Friday, October 2, 2009

The Serendipity of TumbleWeed

I'm claiming serendipity. When a sister needs a brother needs a God, she finds one. Thank you, TW, for your photographs of Beauty Wild.

How she loves you!

"This discovery indeed is almost of that kind which I call serendipity, a very expressive word which, as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavour to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called “The Three Princes of Serendip”: as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of."
(Horace Walpole, Letters 1754)

"--- you don't reach Serendib by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings ... serendipitously." (John Barth, The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor)

"To put the matter differently, "play" (and its associated behavioral variability) is not purely entertainment or a luxury to be given up when things get serious. It is itself a highly adaptive mechanism for dealing with the reality that the context for behavior is always largely unknown. (Paul Grobstein, Variability in behavior and the nervous system, IN Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, Volume 4, Academic Press, 1994)

from outside Agate Canyon (top)

Tower of Set (bottom)

*please... i feel [almost] okay about ripping off my brother's blog photos... but i'd appreciate it if *you* would ask him first for permission to republish or copy. thank you very much!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UPDATE on Lindsey J. Baum

From KOMO News comes this update on the search for Lindsey J. Baum, the 11 year old girl from McCleary, Washington, who disappeared on 26 June 2009:

Search warrants issued in Lindsey Baum case

MCCLEARY, Wash. - In what could be a big break in the case of a missing 11-year-old girl, authorities executed search warrants Friday at two locations to seek evidence in the mysterious disappearance of Lindsey Baum.

The searches, both in the McCleary area, cover so much ground that agents were brought in from the FBI, along with detectives in the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office and King County Sheriff's Office.

Should I hear anything about the outcome of this search, I'll post it as soon as possible. And should you, please leave me a message.

Damn it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

RT @mergyeugnau

It's a day of technological "firsts" here at elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle. Earlier, I hosted quite a diverse crowd for the premiere of live blogging, as I tiptoed through the tulips of refilling scads of medications -- online!

As Walter used to say: "and you were there."

Hard as it is to believe, what you are about to read almost eclipses that achievement.

This post marks the occasion of the first blog entry derived from a Tweet.

Here it is:

mergyeugnau This makes me tear up w/ joy RT @meara76: RT @NPRPictureShowBiggest, Tallest Tree Photo Ever That is one BIG Tree!

If you've not been deflowered by tweetering twits, or twittering tweets -- whatever -- a minute of unpacking the message might be in order.

"mergyeugnau" is the screenname of the author of the tweet. We are "following" each other, meaning that we've got sort of a hitchcockian Rear Window set up going. According to her public Twitter profile, her name is Deborah and she lives in Tehran. In the brief history of our Following Fellowship, I have found her to be an insightful, if occasionally snarky, person.

Occasional snarkiness is a good thing, of course. Anyway, if Twitter is of interest, you might consider reading some of her observations.

RT @meara76: RT @NPRPictureShow -- "RT" refers to a ReTweet. You are rebroadcasting to the tweeting community something that you find worthy of another look. The user names after the ReTweet equate to the requisite hat tip of acknowledgement. Of course, problems arise when the alloted 140 characters start to erode before you've even gotten to the heart of the message.

mergyeugnau has a good eye. Not only does she manage to make TWO ReTweets, she also succeeds in a pre-ReTweet remark ("This makes me tear up w/joy"). This is proof positive of mastery. Not even meara's exultant "[t]hat is one BIG Tree!" gets lost.

So, are we all on the same page?

Finally, we get a link to an outside article from the NPR blog, The Picture Show and certainly, by now, you've both a headache and rancid body odor.

If the link appears odd to you, as in shorter than usual, this is another function of the limited space for tweets. I use a very helpful site called, "a simple url shortener." Go ahead, give it a try.

And there are more tweet-enhancing sites and endless widgets and rapidly expanding means of meta-communication.

