Saturday, January 31, 2009
Hey, Seattle. Young enough and firm enough for you? Will you release me from blog hell now?
Top to bottom: Nick Youngquest, Jamie Bamber, Alan Ritchson, Alan Ritchson. I have no idea if any of them has ever accomplished anything beyond looking good.
Friday, January 30, 2009
This morning, I woke up to pounding on my door. It took me awhile to verify that 1) yes, I am awake, 2) yes, that is my door, and 3) it might be important so I should get up.
By the time I got up, the knocking had stopped so I went to the bathroom. Then I hear a key in the door and realize it's the manager and he's letting himself in. I had the door chained so he backed out and closed the door before I got there. But I threw the door open and said (not really shouted but said loudly), "You do know it's against the law to enter an apartment without giving 24 hours notice."
He was all apologetic. I am so done with this guy. I requested several repairs a couple of months ago, he promised to take care of them, and NONE of them have been done yet.
He was here to do pest control and turns out he had posted a notice by the door yesterday. I didn't go anywhere so I hadn't seen it. But still. I'm done with him.
• Fark headline of the day:
Consumer confidence rises to a four-month high in January among Americans who have not yet been laid off, says new study by the Maybe If We Say It Online It'll Come True Institute. (the story)
• More economic news:
Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't cheer me up.
• Fark sums up this story:
Bungling burglar tries to steal drum kit, falls down stairs knocking himself out, wakes up, tries to steal plasma TV, cuts himself, accidentally sets fire to the kitchen, falls asleep on homeowner's bed, bleeding profusely.
• The National Science Foundation is researching porn. Sort of.
• Google Earth makes me queasy. This is why it should bother you too. The entire planet is becoming a police state.
• Someone hacked a digital road sign in Texas and changed the message to read "Zombies Ahead."
• Shameless self-promotion: Check out my post on TPM and read the comments. Chuckles all around.
Turn Ons: hackers with a sense of humor.
Turn Offs: unbridled corporate greed
I mentioned Jessica Simpson's new, fluffier figure the other day. This is the first closeup picture I've seen of her. She looks pregnant to me. Most of the extra weight is in her boobs and she's thicker around the waist. Lots of preggos look like that before their tummies pop.
The caption and the picture are from Perez.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
• A man in Ohio killed his wife and 2 young kids before killing himself. He left a suicide note, but friends and family say they saw no hint that anything like this would happen.
• A man in California killed his wife and five young children and then himself. Both he and his wife had recently been fired for cause from the hospital where they worked.
• A man in Oregon shot his wife and then himself, apparently during an argument. Their four young children were alone with them for three days, including their nine month old daughter, who was locked in the bedroom with the bodies, crying and covered with their blood.
• The first line from another article: An Australian woman accused of setting her husband's genitals on fire because she thought he was having an affair has been charged with murder.
• A teenage girl in Texas conspired with her boyfriend and another friend to murder her mother and 2 brothers. The father survived after being shot 5 times.
• Sometimes the headline tells the story: Cross-Dressing Dermatologist Who Killed Wife Found Dead in Prison.
• Two year old Riley Ann Sawyer was murdered by her parents:
[The mother] in a four-hour videotaped statement to police that was played in court earlier this week, admitted to whipping Riley with a belt and helping to repeatedly dunk her head in a bathtub of cold water.
But she said the discipline session was [the stepfather's] idea and the three skull fractures that resulted in the toddler's death were caused by him when he threw the child across a room in their home after getting frustrated that the discipline session wasn't working.
They tossed the body in Galveston Bay. (More details here.)
