November 30, 2003
New Blog Showcase
Phew - I've been busy this weekend - little blogging. I put this on my to-do list, so this is sure to get done.
I was disappointed to see that the number one entry so far this week is a short snippet about global warming. It'd be fine if it were a well-written blog entry about global warming, but it's really just a synopsis. But, because it's about a controversial left-wing touted topic, I'm guessing the League of Liberals is aswarming to link to it. When I write a single-paragraph synopsis, it's a "hey, look at this," but I certainly don't expect any kudos about anything rather than FINDING the thing.
That - to me - is not what this is about. This contest is to find and expose some of the best new blogs. This contest is not about "what the League of Liberals" or "The Alliance" or "The Axis of Naughty" wants exposed. It's not about "what we agree with." It's about good writing. Period. So I'm a bit disheartened by that on the political side.
That being said, I was impressed with three entries this week.
Baysense, a new environmentally focused blog, wrote about the purpose of the blog. I'll be watching.
Blogslut, a blog about porn, politics and punditry, as it says, wrote an objective account about Michael Jackson. What I liked most is that there's no judgment here, and there's no presumption of guilt. If you've not read it, it's worth your time.
And, finally, venturpreneur talks about The Fiduciary Duty of Good Faith.
November 28, 2003
As a directed public service announcement, I must proclaim the secrets of pant maintenance to enlighten Allah.
1) If you are tearing your trousers, remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Trite, but true.
2) Allow me to acquaint you with the grand appliance known as the washing machine.
3) Goodwill. Cheap slacks.
4) Lee Pleated Stain Resistant Performance Khakis. Need I say more?
Happy pant maintenance. Cheers.
Today's Post-Dispatch has a headline "Musicians unknowingly play for white supremicists."
When German and Irish musical groups gathered for a folk festival in south St. Louis earlier this month, they were hoping for a night of food and fun. Instead, the unsuspecting musicians found themselves performing at a recruitment rally sponsored by a white supremacist organization that the FBI says presents "a continuing terrorist threat."
Now, the performers are angry because they had been duped into thinking that Eurofest 2003 was simply an ethnic celebration.
"We obviously had no idea what this event was before we played, or we wouldn't have performed there," said Matt Pantaleoni, leader of the Invera'an Pipe Band, a local bagpipes group.
Pantaleoni said that, after the band played, he noticed a few men in the crowd with "White Power" and two lightning bolts - the symbol of the German Nazi Waffen SS - tattooed on their bodies.
The men were members of the National Alliance, a group that the local Anti-Defamation League office calls "the BMW of neo-Nazi groups." They were among an audience of about 250 on Nov. 8 at the meeting hall of the German Cultural Society, near Jefferson Avenue and South Broadway.
In other St. Louis news of the "white supremicist" variety, the Riverfront Times castigates Earl Holt III. This is following Arch Pundit's hate mail from said person. Interesting reading (both) if you've got the time.
While, hey, this is America, and you can speak your mind, you an be DAMN sure I'd never take anything coming out of that man's (Holt's) mouth or keyboard seriously. Pure opinion and invective couched in some facts about black people and jail. Lovely. Mr. Holt - are you sure that IQ isn't 129.5 and you're bluffing for effect? I'd hate to think we have something in common beyond *yawn* the color of our skin.
November 27, 2003
"Two Legs of Lamb and a Small Turkey"
Hey - anybody else who saw Instapundit's turkey pic trying to figure out what breed of dog that thing is? Brian's sure it's Snoopy.
Traditional. Uh huh.
November 26, 2003
Wash Your Produce; Find Bugs Early
One of the stranger things I've read recently:
BOSTON - Heidi Waite went to the store for grapes. She came home with a poisonous pet. Waite was feeding red seedless grapes to her 1 1/2-year-old daughter this weekend when her father stopped her cold. A black widow spider, the most dangerous type of spider in the United States, was nestled in the bunch of fruit.
Waite didn't panic. She put the arachnid into her children's bug jar, and has kept it there since.
"I couldn't come to terms with killing it," she said Tuesday.
Waite, of Boylston, purchased the California grapes last week at a Shaw's supermarket in Shrewsbury. She said she wanted to get the word out to ensure others are cautious with their grapes.
In response to venomous discoveries by Waite and another customer who bought grapes at a different store, Shaw's supermarkets, a unit of Britain's J Sainsbury PLC, said it would increase inspection of the fruit at its stores and sell the grapes loose, instead of in bags.
"As a result of the growers' efforts to reduce the use of pesticides in the industry, the possibility of finding an insect or spider exists," the West Bridgewater-based company said in a statement.
The current problem of black widow spiders is limited to red grapes because they are currently being harvested, Shaw's said.
The black widow spider's venom is not usually fatal to humans, because only a minute amount is transmitted. But the bite is extremely painful.
Trey Givens: Capitalist
Trey Givens is in Peru.
But now we know why he went. He's going to bring back a bunch of this stuff and sell it for its street value.
And You Thought Viking Kittens Was Funny
Yes, another silly picture. This one courtesy of Harvey of Bad Money. Very worth a look. There's something about cats standing upright that just cracks me up.
Be Careful What You Laugh Out Loud At
Jed from Boots and Sabers brings you a picture of triumph over anorexia.
What a day I'm going to have - giddy already.
November 25, 2003
Lions, Tigers, and Fat Bears, Oh My!
I couldn't help it. I had to blog it.
It's no secret that America's adults are getting fat and sedentary. Its children are becoming couch mini-potatoes. Even its pets are overweight.
Now the fast-food lifestyle is getting to the bears, too.
A study of black bears in the Sierra Nevada has found that those animals that live in and around cities and towns are less active than those in wilderness, spending less of their time foraging for food and fewer days in their winter dens. These and other behavioral changes are making the bears heavier.
But, back to the article, that states that garbage is the ultimate in bear-foraged food. This must mean that Americans are throwing away a portion of their super-sized meals? No...could it be? Or perhaps the Whopper wrappers are tasty to Smokey and his kin.
The researchers, who also are affiliated with the University of Nevada at Reno, attached radio collars to 59 bears and tracked them from week to week. They found that the animals fell into two camps: country bears, which spent almost all of their time in wild lands, and city bears, which lived in residential areas, often right under people's noses. Some city bears denned beneath homeowners' decks or elsewhere in backyards in towns like Incline Village and Stateline, Nev.
The researchers followed individual bears for 24 hours in the fall to study their foraging habits. In the case of the urban bears, Dr. Beckmann said, that often meant following them from parking lot to parking lot at night while they fished in Dumpsters and garbage cans for their dinner.
A black bear fattening up for the winter is a glutton, eating upward of 20,000 calories a day. In the study, country bears, forced to roam over wild lands searching for pine cones, troves of berry bushes or the occasional prey, spent more than 13 hours a day foraging. City bears, with all that rich garbage for the taking, spent much less time, an average of about 8.5 hours a day.
But I have to go to work, and a silly snark can only last so long. So here, you aspiring capitalists. Here's a product for you to tout and sell.
For a bear, weight is not unattractive, or unhealthy, as far as anyone knows. Rather, the problem with eating human food is that it brings bears into contact with humans, and the bears invariably lose. That kitchen-ransacking bear, for example, was destroyed. Many other urban bears are killed by motor vehicles. Nevada, Dr. Beckmann said, has only 300 black bears, and is losing about 10 a year to accidents.
The solution, he said, is to require or encourage businesses and homeowners to use bear-proof trash containers. In places where they are used, the bears go elsewhere.
Oh, and remember. Only YOU can prevent Bear Obesity.
Avoid the Norwegian Fish Delicacy
Fish in seas near a Norwegian Arctic city are getting an unexpectedly strong cocktail of caffeine and painkillers from local sewers, a scientist said on Monday.
SOME SAMPLES TAKEN very close to a sewer outlet near a psychiatric hospital also showed measurable amounts of anti-epileptic drugs and anti-depressants.
“We don’t know what effect this is having on the environment,” said Ole-Anders Braathen, head of department at the Norwegian Institute of Air Research which led the study of waters off the city of Tromsoe.
“The measurements showed surprisingly high doses, especially of caffeine,” he told Reuters, adding that caffeine and drugs flushed from city sewers may take longer to break down in icy Arctic waters than further south.
November 23, 2003
No, This Isn't The Onion
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Burger King has made it POLICY that it's all right to breast feed in its restaurants. I kid you not.
SALT LAKE CITY - Burger King adopted a corporate policy Friday allowing women to breast-feed their babies in restaurants — a day before a threatened "nurse-in" at the fast-food chain's facilities.
The new policy says Burger King welcomes mothers who wish to breast-feed their children.
"We want to be a family friendly place," said Rob Doughty, vice president for strategic communications for Miami-based Burger King. "We want to be responsive to our customers, and didn't know this was a big issue. Unfortunately in Utah, it went directly to the press, and we didn't have a chance to take a look at it."
He said 20 states, including Utah, allow breast-feeding in public.
Under the new policy, employees are told: "If a customer complains about a mother who is breast-feeding, kindly explain that breast-feeding is permitted in the restaurant and suggest to that customer that he or she relocate to another section of the restaurant."
Plans for a nurse-in at Burger Kings on Saturday have been circulated in an unsigned e-mail sent to members of La Leche League, an international group that promotes breast-feeding.
Yes, December is lurking and will saunter in soon. I wouldn't have believed it this morning, though - it was 66 degrees at 9 a.m. It has since fallen to a rainy 45 or so.
