Friday, December 30, 2005

A Trio of Nutbags!

Just when I think that I have seen all the nutbags 2005 has to offer, I get bombarded by these three dolts. As always, my comments are in red:




Woman Tries Swallowing Phone
to End Spat With Lover

BLUE SPRINGS, Missouri (Dec. 24) -- It was a conversation stopper.

A lovers' dispute over a cell phone took a serious turn early Friday morning
when the woman ended the spat by swallowing the phone whole.

Police said they received a call at 4:52 a.m. from a man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing.

When they arrived at the house they found the 24-year-old woman had a cell phone lodged in her throat.

"He wanted the phone and she wouldn't give it to him, so she attempted to swallow it," Detective Sgt. Steve Decker of the Blue Springs Police Department. "She just put the entire phone in her mouth so he couldn't get it."

Police said an ambulance transported the woman to St. Mary's Medical Center
in Blue Springs. A hospital spokeswoman said she could not give details about the woman's health since police have not released her identity.
(Ok, I've been in arguments with my husband before. I've been pretty pissed off. But I
have never been angry enough to try to swallow a
CELL PHONE.
What the hell was
she thinking?)


-----------------------------------------------------


Tragic Love Triangle
Ends in Murder


The small voice of 7-year-old Katie Marsh reached through the dark, telling
a 9-1-1 dispatcher her mother was mortally wounded.

It happened at a cottage in Ashtabula County, near the shore of Pymatuning Lake. About 9 pm, 32-year-old John Marsh allegedly broke in and shot his estranged wife, 30-year-old Jennifer and her boyfriend 32-year-old David Beach.

The bloody confrontation happened right in front of Katie and her brother Lucas.

Marsh grabbed his 4-year-old son, as his daughter hid in a closet. After a frantic search, officers found Marsh at his nearby home, with the boy unharmed.

Marsh's father says his son and daughter-in-law split up in July. His wife was frightened enough to get a restraining order, making John give up his weapons. Neighbors say bitter harassment continued between the two.

The kids, including the couple's oldest son Curtis, are staying with Jennifer's relatives. The community is very small and lots of people know some or all the people in this tragic love triangle. What no one ever expected was that hard feelings would end in murder.

In addition to the Marsh's three children, David Beach had three kids of his own. Meanwhile, John Marsh remains behind bars.
(This man should ROT behind those bars. What this article
doesn't tell you is that before the little girl hid, she tried to call 911...and her father took the phone from her. This was prior to
her courageous call that, in all likelyhood, saved her brother's life. But you know what REALLY pisses me off about this story? Click the link and watch the video. This asshole's father is
actually blaming the VICTIM. She "drove him to it," according
to Grandpa of the Year there. Holy cow, I hope these kids never see Dad or Grandpa again...for their own sakes...)

--------------



Man Charged After Toddler Found Drunk


PATCHOGUE, N.Y. Dec 29, 2005 A 37-year-old man was charged with child endangerment after one of two toddlers he was baby-sitting was found drunk, authorities said.

Suffolk County sheriff's deputies investigating a family court case peered through the window of a Patchogue home Tuesday and saw Juan Reyes passed out with the children wandering around the house.

They managed to rouse Reyes, who was the only adult at home with the two toddlers, ages 2 and 3, according to the sheriff's office. The deputies said Reyes appeared extremely intoxicated.

The deputies also noticed the 2-year-old was having difficulty standing, had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol and was lethargic.

The toddler was taken to the hospital, where tests revealed he was legally intoxicated, with a blood-alcohol content of 0.094 percent, the sheriff's office said. In New York, a driver is considered drunk with an alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater.

The second child was taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.

At the time, the children's parents were at a hospital, where the mother was giving birth.

Robert Clifford, spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney, said the children's family lives at the house where the toddlers were found. Reyes also gave that as his address during his arraignment.
(Let me see if I have this straight: the parents, 2 kids and a drunk are all living in the same house. Mom goes to the hospital to have baby #3, and leaves the kids with...the drunk, who drinks himself into a stupor and doesn't notice the kid drinking enough alcohol to lay out a linebacker. That kid could easily have died from alcohol poisoning, and who knows what the long-term affects of this will be. And child protective services only removed ONE of the remaining two kids? If these parents are this fucking stupid, this fucking irresponsible...why would anyone think they should be trusted with a newborn?
Eek gads.)

--------------------
my 2nd annual Nutbags of the Year Awards will be posted here in January. Don't read on a full stomach.....!

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Chanukah


We're an interfaith family here...so we celebrate both Christmas and Chanukah.

To all who celebrate...have a Happy Chanukah!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas '05


To all who celebrate...I hope you had a great Christmas!

Peace on Earth, good will towards men.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Screwing the Poor Out of College...Just in Time For Christmas!

