Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drill, Barack, Drill!

Read this. Have your barf bag handy.

Can you spell "co-opted,"children? If not, the President will help you...

More Doc Work

I'm going in for more tests today. I'm sorry the blog is so consumed with personal and medical items lately, but when it takes me 20 min. just to go to the bathroom or for a glass of orange juice, there's just not enough time and energy to do a proper job of researching a real blog post. On top of all that (whine), tree pollen is so extremely high that I am queasy 24x7. I hope to be back in less than a day; thanks for your patience.

Oh... the medical news? It's at least not worse. I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for results...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Morning, 3 A.M.

Stella and I discovered each other independently wakeful, she in the office, I in my perpetual chair, neither of us likely to sleep soon. Stella found a stack of old photos, so old they emerged mostly from my now-defunct film camera of yesteryear, spanning many of our adventures in Central Texas, friends and their kids, and Stella in her youth. (If you think she's gorgeous now, she was truly stunning in her 20s and 30s. Still, alll in all, I'll take today's version, thank you.) So we sat up paging through old glossies, reminiscing about the old days. I'm very sleepy this morning, but happy for the diversion. It does mean that any serious blogging will have to wait...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Priestly (Di)Vestments

Matt Taibbi (admittedly not everybody's favorite guy) gets into it one more time with the Catholic Church over ongoing pedophilia scandals and Pope Benedict's (Ratzinger's) apparent involvement in cover-ups. The scandals widen, the numbers of kids abused continues to grow, and to all appearances the Church continues cover-ups and evasions of criminal law.

I'm sorry, but the Church receives no special exemption in these matters: priests, as surely as anyone anywhere, must be subject to ordinary criminal law in matters of physical abuse. Until the practices are rooted out and stopped... until the hierarchy of the Church ceases enabling these crimes... it is damned well our business to see that the abusers are found and prosecuted. Too many children's lives and mental health are at stake.

Warning: Catholics may be offended by Taibbi's post. What they should be offended  by is the unconscionable priestly behavior it reveals.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Connection Problem

Apologies for my absence. We had "technical difficulties" on this end.

We sat up late attempting to render two of Stella's documents into a file format we could print from my computer... her fancy printer has quit, just as Murphy's Law requires, at the most inconvenient possible time, half a day before a deadline.

No problem, right? Right: email 'em to me; let me print 'em. Um, that may take a while. Just locate and install M$ Word 2003 SP3 in my copy of Word so it would support newer file type converters that recognize .docx files. Like any M$ install procedure, the SP3 and the converters together, on a three-year-old machine, took about 1½ hours.

Exhausted, we emailed and printed the documents... only to discover that my ancient HP inkjet printer has gone defunct, mostly due to disuse, and neither head-cleaning nor new cartridges helped... the printed output looked like crap, completely unacceptable for a presentation document. Damn that printer... it lasted only about 15 years of useful life!

That was the less frustrating part of the adventure.

Stella's new plan, arranged by phone, was to burn a CD of the docs and take them to Kinko's to be printed. But a little later, she phoned a colleague and arranged to email them to the colleague, to be printed in the morning because everyone was exhausted last night. This morning, our internet connection was kaput. This rarely happens... our local AT&T is one of the more reliable services I've experienced anywhere... but Murphy prevailed again. Here's the frustrating part: the phone line associated with the DSL was working fine. All the cabling appeared properly plugged across our little network. All modem lights were green across the board. The router lights appeared normal; besides, bypassing the router did not fix the problem. Restarting computer and router had no effect.

The nature of the problem seemed to be domain name service. Eventually it occurred to me to power-cycle the modem itself, despite its solid-green appearance. Within seconds, I had Google on my browser and Stella's document in my out-box to her colleague. Apparently AT&T had lost its DNS overnight and later restored it, but my truly ancient equipment does not always detect and recover the service on my end.

And so at last, we were successful. As a result, today's departmental Easter Egg Hunt can go forward just as planned!

