Monday, December 19, 2005

Heck the Dolls with Hows of Bolly falalalala, la lalala

See what cold medicine does to you?
 
I managed to sleep without if for 4 whole hours last night - the first time in 2 weeks. Which means my system should just be getting better and therefore primed to catch the next nasty bug when we hit the germ-ridden skies on Friday morning.
 
Santa brought an early Christmas present this weekend - a Roomba!  I've been dying to get my very own robovac for a few years now.  Sunday Curt and I spent alternately entertaining the Critter, bemoaning the amount of mucus the human head can produce, coughing up various parts of lung tissue, and cheering on the little red wonder:  "Go Roomba, Go!  Get that Cheerio!  Yay - he got it, he got it!!  Sucked it right out of the corner!!"   Now if the manufacturer could just modify their Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit to tackle poopy diapers we'd be in heaven....
 
Another Critter mystery solved this weekend.... Duncan had unexplicably & suddenly started shaking his head back and forth rapidly at us last week.  He was happy while doing it - was not a sign of frustration, and even though we've been telling him "No!"  more frequently lately, hadn't really been accompanying that word with it's appropriate head gesture so could not, for the life of us (nor that of his daycare teacher) figure out where he'd picked up the habit.  We feared it was a seizure of some sort brought on, no doubt by Curt's tendency to keep letting him fall of the furniture*.   Then, Sat. night we had dinner at Dad's and as soon as Duncan saw my grandmother, started shaking his head and smiling like a maniac.  She promptly picked him up and said "See?  He wants an Eskimo Kiss!  We had a ball doing that last weekend (when they were babysitting while we were packing for the upcoming move).  We'd rub noses and he'd giggle out loud and do it over and over again!"  Then she demonstrated and sent our darling boy into hysterics.
 
Duh!  What kind of idiot parents are we not to recognize the universal Eskimo Kiss signal? We're such failures.
 
*True conversation from this weekend: "See honey, this is why I strap the boy into the diaper changer when I change a poopy diaper."
"I'd have been OK if the wipes were on the side of the bed where they were supposed to be!"
"What do they call it when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result?"
"Optimism?"
"You're doing this just to get out of changing poopy diapers, aren't you?"
 
No worries, folks - we've got a family full of healthcare professionals and very thickly padded carpet. The boy is fine (9 months wellcheck was last week!).  Aside from delusions of Eskimo heritage, that is. If he starts craving whale blubber I'll worry.


Posting will likely be sporadic to nonexistent the next 2-3 weeks due to travel and moving of house. Hope your holidays, whatever they may be are happy and filled with joy. Cyber Eskimo Kisses to all....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Might Christian of ya' Pardner....

The problem with making fun of Fundiots (Fundie+Idiots) is they don't have much of a sense of humor. Tackling ID "theory" from a mythological standpoint I thought was brilliant. That's where it should go.  But if you're going to subject someone's hard-held religious beliefs to academic scrutiny, you usually don't do it as a 'slap in the face'.  Even academics who look at South Pacific Cargo Cults  don't disparage the object of their study.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Happy Tuesday

So far so good... the real estate gods have yet to smote (or whould that be "smite?) our 3rd deal.  Inspection was a little depressing (looks like we'll need to replace the fabulous deck at some point in the next 5 years) but nothing deal-killingly major. We've asked them to fix one little bathroom vent and are proposing to take a few grand off the price to compensate for the needed deck & other repairs, and are once again anxiously awaiting word of approval.
 
Inspection on our house is this afternoon.  We're hoping their inspector is nowhere near as picky/thorough as ours!  Our buyers actually refused to go along with an earlier close date so it looks like we'll be moving *after* the New Year.  Which takes a little stress off.  But our sellers have yet to formally OK the change in closing date so I suppose that could go squirrelly,. too.
 
The Critter is getting cuter by the minute.  He's about mastered the Gene Kelley carseat tipping manuever.... climbs in when it's on the floor, crawls to the other side until it tips and dumps him out on the carpet on the other side.  Then repeat.  He's like a little tank on all fours... will actually go OVER any obstacle even if it means going out of his way to do so.  I am praying this tendency does not grow into a love of all things monstertruck or military.  
 
He began planting big fat slobbery open mouthed kisses on everyone this weekend.  While the dog was ecstatic to see her affection returned in kind, the kitties were much less thrilled.  They've upped their baby evasion training regimen as aa result. The Critter has also begun whining in a much more pleasing tone of voice.  The old Draconian shrieking was earning him quick trips to his crib... I think he is much more pleased with the delayed bedtimes, cuddles and hugs that he is earning now.  He finally had a wonderful time at swim class last week, too.  Thanks, we're sure to the club actually turning up the temperaure in the pool to a more baby-friendly level.
 
Oh, and *I GUESS* you could say he's started saying his first word.  Not "Mama", no.  Not for the 10 months of nausea, hemmorhoids and indigestion I endured to bring him into this world.  Not for the roughly 3 hours of time I sit around with my tit in a wringer pumping out life-sustaining breastmilk every day.  No.  No "Mama" for me.  Instead, one night last week when I brought him to bed in the wee hours of the morning and Curt as usual presented his back so he could go back to sleep.... the Critter sat back on his heels, slapped his shoulder and clear as a bell shouted "Da!".  Followed by another "Da!".  With that he turned his father into the biggest puddle of putty to be manipulated with the palm of his tiny little hand. Now it's "dada" whenever he's feeling neglected.  And still - no word for the Mama. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rape as punishment

Echidne revisits the issue of rape victims "asking for it" by dressing provocatively, being drunk, promiscuous, etc.  This time after an Amnesty Int'l survey of British views on rape, which found that:
 
"more than a quarter (26%) of those asked said that they thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than one in five (22%) held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.

Around one in 12 people (8%) believed that a woman was totally responsible for being raped if she'd had many sexual partners.

Similarly, more than a quarter of people (30%) said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk, and more than a third (37%) held the same view if the woman had failed to clearly say "no" to the man."
 
Our divine bloGoddess tries to draw a parallel between rape and a brutal mugging and then wondered if it was an effective analogy. Many feminists don't like it as it seems to perpetuate the "woman/sex as property/commodity" dynamic and downplays the added psychological trauma associated with sexual assault.  But I myself think it's an excellent analogy and is the one I prefer to use when the subject comes up.  Not perfect as rape is such a complex issue, but I do believe it's the most effective way to illustrate how hypocritical the "blame the victim" mentality is to folks who have never experienced it themselves, or are so self righteous and naive they think it will never happen to them.  So, some more analogies:
 
If a man were to go to a sports bar every Monday night and was very "promiscuous" with his money by buying the house a round everytime his favorite team scored, and got totally drunk and very friendly himself in the process... does that entitle other patrons of the bar to take him into a backroom, take turns beating the shit out of him and then each take $20 from his wallet?  What if he was dressed "provocatively" in a rival team's jersey?  By the logic of those who blame the rape victim, yes, yes it does.  He was asking for it. 
 
What about the very generous guy who routinely gives a handout to every homeless person he sees.  If some other homeless person knows he's an easy mark and asks him for a handout, but happens to be refused this time... does that entitle the rejected recipient from physically assaulting the good samaritan and stealing his wallet?  By the logic of those who blame the rape victim, yes.  Yes it does.  What do you expect when you "put out" willingly on a regular basis?
 
Or, to put it in the context of character.   What if you're a drug addict.  Or addicted to gambling and go blow your paycheck every week at the local dog racing track or Indian Casino.  Or you regularly drop a few c-notes down the g-strings of strippers at the local titty bar.   Obviously you don't value your own money and financial well being.  Why should society blame a potential mugger or ID/Credit thief for taking your money/good credit from you by force what you give up so willingly?  Why, by the logic of those who like to blame the rape victims, even brutal, potentially fatal physical force is justified apparently.
 
There is no excuse.  No justification.  No defense.  This mentality of blaming the victim needs to stop NOW.  And increasingly I'm convinced, the only way to do it is to steal the wallet or purse of anyone who is stupid enough to verbalize it. "you really think she deserved it, huh?  Where do you bank? Why do I ask?  oh, no reason... just having a friendly conversation...." 

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rightie Echo Chamber

Barbara O'Brien over at the American Street document the not-so-elusive Rightie Echo Chamber in action. Here's an interesting experiment in social psychology. Someone set up a rightie persona (that self-identfies with the Right and throws in a little liberal bashing for credibility) and use it to post comments on rightie sites using actual quotes from lefties. See what kind of a response you get. Then when they all start bobble-heading with you in unison throw out the "funny... that actually came from so and so's blog....". Someone should totally do that... someone with more time and energy and a stronger stomach than I, that is. I'll help compile the results, though.

