Saturday, May 21, 2011

3260 Durn squirrels! And cats!

Saturday, May 2011

It's almost always dangerous to be right too soon.
David Gerrold, The Martian Child


I put some peanuts, in shells, on the porch railing for the squirrels and for Jasper's entertainment. Then I went to the Wawa (I hate that name) to get some Greek yogurt. I was gone maybe 20 minutes.

When I returned, all my potted impatiens had been dug up, and a peanut planted in each pot.

Ok squirrels. No more nuts for you!


There's a very ballsy black feral cat who visits my back yard and scares the beans out of Jasper when they see each other at the window. Last night Jasper was on the dining room window sill when the black cat visited and startled him.

There was an explosion.

There was a traverse rod on the floor under that window, waiting for curtains to be chosen. You know, the kind with all the cords?

Well, when Jasper exploded from the window sill, he got tangled in the cords somehow, and in his panic he dragged the heavy rod out of the dining room, across the breakfast area floor, knocking over a stool which scared him more. The 7-foot long rod somehow got airborne going over the stool, came down on his food tray 6 feet further on, spilling his food and water all over the floor, and it then jammed in the hall doorway, with one end somehow stuck behind my desk. The other end knocked Roomba off his power base and turned him on, and with a "ta beep ta bah" Roomba took off after Jasper, who tore down the hall and up the stairs, trailing traverse cords the whole way.

The whole thing happened in an instant. All was quiet, and then suddenly three rooms were destroyed. Jasper is now afraid of the dining room. Poor timid little chicken. He did not have a good night.


I'd been considering befriending and semi-adopting that black cat, but you know, somehow I don't think it would work out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

3259 The End?

Friday, May 20, 2011

“Those who help those who won't help themselves are stupid.”
-- LaVerne of "Empty Nest" --


An awful lot of self-satisfied Jesus-centric Christians are going to be very surprised when only Jews are "raptured".

3258 Unfair

Friday, May 20, 2011

"An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it."
-- Jef Mallett --


If someone wrecks, totals, your car, civil court will award you the "Blue Book" value of the car. However, the value awarded is not what it would cost you to replace the car - the dealer value - which in the book includes the "costs of business". You get the private party sale value, which is significantly less.

So, if the guy wrecks your car, he has to give you $13,000, and then you have to go shopping, dealing, and pay a used car dealer $18,000 for the exact same car.

That doesn't seem fair.

I think the bad guy should be required to do the shopping, the dealing, and present you with a paid-for replacement car, which meets your mechanic's approval.

3257 Frustration

Friday, May 20, 2011

PMS - the time just before a woman's menstrual period when she acts like a man.


It's now 4 pm. When I called the urologist's office yesterday afternoon, the receptionist said that he was back, but had not yet looked at my reports. He'd call me when he did. He hasn't called yet. I'm getting angry.

Yeah, I know many of the people sitting in his waiting room have bladder cancer, end-stage kidney failure, prostate cancer, things more serious than my miserable stones. BUT! It's serious and important to me!

I can't go anywhere, like up to the old house, because the stent keeps the valve between the kidney and the bladder open, so the kidney keeps dumping into the bladder and causes urinary urgency. When I get the first slight hint that I have to go, I have to go immediately! Like within five seconds. It's exactly ten steps from the computer to the downstairs bathroom, and when I'm wearing the jeans with the side buttons and zipper, I almost don't make it. So if I know I'm going to be away from a bathroom, I can't drink anything. The drive north is too far. I can't get repeatedly that dehydrated while I have the stones.

I'm worried that the useless stent is rubbing and messing up my bladder.

I'm worried that the blocked collection chamber is damaging my left kidney. The kidney is almost unique in the body in that it's the only organ that can't heal. Any damage is permanent, does not get better, ever. In fact, any damage gets worse over time. It's like the kidney is made of dominoes.

I want this fixed NOW!

I'd change doctors, except that being a new patient, I know it will take at least two weeks, probably more, to get an appointment with another.

I am extremely frustrated.


I heard on TV yesterday that they're seeing an increase in skin cancer on the fingers, a very unusual place, and have pretty much identified it as due to nail polish dryers that use UV light. (I have to wonder about that. Why UV? Wouldn't infra red light be the logical choice for drying nail polish?)

