Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sorry for another angry post, but...

In this morning's Times, there's this article: It's Theirs and They're Not Apologizing. The article addresses the "we earned it" attitude of Wall Street traders and executives who think there's anything they do worth the ridiculous bonuses they've gotten, even after the complete disaster that was 2008.

One said, "My bonus is 'shameful' — but I worked hard to get it." What, exactly, did you do to earn it? Cure cancer? Invent something to make life easier for everyone?

These bastards are claiming that questioning their thievery is akin to socialism. Well, that's just bullshit. Makes me wonder if Rove is working on Wall Street now. It sounds like his kind of crap--use scary words to demonize the people asking legitimate questions.

My favorite quote comes from a Mr. Meyers who works for "an Italian securities firm." He said, "Say I’m a banker and I created $30 million. I should get a part of that." Created $30 million? That's exactly the problem. You guys don't create anything. You move money and trade on the hard work of others. The guy digging a ditch in the street to fix the street is working harder than any of you guys! Hard work doesn't have to be physical labor. I'm all for intelligent people being rewarded for getting education and using their brains. That's where real progress is found, but there's nothing noble about what these guys do.

I don't know how to reign in this legal larceny, but I sure hope karma bites them all on their selfish asses!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hey, look! We have a black guy, too!

Today, the Republicans made Michael Steele their new chairman. What? You don't know who he is? Well, he's black!

That's not enough? What's wrong with you people?


Do they think we're all quite that dumb? I know voters can be gullible, but I sure hope this ridiculous ploy doesn't work. (And no, I don't think he got it because he's the best man for the job and that it's just an amazing coincidence that he's the first black man they ever put in the post!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I know it's supposed to be a time of bipartisan cooperation, but...

The Republicans can go fuck themselves. I just saw outtakes from the Sunday morning political talk shows (I can't stomach watching them in full most days), and the Republicans continue to be so one-sided and full of shit. It makes me crazy!

Between mega-asshole John Boehner (and tell me many of his issues don't stem from grade school teasing about that name, no matter how he claims it's pronounced!) and briefly-hopeful-but-going-back-to-disappointing John McCain spouting disingenuous GOP bullshit, I'm really on the verge of quite a headache.

Boehner is working on getting his don't-bother-me-with-the-facts base of voters riled by saying things like, "How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?"

Translating that into the truth: now that the religious right has been kicked out of power, Medicaid family planning services are being expanded to all 50 states. Rather than be honest about it, the GOP, which chucked fiscal conservatism (about their only saving grace) out the window years ago, is making it sound like good, hard-working taxpayers are subsidizing irresponsible sex-obsessed poor minorities and immigrants or words to that effect. Assholes!

And John McCain? Mr. Bipartisan won't support President Obama's economic stimulus proposal unless it makes the Bush tax cuts permanent. Hey, Senator McCain, you're a transparent phony!

We're not rich, but we're solidly middle class (maybe a little better than average), and I think we do well enough to benefit from those tax cuts. But John McCain and his buddies can shove the tax cuts up their rich asses! There are millions of people worse off than us, and they need the help far more than we and the people economically better off than us. These Republicans are so transparent and ethically challenged! Have they no shame?

I thought I'd feel better after venting on here, but I'm still angry. I think I'll go send some e-mails to the President, as well as McCain and Boehner. That should help!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tears of joy

We had a very long day. Marc had his stapedectomy today. This surgery was meant to correct 16 years of hearing loss in his right ear. He had to be under general anesthesia, and there are some risks, although it's considered pretty safe overall. Plus, he had one of the best surgeons anywhere for this surgery (we used our connections in healthcare to find out who "the guy" was for this). Still, the stress of it all, plus his getting sick from aftereffects of the anesthesia, made for a long day.

We got home around 8:30 tonight. We sat down to relax, and I put on the television. Marc was checking e-mail and his head popped up. He held up a hand, as if to say, "Hang on a second. I want to make sure I'm not imagining this." And then he started pointing at his right ear, practically trembling as tears filled his eyes. And then I started crying with him. He can hear in both ears for the first time in ages!

