Saturday, May 19, 2012

They're back...

The lovely literates over at American Idyll are back from their pilgrimage, and with beautiful  evidence.  I will steal two photos from ruuscal and two photos from TW to whet your whistle.  Wet your whistle? Rev up the appetite?

Hold the breath.


-local flora

whipple cholla

elvis, doing his thing

The Canyon and the River are not theirs to own, of course, and both might argue that the images begged taking -- still, credit them their eye, their availability, their joy, their fun, Elvis, and Poncho.

Give the boys their due, is all I'm saying.

Smooches galore, you two (three, four?).  Cheerios and fruitloops!

Love from the Marlinspike Hall Gang

To Wet (Whet) your Whistle : Origin and Meaning

What does it mean if you wet your whistle?
The most common interpretation is to have something to drink, usually something alcoholic. More polite to say you are off to wet your whistle than to say you are going drinking.
Most references relate to a custom quite a few hundred years ago when drinking mugs had whistles that one would blow to indicate you needed a refill.
Some say the whistle was attached to the handle and became wet after the drink had been poured, hence to wet your whistle.
Other sources say the whistle was part of the mug, built into either the rim or handle. The result in both cases being a wet whistle. I went digging on the web and could find no example of Ye Olde Whistle Mug. Maybe I did not dig deep enough. The only examples I could find were replicas of whistle mugs on offer as curios.
By the way, the whistle part. It would appear in times past ones mouth and or throat were referred to in common talk as your whistle, which makes sense to me. To wet your whistle was to have something to drink. There is documentation that this was in use during the 1300’s. ( Maybe one wet ones whistle before you whistled, hard to whistle with dry lips. Maybe one wet your whistle before talking, something like a glass of water on a speakers table)
So, the way I look at it, is that to have something to drink preceded the whistle on the mug concept. Maybe the one morphed into the other.
You will also find references to “Whet your whistle”. My immediate reaction was that whet morphed into wet over the passage of time. This is not necessarily true.
Whet per definition means either to sharpen something on a grindstone (whetstone) or to excite or stimulate a desire, interest or appetite. Starters at a meal are there to whet your appetite in stimulating the desire to eat more of something else. This is also a saying in its own right, first documentation however quite a few years after the Wet your whistle.
I did a very unsophisticated test on the Internet and Googled “wet your whistle” and had 426,000 hits, the majority directed towards drinking. “Whet your whistle” resulted in 421,000 hits, the majority of the answers related to stimulating further thought or experience processes.
Now you have a good basis to go scratching around for more information and draw your own conclusion.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Alacrity of Crab and No Fear of Death

Set your sound system to mute.  I was thinking more of what Holly Near once looked like, on the steps of Sproul Plaza, than of the song, which I now realize that I hate.  It's a facile, good-for-nothing song.  And I'm just lazy enough not to want to spend five minutes reformatting this award-winning little vid so as to get rid of it.  

Plus, I have Cajun Blend Trail Mix seasoning stuck all over my fingertips, making them sticky, orange, and tangy.  I don't want to touch too much stuff, leaving cajun traces every which where.

Why don't I just wash my hands, spend the few minutes fixing the sound, and apologize to Holy Holly Near?  Well, who died and left you in charge?

There has been something potentially wonderful going on.  It's called clonazepam, and depending upon whom you ask, it is used to treat dystonia, anxiety, seizures, panic attacks, and insatiable lusting after good garlicky pickle juice.  I began noticing it being mentioned in articles about CRPS spasms/dystonia, mostly articles originating in the U.K.  Being at that "well, why the hell not?" stage of life, I emailed my good and faithful MDVIP physician, asking whether he thought it worth a try.  In lieu of a discussion, he called in a prescription to the Lone Alp Apothecary.

The first change of note was blubbery.  Babalushka bablubbery.  Sleeping as if it were le dernier cri and all the babalushka bablubbery surrounding it were refined messes worthy of literary awards.  I decided this was how I wished to die -- asleep, or contemplating sleep.  I kept all my other meds the same -- maxed out on Baclofen, even adding the odd tizanidine to the usual pain meds of methadone and endocet.  "Did I want to die?" you unsufferables are muttering, shaking your locks to-and-fro.

