Monday, January 29, 2007

Blockage? You're Talking Blockage?

Yep. I went to see a cardiologist today, and that ugly word cropped up. I got BLOCKAGE. Well, that sucks! It's a bad thing, right?

What to do, what to do? Roto Rooter comes to mind. Liquid Plumber? Draino? The doctor forces a chuckle. "No, no, and no." Then the good doctor, who, I believe, hails from India or thereabouts, says: "You don hiv de bon don doo nu biddle da nob dib kondando, ha, ha, ha." What a guy. We all just laughed and laughed.

We pulled ourselves together and after a good deal of repetition I think I discerned that I have a posterior artery which is probably 70% to 80% blocked. Just the one, I guess. He pointed out rather jovially that it is not the "widow maker" artery, and it is not completely blocked. (This was determined via a stress test coupled with nuclear [or nucular if you're a republican,] injections and scans prior to and after my nine and a half minutes on the treadmill.)


I guess.

Well, now I am going from simply taking an aspirin and multi-vitamin in the morning to where I will soon be downing those plus Zocor for high cholesterol, and something to slow my heart rate, a beta blocker, the name of which I never quite understood, and - AND I am now supposed to carry nitroglycerin tablets with me in the event my chest explodes. I have always been under the impression that nitroglycerin possessed a tendancy to explode. But what do I know? Nitroglycerin for poop sakes!

Life moves on inexorably with changes that inevitably lead us to the happy hunting grounds.

Things changed for me today. I don't feel any different. I haven't been having any pain, sweating or shortness of breath, but nevertheless, things have changed. This is the first definitive chink in my immortal armor. By golly. I might not live forever. People have been telling me that is the case for some time, but I never really believed that it applied to me.

True, I've had some knee problems - a torn miniscus, a little arthritis - but that had little to do with continuing to draw breath. It just slowed me down a bit. A little pain. Mostly just a nuisance.

But a blockage? That's my heart, man! That's pretty basic.

Then the doctor tells me I'm fat. What's up with that? I point out that "I wouldn't be fat if it wasn't for my weight. Ha, ha." And, then: "My gelatinous gut here? Well, it used to be my chest but owing to the effects of gravity... Ha, ha, ha." He doesn't get it. "Yes, he says, you weigh a great deal, and so you are fat. You have the belly fat. Badinably kondeendi pundamakoli. Okay? We'll see you."

And he's gone.

I slip my shirt back over my ponderous bulk, and my wife and I make our way back to our car. We decide to trek up to Trader Joes grocery and look for low sodium food. I pointed out to her that sugar has no sodium (or fat for that matter.) But, alas, she's diabetic.

It has been determined that we humans are supposed to take in no more than something like 2000 milligrams of sodium per day. There are packaged foods at Joes that have nearly 1000 milligrams of sodium per serving. I think salt is the first ingredient listed on the package. Most have something in excess of 500 to 600 milligrams per serving. What can you do?

I once purchased a can of sodium free soup. No sodium. Nada. None. That was perhaps the worst tasting thing I've ever eaten, and I've eaten dirt! They could use that stuff on "Fear Factor." No one could eat that crap.

We are salt fiends. Even if we eschew adding it to our food at the table, salt, as they used to say about Prego: "It's in there." No wonder people died young before they discovered how to utilize salt. The hellish taste of their food destroyed their will to live. They wanted to go to the land of milk and honey.

What am I to eat? Low fat, low salt, low sugar, low calories. I can eat air. Or air "lite" would be preferable.

Well. Not to worry. This dastardly clogged artery will not get me down. I will lose weight. I will get in shape. I will eat air. To hell with my knees! I am aiming for the Ironman competition in Hawaii in say, 2008 or, better maybe 2009. Don't want to rush into anything. I will kick some "Big Kahuna" butt.

Of course, I've got to do this while I also go about learning everything so I can retake the damn Jeapordy on line test. I'll put the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica on an IPod and listen while I bike, swim and run. No problem. Not only will I be one smart son of a bitch, I'll be a buff one, too. The girls (and maybe some guys) will swoon. Brains and brawn.

I just hope I can be understood answering the Jeapordy questions with a nitoglycerin pill under my tongue.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Humility, Thy Name is the Jeapordy On-Line Test

Yeah, I took the Jeapordy On-Line exam. You see, I'm a pretty smart cookie. I know a lot of stuff. I sit watching the show answering the questions left and right. Appalled at how the contestants can be so uninformed. "Who was Bilbo? not Frodo, you dummies!"

So. I signed up to take the exam. I was gonna nail that sucker. It'd just be a matter of time until I would be telling Alex Trebek about some dumb thing I did in college or on my honeymoon, or whatever after the first commercial break, no doubt with yours truly in control of the board. Look out Ken Jennings, I'm gonna play whoopass on Jeapordy.

