Friday, February 24, 2006

Shoes the Boss

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Say that three times fast. We just refer to it as "an EGD," and actually it's not much easy to say that three times fast, either. Anyways, his showed a little esophageal scarring and no active bleed, his bloodwork was stable, so he got a ticket home.

But he couldn't find his boots. "Black and size 9&1/2," he said, adding that he thought somebody had stolen them. Not bloody likely. He was a nice enough guy, very gracious, and I genuinely liked him, but there is probably not a junkie in the city that would steal anything worn by him. Street waifs in Bangalore are not much less-dressed than this sweet soul.

I spent more time calling various departments, Security, the emergency room staff, patient relations, etc., than I spent working on one or another of my other patients.

No boots. We've sent people home in socks many times before. He wasn't going for it. He said he was going to get a lawyer and call the TV station about this. Not that I'd blame him. In that kind of situation I myself would relish being interviewed before the cameras. I look bad on camera, though. Garrison Keillor looks better, and he has devoted his life to radio, for reasons I can directly relate to.

Just because the whole thing kinda was stuck in my craw, I mentioned it to my boss when I ran into her. I just felt like griping, but really I almost didn't tell her because I do not want to be seen as a complainer, though all nurses are, intrinsically, down to their very bones.

So she later came by me and said "I'm going to go to PayLess to get him some new boots. I had him draw a picture of them for me."


I offered a few bucks to her. Not much, as I'd already been tapped for a "last day" party for one of our better nurses who was moving on to a specialty area within the hospital. I overheard the same boss tell that nurse that they were welcome back to our unit anytime, the door was always open.

Funny that. The previous boss was very cool to that nurse, probably due to their open advocacy for unionization. Anti-Arnold stickers and articles posted regularly on their locker door. Cool.

So my boss went and got the guy a pair of new boots, and he was so astonishingly grateful and effusive in his praise for her, for me, for the hospital itself.

Entire days can go by without seeing another person as happy as he was that day. I doubt that those meat-packers who won the lottery were much happier. At least not for long.

My car stalled out on my way home, and I pushed it into a bank parking lot where it now still sits. But I have shoes. Several pairs, actually, not that I'm too proud or anything. And I know how to use these.

I've had many good teachers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh Eleanor Not Rigby But Almost

No. You will never walk upon the stagnant roofs of cars stillborn in highway gridlock among the asteroid-belt outer communities of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Never gonna happen. Who's gonna park a car on I-10 when gas goes for $20 a gallon?

Oh yes. Tell me how that is never going to happen. Try to say it with a straight face. Like Condoleeza "mushroom cloud over American cities" Rice.

Yes, we need to plan. For the pending days when cheap petroleum energy are over. OVER.

Go Solar. While you can. I hope we can soon.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

After Midnight

What is wrong with this place? It was only about twenty minutes past midnight on a Friday when the bandleader apologetically called things off. Apparently it was the end of their third set. They were done. No more Monk, no Mercer, no Gershwin for us. Maybe if I'd waved triple figures to them it may've made a difference, but I'm a nurse, not a doctor.

We finished up after just getting there, then went home and let our fingers do the walking. What a nice way to end the evening. Oh well. Too early for us New Yorkers in the valley of the sun. But is it ever too early?

She was the nicest old lady, ninety-five but going on only seventy, if you know what I mean. "No," she'd say, "Not this time," when I'd answer her call light and ask her if she needed a little assistance to the bathroom again. She just wanted the phone put in her reach.

She'd had a colonoscopy that morning, after having a rough time with the GoLytely prep the day before.

At one point she had vomited a bit of it, and I was obliged to let Dr. N. know about that. He was, like the other gastroenterologists in his service, a bit strict about bowel preparations, so I knew when I called him what he was going to say. "Sounds like she needs an NG tube," he said. Right on, I thought. Like that would help.

She was so good about it, and she apologized to me as if it were somehow her fault or something. I used a 14 French and she took it like a champ. I promised I'd take it out as soon as she had gotten all the prep, so she only had the thing down her nose for an hour or two.

Even after the insertion of it she vomited a little more of the prep solution, but it was plenty enough to get her going. At one point, upon assisting her to go, the stool was so explosive it got all over the walls of the bathroom up to about waist-height. Poor woman. But she was so good-natured about it all.

The young one was doing a sleep-over at her best friends' apartment so we went to a hot new tapas restaurant, and our waitress there was someone we were familiar with from another place, a Thai eatery that we also like.

