Saturday, December 31, 2005


It's an important photo from the Iraq War, © Michael Yon. The self-important jerk is selling autographed copies for $125 or more. Yes, he has every right to do so. But it's crass and disgusting. You want heroes? Look elsewhere.

Friday, December 30, 2005


I went to Wikipedia, curious to see if they had an entry for 'brainhell,' the famous dead musician perhaps, or someone, or work of art, by that name. They had nothing. Not even the dead musician. So I figured I would create a page about my blog, and oh by the way, mention the dead musician.



Vanity pages 
Articles about yourself, your friends, your website, the band you're in, the word you made up or a story you wrote. If you are worthy of inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add an article for you. Putting your friends in an encyclopedia may seem like a nice surprise or an amusing joke, but articles like this are likely to be removed. In the process, feelings may be hurt, and this can be avoided by a little forethought.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

En tus sueños

I've had several dreams in which I am able to jog, weakly to be sure, but nonetheless jogging. In these dreams I am usually pleased and surprised at my progress, and want to share the good news with my doctor or my wife.

(You want heroes? Here's one.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


When I was in junior high school I was, when the opportunity arose, quite obnoxiously loud and frantic. I thought I was funny. So one day we were supposed to split up in little groups, around one of several tape recorders, and make up a skit which we would then record. My friends and I formed a group and I, naturally, dominated the scripting. There were a couple of reasons for this. One, I thought I was funnier than everyone else, two, I was extremely domineering and pushy when I had the chance, and three, my friends were accustomed to this.

I had recently learned the word "faggot," and I knew it was a term of ridicule, but I didn't know what it meant. I suppose that at that age I could have told you what "homosexual" meant, but I didn't know what a "faggot" was. I just knew it was an insult. And, as I mentioned, I was a self-admiring, very verbal twerp, and that week or that day I was on a jag of using the word "faggot" as often as possible. Did I mention that I thought I was clever, and funny?

One or two people who actually did know what the word meant would quietly agree with me that fags were ridiculous. I paid no attention to this other than taking it as support for my hilarity. It did not occur to me to wonder, since "they" could be made fun of, who they might be. It didn't matter, I had a new insult and I was funny. It was in the middle of this jag of using a word I didn't understand, and thinking how clever I was, when they presented us with the assignment involving tape recorders.

I developed a skit where other people got to say things about 25 percent of the time, and the other 75 percent of the time I spoke dialog which always involved me shrieking the hilarious and oh-so-clever word "faggot." I was a complete riot of laughs. I thought.

My teacher, to his credit, once or twice made disparaging remarks to me, quietly trying to undercut my stupidity. "You seem to know lot about them," he said once. The implication was that maybe you are one. And indeed, if you were to put on your stereotyping glasses, I was the closest thing to a faggot you could find in that class.

Anyway, a few days later the teacher's gentle mockery of me sank in, and I stopped using the word "faggot" so much, not because I had learned anything about it, but because I thought someone might make fun of me. I recall, in that same class, being glad that we had erased the tapes and used them for other things.

By high school I did know what "faggot" meant, and one day when a big, tough kid had been ejected from his class I spent a long time calling down to him from our open window on the second story, calling him a faggot. After several minutes of this he threw a rock which cracked but did not break the window. I assumed he would get in a huge amount of trouble, but my German teacher merely said that it was my fault since I had been teasing him.

Oddly enough it was this same German teacher who once more or less called me a fairy. The story is that there was this totally built girl in the class, the kind who at 15 already has the body of Sophia Loren. Anyway, one day she got up from her seat at the back of the class and went to the front to get some paper. The teacher laughed and said, "When she walked to the front of the class, every single one of the guys followed her with his eyes!" I had not watched her, so I said: "Not me!" as if it earned me points. The German teacher then sang a short little song which I don't quite remember, but I think was more or less like this:

I don't like girls,
and I'll never marry.
Whoops! I'm a fairy...

I think I know the reason for that, too. The German teacher was young and hot. I lusted after her, and foolishly told my friend, who we'll call 'Tony.' Tony immediately told this to his bother 'Charlie,' who in turn immediately told the German teacher. It was very amusing for the three of them. One reason is because I was such a stupid jerk, and the other is that I was the shortest, skinniest, least sexually mature person in that high school. I was shorter than all the girls, for one thing.

After that, the German teacher wore many sexy skirts with brilliant white silk slips. She made a point of going behind where I was sitting and putting her foot up on a desk chair, then lecturing. The idea, I think now, is that if I were going to ogle her, I'd have to crank my neck at an insane angle.

Moving on with our story: Tony soon admitted that he'd told Charlie and Charlie had told the German teacher. I said that was jive, but Tony was all giggly and amused. Then, fishing for more, he asked me if I still liked her.

"Nah," I lied "She has knobbily knees. And she's old."

"Knobbily knees?" repeated the delighted Tony, memorizing the phrase for retransmittal.

"Yeah, knobbily knees."

Not long after that, the German teacher sang the fairy song to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


There is a a lot of talk about the 'culture of life' that opposes legalized abortion. If you are in that camp, and if you also oppose programs to educate people about condom use, then, given that there is a global AIDS epidemic killing people in undeveloped countries, and given that condoms can prevent the spread of HIV, you are a hypocrite whose belief system kills people, as well as oppressing them.


P.S. word: If this doesn't describe you, but you still vote for someone who holds such a position, then, word, there's a word for that, too.

Monday, December 26, 2005


The most endearing moment of my daughter's third birthday was when she finished blowing out the big numeric candle and my wife pulled up the candle and gave it to her. My son said "You can lick it!" And her little pointed tongue came out and she licked the cake! Awww... My wife cut the girl's slice to include the lick mark. It was good cake, vanilla. I know the girl loves chocolate, but I think she chose vanilla so that I, allergic to chocolate, could have some of her birthday cake.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


So I got this coffee grinder, to grind my pills, which were getting harder and harder to swallow. The idea is to mix the resultant powder with apple sauce or yogurt.

The biggest pill is the probiotic. I thought, Oh heck, just toss that one in the grinder and mix all the powder in water.

That was kind of bitter and pungent. Imagine powdering up some hay from a horse's stall, and drinking that.

Then last night I tossed in the vitamin C, which is very acidic. If you bite it, or let it dissolve in your mouth, it's piercing, with a major pucker factor. And I thought, Oh what the heck, add in these caplets too, including the fish oil. How bad can it be? The yogurt will cover the flavor, and you can just gulp it down quickly.

I Will Never Do That Again. The fish oil stunk up several rooms in the house. The piercing, shrieking power of the vitamin C opened up all my taste buds and sinuses, and the sickening fish oil rushed in to stink up the place. My lip is curled as I write this.

I imagine that most people would have poured the concoction down the sink after the first sip. But I'm such a cheapskate, or maybe I have so much discipline, that I gagged my way through the whole thing.

Next time I'll just grind the important pills, not the vitamin C or probiotic. And the fish oil, well, that's going to stay on the shelf for a while.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Got robbed

My son heard a brief clip of surf music in the car on the way home. Steady now, Jimi. And he said he liked it. I went to iTunes and bought 13 Beach boys songs, like a fool. Only six of them are the original hit versions, the rest are from some live concert years later where the boys sound old and weak. This is a favorite trick of the corporations that license music to iTunes. I should have had my guard up, but I didn't.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Dorman again

He's coming back from Iraq now, but he's still saying that Islam is a big turd, and still ducking my question of If so, then what do you suggest we do about it?

And he's still writing about how the rest of us think like sheep, and we ought to just open our eyes and admit that Dorman's truth is more powerful than the propaganda we've been fed.

And he still lacks intellectual rigor. So I fed him back one of his latest quotes and opened up a can on him:

> if the ORIGINATOR did the same deeds and encouraged his followers to do them too, then THAT is the true islam and anything different is distortion.

