Saturday, April 23, 2011

From the Cutting Room Floor

When I grow up I want to be an old woman
When I grow up I want to be an old woman
Oh, an o-o-o-o-old, an old, old woman

Then I think I'm gonna find myself an old man
Then I think I'm gonna marry myself that old man
An old, an old, an old, an old, a really old man

We're gonna have a hundred and twenty babies
A hundred and five, ten, fifteen, twenty babies
Uh huh, that's what I said a hundred and twenty babies

We'll raise 'em on tiger's milk and green bananas
Mangoes and coconuts and watermelon
We're gonna give 'em that watermelon when they starts yellin'

Here's what they'll yell...

In the summer we'll sit in a field and watch the sun melt
In the winter we'll sit by a fire and watch the moon freeze
Me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
Me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
I said, me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
Oh, when I grow up I want to be an old woman
When I grow up I want to be an oooooold...

--Michelle Shocked, When I Grow Up

Michelle Shocked is among those artists I like to listen to during ketamine treatments.  It's kind of an odd mix, I suppose, though maybe not:  Sam Cooke on gospel (he was there when they crucified my lord, y'know) The Stones prancing around on my cerebellum, Jacques Brel to satisfy that inevitable nostalgia for accordion-driven café music, Keith Jarrett's Koln concert, anything from After the Gold Rush Neil
Young --
(Hey, hey Cripple Creek ferry

Butting through the overhanging trees

Make way for the Cripple Creek ferry

The waters going down it's a mighty tight squeeze...)

-- early Bonnie Raitt, like before I understood how old she was, Jennifer Warnes, the bits of Laurie Anderson that crack me up, Marvin Gaye -- all the Marvin Gaye in the world, wanting to undo what was done -- but no more Motown because I shake the gurney in some kooky ketamine spastic dance craze, apparently -- though I bet I could tolerate some Temptations -- I don't so much want to dance to their music as pretend to be them, slick with moves... some Jackson Browne but always Your Bright Baby Blues --

(I'm sitting down by the highway
Down by that highway side

Everybody's going somewhere

Riding just as fast as they can ride

I guess they've got a lot to do

Before they can rest assured

Their lives are justified

Pray to God for me baby

He can let me slide

'Cause I've been up and down this highway

Far as my eyes can see

No matter how fast I run

I can never seem to get away from me

No matter where I am

I can't help feeling I'm just a day away

From where I want to be

Now I'm running home baby

Like a river to the sea

Baby if you can see me

Out across this wilderness

There's just one thing

I was hoping you might guess

Baby you can free me

All in the power of your sweet tenderness

I can see it in your eyes

You've got those bright baby blues

You don't see what you've got to gain

But you don't like to lose

You watch yourself from the sidelines

Like your life is a game you don't mind playing

To keep yourself amused

I don't mean to be cruel baby

But you're looking confused

Baby if you can hear me

Turn down your radio

There's just one thing

I want you to know

When you've been near me

I've felt the love stirring in my soul

It's so hard to come by

That feeling of peace

This friend of mine said

"Close your eyes, and try a few of these"

I thought I flying like a bird

So far above my sorrow

But when I looked down

I was standing on my knees

Now I need someone to help me

Someone to help me please

Baby if you need me

Like I know I need you

There's just one thing

I'll ask you to do

Take my hand and lead me

To the hole in your garden wall

And pull me through... )

Sometimes there's some Dylan, sometimes there's not, often he's replaced by Nina Simone -- it is necessary to assess my mood, to make those all-important last minute decisions, sitting in the fume-filled parking garage, getting my last swigs of diet root beer, feeling oh-so-glad I quit smoking all those years ago.  I'm not concluding anything from it, but I get the same feeling at this hospital for catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries as I did the times I dragged a long ago roommate to AA meetings.  We started going the evening of the day she crashed her orange Vega through the garden wall and smack-dab into my bedroom.  Anyway, I am referring to the coffee and cigarettes.  The smell of them is everywhere, and because they're molecularly linked somehow, not even the coffee smell smells good.  I mean, like, you'd never slip up and use the word "aroma" for it.

My second ketamine treatment, I had not yet made a playlist for the occasion, and managed to land on Jethro Tull's Aqualung.  We're talking major depression.  I mean, there I am, losing myself, falling into the K-hole, serenaded by...
Sitting on a park bench

eyeing little girls with bad intent.

Snot running down his nose

greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.

