Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Temperature's Risin'

.... Well, not now it's not. It's late and there is a front blowing in, so the wind is cooling things a bit. It was a hot one today. Depending on your sources it was about 99-100F. The humidity is at 8%, so it is a dry heat dammit!

I'm having one of those lovely chocolate truffles from Joseph Schmidt's in San Francico. Yum.

I worked out yesterday and today. The usual routine, but adding more time + distance on the treadmill. Today was screwy. About 4 laps into my routine where I'd set my time for 35 minutes and while talking to someone on the other treadmill, I managed to pop the safety key gesturing somehow which brought me to a fast stop. Lost the settings. I didn't start the same routine then, so I chose the weight loss routine instead and started over. And I finished too... even though the last 10 minutes were a bitch and I had to do a little mental prodding to keep going. Worked up a darn good sweat.

After my stroll did a few light reps weights and a quick cool down. While doing my hamster routine on the treadmill, I managed to get a few pages into my new John Scalzi paperback, The Ghost Brigades, and got a pretty damn good chuckle at his homage to past and current sci-fi writers. Definitely a kind of inside joke even though we should never assume that's what he actually believes about them. The book is fiction, y'know. :::nodding:::

That fire at Tahoe flared up again after it was almost under control. The latest report I read was that over 300 structures have burned. I feel badly for those who were burned out of their homes. Sometimes when I think about wanting to live up in the mountains -- which is truly a beautiful way to live -- I imagine living in a semi-underground earth works & concrete Soleri style fortress that includes space an open solarium or court yard for gardening and space for the family car(s) too. Ok, I like the notion of good fireproofing. It's just one of those practical things.

It took me half an hour to finish my one truffle. It was very nice... flavored with Bailey's with a hard, dark chocolate shell around the ganache.

There are too many stories in the news about people wiping out their whole families. There's been a whole spate of them the last few weeks. On the one hand part of me wants to smack the perps down hard. Let justice's sword cut them out from the body of humanity & isolate them. I recognize that a small number of these killings will prove out to be rock-bottom acts of desparation & pain that we onlookers will rue that it ever got that far. But it seems like most of these kinds of family murders lately have been about control, the desire to have power over someone, and always getting their way no matter what. I want to ask them, "How dare you think that self-serving crap?" "Where do you get off believing you're entitled to continue hurting someone you hurt into leaving you?" "Who gave you the right??" Gods forbid that any of them are just evil to the bone. Truth is while I may have something resembling a clue given humanity's past & ancient histories, but I still don't know how we got to these kinds of situations in the first place. When did we stop living civilly anyway??

Yeah, it's hot. I know.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hot, Hot, Hot

It is too bloody darn hot! At 9:23 p.m. is is 84F for us in the US and 29C for the rest of the the world. The high was 101F/38C.

Days like this I wanna hide out in a cool shady place. I really do. I think "grotto". Something a bit below grade, with cool rocks. Maybe a cascading water fall dropping into a limestone pool like the cenotes in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. (I haven't been there, but I've read about them in National Geographic.) They look real pretty to me. And cool. That's important.

Alas, I'm nowhere near a grotto. Our home really picks up the afternoon heat so even our evaporative cooler (aka "swamper") doesn't drop the temp that much. At least, not when the humidity is at 29-31%, it doesn't. On top of that, I've been having those feminine power spikes lately. I finally said the hell with it, stripped off my t-shirt and just sprayed myself down with a mist of water. That felt good for about 10 minutes. But I'm a smart cookie, so I took my t-shirt, soaked the top 3rd and then put it back on. That did the trick! I achieved cool.

Thinking about it, an Australian style verandah would be a real nice thing given our climate here . It would help with energy efficiency too.

Yesterday after work, I worked out for 45 minutes. Did 2.25 miles on the treadmill followed by 30 leg curls with 30 lb weights, and 15 leg presses with 100 lb weights. The day before I did mostly stretching stuff while using a new 5lb weight ball for extra resistance. I'm trying to make sure I do something every day.

