September 2007 Archives

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September 30, 2007
Thomas Friedman: Idiot Again

Via Stop the ACLU, we find that Thomas Friedman today writes in the New York Times:

You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration.
Well now, Tom, whose fault might it be that "a lot of the world" thinks this is the truth about Gitmo? Might it perhaps be due to the slanted reportage of your own paper and it's anti-American fellow travellers?

Doing your utmost to convince the world we're eeeeee-vil and then afterwards complaining that they think so calls to mind the story of the convicted parricide who pleads to the judge for leniency because he is an orphan.

My original assessment of Friedman stands.

Posted by Russ at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day

The late D. James Kennedy, former Chaplain of the Senate.

But for those for whom the very mention of Christ is an offense, I sometimes feel that what I would like to say is: Dear friend, in case you haven't noticed, in America over two hundred years ago, we gave up any supposed "right not to be offended by anything anybody might say" when we accepted the right of Freedom of Speech.

You can't have both. You've got to choose one or the other; and if everything offends you then I would suggest you're in the wrong place. You ought to pack up your offense and ship it off to China... and leave us alone.

I'm offended!

Er... maybe not so much.

Posted by Russ at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
September 26, 2007
Another day, Another Disappointment

Yesterday was the long-awaited appointment with the neurology and neurosurgery folks at Duke. I went with the expectation that something, anything concrete might result, diagnosis-wise.

Oh, ha ha ha... right. As if anything has gone the way I've expected or hoped with this whole thing.

After a short and to-the-point physical examination, the neurosurgeon got on the phone with my neurologist — and again, I remind you that these guys are the best to be had in this area, among the best in the country — and came to two conclusions.

First, what I have is almost certainly not CIDP. In a way, this is good, because while it is treatable, CIDP is an auto-immune disease that probably would recur in the future. On the other hand, if it had been CIDP, I could be fixed fairly quickly.

Second, another test is necessary... and not one of those fun tests that wind up telling you whether you are a "Fall colors" or "Spring colors" person. No, this will be a repeat of the spinal tap, writ large. A full 24 hours in the hospital, being drained, with physical tests before and after to determine if my nerve and muscle functionality improves after the removal of larger quantities of spinal fluid.

I am not looking forward to this one, except insofar as it might give us the answer. It'll probably leave me laid up for a few days, but it could conclusively prove whether the original diagnosis of hydrocephalus is correct.

Could. All the things that have happened over the course of this episode have been thought to lead to one conclusion or another, and yet none have been fully determinitive. I'm still half convinced that I'll end up with a disease named after me.

It's getting to be awfully difficult to remain optimistic, but I'm trying. I really am.

Posted by Russ at 10:07 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
September 22, 2007
[Yesterday's] Quote of the Day
"There is only one plausible answer: Ours is a just and decent God."
Jonah Goldberg, in I’m Rather Grateful
Posted by Russ at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
September 21, 2007
Another Day, Another Diagnosis

Yesterday I had yet another appointment — this, with the new neurologist, following up on the results of the spinal tap I endured last week.

I could ramble on about all the details of the day, about just exactly how much fun it is just to get ready to go out of the house, about the conversations at the doc's office, but no.

Short version: a new contender for the "What Vexes Russ" title has popped up on the radar: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy.

CIDP is an auto-immune disease, so it suddenly becomes possible that I've been doing this to myself all along. It is, however, treatable.

This isn't a sure thing at all, just a possibility.

Next week: Duke Med.

Posted by Russ at 11:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
September 17, 2007
Fresh Squeezed O.J.

Michelle Malkin has the details.

As for me, I'll just say this: I was fresh out of the Army and going to school in LA when the OJ murder trial took place. I had (and to some degree still have to this day) the mindset that said "facts are facts and any reasonable person can put aside their prejudices and judge a case purely on the facts."

Mheh. I guess they didn't bother to try to find 12 reasonable people for the jury last time OJ was on trial.

On a personal level what disturbed me most about that entire episode was that several of my classmates readily admitted that on the facts OJ was guilty as sin, but they were still glad he got off because he was a "brutha."

Ya, right. OJ had as much in common with my classmates as I do a native tribesman in the Amazon. But because of his skin color, they were literally willing to let him get away with murder. Indeed, they vocally rejoiced when he was acquitted.