Drying in the cold sun

Watching as the frilly panties run.

Feeling like a dead duck

spitting out pieces of his broken luck.

My mp3 player selections for the ketamine experience are hardly remarkable... but they are mine, you know?  A little something of me to have, in case I get lost and can't find my way back -- to Fred, down at the end of the bed, to Nurse Monique, so sweet and learning not to promise me anything, to my brothers, to my friends, to Dobby and the Rest of the Remnant.

We had our first early morning session this week, on Thursday.  You will note that it is now Saturday and that the only blog piece I've published in the interim was something already pieced together.  And I am not sure I should be writing this post, even. 

I've been in a world of pain.  Past caring, really.

Ah, but Friends, I ask you:  Might the fact that I somehow managed to delete all of my music during the ride to the hospital -- Might that devastating loss be at the heart of how awful that treatment turned out to be? Might being stuck with just the radio have set me up for days of suffering, for nights of... well, for plain old long-assed nights?

I did give the experience a try -- honestly.  I lay there and tried to focus on something besides listening.  But I cannot focus on seeing and looking because I cannot... focus.  My vision BENDS with these higher doses -- bends as in I-can-see-around-corners-but-not-right-down-the-middle-of-the-visual-field.  Also, there is the issue of foreshortening.  When I tried to zero in on Fred's legs, which I knew to be stretched out from his nasty plastic chair and propped on my wheelchair seat, they were as badly elongated tooth picks. 

And I know you'll understand that I could only see around the corner (the far left corner, of course) when I trained my eyes straight ahead.  It was, in fact, Nurse Monique who occupied that just-around-the-far-left-corner spot.  Sometimes she popped up at bedside, asking me probing questions like "What's wrong?" and sometimes she was striding -- she has an officious walk -- toward the supply room behind the nurses' station.  I never saw her actually enter the supply room because the supply room extends past the line ending the square of permissible vision.  You know it is there, kind of a humongous maw of emptiness, its door a blind rectangle to my visible square.

It would be ideal to just sleep.  I can't, though, not even with the pre-infusion 10 mg of valium.  I can't because of pain.  Funny, huh?! 

The dose was a hefty 155 mg and we noticed that they gave me considerably longer than the others to try and regain some equilibrium after it had run in.  Normally, everyone gets about 20 minutes, then it's on with the shoes and outer clothing, flush the portacath with saline and heparin, transfer to the wheelchair and weave one's shaky way out.  My shaky way out.  Part of the wait was also due to the doctor failing to show up to sign my discharge paperwork... Even so, I couldn't have left any sooner than I did, and even then, wanted to spew, weep, and be unconscious, all at the same time.

It only got worse as time went on.  We stopped at Home Depot, since we were right there near Tête de Hergé's Lone Alp -- and lone Home Depot store.  Fred ran in "just for a minute" and I pretended to read Dorothy Allison's Cavedweller.  It was hot, people were streaming by, the sun hurt my eyes.  I had to pee and got to, an hour later, when we pulled into The Manor service road and zipped right up to the Emergency Secret Loo nestled in the Orchard Wall.  (There was no toilet paper!  Arg!)

I've tried taking my pain meds. 
I've tried not taking my pain meds.
I've tried opiates, no opiates, biofeedback, crying.
I've slept.
I've made myself get up and work.
I baked a batch of awesome scones, not too sweet.
I promised and failed to deliver on a soup.
I put a kitten under my chin.
I paid bills.
I shooed the kitten away, and felt the urge to hit him.
I ate.
I abstained from eating.
I overate.
I ran fevers, had sweats.
I cut my hair.
I stopped saying "I" -- as a verbal and moral exercise.

The only thing that helped, and then only for twenty minutes or so, was darkness. And silence.  As if my entire body had a migraine.

Some years back, I remember feeling this way -- physical horror wrapped up in depression and regret.  I tossed the remains of my dissertation, and erased the evidence from my hard drives.  I burned photographs. I ran the air conditioner at obscene temperatures, applying ice air to my burning dystrophic body.

The ketamine isn't working.  It's failed.  I came out of this one worse than I went in.  Fred says it's too early to say, that I did get some benefit from the fourth infusion but it showed up way late -- as in the day before receiving the fifth one.  I cannot say if he is right.  (That means that I think he is wrong.)

I'll do the next one as the last one and then keep my appointment with this doctor... who promised me a miracle.  No, I am not angry.  It's what I wanted to hear and longed to believe.

