Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Death

According to the breaking news this morning, a Walmart worker was trampled to death after opening the doors at 5am to the sales-maddened throng waiting outside. Other sources are reporting that a woman also miscarried after being knocked to the ground.

Other shoppers were upset when the police closed the store afterwards.

Does the thought of saving $200 on a flat-screen television equal losing any sense of humanity? Does common sense get tossed out the window, so much so that nobody even conceives the danger that is mob mentality?

I can't blame the slumping economy for this. Black Friday Blitzes have always been marked down as a "must do" date on many calendars, along with weddings and birthdays and the Fourth of July. The huge variety of electronics and other gadgets, items that supposedly are to make our lives easier, or objects to distract us from life in general are usually the main items that cause many to storm the castle of consumerism. Really, how exciting does a Black Friday Sale on Fruit of the Looms sound?

I feel that the stores that perpetuate this atmosphere of MUST HAVE NOW!!! are culpable. The masses are spoon-fed weeks before with "leaks" of one-day sales. The "first-to-have" title when new games or cell phones are released also play into the Sheeple mentality.

"I got the new iPhone!"
"Well, I stood in line for ten hours so I could be the first one to buy it."
"You're the man, dude!"

"I knocked down three shoppers to be one of the first people in Walmart!"
"You're the man, dude!"

Really, are these stories we want to be regaling to our grandchildren someday? "I survived the Black Friday Blitz of '08!" As it is, some Walmarts hand out pins emblazoned with past Black Friday survival stories to their employees as a badge of honor.

Shopping as "Survival of the Fittest". I'm waiting for the new reality show, coming soon to a network near you. But, it's worse. It's "Shopping as Bloodsport".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas in July, please! (In honor of Black Friday)

You know, I so hate this time of the year. Winter, us humans naturally go into a hibernation state. Something we never totally brushed off after eons of evolution. Snow falls, temps fall, sun sits lower in the sky, even at noon, no longer at it's lofty zenith of the height of summer.


Then, just to screw around with human's natural want/need/desire to hunker down and stay warm under a pile of pelts made of cotton and flannel and wool, hopefully with a warm mug of toddy cradled in our hands…Marketing Demons declare it's SHOPPING SEASON!!! Drag yourselves out the warmth of home and hearth (even those without a fireplace) and slog around in the frozen muck and frigid wind to do the "Holiday Thing". Denizens of mallcrawllers, no longer crawling, but rushing, tripping, fretting…any antonym of "leisure" would work here just fine…a glazed, dazed look, something like a lemming might look like as it follows it's fellow lemmings off a sheer cliff. This is why it's been said Christmas should be in July.

Hell, then I would probably be bitching about the human's natural instinct to seek shade and cool shelter in the heat of the day instead of running around like crazed lemmings…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


For those who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving. May your festivities be as stress-free as possible. This year there will be no cooking by anyone in my family as we decided on something different as the only thing being made by me this year are reservations. Small house + two dogs + person who hates to cook (me)≠ a happy, carefree celebration.

Whereas, my husband loves to cook for Thanksgiving. Well, if by that you mean drop a turkey in a vat of hot oil for an hour cooking, then, yes, he loves to cook. No, I should give him a break. Fried turkey is as Alton Brown says, "Mighty good eats", especially if you don't burn down your deck in the process. No, he has never set anything ablaze because I discovered the secret...turn OFF the gas, slowly drop bird in oil, after and only after the bubbling-popping-spattering of oil is done, turn the gas back on.

Well, it works for us, but I'm not promising anything for anyone else. And besides, I'm digressing. Sometimes I swear I'm channeling Andy Rooney, and he's still alive, last time I checked.

Anyway, I am looking forward to a nice dinner out with my husband, both my daughters and my dad, always thankful that they, and all the rest of my family and friends who aren't sharing our table, are in my life.

Thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

There must be an analogy here, somewhere.

Sarah Palin, in probably one of her more pressing duties of the day, visited a turkey farm to "pardon" one lucky bird, then went on to brainlessly babble on in yet another interview. Honestly, I didn't really hear a regurgitated word she said. Once again, I was transfixed by the ongoing train wreck that is Sarah Palin.

People, you cannot make this stuff up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Come the the Dark Side...We have Catnip!

