Wednesday, April 30, 2008
It's official. I qualify for a roux-en-y gastric bypass. I just have a little "legwork" to do in advance. Such as getting clearance letters from my Internist and Cardiologist. Seeing a shrink and a nutritionist. Have a sleep apnea study done.
But all things considered, it's probably a done deal. We're shooting for a surgery date sometime in August.
Today I am up to my eyeballs in all the hubbub associated with seeing doctors and getting things in writing -- all in a timely fashion.
This brings back lots of memories of my quadruple bypass in 2004, and my bilateral endarectomies (or, as I call them, "Mz. August and Mz. October") in 2005.
Because the bypass will, at the very least, cure my diabetes (I hope) and cause me to lose about 75 pounds (going from pleasingly plump to skinny-as-a-rail), I am really looking forward to it.
Other beneficial side-effects include curing my gout, alleviating my burgeoning rheumatoid arthritis and generally fixing up various aches and pains (especially joint pain as the pounds melt away).
But it's the diabetes I'm after. I'm long past the point of actually caring about the cosmetic effects of surgery. I was never particularly vain and I have no intention of starting now.
This is about having 30 or so years of high-quality dotage ... unlike what happened to any number of people on my mom's side of the family -- many of whom wound up sightless and/or limbless in nursing homes in their old age(s). I really don't want to wind up like that.
So, today I am doing what we refer to in 12-Step programs as "the next right thing", calling doctors, making appointments, taking care of business.
So, before I start thinking that I am God (which I sometimes do),
and to keep me "right-sized" this morning
I spoke at a 12-Step meeting here in Manhattan at 7:30 a.m.
Because, you see, I need to be reminded, and often, that even though the monkey is no longer on my back ...
the circus, most definitely, is still in town.
Monday, April 28, 2008
He was landed not without a certain amount of high drama and self-loathing. It all started at my Big Gay 12-Step meeting in Princeton on Friday night when I asked for a "some strapping lad" to assist me in getting Philips home from Sam's Club Saturday afternoon. I got a volunteer, alright, all 5'6", 130 pounds sopping wet of him.
But beggars can't be choosers so I offered to buy my newfound friend lunch on Saturday in exchange for his services in picking up the new set and helping me to schlepp it home and up the stairs to my 2nd story aerie in the Oldest Decrepit Victorian in Hightstown, NJ.
I picked him up on Saturday, we had lunch at the beautiful Americana Diner on Route 130 and then drove cross-country to the Sam's Club out on Route 1 near Princeton.
Where a week ago had stood a plethora of boxes of 42" sets there now stood nada, nil, zip. They'd sold out all 9 of them in the course of one week. I cornered a couple of the young miscreants who pretend to work at Sam's and demanded to be shown to the hidden stash of tv's. But, alas, they really were out ... and they couldn't sell me the floor model because they "might" get more in later this week.
Well, later this week would NOT DO. I want my toys when I want 'em. And I wanted it then. I drove my new friend back to his place and then headed home for a well-deserved evening of self-pitying, isolationist, God-hating. I excel at that at times.
Sunday morning, after an evening of much acting out with inappropriate foodstuffs, I rousted myself out of the house to another 12-Step meeting where I knew I would see my sponsor. After the meeting, as I explained to him how God had carefully plotted and crafted the entire previous two weeks so that I would "think" I was getting a new TV but was, in reality, get a new sponsee (my friend from the day before who, at lunch, worked up the nerve to ask me to sponsor him), my sponsor just nodded sagely, commiserated fully, pronounced me a bat-shit-crazy alcoholic and asked me if I'd checked out the Sam's Club on Route 18 in East Brunswick.
Well, I sputtered, ahem, uh, er, well, no.
He smiled and went home. I tore across country to the turnpike northbound and was there in less than 20 minutes.
They had it.
I bought it.
I brought it home.
And now, of course, I have buyer's regret.
Some weeks it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.
And it NEVER pays to be me.
Friday, April 25, 2008
But it does raise the issue of why sleepy little villages anywhere dislike today’s Day of Silence. It’s because for hundreds of years people didn’t have to deal with the issue because there were “no gays in our valley.” Now it seems like there are gays everywhere. And a lot of folks hate it when the local high school straight/gay alliance has a Day of Silence.
Because it forces one group of people to acknowledge the existence of another group of people.
And that means having to give thought to what it is that we actually do. And a lot of straight men, who have no problem at all with thinking about the various holes in the female body they’d like to penetrate with their hard-ons have a great deal of difficulty with thinking about which of their orifices they’d like to have penetrated by some other male’s hard-on.
They’re my favorite kind of hypocrite. The blatantly obvious kind.