Most of the time, of course, it's a bunch of jabber, as not too many people have anything new to say. Hence the inordinate amount of time spent trying to say it new, while saving space.

mergyeugnau, being a good egg, passes on something lovely:

Biggest, Tallest Tree Photo Ever
By Claire O'Neill

National Geographic photographer Michael Nichols is one of the world's foremost wildlife photographers. But he recently said that he'd happily spend the rest of his life photographing trees. Of course, the folks over at National Geographic would almost certainly never hear of it. Nichols' newfound love developed after a serious, yearlong relationship with redwoods. [cont.]

Extreme Unction: Last Rites of the Insured

Here we go, Gentle Readers, setting out on our first LIVE blogging event!

The occasion? If you will direct your eyes to the upper left corner of the page, you'll see a countdown clock, ticking away the seconds until I join the ranks of The Uninsured. See it?

As I write this, it reads: 1 day, 12 hours, 51 minutes, 35 seconds. 34, 33...

And so, down to the wire, with my sour stomach in a knot, I am getting ready to submit for refill as many prescriptions as I can -- because at the moment, I am covered at 100% for medications. That'll drop to zero in 1 day, 12 hours, 48 minutes, and 51 seconds. 50, 49...

Yes, right *now*, I am fulling covered for everything from hospitalization, tests, and office visits to durable medical goods (I'm tempted to try and get a new wheelchair while I can... but don't worry, I won't).

"How wonderful for you!" you may be thinking. Good thing you're not actually here. I might have to hurt you. I might have to explain that in order to reach this level of coverage, I had to bleed many, many dollars -- an amount far beyond what I can actually afford, such that now (1 day, 12 hours, 42 minutes, 6 seconds to go! 5, 4...) I am up the creek without insurance.

The pharmacy I use for all medications except the strong painkillers I take is only a few blocks away, part of a large national grocery chain. The drugs for pain I fill, monthly, in the pharmacy housed in the same building as my pain management doctor, so that the pharmacist knows me or can easily doublecheck my legitimacy. I fully understand -- dispensing methadone and endocet is serious business. I saw the pain doctor last week -- or rather, I saw the PA, who is infinitely more on the ball than he is. She, at least, knows how to keep a small measure of hope alive. Whereas he makes a Pointed Point of telling me, whenever he sees me, that there is nothing more to try in my fight against the pain, primarily from CRPS/RSD and collapsing joints -- except for pharmaceuticals. His average time with me is under two minutes, and given that this includes that Pep Talk? Well, it really is a freaking shot in the arm to talk to that... man. His PA, though, shares information from the conferences she attends, tells me of things other CRPS patients are trying, and tries to resuscitate my flagging faith in the medical arts. Through her efforts, I believe I am taking the appropriate amount of narcotics; When he was running my show, I was overmedicated. I would rather hurt, which I surely do, than be befuddled and vacant. It is a fine line and I am happy to have her help me walk it.

I didn't tell her I was losing my insurance coverage. I sat there, chatting away and panicky inside because I knew time was running out. The way this physician operates, you must make a $195 office visit every month in order to receive pharmaceutical pain management. He is a physiatrist -- a specialty foreign to most people. In fact, most times, when I write "physiatry," I receive kind corrections from people who explain that the correct spelling is "psychiatry." I don't mind. I understand how they might make that assumption! A physiatrist is a doctor specializing in rehabilitation:

Rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. Rehabilitation physicians have completed training in the medical specialty physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).

In other words, my doctor resents like hell being asked by my s.u.p.e.r.b primary care physician to write monthly prescriptions for pain medications. He does not like to treat patients solely with drugs. It's confusing, sometimes, his attitude --which is fairly legible upon his face. He is so resolute about there not being anything else to try -- when common sense might dictate that he would be first in line in favor of alternative, and more permanent, measures.