Excitement Free Zone

This time, I'm not getting excited.  I'm not posting pictures, not even crossing my fingers.  Until AFTER the inspection on Wednesday.  Hell, maybe not even until after we close & move in.  But if I were to have gotten excited, it would have been because we made an offer on a house Saturday and it was accepted yesterday.  A 1978 split level. yes, I know BUT that happens to be the most common floorplan that is most conducive to having a mother in law stay with us (within our price range, that is).  It's been totally cleaned up & repaired... new paint, new fixtures, new carpet, new linoleum (the faux stone stuff I like because it looks EXACTLY like tile but is softer on little baby heads). Nicely landscaped.  Huge kitchen - range and dishwasher are old but the old cabinets were stained a beautiful cherry finish that look new.   New sink.  Gorgeous decks on the backside.... one with a view of Mt. St. Helens over the neighbor's roof!!!  In fact, if we put in a window in the dining room... we could watch all of her eruptions from there.  Pretty cool, huh? Could use some prettying up on the outside (shutters and different paint, eventually new windows/front door or other more extensive entry "makeover"). But otherwise?  Totally move-in ready.  Which it looks like we'll have to do before we leave for as week in Indiana at Christmas.   Ugh.  Good thing we'd all pretty much agreed to go low-key & cheap for Christmas 'cuz I sure won't time to shop!  Though I'd hoped to make the Critter's first Christmas a little more memorable.  Not for him (I know he won't remember) but for us. 
 

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mini-Me

Last night the Critter got two baths.  Thanks to Mommy not realizing the sitter had left some formula mixed in with the bottle of breastmilk she sent home with us and giving the bottle to the boy following our trip to the grocery store.  Who, in his own defense *did* give us fair warning about his imminent pukage by waking up and whimpering in his crib a couple of times after we put him to bed (a fairly unusual occurance lately... the frequent wakings in the evening that is).  Which warning we did ignore by simply retrieving the binky and patting his little head and shushing him back to sleep.  The sleep which was next interrupted by a pitiful wail, emanating from a puke-covered baby wallowing in his own puddle of regurgitated organic sweet potato and chicken dinner.  Which he had so enjoyed going down.  Shame. Hope it doesn't sour him on sweet potato forever.  
 
For those keeping track at home - that's two puke fests in two weeks.  One viral induced, one bad-formula (and bad mommy) induced.  Don't worry, bad-mommy got her come-uppance in the second round of come-upping when she couldn't get the baby to the sink fast enough and was coated in vomit for her tardiness.  The 3rd round came when Daddy was trying to get the baby dressed and diapered and forgot to grab the handy-dandy puke pail bad-Mommy had used while giving the Critter his second bath.  Bad-Mmommy may have even thought to herself "maybe I should tell Daddy to be sure the puke pail accompanies the child" before summarily thinking "fuck it - I've got puke in my hair... let him deal with it" and once again may have earned herself another come-uppance when the 3rd come-upping erupted all over her & Daddy's down comforter.  But then again... Daddy hogs the comforter anyway so no big loss.
 
An hour or two and one bottle of formula-free Mommy's milk later the Critter was once again feeling himself with no further come-upping in sight.    And cracking Mommy up while sprawled, exhausted - in the parental bed with his little pinkie hooked in the corner of Daddy's sleeping mouth, the vision of a Minnie Me Moment.
 
Tomorow Daddy & the Critter will be staying at home while Mommy accompanies the realtor for one more marathon house hunt, since yes... the real estate gods shit on our second deal, too.  Let's hope the 3rd time is a charm.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kind of fun

I typically avoid memes like the plague, but Sarahlynn hooked me with this one:
 
Google your first name + "needs" and find out what the internet thinks you need.  Kind of puts your life in perspective, no?
 
So according to the GoogleGods, MustangSally* needs:
 
A New Pair of shoes (actually just got 'em, thanks)
donations to help pay for costly cancer treatment :(  (thank Maude, no...!!  Knock on wood!)
a few acting lessons
some nookie (well, yes, that always helps)
a family that is patient  (yep)
spice in her journal (very true - it's become veritably vanilla lately)
a life (not true - mine is keeping me way too busy lately.  Resulting in item just above).
help (who can't?)
minor healing from surgery  (again, no - thank Maude)
a good critique (maybe... though I should warn you I don't take criticism well).
some fucking watts - turn the muther fucker up really loud
to write us, we are all feeling FRISKY
lot of positive vibes sent her way (always.... still no word on if they've accepted our offer on the 2nd house!)
 
*obviously, not what I actually googled.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When it rains, it pours....

The real estate gods are not smiling upon us.  I don't know what we need to do to make amends... maybe make offerings of fruit baskets or something.  Fate turned against us this week.... the woman who was buying our house revoked her offer.  Even though our realtor TOLD her the lot was not divideable she didn't believe her and was counting on that for investment purposes.  Only to be given a rude awakening by the county when she actually went to check it out.  Luckily, we still had the other competing buyers who are still interested... though they're asking us to pay $5k in their closing costs.   They, however wanted to buy our place out of pure love, not avarice so I'd actually feel better about selling to them.  Gardeners, who would love and appreciate our yard.  With a new baby on the way.
 
Then, yesterday's inspection of the adorable little farmhouse, pictured below killed any possibility of that working anyway.   First, there was the problem with the electrical.  The owner, an electrical engineer by trade apparently thought he could totally lie his ass off about the wiring to the garage conversion and not get caught.  His story - it was all done as part of a 60's remodel and all he did was put outlets on existing wiring (that was poorly done as it was) so didn't need permits.  Yeah right.  The obviously 90's era electrical panel, wiring materials and total amateurish job (panel itself was a fire hazard) totally gave him away.  An EE degree does not make you a licensed electrician.  Then there was the roof (again a patchwork of amateurish work that would need to be totally replaced... with who knows what kind of trouble underneath).  And the worst problem - the foundation.  Crumbly on one side of the house (and would need to be repoured), plus unstable brick foundation losing its mortar on the other side which would kill any chance of our getting earthquake insurance.  With good reason.  This place being 20 miles closer to an active volcano, and the whole region ripe for "the big one".... no way in hell was I going to risk our lives in an old 2 story house that could very well come down with minor shaking.
 
Oh, and the clincher?  Exposed asbestos tape (peeling) on heating ducts in the stairway.  With that we actually cut the inspection short by an hour or two and ran for the hills. 
 
Today we looked at a 1978 split level that has a mother-in-law's apt. situation totally set up on the lower level.  It would require nothing to move in.  I got over my inherent disgust of all things 70's housing (be they ranches, or split levels) and we're going to make an offer.  They've already got one that's contingent in the hopper but it's bumpable. We're offering $5k over their asking price (it was underpriced anyway).  Cross your fingers.  It's not my ideal but for a split level?  It's damned cute.  Brand new, paned windows with shutters... a deck, hot tub... fantastically landscaped.  Fireplace and pellet stove.  Small kitchen and bathrooms but in this price range I can deal with those.  Terrific quiet neighborhood.  Fully fenced backyard.  With a firepit!  And a pond!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bye Bye little house

We sold our little house. Full asking price plus a little extra (there were 2 competing bids) I'm a little torn. I'm really going to miss it. Especially seeing the fruition of all the hard work (and nursery stock) we've put into it. But if there's one thing the new little farmhouse does have in abundance it's plenty of opportunity to personalize! And we're going to take cuttings of some of the more special plants, anyway to help it feel like "home".

I'm hoping to look at one or two other possibilities besides the farmhouse before we really commit to it (inspection is tomorow) just to be on the safe side, but everything's starting to fall in place which makes us both think it must be fate. Our buyer is an investor who is buying our place as a rental, so there's no big rush to move - we can just rent from her for a few extra weeks to get some of the work done that we want before moving in.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Please notify NASA

...that the Kansas state board of education has voted to formally replace Earth as the official center of the solar system. That might save some embarassment with the upcoming envisioned trip to Mars.

...In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Next meeting, the genius members of the board who voted in favor plan to require all students to learn Biblical tongue-speaking as a second language.

"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat."

Yes, yes you are. But if it's any consolation, it's the sad, irony filled tearful kind of laughter. That hurts us as much as it does you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Holy Shit they Accepted our Offer!

So we're on our way to getting the house!!! Woohoo!!

Just need to sell ours first and from the volume of realtors calling wanting to show it in the last 36 hours since we listed it, that should happen pretty quick. Hey, maybe we'll get into a bidding war. A girl can dream, can't she?

I'm a little scared. Excited, but scared. Now we've got to deal with packing and moving and everything. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Maybe our new house!


Maybe our new house!
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.

We just put in an offer on this 1920 farmhouse. I think I'm nuts. We were originally looking for "newer" construction to save the hassle of endless home improvement projects. But as much as we wanted to avoid that hassle, there are two things we have to have in a house that you can't really get without buying an older home: Privacy and character. This is on almost 1/2 acre lot which is very hard to find around here. Brand new construction going on down the street from this are on 3500 sq ft. lots (just like every other new development). And though there's plenty to keep us busy project wise, there's nothing critical.

The big bonus, though: the detached garage has been converted to a studio apartment and Curt's mom has agreed to a trial move from Indiana for a couple of months to be our "nanny". Which, if it works out, will save us daycare costs. Curt really misses his family - especially his mom and this would give her & Duncan the opportunity to build a relationship. I had my grandma living next door when I grew up and though she caused some incredible problems for Mom & Dad, it was great for my brother & I. So cross your fingers!!

