Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I Hate Pain

I don't know why my trigeminal neuralgia has decided that my ass must be kicked....but haven't I had enough? Where's the referee?

I've been in the hospital three times in the past week. I've had three shots: Demerol, Dualidid, Morphine. My arms are sore from the injections. And still, the pain comes back, just as strong as ever. Usually, all I need is a single shot of Toradol, and it breaks the cycle. I don't even need to consider narcotics. But this time? Even the morphine wore off in less than three hours.

I can't sleep; who could sleep through this? It feels like I am being struck by lightening in my face, over and over again without cease. I can't eat, because I can barely open my mouth. My doctor increased my Vicoden today from 500's to 750's....it's making absolutely no difference at all. I'm going to have to go back to the hospital today, I can just tell.

The weird thing about chronic pain is what it does to you mentally, not just physically. I am mentally exhausted. It's odd. I just need a full night's sleep so bad, I can't stand it. Blogging actually helps; it gives me an outlet. It makes me feel better somehow, although I'm at a loss to explain just what it is about bitching to strangers that helps.

Prayers, glows, hugs...all are appreciated. Pray that this cycle of pain ends so I can have a much-needed break. And if you've read this....thank you.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Quiz #29: Which Law & Order: SVU Character Are You?

I love this show, it's one of the best on TV in my humble opinion.


You're Elliot Stabler!

Which Law & Order: SVU character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I can live with that.

An MS Adventure: How I Got Started On This Crazy Trip

The neuralgia has gone from excrutiating to absolute torture. The kind that should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

I can't speak. I can't eat. I can't sleep.

I can't do anything, but feel the pain.

I watched a Law & Order: SVU episode tonight about a woman with a chronic illness who wanted to commit suicide. She didn't want to be in pain anymore.

Have I thought about suicide? Sure I have. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't. I think nearly everyone with a chronic pain issue has at least thought about it. I've never seriously considered it, though. My kids and my husband love me too much, and quite frankly, I don't want to fuck my kids up by forcing them to grow up knowing their mom offed herself. But I do completely understand those who do think seriously about it, and those who go for assisted suicide. I voted for Oregon's assisted-suicide law, and would do so again. I watched my mom die in horrendous pain; we as a society wouldn't allow a dog to die that way, but if it's a person, let 'em suffer? No thanks. And when my time comes? I don't know. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it....which hopefully won't be for another few decades or so. God willing.

Last night, while up all night and surfing blogs, I happened by a few dealing with MS. One in particular caught my eye: MS Not Just a Diary. This blog is relatively new, and authored by a man in England named Dave who was recently diagnosed. I applaud his bravery; I don't think I could have blogged during my initial days of knowing what the hell was wrong with me. I truly believe Dave's blog could help people going through the same thing. I wish it had been there when I was first DX'd.

Dave's blog had me thinking about when I first got sick, and when I first got DX'd. It's a long story, but what the hell. It's my freaking blog, so I'll tell it.

I first noticed something was different shortly after my daughter Wren's birth. I was having balance and coordination problems. I'd stumble and even fall, as if I had been drinking, which was certainly not the case (I was nursing). I also began to note that I was having memory problems, and had completely lost my appetite. Despite my not eating, I began to put on a shocking amount of weight. I went from 160 postpartum to 320 in less than a year.

By the time that first year was over, my life was completely changed. I went from being the kind of person who thought nothing of walking several miles to one who couldn't walk from the bed to the bathroom without help. I had fatigue in a way I never even knew was possible. I remember very little from that first year, and that is probably a blessing. Bits and pieces come back to me: I remember brushing my hair, and the weight of the hairbrush causing my arms to burn and shake as if it were a hundred pounds. I remember being so nauseated, that everything I ate came right back up. I remember waking in the night with horrible leg spasms, like charley horses to the nth degree. I remember being so weak, I was afraid I was dying.

And the pain. I definately remember the pain.

That first year was when I contemplated suicide quite often. I was in so much pain and completely bedridden. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. More than one told me it was "all in my head" or blamed it on postpartum depression. I knew in my heart that something was desperately wrong. I knew it wasn't in my head. So I kept trying, hoping that eventually I'd find a doctor who knew it, too.

I became very depressed. And frustrated, because now I had to explain to doctors that I wasn't sick because I was depressed, but depressed because I was sick.

I eventually found a doctor who ran some tests and discovered why I was gaining so much weight: my thyroid had failed. Finally, an answer! But unfortunately, not THE answer. The thyroid replacement meds helped me to stop gaining weight, helped me to be a bit more awake, and helped me focus a bit more. But the dozens of other symptoms lingered, and in many cases, kept getting progressively worse.

I began to get infected and sick from damn near everything. It seemed like my whole body had turned against me. I caught every cold that went around, including getting the chicken pox TWICE that year, despite the fact that I'd had a pretty severe case of it as a preteen. I developed pneumonia. My gallbladder became infected and had to be removed; the surgery caused an infection which took weeks to allieviate. I had some gynocological surgeries as well, each of which caused infections despite massive amounts of antiobiotics prescribed both before and after the procedures. Although it was horrible, it provided the first clue to what was causing my health meltdown: my surgeon asked me if I had been evaluated for autoimmune disorders. I had not. He also suggested I be evaluated for neurological conditions, particularly as I had woken up from one surgery with a silver-dollar-sized patch on my leg that had absolutely no feeling at all. That patch has now grown to encompass a third of my leg; I will eventually lose all feeling in that leg entirely.

I took the surgeon's advice and asked my PCP about it, and he shrugged it off. He was still under the impression that I was depressed and/or mentally ill. He kept sending me for psych exams; I had five, and all reported that I was in good mental health.

Into year two, a tragedy struck: I lost my beloved mother to breast cancer.

Her death sent me into a very deep depression, and I relented and began taking antidepressants. I took them for six months. There was no difference in my symptoms.

Step two, however, occured very shortly after my mom's death: I was diagnosed with the rare condition trigeminal neuralgia. That was the cause of the pain in my face. There is no cure, and not even really a good treatment. All you can do is try to treat the pain. I haven't had much luck with that.

My doctor's refusal to see my other symptoms as legitimate caused me to go to the library and do my own research. I made a chart of my symptoms, and went to work. For each disorder I came across, I would write it on the chart and make checkmarks of the symptoms I had that matched. I did this for three days.

At the end of the three days, my husband and I looked over the data: there was one disorder with all the symptoms checkmarked: multiple sclerosis.

I was in shock, and immediately assumed that I was in error. I went to the library to read up on MS. By the end of the day, I knew in my heart that what I had was indeed MS. The stories I had read....they were me. They were just like me.

I cried and cried. Some of the tears were in relief, that what I had, had a name. That I wasn't crazy after all. Some of the tears were in horror: I had an incurable chronic disease. And some were in pity: I kept seeing myself in a wheelchair. Never dancing at my son's wedding. Destined to be pitied by those who saw me struggle. I couldn't believe it was really happening to me.

