June 2007 Archives

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June 28, 2007
I Dance On Your Grave

I've only commented once — and briefly, at that — on the Immigration bill mess.

Now it's dead, and I, along with others, dance on its grave.

What has puzzled me all along, what I can't figure out, is why Bush would have staked so much on such a wildly unpopular piece of legislation, one which has completely separated him from his base. Indeed, though I strongly backed him in 2000 and 2004 (including hundreds of hours of work on the Blogs For Bush website) I now no longer trust him on anything, except perhaps taxes and the war on terrorism.

Similarly, many GOP senators — McCain, Lott, et al. — ignored the voices of their constituents and backed the steaming pile of crap called Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the hilt.

Why would they do so much to anger their base? The only thing I can think is that either they are completely tone-deaf, or that Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderon have pictures of them all with dead Tijuana hookers.

Posted by Russ at 05:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 27, 2007
Flying Solo

For the past month — since the day before I went into the hospital in May — I've had either my sister or my mother visiting here. Nominally, they were here only to help me with the things I had to do but could not do for myself. In short, they were my chauffeurs.

Sis drove me to the neurologist the day I learned that what I'm dealing with is hydrocephalus rather than something more permanent and/or more lethal. Even though I was on my way to the hospital, we basically left the neurologist's office high-fiving; the news was far far better than anything I had expected or hoped for. I can be fixed.

There's much to be done before they can operate on me. I have to get my blood pressure under control (it is at the high end of the normal range... not quite "high blood pressure" but getting uncomfortably close.) We have to be 100% sure I'm not diabetic (we're 99% sure.) And I need to lose some weight... which I've needed to do anyway. I'm 6'8" tall... various sources disagree on the ideal weight, but my doc says I should be around 220lbs. I scoff at that. At my fittest, when I was in the Army 20 years ago, I was never less than 240lbs... and I was fit. I'll settle for 250.

250. As long as I'm fantasizing, I'd like to win the lottery, too. And have responsible politicians in D.C. And I want that pony I never had as a kid. And, dammit, where are the flying cars? We were promised flying cars by now.

So anyway... there are additional tests the medicos will have to do on me to make sure my nerves all still work. I suspect they do, but....

On good days I have some feeling in my legs now that I didn't have before, but many of the muscles in my legs and hips remain unresponsive to conscious control. Plus, the muscles I do have control of are weak weak weak, which makes standing and walking, even with a cane, difficult. I now have a pair of crutches I depend on for longer excursions afoot, meaning, any time I go out of the house.

This is not good.

The muscles are weak due to the nervous system signalling issues that have rendered other muscles totally unresponsive, but also due to lack of use. I can't exactly go out jogging to keep them in shape. My legs have always been pretty strong, but now I can see the major muscles have wasted away due to disuse — my calves are positively skinny now.

My calves and hamstrings are tightening up, too, to the point that when I am standing they want to pull my knees to a bent position; my quads (or, more accurately, the parts of my quads that actually work) when trying to hold my knees straight can't keep up with the exertion, so my maximum "standing time" with a cane is about two minutes.

I can't exercise my legs effectively, but I can do stretching. That should help the calves and hamstrings.

I am so going to need physical therapy after my brain is fixed.

My sister and Mom did much more than just chauffeur me around. My sister busted her butt and did a lot of the housekeeping I have been unable to do, which I had put somewhere near at the bottom of my priority list.

When my sister went back home, Mom stepped in, and took care of the cooking and day to day housekeeping. I've never eaten healthier, and the house has never looked so good.

Plus, of course, Mom provided ample proof of the adage "no matter how old you are, you're still their kid." She kicked my butt to get things done around here that I'd been putting off for the past year because they were inconvenient or too hard... or because I never thought to do them.

Mom, however, has her own life to live, and yesterday left to go back to California. For the first time in a month I'm on my own.

I have my meds, and I have groceries, or can get them delivered. I have a set of chores to accomplish which, though I can't do them all at once, I can tackle a little bit at a time, even in my current condition.

I think I can manage on my own for a while. I hope.

Posted by Russ at 07:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
June 25, 2007
A Lesson Learned Too Late

Dan Riehl points out what ought to be — what once used to be — blindingly obvious:

I've no desire to insult the victim or her family and no one should. But the sad reality is that Jessie Davis was either the victim of poor self, or impulse control and poor decision-making, perhaps both, long before she became a murder victim. And to suggest that one isn't in any way related to another only endorses the notion that values don't matter. They do. And while Ms. Davis certainly isn't in any way directly responsible for her own death, had she been a bit more responsible with her life, it likely wouldn't have ended in such a tragic crime. [Emphasis mine.]