Oh, and in the meantime - what to do with the orange walls in the living room? Just extend the light green from the dining room or something darker? I'm thinking periwinkle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No Time for NaNoWriMo?

Defective Yeti's got a brilliant idea: The NaNoWriMo For Lazy People. Come On - I double-dog dare ya'. Mostly because short stories match my recent available attention span and I'm too broke to buy any more reading material. And have no time to hit the library. So I want yours :) I'll give it a shot, too but don't bet on getting anything meaningful out of me. Frankly my fingers have been so busy madly being crossed and clenching in prayer to the powers that be in hopes of actual indictments coming down re: Rove/Libby, DeLay and Frist that they've been unavailable for more productive pursuits like typing long uninspired posts about each case. So do your part and say a little prayer that nothing happens to old Fitz the Special Prosecutor... I mean how in the hell did they let this guy actually DO A GOOD JOB? How did that happen? You know things are starting to spiral out of control a the Okie Dokie Repub Corral when they screw up and actually put someone COMPETENT in charge.

Actually, Curt and I have been tossing around the idea of writing a children's book. We're starting to read some of the crap out there and come on, how hard could it be? Start with a cute character or two, throw in some lyrical prose/alliteration/rhyme and voila! Goodnight Moon. Apparently all you need is a paragraph. An entire book comprised of less than a dozen sentences. One per page. That's more my style. Well, not here where I blather on and on about whatever's going through my head, usually in megalong run-on sentences with entirely WAY too many commas, made-up words and almost always employing the passive voice that would have my old college journalism prof turning over in her grave. Though my high school journalism teacher was quite charmed by my writing style. As he put it "I can't put my finger on it. It's not that your grammer is technically wrong... it's just not quite correct". As any of you more copy editor types out there have surely witnessed, I've gone downhill from there and frequently frolic in the land of grammatical ineptitude.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Critter adores the Teletubbies. I don't know why the Focus on the Family lunies get so upset about their alleged homosexual aspects. I mean really, how is Tinky Winky any more gay than the others? THey hug each other. OH THE HORROR!!! But if they're going to get all up in arms about overt sexuality on PBS children's programming, BoohBah is clearly the better candidate. The first time I saw this show I said "Oh my God - they're 5 dancing clits!! What's the plural for clitoris - clitori?? ". Especially when they nestle down inside their fuzzy little spoon shaped beds. Watch it and dare to tell me I'm wrong.

Somehow, it's no surprise however that a Fundie would be unable to recognize a woman's hooded little go button even if it was sitting on his face.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bad Blogger. Very bad blogger. Work's gotten very busy lately though so I don't have the time to slack off like I used to. And what with the Critter's newfound mobility, I have less time at home. Then there's the house hunting and endless searches of real estate listings and school district reports. Yes, we at Casa du RiverRocks are contemplating a move. My office is moving north of the River to Vancouver, WA within 6 months or so. We've pretty much decided to move too. Our diminuitive 2 bed 1 bath abode was satisfactory when it was just the two of us, 3 mostly outside cats and the dog. With the arrival of the Critter (and more to the point, his high chair, toys, carseat, stroller, diaper bags, and most importantly - visitors ) it's just too small.

And house prices on this side of the border are outrageous. Those up there - not *quite* so bad. And we'd save on my income taxes, besides. So contemplating the move has about squeezed out any other logical thought in my head lately (it can only hold so much). Where, exactly should we move (I know little about Vancouver neighborhoods/schools)? What kind of a house? Older, newer? And most critical - how much do we want to spend?

Julia's got a timely post today that reminds me to sign the Critter up for baby & parent swim lessons at our gym next month. I can't wait. I really don't want him trying to learn when he's older and has developed fears/water phobias. I just want him to always remember being in the water and swimming. I think he'll love it. Since we graduated from the sink bath to sharing a bath with Mommy he comes crawling in as soon as he hears me getting in and drawing the water. My heart about melts when I see his two little hands reaching over the sill to try to pull himself up & over and climb in. It's about all I can do to get him stripped before he starts splashing around playing with his bath toys.


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Random Thoughts for the Day:

How soon do you think before they create a 6th Category for MEGA Monster hurricanes? Each one gets badder than the one before. And how sick do you think folks in Florida and the Gulf are going to get of packing up and hightailing for the high country every other week before they pack up and move for good and wreak havoc on the population distribution of the national electoral map? If we're really re-entering a cycle of increased hurrican activity, evacuations are going to become the norm rather than the exception.

Also Action Alert - let Target know you won't stand for their allowing their pharmacists to deny filling emergency B/C prescriptions.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Baby & Cat Blogging!!


Kitty Tease
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.

It's a two-fer today! Cleo Cat doing her part to teach the Critter to crawl. She stays juuuust out of reach and teases him. I think the tongue sticking out is a little overkill though, even if she is still harboring a little resentment at having to compete for precious lap position with a 17 lb, slobbering grab-machine.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Good news from Afghanistan

Vocal anti-warlord female activist Malalai Joya won a seat in Parliament! Please pray to whatever powers that move you for her safety and success. More about Ms. Joya here and here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The old Covering Your Ass Nomination

Everyone’s trying to make heads or tails of the Miers nomination. Mahablog has a good roundup. Why would Shrub nominate another questionably qualified crony*? (QQC), much to the displeasure of his conservative base (at a crucial time before the 2006 elections) when his ass is still smoking from the FEMA / Michael Brown fiasco?

Given what I’ve been reading this morning about Judith Miller’s release & testimony last week and what that might indicate regarding the possible outcome of the Plame investigation, I’m betting on the “Shrub is putting a trusted guard dog in a key position to save his ass” angle: (from above linked Mahablog:) “By nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, President Bush is turning to a trusted advisor who has a reputation for keeping her mouth shut—and putting her in a key position for damage control. Her nomination might make people like Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Tom DeLay breathe a little easier. ...)"

Why inexplicably nominate someone whose sole qualification seems to be her undying loyalty and ability to pull your ass out of the fire? As a wise person once said, the simplest answer is usually the right one. That would mean Shrub is once again feeling the familiar heat of the law on his buttocks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monkey Trial all over again

Latest episode in the evolution vs. Intelligent Design smackdown to take place in Pennsylvania, starting this week.

I really don't care if they want to teach Intelligent Design in addition to Evolution in schools. Provided they point out the tomes upon tomes and fossil records that support Darwin and the cricket song that supports I.D. And, perhaps more importantly - that they also teach other non-scientific, non-Christian creation "theories". Like those of Native Americans.

The Apache myth sounds eerily like Intelligent Design, doesn't it? "In the beginning was only Tepeu and Gucumatz (Feathered Serpent). These two sat together and thought, and whatever they thought came into being. They thought Earth, and there it was. They thought mountains, and so there were. They thought trees, and sky, and animals etc, and each came into being. But none of these things could praise them, so they formed more advanced beings of clay. But these beings fell apart when they got wet, so they made beings out of wood, but they proved unsatisfactory and caused trouble on the earth. The gods sent a great flood to wipe out these beings, so that they could start over. With the help of Mountain Lion, Coyote, Parrot, and Crow they fashioned four new beings. These four beings performed well and are the ancestors of the Quiché. "

So does the Maya. And the Norse. Chinese. African, etc. All "theories" of higher beings who created or made the world fit for human habitation. Bonus - most also include a myth of a great deluge.

But please - do not call it "science" unless you precede it with "social" or follow it with "fiction". And make sure you give equal time to the "theories" of other ancient cultures besides Judeo-Christian-Muslim.

I really, really do not understand the Right's insistance on trying to get Intelligent Design labelled as a viable scientific theory. In fact, I think they're shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. Science is only meaningful when placed into practical application. In the laboratory. So I have 2 questions for the I.D. community: 1) How do you propose to prove this "theory" using the scientific method; and 2) what do you plan to do with that information?

Getting them to answer these questions takes them somewhere I don't think they really want to go: Cloning. Genetic Engineering. Global Warming. Mankind playing God. Pure and simple. In fact, you can take those legitimate scientific disciplines as proof that an intelligent being can create life, manipulate global climate and manipulate the laws of evolution. By doing so, it is perfectly reasonable to speculate that a more advanced being may have created us. Or terra-formed an inhospitable world to make it safe for us. We do it to lesser species everytime we create a pretty hybrid tulip. Or breed Dachsunds. Or clone kitty cats. The difference, of course is everytime we do that we also prove Darwin in the process. But you could argue that we also prove I.D.

But if they introduce Intelligent Design as a legitimate scientific field of study, what are they going to use as their textbook on the subject? Can I nominate author David Brin's "Uplift Saga" series?? Sci-Fi for the fundies. Sounds like a plan to me. Next up maybe some Heinlein?.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Happy 6 months, Duncan!