My comments follow the article:


Budget Bill Places Onus On Students.

Dec 22, 2005; WASHINGTON - Nearly one-third of all the savings in the final budget bill comes from student aid, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Under the bill, college students would pay higher interest rates on loans. Many banks will receive lower subsidies. And the Education Department will work with the Internal Revenue Service to ferret out students and parents who underreport incomes on financial aid applications. The budget bill is estimated to save $39.7 billion over the next five years. Cuts in student aid account for $12.7 billion of the savings, or 32 percent.

The Bush administration worked closely with Republicans in Congress on provisions that affect student aid. But Education Secretary Margaret Spellings declined to comment until the bill cleared a final hurdle on Capitol Hill.

Republican negotiators said virtually all the cuts in student aid would be borne by banks and other lenders, an assertion sharply disputed by Democrats and college administrators, who said that two-thirds of the savings would be at the expense of students and their families.

Even as it makes those cuts, Congress is creating a new program for students from low-income families who are eligible for Pell grants. The amount of aid will not be based on financial need. To qualify, students would have to be U.S. citizens, have completed "a rigorous secondary school program of study" and be taking courses full time at a "degree-granting institution of higher education."

The student would have to maintain "a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0." Juniors and seniors will be eligible only if they have declared a major in the physical or life sciences, computer science, mathematics, technology, engineering or a foreign language deemed critical to national security.

College and university groups, as well as most Democrats, opposed the overall bill.

"This is the biggest cut in the history of the federal student loan program,"
said David Ward, president of the American Council on Education, an umbrella group for public and private colleges and universities.

A lobbyist at the council, Becky H. Timmons, said, "Students will be paying higher interest rates than they are currently paying."

The rate would be fixed at 6.8 percent for students and 8.5 percent for parents. The current rates, which vary with market conditions, are several percentage points below those levels.

The new aid for freshmen and sophomores is known as academic competitiveness grants. Freshmen would be eligible for $750 grants, and sophomores for $1,300 grants. Juniors and seniors would be eligible for $4,000 a year in what Congress calls SMART grants. The name is an acronym for "Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent."

The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said the new support for math and science education would increase America's ability to compete in a global economy.

"China and India are generating scientists and engineers at a furious pace while America lags dangerously behind," Frist said.

The bill would not change the maximum Pell grant, which has been $4,050 for several years. President Bush had proposed a $100 increase. The bill would increase the maximum amount of subsidized loans, to $3,500 and $4,500 for first- and second-year students, from $2,625 and $3,500.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said the math and science program would abandon the Pell grant principle that the neediest students should receive the most help.

"Under this proposal," Kennedy said, "a single mother who can attend college only part time because she has to work 40 hours a week to put food on the table will not be eligible for a penny in new grant aid."

Republicans said the budget bill squeezed far more savings from banks than from students. Rep. John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who is chairman of the Committee on Education and the Work Force, said the bill would increase benefits for some students while saving money for taxpayers.

"Vast increases in federal student aid" have coincided with a decade of tuition increases, Boehner said.

He suggested that federal investments in higher education had contributed to "the college cost explosion that is squeezing the budgets of low- and middle-income families."

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the Republican proposals would make it even harder for many families to pay for college. About 70 percent of the savings in student aid "come off the backs of students and their families," Miller said.

________________________
There is so very much wrong this this, I hardly know where to begin. So I'll go point by point:
  • I know many, many former and current college students...who are already looking at years and years of paying off college loans, in a bad economy. Now, this will make it worse. This isn't an incentive to go to college, guys...it's an incentive to go to trade school. At least THAT can be paid off at the normal interest rate!
  • Cutting the budget to screw students. Congrats, Bush. You're now the biggest Dickhead of the Year. Live it up.
  • I have an idea...why not GET OUR FUCKING TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ? That will save a HELL of a lot of money.
  • Am I the only person who is seeing an agenda here? "Well, we can't meet our military quota, and the draft met with disaster during Vietnam...I know! Let's make it nearly impossible for the poor to go to college! They'll sign up in droves! Yeah! That's the ticket!"
  • I want to know exactly what constitutes a "rigorous secondary education." I'm guessing Tribal schools, alternative schools and homeschoolers will be exempt. Hey, while we're screwing the poor...might as well get the Indians, the gays and the homeschoolers too, huh?
  • Only subjects deemed "necessary to national security." Screw those pre-meds. Who needs doctors and teachers when we can train kids to build better bombers?
  • President Bush proposed a $100 increase in Pell Grants? Well, what a generous offer, Mister Scrooge!
  • I don't get these GOP types. I really don't. They'll go on and on about welfare being the root of all evil...and then they pass a bill removing any chance of the working poor to attend college and make sure they are never on public assistance? What gives?