Weird. That never happens. You can go about for months here and never run into anyone you've ever met before. The Valley is big and wide with many millions of people in it, almost all strangers.

The tapas place was crowded, noisy, and served good food. We'll go again and do the whole menu eventually. Interesting crowd, too. I wasn't the only person there with odd eyeglasses.

Then we went to the local blues club and danced with about every lesbian in the Valley, it seemed. That's always a special treat. The all-woman band we heard brings this on, or maybe it's the place itself. A good and safe hangout. Seems like every time we go there the audience is less than half straight. I like that. Reminds me of my college days.

We stayed for two sets before we took off. Since we weren't really yet ready to call it a night we tried the jazz place. But that ended before it began for us. I guess I don't really know where to hear jazz in the Valley. My stereo, probably's the best place. Plays after midnight, anyways.

The colonoscopy was negative, thank goodness. Such a sweet woman. No matter what happens, she'll be okay.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Suggest and Admonish

Up at 3:20 because I couldn't sleep anymore. I've been that way ever since I was little. That first sip of coffee tasted so good, so I had another. Quiet and dark, only the cats are awake then. I turned on the computer and read online newspapers and blogs. Then I drifted over to the couch to nap.

The young one arrived later and sat on my feet. Then the spousal unit came along making noises in the kitchen and the dog followed.

On my days off work I usually drive the young one to school and walk in with them, staying until the bell sounds and their teacher comes to direct the line of students into the classroom. The young one chats with me and runs around with friends for a bit, and I look around. A little girl with eyeglasses sits on her backpack and talks to noone. A tall boy walks by with a tear awash on the left of his face. One of the young one's friends got a lot of hair cut off over the weekend.

The bell rings and I say good-bye. As I walk out the late kids are running in. One of them was a little girl who was mumbling to herself.

Parents are still pulling up to the school to drop off their young geniuses. At that age, the inner true genius has not yet been scalded out of them. All the young one's friends still shine that way. I hope most of them manage to hang on to this despite life's pressures to abandon that flame as they grow older and learn how to drive.

"The more you drive, the less intelligent you are." (From Repo Man, spoken by "Miller.")

I like to combine trips so I went to pick up a few things at one of the grocery stores. Charles Goyette was on the radio, and he was chatting up his studio guest Steve Benson, the award-winning cartoonist and often lone sane voice in the local newspaper. Mixed in with the humorous give-and-take these two foster among one another, they took occasional phone calls to solicit cartoon suggestions for Benson to consider.

I didn't catch the name of the caller that suggested this:

Imagine Cheney sitting in the corner of a National Rifle Association classroom and he has on a dunce cap, and Bush is asking him "Hey, can I get one of those too?"

Goyette and Benson chuckled.

My condolences and good wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Harry Whittington, along with my sincere admonishment that he endeavor to hang out with a better class of people.

What's wrong with this story?

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Recently the Washington Post shut down one of its user comments sections because harsh language was being used.

"Howell's inadvertent error prompted a handful of bloggers to urge their readers to go to to vent their discontent, and in the subsequent four days we received more than a thousand comments in our public forum. Only, the word "comments" doesn't convey the obscene, vituperative tone of a lot of the postings, which were the sort of things you might find carved on the door of a public toilet stall. About a hundred of them had to be removed for violating the Post site's standards, which don't allow profanity or personal attacks.

To my dismay, matters only got worse on Jan. 19 after Howell posted a clarification on Instead of mollifying angry readers, the clarification prompted more than 400 additional comments over the next five hours, many of them so crude as to be unprintable in a family newspaper. Soon the number of comments that violated our standards of Web civility overwhelmed our ability to get rid of them; only then did we decide to shut down comments on the blog."

So whines Jim Brady.

As many people have correctly pointed out, the Post still hasn't gotten this right: Abramoff donated only to Republicans, and some of his clients did donate to Democrats, but in lesser amounts than they had previous to Abramoff's influence, and there appears to be no evidence, none at least offered by the Post, that funds offered to Democrats were directed by Abramoff. He was busy ripping off these various tribes, so it's far more likely they were giving money to the Dems to spite Abramoff. rather than to please him.

Point is, it's a Republican scandal, but the Post still clings to the fiction that it's bipartisan.

The point I'd like to make, though, goes more towards political strategy than to facts and spin. And it has to do with the very language that Brady cries about.