Today, I was lazy. Well, I got in a quick 20 lateral pulldowns with 60lbs weight and 15 biceps curls with 50 lbs weights during my break. After work I met my lifelong chum Windy, who is from out of town, for a light lunch. After that I snuck in a walk with him, meandering around and through some nearby shops and an art gallery.

I spent some time this evening getting caught up on the news. MSNBC today had a commentary by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D about the media ignoring the downside of what he calls "megamultiples." The name of the article was "Media’s cooing over sextuplets is a disservice; News outlets go gaga and forget to report the downside of megamultiples." His point of view is similar to mine, but he says things a lot nicer. But, like me, Dr. Caplan states that the costs which are largely passed on to the public through insurance premiums and taxes is not chump change. He wrote, "Infants born in big numbers also need to spend a lot of time in neonatal intensive care units to allow vital organs to develop, which means they require expensive, high quality medical care. Those costs are almost always borne by either insurance plans or state Medicaid funds, meaning you and I pay their bills. And obviously, if there are complications that affect the children as they grow, helping the kids — and the parents — with their health problems through special education, multiple surgeries and rehabilitative care can run into the millions of dollars." That's good. He's got his Ph.D and I have only a bachelor's. But we're on the same page and I've never read him before today either.

I resented the Shrub King again today when he vetoed the embryonic stem cell bill. (An interesting sidenote regarding this bill and tied to the fertility industry, is that a lot of would be parents are apparently quite interested in donating their unused embryos for this kind of stem cell research.) One of my sisters has MS and we've both understand that there are potential therapies that can derive from this research that could help manage the MS better for tens of thousands. For others, research could lead to a cure for Alzheimers or Huntingdon's or any number of cancers. And this man, the President says "I made it clear to Congress and to the American people that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line."

Whose moral line are we talking about here, Shrub? Who are you to say what you will allow your countrymen & women to do or not? We are not a dictatorship!

I think it's immoral that productive people have to endure debilitating diseases and get cut out of the social milieu and isolated the way they do. I believe it is immoral to bar this research. I stand with the 60% of American's who do support stem cell research. I sure wish Molly Ivins was still alive. I betcha she could've written a good op-ed on this today.

That's my story today. I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yesterday's News

This from this yesterday's AP report regarding disbarred DA Nifong:

"Judge: Disbarred D.A. Must Leave Now"

Jun 18, 10:21 PM (ET)


"DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - A judge ordered Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong on Monday night to leave his duties immediately after he was disbarred for his misconduct in the Duke University rape case.

The veteran prosecutor had announced earlier in the day he would leave July 13. But that wasn't soon enough for Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, who decided to immediately suspend Nifong from office.

As part of the suspension, Hudson said he would order the sheriff to prevent Nifong from carrying out any duties of the district attorney.

"I have thought about the situation, and this is way I wish to proceed," Hudson said.""

Yah. Break some 24 rules of professional conduct trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a case and ya better expect the judge to wanna proceed that-a-way!

You go, Judge! You go, Judge! You go!

Today Nifong even had to turn in his badge. Awwwww....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Nooz

Wesley Clark (Gen. US Army, Ret.) is going to be joining MSNBC as analyst. Personally, I wish he was running for President again. Sigh. Onward.

It looks like Genarlow Wilson is not getting out of prison the way he should. This is an obscenity. This young man was an honor student at his high school and was on his way to a successful young adulthood, but he made a small mistake. At the age of 17, attending a party, he had a consensual sexual encounter with a 15 year old girl who performed fellatio on him. One of the other kids at the party got the action recorded. This was used to convict him of a sex crime for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and on parole/completion he would be required to register as a sex offender.

The sentence was so draconian, and so over the top, that Georgia's "Romeo & Juliet" law was amended to close the loop-hole that resulted in his conviction in the first place. The guy who sponsored the original law Wilson was convicted under did NOT intend this kind of conviction, that the "law was not supposed to be interpreted the way it was in this case." But amendments laws are not usually retro-active either. On 6/13/07, a judge ordered Wilson released as a "miscarriage of justice", but the sick fucks at Georgia Attorney General's office filed an appeal which means Wilson has to stay in prison.

