Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Weeks before I hurt my left foot with the wheelchair, it was swollen around the ankle, I think from lack of use. It rarely flexes or bears weight. Now I try to 'step' on it 10 or 25 times a day, to simulate walking.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

People often think they'll stay out of my way by standing behind the wheelchair. In order to move, I must often back up. What follows then is a battle of patience.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thanks Alexandrialeigh

Closing in on Lou Gehrig's disease genes

BALTIMORE, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Johns Hopkins researchers said Tuesday they have narrowed the search for the cause of devastating Lou Gehrig's disease to 34 suspect genes.

Once the genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- the incurable disease that killed the New York Yankee legendary first baseman -- can be isolated, scientists believe they will be able to find a way to conquer the illness that claims 10,000 Americans a year.

"Although we haven't located the exact gene responsible for sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, our results seriously narrow the search and bring us that much closer to finding what we need to start developing treatments for the disease," says Bryan Traynor, a staff neurologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Traynor identified the 34 single nucleotide polymorphisms from 276 unrelated patients with the non-inherited form of the disease. About 5 percent of people who have Lou Gehrig's disease contract the inherited form. Genes responsible for inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis were identified in the 1990s.

In the first genome-wide search for the genetic roots of the most common form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Johns Hopkins scientists have newly identified 34 unique variations in the human genetic code among 276 unrelated patients.

In the Johns Hopkins study, described in the online version of Lancet Neurology this month, Traynor and his team scanned the entire genome of 276 adult male and female subjects with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and 271 adult male and female subjects with no history of neurological disease.

The researchers found 34 genetic variants that patients were more likely to have compared to normal individuals without the disease.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

When I was a kid, numbers had gender, not colors or music. I also think they had personality. In the first grade, I made some coment along these lines to my father, and he told me it was not so.

But yet it was.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When trying to stand from the shower chair, it is important that the toes on my left foot be flat on the floor: none of them curled under.

Also, in the closet of the study are some grip aid things, like for toothbrushes. They're hanging from a hook in a plastic bag to the LEFT, about as high as your face. Could you please get them?

Friday, February 23, 2007

I came with the family to a support group they go to that the kids really enjoy. The crips gather in a room away from the kids. Aside from the moderatress, there was only one other person there besides me. At first I assumed he was staff. What follows is MY half on the conversation, saved to my talk document on my laptop.

i am brainhell. i came with my wife and our kids son and daughter

1st time

i will now dance and sing

i have (please be discreet and do not frightken my kids) ALS which is supposedly fatal and incurable

progressive degenerative neuromuscular disorder

i guess i am tonight’s only crip

more kleenex?

trash can?

glioma -- cripes. how old are you?

i guess i am not tonight’s only crip


was diagnosed at 41

your job?

tough physical work? skill though like

programmer ... any

retired immediately

gradual decline started using only wc in june

my neuro said ‘at least you didn’t have a glioma!’

repeat please

gallows humor

‘retire’ is just mwhat i call it. am on LTD and SS disb

longterm dis

my two cents: ‘retire’ and then get better and you can work then

i liked my work too

favor? can you adjust this headrest and then tighten it

your kids’ ages?

7, 4


they say he has ALS but he was 20 when he got it so it is likely PLS which is why he’s survived

probably yes

you need a wireless hotspot here for internet

i do not detect one here

off at night

my death, feh! what matters is the kids ... and i chose to be with them

true good point but they come home at 3? you at 6?

my very thin sister beat me at arm wrestling in the ER

i was ok but my feeding tube was blocked so they fixed it

2 mins to fix 3 hours afterwards waiting to be released

why scare a 7 and 4 year old? you have kids? ok
you have your schooling and opinions but i have kids. respectfully i say that

first house yep

a syptom of als is uncontrolled laughing and crying. i am lucky that mostly i laf. but sometimes...

u had brain surgery!?!??

shit oh dear

so i have had what you least want and perhaps vice versa

i know but i met another als guy (he’s happy too) but physically we’re so different

hot in here


nice meeting you both

Thursday, February 22, 2007

when i was your age my reaction was the same as yours: "Shoot it, Kirk!"

true, and Kirk does not want to kill and hurt

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Being within 44 point of saladin now, and points being pop + land + science + wonders, and the game ending in 2050, I think I can try to build culture on pirate island (culture gives land) and try to win peacefully on points -- else attack Japan.

This did work and I won peacefully on points, but only because I CHEATED by dialing back before a war and avoiding it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The cause of the noble, suffering Palestinian has been one that inspires much anti-Israel, anti-American sentiment. Not taking sides here, just talking tactics (though some of you may assume that my saying a given side uses a tactic must mean I hate that side. Feh.)