Friday, March 26, 2010

That Sinking Feeling

No man is an island entire of itself. Indeed, this island isn't even an island, at least not above water:
Disputed isle in Bay of Bengal disappears into sea


By NIRMALA GEORGE, Associated Press Writer Nirmala George, Associated Press Writer – Wed Mar 24, 9:29 am ET

NEW DELHI – For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island's gone.

New Moore Island in the Sunderbans has been completely submerged, said oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols, he said.

"What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming," said Hazra.

I've always said global climate change would ultimately resolve all of humankind's disputes... [/snark]

H/T ellroon.

Friday Cat Blogging

Please see the picture two posts upstream. Indeed, "I has a sad" about the loss of our cats. R.I.P. Samantha. R.I.P. Tabitha. In-house cat-blogging will have to wait a while; we're still mourning.

Last night I had a literal sleeping dream about Samantha. At least I assume it was Samantha; in the dream, it was a kitten at most a few months old, but it was the spitting image of Samantha as she must have looked at that age. She was playing among the legs of an old-fashioned wooden dining chair; I knew it was Samantha because the deep red finish on the chair legs (courtesy of my late father) set off Samantha's cinnamon highlights.. The image was so vivid I sat up with a start. I leaned forward in my easy chair for a better look (I knew I might not get another chance), somehow tripped the latch on the easy chair's footrest and sent it (and my feet) crashing to the floor, and sighed as Samantha vanished from my view, doing a disappearing number that would have been a credit to the Cheshire Cat.

Bye, gal; I miss you a lot.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Encapsulation Of Republican Philosophy

Here's a video... somehow familiar, somehow a little bit different... that embodies the essence of Republican politics in our era. Even as one who is not much of an Obama fan, I have to say this one cracked me up. Enjoy... if that's the right word.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Too Many Worthy Creatures...

... are meeting their untimely demise these days.

H/T Badtux for the LOLcats link.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Catherine, our good friend for over 35 years, lost one of her other best friends to a motor vehicle crash on I-45 on her way to Dallas. News reports are a bit sparse, but the crash... I cannot bring myself to call it an accident... was as classic as it was senseless. Her friend was a back-seat passenger in a tiny Honda Civic that was reportedly going "slowly" (on a Texas interstate, that could mean anywhere from 65 to 75 mph). A massive Dodge Ram pickup approached from behind, failed to control speed (God knows what that speed was), and... as I said, this kind of crash is classic on our interstates. As a result, a dear person approaching retirement age died needlessly. Of course the truck driver survived. How many times have we Texans driven that same road? how many times held our breath? how many times shouted oh shit oh jeezus, only to be spared at the last instant?

Momentum equals mass times velocity; that is a law of classical physics. Given that we in our wisdom have decided that everything from multi-ton trucks to motorcycles shall share the same road, only one of the two variables... velocity... is left to adjust if one hopes to reduce the momentum of that truck behind you before disaster ensues. I admit I've driven Texas' absurdly high speed limits myself, in much smaller vehicles, but when drivers of massive trucks take to the road at 90mph, it is inevitable that innocent people will be killed. And thus it apparently happened to Catherine's friend CR.

CR was a musician, a teacher and an exceptionally gifted speaker and writer of English. Like many of us, she had a "straight job,"  at which she reportedly excelled. And she was truly a dear person. All of that is now lost to us on this earth. Please, please, people... drive on the highway as if your own best friend's life depended on it.

Medical events in my life are coming thick and fast; I'll have to enumerate them later. Meanwhile, chew on this: tomorrow, my doc is making (take a deep breath, now) a house call. No kidding!