The Critter, he turned 6 months old back on the 14th. And got 2 bright, shiny and very, very sharp lower cuspids to mark the occassion. These come in handy now that we've begun to feed him solids on a daily basis. He loves the bananas with the rice cereal, tolerates the yams and pears but shudders adorably at the sight of applesauce. Those pediatricians, they say feeding solids doesn't help babies sleep any better but I tell you - they LIE!!! Either that or it was absolute coincidence that the week after we began giving him solids he began, once again... to sleep through the night. ***sigh*** 10pm - 5 of 6 am. Except for the nights when said two toofs broke through the gums. Those two nights were a bit hellish but their respective nights after?? Blissful sleep. Well, except when he does the occassional shange up and sleeps from 8 - 3:30. Those nights are a little brutal because inevitably, we choose those particular nights to stay up late to watch the premier of Lost or something.

His ped is amazed at his motor skills. Wonderfully average in all other respects but he has remarkable control over his digits, that one. In the last week he has learned to pull himself up to a stand like nobody's business. In fact, he whines bloody murder if you're not assisting him in this endeavor every available moment. He'll scoot & roll to get where he wants to go but didn't have much use for crawling until he discovered that getting up on your knees gets you 6" closer to getting up on your feets! So he's working on that - gets up on all fours and starts to rock back and forth, back and forth with the sides of the crib as a block to better perfect his starting technique. We put him on the floor and watch with baited breath for the moment when he'll build up enough confidence to take off on his initial baby dash & stick his finger/tongue in the non-babyproofed electrical socket on the other side of the room.

And the damned dog isn't helping. She keeps bringing her slimy, nasty toys and dropping them 2 feet in front of him. Which, of course are so much more enthralling than the nice sanitary plstic rattle we just pulled out of the dishwasher. Though the sooner we can teach the Critter to throw her back her balls instead of sticking them in his mouth the sooner we can let them entertain each other.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Worrywart and Rita

When I mentioned my bro is in the Coast Guard, did I forget to mention that he's stationed at Galveston? And that he and my wonderful SIL just bought their first house about 12 miles from there, which was under a mandatory evacuation order? And that she's 6 1/2 months into her first pregnancy with a "high risk" flag due to high blood pressure already? Oh, and on Monday they sent her to an Oncologist because they were worried about high white cell counts on her last blood draw? (who did allay their fears by saying he didn't see any signs of the big bad C... and was inclined to chalk up her lab results to the pregnancy or a lingering illness/cough she's had, but took some more blood to be sure).

I'm a little freaked out. Having bad dreams on their behalf (would you dream people pick up a damned power drill and piece of plywood already and get busy already??!!). She's already evacuated to her Dad's north of Houston but bro will be riding out the storm in Reliant stadium and will then deploy for search & rescue. Bro says they're fine, they have insurance and isn't worried. SIL says she's doing OK and it's just stuff. But it was really hard not having him there when she was driving away from her home, and the nursery and all the hard work they've done and not know what would be left when they came back. She knew it would be this way when she married him but this is the first big test and it's harder than she thought.

I'm not really worried about them physically. I'm more worried they'll come home to a nightmare of matchsticks for a crib (and everything else) and a waterlogged nursery full of moldy toxic stuffed animals and baby clothes which insurance will find some way to weasel out of paying to fix/replace. And the stress and trauma of dealing with the clean up will cause her more problems with the pregnancy, etc. etc.

So that's fine guys - don't worry. I'll do it for you. I'm really, really good at that. Not quite as good as Grandma, but close.

**Update: As you know by now Rita veered to the east and spared Galveston/Houston a direct hit. Word is my bro and SIL had a fence blow down in the backyard but that was it, other than some cosmetic damage. Crisis averted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Finally, some answers

Newsweek's breakdown of the breakdown. Doesn't paint a rosy picture of the locals but realistic, I think. And puts the ultimate blame where it belongs - lack of imagination, lack of initiative/leadershop and the sad result of bad policy. I gotta give Shrub props for finally stepping up and accepting responsibility for once.

Oh - and you gotta love the Coasties: "He was replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen. The Coast Guard was one agency that performed well, rescuing thousands."

Have I ever mentioned my brother's in the Coast Guard? His crew alone rescued 700 in one day. In this entire nightmare the Coast Guard was one shining example of how shit should be done.

"Indeed, while state, local, and other federal officials appeared not to fully comprehend the magnitude of the disaster at hand, the Coast Guard acted with the urgency the crisis demanded.

Admiral Robert Duncan, head of the Eighth District in New Orleans, dispersed cutters, helicopters, and other vessels ahead of the storm. He also requested additional forces from the commander of the Coast Guard's Eastern Area, in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for everything east of the Mississippi, according to Coast Guard officials.

''We don't have to get approval to execute," said Richard J. Dein, a retired Coast Guard commander and a search-and-rescue specialist. ''The Coast Guard is organized by geography. All of those districts act autonomously. They each have a command and control center. What you had was a ready response network."

But then, they do this every. single. day. Save lives, relieve suffering. And get no credit (not that I'm bitter or anything). In all the recriminations about what went wrong, I want to remind folks of what went right. And I'm proud to say my bro was part of what was in all likelihood one of, if no the largest search & rescue effort in U.S. history.

In the Coast Guard, they train to respond in the most adverse, hostile conditions imaginable. And more importantly, they have a standing mandate to act on their own recognizance to save lives threatened by the worst of Mother Nature. It seems everybody is looking for an answer to the red tape and beaurocratic hoopjumping that plagued Katrina. And the more I think about it, the more I realize you've got your answer right there.

Separate the emergency first response duties from all the other accounting bullshit. In times of natural disasters, just hand over that authority to the Coast Guard. Expand their mandate, give them a bigger budget and there you go. They're already on-call 24/7. They have assets deployed & ready to go at a moment's notice in every geographical area. They have ongoing operations in every geographical area, which means they have ongoing relationships with state and local Emergency Services agencies (fire, police, medical - etc.) . Like the National Guard, they have law enforcement authority besides rescue authority. And they deal with pollution, environmental and hazmat situations on a daily basis.

Or, revamp the National Guard (or a portion thereof) to model the Coast Guard in it's mandate. Cut all the red tape - if a Governor declares a state of emergency, then the Nat'l Guard is automatically activated and authorized to mobilize on their own. None of this "Gov. has to specifically ask and that request must be specifically approved by the President" bullshit.

Can you say "that was awkward!"

I started using the office of the CEO's assistant M (who is out on maternity leave) to pump at work last week. Previously I'd been going out to my car but what with gas prices being what they are, sitting there idling the engine for the sole purpose of powering my boob-juicer was getting a little expensive. Then too, there was the whole environmental guilt going on (i.e. how many penguins are going to die as a result of the global warming resulting from my burning precious petrol for the sole purpose of feeding my baby? Why not just pour Penzoil in his bottle?) So in the context of formally requesting a lactation room be included in the build out of the new office we just bought and will be moving into in about 6 months (though I may or may not still need it then) my boss said I was welcome to use M's office instead of my car for the time being, since it had a lock on the door. And I took him up on the offer.

Well apparently that lock doesn't work too well if the CEO's easy ability to poke his head in this morning without knocking is any indication. Judging by the awkwardness that accompanied the embarassed blush, my boss apparently did not tell him that I would be availing myself of his assistant's office for the purpose of juicing the girls.

It's a good thing I don't embarass myself too easily and managed to cover myself up before much damage was done. If I'm lucky he might even take that embarassment and channel it into approving my request for a lactation room in the new building.

So do I a) go back to using my car; b) ask them to fix the lock or c) cross my fingers and hope it doesn't happen again? And do I mention it to my boss to make sure he's told the CEO that I'll be borrowing the office periodically? Have I mentioned how much I hate having to ask my employer to make special accomodations for my baby and his little juicers? I know I shouldn't, but I still do. I hate drawing attention to myself.

They're playing Hockey in Hades

OhmyGawd! Hell has officially frozen over! Shrub is actually taking personal responsibility for the failures of the federal response to Katrina! Guess he can afford to be the fall guy now since he won't be running for reelection next year.

Friday, September 09, 2005

When amateur legal hobbyists go wild

I was thinking that the local and state governments do bear some of the responsibility for the Katrina fiasco long before the Republican spin machine started hounding it. Primary responsibility? No, but some. There were those buses, floating in the floodwaters abandoned, unused. There were the shelters - apparently undersupplied. I had assumed that no city would send tens of thousands of evacuees to a shelter without supplying it with enough food & water to take care of those evacuees. Thanks to the Spin machine, I'd even begun to wonder if maybe, just maybe the mayor and governor HAD done everything in their power to ameliorate the tragedy. Maybe they hadn't jumped through the correct beaurocratic hoops. Maybe they hadn't formally asked for the right amount of help early enough. Maybe it was just a tragic legal misunderstanding, where the Feds DID have their hands tied until the locals did something.

Then I started to wonder - who does bear that primary responsibility? And here's what I found, right on their own mission statements:

FEMA: On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

DHS: Specifically, the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have three primary missions: 1) Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, 2) Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and 3) Minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

Within the DHS charter, under "Emergencies & Disasters" it simply states:
"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.

