Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Gift

A few weeks back, thinking it would be a way to save money and be a marvelous gift, I asked my two brother-units for used copies of the two books that had been the most formative to the person they each have become.

The Grader Boob, an English prof who is absolutely under the gun at this time of the year, dealing with final grades and student complaints, instead sent me a very generous gift certificate to Amazon. Whether he knows it or not, the student emails that he included in our recent correspondance were his real gift - a representative piece of his life.

The request had really already been answered over the course of the years we have known each other as siblings. He schooled me, seeming to step into the role of Guide from about the time I was eight or nine, and has never stopped. He shocks me with claims that I have schooled him, that I am The One Possessing Knowledge.

My other brother-unit, Tumbleweed, left the "family" -- hmmm, hey! It was about the same time Grader Boob Actively Assumed the Mantle of Sibling Voice of Social Conscience (Dabbling in Rock N Roll). A temporal coincidence? I think not.

Tumbleweed, who now prefers to be called TW, was a young runaway with an old soul. Grader Boob and I loved him with all our hearts, and the many years that passed without word of him were... let's just say difficult. Doubtless, I have little right to claim any difficulty whatsoever, given the harsh realities that TW encountered, but I do, I do lay claim to those years as Hard Times.

He, at least, had been able to leave. He had been free. Doing whatever he wanted to do.


I mean, switch the genders in Joni Mitchell's Cactus Tree, and there you have it.


I grew up "while he was so busy being free."

It is only recently that I've discovered my anger at TW. It's not Big Anger; It does not overwhelm -- it's one of your best recipes, having the restraint of a secret bit of heat that hits the back of the tongue in a salty delay.

He had no shelter, no food, was shot once, almost died then, and several other times. He did what one does to survive, maybe more. He loved and won, loved and lost. He and a porn star had a daughter, who now has a daughter of her own. Predictably, they are almost strangers. He met some of the most famous people of his generation. He wrote some stuff, published, read, hid some stuff. He ate out of trash cans, lived in a tent. Learned and learned, stored it and shared it. In fact, if you listen carefully to him, the thing he seems to have dedicated himself most to is the sharing. He did not want anyone to leave him unelevated, unfed, cold.

As for the pain inside the man?
I don't dare go there, unless invited, and I have not been invited.

In my adolescence, he was Seymour to Grader Boob's Buddy. TW was the fourth sick artist adjacent to sick Kierkegaard, sick Kafka, and sick van Gogh. I was into the Glass family, and jealous of its members, when I was all of eleven. This famously convoluted passage copied unevenly across an unlined page in a very uncertain 11-year-old hand has been tucked inside my Bible during all these intervening mumblemumble years:

But where does by far the bulk, the whole ambulance load, of pain really come from? Where must it come from? Isn't the true poet or painter a seer? Isn't he, actually, the only seer we have on earth? […] In a seer, what part of the human anatomy would necessarily be required to take the most abuse? The eyes, certainly. Please, dear general reader, as a last indulgence (if you're still here), re-read those two short passages from Kafka and Kierkegaard I started out with. Isn't it clear? Don't those cries come straight from the eyes? However contradictory the coroner's report - whether he pronounces Consumption or Loneliness or Suicide to be the cause of death -isn't it plain how the true artist-seer actually dies? I say […] that the true artist-seer, the heavenly fool who can and does produce beauty, is mainly dazzled to death by his own scruples, the blinding shapes and colors of his own sacred human conscience. (Salinger's Seymour, An Introduction)

I'd have edited out the reference to the epigraphs if I didn't also have as profound a writerly relationship with them, were they not also emblemmatic of my imaginary life with the real Tumbleweed.

The actors by their presence always convince me, to my horror, that most of what I've written about them until now is false. It is false because I write about them with steadfast love (even now, while I write it down, this, too, becomes false) but varying ability, and this varying ability does not hit off the real actors loudly and correctly but loses itself dully in this love that will never be satisfied with the ability and therefore thinks it is protecting the actors by preventing this ability from exercising itself.
– Franz Kafka

It is (to describe it figuratively) as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and as if this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for him, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, "No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer."– Søren Kierkegaard

A few years back, TW settled, somewhat, spending a few months of the year painting houses around Lake Tahoe, five months or so leading hikers and other serious adventurers in treks throughout the Grand Canyon. The rest of the time, he works as a bookie, in order to earn money, he says, "for cat food."