The rightwing noise machine has been levelling harsh words, to say the least, against the liberal left (which is anybody politically left of Mussolini,) for decades now.

"A late January 2002 quote from Coulter's address to CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference).

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

Her words were applauded by National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, and Lynne Cheney (wife of Vice President Cheney), all of whom were in attendance."

From the venerable pie-target Ann Coulter. So not only are roughly half of us fellow Americans likely to become traitors, a few of us need to be killed just to set an example.

We all know the names. Hannity, Limbaugh, Wiener A.K.A Savage, Hewitt, and the rest of the porcine meaty pieces stewing in the belly of the beast.

Well, it turns out that they are very thin-skinned, and we on the reality-based end of the political spectrum can easily draw their attention simply with the creative use of coarse language. The rightwing noise machine has been doing this for years, but because of their so-called family values, they've always held back.

I do that myself on this blog, as generally the language I use here stays within vague bounds of propriety.

But let's face it: people like Jim Brady are Whiny-Assed Titty Babies, to the core, and the more we call them on that, and the more we assure them that if they just did their jounalistic jobs we'd let up maybe just a little, the more they pay heed.

From the Atrios' comments section on Jim "Wanker of the Day" Brady:

"Jim Brady is SUCH a sensitive flower.
Is it because his dad jacked off in a flower pot and Jim came up a blooming idiot?"

bo | 02.11.06 - 8:32 pm | #


"Well I think he's giving us some very valuable information here. When we hit them the same way that the right has been hitting them for years, we draw blood. We've got to keep on doing whatever it takes to draw blood. Eventually at least some of them will figure out that if they're going to get beaten up no matter what they do, they might as well go ahead and print the truth. I say we flood the WaPo again telling him what a WATB right-wing hack he is. Oh, and he's still a liar."

Hecate Malificent | Homepage | 02.11.06 - 8:44 pm | #

And my personal favorite:

"As a liberal Democrat I've been called a communist, a socialist, a terrorist, a terrorist-sympathizer, objectively pro-terrorism, a terrorist appeaser, a traitor, a fascist, an Islamo-fascist sympathizer, a collectivist, a Fifth Columnist, a fag, a fag-lover, an elitist, an intellectual elitist, a moonbat, an idiotarian, a welfare cheat, a heretic, a baby-killer, a hater of troops, a hater of America, a tree-hugger, a pussy, a liberal pussy, a liberal faggot, an anti-Christian bigot, a Nazi, and a Bush-basher.

Only the last one has any basis in reality.

So when Jim Brady accuses me or any other liberal commenter in blog-land of obliterating genuine, civil discussion, my friendly suggestion to him would be to go tie himself to a rail fence and take 20 inches of stallion up his tailpipe."

Buzz Bomb | 02.11.06 - 8:44 pm | #

Oh my. People who fight back. Well, I say when they're down, don't just kick them. Crotch-punch 'em hard then twist their little squirrel hangers off and shove them up their gaping brain-ports so far they choke on 'em. And when they puke out their own well-travelled macadamias, feed 'em to the dogs. Lying whiners. Uncivil indeed.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Open Letter to Candidate McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

For the sake of this letter, I am assuming that presidential elections are indeed held in the late Fall of 2008 and you are sworn in as President the following January.

Your presidency, assuming this comes about, will have no chance of ever succeeding.

Because of your fellow Republicans, you will inherit at least two hopeless wars without end. Iraq and Afghanistan are both quagmires. The national debt will continue to slowly twist the life out of the American economy, and the gradual depletion of the world's oil reserves will force hardships upon America that your party has both denied, on the one hand, and hastened, on the other.

Your Republican friends, such as Rick Santorum, will continue the K-Street corruption that infests your party, while regular Americans call out for healthcare, jobs, and debt relief. You will be able to provide none of that.

After a while you might not even want to.

President Bush and his ruinous policies towards the people who fight in our armed services will by then have caused a turnaround in their political orientation, and soldiers will no longer respect your office. Why should they? You will not be able to provide an answer for them. If you could, you would have done so already. But you haven't.

Global warming, the proliferation of crude nuclear weapons, and wildly morphing infectious disease-causing organisms will continue to sap America's energies and because of your fellow Republicans, we will have few allies left in the world to help us.

There will really only be one main question for history to answer regarding your presidency: Will its failure be bad enough to bring down the whole world, or only the United States of America?