There is one song that will never make the Ketamine Playlist -- I'd never disrespect it so.  But it might be the one and only piece of the Post-Ketamine SongFest -- the only song worth remembering after bathing the brain in toxin, Dylan's I'll Keep It With Mine. This is not the cover I'd choose but it's certainly more than okay:

And so it was in this sorry state that I got up this morning, and then got up again two hours later. I had the urge to DELETE, beginning with videos... before I gave in to it, I made myself do a "Magic Movie" treatment of about 15 meaningless cat clips. This is what the FlipShare do-hickey program came up with, this is what has been preserved.

Buddy has been going through a "leaping" phase. He will suddenly leap in the air, sometimes from a dead standstill, sometimes adding a quarter turn or a twist, always exuding Extreme Joy. Marmy has begun to accept him and now he gives her this really scary, mean hiss-s-s-s when she frightens him, and she never fails to frighten him, just by showing up. He has mounted Dobby several times, and Dobby fairly sighs -- Sammy used to do the same thing. Poor Dobby. Poor Buddy. Sexual confusion is never fun.

I am *this* close to deleting the blog.  It is a tough call.


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Castafiore Takes On Doktor Phil. Again.

  • 9 cups dandelion flowers (6 cups dandelion petals and 3 cups dandelion flower heads, trimmed)
  • 1 11-oz can Welch's 100% White Grape Juice frozen concentrate
  • 1 lb 10 ozs granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons (juice only)
  • 2 oranges (juice only)
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • ½ tsp pectic enzyme
  • ¼ tsp tannin
  • 6¼ pts water
  • White Burgundy wine yeast

In primary, combine all ingredients except dandelions and yeast. Stir well to completely dissolve sugar. Stir in dandelions, cover primary and set aside 10-12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. Stir twice daily until violent fermentation subsides. Pick and prepare flower petals and heads. For dandelion flower heads, wash and trim off stems only. Put dandelion petals and heads in nylon straining bag with 1 dozen sterilized glass marbles for weight. Tie bag and submerge in liquid in primary. Gently squeeze and dunk bag several times a day for 5 days. Drain bag, squeezing lightly only, and transfer liquid to secondary. Fit airlock and rack after 2 weeks, topping up and refitting airlock afterward. After wine falls clear, wait 2 weeks and rack after adding 1 crushed Campden tablet to clean secondary. Thereafter, rack every 2 months for 6 months, adding another crushed Campden tablet during middle racking and stabilizing at last racking. Wait another month and rack into bottles. This wine is for the long term and for winning competitions, so cellar it for 2 years before tasting.

Even knowing what a squirrelly creature she can be, I confess to having been beguiled by La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore... again. *

Home at The Manor unusually early of an evening, she decided to check out the latest from her arch enemy, Dr. Make-Believe-I'm-A-Psychologist Phil.   It's not clear to us what motivates this compulsion that overcomes her, though it may be some kind of seasonal affective disorder...  or -- duuuuhhhhhh -- I reckon compulsions don't have rational motivations, anyway, huh? 

Yeah, okay, you caught me.  I was trying to show off how I probably know as much as Doktor Phil in terms of... well, terms 'n all.  You try coming up with believable crap to explain Bianca's behavior and see if you don't pick up a few felicitous funky phrases.

Or it might be the wine.  As motivation, I mean.  Or as disinhibitor, allowing for the release of wave upon wave of bright green Anti-McGraw Bile.

She got it into her pretty lacquered head to do some early taste-testing of last year's dandelion wine.  Jack Keller says that "dandelion wine is fermented sunshine."

That'd be Jack Keller, the winemaker, craggy-faced guy, recently bit by a rattlesnake.  Not the songwriter, who penned hits for everyone from the Everly Brothers to The Monkees.  Certainly not the poker player or the Marvel Comics artist.

[Don't you think we should all have our own disambiguation page at Wikipedia?  It sounds like something I *need* -- and *want*.  I need disambiguation.  I want disambiguation.  Hell, I DESERVE disambiguation.]

Right!  So after indulging in a little alcoholic sunbathing, The Castafiore scoped out the latest cutting edge opinions being proffered by that Ersatz Doctor, Phil McGraw. Her overall findings?  Dr. Phil remains an Offensive Media Whore and Con Man with a Blindingly Bald Pate -- and dandelion wine doesn't have to be a body-less sweet mess.  Jack Keller can fill you in on what he calls "body-builders" and on the use of sugar.  If you decide to go straight up with the dandelion wine and not fortify it with raisins or grape concentrate ("you could use dates, figs, apricots, or rhubarb instead") -- Jack advises that you serve it with an exciting salad or some baked trout. 