Being in college is not an easy task. Being poor and working your way through college is not easy. But thanks to the GOP, the poor don't need to worry about THAT anymore! No college for you! But stay away from those food stamp lines!

And Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Immigrant Dies Against Family's Wishes

My comments follow the article:



Woman's death highlights health insurance crisis


December 14, 2005By JANET ST. JAMES / WFAA-TV



Tirhas Habtegiris was 27 when she died.

A family has gathered to mourn a woman gone too soon.

Tirhas Habtegiris was an East African immigrant and only 27 when she died Monday afternoon.

She'd been on a respirator at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano for 25 days.

"They handed me this letter on December 1st. and they said, we're going to give you 10 days so on the 11th day, we're going to pull it out," said her brother Daniel Salvi.

Salvi was stunned to get this hand-delivered notice invoking a complicated and rarely used Texas law where a doctor is "not obligated to continue" medical treatment "medically inappropriate" when care is not beneficial.

Even though her body was being ravaged by cancer, this family says Tirhas still responded and was conscious. She was waiting one person.

"She wanted to get her mom over here or to get to her mom so she could die in her mom's arms," says her cousin Meri Tesfay.

Ten days was not enough time, they say, to get a mother from Africa to America.

The family and hospital desperately tried to get Tirhas moved to a nursing home but they say no one would take her.

"A fund issue is what I understand. Because she is not insured and that was the major reason the way I understood it," Salvi said.

A statement from Baylor Plano disputes that and says the hospital did its best to comply with the family's wishes in every way.

Still, on the 11th day, Tirhas Habtegiris was taken off the respirator and died.

Her family feels caught in America's health insurance crisis.

"And it's kind of a shock to me too to experience this in this country. It's the richest country in the world. Very sad," Salvi said.

Experts say there are very few charity beds for ventilator dependent patients in this state. President George W. Bush has said he wants to expand healthcare for legal immigrants in this country.

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

One thing the article---and ol' Dubya---failed to mention here is that it was George Bush himself who signed the bill allowing hospitals to pull the plug against the wishes of the family--or the patient---in the first place, creating the law that killed this woman.

More hypocrisy from the POTUS.

My question now is: where are all those protesters, who cried and yelled and stood by all those days and nights for Terri Shiavo? Where were they, when this young woman lay dying?

Did the only care because Terri was white? Or a born US citizen, and not an immigrant?

Where was all that "sanctity of life" and pleas not to allow anyone but God to take a life?

This family was not divided. And after only eleven days, they weren't ready to say good-bye.

Does no one care?

Where art thou, Jeb, Randall, Bill?

Are your true colors showing now?


Friday, December 16, 2005

Now I've Seen It All: Fun with John Thomas

Just a warning: the links below are not kid or workplace friendly. Strictly adults only...and very, very funny.


The first is a news story that shows that Frosty isn't the only male thing you can make out of snow. And note how much fun the author of this article had with his, uh, subject matter. Be sure to click on the link for the pictures:


Police whack giant snow penis


By John Doherty
Times Herald-Record


New Windsor - What, some might ask Jessica Sherer, is with the giant snow penis she built on her boyfriend's lawn this week?

As everyone knows, phallic displays were central to Viking winter solstice celebrations of fertility and rebirth.

But down on Quassaick Avenue, around the corner from the New Windsor Elementary School, the 6-foot tall, anatomically correct, finely detailed penis raised some questions Monday.

Especially for police.

"We got some calls that people thought it was offensive," said New Windsor police Chief Michael Biasotti. "We assumed it was some kids who did it."

Officers found no one home. Assuming the snow sculpture was more prank than nod to Christmas' pagan roots, the police knocked it down. Beat it down with shovels, actually.

"We came back around 11 in the morning, and it was just a pile of snow," recalled Sherer, 19. "Just some shovel marks."

Sherer, um, erected the statue with her boyfriend and another friend Sunday. She said she was surprised to hear some neighbors took offense.

Motorists honked their approval, and people walking by pointed and laughed, she said.

"People were waving and laughing," she said. "It was pretty funny."

No citations or criminal violations will be issued for the display, Biasotti said. The town codes prohibit lewd signs on businesses, but don't mention anything about public snow sculptures.

"We probably weren't 100 percent correct in going on the property and knocking it down," New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers said. "But our intentions were pure. Some people were offended. There are school buses going by there all day."

The last two nights of freezing weather has made the snow too stiff to sculpt, said Sherer. But she intends to rebuild.

"In a couple of days, Thursday or Friday, after it gets a little warmer," she promises.

Police and town officials aren't sure what their move will be.

"I'd want the police to talk to the property owner if we got complaints, ask them to take it down" Meyers said. "But after that, I don't think there's too much we can do."

