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Thursday, November 30, 2023

War Criminal Croaks

Kissinger is dead which brings two songs into my head—Only the Good Die Young (Kissinger was 100) and the Dead Kennedys' Holiday in Cambodia.

He entered negotiations with North Vietnam, but agreed with Nixon to clandestine bombing raids on neutral Cambodia, in an effort to deprive the communists of troops and supplies.

Altogether, the US dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs across Cambodia

More than 50,000 civilians were killed in the country, which is roughly a third the size of France, and millions fled their homes. The destabilisation helped give rise to the brutal regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge movement, notorious for its "killing fields". (source)
Then there’s his god-playing push to overthrow the new democratically elected government of Chile. Kissinger was the main architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Allende government. Assface Henry wasn’t done yet though—he went on to smooth the way for the Pinochet dictatorship to step in and get busy.
When his assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs asked him what to tell Congress about the reports of hundreds of people being killed in the days following the coup, he issued these instructions: "I think we should understand our policy-that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was."  (source)
How unpleasant was Kissinger’s boy Pino? The despot was in power for 17 brutal years. During that time 3,000 people were killed or went missing and around 200,000 fled into exile. There are approximately 40,000 survivors of political imprisonment and/or torture.
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people," he said. "The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” (source)
Power,” Kissy was fond of saying, "is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

Sure, for the sick fucks of this world. If Viagra existed in the 60s and 70s, would Kissinger still have been such a phenomenally callous, barbarous, self-deifying, inhumane pile of rhino dung? Yeah probably.

Happy Kissinger is Dead Day to all who celebrate.

I am constantly amazed by man's inhumanity to man.
~ Primo Levi

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Riddle Me This

If we leave the house at 8:30 for a 10AM appointment at Mass General, it will take two+ hours to go the 14 miles from Vahalla’s front door to the doc’s office. This means, having left 90 minutes versus 120+, I’m gonna be late and need to reschedule.

If we leave the house at 8AM, that very same commute will take one single hour and maybe 15 minutes. I’m then nearly a full hour early. Ah well, I can always stop for coffee.

Question—does time get warped between 8 and 8:30? Is there some time/dimensional rift that goes down on 93 north at 8AM?

Yesterday I was actually early for my twice postponed (due to the evil commute) Swallow Doctor appointment. Results? I’m basically fine though I’ve stumped Dr. Song. Ya see, the difficulty I had swallowing my food this past summer (and the summer before) cleared up as soon as summer’s heat passed. Dr. Song tells me that, normally, swallow issues usually come up in colder weather when the air is drier. NOT summer. Why is my larynx being a contrary dick?

I’ll see Song again in July when my swallow function is expected to be in revolt again. Also, we’ve made the appointment for 11AM so we can avoid that 8-9AM time sink.

More BIG FUN with neurofibromatosis type2.


Do you remember Fractured Fairy Tales? It was a short feature of every Rocky & Bullwinkle Show—a retelling/reimagining of extant fairy tales narrated by the great character actor Edward Everett Horton.

There was Leaping Beauty where, instead of Beauty falling asleep for a zillion years, she becomes an awful bore who puts everyone else to sleep.

Son of Rumplestilstskin where the son fares no better than his father. 

The Enchanted Gnat was about an ungrateful child. 

In another Fractured Sleeping Beauty the prince, instead of waking the princess with a kiss, turns her into a Disneyland-esque tourist attraction.
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show was my absolute favorite as a kid. There’s a very good chance that I’m gonna need to buy myself the entire series on DVD. Maybe I’ll wait and see if prices drop after Xmas.


I learned a new phrase—trauma dumping. It’s confused with but NOT the same as venting.

Venting: When you’re venting, you share your frustrations with someone you trust to reduce your stress. You’re intentional about what you share and aware that you’re venting. You may say something like, “Can I just vent for five minutes?”

Trauma dumping: With trauma dumping, you overshare difficult or intimate personal information without the other person’s consent or during inappropriate times. You don’t consider how your words impact the listener, and you’re not open to advice or solutions.
Venting is a healthy way to share negative emotions and reduce stress. But with trauma dumping, you overshare in a way that makes the listener feel overwhelmed or ignored.