So, yes, December. One of my things to do on my list today was to make my Christmas Card list, and it's surprisingly small. Doable, even. Anybody want a card? E-mail me with an address, and you'll get one, complete with a personal (likely silly) message.
As I have long suspected there would be, negative articles about the Atkins diet are circulating through the news feeds.
My focus on this post is going to be on what isn't being said in this particlar article, though.
Jody Gorran was proud of his 32-inch waistline -- until a heart scan showed an artery had become almost entirely blocked during the two years he was on the Atkins diet.
Lisa Huskey was happy about being on a diet with her 16-year-old daughter, Rachel, until Rachel dropped dead from a heart arrhythmia in class.
Both say the high-fat, high-protein approach advocated by the Atkins diet was responsible.
"What I contend is that the Atkins diet gave me heart disease," Gorran said at a news conference sponsored by the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. "I traded a 32-inch waist for heart disease."
Gorran said when he started the diet, his total cholesterol level was a very low 148. In May 2001 it had gone up to 230. Anything above 200 is considered unhealthy.
A scan of his arteries before he started the diet had shown no evidence of heart disease.
"Two and a half years later, after being on the Atkins diet for that length of time, I had heart disease," the 53-year-old Florida businessman said.
A new scan showed one artery was 90 percent blocked.
Three weeks ago, Gorran had an angioplasty -- a procedure to clear his clogged artery. A mesh tube called a stent was inserted to keep his artery clear.
For Huskey, we don't know what she weighed from this article, arrythmia can occur naturally and/or be caused by multiple factors, and, well, I just don't see much here. I believe three high school-aged kids at my school in the 80's died during athletic activities, usually because of hidden heart conditions.
In another article from November 20, 2003, CBS mentions Dr. Neal Barnard from the Physicians (sic) Committee for Responsible Medicine. Dr. Barnard is a raving vegetarian (no, those two words don't always go together), so you can guess he's not a meat-friendly chap. I also think he and his organization might carry a bit o' bias, you?
PCRM conducted an online survey - which the article and I must point out are not exactly strong scientific evidence. Still, it made the news. Dissent!
What I agree with?
Because fiber is found only in plant foods, and high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets tend to be low in plant foods, these diets are also typically low in fiber. Low fiber intake is associated with increased risk of colon cancer and other malignancies, heart disease, diabetes and constipation.
Some high-protein, very-low-carbohydrate, weight-loss diets are designed to induce ketosis, a state that also occurs in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and starvation.
When carbohydrate intake or utilization is insufficient to provide glucose to the cells that rely on it as an energy source, ketone bodies are formed from fatty acids. An increase in circulating ketones can disturb the body's acid-base balance, causing metabolic acidosis. Even mild acidosis can have potentially deleterious consequences over the long run.
For these reasons, high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber and carbohydrate-restricted diets, such as the Atkins Diet, especially when used for prolonged periods, are expected to increase the risk of multiple chronic diseases and other health problems, despite the weight loss that may accompany their use, Barnard says.
November 22, 2003
November 21, 2003
I posted this on the Alliance site, too. Michael Williams, whose blog is entitled Master of None, has another blog exposure idea: a Scavenger Hunt.
Here's a blog game that'll be fun, and give some exposure to some less well-traveled blogs: The First Annual Blog Scavenger Hunt. The idea is simple: I write up a list of topics, and you find a blog post somewhere that discusses each topic. You can't use any individual blog for more than one topic, and you can't use any of your own posts. Further, honor demands that you not take any action intended to initiate a post on a topic for the express purpose of using it as an answer. Got it?
The deadline will be Monday, December 1st. Answers will count even if the topics are discussed facetiously, and they don't have to match the list word-perfectly; use your best judgement. Of course, no post related to the contest itself can be used as an answer. All answers must be links to blog posts, not any other type of website.
Once you've finished your list (or gotten bored), post the topic list along with your answers on your blog and send me a link with "[bloghunt]" in the subject. I'll post links to all the participants, along with my own answers, after the deadline.
If you think you're too busy to play, just print out the topics and fill them in during your normal browsing. (And look, no cheating by stealing links from other people; it's just a game.)
Yes, it's the Great American Smokeout day.
If you're in my extended family, please make this the Great American Smokeout WEEK. Thank you.
Anybody who reads this knows my thoughts on tobacco. If you do smoke, this day is a reminder to be introspective about what you're doing to your body and whether you really WANT to continue to do so. There've been enough studies on nicotine addiction for me to state that all smokers don't WANT to smoke.
So quit for a day if you can - this is your day.
Good luck and good fortune.
November 20, 2003
Just Another Thursday Night
I met my first "other blogger" this evening, none other than the eloquent Virginia Postrel. Actually, it was more like Brian and Heather Noggle fawning over Virigina Postrel, who was speaking at the Junior League here in the St. Louis area with her newest book, The Substance of Style, as the featured topic. I'll be reviewing the book over the weekend, likely, and I'll include a review of the presentation as well. I have about 60 pages remaining to finish reading.
Well, the whole thing went more like, y'know, the hobbyist musician who tells Billy Joel, "Hi, I play piano, too." I mentioned that I had a weblog, and Viriginia says, "oh, what's it called?"
"Oh, I've seen that."
But back to this picture thing. This isn't an especially representative picture of either of us. My hair doesn't usually look like it's been featured in a nuclear war, and Virginia carries a lot more presence in her photographs, which I'm certain usually feature stronger backgrounds than the still-life waiter, but you take what you can. (A couple of rules here - any mention of my shoulders had better include the word "awe" in them in regard to their 41 1/2 inch breadth, and there will be no caption contests. Ms. Postrel, I'm certain, agrees).
November 19, 2003
Found this site via Ilyka who found it on LeeAnn's site. Oops, guess that means I haven't visited LeeAnn yet today...best remedy that.
Bad, obnoxious baby names.
At any rate, the commentary on this bad dog is very, very, laugh-out-loud funny. So it's a can't miss.
Please Stop By and Leave a Message
Fellow blogger Andy of Poked and Parotid has a weblog about his experiences with his parotid gland tumor. His surgery's tomorrow, and then he'll be on the "other side," as I've learned we of the extracted parotid and/or parotid tumors are called.
Drop him a congratulatory e-mail tomorrow - facial surgery can be rough stuff, emotional and otherwise.
And, if you're scratching your head wondering what a parotid is, read my story.
KFC for Your Health
Uh, did you folks at Foote, Cone & Belding rent Crazy People and then twist the results a bit?
Reuters (and everyone else, really) has the scoop.
- Regulators at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are examining the validity of health claims made in advertisements for KFC's fried chicken, advertisements that the chain plans to pull on Friday.
An FTC spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the agency has begun looking into a complaint by health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest that calls the KFC ads deceptive and misleading.
It is the latest blow to a fast-food chain trying to fix disappointing sales and marketing messages that have failed to strike a chord with consumers. KFC's sales have fallen in 13 of the last 16 months and the company's management was recently overhauled.
The KFC television ads, which were touted in a press release last month titled "KFC sets the record straight," try to position fried chicken as a component of a balanced diet and as a healthier alternative to Burger King's Whopper sandwich.
You have a big tub of flour with herbs and spices in it. You have a bunch of chicken. You double-bread the chicken using the "method" (which I'll not divulge), and then you "rack" the chicken on a round basket to go into the Collectramatic. The chicken is immersed in oil (mostly likely trans fatty acids; the shortening was in liquid format as recent as 1994 - the last I can attest) for 14 to 17 minutes, depending on the number of chix in da cooker. Then, the chicken comes "up," and you open the pressure fryer (slowly, please, gently releasing pressure), lift the chicken up with a special hook, and place the hook in a position for the chicken to drain. Drain for a few minutes - preferably more than one. Voila - fried chicken.
Veritable picture of health, no? But let's look at that...healthier. Living...healthier than dead. Emphysema? Probably healthier than cancer-ridden. Gangrene? Healthier to have it in one toe rather than three. Healthier.
"Our ads simply set the record straight by providing consumers accurate information and facts about KFC's Original Recipe fried chicken and how it can be part of a balanced diet," said KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer. "However, we're not in a position to comment on FTC affairs."
One of the two ads at issue features a couple affirming their dedication to eating better--as the woman sets down a bucket of fried chicken. The ad notes that two pieces of its chicken breasts have less fat than a Whopper.
The second ad focuses on chicken as a low-carbohydrate, high-protein food fit for dieters trying to cut down on carbs.
Other fast-food chains, like McDonald's Corp., have had success by developing new, healthier options like salads.
The low-carb option cracks me up, too. Is there some fun small print mentioning that the "double-breaded chicken" probably isn't the best low carb fare in restaurant America? I'll bet there are instructions to remove the skin and all of the KFCness that makes KFC, well, KFC.
And the last sentence is the kicker - the part that adds maniacal to the laughter. Salad...fried chicken.
Nice comparison. And, hmm, I actually agree with the CSPI. Hard not to on this one.
I snarked on some Botox ads in Fitness magazines a few months back, but Big Arm Woman one-up's me with her witty and wry Botox commentary. Visit.
(Update...oops - I saw the TV ad and snarked on it, and then the Botox print ads were everywhere).
"This season, give yourself the gift of Botox cosmetic. Before all the holiday get-togethers and parties. Botoxilin blah-blah-blah...Give yourself the gift of Botox cosmetic."