In fact, he and one of his partners proved to be the roadblock preventing me from getting a Spinal Cord Stimulator or an Intrathecal Pain Pump -- both things that might afford me real relief. And now, of course, as it has turned out -- there is not a surgeon in the world who would agree to implant another foreign body. Until the source of this osteomyelitis is found, it is too risky. Even then, since I am now severely immunosuppressed -- well, blah. And bleck, too.

Now, of course, I have no choice but to tell him and the PA that I'll be paying out-of-pocket. I am scared he will say that he won't negotiate with me -- neither about price nor about frequency of visits. Perhaps he will seize this as an opportunity to finally dump me as a patient altogether.

Sometimes I wish I felt secure enough to tell him how I never take as much pain medication as I am "supposed" to... how I force myself to take drug holidays every few weeks... but I don't think his reaction would be positive.

1 day, 11 hours, 52 minutes, 39 seconds. 38, 37...

Well, there is no putting it off, this list of medication refills. The pharmacy I'm using allows for submission of refills via the internet, so I'm just clicking from this window to another to finally be done with this.

Since the latest Wordle Contest has been such a bust, maybe I should start a "Guess the Grand Total" Competition. The closest to the actual cost paid by BCBS gets The Castafiore for a day! It matters to me, the total, even when they pick up the final tab -- because I pay upfront, and then am reimbursed. I've never had too many problems with them refunding my money (in about 3 weeks or so) but, at the moment? I would not be surprised by anything that bleeping insurance company does...

It can be scary to put all of these things on a credit card every month, trusting that a refund will arrive in a timely fashion. For what it is worth, I pay my credit card balances in full each month. At least, that was my habit.

Here's the list, in no particular order. Last week, methadone and endocet were filled at a cost of $106.28 (remember, too, that these are the negotiated prices).

Prednisone (generic)
Hydrocortisone (generic)
Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine, generic)
Glimepiride (generic)
Amitriptyline (elavil, generic)
Alendronate sodium (fosamax, generic)*
Lasix (furosemide, generic)
Zofran (ondansetron, generic)
Diabetic testing supplies**

PLUS -- I'll be calling my trusty pharmacist to see if I have any antibiotics with refills, just to have some on hand in case Infectious Disease Dood wants to give any another try.

*I'm filling this instead of Forteo. I mean, scope out how much that costs! I am afraid to charge it this final go 'round, because several times already, BCBS and my doctor have come close to brawling over it. I'll tell you a secret. Shhhh! We are. No, we were giving this daily injectable a shot (sorry) in the hopes that my poor disappearing, "avascular," and infected bones might be reincarnated. I do have severe osteoporosis, but it is as a function of osteomyelitis, severe AVN, and CRPS. If my s.u.p.e.r.b primary care physician had his way, I'd take both Fosamax and Forteo.

**Actually, I may pass on these. I am not technically diabetic. However, due to the combination of steroids and infection, my blood sugars have been too high. I know any doctors and diabetics out there are likely to curse me -- but I prefer not to do a lot of testing. The results don't influence what I do and I think the hemoglobin A1C is superior to my dripping blood all over the damned place. As I lose fine function in my hands? Diabetic testing is not so easy anymore.

There's been quite a lag in between the last paragraph and this one. I'm starting the daily afternoon climb of Febrile Mountain, and that, combined with pure anxiety, has left me acting much like someone hopped up on speed. I've dealt with paying the mortgage, VISA, the electric and gas bills, as well as the phone and internet.

I had a brief internal debate as to whether or not internet service should continue to be a necessity, or whether it was a luxury I cannot afford. The decision -- to keep it -- was based on its capacity to entertain and distract me, lessening the need for breakthrough pain medication. Does that sound strange to you? Hmm. It probably does! Makes perfect sense to moi. Also involved in that decision is the fact that The Fredster, La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, and
-- though she doesn't think I know -- Marmy, all rely on the internet as well.

I may start passing the hat, though! Uncle Kitty Big Balls is in charge of Feline Accounts Receivable and has hissed in my general direction that some "accomodation" might be possible.