So Hamas won the Palestinian elections, and Israel and the US immediately began withholding funds, later on giving those funds only to Fatah, the Hamas rival.

I saw this as a transparent attempt to divide the Palestinians. Good luck! I thought. But it worked! Palestinians were killing each other as I wrote this, in what is shaping up into a civil war. Many hands in Israel and Washington must be rubbing together in glee.

The impact of a Palestinian civil war could be profound. It's harder to justify your movement on the grounds of helping an oppressed minority when that minority are killing each other in a bitter power struggle.

Certain oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia draw both support and instability from the Palestinian cause. On the one hand it claims to help the Palestinians by braking Israel. On the other, the so-called 'street' Arab is angry with the regime for being so tight with the US and the West generally, oppressors of the Palestinians and polluters of culture.

The civil war in Iraq will be used by the GOP merely to justify cutting and running, because the Iraqis just "aren't worth it" -- but far more far-reaching and profound would be a Palestinian civil war, if the US and Israel can stoke the conflict long enough.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Last night a 6:30 when everything seemed fine I suddenly got thick saliva obstructing my breathing. It was scary indeed for myself and my heroic wife. I found good air access only when I put my head down. That's the key for me. Whenever I am in breathing distress, help me lean forward and put my head down. Unfortunately my legs seem to get quite stiff when I have trouble breathing, which resists attempts to lean me forward, something I can normally do for myself.

can you please fasten the belt around the back of the shower chair? i'm worried that one of the kids will get hurt if it's left where it is.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

If you want your writing to 'be published' (a phrase soon to be an anachronism) in a literary sense (fiction, poetry) or commercial (scripts, romance, war) ... get used to rejection. There are so very many people chasing the esteem in the first instance, and the dollars in the second, that you stand almost zero chance. If you are the next Hemingway or Steele, don't strive, just keep showing your work to friends and the world will find YOU. Otherwise ... get used to rejection.

If just being published is your main goal, consider local newspapers and magazines. Don't expect to make much money; Many people are there for the love of craft, and some, the young and the comfortable, do it for next to nothing.

If you don't want to do hard news, many newspapers have weekend, arts, opinion, and feature sections. All of this space is jealously and catttily competed for. Good luck, sucker...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Last night my right hip connector hurt a lot, which is why i was yelling 'ow!'

I have a mind that is attuned to words, despite how much I wanted a mathematical mind. In high school once, I was listeing to the teacher, but slouching, and gazing off toward the floor. Maybe I was twitching or tapping too. Suddenly the teacher asked "Brainhell, could you tell me what I just said?"

Being an insolent freak, I continued gazing toward the floor and repeated a full paragraph of what he's said, complete with pauses, umms, and emphases.

It was like a recording.

I now suspect that it was discussed in the teachers' lounge, because I remember it happening twice more that year with other teachers. I didn't notice a pattern at the time, I just thought teachers were uptight.

My son brought home a Spanish test with all the answers correct. On the back the teacher had written that he seems inattentive, but when you ask him a question, he gets it right.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My esteemed wife has a Ph.D., never mind in what, and she has recently resumed teaching college students, never mind where. I am proud of her.

My daughter is reading whatever she can. I've overheard a lot in the past several days. Now she's requested, and received, a reader at preschool. It's not yet been two months since her fourth birthday. I have a laminated sheet with common words on it that I use sometimes for communication. I loaned it to her to read. I am proud of her.

Writing backward, as all kids do at the start, and phonetically, she gave her mom a note today:


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I bought the audiobook 'Rocket Ship Galileo' from the iTunes store. Heinlein wrote some fine books before he descended into literary self-touching in the 1980s. I soaked up lots of Heinlein as a kid. In high school one teacher labeled me a Libertarian. I disliked the label then, because I considered myself a Republican. I don't need labels now, nor to be required to swear fealty to the ideas of a 16-year-old. But given the piece on Heinlein in Wikipedia, I think that the teacher had me sussed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Odd Italian cluster in my readership yesterday.

I'd like your opinion on the idea of having one or more of my salivary glands removed or surgically damaged in order to reduce the amount of excess saliva I must cope with. I don't know what regulates this system, why it is in overdrive, or whether it would attempt to maintain overproduction despite surgical intervention.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Some of the people didn't seem to get it, so I commented:


Sunday, February 11, 2007

I'm playing Civ 4 at warlord level, only the third of eight. Having played many times at warlord, I only won once.