Nothing at all about "the Feds will only provide EXACTLY what the state/local gov'ts request", which is the most recent spin (i.e. Gov. Blanco did not *specifically* request x number of troops, just "send me everything") . Just simply "we will bear primary responsibility for any large-scale crisis or natural disaster".

Part of the Louisiana governor's letter to the President asking for a federal Declaration of Emergency says "Pursuant to 44 CFR § 206.35, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal.

The states DID their jobs - they declared the natural disaster 3 and 4 days ahead of time. Bush even declared the national disaster a couple of days ahead of time. The ball was clearly, and I believe legally in the Fed's court. And they dropped the ball.

Many many questions still remain in my mind. At the moment, it's unclear who, exactly prohibited the Red Cross from entering the city immediately after the storm. Lefty sites blame FEMA, of course (why was busy keeping everyone and everything out of the city - from donated supplies to fuel to search & rescue personnel) but the wingnuts (via Fox news) apparently have video proving it was Gov. Blanco.

Given the source, Fox News - I'm not inclined to find that credible but I won't get a chance to watch the video myself until I get home. If true, however I'd like more information as to context. I'm not one to paint the locals entirely blameless - I just want all the facts.

On a sidenot, I watched the author of this book "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 & How It Changed America" on CSPAN overe the weekend and he provided some fascinating background. Amazing how history repeats itself. Sad, but amazing. Anyway, it gives some clues as to what we can expect in the coming months. Even if Shrub & Co. were totally oblivious to the fact that Katrina presented a threat of Biblical proportions (despite all warnings to that effect), the rest of the country is not so unaware. Floods in the past have proven to be major watershed events, and Katrina should prove no different in causing consequences of a historical nature. Political fallout in the form of rolling heads first... but secondarily also in the sheer number of displaced Americans which will have a significant impact on local & state politics.

The Red State/ Blue State deadlock may finally be broken - though events will yet prove to whose benefit. You can bet that Rove & his strategists are busy trying to figure that out right now, however. We need to get on top of it before they do.
Still stewing, lots more thoughts but if you're like me you're desperate for some good news. In the last couple of days I've been following some of the animal rescue stories:

Rescue Journal of Oregon Humane Society rescue volunteers and MSNBC's Katrinablog, who've been desperate to find one evacuee's Miss Kitty. I'm planning to drop some more $$'s to Noah's Wish next payday and encourage everyone else to do so too.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Speechless

Just totally speechless I’m so angry and pissed and feel so powerless. We can send robots millions of miles through the vacuum of space to land on a ball of dirt a mile wide but we can’t evacuate a few thousand people from downtown New Orleans? I feel like Queen Amidala… “My people are suffering and DYING while you discuss this in a committee!!”.

Would it help get things moving if it were a terrorist named Katrina who had blown up the levees instead of a Hurricane? Can we just pretend that happened? I know, the hurricane obviously makes things difficult. I’m just furious – you clear a road to the Superdome, confiscate every bus or personnel carrier in a 300 mile range, drive ‘em in filled with water, food, ice & medicine and pull them out. What's holding that up? What if this HAD been a terrorist attack? Do we not have plans in place to deal with millions of displaced people in this country? Clearly, not.

If the Army can’t do it then get the Disney people over there – they know how to fucking move large amounts of people in a short period of time. In the meantime, you have supplies for setting up refugee camps airdropped to shelter locations to be waiting for those folks to show up. I’m sure local charities would be more than happy to help set them up, or the refugees themselves.

Yes there are a handful of very angry people there with guns. It's understandable. I'd be pissed too. You tell me to go somewhere to be taken care of. I go like a good citizen and they you leave me to rot and die.

Here's what we do. We send in choppers to the evacuation point with the buses to provide air cover. You have a bullhorn. You say “there are 500 busses behind this one. We'll get you out. But in the meantime, we need to get the grandma's and babies out first. Put down your weapons. Anyone holding a weapon will be shot”. Count to 3. Shoot anyone still dumb enough to hold a gun. You have able-bodied refugees offload critical supplies. Note - this keeps them too busy to grab the guns. You get families with kids & old/sick folks on the bus first. Anyone not of those two categories who tries to mob the bus will be shot. Leave supplies with them until it's their turn.

Or if people are so unwilling to open their homes, their churches, their community centers as shelters. You confiscate cruise ships, as one online buddy suggested. We did it in WWI and WWII – if ever there was a natural emergency that justified that kind of act this is it. Carnival says they’re “considering that” but nobody has asked them to do it. What’s so difficult? Supposedly we have the money, supposedly we have the OK from Georgie to use WHATEVER resources are needed. So what’s the hold up?

I think it’s the will to use those resources. I think this administration has an unwillingness to demand companies sacrifice anything for the greater good. It’s the whole “faith based charity” bullshit. Apparently you can’t get your ticket to heaven by paying tax dollars that go toward relieving human suffering and saving lives. They can only be purchased via church-sponsored charities. Run by Pat Robertson.

I hear stories of tons of folks waiting to go in "as soon as they get the word" as soon as it "gets safe". You know what? The quickest way to make it safe is to get those people out. They're not getting any happier, any healthier and sure as hell not any more patient.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

About time - Best Invention EVER

I'm taking a break from hurricane rubbernecking to bring you this story:

South African creates Anti-Rape Female Condom. Snips: "A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker’s penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

“Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time,” Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex," a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime...

Ehlers said the “rapex” hooks onto the rapist’s skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators...The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said...

Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man*. Production was planned to start next year.

But the “rapex” has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.

“If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused,” said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy coordinator for Rape Crisis.

Other critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric** — an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape."

*wonder where they're going to get volunteers? Maybe cadavers?
**This pissed me right off. Yeah, no shit it's medieval and barbaric. So is rape. Fire to fight fire, I say...

The funny thing is I once envisioned a sci-fi type story along similar lines. Only in my fictional world, women on some planet had evolved natural anti-rape defenses. Such as... acidic vaginal secretions that would only be rendered harmless with a certain state of arousal.

Will this work? I don't know. Once word gets out smart rapists would just check and remove it before commencing. And yes, might retaliate more against the woman for her audacity. Or might sodomize her instead. But maybe it'll launch an urban type myth that could provide a deterrent. It's worth a try. Afterall, it's not like anyone's coming up with any other plan to deter rapists *before* they strike...

Monday, August 29, 2005

The razor-wielding bug has morphed into a frog and taken up residence in my throat. My co-workers and husband are finding my new voice quite amusing. They keep asking me leading questions just to entertain themselves. The hacking and coughing they don’t enjoy quite so much, however. Needless to say, neither do I. Curt was feeling a tickling in his throat yesterday so he’ll probably get it next. I pray to whatever deities that specialize in small ones clad in footed jammies that the Critter doesn’t get it, too. He’s been kind of whimpering the last two days and not sleeping well. But when awake he is ecstatic and still shrieks in joy when tossed in the air, spun around, belly kissed, or when Momma makes her funny croaking noises so I’m inclined to think it’s still the teething thing. Massive drool and chewing on any and everything in sight supports that conclusion. I assume if his throat starts to hurt he’ll be miserable 24/7. So keep your fingers crossed!

Work is keeping me very busy lately which while on the one hand is great (job security!), sucks on the other hand since I can’t wallow in mucusoidal misery.

Things could be worse – I could be in New Orleans. I’m watching Hurricane Katrina in horror, wishing for once that I had expanded cable (CNN, etc.) or at least speakers/ working headphones on my work PC to catch the audio of the streaming video reports. Instead I just watch the detached stoplights flying down the street and provide my own commentary. Which is better than your standard “yep, getting pretty darn windy down here, Bob” that you get from network reporters.

My version: “Jane: Nothing much going on over here (where the Eye *didn’t* hit)…. .getting pretty windy/rainy. There’s not a Starbucks open anywhere within 100 miles. Chickenshits. Hey, look at the flying debris! How’s it going where you are, Bob (where the Eye is hitting)?”

“Well Jane, I was feeling pretty lucky to have drawn storm duty – I’m going to get a ton of face time. But then a half a building flew by and there’s not a laundromat open anywhere within 100 miles to clean the crap out of my drawers. Good think the network sprung for that hi-tech raingear that wicks away moisture – I don’t know what’s from the rain/flooding and what’s from pissing my pants. Guess it doesn't matter - this whole place is turning into an open sewer anyway.” A smart investor would have stocked up on hip waders this hurricane season.

Then I think about how miserable those people are (and are going to be for quite awhile). You're forced to evacuate, leaving behind cherished possessions, maybe even pets. Don’t know if you’ll even have a house to come home to. Your work/business/livelihood may be washed away, and even if you do have something to come back to, you’ll be trying to rebuild the shambles of your life in a stifling hot toxic environment with no A/C until they get the electricity back online could be weeks) and will likely be fighting off looters and other criminal elements with minimal emergency resources (police, medical, etc.) available.

Welcome to Baghdad New Orleans. Hang in there folks - we're all thinking of you.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Duncan & the Dawg


Duncan & the Dawg
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, we rarely see full on crankmonster. This is far more typical.