Growing up, I was strictly a cat person. There's a picture of me somewhere, five years old, sitting on the floor, bathed in sunlight, cradling a kitten. A look of utter bliss graces my face. This was my first foray into the world of Cat People. Then, there was the stray cat I spent an entire summer, trying to entice the poor creature out of our dilapidated garage and closer to the back porch, just so I can tame it and give it a better home. She, and her eventual kitten lived with our family for almost twenty years.

When I started out in my adult life with my husband, we eventually adopted cats with various unfortunate, short-lived results until finally I was given two white kittens who became a part of our growing family's lives for many years until old age took them. During that time, my husband added a dog to the mix, since he was decidedly a Dog Person. To my surprise I became extremely attached to this slobbery mess; so much so, we got another dog. After Bud passed away and left our corgi without doggy companionship, we added another corgi, because like potato chips, you just can't have one, or so I am told.

So, to say the least, I had become a card-carrying Dog Person. No more cats. Not that I stopped liking cats, I just didn't want to be owned by one. Until today.

I'm used to my husband bringing home some strange things from the factory where he works. I never thought he'd bring home this:

He had bonded with this cat when he discovered her litter of kittens. The kittens stayed feral unfortunately and were eventually rounded up in a factory-wide wild animal trapping campaign. Knowing the local situation of over-run animal shelters that no longer take in stray cats and the new "kill stray" law in our county, my husband spared this cat from euthanasia. Sadly, her kittens will not be able to avoid that fate.

My daughter, in some strange Viking stage, has named her "Valhalla". Val hasn't met the corgis yet. That will be a slow acclimation, for sure. I hope all goes well, because it took me all of three seconds of holding this fluffy, purring fae-like creature to remind me that I am still a Cat Person after all.

Postscript: Anyone who makes any comments along the lines of "It has no body!!!" will be slapped about the head with a wet trout.

Post-postscript: Courtesy of my smart-ass sister...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's a ME post.

I usually don't make posts strictly about ME, but I haven't posted in awhile, so, deal.

I have deduced that I must Vulcan. Or some other kind of life form. I do not have iron based blood, or at least my body doesn't like being an iron-based life form. My body obviously hates iron, as was determined at my iv infusion yesterday. Being anemic all my life, and having doctors for years drolly tell me, "You have low iron" with all the importance of "You have a hang nail", I never took anemia seriously. I just figured I would live life in a mostly dopey, energy-bereft quasi-life. Until one day I went to a new doctor who put me on prescription strength ferrous sulfate, which my gastro-intestinal track would rebel at every time I would give the prescription a chance. After a few months I would just give up, giving up energy to spare myself a shut down colon.

So at my last yearly round of blood work, it was suggested since my HBG was in the single digits, that I would have an infusion of Venefor, basically a solution of iron sucrose dripped into a vein over the course of h-o-u-r-s. I arrived at the infusion center, thankful I wasn't there for chemo treatments like most the inhabitants there. Knowing that Venefor can cause allergic reactions in some patients,the technician started the test run drip of a diluted solution, and within two minutes I was reacting adversely. Hot flashes, shakes, numb extremities. It felt like my brain was trying to leave my body. Shortness of breath was beginning. I shakily told the technician, "I feel really weird, get this out of my arm NOW!!!" She couldn't turn the machine off fast enough.

I had a whopping 10 ml infused. Not a lot.

So, I ended up calling my husband at work to come to drive me home, because after sitting for a hour spent, I was still experiencing waves of panic, which only got worse as the day progressed after I came home. Last night I was ready to tell my husband to take my to the ER, but then around 9 pm, I finally was able to take my nighttime dose of xanax and within 10 minutes I was able to talk without getting short of breath. I took one more benedryl to help control the histamine reactions I was still having (which are hard to separate from panic attacks) and slept the sleep of the drugged.

This morning, I am much better, but I am not pushing myself.

I called my doctor yesterday, Dr. Dry-As-Toast-Left-Out-On-The-Counter-Overnight-Then-Put-In-A-Dehydrator, and told him I will be more than willing take oral ferrous and mirilax for the rest of my life and live with the occasional nausea. After all, it could be worse, as I remembered the chemo patients I saw in the room with me, dealing with far more than I could ever imagine. He said that he will never let me have iv infusions again and wrote me another script of intestinal-biding ferrous sulfate.