I almost missed my light. Yes folks, injectable paralytic bacteria is now being hyped as the perfect little accessory to go with your new strappy heels and party dress. You too can look like an escapee from Madame Tussaud's in all of your holiday photos! And you can spend all day on Christmas assuring your family and friends that yes, you do really like the gift, it's just that the facial muscles responsible for smiling have all been temporarily rendered immobile!
Found a quiz via Brian.
Your soul is bound to the Fourth Totem, Solomon:
The Owl. Solomon appears as an azure feathered owl. He
embodies wisdom, judgement, reason, and
stability. He is associated with the color
azure, the season of autumn, and the element of
water. His downfall is farsightedness. You are most compatible with Ravens and Monkeys.
Which Animal Spirit Totem Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
He's a monkey. We're compatible.
November 18, 2003
Name Your Company
Steve Hall of Ad Rants points us to What Brand Are You, which was SUPPPOSED to be a joke. Well, y'know...
Here's what he has to say about it, and check out the site.
In a telling tribute to the vapid mentality of the advertising industry, marketers registered over 20 of 150 fake brand names from a web site poking fun at the ridiculousness of corporate re-branding. Created as a spoof by U.K. ad agency Design Conspiracy, the site, What Brand Are You, asked marketers to enter a set of brand attributes and then click a button to get an auto-generate a brand name. Rather than get the joke, over 20 marketers used the site to generate a brand name and then registered it as a real brand. Some of the spoof brand names that are now "real" are Amplifico, Integriti, Thinc and Winwin.
Incidentally, I'm ditto (fed it angelweave).
Wizbang Snap! Crackle! Pop! Spark!
Patriot Paradox is hosting a Blog Tournament. See this post for details. I'm judging for this one instead of writing.
November 17, 2003
Fast Food Nation, a Review
I finished reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser about two weeks ago. It's a quick read, but I wanted to think on it a while before writing.
I picked the book up at the San Francisco airport thinking it would rail on obesity and American eating habits. That's not exactly what I got, and for that I am pleased. Schlosser discusses a lot of things - from the early days of fast food (owning a restaurant...living the American dream) to shifting practices of mass producing french fries and cattle to an ugly portrait of the meatpacking industry and a foray into food-borne illness.
As I got past the first three chapters of the book, I was well aware that I was going to disagree with some to possibly many of Schlosser's premises and assertions - his choice of facts to present. He irritated me constantly by ascribing "liberal Democrat" to all things good and "conservative Republican" to all things bad.
But that's about ALL he did wrong from a sense of style. He saves his judgment until the final chapters (two...there's an additional chapter in the paperback, an afterword called the meaning of Mad Cow...wherein he actually calls himself on his behavior of stratifying things on a partisan level. I actually laughed).
My favorite part of the book had to do with Schlosser's visit to a flavoring lab. This snippet alone is worth reading the whole book, which you'll want to do anyway. One, it's cheap (note the Half.com link). Two, it's a good read by a good writer, regardless of your viewpoints. The things I gig Barbara Ehrenreich for are not present in this book. You can tell the way Schlosser leans because of his tone, but you're not slapped in the face - you're spared the preaching until the end - where it belongs.
I don't want to get too deeply into the guts of this book because I want you to read it. The things it's brought to the forefront in my mind are: "What should OSHA's role be in the workplace?" The importance of balance of power in dangerous industries - such as meatpacking. Schlosser asserts that the line speeds in slaughterhouses are such that danger of injury - often serious and possibly including death - are driven by demand for cheap burgers. I had an eye scrunched while I read this section, preferring to chew on the thought for a while...two weeks. I won't spoil this for you, but Schlosser's conclusion - his particular call to action - pleased me.
The other troubling thing is the author's stress of the importance of unions and the pressure (he paints) from corporations to keep the unions out. If there are industries where unions are highly important, I would have to say it would be those that offer the most dangerous jobs. While I'm not a union fan (look up my grocery store strike post), I remember having read Power and Powerlessness in grad school, and, when the unions were not corrupt, they were a force for good for a group of people who desperately needed such a force (highly uneducated, highly exploited). Problem is, as will surface with any group of people in which there is any sort of ill intent or greed: corruption.
That's another theme of Schlosser's book. He doesn't often mention union corruption (which, of course, is documented to be rampant), but he splatters the pages full of corporate misdeeds - often cited as legally punished. That certainly gets my eye - hard facts, poor immoral decisions, and punishment.
One last thing before I leave this - the NRO reviewed the book, and I, being me, was interested in what the reviewer had to say. I read the review twice and was actually offended. Did we read the same book, Mr. Kern? I found quite a bit of it, with my five years of fast food restaurant experience, to be fairly accurate. You call it McGarbage. While I agree that arguing by authority shouldn't really buy me any credibility in your eyes, it certainly validates my own opinion. I also didn't get the same tone from the book that Kern did - the "shock," but then again this book is on the heels of Barbara's, and so perhaps it's there but muted in my point of reference. Part of the Kern's review worth quoting, though, as I tend to agree:
Schlosser as Upton Sinclair: Fast Food Nation describes the meat industry in terms that make The Jungle read like a puff piece from the National Beef Council. He's probably right. Schlosser depicts a powerful industry benefiting from unfair laws and the shocking exploitation of desperate illegal immigrants. My solution: End corporate welfare and crack down on illegal immigrants. Schlossel's solution: Throw money at OSHA. It makes sense that OSHA should heal the beef industry, given its demonstrated skill at comforting cows.
Put the book on your wishlist. And switch to chicken instead of fast food hamburgers. Mark those words.
The Newspaper Wants Your Heartstrings
Matt O' Blackfive quotes a bit of a Chicago Tribune article about the deportation of illegal immigrants. It reads, however, more like a story of desperation and loss intended to make you decry "the system."
Twenty-six chosen, lucky, priveleged individuals are featured in Kelley's Cul-de-sac this week. I'm one of 'em. With luck and skill, I'll read all of these others this week!
Famous! Famous, I Say
Ah, so appropriate for Bonfire day. I am the _only_ hit on Yahoo for "naked women on mitsubishi eclipse."
Poor guy was sorely disappointed that the pic just turned out to be the "individualists" posing for the sake of art.
Still clothed after all these years,
Aurora called me at work from home. She's displeased that no one has commented about her pictures. Come on, people. Tell Aurora what a cute cat she is, or I'll hear ALL about it when I get home. And she probably won't allow me to post any more cute cate pictures, either. And that'll anger Dominique.
Same Idea, But I'm Just Not As Funny
Scrappleface touches on the Chewable Contraceptive idea.
(2003-11-17) -- The new chewable birth control pill approved by the FDA today will soon be marketed in the caricatured shapes of famous women like Kate Michelman, Senator Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton.
"We got the idea from the Flintstones vitamins," said an unnamed spokesman for Warner Chilcott, Inc., of Rockaway, N.J., the company that will market the pills for manufacturer Bristol Myers Squibb.
November 16, 2003
Relationships -- Patchwork
I'm preparing my entry here for this week's upcoming Kissing Booth.
I used to know a thing or two about the messes and pain in relationships. This poem is about opposites and the usual lack of understanding between the pair that may lead to a lot of miscomprehension and injured feelings. And then it fades, the relationship - neither party wanting to hurt the other, both knowing it can't last, still making gentle concessions until the final common thread snaps.
he's probably going to walk the dog
today. gonna gather selfhood in the woods.
i think the rain reddens his face
and hair. i'm sewing a quilt out of
pieced what and evers -- rusted change
i've stolen from his pockets. i put
lace on the edges and call him mine.
we talk occasionally maybe. leaves
turn and i'm left bare. please --
will he brush my hair after the rain
and call it his? give me the dog and
his leash. i step over dead trees.
once i liked the woods.
once he liked my hair. i washed his
until he smelled like me. he ran with
dogs -- with face to the rain. i held
too much trust in needles and thread --
slowly gave him back his change in pieces.
sticks. remnant stumps and floating logs.
i am brushfires seething red. i'd
burn somewhere besides my heart -- but
he'd rather trample on bedraggled. he's
part cold part wet and out of change.
today the dog ran home to me. stick
bedecked with tattered lace. we
played fetch and remembered rust.
New Blog Showcase
These week's vote is Collected Miscellany's An Interview with John Derbyshire.
Sunday Cat Blogging
Is this supposed to be a Friday thing? In the spirit of Pixy Misa, James Joyner, and Kevin Drum, here are some pictures of my cats. Not all of 'em, mind you, because I have five. But I'll get there eventually. (That cat in the left picture on Kevin's site is on my desktop at work, but a different picture).
Today is Aurora day. I have pictures of Galt and Ajax already on the blog.
November 15, 2003
You are mRNA. You're brilliant, full of important,
interesting information and you're a great
friend to the people you care about. You may
have sides to you that no one understands. But
while you understand more than most people,
you're only half-there most of the time.
Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Okay...that's accurate? Half where?
Found at One Little Victory
I visit stlbloggers, the collection of St. Louis area bloggers, a few times a day. This morning, I found that Arch Pundit's been attacked by an unsavory, and I thought I'd share part of the letter he received.
My skeptical mind, upon first reading, thought there was no way on EARTH that an intelligent person would craft and then send this letter. But, there's a post confirming authenticity a few posts above this. Make of it what you will.
Imagine my chagrin when I used a search engine to find commentary about myself, and there was your shallow, dilettante, asshole self, labeling me a "white supremacist."
Being the shallow, nigger-loving dilettante that you are, you probably DO consider niggers to be your equal (who am I to question this?): Yet, unlike you and your allies, I have an I.Q. in excess of 130, which grants me the ability to objectively evaluate the Great American Nigro (Africanus Criminalis.)