Friday Baby Blogging



crankthirty
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.

Julie's Charlie is just a tad older than Duncan, so I often tune in to her blog to get an idea of what I can expect in the near future. After reading her account of a really shitty day today I had to swallow my snickers for fear of inviting my own shitslinging come-uppance.

Just so she knows she's not alone, here's D. in classic crank mode. Note cause & effect placement of cranky child and blessed blender. Bottle of rum and pina colada mix are just out of frame.
This week, cold medicine replaced the bottle of rum due to some evil little bug that has been spiking my food with microscopic razor blades for 4 days. Hence the dearth of posting recently.

Plame, anyone?

Not to be forgotten in the Cindy-brew-ha-ha: Rove & Traitorgate. The LA Times has a most excellent overview of the entire affair. via Crooks&Liars.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Moms are Unamerican...next baseball & apple pie!

It's a kick watching Cindy Sheehan do some brush clearing of her own down in Texas. She really needs to patent her methods for getting invasive Shrubs to self destruct, because she’s got Bush by the balls and everyone knows it. There are three American institutions that anyone in their right mind knows you don’t mess with: Baseball, MOM & Apple Pie.

And the rightwing’s below-the-belt skewering of Cindy (one of the mothers of fallen soldiers Bush claimed to have “loved” personally back on the campaign trail) is going over with the American people about as well as that Major League baseball strike a few years back. Everything they try to throw at her is just making them look like bigger assholes. Most normal people know you don't disrespect the Mama. To most normal people, motherhood is a sacred institution - you don't get between a Mama bear and her cubs. But then, wingnuts aren't normal. They seem to only respect the Mama when she dutifully fulfills her Old Testament role by keeping her famy fed, her uterus full and most importantly - her mouth shut. Bonus points for dying a painful death in childbirth.

Bush in particular must be tickling his intestines with his toes by now, he's got his foot shoved so far down his throat. The woman has lost her SON and he claims going bike riding is more important than helping her (and through her, the thousands of other mothers she represents) come to terms with her loss? Casey won't ever get to ride a bike. He won't get to teach his own children to do so. But I bet Cindy would be more than happy to accompany Bush on his little rides around the ranch. Heck, I bet she'd pony up and pull some tumbleweed just to help him multitask. He's got time for his biggest supporters - I'm sure he entertains them lavishly at the White House. But no time for Cindy? Pulleeze... ! It's not like she's asking for a night in the Lincoln bedroom or anything. Just a chat.

One thing that's got me fuming about this are all the wingnut pundits, commenters, bloggers, radioshow listeners, etc. who have the unmitigated gall to presume to know her son's political beliefs better than she, just because he wore a uniform. Like camo gives them some kind of telepathic insight into his mind. I hadn't realized the military was *that* technologically advanced! I get so sick of their blatant assumption that just because someone is in the military, or if they served/are serving in Iraq they MUST support Bush, agree with his pathetic justification for the war and praise his miserable handling of it.

I’m referring of course to the comments you hear/read to the effect that “if Casey were alive he would be ashamed of his mother” or “I’m sure he’s turning over in his grave”. I’m sorry, did they know Casey? Cindy indicates even her rightwing in-laws who made that statement disagreeing with her didn’t have a personal relationship with her son. But Michelle Malkin is supposed to have? What, did they date once? How in the hell would she know what Casey thought?

According to an interview I heard Cindy give, her son DID agree with her political beliefs before going to Iraq, and the only reason he deployed was out of a sense of duty TO HIS COMRADES. Not because he believed it was a noble mission. Not because he agreed with his commander in chief. And if you listen to any of the returning vets who are against the war &/ against Bush, you hear the same thing over and over. The only reason they are there is for EACH OTHER.

How dare they tell a mother who Bush demanded the ultimate sacrifice of – the loss of a CHILD that they, absolute strangers know her sons mind better than her? HOW DARE THEY??? Did they nourish him with their very lifeblood for 9 months before laboring in intense pain to bring him into this world? Not that giving birth to a child gives you special insight into their mind 24 years later, but it sure gives you a headstart. Did they change any diapers? Did they comfort him through long nights of teething and illness? Did they teach him how to ride his first bike? Walk him to school his first day? Play tooth fairy? Experience his devestation when he didn't get what he really wanted from Santa Claus? Help him with his homework? Comfort him through his first heartbreak? I don’t think so. The absolute arrogance is unbelievable – to tell a mother who has lost her child that her relationship with that child, her lifetime of experience understanding him is beyond worthless just because he was wearing fatigues when he was slain.

It would be one thing if she’d been estranged from her son before his death. But by all accounts, nothing could be further from the truth. Given that, I’ll bet that wherever he is Casey is watching his Mom & cheering her on, proud that she’s continuing to do the one thing he DID think risking his own life was worth – protecting his fellow soldiers who are still in harm’s way.

Because what so many who feel “it’s the military’s job to protect U.S. Citizens and an honor for them to die in that service” fail to realize is…. Just as it’s their job to protect us, it is OUR job as good citizens to protect THEM. They give up so many fundamental rights when they join up. They sacrifice so very, very much. Not just lives shattered, but bodies, careers, financial wellbeing – even families. Who is supposed to protect them? Who is supposed to make sure that the sacrifice we ask of them has meaning?

“We, the People” are, that’s who. With rights of citizenship come responsibility and this is one of them: responsibility for those give up their own rights to serve on our behalf, and in our name.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Never have so few words said so much!

The other day the Critter was commencing one of his classic crankups for something or another. Usually he’s tired and we’re trying to feed, dress, change or swaddle him. Anyway - loud guttural, prolonged grunt (envision a muscleman trying to lift something like a car, or someone trying to squeeze out the hardest BM ever); screwed up red face; arched back with heels dug in… just the perfect picture of infant indignation. He looks like a baby possessed.

Which we find hysterical.
So we start to laugh.

He gets this surprised look on his face and then busts into this huge grin and chortles along with us. Which makes us laugh all the harder. Somewhere between the tears of hysteria I manage to say in babytalk: “you are SO BUSTED! Yes you are! Who's got your number now? Mommy & Daddy, that's who!! Googiddygoo goo goo!”

I didn’t think infants were capable of such histrionic behavior until they were a little older (and they develop that wonderful puke-on-demand just as Mom & Dad leave for a night out ability) but now I wonder if there might be more goin' on behind those baby blues than I thought!.

Turns out I'm not the only one: Innovative Studies Reveal that Infants' Minds are Much More Emotionally and Intellectually Complex than Previously Believed.

I totally buy the jealousy thing. Duncan and the Dog have this adorable little mutual envy thing goin' on. If we ignore the dog and play with the baby Jinx will bring us every toy she can find in the house and toss it in our lap, hoping to initiate a game with *her*. And if we play with the dog and ignore Duncan, he starts grunting and kicking in frustration, only to smile disarmingly once he wins our attention. The other night, Curt made a big show out of taking Duncan's favorite rattle and pretending to chew on it blissfully. Christ on a cracker you should have seen the sideways LOOK of sheer betrayal he got! And the heartfelt SIGH! And the sad little dramatic closing of the eyes and dramatic look away. If he had more motor control I swear he'd have crossed his arms in a perfect pout.

Damn he's adorable! Yeah, he's so got our number. We're so screwed.
When I saw this headline: Scientists Crack the DNA Code of Rice my first thought was they meant Condoleeza Rice. My second thought was, "Is that someone we really want to clone?" When it comes down to it, she's kind of the feminist version of Anikin Skywalker. So much potential. So much promise. Then she sold her soul and turned to the dark side.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Note to self:

If you insist on continuing to frequent the nice, cheap Vietnamese hair salon up the block do not agree to work on a webcam project at work that will require you to look at yourself onscreen many times a day. Isn’t it bad enough you make other people look at the trainwreck you optimistically call a “hairdo” all day long? Granted, the Critter does find it fascinating and likes to grab great big handfuls when you give him belly kisses, so you may be protecting him from developing a clown phobia. And it does act as a sort of natural birth control, given Curt's reaction. But as soon as it grows out a little you really must get yourself to a proper hairstylist who specializes in naturally curly hair. Or point the webcam over the cube wall.

Sincerely, Self.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rules Are For Sissies....

So say the Oregon House GOP members who have apparently managed to kill SB1000 (the Civil Union Bill) once and for all by **big surprise** changing the legilative rules to make DAMNED sure it won't make it out of committee. I really hope there's a backlash from this kind of bullying behavior come election time. As a general rule, Oregonians don't like their representatives dicking around and subverting the will of the majority. And the majority does support Civil Unions, if not same sex 'marriage' per se.... Hell even my neighbor who had the gall to knock on my door last year asking me to sign the petition to get that Maude-aweful Measure 36 on the ballot said she'd have no problem with civil unions. If Minnis has her way and kills the issue this session I smell a new Civil Union initiative in the works and I'll be marching right over to her door demanding she put her signature where her mouth is.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Still Worried about Saudi....

So King Fahd passed on, and the succession went smooth this time after all . However apparently the new King, Abdullah is about 82 and not in good health, reportedly which leaves the next in line pretty murky, according to this article.

