Monday, December 27, 2004

December Will Be Magic Again

December is a busy month in my home, and here's why:

1) MY ANNIVERSARY.
Jonathan and I celebrated our 7th anniversary on Dec. 7. And yes, I do know that it's Pearl Harbor Day. Just how did I come to be married on Pearl Harbor Day, you might ask? By accident.

Jonathan and I had been living together for a number of years, and had two kids. We were engaged, but were in no rush to head down the aisle. Anyhoo, my mother was very sick and dying of breast cancer in the winter of 1997. My father called me, and told me he was surprising her with plane tickets to visit me in Portland (she lived in Ohio). I had not seen my mother in well over a year, and she'd never been to Portland. Needless to say, I was thrilled by the idea.

We put our heads together, trying to find some gift we could give my mom that would be extra special. Then it occured to us: why not get married? And not just married, but in a fun, unforgettable way?

And so it came to be that on a Monday, just before my mom's plane touched down, we arranged to get married at the now-defunct Portland landmark, The 24-Hour Church of Elvis. The only slot open that coincided with my mother's stay was that Friday. We booked it without a second thought; it was only after the wedding did we realize that it was Pearl Harbor Day.

The wedding was a blast. After the vows, the processional actually walked down the street and into Powell's Books, where the onlookers applauded us (if you click the link above, you'll see the "Just Married" sign our best man, Chris, carried during this processional). We then came back to our apartment for a small reception. It was so much fun, and my mother was both touched and inordinately pleased that we'd gotten married while she was in town.

She died seven months later, on July 26, 1998.

2) CHANNUKAH. My husband is Jewish, so we celebrate both holidays in our home. This year, the first night of Channukah also happened to be our anniversary, Dec. 7th. Eight nights of candles, gelt (chocolate coins given out on this holiday) and presents. We start out by giving little gifts on the first day (usually just gelt, other candy and coloring books) and give bigger and bigger presents until the 8th night, when they each get one big present (this year, the older two got the Game Boy DS's). Great fun for the kids; terribly exhausting for us grown-ups. But completely worth it.

I still feel very guilty about Channukah this year. I was sick through most of it, and spent a few of the nights in the ER, doubled over in pain from the neuralgia. Jonathan insists that I didn't ruin the holiday, but I still fell like I was a dampener at the very least.

I never celebrated Channukah until Jonathan and I moved in together; and now, I can't imagine a winter without it. I love watching the candles burn down. I like watching my son with his little yarmulke on, lighting the shofar and saying the Hebrew prayers. I adore watching the kids play with the dreidle, and sing the dreidle song. It's become a precious time for me, even though it is not technically "my holiday." It's still, over the years, become a part of me.

3) CHRISTMAS. Just as Channukah has become a favorite holiday of mine, so has Christmas evolved into a favorite time for my Jewish husband. This man truly loves Christmas. He whistles as he wraps presents. He takes pride in his Christmas turkey (which this year, he took extra pains to make as tender as possible so that I could actually eat it, the sweetheart). And he wakes up at the crack of dawn without complaint to see the looks of joy on his childrens' faces as they unwrap their gifts and unpack their stockings.

Speaking of stockings, I want to take a moment to thank my loopie friend NOMEM for making my kids' stockings this year. They are absolutely beautiful. You can see them on her website here. Check it out: it is quality work, and the stockings are already cherished heirlooms in my family. She even found a cute little wren bird for Wren's.

Eden was a little overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of the holiday, and passed out pretty quickly last night, her arm around her beloved Glow-Worm that was the hit present at Channukah this year. Her biggest gift on Christmas was a Weebles Village. She just loves this thing. I'm amused that Weebles are back in style...I keep humming the old jingle, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!" Everything old is new again: my son got Transformers, my older daughter, Care Bears. I keep wondering when the Smurfs will come back....


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season...whether you celebrate Christmas, Channukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Solstice or nothing at all....I wish you Peace and Godwill towards all men. Surely, the world needs it now more than ever.



"December Will Be Magic Again"
by Kate Bush


December will be magic again. Take a Husky to the ice while Bing
Crosby sings 'White Christmas' -- he makes you feel nice. December
will be magic again...Old Saint Nicholas up the chimney, just popping up in my memory...Dropping down in my parachute (the white city, she looks so beautiful!), up on the black-soot-icicled roofs...Oh! And see how I fall, see how I fall, like the snow, come to cover the lovers (Don't you wake them up!), come to sparkle the dark up, come to cover the muck up with just a touch of make-up (with a little luck). See how I fall...
December will be magic again. Light up the candlelights to
conjure Mr. Wilde into the silent night. (Ooh! It's quiet inside, here in Oscar's mind!) December will be magic again. Don't miss the brightest star, kiss under mistletoe...I want to hear you laugh --
Don't let the mystery go now!
December will be magic again


Kate Bush lyrics





Sunday, December 26, 2004

Even More Blog Help...Am I Hopeless?

Can someone please tell me what's happened to my blog NOW? I didn't mean to end up with this weird, scroll-down-past-the-blogroll thing. HELP!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

That Old Navy Commercial!

Is anyone else completely and thoroughly annoyed by that Old Navy commercial, in which a woman who doesn't look to be any older than 30 is surprised by carollers telling her about her COLLEGE son's girlfriend coming to visit? Give me a break.

Then there's that line about stockings: "Nobody really wants an orange in there." When I was a kid, the "foot" of our stockings was always filled with an orange and a bunch of walnuts. We'd then take turns opening the walnuts on my dad's old nutcracker. It was a tradition we looked forward to every year, and to this day I love the taste of fresh oranges and walnuts.

I'll be glad when Christmas is over and we aren't subjected to this commercial anymore. It drives me NUTS.

Carry on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The ZPT 100 Best Websites of the Year 2004!

I love the Internet. It's such a repository of fun and crap. This list is more of the first and hopefully less of the second.

These are all sites which I visited and loved in 2004. They are listed here in alphabetical order. Among them: funny animations, silly pictures, bizarre sites, liberal political humor, tattoo sites, Mommy sites, games, name generators, entertainment sites....you name it. What you WON'T see on here are blogs, homeschooling or shopping websites...I'm toying with the idea of making seperate lists for those, but no promises.

Disclaimer: some of these sites are not for young viewers, as they contain adult humor. Practice discretion. As well you should.

Now, on to the list......


THE ZEN PRETZEL TRICK IS PROUD TO GIVE YOU.....

THE 100 BEST WEBSITES OF 2004!


Anecdotage.com
An engrossing site will short, succinct anecdotes...from Patrick Stewart's Beavis & Butt-head collection to Sarah MacLachlan's days as a chubby teen.

Annabelle
The heartwarming tale of an elderly Appalachian woman. Have tissues ready...you'll need them.

The Apostrophe Protection Society
Truly an endangered species....

Arthurnet.com Links
If you love Arthuriana, this is the perfect website for reference links.

The Automatic Flatterer
When you need a little pick-me-up.

Awful Plastic Surgery
Because surely Michael Jackson isn't the only one!

Badads.com: Slam Bad Ads!
Get tired of advertisers hounding you wherever you go? These guys sure do.

Bad Cookie: Real Chinese Web Fortune Cookie
Not your typical fortune....mine today read: "Pray for what you want, but steal what you need." Hmmm....

BadTattoos.com
I love tattoos. GOOD tattoos. This is a site for the bad ones. Hilarious and sad, all at the same time.

Bad Wedding Announcements
I think my favorite is the "Peters/Rising" wedding. I wonder what they served at the reception.

Bible Gateway
Need a verse? Come here first!

Biographical Dictionary
Great for you and the kids...little peeks into the lives of the famous and those who made history.