The true pizza is a brittle, wafer-thin crust with just tomato on it. That cheesy, pepperoni-and-olive thing you eat is a distortion. Capiche? The fact that millions and millions of people mean modern pizza when they say 'pizza' has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! STOP HIDING IN YOUR CAVE! WE HAVE TO CONFRONT PIZZA FOR WHAT IT IS, NOT WHAT DOMINO'S SAYS IT IS!

Sorry to up a can of irony on ya, Dorman, but since to date you seem impervious to any outside thought, I wondered if irony might get through.

As always, there is profound wisdom to what I say here. I'm pointing out that your argumentation is laughably weak. Even if you were right, your rhetoric is feeble. That's because things transform and change over time. Look at the US Constitution. Look at 'rock-and-roll.' Look at Anna Nicole's chest. Sorry to be the one to say it, but:


It's embarrassing to see you make these kind of mistakes. Like I said, you're lost in the funhouse of your own words. You've painted yourself into a corner. I provide a bridge for you: Come out.

What am I trying to say? That Islam is wonderful? No, I'm no fan of religions. What I am trying to say is that, in terms of strategy, you are playing directly into the hopes and dreams of al Qaeda when you vilify Islam. They'd like to see more soldier bloggers do it.

Just imagine the reception you'd get in the US Bible Belt if you went around spouting that Christ was evil, and so is his entire religion. Same deal with Islam.

I think my stars that you are not secretary of state or president.

Let's assume that we grant, for the purposes of debate, your claim that Islam is "obviously dangerous."

If so, then what action should we take?

You've been ignoring this question like a coward for a while now Dorman, and I know you're no coward.

Keep in mind, this is a guy who has access to weapons, and knows how to use them. I thank Allah that Dorman is in Germany!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dear Stooped

Recently, my son threw a major tantrum. He knew and had been told that after the piano recital that he played in, his sister would go with his mom to a birthday party for another preschooler, while he would go home with me.

I reminded him of this before the recital, and asked him if he would cooperate. Calmly and responsibly, he said he would.

My wife and I had to fight him to get him into my car after the recital. He wanted to go to the party, and it wasn't fair that his sister got to go to all the parties and he got to go to none. In the struggle, I fell down on the sidewalk but did not get hurt. Son, if you're reading this when you are older, let me just say that you were no worse than most kids. All kids do some cranky, unreasonable things sometimes. I remember enough of my childhood to know that I was often the same. More often than you were.

When we got home I had to fight him to get his shoes off at the door. It's the house rule. He was extremely upset and retreated to his room. Smart move.

Trying to talk to an upset kid is like trying to dialog with a tornado. Or trying to put out a fire with gasoline. But I had noticed the week prior that when I gave him a written note to address his jealousy over his sister's birthday presents, his whole attitude changed. He seemed to "get" it.

So I slid two pieces of paper under his door, with a pencil. On the top paper I had written, "When we're upset, sometimes it helps to write down what we're feeling."

He wrote the note shown above. Typical that he would sign it, "Love," but it probably just indicates that he thinks all letters end that way. I often correct his pronunciation and spelling, but I don't think I'll teach him how to spell "stupid."

He's often very good and empathic, as I have said before. But on Tuesday night some combination of hunger, germs, school deprivation, material jealousy, lack of sleep, and perhaps sublimated anxiety over my disability caused him to go from sweet and cheerful with his sister to angry and violent -- in a matter of seconds. One second they were singing and laughing together, and the next thing he was the Justice League, fighting to rid the world of evil. Something about the stickers in goodie bags they'd gotten at the dentist.

His mom took him up for bedtime and asked me to bring the girl up for her bath. He wound up kicking and screaming at the top of the stairs, and when his sister reached the top step, his fervor trebled and he writhed over on his back to kick her. She fell backward down the stairs, but I happened to be right behind her, and because she fell toward my right arm, it reflexively reached out and stopped her fall. She could have been seriously injured or killed if I hadn't been there. It's pretty ironic that the reflexes of a guy who has ALS saved her.

Then there was plenty of yelling, but instead of whacking him, which was my initial impulse even though we don't spank, we banished him to the kids' room. I told him I was ashamed of his action. I tried to think of appropriate consequences. For one thing, I sequestered the Battleship game that takes up so much space on the shelf downstairs. But he didn't see me do that. I'll take it to Goodwill. He needs to know that he's lost something forever because of what he did. But a mere game isn't enough. I wanted him to feel it more clearly. So I took all his pajamas out of the special drawer in my bureau that he has been able to share. I also ripped off and threw away the note he'd taped there, labeling it as his pajama drawer. I went into the room where he was whining and kvetching and threw the pajamas on the bed, telling him again that I was ashamed of what he'd done, and informing him that he was no longer allowed to keep his pajamas in my drawer. I hope that every time he puts on his pajamas in the next few months he thinks about how it's not OK to kick your sister down the stairs.

Eventually he came out an apologized to his sister. Eventually they went to sleep. I went to bed utterly exhausted. My wife helped the girl with her coughing at roughly 3 AM. The kids both woke up bright and early.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BS detector

When the current Iraq War was launched by Bush in early 2003, a site called Iraq Body Count was also launched. They used the cool image shown above, a B2 bomber dropping a whole bunch of bombs. My BS detector went off immediately. B2s, I reasoned, normally drop precision munitions, one or two at a time, not a whole stick like this. And furthermore, these looked like gravity bombs, or "dumb" bombs. What would be the point of using a B2 at high altitude to drop a bunch of bombs that would probably go astray? It's great way to conduct ordnance disposal in the Iraqi desert, but why use a B2 to do it? Even B-52s these days mostly employ precision munitions.

I suspected that the owners of the site had Photoshopped an image of a bunch of dumb bombs from Vietnam underneath a B2 in order to make things look more sinister.

I did my research, and determined what kind of bombs were likely shown in the image. They were dumb bombs.

Then I wrote an email to the site owners.

They replied that this was an actual photo of a B2 dropping bombs. They showed me the source, which I think was some aviation magazine or DoD site.

Fair enough, I thought, but no such mission was flown over Iraq in the current conflict. Intending to tell them this, and accuse them of being misleading, I did my research. It turned out that two, exactly two (2), missions had been flown in the current Iraq war, in which B2s dropped dozens of dumb bombs on Iraq.

Sometimes the facts get in the way of correcting other people.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Some folks are setting up a site for people with ALS to track their symptoms, treatments, and metrics. They let me beta test it. It's going to be a for-profit company, but I'm guessing that member access will be free. I assume (hope!) that they will keep patient information confidential, and make money by selling ads to pharmaceutical companies, investment planning firms, for books about crafting wills, and other trades associated with the grim reaper. The site not fully fleshed out yet. I reprint my assessment below.

Here it is so far...
"Orthopnea" , "Dyspnea" -- also provide a layman's definition for these.
You should include a rating for emotional lability (inappropriate laughing or crying). Oh, now I guess that's what you mean by "Emotional exaggeration." I had no idea what that meant. An important thing for y'all to realize is that the crazy laughing and crying does not involve emotion, or does not have to, certainly not to the degree 'displayed.' I can feel perfectly stable and would, if healthy, appear calm, but despite my seeing nothing funny, I can laugh like a madman. It's neurological not emotional. So I think you should label this "Lability (uncontrollable laughing/crying)."
Add a unit such as "caplet" or "pill" to the drop-down list containing "mg," "g," etc. Sometimes one does not know the dosage in a caplet such as Citrucel. You can discourage people from being lazy in the use of this by prompting them to confirm that they really do not know the dosage -- makes it more work

Add units such as "TBS" and "tsp" for liquids to the drop-down list containing "mg," "g," etc. (Mineral oil being the example).

Add an intermittence feature to the dosing, to allow, for example, being on creatine three weeks and then off for one week in a continuous cycle.

I would hope that users who are not registered could nonetheless look at all the data and charts, groups and discussions (perhaps with names removed?). This would enable people who were pre-diagnosed, or caregivers, researchers, students or the media to view information and learn about how to struggle against ALS. It would also allow me to post a link to my charts in my blog.