I’ll bet I’ve trauma dumped a time or two and, if I’ve done that to you, I’m SO sorry! Like most folks, I’ve also had a friend or two trauma dump on me. In any close friendship this is gonna happen. An important thing—make sure you’re on a two-way street. 

If you’re not? Sometimes all I can do is set firm boundaries and recommend the dumper see a therapist.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Peak Sloth

: weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion, or stress

Is it the effects of the chemo med I’m on or is fatigue just my natural state?

Last week I only exercised on three out of seven days. Usually I manage five to six out of seven. Seriously, this is peak torpidity. Hells bells, if this goes on any longer my state of being will be indistinguishable from a comatose or hibernating body. Okay, okay, last week was a holiday and all about food. For Ten and I it was a peaceful day at home with a GREAT meal. I can use that as my excuse for slothdom but…ya know…as excuses go it's up there with "the dog ate my homework." Possibly this all just comes down to Newton's First Law of Motion.

An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an unbalanced force. (source)
How to get back into motion? I could go full metal Nike and just do it. Yeah, that’s probably what’s gonna happen but, in order to support that effort, I need to have some things in place.

Like, knowing there’s a good book waiting for me at home after my walk in the cold and wind. It's my reward for having don e the hard work of getting back into motion, building strength, balance and coordination. And doing just that in 30º goddamn weather.

I finished my second reading of Richard Osman’s fourth Thursday Murder Club book (it was brilliant, by the by). I thought I was all set for another good tale with Martha WellsWitch King. I’m absolutely wild about her Murderbot series—great wit, totally relatable characters, fab twists and turns, arch humor. I figured all that would, to some degree, carry over into a different story series.

Ah…nope. It’s as though Witch King was written by a completely different person. An author who’s deep into complicated, ancient world building hyper-fantasies, where all the characters names are 20 letters long and look like they’re in a language that’s a mix of Gaelic, Icelandic and Greek. These are names I’ll stumble over and struggle to pronounce even as I get to the last page. And that’s if I can ever sort out how the name might sound.

In just the first few pages, I  could see that Witch King was gonna make Lord Of The Rings look like a light frolic, a great beach read. Yup—pass.  Martha Wells is a tremendous writer. If you’re into high fantasy, I bet this is just the thing. Me? Right now? Not so much.

So, if I need a solid, ripping yarn to get me off my ass, exercising again, what do I do?

I’m not interested in nonfiction (reading the news is way more than enough reality for me). Cozy, cute, rom-com mysteries are a snoozer and there’s now a finite amount of silly Terry Pratchett books. John Scalzi’s next won’t be out for another year and all my can’t-wait-to-reads are backed up for weeks and months in my Libby queue.

I’m looking for quirky, witty romps.

By the way, did I mention I read A is for Aunties? It’s by Jesse Q. Sutanto whose Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers I absolutely loved. A is for Aunties? Nope. It’s just too over the top implausibly WACKY for me (this is possible? shocking!). Plus all the characters fall into simple two-dimensional behaviors. The Aunties each have a particular, narrow set of personality quirks which get activated by all too predictable prompts. It’s funny but only the first time, not the 500th. As I slogged through (the storyline hooked me enough to see it through) I got the definite sense that this was written specifically to be the next big summer movie blockbuster. And, waddya know, Netflix is on it.
Described as Crazy Rich Asians meets Weekend at Bernie’s, the story centers on a young wedding photographer who, along with her mother and aunts, tries to hide the body of her blind date while working the wedding day of a wealthy client. (source)
The book (which, with a good editor, could’ve easily been a short story) was, ultimately, too disappointing for me to pick up another by Sutanto.

So, what’s a fatigue riddled broad, who desperately needs a great quirky read to get her in motion again, to do? For starters, I’ll watch John Scalzi’s site, Whatever, for the upcoming holiday book suggestions post. That and I’ll google the fuck out of quirky science fiction and mystery books.

Monday, November 27, 2023


Do violins belong in rock music?

Take Bridge Over Troubled Water for example—the violin section on the original version was the entire reason why, for eons, I hated the song. The strings were too heavy and overwhelmed the ground floor beauty—they gave it a regular  Laurence Welk vibe. It felt like a betrayal of the song’s self.