A few weeks back, thinking it would be a way to save money and be a marvelous gift, I asked my two brother-units for used copies of the two books that had been the most formative to the person they each have become.

This is what was in the Christmas box from my big brother that Fred fetched, this morning, from just beyond the drawbridge, in the icy grass next to the frozen moat. (TW took my request to heart.)

The items, at present, are dumped in the middle of our bed, and are recorded in the order of their haphazard retrieval.

1. Grateful Dead, Winterland, 6/9/77 (cassette tape, live)

The Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo

On the day that I was born
Daddy sat down and cried
I had the mark just as plain as day
which could not be denied
They say that Cain caught Abel
rolling loaded dice,
ace of spades behind his ear
and him not thinking twice

Mississippi Uptown Toodleloo
Hello baby, I'm gone, goodbye
Half a cup of rock and rye
Farewell to you old southern sky
I'm on my way - on my way

If all you got to live for
is what you left behind
get yourself a powder charge
and seal that silver mine
I lost my boots in transit babe
A pile of smoking leather
Nailed a retread to my feet
and prayed for better weather

Mississippi Uptown Toodleloo
Hello, baby, I'm gone, good-bye
Half a cup of rock and rye
Farewell to you old southern sky
I'm on my way - on my way

They say that when your ship comes in
the first man takes the sails
The second takes the afterdeck
The third the planks and rails
What's the point to callin shots?
This cue ain't straight in line
Cueball's made of styrofoam
and no one's got the time

Mississippi Uptown Toodleloo
Hello baby, I'm gone, goodbye
Half a cup of rock and rye
Farewell to you old southern sky
I'm on my way - on my way

Across the Rio Grand-eo
Across the lazy river
Across the Rio Grand-eo
Across the lazy river

2. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: page 139 is turned down. She is writing about the actual texture of the planet, about a contour globe.

What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility of beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.

3. Grateful Dead, Winterland 12/31/78 Side A; Oakland Auditorium Arena [w/joan baez on baby blue] 12/31/87 Side B (cassette tape, live)

4. Grateful Dead, Winterland 10/18/74, 3/18/77

5. The Complete Columbia Recordings, 1955-1961, Miles Davis and John Coltane (audio CDs)

6. Go Further, a Ron Mann film (DVD, 2003) "...explores the idea that the single individual is the key to large-scale transformational change. The film follows actor Woody Harrelson as he takes a small group of friends on a bio-fuelled bus-ride down the Pacific Coast Highway..."

7. Peter Brook's Marat/Sade (DVD, 1967)

8. Jacques Perrin, Winged Migration (DVD, 2001)

9. Glenn Gould: Bach -- The French Suites (Audio CD, 1973, 1974 CBS Records)

10. Carolan's Cottage, Joemy Wilson: Music of Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) on the Hammered Dulcimer Vol. II (Audio CD, Dargason Music, 1986)

11. Hotwalker: Charles Bukowski & A Ballad for Gone by Tom Russell (audio CD, homemade)

From Stylus Magazine, Reviewed by: Dom Passantino; Reviewed on: 2005-03-25
"It starts off as novelty. Within five minutes of the album starting, you’re laughing. You’re laughing half out of humour, half out of 'What on earth am I listening to?' What you’re listening to is a half-cut helium-voiced midget slurring the tale of the time he and Charles Bukowski drunkenly hijacked a diesel locomotive and drove it from downtown Los Angeles to Pacoima. By the time the album’s over, you’re not laughing, you’re discovered that that midget you were listening to died a few months after recording his vocals, the stage is littered with innumerable other corpses and lost hopes of America, and the smile has been wiped completely from your face, replaced by a stunned gape. Hotwalker isn’t just one of the best albums of this decade; it’s also probably the best documentary that the 2000s have yet produced.

A hotwalker is the name given to the guy at a racetrack who walks hot horses around in a circle to cool them down. Little Jack Horton used to be a hotwalker. He used to be a lot of things, carnival freak, poet, stuntman, 'Voice of the Great American Midway,' human cannonball, stuntman, friend of Charles Bukowski, preacher, alcoholic, philosopher, and alive. He was the midget in question (or 'little person' as he aggressively refers to himself, for an album that rails repeatedly against political correctness they do make concessions for our stumpy brethren) we just mentioned.