• You gotta give it to Fox News. They know how to suck you in.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
• Starbucks is closing 300 stores and laying off 6700 employees
• Yankee Candles is laying off 300
• Home Depot is closing 41 stores and laying off 7000
• Williams-Sonoma is laying off 1400
• AOL is laying off 700
• Microsoft is laying off 5000
• Intel is laying off 6000
• Advanced Micro Devices is laying off 1100
• Clear Channel Communications is laying off 1900
• Warner Brothers movie studio is laying off 800
• Target is laying off 1500
• Home Depot is laying off 7000
• Sprint is laying off 8000
• Phillips Electronics is laying off 6000
• Bose is laying off 1000
• Texas Instruments is laying off 3400
• Corning is laying off 3500
• Pfizer is buying Wyeth and cutting 8000 jobs (and possibly 12,500 more later this year)
• Huntsman (which makes Tide, Surf, Crest toothpaste, and Gillette shave cream) is laying off 1200
• BHP Billiton (mining company) is laying off 6000
• Eaton is laying off 5000
• Caterpillar is laying off 20,000
• Harley Davidson is laying off 1100
• GM is laying off 2000
• United Airlines is cutting 1000 more jobs, bringing their total to 2500 in the last year
• Boeing is cutting 10,000 jobs
• Hertz is cutting 4000
• Wellpoint is cutting 1500
• The ACLU is laying off 10% of its workforce (Madoff wiped out the foundations that support them)
• Meanwhile, McDonald's 2008 profits were up 80% and Netflix profits went up by 25% last quarter.
It's a cartoon from the NY Post. The tabloids have been making fun of Jessica Simpson for gaining weight. Which means she went from about a size 4-6 to maybe a size 8. Hardly obese. Not even fat.
Can you imagine them doing a cartoon like that if a male celebrity gained 10 or 20 pounds? This crap is demeaning to all women. And it explains why right at this moment, there are girls all over America kneeling in front of a toilet gagging themselves.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Last month, one of the DVDs was cracked when I got it. They sent a replacement right away but since it was coming from Chicago instead of Omaha, it took longer to get here. So I only got one movie that week.
Usually, if I send movies back on Monday, Netflix receives them Wednesday, ships 2 new ones on Thursday, and I receive them Friday or Saturday. This week, they said they didn't receive them them until Thursday, they shipped new ones on Friday and I didn't get them until Monday. I won't get them both watched for a couple of days, so I won't have any movies this weekend either.
At this rate, it would be cheaper to drive to Blockbuster to rent movies. And that way, I'd get them exactly when I want them.
Plus I'm sick of the Netflix ads all over the 'net.
I haven't done this for awhile. Quickie time:
• That's a lot of wings: Yesterday, a 200 gallon barrel of barbecue sauce was spilled on the street in front of a restaurant in Fairfield, CT, that's famous for its buffalo wings. The scary part: Haz-mat was called in to clean it up. How toxic is that crap?
• Sad: Cursive writing is becoming obsolete.
• Fark headline of the day:
One in five men at risk of drinking problem. The other four have no trouble finding their mouth. (the story)
• Another Fark headline:
M, for the Margaritas that got you wasted / O, leaving me Outside in the cold / T, the Trucker that you had sex with / H, the Horrific mugshot the paper pasted / E, the Example that you set for when I get old, R, that was Retarded. (the story)
• Note to pervs: Marrying a ten year old girl after you rape her doesn't make it okay. At least not in Canada.
• A 93 year old man in Michigan died from hypothermia after the municipal utility company shut off his power for non-payment. A neighbor found the utility bill on his kitchen table with a large amount of cash clipped to it. In Iowa, utility companies are not allowed to turn the power off during the winter.
• Dear Sweden: I came for the story about the guy with one leg shorter than the other. I stayed for the picture of the guy in his underwear.
• Licking the tuna: No, it's not a euphemism for oral sex. It's what tourists do at the Tokyo fish market. The market's assistant director says:
"We understand that the sight of hundreds of frozen tuna looks unique and interesting for foreign tourists ... But they have to understand the Tsukiji market is a professional place, not an amusement park."
• Lavar Toosweet McKiernan. Real name. Really drunk driver who tried to drown a police dog. Guess he didn't turn out quite as sweet as his mom intended.