Eleanor Rigby had a string section but that’s not the first thing I remember about it. That’s good. It means that it added something instead of acting like glitter on a raw silk dress.

There’s Kashmir. I can only bring a vague sense of its churning, seething brilliance to mind though. The fact that I recall seething brilliance versus soap bubbles and champagne strings suggests that, yes, you can use violins in rock without transforming the music into sappy pablum.

Speaking of Led Zeppelin, one of my favorite tunes was Immigrant Song. Did you know? It’s listed as Viking Metal on Wikipedia. I didn't know there was such a thing. Also Folk Metal exists. I didn’t know that Viking OR Folk Metal were, ya know, actual things/genres.

Just FYI, as long as I have Led Zeppelin in my bean, The Battle of Evermore (as covered by Heart) might well be my top beloved Page/Plant creation.
Is pansexual the same as bisexual? No but the difference is a real squeaker. 

Bi people would say they experience attraction to multiple genders while Pansexual people would say they experience attraction regardless of gender or despite gender. (source)

Let’s see if I’m following this—if you’re Bi, you find both the male and female form sexually attractive. If you’re Pan, you’re hot for a person’s personalty/palatial inner being/whatevs and their gender is irrelevant.

One is about bodies and the other is about souls? Do I have that right?
Did you know there are cauliflower waffles now? You know me, I’m not a kitchen person—I’m intrigued but I’m not gonna go all kitchen wizard alchemical and shit. I went intertoobz hunting to see if there were frozen ones like Annie's Organic Homestyle Waffles but cauliflower. No joy.

I did find cauliflower breadcrumbs, tots, pasta, pizza crusts, fries, pretzels, chips, puffs, hash browns and tortillas though. This, by the by, is on top of all the microwavable side dishes.

Can corporate America please stop trying to make cauliflower a thing? I mean, sure, it’s a vegetable and full of healthy goodness BUT it’s boring and white. Also…it’s booooooooring. Potatoes are white too but, with some razzle dazzle, they’re amazing, transcendent and life affirming. Cauliflower? You can razzle dazzle the fuck out of it and it’s still duller than dirt.

Mind, it’s not in-your-face offensive, like kale, but c’mon…if I want to eat a small shrub I’ll have broccoli. Even without beautiful seasoning or bucket loads of cheddar sauce, broccoli has actual flavor.

Having said this, I would definitely give cauliflower waffles a try.

Saturday, November 25, 2023


You know what really irks the shit outta me? People who gushingly claim that their teenage daughter/son is their “best friend.” Why? Either they’re hopeless nitwits in the parenting department or they’re supremely untalented communicators. 

FYI, The Courtship of Eddie's Father was a teevee show. GREAT theme song but NOT reality.

What’s involved in being someone’s bestie? For me it includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Being emotionally supportive (sometimes that just looks like quietly listening, sometimes it’s a drink down the pub, sometimes it’s watching Buffy for the 500th time)
  • Speaking of listening…responding honestly (even when that’s painful) and thoughtfully is key
  • When needed, a ride to the airport, making hospital visits (and, fuck knows, I’m in there enough to call it my second home), grocery pick ups, making bail, etc.
  • Acceptance of me and my myriad flaws. That doesn’t mean I expect Jen to keep her mouth clamped when I’m being Queen Twatzilla. FUCK NO! A proper BFF tells you when you’ve truly banjaxed the sitch and are being toddleresque.

I hope to hell that the folks who claim that their offspring is their best friend are engaging in nothing more than mondo clueless hyperbole. Can you imagine a middle aged mother or father confiding to their 16 child about their adult problems?

  • A nasty, disappointing date? (It was like kissing a doorknob. I’ll not go out with him again!)
  • A spouse (kiddle’s other parent) losing interest or ability vis-à-vis the marital bed? (Your father won’t gimme the goods anymore. Maybe he’s having an affair.)
  • Sobbing uncontrollably to them over potentially insurmountable financial woes? (Your mother gambled away the rent money AGAIN. If I don’t come up with $3k by Monday we’ll be offed by the loan sharks! Okay, it might be wise to clue the teen in—they’ll probably need to hear some plausible reason for why you’re going all Sarah and John Connor)

These are things you tell a fellow adult—a friend versus a child. To your offspring you might say:

  • Last night’s date wasn’t a smashing four star event. You won’t be seeing this dude/dudette again.
  • You do NOT talk about your sex life with your child apart from opaque references. i.e., your father and I are going to create a brother or sister for you.
  • Money’s going to be tight for the next year so there won’t be a lot of extras and treats.