Triumph Over Fear

Is Paul Krugman right? Does the healthcare reform bill represent not so much the Democratic Party's political defeat of the Republicans... many would assert that; many would deny it vehemently... but an American triumph over the worst of fearmongering to which we have been subjected? I welcome your opinions (within reason, of course): are we better off for this vote, for more than just a political victory? I am uncertain; the resulting bill has some terrifying flaws. But if it is indeed a first successful challenge to the politics of raw fear practiced by the GOP in recent years, it may be worth it. As a body politic, we really need to move past that abject, irrational fear; any such step may be a good step.

Nothing is ever simple...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare Reform Bill Passes

Well, I'll be damned. I didn't think they had the guts or the political craft to do it. All they had to do to accomplish it was to throw about half the traditional Democratic base under that bus mentioned below, but I have to give them credit for rising out of their stupak stupor and actually crafting a legislative victory.

So... why do I care? I'm no longer a party member, and the bill manifestly sucks eggs in some important ways. Well, here's why:
  • the collapse of the Democratic Party, however little I like the damned thing, could well lead forthwith to the collapse of the nation. And believe me: a legislative failure of that magnitude would lead to the collapse of an already shaky party. We... all of us.... still need the Democratic Party, and we need it in at least minimally operable condition for a while; 
  • this was almost certainly the last political opportunity of my lifetime to address healthcare reform at the federal level. In other words, a bad law can be tinkered into shape after its passage; a failed bill that did not become law has a snowball's chance in South Texas in July of being reintroduced in a reasonable time. How long has it been since Hillary's bill? See?

I may have more on this tomorrow, but I'm also addressing some medical problems of my own. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Under The Bus

That's where the women of America are about to be tossed, in the name of political expediency.

Read. Howl in outrage. And as far as I'm concerned... shut the motherfucker down.

I believe I've had enough of the goddamned games Congress... and yes, Obama... are playing with women's basic rights and civil liberties. New procedures seem to be introduced... invented?... daily to allow conservative extremists with a 'D' after their names to change the meaning of legislation after it has in essence been voted on. We have met the George III of our day, and he is most of the entire goddamned Congress.

We no longer live in a representative democracy. Women are among the first to pay the price for that abandonment. But they will not be the last. It's going to be crowded under that bus. Anyone else unwilling to stay there?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Status Update

This week, getting definitive answers on anything medical has been like pulling teeth. OK, maybe that's not the best choice of phrase. But that MRI that I had about a week ago... those things are a real carnival ride of fun, let me tell you... seems to have yielded less information than I at least had hoped, including answers to a couple of specific questions that should determine the course of my future treatment. I can't really even doctor-shop if I don't know a bit more specifically what the ailment is. So I'm pressing my primary care provider for assistance in making some decisions, and to my surprise and dismay, he's not returning my phone calls, which is unusual for him. To his credit, he arranged for an assistant to walk me through the prose summary of the MRI results. Some mostly predictable observations were made, and a couple of additional diagnostic avenues suggested... but no overall course of action was made clear.

Stella cleared most of the hallways in our home so that it is much easier to get around in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the bathroom is not among the straightforwardly accessible rooms, and that's a damned nuisance... I'll leave it to you to imagine the solutions. On the food prep front, I get to pretend I'm a seven-year-old boy: the counter-tops are at eye level, the back of the kitchen sink is almost impossible to reach, the dish cabinets may as well be on another planet, I can choose foods from only some parts of the freezer or refrigerator, and even a lot of the canned goods in the pantry are out of reach. We're gradually remedying these limitations, but it's awfully slow going. Once in a while, I work myself into a corner or tight spot, from which exit requires me to dismantle the wheelchair... releasing the footrests, removing the footrests, etc. (piling stuff in my lap) until the thing is narrow enough for the passage. It's a learning experience... an exhausting one.

And that's the news from Lake Misbegotten...