The nigro is 11.5 % of the U.S. population, yet he commits in excess of 55% of all felonies (although felonies are UNDER-represented in the nigro community, where observing the law is considered "acting White!") Moreover, he (or should I say she?)accounts for 48% of all ADC recipients in the U.S. We have spent over $7 TRILLION on "Urban Welfare Spending" since the mid-1960s, (black economists Thomas Sowell & Walter Williams) and the nigro is still as criminal, surly, lazy , violent and stupid as he/she ever was, while his illegitimacy rate is 80% nationwide, and over 90% in the "large urban areas."
One-a-Day Plus Contraception
Bristol-Myers will be marketing its chewable contraceptive!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators said on Friday they approved the first chewable oral contraceptive for women, a spearmint-flavored tablet called Ovcon 35.
New York-based Bristol-Myers will manufacture the product, and Warner Chilcott, a division of Northern Irish drug maker Galen Holdings Plc , will market it, the Food and Drug Administration said.
Ovcon 35 contains progestin and estrogen, the hormones used in standard birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, the FDA said.
The new pill may be swallowed whole or chewed and swallowed, the FDA said. Women who decide to chew the tablet should drink an 8-ounce glass of liquid immediately afterward so the full dose reaches the stomach, the FDA said.
Ovcon 35 is available in a 28-day regimen in which women take 21 active tablets followed by seven placebo tablets.
The drug's possible side effects are similar to those of other birth control pills, the FDA said. They include an increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, particularly for smokers.
November 14, 2003
I read this thing four times and then had to glance at the first paragraph to figure out WHAT THE HELL IT MEANT!
Chocolate Firm Eyes Diet Tips Amid Obesity Debate
Chocolate - mmmm.
Firm Eyes? Oh, like, you mean get rid of crow's feet?
Diet Tips? I give those.
Amid Obesity Debate? Yeah...
A leading British chocolate manufacturer said on Friday it may include diet tips on its product labels as sports stars and celebrities were criticized for promoting unhealthy food blamed for a sharp rise in child obesity.
Cadbury Schweppes, one of the world's biggest international beverage and confectionery companies, said it had not decided what wording would be used on the labels, aimed at its British market, but added it would not be a warning.
"It is true we are looking at a number of options to provide better labeling for the consumer in terms of understanding what a balanced diet is," a spokeswoman for the company told Reuters.
Cadbury announced the move as The Lancet medical journal called for a stop to stars endorsing unhealthy food and amid warnings from health experts that obesity among children is a time bomb waiting to explode.
"Celebrity endorsement of junk food has to be banned," The Lancet said in an editorial, adding to a growing chorus of criticism in Europe and North America that foods and sweets with high fat or sugar content are causing a huge increase in obesity among children.
BodyFlex and da FTC
I've finally done it - broken up the Health/Fitness/Nutrition category.
In today's news, the FTC says "uh, no" to Bodyflex, according to this snippet from About.com.
Think you can lose weight by simply breathing? Neither does the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has charged the marketers of BodyFlex with false advertising whose website and infomercials claim their 18-minute "workout" of deep breathing and stretching is more effective than a treadmill session and will melt 4-41 inches off in one week. The BodyFlex website has already been taken down, but you can see a cached version here.
The power of BodyFlex lies in how oxygen helps burn fat. With BodyFlex breathing you will supercharge your blood with fat-burning oxygen and you'll lose inches fast. So fast that BodyFlex guarantees you'll lose 4 to 14 inches across your six target areas in the first 7 days. That's the upper arms, upper abs, lower abs, waist, hips and thighs. Once you've learned the secret of BodyFlex breathing, the exercises are easy to follow and there are no complicated machines to put together. You can even do it all while sitting on your couch.
The Name Game
I'm hopefully a master of my namesake; I'd bet Brian is, too.
"A lot like like Boggle, but with numbers instead. Use your number sense and math skill to get high scores. Challenge yourself."
I'll report back when I know for sure. Those number things are sure harder than letters/words.
Smoking in the News
I started to blog some amusing conflicting tidbits found in the news the last three days about smoking. As I hit this page, though, of listings of articles about cigarettes and smoking, I changed my angle.
(Depending on when you get this, the emphasis of the page will likely change. I'm too lazy to take a screen shot).
Here's a sampling of headlines.
- target="_new">Study: High School Students Smoking Less
- Do cigarettes cause cancer? I'm not sure, says boss of sued tobacco firm (Probably not if you glue them together and use them as bookends)
- Tobacco chemical brain drug hope
- German smokers laugh off health warnings (The "warnings" are hilariously strange from an American perspective - worth a click)
- Smokers: Beware Bad Air
- Tobacco firms try back-door protest
- Smoking opponents generate new heat (Registration required - about a smoking ban in the works in Illinois)
- Restaurant employees seen as major risk group for cancer (Out of Finland)
Then, we have the conflicting stories from the UK and Finland about a, um, biased source - the former head of a tobacco company stating, naa, probably doesn't cause cancer, and the article that restaurant employees are a major risk group for cancer.
I'm looking for evidence that smoking is healthy, and the byproduct article about Parkinson's (the tobacco chemical brain drug hope).
Now, quickly, before I make my salads and get some exercise.
What's this mean? Well, all I need to know about smoking is not to do it. That's easy as a lifetime non-smoker, not even a puff. It's not so simple for others, of course. The activity killed my father-in-law before his 45th birthday (I believe I have the age right. I never met the man). It aided and abetted in my father's sudden heart attack death at 62. It's something I can't claim to understand.
I'm censoring myself (read: writing/striking this three times and tempering it each time) before I go off into passionate drivel about this issue, so you don't get the last three paragrphs I wrote. It can be summarized as "I don't want to breathe your dirty air, and so I don't visit." Off to make salads and exercise.
November 13, 2003
Robbery: A Product of Choice?
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - The Brazilian (news - web sites) woman with the most body piercings in the world -- 1,903 -- fears returning to her crime-ridden home country as she would attract so much attention she could be robbed.
The last time I went to Brazil, I had to wear a face mask because since I have a lot of jewelry (pierced to the skin), I fear being robbed or attacked," Elaine Davidson told Reuters from Edinburgh in Britain where she lives.
Brazil has one of the highest crime rates in the world.
Davidson, who has been outside her home country for 10 years, won an entry in this year's Guinness World Records book after starting to pierce herself four years ago. In Edinburgh she runs a Brazilian restaurant.
She considers feeling pain a motivating factor in her life and says she also walks on beds of nails, fire and bits of glass.
"I like pain, I love pain," she said, explaining that she now wants to surpass exceed 2,000 body piercings.
Her genitalia is the body part where she has the largest number of piercings -- 500 in all, externally and internally.
"It hurts in the chest as well," she said. "I had to take some out because of the silicone, the doctor asked."
I have four piercings - one in my left ear, and three in my right (the one with no feeling). I can't wear earrings, though, because of an adult-onset metal allergy. This woman would have more fun with her "pain" addiction if she had my condition.
I'm think I'll put a sign on the external wall of my cubicle that says "Normal."
Poor Typing and Pseudo Insightful Moments
Attach and Attack are only one letter different. Discuss.
Luna Bar Review
There are lots of fitness/nutrition/protein bars on the market today. One, Luna, made by Clif Bar, markets its product especially to women. Packed with soy protein (wahoo!), Luna bars also offer a large amount of folic acid, and, depending on the flavor/type, calcium and other important nutrients. They range from 170 to 180 calories, and they're great snacks.
Since I've tried them all except Chai Tea, Chocolate Peppermint Stick, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Orange Bliss, I thought I'd give a review.
I'll start with the negative. I just recently tried the two new flavors, Caramel Apple and Dulce de Leche. Uh, yuck! They taste imposed...too sweet with a bit of an aftertaste. If I'm hungry and it's the only healthy choice, yeah, I'd eat one. Both have some sort of strange icing on the bar. It's just too much.
Now - two bars "weigh in" at 170 calories; the rest are 180. The two at 170 are Sesame Raisin Crunch and Toasted Nuts and Cranberry. Both are great, and I often use these as cycling snacks (3/4 of one or so at each refueling stop). The reason? Nothing meltable, and that matters in extreme heat. Endorsed.
Of the remaining bars, 180 calories each, the top choices for me all include a bit of chocolate. It's the perfect amount of chocolate. You see it; you taste it, but it's really negligible. Those are Chocolate Pecan Pie, S'Mores, and Nutz Over Chocolate. These are not, because of the chocolate, bike friendly in temperatures nearing and above 80, but they make great afternoon or mid-morning snacks and can even serve as the occasional late breakfast.
So-so flavors? The Lemon Zest is too...zesty. Tropical Crisp was okay, but I wouldn't buy it if I had other choices. I've eaten so many of the Cherry Covered Chocolate ones that I'm tired of them, and Sweet Dreams left me craving more water to get rid of the cloying aftertaste (but otherwise good).
Now, the nutrition info. I'll use Nutz over Chocolate. Sorry you low carbers - you're likely going to rule these out at 24 grams of carbs for a 180 calorie serving. But check it out - all of the folate a woman needs, and 35% of the calcium. This is great for a person like me who doesn't eat much dairy.
Where can you get 'em? Well, many grocery stores will sell them, as will stores like GNC. I get them in bulk online from All Star Health, as this is the best I've found with pricing. I'd recommend the grocery store sampling method before ordering, as most people's taste buds are far less whacked than mine.