I'm still trying to figure out what all this will mean for women's rights on the Peninsula. I believe Abdullah is more reform minded than his father, and the younger generations even more so. But perhaps the Wahabists (sp?) ala Bin Laden are getting a firmer grip. Time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime I'm hopeful.

Friday, July 29, 2005

In case you missed it: GetUpGrrl's Gefilte boy is finally here! Congratulations, Grrl!! Don't worry, you'll learn to anticipate the fountain effect.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

To the person who found me today by googling "relocation and wetnursing your husband":

You have issues my friend. Seriously big issues. But as long as you asked, I advise taking careful aim with your nipple, shoot him in the eye to get his attention and tell him to get his ass back to work unloading the U-Haul.

New life to Civil Unions?

Perhaps. Rep. Mary Nolan today introduced a new Bill, HB 3508 that would combine both the anti-discrimination lingo, civil unions and Repub's reciprocal benefits idea into one bill. Since SB1000 is apparently dead in committee.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Screw On, Screw Off…(or Don’t Fuck with a Woman’s Battery Operated Tools)

What is it about men and tools? (I know, rhetorical question)

The other night I got a hair up my ass and decided to assemble the Critter’s high chair. He’s getting bored with the recumbent position of his bouncy and is demanding to sit up all the time. So the high chair seemed appropriate.

But the minute a screwdriver or hammer appears in my hand Curt turns into this condescending toolmaster who bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame. He becomes intently fixated on my technique and if I don’t successfully get something screwed all the way in within 5 turns or less (or whatever time period he deems appropriate) he begins to offer such annoying advice as “it’s all about the leverage”; “you’re approaching from the wrong angle” and "visualize the hole". You would think I was holding in my inept hand some kind of subatomic particle splitter cleverly masquerading itself as a roughly machined, crude shank of metal by the level of complexity he assigns to the operation of said device.

It’s a freaking screwdriver! It’s not that hard! Or at least, wouldn’t be if he would only keep the battery of the electric screwdriver I brought to the relationship properly charged. But no – he’s got this warped love/hate relationship going with the tool where he loves the big comfy grip of it, and loves how you can quickly switch from phillips head to standard head, but he only uses it in locked/ manual mode which makes the magic that is the electrical power absolutely redundant. Which would be fine if he would just leave the battery in the charger so it’s good to go when I need it. But again, no. Apparently the heaviness of the battery provides a great deal of the heft that makes the device so appealing to my dear husband in its dumb, inanimate state. So he leaves it dead in the toolhandle, sadly bereft of its magical electric charge.

For the record, I bought the damned electric screwdriver back in my single days for assembling furniture and the like because I don’t really see the point of getting my hands cramped up doing such a simple task as torquing a screwdriver when I can get my pals Black & Decker to do it for me. Apparently some men feel differently. Why have a machine do what your hands can do just as well? They think. These are the same men who watch Yankee Woodcrafter on PBS. And I imagine, are a little intimidated by the battery powered toy collections of their women. Sidenote to any such guys in the audience: the problem is the hands often don't do as good of a job. We're just too embarassed to admit it. But I degress.

I must admit, his behavior leaves me feeling a bit betrayed. You see, when we first met I made a point of specifically testing Curt on his M.C.Q (mechanical condescension quotient). Because I find this characteristic in a man that insulting. Not because I’m some kind of Sally the ToolGal expert, but because it is very important to me to figure stuff out and do it myself. Pathetic, I know but I take a great amount of personal pride in my independence. I’ll ask for help when I want/need it, and won’t get too annoyed if you politely offer to help before I ask, but if you rudely INSIST on helping* after I’ve also politely said “no thanks, I can do it/ I want to do it” or Maude forbid, pushing me aside to do it FOR ME all hell will indeed break loose. Because this indicates that you think I am incompetent and are, in fact an insensitive ass.

Back to the test: when he requested a second date, I told him I was planning to replace the sparkplugs in my ’69 Mustang** that night, but he was welcome to hang out with me while I did so. I figured – no truly annoying man prone to mechanical condescension would pass up the opportunity to delve into the engine of a muscle car, and if he did resist the urge to do so (or didn't have it at all) and let me bumble around and do it myself, why then he was a keeper. He proved to be so good about failing to comment or instruct until I asked for his input that I couldn’t help but fall in love.***

Fast Forward: You’d think he’d catch a clue when I gave him that look and said “Honey – I don’t give a flying fuck if I’m not mastering screwdriving technique to your high level of expectations. If it pains you to watch my clumsy attempts than by all means kindly leave me the hell alone. If I need help I’ll ask for it.” But in case he didn't, let me make myself perfectly clear: Before we get a divorce some fateful Christmas Eve after trying to put together Duncan’s first bike or swingset, please use your own damned screwdrivers and leave my electric one alone. Thank you.

Love, your oversensitive wife.

*Now, (like all men who aspire to behave in a chivalrous manner) in Curt’s defense he was taught that it’s rude NOT to offer to help someone. Which is true, provided – if that person a) agrees there is a problem requiring help in the first place and b) agrees they cannot help themselves. If either of these conditions are not met then quite simply, your help is neither needed nor appreciated. So don’t be surprised when it’s not well received.

**Given to me by my Gramma, who bought it new over Grampa’s symbolic dead body after she was physically attacked walking home from work one night (though she didn't tell him that was why). So needless to say I rather enjoy the opportunity to get up to my elbows in oil and personally maintain the car.

*** Apparently I underestimated the cleavage/auto distractability quotient while crafting this test. Later review of that fateful date has shown that he was so intent on the girls peeking over my low cut top while I bent over the engine that he wasn’t paying any attention to what I was or was not doing with the damned sparkplugs. And yes, I am aware that not all men possess the chromosome that instills a fascination with muscle cars. The test was supposed to establish that inclination, as well.
This just stinks like Rummy is finally seriously considering pulling the troops because he knows there’s going to be a shitstorm of epic proportions once the 2nd wave of Abu Ghraib photos/videos comes out and the fecal matter seriously hits the fan. Which leaves me conflicted. Troop pullout is good of course provided there’s some level of security to protect innocent Iraqi civilians from the criminals/terrorists. It might even be good anyway if that would genuinely put a dent in the bombings. But a troop pullout in shame because of atrocities committed in their name? Humiliating. Infuriating. Sickening. I’ll admit there’s a part of me that almost wants the troops to stick around long enough to do enough good to clear our national name. But is my (or our) clear conscious worth putting more innocents at risk with our continued presence? No.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Congress finally planning hearings on "issues raised by the" Valerie Plame leak.

Was that so hard?

Lest we forget...

Karl Rove, Karl Rover, John Robert, John Roberts…..Roxanne reminds us not to forget Taguba.

Remember back during the Abu Ghraib scandal when both Rummy and Seymour Hersh said there were “worse” photos and video that hadn’t been released yet from the Taguba report? Photos/Video that Rummy himself characterized as “blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman”?

Apparently the worst was finally supposed to be released this weekend, long after the election and once the public was finally sick and tired of hearing about Abu Ghraib. But the Pentagon blocked the release at the last minute. No reason has been given so far.

As a refresher, the “much worse” in question purportedly includes the video of the rape/torture of not just women who were imprisoned, but their children who were imprisoned as well. And evidence that the women who were passing notes to their men outside begging to be killed for what was being done (and presumably, to their children).

This old post at Boing Boing is a good place to refresh your memory.

I’m already getting sick just thinking about how horrendous the footage must be if Rummy himself called it “inhuman”. 2006 senate races are just around the corner. Remember this mantra: GOP: Proudly torturing children since 2002.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Got Guts?

It's going to take some to get SB1000 passed in anything like it's original form. Today's update - under pressure Minnis did let it go to committee where it was summarily "gutted" (civil union portion replaced with something called "reciprocal rights" which was an earlier alternative bill proposed in the House). Per Also-Also, it still stands a small chance if some gutsy Repubs in the House go ahead and pass the reciprocal rights bill and send it over to the Senate, who can do their own gut & stuff (replacing the reciprocal rights with civil unions); then it would *have* to go to the House floor for a vote in order to reconcile the two. But that's speculation.

Complain all you want about the initiative/ referendum process, but it's bullshit like what Minnis is pulling that forces the people to take matters into their own hands.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Volcano Update

St. Helens keeps building her new dome, generally without incident. But she's had five 3.0+ mag. quakes in the last 6 days which is unusual. Generally a quake of 3.0 rates a news conference so is considered indicative of *something big* happening but they're not speculating on what that might be just yet. I've noticed all the snow has melted off in the last month, so perhaps it's meltwater starting to percolate.

Most recent images (including some night glowing lava) here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oh, no... for anybody who keeps track of the more popular Iraqi bloggers, Riverbend tells us that Raed's brother Khalid has been abducted and is being detained by what I gather is the new Iraqi government's version of the Secret Service. Apparently for his blog-related activity. Ever since Salam Pax introduced us to Raed's family (and all their blogs) back during the invasion I've looked to them for the "insider's" civillian view of what's really going on there. And worried about them for making themselves such visible targets of themselves.