Right now I cannot attack Japan because I lack sea transport. I am researching Astronomy to enable me to build Galleons. My first target will be an island near Japan which has a few barbarian cities on it. This may increase my point score somewhat, and it will place me closer to Japan. Who knows, the island might even have horses.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

you accidentally shaved the soft edge of my upper lip and it bled a bit

it was not that sharp thing but the regular shaving surface, which was rubbed repeatedly over my lip

thank you -- please try to get the whiskers not the red part of my lip

Friday, February 09, 2007

I mashed my left foot using the chair right after I got back from the ER. Hurts to stand on. Not broken, but will be yet harder still to help me into bed. Grind two ibuprofen and tube before bed?

UPDATE: Foot feels normal again. Left ankle was already swelling before injury, and remains swollen after injury swelling went away.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Chess players are the opposite of football players. They never say they're #1. Unless they are. Chess players consistently talk about how bad they are, which is why it didn't surprise me when Silke (at Hooah Wife blog) commented that she foresaw herself losing most games to me, after her blitzkrieg pasting of me the first game we played.

But I'm here to tell you that Silke is the better chess player. Even though I won our game yesterday, you can see in her moves a military determination and self-discipline. She's self-possessed and she does not fluster. I was scared. I almost resigned after I blundered away my rook.

She had me nailed, and only her own late rook blunder gave me room to breathe.

1. e2-e4 e7-e5
2. g1-f3 b8-c6
3. f1-c4 g8-f6
4. f3-g5 d7-d5
5. e4xd5 f6xd5
6. d2-d3 f8-e7
7. g5xf7 e8xf7
8. d1-f3+ e7-f6
9. c4xd5+ f7-f8
10. d5xc6 b7xc6
11. f3xc6 c8-d7
12. c6-f3 a8-c8
13. o-o f8-f7
14. b1-c3 d7-e6
15. c3-e4 h8-e8
16. e4xf6 d8xf6
17. f3xf6+ g7xf6
18. c1-e3 e8-g8
19. f1-e1 a7-a5
20. e3-d2 a5-a4
21. a2-a3 e6-d5
22. f2-f3 h7-h5
23. e1-f1 g8-g6
24. b2-b4 c8-g8
25. g2-g3 h5-h4
26. d2-e1 d5-e6
27. e1-f2 e6-h3
28. f1-e1 f6-f5
29. e1xe5 f5-f4
30. a1-e1 h4xg3
31. e5-e7+ f7-f6
32. e7-e6+ h3xe6
33. f2-d4+ f6-f7
34. h2-h3 g6-h6
35. g1-g2 g8-g5
36. d4-e5 e6xh3+
37. g2-g1 h3-f5
38. e5xf4 g3-g2
39. f4xg5 h6-h1+
40. g1xg2 h1xe1
41. g2-g3 e1-c1
42. g5xc1 f5-e6
43. g3-f4 f7-e7
44. f4-e5 e6-f7
45. f3-f4 f7-b3
46. c2xb3 a4xb3
47. f4-f5 e7-f7
48. f5-f6 c7-c6
49. e5-d6 f7xf6
50. d6xc6 f6-e5
51. c6-c5 e5-f5
52. d3-d4 f5-e6
53. c5-c4 e6-d6
54. c4xb3

She resigned after that.

Sure, she made blunders, but I was lucky that her blunder came late in the game, magnifying the impact.

As to my 'genius,' notice that on move 16, e4xf6, when I traded pieces, I left my queen totally open to the f6 bishop. I am so lucky that she did not notice!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If you're a sensitive person who remembers being a kid, you probably have lots of ideas about how not to conduct yourself as a parent or adult. I certainly did, and many of those ideas inform my parenting. How can I put this nicely? Until you have your own kids, these ideas are just confetti.

Sometimes people say laughable things about kids, or my kids. Rarely do people with kids do this. Childless people often show knowledge and understanding. But when an ignorant and risible comment comes up, it's almost always from a non-parent.

Children experiment with all sorts of disturbing and anti-social behaviors. Mine, too. To many childless experts, this is a reaction to my disability.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The dentist was unable to X-Ray or clean my teeth, because leaning back causes me to gag on saliva, plus my positional vertigo. I would have had great difficulty getting into and out of the dentist's chair, and more choking and fear there. The dentist is going to refer me to some place where they can handle crips.

Monday, February 05, 2007

When I was a kid, my Vietnam vet 'uncle' (husband of much older cousin) taught me to thank soldiers in airports -- even if they were strangers.