My personal favorites are Genisoy Extreme bars, though. That's a review for another day.
November 12, 2003
GTA IV - The Courtroom
And in entertainment news:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The creators of the video game series "Grand Theft Auto" want a federal judge to dismiss a $246 million lawsuit filed by the families of two people shot by teenagers.
Rockstar Games and its New York City-based parent, Take-Two Interactive Software, said the victims' families were trying to hold them liable "based on the expressive content of the video game."
Retailer Wal-Mart and marketer Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., are also named in the lawsuit.
Aaron Hamel, 45, was killed and Kimberly Bede, 19, was seriously wounded when their cars were hit June 25 by .22-caliber bullets while driving along Interstate 40.
Stepbrothers William Buckner, 16, and Joshua Buckner, 14, were sentenced in August to an indefinite term after pleading guilty in juvenile court to reckless homicide, endangerment and assault.
The boys told investigators they got the rifles from a locked room in their home and decided to randomly shoot at tractor-trailer rigs, just like in the video game "Grand Theft Auto III."
Your lawsuit is a disgrace, and it should not prevail. GTA III gave your murderous children only the idea of HOW; any media - a book, a TV show, a magazine - could've done that. A friend in the lunchroom TALKING about shooting at people driving down the interstate could have fulfilled the same function.
That "M" rating on the game? That stands for mature. But you wouldn't understand that. Blame always lies with "someone else," and there's no horrific realization on your part that your sons behaved like something less than animals.
8 Out of 10
Yes, a survey. According to CNN's Money section, 8 out of 10 of us want new jobs.
More than eight in 10 workers plan to look for a new job when the economy heats up, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Professionals. While there's a difference between looking for a new gig and actually jumping ship, that kind of number is "very, very high," says SHRP spokesman Frank Scanlon.
How did things get so bad?
To be sure, the economy hasn't helped. Cash-strapped employers have been cutting back on benefits like health care, paid vacations and retirement benefits.
Belt tightening is one thing; greed is another. In an era of Enron, mutual fund scandals and ludicrous CEO pay packages, employees know the difference, says Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of Monster.com.
"Companies behaving badly" have been all too common during the downturn, according to Taylor.
That 8 out of 10 - are you one of 'em?
November 11, 2003
A Public Service Announcement
I should split this category into Health, Fitness, and Nutrition categories. Look for those, uh, someday.
In the building where I work, there's a nutrition company, the name of which escapes me. The point I want to make, though, is that I was in there one day talking with one of the dieticians, and she showed me two models that they use to visually educate clients about the differences between fat and muscle. The models are made of plastic, each representing a pound of its respective material.
The muscle is very dense, of course - we all know that - muscle "weighs more than fat." The fat, aptly colored a sickly yellow, appears 1.5 times larger.
I'm going to state the obvious for a moment, so bear with me. Weight/resistance training builds muscle. If you "convert" (which is really a bad term because that's NOT what's occurring - in a pure sense, you're losing the fat and gaining the muscle) 10 pounds of fat to muscle, is your body composition going to change? Oh, you betcha it is.
Focus if you will on the next celebrity whose picture you see. Look at his/her arms, legs. Those arms and legs are built with the help of personal trainers. They're built with weight-bearing exercise. Weight training will not make you fat, ladies. And gentlemen, it will not bulk you up significantly unless you tailor your program to do that...and have the genetics to make it happen.
Why am I harping on this? Probably just because I can. I'm irritated with a lot of things diet and exercise these days - others' "gospels." Perhaps this should be a RANT. You decide. It's just disjointed ravings.
Everyone knows I don't approve of the Atkins diet. No, I never said you wouldn't lose weight on it. You likely will if you follow it, and there is a "healthy" way to do it. I cough a bit here because I disapprove of cutting out an entire food group as "bad" without medical reason to do so (allergies).
If you - that being the collective you - still insist low carb is the way to go, I'm going to send you to check out the South Beach diet, because it seems to be the lesser of all of the evils. Just don't take that "you can lose 8 - 13 pounds in two weeks" thing as good advice. You CAN, but should you?
Carbs. They give you energy. If you pick them right, they also fill nutritional requirements like, y'know FRUIT servings, fiber. Things "diets" would ask you to give up for a few weeks. I don't like the "jumpstart" idea because the psyche wants to believe such rapid and wonderful weight loss will continue at this astronomical rate when, in reality, there's just no way, and if it were to do so, you'd be starving yourself and obliterating muscle - not an attractive option.
Low carb "dieters" - please don't tell me that you agree that soda or spoonfuls of sugar is the same as my morning Kashi, which provides 10 g of fiber in a single serving. And that's before I add the dates and the blueberries/raspberries/cherries/blackberries - the fruit of the day. Uh, no.
Please don't diet, though, all of you folks carrying a few or a lot extra. Make changes in your lifestyle that will be permanent, and then consult with an expert - someone who guides people in this area for a living - about some changes you can make to embrace your new lifestyle. If you're not overweight, it still doesn't hurt to reevaluate your eating patterns. Are you eating the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits? Is the protein you consume lean enough? Sometimes having to watch your weight is a blessing because you're more attuned to how your body behaves. But that's for another day - "Smart choices you should make by or immediately after 30, habits you should cease or adopt because you're an 'adult'"
Is this helpful for anyone, or is it just me tilting at windmills? With dumbells attached to my arms.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you the United Nations Motto, as spoken by Kofi himself:
"We're United." [pause] "We're Nations."
"Four legs good, two legs bad?" [pause] "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others?"
[Looks bewildered - turns until he spots a League of Liberals member. Prepares to read from the teleprompter. Coughs.]
"We're not the United Way."
[Microphone Screeches. Tear forms in Kofi's eye.]
"We're the United Nations. Yeah, that's the motto. 'We're the United Nations.'"
[Music Swells. Lights fade.]
What's that Crackling?
Why, it's the Bonfire!
I was a week behind on noting moves in the Blogroll. I'm pleased to report that I have fixed two typos (Suburban Blight and Electric Venom). I think I just subconsciously wanted to be in Hawaii. Makes sense.
Robert Prather has moved his site to InsultsUnpunished.com, which means he probably won't be switching the blog name again.
And, Matthew Stinson put up a beautiful blog at MatthewStinson.com, so goodbye to Fearful Symmetry for now.
Now I just have to spiff up the sidebar - Amazon.com Wish list (when I display the link, it gives me a Wish list all right, but it ain't mine...), Corner of the Bar Babes logo, Front Line Voices, etc. I hope to accomplish that this week. Oh, and I promised Victor that I'd put up the Blues' logo, so that, too. I'm just so afraid I'll jinx 'em; they're playing so well.
Ah, the Gender Genie
Everyone's run some prose through the Gender Genie by now, no?
I've probably put 15 pieces through it of varying lengths and only ONCE has it ever categorized me as female. Bad Gender Genie.
Virginia Postrel has the best quote ever about this quirky little piece of code. I thought I'd share.
And I'm a heterosexual woman with raging hormones and an evolutionary-psychology-approved waist-hip ratio of 0.70. I'm not masculine; I just like definite articles. I'm not saying gender is socially constructed, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone look for dates based on Gender Genie scores. It's not just me and not just opinion journalists, D Magazine's restaurant critic, Nancy Nichols, reports scoring 100% male, while executive editor Tim Rogers says, "Turns out, I'm a chick."
I hadn't visited Scrappleface in about a week. Some great stuff this last week.
Wal-Mart Vendors Protest Chip-Tracking Illegal Workers
Al Gore Arrested, Detained at Guantanamo
Dean Ditches Democrats, Joins GOP
Democrats Blame Bush for Lunar Eclipse
Judge Terminates Unwanted Law in First Trimester
So there's some morning reading.
November 10, 2003
Nic at Ships, Shoes, and Sealing Wax has a lovely post about the storied sunken ship.
Blog Chicks Pix
James Joyner is linking to many of my body parts.
Elbow shot, anyone?
November 09, 2003
A sign in Stephen Lanzalotta's bakery reads, "Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano." In Italian, that means, "Without bread everyone's an orphan."
But fewer customers are buying his European-style breads and pastries these days — thanks to the Atkins diet, many regulars are cutting back on carbohydrates. Lanzalotta says the low-carb diet has contributed to an estimated 40 percent drop in business at his shop, Sophia's.
Some customers have even stopped by to apologize.
Baaaa! Bread bad. Baaaaa!
The National Bread Leadership Council, which says 40 percent of Americans are eating less bread than a year ago, has scheduled what it calls a summit this month in Rhode Island focusing in part on low-carb diets and how to educate the public that breaking bread is still part of a healthy lifestyle.
"It's too bad that we just can't eat all foods in moderation. But no, we have to do something dramatic all the time," said Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council and a registered dietician, referring to the Atkins diet. "We have to look for this magic bullet."
What Round Is This Anyway?
The headline is "Pam wants to talk chicken but KFC won’t bite"
Good for KFC. Pamela Anderson as a chicken expert? Please!
“Pam Anderson has been trying to meet with Novak because she cares passionately about the well-being of chickens,” says a source. “Pam objects to things like how KFC scalds live chickens to de-feather them, but Novak won’t even take her calls.” Now, Anderson, an active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, will call for a boycott of KFC on her weekly radio show.
