Friday, October 06, 2006

A Pox on the "New Media"

Two days ago I listened to an interview on Fresh Air about the right's use of "new media" to divide the nation, inflame their base, and squeak by in every election so that they could rule with impunity. It's scary how efficient they were in using the "New Media" outlets (527's, cable talk shows, blogs, mass mailings etc.)

What sucks is that this appears to be the way of things now. "New Media" outlets specializing in character assasination and endless partisan spin to reach a particular end are now a permanent fixture and are driving the conversation. (Never mind the ethics/facts, full speed ahead.)

What's funny (at least to me) is that more than a century ago, before radio/TV and the mass media, partisan hacks said far worse things and drummed up much more sinister rumors to damn their opponents than anything the modern politicians did to each other today. Their best method was to use word-of-mouth, so salacious rumors having no basis in fact or even apperance were the surest way to accomplish that.

The Roves of this world are doing almost the same thing as the hacks of old, but today they have all of these willing mass media outlets to carry their tune. In the hands of the Swifties and their ilk these "methods" are almost an art form. The rumors aren't as salacious or outrageous, but they have the apperance of being possible that gets people to listen.

Even though this "new way" sucks, at the same time it also scares me that many Dems are just learning this stuff now! Some have graduated (Ned Lamont's victory in Conn was the most recent example), but most are still clinging to the old paradigmn. If the Dems don't use this "gift" and make a big show of trying to force Hastert to resign, they'll only have themselves to blame come Nov.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Liberté Frites

Recently I watched a documentary on Alice Waters. She of course is the founder of the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley California and it can probably be said that through her efforts to run a restaurant the way she wanted to, gave birth to the organic-foods/small-farm movement in America.

Jacques Pépin was one of the people interviewed and he said that "French restaurants in America did a disservice to French cooking". In other words they ruined it for most of us. It was too fancy and too condescending. Better to eat burgers and pizza than to put up with that kinds of treatment. It soured me on all things French for many years.

That is until my wife and I went to Quebec City in Canada.

Alice Waters of course went to France decades before we went to Quebec, and we learned what she did, that the desire to cook delicious food permeates the entirety of French society. It's hard to explain fully, but the stereo-type of fancy French food doesn't exist. No matter where we ate, from the most expensive restaurants to the lowliest pizza joints, from the most complex dishes to the simplest of all foods, everything was incredibly delicious. Figuratively speaking, it's in their genes.

Years ago eating overly fancy food in a snooty French restaurant, I didn't understand that this experience didn't represent the French or their cooking. It was like someone, who throughout their life couldn't see distant objects clearly, suddenly getting eye glasses and now everything is crystal clear. It was that kind of a revelation.

This image is a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson that was published on 03/23/1989 and it depicts three grazing cows. In the center one cow has her head up with a shocked look on her face and bits of grass falling out of her mouth. She's exclaiming 'Hey, wait a minute! This is grass! We've been eating grass!' Over time we just didn't notice that the once ugly tomatoes of our youth had through the commodification process become as round and hard as super balls, and tasted somewhat like eating super balls too. The advanced chemistry and techniques of the food and agricultural scientists had succeeded in making cheaply produced food palatable enough that Americans swallowed it whole and forgot what real food tasted like. Our experiences in Quebec opened our eyes (and our taste buds) to the truth that we'd been eating cardboard for much of our lives and didn't even know it.

I wish I could say that we've been following the Alice Waters method to the letter, but we're not there yet. Since we've spent the better part of our lives eating crap on a stick, a sea-change such of this will take a few more years to accomplish. So far we're eating mostly organic and we've re-discovered the beauty of those ugly tomatoes of our youth.

Thank you Alice.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Headless Wall Street Monster

Tom Wheatly - 02/07/2006 05:51 am

Here is the actual "fun site"

Richard Kaye - 02/07/2006 01:28 pm

Interesting site, though nothing there seems particularly new to me. This could be why I watch little TV. I don't think there's anything there for Paul F to object to - I'll bet he'd agree with most of the content. Ditto the Orwell shirt - the right likes Orwell (quite a bit!), they just don't like Republican administrations being referenced to him.

What changingchannels implies, but doesn't go far enough with is the current American obsession with record profits. As a small businessman (and thus a capitalist), I know you can't operate without turning a profit - you're bankrupt otherwise. But where is it written that every quarter must not merely operate in the black, but that profits must exceed the previous quarter's? Your stock loses value if you turn a steady profit that doesn't keep growing - what sense does that make? Can anyone corner someone with a business degree and explain this to me without blather?

Tom Wheatly - 02/07/2006 08:00 pm

In a word..."No"

I work with a guy doing his masters in economics, and when I say EXACTLY what you said here (as I have done) He will roll his eyes and get the condescending thing going. When I point out to him that infinite growth is a bogus concept and does not exist in nature, or that one look at a photo of the Earth snapped from the moon missions can tell you it's bunk (since the entirety of our bizzyness operations including ALL our resources and real estate fits within the field of the lens - he just shakes the "oogabooga stick" and goes into his "economic shaman " rap - the blather to which you refer! All self-referencing circular logic and a pile o' crap....

I heartily encourage you to pick up a copy (now in paperback) of "Wall St" by Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer (to which I subscribe) a BRILLIANT guy who explains the 3 card Monty table of the stock market and many of the economics concepts so miserably misrepresented by the Columbia Bizzyness School crowd.

Do the link bro' :^}

Joe Code - 02/08/2006 11:07 pm

Investors have been spoiled rotten by double-digit growth numbers during boom times. It's a headless monster that screams bloody murder when the growth spike starts to level off. Companies may be in the black with 1% growth during a recession, but the institutional investors start calling for heads to roll even before the economy starts to recover. Fund managers scream the loudest because if their funds tank they'll find themselves in a serious pickle.

When I was at Biz Clybern they had meteoric growth for 10 years. Nothing but good news. A Forbes magazine survey even voted their management the most admired in the their industry (number 5 among all industries). Then the recession of the early 90's hit and suddenly the bloom was off the rose. Biz wasn't losing money, but the meteroric growth hit a snag, which caused an avalanche of crticism from Wall St and the wholesale replacement of all the top executives. That's when the Dilbert principle kicked into high gear. It didn't matter that they were making mind-numbingly dopey decisions. All that mattered was the appearence of competence through cost-cutting and layoffs.