Plenty of people, and doubtless some vets, now claim that Vietnam vets were spat on. I've always wanted to see some contemporaneous evidence -- a news article, or better yet, photo, to back it up. The war was HOTLY debated then, much as Iraq is today, and surely the 'patriots' would have leapt on such evidence.

It may indeed have happened once or twice, but why no contemporaneous evidence? Zero. None.

Now the blog Riehl World View confirms that there is likely no contemporaneous evidence.

The blog links to a Slate article which states: "In researching the book, Lembcke found no news accounts or even claims from the late 1960s or early 1970s of vets getting spat at."

The blog then cites accounts and first-person claims from 2004, 1988 (subsequent to the release of "Rambo: First Blood" in October 1982, wherein Rambo claims to have been spit on), 2005, 2001, and 2003.

having thus supported the view that there is no contemporaneous evidence, the blogger then does a victory dance, asking if we can question their patriotism now.


Silke at Hooah Wife blog found a contemporaneous news story:

"This is a brief description of a segment from a news broadcast held by the Vanderbilt Television news Archive. It is from 1971…"

(Studio) January, 1971, report on medics in Vietnam recalled; retd. medic featured. REPORTER: Charles Collingwood

(Manhattan, Kansas) Delmar Pickett, Junior, hero, returns from Vietnam, finds US indifferent to war; vets’ unemployment high; returns to school at Kansas State University as better student than before Vietnam experience. [Student Gwyn STEERE - speaks of Pickett’s modesty.] [Vietnam film from earlier feature shown.] Pickett home is in Olsburg, Kansas. [PICKETT - tells of being spit on in Seattle, WA.] Disillusioned but not downed by Vietnam experience. [PICKETT - tells of experience as medic in Vietnam.] [Father Delmar PICKETT, Senior - says son more settled.] [MOTHER - says son a much better student than formerly.] Drugs no problem for Pickett. 2 1/2 million Vietnam vets. REPORTER: Morton Dean

When I measured my SPO2 (blood oxygen) today, it was 99 percent. It's typically 98 or 99.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

46 nations call for tougher U.N. environment role

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent Sat Feb 3, 9:45 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - Forty-six nations called for the creation of a more powerful U.N. environment agency on Saturday, saying the survival of humanity was at risk, but the United States, China and Russia did not sign up.

"We must realize that we have reached a point of no return, and have caused irreparable damage," according to the "Paris Call for Action" read out by French President Jacques Chirac after a two-day conference at his Elysee Palace.

By Aloster Diyle, Environment Correspondent Feb 3, 2013

PEORIA (Rueters) - U.N. police have apprehended an environmental terrorist who was spreading greenhouse poisons in the area through use of "gasoline" -- a pre-Kyoto fuel, in her van, which forged permits certified had a biodeisel engine.

Amanda DeLay had been permitted five children -- in excess of the legal limit of one -- because both her parents died in the War for Oil in Iraq.

"She also was granted exemptions because she claimed to be a gay pagan," said national Planned Parenthood Director Chelsea Clinton, appointed by President-for-life Hillary Clinton. "But in reality she is a het Christian," Clinton said, "So her current pregnanacy will be aborted and four of her children re-educated into fertilizer for hemp plants."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Most traits are heritable. Other than savage accidents to a woman, or a terrible disease, there are probably no heritable reasons she cannot produce milk for her baby. Imagine backwards in time to such a woman, particularly before the evolutionarily recent invention of dairy farming: Her line died out.

This is as likely as men without testes.

I imagine that many people have friends who have been told that they have no milk.

I imagine it also may be irksome to some to have me -- a man -- setting himself up as an 'expert' on breastfeeding.

UPDATE (response to comments):


Sad to say, in prehistoric times you and your baby would have died. You're both here because of C-sections and formula.

Cows, goats and other lactating mammals imply animal husbandry, which as I pointed out, is evolutionarily recent. Probably the first such instance was dairy farming.

The other-women-helping idea is VERY compelling, and I was almost convinced.

BUT it requires the proximity of another lactating woman, continuous from that moment forward down through time to carry the genes forward if they should ever result in a phenotype that does not produce enough milk. Even if we assume short lifespans (hence most people of breeding age), a hierarchical society, and near-constant pregnancy or lactation, I think this requires a population density from urbanization. A few isolated hunter-gatherers would likely not be able to locate that other lactating woman.

The first cites appeared even after diary farming. And if the other-woman explanation is the answer, we would expect to see a greater incidence of milk lack among women of Mesopotamian heritage.