Hotwalker is the new album by Tom Russell, except it really isn’t his album. Of the 19 tracks present on this thing he only takes performance credits for nine of them. It’s part documentary, part mix-album, part museum exhibit, part evening spent listening to a rambling bar drunk who occasionally has a moment of clarity which you can’t help but share with him.

The whole enterprise is subtitled 'Charles Bukowski And A Ballad For Gone America,' and that’s what this is, an unapologetically backwards look that’s haunted with ghosts. Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, Harry Partch, Edward Abbey, Dave Van Ronk, Rambling Jack Elliot, a eulogy for each and every single one of these guys and the America they fought for. As a man who’s written for Johnny Cash, it’s no surprise that Russell fetishises the outlaw, and the whole thing is a paean to playing by your own rules. He knows that all of these people have voices strong enough to tell their own stories, and he lets them tell it. So Bukowski performs 'On The Hustle,' exchanging jokes with the audience about his alcoholism. Lenny Bruce asks the audience if there’s any other losers in tonight, before using the loneliness of his divorce as material. So many other voices flutter through, a choir of the damned, and each one has something to say. And Russell isn’t Michael Moore, he knows that the correct place for a documentary maker is out of the picture making sure his subjects get the screen time they deserve.

When he does veer into view, though, his contributions are absolutely perfect. He tells of times spent at Dave Van Ronk’s house, as a drunken Van Ronk would shout at even drunker houseguests, hopeful poets wondering if Dylan had dropped any songs down the back of the sofa, as his wife played the same track over and over again: 'LISTEN TO THIS GODDAMN SONG, YOU PEOPLE.'

12. Pirate's Choice Orchestra Baobab: The Legendary 1982 Session (Audio CD, World Circuit, recorded 1982, digitally remastered 1989) i laughed with joy to see this included - it's just... superb.

13. dick's picks #14; The Grateful Dead, boston music hall, 11/30/73, 12/2/73 (cassette tape, live)

dark star
words by Robert Hunter; music by Garcia, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, and Weir

Dark star crashes
pouring its light
into ashes

Reason tatters
the forces tear loose
from the axis

Searchlight casting
for faults in the
clouds of delusion

shall we go,
you and I
While we can?
the transitive nightfall
of diamonds

Mirror shatters
in formless reflections
of matter

Glass hand dissolving
to ice petal flowers

Lady in velvet
in the nights of goodbye

Shall we go,
you and I
While we can?
the transitive nightfall
of diamonds

spinning a set the stars through which the tattered tales of axis roll about the waxen wind of never set to motion in the unbecoming round about the reason hardly matters nor the wise through which the stars were set in spin

#14. Grateful Dead, long beach arena 12/14/80, winterland 10/16/74 (cassette tape, live)

#15. Grateful Dead, greek theatre, berkeley, 5/21/82 (cassette tape, live)
crossed out: Placido Domingo (from bravissimo, domingo!) and Felix Mendelssohn's A midsummer night's dream
clipping of a nature morte by cézanne as "cover art"

Playing In The Band
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Bob Weir

Some folks trust to reason
Others trust to might
I don't trust to nothing
But I know it come out right

Say it once again now
Oh I hope you understand
When it's done and over
Lord, a man is just a man

Playing in the band
Daybreak on the land

Some folks look for answers
Others look for fights
Some folks up in treetops
Just look to see the sights

I can tell your future
Look what's in your hand
But I can't stop for nothing
I'm just playing in the band

Playing in the band
Daybreak on the land

Standing on a tower
World at my command
You just keep a turning
While I'm playing in the band

If a man among you
Got no sin upon his hand
Let him cast a stone at me
For playing in the band

Playing in the band
Daybreak on the land
Playing in the band
Daybreak Daybreak on the land

#16. An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead: Playing in the Band
[An Updated Memorial Edition]
by David Gans and Peter Simon, foreward by Phil Lesh
St. Martin's Griffin, 1985

With a bit of paper stuck in between pages 188 and 189, at the beginning of Chapter 15, Epilogue: "that's me, holding the microphones, berkeley's greek theatre, early 1980s" and, indeed, there he is, front and center, bearded and beautiful. Photo by Bruce Polonsky.