From a technical standpoint, this site is well-crafted, stable and appealing. The session management is good. However, the content itself is limited in scope and should be expanded per our previous discussions. An added bonus would be statistical analysis tools for large data sets (e.g. metrics).

Well done, I hope people find it useful.

Monday, December 19, 2005


On October 1st I was at a party with the family, and I talked to a five-year-old friend of my son's.

"My boy just started kindergarten," I said.

"I started kindergarten a long time ago," she said.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Echelon II

AP: President Bush said Saturday he has no intention of stopping his personal authorizations of a post-Sept. 11 secret eavesdropping program in the U.S..."

This is odd because long before 9/11, the NSA already spied on communication by US citizens, yes during Clinton too, as part of an agreement with several other countries (among them UK and NZ if I recall correctly) involved in the Echelon program.

They way it works is that these partner countries spy on communications of ordinary US citizens, and then share the results with our government. This gets around the fact that it is illegal for our government to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

So why does Bush need a redundant authorization to collect what he's already getting? I suspect that the motivation is twofold:

(1) It's about time we spied on our own citizens directly.

(2) Leftists, liberals, and Democrats seem a lot like terrorists, so let's keep tabs on them, and run a few ops when necessary.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

New metric

We went to the ALS clinic and I test drove a very light wheelchair they can give us for free, thanks to Jerry Lewis and the MDA. They also talked about whether I should get a PEG (a feeding tube through the abdomen and into the stomach). They said that when your FVC is between 75 and 50, you should consider doing it then. My FVC was 74, but, I think, only because they had the guy test me who yells "Go! Go! Go!" and won't refrain from doing that no matter how many times you ask him to, or even if you write a letter to the clinic director. The yelling makes me laugh, and lowers my score. A couple of months ago he tested me quite low, and on the same day someone else tested me and I scored 92. Another sign that it's time for a PEG, they said, was weight loss. I was diagnosed at about 130 pounds and then beefed up to 138 or so, and am now down to 130.5. I think this is due to some travel we did, and a long cough I had, plus the Flagyl I took. We also got some nutritional supplements which I'll try. They said another sign that it's time for a PEG is when it takes you more than 45 minutes to eat a meal. It often takes me more than an hour, because of all the laughing and choking I do when the kids are acting up.

So I invented a new metric, using the stopwatch.

I was able to consume a Double Whopper with cheese (no onion), a regular fries, and about 0.7 liters of water in 32 minutes, 31.43 seconds. My wife downed hers in about six minutes.

Sure, I've read Fast Food Nation, but I figured that it's a medical necessity for me to eat this BK junk. Normally our family eats free-range meat, and ethically produced eggs and milk. It's more expensive, but it's less of a threat to your health. After watching this video I have decided to eat some other high-calorie lunch, not Burger King food. See for yourself why. Oh and by the way, those among you who support freeing business from the fetters of unreasonable regulation AND who complain about illegal aliens should know that the businesses you support knowingly draw those illegals into this country to work in the slaughterhouses and feedlots seen in this video.

I also went online and ordered a manual pill grinder, and an electric coffee grinder (for pills), since taking pills has become so difficult.

Yesterday evening going out the front door I lost my balance and wound up hanging back-asswards on the railing my wife ordered installed this summer. I then lost my grip when near the ground and fell to the concrete, but did not get hurt. It was dramatic and scary, but nothing got smacked.

I don't imagine that many of you would deliberately spew smoothie onto your expensive flat screen monitor, but here's what it might look like if you did. In my case, it's an ALS-related gag reflex. Now you know why I always have a layer of plastic wrap over my keyboard.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Model lady's gotcha

There was this lady in the marketing department at my company. She was pretty, like a fashion model, and notable due to her tasteful, not ghastly, alterations. She was also nice.

After our son was born, she asked me: "How are you holding up?" I talked about my wife, and how she was holding up because, after all, there I was at work, relaxing, and my wife had done the real work and was carrying the major stress load.

After I was done talking about my wife, the model lady from marketing said words to this effect: "That question was a little test I like to give guys after a baby is born. Most of them just talk about themselves and never even mention the wife, who did the real work. So, good for you!"

Three years and a lot of work and many conversations go by, and then my daughter was born. When I returned to work, I was in the break room when a pal named Paul asked me: "How are you holding up?" I heard the door to the break room open, and knew someone was walking in who could hear our conversation as plain as day. I talked about my wife, and how she was holding up because, after all, there I was at work, relaxing, and my wife had done the real work and was carrying the major stress load.

The model lady from marketing appeared around the corner and said: "Your baby came! Great! How are you holding up?" I had forgotten the conversation of three years prior, but assumed that she had heard me telling Paul how my wife and the baby were doing, and that she meant "How are you holding up?"

I said "I'm fine. Feeling good. Being at work is like a vacation."

Not in a mean way, but in a didactic way, she said, "And ... what about your wife?" Confused that she was asking me to repeat myself, I mumbled "Uhhh, she's doing good."

It was only later that I realized that I had been tested, and had flunked.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Apparently Nowhere Girl was being harassed in Real Life about her blog, and deleted it.

I use the "Next Blog" button to hop around reading blogs sometimes. Recently I bounced on one in which there was a post which, if I recall correctly, asked why "everyone and their grandmother" felt expert enough to have an opinion about whether we are winning or losing in Iraq. I am paraphrasing from memory. The premise seemed to me to be: Leave it to the authorities to decide. That struck me as absurd and undemocratic. So, hoping to stir up some thought, I left a sarcastic comment along the lines of "Pretty soon people will be trying to chose their own president." The implication is that in a society like ours, the people are supposed to evaluate foreign policy and come to their own conclusions. We function better that way.

Because of the mysteries of Blogger, it is not uncommon for me to bounce at random onto the same blog more than once per day, or even the next day. I don't recall whether that is what happened, or whether the blogger "Hooah Wife" came and commented on my blog. But I found myself back on her blog, and saw that she had responded to my sarcastic comment with something along the lines of "You are so right!"

Thinking that she just didn't get me yet, I nonetheless read her blog for a few days. I made comments, less sarcasic, and awaited the unfortunate moment that someone would call me a liberal, idiot, or traitor.

That moment was a long time coming, and "Hooah Wife" (Greta), whose husband has been serving in Iraq, didn't seem to mind me commenting. She seems nice.

I wound up in a long comment exchange with a reader/contributor named "Silke." Amazingly, still no one called me a liberal idiot traitor. Greta suggested we look at a site with what appeared to me to be hermetic, rightist, choir-preaching pieces, dramatic but unsourced.

Silke and I went back and forth about one, and then Greta suggested we read "What the Arab World Thinks"1.

My experience with the Hooah Wife blog to date has been an affirmation that nice people really can have different views on politics, and still talk.

Anyway, I read the piece. Because Greta asked for comments, here is my review:

The basic thesis is: Those people are as savage and heartless as animals. This is extended into two corollaries:

1. There is no need to obey your own standards of decency when responding to their outrages (e.g., it would be OK to use torture against them).

2. Anyone who urges that we obey our own standards of decency is a fool -- and is helping the enemy.

But the real purpose of this illogical and uninformed piece (which does not even address whether torture is effective) is the concluding seven paragraphs, 395 of the piece's 1062 words.

The point is to attack a single politician, Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, who is portrayed as "aiding and abetting the goals and strategy of Islamic jihadists who have declared war on the United States".

Judging from the comments that follow the post, the author is not alone in these views. Of the first 17 comments, only two commenters showed any independent thinking ("Toad734" and "Greta (Hooah Wife)"), while the rest showed agreement.

Toad734 challenged the initial premise: "So are you saying since they torture it's ok for us to do it?"

Referring to a video linked in the piece, Greta (Hooah Wife) asked, "So where did you get this video from and has it been authenticated?"

A more typical comment was "Why has everyone forgotten we are supposed to hate our enemies? Win at all costs? I don't care what our guys do to them. This crap about, 'We treat them nice so they'll treat us nice upon capture' is a daggone joke."

"Win at all costs" might presumably include the cost of maintaining a well-considered national strategy of restraint in treatment of prisoners. But this piece encourages people to throw their intellect aside.

