Friday, July 3, 2009


Like everyone else, I have always wanted to blow bubbles on Andy Roddick's belly.

He played really well today, taking Andy Murray in four sets.

He actually seems to be *executing* a game plan, mentally tough, focused -- instead of fighting through his matches in a reactionary mindset, not really controlling play.

Great service placement. Nice flat forehand.

Sweet peek at those tan, sculpted abs as he strokes through a backhand, his shirt tented in the swirl of the breeze...

He's a mature player now. It's his time.

Can Roddick take Federer in the final? I am not sure. I haven't seen him yet seriously raise the level of play on demand -- and that will need to be an available skill come Sunday.

Mentally? I never thought this would be true -- but Andy seems much more together than Roger.

I hope someone will take the time to advise Roddick against an overuse of drop shots. They worked well today, but not *that* well!

Awesome first serve percentage. 77%, around there.

On the technical side, his face has never been so sweet as when he fought back emotion just now, after beating Andy Murray. A clear smile free of worry.

Wow. An all American Ladies Final -- and if Roddick can take Federer? A heck of an Independence Day weekend.

About the ladies... I am not a big fan of The Sisters.

That said, I am pulling for Venus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Infinite Storm of Beauty -- Thanks, TW!

It was a heck of a day. Shades of Calling Dr. Hackenbush!

Part of the problem is that these days run together without any elegance, without any redemptive quality, without remorse.

I do something that might be called "sleep hygiene" beginning at 11 pm. This entails basic stuff: turning off the television and any other noise machines, including mp3 players, finishing the last e mails, the taking-of-the-meds, and the always important book selection. Next, I evict any living thing that does not have, as raison d'être, encouraging my goal of sleep. Fred? He guffaws, tries to dig in and watch the local news -- maybe even a few minutes of a late night show. The poor boy, he never wins.

Of the felines, Sam-I-Am is Master of Nuggling. He thoroughly gets the need, ably knows the terrain, has the most experience, and -- were I to actually sleep for any real period of time -- might hold the title of Sleepmeister of Marlinspike Hall.

Unfortunately, while I get good and sleepy from the drugs and whatever novel I'm reading, I wake again in 45 to 90 minutes.

For some reason, at that point, I am awake until about 3:30 am. And whatever happens, I am always definitively up at 5 am.

Why am I writing about this -- again? I dunno. I guess that as I dealt with the preop madness at the hospital this afternoon, I really was feeling the lack of reserves that results from that much pain and that little sleep.

I was Stupid.

The nurse doing all the work persisted in her cheerfulness, though it turned out she had a penchant for melodrama. From one moment to the next, my surgery risked cancelation, my blood type and crossmatch required stat calls to the blood bank, the chest x-ray and EKG needed repeating because -- DANGER! DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! -- they were abnormal in April... on and on.

However, blessed be her name, because she was a fantastic phlebotomist. One stick, and she got it all, using the smallest of butterflies, barely inserted, and milking every yummy ruby drop.

I tried to lie to her several times and she caught me in every fib.

What, for example? Well, there was the pneumonia falsehood. It seems that if you have had pneumonia within the previous 8 weeks, you have to truck on up to Radiology for a chest film. We had just gone over the lackluster events of April, when it occured to her that respiratory arrest and being on the vent might have also been a reflection of some infectious process of the lungs, commonly named a pneumonia.

"Huh?" I said, in my best Stoopid.

"Let's look it up on the computer," she countered, in her finest Chirp.

My way? No problems, no additional testing required.

Her way? "Oops, it looks like some pneumonia *and* some pulmonary edema... Heart failure!"

More pecking at the keyboard, more Inquisition, more testing required.

Other lies included smoking history, and the fortuitous elimination of a few disease processes -- why not omit in the hopes of getting out of the hospital and into downtown rush-and-happy hour traffic by 6 pm?

As it was, we got there around 1 pm and left at 5:45. Fred is a trooper.

It is Magic Time again, so easily. Implementing Sleep Hygiene Protocol.

But tonight, my eyes won't work for reading, and are, in fact, crossing as I type. This isn't uncommon, and so I turn to my Brother Units for assistance.

Since Grader Boob is working out the kinks in his first summer school session in a long while, and is therefore in crisis mode (his favorite mode) and since I had not paid TW's blogs a visit in an obscene period of time -- well, TW it is.