I realized after I posted this that I had not devoted nearly enough time to the hand (hands) of Stella in all this. All of a sudden, about two weeks ago, Stella found herself doing her usual full-time job, and another full-time-equivalent taking care of me. In addition to that, she also inherited most of my household chores on top of her own, because there are so many things that cannot be done by a non-driving, wheelchair-bound person. I was the grocery shopper of the family. No longer. I was the dishwasher-etc. guy (not often the cook). No longer. We combined efforts on the trash. No longer. And so on. It makes me feel like a lazy lout, but I have little choice in what I can and cannot do these days. Stella is a veritable saint for taking on all these tasks, and has persisted in doing them in the face of excessive job-related work and other fatiguing unavoidable responsibilities. If you ever wondered why I love Stella... well, this is just another set of reasons.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who's The Fairest Of Them All?

This morning... indisputably... Stella. She has jury duty in the city courts. I know her: she will bring her undivided attention and soberest judgment to getting it right. Parties in a case may or may not want a fair and impartial trial, but to the extent that a mere determiner of fact can influence the matter, they will get just that if Stella is on their jury. She's the fairest of them all.

Of course, maybe "they" replaced jury verdicts with executive decrees overnight; I haven't read the news carefully yet...

UPDATE:  Guilty! guilty! guilty! Never let it be said that liberals are not tough on crime! Seriously: the charge was speeding in a construction zone, going 92mph through a stretch of road work occupied by an estimated 40 construction workers. No one was hurt, but the speeding was observed visually and then documented by not one but two radar readings. Stella and five other jurors agreed that there was no way the driver wasn't speeding. Why the defendant took it to court is beyond my ability to explain; there's a time to swallow hard, say "I did it," and pay your fine. But I guess she had her day in court. I love the easy ones!

The USA Is Dead. Long Live The USA!

If this bill by McCain and LIEberman becomes law, in essence formalizing the powers Bush arrogated post-9/11 and later (indefinite detention, no habeas rights,warrantless searches, nonstandard courts with draconian rules for administering "justice," permission to inflict torture, etc.), the President will assume the powers that every dictator from Stalin to Saddam Hussein has exercised... and the United States of America, as the institution envisioned by our Founders and encapsulated in our Constitution, will be effectively dead. Glenn Greenwald:
Meanwhile, the bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain -- the so-called "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act" -- now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown.  It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act.  It literally empowers the President to imprison anyone he wants in his sole discretion by simply decreeing them a Terrorist suspect -- including American citizens arrested on U.S. soil.

Worst of all, according to Greenwald, the introduction of this bill caused... storms of outrage? No: hardly a stir in Congress.

My medical conditions assure that I experience sustained moderately severe pain every moment of every day. That is nothing compared to the pain in my soul at the thought of the legal transformation of the USA into a fascist dictatorship with a violent predisposition. I physically cannot leave the country... hell, I often cannot go to another room... and I cannot abide the thought of living with such a transformation. Suggestions welcome.

(Edited to include the Greenwald quote.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Liberals And Democrats

vastleft of Corrente shows us the relationship in a simple cartoon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

HAL, Open The...

... GOP's closed minds. Sorry, Dave, I'm afraid HAL, or in this case Hal, can't do that, either. From a comment by reader Hal in Tucson, AZ, on a thread on Paul Krugman's hilariously titled post, Saving Ryan's Privatization:
I am trying to think of a time when so many of the GOP were simply stupid or addle-brained and cannot. It used to be a party of predominantly sensible people. No longer.
And so it is. At age 61, I can remember a few sensible Republican officials over the years (especially in my youth), people with whom I more often than not disagreed on policy issues, but who saw that there were genuine issues and differences to be addressed, and who had less of a slash-and-burn approach. As the man said... no longer. GOPers in Washington now behave as if no one will notice that their announced policies (when they deign to grant us a preview of them) and their obstructive/destructive legislative actions are, as a package, fucking full-blown bat-shit crazy. Oh, no, we don't notice at all, do we?

Be sure to read Krugman's post in full; it is excellent, notwithstanding its title that sounds like (OK, better than) one of mine.