• "He's mailing himself out of jail, one envelope at a time." That's the St. Louis court clerk's explanation for why a jail inmate keeps sending letters containing his own saliva, semen and urine.
• I don't even know what to say about this. A firefighter in Florida stole the amputated foot of an accident victim and stuck it in her freezer. She apparently planned to use it for cadaver dog training.
• This is news. In Boston. Photo gallery of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen. In my world, it's not news unless it's Brangelina.
I usually don't go this long without a new post. Guess I don't have much to say, although that's never stopped me before.
I saw my family doctor yesterday for my 6 month checkup. My blood pressure has been running really high the last few months - 160/110. Not good. I think I may have said this recently, but very few people in my family get out of their 40s without having a heart attack or stroke. Looks like I might keep the trend going.
Today they called with my labs. On top of everything else, I've now got thyroid problems. I get to start a new med for that. Not to mention the new med I started yesterday for my BP.
That makes 6 I'm taking right now. There are 3 others I'm supposed to be taking but I discontinued them on my own. I'm getting to be as bad as my grandma. She had this big pill box contraption that had 5 slots for every day of the week because she was taking meds 5 times a day. With the new one, I'll be popping pills 3 times a day. Some have to be taken before meals, some with meals, and some at bedtime.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thain was responsible for overseeing Merrill Lynch's sale to Bank of America, and then took over B of A's wealth management and corporate wealth divisions. Result? B of A lost $15.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. He had already managed to lose $56 billion for Merrill Lynch.
It gets worse. In December, Merrill Lynch paid out $3-4 billion in employee bonuses. Because their employees did SUCH a good job because the company was SO profitable. This was after the Merrill/B of A had already received $25 billion in bailout money from the government. And now they're asking for $20 billion more.
Wait. It still gets worse. Last fall, the geniuses at Merrill Lynch speculated that the mortgage market had bottomed out so they started buying even riskier mortgage assets.
If this asshole doesn't go to jail, there is no justice.
The good news is that NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating the bonuses. The feds should demand the bonuses be returned before they receive another dime of bailout money. But they won't.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Check out the video:
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I still don't have much to write about but I thought I'd put up a few links to things I've been reading the last few days:
• The revamped White House website looks sharp. The government might actually be catching up with pop culture.
• Can we handle the truth? Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (one of Rove's victims) was the inspiration for the Tom Cruise character in A Few Good Men. Now he's being recalled to the JAG corps and he'll be helping with the prosecution of the Gitmo prisoners.
• One of Obama's first acts may be to sign an executive order that will lift the gag rule for family planning clinics worldwide. Under Bush policy, any clinic that received U.S. federal assistance was not allowed to provide abortions or information about abortions.
• Control freaks in the airline industry (flight attendants and their supervisors) are abusing the Patriot Act. People are getting arrested and charged as terrorists for things like getting drunk and/or making out on flights. Naughty boys and girls for sure, but terrorists?
• I've explained my new rule. When I don't have much to say, I'll just put up a picture of Brad.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
It's Inauguration Day. If you bet that Bush would make up a crisis to take over the country, you can take off your tinfoil hat. If you think Obama is a secret Muslim out to destroy the country, put yours on now.
Monday, January 19, 2009
On Saturday I went to a poetry reading with a friend. Very inspiring. I didn't have a single panic attack all day even though I was really nervous about being around people.
Sunday - played computer games all day. Gigantic waste of time but I was too tired to do anything else.
One of the rules for my blog - when you have nothing better to say, post a picture of Brad. Haven't seen the movie yet.
Friday, January 16, 2009
• "A soldier, man or woman, could get drunk in Bangkok, wake up in the morning and be married, as will happen sometimes in places like Las Vegas or Bangkok, be killed the next day, and the spouse who was a product of the evening's celebration would have then a right to claim access to come to the United States on a green card."
• When a bipartisan group of Iowa lawmakers wrote a letter asking for the National Guard chief to be a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, King said, "Representative Braley and all Democrats in the Iowa delegation do not support the troops and their mission. We will not be led to victory by those who have declared defeat."