Funny thing: I had read enough about this procedure to know what the negative results could be, and asked the technician about the chances of having an allergic reaction, anaphylaxis being the most serious. She assured me said she had never had a patient have a negative reaction.

"Well, I hope I am not your first". Jinx.

One percent of patients who have infusions do have bad reactions such as mine. Maybe I should go out and buy a lottery ticket.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More than I could ever say.

This was Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" last night on MSNBC "Countdown" program. If you have six minutes, watch. Please.

I hope MSNBC doesn't have this video pulled from the many video hosting sites in usual proprietary fashion. This needs to be heard. This needs to go viral.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The fruits of opinion

I have been trying to wrap my head around the Proposition 8 issue these past few days. And all I can come up with is this question...

"Give me a good reason why".

I have already determined that if the hypothetical gay couple down the hypothetical street gets married, it doesn't lessen for me what it means to be married. I think when Brittney and Kevin were married, or when Brittney married her high school friend in Vegas in an union lasted a whole twenty-eight hours, that was far more of a slap in the face of that institution called marriage.

But, of course we can't keep stupid people from getting married on a whim, but we can prevent committed, loving, caring people to wed, based on the sole reason that their genders match?

And the reason for that would be...?

I read somewhere somebody's opinion on this issue was that "same-sex couples do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us"

And now they have the Law to back them up on that...just like back in the Sixties when interracial marriage was denied. When it was perfectly normal to send a different racial group to the back of the bus, or to different schools, or to separate drinking fountains.

In 1967 when the US Supreme court said that Midred Jeter and Richard Loving, an interracial couple could marry, did that act really redifine marriage? Marriage was still marriage, that didn't change. What did change was that it redefined what it meant to be a citizen in this country.

This isn't an issue about the right to marry. This is an issue about who is and who is not considered an American citizen. Peel it apart, see it for what this really is.

Friday, November 7, 2008

God probably hates Bloggers, too

I have always felt that with freedom of speech comes responsibility. I hear people say, "I have a Constitutional right to say_____________", but then are shocked and angered when the replies come pouring in.

You have a right to say whatever. I have the right to voice my opinion. That also is freedom of speech.

What if the message is so inflammatory, so vile, so devastating, so demoralizing that is shocks the majority of the population? What if the message isn't really a message, but abuse, one that causes undue mental pain and suffering?

Shirley Phelps-Roper, ringleader of the Westboro Baptist Church, is often seen with family members (the church is compiled mostly by relatives of the patriarch, Fred Phelps), some as young as seven, holding signs stating "God Hates________". Fill in the blank, as the church has a stockpile of signage decrying that God hates everyone from gays, most celebrities, to more or less, the World...everything and everyone with the exception of the Westboro Baptist Church.

And those are the milder signs. Other signs spouts words and depicts images that couldn't be shown on prime time television. How these signs sneak pass public obscenity laws is beyond me.

To reach the largest audience possible, they picket funerals and now recently high schools that dare show "The Laramie Project", a play depicting the story of Matthew Sheppard, who was beaten to death for being gay.

I don't know God personally, but I highly doubt He appreciates being used as a personal pitbull.

According to a documentary from the UK, entitled "The Most Hated Family in America",when a a young boy who was participating in a hate protest was asked if he knew what the sign he was carrying meant, he answered that he didn't know.

Why is a seven year old boy being forced to represent a idea he doesn't even understand? This boy is being taught how to hate. He is being taught how to be a bigot. That is child abuse, in my opinion.

Speech is a tool. Like any tool, in the hands of young children, that tool can hurt or maim. Any responsible adult would explain to a child that a knife was sharp and one needed to exercise caution when using it.

Phelps-Roper, more or less, is handing this child a knife and telling him to "have at it", not warning him of the inherent danger that lies within. Not only is he hurting others, he is hurting himself.

A seven year old child being taught that the supreme being of his Universe is one of hate. If a "religion" wasn't involved here, we'd be calling it "brainwashing".

Spew hate in the name of your god if you must, but please keep your children out of it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Email Woes

Having changed over to DSL and acquiring a new email address a little over a year ago, my inbox has been blissfully bereft of spam.

Well, I have finally been discovered on the grid, just in time for Phishing season.

I was urgently notified by Wells Fargo that I must check my account. Urgently. Well, I don't even have a Wells Fargo account. I urgently turned the email over to Wells Fargo fraud division.