It's the same all over. The headless Wall St monster roars and the mindless jackoffs in charge cower in their corners and heap layoffs and other asinine measures on the alter to appease it. But nothing ever appeases the headless monster but endless growth. There was a time when managers and board members were motivated by more than just "stock holder equity" now that's the only thing that matters to any of them. It's pathetic.

Tom Wheatly - 02/09/2006 03:20 am

Ooooh, good rant! Nicely spewed! My hat is off to you chum :^}

I may add this from reading Doug Henwood - the saddest silliest thing is that the ordinary citizen investor thinks he is getting any genuinely useful information from the media on investing...Anybody who tells the warty truth about the competence of management or real state of a company's prospects is going to alienate their source of information and find themselves "shut out" of the information channels. Hence the endless drivel with nothing truly sharp, telling (or accurate) getting said - On this the regular guy is supposed to make investments and "win" like the the characters that inhabit the backrooms, boardrooms, and dealmaker soirees?

Joe Code - 02/10/2006 11:32 pm

Tom: Thanks. I must have been channeling the spirit of George Bailey. ;-)

Sounds like the White House press corp. If the former explains Enron and Worldcom then the latter explains the Iraq war.

The two methods of controlling information to the press have to be related. Obviously the Bushies learned it from their pals in the corporate world, 'cause this shit's been going on since at least the 90's.

I propose we strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and add an amendment that includes corporate boardrooms. ;-)

Tom Wheatly - 02/11/2006 09:19 am

Right you are sir! (highyooooh!)

Support the SEC rules changes that will FORCE transparency on executive/CEO compensation!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dad's in Denial

Originally sent 12/30/2000:


Dad got released from Mt Sinai today and he and Mom had a knock-down drag-out fight on the way home. I found all this out because I exchanged Mom's Ethernet card today and decided to drop the new one off at her house. Mom came downstairs crying and telling me she was so strung out she was ready to tell him to move out. She also told this to Aunt Betsy & later to my brother Lou when they both called on the phone. I'm trying my damnest to comfort her when Dad woke up and came out of the bedroom, so I high tailed it upstairs to get out of the way while they took up where they left off. I spent the time setting up her PC to use the new Cable modem and tried very hard not to listen to the harsh words emanating from downstairs. Afterwards I had dinner with them both where we discussed anything but the current dopey situation. Mom later thanked me for coming to dinner because she said it would have been very uncomfortable for both of them had I not been there.

It seems that Dad is in denial about what went down in the last week or so and was very unhappy that Mom wants to keep him from climbing stairs and such. (We put a lock on the basement door to keep him from going downstairs and he was none too happy about that as well.) According to Mom he denied that he almost died, he denied that he needs anyone's help, he denied that there was all that much blood (never mind the twenty stitches), he denied that the other three times he fell and hit his head were as bad as they were. Basically he's incapable of admitting he needs help until he gets better and Mom is incapable of letting him hurt himself. She stresses, she worries, and she doesn't get any sleep. Dad on the other hand has never looked better; mostly we think because he spent several days in a hospital bed doing nothing but resting. When he starts wearing himself out again I hope he'll come to his senses.

That's the latest from the front. Hope all is well on your side of the country. Give our love to Ethan and I'll keep you posted.

Love, Joe

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Troubling News About My Mom

Originally sent 10/17/2005:


I don't know if anyone has told you yet, but my Mom had a heart attack from blockage in a heart artery at 1:00 am this morning. They inserted a stent and she's currently recovering in ICU. Luckily she was already in the hospital when it occurred or who knows what would've happened.

Early Saturday morning she woke up with a tightness is her chest and the feeling that she couldn't breath even though she was breathing fine. She thought it was a symptom of her cancer and she didn't want to wake my Father. Around 4:00 am she still couldn't sleep and now her left arm was numb and her left hand was tingling. This time she woke him up saying she had to go to the hospital.

My Father, being doctor/hospital phobic, told her to lay down and he would rub her back telling her that she'd be fine. This didn't work and then she suddenly had a bout of diarrhea. In the bathroom she collapsed and couldn't get up. This time my Dad dialed 9-1-1.

No sooner had he hung up the phone when the door bell ran and deciding that at this point clothes didn't matter he answered the door without first getting dressed. (I don't know what he was wearing at the time, if anything, nor did I ask.) It was the first of three policemen to arrive (he must have been driving near their house when the dispatch went out) and together they got Mom out of the bathroom and onto the bed. The whole time she's telling the policemen her symptoms and they kept telling her that she should wait and tell the EMT people when they arrived, but apparently this information didn't seem to sink in. The EMT crew eventually arrived and they got her into the ambulance. As soon as they got the IV into her arm she started to feel better and the diagnosis after that was severe dehydration.

I talked to her on the phone Saturday and we all thought she'd be home by Sunday morning, but one of her doctors wasn't signing off on the release forms. This was getting Mom riled up because after all she was just dehydrated and she hated being at this particular hospital. Turns out this doctor was a cardiac specialist and he was a little suspicious of her symptoms and gave her an EKG. Turns out a tight chest and numb arm are not symptoms of severe dehydration or ovarian cancer. They're symptoms of a heart attack.

Sunday afternoon I get a call from my Dad giving me this latest news and telling me that Mom was pretty depressed. He said that she told him she was thinking of not having treatment for her heart because she'd rather die of a heart attack then linger in hospice with cancer. So BANG on go the clothes, brush the teeth, and Donna and I went to the hospital to help lift her spirits.

When we got there she wasn't depressed at all. She was walking around animated and happy and talking up a storm. Seems Dad once again talked her out of giving up and letting medical science have another go at curing her before she starts climbing into the grave. I can't tell you how relieved I was to see her that way.

They said they were going to transfer her to the other hospital, probably Monday for a dye test and eventual insertion of a stent. (The reason for the transfer is that they do both while this one only does the dye test.) So, once again we expected her to leave the hospital, but it was not to be.

This morning I'm on my way to work when my cell phone rings and it was my Dad. This isn't all that unusual. He's called me in the car before with innocuous news, so I wasn't worried. "Where are you?" he asked and I told him. He said, "can you talk while driving?" and I affirmed that I could. (I assumed he was asking if I was using a hands-free device with my cell phone, which I was.) He then told me the same thing I told you in the first sentence of this email. At that early morning hour there was no time to wait and her cardiac doctor put together a team of people who could do stent insertion. (At that point I realized my Dad was really asking me if I could handle troubling news while driving.) True to my Dad's character he got off the phone a few seconds later and I then had to concentrate on not veering off the road while my brain tried to process this news. I should have pulled over at that point, but I wasn't thinking too clearly.