Some commenters felt that a linked video (of the enemy engaged in torture) were "suspect" and "manufactured." Unfortunately, this was the typical response: "Still, without the video, the words of this post are just as graphic and need to be read by all who think one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!"

While intended to be highly emotional, this piece is largely devoid of content, and seeks to tap the suffering and gravity of our times for a crass partisan political purpose.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What The Arab World Thinks
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE
This is graphic, and I think you should each watch it and tell your friends. Click on the websites, either one (they are the same)
Subject: FW: from the horse's mouth

This is a discussion of the attitudes of Arabs towards the Western idea of peace and tranquility and civilization. Written by an Arab, not some think-tanker who thinks he/she might know what's going on. This is what we face; this is how we are viewed.
Torture is accepted and even expected in the Arab world. Yes, I know what you're thinking-that's not politically correct in most mainstream media. And you know some nice Arabs who have immigrated to America. But it's the truth in the Arab world. Might makes right. Real men don't eat quiche. They prove their manhood by the way they treat their enemy. After all it's what Muhammad did to the nonbelievers - Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians in the Quoran - the 'holy book' allegedly mishandled in Guantanamo prison.

Arab Muslim men gain honor by shaming, belittling, abusing and torturing their enemy in the most horrific ways. Just look at how the Palestinians treat so-called collaborators by disemboweling them and hanging them upside down in Manger Square in Bethlehem. Look at the terrorist torture chambers that the coalition forces recently uncovered in Iraq.
When people refer to the prisons of Saddam Hussein and his regime they think he is the extreme exception. Not! The t! ruth is his torture tactics are quite the norm in the Arab world. If you want to see torture that is beyond what any Westerner can ever imagine please go to (

Yes, you read it right, impalement. You'll get a glimpse of what the Arabs do to their own people.
As someone who came from the Arab world and knows how they think, it frustrates me to see self-appointed righteous minded politicians and media pundits oblivious to Arabic culture and thinking, criticizing America's actions at Guantanamo. These are a bunch of al Qaeda jihadists who were captured while bent on killing us - the kaffirs or 'unbelievers. They lau gh watching our government bend over backwards, forwards and sideways trying to appease the critics. The more we stumble over ourselves questioning our goals and tactics, the more they think we are weak and easy to defeat.

They smirk because they believe that Americans have demonstrated how stupid and weak they are by caving in to stories about maltreatment of Guantanamo detainees. They are watching our critics in this country and counting on them to embolden the radical Islamic cause and weaken our resolve.

Actually Gitmo is a joke as far as the Arabs are concerned. Prison? You call that a prison? Let me tell you what some of the prisoners call Guantanamo, "Al muntazah al-dini lilmujaheden al Muslimin," The Religious Resort for Islamic Militants. They are given three halal meals a day in accordance to their religious dictates. How man! y kosher prisons are there in the Arabic world? None. Jews captured in the Arab world are butchered like those obscene pictures taken in Ramallah during the frenzied slaughter of two Israeli reservists who got lost. Remember the Palestinian man holding his red, Jewish blood dripping hands, high above his head in victory? Remember Nick Berg's head being held high also?

Most of these detainees never had three meals a day in their entire life. They are gaining weight, and are living in what they refer to in Arabic as "Al-Jannah," paradise. They have radio, television, soccer games, air-conditioning, clean clothes, servants, meaning American GIs, who wait on them hand and foot. They have Islamic chaplains and handed Qu'rans, the social hate guide against Infidels, by people so concerned as not to offend that they wear latex gloves and carry the book with two hands.

Many Muslims in the Middle East would gladly give up their poverty, dictatorial governments, corrupt! leaders and social bondage to enjoy the relative luxuries Guantanamo offers. They have free medical care, better than millions of uninsured Americans and our military men and women serving on the jihadists' battlefield. Some of them who couldn't afford to see an optometrist now have glasses and can see and read their Qu'ran. Others who never had the opportunity to see a dentist now have a free dental plan. It has become such a joke; we even stop interrogations to let them take prayer breaks demanded by their religion.

As an Arab, I can tell you that Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin is aiding and abetting the goals and strategy of Islamic jihadists who have declared war on the United States. Where was Durbin's comparison to the Nazis when we found the torture chambers in Iraq? Where was Durbin's comparison to Soviet gulags when we found the hundreds of thousands of bodies in Saddam's mass graves?

Where was Durbin's head when he compared prisoners captured on the field of battle to the internment of Japanese American civilians during WWII? OK, apologize to unarmed citizens, not fighters with weapons in their hands.

Where was Durbin when he compared Gitmo and Abu Ghraib to the industry of death that murdered 6 million Jewish men, women and children during WWII? If anything his heart and mind were in the jihadists terrorists' camp. If you see what story is being downloaded and shared by viewers of the al Jazeera web site you will find the story on Durbin's comments the winner.

If I were an Islamic terrorist I would be thanking Durbin and forwarding his views to all my fellow fanatics. His reckless comments fuel the fanatic frenzied jihadists, motivating them to blow themselves up in the midst of innocent civilians, savagely cut the heads of helpless hostage! s and devote themselves to killing the infidel who could be your neigh bor stationed in Iraq. Just like the Quran says they should.

Dick Durbin is an unwitting champion of Islamic radical fundamentalists. His comments should be known from this day forward as a "Durbinization" of the facts. To demonize something grossly out of proportion to what the enemy is doing is to Durbinize.

Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have been Durbinized and the Arab world loves it. They laugh at Durbin because he's supporting their belief in the destruction of our country and civilization. The shame is Durbin doesn't have a clue as to what he's done. As far as he's concerned, he did the right thing for the Islamic radical detainees living high on the proverbial hog in Gitmo. What he really did was made them laugh.

Laugh at us for being fools and not real men. Now it's time to see if the voters in Illinois and his fellow members of Congress are men and women enough to tell the Moslem world Durbin isn't our real man.
Brigitte Gabriel is the former news anchor of World News for Middle East television, and now a Contributing Editor of and the founder of AmericanCongressforTruth

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


There is a study going on, trying to find the protein markers for ALS, or some such malarky, They may have already found the protein markers, and want to cure this disorder or something. Anyway, my friend Jansenist who I have made fun of in this space before -- he wants to donate blood and spinal fluid to help this study. To get spinal fluid, they have to stick a needle in your spine...

The picture is of me getting a spinal tap on December 30, 2003. It wasn't extremely painful, but it was very unwelcome. I wrote then:

It's kind of viscerally unacceptable when that needle slides into your spine. And like all the other procedures you are supposed to remain calm and hold still. In my case a dull but deep ache shot through my pelvis and down my right leg.

And then you have to lie flat for 24 hours else you might wind up with an enormous, blinding migraine. The cure for the headache is simple: Just go to the local emergency room, and they'll draw some of your blood and inject it into your spine with a needle! Imagine waiting six hours in an emergency room, with a giant pain in your head, for that!

I told Jansenist not to let them take a spinal fluid sample. I figure they can get it from corpses of highway accident victims, and from reuse of samples taken from people who suffer from conditions other than ALS.

Jansenist said he wanted to do it anyway.

I called him a chump.

They're probably just going to turn around and sell his CSF at $100 per milliliter to some exotic restaurant where people who are tired of shark-fin soup, whale meat, panda-paw salad, and live monkey brains go to get a real dining thrill: Human CSF soup!

Jansenist is going to do this on Feb. 3rd, hoping to help find a cure for ALS.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Budding anti-Semite

At home, my daughter sings songs she's learned in preschool (although I don't think she yet sings them at preschool). The other day she was noodling around with the lyrics to a Chanukah song, getting lost and stuck the way young kids will. She sang a part about lighting one candle each night, and wanting them to keep burning. And then she got a bit lost and sang this:
Oh Chanukah, oh Chanukah, I hope you burn

She sang it innocently, I swear.