Anyway, today on TV Dr. Oz was pushing teeth whitening systems using UV light. You stick the darn light in your mouth! Ok. How long before they start seeing an increase in mouth cancers? And how long will it take them to figure out why?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

3256 Training a dog at the end of the world

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths.
It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil."
-- Alfred North Whitehead --


I overheard two (both male) neighbors talking on the street this morning. One joked that there was no point in mowing the lawn because "the world is going to end on Saturday".

It turned out neither of them had any idea what it meant, what the actual prediction is. They wondered if it was a meteor headed for earth, or earthquakes and tsunamis, or the sun was going to explode, and so on. One of them did comment that no, it's not this Saturday, it's December 21. The other said he'd heard October something.


They did express a concern that I share - that some fools will figure that since "the world is ending", it doesn't matter what they do, so they'll shoot up their workplace, or rob banks, or whatever.

They didn't mention my major concern - that since it's a "Christian" concept, a few nuclear bombs in Christian areas would be appropriate.


One of those neighbors was walking his dog, a happy young pit bull (yeah, it's that kind of neighborhood), and he was trying to "train" the dog.

I felt so sorry for the dog.

One of the basics of dog training is that you use the dog's name before every command, to get his attention and alert him that a command is coming, use a short distinct word for commands, like "sit", "stay", "come" (or "here"), "heel", and show the dog what you want, rewarding him when he does it.

This guy had the dog on a long spooled leash, letting him run out, and then was yelling "Come here!", "Get over here", "Stop", "Calm down!", without showing the dog what he wanted. Naturally, the dog looked at him, wagged his tail, and kept going, and the guy got mad.

I guess he doesn't understand that dogs don't parse sentences.

3255 Thoughts on stones and emotional reactions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything but himself."
-- Sir Richard Francis Burton --


Don't know that I agree with the green quote above, but it is interesting, especially coming from such an accomplished and experienced man. Worth thinking about, anyway.


The hospital folks told me that the doctor would have the results of last Friday's tests on Monday, and I was anxious to find out what happens next. I called the doctor's office, and surprise, he's "out of the office until Thursday". Great. "The reports are on his desk, and he'll look at them Thursday."

So I'll wait until mid-afternoon today, and if he hasn't called by then, I'll call him.


On the trembling Friday, after the IV trauma: There was another instance of the same kind of trembling, two years ago, at about this time of year. I received an email that I thought was from a close friend. Turns out it was a fake id made to look like it came from the friend. I never did find out who sent it, but perhaps they knew me well enough to know that I probably wouldn't open an email, and absolutely wouldn't follow a link in an email, unless I knew and trusted the sender.

Anyway, I opened it, followed the link in it, and got a huge emotional shock. It was so bad I couldn't stop shaking for almost an hour. My head shook so badly my eyes couldn't focus. Arms and hands couldn't grip. Legs couldn't support me. I think I have an idea of what the later stages of Parkinson's might feel like. It scared me because I couldn't control it, and I was afraid something had broken in my nervous system and maybe it would never stop, that maybe I'd had some kind of stroke. Or something. At least fear of what was happening to my body took my mind off the message I'd just received and gave me time to absorb it.

That's what happened to me after the IV trauma Friday. The same kind of trembling. So I think maybe the nurse was correct, that it wasn't the contrast, or the cold in the room, but an emotional reaction. The trembling two years ago had the same effect on my body, too, in that it completely wiped me out. It took me a few days to physically recover then, too.


I had vowed two weeks ago that phlebotomists would henceforth listen to me, that they would try my hand before the arm, or I would walk out. I have since discovered that all along I had been using the wrong words - that talking mainly about the pain, the fire, the branding iron, doesn't work. That just gets "Oh, you won't feel this", especially from those who think they're experts, followed by the pain, the fire, the branding iron, and "Oh, you must have a lot of nerves there". Yeah, that's what I said.

What DOES work is the words "thin walls, collapse, blowout", all of which are also true. They actually listen to and think about that.