Biasotti worries the display might give others ideas. "Now we're going to get snow penises popping up all over town," he said.


---------------

This next link is not for the faint-of-heart. Now, don't get me wrong: I love dragons. I love tattoos. I love piercings. But this guy has gone just a tad bit too far, don'tcha think?



Puff the Magic Trouser Snake



As my subject line reads....now I really have seen it all....

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rest in Peace, Richard Pryor








My comments on this death, and what it means to me, follow the article. Please take a moment to read both:


Actor-Comedian Dies at 65 of Heart Attack
'He Did Not Suffer, He Went Quickly,' Pryor's Wife Says
By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, AP


LOS ANGELES (Dec. 10) - Richard Pryor, the groundbreaking comedian whose profanely personal insights into race relations and modern life made him one of Hollywood's biggest stars, died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

Music producer Quincy Jones described Pryor as a true pioneer of his art.

"He was the Charlie Parker of comedy, a master of telling the truth that influenced every comedian that came after him," Jones said in a statement. "The legacy that he leaves will forever be with us."

His audacious style influenced generations of stand-up artists, from Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock to Robin Williams and David Letterman, among others.

His films included "Stir Crazy," "Silver Streak," "Which Way Is Up?" and "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip."

Throughout his career, Pryor focused on racial inequality, once joking as the host of the Academy Awards in 1977 that Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were the only black members of the Academy.

Pryor once marveled "that I live in racist America and I'm uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it. You can't do much better than that."

In one of his last movies, the 1991 bomb "Another You," Pryor's poor health due to multiple sclerosis was clearly evident. Pryor made a comeback attempt the following year, returning to standup comedy in clubs and on television while looking thin and frail, and with noticeable speech and movement difficulties.

In 1995, he played an embittered multiple sclerosis patient in an episode of the television series "Chicago Hope." The role earned him an Emmy nomination as best guest actor in a drama series.

"To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn't know what they were talking about," he said. "And the doctor said 'Don't worry, in three months you'll know.'

"So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn't get up. ... Your muscles trick you; they did me."

Despite his health troubles, he was happy and in good humor in his final days, said his wife Jennifer Lee Pryor.

"He will be missed, but will forever live in thousands and thousands of hearts and continue to impact and inspire people with his truth and his pain, which he turned into comedy brilliantly," she said.

While Pryor's material sounds modest when compared with some of today's raunchier comedians, it was startling material when first introduced. He never apologized for it.

Pryor was fired by one Las Vegas hotel for "obscenities" directed at the audience. In 1970, tired of compromising his act, he quit in the middle of another Vegas stage show with the words, "What the (blank) am I doing here?" The audience was left staring at an empty stage.

"I had some great things and I had some bad things. The best and the worst," he said in 1995. "In other words, I had a life."

Recognition came in 1998 from an unlikely source: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. He said in a statement that he was proud that, "like Mark Twain, I have been able to use humor to lessen people's hatred."

Even in poor health, his comedy was vital. At a 1992 performance, he asked the room, "Is there a doctor in the audience?" All he got was nervous laughter. "No, I'm serious. I want to know if there's a doctor here."

A hand finally went up.

"Doctor," Pryor said, "I need to know one thing. What the (blank) is MS?"

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

It is with tears in my eyes that I write about Richard Pryor.

As a child, I loved him. "Brewster's Millions" and "The Toy" were the funniest movies ever made to my young way of thinking. As I got older, I began to appreciate his stand-up comedy, the very vital and political overtones of his humor. He always made a point, and he always made you laugh while he was doing it. Would there be a Chris Rock or a Dave Chappelle today, had there never been a Richard Pryor?

And so for years, I looked upon him with the eyes of a fan. And in the 90's, when we were both diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I looked upon him with the eyes of a compatriot. We were brothers-in-arms, Richard and I, fighting the same battle and trying to keep our good humor with us in the trenches.

I related so much more to Richard Pryor, than to Montell Williams. Richard never hid the truth of his condition, any more than he hid the truth about racism. And he somehow managed to give an ugly truth a funny, optimistic edge. I have tried to follow his lead, to fight pain with humor, to fight indignities with a smile. To never feel ashamed or hide from what I am or what I have, but to face it square in the eye and happily tell it to fuck off.

What bothers me today is not only his great loss...but the reactions it has produced. On one message board today, a poster referred to Richard's last decade of life as "fragile, invisible." Another thought he was suffering from dementia. Even Bill Cosby used this passing as yet another chance to strike at Pryor's bad language, an argument between the two that should have died with Richard
("I wish that every new and young comedian would understand what Richard was about and not confuse his genius with his language usage," comedian Bill Cosby said through a spokesman Saturday.)