Tuesday evening, 8:00PM rolls around. I'm a bit nervous, but confident. The clock counts down to zero and the fun begins. The first question pops up. Uh, well, I don't know that one, but hey, let's move on. There's fifty questions. Missing one can't hurt. The second question appears. Hmmm. Well, I uh - on to number three. Hey, I know that one - clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. Nailed it! Number four. Oh, that's uh, oh yeah, er no, uh oops, time's up. Well, crap! Number five. Got it. Number six. I got no idea. The Sargasso Sea? Where the hell is that? Screw it. Number seven. Oh, man. I know that, I know that. Ed Asner! No, no, he was the actor. Who was his character? Time's up, again. Damn! Lou Grant, dammit! Lou Grant for crying out loud. Oh, yeah - Number eight. Woohoo. I know that one. Number nine. That one, too. Now I'm rollin'. Number ten. Oh, boy. What was his name? No, I mean what did he write? "The Tell Tale Heart?" No, that was Poe. Damn, damn, damn! Number eleven - - - and so it goes.

Uh, don't look for me on Jeapordy any time soon. I can't even take the on-line exam again for two years. Talk about a come down. I'm a smart guy, darn it. I shoulda maxed that test. Of course, I am getting a bit long in the tooth. Not as quick as I used to be. Who am I kidding? No one ever mistook me for a bolt of lightning. But, hell, how hard can it be? By golly, I'm gonna bone up over the next couple of years. I'm gonna study - what? Everything. I'll study every damn thing there is. I gotta get on top of all those English kings and queens. The French ones, too. And the Italians, and the Germans, and the Russians, and the - oh, well, I'll get to all of them eventually. I also gotta know about all those "potent potables" - What the hell is a Shiraz?, and all of the vice presidential wives, and all of the Secretaries of State, and, oh yeah and lyrics of all Kurt Cobain's songs, and what phylum arachnids are in, or is arachnid the phylum? No, that's the class, or maybe the species. What was the name of the chimp on the first "Today" show? Fred J. Suggs er no, Muggs. Yeah, Fred J. Muggs. Right? Oh, man. I don't know. I mean, I know, but I don't know.


Maybe I just oughta keep answering the questions over dinner. No pressure. Just keep the mac & cheese coming.


Saturday, January 20, 2007


3000 HITS!!!

Man, can you imagine? It only took 14 months. (Of course about 2/3 of those hits were me, but hey. So what.)


Friday, January 12, 2007

Yeah, yeah, I'm back. I know I wasn't gone long, but...

An observation:

The closing item on the NBC Evening News tonite was the story of an elderly woman in Georgia who says good-bye to all the soldiers leaving for the middle east from an airbase outside Savannah. It has been estimated that she has bid adieu to around 56000 men and women as they boarded planes over the last three and a half years. She is a grand, somewhat blousy cracker of a woman. It's a great gesture on her part.

Over the last few years there have been a number of similar stories of extraordinary support of our troops and/or their families, like the various groups across the country that have provided properly insulated helmets to soldiers in need of them, that the government failed to provide.

Similar stories made the airwaves during the much briefer Gulf War in the 1990s and, of course, during the seemingly interminable Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s. It is truly great when people come to the fore to help the young men and women placed in harm's way in service to their country. We often see that, while war can and does bring out the worst in us, the best instincts of humanity also tend to surface.

As great as all that is, one is left to ponder why all this is necessary in the first place. Our military is killing and being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Ostensibly to stem the tide of terrorism. I won't go into all of that. We know the drill, the reasons Bush & company gave for the Iraq invasion. We also know that most of those "reasons" were not substantiated. No Al Qaida connection, no 9/11 connection, no WMDs. Let's see. What does that leave? Saddam Hussein was a murderous, eminently evil bastard, a despot of the first order, who killed thousands of his own people. Horribly true. Is there anything regretable about his fall and subsequent execution? No, nothing.

However, all of that does not meet a litmus test for our going to war. Does anyone believe that things are better in Iraq now? Iraqis are dying by the score daily. In the end does it really matter who is doing the killing? Saddam, Americans, or your neighbors? Not only is Iraq in a state of chaos, the entire region is becoming unsettled owing to the sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis. There are both Shiites and Sunnis in Iran, Syria and several other countries in the area. It is not that much of a stretch to see how the violence could spread. Additionally, terroist groups like Al Qaida and others have taken advantage of this situation by instigating violence in such a way as to cast blame on one sect or the other. If what is going on there presently does not qualify as civil war, it's the next thing to it. To argue the point is splitting hairs.

Bush's obsession with bringing down Saddam has cost us dearly. We are now mired in a conflict from which there is no graceful exit. This is reminiscent of our involvement in Vietnam which was nearly twenty times as costly in American lives, and probably dozens, perhaps hundreds of times more costly in the combined American, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and other lives than all those lost in the Iraqi conflict to date.

The 57000+ American and countless other lives lost in the Vietnam conflict absolutely died in vain. The so called "domino" still fell, and to what effect? Now, Vietnam is a country that has largely rebuilt itself with an economy that is on the upswing and is generally well respected in the world community. And all of those people died for what, again?