I have won the UK Lotto three times in the last month. Yay, me. I didn't even know I bought tickets. I am so full of win.

Nigerians are desperately seeking my help in transferring ginormous amounts of money that used to belong to some poor shelp who was killed in some tragic tiger incident six years ago, and now his money is collecting dust in some bank. What ever should we do with it? We know! Ask some American if they'd like it.

My Stimulus check is in the mail, and I can arrange for the IRS to direct deposit the funds in my bank account. No, sorry, keep the money. I wouldn't want to appear as a Socialist by accepting. You know, "spreading the wealth" and all. Besides, "Stimulus Checks" was soooooo last May.

My favorite, the one that I received today wasn't really phishing spam, since it was from Publisher's Clearing House, and I do sometimes dabble in their sweepstakes. It urged me to be prepared in case the "Prize Patrol" were to show up on my doorstep.

"Are you a crier, a screamer, or a silent gasper?, it asked. Wow, that sounds like a really lame pick up line.

"Just like those winners who are surprised on TV, you could find out". Um, I'll be the overweight, middle-aged, caftan-wearing hausfrau who's in desperate need of a haircut, trying to keep my corgis from bumrushing your van and attacking your celebratory balloons. The sounds I'd be making wouldn't pass the FCC sensors, so in answer to the question, I guess I'm a "beeper".

But, if it wasn't for Spam, I wouldn't have any email at all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crocodile tears of joy?

It wasn't the perfect ending.

I was disheartened to read that "Prop 8" was passed in California.

I will never understand opinions such as, "Allowing gay marriage will undermine what it means to be married". Or, this even worse, ill-conceived brain fart, "What's next? Letting men and dogs marry? Legalizing Pedophilia?"

I loathe adding that last part, but there are people who propagate that swill. As a serious argument, is this the best the dissenting side can come up with?

My marriage is relatively strong, as marriages go. The only people who can undermine that is my husband and I.

People talk about this as an moral issue. Where's the morality in not allowing a person to be told of their partner's medical status while he or she is laying in the hospital because he or she is not "family"? Where is the morality in telling a person that their partner cannot be covered under their partner's health insurance, because they are not considered a "spouse"?

Where is the morality in telling a couple that their commitment, their love, their union is less than what the "status quo" dictates?

Gays did not make a choice to be gay. The choice they want to make is to be recognized as married in every sense of the word.

Why can't it just be that simple?


At 10 pm last night, with the vote counts coming in from the west coast, MSNBC announced Barack Obama the projected winner of this long campaign. Soon after, I listened to McCain's concession speech, thinking it was moving, it was focused, it was concise...all the qualities that his speeches had lost in the final leg of his campaign.

It was also gracious. As I just commented on a friend's blog this morning, if only those who voted for him could be just as gracious, I thought as I heard boos echoing from his audience at the mention of Obama.

Being a stay at home mom and hermit, I am usually not subjected to "in your face" opinions of others. My husband and daughter hear the voices of ill-content at their workplaces, and what they tell me just makes me shake me head in amazement and a sense of sadness. Too bad they can't hit the delete button like I can with mass emails spouting the same.

Last night was an emotional night. I tried to take it in stoic stride, but it was difficult. It's an exciting time, a watershed moment. I keep on hearing people comparing this time to that of when John Kennedy ran for President. I don't like making comparisons like that. People should be allowed to stand in their own shadow, not somebody elses', though I wonder if this is how my parents felt back in November, 1960.

Obama, now is the time to deliver. America, now is the time to give him time, the chance and realize that change doesn't happen overnight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts on Election Night

The way the numbers are tumbling in, I guess I could turn off the telly, crawl into bed, and sleep the sleep of the deliriously happy...then I remember those eight years ago when I crawled into bed, sleeping with the though of a Democratic win, only to wake up with Chad.

Who the hell was Chad, and why was he hanging? Anyway, we all know the rest.

I think I will stay up and watch until it's a done deal. Besides, I doubt I will ever see another election night like this again in my lifetime, and I'd like to take this all in and have something to tell my grandchildren. You know, y-e-a-r-s down the line. You hear that, Robyn? Y-E-A-R-S!

Looking ahead, who will the Republicans have waiting in the wings for the 2012 run? They must have someone else besides Sarah Palin that could possibly light a fire under their collective you knows.