Below are three photos he recently posted over at American Idyll. What I saw in them tonight was a wonderful flattening of the field. Color and texture harmonize (at the expense of the usually sought after sense of depth, that which is a canyon) to create a beautiful and complex flatness. I felt like I was looking straight into possibility of seeing both the forest and the tree.

They have been lifted from his entry for Tuesday, June 23, called An Infinite Storm of Beauty, in which he offsets them with this quote from John Muir:

"When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mr. Pus? Mr. Frank Pus?

We were off to see the surgeon yesterday afternoon.

For reasons all his own, Fred chose to remain in the crowded waiting room, trying to read midst all the noise of the television, the chitchat, and the cell phone tag being played -- continually -- despite signs forbiding their use.

I am grateful to have been worked in. Okay? Very grateful.

Still, if only sleek competence might join that terrific availability!

The appointment was at 3 pm. I was called back at 3:50 and was stashed in one of the cast rooms (orthopedic surgeon). Then someone needed a cast, so I was switched to an open exam room. Unfortunately, when I was swapped out, my paperwork did not follow me.

Yup. They "lost" me.

Luckily, I had a good book to read -- an André Dubus novel. Even more fortuitous? I had water and pain medication -- some of that soon-to-be-banned Percocet. My surgeon is much sought out, and he had not planned on needing to see me, so I didn't start to feel uncomfortable in my little room until about... 4:45. The door suddenly opened and one of the doc's assistants poked his head in, said he was looking for the doc, then disappeared. A few minutes later, his nurse threw the door open (does no one knock?), made "Aha!" noises of discovery, and slammed my paperwork into the file holder on the door. As she was walking away, she called back to me, asking whether I "had my films."

Errrr. Well, I was returning the x-rays we took for the expert to peruse back on June 9, but got the sense those were not the ones about which she was asking. So I powered up my chair and chased after her.

Yes, an order for 2 views of the shoulder had been given, and no, it hadn't been done.

And just my luck to get the pissed-off x-ray tech who is alarmed by the look of what she develops, thinks it has to be because the x-ray (not my bones) is bad, and repeats, repeats, repeats the most painfully posed view of all. Finally, I ask her if she gets that there is no real bone in there, constituting a proper shoulder, to which she replies, "But you haven't had your surgery yet, honey. This is your pre-op visit."

Who was it who then fairly yelled something sort of obscene, but not entirely?

It took her 6 exposures to get her 2 views done, and it was well after 5:30 before I got back to my cell. At this point? I am having spasms in my legs and back, and my temp is doing its late-afternoon spike-thing. And I am hungry.

I had many questions and arguments I wished to present -- but by the time the obviously fatigued surgeon and I finally met? I didn't care that much about anything beyond getting home. The pain was out-of-control and the x-ray tech had done nothing but aggravate things.

Still, we managed to cover a few things. I won zero, nada, zip in terms of concessions I was seeking -- like No PICC line, no vanco, no to any iv antibiotics unless and until a pathogen is grown out of the cultures and a sensitivity test results.

Apparently, I am to change my mindset. We're suddenly going more for medicine as an art form than medicine as founded on scientific principles. He wants to go ahead and put in a total prosthesis, even in the presence of infection. Thus far, on this side: there was a hemi put in in 2002 -- a surgical failure; then in December 2008, he had to remove it as well as several inches of humerus, giving the lame excuse that it "exploded" with pus; in April 2009, he was sure things had cleared up (despite my fevers, sweats, and pain), but found more infection, and therefore inserted a second spacer. For the past one year+, everyone has been careful to tell me that a prosthesis could not and would not be put in when there was the least little doubt about continued infection.

Ah, but things changed. (don't ask me how, i dunno) As of yesterday, we are going to proceed and just hope for the best, by God.

I told him about the running joke here at Marlinspike Hall, deep, deep in the Tête de Hergé, wherein one of us (usually La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore) pretends to page "Mr. Pus, Mr. Frank Pus!" -- and he didn't laugh.

His eyes widened, though.

Anyway, I told him that if there was frank pus, or any really overt signs of infection, I would not be comfortable receiving the prosthesis. His head went up-and-down but I am not convinced he really heard me.