In any case that's all I know so far. I'll keep you posted as events unfold.

Love, Joe

Monday, May 29, 2006

Anyone's Classmate

Originally sent 7/2/05:


I was surprised to find the post card announcing that a film about Harvey was being made. I don't know why but I wanted to share with you, the screen writers, something of my experiences with Harvey from that period. I didn't want to post them to the public forum and I'm not sure yet if I would want to be a "consultant" on the project. I just figured I'd relate some things I remembered clearly in the hope that it would help.

Harvey and I were chums of a sort off and on for many years through the cub scouts, grade, middle, and high school. We were the same age and in many of the same classes and early on he and I were the kind of geeky kids who were always teased and bullied by the other kids. Later on in high school he started hanging out with some of the very people that were the instigators of our earlier tortures and his lifestyle took a turn that didn't appeal to me, so our friendship started to wane after awhile. Towards the end of high school and over that summer in 1976 we started seeing more of each other, but it was never up to the level of our earlier years.

The first time I got drunk in my life was with Harvey along the railroad tracks just outside of our town. I think we were both in the ninth grade. He bought the beer because he looked 18. During his later teenage years he smoked and dealt pot. Once in a while I'd buy stuff from him and he would always give me a good-chum discount. He also had a very hot car which he no doubt bought with his earnings. (As you'll no doubt recall the 70's was well before the drug crack-downs of the Reagan years. At that time no one in authority cared that much about marijuana. If the police caught you with an ounce or under they would simply confiscate it and send you on your way. It just wasn't worth the paperwork to arrest anyone for that. In high school and college almost everyone I knew was either smoking it or dealing and you could buy it practically anywhere. It was very different then.)

Though I don't personally remember much about his dad, he had a reputation as a harsh disciplinarian. (There are others who would use more colorful language.) According to newspaper accounts of the time his dad was an orphan whose life was "straightened out" by a stint in the military. I recall people saying he was a paranoid gun-nut and was purported to keep loaded guns in the house including a rifle under his bed. When his dad did a stint as the cub scout leader Harvey was never allowed to play with the other boys at scout functions. He always had to stand at attention (or maybe it was "parade rest") next to his dad. (My mother was a cub scout den mother at that time and had a great dislike for the man.) Since Harvey was never up to military-specs in his father's eyes it was off to the Citadel he sent him kicking and screaming.

Like his father, Harvey was also a paranoid gun-nut, which was another reason I started applying the brakes on our friendship. One summer day before Harvey had his driver's license (probably 1975) he came over to my house on his bicycle and wanted to show me something in secret. So we walked to the side of the house and hid behind some tall shrubs where we would be out of sight from all directions. Harvey then pulled what looked like a 38 caliber handgun out of his pants and showed it to me. He'd just gotten it and wanted to show it off to someone. He said he wanted to have a gun on him at all times so that the "Feds wouldn't take me without a fight."

Years afterward I recalled that summer afternoon and remembered reading or hearing somewhere that Harvey had killed his family with a handgun. For all I know they were killed with the handgun he showed me that day, and since then I've never forgotten it.

On that Thanksgiving Sunday I was in my car traveling east on the main road through town going back to college. I had just picked up a fellow classmate downtown and was on my way to the interstate highway. When I passed Harvey's house the police already had it roped off. My first thought was that he'd done something. I figured it was probably an altercation during a drug bust. I was completely blown away when I heard the gruesome newscast on the radio halfway to RI.

Of course I, like everyone else, followed all the news stories about it and I bought the book when it was published. I remember the author didn't draw any conclusions about his guilt or innocence, but at the time I never had any doubts that he'd committed those awful murders. I can't say why. Knowing something about Harvey it was a strong feeling I had at the time.

Thanks for reading this and I hope it helped even if it was only a little. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Thanks, Joe

Friday, May 26, 2006

Nothing He Writes is Worth Reading

Originally sent 12/15/04:


I hear and understand where you're coming from. I too am fed up with the Paul Falcone bullshit. I tried on more than one occasion to reach out and be conciliatory towards him only to get my hand bit. I implore you sir not to back out of Rancho Marfil because of frustration with him. [If you do that the terrorists will win ;-) ] With the magic of the Internet you can now do what you could never do with those school yard bullies back in the day...

You can ignore him.

That's what I do now and it's made a world of difference. Anything he posts, I don't open it. Any time he responds to something I've posted, I ignore it. You'd be amazed how much better you'll feel with the conviction that nothing he writes is worth reading. The frustration and anger will just melt away like honey in warm water. If enough people adopt this procedure then eventually the lack of interaction will eventually penetrate his thick-as-boilerplate skull and he might get the hint and back off.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On Love

I love her for her perfume.
It was the first thing I noticed.
Wafting on a light spring breeze.

It got me moving
In a way that I could never explain
How could anyone explain
Such a feeling

Her fragrance was light and inviting
And when I found her
She stared at me in silence
And she was oh so beautiful
I took her in my gaze and
She spoke a word or two
Of our mutual love

The denizens in
The white lab coats
Would have us believe
That all love, all emotions,
Are just hormones and instincts
Swirling around our brains
Making us do things
We wouldn't normally do
But we both knew better.

I kissed her on the cheek
And then her ear
She made no move to
Resist my advances
And I was overcome
With longing

How could any being
Confer dispassionate explanations
On courtship,
On love?

Her words and
Body language
Said it all
We cuddled and kissed
We moaned and were lost
In each other.

What would they say
If they were in our place?
They would forget about their
Clinical observations, their
Hypotheses and theories, their
Peer reviewed publications, and
Get as lost in their love
As we were.

Then she gave me
A look and a whisper
I got behind and entered her
She moaned while
I nibbled her neck and
Whispered in her ear.

When it was over
I exited her and my barbs
Scratched her insides
She swung around and
Swatted me, hissing & spitting
And then rolling in the leaves
Not my favorite part of love making
But feline women are like that

If we are nothing more than
The sum of our hormones and instincts
Then emotions, all emotions,
Are just nature's way
To perpetuate
Every species on the planet
There has to be
More to it than that

Emotions are the soul
If humans feel emotions then
We feel emotions too.
And if humans have souls then
We have souls too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Coming Xenophobia

Originally sent on 10/18/2001:


Too tired to write just now. Been doing some Java and such.