Anyway... so I've been wasting time, trying not to deal with this Final Rite of the Insured. Did you know that "Anointing of the Sick" has replaced "Extreme Unction"?

1 day, 10 hours, 46 minutes, 58 seconds... going, going, gone.

photo credit -- f 128 Simple, Strange, Roots Photography

Geoffe Haney is a photographer that holds a BFA in with a concentration in photography. He enjoys alternative process to make his images. He utilizes digital, pinhole, Polaroid and other methods to create the perfect image to his eye...

Prints are available in limited editions. If you are interested...He can be contacted by writing to

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Hammer Dance: A Terrifying Update

I come before you today as a Reformed Retired Educator, friend to all animals and several people the world over, lover to Fred, overseer to La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, obsessed with bot fly larvae.

So hold on to your chair, grip the pew with your swarthy but-tocks, or whatever. (When I plug in but-tocks over at the Dictionary of Etymology? The ads called up by my interest in the origins of butt were: "Mercy for Sexual Abuse," and "Search for Sex Offenders!" Jesus, can't a person have a non-prurient interest in butt? What is exponentially more worrisome, however, are the two ads encouraging me to invest with Wells Fargo...)

Anyway, back to the Saved Me. I am pleased to present the first Biblical quote to grace the virtual pages of elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. I Cor. 13:11

Whoa, Nelly!

The precise moment to which I ascribe my salvation?

It began at the 13 second mark of this YouTube vid:

Since there has been a groundswell of searches for the twinkle-toed version of Tom Delay (and since groundswells have been known to herald a mob) -- I'm reposting this glancing jab that was first published on 8 August.

Your eyes should be refocusing about... NOW. Some saline drops will help, somewhat. Of course, the best treatment is rest, and corrective progressive politics.

So I am reading Important Stuff on Media Matters for America -- exercising my liberal knee-jerk and nod muscles -- when it fairly leaps off the page, this startling news that Tom DeLay has been cast for the upcoming season of ABC's Dancing With The Stars.

Okay, go ahead and gloat. Oh-so-au-courant you knew about the new cast five days ago. Major Whoop. I am not ashamed to have missed this bit of breaking news. I mean, we live in a cultural mecca right here in Marlinspike Hall, nestled deep, deep in the heart of the historic (and ever-newsworthy, though very décédé) Tête de Hergé. The television doings of the United States of America? At most a brief, luminous blip on our radar.

We do lay claim, after all, to La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore. She's nothing to sneeze at.* At which she is nothing to sneeze? A bas, la grammaire!

Still, DeLay's latest is intriguing news, and I am barely awake, so let's go with it, shall we?

The most relevant cultural question almost poses itself: Will he do The Hammer Dance? (The Castafiore recommends that Tom take a gander at the MC Ventura instructional videos. See below.)

I was unfamiliar with Cheryl Burke, but it seems that her pairing with the Tomster is quite advantageous. I guess every contestant is paired with a pro? I dunno. I do know that she is the number one googled "Cheryl" at the moment, beating out Tiegs, Hines, Cole, Ladd, Miller, Richardson, and Crow. The result of my googling revealed her specialty to be ballroom, her Emmy nominations to have been for choreography, her back ramrod straight, and her values in pristeen condition for our Sugar Land Boy.

Why, she recently was honored by the Equal Employment Opportunities Committees of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and the Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) at the 7th annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards for her encouragement of "children of all ethnicities to express themselves through movement." DeLay must have been instrumental in that -- he is all about diversity and equal opportunity. Lives and breathes it.

Think of him in the Marianas, and his friendship with a culturally divergent Abramoff! Cheryl can twinkle her toes in confidence that her partner looked after the welfare of the Saipan workforce, mostly immigrants from China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He made sure they recieved barely half U.S. minimum hourly wage. He guaranteed them a life behind barbed wire, in magnificent squalor, minus plumbing. DeLay knew the value of hard work and sought to legitimize their 12-hour work day, and their 7-day work week.