Now, we're far from done. He has a lot of healing to do, and I sure hope there are no complications but such things could happen so we're not out of the woods yet. Also, there will be swelling that may shut off that new hearing for a bit, and he has to watch his balance for several days. Plus, he has some numbness on part of his tongue, but that's not uncommon for this (pressure on a nerve in the area) and it usually fades and returns to normal.

With all of that said, the usual story is that, even if the surgery is completely successful, hearing doesn't start to return until the healing begins and the swelling goes down. So this was a joyous surprise, and we're both thrilled. This was a hard day, but it had a wonderful ending!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

October Sky

If you've never seen the movie October Sky, rent it. I just caught the end of it on TV, having seen the full movie years ago, and I was again choked up by it. It's a touching story, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickam, a young man interested in rocketry at a time when the American rocket program was in its infancy, along with the always excellent Chris Cooper as his tough, coal miner father and Laura Dern as the teacher who supported and inspired Homer and his friends.

I won't try to rehash the whole story here. I'll just repeat that it's a great film. Watch it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Comforting or worrisome?

We're flying to Atlanta on Saturday. It's our annual pilgrimage to help Marc's mother celebrate her birthday. With our trip approaching, I just read this article, Airlines go two years with no fatalities.

It's comforting that air travel is so safe. I've always believed that it's a very safe way to travel, and this reinforces that view. Still, I see a headline like that and the smartass me can't help but think, "so they're due!"

I know it doesn't really work that way. The odds remain very much in the favor of anyone who is flying. That air travel has become this safe is excellent news.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sequel needed

We just watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I've read all of the books, and we're slowly catching up on the movies. (For any of you who haven't read the books, they really are terrific stories, and they're certainly not just for kids!)

One of the characters in this story is named Viktor Krum. He was played by a young man from Bulgaria named Stanislav Ianevski. Sadly, it looks like we won't be seeing much of Mr. Ianevski. According to IMDB, he's only been in one other film.

Here are a couple of photos of him...

Neither of those photos really shows off the strapping young man (BTW, he's 23) we were admiring in the movie. Still, they give you some idea.

In case any of you has contacts who can make such things happen, may I suggest a spinoff/sequel to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? I can't offer too many plot details yet, but I don't think that's a major issue. I have given the project a working title of Viktor Krum and the Goblet of Lube. So who's in? ;)

It's done, and all is well

Actually, "it" was done early this morning. The "it" in question is, of course, the colonoscopy I posted about yesterday.

We got to the hospital at 6:30 this morning. The folks there were lovely, and I was made very comfortable. Things got rolling pretty much on time. It was scheduled for 7:30, and I got moved to the "procedure room" at 7:30-something. The nurses and the anesthesiologist were there. As I was moved into position and made comfy, the anesthesiologist prepared the meds to inject into my IV (that was started in the room where I got changed and waited) and explained what was going to happen.

Now this is where it got interesting--or, rather, this is the part that remains most interesting to me. Once my doctor came in to get ready to do the colonoscopy, the anesthesiologist told me I'd feel a little burning as the medications went into my veins. Okay. So I focused on a piece of equipment as I decided I wanted to see how fast I faded out. I expected it to take just a few seconds, and I was looking to satisfy my curiosity, figuring I'd have some mental comparison to falling asleep or being drowsy from drinking alcohol. So I focused on a piece of equipment near me as I felt a slight--and really not uncomfortable--burning sensation, as he had mentioned. A couple of seconds passed and I sensed I might be getting very slightly drowsy. Then... "okay, we're all done."

Huh? What the...? How did that happen? I mean, I know how it happened, but that was scary in the way the world was there and then it was gone. Like a light being switched off. *snap* and it was over. In a way, it was a pleasant experience. Still, it was a bit disturbing.