Oh -- and it turns out that my acromion is fractured. That seems to have captured his attention more than anything. And would you believe that I forgot to ask him what he needed to do about that? I was so tired.

Based on the fact that this is not my first go 'round with an infected joint, I can assure him, you, and anyone who would care to listen, that this freaking spacer is definitely serving as a culture dish. It is the fever, the sweats, the increasing instead of decreasing pain upon which I base my wacky-wacky opinion.

Believe it or not, we never even got around to discussing what happened post op last time -- those annoying episodes of respiratory arrest. Three of them in 8 hours, the last not even remembered -- they just intubated and hooked me up to a vent. The theory back then was that I had pneumonia that went unspotted before surgery... So I guess the only relevant advice might be to not get pneumonia ahead of time, this time.

How was Fred when I was finally done? Testy. And let's just leave it at that.

Tomorrow, preop labs and ridiculous interviews at the hearsepital.

Anyway... not the greatest appointment just prior to surgery. I suppose I wasn't the best patient and clearly, he and his staff were in just-back-from-vacation mode.

I trust him. It will be okay. Right? Right.

Wingnut with Moonbat Tendencies: The Political Blogger's Bait-and-Switch

Apparently, Darwin is not done with me. Bloggers that once prompted me to yank out strands of my strangely thinning hair are now making me guffaw aloud.

nota bene: My most egregious guffaws pale in comparison to the grunting and screeching of the women racket-euses currently breaking the sound barrier over at Wimbledon, or, as the locals call it: Wimpleton. Michelle Larcher de Brito is the current bad girl in the groaning arenas of the staid grass courts. She is sixteen years old and while cast as a future vedette, she is also being booed -- not the foundation for fond memories, for the tennis crowds or for the budding star. As usual, the world of tennis jurisprudence is laughable. TimesOnLine notes that: "Tennis officials are now calling foul on grunting. The problem they face is determining whether a noisy exhalation of air is natural or done on purpose to put off an opponent."

Wow, gosh, golly-gee, I hope they can dig their way out of that conundrum.

Back to the train of my thought.

Oh, hell. I am not a preeminent blogger (O, get up off the floor and be quiet); This thing must be written in ways that make me laugh, in ways that answer my needs. Communication ought to be my goal, but really? I blog to feel better.

So screw the ready apologies, and enjoy a Thurber moment, from his essay University Days... which opens with Thurber's own trouble with the microscope in his Ohio State botany class and ends with Bolenciecwcz, a university football star, fumbling his way through Economics 101.

I need to do Thurber at least once a year, more often when my years resemble this year. Better to shut The-I-Me-Me-My down, better to be doubled-over from a severe case of Hoots -- than not.

I remember being forced to listen to Thurber being disparaged in a most unsavory and recherché comparison with Don DeLillo's End Zone. Can you believe that? DeLillo's End Zone versus Thurber's short piece University Days?

I'm just sayin'.

Somebody Somewhere Needed Tenure -- in a bad-bad way, way -- Way-y-y-y Down, Down, Down in Gothic Wonder-wonder Land!

ABD, the blessing in disguise.