Monday, December 12, 2005


A couple of recent posts by ShutteredEye present an interesting contrast. His 12/2/2005 post "Loss Amidst the Blue" mourns the death in the line of duty of two police officers. "One of the stories we've been following just breaks my heart," ShutteredEye wrote.1. The point of the post was to express sadness at the loss of police officers, and thank those who protect us.

On 12/10/2005, he wrote about an event which had not yet happened. The post, titled "Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday, Dec. 13th," anticipated trouble in the event that a California prisoner would be executed:

Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday is Dec. 13th--mark your calendars, polish your bats, and fire up your Ebay accounts.


My bet is that if he is executed--as a jury of his peers decided should happen, mind you--there will be a replay of the Rodney King and Watts rioting... More images of looting splashed across the television and probably some beatings to go along with it. Lovely. Just what we need.

I think SE's sequence of events is reversed. In the case of Rodney King, first came the beating, then the trial, then the racist acquittal, THEN the riots.

I think SE may be right about riots, but only if cops start beating defenseless demonstrators. I'd say the odds of that are moderately high.

Before you assume I'm in the 'spare Tookie' crowd, let me say that while the death penalty is often applied to innocent people, the DP is not a major priority for me since (a) it doesn't deter anyone and (b) not that many people get killed by the DP. Also (c), It's just one of those traps that the right wing loves to suck people's attention into.

If Tookie is executed, oh well.

What disturbs me here is racism.

First let me say what I'm not saying. I'm not saying SE is a bigot. I assume and believe that he treats all people with respect. I think that if he witnessed an overt instance of racist mistreatment, he would intervene on behalf of the victim. I think SE is a good man, though we disagree on politics.

(As far as that goes: If you cannot communicate with people who hold views that you reject, your world narrows and your purpose on this Earth is in question.)

But most of us carry racist programming around. I know that I do. We soak it up from society and if it alters our behavior, then it passes on its effects down through the generations.

Racism can be as blatant as redlining (a practice lenders still engage in), job discrimination (ditto), or as trivial as a blog post.

SE is not a bigot, and he probably never intended to be racist, but his blog post is racist, in my opinion.

The post gleefully anticipates looting and rioting. As we know from Katrina, only Black people 'loot,' while white people 'find food.'

The whole post is supposed to be cynical and amusing, but truth is said in jest.

SE urges us "polish your bats..." These would be the bats used to hit rioters with. Who is prone to violence here? The crazy Black people, or SE?

"...and fire up your Ebay accounts." This trivializes the anticipated riots, by implying that mementos will be auctioned online.

People might die in those riots (if there are any riots). That's not a laughing matter. How would SE feel if we brought bats to the funerals of the two police officers, and went on eBay to sell souvenirs of their deaths?

There is a racist tone to SE anticipating these events. The racist assumption is that African Americans are violent, childish people who overreact to perceived injustice. Rioting and looting is in their nature. "Lovely. Just what we need," he writes in disgust.

It is, in fact, just what some people need. Specifically, many in the right-wing, self-identified 'Christian' movement need it. They need more spectator-sport confirmation of their narrow view that this is a crazy world full of dangerous people, and that they themselves, the Republican 'Christians,' are the only valid people. No need for self-examination or education is required. The world is simple. Just look at those crazy Blacks!

Having said that, there are plenty, plenty racist Democrats and non-Christians. Plenty. I'm not a Democrat or a Christian, but my head has plenty of racist thoughts in it. You may get the impression that I'm trying to attack SE, but I'm actually just disgusted with the dog poop that was on his shoe when he came into my house. (His blog = the shoe. The Tookie post = the poop).

He's a good man and not a bigot. I am as racist as he is. But I think his post stunk. I am not saying that he planned, intended, or set out to convey these racist messages. I think that he just sat down to write a post about civic life ... and out came poo.

If indeed there is a huge riot after the execution, that doesn't make either of our posts more right or wrong. It just means that there has been another sad event, as sad, and as deserving of a mature response, as the loss of two fine police officers.

Loss Amidst the Blue

Just when my family and I are basking in the warm glow of the holidays, the world brings us all back to earth. One of the stories we've been following just breaks my heart.

Tuesday afternoon Fort Worth, TX police officer H.K. "Hank" Nava was investigating a gas station drive-off/identity theft incident that turned into a police chase earlier in the week. He and 2 other officers were at a house in north Fort Worth looking for a suspect that managed to elude officers during the chase. They were greeted at the front door by two people who let the officers in. As they stood conversing, the suspect, Stephen Heard, burst from behind a closed bedroom door and shot the nearest officer in the head. By luck of the draw, it was Hank Nava. All of the officers, Nava included, returned fire, but Heard had already fled.

He ran down the street, took a hostage, and barricaded himself inside a house. While the suspect "...drank 4 Heinekens," Officer Nava was being airlifted to the hospital. Four hours later, when Heard gave himself up, uninjured, Nava was still in emergency surgery to save his live. Family, officers, even the mayor, descended on the hospital to keep vigil, and the community as a whole watched, hoped, and prayed.

Heard has a laundry list of prior offenses, from forgery to theft. He has alleged ties to the Arayan Nation. He claims he thought the officers were burglars depsite the officers having identified themselves, and were wearing jackets with "POLICE" emblazoned across the front and back. His own mother has publicly said she will not plead for his life should the DA seek the death penalty. Heard is eligible to receive the death penalty because this a capital murder case.

Nava fought hard to battle his injuries for 2 days, but yesterday afternoon he passed away. He leaves behind a wife, a 9 year old daughter, and a 4 year old son. And the whole community is grieving. Nava was with the FWPD for 14 years.

This is the second time in a month that an area officer has been killed in the line of duty. Dallas police officer Brian Jackson was pursuing an armed car-jacking suspect on foot. As he came through the gate of a residence, the suspect was hiding behind the fence to his left. With the very last bullet in his gun, the suspect shot him once, under the arm bypassing his protective vest. The suspect then threw down his empty gun, and immediately surrendered. The officer was airlifted to the hospital, but he was dead by the time they got him there. Jackson left behind a wife of two months--they had dated for 6 years. The suspect? An immigrant that was in this country illegally, and was afraid he was going to be deported. Jackson was with DPD for 7 years.

Each life is as valuable as another. But, when it's near Christmas, and the life lost is that of someone in the noble profession of protecting the community, it seems to hurt just that much more.

To all you police officers out there--thank you very much for the job that you do. Stay safe, and make it home to your loved ones.

Merry Christmas.


Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday, Dec. 13th.

Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday is Dec. 13th--mark your calendars, polish your bats, and fire up your Ebay accounts.

I have been following this story ever since Jane brought it too my attention.

As Tookie Williams' execution date draws near, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My bet is that if he is executed--as a jury of his peers decided should happen, mind you--there will be a replay of the Rodney King and Watts rioting... More images of looting splashed across the television and probably some beatings to go along with it. Lovely. Just what we need.

Execution date: Dec 13.

I, for one, will be watching and waiting.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Best birthday ever

My daughter was so happy and SO PROUD at her three-year-old birthday party, when she got to lead the costume parade, and when we sang happy birthday to her. She was so proud and so happy that the look on her face is one I will never forget. She was almost crying. It was the look of someone who is getting everything they ever wanted, all the love and attention desired, and just feeling so warm and lucky and pleased. It's the look where you hold your chin up, and your lower lip swells a bit because you're trying to control your smile, and the corners of the mouth turn down just a bit, but your eyes have a burning clarity that says: "This ... is RIGHTEOUS!"

It was amazing. I was so happy for her, and when I saw that look on her face, I said a mental thank-you to my wife for arranging the party and making the girl SO HAPPY. Later I said an in-person thank you.

My son had a good day too, despite throwing up the night before, and not being allowed to eat cake. In the morning I apologized for yelling at him, and explained that I was just trying to get him to obey his mother, but that it hadn't been a good idea to yell. A few hours later, at the store buying party supplies, I picked up a new pair of kid scissors for him, which is something he'd been asking for. He had a good day.