I took my findings to my doctor. He quite literally LAUGHED at me. Told me I was being "silly." Then he ran some neurological tests...and stopped laughing. He put me on some meds to treat symptoms of MS: specifically, Baclofen and Amitryptiline. He sent me to a neurologist, who gave me the diagnosis of "probable MS." The neurologist suggested I get in touch with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was the best advice I'd gotten thus far.

I don't know what I would have done without the MS Society. I don't know if I could have gotten out of the depression caused by my mother's death and my DX within three months of each other. I can't recommend them highly enough. Their program for the newly-diagnosed was invaluable to me. I learned that there is so much more to MS than that dreaded wheelchair. And that the wheelchair wasn't something to dread after all.

That's not to say that I don't get depressed anymore. I do. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by it all. And when I'm in pain, like I have been this week, it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Hell, it's hard to even see the tunnel.

But I've learned that it could be worse. As long as my name isn't in the obituaries, it could be worse. I've also learned that you can either be afraid of living and thus unable to live, or be unafraid to live and enjoy your life while you've got it.

And in some ways, MS has made me a better person. I don't take things or people for granted so much the way I used to. I've learned to prioritize my time, and how to relax (which is something my ultra-hyper pre-MS self couldn't seem to manage). I've learned who my real friends are; it's sad that so many people are fair-weather friends, and drop you like a hot potato when something serious like MS comes along. On the other hand, the friends that did stick around are worth their weight in gold. And I've learned that the vow "in sickness and in health" can also mean "in chronic sickness and rarely any health" and be just as strong, just as meaningful.

It ain't all bad. Now pass the Vicodin, please.....

Quiz #28: Which Shitty 80's Hair Band Are You?

As I mentioned before, I have the flu and my neuralgia has decided it hates me and must kick my ass....as a result, I've been watching a lot of TV specials. One of the funniest was VH-1's "40 Least Metal Moments" Just so you don't slit your wrists in wonder, here were the "winners":


I hated heavy metal for the most part, so I enjoyed this list. It was quite amusing. I disagree with number one, however; the Pat Boone thing should have been King.

In that vein:

Take the quiz: "What shitty 80's hair band are you?"

Guns N' Roses
Yeah, this band sucks.

I ABHORE Guns n' Roses. My sister was absolutely addicted to them when we were in high school. Her side of the room was literally wallpapered with their images. This did not help me sleep at night.

I can't stand it. I must try this again:

Take the quiz: "What shitty 80's hair band are you?"

Yeah, this band sucks.

That's even worse. What a shitty quiz.....

How The Grinch Stole Gay Marriage

I'm up all night with neuralgia pain again, and perusing the many blogs that I personally find interesting; and when I found this at All Things Profane and Sacred, I just knew I had to share it with my Zen Pretzel Trick fans:

How the Grinch Stole Marriage by Mary Ann Horton, Lisa and Bill Koontz (with apologies to Dr. Suess.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every Gay down in Gayville liked Gay Marriage a lot......
But the Grinch, who lived just east of Gayville, did NOT!!
The Grinch hated happy Gays! The whole Marriage season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, his Florsheims were too tight.
But I think the most likely reason of all
was His heart and brain were two sizes too small.

"And they're buying their tuxes!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow's the first Gay Wedding! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Gay Marriage from coming!"

For, tomorrow, he knew...All the Gay girls and boys
would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their vows!
And then! Oh, the Joys! Oh, the Joys!

And THEN they'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Gay down in Gayville the tall and the small,
would stand close together, all happy and blissing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Gays would start kissing!

"I MUST stop Gay Marriage from coming! ...But HOW?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!

"I know what to do!" The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he went to his closet, grabbed his sheet and his hood.
And he chuckled, and clucked, with a great Grinchy word!
"With this beard and this cross, I look just like our Lord!"

"All I need is a Scripture..." The Grinch looked around.
But, true Scripture is scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch...? No! The Grinch simply said,
"With no Scripture on Marriage, I'll fake one instead!"
"It's one man and one woman," the Grinch falsely said.

Then he broke in the courthouse. A rather tight pinch.
But, if Georgie could do it, then so could the Grinch.
The little Gay benefits hung in a row.
"These bennies," he grinned, "are the first things to go!"

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most uncanny,
around the whole room, and he took every benny!
Health care for partners! Doctors for kiddies!
Tax rights! Adoptions! Pensions and Wills!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, with a chill,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, in his bill.

Then he slunk to the kitchen, and stole Wedding Cake.
He cleaned out that icebox and made it look straight.
He took the Gay-bar keys! He took the Gay Flag.
Why, that Grinch even took their last Gay birdseed bag!

"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will pocket their Rings."
And the Grinch grabbed the Rings, and he started to shove
when he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.

He turned around fast, and off flew his hood.
Little Lisa-Bi Gay behind him sadly stood.
The Grinch had been caught by small Lisa-Bi.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "My, oh, my, why?"
"Why are you taking our Wedding Rings? WHY?"

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Shepherd sneered,
"The judges are evil, the other states weird."
"I'll fix the rings there and I'll bring them back here."

It was quarter past dawn... All the Gays, still a-bed,
all the Gays still a-snooze when he packed up and fled.
"Pooh-Pooh to the Gays!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now no Gay Marriage is coming!"

"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
then the Gays down in Gayville will all cry Boo-Hoo!"
He stared down at Gayville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Gay down in Gayville, the tall and the small,
was kissing! Without any bennies at all!
He HADN'T stopped Marriage from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came without lawyers, no papers to sort!"
"It came without licenses, came without courts!"

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Marriage," he thought, "doesn't come from the court.
Maybe Marriage...perhaps... comes right from the heart.
Maybe Marriage comes from all the words the Gays say.
Words like Husband, like Wedding, and Spouse who is Gay."

And what happened then...?
Well...in Gayville they say
that the Grinch's small brain grew three sizes that day!

And the Gays had their Weddings. They promised for life.
They swore to be faithful, to Wife and her Wife.
The Husbands were happy, to each other they vowed
To be Out and be Honest, be Gay and be Proud.

They told all their neighbors and friends of their Spouse,
They told of their Marriage and sharing their house.
They said "We got Married." They shouted it loud.
Their marital status was "Married and Proud."

And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light.
And he brought back the rings, cake and Gay birdseed bags!
And he... ...HE HIMSELF... hung the Gay Rainbow Flag!

... The Lord looked down, at the proud and the tall,
and said "These are my children, and I love them all."

So Why Don't You Celebrate Thanksgiving? An Essay from a Native American Perspective

I usually write this essay, every year, on one of my many message boards. I decided this time to post it here.

A disclaimer: read the warning first. If you don't, I'm not responsible if you get offended. Hell, I'm not responsible if you get offended either way.....

Do not read this if you will be offended by a different point of view on the Thanksgiving holiday. I am not here to preach to anyone and have no desire to ruin anyone's concept of the holiday. I am posting this only because I received so many requests to do so, and I am personally of the
believe that knowledge hidden is knowledge wasted. Thanks in advance.