Another course that I didn’t like, but somehow managed to pass, was economics. I went to that class straight from the botany class, which didn’t help me any in understanding either subject. I used to get them mixed up. But not as mixed up as another student in my economics class who came there directly from a physics laboratory.
He was a tackle on the football team, named Bolenciewcz. At that time Ohio State University had one of the best football teams in the country, and Bolenciecwcz was one of its outstanding stars. In order to be eligible to play it was necessary for him to keep up in his studies, a very difficult matter, for while he was not dumber than an ox he was not any smarter. Most of his professors were lenient and helped him along. None gave him more hints in answering questions or asked him simpler ones than the economics professor, a thin, timid man named Bassum. One day when we were on the subject of transportation and distribution, it came to Bolenciecwcz’s turn to answer a question.
“Name one means of transportation,” the professor said to him.
No light came into the big tackle’s eyes.
“Just any means of transportation,” said the professor.
Bolenciecwcz sat staring at him.
“That is,” pursued the professor, “any medium, agency, or method of going from one place to another.”
Bolenciecwcz had the look of a man who was being led into a trap.
“You may choose among steam, horsedrawn, or electrically propelled vehicles,” said the instructor. “I might suggest the one which we commonly take in making long journeys across land.”
There was a profound silence in which everybody stirred uneasily, including Bolenciecwcz and Mr. Bassum.
Mr. Bassum abruptly broke this silence in an amazing manner. “Choo-choo-choo,” he said, in a low voice, and turned instantly scarlet. He glanced appealingly around the room.
All of us, of course, shared Mr. Bassum’s desire that Bolenciecwcz should stay abreast of the class in economics, for the Illinois game, one of the hardest and most important of the season, was only a week off. “Toot, toot, too-tooooooot!” some student with a deep voice moaned, and we all looked encouragingly at Bolenciecwcz. Somebody else gave a fine imitation of a locomotive letting off steam. Mr. Bassum himself rounded off the little show. “Ding, dong, ding, dong,” he said, hopefully.
Bolenciecwcz was staring at the floor now, trying to think, his great brow furrowed, his huge hands rubbing together, his face red.
“How did you come to college this year, Mr. Bolenciecwcz?” asked the professor. “Chuffa chuffa, chuffa chuffa.”
“M’father sent me,” said the football player.
“What on?” asked Bassum.
“I git an 'lowance,” said the tackle, in a low, husky voice, obviously embarrassed.
“No, no,” said Bassum. “Name a means of transportation. What did you ride here on?”
“Train,” said Bolenciecwcz.

Anyway! Now that I am rejuvenated, I must go back to my beginning -- you recall that, yes? My observation that I remain in the evolutionary stream? "Darwin ain't done with me yet"?

All because über-ultra-conservative wingnuts (I prefer the unadulterated wingnut to the hyphenated form. O, get up off the floor and be quiet) -- all because they have me stuttering when I write, laughing when I read.

They do things like write a fairly cogent post about, say, Sonia Sotomayor -- in the guise of -- oh, I don't know -- a post about Obama's inability to speak without use of the teleprompter. Follow along now, it makes perverted sense! Then The Dickwad -- oops, I mean The Wingnut -- directs traffic in the comment section, where perversion goes to be brought to fruition. Now... my example is of a Two-Stepper but to really make nice with The Evolutionary Bilge, you should go in search of a nicely done Three(or Four)-Stepper, usually constructed with an intermediary entry that serves to narrow the topic focus. In this instance, I could see a post about The Supreme Court reversing one of Sotomayor's rulings... and wouldn't it be absolutely Faustian were that to turn out to be something about discrimination "against whites"? Mwa-ha-ha!

Ah, but what actually happened in this particular real blog is... well, more boring. But very, very effective as wingnutting goes.

She advertised an upcoming post with the following headline: SOTOMAYOR GAY? WHO CARES?

It's freaking brilliant. You'd think she might even have schooled Limbaugh, given her facility with The Introduce-{Smile Benignly}-Then-Duck-and-Weave Maneuver. I used to give the standard warning -- don't do this maneuver at home -- but I must confess that, liberal though I may be, I believe that HOME is the ONLY appropriate place for such tactics!

Read, and learn:
"Okay, now the speculation about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is getting stupid. Whether she’s the sharpest knife in the drawer, or a bitchy bully, or a reverse racist seems mild in comparison to the current 'is she a Lesbian?' nonsense. So what? Even if she is, what the hell difference does it make?"

"Don’t get me wrong, some things I don’t know about her do worry me. Mainly because Barack Obama chose her, and I don’t trust him as far as I can throw the Empire State Building. I worry that she might not be supportive of abortion rights, or gay marriage. But, that’s because I worry that the Pretendident’s lip service to those issues hides a contrary agenda. The fact that he won’t actually take a stand and actually do something to protect women and gays not only worries me, it pisses me off. And, because I don’t trust him, I wouldn’t put it past him to try to put a stealth candidate on the Court. Sotomayor’s reticence on those issues is not exactly confidence building, ya know?"

And you, the reader, have left behind that titillating gasbag morcel of Homosexuality Crumbs (on sale at the Vermont Country Store, 4 oz/$12.99) for more Baseless Bashing That Is Really Incredibly Open Progressiveness.

Oh, what the hell. A bit more won't kill you. I think. The edges and ends become less round; The subtlety, what there was of it, is gone; The trustworthiness of the author? Well, Death of the Reader comes to mind as a suitable corollary for all those gasping, agonal promises about the Death of the Author.

