Saturday, March 23, 2013

Avail Yourselves

RSDSA has a magnificent section devoted to research and does a good job culling the nonsensical out of the queue.  Well, a pretty good job.  I have a hard-wired red phone that blinks in seizure-causing rapid patterns whenever there is a Question of Woo, but Jim Broatch never calls.


From the Skeptic's Dictionary:
Woo-woo (or just plain woo) refers to ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers.
Here's a dictionary definition of woo-woo: 
adj. concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritualism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey. Also n., a person who has mystical or new age beliefs. When used by skeptics, woo-woo is a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to beliefs one considers nonsense or to a person who holds such beliefs.
Sometimes woo-woo is used by skeptics as a synonym for pseudoscience,
true-believer, or quackery. But mostly the term is used for its emotive content
and is an emotive synonym for such terms as nonsense, irrational, nutter, nut,
or crazy.

Here's a peek at the RSDSA holdings, and maybe it will bolster your interest enough to join, if you haven't already.  My membership is probably dead, but I have an excuse.  As soon as I think of it, you'll be among the first to know.  (You should witness my angst during PBS drives...)

These are the broad categories covered, within which are hidden gems of research... So get busy; Start reading.

We have compiled a list of articles on research and treatment of CRPS. You may use this for your personal use, put please heed the following warning concerning copyright compliance:
The copyright of the US (Title 17, US Code) Govern the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy of other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Updated March 22, 2013

Bianca on a Pogo Stick: March Madness

Since I've found an odd but strangely likable website to work on my writing skills (Shut up, you! and I mean that in the nicest way...), I've been neglecting not only this blog, but the entire Haddock family estate, and all the richness that dwells within.

The Castafiore came bouncing (on a pogo stick) into our bedroom, bypassing the elite security system we'd installed for just such occasions -- but it is tricked, apparently, by the pogo stick -- leapt off the leaping pole and dove into the middle of a bed that was perfectly arranged for perfect sleep, cats strategically placed for warmth, soft hood on my head, music softly playing in my ears -- I forgot to set the sleep mode -- and Fred  tremulously sn-sn-snoring.  My legs were even covered, feet the exception.

But a Bonne et Belle Bianca flying through the air, slingshotted by a pogo stick, landing -- and the only adverb possible is fortuitously -- fortuitously in between a now frightened Fred and moi, missing the feline's major organs?  That's a game-changer, a mood-breaker, a sleep-assassin.

"B'blasketballs!" she yells. "Drugs," I think.

"What the fuck are you on?" screams Fred, saying what I think.  That can get old, Fred saying what I think.

"Merde, alors!  I do not need no stinkifying drogues," she says, hurt to her very substantial core.

So we gave in and up, and made plans for a Sunday of March Madness.  UNC will be demolished by Kansas, Dukiedum will, if it pleases the Lord, destroy Creighton.  That's all I care about, though I'll scope out the other 28 whenever she releases us from this pinned and smushed position.

I wish I knew something about betting.  It's gotta be a surer, purer thing than the market.  Remember how I bailed on Google at 700?  Have you looked at it lately?  And people want to know why I weep!

"Bianca, love, if you're going to be here long, pinning and smushing us like iridescent dragon flies pinned inside a second-grader's shoe box, at least take off your shoes, hmm?"

And hot pink wedgies go flying across the room, one landing, spinning as would a horseshoe clinging to its lucky spike, on my goddamned jewelry tree.  It's a real tree, now minus one branch, with tiny silver earrings scatter about, the perfect size for a cat to swallow.

[I once performed the Heimlich maneuver on tiny Dobby but I haven't renewed my Advanced Cat Life Saving credentials since then.]

Guess who has a raging ear infection?  Not me!  Shock!  Poor Fred has been waltzing around all week, yelling that he can't hear out of one ear.  And then, as the genetically indentured Haddock Domestic Staff, Bianca, Sven, Cabana Boy, and I all fainted, he announced he was going to the doctor.  I fainted from low hemoglobin, don't know what those others were passed out about...