C'mon. Let's get real, here. This was not a rape, it was not child-molestation. It was not a young man taking advantage of a mental incompetent. The age difference between 17 & 15 is at least 13 months and at most 24 months. They were horny teens at a party who behaved indiscreetly.

If any of you who read this are Georgia residents & voters and you're upset about this injustice, let your State Attorney General know. You can find contact information for AG Thurbert Baker at:


Actor/Director Mel Gibson engaged in another act of self-destruction recently. He is reported to have shown up at a Malibu AA meet drunk and stumbling. Apparently he managed to knock a female attendee down at the meeting while stumbling. I wonder if he had a chauffeur or was practicing DUI again? As an ACOA, I hope one of these days he "gets it" so he can maintain his sobriety and his productivity even though I really, really, really disagree with his traditional Catholic points of view. Ai yi yi. Mel. What's happened to ya?

Some of you may correctly reckon I don't have a lot of nice things to say about many so-called religious leaders. But today is not one of them. Yesterday, Rev. Billy Graham buried his wife Ruth, who died this last week. They were married 63 years. The reason I mention this is simple -- if you've ever seen pictures of Billy & Ruth together over the years in the news or news mags, you'd see two things between them: Love & humor. It was all over their faces.

Mike Nifong is OUT. Friday he resigned his position as Durham's District Attorney while on the witness stand at his ethic trial. Saturday, after the conclusion of the ethics trial, he was found guilty of a raft of ethics violations and gross professional misconduct and disbarred. He earned this punishment and it is as one legal analyst called it, "extreme but deserved." No kidding. But hey... let's not forget that the VOTERS of Durham re-elected him even with the glaring discrepancies of the Duke case already in evidence.

Of course the outcome is that Nifong cannot practice law! Very few disbarred lawyers get reinstated. Ever. This is a good thing. As a prosecutor, he violated the public trust and the intent and spirit of the law in pursuing those three young men and he did a darned good job ruining their lives. If you think people will forget about them or what they were accused of, think again. We have a long memory and there will always be those who will treat those young men with suspicion & mistrust from here on out even though they've been exonerated.

Anyone looking for a bus boy, can contact Mike Nifong. He's available.

Instant Human - Just Add Coffee

Saturday, June 16, 2007

They Declined....

Well, it seems that of the Minnesota couple's recently born sextuplets, two of the babies have died. A CNN story early this morning read:

"A second sextuplet born prematurely to a Minnesota couple has died, hospital officials said Friday.

The boy, Tryg Brenton Morrison, died Thursday night. Tryg's brother Bennet Ryan died Wednesday night.

The four surviving babies remained in critical condition Friday in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis....

The four boys and two girls were born Sunday in the 22nd week of pregnancy -- about 4½ months early -- and weighed from 11 ounces to 1 pound, 3 ounces, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Experts say that at 22 weeks, many of a baby's major organs -- including the skin, brain, kidneys and lungs -- are underdeveloped...." The story then went on to say, "Parents Ryan and Brianna Morrison, both 24, spent more than a year trying to conceive before Brianna Morrison was able to conceive using fertility drugs.

Doctors had advised them to selectively reduce the number of viable fetuses to two, but they declined.""

Folks, I don't consider this a miracle. I don't consider two tiny deaths a fucking miracle at all. I think it's tragic and it's a travesty. There was a sensible reason the doctors advised the young couple they way they did and I think was selfish for them to spurn that advice.

Couples who go into infertility treatment ARE thoroughly educated from the start that selective reduction may be a medical necessity both for the health of the mother and/or for the health of the unborn infants.

