Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mo' better blather

I found this wonderful place -- a new playground, and fun, creative idea.

As often as I blither-blather? I *will* be back.

blather is words.
bunches of words,
strewn about in a twisty
tangly web of pontification,
insight and nonsensical delight.

but really it's an experiment
to see what shape this will take
when left at your mercy.


Good morning. It is lovely here: warm, sunny, clear -- you know, when the whites of the sky are pearlescent, surrounded by true blue. I am tempted to say "Carolina blue," out of fondness for an alma mater... but as we approach March Madness, I cannot lend support to UNC, or even to little Davidson, despite last year's excitement and the incredible Stephen Curry-- no, I am obliged, academically, to prefer the much deeper blue hue of the Devil. I can't wait for the ACC Tournament, then that inconsequential old NCAA tourney thang... It's my favorite time of year, despite the fact that my brother-unit, the Grader Boob (who owes no allegiance to the Gothic Wonderland), long ago convinced me that I am a bona fide jinx, making a rule that when Duke, or whoever, is in a tight spot -- the fault being me and the bad luck I bring by my proximity to the television set -- I must retreat out of the viewing room and not cross the plane of the doorway. So he would end up munching on Malted Milk Balls, stretched out on his bed, blocking the screen, while I jumped up and down trying to see over him from my position in the hallway. Brother-Units are such fun.

Of course, he is jealous that I planned my academic career by the sporting accomplishments of the various universities I attended. It is a little known fact that admission to graduate programs is contingent upon one's knowledge of the money sports -- basketball and football. I went to every interview in full regalia -- the appropriate jersey, face paint, the giant finger. This and only this can explain my success.

Ar ar ar!

I am abusing my pain medications.

With permission. Although I reckon that that removes the stigma of abuse -- that "with permission."

I called my surgeon's office twice yesterday, which is two times more than I had ever phoned before. He's operated on me four times thus far, and never have I bothered him or his PA or nurse with problems. But the times, they are a changin'.

Fever has caught up with the severity of the pain, and while it may not make much sense, I feel better. Fever gives me a strange energy.

Dr. ShoulderMan's nurse arranged for me to see the PA next Tuesday. That seems like forever.

I think that this almost 10/10 pain on the left side (now a tolerable 8/10, in my uber-medicated state) is the result of a mechanical injury involving the spacer. I just can't fathom how an infection could cause such *sudden* severe pain. Severe pain, sure. But that suddenly? Nah. There is some swelling but no redness. There is pain just from light pressure. The right side -- you know, the one we're set to operate on in a week and a half -- is doing its part to drive me batty, too. It is very warm, though not red, and the infection is clearly gone berserk. Still, the pain on the right is minimal compared to this freakish left side.

100.8. For some unknown reason, 101 is set to be the line in the sand. Pshaw. I am at 100.8 despite tylenol and ibuprofen (alternated) anthere is nothing anyone can do for me short of cutting me open to see and fix what has gone awry. So I should make a phone call to report an increase of two degrees? Harrumph. And pshaw, again.

I am taking the regular dosage of methadone, and am being allowed extra Endocet (which I believe is the same thing as Percocet?), and 800 mg of ibuprofen twice a day. Okay, so I am taking it three times a day -- sue me. The thing that is helping the most, though, but for all the wrong reasons? Tizanidine, 4 mg at a time. It has zoned me out and I have never been more thankful for pharmaceutical stupidity. It allows me to doze and I feel capable of walking to the bathroom. I even managed to make coffee this morning -- but I had to put the machine on the floor because neither arm is willing to go "up" now. These sort of adaptations? I refuse to live this way -- they must FIX me.

Fred is an incredible help and I appreciate him more every day, but also grow more and more embarrassed. And resentful. And jealous. I want to be able to walk (shoot, I would just love to be able to wear shoes), hop in the car, drive away, do stuff, do whatever the hell I want... Very silly, very embarrassing. He is only living his life -- and so much of his life has deteriorated in taking care of me.

Grader Boob sent me some great stuff -- whether it represents Xmas or birthday gifties, I dunno. He wrote that it would be Xmas, but included a homemade birthday card. His cards are masterpieces! Anyway, he sent great music and awesome DVDs.

I've not heard from TW, and will never know what that means.