Because the fly buttons on the Levi's 501s are getting nearly impossible for my left hand to help button, I wore some of my old business casual pants all day. They have a zipper. Ever since I was a small boy I'd always thought that the zipper fly and underwear fly were stupid and useless. Most all guys just unfasten their pants when they want to pee, then fasten the pants back up when done.

But now, because of my weak left hand, I have been reduced to the stupid way.

So I was wearing these pants (I've been wearing Levi's exclusively for about seven years), when a woman at the party said "You look nice today."

She don't know the half of it. I used to have a great ass. How do I know? At work I used to sometimes catch ladies staring at my ass when I walked away. It was like a shared moment with them, quietly standing next to each other, holding their beverages, waiting. I turned around once or twice, suddenly, because I'd left an item behind, and there they were, looking at it. Then there was the time as a student when I went to the campus clinic for an injection in my ass, and all the young nurses quickly and silently filed into the room and lined up against the wall, watching. "Is this some kind of training?" I asked.

"Uh, yeah! It's ... training."

There were also the bald statement from a coworker that John had the best ass in the company. Then she described what made his ass so perfect. But it wasn't a description of his ass -- it was a description of mine.

Anyway, yeah, it was a great ass. But now it's kind of shrunken and flat, due to atrophy from the ALS.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though, because I found $17 in the pockets of the pants!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

100-blog recon

Worst birthday ever? -- Today is not my daughter's birthday, it's her birthday party. The wife noted that every single year, either she, or my son has been sick with the flu on my daughter's birthday celebration. So this year, she moved it up to today. Last night in bed, my son vomited. That means that I am the only one who this month has not prayed at the porcelain shrine. The wife has been slaving over preparations for the party, and then last night she got to help him by cleaning up his bed, changing the bedclothes, and helping him wash in the bathroom. Then she changed the sheets on our bed, because at bedtime, he'd been making a point of lying in it and not getting out when asked. This morning the kids woke up (it's always a little too early) and began begging and harassing the wife as usual. The boy got on our bed and would not get off. Kids have an instinct for finding the thing you least want them to do. Experimentally, I tried yelling at him, and that didn't work. He got upset and became more determined. He held a sit-in in the bathroom, to prevent his sister from washing her hands. I yelled more. I'm done with the yelling for today. I am impressed that I can do it without laughing. Worst Birthday, Ever? Let's try!

I used the "Next Blog" button 100 times a week ago, and this is my report:

  1. Classical music blog

  2. Spanish language teenage peer group photos

  3. Scandinavian language toddler reports with photos

  4. French language video game screen shots

  5. Graphic arts student blog with images

  6. Spanish language photo blog

  7. Parent of introverted child wants to help others with same issue

  8. Pictures and thoughts from my county

  9. Asian-language technology blog (cybernetics?)

  10. Lonely, upbeat, fat guy

  11. Sports news and photos

  12. Reality TV roundup

  13. Visual arts and poetry

  14. Canadian blogger probably commercial

  15. Teenage boy musician wanna-bes

  16. Spanish-language porno portal

  17. Personal, game-oriented blog with annoying background music

  18. Visual arts impaired by HTML experimentation

  19. First test post

  20. Writer, photographer, artist

  21. Scandinavian-language blog with English name, title and profile, as very typical of many non-English blogs

  22. Spanish language teenage peer group photos

  23. Eclectic collection of popular culture images

  24. Political support for the Republicans through sarcasm

  25. Some thoughts I have

  26. French-language telethon

  27. Young man posts his photo and a reference to beer to start his blog

  28. Spanish-language listing of classes available

  29. Teenage girl's journal

  30. Spanish-language Latin culture

  31. Spanish-language philosophy and current events

  32. A couple of pictures of a lamp, and a Hindu god statue

  33. German-language rock and roll site

  34. R/C, PC Security, and anything else that interests me at the time

  35. I decided to start a blog to help me keep track of sites, music, and things in general

  36. Spanish-language images simulating goth girl bloody deaths

  37. This blog will support the upcoming event on the 8th of February that will link students and businesses from the Rotterdam Harbor together.

  38. This is a group assignment for our Computer Applications Course.

  39. Various musing and more distinct thoughts on technology, the market, politics and some of the really dumb things I see companies doing from time to time.

  40. Images of the state of a single building over the decades

  41. Shropshire Unison Labour Link

  42. Images of parachuting in Argentina

  43. A blog only for my lover

  44. Attacking Texas politician Lamar Smith

  45. Female college student makes fun of old guys looking for love and posts photos of events she's been to

  46. A family blog

  47. Spanish-language reactions to popular culture

  48. "Terribly Blunt, Borderline Bipolar, Bitter Sweet Bitch"

  49. I work from home and you know what? You can too!

  50. Spanish-language Catholic issues

  51. "Documenting Real Conspiracies," apparently a humor blog

  52. Student assignment blog

  53. Persian-language photo blog

  54. Slovak-language photo blog

  55. "A Picture Taking, Poker Playing, Redneck Computer Geek Tries to Say Something Interesting"

  56. Brazilian teenage photo blog featuring a smiling, dark-skinned youth in t-shirt with huge Nazi swastika

  57. Personal site with odds and ends for sale, possibly to prep content for eBay

  58. "Digital Card Catalogue of the Imaginary Census Bureau"

  59. Young woman's blog wandering through reasons to hate men, and various cartoons and pop culture images

  60. Blog of baby images and updates

  61. One picture of a salad, annotated in German

  62. First test post on a new blog

  63. "Beth's daily happenings, news, and photographs"

  64. Young Australian woman's European travel blog

  65. Test posts in a new Scandinavian-language blog

  66. "Christmas stealers are successful with some people by making them forget about God and focus more about gifts for people at Christmas"

  67. Group blog for a history class

  68. Scandinavian-language world events blog

  69. Spanish-language photo blog of a very small town that may be in South America or Iberia

  70. Portuguese-language blog about paranormal events

  71. Irreverent young woman writer compensates for loneliness with vulgarity

  72. "Graduate student in NC, figuring out what I want to do with my life, just taking it one step at a time."

  73. Porno portal using sexual fiction as a beard

  74. Spanish-language poetry/fiction blog

  75. Knitting blog

  76. Asian-language photo blog of being in America

  77. Personal blog of male college student in India

  78. A mom's photo blog

  79. College student in Zimbabwe twitches to popular culture

  80. French-language family blog's first test post

  81. French-language radio station blog

  82. Young Australian woman's European travel blog (the same)

  83. "The Narcotic Tax Stamp Research Project is a real-time online study group working to expand the available knowledge base for this philatelic specialty."

  84. French-language photo blog of Tunisia

  85. First test post

  86. "I'm a 40-something happy homemaker and a Christian who loves home and hearth and most things old-fashioned."

  87. Sci-fi fan fiction archive

  88. English-language blog of Polish guy

  89. Spanish-language blog on political thought

  90. Young Irish guy's personal blog

  91. French guy interested in seafood blogs in French from America

  92. "G-town info brought to you by the G-town love crew!"

  93. Family photo blog

  94. Spanish-language friends' blog with English-language song lyrics

  95. Former Marine, full time student, part time Dad, Ex-Husband, Ex-Fiancee.

  96. This blogger digs God

  97. Spanish/English mystical blog

  98. A homemaker loves God

  99. "Bringing you the latest News Views and Snooker/Pool Gadget"

  100. Portuguese-language quippy blog.


Friday, December 09, 2005

30,000 new Iraqi businesses are the problem!

On Wednesday, December 7, Margaret Warner of the News Hours with Jim Lehrer interviewed a USAID official named James Kunder, who defended the president's viewpoint in his speech about Iraq. Electricity shortages were mentioned by a Democratic senator, and Warner asked Kunder about that. Kunder said the most stark, intellectually craven thing:

"There are more than 30,000 new businesses that have started since the military action commenced, and I'd like to point out the fact that while we have a problem in not being able to meet electricity demand in Baghdad and across the country, part of the problem is -- the problem, if you call it that -- is that there have been so many new Iraqi businesses started in many parts of the country, that we can't keep up with the demand."