He specifies trout.  I need another 100 words on why that is so, but Jack is a tease, and doesn't say.  Then again, he doesn't divulge what kind of trout, either, does he?  Ha!  Gotcha, Jack!  (My vote was originally for rainbow... then I read that 95% of what makes it to the table is farm-raised and I just don't cotton to fish from the farm.  Yes, thank you, I *do* know that it's childish to expect my rainbow trout to have leaped and fought through clear, cold, unpolluted white waters to get to my plate.) 

Would everyone just get the heck off of my back, please?  I am trying to tell a story here.  Jeez.

Okay, so I had a lapse in judgement and told La Bonne et Belle Bianca she could use my laptop to scope out Old Shiny Pate's blog, The Turning Point.

See, I really didn't think she had it in her, especially with the dandelion wine on board, to even make it up to the Computer Turret.  You'll find me up here pretty darned often, maybe even 3-4 hours a day, and it's rare for the Turret to ever be unoccupied -- but it's downright unheard of for The Castafiore to make the effort.

[A brief explanation would seem to be in order. You're probably wondering how hard it can be to get to our state-of-the-art computer center. In a post titled l'astronave, way back in April of 2010, I tackled the task of explaining the matter thusly:

The only way in or out, up or down, the pesky turret is via a thick rope ladder, dyed caution yellow, that extends down (but mostly sideways) out to the Manor Stables -- a remarkable outbuilding that is an alarming replica, as we pointed out in our last post, of the Knoppenburg Manor Stables. The proper term today is "agricultural building." You won't catch me calling it a barn if there are any prying ears about. Of course, the last outsider who dropped by was The Technician Overlord of Our Telecommunications Bundle, which he so wisely decided was best centered in the Hobby Room at the top of the Turret Tower. We had concocted a cover story about the rope bridge ("It's more a bridge than a ladder," Fred just said), which consists of the baldfaced lie that we are a new off season venue for those Cirque du Soleil performers who are fresh out of rehab. So the hefty diameter of that hemp monster, see, is easily explained away as necessary gear for these poor, troubled acrobats.

I'm usually not subject to such heights of embarrassment (heights, and, lately, riches) but I just don't want anyone to think that I have to zig zag my way from one Manor Wing to another, make it to the Grand Ballroom, out the entrance, patterned after Brunelleschi's bronze baptistery doors, over the drawbridge (Provided it is down! Men!), across the moat, down the lane, over the hedge, into the damned agricultural outbuilding, up the custom wheelchair ramp into the hayloft, and then, lickety-split, go hand-over-fist on the rope bridge for a good half mile... all just to get my email.
So just imagine the superhuman effort necessary to a drunken overweight opera diva... ]

Once she got to the Computer Turret, she wasn't about to leave without also leaving traces of her visit.  Luckily, she found McGraw's blog post on the "stoicism of the Japanese" sufficiently provocative.  This is a chunk of his prose from that post:

April 4th, 2011 by Dr. Phil
The Stoicism of the Japanese

...[D]o you know what astonishes me? It’s watching the people of Japan face their catastrophe with a kind of stoicism and, strangely, a grace. We haven’t seen any looting in Japan for desperately-needed supplies, like bottled water. We haven’t seen fistfights break out among the people waiting in line for hours to get gasoline or groceries. For years, I’ve heard about the legendary politeness of Japanese people in everyday life, but I just thought it was a cliché. How are they able to maintain such calm in the face of overwhelming disaster?

I’m hardly someone who thinks Japan’s way of life is in any way better than ours. But at the same time, I will say, there is something to be said for the ordinary Japanese citizen’s respect for order, good manners and hospitality. The other day, I was stunned to watch one elderly woman, standing in the cold outside her wrecked home, offer ABC anchor Diane Sawyer some water because she looked thirsty.

And what about the selflessness epitomized by those workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, risking dangerous doses of radiation without complaint as they struggle to prevent a complete meltdown that would endanger their fellow citizens?