• On Obama: "I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name, whatever the religion of their father might have been .. I'll just say this, that when you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States, I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does this look like to the world of Islam?... And I will tell you that if he IS elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al Qaida and the radical Islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11th."
• He called Sen. Joe McCarthy a "Hero for America."
• On al-Zarqawi: "There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at. And if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."
• On Iraq: "My wife lives here with me, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, she's at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C., than an average civilian in Iraq."
• On Terry Schiavo: "She lives on her own, unassisted by machines. She was not dying, not in a coma and would not be near the end of her life now if it weren't for the barbaric torture of taking away her food and water that her husband, the man who said vows to protect her in sickness and health, has sentenced her to."
• He said what happened at Abu Ghraib was "What amounts to a hazing."
• He compared illegal immigrants to stray cats. At first they help by chasing mice, so people feed them. Then they have kittens, which are liked for their cuteness, but eventually the strays, fed by the people, end up getting lazy, just like illegal immigrants.
Last spring, I participated in one of his telephone town hall meetings. The only 2 subjects open for discussion: gay marriage and the wall along the Mexican border. We're in the middle of a war with Iraq that's killed thousands of Americans and Iraqis, we were creeping toward a major recession. He voted against SCHIP but supported wasting millions on our own version of the Berlin wall.
The state of Iowa went to Obama. My district re-elected Steve King. I live in hell.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Susan J. Crawford, a retired judge who was the Army's general counsel under Reagan and also as the Pentagon's inspector general, said the treatment alleged terrorist Mohammed al Qatani received at Guantanamo was torture. She actually used the T-word - no parsing, no equivocation. From Slate:
What Crawford has done here is astounding. She has repudiated the formalistic (and perennially shifting) definitions of torture as whatever-it-is-we-don't-do. She has admitted that there is a medical and legal definition for torture and also that we have crossed the line into it.
She said the charges against al Qatani had to be dropped because of the torture. Crawford also said:
"If we tolerate this and allow it, then how can we object when our servicemen and women, or others in foreign service, are captured and subjected to the same techniques? How can we complain? Where is our moral authority to complain? Well, we may have lost it."
Eric Holder, Obama's pick for Attorney General, has stated that water-boarding is torture. No twisting and turning and weaseling out of giving a direct answer to the question like our current AG Mukasey did during his confirmation hearings.
The Geneva conventions require that member countries arrest anyone within their borders who authorized torture. There is adequate evidence to prove that Rumsfeld authorized it. In recent interviews, Cheney has publicly admitted that he also authorized it.
Do Obama and his new Justice Department appointees have the balls to follow through? Obama won't say whether or not he'll prosecute but hints that he won't when he says he wants to focus on the future, not the past.
Do Rumsfeld and Cheney have the balls to visit France or some of the other countries who signed the Geneva agreement? The cheese-eating surrender monkeys (Fark's nickname for the French) will arrest them if Obama doesn't. Those two clowns and their drunken puppet Bush belong in jail.
Meanwhile, the White House claims they have suddenly "found" 14,000 emails that were previously "missing." The emails relate to the Valerie Plame scandal and the invasion of Iraq. The Bushies have done everything they can to avoid turning over such documents to Congress, the Obama administration and/or the National Archives. And the courts have rejected their arguments.
It's reassuring to know that most of our judges are not surrender monkeys.
Giving Citi or any other big bank more taxpayer money is analogous to giving it to Bernard Madoff. It's a giant Ponzi scheme. The money will disappear.
Among his reccomendations: Require bank executives, traders and directors to refund 50% of any compensation they received from 2005-2008 because the amounts were based on false and fraudulent assertions.
