Friday, August 29, 2008

This Is What We Have Been Missing.

This was the best political speech so far in my lifetime. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, John Kennedy, Malcolm X, the orators of the Sixties were all dead before I made my appearance in the world. This is what has been missing since then: an orator who can deliver both enduring prose and red-meat. Someone who can inspire a country with an unfortunately large streak of apathy. Thank you, Barack.

Northern Exposure?

I hate to be snarky...well, no I don't, I'm lying. But is this a joke??? Has McCain gone mad? An ex-beauty queen who thinks it's cool to decorate with full bear pelts? A woman who had a disabled child only four months ago? The former mayor of a town of 9,000, who has only been governor for two years, and is only 44 years old? Someone who is being investigated for vindictively trying to fire her ex-brother-in-law from his state trooper position? Who thinks creationism should be taught in public schools? And then there's this...

I guess she's now happy with being a historic token. What did Obama say about John McCain's judgment last night?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Want to Stay Home Today...

I don't write very often about intensely personal experiences here...for reasons I've expressed before, because I was raised to be private, and I don't feel it is appropriate, or dignified to display one's entire private life for public consumption. With me, a PDA comes from a swell of genuine emotion, when I forget where I am, and the world fades into the background. It means I can't resist your charms. I'm an extrovert, but that does not mean everyone should know, or see everything I do, or think, or feel. Sometimes, though, I can break my own rules...rebelling against myself now, it had to happen sooner or later.

I work for a not-for-profit health care organization...I work in intake so I have the chance to speak with providers who thanks to HIPAA can't discuss their cases with anyone other than people like us who are also bound by its provisions. So I'll say what I can.


What was enacted to protect the privacy rights of patients has now been perverted to be something that gags medical professionals from speaking out about the abuses of this illegitimate administrations handling of the VA, and undisclosed numbers of wounded veterans. I have a memory that is nearly photographic, and has been described as cyborglike (still unsure if I'm insulted by that). I'm also quite good at critical thinking, and deductive reasoning. So simply put, what I see sticks with me, and I can connect the dots. Some bright staffer saw this little known-outside of the health industry law, as both a shield, and a cloak of invisibility.

It's been made stronger, and stronger, to where leaving copies on the printer too long is a violation. We all know the maintenance staff has that sideline in selling stolen medical records. Very, very few are like that of the celebrity who had a ________ , and _______stuck up his ________, by his ______. Now I know why he was walking that way on the Tonight Show!

What has shocked me...are the crying doctors. I had never experienced doctors with real feelings for the plight of their patients until they began calling me. Scary. I'm scared by our health care system: the PCPs are in agony over it. These people are trained to be dispassionate, to project authority. What is even more gut-wrenching are the families...these days though, both are in the same rudderless boat, both feel powerless and adrift.

I have been dealing with some sort of critical health situation since I was around ten. My Uncle Frank was a huge smoker...forty years of it caught up with him abruptly. He spoiled me. I was the only child in both sides of my family until I was nine. My first and second cousins are eighteen to twenty-five years older than me. They could be my parents. I was, as I've said before, precocious. I knew he liked kids, but I also realized that one of the reasons he doted on me, was because he had none of his own. Frank had been my father's best man, and was the sole person alive who could make my father's sister, my evil Aunt Gloria, behave properly. Well, somewhat. I digress. Smoking caught up with him.

This was the first time I was routinely dragged along to hospitals by my parents. In the early eighties, they were a lot less designed, a lot less colorful, stark-looking and clinical. Scary. Especially the floors that my uncle was on. Several times, my dad sweet-talked the nurses, he was tall, and quite handsome, and had what my mom called a line of bullshit big enough to circle the equator.