We have a Perpetual Invitation extended to Grader Boob, and every part of me thrills at the thought of someday seeing TW again -- but I cannot bring myself to make the official invitation. I don't want him to see me like this -- but when do I think I will ever NOT be like this, hmmm? If I wait and wait for schtuff to get better, we may never reunite, and I will have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

It's hard to discern what he wants, as he has trained himself to want little. All the more reason to give him an unencombered opportunity and let him do with it as he likes.

I am such a sucker for animals -- there's a movie on... Eight Below -- a Disney flick based on true events involving sled dogs stranded in Antarctica. There are parts I am sure I won't be able to watch!

I am so thankful for this blog.

What? I am!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Soldier Suicides

Having just emailed my doctor, The Boutiqueur, about an impending internal combustion conflagration, one of the many "helpful" medical articles on his website caught my eye:

U.S. Soldier Suicides Spiked in January

There was a sharp increase in U.S. soldier suicides in January, with seven confirmed and 17 suspected suicides, Army officials said Thursday.

If all 24 cases are confirmed as suicide, the toll would be greater than the number of U.S. troops killed in action in January in both Iraq (four deaths) and Afghanistan (12 deaths), Agence France Presse reported.

Last week, the Army revealed that suicides among active duty soldiers reached a record high in 2008 for the second year in a row. There were as many as 143 suicides last year and 115 in 2007.

"The trend and trajectory seen in January further heightens the seriousness and urgency that all of us must have in preventing suicides," Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, said in a statement, AFP reported.

Last week, Chiarelli said special army-wide training sessions to boost
suicide awareness among soldiers and their leaders would begin Feb. 15.

The first thought that springs to mind, after shaking the head in sadness, then anger, is to wonder why this information is being filtered to us through Agence France Presse in lieu of the New York Times, the Washington Post... the Stars and Stripes.

When I have the time to check, I also want to know where these suicides took place. If anyone has any additional information, would you please leave me a comment pointing me in the right direction(s)?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

9.999999999 Out of 10

My apologies for being lost in the personal. As soon as I can put a stop to it, I will.

I just don't understand what's happening to me.

Yesterday, for a while, things seemed clear. My right side was screwed up again, but a plan was in place, all I need do was grit my teeth and get to the next surgery date, either 12 or 19 days away, depending.

Late last night, around 2 am, as I was trying to get to sleep (insert laughter here), a pretty severe pain was developing in my left shoulder and neck. (I also had a prosthesis removed from that shoulder, with an antibiotic spacer put in its place, on 15 December 2008.) I mean *severe* pain, the kind of pain that makes you totally turn inward, although the inward turn does not preclude outward moans and groans.

Not much sleep happened, and the dozing that did? Definitely drug-induced. I don't often attempt to "snow" myself (must do some research on that interesting expression) but I made a clear and definite try. Watched TV filtered through an addled brain, played with Dobby (Dobby is always up for playing -- he will do it until he literally falls asleep on his "feet.") and when I could manipulate my eyes properly, read a crime novel. Sammy sort of watched over me -- it was very sweet. A few times, I jerked awake to find him sitting beside the offending joint, just staring at me. Thank God, he hasn't asked for any Unders, because just lifting the covers off of myself is nigh unto impossible. I am totally serious -- it is always difficult to have any sort of weighty fabric on my legs, especially, but this new pain has decided to take prisoners.

When Fred decided to wake and join the living, I had him hook me up to our TENS unit. I haven't used it in years -- it was a Christmas gift that I got him to help with his back pain. If I remember correctly, it's not supposed to stay on all that long. I have had it working hard and nonstop since around 11 am -- it is now after 5 pm. How is it helping? Is the pain relieved? It is, indeed, helping. By DISTRACTION. I try to focus on the zap-zap of it and take myself beyond the actuality of the hurting.

My right side? I am completely ignoring it today. The ache of it is far, far away.

I know, this is boring stuff, but I am panicky because the need for help is growing and the only place I could go is to the dreaded Emergency Department, a place I haven't visited since 2007, when I broke my arm.

Strangely congruent with my introduction to medical blogs, particularly ER/ED-focused blogs, was my decision to never again be caught dead there.

Seriously, there is so much venomous purple prose directed at the patients that it frightens me to think of being at the mercy of such jaded professionals. They consider themselves a bread* apart (which I think is part of the problem, although, sadly, it may be a requirement of the job) and their "plight" incomprehensible for the average mortal. Hubris, unqualified and ill-focused anger, and what I suppose some would call "burn out"? Not a personality profile to which I would willingly subject myself.

Okay, so my feelings *may* be overwrought, and my opinions more a reflection of my insecurities and unresolved potty training issues.