Congress is too wimpy (and too deeply embedded with the money people) for most of Reich's suggestions to ever go through. But it's a nice fantasy.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Ricardo Montalban died today, age 88. I recently saw an old movie where he played a Portuguese detective in Boston, investigating a murder case, Mystery Street. It wasn't one of the stereotypical roles he usually got stuck with. No one can forget "Welcome to Fantasy Island." Or how about the car commercials he did in the 70s -"rich Corinthian leather." Then there's "The Wrath of Khan."
But I think one of my favorite Montalban memories was one of the Planet of the Apes movies where he jumped (or fell or was pushed?) out a window in a high building and landed with a splat. My brothers and I saw it on TV and re-enacted the scene the next day with mashed potatoes. Splat.
He was a handsome devil.
Oprah to Kate Winslet, discussing her new movie "The Reader":
"I love the fact that you have real breasts, ’cause in all the breast scenes, your breasts do what real breasts do…There's that wonderful thing, you know, if you are a woman, you're lying on your back, your breasts they go to–they part–but if you look at a woman with not real breasts, their breasts are sticking straight up. That's how you know. God bless your real breasts!"
Critics say Kate's Oscar hopes are dimmed because of controversy over the film, where she plays an unrepentant Nazi who worked as a death camp guard. It's not so much the role she played as a remark she once made about Holocaust movies:
"It's like, how many have there been, you know? We get it. It was grim. Move on."
She's one of my favorite actresses and her willingness to say what she really thinks is one of the reasons. Recently, I saw her in "Little Children." Great movie.
Here's what Eva Mendes says about her:
"I would steal Kate Winslet’s roles. All her roles. Don’t talk to me about it because she can do no wrong in my eyes. Not only is she the most amazing actress in the entire world, she’s nude in a lot of her films which shows she’s just fearless. Her choices are impeccable. She literally can do anything. If she can just give me two of her roles, I’d be happy."
I'd be happy if I had Kate's boobies.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A lawyer for a proposed Alaska gold mine told the Supreme Court on Monday that the mine should be allowed to dump metal waste into a nearby lake.
The metal waste, known as tailings, would kill all aquatic life in the lake. But mining company lawyer Theodore Olson said the waste was more accurately defined as "fill." And, once mining ends, the lake could be restocked, resulting in a bigger lake with more fish.
Supreme Court Justice Souter called the argument Orwellian.More quickies:
• A "spastic" and "retarded" "keen knife collector" in the U.K. didn't like the name his girlfriend chose for their new kitten. So he stabbed her. She's dead and he's using the Intermittent Explosive Disorder defense.
• I wish I had thought of this: People all over the U.S. are reporting a mysterious 25 cent charge on their credit cards going to "Adele Services" in Melville, NY. Consumer advocates say it might be the "perfect scam" - stealing from millions of people in such small amounts that most of them will never notice.
• A line from an actual news story: Mensing's journey into the murky world of telepathy began in 2001 when her dog, Wheatie, was almost trampled to death by a deer in her backyard.
• Did you know that Fark, one of my favorite websites, was featured as a category on Jeopardy?
• Fark headline of the day: When they came for the baggy pants, I did not speak out; I did not wear baggy pants. When they came for the speedos, I breathed a sigh of relief. (the story)
• Actual headline from the London Times Online:
The World Will Never Be Safe Until Scrabble Is Banned: Board games do not bring a family closer together. They rip out its heart in a seething cauldron of rage.
Bitter much? Someone must've beat the guy to all the triple letter and double word score spaces.
• Your kid has chickenpox? Throw a party. Trendy parents are taking their kids to chickenpox parties, where one kid is sick and they're hoping all the others will catch it. They switch glasses and pass out lollipops and encourage the kids to share them to make sure everyone's exposed to the germs. Because that's so much healthier than giving them vaccines. Right?
A few years from now, these same parents will be fussing and moaning when their kids discover other ways to exchange germs. Rainbow parties, anyone?
Girl cat was begging for food this morning and I gave it to her, even though she'd already eaten enough, even though she's already too fat. As I told her, "It's easier to feed you than it is to listen to you beg."