Doctors already know that the more fetuses in a single womb, the more likely the chance of premature birth is. That has been proven again and again. They are also educated as to the medical dangers premature birth poses to the newborn. The earlier the birth, the more significant the dangers are. The examples CNN cited are only a small sample. So excuse me for not quite achieving a full understanding how anyone in their right mind could choose to expose any child to that kind of desparate risk and think it ia an act of love.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Chocolate Ecstacy

My friend W. from San Francisco who put me up in his living room when I went to SF for my brother's memorial brought me a box of Joseph Schmidt chocolate truffles. They look too pretty to eat.

Oh -- and if any of you are planning a trip to San Francisco, Schmidt's is easy to get to -- and try CocoaBella too -- swoon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wilde Quotes

Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite quotable authors, so I thought I'd put up some of my favorites for you today.

"We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities. "

"When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." from An Ideal Husband, 1893

"I can resist anything but temptation." Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act I

"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself."

"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them." The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

I love that all of these notions apply to us even today. Wilde was an astute commentator of the human condition in addition to being tart and witty.

The last quote about children and their parents has been expecially important to me over the decades. I'm one of those kids who forgave their parents, which has given me huge peace of mind over the long run. It didn't happen overnight -- it took getting a little insight, but once I got the insight, forgiveness happened.

What about you? Have you forgiven your parents? Would you like to? Barring a life of such abuse from a parent that the only safety is in staying away and shutting off that connection; if you can't forgive, what happened? what did they singly or collectively do that was so unforgivable?


Mood: spooked

Two women, one in Arizona and one in Minnesota became mothers to sextuplets after fertility treatments. All the babies were born prematurely and will require intensive care for weeks before going home. I sure hope someone has the sense to take out big life insurance policies on them and the kid's fathers.

Is there nne out there who looks at their infertility as a gift? Like maybe it's nature's way of freeing men and women up to do different things where they're not tied down to hearth and kindred? Do they ever consider infertility may be nature's or God's way of culling from the gene pool?

Friday, June 01, 2007


I have some for that bedeviled young lawyer with TB. At 31, he's lived a life where highly contagious diseases are relatively rare and public health quarantines were non-existant. As best I remember, schools stopped educating kids about public health back in the late 60s. I haven't seen a state's public health quarantine sign on a household's door since 1976 when I was stationed in California.

That said, I think whoever the fool doctor was who told him "we 'prefer' that you don't travel" be flogged with a wet noodle for being stupid. Indicating a preference gives the person hearing it the idea that there IS a choice.

The doctor should have used the strongest words possible to "Do NOT travel at all. TB is very contagious and since yours is resistant to drugs, if you infect someone, they will also develop resistant TB." Then they should have educated the young lawyer about disease transmission and disease vectors until he had an absolute understanding of the disease and the amount of public risk.

If less polite or PC terms were used, the whole mess would be a sidenote instead of the circus it is now.

Addendum 6/2/07: By the way, I'm not excusing the young lawyer entirely. I find some irony to his field of practice being personal injury. He is going to have to live with the shame of his willfulness in returning back to the US in the manner he did after having been caught up to and told that things were more serious than he was initially told.

But I also think that in comparison to the Baby Boomer generation, today's young adults up to their early 30s have not been as deeply impacted by disease epidemics like polio, smallpox and TB in their lifetimes. Medical advances in the early 60s all but eradicated smallpox worldwide(save for small lab samples here in the US and in Russia), saw fewer than 100 TB cases in the US since 1964, and the last "wild" polio infection in the US was in 1979.

Seriously -- in the US, between 1949 and 1954, 35% of polio victims were adults. And even then the debate about a person's rights was often in conflict with public safety. The difference, I think is that back then, people were a little bit more willing to put the "common good" ahead of their own desires & wants when it came to accepting the necessity of quarantine.

As a child growing up, I knew dozens of older adults between their 40s to 80s who had been scarred by small pox in their childhoods, who had moved to Albuquerque to "take the clean western air" as part for their TB treatments and cure, and people like my 30 years older half sister who got polio in her mid 20s not to mention school mates born the same year as me, who'd gotten polio as infants.

Time and medical progress served to make old public health threats almost irrelevant as new diseases like HIV and AIDS took center stage.