#17. A Novel: The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979

"In 1798, Irish patriots, committed to freeing their country from England, landed with a company of French troops in County Mayo, in westernmost Ireland. They were supposed to be an advance guard, followed by other French ships with the leader of the rebellion, Wolfe Tone. Briefly they triumphed, raising hopes among the impoverished local peasantry and gathering a group of supporters. But before long the insurgency collapsed in the face of a brutal English counterattack.

Very few books succeed in registering the sudden terrible impact of historical events; Thomas Flanagan's is one. Subtly conceived, masterfully paced, with a wide and memorable cast of characters, The Year of the French brings to life peasants and landlords, Protestants and Catholics, along with old and abiding questions of secular and religious commitments, empire, occupation, and rebellion. It is quite simply a great historical novel."

#18. Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee
The Noonday Press, 1971
Three wildernesses, Four ecologies...

#19. A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present by Howard Zinn
Harper Collins, 1980, revised and edited 1995

#20. The Grateful Dead, Vancouver, B.C. 6/25/73 and Olympia Theater, Paris, France 5/4/72 (cassette tape, live)

#21. The Grateful Dead, Cow Palace, San Francisco 12/31/72 and Spartan Stadium, San Jose 4/22/79 (cassette tape, live)

Crossed out: Brahms, Chamber Music and Charles Mingus (ending with Mood Indigo)

#22. Bob Dylan, Royal Albert Hall, Manchester England, 5/17/66 (cassette tape, live)

#23. The Grateful Dead, Oakland Auditorium Arena, 12/31/81 (cassette tape, live)
Crossed out: Minnesota 10/19/71

#24. One Tibetan Windhorse Prayer Flag Garland, Handmade in Nepal by Tibetan Handicraft Industry for International Campaign for Tibet, 888-Tibet-Now

Contains a variety of important symbols in Tibetan Buddhism. These include the Endless Knot, representing the interrelatedness of all things; the Double Dorje or Diamond Scepter, symbolizing the indestructible and compassionate nature of Buddhaís teachings; the Buddha or awakened one, who introduced the Dharma or Buddhist teachings into this world; and the Healing Mantra, a matrix of Tibetan symbols that make up a healing mantra or sacred prayer. Hanging flags are believed to constantly be sending their prayers to the universe. To dispose of old flags with respect, please burn them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

News From University Land: "I really don't want to lose bright futures" or The Beg for Mercy Option

You may have noticed that the promised posts based on the paper detritus of my teaching career, as comemorated by a half-assed, half-hearted "portfolio," have not happened.

Oh, I love the implications of the passive voice!

I think of it as VictimSpeak, in English, at least. A former friend likes to describe her mistakes as things that "happen," that "occur," that "take place." She has issues, it seems, with agency.

Anyway, to fill the void, right on cue, my professorial brother-unit sent a few of his end-of-semester frantic emails from failing students. I am tempted to opine that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

First, though, I have to say that this particular Brother Unit, known affectionately as Grader Boob, probably sent me these emails in an effort to appease my wrath.

Whatever could he have done, this peace-loving, kind-hearted individual?

HE MOVED! Earlier in the day, his Christmas card and gift arrived. I happened to glance at the address label and almost fell on the floor. My most beloved brother had moved from the apartment serving as his home for nearly all of the past 30 years! And failed to tell me!

To add bloody insult to cavernous injury? He wayyyyyy overspent on the gift, forgetting that I *know* both how hard he works and how little he makes as a public university prof being strung along with piecemeal employment. Oh, and in Southern Climes, too, where erudition is seen for what it is: NotFootball.

Loving him intensely, as I do, I fired off a caring electronic letter that might have gone like this:

turn the volume UP, because i am yelling at you:
ONE: when the hell did you move?
next time you move, son, you TELL moi...
i ain't letting loose of you. not for one day, a few weeks, nuh-uh!
TWO: you overspent, grader boob, and fred and i are onto you now like white on rice. (don't you hate that expression?)
the right and gracious thing to do would be to simply thank you for the amazon gift certificate.

your angry sister

Perhaps you have noticed a tendency on my part to overreact from time to time. What can I say? My former friend might announce that she hates when that happens to her.