Over the last few days, I have been asked this a dozen times or more. It happens every year. My reply that I am Native American only seems to confuse some of the questioners. "Well, it's your holiday, too," I hear a lot. My answer: it is not my holiday. And here is why.

The traditional Thanksgiving story tells that the Pilgrims, after a long and hard winter, celebrated with a feast and invited their Indian friends. A nice story, to be sure. But not the whole story. That story is a mixture of both truth and myth. What follows, is our truth.

First of all, one must understand that the Pilgrims were a splinter group of the Puritans, an extremist religious sect. They viewed themselves as the "Chosen Elect" from Revelations. They saw themselves as fighting a Holy war against Satan, and anyone who disagreed with them was their enemy. This inculded their "friends," the Natives. In fact, in the 1623 Thanksgiving sermon, they gave thanks to God for the smallpox that had nearly wiped out all of
the Wampanoag Indians. They were especially thankful that the men and children had died, or the "seeds" of their nation. Not a particularly nice way to treat peoples who helped them survive that first winter in the "New" World. For without the help of the Natives, the Pilgrims would have died. Insofar as the Pilgrims were concerned, they had "repaid" that kindness with the feast, and owed the Natives nothing more. The Natives were still their Holy
enemies, to be treated as such. In fact, the Pilgrims believed that they only had to be kind to the Natives because they were, at that time, powerful; and only needed to continue being kind until the boatloads of settlers shifted the balance of power in the Pilgrims' favor. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of American history realizes that that is exactly what happened.

Which leads one to a question with an ironic answer: "Why did the Natives help the Pilgrims?" Because, in their religion, one must give hospitality to any who came to them with open hands, and their religion stressed charity to the helpless. In fact, it was the Natives who brought the vast majority of the food to that first Thanksgiving feast! The Pilgrims weren't "sharing their bounty." It was the other way around.

By the time the children of that first Thanksgiving reached adulthood, the Pilgrims and their reinforcements began to systmatically commit genocide against the Native peoples in a war known as King Phillip's War. Many Natives were also captured and sold into slavery for the profit of the Pilgrims whom they had saved from starvation only years before. So successful was this slave trade, in fact, that the settlers began raiding Africa to bring slaves
to the "New" World.

To add insult to injury, children in schools have for generations been prompted to "re-enact" that first feast by donning gross misrepresentations of Native ceremonial clothing and speaking in broken English in order to
pretend be the "Indians" who are "thankful" to be invited to the feast! These "costumes" and broken English stereotypes are highly offensive to Native Americans, and many schools now are discontinuing such programs as a result, or
altering them into a more tolerant program.

Many Natives celebrate a "Day Of Mourning" on Thanksgiving Day, to mourn our ancestors who were killed for their generosity (I am not one who does this, although I respect those who do).

So, to wrap it up: in our version of the first Thanksgiving, we helped the Pilgrims survive that first horrible winter. We even brought a great deal of food to a feast to celebrate. Once the feast was over, we discovered that our "friends" saw us as demons to be eradicated from the land or sold into slavery for their profit. Shiploads upon shiploads of the "white man" came to make good on the promise to commit genocide against us. Our religious
beliefs prompted us to help them; theirs promted them to kill us. The sad irony of the myth that the Pilgrims "escaped" England because of religious persecution does not escape us (That story is not exactly true, either.
Click here for a more accurate history of the Pilgrims.)

So I cannot, in good conscience, celebrate a holiday that in my mind is a lie. I cannot celebrate the decimation of the Native American. I cannot celebrate people who, if they had had their way, would rather I not exist at all.

To be fair, Thanksgiving has evolved into something far beyond what the Pilgrims celebrated. Now, it means a gathering of the family, and a chance to count one's blessings. I respect those who celebrate for those reasons, and wish them a happy holiday.

I wish our side was taught in schools, rather than perpetuate the myths. I wish that Thanksgiving could be a time when Americans remember and honor the Native peoples who helped them survive and made this country possible. Perhaps someday, it will.

I want to thank everyone who showed interest in this topic. It brightens my day that so many people wanted to hear this side of the tale. Thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2004

WTF is the point of a flu shot?

The entire point of a flu shot is to keep you from getting the flu, right? So why is it that within 24 hours of my getting the shot, my entire family has the fucking flu????

It hasn't been a fun few days, guys. Between having a sick husband and three sick kids, and my being sick, it's been hell. And then I got the added fun of going to the emergency room because all the coughing caused my trigeminal neuralgia to act up.

Which brings me to my second point....what the fuck is the point of having a pain-management contract? At this point, I have no fucking clue. It was SUPPOSED to make my life easier. And it sounded good: put in writing what medications I can get and under what circumstances I am entitled to receive them. Sounds great...in theory. But in practice, the damned thing is WORTHLESS.

I go to the hospital in mind-numbing pain. My contract says very clearly that if the pain is unbearable by MY standards, then I can go into the ER for a shot of Demerol and Phenergan. Now, I've had the same orders for five years. I've gone in and gotten the shot only a handful of times. Most of the time, I'll go in and ask for a non-narcotic instead, like Torradol. I've never once in five years exceeded my monthly allotment of Vicoden. I've never had one dirty urine test. I've always, ALWAYS upheld my end of the contract.

Apparently, though, the ER isn't too hip on holding up their end of it. Every time I go in, it's the same damned thing. I check in, and have to explain AGAIN to the nurses and doctors what's wrong, even though I have a fucking contract in my hand, showing them the thing, they still want me to tell them even though talking turns the pain from merely excrutiating to pure hell on earth. I'm going to get a Sign Language refresher class, and make the bastards find a fucking interpreter next time, I mean it.

After the check in, the doctor comes and in and asks "What's wrong?" I show him the contract. He looks at it as if it were written in a foreign language. Asks me why I'm there. I try, through a clenched jaw riddled with pain, to explain. Half of the time, they have no idea what TN is. Regardless, they ALWAYS insist on calling my doctor to verify the contract. I thought the point of the contract was so that I didn't have to wait on the fucking verification; the contract IS the verification! But no. I still have to wait an hour or two so the doctor on call can call the ER doctor to tell them that they don't treat me personally, don't know what's going on and the ER doc should (GASP!) FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PAIN MANAGEMENT CONTRACT.

Then comes what I consider to be the ultimate in stupidity: the doctor actually wastes time asking me what meds I want. Look, asshole: I signed a contract stating very clearly that I would not recieve anything stronger than Demerol. I can't ask for anything stronger. So, Einstein, what do you think I want? ARGH!

Then I have to wait while the order is processed and my shot is administered. This entire process takes anywhere from three to six fucking hours, the entire length of which I am writhing in pain.

And they wonder why I choose to stay at home and suffer most of the fucking time....

Monday, November 22, 2004

Congressional Nutbags And Anti-Abortion Bill Alert!