> know that genes can pass latently from one generation to the next.

That's why I said "it requires the proximity of another lactating woman, continuous from that moment forward down through time to carry the genes forward if they should ever result in a phenotype that does not produce enough milk."

> but it doesn't make any sense to say that it should be entirely gone by now.

Never said that. Said "...there are probably no heritable reasons she cannot produce milk for her baby. Imagine backwards in time to such a woman, particularly before the evolutionarily recent invention of dairy farming: Her line died out.

This is as likely as men without testes."

> if it should be gone, there are many others still in existence that "should" be gone as well.

Didn't say it should be gone, but can you name one of those many others?

> Secondly, I'd like some references on your hunter/gatherer info.

> ...early humans had to have contact with others for survival.

Of course. But how many would be lactating women?

> I would contend that most women were either pregnant or lactating during their reproductive years...

The link I provided contends that this was the case for farmers, not hunter-gatherers.

> I do not think that "finding that other lactating woman" would be that difficult.

I see.

> In fact, I grew up in Appalachia. My ancestors were all farmers, and they had many hundreds of acres to themselves.

You are less than 30. Do you refer to your ancestors before or after machine farming? By 'themselves' do you mean per person, or per clan?

> ..and ended up giving his newborn to her instead.

She had cows?

>...lack of breastmilk could be a condition that is brought on by modern lifestyles rather than a hereditary trait that has been passed down through the millenia.

Which in no way would oppose my view that there are probably no heritable reasons she cannot produce milk for her baby.

>...I would expect that a human mother would go through extraodinary measures to keep her child alive.


> Even in prehistoric times there were still small groups of people, even in groups of 6 or more, so it is possible that more than one woman was lactating at the time.

In your example of six, assume one is a man and three are women, two of whom have one child. One woman just gave birth. The other two women wait four years between children, per the linked article. So the question becomes: How long do hunter-gatherers breastfeed children? I'm going to guess that it was much longer than moderns or early farmers. Assume that both mothers in the example were still breastfeeding their 4-year-olds. It works! But add more men, more children, or elders, and you still must find that other lactating woman.

> I would think that a baby would be more likely to die from disease or harsh temperatures rather than a non-lactating mother though.

Agreed. I think NL is vanishingly rare.


1. When I wrote "the evolutionarily recent invention of dairy farming" you thought I meant this practice was EVOLVED? lmao,ay,nwy

But if your environmental hypothesis has merit, the effect should be more pronounced in older mothers and we can examine this by asking how many young mothers have 'no milk.'

Friday, February 02, 2007

My feeding tube became blocked recently and my sister took me to the E.R. where the nurse unplugged it in two minutes and then we waited two and a half hours to be released.

She massaged the block for about 30 seconds and then used a syringe to suck so hard that the normally round tube flattened. Pushing would have caused the alternate port's cap to pop off and create a spill.

The E.R. nurse said carbonate water can be used to clear a PEG

send kids out and lock the door and take down the key

you installed a ziptie on my old chair when the new controller came

we should try and THEN consider E.R.

if we must pick the implement, i favor the long plastic things from the pick-up-sticks game -- OR a ziptie ... we have some in workshop -- they have rounded ends and they flex. or buy some at hardware store

please trust me and listen ... a ziptie can be boiled and then used

hardware store has zipties and someone else can get them -- or me if i must

my mouth still works

need this 1/3 full and more kleenex -- new box

in art room is a locked cabinet, the combo is 00000

some zipties are very long

not too wide to fit inside tube

i must skip dentist and reschedule

i will control how far in it goes, but i will need you to spin it between you fingers to break up the clot


wait while i think

how long matters


o k

hold the tube end high so none spills - - above my stomach
and please don't be impatent


how much went in?

ok we give up -- i'll drink ensure if you pour an inch in the cup


tell her please

I drank the other water

i need both medical cards and visa

i will need a jacket and sweat pants and please put the laptop and mouse in the backpack by the door and hang it from the back of my chair

also bring a small water bottle -- near pillow on bed --and an empty cup from kitchen and this urinal

i will pee in bathroom then you will pull sweats over my shorts and put on jacket and we go -- need keys from here

this one operates lift -- need help ptting it in

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You're familiar with the double slit experiment:

Adding a detector at one slit causes the wave interference pattern to be replaced by the particle double band.

Now imagine that the target screen has two slits in it, and yet another target screen behind that.

What do we see on the second target? Probably a wave interference pattern.

Now add a detector to one of the initial slits (not in the first target screen). What happens? Probably a wave interference pattern.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by