FOOTNOTE: CNN just called it! I can go to bed now, but I'm too excited to sleep!

Baited Breath

First, if you haven't done so yet, VOTE. I know as much as it is one's right to vote, it is also one's right not to, but it you choose not to, you essentially give up your rights to complain if the elections do not go your way...or cheer if they do, in my opinion.

I voted last week on the last day of early voting, and I will honestly say that it was the first time in my many years of casting my vote that I didn't feel I was stepping on a butterfly. Nor did it feel I was voting for the "lessors of two evils".

Today though I, along with the rest, will wait. Somewhat nervously, since I don't feel that this is going to be a "landslide" victory. Time will tell.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Life at the speed of Walmart

I had always thought that as I grew older, the passage of time flew faster. Trying to pin down dates and times before they fluttered away was like trying to capture a budgie that had escaped it's cage. Just as my hand was poised to gently grasp the still bird, it would burst into flight and exit through an open window.

Time, like the fugitive bird, is having its way with me.

The one accomplice in the fleeting of time I have discovered is the stocking schedule in retail, something I begin to notice right around the middle of July.

School is barely out for the Summer, and the stores are already stocked with back-to-school supplies.

I receive my daughter's first mid-term report in the mail near the beginning of September and the stores are decked out in Halloween costumes, isles stocked with the nauseating smell of sugar in various shapes and sizes. In another section of the store, shelves are sparkling with holiday tinsel and shiny glass ornaments, which is difficult to contemplate while still wearing warm-weather clothing.

Ah, poor gets lost in the shuffle, tucked away somewhere between baked goods and Nesco roasters, then disappearing almost as quickly as it takes the average family gathering to wolf down a turkey with all the trimmings.

Finishing up my last-minute hustle for holiday gifts, sales of rolling filing cabinets, manila envelopes and office supplies hearken the approach of Tax Season, as if it were too, a holiday. Along for the ride are marshmallow Peeps and plastic Easter baskets, a sweet distraction from the looming date with the Internal Revenue Service. In the sale isles are last years New Year's Eve plastic champagne flutes and paper whistles. Now, how could I have possibly missed New Year's?

And then it starts all over again. School supplies return to the store like the return of an errant parakeet to his empty cage.

Walmart, quit rushing me through life. It rushes by way too quickly all by itself.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Academic bias?

About a month ago, I wrote a post about how I didn't want my president to be "like me".This was in response to Sarah Palin ramming her idea down America's throats that she was "just like us". Just like the "Hockey Moms" and the "Joe Six-Packs", and whatever other labels she threw out like so much bread crumbs at a city park. I felt that the last person that should run for public office should be anything like me, or like the millions of average people in this country. I wanted someone extraordinary, which would imply someone who had a hell of a lot more education and experience than me, and I would like to think I was not alone in that opinion.

But, so many people want for President someone they can identify with, someone they could see themselves sitting across the table with, eating a piece of pie, or having a cuppa joe. They see a man clearing brush on his movie set ranch in Texas and fall head over heels in admiration...they see a man in a mortarboard and gown adorned with gold braids and they back away in a desperate need to avoid a lecture.

We've all probably have raked the leaves, but we all haven't walked through a college campus. It's a common denominator issue at play. Easily understandable, but at times, that thought process should be put on hold.

Here's an interview with Monty Python alumni, John Cleese, making some valid points on Americas' seemingly biased attitude towards academia. He touches on it around the one-minute mark.

If I need a doctor, a lawyer, or someone to advise me in financial affairs, I would want to seek out who I felt was the most qualified in their field, not someone I considered a friend. Do you ever hear, "I'm going to have an appendectomy by Dr. So-in-So because I had a beer with him the other night and we shot a few rounds of darts and I really had a good time"? No, hopefully most people would research and seek out a doctor who is deft with a scalpel...may not have the best bed side manner, but has a excellent success rate.

So, I say again, I don't want my President to be "like me". Think about scary would that be? It's frightening enough that based on his fifteen minutes of fame, Joe the Plumber (who may or may not have a six-pack) is considering a run for Congress, and that the McCain/Palin ticket is using his pearls of "wisdom" as talking points in their floundering attempt at a campaign. And now, at a campaign stop Friday, McCain introduced Joe as his "mentor".

And I thought Halloween was over with.