Not Without Some Merits

On the Merits

I borrowed a wheelchair. Its brand name is 'Merits' ...
I like it mighty fine.
Most people may stand or may fall on their merits...
I sit and roll on mine.

Steve Bates

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Samantha Cat (~1995 - 2010)

It grieves me to report the death of Samantha, virtual daughter of Stella, of renal failure. All of us expected her to die, but only Samantha may have known how soon it would happen. Stella is heartbroken, and after a period of time living with the little critter, I find that I am devastated myself. I have no more stamina to tell the eight stories of the past three days, but I promise more of an obit tomorrow.

Samantha: In Memoriam

See Samantha living: fire and flash and feline frenzy all,
See her feeding, flying, playing jokes and chasing "mouse" or ball;
See her loving Stella, Steve and Life, at loving quite a wizard,
Watch her as she shows us how to capture joy (and yes, a lizard)!

Now observe her dead, inert, mere fur and flesh, retracted claws,
Now obeying...  as all must... that most immutable of laws.

Look! beyond that rainbow bridge... Who's gamboling and chasing mice?
Strong, alert, with ears a-point? Cat A or B? Need I ask twice?
 Steve Bates

Ay, Bast, how I miss her...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dragging Feet, Pulling Legs, Etc. - UPDATED

This morning at the crack of dawn I visited an orthopedist selected by my PCP. According to him, old and new X-rays combined indicate that my right foot and ankle should be amputated below the knee. I asked about alternatives; like most surgeons, he was contemptuous of nonsurgical options. He said modern medicine could drag out the process of losing the foot for years, nonetheless losing it in the end, whereas an amputee stands a reasonable chance of returning to something of a normal life within a year. Hmph, said I, and thanked him for his candor.

I immediately sought advice from my PCP, the aforementioned Dr. B. He promptly suggested another option that needs to be investigated, and is attempting to arrange me affordable admission for a major hospital's wound care center, which also deals with diabetes-related injuries. Tomorrow (Friday) I meet with their admissions department to determine what kind of deal we can strike for self-pay. If we agree, I will be admitted immediately to begin stabilization and attempted disinfection of my increasingly messed-up foot. That suits me, because even getting from room to room at home is nearly impossible right now. I have a pretty good borrowed walker and a really heavy, almost unusable rental wheelchair in house; I presume I'll take the first of those with me in case I'm admitted, and I'm resisting dumping the wheelchair in the bayou (instead returning it and finding something more suitable).

Which brings me to the YSS. I doubt I'll be able to post it from Memorial Hermann hospital; I have no wifi privileges there that I know of, and I doubt a daily list of my complaints would be of much interest anyway. If I come back home tomorrow, you'll hear from me that night. If not, I could be gone three weeks or more. I presume y'all will take care of things for me.

I know it's not yet Friday, but note that Samantha is getting very finicky about taking some of her medical treatments. She's been exceptionally sweet to me lately; keep your fingers crossed for her well-being as well as mine.

UPDATE: the new doc at the hospital's wound care center says the wound is completely healed (yay!) but that he is not an orthopedist, and I need one of those to determine what I really should do. He did offer one observation: the original orthopedist was waaaay premature and overbearing in insisting on immediate amputation unless my life was in serious danger; that he needed far more info to make that determination, and that I should never be bolted into such a decision in such haste... and with so little basis. I'm glad to know that more of the medical profession is sane than not. (Some of these guys have offered unsolicited opinions... on health care reform, unasked by me. So far, no one backs Obama's version, but some object for my reasons and some for reasons that sound as if they came from a Tea Party mailer.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'We Come And We Go...'

'... it's a thing that I keep in the back of my head.' - Paul Simon

This morning I saw a male cardinal, sporting that impossible color, topknot erect, whole body alert and ready for whatever came its way, sitting on a backyard fence. I see them occasionally here at the house, as I almost never did at the apartment complex.  They just didn't come around.

I ask you, what kind of human habitation is unfit for birds?