To those who thought him fragile and invisible: Richard Pryor was never that. Nor was there anything wrong with his mind. Inside his body that was fighting so hard against this MonSter, his mind remained sharp, vital...and as able to twist an ordeal into a joke as he ever was. And I've no doubt that Richard would have answered Cosby's posthumous recrimination along the lines of: "Bill? Have a Coke and pudding pop and shut the fuck up."

Tonight, I'll be watching "Harlem Nights" and drinking a toast to my comrade. May I face the years of battle to come as bravely and as poignantly as he did.



"When I was a kid, I always said I would be in the movies one day, and damned if I didn't make it. Sometimes I just sit at home and look at the window and say, 'Daaaaaammmmmmmnnnnnn!'"




Richard Pryor
1940-2005


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Friday, December 09, 2005

Nutbag Mother Kills Infant in Clothes Dryer

My comments follow the article:



BOGALUSA, La. — A mother was booked on a charge of first-degree murder for allegedly placing her 3-month-old son in a clothes dryer and turning it on.

The infant had third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body and suffered blunt force trauma to the head, the St. Tammany Parish coroner said.

Police Sgt. Darryl Darden said Lakeisha Adams, 18, called police to her home on Monday to report that someone had killed her child. When officers arrived, they found Jailand Adams on a sofa. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Darden said Adams admitted during questioning to putting the infant in the dryer and turning it on, but did not say why.

Adams also has a 1-year-old child who was placed in state custody, police said.

If convicted, Adams faces death by injection or a life sentence. The first-degree murder charge is mandatory under Louisiana law because the victim was under age 12.

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

I cannot fathom the evil that resides in some people, the absolute lack of human decency, compassion or basic motherly instinct.

To place a tiny infant is a clothes dryer...rarely do I say this, but I do this time, wholeheartedly: lethal injection is too good for her.

I also must question the state here...why was the one-year-old taken from this mother, but not the three-month-old? Why was this baby left to its mother's deviant hands, to die in this hideous fashion?

I am sickened, sickened, sickened at the world today, at a world which can and has produced such a monster as Lakiesha Adams.

May that poor child rest in peace....

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

R.I.P., John Lennon

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Lennon. In his memory, I give you the lyrics to my favorite John Lennon song. R.I.P., John.



As soon as your born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can't really function you're so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still fucking peasents as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There's room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill,
A working class hero is something to be.
A working class hero is something to be.
If you want to be a hero well just follow me,
If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Anniversary

Yes, today is my anniversary. So I will now regale you all with the story of my wedding. It's unusual...a bit like me, of course.

Jonathan and I have known each other since we were quite young, and lived together for a number of years while raising our first two kids. We got engaged while I was pregnant with Wren, but neither of us were in a big hurry to get married. Between my health, and that of my mother...it never seemed to be the "right time."

Fast forward to December of 1997. We'd been living in Oregon for about a year. My parents had never seen it, and my mother was very sick with breast cancer. As a surprise, my father arranged to fly her, him & my former stepmonster out to Oregon for a visit.

While trying to think of things to do in Oregon with my parents during the cold & rainy season...it hit us: why not get married? I don't remember which one of us actually had the idea. But as soon as it was spoken aloud, we made the decision to do it.

We had a little less than a week to plan a wedding.

We hit upon a few problems in our plans: one, we weren't in the best financial situation at the time, so we had a pretty tight budget to work with. Two, we wanted a non-religious ceremony (Jonathan is Jewish and I am Christian). Three, we had only a week to work with. And four, we wanted something fun and memorable. We are not your run-of-the-mill couple, and we didn't want a run-of-the-mill wedding ceremony.

That's when we found out that a local Portland landmark (now sadly gone from us) did weddings: the 24 Hour Church of Elvis.

The 24 Hour of Church of Elvis was famous in Portland. Its owners were artists, of the very eclectic sort. Visitors to Portland loved making the trek to its location to see the coin-operated Elvis "worship booths" and buy the Church's t-shirts. They were also well-known for conducting legal ceremonies for heterosexual couples, and the not-so-legal ones for homosexual couples...both in lavish style.

It was unusual. It was over-the-top. It was perfect.

We called them up and discussed our situation. All four problems were easily solved by the Church of Elvis: it was secular, unorthodox, a bargain at only $25 and they had one spot available the week of my parents' visit. We took it.

When my parents arrived at the airport, we announced that just two days before their departure back to Ohio, Jonathan and I were getting married. My mother was thrilled, and had tears in her eyes at such a surprise. When we told her where the ceremony was taking place, she laughed out loud! She was on board.

We spent the week of my parents' visit taking them to various Portland landmarks: Multnomah Falls, Chinatown, Powell's Books. We went shopping and bought a blouse for the wedding, and a little plastic bouquet of flowers (I am allergic to the real thing, and at least this way, I got to keep it). The night before the wedding, my mother and I stayed up late, talking through the night.