Well, Shrub and Company are barely sleeping off their victory hangover, and are already hard at work chipping away at our freedoms:

Negotiators Add Abortion Clause to Spending Bill

ASHINGTON, Saturday, Nov. 20 - House and Senate negotiators have tucked a potentially far-reaching anti-abortion provision into a $388 billion must-pass spending bill, complicating plans for Congress to wrap up its business and adjourn for the year.

The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals. Current federal law, aimed at protecting Roman Catholic doctors, provides such "conscience protection'' to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training. The new language would expand that protection to all health care providers, including hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurers.

The provision could affect millions of American women, according to Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who warned Friday that she would use procedural tactics to slow Senate business to a crawl if the language was not altered.

"I am willing to stand on my feet and slow this thing down," Ms. Boxer said. "Everyone wants to go home, I know that, and I know I will not win a popularity contest in the Senate. But they should not be doing this. On a huge spending bill they're writing law, and they're taking away rights from women."

Some lawmakers and Congressional aides interpreted the House leaders' insistence as reflection of the new political strength of the anti-abortion movement and of Christian conservatives, who played an important role in re-electing Mr. Bush this month.

I hope I am not the only one scared shitless by this.....

The idea that any medical professional can refuse medical training on the grounds that it makes them personally uncomfortable is repugnant. Can you imagine that working with any other procedure? "I know your husband needs a blood transfusion to save his life, but the doctor and nurse are Jehovah's witnesses, and refused training for transfusions. Sorry! Or, "I realize your child has developed trichinosis from that bad ham on rye, but we're a Jewish hospital and the health-care workers here won't stand for pork consumption, and won't learn how to treat bad reactions. You shouldn't be eating pork anyway!"

What really frightens and sickens me is that they shoved this nasty piece of backwoods, fanatical Christian agenda into a must-pass bill. Is there no end to the dirty pool these nutbags will play to force the rest of us into their tiny little box?

Kudos to Senator Boxer (and a pox on the original author here, who referred to the Senator as "Ms." instead of by her proper title) for standing up to this disgusting piece of garbage. You may not win a Congressional popularity contest....but you're aces with me.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

God Help America

As it is still November, I feel perfectly justified in continuing to bitch about the election. And anyway...it's my blog. I'll bitch when I want to.

This post was on my Native American boards, and I thought I would share.....

Mirror.co.uk - GOD HELP AMERICA



THEY say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.

This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation.

This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward towards the rest of humanity.

And for a few hours early yesterday, when the exit polls predicted a John Kerry victory, it seemed they had.

But then the horrible, inevitable truth hit home. They had somehow managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put before them. The Yellow Rogue of Texas.

A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy, whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and vanity.

A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's grip on the world's economies and natural resources.

And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another 9/11.

Why else do you think bin Laden was so happy to scare them to the polls, then made no attempt to scupper the outcome?

There's only one headline in town today, folks: "It Was Osama Wot Won It."

And soon he'll expect pay-back. Well, he can't allow Bush to have his folks whoopin' and a-hollerin' without his own getting a share of the fun, can he?

Heck, guys, I hope you're feeling proud today.

To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my commiserations.

To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?

Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores? How could you do this to yourselves?

How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to reject him?

Kerry wasn't the best presidential candidate the Democrats have ever fielded (and he did deserve a kicking for that "reporting for doo-dee" moment), but at least he understood the complexity of the world outside America, and domestic disgraces like the 45 million of his fellow citizens without health cover.

He would have done something to make that country fairer and re-connected it with the wider world.

Instead America chose a man without morals or vision. An economic incompetent who inherited a $2billion surplus from Clinton, gave it in tax cuts to the rich and turned the US into the world's largest debtor nation.

A man who sneers at the rights of other nations. Who has withdrawn from international treaties on the environment and chemical weapons.

A man who flattens sovereign states then hands the rebuilding contracts to his own billionaire party backers.

A man who promotes trade protectionism and backs an Israeli government which continually flouts UN resolutions.

America has chosen a menacingly immature buffoon who likened the pursuit of the 9/11 terrorists to a Wild West, Wanted Dead or Alive man-hunt and, during the Afghanistan war, kept a baseball scorecard in his drawer, notching up hits when news came through of enemy deaths.

A RADICAL Christian fanatic who decided the world was made up of the forces of good and evil, who invented a war on terror, and thus as author of it, believed he had the right to set the rules of engagement.

Which translates to telling his troops to do what the hell they want to the bad guys. As he has at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and countless towns across Iraq.

You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out.

These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one.

As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity.

Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets.

The self-righteous, gun-totin', military lovin', sister marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land "free and strong".

You probably won't be surprised to learn of would-be Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn who, on Tuesday, promised to ban abortion and execute any doctors who carried them out.

He also told voters that lesbianism is so rampant in the state's schools that girls were being sent to toilets on their own. Not that any principal could be found to back him up.

These are the people who hijack the word patriot and liken compassion to child-molesting. And they are unknowingly bin Laden's chief recruiting officers.

Al-Qaeda's existence is fuelled by the outpourings of America's Christian right. Bush is its commander-in-chief. And he and bin Laden need each other to survive.

Both need to play Lex Luther to each others' Superman with their own fanatical people. Maybe that's why the mightiest military machine ever assembled has failed to catch the world's most wanted man.

Or is the reason simply that America is incompetent? That behind the bluff they are frightened and clueless, which is why they've stayed with the devil they know.

VISITORS from another planet watching this election would surely not credit the amateurism.

The queues for hours to register a tick; the 17,000 lawyers needed to ensure there was no cheating; the $1.2bn wasted by parties trying to discredit the enemy; the allegations of fraud, intimidation and dirty tricks; the exit polls which were so wildly inaccurate; an Electoral College voting system that makes the Eurovision Song Contest look like a beacon of democracy and efficiency; and the delays and the legal wrangles in announcing the victor.

Yet America would have us believe theirs is the finest democracy in the world. Well, that fine democracy has got the man it deserved. George W Bush.

But is America safer today without Kerry in charge? A man who overnight would have given back to the UN some credibility and authority. Who would have worked out the best way to undo the Iraq mess without fear of losing face.

Instead, the questions facing America today are - how many more thousands of their sons will die as Iraq descends into a new Vietnam? And how many more Vietnams are on the horizon now they have given Bush the mandate to go after Iran, Syria, North Korea or Cuba...?

Today is a sad day for the world, but it's even sadder for the millions of intelligent Americans embarrassed by a gung-ho leader and backed by a banal electorate, half of whom still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

Yanks had the chance to show the world a better way this week, instead they made a thuggish cowboy ride off into the sunset bathed in glory.

And in doing so it brought Armageddon that little bit closer and re-christened their beloved nation The Home Of The Knave and the Land Of The Freak.

God Help America.

Bargain-Bin CD Review: Before X

This is something new I'm trying here on THE ZEN PRETZEL TRICK. I'm calling it BARGAIN-BIN CD REVIEW. You see, I enjoy shopping at various second-hand and thrift shops. I often find CDs there for next to nothing. As a result, I have a large collection of compliation albums, most of which I paid less than $2.50 apiece. So here, I'll review those finds, and just as with my BOOK REVIEWS, I will give each a grade and let you know how much I paid for it, and where I bought it. Enjoy!

