Sunday, March 30, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

what? again with the Spitzer?

follow the money, and then think of how frequently the sins of Democrats (real or imagined - think Howard Dean) are trumpeted by the Media and result in the loss of political power, and the sins of Republicans either hushed up (did you forget about "Jeff Gannon's" 200 White House visits) or (Larry Craig) conveniently forgotten?

Whenever a high-profile sex case against a Democrat comes to light, you have to ask yourself who that person had pissed off. Can you name a single such case, where that person had not pissed off Big Money? It's so predictable.

And speaking of attempted political assassinations, I happened to hear yet another playing of Rev. Wright's now-famous out-of-context remarks on the news last night. What's the point, other than to intentionally keep the issue alive and the ignorant sheep riled up, despite the fact that it was properly and eloquently handled last week, in what 'some people' are calling the most important American speech since "I Have a Dream"?

They (you know who) are scared of Obama, and are trusting that, as so many times before, the minds of white, easily-frightened, non-politically-savvy citizens are so easily poisoned. It's a phony issue (like most of these big campaign 'controversies') and it has done immeasurable damage (Mission Accomplished).

This is how they work, and they will not give up.

However, whenever I hear someone bring up the Obama pastor issue, my reaction, to quote Dick Cheney, is 'So?'

Saturday, March 22, 2008

pretty good video


I didn't make it to the Obama rally in Portland yesterday, but I did watch it on TV and taped it. I thought he was pretty convincing, and a bunch of other Portlanders appeared to agree.

Beautiful spring day coming up - still chilly, but promises to be sunny and mild later. I've had piano gigs the past two nights, for assorted Purim skits (actually got paid for last night's). Next big milestone is the Jewish Choral Festival, on April 6 - I am accompanying 3 different choruses, and have a bunch of music to learn before the next rehearsal, Monday night.

Reading Paul Theroux's 'Pillars of Hercules'. I had wanted to just check out the sections of Turkey, to see what might overlap with our planned trip, next October, but, as with all his wonderful travel books, got sucked in. I actually saw him in person, at a Portland book store, many years ago when he was promoting this very book - I didn't buy a copy that night.

Gotta go check out today's blogs, for my daily outrage...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

coincidences are fun

Last night, we took Dylan out to dinner for his 20th birthday. That's right, as of yesterday, I no longer have teenagers in the house!

We went to Montage, a quirky little restaurant under the Morrison Bridge. Karen and I had only been there once before, a couple of years ago.

We arrived early and there were plenty of tables. However, by the time we were finishing up dessert (an amazing cake Karen bought at Market of Choice, with chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne!), the place was packed and noisy.

We hardly noticed that two people were led to the newly-vacated table-for-two right next to ours, until I glanced over and saw -- my foot surgeon (with whom I had been, five hours before, chatting pleasantly, in his office) and (I assume) his charming spouse.

We each did a double-take - it was quite amusing. Doc, hope you enjoyed your dinner.

What are the odds?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

my left foot - end of month 1

Well, here we are at the end of the first month. Time to visit the doc again.

I had my very first acupuncture session on Monday, out of curiosity. Not sure it made any difference in the swelling, or was related to the soreness I felt yesterday, but it was interesting to see all those little needles sticking out of my feet, legs, and (curiously) tummy.

Here's how it looks today - a little less swollen, right?

Check out the X-rays. Here you see the top view, clearly showing the pins attached to the external fixator, and a couple of the big screws.

Here's a side view. Sorry that it's a little blurry, but, rest assured, the inside of my foot resembles a hardware store after an earthquake.
Time to get out the Allen wrench and make some adjustments to the external fixator. My next office visit is in two weeks, and (I'm excited getting ready to type this), if things look good at that point, the external fixator and pins come out and I can drive my manual transmission car again!

There are times when I get very impatient with this recovery, but, with the next big milestone in view, I am encouraged.

Not only that, but I have my (free) ticket to see Barack Obama in Portland, Friday morning! Will have to get up absurdly early to take mass transit, but it should be amazing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

robert novak - spreading left-wing conspiracy theories again

Novak on the Spitzer case: 'entrapment'

as Roger Stone says, 'no comment'.

In the meantime, isn't is great how the same folks who say that the solution to the Health Care crisis is to simply let the 'wisdom of the Free Market' to sort everything out, are now shoveling YOUR tax dollars into profligate Wall Street firms, to protect the careers of well-connected investment bankers? God forbid that tax dollars should go to help drowning Just Plain Folks (who already pay a far higher proportion of their income as taxes, than investment bankers).

Maybe, in the interest of honesty, we need a slight adjustment to the concept of 'Government of the people, by the people, for the people'. It seems to have perished from the Earth.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

walk away from the book...