This attempt to deceive is an insult to our intelligence, but it has a sort of beautiful logic: The problem cannot be that we are unable to supply electricity, so the problem therefore must be too much new demand, due to the vibrant new Iraqi economy. The language of deception is also skillful: While implying that new demand is the only problem, he slips in weasel words ("part of the problem") so that he doesn't actually say that.

It's a classic piece of lying.

I am further amused because it also resonates with the concepts used a while back to justify Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. You may remember a lot of talk about benefitting "small businesses." We were supposed to not realize that these "businesses" were just private individual wealth being invested in securities and real estate.

Likewise, when the 400,000-strong Iraqi Army is disbanded by the administration, and those sorry suckers start trying to sell their boots, rifles, RPGs and ammo, that's "new business." It may not require electricity to sell an RPG, but since we're dealing in hypotheticals and fiction here, you can put your hand down.

Never mind the near impossibility of an ordinary Iraqi trying to rent or buy a space in Iraq that has electricity, much less actually starting to draw power from the grid. We're supposed to imagine lots of new businesses creating so much new demand that ordinary residences cannot get power for hours at a stretch.

According to the CIA, the population of Iraq is 26,074,906. Divide the 30,000 fictional businesses into that, and we get one fictional business for every 869.16 Iraqis. Does that sound like a level of economic upturn that should mean Riverbend should go without power for six or eight hours at a stretch? To quote her: "The electricity schedule in what appears to be most areas in Baghdad is currently FIVE hours of no electricity for every one hour of electricity."

I hate to be the one to say it, but I think most of those 30,000 new businesses are small craft shops making IEDs, or synergistically leveraging the employee knowledge base to tear down the Iraqi power grid.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

At last

The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

Finally! After over 20 years of hating my bank, I am rid of them. The check to E-Trade went through, leaving the spiteful balance for the bank collect when I fail to meet minimum balance rquirements:

Available Balance $0.13

I hope their confiscation process costs them more than 13 cents.

The ALS-induced night time drooling is getting disgusting. Do any of you with ALS know how to control it or mitigate it?

The study entitled, "Onset Administration of MGd Extends Survival in G93A Mice," demonstrated that mice receiving MGd after disease onset showed a 2.5 fold increase in survival and improved neurologic function versus control.

Oh joy, now we're one step closer to curing ALS in mice!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Inverse Golden Rule

Let me be the first to predict: Blogspot is dying

As I've mentioned, I remember a lot more of my childhood than most people seem to, and this enables my wife1 to say "Now I know where they got it from" if ever I mention that I remember doing something bad or frustrating that the kids are currently doing.

Take for example when my parents tried to explain the Golden Rule to me. I immediately developed the inverse, a justification for revenge: If someone does something to you that you don't like, that means they want you to do it back to them.

There is no arguing with a five-year-old when they have their back up. If you don't have kids, then you don't know what I mean. No matter how nice, and patient, and kind you try to be, you just cannot get a point across to a five-year-old who doesn't want to get the point. Imagine it like this: Julia Roberts gets on a big yellow parade float and slowly drives along the road handing out candies to kids. Everyone likes Julia Roberts, right? And candy?

OK, but when trying to explain something to a five-year-old who'd rather not hear it, you're Julia Roberts handing out candy from the parade float ... on the road from Baghdad to Ramadi. How far would she get before the fireball?

I inverted the Golden Rule into a justification for revenge, and so has my son. As a child, I shouted the Golden Rule as justification for whatever I did wrong to other people, and so does my son.

A chip off the old block.

She's asked me to stop calling her "my lovely wife" in this blog. I think she's trying to be modest about how gosh-darn, drop-dead beautiful she is. Grrrr-owl!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

QAD, and pill treason

My left hand and wrist are so weak and unreliable that my at-one-time reliable innovation of doing the right hand by placing the nail clipper on my knee and pressing down on the lever with my open left palm no longer works well. The left wrist often wobbles under the pressure, resulting in a torn fingernail on the right hand. So I implemented a change I had been thinking about for a while, namely, to broaden the base and eliminate the wobble. I nailed the clipper to a small board that's over a foot long. I put it across my knees and clip without fear:

I have a lot more difficulty swallowing pills of late. When I first was diagnosed, I used to swallow as many at a time as I could, which was, I'm guessing, about 10. Now I have trouble swallowing even one pill. They often go down, hover near the esophagus, and then come back up. I don't have much trouble swallowing food, just pills. I cannot tell you how many times I have picked a pill up off the floor to try again. Yes, I know it's unsanitary, but I figure it makes my immune system stronger.

When I started taking the Flagyl, it made me feel kind of bad. Not Herxheimer bad, just toxic. And then I caught a cold from my kids. So I gave myself a little break and decided that for the duration of the Flagyl, I would only that the essential pills. These were:

  1. Namenda - so that I don't laugh like a maniac at every tiny provocation

  2. DHEA - to pump me up

  3. Quinine - to reduce night muscle cramps

  4. Low-dose Naltrexone - an experiment

  5. Three Citrucel caplets - to keep the Evil One at bay, since Namenda is constipating

I also have a calendar reminder every other day to take a couple of tablepoons on mineral oil. This anti-Evil One system seems to be working out well.

The 'temporary break' in taking so many various pills has become permanent. So now my regimen looks like this:

Regimen as of 051128, with many items stricken in October 2005
5 g creatine powder in water - es, bedtime (3 weeks on, one week off)
50 mg riluzole twice daily - es (stopped circa Feb. 10 2005, resumed 4 August 2005, stopped again after two months)
10 mg Namenda (mimentine) once daily before bed - es
Prescribing Information (with contraindications) for Namenda
3600 mg fish oil (1296 mg EPA, 864 mg DHA) - es
400 units vitamin E - es
100 mg DHEA - es
1 Garden of Life Primal Defense HSO Probiotic formula caplet once daily - es
2 Mannatech Ambrotose Glyconutitional Supplement capsules once daily - es
vitamin C 2000 mg - wf
1000 mg flaxseed oil - es
600 mg co-q10 - wf
multivitamin - wf
grape seed extract 300 mg - es
green tea extract - es
acidophilus - es
super oxide dismutase 2000 units - es
Alpha Lipoic Acid 200 mg - es (may have caused rashes?)
Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg - es
Sublingual B-12 dots 500 mcg - es (may have caused rashes?)
325 mg quinine - es
To deal with constipating effect of Namenda:
3 Citrucel caplets - es
2 TBS mineral oil every other day - es

es = empty stomach
wf = with food

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dorman's thesis

I got my first hit from Libya today! They found my blog using a search for "free porno photos ,women sex with animal." My blog showed up on the first page of results:

... A dead wild animal or insect ... advertising photos of people ... or festival Porno Abstract or ... I did have sex with ... usually women) Someone ... and combined with Democrat ... Other Free polls from.

Dorman is at it again, trying (I think) to prove that Islam is evil and should be crushed. He's on active duty in Iraq. I replied to his Dec. 4 post:

> I can't remember hearing the term 'movement' associated with insurgents; implies too much organization and purpose.

They have plenty of both. Have you seen the movie "The Battle of Algiers?" It's like a primer on insurgency against occupation. The organization and purpose are deep, but not hard to set up.

>What is the purpose of the insurgents? To disrupt? That is not a purpose. If it were a legitimate purpose then the insurgents would have been disrupting Hussein's secular government, also. They weren't.

Saddam was better at maintaining a murderous terror state than we ever could be. Plus, he was from Iraq and grew his power base there over the years. We just arrived. Any insurgency has a much better chance against us than against him. Attempts to fight Saddam were strangled at the cervix.

> Are these insurgents nothing more than disgruntled citizens showing their displeasure in copycat fashion?

No, many act out of sincere conviction, but most do so because if they don't help the insurgency, then THEY are terrorized and killed, along with their families.

> The level of insurgency here is amateurish in comparison to any other.

Amateurs or not, they are achieving their objectives and we ain't.

> Guerillas, insurgencies, rebellions, conventional military operations all need a unifying ideology through which to communicate and base mission goals.