Copyright 1997 BMG Special Products

This is probably one of the best compilations I own, and a must-have for the fan of 80's-era modern rock. There are several songs on here I just love: "Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie and "Everyday I Write the Book" by the fabulous Elvis Costello are two of my favorite tunes. The classics "I Wanna Be Adored" and "Under the Milky Way" are welcome additions. The music on the CD flows well, with one exception: the final track, "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies. Don't get me wrong, I love ST and I enjoy the song. The problem is, it just doesn't "fit in" with the rest of the music on this CD. It's like putting a Gwar song on a "Pure Moods" album. Fortunately, it's the last track, so it doesn't throw off the mood of the CD very much at all. I also disliked the inclusion of the ultra-cheesy "Nemesis." I didn't like that song when it was first released, and it hasn't aged well. My only other gripe (and yes, I'm being nit-picky here) is the mislabelling of the sixth track; it should read "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)," but the words in parenthesis have been left out. Nonetheless, I definately recommend this CD.

1) Rough Night in Jericho---Dreams So Real
2) That Is Why---Jellyfish
3) Jealous---Gene Loves Jezebel
4) I Wanna Be Adored---The Stone Roses
5) Cities in Dust---Siouxsie & the Banshees
6) A Girl in Trouble---Romeo Void
7) Missionary Man---Eurythmics
8) Welcome to the Boomtown---David & David
9) So Alive---Love & Rockets
10) Under the Milky Way---The Church
11) Everyday I Write the Book---Elvis Costello
12) Eye of Fatima---Camper Van Beethoven
13) Cuts You Up---Peter Murphy
14) Nemesis---Shriekback
15) Institutionalized---Suicidal Tendencies

MY PRICE: $2.50 at CD & Record Exchange

Book Review: A Prince in Camelot by Courtway Jones

by Courtway Jones

This book is told from the point-of-view of a Cornishman named Dylan the Orphan who, we find out quickly in the book, is actually Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur and his half-sister Morgause.

There are several positive elements in this book: neither Mordred nor Morgause are inherently evil; they are practical and pragmatic people, but wish the King no particular harm. Mordred is desperate for Arthur to acknowledge him as his son; but even though he realizes this can never happen, he is still hurt by Arthur's neglect. Gareth is also an interesting character in this story, the giant with a heart of gold. Most of the book revolves around Mordred, Gareth and the Pig Girl, aka Lady Mal, a damsel Mordred rescues and who becomes his steadfast friend.

While Mordred is not a bad guy in this tome, Lancelot surely is. Sir Lancelot, while still the greatest knight in the land and best friend of the King, is a whiny, self-important jerk...and a closeted homosexual jerk at that. Guinevere seems oblivious to the fact that Lancelot isn't batting for her team. Her petty jealousy for Mordred and anger at her unrequited love for Lancelot lead her to be a general bitch for most of the novel. The true nemesis in this book, however, is the scheming Sir Kay, who hates Mordred and seeks his downfall.

The daily lives of young men and nobility of Camelot are well portrayed here, and you get a real feeling of what it must have been like to live in Jones' vision of Camelot. The clash between Celtic and Christian traditions is well researched, and I particularly enjoyed the strong female roles in the personages of Lady Mal, Nithe, Morgause and Samana, Arthur's true love and Mordred's foster-mother.

On the down side, Mordred is nearly devoid of emotion, sounding more like a Vulcan from Star Trek than a medieval knight in many scenes. What he does choose to have strong feelings about (Gareth, Samana, Lady Mal, his true love Viki, his hurt feelings towards his father) almost seem hollow, as he is so ready to discard those feelings whenever they become inconvienant.

A great deal of the novel is concerned with Mordred's obsession for a game called "hurley," which is played with several boys, all naked, and sounds like a cross between modern curling and rugby. So much of the book is filled with this game, and I was quite bored with it. Some Arthurian novels give you long, drawn-out battle scenes: this one is like Medieval ESPN, with blow-by-blow reports of game after boring game.

The end of the book is well-written, and you're left wondering what really happens from here. I won't ruin it by going into detail, but it is one of the best Arthurian endings I've read in some time.

All in all, this is a good, but not great, book. But in my opinion, if you want to read an Arthurian tale from Mordred's perspective, skip this one and choose Mary Stewart's "The Wicked Day" instead.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

The John Asscroft Contest

Isn't it amusing, fellow bloggies, how quickly Shrub's retinue is jumping ship? I don't think they thought he'd actually win. How sad for all of us that they were wrong.

In any event, I stumbled across this delicious site:

Go ahead and try....I dare you!

Among my favorites:

"It's not surprising John Boy has jumped ship. Now that he has cleansed America of the horrors of topless statues, he's off to Hooters to celebrate...." (shameless plug alert...this one was mine....)

"Ta ta John ole' boy, We will miss you pissing on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Always remember, the cream rises to the top....and so does the scum."

"The overwhelming power of the sex drive was demonstrated by the fact that someone was willing to father you."

"We should applaud his selfless quest to protect all humankind from the joint scourges of freedom and liberty."

"He's not directly responsible for as many deaths as the asswipe taking his place."

"He is no longer in office. There is no greater gift he could have given us. It is exceptionaly nice of him to leave."

So with those kind words, we bid adieu to John Asscroft, enemy of naked stoned tits and advocate of right-wing extremists nationwide....hey, Johnny? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Quiz #27: Which Cure Album Are You?

Well, since I did the Depeche Mode one, might as well do the Cure, too....


Take the quiz: "Which Cure Album Are You? Part One"

A little bit silly, but you're still cool.

That's probably one of my least-favorite Cure albums. Let's try this again, shall we?

Take the quiz: "Which Cure Album Are You? Part One"

You are THE WALK (ok, so it's an EP)
You like to keep it short but sweet, get straight to the point.

I guess I can live with that. I'm more of a "Disintigration" and "Wish" fan, but whatever. Funny thing is, when I took this test last night, I was "Faith"......

Friday, November 19, 2004

Quiz #25: Which Depeche Mode album are you?

Ah, DM!


Take the quiz: "Which Depeche Mode album are you?"

You are truly an amazing specimen. You're one of the greatest albums of all time according to RollingStone. Every song on you is perfection

Although my favorite DM albums are "Some Great Reward" and "Music for the Masses," I do enjoy "Violator" and have a lot of great high-school-era memories associated with it.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Quiz #24: Which Canadian Province Are You?

I can honestly say I've never considered which Canadian province I am most like before. Oh, well....on to the quiz.


You're Newfoundland. You're not a complex person,
but it's not because you're not intelligent;
you just perfer the simpler things in life. You
can work hard and bear harder misfortunes than
most. It's too bad people underestimate you
because you're one tough S.O.B. when need be.

What Canadian Province Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Not complex? Simple things? Definately not me. Let's try again.....