My first real impression of doctors, and their bedside manner, came as I listened from the hall. They were so different from the comforting MD's on TV. As they spoke to my uncle, and the family fluttered in states ranging from thinly veiled anxiety, to full-out Daffy Duck fit. The latter was my Aunt Gloria, though she has Daffy Duck fits in the supermarket, so I wasn't exactly fazed. Scared by her routinely, as a small girl, but by ten or eleven tuning her out. The men in the white coats seemed so...cold, I could make out the words "little chance of recovery."

Frank turned his face quickly away, towards the windows, as they spoke. Ten years later, I would see my father make the exact same head movement, only then, the doctors' prognosis was incorrect. None of the adults had noticed I had crept close enough to see, and hear a bit. I only moved away, when my uncle sent them out to talk to the family.

You would have thought they were giving a lecture...or reading the evening news. Then they just left, very casually. The adults then proceeded to convince each other that everything was really all right. They calmed down. But none of them entered the hospital room where the patient sat...alone.

Why weren't they going in there? Didn't they hear what I had heard?

I grew very angry, but I didn't say anything. I just turned and quickly slipped in the room. Then they noticed me, trying to get me to leave as I sat in the chair next to my uncle. I pretended I didn't hear them beckoning from the stark white hall. I took out the cards I had in my purse and started to play with him. He smiled, and unsteadily picked up his hand, and I pretended I didn't see that too. He wanted to know if my batting was improving, and if I was still gambling at recess in Lincoln Park, and fighting after school.

"Yeah...I guess."

"Do you win?"


"Good. Always try to win."

"I promise."

" What do you do when you cook the pasta?" Frank was born in Naples.

" Put oil in the water."

" Just a little."

" Just a little..."

I don't know how long I stayed, but it seemed, and still does a long time. No one else came in. Nobody dragged me one dared. I was what one might call willful. I knew somebody had to do it. Sometimes the kindest thing one can do for someone is to listen to them, and let them know you really hear them.

I had a really hard day yesterday...I hate a lot about the chaos of my job. I hate the stupidity of a few people I work with. Yesterday, I had the workload of three people, and wanted to burst into tears when I was still there at 9:30. I cry when I'm intensely angry. I barely controlled my temper. I can give a long list privately if asked. I really would like to stay in bed today.

I won't.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Streets of Fire

The geeks over at Ain't it Cool are freaking out over a potential sequel to Streets of Fire. I have to say I agree with them. This is one of my favorite ridiculous movies of all time.

I was a sophmore in High School when I saw this with my best friend, her boyfriend-future ex fiance, and her first cousin, the one who looked like Vince Neil, back when he was hot. My parents were away and they didn't know we went up the mountain to West Orange on the the cousins' dad's Harleys. I would have been punished for a decade I think.

I can recall doing the dance from this scene in the parking lot, and goofing around in the cafeteria at long as the nuns would allow it.

What woman wouldn't like a man who tells her " if you ever need me for something...I'll be there."

I will be quite angry if they really screw with my little cult movie...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Old Wine in Pretty New Bottles is Still Vinegar

I'm home sick today, either from one of my 500 food allergies, or some bad food in Little Italy. Ugh. So that means after I begin to feel a bit better I'll be in bed on my laptop ALL day. I read a WAPO article an old friend e-mailed me about the withering (I superstitiously refuse to say it is dead-yet) of the Conservative Movement in America. While I didn't quite like the I-told-you-so tone of the article, I have to admit that there seems a change in the wind.

The writer, Greg Annis is doing a bit of crowing, and stating in a nutshell that America is finally waking up after thirty years to the fact that "...those ideas have all failed to deliver on the promises the conservatives made, and in many instances, the dogma has actually created new problems. Particularly after Hurricane Katrina, when Americans saw how hapless the Federal Emergency Management Agency was, the public has begun to realize that the right's hostility toward government has produced only ineffective government."

This is simply common sense. It stands to reason that people whose governing ideology is that government is such a terrible evil that it should be rendered powerless, and drowned in the bathtub, will not govern well, or at all when they are placed in charge of the government. They were advocating yet another variation of the anarchist movement. The writings of Gingrich, and Norquist and Buckley, and all those other conservative tools in think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation were variations on the Anarchist's Cookbook, minus overtly violent language.