Anyway, now you are up-to-date, and so I present you with Grader Boob's Response:

Who knew Christmas could make people so passionate?
Let me, all while chuckling, deal with some of your points.
Physically, I've not moved. The county decided to rename the connection to my apartment, so although the main drag is still 20 yards away, they decided to confuse everything by changing my address to the apartment access road. So, HAH, I didn't move!
As for overspending, turnabout is fair play; you really overspent on my birthday--nobody sends $75 gift cards. Bdays are $5, maybe $10, max. And I thought you were college-educated!
Hope you enjoyed the card. (And if you really feel I overspent, give $50 from yours to Fred: For goodness sakes, it's his birthday!)
[Indeed, Fred was a Xmas baby!]
Much love to the angry denizens of Marlinspike Hall, deep, deep in the Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs).
Grader Boob

PS. I'm enclosing a couple of student excuses.

#1: Professor I am really truly sorry these papers are so late i truly hope you can still accept them.On sunday I wen and my computer crashed according to my uncle it has a trojan
virus on Wednesday when I wanted to make it to class to explain the reason for them being so late my car broke down and is now in the shop not to mention I have come down with the H1N1 virus and have been feeling extremely ill I was able to finally come out of the the house
to get to a computer where I could send you these essays I promise this was not a purposeful chain of actions but more precisely one in which I couldnt do anything about.Im hoping you can accept these because in my best efforts I have re-written my papers and got them to you as quickly as possible.Sorry about all of this and I appreciate all you have done especially how wonderful of a professor I have learned a lot and am now enrolled in the Religious Studies department.
[you've gotta admit that this final touch of enrolling in religious studies is close to Begging Genius; on the basis of that, alone, i'd have caved.]

#2: Professor, This e-mail is for one purpose and one purpose only. I am going to beg you and use sound logic to convince you to take away the 3% reduction for being absent to allow me to get a C- in the class instead of a D+. I did not use my beg for mercy on any other assignments of this semester. Also, unlike the other ways in which people begged for mercy my begging doesn't require you to go back and re-grade things you have already graded. It requires much less work than that and it's not so terribly boring. Also you could consider all the time and thought I put into drafting this email as a class periods worth of work so it would be like I made it up just like your other beg for mercy cases would have been. I am metaphorically on my hands and knees here Prof. I really don't want to lose bright futures. Obviously I could have avoided being in this situation by getting my act together on the journals and oral presentation, but without doing those I still think I put in a C level for Comp 1. Please consider taking away the absence that is going to kill me. Tommy
Response from Prof to Tommy:
Hi Thomas--
After reading the first line, I stopped.
Your grade is in the numbers, all of which you earned by submitting work and by skipping
classes--even after you were told that you could not afford any more absences.
Professor Grader Boob
Tommy, who ought to stop, chooses not to:
I did not miss class from sleeping in or from being a lazy college student. I'm not
going to roll out with a whole sob story but I assure you I knew what I could afford but
I made certain choices and in the end I know I am accountable for those, but I'm still
going to try to make it to a C so that I don't get so screwed over. I made it all the
days I could, and now is my last stitch effort to encourage you to cut me a break and
accept absences as my area requiring mercy.

#3 is described as "a brief email exchange between a varsity football player
and myself":

Hey mr. I am willing to do anything to to get a c in ur class cause I will not be
ineligible and won't be able to play football and I will lose my scholarship is there any
way you can help out thank.

Hi Jamar--
Unfortunately, since you didn't turn in much work this semester, you haven't earned a
passing grade.
Your average, according to Blackboard, is an 11, so you're actually 40 points below an F.
Your grade is in the math.
Professor Grader Boob

Ok well the work I did turn into u gave me zero on it .