Here's a little poem that I hope can help to blunt the coming xenophobic period in America:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Emma Lazarus, NYC, 1883

I first heard the entire poem in a Ken Burns documentary. If you've never read the entire poem before, it sneaks up on you. By the time I get to the last line it always brings tears to my eyes. (Emma Lazarus died in 1884 after visiting Paris. In 1904 part of her poem was engraved on a plaque and affixed to the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.)

Love, Joe

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Last-Ditch Attempt

Paul Falcone - 10/07/2004 11:54 AM

Obviously, I long ago wearied of trying to change any minds around here. I started to feel like the dorky kid at the back of the bus who everybody else is throwing gum wrappers at (waaaaaah).

But minds do change. Even liberal minds.

Try to read what follows with an open mind. I challenge you.

Michael Totten, well-known self-described liberal columnist from Tech Central Station, on The Liberal Case for Bush.

And Bill Whittle, writer extraordinaire, on Deterrence (Part I and Part II).

See if these pieces don't get some gears turning (in a different direction than the one you're used to). If not? I give up, and I'll bow out of here gracefully.

I've done everything I can.

Joe Code - 10/07/2004 09:10 PM

No need to bow out gracefully or otherwise. Almost everyone on this site has been that dorky kid at one time or another in our lives. One thing I've learned about that over the years is this: In every relationship it takes two. That goes for all relationships including the ones between dorks and bullies.

I have to say that this is one of the few times you've made an attempt at reasoned discourse on a subject that is so fraught with emotion. Most of the time your posts on these subjects have been that of an angry bully and sometimes I was the dork in your line of fire and it wasn't pretty. I understand my responsiblities for this relationship, but I think you should understand yours too.

This was a good post. I would like to see more posts like this from you. Reasonable, pointed, and not a hint of bitterness. In answer to your query, I have read the articles, but the arguments weren't enough to convince me that Iraq wasn't a blindingly huge mistake.

On another tangent, in the long run the many things we say here will not affect world events one bit, so it seems like a total waste of energy to even try to effect a complete change of mind. I remember years ago having a discussion with someone, who is a long time lurker & sometime poster to this site, who observed that when we were all younger we discussed just about everything without necessarily having an opinion. As we got older we changed from discussing things to merely stating our opinions. To some degree I think this is even more so today.

One final thought. You mentioned that "...minds do change. Even liberal minds." If we in the liberal bosom of this site are going to submit to considering a change of mind. You might like to consider that maybe your mind could do with a little changing too.

Paul Falcone - 10/08/2004 02:47 PM

Well, Joe, although I can see a certain anger coming through in some of what I've written on here, it's kinda hard to picture yourself as a bully when you're completely alone in your beliefs and everyone else seems to be marching in lock-step...

Some o' you Ranchers have known me long enough, and well enough, to know that I was at least as liberal as most of you once (if not more so). Aks my brother. Four things happened over the years that changed my viewpoints (gradually): my friendship with Steve Edgerston, who was always what I'd call a practical conservative; working for the US Navy during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian revolution; my marriage to Regina and subsequent introduction to many Russian immigrants, ALL of whom loved Ronald Reagan; and, of course, 9/11, which for me only served to cement many things I already believed by then about the nature of America's role in the world. The similarities between the present age and the onset of World War II are very disquieting. There is no doubt that we are at war with an enemy who is bent on our complete destruction, and that ultimately it's going to be either them or us. I don't see any way to finesse this, and it's not for any lack of trying.

As for me personally, I have no plans to ever become a Muslim. Most of you know that I've been a religious Christian for many, many years. I see what's happening in Europe, among the "dhimmis" who have lost faith in everything but their secularism, and I see that it's only a matter of time before Europe will be under the sword of Islam. I don't want to go there, now or ever--and I don't want my country to go there either. Think of what all our freedoms mean to you... think long and hard about it.

Joe Code - 10/08/2004 10:46 PM

I totally understand what you're saying about feeling completely alone in one's beliefs. I work in a small office that is filled to the brim with conservatives. (There just seems to be something about the freight business that brings them out of the woodwork.) There is one person there with whom I can share my views. He's about as conservative as they come but we're able to discuss touchy subjects because they're dispassionate conversations. We both recognize that there is nothing to be gained by getting in each other's faces.

Others there are not so circumspect. My boss is the kind of intensely passionate debater you often find in night clubs arguing a point whose subject shifts with the winds of the conversation. While I was a consultant there, he and I got into a near-knock-down drag-out that started out about how much money is wasted by PBS stations. It ended up with him impugning my patriotism because I dared to suggest that there are much larger corporate and governmental entities (ie. the Pentagon) that waste far more money than every PBS station combined.

My dispassionate co-worker's goal is to have friendly conversations with people no matter their stipes. He says he gets new insights into things he's never thought about before. My boss' single-minded goal (more of a pastime actually) is to utterly destroy his opponents in any discussion of politics, because he's always right and everyone else is always wrong. As you might have guessed I often engage the co-worker in conversation and avoid it with my boss like the plague; not because he's my boss, but because it's a waste of energy. (He's completely commited to freedom of speech no matter his relationship with his opponent.)

Now if I understand you correctly you feel alone in a sea of "lock-step" liberals. (I dispute the latter assertion, but we'll get to that later.) Don't take this the wrong way, but I have to tell you that from the way you respond to people on touchy subjects it would seem to me that you feel more like a cornered animal. Where others express a range of feelings and/or reaons for their diverse opinions, you tend to growl & bark (sorta like my boss). This does nothing to engage people or get them to be interested in the diverse set of thoughts you must have on the subjects at hand, and when one barks it invites others to bark back. If you respond to an article, on what many in the liberal cabal feel are very important non-9/11 issues, by writing "Who cares! There's a war on!" then you have no right to feel alone and/or angry when some of those liberals throw gum wrappers at you.