I’m no expert in culture, and I’m not going to pretend to say I understand why the vast majority of Japanese people are enduring these impossible hardships with impeccable dignity, but we could all learn a few lessons from their example. I also hope we’ll all say a little prayer for that country. Yes, Japan is one of our great industrialized powers, and it will someday recover. But it has a long way to go. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese who live in the northern part of the country will have to endure months of homelessness and hunger.

If you want to help, you can go to the American Red Cross website and make a contribution for the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami, as well as for those families fleeing the nuclear radiation. My prayers are with Japan.

What did Our Girl have to say to such a pious post?  Gird your loins and read on.  Maybe grab a flagon or two of ale, a few carafes of dandelion wine so as to wash it all down without too much pain.  Only Marlinspike Hall would have a resident writing in apparent opposition to praise of a suffering nation... 

Can an unannounced visit from a perturbed Captain Haddock be far behind?

Bianca Castafiore says:
April 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm

It is, of course, rude of me to be bothered by what is an expression of admiration by Dr. Phil and his fans, but heck-by-golly, I don’t care. No, in all seriousness, I just feel like a few things about stereotyping need to be said — explicitly.

When we express our admiration of the “Stoic” Asian (don’t we really mean “opaque,” don’t we really mean that old chesnut — “inscrutable”?), don’t we automatically relegate the people of Japan to an easily dealt with two-dimensionality? It is less admiration for them than relief for our lazy Western minds not to have to think too hard or work up a good head of natural empathy. How could we, when they are so different from us?

Often, our assessment of the Japanese people is most firmly based on our absolute ignorance of what is happening in front of our eyes, and our cluelessness of the language going in one 耳 and out the other. I would wager that most Americans heading for a conference in Tokyo would learn to say “thank you” but not bother with “bathroom” or “help.” (And we wonder why we have so many foreign toilet emergencies…)

So what does the realization do for you, as you notice with notably Christian approval that you’ve seen no looting among these well-behaved pagans, but rather a “legendary” politeness, including an old woman offering a non-suffering Western media figure some water? Does all that “impeccable dignity” merit more aid? Or just more prayer? Or are you thinking that maybe they require *less* prayer than one would anticipate, since they stay in line so well already? Aha! I think I am catching on.

I realize that this mostly inoffensive blog post (there are scads out there way more dominated by cultural stereotype, with much less natural sympathy) simply perpetuates our established stateside understanding — that of “the model minority.” We go with what we [think we] know.

In terms of this sad tragedy, aren’t we mostly protecting ourselves from pain and denying the Japanese their real needs and their true sufferings by doting on all that we do not see, as if — because we do not see it — it is not there?

One thought that recurs and almost makes me cry out in a different kind of pain is this: How much of the “stoicism,” how much of the delicate restraint that we “admire” in the Japanese of this post-quake period is a learned response — something, in fact, that we put in their cultural curriculum after dropping atomic bombs on the men, women, and children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Is it stoicism and good manners — positive stereotyping, at least, eh? Or are these faces just too well versed in the suffering born of huge, massive, unimaginable (to *us*), COLLECTIVE destruction?

If there is an element of dangerous emotional repression going on… then I hope there is also much going on to which our know-all american culture is just not privy. [But I saw it on t.v.! But I saw it when I visited Tokyo with my Christian choir in 1968! But everyone knows that blahblahblah!] I hope there are all kinds of polite, stoic people blowing up, irrationally, and maybe stamping their tiny little feet; I hope there are cadres of wise, obsessively neat old men secretly wishing that some foreign media Talking Head will slip on a mandarin orange peel while on the air; I hope there is an epidemic of well-behaved, hyperrespectful (and therefore mathematically talented) Japanese teenagers snatching the last bit of rice before their fat and lazy Korean cousins have a chance…

Sometimes etiquette and behavior are superficial, sometimes they are deeply reflective, and yes, I am sure we are witnessing aspects of the very best of human nature in the news reports coming out of Japan in the aftermath of earthquake and tsunami, and as we watch the tragedy of an ongoing nuclear catastrophe.

Let’s just be sure that we are as compassionate when an occasional person cracks under the repeated strain of aftershocks and new tsunami warnings, when the murky uncertainties of a radioactive future reveal tics of anxiety, frustration, and anger — even in the most stoic of Japanese.
*****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****
*OMG: Bianca does Dr. Phil  [The first confrontation -- pub. 9/22/2009]
We try, Fred and I really do. But we can't watch her all the time, and really? Why does the onus fall on us? Am I truly expected to monitor the computer use of a mumblymumbly year old grown woman, and in a place as huge as Marlinspike Hall, deep, deep in the Tête de Hergé?