Bizarrerecords.com
This is just a hilarious site. It features album covers (vinyl, of course) with either bizarre artwork, photos, names or bands. I don't know where they find these things...but I'm glad they do! My favorite is "Music to Drill Oil Wells By."

The Breast Cancer Site: Fund Mammograms For Free!
One free click, and you can save a life. How many sites can claim that?

Bush's Iraq Policy Explained
I LOVE this.

The Candy Wrapper Museum
Love that Mary Jane bar!

Cannot Find Weapons of Mass Destruction
That last link is the best one....

Cannot Get Laid
The next time your computer crashes...maybe it just needs a little lovin'?

A Collection of Musicals Lyrics and Libretti
If you like musicals, this is a great site. No whistles-and-bells, just the lyrics your jazz hands have been craving.

Crazy Thoughts: Life's Unanswered Questions
Some real head-scratchers here...DOES a sheep shrink when it gets wet???

The Cross
A short little reminder that no matter how bad you think your life is....there are many who have it far worse than you do. Be grateful.

Customers Suck! The Customer is Never Right!
If you've ever waited a table, tended a bar, worked a register or sold retail...this is the site for you. The stories here will have you laughing until you cry.

The Darwin Awards
This is the site that "salutes the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally kill themselves in really stupid ways," including Death by Bungee Jumping and Death by Lava Lamp. Unfortunately, these stories are all true.

Defend Your Castle
Cute game in which you (duh) defend your little castle.

Discover Your True Name
My name is apparently "Fearfully Toppling Anarchist."

Disturbing Auctions
Ever see anything on eBay and wonder, "Who would buy such an ugly, weird thing?" Well, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Take a gander at the "Postcard of a goat nursing a baby." It is the single most disturbing thing I've seen since my former stepmonster, Whale Belly, bent over in front of me while wearing blue spandex mini-shorts. Ewww.

Don Markstein's Toonopedia
The Holy Grail for cartoon/comic lovers.

Drunk Confessions
Remember this site the next time YOU get slammed...if you can, lol.

Duct Tape Headline News
Informative and jocular...I naturally adore it.

The 80's Server: Who Can It Be Now?
This is a daily game with album covers from the 80's; you guess the bands. Addictive!

Email Attacker!
For anyone who has ever gotten a nasty email...and lived to laugh about it.

End of the World: An Interesting View on How the World Will End
This animation takes a while to load...but it worth it, I promise.

Enron, WorldCom...Step Aside!
Wonderfully droll animation about the government department screwing Native Americans and non-Native Americans alike.

Etiquette Hell
All of us have dealt with rude relatives, friends and strangers...but this site will take through story after story of pure Manners Massacre. Hilarious and frightening, all at the same time. Warning: it might make you appreciate your in-laws more...maybe.

The Field Guide to North American Boys
I sent this to a single friend of mine, who just loved it.

Flywheel's Random Title & Name Generator
I am the "Countess of Telepathic Snow Dolphins, Mother Angel XVI"
Naturally.

Fontennium
A great---if small---collection of history-inspired free fonts for your computer.

Fortune Teller
It will tell your fortune...sort of. Go one. Give it a try. Just don't blame me.

FOUND Magazine
This is, hands-down, the best online magazine. It features things people have found: notes, photographs, that sort of thing. And it proves that people are, indeed, strange.

The F Word and Its Many Uses
Try not to laugh...it can't be done.

Guardian Unlimited: Do You Know Your Bushisms Quiz?
My results:
You scored 6 out of a possible 10
Some right, some wrong: you are middle-of-the-road man incarnate and a natural George W Bush fan. As he says, "We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbour just like you like to be liked yourself."

Guess the TV Show or Movie Name
Neat little game in which you think of the name of a show or movie and try to stump the webmaster. I've only succeeded twice: with the movie "Thunderheart" and the live-action version of the tv show "The Tick." If you DO manage to win, you'll get to create a question ensuring that the next person won't. More fun than it sounds.

Ha Ha!
This is a great little practical joke to send to your friends.

The Hairstyle Finder
Tons of hairdos for every kind of hair. I love this site.

Heartless Bitches International
Long live the Heartless Bitches!!!

The HIStory of Michael Jackson's Face
Sad. Truly, truly sad.

The History of Useless Inventions
I particularly like the eye protector for chickens.

Ill Will Press
Featuring your lord and master....Foamy!

In Celebration of a Scar
This is a site about women who have survived breast cancer...and turned the scars of their masectomies into beautiful, permanent tattoo art as a testimony of their bravery.
In Passing...
Reports of conversations overheard in elevators, restrooms, on the subway, etc.

I Used to Believe
Funny, sweet and familiar stories of those things we thought were true in our childhoods.

I Work With Fools
Co-workers a nightmare? Join the club!

The Institute of Official Cheer
There is so much to love about this website...the Orphanage of Cast-Off Mascots, the Bad Publicity list, the Dorcus Collection...but without a doubt, the best is the Gallery of Regrettable Food. You may never eat Jell-O again. Which might not be a bad thing.

The Jett Set
This is the official site for Joan Jett...and is it just me, or is she even hotter now than she was in the 80's????

Joe Cartoon
I've been a long-time fan of Joe Cartoon. If you haven't checked it out before, what are you waiting for????? My favorite: Superfly.

Kiss This Guy: The Archive of Misheard Lyrics
Excuse me, while I kiss this guy...I mean, give props to this site!

Lysol Ad, 1948
Can you imagine douching with LYSOL? YIKES!

Madblast: The Negative Effect of Alcohol
I think it dates me that I know the Karate Kid reference....

Mad Cow
This award-winning animation is udderly hilarious (yep...had to use that pun).

Make Stuff: The 'You Can Make It' Site
This is a great site for crafts and using recyclable material.

Mark's Apology Note Generator
When you are truly sorry...but also, truly lazy.

Masturbate For Peace
Well, you might as well do it for a good cause.

MenwholooklikeKennyRogers.com
And man, are there are lot of them!

Message Board Flamers!
If you love message boards, like I do, you'll recognize a lot of your cohorts here! I admit to being a bit of an Ethnix from time to time myself...

The Museum of Bad Art
I can just hear Leonard Pinth Darnell, "This is truly bad, bad art."

The Murphy's Laws Site
Because if it can happen...it will.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
This is an unbelievable and invaluable resource for those with MS and those who love them.

Nitpickers.com
Once I was watching re-runs of That 70's Show and wondering...what happened to Donna's two sisters? And remember when Judy on Family Matters just walked up the stairs one day and was never seen nor spoken of again?
If those sorts of things bug you, Nitpickers is a great place to be.

Nose
Try your hand at plucking nose-hairs. My son loves this.

Oh, the Humanity! The Worst Movies on Earth
The layout of this site could use some work...but the content is pure gold.

100 Ways We Show We Care About Our Kids
What can I say about this? It's beautiful.

Only in America!
Funny street signs.

Philosophy of Life
And how true it is.

Punk Rock Girl Paper Doll
The song "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen has always sort of been my anthem...it was played over the intercom when I graduated early from high school.

Punkvoter.com
When you want some politics with your Misfits!

The Random Excuse Machine
My kids love this one.

Real Estate Blooper
Pay close attention to the windows....

Recipes of the Damned: The Back of the Fridge
Fruit Cocktail & Spam Party Loaf, anyone?

The Rip-Off Report: badbusinessbureau.com
Ever felt ripped off? Here's the place to go.

Satire Wire: Passed Over---Syria, Lybia and China Form Axis of Just as Evil
I printed this out and gave it to about a dozen friends. It still makes me giggle.