As to the "lock-step" crack: We've got every kind of liberal here at El Rancho Marfil; from DLCers to Naderites. We've got some fuzzy-heads, some bleeding-hearts, some working class heroes, some paranoid anarchists, and a smattering of moderates. Everyone of us thinks differently and if you see us as one voting block who all think the same thing then I would encourage you to dig deeper. We agree that big SUV's and McMansions are evil, but we do not agree on many many things related to Bush, 9/11, Iraq, and Islam. That's just how it is. We can be dispassionate in our discussions or we avoid each other like the plague. I for one prefer the former as it's a worthy goal that all old friends should strive towards: verbal discourse, staying in touch, and continuing to be friends regardless of our opinions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Mom Has Chemo Brain

Originally sent 10/31/04:


> She seems to be managing, though weak
> and tires easily. What's your take?

She sure does tire easily and she is managing; both are true. It's a good think my Dad likes to cook. Chemo makes people weak and tired. Yesterday we went to deliver two loaves of wheat-free zucchini bread and she was on the couch, with golf on the TV, out like a light. Last weekend we came to give her a couple of relaxation CDs for a belated b'day gift, but we had to leave them with my dad because she was out like a light. True to chemotherapy she's been sleeping a lot lately.

On Mom's b'day Donna and I visited and she was very animated. More so than I've ever seen her in my life. It's the "chemo brain". It was as if she was a little drunk (which we both know is impossible). She repeated herself, lost track of conversations, changed subjects mid-sentence, revealed little secrets, expressed strong opinions on a variety of subjects, and laughed a lot. She said she was thinking of having a party on the day her hair is supposed to fall out. I half expected her to break out the single-malt scotch that she was "secretly" hiding under the sink and offer us a wee drink.

One of the things she revealed was that she's been a handbag & shoes junkie all her life. This was after she let us know that she really liked Donna's wide rectangular red pleather handbag. Upon getting up to leave she told Donna not to forget it and added that if she did leave it here she wouldn't get it back. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, my Mom was being mischievous. This has never happened before in the all the years I'd known her. Chemo-brain revealed a side of her that I now think has been un-consciously suppressed most of her adult life.

See you during X-mas. Give Ethan our love.

Love, Joe

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It was a beautiful morning. Nothing unusual.

It was a beautiful morning. A mild fall day with a hint of summer. Not a cloud in the sky. I was a consultant at the time so as usual I was up later than most people. I read the morning paper while eating my breakfast. Then I brushed my teeth and got dressed for work. Nothing unusual.

I expected to get to work at my usual time, between 9:30 and 10:00 am. They were located just north of the George Washington Bridge on Route 9W. I was driving down the Palisades Interstate Parkway and around exit 4 I turned on my radio to NPR's Morning Edition on WNYC in New York. They were talking about some colossal accident and the correspondent said they were switching to another reporter in Washington DC to continue the story there. Then there was dead air. This too wasn't that unusual. Radio stations sometimes hand off a story to another announcer who ends up not being there.

What was unusual was that it went on for a very long time. Normally stations realize the problem very quickly and gets back on the air to say that they would continue with the story later, but they didn't. Eventually I pushed another button and switched to WBGO in Newark, NJ. Normally they played Jazz, but this morning they were talking about an "accident" at the World Trade Center. Something about a plane hitting one of the towers. I immediately remembered that the same thing happened to the Empire State Building after World War II when an Air Force plane accidentally slammed into the building. Many people were killed and a couple of floors were demolished, but that was the extent of it.

The more I listened the more we, the radio announcers and I, realized that it wasn't an accident. That it was done deliberately. That both towers and the Pentagon had been hit. All commercial air craft were being grounded and there was a rumor that the Air Force had shot down a passenger plane over Pennsylvania. Then they announced that one of the towers had collapsed. The horrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach began to grow in mine because that's when it dawned on me, that WNYC went dead at that moment because their radio antenna had been on top of that tower.

All of this news came crashing down on me during that ten mile stretch between exit four and exit one on the parkway. When I got to work everyone was in my boss's office staring at the cable news station watching that first tower collapse over and over. It was a surreal site, like the Loizeaux family had done the demolition work, except there were none of the explosive flashes running down the structural joints at the corners that is typical of building implosions. The structure just quietly collapsed from the heat of the fire, one floor on top of the other.

Most were silent throughout the whole time we were in his office, except my boss who kept up a constant flow of sputtering bursts of nationalistic invective. Eventually the moment came when we all got up at once and went back to work, except that I couldn't work. I sat at my desk with watering eyes while outside on Route 9W the sirens of every municipal fire and EMT vehicle from miles around was streaming towards New York.

I estimate that about 50% of the telephone system stopped working that morning. (We found out later that a lot of Verizon's equipment was in the World Trade Center.) The individual problems were strange, some people could call us but we couldn't call them, and vice-versa. Thankfully I was able to call my house and talk to my wife. As with me earlier that morning, she had no idea what had happened because she also never turns on the TV or radio in the morning.

My friend and fellow colleague at this account didn't make it in because he saw the news and knew that there was no way he'd be able to get near the bridge, but when he tried to call in it wouldn't go through. He was mildly shocked when I called him because he wasn't able to get through to anyone. Several minutes after I hung up a close friend of his rang his extension next to me and I instinctively picked it up. She was crying, because she couldn't get through to his home or cell phones, and was relieved to find out that he was OK.

Since I couldn't work I went home and we sat and watched the proceedings throughout the rest of the day. I tried to call every single person I knew, especially those that worked in the city. Of course many calls didn't go through at first, but over the coming days we were able to get in touch with everyone we knew.

The next day I got the morning paper as usual, and tried to eat my breakfast as usual, but the front cover was a picture of the 2nd tower with a massive fire-ball. I felt even sadder that morning than yesterday and after eating a little I crawled back into bed with my wife and we both cried for a long time. Nothing would ever be the same again and I think in some respects we grieved over that as much as we did over the massive loss of life.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Partial Birth Abortion Ban

The following image is a political cartoon by Ann Telnaes that was published online on 10/21/03:

This image is a political cartoon by Ann Telnaes (10/21/05) it shows a caricature of President Bush seated at a table facing the audience and behind him is a phalanx of dark suited grinning men. Each of the men behind the president is labled 'GUY' and the caption reads 'The PARTIAL BIRTH ABORATION BAN signing ceremony'.