Which brought me to the realization that it's easier for me to eat than it is not to eat. I've been very compulsive about food lately. Eating way too much, eating all the wrong things (sugar, fat, salt). My blood pressure has been running high - 160/100. Very few people in my family make it past their 40s without having a stroke or a heart attack. I'm 48.
My nightmare is having a stroke and not being able to come back to my apartment so that someone else will have to move me out. I don't care what happens to my stuff when I die, but the idea of someone going through all of it when I'm still alive horrifies me.
So why am I eating this crap? Sometimes, binging is the only thing that keeps me from slashing my wrists or hanging myself. I guess I'd rather eat myself to death.
I did a lot of cleaning this weekend - my apartment looks better than it has in a long time, but most people wouldn't think it was clean if they saw it. The carpets are so old and stained, the paint is so dirty, no matter what you do, it still looks dirty.
The reason for my cleaning frenzy was that the city inspector was here for my annual once over. My apartment would've easily passed if I hadn't pointed out the fact that the hot water temperature is scalding. Now I have to wait to see if the landlord fixes it. Hopefully he will because I think the city can cite him for all the apartments, not just mine. But another landlord who went bankrupt and left hundreds of tenants homeless has me a little shook up.
Tonight, I saw on the news that he didn't have any Section 8 tenants in his buildings because the apartments were so bad the inspectors wouldn't approve them. My fingers are crossed that my landlord has enough money invested here that he'll do the repairs to keep the city off his back. The water is so hot that it really is a dangerous situation.
This morning, I had to walk six blocks to the grocery store (one way) to buy a battery for my smoke detector before the inspection. It was cold with blowing snow.
Then later this afternoon I had to walk to the bus stop (5 blocks) so I could go pick up my car from the shop. It was colder, windier, snowier by then. The bus was 15 minutes late because school let out early so the stop at the high school, plus letting kids off along the way, slowed him down.
My car. $300 to fix the defroster. Without the repair, I couldn't drive on cold days because the windows would frost over too fast. Fixing the heater would've been another $300+ so I'll still be driving without heat, but that's okay.
They discovered a leak in my radiator which will probably have to be fixed soon. That'll be another $300. The intake manifold is leaking oil. I didn't even ask for the price for that because the mechanic said I might be able to get another 100,000 miles out of it as long as I keep the oil filled.
My car already has 160,000 miles on it but for the most part, it still runs great. New brakes are the next thing on my agenda. My trips to the store and the bus stop today convinced me to keep fixing it as long as it can be fixed, the minimum I have to do to keep it running. I can't afford to buy another one.
I've been pretty self-absorbed lately and it shows on my blog. I'm not getting nearly as many page views as I was before. Guess I need to find something more interesting to write about.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
These are people who were already living on the edge financially. The apartments were below standard because the landlord wasn't maintaining them properly but the tenants couldn't afford to move anywhere else. Now, there are not enough apartments available elsewhere to house them all. It's also creating headaches for the police who will have to keep an eye on all these vacant buildings in what's already a high crime area (by Iowa standards).
Added to that, the only grocery store within miles of that same neighborhood, inhabited largely by elderly, disabled and low income people, is going out of business.
Whatever the "burdens" might be for Madoff's investors and others, none of them have to worry about having food to eat and a roof over their heads. The same can't be said for my friends and neighbors.
Stock market crash? Pshaw. None of these folks had money to invest in the stock market - they were lucky to be able to scrape together enough to rent the roach infested and inadequately heated hovels they were living in. And now, even that has been taken away.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Meet Boy Cat. He is now offering a seminar entitled "How to Puke All Over Debbie's Favorite Quilt and Live to Tell About It."
Turn Ons: snuggles and purrs
Turn Offs: bad kitties who eat too fast, puke it all up, then have the nerve to beg for more
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Watch it on TV like everyone else, asshole.
Here's the truly shocking thing - Nancy said no. To a Republican! Who knew she was even capable of that?
