Saturday, December 13, 2008

Common Good

In for Bob Herbert, Gail Collins writes the op-ed "The Dreaded Fairness Doctrine," published in today's New York Times.

Any mammal can obsess about fairness. (Did I mention how ticked off monkeys
get if they find out they’re getting cucumbers while somebody in the next cage
has a grape?) The real human trick is to get past the quid pro quo and try to
focus on the common good.

I forgot to mention that the purported subject is the bailout. Oh! Which bailout?

The Detroit one, the voom-voom zoom zoom zoom one. To be technical, the auto industry.

Back in October, would you have known, without checking, that bailout was one, unhyphenated word? Was $700 billion inconceivable to you way back then? (It may be that I, alone in this nation, am just still in sticker shock, still feeling snookered*. I have a good head for maths, pure preferable to applied, but no aptitude for the burgeoning field of snookered-mathematics!)

I didn't want to read it, especially how it was pitched in my email summary:
The Dreaded Fairness Doctrine
Any mammal can obsess about fairness. [My eyes fairly rolled back in my head in response to this universal cheesiness.]
The real human trick is to get past the quid pro quo and try to focus on the common good.

As a Socialist, I am considerably more grounded in reality than when I stroll around mathematically. I like my socialism applied, thankyouverymuch. So... she had me. There is nothing more despicable to me than the confusion of fairness with quid pro quo.

Collins makes a clear and simple point, rare enough these days. It can be dressed up for Senators and Congressional Representatives; It also plays well at the local playground:

The really hard lifting still lies ahead, and we cannot possibly do it if we’re going to dwell too much on the fairness thing. It’s just too easy for lawmakers to dodge the tough vote by reminding their constituents that somebody else is getting more breaks than they are.

Which somebody always is. If Senator DeMint’s constituents are going to riot over a bailout for the auto industry, they’ll wind up being met by tool-and-die makers waving torches and yelling about soybean subsidies. If the lawmakers from Alabama say their constituents do not want their tax money going to bail out Michigan, the people in Michigan are going to say that they never really enjoyed paying more taxes to the federal government than their state received in aid, while Alabama got a return of $1.61 on the dollar.

We do what is hard; We do what is right; We do it together; We recognize that now, and maybe always, need trumps fair.

How very... utilitarian. [Ar! Just checking for a pulse!]

*From The Phrase Finder:
Posted by Henry on March 22, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Behind the eight ball posted by Fred on March 21, 2004

: : Hi! Can you please tell me about this phrase? Thank you...

: If you are behind the eight ball you are in trouble. In the pool game called
: "eight ball" if you need to put the 5-ball in the pocket and the 8-ball is between
: the 5-ball and the cue-ball, you have a difficult shot. You are not allowed to
: use the 8-ball to hit the 5-ball.

The equivalent phrase in Britain is to be snookered. In the similar game of snooker, if a coloured ball lies between the cue ball and the remaining red balls, preventing it from hitting a red ball directly, then the player is snookered. The player must then play a more difficult shot, usually off the cushion although experts can make the ball swerve.

Image Credit

Friday, December 12, 2008

UFC fighter with bicuspid valve

My first, and thus far only, smile of the day? It was generated by the Google search that brought a poor fellow (a gender presumption) from Mansfield in the U.K. to this quirky blog a few hours ago.

"UFC fighter with bicuspid valve" were his search terms.

He must have been very disappointed.

And so, to help him out, I took up the search. And, like Mr. Manchester of the U.K., found nothing.

So I decided to catch up on some of my MMA reading. I came across an article at that contained some information I've long wanted to have -- UFC salaries and fight pay. This is from October 2007:

UFC fighter salaries lack rhyme, reason

Big ups to the guys at, who were able to obtain official
fight salaries for UFC 77 from the Ohio Athletic Commission. Below are the
amounts that each fighter in the main card took home that night. (Keep in mind
that the winners' totals reflect a doubling of their base salary.)

Anderson Silva ($120,000) def. Rich Franklin ($45,000)

Tim Sylvia ($200,000) def. Brandon Vera ($100,000)

Alvin Robinson ($6,000) def. Jorge Gurgel ($7,000)

Stephan Bonnar ($44,000) def. Eric Schafer ($6,000)

Alan Belcher ($22,000) def. Kalib Starnes ($7,000)

So, lots to discuss here. First of all, Jorge Gurgel earned about 35 cents for every
time he was punched in the face, which seems a little low. (I don't get out of
bed for less than 50 cents per face-punch.) His opponent Alvin Robinson came in
with a $3,000 base salary — shockingly low for someone on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view event.

Dana White insists that Stephan Bonnar is one-half of the greatest UFC fight of all time, yet pays him a base salary of only $22,000, equal to that of Alan “Huh?” Belcher. This is the part where the average MMA fan would start up with the “Dana White has no loyalty” rant, railing at how poorly White treats fighters who temporarily fall out of favor (see also: Franklin’s surprisingly-low $45k take). But Tim Sylvia was never popular, and he makes a guaranteed hundred-thou per fight. But then again, so does Brandon Vera, and Vera was never champion.