An odd thing happened a month or so after the acquittal. I went to work after class each day, and it was one of my duties to take the daily deposits down the block to the bank. One of the other bank customers I saw most days was from the local Jaguar dealership. One day, he showed me one of the checks he was depositing — a check for over $70,000, written by Johnnie Cochran. Two people dead, OJ acquitted, and Cochran driving a brand-new Jaguar out of the deal.

And people wonder why I hate trial lawyers.

Posted by Russ at 12:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
September 16, 2007
Opposites Detract

What does it say about you if someone "brave, honorable, and true" is a problem for you?

Posted by Russ at 04:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
September 14, 2007
Doin' the Hokey Pokey

She puts her left paw in, she puts her left paw out....

[Click for larger.]

Adding to the degree of difficulty, she can also do it with her back paws. While asleep.

[Click for larger.]

The Hokey Pokey: now a national craze!

Friday! Ark!

Carnival! Cats! Coming this week to the House of Mostly Black Cats!

Posted by Russ at 09:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
September 13, 2007

Yesterday, a day not normal, while I lay prone, dressed informal
in a backless gown (hospital's), central nervous system at the fore
While I lay there, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently tapping, tapping on my spinal cord.
'Tis some medico,' I muttered, 'tapping on my spinal cord —
Only this, and nothing more.'

As I lay, the fluid draining, felt like I'd received a caning
legs en fuego, hips in pain, too, though there was a total lack of gore
Now it has become the next day, and oh so much to my dismay
hips and butt hurt in the worst way; truly, they are muchly sore.
After this "adventure" awful, my doctors do I implore:
'nother such test? Nevermore!

(I am so sorry for that.)

Posted by Russ at 11:11 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
September 12, 2007
Tap, Tap, Tap

I'm off shortly for my spinal tap. They'll be removing some fluid for use in mystical voodoo rites... and, one supposes, testing of some sort.

I don't pretend to understand what they'll be testing for. Even as relatively well-informed as I am, this is all starting to get into Clarke's Third Law territory.

It seems amusing to me to think that if my problem is an overabundance of cerebro-spinal fluid, that taking some out might actually alleviate my symptoms to a minor degree. Not that I actually expect that, mind you....

Update, 6:30pm: Well, that purely sucked.

I'll be in my bunk.

Posted by Russ at 11:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
September 11, 2007
Six Years


(Graphic via the now-defunct A Small Victory)

Posted by Russ at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
September 10, 2007
September 10, 2001

The world has always been a dangerous place; the conflict between civilization and barbarism never ends, though from time to time it can seem otherwise to those of us who have the luxury of living in a society noteable for its wealth and ease.

It certainly seemed so six years ago.

Like everyone I know, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on 9/11/2001, but I have absolutely no recollection of the day before, none at all, because nothing extraordinary happened.

As much as I might like the world to be as it was six years ago today, I recognize that it is, in fact, not, and never again will be.

An unfortunately large number of people, willingly or not, remain blind to the dangers civilization continues to face in a post-Cold War world. They seem to have slept through 9/11 and today still long for the "vacation from history" of the 1990s. Worse, many people — unfortunately including not a few of the movers and shakers in popular society; celebrities and whatnot — still behave as though 9/11 had never happened.

Even worse, there are those within our civilization who would act to the benefit of the barbarians — throwing open the castle gates, as it were — for the sake of mere political advantage.

Why they do it matters little in the long run. That they do it bodes not well for our future.

Posted by Russ at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
September 05, 2007
Another Day, Another Doctor

I had an appointment with my regular doctor yesterday, during which he expressed some frustration at the delay in being able to get in to the neurologist at Duke. In order to get another set of eyeballs on the problem I was referred to yet another neurologist, who — amazingly enough — didn't have a 4-week waiting list.

The result of this morning's examination by this new neurologist: I get to have another spinal tap, though this time they'll be removing fluid to be tested, rather than injecting radioactive schmutz. What they'll be testing for, I really don't know. My curiosity about such things has been on the wane lately; I'm tired of it all.

Eric S. Raymond wrote in his noteworthy essay "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" that, with regard to software development, "given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow." I hope the same holds true in neurology with regard to diagnoses.

Posted by Russ at 06:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
September 03, 2007
The Spammers Never Rest

Within minutes of reading this from Kevin at Wizbang!, I got one of the scam/spam (hereafter to be abbreviated "s[c|p]am") emails referred to.

Quechup: evil — read the above link for an explanation.

Posted by Russ at 10:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Labor Day

Today would feel more like a holiday if I didn't already have Mondays and Tuesdays off from work.

Posted by Russ at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)