The morning of the wedding, I was unaccountably nervous. I wasn't sure why, but I was. My mom did my make-up while Jonathan, also nervous, paced in the living room. Finally, it was time.

We drove downtown to the Church of Elvis. Jonathan was wearing black slacks, a black dress shirt and a blue Snoopy vest. I was wearing a black skirt, a black blouse and my grandmother's blue shawl. Our friends Chris and April met us at the Church, and my stepmonster videotaped the ceremony.

Conducting the ceremony was Stephanie, the Minister/Spokesmodel for the Church of Elvis. She was dressed as a sort of twisted Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, complete with tiara, magic wand and a long sweater with baby doll heads sown into the back. I walked up the aisle to some instrumental music (I'm not sure what it was; I'm going to have to watch the tape again, lol) on my dad's arm. Jonathan and I then stood at the alter (an art collage of various pop-culture references) with Chris standing up as Best Man and April and Maid of Honor. To the side were my mother, father, stepmonster and two children.

The ceremony was brief and a lot of fun. Afterwards, the wedding procession marched down the street into Powell's Books and back, with Chris and April carrying "Just Married at the 24-Hour Church of Elvis" signs. Cars honked, and people stood up and applauded at the bookstore.

Then it was off to our little apartment for a small reception. My father bought a cake and various deli plates, along with some champagne. We opened our gifts: a lovely candle and bath set from Chris and April; a coffee maker from Dad and stepmonster; a beautiful Celestial plate from my mom, which she had been saving for me for some time (long story). My mother also gave us three movies: Love at First Bite, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The last two were an ode to our love for all things Python, and the first had a special meaning for my mother and me: when I was a teenager and had my heart broken, we'd pop that movie in the VCR and eat chocolate ice cream to make me feel better. Now, there was no need for her to keep it. The days of my heart being broken were over.

It wasn't until our reception was over that we picked up the daily newspaper...and discovered that we had been married on Pearl Habor Day! We all had a big laugh at ourselves for it.

When my parents went back to Ohio, I felt wonderful. I had given my mother a gift I knew she had wanted dearly: to see one of her children get married. She showed the video to everyone she knew. She was so proud.

She died seven months later.

That puts a bit of a bittersweet twist to the story: it's hard for me to watch our wedding video, sometimes. But every year, when Jonathan and I view it together on our anniversary, I remember that I am blessed to have this tape...a moment, captured forever, in which my mother was happy and joyful. I am so glad I could give her that moment.

I'm also glad and grateful to have this wonderful man as my husband, to have had these wonderful years together, to look forward to many more wonderful years. I thank God for him, and for our love and the life we share.



I wrap this story up with the lyrics to our wedding song:



Artist: Elvis Presley Lyrics
Song: Can't Help Falling In Love


Wise men say only fools rush in
but I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
some things are meant to be
take my hand, take my whole life too
for I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
some things are meant to be
take my hand, take my whole life too
for I can't help falling in love with you
for I can't help falling in love with you

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nutbag Parents Give Infant Vodka

My comments follow the article:


A couple accused of killing their infant child with a lethal dose of alcohol have turned themselves in to police.

BY WANDA J. DeMARZO


Mardala Derival and Mackenson Dantus calmly walked into a New Jersey police station Thursday shortly after 12:30 p.m. and asked an officer to call a Fort Lauderdale police detective.

When an officer at the Trenton, N.J., station ran an arrest search, it became clear why the couple had wandered in. The two were wanted on aggravated manslaughter charges in the alcohol-poisoning death of their 3-month-old daughter, Makeisha. Fort Lauderdale police had issued an arrest warrant for the couple in October.

On Valentine's Day 2004, the couple fed baby Makeisha a concoction of vodka, water, sugar and Tylenol, police said. The infant died.

Fort Lauderdale police issued a warrant for their arrest after toxicology reports showed the child had a blood alcohol level of .47. That's the level an average-size adult would have after chugging 18 beers, said Dr. Ronald Wright, a forensic consultant and former Broward County medical examiner.

The surrender came two hours after a conversation between Dantus and the Broward Sheriff's Office fugitive unit, BSO spokeswoman Liz Calzadilla-Fiallo said. They're now awaiting extradition to Florida.

According to police documents released Tuesday, test results on the infant revealed that the child was fed a little over an ounce of vodka shortly before her death.

''This is more than a lethal range,'' Dr. Wright said. The usual lethal range of alcohol levels is .25 to .35, said Wright, who isn't involved in the case.

The baby had colic and was running a fever so they decided to use a remedy they learned in their native Haiti.