Severe (approaching 10/10) pain is not new to me. CAVING TO IT IS. There is something changed in me; There is a despair at the thought of another night. I feel suicidal. (Calm down, Darling Reader, I simply need to say it, so please allow me to say it. There! All better.)

(time passed)

I managed to relieve some of the building anxiety by speaking with the Fredster. He was pretty good about listening -- an important thing to note, given that I kinda exploded on him yesterday afternoon. And the bottom line? "What would they be able to do in the emergency room?" Okay, okay, okay. I was hoping just for relief. But I must remember all that anti-pain patient chatter I have read. I can imagine someone saying, "Hmmm. You are taking methadone, percocet, ibuprofen, and a muscle relaxant... and it is not helping your pain?" I can imagine the face that would go along with that voice, eyebrows cocked, mouth screwed in disapproval.
I don't doubt that I would receive help, because Dr. D would certainly tell them to provide it, but is it worth the aggravation of getting out of bed, getting dressed, bumping around in the car, sitting in a waiting room... the thought of how out-of-control I would be by the time I ever saw a doctor is daunting.

Oh, God this hurts. Eff it, just eff it.

Oh, if only I could just go to sleep and stay asleep.

*i just had to leave that typo. a bread apart? marble rye. un pain au chocolat, if we can include pastry...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another go 'round

Decrepit Retired Educator, here.

Well, I cannot honestly claim surprise, but I can definitely make a good faith claim on confusion.

Either on 16 or 23 February, I'll be having another surgery -- the fourth major operation since August 2008. This time, Dr. ShoulderMan will remove the cement spacer that's in now and either put another antibiotic-laced spacer in or -- if there is no sign of infection -- give me back a prosthesis!

I am going to grant myself a good inch of text space to pretend that I will get a metal prosthesis again. Yahoo! Hooray! Yet another Happy Dance!

Oh, who the hell am I kidding?

As his nurse said, when she came in to work on scheduling me, "Decrepit Retired Educator, I don't want you to get too hopeful because I don't think it is going to happen. This is *you*, after all..."

A salient point.

It's infected and he just wants me to have some measure of optimism, which I greatly appreciate. But the well-known pain and that unmistakable sensation of bone wanting to explode -- and toss in the fever, oh, and those elevated white counts and C-RPs -- and... well, let's just say that his nurse has *never* been wrong.

Dr. ShoulderMan's nurse really runs that office -- and works incredible hours. The last time I was there was on New Year's Eve and she was looking forward to an exciting night of paperwork. She does all the clinic scheduling and pre-op minutia, as well as assisting in surgeries, along with Bob, the PA. Bob rocks, too. It is a great group.

It's not their fault that we have to keep chasing this infection from bone to bone, joint to joint, while NOTHING grows in the lab cultures. He is keeping me going. He may well be keeping me alive -- but let's not be morose while the sun is shining. Which it is. It is a beautiful, windy, freezing day.

Curb Executive Pay

Breaking into my Snoopy-esque Happy Dance... although, why stop at $500,000? Knock off a few more zeroes.

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 -- 9:33 PM ET

U.S. Plans to Curb Executive Pay for Bailout Recipients

The Obama administration is expected to impose a cap of
$500,000 on the compensation of executives at companies that
receive large new infusions of federal bailout money.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nihil Obstat: Insidious Reductionism

Buckeye Surgeon sounded the familiar call to "never forget," all the while recognizing that there must be an active, real undercurrent to keep that directive meaningful and alive.

He writes: "... Nazi atrocities have been documented ad nauseum to the point where one would think that in this day and age, the historical factuality of the Holocaust would be considered an incontrovertible truth by men and women of rational mind. But we can never stop being vigilant, lest a bit of "Holocaust fatigue" starts to creep into our collective consciousness. As the video [below] of the Bishop Richard Williamson painfully illustrates, 'never again' is an empty phrase without constant re-affirmation and a perpetual struggle to remind new generations of the horrors of the past."

What is almost as frightening as Williamson's "rehabilitation" are the comments appearing after the video at its YouTube site. The rabid comments that are full of palpable hate? I can deal with them, and easily. What scares me is something like this, posted 9 hours ago (at this writing):

"The reactions to this interview are ridiculous. Look, in the first place, whether there were gas chambers, or whether 200K or 6M Jews were killed does not change the fact it was a crime. But no one said it did! And the fact that everyone's so upset AT THE POPE for lifting this man's excommunication is unbelievable! Clearly he's got his historical facts wrong and his "antisemitism" bit was very carelessly spoken, but I see nothing in this interview to warrant rage against the church or the pope."