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Bing cherries. Delicious. Worth $5 a pound? It seemed like it last week but I just had to throw out a few of them because they got moldy. Guess I shouldn't have kept them for so long.
This week in politics:
• Diane Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller, the incoming and outgoing chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have their panties in a twist because Obama didn't inform them that he was naming Leon Panetta as the new CIA director. David Kurtz of TPM says:
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), a less senior member of the Senate intel committee, says he was consulted in advance on the Panetta pick for CIA, so I'm starting to think that not alerting incoming chair Dianne Feinstein or outgoing chair Jay Rockefeller was not necessarily an inadvertent oversight by the Obama team.
TPM bloggers speculate that Obama's reason for snubbing Feinstein and Rockefeller is because they voted in favor of spying on Americas and were "torture enablers."
Another blogger says:
The CIA needs a director who represents the public and not the agency. The CIA protects America but sometimes, Americans need protection from the CIA.
• Meanwhile, Caroline Kennedy's sense of entitlement isn't paying off. Last month, a poll of NY Democrats showed her favored over Andrew Cuomo to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. This month, the poll shows Cuomo in the lead. She went from being 21 points ahead to being 20 points behind.
• Economist Paul Krugman's views on the the economy:
Here's my nightmare scenario: It takes Congress months to pass a stimulus plan, and the legislation that actually emerges is too cautious. As a result, the economy plunges for most of 2009, and when the plan finally starts to kick in, it's only enough to slow the descent, not stop it. Meanwhile, deflation is setting in, while businesses and consumers start to base their spending plans on the expectation of a permanently depressed economy -- well, you can see where this is going.
What shall we call it? The Great Depression, Part Deux?
• For an interesting take on Bush's proposed presidential library, check out this blog. Read the comments too.
• And here's a ray of hope that Obama will not wimp out and fail to prosecute the war criminals from the Bush administration.
Monday, January 05, 2009
When I was a kid, I used to fake being sick at school. It started after I got sick there for real - threw up when we were lined up at the door at the start of the day - and they took me to the school nurse. She wanted to send me home and I cried because I knew my mother would be mad if she had to come pick me up. Anytime I needed anything extra when I was little, it was a major inconvenience to my mother, worthy of an angry scolding about how annoying and unworthy I was followed by hours of glares and harrumphs from her.
So I cried in the nurse's office and the nurse touched my forehead and stroked my arm. Her hand was cool and it felt really good. Nobody at home ever touched me unless they were hitting me.
After that, I started faking sickness so I could go to the nurse's office and lay down.
Years later, when I was in my early 20s and I got really sick again - nightmares, panic attacks, insomnia, severe depression, extreme mood swings, suicide thoughts, several suicidal gestures and one serious attempt - I ended up spending a lot of time in hospitals and doctors' offices. Some of the treatment I received there was a nightmare in itself, but when I found a doctor and a therapist who were nice to me, who listened and (at least pretended) to really care about me, it was like heroin.
I wasn't conscious of the effect it was having on me at the time, but it made me sicker. I became very dependent on them. It led to a downward spiral where I became more and more dysfunctional, lost a good job and the insurance that went with it, found a new job and got fired from it, resorted to working part-time as a waitress but had to call in sick a lot, no longer able to pay my rent, medical bills piling up, and the only alternative - as prescribed by my psychiatrist and my therapist - was to go on disability.
At the time, they were making all my decisions. Whatever they told me to do, I did, right down to what brand of shampoo I used. (Alberto VO5 because my therapist liked the way it smelled. I always switched brands to whatever was on sale but from then on, I was a VO5 girl.)
So imagine my anger, a few years later when I told my psychiatrist I felt like going on disability had been a mistake and he denied he had ever recommended that. It was his fucking idea! I didn't even know disability was an option and a way (the only way) I could get help with my medical bills until he told me I should apply.