The same can be said for our involvement in Iraq. At some point we will withdraw most or all of our troops from Iraq perhaps quietly, perhaps ignominiously as in Vietnam. What will be left behind? A unified country with a strong democratic government as Bush hopes? Perhaps. More likely Iraq will further devolve into total chaos and all out civil war. The entire middle east could be left a virtual powder keg.

George Bush may well be left with a legacy that he never imagined when he made his triumphal "mission accomplished" appearance on the carrier, USS Lincoln, or when he uttered his loathsome "bring 'em on" challenge to the Iraqi insurgents. The whole region could be engulfed (no pun intended) in sectarian war. Terrorist groups will be having a heyday. Israel will be rendered more vulnerable to attacks from all directions. The United States will have so much egg on its face that we will be indiscernable from a western omelet.

And all of the death will have been in vain. But, hey, maybe we can get cheaper gas.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

There is an end to all things

I think I may put this baby to bed. It seems to have run its course. I know this will be a disappointment to my ardent readership, but I'm sure both of you will be able to find other sources for intellectual stimulation, razor-sharp wit, and downright fun.

I've sat here several times over the last few days without any inspiration. Perhaps I've had my say. In any event, I'm just going to let this be for a while.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

No Global Warming?

Jazzy & Other Doubters,

Read this if the spirit moves you:

This doesn't prove anything one way or the other. But it certainly does raise questions regarding any information debunking global warming which has been disseminated over the last few years.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pat Robertson: What a Guy!!!

Pat Robertson has made his predictions for 2007 after his tete-a-tete with the godster. The big guy related to good ole' Pat that a bunch of us are going to get greased this year via some type of terrorist attack on our soil. God, being the sly devil he is, wouldn't divulge anything further except to say that it will probably be later in the year. So, I guess we can relax through spring and into summer. The college crowd can still get stinko and screwed at their all important post winter rituals in Florida and the Caribbean. The rest of us should be able to get a handle on that pesky crab grass and perhaps get in a few rounds at the country club (thank god!,) But then, we'd better start raising the terrorist alert level toward the crimson end of the spectrum, and stock up on batteries, plastic sheeting, duct tape and turkey jerky. The lord of lords wouldn't even tell Patty Cake what kind of attack it will be. Nuclear? (or, uh nuculer?) Biological? Tribbles? He knows how to keep us on the edge of our proverbial seats, doesn't he?

Robertson is proud of his track record, but admits that "sometimes I miss." The fact that he's not batting a thousand tells us that either Patsy should invest in a hearing aid, or take better notes. Or perhaps the king of kings gets his jollies from messing with our heads. He feeds us a few red herrings just to keep things interesting. What a kidder.

Pat Robertson is an asshole. How he maintains an audience is beyond me. That he, in fact has a large following does not reflect well on the intelligence level of this country. He is such a mean spirited cretin. His adherents are idiots. Robertson's having a dais upon which to spew his drivel is, if anything is, a sin against humanity. He's not up there predicting the next schmuck "The Donald" will point to and say "You're fired!", or whether Brad and Angelina will break our hearts. The Rob lays claim to having one-on-one personal conversations with god, for god's sake! He predicts mass murder to bolster his ratings. The man is insane! Presumably, should his dire prediction come to pass, he will no doubt gleefully shout from the rafters "I told you so, I told you so. Nya na nya na nya!!!" I can envision Pat Man and the omniscient one giving each other "high fives," and maybe downing a couple of brewskies together in celebration.

Simply because some of the crap Robbie Baby supposedly regurgitates from the mouth of god comes to fruition does not serve as an affirmation of his predictions. It only means that if you throw enough shit against the wall, some of it will probably stick. Big wup!

Here is hoping that someone spirits the Reverend Mr. Robertson away, ties him securely to an uncomfortable chair, pins his eyes open ala A Clockwork Orange, restricts his head movement and forces him to watch Rob Schneider's entire body of work (or to the true aficionado - his oeuvre) - TV and film - in full Dolby, repeatedly for days - nay, nay -for eternity!

Pat Robertson is - well, I just have to say it - he's a poophead.

One other thing.

The supposed outrage of, among others, the Iraqi sunnis regarding the execution of Saddam and the video which is now circulating the net, is a crock. This coming from people, primarily muslims, who think nothing of stoning to death a young woman in the town square for besmirching her family's honor for say, being in the same town as some man not her father or brother, or as seen in Afghanistan under the taliban, public beheadings during period breaks in soccer games. Now that's entertainment!

Seeing Saddam being led to his death was not pleasant. I took no joy in watching it, though watch it I did. I am not a particular fan of capital punishment, but if anyone deserved to die for his actions, Saddam did. I don't mourn for the man. People who believe that Saddam Hussein was any kind of hero are at least as stupid as Robertson's admirers, maybe more so (if that's possible.)