The Shakespeare Insult Server
Because when someone's pissed you off, only the Bard will do.

The Smoking Gun
All the dirt that's fit to dish.

Streetmattress.com
This site is very, very strange...and very, very funny.

Subservient Chicken
Ask it to dance like Michael Jackson and it will Moonwalk, lol.

Symbols.com
It calls itself: "an encyclopedia of Western signs and ideograms." I just call it fascinating.

Television Without Pity
If you think I'm hard on shows....huh! I bow to the King.

Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About
Well, at least they have a sense of humor about their dysfunctional relationship!

Through the Year
A beautiful film about the beauties God bestows on us all year long.

Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide
Remember Body Buddies? Mr. T Cereal? Quisp? It's all here.

Unfortunate Cards
My favorite? The "Uncle Jackass" one. Although my husband prefers the "Birthday Whipping" one. Which reminds me: I must buy a bustle before my next birthday....

Uglydress.com: Bridesmaids Gowns From Hell
Behold the horrors of the Bridal Thongs and the Pregnant Prom Gown! Aiyee!

Unexplained America: Unsolved Mysteries
Riveting. Makes me miss Robert Stack.

The Urban Legends Reference Pages
Was Bert from Sesame Street ever pictured on a pro-Saddam poster? You bet! Some urban legends are true; many are not. And some can't be proven either way. This site has them all.

The Virtual Candle
Light a candle, say a prayer....

The Wacky Laws Homepage
Just to prove that your tax dollars are hard at work in America, folks.

Welcome to Holland
A beautiful poem about what it's like to be the parent of a special-needs child. Still brings tears to my eyes, every time.

Who's Alive and Who's Dead
Movie & tv stars, political figures, atheletes...if you don't know if they are six feet under or not, here's the page for you.

Wild Mood Swings: Surf the Web on a Whim
Pick your mood, and this will find a site for you.

World's Largest Roadside Attractions
I'm a big fan of "Hobo Joe" myself.

You Kicked My Dog
An animation about a very funny prank call.


And so there they are, folks....100 ways I wasted my time in 2004. Comments?




Saturday, December 18, 2004

Petition to Save the Tse-Whit-Zen Village

I'm asking all ZEN PRETZEL TRICK fans to take a moment to look over and sign this petition:

Protect the Tse-Whit-Zen Village

Labels:

Quiz #34: What's Your Hippie Chick Name?

I'm certainly no hippie, but what the hell......


Your Hippie Chick Name is: Patchouli







ROFL! Does that ever take me back. I remember, during my street punk days, how we'd rub patchouli oil on ourselves to try to cover up the fact that we hadn't had access to a shower in days. As you can imagine, we had limited success. Even worse were the scum punks...these were punks that didn't believe in bathing at all. They'd then put on an obscene amount of patchouli, which would then create that patented Scum Punk smell. Gads, was it awful. You could smell it from miles away. Memories....

Nice Try, Pervert

You gotta love the Internet sometimes. It gives pathetic losers balls where before they hath none.

Here's an IM I got earlier this evening:

Chris-----: hey
Pendragon525: hello
Chris-----: a/s/l
Pendragon525: 30/f/Portland
Chris-----: single?
Pendragon525: No, sorry. Very much married.
Chris-----: oh
Chris-----: what do you look like
Pendragon525: LOL, why?
Chris-----: just wondering
Pendragon525: Well, I look like a 30-year-old married lady, I suppose.
Chris-----: bra size?
Pendragon525: I don't share that with friends, I'm not about to share that with strangers.

LOL, I mean come on....bra size? Get a life, loser.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Tin Gods with an Audience: The Celebrity Tin God

For those of you new to my blog: I bitch about doctors. Not all doctors, but a certain, special, truly heinous type of doctor: those suffering from Tin God Syndrome. There is no cure, alas. Only the physicians can, in true Shakespearian fashion, heal thyselves. Problem being, they're Tin Gods. They don't WANT to be cured, because they are ominpotent. At least, they are in their own minds.

There are many kinds of Tin Gods (click here for a directory of tin gods). I have spoken of a few here in my blog: the annoying Aha! Doctor, the HMO-produced Otherwise Busy Tin God, the yuppie-gone-bad Pageant Judge. And now, I bring to you what is arguably the worst category of Tin God: the Celebrity Tin God.

The Celebrity Tin God is a real doctor AND plays one on TV. Or radio. Or writes awful books. Often, he does all three. His mission is to reach as many people as possible. Perhaps his intentions were good in the beginning, but fame then becomes the catalyst which infects them with the dreaded Tin God Syndrome. From that point on, the disease works to make the Celebrity Tin God into a complete ass. And worse, an ass with an audience, with people willing to hang on--and believe---every word they have to say. Whether or not those words are true or ethical.

In the past few days, I have found myself subjected to three bad, bad cases of Celebrity Tin God Syndrome. I'd feel sorry for the inflicted souls, if they weren't such blatant jackasses.

The first was the dreaded Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil subjects audiences daily with his self-righteous baloney on his tv show. Amusingly enough, he is overly fond of telling his guests that they must work hard to achieve their goals, because no one will give them success. This is very funny coming from a guy for whom Oprah purchased a career. My main gripe with ol' Phil is my core belief that a doctor should make people feel BETTER. And yet, this guy routinely berates and demeans the guests he's supposed to be "helping." All he's doing is grandstanding, and at the expense of others' obviously fragile emotional health. A pox on him for it! Sometime recently, he inexplicably put out a diet book. The whys of this have never been fully explained; I suspect its because a publisher projected some sales figures his way. That does not, of course, explain why anyone would buy the book in the first place, except that perhaps some people are so desperate to lose weight that they will actually, on purpose, give Dr. Phil money.

Anyhoo...I was stuck in a waiting room and happened upon the current issue of "Ladies Home Journal" with none other than Phil on the cover, presumably promoting the inexplicable diet book. Almost immediately, he pisses me off. He is asked by the interviewer how being overweight affects the person's family. His response:

"Your ability to participate in their lives in greatly diminished. You've got less energy and stamina and higher levels of fatigue, so you are far less willing to play with them, walk the dog with them, get out to the park and run around with them. So some of the core things over which family members bond are being compromised because you can't get in the game. There's no way that's not going to erode the relationship between you and your child."

There is so much wrong with this statement, I just want to scream. The inference here is that a person who can't participate in physical activity isn't bonding with their children and has a lesser relationship with their kids than someone who can run out and play football at a moment's notice. This is EXTREMELY offensive to the millions of parents, like myself, who are disabled and are FANTASTIC parents, despite not being able to walk the fucking dog every day.

It's also offensive to the children of the disabled...who know beyond doubt that they have a strong, healthy bond with their parents. I lived for a short time with my grandparents. My grandmother, God rest her soul, was a wonderful person. She taught me so much that is valuable and precious to me. She taught me how to make a sizzling five-alarm chili; how to cheat at gin rummy; how to clean and store jewelry properly; how to believe in myself and my talents; how to handle people so that they don't know they are being handled (a skill I've used quite often in life, believe me); how to never, ever judge someone by their appearance but always by their actions. She taught me about her Irish background, and what it meant to be Irish. She taught me how to stand up for what I believe in, and to never fear the consequences of being myself. It was she who taught me that you have to be comfortable with who you see in the mirror, and if you can't be, the rest of your life isn't going to amount to shit. I have vivid memories of late nights, when we'd sit up eating cold cereal and playing Monopoly and card games from her youth. She'd tell me stories about the more colorful members of her family, stories about my mother as a child, stories about her own childhood. She'd try to teach me to crochet, but I was all thumbs. But that was ok, too.