That reminded me of a toad. No, I kid you not: when I was a very young child, we lived in a rental duplex... brick, real yard and everything; people of modest means often lived in civilized circumstances back then... and Mom and Dad kept a small flower garden on one side of the house. Some evenings we would water the garden as a family, taking turns at the hose, watching the family of toads that lived under the house come out to soak up some water. There were a lot of them! Many years later, I learned that they were of the species Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis). Years later again, I learned that they are an endangered species, with only 3000-4000 adults left alive in the world.  

I ask you, what kind of human habitation is unfit for toads?

That thing we're doing to the planet we live on? We're not doing it only to ourselves. When we "all go together when we go" (Tom Lehrer), "we" will include all the toads and cardinals.

It's a thing that I keep in the back of my head.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Status Update

... specifically, my health status. Short version: to quote the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in an interview in his last few months of life, "I'm comin' apart." To which I must add, "The pieces don't look good at all."

Yes, the first time I fell, I really did shout out to Stella, "I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!" Memories of old commercials never die...

I've fallen twice attempting to walk from the den to the kitchen... fortunately the injuries were minor each time. Stella arranged me the loan of a rolling walker, not really how I'd prefer to deal with it, but much better than nothing, and I haven't fallen since I started using it. With the walker, I can do the bare essentials in the bathroom or kitchen, if I plan ahead about 10 minutes for transit. And even with the walker, it hurts quite a bit. The one Stella borrowed is a really high-end Dalton, with four wheels, decent caliper brakes and a basket. It lacks one thing: a lock for the brakes. Keep your hand at the ready at all times, and don't carry things in your hands!

Needless to say, this is happening at a time of maximum household chaos, and Stella's career-related outside activities are as busy as they ever get. Think about the places I can't go now (did I mention I can't even think about driving?)... grocer, Post Office, etc. All these duties devolve on Stella, who already had plenty of her own. And she's not what I'd call a cool-headed responder in such circumstances. She would doubtless say the same of me.

So there probably won't be a lot of political blogging right away. I'm supposed to hear from my doctor and my accountant (death and taxes, you know) today, but I can't imagine the medical news will be cheery. Thanks for sticking with me through the rough patch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Robin

 I awoke and opened my window blinds to a view of my first robin of spring, hopping along a tree root, gathering whatever it could find...

... only to see the poor bird chased away by the 142,857th squirrel of winter. Clearly the seasonal transition is well-covered, at least in our front yard.

Life goes on!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bag O' Bones

It's many moons from Talk Like a Pirate Day, and "bucket o' blood" is inappropriate for me anyway. Try "bag o' bones" instead. My right fifth metatarsal is exactly that: a bag o' bones, shattered in a lot of pieces. That's the same foot that contains the diabetic wound. Until today, neither my doc nor I thought of looking for a significant fracture, but hey, there it is, and it has been since probably December. It took this long for the fracture to cause enough problems to render me almost unable to walk, even indoors from room to room. That's great fun, I can assure you. My doc is consulting with a specialist about details and possible treatments. Meanwhile... ouch!

UPDATE Friday afternoon: still no word from the docs, but Stella suggested (she's bright, that one!) that I use her desk chair to wheel myself from room to room. It works, fitting through narrow passages where a wheelchair wouldn't go. It's about 5-10 minutes from, say, the bedroom to the other end of the den where I'm tapping this, but there's relatively little pain... a very important consideration! The kitchen, with its flooring and borders, is a bit more of a problem. Still, this is much better than nothing! Unless Samantha comes right here and poses for me, utterly stationary, for about five minutes, there will not be a cat pic today... and well, you know, she's a cat, and not much inclined to co-operation...