You're Nova Scotia. People have spread rumours
about you and you have suffered from
stereotyping. Few people take the time out to
get to know the real you. You hate labels. You
are patriotic and loyal.

What Canadian Province Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hmmm....marginally better. I wouldn't call myself particularly patriotic (especially not by George Bush's definition of the word), but I am loyal and I suppose have suffered from the occassional stereotype or two (being a biracial punk rocker in an interfaith marriage might have something to do with that, you think?).

Update On My Father

First of all, sorry for not posting for the last four days. It's been hectic around here...between my poor health and my dad's condition, I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. I'm running in a million different directions.

Secondly, I want to thank everyone for their kindness. The comments were so wonderful, and really made my day.

You know, when I began this blog, I kind of thought maybe Fizz would read it, maybe Emma and Ruth (my friends). I never thought so many people would enjoy the nonsense I write.

In any event, I am grateful for it. A million Hosannas.

Here's a little background, for those of you who don't know me in real life:

My father is dying. He has six months to live...tops.

My father is a construction supervisor. He travels all over the country, building assisted-living housing and department stores. Right now, he's in Montana with my niece, my sister M's kid. My sister R is flying out tomorrow to bring him back to Dayton, to stay with his sister for his final days on this Earth. It's what he wants.

My father has been in poor health for nearly 12 years. That's when he was in Florida, and I got a call telling me my father had collapsed at work and fell into a coma. I was 6 months pregnant with my son, and doctors warned me that my father might not ever wake up. And if he did, he'd be dead within four months.

He didn't die. But then again, that's my dad for you.

My father and I have never really gotten along. We're two very different people. Complete opposites in almost every concievable way. I'm a feminist, he's a chauvanist. I'm a liberal, he's conservative. I'm into punk, he loves country. I'm pro-choice, he is rabidly pro-life. About the only things we have in common are bad tempers, a love of tattoos and DNA.

And to be candid, my dad doesn't get along with ANYBODY. I've never once in my life met someone who thought my dad was a nice guy. I take that back: I've met many women who STARTED OUT thinking that. More than I care to count, really. Another big difference between Dad and me: he's been married four or five times. Me, just the once. My father is a womanizer. I lost track of his girlfriends long ago. Occassionally, one tries to be friendly with me. Sends me emails, tries to "get to know me." Like the one who refused to tell me her last name, and then told me I had a "bad attitude" for finding that odd. I, for the most part, ignore them. They usually aren't around long enough to bother with anyway. But besides women, no one seems to enjoy the man's company. He's a....difficult person. Abrasive. Aggressive. Confrontational. Which is probably why he's been shot three times and stabbed twice. Five different people, mind you. Just all with the same goal in mind.

This doesn't mean I don't love my dad. I do. Even though we don't get along, even though he's a difficult person to love...I still love him. And sometimes, I feel like I've spent my whole life trying to get him to love me back.

Because, you see, I not only don't get along with my dad...he doesn't get along with me. He doesn't understand me. I confuse him, I think. He's never gotten the whole punk thing. My mom was different. She was a hippie, and was big on loving me no matter what. How I chose to look was unimportant. But my dad? He was horrified. Every single time I've seen him in the past 15 years, the first thing he says to me is, "What is that thing doing in your nose?" Referring to my nose ring, of course. 15 YEARS, and he still asks every single time. Among my favorite replies:

***Nothing now, but if you wait a moment it will jump up and perform tunes from "The Music Man."
***Praying for world peace.
***Trying to get a good view of my eyebrows.
***Wondering who this big red man is staring at it.
and my usual reply...
***Annoying you, of course.

Another thing Dad and I have in common: we're both unrepentant smartasses.

As confusing as I must be to my dad, he is equally cofusing to me. I don't understand his motivations. I don't get why he is the way he is. I know he's an alcoholic and a drug addict; that I DO understand. But he's only less of an asshole sober...and I don't get why that is.

I also don't get why I am singled out among his children. I used to think I was paranoid, but when my friends and later, my husband, began to notice it...I realized I wasn't paranoid at all. My dad does single me out. He will throw money at my siblings as if he were a giant, generous ATM machine. He forgives them all sorts of transgressions, including stealing from him, risking his job, dumping kids off with him and then taking off, treating him like shit and so on. But me? He wouldn't give me a dime. He buys my crackhead sister a car; I get a $20 K-Mart card for my birthday (and I was grateful for it, as he usually forgets my birthday entirely). And me, if I am too sick to return a call...it's a horrible transgression that must be brought up at every concievable moment for the foreseeable future.

I am the only one of his kids who is even remotely stable (although R is getting there fast and I am proud of her). I have a legitimate marriage (not M's green-card nonsense). I'm not a junkie. I'm a good mother. I have a good husband. We live in a great city, in a nice home. We support ourselves. I stay at home with the kids, and Jonathan has held the same job for five years (my brother and sister can't hold the same job for five weeks). And we do everything we can for our loved ones.

But I am, somehow, the bad daughter. The black sheep. Presumably, because I don't borrow and/or steal money from my father every chance I get.

I mean, he has literally flown across the country several times to be with my other siblings, and has made the 12 hour DRIVE to my house only once in the several months he's been in Montana. Flying here---which would only take a few hours at most---he won't even consider. And when he WAS here, he spent the whole time flirting with my babysitter. And her mother.

He has, over the years, ignored the fact that I have MS. It's like it doesn't even register with him. It's not denial; it's more like it isn't important to him. He rarely asks me how I'm feeling. He never calls when I'm in the hospital, much less send a card or something. When I first got diagnosed....he never even told the family. He told NO ONE. When I came to Ohio for a visit...I was shocked and hurt that no one knew.

What really hurts me is that I would love to take custody of my niece after my father's death. Give that precious little girl a real home, with a mom and dad and siblings, and a stable life. But my father would rather give her to my elderly aunt or back to M....who abused and abandoned her in the first place.

I don't know why he treats me this way. Why he doesn't like me. I'd like to think I've come to terms with it, but I don't think I have. And now...he's dying. Any day now, I could get The Call. Telling me to get on a plane, that the end is near. Just like when my mom died, seven years ago.

And when it does come, I will go. And like when my mom died, I will handle everything. R will probably be pregnant again. M and RJ are useless. Some of my dad's sisters will probably be helpful, but most will be too upset to be of any real use. Not that it's thier responisbility anyway; it's clearly mine. Everyone else will not care, or even be happy the old fucker is finally gone (I wish I were exaggerating that, but I'm not. When I still lived in Dayton, people used to stop me in the mall, on the roads, in restaurants, to tell me what a bastard my father was. Gee, thanks guys. That sure fucking helps). And I also have no doubt that my dad will end up leaving everything to my siblings, at least two of whom will go through it in a matter of weeks on drugs.

And still...he's my dad.