She did all that...while being legally blind, completely deaf, and on oxygen. And when she died when I was 15, anyone who would have had the gall to tell me we had a weaker bond because she couldn't go outside and toss the frisbee with me would have ended up with the fat lip they deserved.

There are times that I, as a parent with MS, worry that I am somehow shortchanging my kids. And then I think of Granny, and all she meant to me. I don't feel shortchanged in the least, and I know my kids don't, either.

As far as I am concerned, Dr. Phil owes a lot of people an apology. He meant to wound fat people with his insensitive comments, and it probably didn't even occur to him who else he was attacking in his zeal to sell his insipid diet book. For shame, Dr. Phil. For shame.

Dr. Phil is not the only Celebrity Tin God who owes the public an apology. A few nights ago, my husband came home from work with an upsetting report. He'd been listening to the Dr. Drew show on the radio as he often does (morbid curiosity at work), and one of the radio doc's comments struck him as being more than insensitive; it was unbelievably stupid, as well.

Dr. Drew was discussing the recent FDA ruling to take Vioxx off the market. Apparently, Dr. Drew thinks this was a bad move, as the drug "helped a lot of people" and "only nine or ten people died."

One of those people was my uncle. He had just retired early to spend time with his grandchildren. His wife found him dead in the backyard. He was only 56. I can't help but think that if one of the "only" people who had died from Vioxx had been one of HIS loved ones, Dr. Drew would not have been so quick to dismiss that loss.

To add insult to injury, Dr. Drew's stats are just plain wrong. Approximately 3600 people were treated with the drug, and 2% of them had adverse effects. Last time I checked, 2% of 3600 was not 10. Dr. Drew's statement also showed his extreme ignorance into FDA regulations and basic pharmacology. If he had any understanding of either one, he'd know that 2% is not a safe or reasonable risk rate. And even excusing such ignorance, common sense alone should tell you that DEATH is not a reasonable risk for an arthritis medication! It's not as if Vioxx was the only game in town, and not as if arthritis were a condition in which beggars can't afford to be choosers.

Dr. Drew, stick with subjects you actually have some knowledge about: heroin addicts, third nipples and Olsen Twins movies.

Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew now join that infamous group of Worst Celebrity Tin Gods, heretofore only inhabited by that shrew, the Queen of Celebrity Tin Gods: Dr. Laura.

Why is she the Queen of Celebrity Tin Gods, you might ask? Is it because of her rude, verbal haranguing of those seeking her help? Is it because of her hypocritical bashing of single and working moms, despite the fact that she has been both? Is it her homophobia? Is it her criminal fashion sense?

Those are all great reasons for me (and any other thinking person)to despise Dr. Laura. But what makes her Queen is her disgusting, inexcusable remarks concerning kids with Tourette's Syndrome.

For those of you who don't know, my daughter has Tourette's Syndrome. This disorder is very misunderstood by society in general, and it can be very difficult for children with Tourette's Sydrome to cope not only with the disorder but with the public's reaction to it.

For the full story on Dr. Laura's horrendous attack on children like mine, click here: Dr. Laura on Tourette Syndrome.

I recently checked the site to discover that over three years later, Dr. Laura refuses to apologize for her offensive and INCORRECT statements. She's an unrepentant moron, and for that, friends, she gets the crown. Why anyone listens to her is beyond me. Not only is her "advice" questionable at best, her voice sounds like someone pulling a cat backwards through a screen door.

Truth be told, there are some good celebrity doctors. Dr. Ruth, for example, is funny and irreverent. I've never found anything to malign Dr. Joyce Brothers, either. But Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew and Dr. Laura are all Celebrity Tin Gods at their worst...and if they can't afford the Tin God Syndrome cure, I fear no one can.

**********************************************

UPDATE:
Dr. Phil is at it again, folks. And this time, he's joined ranks with Dr. Laura in attacking children with Tourette's Syndrome.

On Jan. 16, 2006, Dr. Phil decided to do a show on kids with Asperger's and Tourette's Syndrome. Now, I am usually wary of ANY talk show that approaches Tourette's Syndrome, as the vast majority of them treat kids with TS as circus side-show freaks. They exaggerate symptoms and sensationalize the disorder in general. I also know from personal experience that it is quite common for many talk shows to ask the parents to not medicate their children for a substantial time before the show is taped so that symptoms will be "visible." Why any parent would knowingly tinker with their child's medicine and force symptoms on them (not to mention any side-effects of abruptly ending a medicine) is beyond me.

But, I digress. Back to the Dr. Phil show...

Dr. Phil repeatedly referred to both Asperger's and Tourette's as "extreme." Never once did he mention that both can be and often are defined by mild symptoms or that TS in adults is rare. And sadly, he fell into that talk-show trap of sensationalizing tics in TS and concentrated on more severe symptoms of both conditions, such as corporalia and violent tendencies (both rare). He also used this opportunity to whore out the SPECT scan as not only a diagnostic tool but a treatment....which is utterly ridiculous, as SPECT is mostly used as a research tool at this time, and there are serious concerns about its safety. SPECT cannot diagnose individuals with TS, and it's certainly not a treatment.

To make matters worse, Dr. Phil referred viewers not to the Tourette's Syndrome Association for more information, but to his OWN website...which includes FAULTY information about TS and a list of symptoms, the vast majority of which are NOT consistent with Tourette's Syndrome.

Various organizations have condemned Dr. Phil for this show and the website's gross misrepresentations. I'm glad to add my voice to it: shame on you, Dr. Phil. You've added to the general misunderstandings of this condition the public has, and made it just a little harder for people with TS to have the TRUTH be known. You had an opportunity here, to educate and enlighten, and you chose to sensationalize and spread mistruths.

If I'd had any respect for you at all, you'd have lost it.

For more information, check out
Dr. Phil and Tourette's Syndrome.
******************************

I also wanted to take a moment to toot my own horn: the fabulous website,
Tourette's Syndrome-Now What?, has linked this post on their page about Dr. Laura. Thanks, TSNW!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Bill Could Make It Illegal To Skip DVD Ads

We have child rapists serving less time than your garden-variety pothead, soldiers in Iraq without proper armor and an economy so far down the toilet it's clogging up the septic tank....and THIS is what the Powers That Be are concerned with?!?!?!?!


Bill Could Make It Illegal To Skip Ads On DVDs
Supporters Say Movie Makers Need Protection



If this isn't the most RIDICULOUS law EVER....well, naturally, it's not. But at least some of the other ass-backwards laws have the excuse of being on the books for a very, very long time and overlooked for just as long. THIS one might actually be enforced, and that chaps my ass, folks. Give me my fast-forward button, or give me death!


Quiz #33: Which Christmas Movie Are You?

'Tis the season.....






Your Christmas is Most Like: The Muppet Christmas Carol





You tend to reflect on Christmas past, present, and future...
And you also do a little singing.






I am thrilled to be this movie...it's dedicated to the memory of a relative of mine, who was an original Muppeteer and died before this movie was completed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Whatever Happened to Sitcoms???

As many of you know, I am something of a message board junkie. I do love my boards, and check them at least once a day, health permitting. There have been plenty of times that my boards have helped me keep my sanity; I'm afraid I don't handle inactivity too well, and sometimes MS keeps you pretty damned inactive.

Anyhoo, today on one of my boards, we were discussing great sitcoms of the past. We debated our favorite episodes of "Rosanne" with glee. And then one of the posters asked, "Whatever happened to sitcoms?" And I thought about it.