Because of the stalemate, says the source, PETA is stepping up its war with KFC. “If they won’t meet with us, we’re taking our case to the children.” The source says that PETA will start handing out what they’re calling “Buckets of Blood” in front KFC outlets across the country. “They’ll look like KFC’s buckets of chicken, and will contain things like mutilated, gory chickens,” says the source. “We gave kids ‘Unhappy Meals’ at McDonald’s and Burger King crowns with animals impaled on the points when they wouldn’t meet with us. After those kids started screaming, both McDonald’s and Burger King got reasonable.”
I can't wait for the pictures.
Steve Hall of adrants finds some strange things. Today's evidence is the "no smoking" bra.
Triumph International, a Swiss-based underwear maker, has developed a bra which it claims helps women quit smoking with embedded perfume capsules that react with cigarette smoke making it unpleasant smelling. The capsules contain lavender which has a sedative property as well as jasmine which alters the taste of cigarettes. The bra is also treated with liquid titanium to break down cigarette smoke.
New Blog Showcase
Voting again in the New Blog Showcase, as I do every week.
I have three this week.
- I Pray Daily. Am I an Extremist? Likely no.
- Project Trinity 101 - Whoa, dude.
- A Halloween Story - It'll cook your goose.
Yes, I received SPAM with my Hotmail account. Shocking, no?
I actually opened this one, and it makes good blog fodder. Sit on the porch step (preferably in a virtual warm climate), and read along with me.
I bring you the 911 Review.
Here's what I "learned":
- Osama is a Patsy!
- Charges brought down the Twin Towers!
- There's an Ongoing Coverup!
- Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel!
Psst...and Harvey, check out this Bad Money.
Too bad I'm no longer a grad student. I had a really good time with a militia rhetoric pamphlet once. This'd make for a longer paper.
November 08, 2003
Ozark Fitness, Springfield, MO
Whenever I'm in a different city, I find a gym for the day. Today, it was Ozark Fitness, which is about a mile from my mother's house.
Which can most adequately be called a Meat/Meet Market. While working my chest in the free weights area today, I saw this woman who was in her 40s, perfect bod, matching outfit, lifting small weights, and flirting with men of different shapes, ages, and sizes. Her top half was highly surgically altered (as women that thin are not endowed naturally with canteloupes). It was amusing. The "gentlemen" were just eating this up.
I got my share of onlookers, too, which I'm not used to. Most obviously was my work on the leg press. I dress for utility at the gym - no little "outfits," and I was badly in need of a shower for aesthetic purposes (hair!). Still, they stare. Not used to that. Gawkers! Turn away, and get back to your lifting.
People of all shapes and sizes in this gym, and that's good. There's even a separate "ladies'" gym, which I think is funny. The machines are all calibrated so that they max out with pretty low weights. I guess this makes women feel stronger because they use more plates (5 pounders)? I coulda maxed out the thigh machine but, naaaa.
Exercising in different gyms keeps everything more interesting, and, like most things, you're glad to be back home working in your own gym. I don't see any gawkers there (gawking at me or others, really) - most people in the free weights, Hammer machines area are pretty intent on their exercises, which I prefer.
November 07, 2003
Some Friday Good News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits plunged last week to a level not seen since before the 2001 recession, the government said on Thursday, fueling hopes a long slide in employment had ended.
The magnitude of the drop in jobless claims surprised economists, who expected only a slight drop from a week-earlier level that had been boosted by a grocery store strike in California.
A department spokesman said problems with adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations could have been a factor.
"Every week we encourage (looking at) the four-week average. This is certainly one of those weeks," he said.
The four-week average, which smoothes weekly volatility to present a clearer picture of labor-market trends, fell 10,000 to 380,000 last week, its lowest level since March 2001.
Some analysts said the latest data suggested a report on October employment the government is set to release on Friday may show even a larger gain in payrolls than the 58,000 that economists on Wall Street had been expecting.
A Woofer's Debacle
Varg the police dog ignored his assignment. And he paid the price.
OSLO, Norway - When Varg the police dog was sent into a candy factory to track down two intruders, his sense of taste got the better of his sense of duty. The German Shepherd nearly ate himself sick.
Leif Berglund, of the police in the central Norway city of Trondheim, on Thursday said police were called to the Nidar candy factory after seven 13 -to 15-year-olds were found helping themselves to candy after they broke in.
Five surrendered at once, but two ran away. So police sent Varg to follow their trail. What he found was the trail of candy they left behind, as well as more candy in the building.
"He helped himself greedily," said Berglund. He said he was so full of candy "that we had to immediately transfer him to a more urgent assignment" on the lawn outside the building.
Poor dog. I'm blogging this because of the tongue-in-cheek "urgent assignment."
What a euphemism!
November 06, 2003
I Said I'd Write
But I didn't say it wouldn't be inane. I'm afraid all I have the gumption for is a couple of short paragraphs. So, on with it.
My life's been strangely non-routine for two weeks. First, there was the trip, during which I got next to no exercise. Then, I returned and thought I'd use my hiatus to my advantage by lifting heavy. By doing so, I pulled a muscle or strained my neck on Saturday.
So no real lifting - just light weights until tonight (which was almost normal), and very little cardiovascular work. This combination makes me a bit edgy and quite a bit out of sorts. I hooked the bike to the trainer and put in about half an hour this evening while watching the hockey game. It'll all be okay. But this whole "out of sorts" thing has left me out of words, too. Not good.
No linking even. Tomorrow? Ugh.
I found this via Kelley of Suburban Blight. Thought I'd answer this list myself since I seem to be both boring lately and in a writing slump.
1. Say her age without hesitation.
All of the time. I'll show you my gray hairs, too.
2. Celebrate each birthday.
Well, of course!
3. Take better care of her body than she does her house.
Got this one down. My poor house suffers for it.
4. Do something that really scares her, just because it does.
Riding my bike on Olive when I'm just a couple of months past learning the clippy shoe thingees. Yep.
5. Stop waiting on her children.
My children meow.
6. If she`s still chauffeuring kids around, seize control of the radio.
7. Be able to name her senators and congressman.
Hmm - I think I'm missing one. Fortunately, I know the website of how to find them, so hopefully that counts for something.
9. Know the difference between a stock and a mutual fund.
Not a problem. So many similarities, though - losing money...
10. Insist that doctors treat her with respect.
Got that one covered early. Lots of experience.
11. Stop smiling when she doesn`t feel like smiling.
Geez, I learned that at like 16.
12. Worship and obey her instincts.
13. Drive a car she really likes.
1999 Mitsubishi Eclispe - big dog spoiler. Bright red. Covered.
14. Do something charitable that nobody knows about.
I'm not sure that the NOBODY point is covered...no, wait, it is.
15. Stop comparing herself to fashion models.
What are those again? Fitness models - yeah, okay, I should quit that because I look like the before of a Mesotech commercial when I make that comparison.
16. Get angry when it`s appropriate and not apologize.
17. Distance herself from friends who take but don`t give.
Done. Wait, do I have friends?
18. Stay up late on occasion just to remember how it feels.
I probably have to schedule this one.
19. Decide that false modesty is tiresome.
20. Ignore people who enjoy putting others down.
21. Forgive her parents for their shortcomings.
My parents have shortcomings?
22. Forgive herself for past mistakes.
Mistakes are just life shapers - regret nothing so long as you don't repeat the bad stuff...especially if you're happy where you are today.
23. Know exactly how much money her family has in savings.
Almost to the penny.
24. Make sure her name is attached to all major assets.
25. Quit deciding what she`ll do when she grows up.
Oh, ouch. That's a tough one. Can I retire when I grow up?
26. Floss regularly.
Have to. How else would I get the blackberry seeds out of my teeth?
27. Stop studying her face for new wrinkles.
What're wrinkles again?
28. Resist the urge to buy any face cream with the word "miracle" in the ad.
Is face cream sunscreen? No, wait, it's acne medicine, right?
29. Have the world`s most com- fortable or luxurious pajamas.
Oh yeah. Victoria's Secret.
30. Cease trying to please everyone. Abraham Lincoln was wrong. It may be possible to please all the people all the time, but you will kill yourself in the process.
I think I got over this pretty young. But not at work.
31. Master the art of being completely still.
That balance thing - I know.
32. Reconnect with siblings. Friends come and go but siblings are forever.
33. Take up a sport she thought she was too old for.
AGAIN? What now?
34. trace of embarrassment.
I missed something here.
35. Know how to talk to an auto mechanic.
Uh oh - schedule that, Heather.
36. Pick the household chore she hates the most and assign it to someone else.
Yeah, cats - clean the toilets.
37. Buy something extravagant just because she wants it.
Do this too often.
38. Discard clothes that don`t fit. (You will probably never be, say, a size 6 again, and it`s okay.)
5 bags donated earlier this year.
39. Feel free to express an unpopular opinion.
I'd rather keep most of those to myself. Unless I feel strongly, of course.
40. Know how much life insurance she has.
Probably not enough.
41. Be comfortable confronting authority.
I fought the law, and the...law won. I probably fit this bill.
42. Stop saying yes when she wants to say no.
Done - long, long ago.
43. Be kind to her joints.
Yep - stretch. Luxurious baths. Keep the muscle around them strong.
44. Have a kitchen she enjoys cooking in.
Eh, not bad. I could use one of those island thingees.
45. Teach her husband to cook so if she should die first he doesn`t spend his remaining days eating tuna out of a can.
He can grill! And microwave!
46. Correct people who tell her that she looks good for her age by saying "This is what 50 looks like."
I have to wait a while for this one.
47. Take up an artistic pursuit such as painting or playing the piano without feeling silly about it.
Why would I feel silly. Okay - knitting MIGHT make me feel silly.