"Some might posit that a closeted Lesbian is likely to take a harsh stand on gay rights issues in order to avoid being outed, while others would suggest that closeted or not, a gay person is more likely to have empathy for plaintiffs they can relate to identity-wise. Pure unadulterated happy crappy hogwash, if you ask me. Gay people are no more likely to behave monolithically than black people. Okay, bad example. But, I’m black, and knowing that doesn’t mean squat when it comes to my lack of support for the most Historically Historic Conveniently Black Candidate of Color Ev-ah being elected President of the United States of AmeriKKKa. Or, however the ya-gotta-vote-for-the-brother, Sistah, folks put it.

Like Sotomayor’s sexual orientation, Barack Obama’s skin color means nothing to me..."

Oh, I am blessed with an abundance of Hoots today.

Just to show you what a fan-freaking-tastic student of rhetoric -- be it wingnut or moonbat -- I am, here is a tantalizing hint about an upcoming elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle editorial effort:

Is anyone else scared (and I mean really heebie-jeebie scared) by the Burger King King?

Yeah, girder your loins, get snacks.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It''s a date!

Next surgery = Monday, 6 July

Simin Behbahani, Iran's national poet

Pearls from the comment section at YouTube, both by one ccombotron, self-identified "troll":

National Poet, WTF is THAT supposed to mean? Fucking state religion.

Go fuck a national goat.

Someone, somewhere, must be very proud...

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A rare moment of contentment: fresh Italian roast coffee, made super-strong with a dollop* of 2% milk; felines fed with no fur flying; Fred sleeps, his toothache apparently relieved; the rosy fingers of dawn are doing their thing, but in a more purpl-y way; the lotion I discovered last night (a "gift" from the hospital) still smells lightly of oranges, and is rich; The New York Times is on deck; and I have almost finished Andre Dubos' The Garden of Last Days**, which is terrific.

1573, from E. Anglian dial. dallop "patch, tuft or clump of grass," of uncertain origin. Modern sense of "a lump or glob" is 1812.

? ON dolp, small dangling ball

**re: the Dubus novel -- Excuse me while I have one of my meta-moments. I made the mistake of looking up reviews a few minutes ago. Janet Maslin reviewed it for the NYT on June 9, 2008, and makes the statement: “The Garden of Last Days” explores the cultural chasm between Bassam’s world and Spring’s. Well, that is just wrong. But I'll not fuss about her, as I might were the rest of her review completely ridiculous, in the manner, say of Michiko Kakutani. Maslin purports to be a straightforward straight arrow, and you cannot get far without being told that she has a BA in Math. Starting out as a rock critic, then a longtime movie critic, she has been criticized in the literary genre for not being critical. Oh yeah, and she took a degree in maths. Edward Champion, sometimes my hero, notes: "Reading the New York Times’s daily book coverage makes me so disheartened that I’d rather watch Michiko and Maslin in a nude mud wrestling match."

My favorite line from a Dubus interview, from his appearance on The Bat Segundo Show: "Listen, I do believe that we live in our bodies." They were discussing the role of coffee in his novel.

Frank Rich's Op-Ed piece today is titled "40 Years Later, Still Second-Class Americans." It has been 40 years since Stonewall. He lays Obama bare, deservedly so, in the presence of his own promises. Remember last December, as the President-Elect attempted to stave off the critics of Pastor Rick Warren?

At a press conference in Chicago this morning, President-elect Barack Obama
responded to attacks from gay-rights advocates who say they his selection of
Pastor Rick Warren, a critic of gay rights, to deliver the invocation at his

Warren, a leader of the evangelical Saddleback Church in
Orange County,Calif., came out in favor of Proposition 8 — a ballot initiative
that stripped gays of the right to marry in the state. The hot-button initiative
narrowly passed, setting off a firestorm among gay rights advocates who took to
the streets in protests across the state.

Obama, who often mentioned his support of gay rights in stump speeches, though not gay marriage, said today that he is a “fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans,” adding, “It’s something I’ve been consistent on.”

Well, I ought to sign off, as clearly I've little original to say. That was, by the way, the source of my free-floating anxiety during the dissertation process, as the effort was to be "an original contribution to human knowledge." Egads.

Unless I manage to sleep, I'll be immersed in tennis today, as well as attempting to clean The Manor a bit. Tata, then.