The Whipping-Boy Profession

Welcome to the career selection seminar. My task is to help you decide if the profession to which I have dedicated my life is right for you. What is it like being a daily practitioner of this ancient and venerable profession? Here are a few characteristics:

  • You will need at least a Master's degree; in other words, you must find funding and support yourself through five or six years of college.
  • You must demonstrate expertise in at least two disciplines.
  • You must be willing to work during office hours and a number of additional unpaid hours, often through midnight. No labor laws protect you; it is required by the job that you work these extra free hours.
  • For your efforts you will be paid less than a doctor, less even than the sanitation worker who hauls your garbage, less than any other profession, for sure.
  • Every day, start to finish, you will deal with aggravating people. This is part of the core activity of your profession.
  • You will be evaluated at least yearly, in part according to the subsequent behavior of the aggravating people.
  • Your job does not involve political activity, yet you will find politics utterly inescapable.
  • And at the last, you may be rewarded by being FIRED EN MASSE, with the explicit and astringent approval of the President of the United States of America.
If you think you might like to be a schoolteacher, first talk to your therapist about your unreasoning masochistic fantasies, then contact your nearest school of education.

(H/T Jane Hamsher.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Best News Of The Primary

GOP right-wing fundamentalist radical Don McLeroy, of textbook-spoiling infamy, has LOST the Republican primary to retain his seat on the Texas school board. His opponent is probably no prize, either, but no one could be more aggressively radical in writing textbook requirements. Buh-bye, Don; don't let the door hit your butt on the way out... oh, hell, do; you deserve that and worse.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blooper Of The Day

From David Wayne McAvoy, in a letter supporting Bill Halter in his challenge to Blanche Lincoln:
Bare with me, I'm almost done with my pitch for your support. :-)
Uh, David, I'm sorry, but I'm not gay and I don't even know you...

Where To Vote Today

Here are ways to find your polling place. Today, you must vote in your own precinct; the early-voting places are not available. You must be registered to vote, though if your card has not arrived, you can vote on your current and correct driver's license. (A lot of us have not received our cards, which is why we need Sue Schechter (D) as county clerk.)

Voting in a party primary registers you with that party. As ironic as that seems, I am now a registered Democrat for at least an election cycle. For the ambivalent among us, that is the price we pay to have any electoral influence at all in Texas. Of course, nothing prevents you from voting in the GOP primary and doing a bit of monkeywrenching; you can damned well bet they do it. If you're like me, your primary objection (heh) is to the national Democratic Party. For me, it's worth the registration just to vote for local candidates I know and trust. Obama in 2012? probably not, but we'll see.

Swallow hard and vote. You never know whether it has an effect. And you never know if this will be the last time you get to vote. Just do it.

A Kind Of Courage

I've never been courageous about facing confrontation, especially physical violence. It's downright un-American of me to be that way, but by the end of elementary school, I had learned that, against my fragile frame, the playground bullies always prevailed. My uncle the paratrooper always wanted to teach me to fight. My other uncle, a prizefighter in his youth, had nothing to say to me on the subject; I think perhaps he had had enough of broken noses and cauliflower ears not to want to see his nephew experience the same. And Dad... Dad was a scrapper if he had to be, but by choice, at least in my experience, he would rather simply avoid the fight if possible and resolve the confrontation some other way. I have not changed a great deal from those days to these, and I still dread the prospect of a fistfight. There has to be a damned good reason to hurt that much, and most verbal conflicts are truly awful reasons.

There are other sources of pain, and sometimes one doesn't get to turn away. My current challenge... the "not feeling well" mentioned below... is a fine example, the latest of many in my life. This time, I have problems with my feet (especially one of them) which have, for about a week now, made it very painful to walk from one room to another, even with the aid of a cane. I have learned to plan the trips, managing as few as possible to as much effect as possible. I am re-learning not to forget things... the extra book, the jacket or wrap, the sandwich... that would have been no problem to fetch in a separate trip a week or two ago. One must summon some kind of courage to confront one's own physical shortcomings as surely as to confront the playground bully or the lying bastard in public office.

I'm getting good at it. I hope I don't have a great deal more reason to get better at it.

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