Sure, there are hard realities of which your children should be aware. Such as:

  • You’re not made of money so, until the kid gets a job and can foot the bill themselves, they can’t have an iPhone.
  • Daddy/Mommy has decided to go find him/herself and will no longer be living with the rest of the fam.
  • Your brother is deeply disturbed and a danger to the family. He’s being committed to the loony bin.

The logistics of upcoming new realities and how everyone feels about them should def be discussed. Having said that, parents need to remember that their 16 year old child, no matter how mature, is still a kid and NOT mummy or daddy's contemporary or BFF.

For all her faults, my mother had the decency not to discuss her sex life with me. Neither did my father. For the most part, they both waited until I was technically an adult (18) before breaking the parent/child wall. My mother wanted me to co-parent my siblings. My father was still my father but, the older I got, the more comfortable we both became in discussing more wide-ranging issues. He wasn’t my best friend but he definitely became a close friend as well as father. 

He hit the right balance at the right time.

Friday, November 24, 2023


Why is it called Black Friday? If it must be a color, why not call it Orange Friday—orange for the mad Capitalism-Gone-Wild tone of the day?

Orange is the color of insanity.
~ Van Gogh

What is it about social media that brings out the most unevolved and poo-flinging amongst us? Oh yeah, it’s the anonymity, the distance. The person who’s just gone all 13-year-old bullying Nazi fuck on you knows they’re safe from being pounded into a Nazi puke pancake. From behind their screens, they can freely make what they think are devastating, witty slams. They feel nothing but the dopamine rush that ass-brained miscreants get from behaving like barely sentient piles of zombie rat turds.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to unmask these cretinous failures and send them a little real-world payback? Nothing life threatening. Maybe a semi full of ripe cow shit gets dumped on their front door? All their social media accounts are hacked by graphic purveyors of hot pink dildos, ben wa balls and nipple clamps? Their internet connection is severed and can’t be repaired?

Yeah, that’d be a good start. Until that can be done though, I'll just carry on with blockety, block, blocking.

How do you pronounce the title of the head of government in Ireland—Taoiseach? I could watch a You Tube vid except…deaf here. Almost all of the online pronunciations are audio. Makes sense IF you have hearing. What I’ve managed to find looks like Tee-shuck, Tee-shock, Tee-shack and Tayshuh. Perhaps the diction difference is all about where you’re from? Dubliners undoubtedly have a different accent than Galwegians.

Why’s this come up this morning? Apparently a bunch of Dubliners went full metal MAGAt yesterday, rioting in the city center. Really lovely (NOT) to see that the U.S. has succeeded in exporting extreme bigotry and violent assholian behavior.

Ireland's police chief Drew Harris blamed the rioting on a "lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology".

The "extraordinary outbreak of violence" had come after "hateful assumptions" were made based on material circulating online in the wake of the stabbings, he added.

It is understood that included false claims that the attacker was a foreign national.

Sources have indicated to the BBC that the man suspected of carrying out the attack is an Irish citizen in his late 40s who has lived in the country for 20 years.

"These are scenes that we have not seen in decades," said the An Garda Síochána (Irish police force) commissioner.

"What is clear is that people have been radicalised through social media.”
The far right in the Republic of Ireland has grown and become incredibly emboldened, recently holding a protest outside the Irish parliament. (source)

By the by, An Garda Síochána is supposedly pronounced: On GAR-dah Shee-oh-CAHN. You’re welcome.

Why does Elon MusKKK exist?

Why does Cheeto the Cockwomble exist? 

Now that I'm out of yesterday's food coma, I'm just full of questions.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Words, Comix, Cats, etc.