And speaking of Redheads:
On September 30, 2007 I blogged about the former prop comic turned Steroid-Botox Freak, Carrot Top. That post turned out to be one most “hit” upon of all my postings since I started this nonsense in August of 2006. But have a look at the Top now! He’s downright scary!
And then click HERE to read what the Mop Top is up to these days.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Read about her upcoming de-nuptializing here:
Or, catch up with the antics of President Bush's favorite military lapdog, David H.
Jenna Bush hasn't made up her mind yet who she's voting for in November, Bud or Bud-Lite.
And now that you're thoroughly demoralized, perk yourselves up by singing the French portion of one of my favorite oldies from the Electric Light Orchestra, "Hold on Tight (to your dreams"):
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Quand tu vois ton bateau partir
Quand tu sents -- ton coeur se briser
Accroches-toi a ton reve
p.s. the insurance company has finally approved my procedure to get my droopy eyelid fixed. I'm having the surgery a week from tomorrow. Wish me bon chance!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
It's a bargain at twelve-hundred bucks.
When I saw it my mind flashed back to 1960, and to the following commercial which I fondly recalled from my childhood. This'll drag you down memory lane (if you're over 50).
It also reminds me of the good old days when television commercials were interminably long at 60 seconds. Thank God THOSE days are over.
You will, no doubt, be hearing lots more about the new set once I get it (mostly buyer's remorse, no doubt).
Meanwhile, sit back and relax. The following program ...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Oh, alright, on to Pennsylvania. Most people don't think about Pennsylvania very much but if they do at all they usually think about Punxatawney Phil, the Philly Phanatic, artery-hardenin' Cheesesteaks, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Year's Mummers Parades and Independence Hall (where something happened, a long, long time ago).
That about sums up what most folks know about Pennsylvania.
Today, however, the eyes of an anxious nation are fixed upon the Keystone State (Misnomer. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of Commonwealths (not states) here in the east, the others being Massachusetts and Virginia).
Hillary and Barack are locked in a death-grip in PA today. They've been flinging televised nasty-grams at each other for the past week (and I got to enjoy them because I live in the no-man's-land between Philly and New York and so I get all the stations from both markets). It got ugly. But, to their credit, for the last 2 days things have lightened up... slightly... between them.
Hillary will most likely carry the primary (but not by much). But the thing to watch, so I'm told, is the popular vote. For as goes the vote, so go the superdelegates you've heard so much about.
Frankly, I wish the whole thing was over. One thing you can count on us Democrats to do in any election year is to eat our own young.
I want the war in Iraq to be over, now. I want universal health care, now.
Oh, and I'd really like to have a national law that people must purchase automobile insurance NOT on the basis of how old they are, or where they live, but, rather, on how many miles they drive every year. It seems to me that people who drive a bajillion miles every year should pay more than the little old lady who only takes Bessie out for a spin every Saturday to pick up groceries.
Next down the wish-list is the usual gay agenda stuff; repeal of DADT, universal legality of gay partnerships (call 'em whatever the hell you want to call 'em, I just want 'em to be in full parity with what the Hets got) and for everybody to be really nice to each other.
Like that'll happen. Like any of that'll happen.
It won't happen.
Why do I bother to care?
Monday, April 21, 2008
You always hear a lot of yammer about how allowing gays into the service would adversely affect morale. Bullshit. The people who foment this particular argument are not the troops or sailors in the field or at sea but, rather, it's the party-line of the Royal High Muckety-Mucks back in the Pentagon. And the reason they foist this nonsense on the public and even onto their own personnel is simple:
Because Ma and Pa Kettle, back home in East Jeebus, Utazona, will NOT let little Johnny or little Suzie sign up to serve as cannon fodder in meaningless wars of superiority if they even suspect that little Johnny or little Suzie (whom they've always, secretly, had their doubts about anyway) will meet up with one of them big-city kuwheers who will, in one wild evening of hot man-on-man or gal-on-gal sex, totally get them to succumb to temptation and to convert to the Dark Side.
It's really about recruiting numbers (theirs, not ours). The Pentagon Brass doesn't give a rat's ass about Ma and Pa's religious beliefs (or Johnny's or Suzie's, either). But they DO care about their prejudices. Especially, they care about catering to all those prejudices in order to make sure that the war machine is kept primed and pumped with the hot, steaming, patriotic, well-meaning and totally ignorant fuel of war, the flower of our nation's youth.
So, calling all Felons out there!
Uncle Sam Wants You (but in the good way, not the bad way! I think.)
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Come July you can kiss Windows-XP goodbye.
Well, not totally, of course. They'll still support it (for somebody) until about 2014. But they'll stop selling new copies of it then.