He had no pain, no fever, no dizziness.  He was crabby, but within normal limits.  Ah, but he did decline to go dancing with the whore, Ms. Kitty, and that must mean something.  He also marched himself quite smartly out of E-Cong last Sunday, pissed off at the continued desecration of the Christian religion, which he holds near and dear, so long as it is being maligned by Militant Existential Lesbian Feminists.  Otherwise, he could give a royal shit, though he, like I, harbored the secret hope of being announced pope.

Anyway -- the very best segue! -- he finally was deaf enough to seek help.  And was found to have a raging infection and not just in the one ear of note, but in both!

Since he discovered that he has An Illness, he has become weak and haggard, requiring subtle infantilization, and the kind of TLC that only someone who has loved him for 23 years can provide.  So I cooked him some chicken, and made sure he took his amoxicillen, and assured him that his ear ache was the worst ever discovered west of the Lone Alp -- the news was all over the wires, AP, Reuters, Vie-en-Tête-de-Hergé and being broadcast every 20 minutes by the inimitable Tante Louise.

No... he's been very brave, and hasn't complained one whit.

Oomph.  Knee to the groin by Bianca, who has joined in with the tremulous snoring pattern, sn-sn-snore with the addition of a soft, excited "f'blasket, f'blasket, f'blasketball...."

I should blow a whistle in her ear and yell "foul."

I should get a one and one free throw.  I might miss the golden opportunity for two, should the first one land upside her head...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Another Susan Smith

i am leaving this post up despite the arrest of two kids who have been arrested and arraigned for this murder.  one, as a reminder of how WRONG and CYNICAL i am and two, because, even so?  i believe there will be more to this story. it's still an i-feel-it-in-my-gut type of insightful journalism that i'm engaged in, the kind where i know none of the facts, and finish first in the rush-to-judgment race.

I hate* Susan Smith.  Remember her?  I think I do, even though this is me we're not talking about.  The woman who drowned her children in a 1990 Mazda Protegé.  In a murky South Carolina lake, probably with that stinky kind of bottom mud. What a way to go. Did she watch and see them scratching and clawing or did she tell them it's a game and Momma's gonna catch you right before you fall?

Fred and I both agree -- mark your calendars -- that it has happened again, one state south, in JawJaw:

Brunswick, Georgia (CNN) -- A woman says she was taking her 13-month-old son for a walk in this Georgia town when they were approached by two boys who demanded money, then fatally shot her boy and wounded her. 
"He said, 'I'm gonna kill you if you don't give me your money,' and I said, 'I swear, I don't have any,'" Sherry West told CNN affiliate WAWS. "I put my arms over my baby and he shoves me and he shot my baby right in the head."
There's no a mother in this world who could say "[H]e shot my baby right in the head." Maybe, "[H]e tripped, pöor boy, and skinned his little knee, and wouldn't be engaged in no robbery!" -- with a soft shoe shuffle.  But not:  "[H]e shot my baby right in the head."

That's require more diaphragmatic control than a mother could manage.

She has a leg wound, probably a through-and-through, real fleshy.  I bet it hurt.  Stang.  Stung, too, like it stinks.

No, damn it and go away, too, because I still don't believe in the Death Penalty.  "Believe in." How can we use those words?

 "[H]e shot my baby right in the head."
"I believe in the Death Penalty."

It's not quite oil and water, who does that?  It's more vinegar and good olive oil, with finely, finely minced garlic, a touch of citrus zest, and loads of freshly ground white pepper, and salt -- I use more salt than most people -- that requires emulsification.  And not just once, but again and again, though I'd toss it after, say, three, maybe five, days.  It's hard work, emulsifying vinegar and olive oil, and we haven't even talked all the possibilities of vinegar.  It's sweet or sour, thin or thick, exotic or ordinary white.

The shooters, get this, the shooters are juveniles.

With the specificity of Susan Smith, and I haven't heard her voice, whether she has the same near-whine, breaking voice, she says, helpful friend to law enforcement:  "One appeared to be 13 to 15 years of age while the other was as young as 10." Well, who knows?  It was recently ruled that that damn dingo really did eat that baby in the Outback, remote and hot and sandy.

Fred says not to worry, she'll not get away with it, no sir, no ma'am. He's trying to talk Southern but the baby is already dead.