48. Boycott movies in which a 60-year-old actor romances a 21-year-old actress (just on principle).
If you want to - it should say.
49. Learn to love Jane Austen
Can I just watch the movies?
50. Give up the notion of being a "good girl" because she`s not a girl anymore.
All in all, an interesting list. The thing that has me most stymied is what my next sport's gonna be...
November 05, 2003
Letter of the Day is D
Were it not so late (past 10), I'd offer some D linkage. As it stands, though, I think I'll just read Kate's.
<directionless> Oh, and I promise to actually WRITE something tomorrow. I cheered Brian as he put together my trainer this evening. And then, of course, I had to try it out, strained neck and all (ow ow ow), so that's where the evening went. Oh, and more of that clothes shopping thing. Pleh.</directionless>
Not my writing today. I found two linkworthy PETA items, though, so here you go.
1) Doggie immobilization.
2) PWEETA (thanks to Little Tiny Lies).
Hey, all you Wisconsin bloggers - any of you live in any of these cities?
Found by coworker and friend Ted Eull.
Visit Wizbang! Go twice!
Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers
Well, okay, thankfully, this is not THAT long nor is it THAT obnoxious. And making fun of Steve Ballmer is just so...necessary.
Found via samaBlog.
November 04, 2003
Passing the Links
Not feeling so well today, and I have absolutely nothing to impart to the readership beyond these few words.
Hey, there's another blogger in the family. Visit him - he did enough for both of us. He even used the phrase "can of eminent domain." How can you miss that?
See you tomorrow.
November 03, 2003
Chief Wiggles and Toys
I'm sure everyone knows about this and many of you have contributed in different ways, but Chief Wiggles is distributing toys in Iraq.
I've seen all sorts of comments about this, notably "so, do all of you people give money to Toys for Tots for American kids" to which I can answer, about $100 a year, every year.
Today, via Flame Turns Blue, I learned that NEWSWEEK in an online article smacked down the good Chief. And an article in the Weekly Standard gave a nice rebuttal. Go visit and see what I'm talking about.
Ode To Glenn Reynolds
What, you want ME to write a poem, Alliance. Well, okay! (Obnoxiousness and bad poetry warning.)
Ode To Glenn Reynolds
If only I
could summon nimble
words to pluck away thyne pups
before you siphon vitals from their wares.
A listless sigh escapes its
sound. It queries not a dogged
paw - a fading yelp.
Clouded sky erupts!
A lightning bolt askew
might frighten off a gnu
and separate your pup from you
(and leave you shaking sad and blue)
So true. So...true.
Still now. The blender whirs its final sound.
A rapture grasp'd in canine breath.
Escapes his sure intended death.
The blender now holds crystal meth?
Nay, a false alarm most fit to
stop a fiendish scam - exposed
this lawyer as a man whose penguins
were his biggest fan. Who
blends your puppies 'cause he can.
So on this chosen solemn date let
InstaPundit's newest fate be
Something dressed in utter hate (for
Father Time is drawing late). Such wrath'd
befall a solemn state whose blighted
fortress shared its fate and
Richard Simmons watched his weight
(For surely you must not berate the
kindred folks who guard your gate)
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!.
Uh, I think I'm done.
November 02, 2003
Woven Web #2 - Links Out of Control
I'm sorta caught up with all of you. And here I prove it. I've been reading. And it may not be a Sac, but it's something.
Saving the Family Dog...but at a price. I'd risk it for my cats. From Single Southern Guy.
The Fat Guy defines how immense the fires really are, uh, were..
Alpha Patriot talks forests and liberals, oh my, oh my.
Cori Dauber from the Volokh Conspiracy talks about The Tragedy Template.
Romulus talks about the Week of Fire
Matthew J. Stinson (you know him from A Fearful Symmetry) discusses Forest Management. Check out his personal page, too.
Sandra Day O'Connor
Ith reminds Justice O'Connor what her duties are.
Ravenwood reminds her, too.
DONALD LUSKIN v. ATRIOS?
The first I saw of this issue, by John Cole of Balloon-Juice.
Thoughts on the anonymity veil and some of the givens, by Lawrence Simmons of Amish Tech Support.
Snippet by Arguing with Signposts about the same issue.
A humorous take on Luskin from Tom Burka.
Pejman has a few things to say about it from the legal perspective.
Jon at QandO calls for Luskin's admission of wrongdoing.
Allen B. West issue
Matt from Blackfive discusses West at length.
Baldilocks weighs in with Military Intelligence.
And Serenity very civilly disagrees with Blackfive.
Dissing Ted Rall
Carl Heppenstall gets a few words in edgewise regarding Rall's column about the Republican National Convention.
Michele punches on Ted Rall again. Can't say I blame her. He wears a target.
Interested-Participant talks beards. Beards creep me out.
Mike Courtney: On Cows and Porn.
James from Outside the Beltway - the notorious babe o' blogosphere linker - tells us alllll about how it is, Naomi Wolf be damned.
No Theme A'tall
Harvey of Bad Money brings you autographed money. Hee haw.
Only one, Kevin?
Steve Hall freaks us out with that Tammy Faye pic. Yikes!
Chris Lawrence discusses top blogs and preferences.
Spoons talks about black migration southward. Interesting, and something I'd not heard/read.
Hans snarks on corporate policy and Halloween.
Allison: Give me Pizza or Give me School?
Also Allison, Israel trumps Iran and North Korea in threat factor. Bizarre.
Lee at See the Donkey has a wonderful post about Japan.
Meryl Yourish brings us Catblogging! Meow, Tig.
Owen brings us the binary clock.
The Smash household gets a woofer!
Big Arm Woman is confused by the gender genie. I am, too. It's pegged me as male all but once.
Arthur Silber dissects the reasons behind CBS's edits on its Reagans miniseries.
Susanna defines resume for those who might replace her in her current (but not for long) employment.
Yoohoo! Allah! I'm over HERE.
TheYeti talks business.
Politics? Hate 'em - on One Little Victory.
Dean Esmay teaches us about Levant.
Free Links! Oh, and don't forget snark love.
In a topic near to my own employment, Deb of Write Lightning talks outsourcing.
Aaron from Free Will reminds us of Despair.com by pointing out the new demotivational posters. Priceless.
Max Jacob on "Inventions."
Rethinking Juice. You?
I best call this a parable, from VodkaPundit. Aaah, Oppression. Styled by Ilyka Damen.
More Adventures of the Rumsfeld Strangler.
Kelly from The Patriette furthervilifies Ted Kennedy.
Robert Prather hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. Cha-ching!
Quiz results confuse Trey Givens. Don't worry - it'll all be normal in the morning, Trey!
JustOneMinute declares the letter of the day to be P. Kinda.
Michael Williams admits his age, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. Like, college-aged kids and conservative values.
The Sophorist reminds St. Louis American readers that there is a Republican Party.
Because we all need a touch of optimism, Dana of Note-It Posts talks about the advantages of pregnancy in winter.
Physics Geek gives us song titles in Latin.
PsychoSoph gives us 13 ways to ward of Halloween holiday pounds, but you're gonna have to go looking for them b/c permalinks are Blogsplatted. Yick.
The Dissident Frogman discusses peace and hate in the Middle East.
Scott Ott: This just in - Head Start Reform.
All Around Munuviana
Ah, yes, it is late in the weekend, but here begins the list of links.
A squinting Roo!
And Roo Jokes!
Ladies! Don't be late!
Whoppers and Football
Pfffft! You were gone!
Paranoia! (Brian style).
On a more serious note, Daniel talks health insurance.
And he interviews Jen!
Helen shares a similar experience. We're scar sisters.
Bunnies for ASPCA.
Michael Bolton? (It's not an Office Space reference).
Mookie details some good grades.
Susie's a poet!
Victor calls Jen's bluff
Random Google Junket!
So, tell us about the Nigerans, Simon.
The amazing musings of Socrates.
Mime your own business on Halloween
Yet another reminder that beards creep me out.
Holding Out for a Hero against a troll.
Quick, but linked.
Netflix, CycleOps, and The Plan
I joined Netflix yesterday. Why, you ask? I mean, it makes no sense. I barely acknowledge the television. Here's the answer.
Magneto 9004. It will turn my bike into an exercise bike. And I can stomach a couple of hours on the bike a few times a week if I've got a movie to watch or a hockey game to spectate (or yell at).
So, the not-so-surreptitious plan is to train all winter in hopes of raising my speed closer to the level of these guys.
Training would commence today were it not for the fact that I strained my neck while lifting yesterday. Everything should be back to normal within 3 more days, I hope. I've been icing it at the recommendation of a trainer friend. It's kinda funny, too. The best (read: most comfortable) solution to the problem of how to ice one's own neck is solved by a frozen haddock filet. Ten minutes of icing (lying on the fish filet), and then ten minutes off. Repeat. Refreeze haddock.
Works like a charm. Wine also helps me to forget that my neck aches.
I have just discovered All Consuming because I received a vistor from it.
Oooh! Aah! I think I'll enjoy this very much. My next two books to review are Ultimate Fitness by Gina Kolata and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the Schlosser book and will likely review it first. I picked it up as a whim at the airport in San Francisco for my return trip, and I've been riveted ever since. I should complete it during the week.
Go check out All Consuming - very cool.
New Blog Showcase
There are a lot of worthy posts yet again this week, but I found one to be above the others, and here it is.
I found THREE marathon news items of note today, so let this heretoafter be known as the "Marathon" post. Here, a sponsor.