She's right, you know. Sitcoms these days have taken a back seat to police dramas like "Law & Order," "CSI" and "NYPD Blue." Audiences today seem to favor the more serious shows like "The West Wing," "The Sopranos" and "ER." And let's face it: reality TV has taken control, and although none of the shows have any actual bearing on reality...the fad just won't die. Where is the comic relief?

In the 80's, sitcoms were the mainstays of television. You had basically two types of sitcoms: Family Fare, and Adult-Tinged Humor. Of the Family Fare, Cosby was King. Of this, there can be no doubt. I remember Friday mornings at school, when we'd all gather on the playground to talk about what funny thing Cos had done the night before. No one missed it. No one would even dream of it. And outside of Cosby, there were other shows the whole family could watch with impunity: "Family Ties," "Family Matters," "Perfect Strangers," "Full House" (which unleased the Olsen Twins upon the world; a pox on the show forever, I say). Plenty of laughs for all ages. Of the Adult-Tinged Humor, there was no shortage: "Rosanne," "Cheers," "Taxi," "Married...With Children," "The Golden Girls," "M*A*S*H." We loved to laugh in the 80's, and we had the hairstyles to prove it.

Even into the more morose 90's, sitcoms abounded: "Friends," "Frasier," "Seinfeld," "Home Improvement." The Family Fare-type began to suffer a bit in favor of more young-and-hip "Ally McBeal"-type shows...but there was still plenty of quality chuckles to be found on the small screen.

So what happened? Why all the crap sitcoms on the dial today? I mean, let's look at what the humor-starved television viewer has to contend with in any given week:

1) Everybody Loves Raymond. No, everybody does NOT love this tired, cliche-ridden show. It's had it's truly genius moments (such as the episode in which Marie sculpts a vagina-esque monstrosity), but most of the time, I am bored stiff by it. I mean, we get the joke already: living across the street from your in-laws is a bad idea. Did we really need an entire, long-running series to tell us this? And I must say, I don't know how Raymond and Debra manage to stay married, I really don't. Besides the constant stress of the in-law situation...they don't seem to get along AT ALL. Ray is constantly sneaking around trying to avoid his wife's wrath, and Debra is constantly releasing said wrath upon him. He's an idiot, and she somehow missed this before the nuptials and is intent on letting him know how stupid he is at every possible opportunity. I just want to smack her across that smug face and yell, "Hey, YOU married him...if he's an idiot, what does that make YOU?" In two words: not funny.

2) Will & Grace. Speaking of cliches...I think this show has run through just about every tired old gay joke in the book. The writers must be hitting Klan meetings to find all this pathetic material. The only character I can stand on this show is Karen. Anyone who throws uppers and downers in a bowl and calls it her "Party Mix" is just plain funny. But everyone else? Spare me.

3) Yes, Dear.
This show is better than Ambien for putting people to sleep. I think it may be single-handedly responsible for lowering the sex drive of those who watch it. How did this end up in syndication? It's a conspiracy...there's no other plausible explanation.

4) King of Queens.
Another show in which the wife somehow overlooked her husband's shortcomings before catapulting down the aisle and is now making him pay for her shortsightedness. It's mean-spirited, and it's NOT funny. A complete waste of Jerry Stiller.

5) That 70's Show. This USED to be hilarious...past tense. See my post,
That 70's Show: Love It and Leave It for an explanation as to what has happened, in my bitchy viewpoint of course, to this once-fantastic show.

6) Quintuplets.
Bad idea, bad acting....bad period. There is not one single redeeming quality to this show...except perhaps that it is only on one night per week.

7) Still Standing.
I loved Jami Gertz in "The Lost Boys." Adored her. But could they have made her any less funny, and any frumpier-looking, in this pile of shit? What the hell happened to her hair? I think she might have been the only person in America to buy one of those Flowbee things off the infomercials. Either that, or a hairstylist somewhere needs to be shot.

8) Hope and Faith.
Please, for the love of all that it is holy, please somebody shoot Kelly Ripa already.

9) Malcolm in the Middle.
I used to enjoy this show...but like "That 70's Show", it's run out of steam. Which is too bad, because I was really rooting for a program that featured an Alaskan Native character (it's just been too damned long since "Northern Exposure").

10) The George Lopez Show.
I don't know anyone in real life who's ever been able to sit through an entire episode of this show. Or who could tell me what it's about. I know I can't do either.

So what is the comedy fan to do? Well, you can watch one of the few good sitcoms on the air ("Scrubs" being the only one that really leaps to mind), or stick with animation. The "Simpsons" is still the funniest damned show on tv, "King of the Hill" is hilarious, and Fox will soon correct its grave error and revive the awesome, twisted beauty that is "The Family Guy" (which almost makes up for its horrid news coverage). You can also, if you are so inclined, watch re-runs (thank you Nic at Nite), or head over to BBCAmerica for older yet classic British humor of "The Young Ones," "Keeping Up Appearances" and "Father Ted." But if you don't have cable or don't like cartoons...you're on your own.

Networks, take note: we're having a war and a recession here. That means we need to laugh, now more than ever. Find us a New Millenium Rosanne. Or hell, just find us anything worth watching that will leave us laughing until we cry. Just don't cast Kelly Ripa in it, whatever you do....

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Shameless Self-Promotion

Which I have always been good at..... ;-)

I've been nominated in a few categories for Blog of the Year, both for this blog and for Bad Baby Names. If you like my blogs enough to vote for them...well, what the hell are you waiting for? An engraved invitation? MOVE!

hee hee.

Texas Schools Abandon "Cross-Dressing Day"

Texas Schools Abandon "Cross-Dressing Day"

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A homecoming tradition in which the students of a tiny Texas school district 150 miles northeast of Houston cross-dress and the girls ask the boys out (and pay) won't be held Wednesday after one parent complained aboutthe event's "homosexual overtones." Instead, "Camo Day" has been instituted...and in place of frilly dresses and funny suits, the kids are encouraged to wear Army attire.

``It is outrageous that a school in a small town in east Texas would encourage their 4-year-olds to be cross-dressers,'' Liberty Legal Institute attorney Hiram Sasser said a release about the event. The district maintains that they never planned nor conducted a "cross-dressing day," but instead a day in which traditional roles were reversed in a Sadie Hawkins-type manner. "It's the first time anybody has complained," a representative for the district said about the tradition, which has been in place for years.


Delana Davies, 33, mother of a 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter who attend an elementary school in the district,complained after reading a school notice about the event. She said she viewed the day not as a silly Homecoming Week activity, but rather something related to homosexuality.


``It's like experimenting with drugs,'' Davies said. ``You just keep playing with it and it becomes customary. ... If it's OK to dress like a girl today, then why is it not OK in the future?''

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Sometimes, you just have to shake your head at the rampant stupidity some people exhibit and allow to run rampant on the unsuspecting public. The fact that ONE PERSON'S COMPLAINT, ONE PERSON'S misplaced homophobia, could ruin this long-standing tradition for everyone in that district is a crying shame. And the added fact that an adult, a parent, could look at kids playing dress-up as anagalous to drug experimentation is pathetic.

To make matters worse, the silly and fun tradition of girls dressing up like boys and vice-versa is replaced by....kids dressing up like soldiers! Because we all know, it's so much better to encourage violence and war in our kids than to encourage a possible fashion faux pas.

And by the way, Ms. Davies...it IS ok for boys to dress like girls in the future. Hope that helps!



Quiz #32: Which Decade is Your Personality Living In?





what decade does your personality live in?


quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd





No surprises here.....

Unsung Hospital Heroes: Nurses!

Yes, dear bloggies....I was in the ER again today. And while there, I had a chance to reflect on my more recent posts here a little. I know of late I've complained a great deal about Tin God doctors. And there are many, all truly worthy of a good tongue-lashing. But I think that perhaps in my zeal, I've overlooked a particular group of people who are invaluable, and deserving of praise: emergency room nurses.