Thank you for your time and consideration,


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Morgenröte. Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile

From the pages of my family apocrypha there was long ago a story about a club-owner who had a 1957 T-Bird, much like the powder-blue one owned by my father. Beautiful car, that one. My dad, mostly he motored around on a Matchless Twin motorcycle. But the T-Bird was an acceptable car to him. As cars go. Or went.

My mother drove a Ford Falcon station wagon. I take after her, driving a Hyundai Elantra wagon. I like wagons. But I wish to the great buddha of two-wheelers with my every drawn breath that I had that old Matchless Twin my dad owned.

Talk about cool. You could transport frozen transplant organs on the coolness of that motorcycle. People write songs about motorcycles like that.

Motorcycle songs.

Anyways, this other guy that had a T-Bird also had a pet ocelot. It was a mini-rage back in the day. And the story went that the cat was always docile and normal about the house, like a regular felis catus.

Except, according to the apocryphal story, the day when the ocelot was left alone in the T-Bird for a few moments, in which it shredded the seat covers and anything else in the car interior susceptible to large nasty cat claws.

Car Interior.


Destroyed. Shredded. Torn Asunder.

Doctors do that.

You think they're nice guys, domesticated, poop-in-the-box and cover-it-up kinda normal cats.

But they are not. They are doctors, and as such will never, despite years of training, betray their indwelling deeply feral ways.

They cannot. To betray their genetic heritage would cause them no easily quantifiable sense of critical personal harm and distress. They must unbear their claws, just as the moon must morph in its cycles from new to full. Just as Frankenstein's monster must drown the little girl in the pond, tragedy immeasurable that it is. Fate always intervenes, and character fails before this grossly dim goddess.

Like a cake out in the rain.

So as this goes, nurses must fear doctors. Close comes the day when a trusted friend, a father-figure, a protective sweet-heart, turns like a rabid weasel to tear at your professional fur. It was ever thus. Ever shall it be so.

Thus spoke shrimplate.

Daybreak: Reflections on Moral Prejudices, 1881, Nietzsche.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Michelangelo's David and bin Laden's Niece

If there is such a thing as goodness, is it not logical to assume that this is a general principle that underlies "values" in various fields? Is not goodness somewhat "constant" in the areas of both ethics and aesthetics, or behavior and art? for example?

I think so.

That is how I manage the transition from musician to nurse, and then back again, without difficulty. A musician understands and practices "goodness" or "beauty" in the aesthetic realm of concocted sounds, and a nurse understands and practices "goodness" or "beauty" in the ethical realm of behavior to other, frequently ill, fellow human beings. The underlying goodness is a "constant," so to speak.

But all modern religions fail to acknowledge this, and fail more crudely in the application of the concept of goodness even to all people; people they might wish to address and perhaps even "save." Religions are just tribal warfare made manifest in dubious scriptures and even more dubious prophecy. That explains their uselessness, from a moral, aesthetic, or ethical aspect.

Perhaps you see this as harsh. If so, then you are likely not guilty of making the mistake that I assume is so common here. There are those who avoid this mistake. If that applies to you, then I regard your spirituality as morally intact. Not such a common thing, really. Reverend William Sloane Coffin, I bow to. Not all religious people regard others, consistently, as equal.

Both the Bible and bin Laden are uneven in their application of goodness. Gay marriage, anyone?

Check out this:

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

That sounds like a bad thing, no? But an honest criticism of modern American television culture, coming perhaps from a Southern Baptist perspective. Or not.

Not, as it is.

But sheesh. What about sexual liberation? Pardon me, but I hold that the regard for the privacy of adult non-violent consensual behavior of any mutually respectful kind; sexual, economic, educational, aesthetic, or ethical, is fair and allowable. It is not bin Laden's business if a penis should encounter, with adult legal consent, anything. Same goes for vaginas and various fruits or other foodstuffs. These are not religious issues.

Sex is the crucible upon which all modern religions fail.

And the reason for this is equality. A thing to be denied one of the sexes. Stupidly, senselessly.

Interestingly, this is both a family and a societal problem. (Warning: yowser alert.) Bin Laden's niece. That is the problem. For Shariah, the Taliban, the Southern Baptists, Jerry Falwell, the American Family Association, and incidentally, my spouse.

Just kidding. No chance there, so no foul.

What the hell.

Be excellent to one another, and party on, dudes and dudettes.