''These type deaths are very rare,'' said Broward Medical Examiner Joshua Perper. ``People do things that are very unhealthy for children, they leave them in cars when it is hot outside. ... They do unreasonable things.''

*****************************************
Some news items just make you sick in the pit of your stomach. They make you want to reach through the television, reach through the newspaper, reach through the computer and shake the shit out of someone.

I have three kids. Two of them had pretty bad colic. And with colic, there's not much you can do but wait it out, and give as much sympathy to the baby as you can.

Sympathy. Not Smirnoff.

As for the defense that they were simply applying a folk cure from their native Haiti...I don't buy it. I'm not saying that such a folk cure doesn't exist or was never used. I'm saying that I don't buy that they didn't know, in 2005, that giving an ounce of vodka to a baby is a bad idea. Where I am from, in the mountains of the South, it was a common practice to rub whisky on the gums of a teething baby. At least, it was common practice...30 years ago. It has been a long time since it was a "common remedy," and I wonder if the same is not true for this vodka-and-sugar-water mixture "cure" from Haiti.

I've also never heard of any folk remedy involving such a large and dangerous amount of alcohol...or incorporating "modern" medicines like Tylenol. Either these parents deliberately killed their child, or they are terminally stupid. Either way, I hope they spend many, many long years in prison...without even an ounce of Grey Goose for comfort.

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More of Everyone's Favorite Hollywood Nutbag: Tom Cruise!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the fabulous blog PostSecret, it's a collection of postcards, each proclaiming the sender's own personal secret. I've been a fan for quite some time.

And although the humor on this one is a bit mean-spirited...I wonder how many of us have had the same thought about Tom and Katie:

I Hope Katie Holmes...

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Quiz: What Kind of Intellectual Are You?

IntrospectiveIntellectual
You're an introspective intellectual.


What Sort of Intellectual Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla




Apparently, 42 out of 213 people achieved this same result. Hmmm.....

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Health News: New CPR Guidelines

***Important news for everyone to know...it could save a life:



New CPR Guidelines Call for Radical Change



DALLAS (Nov. 28) - "Push hard, push fast" next time you give CPR to someone having cardiac arrest, say new, simpler guidelines in a radical departure from past advice.

Putting the emphasis on chest compressions instead of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the American Heart Association now urges people to give 30 compressions - instead of 15 - for every two rescue breaths.
"Basically, the more times someone pushes on the chest, the better off the patient is," said Dr. Michael Sayre, an Ohio State University emergency medicine professor who helped develop the guidelines announced Monday.

"We have made things simpler," he said. "Push hard on the person's chest and push fast."

The streamlined guidelines should make it easier for people to learn CPR. Earlier rules were different for adults and for children and called on untrained rescuers to stop pushing the chest periodically to check for signs of circulation.

Now, the advice is the same for all ages - 30 compressions - and you don't have to stop to check for improvement. What's important is to keep the blood flowing.

Studies have shown that blood circulation increases with each chest compression and it must be built back up after an interruption.

"When you're doing 30 of those compressions, then you're giving more circulation throughout the body and the brain," said Jennifer Khonsari of Texas CPR Training. She said the new advice makes sense.

Sudden cardiac arrest - when the heart suddenly stops beating - can occur after a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or near-drowning. It's most often caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. The person experiencing it collapses, is unresponsive to gentle shaking and stops normal breathing.
More than 300,000 Americans die from it each year. About 75 percent to 80 percent of all cardiac arrests outside a hospital happen at home, and effective CPR can double a victim's chance of survival.

"The most common reason many people die from cardiac arrest is no one nearby knows CPR," Sayre said. "For the bystander that witnesses a collapse, the main danger is inaction."

More than 9 out of 10 cardiac arrest victims die before they get to the hospital, the heart association estimates.

"The bottom line is we think more people need to learn CPR," said Mary Fran Hazinski, a clinical nurse specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who also worked on the guidelines. "We have more and more evidence that good CPR works. We're doing our best to increase the number of bystanders that learn CPR."

Currently, about 9 million Americans a year are trained in CPR, the heart association says, but it has a goal of more than doubling that number in the next five years to 20 million.

The new guidelines call for 911 operators to be trained to provide easy-to-follow CPR instructions by phone.

The heart association also offers new guidance to professionals, calling for cooling down cardiac arrest patients to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 24 hours. Two significant studies have shown that practice can improve survival and brain function for those who are comatose after initial resuscitation.

There are a variety of methods - both internal and external - for cooling a person down, but the guidelines don't recommend a specific approach.

The new guidelines also advise just one shock from a defibrillator before beginning CPR. Instead of applying the defibrillator pads up to three times before starting chest compressions, the guidelines advise rescuers to just give one shock and then do two minutes of CPR beginning before trying the defibrillator again.

Studies show that the first shock works more than 85 percent of the time.