Come to think of it, that Vera figure can't be right. How does an up-and-coming heavyweight contender have a base salary that's $40,000 more than the middleweight champion's? [...]

Good observations, a good question.

My dream match, these days? I want Randy to get his long-desired fight -- within the UFC -- with Fedor Emelianenko.

Prediction? Nover and Bader will take TUF 8 tomorrow night.

And as much as I admire Mir's vast repertoire of BJJ submissions, Nogueira is just better.

"Cardio, boys. Cardio!"

photo credit

"Just when I thought I was out..."

Were I you, and you may thank your chosen deity that I am not (you, that is) -- Were I you?

I'd not mess with Fred, La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, the Retired Educator, Marmy, Dobby, or Sam-I-Am -- today.

It won't go the way you wish.
You won't come away unscathed.

"Just when I thought I was out...
They pulled me back in."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Margaret and Helen

On the advice of the good doctor over at Musings of a Dinosaur, I visited the blog of Margaret and Helen, "[a] pair of 80-somethings who have been friends for 60+ years, one of whose grandson's set them up with a blog."

It's beyond a hoot -- it's something special, almost a balm in Gilead (For me, mind -- someone feeling a tad parched out in this desert.).

Anyway, à mon tour, I suggest you give them a read.

You know, I think that's the first official recommendation of elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle.


Feline Antics

It feels like something of a copout to post videos from YouTube. HOWEVER, this short production cracked me up, and these days, I choose to honor that which cracks me up. You've gotta love this pugnacious cat and his determination to eat... healthily. So yes, this is an *educational* and *health-conscious* amusement. (Also, instructive, enlightening, didactic, edifying, and informative)

Take it away, kitty.

"You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch"

Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than this contribution to the season from the great Dr. Seuss. It comes in handy when dealing with various grouches and nutters who seem to delight in Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa malfeasances. Of course, true Masters and Mistresses of Muck are active year round -- this is just the time when the rest of us are easy targets. We are full of unrealistic expectations, selective memories of childhood holiday wonders, rich food, and the unrelenting stress of trying to please everyone.

The Grinch anthem also plays upon the lips when a person has to deal with co-workers who are big bad meanies, like the infamous Condescending Nurse...

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch.

You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Grinch.

I wouldn't touch you, with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.
Mr. Grinch.

Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crockodile.

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You're a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Grinch.

The three words that best describe you,
are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato splot
With moldy purple spots,
Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing
with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
With a nauseaus super-naus.
You're a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked horse.
Mr. Grinch.

You're a three decker saurkraut and toadstool
With arsenic sauce.

Copyright © 1957, Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Surgery. Monday, 15 December.
Exact time TBA.


The good surgeon promised to do his best to preserve the prosthesis, and I know he will...

because he is none other than:


Monday, December 8, 2008


I have been flirting with 101 degrees since Friday night. Flirt, flirt. The pain in my shoulders is steadily increasing.

We deigned to grace the Wound Care Center with our sniveling presence this morning -- and boohooed through the entire appointment.

It was mortifying.

Bless Brandi's heart (remember, please, that we call her Brandi because that is her name!). What do you do with such a patient and no doctor in the clinic? Why, you threaten to call the ID doctor, the orthopedic surgeon, *and* the Boutiqueur -- unless the weeping dipwad of a dingbat patient promises to call someone as soon as she gets home.

Which she does.

It was my first call to the Boutiqueur since his move to the new office, with the new setup, with the guarantee of being able to reach him "24/7" -- an expression that I have never been fond of.

I got the same answer that I would have received a month ago -- back in the old effed-up office, before the Grand Guarantees: "He's with patients. Can I take a message and have him or the nurse call you back?"

That, my friends, is an oldie but a goodie. I am timing him.

[Granted, I am very confused as to what he could possibly do for me. What is it about 101 that makes it a differentiating marker of some sort? What? Blood cultures? Like hell am I getting back into that damn car. I cried the whole way home and screamed during the transfer to my chair. There had best be a promise of an answer... Zut. I hate myself when I get this sick. There is this guilt that takes over -- and even without decades of therapy, I know where it comes from. The evil stepmother -- just joshing! She really is swell and I love her lots -- but everytime any of us got sick, she got mad at us. I will never forget trying to hide the fact that I had pneumonia, out of pure trepidation. She caught on when I collapsed and coughed up a lung... and she said: "What did you have to go and do that for?" You see, we were about to go on vacation to Japan... We still went. I spent most of the time in the hotel room. Hmmm. I'll clue you in on something else -- I babble when over 101. Tears, babbling, and guilt -- I have hit the trifecta.]

Edit -- and not even five minutes after publishing this! Total embarrassment. Maybe there is something to this concierge medicine after all. Boutiqueurs nurse just called -- she is the greatest. What did I do? You get three guesses. Right! I burst into tears. She is all fired up now... and the orthopedic surgeon -- who completely blew me off last week -- is about to get hit by incoming... Bless everyone's bones. I really am grateful. I really am.