It may have been my only alternative at the time. I was too sick to work enough to take care of myself - no faking whatsoever - and the only way the state or anyone else would help was if I could prove I was disabled. Hospital records, one letter from my psychiatrist, and a full-blown panic attack in the Social Security office, and I was officially disabled.
Remember Gregor Samsa or whatever the hell his name was? The guy from the Kafka story who became an insect. That's me.
I went from being entirely self-sufficient with a good future - the retail chain I worked for in college had plans to promote me to their corporate office in Minneapolis and I was planning to go to med school. I hadn't decided which path to take, although I was leaning toward the job because the pay was great, it would get me the hell out of Iowa (a major goal), there were possibilities for further promotions, and I was young enough that I thought I could save up money and go to med school later.
Then one morning, I woke up and I had metamorphized into a leech. Like the guy in Kafka's story, people either felt sorry for me or ran away in horror. Being a leech is worse than being a beetle because if Gregor could figure out a way to get off his back, he'd be able to fend for himself. A leech is entirely dependent on sustenance from others. And at any time, the host can pluck the leech off and crush it.
That's where I am. My only source of income is from the government and it's not enough to survive on unless I also get government help with housing and medical care. Any one of those programs falls through and I would end up homeless, wandering the streets and talking to myself like all those other crazy people out there.
That's probably why I gave that old lady all my pop cans a couple of weeks ago. She was in her 60s and fishing cans out of the garbage dumpster at the gas station. I had pulled up right alongside her to use the air pump. Each can is only worth five cents and she wasn't finding many. It was cold as hell, below zero that day. So I gave her the bags of cans I'd been hauling around in the back of my car, worth maybe $3. She was so thrilled. I think not only because I gave her the cans but also because I had a conversation with her while everyone ignored her. Looking back on it, I wish I had given her the change from the cup on my dashboard and whatever cash I had in my wallet (probably less than $5).
I was that lady 20 years ago, when I couldn't work and I was waiting for my disability claim to go through. I walked all over town that winter looking for pop cans to turn in for the deposit. That and food stamps was the only income I had at the time, on the verge of ending up in the homeless shelter. Now, I'm just one burned out, pissed off bureaucrat's arbitrary decision away from being back there again.
I'm probably thinking about this because my housing and medical assistance are being reviewed right now. It's just routine and I probably have nothing to worry about - I reported all my income, I'm still demonstrably disabled - but I still worry.
I'm a leech. At any moment, I can be plucked off and crushed.
I went to bed - and fell asleep - at something like a normal time last night, around 9:30. Then I woke up at 12:30, bad stomach ache that quickly progressed to vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. A long time ago, a doctor told me that if you have them at the same time, and if something you ate is still in your stomach several hours later and you get sick, it's food poisoning.
Let's just say it will be a long time before I eat another baked yam.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Too. Much. Sugar. Not good. Not good at all.
I'm very, very depressed and the sugar highs are all that are keeping me going but in the long run, I know they'll kill me. Last week, I finally gave my therapist a peek at what's going on inside. Just a quick glimpse. And it scared her so I had to shut up and tell her everything's okay. It's not.
My sleep cycle is completely screwed up and has been for a few weeks. I was taking all my meds on schedule when this started, but once my sleep got screwed up so did my meds. Some I'm supposed to take at night (bedtime) and some I'm supposed to take in the morning (when I get up), depending on whether they cause drowsiness or anxiety. But if I'm up all night and going to sleep in the morning, which meds should I be taking when? It's important to take them at the same time every day, so I shouldn't be switching them around, right? And if I'm sleeping during the times I normally would take them, then what?
The end result is I'm only taking half as much potassium as I should be and I've been off my antidepressant for a few weeks. I think I'm feeling the effects of not taking the AD. But now, I don't want to take it.
There is no logic involved in any of this. None whatsoever. Just an obsession with cutting myself - which I'm not indulging - and carb cravings, which I am indulging.
Self-mutilating would do less long-term damage. And it would give me a better high than I can get from chocolate. But I know if I started doing that again, it would be really hard to stop.