Defibrillators have been popping up in public places like airports and businesses, but the heart association says that more public places need to install the devices. Survival rates have been as high as 49 percent to 74 percent for lay rescuer programs when defibrillators are placed in casinos, airports or used by police.

The new guidelines provide an opportunity for those who have taken CPR in the past to take a refresher course, said Dr. Ahamed Idris, professor of surgery and medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"I think it's a good idea for people to take CPR lessons at least every couple of years," said Idris, also involved in creating the guidelines.

He led a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting earlier this month that showed CPR can be effectively taught in little more than 20 minutes. The study found that just five minutes of training on defibrillator use and 20 minutes of instruction in CPR was as effective as the standard four-hour course.

Quiz: Which Muppet Are You?

Janice jpeg
You are Janice.
You dig the groove man, nothing can bum you out.
Too bad you're too stoned to notice.

INSTRUMENT:
Like, you know, guitar, fer sure.
LAST BOOK READ:
"Finding Your Past Lives on the Web"

FAVORITE EXPRESSION:
"Fer sure, like, fer sure."

FAVORITE THINGS:
Peace, love and, like, granola, totally.

NEVER LEAVES HOME WITHOUT:
Her inner child.


What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Race: More Than Meets the Eye

Many people believe they have "gaydar," the ability to discern who is gay and who isn't based mostly on appearance and mannerisms. Even more people believe they can accurately tell what race a person is by their appearance. These are the sorts of people who will angrily tell me, "You don't LOOK like an Indian!" I don't? Well, I must...because I am!

In that vein, I offer this link:

RACE: THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION


This is a little quiz from PBS. It includes several thumbnail pictures of men and women from various races (you can see a larger picture by clicking on the thumbnails). It then invites you to put the pictures into categories: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American.

If you think it's going to be easy, guess again!

I myself only got seven of them right...and I missed one of the Native Americans, to boot.

Give it a try, and leave me a comment with your score!

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A Trip to the Pediatrician's

Yesterday, all three kids went in for their yearly physicals. I like doing it at this time of the year; all three are past their birthdays, and the sports-physicals rush is well over at the doctor's office...making it easier for me to bring all three kids in and have the appointments done back-to-back.

Now, while it is well-known on this blog that I have issues with many, if not most, doctors...my kids' pediatrician is not one of them. He is worth his weight in gold, ten times over.

The family doctor we had before we made this switch was one of the worst doctors on the face of the planet
(someday, I'll share the story of how he tried to have me arrested here). I had mistakenly believed that having one doctor for the entire family was the way to go...even though one of my kids has special-needs. He'd been recommended to me by a former neighbor, and if I ever see HER again, I'll spit in her eye (and for reasons beyond siccing me on Bastard Doc). After Bastard Doc sat on my daughter's prescription for a wheelchair for SIX MONTHS (he refused to return calls to me,to her physical therapist or to her neurologist...and when he finally did call back, he insisted she didn't need a wheelchair. She was four and couldn't walk and broke strollers underneath her...how the hell DIDN'T she need one?!?), I asked Wren's neurologist for a referral. That's how I found our current pediatrician.

Dr. B is probably in his late 50's, soft-spoken and has a genuine rapport with children. He is always up-to-date, which I appreciate. He actually LISTENS when a parent talks, and is a strong advocate when a child needs him to be. Once, when Wren was in the hospital seriously ill, he came to see her every single morning, and called every single evening to talk to me and to her nurses. He was completely on top of her care, every moment. As I said, we could ask for no better doctor or advocate than Dr. B.

Back to yesterday...we arrived at the office, and we all went back to the exam room together. Two nurses took blood pressure, did the eye charts for the older two, checked weight & height. Then in came Dr. B.

Wren went first, as she had a Campfire meeting to go to within the hour. We asked Dr. B about a referral to a new neurologist
(remember me talking about the Siren Tin God?), but Dr. B said that as long as we felt Wren didn't need medication for her Tourette's just yet, that there was no need for a neurologist until she did. He would take care of her until then. I cannot express our relief at this.

Phoenix went next, clean bill of health, although his eyesight is a bit on the nearsighted side, and he may need glasses in a year or two. Both Jonathan and I were 12 when we ended up getting glasses, so it's not exactly a shock.

Then came Eden, who screamed through the entire appointment. Dr B was in no way alarmed. He's very used to the Terrible Two's, I imagine.

Then came shots for everyone: all three got Hep A and flu shots, and Phoenix also got a tetanus booster.

Wren went off to Campfire, and then we all went to McDonald's as a (rare) treat for kids who had to get shots that day.

Luckily, no one had any bad effects from the shots, other than the older two having sore arms and the younger being a little sleepy.

And thankfully, I don't have to do it again until next year!

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