In thinking about it all day (yes, I can mentally pick away at a little thing like this for great lengths of time), I have decided that one of two things happened: either 1) it really is that sudden--that there is some threshold point at which consciousness just snaps off when the brain is hit with these chemicals; or, 2) the drugs caused some kind of minimal amnesia for those minutes. I'm not using the word "amnesia" in a dramatic way. I just mean that I lost some memories.

Number 2 may be right. For one thing, I understand that this kind of anesthesia leaves some people in a condition that they can respond to things they're told without having any memory of it. For another, I only remember some of what the doctor told me when I woke up. More importantly, I realized shortly after it that I was remembering some of it inaccurately. Marc told me what my doctor had said of the results. I told Marc that I remembered hearing that, "but I thought that was yesterday." I immediately realized that couldn't be right and said as much. This was information from the colonoscopy, so I couldn't have heard it yesterday. I was confused.

So was I really suddenly out cold? Who knows? I suppose it really doesn't matter. Honestly, having been nervous about my first time being rendered unconscious by medications, I was very happy to wake up and find that it was so sudden and then over.

More importantly, I was very happy to hear that the doctor found no sign of polyps or cancer. All is well, and I am a happy camper. As Joey7777 correctly commented in the prior post and I also knew would be the case going in, I am very happy that I got this done.

With the cancer history in my family--and considering how effective this exam can be in heading off the potential for colon cancer--I am very pleased that I have gotten this done!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Well, isn't this fun?

I came home early today. Why, you ask? Because I have "prep" to do! And for what am I preparing?

Well, kids, tomorrow morning, I have to present myself at 6:30 for my 7:30am colonoscopy! Oh, goodie!

Honestly, I wanted to get it done. There's plenty of cancer history in my family. If I can take some steps to try to protect myself, then that makes sense. In the meantime, this provided a reason to have a couple of other tests done.

This will be the first time I've ever been anesthetized. I've had minor surgery before, and I've had pain killers on occasion, but this will be the first time I receive drugs that render me unconscious. With that in mind, I've been a difficult patient--something I recommend that you always do. Speak up for yourself and question everything they're going to do. Granted, since Marc and I both work in hospitals, it's a bit easier (I had tests done at my hospital and will have the colonoscopy at his.) So this being my first time to be put under, it triggered my getting an EKG and an echocardiogram this week, the results of which have been forwarded for the review of the doctor doing the colonoscopy and the anesthesiologist who will be putting me under.

The good news is that I already know everything came back normal. In fact, the doctor who wrote the orders told me that my "ejection fraction" (which is a measure of how much of the blood gets driven out of my left ventricle with each contraction of the chamber) is very good. Being me, I had to go do a little research. I found that a normal, healthy man's ejection fraction is around 55% (the higher the better). If your ejection fraction gets down into the mid-30s, it's cause for concern. My ejection fraction was 65%.

So it would seem that a life of sedentary obesity may be healthier than previously thought! ;) Okay, yes, I'm continuing my dieting, but it's good to know that my heart remains strong!

Now I just hope the rest of today's preparation isn't too harsh! And, of course, that the actual colonoscopy tomorrow goes well. I'll be glad when it's done!

Monday, January 05, 2009

A few weekend photos

Among our weekend trips was a stop at Stew Leonard's in Yonkers. This is the nearest store in the Stew's group. We like to make an occasional stop at one of their stores to get certain items that are better there than anywhere else in the area. While shopping there, I saw a sign for an item among their ready-to-eat trays that I have to share. Courtesy of my cell phone's camera, here it is:

Think they remove the tails?

On Sunday, the weather was cold but clear and sunny, so we decided to go for a drive. We drove along our favorite road (Ocean Parkway) to one of our favorite parks, Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island.

We saw a number of deer, including these...

A family out for a stroll

A shot with some of their true environment in the background!

This is my favorite of these shots

Leaving the park, phallic symbols abound...

Well, it is Fire Island, after all!

The phallic symbols guide us to...

The U.S. Coast Guard Station. Behind those fences, buildings full of seamen (sp?)!

That's it for now, kids. Thanks for stopping by!