Yes, he's the guy who forgot my birthday from age 9 to 19...but he's also the guy who took me and Phoenix to Florida to visit my great-aunt, and we had a great time. He's the guy who refused to pay my school fees so I couldn't graduate with my class...but he's also the guy who stood by my mom's bedside when she was dying, and paid all her hospital bills (even though they'd been divorced for nearly 18 years). He's the guy who threw me out on the streets at 16....and also the guy who beat up my junior-high principal for making a racist comment towards me. He's the guy who made most of my childhood a nightmare....but also made a few rare moments wonderful and unforgettable.

And I don't know what I am doing to do without him.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

When It Rains, It Pours....

I got a call from my father tonight. His condition has gotten worse. He was six months to live.

Prayers, glows, candles lit...anything appreciated.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Quiz #23: What Does Your Birth Month Reveal About You?

This is an easy one, one question!


Take the quiz: "What does your birth month reveal about you?"

Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood.Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people's feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets.Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying

I agree with it all except:
1) Quiet. I am never quiet, unless I'm in the first stages of being pissed off.
2) Tactful. I am not exactly known for my tact (shut up, Fizz).
3) Easily hurt. I'm not that either. Probably because I care so little what others think.
4) Sparkly. I think not.
5) Dislikes the nonsensical. Nope, sometimes I revel in the nonsensical. This blog is case in point.
6) No difficulties in studying. Unless it's math or science...I always had to struggle through both.

That was fun. Let's see what it says for Jonathan:

Take the quiz: "What does your birth month reveal about you?"

Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to takes things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn'tpretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

Once again, I agree except:

1) Loves to chat. DH is notoriously anti-social. Small talk is like tying your tongue to a bicycle for him...might be fun for others to watch, but miserable for him to participate in.
2) Lies. DH is a terrible liar. He always stutters and looks at the ground. Dead giveaways. 3) Always making friends. Nope...it's that anti-social thing again.
4) Loves outdoors. Only on PBS.
5) Easily influenced. In order to be that, he'd have to actually listen to the people trying to do the influencing.

This is fun. So now I'm going to do Fizz (nope, you're not off the hook, my friend):

Take the quiz: "What does your birth month reveal about you?"

Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless.Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride of oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends .

Agree except:

1) Fearless. Fizz is not an idiot...and only idiots know no fear.
2) Loves to be led. Unless it's by a dog collar and chain....then no.
3) Talented in defense. Does that mean martial arts or like the military? Either one, I can't see Fizz giving a shit.

So, what did it say about YOU?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Bob Jones is Making Me Sick

Just to prove that it's not too late to throw your hat into the running for THE ZEN PRETZEL TRICK'S NUTBAG OF THE YEAR AWARDS, Bob Jones releases this disgusting diatribe upon the public:

Congratulatory letter to President George W. Bush from Dr. Bob Jones III

I, naturally, have a few things to say about this piece of utter tripe. Listed below are some quotes from the letter:

1) "The media tells us that you have received the largest number of popular votes of any president in America's history. Congratulations!" Yes, he received the "largest number of votes in America's history," simply because more people voted this year. Bush won by the narrowest margin since Hoover. He BARELY won this election...it's amazing how many people can't wrap their minds around that very basic fact. Perhaps math and history are not their subjects....

2) "In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism." This makes me physically sick to my stomach. First of all, America "doesn't deserve" this "reprieve"? What does that mean, oh Nutbag Bob? Is this a Fallwell-ish diatribe on how evil of a country we are, thanks to feminism and Roe v. Wade? What garbage. Secondly, I wasn't aware that there WAS a "pagan agenda." Unlike fundies, they don't try to legislate thier beliefs. They'll fight for the right to theirs...as well they should. And I, as an American Christian, will be fighting along side them. It disgusts me that nutbags like Bob Jones want to spit on the memories and intentions of the Founding Fathers by forcing Christianity on the masses. And this "agenda of pagans" crap is nothing but bigotry, plain and simple. I don't know about Bob's God, but mine doesn't hold with that. Mine was big on loving everyone....not just those who are exactly like you are. Oh, and for the record: "re-election" would mean that he had been elected before. And I'm sure you know, he was not....

3) "We the people expect your voice to be like the clear and certain sound of a trumpet." Would that be the same voice that asked the government of Brazil, "Oh, you have black people, too?" Or would it be the same voice that got drunk and threatened a reporter, screaming obsenities all the while, who dared say that Bush Sr. might not get the Republican nomination back in the dear ol' 80's? Or is it the one that announced that the leader of the free will "often" goes to sleep thinking about Dr. Suess' "Hop on Pop?" Guess so. Who knew trumpets were that stupid?

4) "Because you seek the Lord daily, we who know the Lord will follow that kind of voice eagerly." Arrogance at its worst, the idea that he can speak for all Christians and God-fearing people in this country. I am pleased as punch to say that he DOESN'T.

5) "Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil." That's what scares me most: that he might take ol' Bob's advice on this one. And by the way, why is Bush's agenda fit for the "front burner," and the so-called pagan agenda one that must be overcome?

6) "You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." I am also thrilled to say that Nutbag Bob doesn't speak for liberals in this country, either. I don't despise Christ; he is my Saviour. And I don't despise Bush because he's a Christian...I despise him because he's a war-happy moron who is leading this country straight down the toilet and waiting, laughing maniacally all the way, to flush it down.

7) "Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government." Many? When was it last that a President appointed "many" judges? The President appoints Supreme Court justices...and rarely more than one. Most of the current justices don't look as if they plan to go anywhere...and I strongly suspect that a few who were considering retirement are re-considering it now that Shrub has been elected. Also, judges don't pass legislation with Congress...they are two seperate branches of government. And the Supreme Court has been pretty firm about NOT upholding Biblical standards over Constitutional ones, despite whatever wet dreams Nutbag Bob is having about the possibility. Thier job is not to judge via any religion's holy book. The last two words are what made me laugh...."limited government"? You want the government to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body, who can and cannot get married and who can say what and when, but that's LIMITING the government? Get a dictionary, Nutbag Bob, 'cause I don't think you understand the meaning of the word.

8) "If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them." In other words: Yeah, don't let any nasty Jews, Muslims or Pagans take part in the government! They're all weak, I tell ya! Weak! Make your government an exclusively WASP one! And while you're at it, get rid of the blacks and Asians, too....oh, oops! That would make my bigotry all too obvious....

9) "On occasion, Christians have not agreed with things you said during your first term. Nonetheless, we could not be more thankful that God has given you four more years to serve Him in the White House..." Do me a favor, Nutbag Bob....don't speak for all Christians. You don't have the authority, the ability or (quite frankly) the intelligence. And don't blame God on Bush's win....He didn't vote. Put the blame squarely where it belongs: on chauvinstic, homophobic, racist, pedantic, sick bastards like yourself.

God bless America.

Of Dental Mishaps and Stolen Shrubbery....

I have had one gigantically fucked-up day. Two of them, in fact.

Yesterday, Jonathan took Phoenix to get an abcess drained and a baby tooth pulled, while I headed off to the pediatrician with Eden for shots. Phoenix had been to the dentist on Monday for the X-rays, and I didn't anticipate any problems.

