Wednesday, December 29, 2004


After folding and putting away two baskets of laundry, I went to pick up my riluzole pills and make a small grocery run. In the parking lot of the grocery store, I noted a red late-model Mustang parked off to the side. When I came back out there was a man cursing in Spanish and testing the door of the Mustang, which looked like it had been swiped.

He went over to talk to the man staffing the recycling center, presumably to ask him if he had seen anyone swipe his car. His red car, I noted, as I pulled my white Neon out of the space near the Mustang. My white Neon which still has a red streak on it from when the guy swiped it while it was parked, knocking off the mirror. I pulled out of the lot, carefully keeping the red streak out of sight of the two gentlemen.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?

The rear left turn signal of the Neon is malfunctioning. The bulb still works (I checked), but it doesn't blink. The symptom of this is that the turn signal begins blinking twice as fast as it usually does. That's because one of the blinkers (front or rear) is not taking it's turn, so the one that still works takes two turns in that time. It's probably a behavior that is engineered in as a good way of signaling to the driver that the something is wrong.

Likewise, if one side of your body starts behaving differently from the other side of your body, weak let's say, or slow, then that's a signal that there is something wrong with your brain. We don't know if it's engineered that way, but it does serve as a signal for you to state your love to those you love, make apologies to those you've hurt, wrap up your life, and die happily. Since so many other forms of annihilation come without warning (struck by lighting, run down by ambulance, aneurism, heart attack, bullet) -- it seems unlikely that God is giving you notice. Unless only the evil ones die without warning. And Ronald Reagan is the case which disproves that.

Getting back to the supermarket, I was in the other one near our house a couple of days ago, and I saw some used DVDs for sale. I figured I would buy a couple, watch them, and send them to the troops overseas via

The soldiers sign up to this site and leave messages like this one:

to whom it may concern my name is spc aiello i am in afghanistan. i am repersenting my platoon. we are the cooks for our base camp. We are liveing in a pop up tent with electricity 110 we have been here for about 9 mths now this is the first deployment for half of my section. It is hard on some of us being away from our love ones but we try to stick togther and support each other there are 17 male cooks in my section we do not have a microwave but we do share one tv togther with a dvd player it is hard to get dvds out here and we end up watching the same movie over and over. we do have a laundry serivce now witch is very nice we will appericate any packages that we might get and we thank you from the botton of our hearts. please pray for us

I have sent the troops DVDs before, but never got a letter of thanks for those. I have gotten very generous and detailed letters from some soldiers to whom I sent nothing but a note and maybe a magazine.

I picked up "Master and Commander" for ten bucks, only because someone told me it was good, and I thought the troops might like it. Also, mainly because of its price of only five bucks, I picked up a DVD of a movie with Penelope Cruz. This movie is good, entertaining, and somewhat subtle, while not insulting the intelligence of the viewer. It turns out that the movie was not made in Hollywood, which explains why it's not insultingly stupid. It's called "Sin noticias de Dios," and it's about a pair of angels (one from Heaven, one from Hell), who battle over the soul of a boxer, who has become important due to the economics and politics of the afterlife. Heaven is Paris, and the movie is in French for the scenes there. The scenes on Earth are in Spanish. In Hell the dialog is in English.

It's entertaining and you should watch it, but you'll have to get past the American packaging first. They changed the title to "Don't Tempt Me," with the teaser "Heaven and Hell are on Earth... and they're wearing heels," and providing the wildly misleading summary:

"Heaven has sent its best, and the devil has enlisted his worst - Victoria Abril and Penelope Cruz co-star as agents doing battle for ultimate supremacy. The winner is to be decided by whoever can secure the soul of a short-tempered, punch-drunk boxer on earth. These sexy angels pull no punches, using their brains, wiles and of course, sex appeal. Damnation has never been this seductive, and seduction never more heavenly; he's not going to know what hit him...he's only human!"

Now, as for the actual movie, it's not about a battle for supremacy, but rather, equilibrium. And I don't think either of the angels wears heels on Earth, other than modest, functional ones. Further, Cruz never tries to use sex appeal on the boxer. The blurb makes it sound like two temptresses vie for him. But fortunately the movie is better than that.

Now, those of you who have read my praise of Cate Blanchett may know that I rented several of her movies because I was so fascinated by her. I found another goddess in this movie. No, not Penelope Cruz. She's OK in this film.

But the real shock for me was Fanny Ardant. I included her pictures in this post. She's French. She was born in 1949, which would make her over fifty when this film was made.

And with all due respect to my lovely wife, while my dog jumps up and down and yips for Cate Blanchett, for Fanny Ardant he just goes to the end of his chain and pulls as hard as he can, hoping the tree will fall over before he passes out from lack of oxygen. Ardant is a fantastic specimen of woman, if you like 'em. I'll rent some of her films and let you know how they are.

I'm three days into the 100 mg daily dosage of DHEA and everything seems fine. No additional irritability or anger, that I have noticed. I actually feel more calm. My half-gesture of researching DHEA toxicity on the web has turned up nothing alarming. Apparently there was a study giving men a higher dose than I am taking, and the only effect was lowered risk of heart disease and cancer. I went to the gym today with my lovely wife, for the first time since upping the dosage. Generally -- and it may be a placebo effect, or due to the fact that I just rotated back onto creatine -- but generally I feel just a tad stronger.
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