I did one of those silly online quizzes yesterday. I realize that these are data mining vehicles but sometimes I can’t resist.
The Better Business Bureau, media literacy groups and police departments warn that hackers and scammers are behind many of these social media quizzes, so they can collect, use and profit from the personal information you share. (source)
The quiz I fell for?

Do you talk more like a millennial or a boomer at work?

Mind you, this was in the Washington Post so maybe I’ll just get a bunch of PLEASE SUBSCRIBE spam emails.

Keeping in mind that I’m retired, deaf and only chat live and in person with a few folks (and they're Boomers or Gen X), I got rather improbable results. The upshot is like zo:
43%  Millennial (born between 1977 – 1995)
34% Gen X (1965 – 1976)
14% Gen Z (1996 – 2015)
9% Boomer (1946 – 1964)
So, 77% of my speech patterns are like a person who’s young enough to be my offspring. Why’s zat? Do I need to drop more bits of older slang into my convos? Shit like jive bomber (a good dancer), dreamboat (a wicked handsome dude) or killer diller (adjective meaning amazing or THE best). I mean, I could get into this. When I greet someone I could ask what's buzzin', cousin?

Yeah, I'm hip, I'm hip.

Word for the day:
1. a banquet, feast, or gathering.

Today is, if you’re lucky, a day of joyful convivium. Also, food comas.

2. Biology, Ecology. A population within a species which is isolated geographically and different from others within the same species, usually a subspecies or ecotype. 

Etymology? Wikipedia tells me that convivium comes from Latin convīvium (“a feast”). It’s combo of con- (“together”) + vīvō (“to live”).

Okay then but where does the biology/ecology definition come from? Possibly it’s implied that these isolated, different species are partying like it’s 1999?

I hope you’re at an awesome convivium today. Remember, if your MAGAt Uncle Dick or Auntie Madge starts going off about Cheeto being god incarnate or whatevs, ignore them. If that’s not possible, if they won’t shut the fuck up and no one else is attempting to shut them down, make a scene. Throw ice water in their face(s), thank them for ruining the day with their preening stupidity, gullibility and hate. Then walk out. Go to a restaurant or a pub—get some grub, maybe a nice single malt and then head home or back to the hotel.

Life’s too short to waste it on gobbledygook spewing, off the cob fuckheads.

 Last bit for the day—have you heard of or enjoyed Bob the Angry Flower comix by Stephen Notley yet? In case you haven't, here's one of my favorites. Yur welcome.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Two years ago today

Two years ago on this day before Thanksgiving, I was inpatient at Spaulding Rehab for the fourth and final time. This was during those two years of four back to back neurosurgeries.

At this point, I’d already been a guest of Spaulding for three weeks. They wanted to extend my stay over the long holiday weekend. I'd been deemed not quite ready for home. More inpatient PT was needed.

I pitched a firm, solid yet diplomatic fit.

I asked what staffing would be like from Thursday through Monday and how many PT sessions would I have on the lightly staffed four day holiday weekend. I pointed out that I would be willing to stay four additional days IF I was going to have my regular, daily balance and strength sessions (one hour each), check ins with the neurologists and the normal complement of nurses and aids on duty. If not, since they planned on cutting me loose Monday anyway, I argued (civilly!) that I'd be better off at home with Ten, Jen, Oni (and the cats, of course).

The case manager and medics looked at the schedule, did the math and *oopsie* I’d only have one day of PT (two versus eight workouts) over the long, lightly staffed weekend. I asked if it really made sense to keep me four more days just to get two more PT sessions. Would those two magically transform me into a stable walking super hero?

It wasn't logical. After a few staff meetings and much delicate but firm pushing from me, they nervously agreed to send me home.

I understood their motivation for wanting me to stick around. I was a GIANT fall risk and, if they let me go early and I fell, they’d undoubtedly be liable in a lawsuit. Also, my insurance would cover me staying over the four day weekend even though I’d, essentially, just be sitting in bed reading the entire time, NOT receiving rehab care.

Keeping me in was about money—lawsuit avoidance—and little else. So I got to come home and, no, I didn't fall (not that weekend anyway).

I’d go out today and take a victory seawall walk but it’s rainy and windy as hell. It’s an elliptical day—not as good of a work out as walking BUT it’s something.