Smooth, careful, calm -- chipping away at the truth and at citations of the truth -- this scares me, no end. My fear of this kind of person trumps what I feel in response to someone who says this, for example:

"jews are the biggest liars in history ! Bishop Williamson is a hero for daring to expose the holohoax.The jewish owned media will crucify the Bishop.Freedom of speech must be protected!"

The first quote came from YouTube user tuneman144, a self-reported 23 year old American man. No other information is provided. He has no YouTube friends, no YouTube subscribers.

The second quote is the work of HenryFordRules who provides quite the explanation for his choice of screen name:

"Henry Ford risked his business and reputation to stop WW1 and WW2.He exposed the international jewish bankers who started both wars.In 1920 he published a newspaper called The Dearborn Independent,which was dedicated to the education of the American people about the International Jewish bankers who controlled the US and European economy,government and media.He also wrote the classic book,The International Jew:The World's Foremost Problem,and he was the first American to publish copies of The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion,the zionist plan to rule the world.Even with all his money and power he was no match for the International bankers.90 years later nothing has changed."

HenryFordRules has 20 subscribers and 47 friends.

A few hours ago, AP Press reported:

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Pope Benedict XVI to
make a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denials after a former bishop was
rehabilitated by the Vatican.

Her rare and public demand came amid increasing outrage among Germany's Roman Catholic leaders over the pope's decision to lift the excommunication of British-born Richard Williamson, who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed during the Nazi Holocaust.

Merkel said she "does not believe" there has been adequate clarification
of the Vatican's position on the Holocaust amid the firestorm of controversy
that broke out after Williamson's rehabilitation by the German-born pope.

Benedict last week expressed "full and indisputable solidarity" with
Jews and warned against any denial of the horror of the Holocaust, but several
leading German bishops have decried the German-born pope's decision and called
for Williamson's rehabilitation to be revoked.

"I do not believe that sufficient clarification has been made," Merkel said.

The Vatican moved quickly to counter Merkel's suggestion.

"The pope's thinking on the subject of the Holocaust has been expressed very clearly," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.

He cited Benedict's visit to a synagogue during his first visit to Germany as pope in 2005, a visit to Auschwitz in 2006 and his remarks during last week's general audience.

Lombardi quoted from what he called the pope's "unequivocal words" at
that public audience. "I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads humanity to
reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of men,"
he quoted the pope as saying. "May the Shoah be a warning for all against
oblivion, against denial or reductionism."

Lombardi said that during the audience "the pope himself clearly explained the purpose of lifting the excommunication, which has nothing to do with any legitimization of positions denying the Holocaust, which were clearly condemned" by Benedict.

Merkel's stand was out of the ordinary, said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the New York-based American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

"When the German Chancellor admonishes a German-born Pope it is an extraordinary message," Steinberg said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

"Together with the expressions of outrage emanating from German and Austrian bishops, these developments have ironically strengthened relations between Germany and the world Jewish community."

The issue is particularly sensitive in Germany, where denial of the Holocaust is a crime and Roman Catholic leaders have worked hard to restore relations with the Jewish community.

As a young man in Germany, Benedict, then called Joseph Ratzinger, served briefly in the Hitler Youth corps.

Earlier Tuesday, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the bishop of Mainz, called for an apology from "a high level."

"There must also be consequences for those who are responsible for this," Lehmann said in an interview with broadcaster Suedwestfunk of the decision to rehabilitate Williamson.

Williamson was consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent. The Holy See has said that removing the excommunication did not imply the Vatican shared his views.

Williamson, in an interview broadcast last month on Swedish state TV,
said that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been
deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler."

He cited what
he called the estimates of the "most serious" revisionists
that "between 200,000 and 300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber."

There are sufficient eyes and ears on Williamson and his cohorts and followers. HenryFordRules is so outrageous that some will follow him for easy sport. But who will watch and listen for tuneman144, who has no friends, no subscribers?

(Thank you, Buckeye Surgeon.)

Is Marco Home?

From a local Crime Report:

1500 Block Bandes Dessinées Blvd:

Larceny from Auto. 11/10. Mon Eve. Someone smashed a driver side window on the victim's vehicle and removed property. A cell phone was found in the vehicle that was possibly used to smash the window. While at the scene, the phone had two incoming calls. Both times the caller asked for Marco.