Why, yes, you unsufferables (and mutterers, too) -- I did hope to traipse off to death land.  I couldn't take it anymore.  The time awake was spent in rocking, tendon-splitting spasm, uncontrollable sobs that bored even the Feline Remnant.  The time asleep ordered itself around oneiric alphabetizing of what I could expect upon waking.  And upon waking?  Well, I was made to know that I was... "overwhelming." 

I put a lot of hope in an appointment chez Dr. PainManagementDood.  I know, I am stupid.  My previous appointment, to my recollection, had ended with the promise that the next one would entail a shift away from methadone, which, frankly, frightens me, and toward a better management of my baseline pain.  But -- AGAIN -- I was met with a Nurse Practitioner's big round eyeballs, and a "Uh, did we say we were going to do that?  Did you tell us your pain was out of control?  Can we take that up next month?"  I went home and vomited

So slipping away into babalushka bablubbery was a smiling, gently smiling thing, though lonely, and scary.

Then my spasms decreased in frequency.  Not in severity, ugliness, painfulness, no -- just stopped happening as much, as often.  I pushed the dosage of the clonazepam to the most recommended by good MDVIP go-to-guy, and cut back some on the baclofen.  

I started to be able to predict the babalushka bablubbery, so that a warm quilt could be at the ready, other important maintenance drugs could be taken on schedule, the room could be darkened, there was a semblance of... intent.  Occasionally, I risked thinking beyond the impending babalushka bablubbery, and plan to cook dinner for Fred, myself, and Bianca, because if I had to listen to that god-forsaken *ding* of the microwave one more time, I was going to revive Mengele's most promising experiments.  The secret lore of the Haddock clan includes the updated names and addresses of Auschwitz twins.  Sometimes, Reader, looking the good captain Archibald in the eye is a soul-sucking trauma.

It's been about a week now, I think.  I am not sure, at all.  I am not sure what day it is, not sure whether I believe the sources that yearn to ease my mind about it.  Is it 2:07 PM 5/18/2012 or is that just what you all want me to believe?  Hmm?  My pain level is very, very, very high -- I'd rank it around a nine, and it's distracting, it's evil.  I know I took my breakthrough pain medication and so cannot have more until roughly 7 PM.

The spasms are lasting only about 3-4 hours per day.  That is PER DAY.  TOTAL.  I am afraid to type it, afraid to publish it, afraid to believe it.

So God bless MDVIP Go-To-Guy, God bless him as he has never blessed a soul before.  You see, he believed me, he believed my desperation, he found merit, apparently, in my suggestion, and above all, Sweet Reader, he tried.  

He even heard me when I said I'd had it with Dr. PainManagementDood, and suggested another doctor, by name.  Unfortunately, that doctor has gone the route of ka-ching::ka-ching procedure land, and so only treats CRPS with sympathetic and regional blocks.  Oh, and SCS -- which would fly in the face of my recent decision to rip from my body all extraneous implants.  

Here is the kicker, though:  when he found that his referral was actually no referral at all, MDVIP Go-To-Guy offered to take over my pain management himself.  I probably should have said "Yes, and yay!" but a smarter self intervened to thank him but decline.  It's beyond unfair, to dump everything on him.  The current climate of looking over prescriber's shoulders and second-guessing their pain management decisions is not what I want to wish on him -- though there is little doubt my treatment would raise more than an odd and poorly tweezed eyebrow.

But here is a "Yay" for the man, anyway, because the combination of tizanidine, baclofen, endocet, methadone, and CLONAZEPAM seem to have quelled the spasticity enough that I must reconsider life.

Um, it also seems to have triggered something that I will call "automatic eating," which results in finding half empty yogurt containers in bed, and bowls of popcorn with kernels all hither, all yon.

There are increasing deficits, too, and these are the reasons for cutting back on dosages in the hope of finding a happy medium.  Legs not working too well, hands not grabbing with the alacrity of crabs. An absolute absence of the fear of death.

Someone asked for a visual update of hands and feet, so I pieced together the video below.  Again, I had fun with favorite things in juxtaposition.  