I had a great nurse today at the ER. She was compassionate, caring, and helpful. The ER was a mess today, with a huge influx of people needing care. It was nice that in this healthcare hurricane, my nurse still found the time to give that extra personal attention that can make all the difference in the world to someone in pain.

Hospital nurses, to the person with a chronic illness, are important allies. Doctors all too often breeze in with their clipboards, give you a once-over, write down their orders and breeze out again. It's the nurses who execute those orders, the nurses who administer pain relief (and sometimes, some much needed comic relief as well), the nurses who provide the essential hands-on care. All to often, it's the nurses who bring your needs to the attention of the doctors, and make sure you get the care you need. And it doesn't take great observational skills to notice that the nurses work their tails off....far harder, in my opinion, than do most doctors.I am grateful to the nurses who have cared for me over the years.

Now, to be fair, there are bad nurses out there. I've run into a few myself, most notably the labor & delivery nurse who told me, after 16 hours of back labor, that I "didn't hurt." Trust me, NO woman wants to be told what does and does not hurt after 16 hours of back labor! But all in all, I think the number of good nurses far exceed the bad ones.

And thank God for that!


The Lazy Fairy Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 11, 2004

"My Doctor, My Jailor?": The Pageant Judge Tin God

I realize that many of my fellow bloggies are probably sick and tired of hearing me bitch about Tin God doctors right now....but bear with me, please. When this attack passes, I'll be more expansive. I promise.


I present to you a disturbing article I discovered many months ago about a particularly nasty form of Tin God Syndrome: the Pageant Judge. The Pageant Judge doesn't care about your symptoms, your medical history or your lab results....he cares about how you look. If you're punk, like me....Pageant Judge isn't going to believe a word you say. This also goes for goths, hippies, those in hip-hop garb and those whose dress indicates that they are poor. Pageant Judge is the uber-yuppie who never evolved from junior-high. If you're not Pageant Judge's "type" of person....you aren't a person at all.

Without further ado.....


My Doctor, My Jailor?

"...clinicians' increasing liability for the violent actions of their patients has forced evaluators to err on the side of commitment..."

- Robert D. Miller, M.D., Ph.D.
on unjustified psychiatric commitment


A number of years ago a business partner of mine was having trouble sleeping. He informed his doctor of this, telling him that because of this insomnia he was always tired. His doctor asked him what he would do if he got too tired while driving, and my business partner told him that if he ever felt he was too tired to drive he would pull over and have a nap. They talked a little more about solutions, and he went home.

Three days later there was a registered letter from the Ontario government. When he opened it, he was informed that his driver's license had been revoked and that he would need to undergo observation at a sleep clinic. When he called to make an appointment he found out that not only would he have to wait nine months, but that there was no appeals process. So, nine months later, at which point his insomnia had already passed, they hooked him up to the machines, had him take a nap, and "promptly" returned his license to him.
Maybe you're saying that it's better that the doctors "played it safe" and suspended his basic rights and privileges — after all, he might have posed a risk to other drivers if it turned out he had a severe sleeping disorder.

The fact is, we can play the "better safe than sorry" game endlessly. What are you willing to sacrifice for safety? It's very easy when we're talking about someone else's freedoms being taken away. The safest society is the one that is the least free, and with free society comes both responsibility and danger.

Shannon,
I went into my local walk-in clinic recently, looking for aid in alleviating my PMS and some mild depression. I spoke with the nurse first, who was attentive, and my appointment was ordinary. As it is a walk-in clinic, the staff rotates and I had never been treated by this particular doctor before. We went over my symptoms; physical pain and insomnia. He asked me a long series of questions about depression, diet, and family history, but nothing out of the ordinary.

When it was time to take my blood pressure, I had to remove my sweater for a proper reading. My arms are tattooed, but not much. Immediately his attitude towards me changed and I noticed him looking me over. He became hostile, and asked me if I engaged in any other "self-destructive behaviour other than my tattoos". I told him no, and that I did not feel my tattoos were mutilation or destructive, but that I found them to be positive and a source of joy.

He then asked if my shaved head was done out of anger, or other self destructive motivations. At this point, I was getting annoyed, but not concerned.

The GP then looked into my chart and asked about my amputation (I lost one of my finger joints last year). I restated what is in my medical chart, which is that it was an accident. He told me he had recently seen a TV program about voluntary amputation. I quickly but calmly informed him that there were other people who were there at the time, who could verify that it was an accident. I informed him that I am in the process of having a very expensive prosthesis made, and asked him if he thought it was logical that a voluntary amputee would pay thousands of dollars to conceal their amputation?

At this point his questions had become totally unrelated to the intent of my visit. I didn't think I would have any problems though, as I had given him sound and logical answers to all of his questions, and none of this had been an issue with other doctors I'd seen earlier.

He then left the room for about 15 minutes, and when he returned, he told me he thought I was a threat to myself. He said that he had issued something that worked like a warrant, and that if I did not go for psychiatric evaluation within a certain number of hours, that the police would come and escort me to one, with or without my consent.

I felt totally powerless and terrified. I did not attempt to argue with him about his position. Clearly he had very conservative and negative views about body modification, and I really did not want to make matters any worse for myself. I was confident that once I was seen to by a psychiatric professional that I would be properly assessed and released.

I went in for evaluation immediately and of my own "free" will. I waited four hours to be seen, the whole time under armed surveillance. It was extremely stressful. I left my hat on to conceal my stretched lobes and my sweater on to conceal my tattoos.

Eventually I was seen by a series of psychiatrists and doctors who, as I predicted, found that my body modification interests and my short hair posed no threat to my safety or health, and released me of my own accord.

My initial appointment was well before noon, and I didn't make it home from this ordeal until well into the night, and the original reason I'd went to the doctor in the first place was never addressed.

Sincerely,

A. T.


Many readers of this site have faced medical and legal harassment because of their body modification decisions. Some have been jailed, others incarcerated in psychiatric institutes, and others have been sued by ex-wives claiming their body modification was a form of abuse. In a small percentage of those cases, the aggressors have turned out to be correct, but in the vast majority it was baseless accusation built on inaccurate stereotypes. A witch hunt.

Treating people with body modifications as a danger to themselves or others for that reason alone is no better than calling for the incarceration of all members of a specific race because statistically they may be slightly more prone to be found guilty of criminal behaviour.

The letter on the right recounts some recent experiences had by a friend of mine, pictured below.

(Note: you'll have to click on the link I provided above to see the picture. I recommend it: she's gorgeous.)

There's got to be a million young people who'd love to "have her look". There's nothing wrong with it, and it's a healthy expression of who she is.

To make a long story short, she went to the doctor because of some minor depression and insomnia — how many of us haven't suffered from this from time to time? It's so common it's practically considered normal. The doctor treated her well, until he asked her to roll up her sleeve for a blood pressure check, revealing her tattoos.

Upon seeing her professionally done and long-since healed tattoos, coupled with a missing finger joint (which was lost in an accident long before, which was in her chart, along with the fact that she was seeking a prosthesis for it — most young people enamoured with amputation do not seek prosthetic correction), he classed her a "significant risk to herself" and imprisoned her involuntarily for an indefinite period of time.

Luckily her ordeal was over six hours later as other doctors did not share the bigoted views of the first.

The fact is, once you fall into the "psychiatric care" system, it can be very difficult to get out, and all it takes to get there in the first place is the subjective opinion of a doctor that's known you for all of fifteen minutes.