I sent it to Tom, among others, and got a quick response:


This one I can't get with you bub! I support the ban...I have read a good bit about this "procedure" and the occurrence of its legitimate use is rare - the occurrence of its use as an after-the-fact abortion of an inconvenient child is a dirty little secret. I am more ambivalent about abortion in general, perhaps because I have a kid, than I was in my youth. Could also be the 2 abortions that occurred where I would have been a father... One done with my consent, the other done without my knowledge (and a different relationship).

I really am big on the RU486 approach and wish america would "get with it" as the only ethical after-the-fact birth control method. I do not want to see a wholesale overturning of Roe v. Wade, and personally doubt this will happen. Too many rich republican women getting abortions just like po' demmicrat ones!

Your pal, Tom


Some thoughts on the subject:

  1. I'm pretty sure that the courts are going to strike it down, because as usual there isn't an exception for legitimate medical emergencies, thus rendering all the shouting moot. This was just an exercise in appeasing the religious right, nothing more. Sometimes I think they leave that exception out on purpose knowing it won't pass muster in the courts.

  2. There is another 3rd trimester abortion procedure which is never mentioned in any of the P.B.A. bills. I forget the clinical name but it consists of killing the baby in the uterus, cutting it up, and extracting the pieces through the cervix. To me this one is a lot worse than P.B.A. It's also harder and more dangerous, but if the ban isn't struck down in the courts then that's the procedure they're going to start using. Since legislatures consistently leave this procedure out of those bills (and Dr Bill Frist oughta know) this to me is further evidence that conservative politicians aren't serious about banning 3rd trimester abortions.

  3. Partial-birth abortion may be rare but that doesn't mean it's never necessary (as opposed to voluntary). As far as I'm concerned banning the procedure is wrong when what you're trying to do is ban the behavior of choosing to have such an abortion when there is no medical reason to.

  4. Although I too believe the fetus in the 3rd trimester is pretty much a human being and shouldn't be aborted if it can be helped, I'm also not the one who's pregnant. In my humble opinion (and with all due respect to your feelings & experiences on this subject) when, where, & how a woman has an abortion is nobody's business but her own. If men were the ones who got pregnant these bills would never pass muster must less both houses of congress.

I've become very cynical lately. Education is the key. Education would empower women and allow them to take the necessary preventive steps so that P.B.A. will someday be the rare procedure it should be. Education to empower women has been shown to work in 3rd world countries, but something like that for sex education will never happen here. I'd like to see RU486 dispensed by school nurses along with honest sexual advice. I'd like to see condom dispensers in high school bathrooms. I'd like to see health education nationwide realize that teaching abstinence is silly because Pandora's box on this subject was opened almost 40 years ago. I'd like to see the Catholic Church take its collective head out of its collective ass on condom use to fight AIDS. I'd like to live in a society that doesn't think kissing a woman's breast requires an "NC-17" rating while cutting it off gets an "R". There are so many preventive & educational steps we as a society could take, but they're never going to happen.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sarah Kaye at Rutgers

Originally written 02/04/06:

All of the discussions of late about the Kaye elders moving to Texas and being near Sarah brought back a pleasant memory for me recently that I wanted to share with my fellow Rancho Marfil members. Around 1979 I was 3 years out of high school and I had just returned to the Livingston College campus at Rutgers in Piscataway. There's always a certain amount of excitement and trepidation at the start a new school year. This time though was different because this was the year that a close friend from the neighborhood would be there too. Sarah was starting her first year at Rutgers on the Cook College campus in eastern New Brunswick.

I had just gotten back from dropping off the van that I'd borrowed to haul my stuff down there and was sitting at my desk looking out the window and wondering how I was going to get in touch with Sarah. Dope that I was I'd never gotten together beforehand to discuss how we'd meet up. Being a freshmen the thought obviously never crossed her mind. She no doubt was dealing with all of the attendant feelings that goes with leaving home for the first time and wasn't aware that we'd be like two islands unable to see or communicate with each other. I on the other hand should've known better.

Thinking about it today I suppose I could've called Mrs. Kaye as she would've known where Sarah was. The reasons I didn't were probably numerous (men never asking directions, no change for the payphone, etc.), but the main one I think was the demon that was sneaking up my arm to sit on my shoulder. It was a time in my life where I was just beginning to understand how to be more social, to curb my negative thoughts, and to swat the demon off whenever I realized it was whispering in my ear.

The welcome letter from the school always included instructions on where to find the dorm assignments and where to pick up one's room key. It also included the obligatory map of each campus at the university. At Livingston that year the location of the room assignments were at the student center. The walls inside and out were plastered with mimeographed pages of the endless lists of every student and the location of their dorm and room number.

That of course was many hours ago when I still had the van. Now I had my car back, I was alone at my desk awaiting the arrival of my new roomie, thinking of ways to contact Sarah, and staring out the window while the demon tried to lull me into a stupor. That's when it hit me. Cook College, being part of Rutgers, probably did it the same way as Livingston, mimeographed sheets on the walls of their student center.

I grabbed the pseudo-map of the Cook/Douglas campus and took off on a new quest. I say "pseudo-map" because as it typical of these kinds of things it wasn't drawn to scale. The roads in and through were not very clear as it's purpose was mostly to identify parking and building locations. Needless to say finding the student center wasn't all that easy and when I got there the walls were bereft of room assignments. A quick inquiry at the coffee shop told me that that Cook probably posted their room assignments at the library, but the student cashier wasn't sure. Off I went again, studying the pseudo-map and picking my way through the byways of the campus to the Cook library.

The lists were posted on the outside on the walls of the buliding and they went round, on the columns, and on one or two bulletin boards. Quite haphazard, but I finally found Sarah's name. According to the map her dorm's location was in a clutch of buildings that had only one identifier so as to which building she was in was anybody's guess. When I finally got there I picked the building I thought was most likely her dorm and went inside.

Past the door was the common room and right in front was a receptionist's desk with a student sitting behind it. This was a new experience for me. Of all the campus dorms I'd ever been in this was the first one with a receptionist. Thinking that since her desk was right in front of the door that meant that I was obligated to speak with her before doing anything else, I greeted her and said that I'd come to see a friend of mine. She responded by saying that I wasn't allowed in the dorm. I asked her how was I supposed to see my friend and I think she said something to the effect that I should have called my friend first so that she could have met me at the door.

As I leaned on the desk to contemplate how I would find my way through this latest obstacle I heard a conversation coming down a hall beyond. The voices were both female and the first voice said something like "...but how are you going to find him, the university is huge" and the other more familiar voice responded with "I don't know but I have to try..." and then when they entered the common room a very loud "JOE!" I looked up and Sarah was running towards me and she gave me a big hug.