As a prodigious reader, it is rare for me to begin a book and give up within the first 25 pages. Some months ago, a copy of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' (Dickens) came my way. I've resisted opening it until a couple of days ago.

I read the first 3 chapters, and a sense of dread filled me. Do I really want to devote the precious hours to these characters, when there are other history/travel books still stacked up at the bedside? This morning, I thought I'd let Wikipedia decide for me, by glancing at its summary. What I found was permission to put it aside:

Oscar Wilde once observed that "One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing." The Old Curiosity Shop is now one of Dickens' less esteemed novels.

That's good enough for me - it goes into the 'return to Powells' box. I feel like I have been reborn. Aside from 'Great Expectations' in high-school, I haven't read very much Dickens. Am I missing anything essential, anyone?

Meanwhile, we had a fun evening last night at Tony Starlight's Supper Club and Lounge. It's an intentionally light-hearted throwback to the lounge scene/acts of the 50s and 60s. To me, the high point was 'Tony' singing, with great feeling, an hilariously-nonPC parody called 'The Girl with Emphysema (goes coughing)". Before the show started, there was piano music by an 81 year-old dapper guy - I could easily see myself in that role (except for the dapper part).

Hey - a blog entry sans politics or grisly foot photos - a first!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

sex/spitzer/sex/obama minister/sex/Britney

Look over there, don't look here.

Remember, the secret of Magic is distraction.

Friday, March 14, 2008

hey, Tom, case not closed yet

If you scroll down a bit, you will see a comment thread between me and my former Enron comrade, Duffbert, where we toss around my feeling that Spitzer's exposure (eeeeew!) was triggered by a politically-motivated "destroy that guy" directive from On High.

Naturally, I took the side that the smell of the Bush DoJ pervades this affair. Tom argued that evidence of criminal actions was uncovered and that's that.

Scott Horton, the reporter who first wrote about his suspicions that politics was at the bottom of the investigation, has refined his arguments, which are worth reading here. Yes, it's the 'New Republic', and, therefore, a partisan forum. Still, I think there is much here that merits thought, specifically:

"The IRS, according to the official line, noting that the matter related to a public official, turned it over to the Public Integrity Section (PIN) at the Department of Justice. In theory, PIN exists to avoid an appearance that prosecutions are politically motivated by insuring the application of uniform national standards. Practice at PIN has, however, been difficult to reconcile with theory. PIN has emerged as one of the most highly politicized branches of a highly politicized Justice Department. According to a study done by two university professors, under President Bush PIN has initiated 5.6 cases involving Democrats for every one case involving a Republican. This statistical data strongly suggest that PIN has a habit of aggressively pushing cases on the basis of partisan political criteria."

Read the whole thing. We don't think we are being completely paranoid here.

UPDATE: Ace reporter Greg Palast has more.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

my Left Foot - 3 weeks down!

Vast stretches of the day go by without my thinking about my darn foot. I wear the Boot all day long (even sitting here at the computer, see?):

I clomp around the house, going about my business. It does feel good to take it off every 4 hours or so, and put my foot up for a while, but, really, I find myself concentrating on other matters most of the time.

My wonderful friend, Barbara S, has a Subaru identical to mine, except that hers is an automatic transmission. On Monday, she came over and we have traded cars, for the next couple of weeks. Last night, I actually drove my boys out to a restaurant (Karen is still in LA). It was the first time I drove since Wisconsin, in mid-February.

Today, I have a list of shopping, banking, and post-office chores to do, and am meeting another friend for a late lunch. Tomorrow, I begin a 10-day stretch of frequent and numerous musical/social events/activities. This is living!

Next doctor appointment - one week from today. I can get thru this.

i'm rambling again

In Albany, the NY State Republicans are yelling 'Impeachment', and, to avoid a protracted, nasty trial, Spitzer resigns. I guess those devoted public servants felt that, having a majority, they have the right to insist on the removal of their chief executive, for what they judge to be unforgivable crimes.


what about this?

or this?

how about this?

there's always this?

Yeah, I know - none of these issues are nearly as serious as hiding money spent on high-priced hookers. What was I thinking?

So, the question becomes 'why is this, Democrats'?

The only possible answer, that comes to my paranoid mind (tempered by observing how the Rove White House operates), is that the Congressional Democrats know that Rove has a file listing at least one evil/shameful act that each of them has committed, and, if they dare to attack Bush or any of his buddies (as Spitzer did), they will be destroyed.

The message is 'see, we can bring anyone down that we choose and shame them for life, so just Shut up and live'. Far-fetched? I think not. It's the way they operate - harness every facet of government to destroy anyone who obstructs their efforts to drain the US treasury.