Which brings me back to Holly Near and her glorious red hair back in the mid-eighties, being all troubleshooting troubadour-ish on Sproul Plaza.  But really, what a shit of a song.

You know it and I know it -- were we really singing for our lives, it wouldn't be such a whine.  It'd be glorious.  It'd be red hair glinting in a setting sun.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Time

Having known gay men and lesbian women who weep with regularity in North Carolina, Colbert took my breath away.

What a lovely mess truth can make of us.  I never thought I'd utter "I love Joe Biden" with either alacrity or warmth, certainly never with such frequency.  If he outed President Obama, if he stumbled into the thick of it, if he had it all planned from the get-go, I say "hooray."  If it was a blunder, well, blunder on!

He spoke his mind. Luckily for him, that has unquestionably resonated as truth.  "Joe Bombs," as such speech is derisively called by teeny-tiny, elegantly buffed wonks, are not "helpful."

I beg to differ.  Lose a little elegance, gain a little truth.

Created by GetUp! Action for Australia
Produced by Peter Slee & Michael Pontin at Motion Picture Company 
Lead: Julian Shaw
Creative Director: GetUp's own Simon Duncan Watt
Director: Stephen McCallum

Hiller Armament Company of Virginia

This is one of those things that we find in our in-boxes daily -- outrageous, hard to believe, normal, and believable.  All I can do is sign the requisite petition, advertise the details, then accidentally break a small bowl in the sink before settling by the window to watch the bluebirds ready their nesting boxes.

In the past couple of days, news sources have reported that the Hiller Armament Company of Virginia has been selling gun targets that look like Trayvon Martin, complete with a hoodie, Skittles, and iced tea.
It's not just vile, it's possibly illegal: Virginia law says that no one can profit off of the likeness of any person without his consent -- even if that person has been killed. But as soon as reporters started asking questions, the Hiller Armament Company shut down its website and disconnected its phone.
Tahir Duckett lives in Virginia, and he wants Virginia's Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, to investigate the Hiller Armament Company and punish them if they have broken the law.
Patrick Schmitt


Shooting targets resembling Trayvon Martin sold online

ORLANDO, Florida | Fri May 11, 2012 6:16pm EDT

(Reuters) - Shooting targets resembling Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer, were offered for sale online before the ads were pulled by the auction site.

The sale at an online gun broker's auction site started on April 22 and offered 40 10-packs of paper targets, according to a screen shot of the auction ad by WKMG-TV in Orlando before the ad was taken down.

The targets featured a silhouette of a faceless person wearing a hooded sweatshirt, known as a hoodie, and holding a bag of Skittles candy and a container of tea. In an email exchange with WKMG, the seller claimed to be motivated by profit and to have sold out in two days.

Martin was wearing a hoodie and returning from a convenience store with Skittles and tea when he was shot on February 26 in Sanford, Florida. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder in the racially charged case.

"Obviously, we support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug," the seller wrote on the site, according to WKMG-TV.

Jay Zwitter, a sales representative for the auction site,, told Reuters the target ad was removed as soon as it came to the company's attention, but he declined to say how long the ad was on the site.

He said the company, which hosts 600,000 ads daily, has the right to remove ads, but wouldn't discuss the reason behind the removal.

"This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility," attorney Mark O'Mara, who represents Zimmerman, said of the ads, according to WKMG.

A representative for Martin's family could not immediately be reached for comment.

Authorities initially declined to arrest Zimmerman for the death of 17-year-old Martin, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of getting killed or suffering great bodily harm.

That decision prompted nationwide protests and accusations of racial bias. Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, was later charged by a special prosecutor appointed by the state's governor.

Hilary Shelton, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Washington bureau, criticized the targets.

"It's outrageous that someone would try and exploit such a horrific situation as an unarmed teen being gunned down, and profit off something so vile and disgusting as a gun target silhouette," Shelton said.

The seller, identified on the auction site as "Hillerarmco," could not be reached for comment. The website, registered on April 20, was no longer available, and the seller's address was not functioning. An email from Reuters to the auction site went unanswered.

According to Tucows Domains database of website owners, the website belonged to Hiller Armament Company in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The registrant and administrative contact names were listed as anonymous.

(Additional reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Jane Sutton, Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)