I am sure that had DeLay been in touch with his twinkle-toed side back then, the Marianas' textile workers would have used their breaktime to practice a "Spanish-influenced cha-cha, popular among the Chamorros" or might have stretched their tight muscles with "the 'stick dance,' a Carolinian import combining stick beating and foot shuffling." Cheryl may want to brush up on the personal inclinations of her Island Man!

DeLay traveled with his family and staff to the Marianas, where golf and snorkeling were enjoyed.DeLay fully approved of the working and living conditions. The Texan’s salute to the owners and Abramoff’s government clients was recorded by ABC-TV News: “You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system.” Later, DeLay would tell The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin that the low-wage, anti-union conditions of the Marianas constituted “a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It’s like my Galapagos Island.”

I can't say that ABC has garnered a new viewer in me with this move, though. It would take more than Tom DeLay to glue me to the tube to watch white-knuckled dancing.

Wait. What?

What's that you say?

Chuck Liddell? CHUCKY BABY? Nooooooo! Say it ain't so! Oh, now... that puts a new spin on the whole deal...

*Ted Nesbitt opines: NOT TO BE SNEEZED AT – “…People in older times imagined that a sneeze cleared the mind. It certainly gave them a feeling of exhilaration. Suddenly, 17th century Europe caught a craze for sneezing. It was considered the right thing to do in good society. Indeed, the more you sneezed, the more you proved yourself a member of the privileged class. To build up this new status symbol, all kinds of devices were used. It was soon realized that snuff caused sneezing. Therefore everyone who was someone carried with him a little box, containing a mixture of sneeze-producing herbs or tobacco. By drawing an ample pinch of it into the nostrils, a hearty sneeze resulted in no time. Of course only the rich and idle had time to sneeze or could afford snuff. Hence the self-induced sneeze became synonymous with aristocratic living. If you were able to sneeze ‘on call,' you showed audibly your status in society. But one matter had still to be decided. Just to sneeze haphazardly was not good enough. There had to be a special occasion. Soon sneezing became part of men's conversation. You indulged in it whenever you wanted to show your disapproval of anything said or, even more so, your lack of interest in the matter discussed. A sneeze was an unmistakable way of saying politely ‘you bore me.' Consequently and logically, anything ‘not to be sneezed at' was something really worthwhile.”


Hommage à Monsieur Jacques,
SDF décédé


Un sans domicile fixe (SDF) est, dans le langage courant, une personne qui dort dans la rue ou dans des foyers d'accueil. On parle aussi de sans abri ou d'itinérant. Le mot clochard a tendance à tomber en désuétude à cause de sa connotation péjorative (« la Cloche » désigne parfois l'ensemble des clochards). Juridiquement, une personne n'ayant pas de domicile fixe n'est pas forcément un « clochard » ou un « sans-abri », mais quelqu'un qui doit se doter d'un livret ou carnet de circulation. A noter que toute personne de nationalité française, même non locataire ni propriétaire (par ex. un squatter) a le droit d'obtenir une carte d'identité.

SDF est le nouveau nom en France depuis le milieu des années 1980; ce nom succède à la notion de vagabond, ou chemineau (celui qui « fait le chemin »), si présent dans la vie en France au XIXe siècle. Les sans-abri sont souvent dits en situation d'exclusion sociale, bien que ce terme prête à débats. Beaucoup de sans-abri travaillent (CDDs ou intérim) et peuvent donc difficilement être qualifiés de « marginaux ».

Le terme SDF vient de la terminologie policière. Mentions notée dans les formulaires en lieux et place de l'adresse de la personne contrôlée. A l'origine il pouvait aussi s'agir d'une personne habitant "chez des amis" ou en transit.
merci à
charles pascarel