My dear sweet brother ends this epistolary masterpiece this way:

It just sort of makes you want to cry...or laugh.
G Boob

*** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () *** () ***


Subject: Re: you're gonna get it...
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 07:41:26 -0500

ummm {} why, hello!

hey, was someone raising a ruckus 'round here? silly someone.

that's totally retarded - that you should go from the perfectly respectable
"North x Avenue" to the sissified "PansyAss Drive." let's say,
for the Sake of Argument, that what you say is... true. 'splain me this:
how did you end up in apartment ONE HUNDRED AND TWO, huh? huh?
[versus his prior apartment designation of A-1, a great identifier, like the steak sauce]

it's seven a.m. here in marlinspike hall, deep, deep in the tête de hergé and so on and so forth. the cats have long been fed, dobby is requesting butt-whacking (please don't turn us in to the SPCA), and i am watching "bastard out of carolina." all the makings of a fine, fine day.

ummm. thank you very kindly much for the amazon gift certificate, unbelievably extravagant and irritating though it might be.

love the student begging! what's up with the "beg for mercy" -- tommy's
invention or some new pedagogical trickery? you can tell moi. remember, i used to bean them in the head with chalk.

smooches galore, and remember you can always swing by here for a few hours
or a month. love, the retired educator, your sis

The change in apartment # has been the oddest part of the whole deal.
They've split what used to be building A into four #s--377, 378, 379, 380--with each of these components having the same #ed apartments--101, 102, 103, 104.
It makes no sense to me, seeming to be even more confusing than the prior set up, which, of course, had Building A nowhere near Building B.
The Beg for Mercy option is on the course schedule as Beg for Mercy Day, a day on which they're supposed to come to class and present a viable argument asking me to reread revised material. I never tell them that the revision option is almost always allowed; I want them to convince me that their next effort will be worth my time.
As for your kind invite, I'm amenable to sometime during the spring break, so I'll let you know once the semester gets a-going. During holiday time, I'd just as soon spend the time catching up on lost sleep, so I'm not looking forward to any travelling.
Well, off to grade some online work.
Mucho amore to the Cat Clan.
Grader Boob

*the p0rtrait is of françois rabelais, humanist and poofy hat designee

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RSDSA SURVEY: Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel with CRPS

Most likely, if you have arrived here thanks to a search, you already know the ins-and-outs involved in talking about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. You probably call this disorder RSD when you speak with certain people, and CRPS when you speak with others. If you are a brave soul, maybe you try to spit out "CRPS Types One and Two [Slash] RSD" before succumbing to respiratory distress.

The rest of you deserve an explanation -- and our encouragement!

I guess you could say that RSD is the common name used for the official designation of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). In 1993, the International Association for the Study of Pain designated CRPS as the correct term, and further divided it into two types, the division being based primarily on the presence or absence of nerve lesions (following the inciting injury or insult, whatever it may have been, *if* one is known).

Type I, formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), Sudeck's atrophy, reflex neurovascular dystrophy (RND) or algoneurodystrophy, does NOT have demonstrable nerve lesions.

Type II, formerly known as causalgia, IS the result of demonstrable nerve damage.

In all likelihood, these divisions will further evolve as research into the course and origins of CRPS progresses.

"Retired Educator, you are boring us to death..."

Yeah? Well, snap out of it. Though the symptoms are essentially the same, the etiology is not. More importantly, the name change is a step away from the increasingly disproved old theories of "it's all about an overactive sympathetic nervous system..."

In fact, I may puke on the next "expert" who trots out that tired old stuff, telling me that "RSD just means that someone flipped the 'ON' switch to the sympathetic nervous system and forget to switch it 'OFF' {chucklechuckle}."

I got yer sympathetic nervous system right here, Chuckles...

And on the level of the pragmatic, the name change has necessarily been embraced by the health care systems within the USA -- for instance, you do not apply for SSDI on the basis of RSD -- no, you must apply on the basis of CRPS, Type 1 or Type 2. There has to be a measure of standardization.

Some of us {sniffsniff} are so blessed that we can lay claim to both types!

Okay, so... I recommend that those who are newly diagnosed ask their health care provider if there is any significance to the Name Game inherent to CRPS/RSD. If the question is sloughed off, or if you are told that the difference is meaningless, you may want to further investigate that person's knowledge of the rapidly accruing new frameworks of the disease. True, it may change nothing of your actual experiences with the symptoms -- but down the line, you will want to be involved with a doctor capable of inferring new treatments.

One of the cruelest relationships involved with this disease is its predictable surge in times of war, when one can depend on plenty of traumatic injuries to limbs and brains... It is sad but true that many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of CRPS stem from the intensified research it undergoes when the guns and roadside bombs start going off.