One: This is what you call one fast chickee. She runs about the same pace as I cycle (on a slow day where I'm yawning anyway).
NEW YORK - Kenyans again ruled the New York City Marathon on Sunday, with Margaret Okayo smashing the course record and Martin Lel winning his first marathon ever.
Okayo won the New York race for the second time, dropping to her knees and kissing the ground after crossing the line in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 31 seconds. She shattered her 2001 course record by nearly two minutes.
Reigning world champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya was second among the women in 2:23:04, followed by Lornah Kiplagat, a native Kenyan who became a Dutch citizen this year, in 2:23:43. They also beat the previous course record.
"I didn't know I was going to break my own record, but I was just trying to do my best," Okayo said.
Two: Sheer craziness!
NEW YORK - Sunday's New York Marathon will be the seventh one in seven days — on seven continents — for two British adventurers.
Before coming to New York, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes — cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph — and his running partner, Michael Stroud, ran an overnight marathon past Egypt's ancient pyramids and through Cairo streets.
Fiennes ran in support of the Women for Peace International, an organization chaired by Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak, and the People to People initiative, which promotes international peace, according to a press statement.
The pair had already completed marathons in London, Singapore, Chile, the Falkland Islands and Australia.
Each 26-mile run had to be completed within six hours so the pair could remain on schedule, Stroud told reporters Wednesday in Sydney, Australia.
Three: He did it. With only eight weeks of training. Commendable and a bit daft, but for a good cause. Nice publicity stunt, too. Anyone making fun of him want to give it a shot? Then be quiet. If I were training for a marathon, I'd train for at least a year. I'm only a so-so endurance athlete, though, and running ain't my thing.
Running on a bum right knee and just two months of training, hip-hop entrepreneur Sean "P. Diddy" Combs completed the New York City Marathon on Sunday in just under four hours and raised $2 million for children, double the amount he planned.
"Never in my life have I ever experienced anything as crazy as this," Combs said at a news conference.
The producer-rapper, formerly known as Puff Daddy (news - web sites) and Puffy, decided in September to run his first marathon.
As he crossed the finish line in Central Park in 3:58:22, Combs raised his arms in triumph. He took a few more steps, then leaned over to catch his breath. Bags of ice were placed on his neck.
Combs — known on the course simply as No. 30,792 — kept a respectable pace of an eight- to nine-minute miles for much of the race. He ran in sunglasses, his hair in a closely cropped mohawk and a breathing strip across his nose. He was accompanied by police officers and at least one of his employees.
"I feel great. I feel strong," Combs told NBC Sports during the race's first hour. "We're right on pace. I'm not going to go out too hard. I'm going to finish strong."
He was troubled by cramps that caused him to walk a few steps. He said he drew support from a TV reporter covering the race who ran with him, as well as from cheering children in Harlem.
"I definitely wanted to stop," he said. "This is definitely a life-changing experience for me because I did not stop."
I have two responses to this.
One is horribly snarky and can be summed up in one sentence: "But have you stopped buying cigarettes before food?"
The second is the real response - what's the best way to fix this?
- Despite the nation's struggle with obesity, the Agriculture Department says more and more American families are hungry or unsure whether they can afford to buy food.
Some 12 million families last year worried they didn't have enough money to buy food, and 32 percent of them actually experienced someone going hungry at one time or another, said a USDA report released Friday.
Obviously, it is a problem, though.
Some 34.6 million Americans were living in poverty last year — 1.7 million more than in 2001, according to the Census Bureau.
Hunger seems like an unlikely problem in a country where nearly 65 percent of adults and 13 percent of children are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites).
Barbara Laraia, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said hunger and obesity can coexist because many hungry families buy high-calorie foods that are low in nutrients.
"They're dependent on foods that are going to make their bellies feel full, rather than on nutrients," Laraia said. "The diet is compromised."
Is there a concentration of the hungry people in cities? In rural areas? In one state or another? These are important things to know before calling to the public and/or government to address the issue.
Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 5
And this is it - the end.
Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.
Part Four is located here
Recovery is supposed to be the easy part after an experience such as what I've outlined, but there was little more than a "Phew, it's over" initially. After the final radiation treatment, I realized that within three days I really didn't feel any better. I was still dropping weight when I should not have been. I was still fatigued and "sunburned."
I forgot to mention last post that the other side effect I experienced was some hair loss. Everything in the radiation field vanished in unsightly clumps during weeks three and four. I had long enough hair to cover the missing hair in most circumstances, but for work I had to secure my hair back. This led to some creative coiffures (to say the least). Remember those banana clips from the 80s? I would secure my hair with one of those, and then pull the longer hair out over the missing (and the newly showing tattoos that were in the hairline), and it ALMOST looked normal. Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to be treated to my unrevised scar at the drive-through. KFC patrons of almost 12 years ago, I'm sorry about that. Kinda.
Another thing about radiation - after a while, you can smell it. At first I thought I smelled the radiation itself, and then, after a while, I was fairly sure I was smelling my skin burn. I explained this to a boyfriend years later, and he said that I was smelling ozone, a byproduct of the process. Who knows, really, and I'm not sure it's important, but it's a very distinct smell. And I cannot STAND to have my head immobilized. I didn't enter this affair with claustrophobia, but I left it with a twinge.
But what happens when you're healing is almost worse than the radiation because it's mental. You start to question everything. Did that really happen to me? No, really, did it? Was it that bad - as bad as I remember? Can I really call that "cancer?"
And then the guilt. Remembering the man with no nose and the little cosmetic "tent" to cover it. Remembering some of the people I met in the waiting room for radiation. One man was going in at the same time for lung cancer radiation. He and his female companion - presumably his wife - still smoked. And it was obvious that they smoked immediately before the appointment, as they smelled hideous. I wanted to smack these people and then shake them until their eyes wobbled. Hello, here's the clue phone. Take the call. YOUR BODY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. It's merely a machine. And machines break down. If you don't maintain them, they may fall apart, and, the unspoken part about this is that when the machines fall apart, there ain't no fixing the computer therein. You MUST MAINTAIN. Otherwise, why waste the money on radiation. Just go home and smoke and die.
And then I was angry (okay, I was probably a bit angry the whole way through but too exhausted to notice). I was angry at all of those people who failed to take care of themselves but faced no ramifications for their actions. I was angry at all of the purported "friends" I had who didn't bother to call or write, even though they were in the same city. I was angry with people who had normal problems like break-ups and failing grades.
I was envious. My mother was teaching, and she had all of these people who were gushing wonderful support in her general direction. Cards, letters, phone calls, I had a big wonking scar, a peeling face, and a Nintendo with which to wile away the days while I was regaining strength. Whoop-di-damned-do. If I let myself, I can still be quite bitter.
And then I was panicked and depressed. Yes, strangely, the recovery part of this whole mess was indeed the worst. Who was I? Had I changed? Could I even remember who I was before this whole ordeal? As the taste buds came back, I began to widen my palette. Potato chips and Doritos were soon all right - within about three weeks (a veritable array of health food, no?) And with eating myself out of starvation mode, I gained weight. What woman wants to gain weight? Not this one, even when her body was borderline emaciated. What IS a body image when the mind's as messed as mine was. I was too weak to really exercise, and I was gaining at a rate of a couple of pounds a week.
At about five weeks past the last date of radiation, I had my first "normal" experience with food. We were sitting in a restaurant in Florida, and I suspected that I would soon be able to taste things normally, so I asked for an appetizer of mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara. And, yes, the appetizer tasted normal. A sign of true recovery.
Eventually, I returned to work at KFC - probably just a bit before this. I worked from the end of March through the long dull summer, and I returned to marching band and classes in August. I'd been practicing my trumpet as best I could from late March on through, and with the help of some fake saliva when trumpet needs became overly intense, I was able to play fairly well. I have never regained the tightness of embouchure that produces an exemplary brass instrument tone, but the fluidity of my tongue and other important parts in playing an instrument was actually increased now that it was unhindered by the gargantuan tumor. Fake saliva kinda tastes like the yeast in bread dough. You get used to it.
In December of 1992, I had plastic surgery to reduce the surface area of the scar. This was my mother's idea, and it was one of the wisest decisions of my adult life. I came out of the surgery wearing steri strips, no stitches. Within two weeks, even though the area was still angry, there was a marked difference. Eleven years later, the thing is about a quarter to half the width that it was, and it no longer protrudes. Instead, it lies in the crease of my neck. I wear my hair up probably half the time - always at the gym. I don't think many people notice.
There are other physical deformities and issues that remain from having one side of my face cut open and laid across the other side. I have a dent where the gland was removed - a divot. If you catch me from the proper angle in a photograph, this is pretty apparent. My two ears are different, also. One, the left (normal side) is quite a bit longer than the other. And, about a year ago, I had to have most of the teeth on my right side "appended to" because of the changes in chewing I've adapted over these years to compensate for the changes in my facial structure. It's amazing that the dentist can do this - it's completely changed my bite. And it'll likely have to be done again at some point. On one tooth, I had worn all the way through the enamel with the course of normal use.
With some time, I began to see myself as normal, which is a large step in the emotional recovery. Most of the anger went away when I was able to busy myself with classes and work and "normal" activities. Romance and other early 20s life experiences became a part of my life.
And the years passed.
I hope I'm a better person because of what I've been throughm and I also hope that I can help others who have the same fears, the same anger, and the same scars. But you never really know - no experience is the same.
I did this for me because I've wanted to write it for some time now. Thank you for reading.