Over at the Heritage site, they are claiming job losses aren't so very bad, and asking what Reagan would do about economic problems. They want guidance from a dead actor who had Alzheimer's most likely throughout his second term? This is what these great minds come up with after all that money thrown their way?

The messages of modern conservatism were in code. Racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic code. Blow it all up, tear it all down, build a Utopia just for you...or people like you. Riots, have never made sense-destroying out of rage? (if you're that angry go take on your oppressors, don't steal a TV) Anarchy in most of it's many, many forms, has never really made sense either. How exactly do you know that destroying everything will make what comes after better? Propaganda of the Deed? Using violence against your political enemies really advances society-ask any Iraqi.

The problems now biting the GOP in the ass were a long time coming in part due to an uninformed electorate, one not taught civics, and ethics, and that being a citizen requires one take some responsibility for how one's society functions. The other component is they appealed to people's Dark Sides, the selfish, bigoted, brutish parts of human nature. Perhaps American society is evolving, perhaps it has simply suffered so much it now sees the emperor has no clothes. Now, in response, some young conservative authors are floating the idea of (gasp!) change! They want a pretty new bottle for their vinegary swill.

Evolution, (which they don't believe in) is just a fancy word for change. All life changes, it is the only constant in life...a being that does not evolve goes extinct.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Radio is dead (Part Two)

This is one of my favorite EC songs. Will you hear this on a radio station? Hell, no. On MTV? Umm, they still play music?

I've met him twice, seen him in concert three times...he remembered me as the teacher who exposed her 6th grade students to him, and Nirvana, and The Cure. Take a listen.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Some things that have crossed my hyper-active since birth mind today...

How the fuck did Mummy III get greenlighted? A terra-cotta clay coated evil emperor is not a mummy. Aforementioned emperor requested eternal life from a witch who grants him eternal life as a statue. Obviously this evil emperor did not comprehend the phrase, caveat emptor. Probably because he was an ancient Chinese emperor and not a Roman one. The wonderful Michelle Yeoh is forced to say lines like "The Yetis will help!" The Abominable Snowman in a Mummy movie?!

Mummy review in Ain't it Cool News.

How the hell did this happen? A man was decapitated on a Greyhound bus traveling across the Canadian Prairies. Now people this batshit crazy usually give some indication of their state before they start eviscerating their fellow humans on public transportation. Didn't this guy have concerned teachers? Worried parents? Terrified and scarred for life siblings, cousins, classmates? I knew my godbrother was a budding sociopath when I was six, and he tortured animals. He still frightens me. I was certain of it when I caught him going through my mother's lingerie drawers when I was around nine, and he was twelve, and rubbing her undergarments on his face. I fully expect to turn on the news and see Fat Bastard frogmarched into a waiting police van someday as the horrified cops try not to get too close while they are doing it. He lives with my godmother-his mother, and she caters to his every whim, and well...sort of watches him, all the while never admitting her first-born is not right. Is denial the common denominator of all families of the criminally insane?

Why are the sexual assault stats in the military
so HIGH?

Why is it that Bridezillas get some of the best men? Why do they get a man at all? These women only really want the big show, not the marriage. People who get maniacally into the details of an event that lasts an average of six hours have a problem. I have never wanted a big showy, over-the-top wedding...cheapens something that should be personal and treasured. All my grandparents eloped, and perhaps eighty percent of my friends who have healthy relationships. I like the way Quakers marry. I love the Scots tradition of handfasting. Hold my hand, looking into my eyes, make your commitment to me in an intimate way.

Why does chocolate taste so good when you have your period?

Why are German tourists so rude?

Why the hell would anyone want vaginal plastic surgery? Why would anyone go to this doctor to have their vaginas get "personal training"?

When are the children named Indiana and Dow Jones going to turn shotguns on their parents?