And so, at last, we come to the rightful topic of this blog entry!

The following information and initiative comes from -- who else? -- Jim Broatch, Executive Director of RSDSA, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, and all around Good Egg.

Connecting to Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) was first described by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a Union Army Surgeon, in 1864 after having witnessed the experience of injured soldiers in the Civil War. Unfortunately, we are finding more and more veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from CRPS or chronic pain.

This September, the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA) was invited to exhibit at the VA/DOD Evolving Paradigms II, a national conference for personnel and organizations involving in caring for returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While exhibiting at the Conference, it became apparent that some of the VA staff were not familiar with the treatment of CRPS or its telltale signs.

After the DOD/VA Conference, RSDSA built a webpage with Resources for Veterans with CRPS, linked from our homepage. RSDSA is now reaching out to veterans and military personnel with CRPS, as well as their caregivers, to determine how RSDSA can increase its support to veterans.

Target Audience
Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel with CRPS


•·Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a neurologic pain syndrome that can be characterized by severe, burning pain; changes in skin color or temperature; excessive sweating in an affected area of the body, or sweating for no reason at all; tissue swelling (edema) in the affected area; weakness or movement problems in the affected area; changes in hair growth or nail growth in the affected area
•·CRPS was previously referred to as either reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or causalgia.

Your contact information and answers will remain anonymous. Read RSDSA's Privacy Policy


And the best of luck to each and every one of you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I don't know why...

I do not know why, so don't ask, but *God*, how I love this commercial, this guy!

Point Of Know Return

(Steve Walsh / Phil Ehart / Robby Steinhardt)

I heard the men saying something
The captains tell they pay you well
And they say they need sailing men to
Show the way, and leave today
Was it you that said, "How long, how long?"

They say the sea turns so dark that
You know it's time, you see the sign
They say the point demons guard is
An ocean grave, for all the brave,
Was it you that said, "How long, how long,
How long to the point of know return?"

Your father, he said he needs you
Your mother, she says she loves you
Your brothers, they echo your words:
"How far to the point of know return?"
"Well, how long?"

Today I found a message floating
In the sea from you to me
It said that when you could see it
You cried with fear, the Point was near
Was it you that said, "How long, how long
To the Point of Know Return?"

When Kimbo Slice Met PimpleHead

If you don't know Kimbo Slice, allow me to introduce you. He is the large, built guy with the arms that are 90 feet long.

In the video below, he is fighting Houston "PimpleHead" Alexander, usually known for his speed and aggression. For some reason, PimpleHead changed his tactics and presented himself as an excessively cautious, tentative fighter who, to all appearances, appeared brain dead. La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore was heard to opine that the massive zit inside his cranium must finally be releasing its PussPoison.

The guy who posted the video edited out the first round, for which he deserves your deepest thanks, as it consisted of "circle, circle, circle." I believe it was Alexander's i-will-bore-you-to-death technique, with the only saving grace being his occasional kicks.

Of course, Kimbo Slice did not acquit himself well, either, but is more easily forgiven, being new to the octagon venue and all. Harumph.

Indeed, had AcneTête pursued the kicking game with just a *little* more alacrity, he'd have won the match. Kimbo was nearly hobbled by the end due to the accumulated damage to his left leg.

The fans made known their displeasure and while I never condone booing, I understood.

This was Kimbo's first official UFC win (I *think*). New to MMA, he has had a long career outside the UFC, of course, with an international reputation as one of the world's fiercest street fighters -- most of his fights are available on the web.

In the numerous, heavy-handed clips of The Slice on TUF, he presented as some sort of Zen master. He also came off as timid, which is not a word I'd ever have associated with anyone owning that physique. The Fredster tells me the mot juste, the mot propre, would be "judicious," as Kimbo's legs and knees are showing the effects of years of abuse. Still, as someone who needs to impress impresario Dana White with much derring-do, refusing a fight, as he did at the end of TUF, was not the most judicious of choices.
Anyway... the coffee was weak and generally disappointing this morning. That's *my* excuse for blogging about a fight that wasn't at all spectacular. The impetus, honestly? BJ clobbering Diego last night, but most especially? My man Frank Mir, putting a quick and -- according to what I hear -- merciful end to things for Cheick Kongo. And the extreme frustration of not having Pay Per View...