When Shrub & the Repubs talk about the need for brave, pro-democratic Iraqi civillians to stand up and stick their necks out to help rebuild their country and build a democracy, these are the kind of people he needs. Educated. Committed. Incredibly patriotic. Freedom loving. You pick the buzz word & they're it. They've done (and continue to do) some amazing humanitarian work given the risk involved. Reading back in their archives you can see just where the U.S. occupation went wrong and how they lost the hearts and minds of everyday Iraqi's.

And this is how that bravery, that commitment is repaid. Please keep Khalid in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE:*** Khalid has been freed! Woohoo!

Action Alert

Call/email Oregon Speaker of the House Karen Minnis (Rep) and demand that she allow the Civil Union bill ( SB 1000) to get a vote on the House floor.

Earlier this month the Dem controlled Oregon Senate passed the bill which would give partnered LGBT Oregonians nearly all of the same legal protections of marriage; and add sexual orientation to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill is strongly supported by Gov. Kulongoski who has promised to sign it. All the media I've read about this bill to date indicated it would be dead in the water once it reached the Republican controlled House, but I was listening to supporters on Thom Hartmann this morning who are plugging a rally tonight in Salem, and they say they’ve actually got enough Republican votes in the House to pass the bill if only Speaker Minnis would let it come to the floor for a vote.

Up/Down Vote here folks, that's all we're asking.... a little quid pro quo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Spawnroll

UPDATE:: Looks like GefilteFish may be coming into the final stretch!

For anybody playing along -

Casmir now has a happy, healthy baby brother named Carl. Congratulations, Ms. Polkadot!!

I'm going to have to move Em of Postcards of Grief to the "Spawning Grounds" as she & partner Brooke are busy preparing for the arrival of their own Fry sometime next year. May the River Gods bless you with a swimmingly easy pregnancy and delivery, Em!

And no word yet on the emminent arrival of GetUpGrrl's Gefilte Fish. I think he's stuck in an eddy upstream.....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Backtracking Shrub style...

Let me qualify.... I'll fire anyone in my administration who leaked info. on Valerie Plame, provided they are convicted of doing so criminally, and provided they did so while rubbing their stomach and patting their head at the same time - and wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Now if the ongoing investigation proves *that*, why then I'll think about firing them. Anything shy of that, and we'll probably just let them off if they say they're very, very sorry and promise to never do it again (get caught, that is). 'Cause we know they've got a good heart... and it's the heart that matters (not any actual, you know... treasonous activity).

Born to Party!

Friday I got a call from the sitter – Duncan had spiked a temp of 103, apparently having a reaction to the vaccinations. Poor miserable little guy – we were up most of the night Friday. Saturday he was feeling much better so I took him to get the X-ray the pediatrician had ordered. Which was itself a major ordeal*. But that night? He sleeps through. 8-4am. Sunday, after another nice, long 3 hour nap the Happy Family goes to Grampa’s where he’s dropped off so Mom & Dad can enjoy a flick – Batman Begins (which was pretty damned good, if I do say so) and dinner. Before driving 10 blocks we get a call asking if Duncan can accompany his Auntie K. to the in-laws. Big Mexican family, and apparently a party is in progress where there will be lots of laps to sit on, hugs to be had and new faces to be seen. We give our blessing provided he learns to babble in Spanish by the time he returns and nobody spikes his bottle. He had a great time, but again missed his afternoon nap. By the time we pick him up I’ve got a crushing sinus headache and he’s in full-on Hyde mode. Managed to get him to nap a little after 5 with Daddy. A little after 7, Dr. Jeckyl has awakened – all smiles and babbling with a slight Spanish accent. He goes down for the count around 9, and once again sleeps through until 4 am.
It occurs to me that the few times he’s slept through the night have been following an exhausting day partying with strangers. His first night down at Gramma’s with their friends playing domino’s; our friend M ‘s birthday party. Partido at the in-laws. Our boy’s a party animal. That explains the late night wake-ups! Don’t all the cool kids know the party doesn’t start until 10:30? But seeing as how the authorities might frown on any attempt to leave him with strangers everyday (and I hear in about 4 more months the stranger fear/ separation anxiety should kick in anyway) I’m left thinking maybe a short late afternoon nap, some margarita’s (for us, not him) and a later bedtime might cue the sleep-through trigger and make us all much happier. Failing that, we may re-decorate the nursery in piñatas.

*I know I’m damned lucky to have any insurance at all and others would love this headache. But here’s a perfect example of how things that are supposed to make life easier (i.e. insurance and computers) end up having just the opposite effect when you throw an idiotic admin clerk into the equation. If you want the long boring account continue reading...

Saturday I go to the local small hospital to get the X-ray. Doctor’s order in hand. I give it to the admin clerk who tells me, after 30 minutes of hemming and hawing that she can’t find a freaking insurance diagnostic code in her manual for “birthmark on spine” to enter into the computer and therefore, cannot let me have the x-ray. I ask her how we're supposed to have something called a "diagnostic code" to get the x-ray when we need the x-ray to get a diagnosis, but she neighter grasps nor appreciates the catch-22-esque logic of my question.

My pediatrician's office is closed for the weekend. I’ve already taken off early two days in a row dealing with doctor’s visits and sick child. I’m not going to take more time off on Monday to deal with this shit. My frustration is compounded by the fact that I know my ped faxed the order over to them 2 days ago. You’d think that when they received it, they’d have checked it out, made sure they had everything they needed and you know, maybe called her when the office was open to straighten out the code problem? But no. That would be too damned proactive, I guess.

They have another office that’s opened limited hours on Saturday, so I defy the clerk's "begone frazzled mother with the grossly unkept hair" body language and insist she call over there to get a code. Their on-call doc tells her via his receptionist that he’s not willing to guess what it should be without having the charts on hand. She once again tries to dismiss me. But by now I'm determined that come hell of high water, I WILL get that fucking x-ray done today. So I call the office myself and proceed to make of myself a major pain in the ass. After being on interminable hold, the receptionist agrees to have the doc call me back “soon”. By this time I’ve been dinking around the hospital waiting room for over an hour. We’re both getting cranky, given our sleep-deprived status. I hate being one of those obnoxious parents my mother always complains about who come into the E.R. and make the staff’s life hell. But at this point, I’m not being given much of a choice, am I?

While waiting to hear back from the on-call ped I call dear old Mom to wallow in a teary, expletive-filled account of our dilemma, wondering if there’s some secret healthcare professional password phrase I could utilize to gain entry to the exalted hall of the diagnostic imaging room. Years ago, she used to work at this very hospital. I have fond memories of bringing her milkshakes from the diner down the street when I had a new driver’s license and she worked nights. I thought she might have a better solution than what I had in mind – namely committing the unpardonable sin of just walking the 50 feet across the hall to the emergency room and demanding a doctor look at what’s in all likelihood a totally benign, harmless, absolutely non-emergent patch of pigment on my baby’s ass. Or temporarily stashing Duncan with the kindly grandma in the waiting room while I go ram my car into a pole on the far side of the parking lot in frustration so maybe while they're x-raying me I could convince a kind-hearted tech to snap a few shots of him, too. But then again, there's probably not a diagnosis code for "crazy muthah" either.

She absolved me of guilt for my first inclination, and encouraged me to go with my second instead. Namely, that given the logic that if you’re going to be a pain in the ass, it’s generally more effective to do so in person I should just drive on over to the on-call doc’s office (not far) so he can take a quick peek at said birthmark and give us an appropriate code. After promising to call her back later to make sure I haven’t had a meltdown that’s landed me in rubber handcuffs, we head out – Duncan much happier driving than fussing in the waiting room.

My logic paid off as when I show up in person, the receptionist is oh so apologetic that the doc hasn’t called me back yet. Within 10 minutes the doc (actually a very nice man) pops out into the waiting room, takes a quick peek at the birthmark and the order and says “well, it says right here ‘reason for exam: birthmark on spine’ what’s the problem?” I take a deep breath to let off some steam before exploding into a bawling, frustrated mess and quite calmly say “well, apparently a “reason” isn’t good enough. There’s no computer code for that reason. Without a code, no exam”. “Oh, well then we’ll get you a code”. “That would be delightful, thank you”. 15 minutes later we have the magic diagnostic code 737.52 or some such for some kind of vascular something or other. The receptionist again apologizes, bemoans the fact that insurance just won’t pay without a proper diagnostic code, and off we go back to the hospital. Where we wait another hour before getting the x-ray, at which time the x-ray tech says “sorry about the wait – you came at a really busy time”. I couldn’t help but politely snark, “actually, when we were here the *first time* his morning it wasn’t busy at all”.

Sometimes I think the conservatives who claim introduction of market forces in healthcare make it more efficient must never get sick. Because just about every time I have the sorry luck to have to deal with the healthcare industry, it becomes patently obvious that the fucking requirements of insurance plan bureaucracy do more to muck up the works than any gov’t run system ever could.