It happened at 3:38 in the morning. Yes, I was up but hardly felt like looking over the shoulder of a drunken Castafiore, as she picked and pecked her way across the keyboard.

She's taken to frequenting local pubs after her evening performances at the Opera House, belting out encore performances of L'air des bijoux.

The only way I could tolerate a late night, early morning onslaught of je-ris-de-me-voir-si-belle-dans-ce-miroir-oir-oir-oir? Whiskey. Stoli. The dregs of a house red.

So, out of appreciation for my liver function, I stay safely ensconced in our designated area of The Manor.

La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore decided to surf the net before passing out in her suite of rooms -- rooms that she and some of her ne'er-do-well operatic thugs refurbished last summer, in the style of François Ier. Now *that* was perhaps an episode that Fred and I might have prevented -- but she's wily, very wily, that Castafiore.

Apparently, she is a fan of this Dr. Phil person, a tall, chunky, bald man of indeterminate age -- or 59. As documented in the Dickipedia, Phil McGraw is a "doctortainer of the highest order." Still, Bianca is perhaps not the sort of fan base that The Dr. Phil Brand was designed to attract, and in that lies much of her charm and amazing ability to sour the stomachs of her interlocuteurs.[click HERE to read the rest]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

kittencam: buddy discovers UP

okay, so this is probably "buddy's review of the recently discovered concept of UP." earlier in the evening, he'd gone round and round in a tight circle, looking up at the light fixture, plaintively vocalizing -- until he got hit with a major case of dizziness.  i missed it, of course.  since then, he seems to be periodically reminded of UP and keeps a dedicated eye on it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

my standard just got poorer...

The whole notion of investing in the stock market is antithetical to most of my sociopolitical beliefs. When I realized that I had no more earning potential and that my "salary" from private disability insurance relegated me to a fixed income... and that at the age of 65, I would have nothing coming in... you can bet that I got over my beliefs pretty quickly.

Because my teaching career was mostly spent at universities using a pension system, not participating in the Social Security program, and because getting to my own money thus sequestered required, at each job, that I teach there long enough to be "vested," well -- my own pension income is entirely inaccessible to me.

I always wanted to be a Cautionary Tale when I grew up.

There have been many unhappy, tension-ridden days for this investor. I have a household dependent on me and the sagacity of my sinking real money into the often immoral doings of corporations.

And I am one of those brilliant investors that watches the Dow dive and just goes cold. I don't snatch free my holdings, oh no. That would make too much sense.

Instead, I think, if you can call it that, "Well, I have come back strong before... I will just have to do it again."

Sometimes I will toss into my thought some embarrassing bit of verbiage, like "bite the bullet," or the whimsical "you can't time the market" -- something every loser says, but no one believes except the Stuffed Shirt Who Already Has His.

But I don't have a ready reaction to a warning being issued by the S&P on sovereign U.S. debt. Has this ever happened before? I am tempted to try and find the person most representative of the S&P and beat him or her with a wet noodle, decrying this warning as the act of a traitor, of an unpatriotic USAmerican.

America, love her or leave her, and most especially, don't issue a warning on her sovereign debt.

God is enjoying screwing with me and my unrepentant betrayal of all that I know is right. Including Friday's uncalled for abuse of GOOG, I'm down roughly 17% over the course of two days.

There can be no true socialism so long as a stock market exists -- it is the very symbol of capitalism and private property.

For my next trick, I will post on the Social Security System as Ponzi Scheme... because you probably wouldn't want to read a long rant about the Hot Hell waiting for those who believe in "socially-responsible investing." 

Not only are these the days that try men's souls, but Terry Eagleton is even at it again with his recent Why Marx Was Right.  Unfortunately, this blog is maxed out on its Logical Fallacies quota.

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Wall Street stocks plunge after US debt warning

NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks plunged Monday after ratings agency Standard & Poor's issued its first warning on US sovereign debt, citing Washington's looming debt and fiscal deficits.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dived 233.33 points (1.89 percent) to 12,108.50 at 1410 GMT, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite skidded 57.16 points (2.07 percent) to 2,707.49.

The broad-market S&P 500-stock index shed 23.04 points (1.75 percent) at 1,296.64.

Shortly before the market open, Standard & Poor's revised for the first time its outlook on US sovereign debt to "negative" from "stable," but said the United States had until 2013 to come up with a credible plan for addressing its financial problems.