Not only that, but this doctor's views were based on not just his own personal hatred of tattooed people and women with short hair, but by a television show — I can only assume that he was referring to TLC's Skin Skulptors, which told the story of several older voluntary amputees. In each of their cases, the end result was the same: "I was depressed my whole life, but now I'm happy. I can't tell you why I am this way, but I can tell you this is the best decision I ever made."

Since when is choosing an unusual path to happiness, one that doesn't hurt anyone else, a crime punishable by psychiatric imprisonment?

To tell a similar story from my own life, long before starting BME I'd had an encounter with doctors who'd never come in contact with stretched piercings. For that and other reasons they told my parents that they wanted to hold me for three days to make sure I wasn't a danger to myself (I absolutely fail to see how well healed and cared for piercings are indicative of anything but someone who takes care of their body). At the end of it they decided that they were expressions of schizophrenia, and prescribed me massive doses of a dopamine-level altering anti-psychotic drug.

WRONG.

I'm not schizophrenic — a fact that would be later confirmed by more experienced doctors. It wasn't the first time I'd been misdiagnosed. When I first revealed my body modifications to my parents, they took me to a psychiatrist who told them I had "delusions of grandeur" because I'd told the doctor that I was a computer programmer — and even though he could have easily confirmed that fact with my employer, he instead wrote it off with his own pre-conceived notion: "you're far too young to understand how to program, let alone do it successfully".

Then, in the drugged haze that I was in, I was thrown into a larger institution. The first doctor to see me stripped me down to "examine me", and at the time I had a nipple piercing. The doctor told me that my nipple piercing was indicative of "gender disorders and transsexualism" and ordered a series of humiliating genetic tests and examinations to find out if I was actually male or not.

When their tests came back showing me to be totally normal, they instead put me on more anti-psychotics (even though they'd already discarded the "schizophrenic" claim), and as I was beginning to become agitated at being held prisoner, they added a pile of tranquillisers to my daily dose. I had no choice but to take these drugs — across the floor of the Clarke Institute that I was in was the "long term" ward, where they still used shock therapy. I was told that if I didn't take the drugs that they'd force me to undergo shock treatment instead.

Now, I'd signed up for this "voluntarily", so I thought, "Why don't I just check myself out. I don't need this."

Unfortunately, when I went to do so, they confirmed that I was in on a voluntary form, but that if I sought to leave, they would immediately be switched over to an involuntary form. It took me a full month of jumping through their hoops before I was able to leave, and by the time I did, my head was so messed up from the drugs they were over-prescribing me that it wasn't long before I took too many of them (the drugs they'd given me) and returned, post-overdose.

My luck turned though as I was transferred to a new doctor who realized there was nothing wrong with me at all. At this point my only problem was that I was on a pile of drugs I never should have been on. I spent thirty days in a locked ward under armed guard as they weaned me off the drugs.

As those drugs began to wear off, I desperately needed to express "me". I coloured my hair green in the psyche ward bathroom with some dye that a friend smuggled in for me, and I began to re-stretch my piercings. Eventually I was free again, happy to be me, but having learned an ominous lesson about what happens to people who don't conform.

I don't know what advice I can give you on this subject. Normally I might say "escalate it", but there's no guarantee that won't make the problem dramatically worse. I don't want to say "isolate yourself" and try not to have contact with doctors either since we know that won't make anything better. I'll certainly warn you to avoid falling into their traps. It's not easy to free yourself once you're caught.

It's a long battle still. We've made incredible strides in assuring the mainstream acceptability of body modification, but we've made them very quickly, and there are still an enormous amount of people who doubt the validity of our actions. All I can suggest is try and conduct yourself politely and think of yourself as an ambassador.

After all, if this really is bigotry drawn on stereotypes — "modified people are bad/crazy/dangerous" — then it's in all our best interest to change those stereotypes through our actions, so maybe one day the stereotype will flip to "modified people are so nice!"

Maybe we'll eventually grow out of judging books by their covers.

For now, let's just try not to burn books based on their covers.

Thank you,

Shannon Larratt
BMEzine.com

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Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Requests to publish edited or shortened versions must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published February 10th, 2003 by BMEZINE.COM in Tweed, Ontario, Canada.

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If you aren't disturbed by that....you might actually need those drugs Shannon had no use for.

I ran into a Pageant Judge myself about seven years ago. I have a minor heart condition which is completely treated by medication. It does require, however, that I see a cardiologist every few years or so, just to check in. Well, this run-in occured shortly after I moved to Oregon, and was shopping around for a new cardiologist.

Pageant Judge pretty much looked at my chart---and not me---the whole time I was in the room, and avoided touching me in any way. When he DID deign to look at me, it was only down the rim of his huge, hooked nose (people in glass houses, you know). He was rude in the extreme, but as I need not see him again, I thought nothing more of him.

Years later, I needed copies of my medical records. While leafing through them, I found the report by Pageant Judge. It said very little about my physical condition...and a LOT about my physical appearance. It was quite a nasty bit of garbage. Among the unnecessary comments:

***Patient presented with multiple facial piercings.
Multiple? I have one nose ring. Last time I checked, "multiple" meant MORE than one.
***Her head is shaved.
This gives the idea that I am bald. I'm not. I have a mohawk-type hairdo (I do not spike, unless I'm going to a club or something, which I rarely do anymore).
***Patient claims to be "engaged."
OK, that was insulting. I CLAIMED to be? And the quotes...nice touch, jerkwad. I'm sure he would be surprised to know I got married three months after that visit. I got the distinct feeling he didn't believe anyone would marry someone who looked like me. MORON.

But hey, at least I wasn't thrown in the psych ward!

Beware the Pageant Judge Tin God. If you think yours is one...change doctors FAST. These particular Tin Gods can be dangerous...don't think it can't happen to you.

Quiz #31: Which Historic Woman Are You?

Interesting.


Take the quiz: "What Historic Woman Are You?"

Queen Medb
Queen Medb was an Irish queen, and what a queen! She ruled HER WAY or the HIGHWAY. When arguing with her husband over who had the greater fortune, she got so mad that she called a war on a neighboring kingdom to capture a bull so that she'd be wealthier than her husband. She was impulsive, temperamental, and passionate, just like you. But try and be a little calmer. Read more about this fascinating woman: http://www.angelfire.com/de/arkhamhaus/medb.html


Yep...sounds like me. And Irish to boot! Love it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

NATIVE NEWS: Cheif To Get Justice 150 Years in the Making

For those of my fellow bloggies who, like me, like to stay up on Native News:




Seeking justice for the chief: 150 years later, Leschi will get a retrial


Cheif Leschi was found guilty of murdering a soldier in the Washington Territorial Militia during an ambush. He became the first person in the new Washington Territory to be executed when he was hung in 1858.

The conviction has long been controversial, with many arguing the Nisqually tribal chief was a victim of racial prejudice and scapegoating. This week, nearly a century and a half after his death, Leschi will get a retrial.

Blog help....anyone?

I apparently suck pretty badly at this blogging business.....can anyone else see my Blogroll and my Blogpatrol counter? Because try as I might, I sure can't. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?


An interesting photo my father took in Montana. Thought I'd share. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tin God Syndrome Revisited: The My-Way-or-the-Highway Doc

When it rains, it freaking pours....

Yesterday morning, Eden woke up with strange, brownish-purple bruises up and down her leg. They were not there when I put her to bed; there was nothing in her crib that could cause the bruises. Worried, I called her pediatrician who insisted we be seen right away. Our regular doctor wasn't there, but another ped was able to see us.

She examined the baby, and then told us to go to the ER. She suspected a disorder called HSP, that involves high platelets in the blood; this could be dangerous. Scared witless, we went to the ER right away...

