud) made it all possible.) 

Three more days to go.

Wish me, DGR(s), good luck.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Well, It Had To Happen, One Supposes

On a Tube, returning to the hotel last Friday night, in a somewhat crowded car, a nice young lady look up, one supposes; saw a rather pitiful sight, one supposes; stood and offered me her seat.  Astonishment, momentarily, ensued!

One supposes one has arrived at a particular moment on the continuum of one's life when a young person, after a long day, feels the need to offer aid to said young person's elders, even an elder who is a total stranger. 

Chivalry is not dead, nor is it entailed to the male sex.

Sunday morning in London.  It's been snowing for two hours.  It's April 6.  It's been snowing for two hours.  Of all the weather possibilities one anticipated for London weather when the sonne is in the ram, snow weren't included.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Off to Merrie Ol'

Tuesday morning, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is the date.  There might not be any postings for the next couple of weeks.

Be happy.  Be aware.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

5th Anniversary

Hie thee, Dear Gentle Reader(s), over to this column by Diana West over at the Townhall muckroom. She's my newest BFF (not really, she truly doesn't know I exist) of conservative pundits. She's the voice of reason and clear vision of the right. She's what Andrew Sullivan should be if he could only get a grip.



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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Geraldine and Andrew Show

OK, Dear Gentle Reader(s), here are a couple of quotes for you.

This is what Geraldine Ferraro said to The Daily Breeze of Torrance, California, a few days ago: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Here is a quote from Andrew Sullivan's blog on the brouhaha which has arisen over the comment: My deeper point is that Obama's virtues as a politician - his ability to unite, his capacity for reason, his solid judgment and even temperament - have nothing to do with race at all...Of course, Obama's race is a salient issue. We're human.

Isn't it possible, DGR(s), that Mrs. Ferraro was speaking of the saliency of Senator Obama's race? It certainly doesn't necessarily follow that she's claiming race is Obama's only strong point. What race does for him is to offer an extra fillip to his other quite strong, and quite equally salient, points.

Sullivan, and those who choose to interpret Mrs. Ferraro negatively, do disservice to Obama's unique talents and the enhancement his mixed-race background give to those talents. That background was interesting enough to afford the senator some extra time to learn to hone his presentation into the effective campaign persona he has become.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Piffle

Governor Spitzer should not resign.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 9--Laxatives, Metamucil, Suppositories, Oh, My!

Surely, Dear Gentle Reader(s), one hopes you never have to experience the "Don't Strain!" syndrome. Should it happen, though, there is good news.

From experience, one is able to say that a combination of suppositories and Metamucil will do nicely. As a matter of fact, the internal swelling seems to have reduced along with the regimen of bran flakes, bran drink, lots of cantaloupe, and, an occasional suppository.

The yuck factor might be high, but this is information which is not clearly available in post-op instructions. Would that it had been.

As a side note, should you ever have to have radiation seeds implanted, expect to note an occasional sensation of warmth. Doubtless that sensation is purely mental, but it's amusing to think that one feels the little buggers doing their job of burning away the bad cancer cells...how they do it without also burning away the good guys is unexplained--actually one suspects they simply burn away, willy-nilly, but what does one know?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 8--Don't Strain!

Available literature about what to expect after this procedure is rife with references to incontinence. For that, one is well prepared.

There were absolutely no references to constipation, except for the stressed: "Don't strain!"

Seems simple enough? Well, here's the problem: There is a virtually constant message to the brain caused, one supposes, by swelling, that constipation is present; and that message is saying, "Do something about this now!"

"Don't strain!" "Fix this now!" Repeated sans cessation. Aaaaugh!

One is ready for the occasional unplanned drip, as well as a deep red ejaculate.

Perhaps one wasn't warned about the "Don't strain"/"Fix this now" dilemma because there isn't any way to prepare?

No. That doesn't compute. A little prior knowledge, even a hint, might be enough to prevent a 2 a.m. panic.

n.b. One gains a more complete understanding of the various pressure points endured by pregnant women. (Mom, I didn't know. Sorry.)

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 7--Film at 11!


Hmmm. Those black slivers are the implants. 28 needles and 92 seeds.
The wonders of modern medicine. All done without cutting the skin.
Who woulda thunk?

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Brachy Chronicles 6--La Ronde

There's a song lyric which goes something like "everything old is new again."