Impossible, you say? How about the US attorney purge? Old news, right? How about this minor example, from today's Washington Post? Got it? Anyone who doesn't play along is destroyed.

"Land of the Free; Home of the Brave." Always wear your flag pin!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Can there be any doubt that Spitzer was targeted by a politically-motivated Justice Dept, and that his principal crime, for which he must exit from the public stage, is stupidity?

Why don't Democrats realize that they need to be absolutely squeaky-clean, and that ANY human failing or suspicious action will be seized upon and publicized, by the ruthless BushCo/Media Complex?

Does it all boil down to the fact that anyone with the personality that makes them want to be a Honcho is, by definition, an ego-driven, careless, arrogant Servant of Testosterone?

Evolution has given us our Leader class - 'twas ever thus. They will always be flawed, and the rest of us will always just shake our heads and think back on the people who ran for Student Council in high school. Where are they now? Many are probably CEOs, laughing at us.

Spitzer is tragic, but he should have known the rules and he should have kept his pants zipped. It's another sordid victory for Rovism.

Barack? Are you listening? Keep 'em zipped! They are watching your every move.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

joke of the week

From Bill Maher:

Q: How do we know for sure that Bush was NOT behind 9-11?
A: It worked.

Friday, March 07, 2008

my left foot - Just (Over)Do It!

Yesterday, I wore The Boot all day, clomping up and down stairs many times, as I tried to have a 'normal' work day, working in my basement computer room. Then, last night, I attended a political meeting with my Progressive Voter Network buddies.

By the time I got home last night, my foot was obviously swollen and really uncomfortable. Today, I did some work again downstairs, but, this afternoon, I am lying on the couch, with foot elevated and laptop here on my lap.

Clearly my ambitions for yesterday were a little beyond what I was ready for. When will They ever learn?

Karen heads to LA in a few hours, for 5 days visiting with her mother, so it will be pretty darn quiet around here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

my Left Foot - 2 weeks! (UPDATED - 6 pm)

Yes, two weeks ago at this time, I was just coming out of the anesthesia. Today, I had my 2nd post-op doctor visit and got the stitches out (I couldn't watch).

I am cleared to begin putting weight on my foot, as long as I am wearing The Boot. I am reluctant to take this step (literally), but I know that it's important to try. The doc seems to feel that everything is proceeding as it should.

Also, I am now to begin the once-a-day regimen of unwrapping the dressing and cleaning the pin/skin interface with isopropyl alcohol. Next appointment in 2 weeks.

Now for the latest photos:
Want a closer look? Still pretty swollen!
Dr. Gentile is pleased that he got the stitches out, without me fainting!
Let's take a nostalgic look at the 'before' photo, just to reinforce the sense that this is all worthwhile:

Update: Late this afternoon, I put The Boot on and I'M WALKING!! It's not elegant and not painless, but I am hobbling around the kitchen, sans crutches. Now, the trick is not to over-do it. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

no pain meds since Saturday!

Not only have I stopped taking the meds, but I actually got out of the house twice yesterday - to my normal piano-playing volunteer work at the Jewish Home (i.e. Rose Schnitzer Manor), and downtown to a lecture in the 'Brain Awareness' series.

Of course, driving is still out of the question - that will be a welcome return. I get the stitches out tomorrow, which will be an opportunity to take another photo to see what's changed. I feel a major reduction in swelling has happened over the past 3-4 days, and, although my foot is kept elevated most of the time, I no longer feel that blood-rushing discomfort when I get upright.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about the good voters in today's primary states. Can't wait for the evening news, to hear about turnout levels, demographics, and results. I don't care who ultimately gets the Democratic nomination, but am really encouraged to hear about participation levels - to me, that's the big news.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

my left foot - a week and a half

Some milestones today.

Using the shower-chair that my friends Chris and Scott loaned me (along with the indispensable crutches), I wrapped my foot in a secured plastic bag and gave myself a real, hot shower for the first time in 10 days. It felt great.

Then, I got myself upstairs to the bedroom for the first time, and changed my clothes. I bumped back downstairs and got the living room changed back into a living room - stripped the bedding on the fold-out couch, cleaned up the accumulated stuff of living in this room for 10 days, and collapsed the fold-out couch back into a couch.

I am ready to move back upstairs for sleeping tonight, and this is a welcome move.

My mood is good - progress is now obvious in the externals of daily life. I offered to cook dinner tomorrow night for a family meal, while Karen is at her afternoon dance class. For the first time, I can envision an end to this recovery, although, realistically, full normality is several weeks away.

Still having the expected discomfort from time to time, and I had to go to bed for 2 hours after being out and about for 2 hours this morning. Every day is easier.