Hardly. Fear for your life and the lives of your children is enough. And look at you, Dorman, over there serving in a war and doing your duty when you obviously think for yourself. Most people in the US no longer agree with Bush's handling of the war, we're not "unified," but the government is unhindered.

> ...the President responded by reassuring the American people and the world that this is not a war on Islam. But it is.

Oh, I agree that it is. But that doesn't make it right. Islam is not terrorism. We ought to use our resources to defeat terrorism. But we don't. You are there in Iraq, of all places. Better he should have invaded Mexico. La cerveza es mejor.

> Why so much attention to something that is not the poblem?

Well, in this case, you're saying that it is. So some of us commented on that.

> They proclaim after every act that they did it in the name of Islam for Islam.

Jim Jones did what he did for Christ. So he said. Does that make it true?

> Obviously the insurgents desire some result from their actions.

They want power, to become the new Saddams.

> It is my summation that the insurgents want to install a sovereign islamic government, autonomous and self-derived.

Quite likely. But also allowing murder and torture and plunder.

> This language and conceptual set is as foreign to them as is being shown the bottom a sandal would be insulting to us. And they don't trust us because of Israel.


> The reason we as a nation cannot admit that it is a war against Islam is simple.

I admit it. But I don't want it. I want us to defeat terrorism.

> ... Al-Qaida in Iraq is not a terrorist group, it is a guerilla movement.

Agreed. It's both, but agreed.

> How popluar would Star Wars be if Luke was referred to as the Terrorist Mastermind....leader of the Insurgency?

Well but we don't see Luke blowing up marketplaces or crowds of children.

> I do not find anything honorable in the insurgency, not in Iraq or Afghanistan.


...Dorman, I read your whole post and you never made an argument for your case, which I think, from your previous posts, is that Islam is evil and must be crushed. Your mind is lost in the wilderness of your words.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Whenever I tried to comment on a blog requiring verification text, this was the only image I got, so I was always rejected. Yes, I tried restart, and I cleared the cache. I even cleared my cookies. It kept happening. I sent an email to Blogger support. A couple of hours later, the problem cleared up.

On Monday Dec. 5th they wrote back:


Thanks for letting us know about this. This weekend, a server issue was causing some problems with the word verification on blog comments. In some cases, this prevented comments from being created. The problem was fixed on Saturday evening (PST) so everything should now be working normally again. If you continue to have trouble, please clear your browser's cache and cookies, and that should solve it. Thanks for your patience.


Blogger Support

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bird ingestion

Here's a great video of the results of a bird strike that I found on a blog. The bird strike occurs seven seconds into the video, which requires Windows Media Player. Microsoft will do to your computer what the bird did to this plane.

One thing about this video that no doubt you'll notice (and that I'll describe for you in case you don't have the sucky Windows Media Player), is that the pilots remain controlled and functional the whole time. Sure, it's an act, of a kind. But it's also professionally useful, and safer to be calm.

I feel like my body is this plane that has ingested a bird. I am calm, in the sense that I'm not panicking, and I am happy and content with my life. By the way, that's just my nature, not my achievement. I don't claim credit for lucky biochemistry. If you do panic and fret, I understand that, too.

So I started writing this at about 3:20 AM, after waking up and coming downstairs. Things seemed a bit too warm and stuffy upstairs. Plus, while shuffling over to the bathroom, I had an idea for a children's book, with illustrations, about ALS.

Calmly, like the pilots in the video, I tell you that I weep when I think about what my decline is taking away from my kids. Weeping is part of the procedure for ejecting from the plane. It's a good release, and no one holds it against you, because it's SOP.

But since I knew I might start weeping when thinking about my kids, I came downstairs to sleep on the fold-out in the study. My lovely wife heard the sobs and came down to comfort me. But she has germs that have made her vomit, so she can't hold me and hug me. I've lost enough weight already, and a round of vomiting -- though it might not kill me -- is the very last thing I need right now.

So she told me instead that she wishes she could fix this problem for me and make it better, and that what makes me cry makes her cry too. After thanking her, I told her that I didn't want to keep her awake, or get her germs, and that she should go back to bed.

I've been intermittently weeping for over an hour. I couldn't go to sleep, because I had to think out this idea. So I turned on the computer to get it out and make it settle. Through the wall, she can hear me, when the story makes me sob.

The strength of that woman. I swear.

The thing that kills me (sorry for the pun) about this condition and my kids, is that they will want to know, or they do want to know, what is really going on, and how I feel about it and how they should feel about it. That's part of what I was trying to fit into the kids' book idea I worked on in my head. I really want to be able to talk with them about this, and whether it makes them sad or scared. But having such a discussion could make them very anxious, destroy the sense of safety that children need. So instead we've given cheerful little explanations of my "nerve signal propagation issue" with a drawing of nerves carrying signals from the brain to the muscles -- without raising or hinting at the possibility of Daddy's death.

My daughter is afraid of skeletons, and tried to hide her eyes from them at Halloween.

If you suggest that the kids already know, or suspect, and that I really ought to sit down and talk with them about my death, then I spit in your face, dear gentle, facile blog reader. I am not going to frighten them. You piss off.

Instead, since I REALLY want to talk with them about it -- in my own words -- I thought of this kids' book with illustrations. It's not the kind of thing you could give them now, in advance of some of the events described. But I want to create it now for them to have later. I'm not done mentally composing it, but here are some notes:

I used to have a dad ... like THIS! He would play chase, and wrestle, run, and play basketball... He even repaired part of the house. He showed us how to nail up a wall. You could see sparks when his hammer hit the nails! ...But later, he just sat around. He didn't come with us on hikes. He didn't pick us up anymore. And he had this weird laugh. Sometimes you couldn't understand what he was saying. "Ah wuf hoo?" His basketball shoes and his hammer must have missed him. I miss him. I miss my old dad. And I asked my mom: Do you think Dad doesn't love us anymore? Is that why he's going away? [Graphic of little dad receding smaller and smaller in a wheelchair?] Mom said no. Mom said that even though Dad's face didn't move anymore, even when he couldn't pick us up, when he couldn't move, or talk, that he told her to tell us that he loves us more than anything in his life -- ever! Even more than kites, or nectarines [image series of dad as a boy], rockets, or books. She said that Dad said that we are the best part of his entire life, and that he loves us, always, tenderly, the way a coat keeps you warm all over on a chilly winter day, or the way you feel about the sun on a perfect morning. She said so. And he said so, by telling her to give us this book, so that we would always know that he loves us.

And see, Jansenist, it hasn't hurt me a bit that I've spent so many hours playing Civilization III. It's all part of the SOP. Maybe now, some sleep?

Friday, December 02, 2005


Last night while we were at a friend's home for a dinner meeting, my lovely wife threw up in the bathroom. It hit her quickly. It was only on the drive over there that she noticed her stomach roiling. I drove us back. She hurled into a bowl in the car a couple of times on the drive homeward. Then, after we got home and tucked the kids in bed, she hurled again. Then my daughter, who had been fine all day after tossing Wednesday night, again threw up. My lovely wife took care of her.

I slept downstairs, away from the lovable, germy ones.

Yesterday I went to my son's kindergarten to help the kids with chess during elective time. Eight kids played, and they were ideal, respectful of the equipment, and each other. Since several kids were already familiar with chess, and helped the others, I didn't have to answer a single question. I interfered only a couple of times when pawns went backward or sideways.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stay the curse

I offer you two plans regarding Iraq:

1. Support the president and all his actions there.*

2. Cut and run by an arbitrary deadline, like a weak nation, and let down our allies and the cause of freedom.**

It's that simple.

*Offer void where prohibited by logic. Questioning how we got here not permitted. Blame not permitted. Some restrictions may apply. Tax cuts for the wealthy mandatory.
** Not permitted to note that Democrats have not requested a deadline, but instead metrics for measuring progress to facilitate force level reductions. Participants must frame debate only in terms of 'withdrawal' and 'cutting and running.'
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