"Because the US has, relative to its 'AAA' peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable," S&P said in a statement.

The bond market fell sharply just after the S&P news.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 3.44 percent from 3.41 percent late Friday and prices fell 0.7 percent.

On the 30-year bond, the yield leaped to 4.52 percent from 4.47 percent Friday and prices fell 1.6 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The United States issued a swift and critical reaction, saying the ratings agency underestimated the US government's ability to tackle the problem... [CONT.]

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday's KittenCam

So I thought I'd do a very little mopping.  Buddy thought he'd help.

Clearly, the following things are true in BuddyLand:

1.  Nothing bad can happen on Buddy's Blanket.  Buddy, himself, has positioned (and repositioned, ad infinitum) said Blanket with an eye toward strategic advantage.  It lies next to the refrigerator, a tremendous source of wonder for him, and, paradoxically, warmth.  The little square of cloth is always carefully situated between the trash can, from which goodies may fall, and the Food and Water Bowls, the center of Buddy's Universe.
2.  Only an attack on the Food and Water Bowls is sufficient cause to go to war.
3.  While #2 is true, it is also true that he who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day.  These conflicting truths make the decision to go to war much too much of a decision for a very small animal and leaves only #1 as uncompromisingly reliable -- Nothing bad can happen on Buddy's Blanket.

Fred Responds//The Rest of our IntraManorial Conversation

So last night I fired off an email to Sweet Fred, allowing as to how I had a serious case of the blues and that he was not to take my reticence personally.  We email each other fairly frequently, despite also having numerous opportunities to exchange greetings live-and-in-person throughout the day and night.

Living in a place like Marlinspike Hall can make keeping up with one another a challenge.  There are so many details to which, as caretakers, we must attend, that the minutia of our relationship tend to fall by the wayside, often landing smack-dab in the middle of our algae-choked moat.

Never one to mistake seriousness for levity, but definitely the sort to confound a joke for something really sober, Fred decided to cover his [innocent] bases with a blanket apology:

From: fancy_fredster
Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2011 2:47 AM
To: prof-de-rien
Subject: Re: saturday evening

My Dear Prof

My dear, Prof! I'm sorry you're not feeling well. It's 2.30AM and I just checked my email for the first time since this afternoon. I had no idea you were or weren't any of those things. I hope you feel better by the time you read this.

I'm sometimes unable to tell when something is meant to be humorous rather than serious. Snarky and rude though I may be, I wasn't aware that I'd crossed over to the dark side today. If I did I apologize. It was unintentional.

I'm going to read your blog post now.

Ta Ta (the greeting, not the breast)

I concluded our flurry of communication this morning as I sipped on some coffee and considered the day before me.  Next to getting a long, handwritten letter from the President of the United States, an email from Fred is a nifty way to kick things off. 

It occured to me, though, that I needed to let him off his imaginary hook. 

Very truly yours, Hollis Greene.
[I love the Hollis Green character from Big Love -- and I am never going to have a fitting occasion to say that -- primarily, of course, because I am not Hollis Greene, but secondarily because it doesn't seem as remarkable a bunch of five words when seen in print.]

Darling SweetButt

Your timely response brought a gentle grimace to my scaly visage. A propos of naught but the opportunity to use “à propos”: It’s 8:33 AM.

Perhaps calling you snarky and rude was a bit over the top, especially given that the accusatory adjectives were, as you surmised, tossed about entirely in jest.

Part of me (We’ll call her Brunhilda **) wants to say: “Here’s a quarter. Go buy a sense of humor!”
Another part of me (Rebecca Anne) rushes to reassure you that you now have A Spare in the Apology Account.

The Either/Or blog post seems stupid today. It seemed insightful and clever yesterday. Too bad I just couldn’t say: Man o man, these assholes keep doing the shittiest things... Look how they want to stick it to the environment. All those babies that they’re gonna force to be borned won’t have a planet to live on!

I hope you have a marvelous Sunday with the Militant Feminist Existential Lesbians.(cleverly disguised as “diverse” by comingled male heterosexuals and transgendered Little People).

courtesy of The Cimmerian
Titties to you, too.
Love, The Prof

** “A large, disgusting, dangerous white girl (preferably German) who loves sex and likes to manhandle unsuspecting white males.” – courtesy of The Urban Dictionary
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
(1 Cor. 13:4)