Turns out she had been sitting in her dorm room terribly home-sick thinking the same thing I was. What a coicidence running into each other in the common room of her dorm. Had I arrived a few minutes later we would have missed each other completely. Later she told me that the receptionist was only there for the Douglas students who were housed in the right half of the dorm. (Douglas was an all-female college that shared the campus with a very co-ed Cook.) When I stopped at the receptionist's desk she just assumed I wanted to see a Douglas student. Had I just walked past her into the left side of the dorm she wouldn't have paid me any mind.

We walked around the campus, and later drove around to see the sites, just talking and laughing. I seem to recall there was a lot of jumping up and down on her part along with a near constant Kaye grin. I'd never seen anyone so happy to see a familiar face. I of course was very happy too. Having a close friend from home in the intimidating environment of the university was most welcome. In-between classes and studying Sarah and I would be able to share some quality time and needless to say my demon was squashed flat.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tolkien on the Brain II

Originally sent 02/04/01


> Write back and tell me what's doing.

What's doin'? Let's see...

After lynching a Satyr, a contingent of temple guards from Hills Edge attacked us tonight looking for the set of Hoak's teeth, which were ensconced in Pud's jaw. I thought we were all goners but we, and some Centaurs, vanquished the dozen or so marauders, including a wizard and a high priestess, but they killed Pud with a staff that had turned into an anaconda and squeezed him to death before we could kill it.

The priestess, being chased by Topaz's tiger amulet and losing hit points, broke her wand in half killing herself, a temple guard, the tiger amulet, and nearly killing Topaz and Brenda. Topaz and her tiger were a pair of killing machines, destroying the wizard and several guards. Sylvanis and Brenda's deity were with me tonight as I could do no wrong on the field of battle. My flail was a most lethal weapon and I killed at least four guards single handedly. Without Brenda's "Bless" spell it could have gone differently for me.

Myshka's plight was very funny as he succumbed to a sleep spell while still on his horse and was driven right through the battle and out the other side. Eventually his horse threw him off and he lost sight of it completely. He woke up in the middle of the group of Centaurs who agreed to help us in our fight.

We extracted the teeth and buried Pud, and the lynched Satyr, with high honors. Tomorrow we will try and bribe Nimbus to let us pass the gate above the waterfall on our journey to find the Gate of Nightmares. We might try selling Myshka to him as a slave and then stealing him back afterwards. If we can't get him back then that's OK too because this half-orc has been annoying us all for more than a few rides.

Sylvanis advised me in a dream that I must be at seventh level before we reach the Gate of Nightmares or I will probably not survive. (I have 6,000 more points to go before I reach that goal.) Inside the gate is the skull of Hoak, which, along with the teeth, will aid us in our quest to free Hill's Edge of its evil personages and restore the temple to Tyr.

Wish us luck, Edrahil (son of Edrohil, 6th level druid)

- ahem -

Oh, you wanted to know what's going on with us, here on planet Earth; well that's different....

Donna's back still gives her pain, but it's better then what she was suffering through before the surgery. We'll be going back to her surgeon soon for our last visit and hopefully we can get some good advice on alleviating the rest of this pain.

My mother seems to have completely recovered from both her hip fracture and breast cancer surgeries. In case I didn't tell you, she broke her femur clean off her hip about a year ago and had a recurrence of breast six months ago. The hip ball was replaced and she was in PT for a while. With the cancer she had the combination mastectomy, tummy tuck, and breast reconstruction all in the same operation.

At the same time six months ago my father was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, which is kind of like M.S., only weird. He gets very weak and often falls and can't lift himself up. He's never had anything like this before and it make him feel vulnerable, so he compensates by being a stubborn pain in the butt doing things he shouldn't be. The holiday season was no fun as he got a concussion and ended up in the local emergency room twice before his doctor got him a room at Mt. Sinai. He's been on Prednazone for awhile to build up his strength for surgery to remove the thymus gland in his chest, which usually does the trick for M.G. sufferers. His surgery date is two weeks away.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I helped my mother go and see her dying sister in northern California. We had to get an earlier flight because she suddenly gave up trying to stay alive and started going down-hill very fast. We only wanted to stay a few days but we ended up being there a week because we couldn't get an earlier flight out because of Thanksgiving. She died on our last day there. It was very emotionally healthy experience for all concerned. My aunt was an alternative psychotherpist and at one time her practice included all kinds of therapists and their differing approaches. That house and its inhabitants were steeped in mental therapy for many years and this experience definitely had that kind of feel. The tears were healthy and welcomed. Quite a different experience from what I would have expected.

Our two cats still hate each other and must still be kept apart.

Did I tell you that we did some work on our house? New siding, new roof, new windows, new bedroom walls and a refinished floor. We got rid of the useless dormer and had a small barrel vaulted peek built over the front door.

Because of Donna's back we traded in her low-riding Acura Integra and bought her a VW Passat. She in that stage where she has to park it far away from any possible door dings. I keep praying she'll get a door ding soon so we can stop this nonsense.

I'm back and forth with my job and things. For several months I was doing web-type programming on an IBM iSeries server using Net.Data, but now I just got stuck with an EDI contract for the next 8-12 months. EDI is the most boring thing on the planet and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm currently teaching myself Java so I can get certified in a nine month time frame.

What's up with you and your family?

Love, Joe

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Message of Small (and Great) Importance

Originally sent 10/31/04:


I spoke with my Mom tonight. No word yet on whether or not she has the B2 cancer, but we're still hopeful. She said she'll probably find out at her therapy session on Monday, but that is not why I'm writing this email...

I'm writing to you tonight on a matter of small and great importance. Small because the matter itself is small and not very significant in the whole realm of our lives. Great because its potential for hurt feelings is unpredictable. Obviously that is a road we don't want to travel and even more obviously you and Evan are very important to us and wouldn't want you to feel hurt in any way.

Last year you made a contribution in our names to the Heifer Project for 1/3 of a goat. At the time I wrote back and told you that it was a unique and thoughtful gift and it was. We totally understood your feelings and motivations, and on the surface supporting such a cause looks like an altruistic act, but the reality is much more complex.