The "wet spot" once again means something it meant before it meant what it meant a day ago. Alas. Sigh.

In the meantime it's spring-like in Palm Springs.



All's well when the jonquils will not be denied.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 5--Clippety Clop Clippety Clop

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there's a good deal of...um...er...voiding associated with brachy therapy. At 4:00 p.m. on the afternoon prior to the procedure, one is instructed to ingest 10 ounces of Citrate of Magnesium (n.b. It's a lot easier to take than the Milk of Magnesia my mother used to use with draconian mein, "I'm tired of standing here. DRINK IT! NOW!!!"). Then one waits.

A nurse said to expect results in 12 hours; it began to "work" in 8. It continued for 3. Oh, well. Consider the alternative.

The first stop at the pre-op room was a pleasant young woman who issues the uniform of the day, assigns a "facility" in which to change clothing, and, as a parting gesture, says, "Oh, by the way. You'll need (her voice dropped to a whisper [Really! She whispered! Why?]) a Fleet enema. Do you want me to help you?"

"No."

The procedure for brachy therapy itself is rather uneventful. At least for the patient. Some major z's. Afterwards, though, more voiding fun awaits.

First, the bladder doesn't realize that the plumbing down the line is temporarily skewed. It continues to send signals which don't get a response which causes more signals and more no responses and then the signals become rather frantic. As an observer of all these signal/response back and forths, one is at first amused, then bemused, then slightly frantic as well.

Drip. Drip. Dropdropdrop.

Drip. Drip...

A 1/2 second prrrrrrt becomes a "consummation devoutly to be wished."

And so it goes for 24 hours.

Then one is encouraged to partake of some over the counter voiding assistant--to prevent the necessity for "strain"--which ultimately produces a perfect storm in a 12 hour process. It begins with a gentle nudge, then there is a recession, then another nudge, another recession, then a veritable hurricane of super nudges, which lasts for hours before receding, slowly, and not without a moment or two of additional terror, to a mere rumbling.

Oh, DGR(s). What joys await the aging. Bette Davis was so on the mark with "Growing old ain't for sissies."

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brachy Chronicles 4 -- The Next Step

After some three weeks of waiting for Kaiser's approval of the brachy treatment, word finally arrived that the procedure is scheduled for February 11.

Let the games begin.

Preparation includes lab tests: EKG, CHEST X-RAY, CBC, PT/INR, PTT, COMPREHENSIVE METABOLOIC PANEL, SGOT. (SGOT? What the heck is SGOT? For that matter, what is CBC, PT/INR, or PTT? Ah the things we learn as we shift chairs here in God's Waiting Room.)

Two weeks prior to the procedure, no intake of any of the various blood thinner, pain relievers and other assorted goodies such as aspirin, etc.

On February 5 there will be a Pre OP Visit at the Arnold Palomer Prostste Center, no less, which is followed hard upon on the 6th by a Pre Surgical Interview by phone with the hospital.

A clear liquid diet begins the day before the procedure; a ten ounce ingestion of Citrate of Magnesium is ordered for 4:00 p.m. on the 10th. (Ugh!)

The Seed Implant begins at 7:15 a.m.

On the 12th there's a Post Op Visit at the APPC.

On March 11 there will be a Ct Scan.

In the meantime, no children upon the lap. Stay 1 meter away from pregnant women. (That'll be easy. There are precious few pregnant women in my senior citizen circle here in Palm Springs.)

And there, Dear Gentle Reader(s), you have it.

As a side note, many people who have heard my tale of the original physician's suggestion for preventive maintenance against prostate cancer (an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away--more or less) scoffed, smirked, or sniggered at the suggestion. Here's another anecdote related by a different doctor, some several years later:

The good doctor (name withheld in case I could get him or myself in trouble), upon hearing of Dr Keith's (I don't mind naming him; he has passed on, alas--charming man) recommendation, said that he agreed. He then told me of one of his patients, to whom he had made the same suggestion, who was a devout Catholic. It seems the good doctor had to write a note for the patient's confessor in order for the confessor to grant absolution during the sacrament of Confession. (n.b. Unbridled Onanism is considered a significant error by some of the RC persuasion.)

Imagine. A note from your doctor excusing you from punishment for masturbation!

Agape. Be in good health.

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