His father is identified, implying that the unidentified mother was one of them wicked single moms, and he railed against the 13 to 15 years of age boy and the young-as-ten accomplice, saying why didn't you just take the purse, which is sure what I would say if my child's head were blown to pieces.

Brunswick, the article says, is a "seaside Georgia town some 30 miles north of Florida," and the shooter boys are not identified as white or black, I guess to prove how far we've come from shaggy-headed big black men who steal cars only to sink them in the silty bottoms of southern waters.

*hate:  I usually get jumped on with both steel-toed boots if I say I hate something.  Please, O Loving and Compassionate Ones, change your boots for soft-soled slippers first this go 'round.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This fey freckled daughter

i wrote a poem, heck, i'm a poetic fool these days, but there is one poem that i am proud of, with which i have fallen in love.

that's not to say that i have a lot of ego invested in it... but it does want to be seen.

is that enough of a nervous entry, a schizoid introduction?
if you're a dear reader (and, of course, you are!) you know all about darling daisy merrick.-- wild child, scared child, freckle-face, laughing crying girl... how her family and friends must miss her, if i, a stranger, can ache this much.

tw -- aw... never mind. whaddaya want for your b'day, brother-boy?


Daisy Love Merrick: An Abandoned Villanelle

This fey freckled daughter bore the task
Of gap-toothed water dancing and good death
Which more pallor than sun's freckles did unmask.

Transparent although tensile strong you never had to ask
Is this the oath, this the path, this the aftermath?
This fey freckled daughter bore the task.

Near sand near surf did lolling Daisy bask
The heavy salted dead of seas lightly bore her breath
Which more pallor than sun's freckles did unmask.

I cannot keep you trapped inside a villanelle! You wriggle wry,
laugh aloud, but took to sobbing in deep sleep, as malignancy
came three times, four times, in more syllables than is fair --

Refused meter, every rhyme. But you, you freckled water whirl,
fey dervish of wide oceans, spun your pippi braids right off, 
twirled unbound in sunlit time, blond hairs eddied in the under sea.

You surfing flower urchin weed, the pallor that cold blue
unmasked, brown pools for eyes, you bore the task,
and left us this oath, this path, this dreaded aftermath.

all::night::long -- may::you::never

a gift from gordonr that rivals some townes van zandt tunes for listenability, as in... all night long.
wonderful for bed dancing, bed wiggling.

John Martyn with Kathy Mattea - May You Never
uploaded to YouTube by mnemonyxx

Uploaded on Feb 5, 2007
From Transatlantic Sessions series 1 (1995/6)
bass: Danny Thompson
dobro: Jerry Douglas

May you never lay your head down
Without a hand to hold;
May you never make your bed out in the cold.

You're just like great strong brother of mine;
And you know that I love you true.
And you never talk dirty behind my back,
And I know that there's those that do. *)

Oh please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind:
Love is a lesson to learn in our time.
Now please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind for me.

May you never lay your head down
Without a hand to hold;
May you never make your bed out in the cold.

You're just like a good close sister to me,
And you know that I love you true.
And you hold no blade to stab me in my back,
I know that there's some that do.

Oh please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind:
Love is a lesson to learn in our time.
And please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind for me.

May you never lay your head down
Without a hand to hold;
May you never make your bed out in the cold.

You're just like a great strong brother of mine,
You know that I love you true.
And you never talk dirty behind my back,
And I know that there's those that do.

Oh please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind:
Love is a lesson to learn in our time.
And please won't you, please won't you
Bear it in mind for me.

May you never lose your temper,
If you get in a bar-room fight.
May you never lose your woman overnight.
May you never lay your head down
Without a hand to hold;
May you never make your bed out in the cold.

May you never lose your temper
If you get in a bar-room fight;
May you never lose your woman overnight.
May you never lose your woman overnight;
May you never lose your woman overnight.

[You've been just like a good and close mother to me,
And you know I love you like I should.
You never talk about me behind my back,
And I know that there's times you could.]

Rumsfeld, 2003: " evil that cannot be appeased"

10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.
Rumsfeld, 2003 by Dennis Cook, AP

The Last Letter of Tomas Young (Courtesy of Truthdig)

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, 3/20/2013:
A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Photo by Claudia Cuellar