Monday, February 2, 2009

En souvenir de moi: L'Oubli

"Ah... je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir," chante -- à très haute voix (TRES haute, INCROYABLEMENT haute) -- l'incomparable (qu'à soi) Castafiore.

Bien sûr que tout cela soit entre parenthèses.

Je ne me sens pas bien, en fait, je suis prête à mourir. C'est que... tout ceci... tout ceci... devient impossible.

"Ma chère Ancienne Prof Ancienne, t'as besoin de moi ce soir. Il ne s'agit pas de médicaments, de la salle d'urgence, non, pas du tout. Quelquefois nous avons tous besoin des berceuses que nous chantaient nos mères, nos pères -- ces voix autrefois si bien connues, et maintenant sourdes."

Je ne peux que la regarder d'un oeil froid -- personne ne nous a chanté, je ne connais aucune berceuse.

Mensonge... Il y en a une... comment va-t-elle? mamèremamèremamère...

"Ma mère chantait toujours [la la la]
une vieille chanson d'amour
que je te chante à mon tour.

Ma fille, tu grandiras
et puis tu te souviendras..."

Et c'est là où j'ouble les mots -- juste après le verbe 'se souvenir'! En tout cas, c'est pas tellement une berceuse, ça -- je ne me la rappelle que grâce à Fabienne Thibeault, alors ça veut dire que je l'ai entendue chanter pour la première fois quand j'avais 23 ans!

Il y a une certaine vérité -- de ne pas l'avoir entendue quand j'étais toute petite.

La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore -- elle sait les paroles de la berceuse par coeur, et du fond de son coeur, elle les connait aussi -- et comme si j'avais encore mes 23 ans... elle me l'a chantée. Doucement.

Je crois de temps en temps qu'elle m'aime.

Comment le sais-je? Parce que :
Comme vous l'aurez compris, elle comprend comment et pourquoi je cultive si jalousement mon âme d'enfant. Et puis... elle a choisi de me chanter une chanson pleine d'espoir afin de me rappeler qu'il en faut toujours.

J'espère que ça rappellera des souvenirs à certains:

paroles: Luc Plamondon
musique: François Cousineau

Ma mère chantait toujours, la la la
Une vieille chanson d'amour
Que je te chante à mon tour
Ma fille tu grandiras
Et puis tu t'en iras
Mais un beau jour
Tu te souviendras à ton tour
De cette chanson-là

Il était un matelot
Qui pour gagner
Le coeur des filles
Leur promettait des jours plus beaux
Sous le ciel des Antilles
Bien vite elles lui rendaient les armes
Mais quand il repartait sur l'eau
Leurs larmes
Allaient grossir les flots

Ma mère chantait toujours, la la la
Une vieille chanson d'amour
Que je te chante à mon tour
Ma fille tu grandiras
Et puis tu t'en iras
Mais un beau jour
Tu te souviendras à ton tour
De cette chanson-là

Mais un beau jour le matelot
Fut tué d'un coup de couteau
Ensuite j'ai oublié les mots
Mais la fin je m'en souviens
Aussitôt qu'ils sont amoureux
Tous les hommes sont des matelots
Dans leurs yeux dansent des vagues bleues

Ma mère chantait toujours
Une vieille chanson d'amour
Que je te chante à mon tour
Ma fille tu grandiras
Et puis tu t'en iras
Mais un beau jour
Tu la chanteras à ton tour
En souvenir de moi
En souvenir de moi

(figure sur l'album Fabienne Thibeault: Les plus belles chansons )

photo credit -- Painting by Missak Terzian, Berceuse, 1987

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Laura Beckett Back Home

From the Philadelphia NBC affiliate:

Anonymous Donor Brings Laura Beckett Home

As the air ambulance carrying his sick wife touched down at Atlantic Aviation at the airport, Karl Beckett still couldn't believe the love of his life was home.

This was the moment he had been praying for the last three months.

"We’ve never been apart since we've been together. This is the first time we've ever been apart. Thanksgiving, Christmas, all that, it was just horrible," Beckett said.

Laura Beckett had been stuck in a German hospital since November where she developed a debilitating infection while being treated for RSD, a painful nervous system disorder.

Her family, unable to pay more than $71,000 for an air ambulance to bring her home, turned to NBC10.
An anonymous viewer came to the Beckett's aid, and so did many other generous people.