Many non-profit organizations fall into the age-old trap of assuming that the American way of doing things is the best thing for the third world. In most cases after the supporters have finished cheering from the front porch the Law of Unintended Consequences always comes through the back door where no one is expecting it. In the case of the Heifer Project they're trying to export American farming techniques and the results more often than not includes deforestation, the disconnection of the land from the people, increased mortality from imitating American diets, economic hardship, etc.

Here is an article that explain more fully what I'm talking about: What's wrong with the Heifer Project. If you really have some time you might peruse this one too: The Meat Mob Muscles In.

As vegetarians we of course want to support groups and organizations that promote those ideals, but we're not as a matter of practicality against the consumption of meat. As much as we might think it would be better for the world if everyone became herbivores, we also recognize that it's a pipe dream that will never happen. The best we can do therefore is to support those organizations that promote the humane treatment of domestic farm animals the world over. Among other things this means eradicating American-style factory farming techniques which has helped to turn animals in the eyes of Americans from sentient beings into product. The Heifer Project, for all it's good intentions, is another small brick in a wall that we want torn down.

Not that I'm making assumptions, but just in case you were considering making a contribution in our names to a non-profit organization this year I was hoping that you would be open to some suggestions. What follows is a list of organizations any one of which would be most welcome to make a contribution to in our names:We hope your feelings haven't been hurt by this email. We should have sent it last year, but we were afraid.

Much love, Joe & Donna

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tolkien Ring on the Brain

From...: Joe Code (AS/400 High Priest)
To.....: Jack Fozzi (Network High Council)
Date...: 06/12/92
Subject: LIBRA and BIZNET, Fellowship of the Ringed Network.

Dear Jack, Counsel to the Rings,

When is LIBRA going to become a member of BIZNET?

My kindred have been waiting long for the new era to be born and it still has not come to pass. Though the Librans may be a fair and interesting people in a far off land, that does not mean we cannot include them as equal members in the BIZNET fellowship.

When the messenger came to your doorstep in the Northern realm of Bergen you responded in haste and said " the end of April the deed will be done and the fellowship of the network will be made whole again." It is now June and the rings are still broken. I realize that your time was taken up by the new evil that has risen across the river Hudson on the island which is long. Therefore I will not berate you for not keeping your word.

Hear this warning: The rings must be joined fully and the fellowship of the network made whole again on or about the beginning of the summer. If this deed is not carried out then a greater evil (Greater even than Arthur, son of Andersen the Terrible) will rise from the swamps in the land of Secaucus and smote the procrastinators with fire.

We must talk.

Hail and farewell for now,
    Joe, Wizard of Biz

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Dad is a Pain in the Butt

Originally written on 09/12/03


My dad was in the hospital over Labor Day weekend. He was at work on Sunday and he went to the bathroom, sat down, and all this blood came out of him. Now if I was his age I would have called 911. Not him; he's going to drive himself to the hospital, but first he has to turn off the midrange computer at work. 15 minutes later he's in the bathroom again with more blood coming out of him. Now he's scared, but does he call 911? No, stubborn pain-in-the-butt that he is he gets in his car and drives to the hospital. Does he drive to the hospital just up the road from his business? No, of course not. He drives to the hospital where his fricken doctors are registered which is 20 minutes away.

In the hospital waiting room he goes to the bathroom again, more blood. They get him on a gurney and since he looks OK they're not rushing to give him blood or fluids just asking questions. Then the blood comes out of him on the gurney and it becomes like one of those emergency room reality shows where doctors and nurses are rushing all around sticking him with needles and barking orders. At that point he became very pale and lost consciousness.

It's 10:30 am and Donna and I are asleep. This is normal because we're not morning people. Last night we had attended a Rancho Marfil reunion and we were up kind of late. Some friends said that they would call the next day if they were available and when the phone range I didn't get up right away because I figured it was them and I was too tired. Fifteen minutes later I got up and listened to the message.

It was a friend of my parents calling from the church saying my Dad was on his way to the hospital and so was my Mom. Given this wording I wasn't quite sure which one of them was sick, but I had a feeling it was my Dad. I called Ed's house (no answer), Mom's cell phone (not turned on), Dad's cell phone (no answer), Lou was at the shore, and Aunt Betsy wouldn't have known any more than I did at that point, so I threw on some clothes, told Donna what I knew and drove to the hospital.

Mom was sitting in the waiting room and she was a basket case. They wouldn't let her in the emergency room because the nurses and doctors were still a flurry of activity creating the maze of tubes and needles around him. She told me that Ed was at Swan Harbor (his in-laws residence in PA) and she didn't have the number. When we finally got to see him he was very pale and barely conscious. When the admitting person came by she asked about insurance and Mom unloaded on her to the point that I had to intervene. (Don't get her started on her health insurance problems or you'll be talking with her about it for hours.)

Eventually his internal bleeding stopped and the activity around him started to slow down. Many fluids were dripping or being pumped into him, his doctor was there, he started waking up and looking less pale. They assessed the symptoms and concluded that a dyverticulitus polyp must have burst. (They produce a lot of blood and then eventually stop where as other kinds of bleeding in the intestinal system either don't shed so much blood or don't stop.) An angioplasty through the artery in his groin was inconclusive so they admitted him into ICU for observation.

Lou called me from the road crying and Ed drove home that night from Swan Harbor. We all went to dinner at the Bronze Stallion, which is normally very good, but on this particular night sucked. We tried to convince Mom to keep her cell phone turned on 24x7 but I don't think she quite grasped the concept. She didn't even know her cell phone number; we had to dig deep in the phone's memory for it.

The next day the nurses in ICU told us that he constantly bugged them and the doctors to let him go home. Dad spent 24 hours in ICU and then they moved him into a semi-private room. 24 hours after that he was out of the hospital and Uncle Hans drove him home. Mom had to hide his car keys because he wanted to go to work even though the doctors told him to take it easy for another 24 hours.

Apparently he's had some inkling that he had dyverticulitis for some time now and that he should stay away from seeds and nuts. Does this stop from eating poppy-seed bagels every day? Of course not, but all in all, he's doing OK now and I think he's now sticking to the advice. This week he worked a little too hard because they had a show.

Mom has some nausea from the injections but she hasn't lost any appetite and she's actually gained two pounds. I figure that if she ever does start to lose her appetite we could score her some medicinal weed.

Anyway, can't write more, gotta get back to making the doughnuts..

Love, Joe