And now I have another vow. If I ever have to have anything involving both an IV and dehydration, I will go in and get the IV whatchmacallit installed THE DAY BEFORE!, when I can be fully hydrated. I'll have to talk to someone and find out if that's possible.


I've been reading up on what causes kidney stones and how to prevent them. It depends on the composition of the stones, but for the most common types it seems like everything I eat is bad. Especially the diet the nutritionist put me on last year, that was working so well for me.

In my darker moments I want to blame the stones on the diet, but I don't really think that was the cause. I think it's that I've had an undiagnosed untreated kidney infection for at least the past year.

Oddly, people who live near large bodies of water and those who drink soft water are also more prone to kidney stones. No reason given, just apparently an observation, a statistical correlation. I have moved from high ground in the woods, a half mile from a river, with well water measuring 13 on a 0-15 scale of hardness, to low ground a half block from a saltwater bay, with city water so soft that I can't taste it and drying drops leave no mark. Hmmmm.


I've got a new peeve.

I've been reading/hearing more and more often "one IN the same".

That makes no sense.

It's "one AND the same".

Another example of people not thinking about what they're saying.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

3254 Capitalism

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"An intellectual is a person who's found one thing that's more interesting than sex."
-- Aldus Huxley (alleged) --


The only people who think capitalism is the best system ever are those who directly benefit from it. (...not counting people who don't think for themselves and believe what they're told.)

Unfortunately, nothing else seems to work any better.

The advantage of capitalism is that the people who benefit from it have, as a result of that benefit, the power to protect it, expand it, and keep it going.

The disadvantage, which we are feeling now, is that capitalists move to places where workers are oppressed and do not have the concessions American workers have, and where environmental restrictions do not exist.

There's no loyalty in capitalism, by definition.

3253 Perp Walk

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
-- Henry Ford --


From the Wall Street Journal law blog:

[T]here was also outrage about the photos of Mr. Strauss-Kahn cuffed in custody. While the so-called perp walk is a New York police tradition, allowing the press to get photographs of a suspect, a 2000 law in France tries to reinforce the principle of the presumption of innocence by criminalizing the publication of photos of an identifiable person in handcuffs who has not yet been convicted. [...emphasis mine...]

The former French justice minister whose name is on the law, Elisabeth Guigou, said she found the photos of Mr. Strauss-Kahn in cuffs indicative of “a brutality, a violence, of an incredible cruelty, and I’m happy that we don’t have the same judiciary system.”
I've written about how I think the French judicial system is much more sensible and fair than that of the US, in that assumption of innocence is ingrained and honored, and the purpose of a trial is to get to the truth, not to see who has the better lawyer.

I also think it's disgusting the way suspects are treated here. If the suspect is at all "famous", the police make sure there are reporters and cameras there for the arrest, they handcuff everyone in front of coworkers, family, whomever even if they are fully cooperative and unarmed, and then they are convicted in the media, regardless of the outcome of any investigation.

Why do they feel people have to be publicly embarrassed regardless of guilt? It must be because protestations to the contrary, we really do have a presumption of guilt before trial.

3252 Sexy thoughts

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If you’re standing with one foot in the past, and one foot in the future, you’re pissing on today.
-- Old Italian saying --


Raising the debt ceiling thing. Look it up. If it's not raised, the US will default on obligations for the first time in history. A doomsday scenario.

There may be valid reasons for not raising it, but what pisses me off is that the Obama-haters are gleefully mentally masturbating to the thought of the consequences - completely forgetting who and what got us to this point. The more stupid of them would ensure it happens for that reason alone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3251 Photos from Libya

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I’m hoping my ship comes in before my dock rots.


This week's Big Picture set from is from Libya.Link
(Click photo to enlarge. Doesn't he have a wonderful face?)

Most of the photos are more mundane than this one, but they give a good feel for life during rebellion. I chose this particular photo because I had a visceral reaction to that guy. Ye olde tummy-quiver. HOTW-worthy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

3250 Mystery Pork

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
-- Napoleon Bonaparte --


I had a scare yesterday, Sunday. I went to the refrigerator yesterday morning for milk for my cereal, and found a storage container containing pork stuffed with bread, apples, celery, and raisins.