"You always see it on TV but you never realize stuff like this does happen,"

Karl and the couple’s two sons were there as the plane doors opened.Laura’s son Karl said his emotions ran the gamut as he saw the plane come in.

“A little bit of everything. Mixed emotions, excited, happy, a little sad, my heart was racing. I just want her to get her the proper care she needs," said Laura’s son Karl.

The couple's daughter Jillian, who was on the plane and has been by her mother’s side, was overcome with emotion.

The family can't believe so many people, friends and strangers, came forward to help them.

"I had a gentleman come to the door and anonymously give me a check. It was amazing,” said Karl Beckett.

Craig Poliner of Med Escort worked with the anonymous donor and coordinated Laura’s trip home.

"This is something that doesn't happen every day and so it is it's quite remarkable that somebody stepped of your viewers and we were able to get her home,” Poliner said.

"[The donor] hasn't come forward yet, but when he does I’m gonna give him the biggest hug in the world," Karl Jr. said.

Laura can't speak or move her legs or arms, but she knows that she's back home.

The flight crew said everything went smoothly on the return.

She was immediately taken to a local hospital where doctors will re-assess her condition.

Of course we'll keep you posted.

Cherished Readers,

That "[o]f course, we'll keep you posted" comes from the NBC affiliate, not me. I am glad Mrs. Beckett is home and on the mend. Hopefully, she and her family will enjoy their hard gained privacy and withdraw from the frenzy being whipped up.

I am both saddened and intrigued, as always, by the comments made to the series of articles that have been published about her plight, and The Weird Ones that always manage to appear when CRPS is in the media.

If I did not know better, I would be inclined to think what so many ill-informed people [mostly in the medical profession] already think: that there must be a huge psychiatric component to this disorder.

What else would cause people to malign one another with such relative glee, all the while bemoaning the intensity of their suffering. If there weren't this bizarre sense of enjoyment seeping into all the ostensibly reasonable commentary, I'd not make a peep, I swear!

I can understand aberrant behavior being attributed to CRPS -- indeed, a day does not go by that I don't aberrate all over the damned place. I know it is from lack of sleep, and yes, a steady diet of pain and unimaginable sensitivity to touch, to air, to temperature, to mood -- but it is also from social isolation and unrelieved frustrations.

Yes, yes, I know. Studies have concluded that the psychiatric symptoms of anxiety and depression as related to CRPS are the result of the disease, not a cause or integral element of it. Hooray for us! It comforts me no end that I am nuts only *because* of CRPS and did not bring my nuttiness *to* CRPS. Mwahahahaha! Of course, nothing seems to explain away the incessant whining... so I am trying to stop.

Could "we" please make an effort to refrain from trying the ketamine coma therapy in the comments sections of an emotionally driven appeal for funds by a desperate family? Stop tossing the doctors' names around as if you had any authority to judge them -- or, if you feel you absolutely must have your say, find a more suitable place to say it.

Myself? I think there has been a major overreaction about an unfortunate outcome.

Just Say No To Michiko

So Michiko Kakutani has touched upon nerves far more demyelenated than my own. It is gratifying to not be alone in my dislike. Not dislike of the person; I don't know the person. All I know is that someone in such a prestigious position ought to like some fiction now and again.

My concern over the state of extremely literal criticism has its own international symbol, its version of a yellow ribbon on an old decrepit oak tree. Thank you, Edward Champion.

His post from yesterday caught my eye, and made me laugh:

It’s quite possible that the folks at the New York Times were sitting on this obit for a while, waiting for Styron to kick the bucket. After all, Vincent Canby’s infamous Bob Hope obituary appeared three years after Canby himself had expired. Even so, it’s something of a shock to see that Michiko actually liking a novelist. Go through her archives and you’re not going to find a rave for a fiction book until her February review of Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document.

So what are we to make of this? Is this a critic who can no longer feel
the thrills of ficitve immersion? I’m not against negative reviews (far from
it). And Michiko has had no problems these days passing plaudits for nonfiction

I’m not asking for Michiko to turn into a Harriet Klausner. But
when a critic goes nine months without actually liking anything, one must ask
why she bothers to cover fiction in the first place. Sure, there are a lot of
dogs out there right now. (Lisey’s Story, I’m looking at you!) But this being
the autumn publishing season, there are any number of books to be enthusiastic
about right now.

A few years back, Scott noted: Reading [Kakutani's] reviews has become the literary equivalent of watching the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals.
(I thought I would bow out with a sporting comment, it being Super Bowl Sunday and all. Go Steelers!)