I was sorely mistaken on that count.

The idiot dentist removed THE WRONG TOOTH. Instead of removing one on the left side of his face, she took one from the right. And the abcess was still there. Jonathan was stunned, but remembered something odd from the procedure: when the dentist first entered the room, she had the wrong chart. She then went back and got the "right" one, but now....he's not so sure it WAS the right one after all.

The part that really chaps my ass (besides having to put my child through unnecessary pain), was the half-truths and outright lies the dentist and her staff threw at me over this un-fucking-believable situation when I called to find out how the hell this had happened.

First, they insisted that Phoenix was supposed to have TWO teeth removed, and that the one they removed on Thursday was already scheduled to come out. When I asked why A) No one had said a word to me about in on Monday, and B) why the second tooth had to come out, I was told that A) it must have slipped their minds, and B) the X-rays showed another abcess forming on the removed tooth. They were less than pleased when I pondered---aloud to them, of course---how incredibly advanced thier X-ray machines there must be, to find a problem on the side of his face they DIDN'T take X-rays on.

That lead to story #2: the nurse wrote down the wrong tooth number on the chart during the examination, and that led to the problem. I didn't buy that crap, either: I was in the room during said examination, and the nurse confirmed with the dentist TWICE on the number. I find it pretty damned distasteful that they tried to blame it on the nurse....who'd done nothing wrong.

I then asked them when they could remedy this situation. This led to yet another round of utter bullshit for no apparent reason.

First, I was told I could bring him in this evening. No can do...Jonathan has to work and I have no sitter for this evening. These complete morons actually told me it would be ok for me to "leave" my baby and special-needs child in the waiting room while I sat with Phoenix to have his tooth extracted! Are they completely nucking futs? Who does that?!?!?

Then they told me that as I could not bring him in this evening, I had to wait until THURSDAY. Meaning, my son had to suffer with the pain of an abcess for nearly a week because of their fuck-up.

At this point, I was too angry to continue dealing with these assjacks. I handed the phone to Jonathan, who let them know (in no uncertain terms) that waiting that long was unacceptable. The office manager then had the giant brass balls to tell my husband that she had told me we could bring our son in right away! She said no such fucking thing, let me assure you, or we would have been out the door.

So, off my husband and son go to the dentist...AGAIN. And they sit in the waiting room for nearly TWO HOURS before the dentist sees them and fixes the fuck-up.

I then get a call from the dentist, apologizing to me (about fucking time) for the mistake, and blaming it on "a serious of small miscommunications." I have learned over the years that it is just abso-fucking-lutely impossible for a doctor to apologize for anything they may have done wrong. They will always blame it on something or someone else...the buck never stops with them. Apparently, they teach that in dental school, too.

They wanted to schedule a regular check-up....cold day in hell, folks. I'm calling my insurance carrier on Monday to find the name of a REPUTABLE dentist in my area. I won't be taking anyone in my family back to these incompetants again.

This experience, I believe, is heading me down the road to serious anti-Dentitism. (Bad Seinfeld reference there).

The cherry on top of my sundae of crap today came when I went to check the mail...and discovered that someone had stolen a shrub from my lawn. I am completely serious...a shrub.

We have a series of shrubs lining the house in the front yard, wrapping around to the back. The one closest to the door on one side has been dug up and removed. Even the roots are gone. All that's left is a pile of dirt where my shrub once was.

I have no idea why the thief stole my shrub, why they chose that particular one, why they wanted it, or what they are doing with it now. WTF is wrong with people?!?!?

I thought about putting out an ad:

Missing: one shrubbery. Britton man in medieval royal garb with coconut-carrying servant suspected. Will reward return with an taunting.

You gotta laugh, or else cry, when the world gets this wierd on you....

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Aaarrrrgh! & Election: Part II

Tomorrow does not look like a promising day. Phoenix has some minor oral surgery in the morning, and then Eden has shots in the afternoon. YIKES!

I know I said I didn't want to talk about the election, but hell, I changed my mind. I'm a woman. I'm entitled.

I am very, very disappointed. And sick to my stomach over Shrub's "victory." To all the people who voted for him: what the fuck were you thinking? You actually LIKE the country going down a toilet?!?

Naturally, I am not the only person who feels this way, and to that end, I wish to draw your attention to some great sites:

17 Reasons Not to Slash Your Wrists
Now, I am not usually a Michael Moore fan. He's a bit of a media whore for my tastes. But this....this is just great. I may actually have to go watch his damned film now....

Sorry Everybody: How Can We Make It Up To You?
America---or at least, half of it---apologizes to the world for the Idiot in Chief. The photos here are hilarious. I may have to send one in myself.

The Lunatic Fringe: War More Years
This is a great blog in general....and this post really hits home. You go, girl.

I want to end this post with a note to all the gloating Conservatives:


Joe gets up at 6 am and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-huggining liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives!"

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Quiz #22: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

This one seems appropriate for me....


You Are a Snarky Blogger!

You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!

That sounds about right....

The Election

You may wonder, oh Zen Pretzel Trick fans, why I have been silent on the issue of Bush's win. It's simply because I'm too depressed to even contemplate it, much less write about it. Luckily, I don't have to. The wonderful bloggie at ABSOLUTE ZERO: CONFESSIONS OF A QUEER NEUROTIC has done it for me. If you haven't read his blog before, I highly recommend it. His post on the "true" President sums up my feelings 100%. Thank you, fellow blogger....I drink a Jack Daniels Hard Cola in your name.

Victim Spots Rapist on "Blind Date"

Some nutbags are malicious. Some are stupid. And some are both.

Case in point, this news story:
Victim Spots Rapist on "Blind Date" Show.

Apparently, a woman in California was watching the TV dating show when she spotted the man who had attacked and raped her in a parking lot back in September 2003. The attack was recorded by California Highway Patrol dispatch when the victim dialed 911. She taped the episode and brought it to police, who arrested the idiot, one Ulrick Kevin White, last week.

The spokesman for the "
Blind Date" show, Joe Schloesser, would not give out details of the screening process for participants of the program. One must assume that a criminal check is not performed, as there is still an open case against White for breaking into the home of a 22-year-old UC student.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Apology to friends.....

This may seem like a weird forum to do this in, but I did want to take a moment to apologize to my friends Fizz, Emma, Ruth and Erika for not returning calls lately. And to my loyal bloggies, for not posting. The MS is kicking my ass lately. I'm swollen all over, having a hard time walking, and in nearly constant pain. I feel so weak and tired all the time....it's not even like I'm living. I'm just existing. I hate attacks. In any case, I will return calls when I feel a little better....I promise.

A song for my mood:

"When I Snap Out Of This" by Jules Verdone

When I snap out of this
I'll call everybody back and I'll explain
When I snap out of this
When I snap out of this
I'll read more books, make better conversation
Snap out of this
When I snap out of this
I'll look you in the eye
When I snap out of this
I hope you'll still be there for me to look to.