[Link via Misha, who adds his own particular flavor of invective — the language is not for the sensitive, but the sentiment is dead-on.]

It should come as no surprise that a man who cheats on his wife — twice, three times, maybe more — might not be the ideal man on whom to pin your hopes for future happiness, or to be your baby's daddy.

Jessie Davis had to learn the hard way, and too late, that poor choices and irresponsible behavior can indeed have horrible consequences. Yet, if someone somewhere along the line had gotten through to her with the message that adulterous affairs are a bad idea, she might be alive today.

Similarly, Bobby Cutts might have learned at some point that cheating on your wife is wrong, and that murder is not only as wrong as can be, but certainly isn't going to make things any easier.

Simple things, one would think.

I hope that somewhere, someone sees the 24-hour news cycle coverage of what happened in Ohio and avoids making a tragic mistake in his or her own life.

Posted by Russ at 11:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 22, 2007

I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is about boxes and box lids that fascinates the cat. Put the lid of a box on the floor, and Mycah's in it faster than you can say "Hey, get out of that box top."

Mycah grumpily leaves no doubt that it is her box top.

[Click for larger.]

She still, however, attempts to "make nice" for a closeup.

[Click for larger.]

I plan to exhange the box for a smaller one in a couple of days; I'll give her progressively smaller box tops every few days, just to see if I can ultimately get her to perch herself on a 3x5 card.

For more feline (and other critter) goodness, I recommend regular visits to I Can Has Cheezburger?, which I found thanks to my good friend Ith of Absinthe & Cookies. Be prepared to laugh.

Friday Ark! Go!

Sunday: Carnival of the Cats! Where? This, That & The Other Thing.

Posted by Russ at 06:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
June 18, 2007
OK, Jeff

You asked for a trackback, here's an attempt.

OK, that didn't seem to work. How about this?

Posted by Russ at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Most of us go through our lives doing whatever it is we do, without being particularly good at those things. Mere competence at the things people are allegedly paid to do for a living, for instance, is sometimes so rare it can surprise us when we encounter it.

It is the rare person who is exceptionally good at what they do. I'm a pretty good network engineer, but by no means am I the best — not even close. I am pretty good at some of the things I do for my own enjoyment, though.

But to be phenomenally good at anything — be it one's vocation or one's hobby — is so rare as to provoke comment.

I don't know how, but Ith at Absinthe & Cookies found a cellphone salesman who is phenomenally good at his hobby. So good that overnight he's become a TV star in Britain, and is likely to become famous around the world.

Ith calls Paul Potts "amazing." I think she vastly understates the case.

Posted by Russ at 07:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 15, 2007
Big Help

This week I took advantage of my days off (Monday and Tuesday) to rebuild my home network and multiple-PC setup, in part because it was a 5-year-old disaster area, and in part to accommodate my work laptop — to connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse on a semi-permanent basis, since a) I'm working from home until I am physically recovered, and b) I abhor my work laptop's keyboard and display.

Here can be seen a small portion of the disaster area — "Cable Hell."

So yes, maybe the re-org was a tad overdue.

Mycah, as usual, provided her usual high degree of assistance "supervision."

Fat lot of help she was. At least she didn't get in the way.

It's time for the Modulator's Friday Ark.

And the Carnival of the Cats this week is at StrangeRanger!

Posted by Russ at 04:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 11, 2007
Quote of the Day, "No Due Respect" Edition

Dennis Miller, on Senator Harry Reid, D-NV:

I think that he believes that getting his negative comments in early could be the one chance that a non-entity like he has at a place in history. His is a mediocre man's Thermopylae.

Go see the whole rant. It truly is a thing of beauty.

Posted by Russ at 06:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 06, 2007
Sad, But True

I just said farewell to the plumber — he had installed a new commode here at the house.

This has been the highlight of my day.


I need to work on having better daily highlights.

Posted by Russ at 05:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
June 05, 2007
Crated, Airholes Optional

Spending an afternoon in the Driver's License office has done absolutely nothing to improve my opinion of teenagers. Nothing at all.

I didn't like them when I was one — why should I now?

Posted by Russ at 04:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)