I recognized the storage container as the same set my daughter has, but I swear I had no idea where this one came from, or how long it had been there! Daughter and I had talked about stuffed beef rolls and stuffed pork chops a few days ago, recipies she'd remembered me making when she was small, and she'd loved them and wanted to know how to make them. I assumed this had come from her, because of the container, but I swear I don't recall her having given it to me. I had considered making stuffed chops myself and taking some over to her, but I didn't remember actually doing it.

I was floored. I know my memory is sometimes faulty, and for the past two weeks I've suspected the anesthesiologist in White Plains had given me Versed or something in the same family in spite of my having told him it causes me severe memory problems, because little things have been slipping the past few weeks, like anything that takes less than a few seconds I might not remember, but this is BIG! Whether I made it or Daughter gave it to me, it would have taken more than a few seconds, and I don't remember it!

It really scared me. I was afraid to mention it to Daughter, to ask, because she seems to think I'm pretty decrepit already.

Sunday afternoon she asked if I'd found the pork, and if I liked it. Found? Um, yeah, but how did it get there?

Mystery solved.

After my interrupted sleep Thursday night, utter dehydration, and severe IV trauma Friday followed by almost an hour of intense trembling (which is major muscle exercise!), I was completely wrung out on Saturday. I was cold and tired, and at about 7 pm I went upstairs and crawled into bed, still dressed. I just wanted to get warm in my soft fluffy nest, and maybe nap a little.

I fell asleep over a crossword puzzle and woke up at 3:30 am. Went downstairs, was surprised to find that the kitchen TV, lights, and computer were off (I had assumed I'd left them on), went outside for a cigarette, and then went back to bed. And fell asleep immediately again.

That's what I know.

What I didn't know:

Daughter had brought the pork over at 7:30 pm-ish Saturday. She rang the doorbell twice. When she got no answer, she tried the door. It was unlocked, so she came in. She knew I had to be home because of the unlocked door, my purse on the counter, Hal in the garage, and Fred in the driveway. She called me several times. She put the pork in the refrigerator, then went upstairs to look for me.

She found me in the bed with the light on, the covers up to my ears (so she didn't know I was fully dressed) and my face planted on the open crossword puzzle book. She said "Mommy? Are you ok?" a few times, but I was obviously comfortably asleep. She didn't want to startle me by touching me. So she went back to the kitchen, turned everything off, and left, locking the door behind her.

I can't believe I didn't hear the doorbell and didn't wake when she called or spoke to me. Seriously. That almost scares me. But I guess I really was completely worn out.

And I'm not quite as crazy as I was afraid I might be.

(The pork, once I knew it hadn't been sitting there for weeks, was delicious.)

3249 I don't understand - foreclosure

Monday, May 16, 2011

“We need our heroes, but soon there will be no more. Our world will not grow men with the credentials necessary to survive scrutiny.”
-- Jerald Bevens, in a letter to Newsweek --


See this: It's a foreclosed house in Detroit, owned now by the bank, and for sale for $150. It's a nice-looking house, it's been cared for. One assumes that the prior owners were unable to pay the mortgage.

In cases like this, why don't the original owners buy it back for $150? Like I said, the house seems to have been cared for. I understand the concept of "Don't have any money", but $150? Somebody somewhere should be able to come up with a $150 loan.

But you never hear of anyone defaulting and then buying back their home for a song. It just doesn't seem to happen. They have to live somewhere, and renting somewhere else is bound to be more expensive than buying back the house for a one-time $150 payment, closing costs, and the ongoing insurance and taxes - but no more mortgage!

I don't understand.

About the only thing I can figure is that the original owner lost a job, and just dropped the house and moved away.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

3248 Buying some art.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There is enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.
-- Gandhi --


I decided this morning that I wanted to buy a print of Vermeer's "Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window", one of my favorite paintings. I ended up at, where they have a huge selection of art prints in various sizes, which you can order bare, or with your choice of frames and matting. I ended up also ordering Andrew Wyeth's "Master Bedroom" and "Wind from the Sea".

What I found very interesting is that there are multiple different web sites where you can purchase art prints, and although they all have different URLs, they all have the exact same page layout, choice of sizes, matting, frames, and prices, and they're all running the same 20% off sale (ending tomorrow, by the way).