...and ran smack dab into yet another doctor suffering from a form of Tin God Syndrome: this time, the My-Way-or-the-Highway Doc.

Highway Docs not only believe themselves to always be right, they simply cannot tolerate being questioned AT ALL. You either do things their way, or walk right out the door. Caring for patients takes a backseat to their enormous ego and stiffling impatience.

Highway examines the baby and immediately announces that he wants to do a spinal tap, in a tone that makes it quite clear that he isn't asking, he's telling. This particular Highway hasn't met me before, and isn't aware of the small but important fact that I, when it comes to my children, am an immovable mountain. I do not fold to Highway Docs. I let Highway know, in no uncertain terms, that I will not permit a spinal tap to be done on my baby unless A) there is a clear indication of meningitis, and B) all other options have been exhausted. I note that Eden shows none of the symptoms of meningitis: she is eating well, alert and full of energy, and does not exhibit a stiff neck or fever. The rash of bruises also simply does not resemble the rash associated with meningitis. I make it pretty clear that I'm not going to let this happen.

Highway is now irritated. As I mentioned before, Highway Docs do not like to be questioned....ESPECIALLY by someone who actually knows what they are talking about. And in this instance, I did know a thing or two about meningitis. You see, several years ago, my neighbor lost her infant to the disease. I made a point of educating myself there and then.

Highway orders a blood and urine test. He tries again to get me to allow the spinal tap, by telling me that it's "better to be safe than sorry" and that it is the "only way" he can "rule out" meningitis. I counter by saying that you can also rule out meningitis by lack of associated symptomology. Highway is not pleased. He also tells me that a lumbar puncture is a "simple test" and is "virtually painless." I inform him that there can be serious complications from spinal taps, and that they are NOT painless. He argues that they are. I ask him if he's ever had one. Surprise, surprise...he has not. I let him know that as a person with MS, I know ALL about spinal taps, and I am NOT letting my baby have one with only some bruises as an indicator. After a few more minutes of banter, we decide to wait until the CBC and urine results are back, and then discuss it again.

The blood is drawn, the urine is taken by catheter, and I am nursing my very unhappy baby when a nurse comes in and approaches my child with some sort of cream. I assume it's for the rash, and that my daughter's problem has been diagnosed. Not so. It's a numbing cream....for the spinal tap.

I am now getting annoyed. I let the nurse know that there will not be any spinal tap, so the cream was unnecessary. She tells me that Highway ordered it...meaning he ignored our agreement to wait until the lab results were in. I am not pleased...and I am not letting the nurse put the cream on my child's back. The nurse warns me that Highway will be unhappy about this; at this point, I could care less about Highway's fragile emotional state. "Does this mean you will be refusing a spinal tap?" she asks. "Unless there is a clear reason for it, yes," I reply. The nurse clucks her tongue like an old mother hen and leaves to inform Highway of my refusal.

The tests come back in, and it is as the pediatrician at the office believed: elevated platelets and elevated white blood cell count. These are a clear indication of HSP. I assume Eden will be getting fluids and then sent home. I also assume that Highway now realizes that there is no meningitis present, so the spinal tap was indeed an unnecessary procedure.

I underestimated Highway:

Highway: I'll be sending in a nurse to prep her for the lumbar puncture.

Me: Why? It seems to me she probably has HSP, as her pediatrician suspected.

Highway: Well, we won't know for sure until we get the spinal tap.

Me: I wasn't aware that you could test for HSP from spinal fluid.

Highway: (visibly annoyed) You can't. I just need to rule out meningitis.

Me: I'm not letting her have a spinal tap. I thought I made myself pretty clear on that count.

Highway: You're tying my hands, and I can't do anything for you when you tie my hands like that.

Me: What are you saying?

Highway: I'm saying I can't treat her, when you tie my hands.

Me: You're refusing to treat her unless I consent to a spinal tap?

Highway: I can't treat her unless I rule out meningitis.

Me: (trying to stay calm) Let's say you had the results of a spinal tap in your hands right now, and there's no presence of meningitis. What would you do to treat my daughter?

Highway: I don't know, because I don't have those results.

Me: You don't know what you'd do if the results were negative?

Highway: You're tying my hands here.

Me: It seems to me as if this is a case of HSP. Can you not treat it as such?

Highway: We've ruled that out.

Me: You've ruled out HSP?

Highway: Yes, and now we need to rule out meningitis.

Me: If she had even the slightest fever, or had been vomitting, I'd be on board with this, Doctor. But she has no indications of meningitis, and I am not willing to put her through a spinal tap for a couple of bruises.

Highway: I don't think you are being reasonable about this. Meningitis is very serious.

Me: Yes, it is. And if she had ANY of the symptoms, I'd be the first in line for a spinal tap. But she doesn't.

Highway: Are you refusing a lumbar puncture?

Me: (exasperated) Yes.

Highway: Then you'll have to go home.

Me: Pardon?

Highway: There's nothing I can do to treat her if I can't rule out meningitis.

Me: Fine.


Highway storms out. A few minutes later, the nurse comes in with a form for me to sign. I am told that I have two choices: consent to the lumbar puncture, or sign out AMA (Against Medical Advice). I am dumbfounded, but not about to be bullied. I signed out AMA, and called her pediatrician from the hospital room as I was waiting for our discharge papers. I made an appointment for the next morning.

I spent a very nerve-wracking night, worrying about Eden. The next morning, we notice even more bruises on her arms and legs. We rush to her doctor's, and the he diagnosed her within minutes....HSP.

I told him about the Highway doc, and he told me that we'd made the right decision. There was NO call for a spinal tap, and in fact, the guidelines for purpura disorders call for NO unnecessary testing. As we left the office, our pediatrician was on the phone with Eden's chart in front of him. I think Highway might have a little less ass today than he did yesterday....

I am writing a letter of complaint, because Highway docs are, in my opinion, some of the worst Tin God doctors out there. He couldn't bully me into unnecessary and potentially harmful testing because I am knowledgable on the subject; not every parent is. And quite frankly...he pissed me off. He lied to me on several counts: he didn't rule out HSP (he couldn't have, since that's what she has), and there was no need for a spinal tap. And making me sign out AMA? Ridiculous.

Beware the Highway doc, fellow bloggies. An apple a day won't keep them away...but a letter to the American Medical Association might.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

"Zero Patience" Sighting!

I am a big fan of Broadway and off-Broadway musicals (yes, I know, a punk rock musical nut....I'm wierd, so sue me). Many years ago, at a pawn shop of all places, I found a musical soundtrack I'd never heard of before: "Zero Patience: A Movie Musical About AIDS." It's a BBC presentation. It looked interesting, so I bought it. And LOVED it.

Since then, I've tried to find out more information about the musical, but there is little to be found. I know it concerns the story of "Patient Zero," and the early days of the AIDS hysteria in the gay community. It's apparently not available on DVD in America (although I hope it will be soon; I'd love to see it), and trying to find someone who sells the soundtrack is next to impossible (I've been hoping to pick up another copy for my best friend and fellow muscials enthusiast, Fizz). No such luck.

This morning, however, I had a ZP sighting! I was nursing Eden and watching an old "Kids in the Hall" episode. The skit concerned a gay minister marrying a gay couple, both of whom wore flamboyant hats with veils. Behind the minister was a poster....from "Zero Patience"!

I was thrilled, so I had to share. If any of you get the chance, listen to "Zero Patience." The song "Six or Seven Things" is unbelievably simple, yet gorgeous. And "The Butthole Duet" is hilarious.

And hurrah to "The Kids in the Hall" for promoting the musical!