That means that sometime in the next 6 years or so you'll probably have to upgrade your PC to accomodate the Vista operating system. From what I understand these are the minimum hardware requirements for Vista:
A water-cooled quad-core CPU which operates at Warp Factor 7.
A Googolbyte of RAM.
10-Blu-Ray DVD burner/players (to hold all the installation disks at once).
A 42" HDTV monitor with a native resolution of 4800 x 2400.
At least 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Terabytes of hard-disk storage.
Another $3,000 worth of expensive accessories/toys.
The OS should set you back around a hundred thousand bucks.
Was there really a time when I had a pc on my desk which cost the company six grand, that had 512Kbytes of RAM and a 20Mbyte hard drive? Did it really whiz at the blazing speed of 6Mhz (which I violated the warranty of by juicing that baby up to a whopping 8Mhz)? Was the monitor really in living Green and White?
And did it run something called "DOS 3.1?" And did it have files called "config dot sys" and "autoexec dot bat", which told the computer everything it needed to know in order to run? And did I actually know what those files contained and what each line in them did?
Yes, Virginia, there was such a time. 24 years ago.
Oh, and I had a word processing program called "WordPerfect" which was wonderful. And a spreadsheet program called "Lotus 1-2-3" which also ruled. And I created my own database program using something called "dBase III" which, eventually, became the application in which a giant Wall Street brokerage house actually did the recordkeeping for a +$30 million dollar a year business. And I wrote it.
But that's before we all got lazy and stupid. It's also before Microsoft deliberately engineered software so complicated that only a Microsoft Engineer (or a MicroSoft trained engineer) could possibly understand it. For a series of escalating fees, of course.
Over the years personal computing got lost by the wayside as once again the end-users became nothing more than corporate tools of the all-powerful IT department.
Goodbye personal computing! Hello, Dronehood!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Feed the crowds and give 'em dead bodies to cheer about.
And while the front page of today's NYTimes doesn't offer much in the way of edible goodness, it does offer a fair amount of spectacle to slather over.
In one article Senator McCain has outlined his broad proposals for the US economy which consist, mostly, of tax cuts. For rich people. What chutzpah. How daring. Breathtaking. Yawn.
That's on the left side of the page. On the right side we have a headline "Big Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill." Well of course there are. Only an idiot wouldn't know that when Joe Blow gets fifty cents from Uncle Sugar, General Motors will get 100 bajillion dollars as part of the same deal. Tsk. Tsk. Everyone knows that.
Then, in the middle, we have "Iraqi Unit Flees Sadr City, Despite American's Plea" in which we read about an Iraqi army unit which turned tail and ran in the middle of the night, leaving an American patrol to fend for itself, despite the outright begging of the American commander. It's nice to see the Iraqi's finally shifting for themselves. We should be able to leave there in no time.
Like, literally, in no time. Never. Ever.
The final lead item is headlined, "Pope, in U.S., is 'Ashamed' of Pedophile Priests." That's nice. They ought to be. But how about a little shame for all the heretics they burned at the stakes over the millenia? Or the bloody crusades? Or how they turned a blind eye to millions of other atrocities over the centuries when it was very convenient to do so (or inconvenient not to)?
Is it asking too much for the world to be slightly less pigheaded, stupid, cowardly and greedy than it apparently is?
Have we maxed out on our collective credit card of common sense?
I guess it really is a dog-eat-dog world. And to paraphrase Norm from Cheers, "most of us are wearing Milk Bone underwear!"
Monday, April 14, 2008
Actually, you can simply click HERE to go to the page.
Read the article (and be forwarned, this is NSFW due to the nudity of a sketch of a certain Faux News Favorite), but be sure to check out the embedded video.
Itself purports to be a parody of a certain Australian News Mogul, but it sure as hell looks to me like the so-called actor is the real deal.
Check it out for yourselves.
And then run out to a newstand and find the parody of the paper itself. The last time I saw one of those was in the 80's, when I worked on Wall Street. It was a devastating take on the business then and I have no doubt that it'll be equally eviscerating now.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I hate being the babysitter to somebody who makes 3 times what I make who won't do what he's supposed to do.
To make Friday even worse I was told that starting this week I would have to work on a SEC document that needs to be created and filed on behalf of one of our clients.
SEC documents are formatting nightmares. To make matters "easier" the powers that be decided to a) use a form for the document which is Edgarized on the internet at the SEC website (don't ask and I won't tell). Then they decided to divvy up the document amongst six different secretaries to tidy it up. The only problem with that being that six secretaries have six different ways of tidying up.
On Monday morning all six pieces were forwarded to me for assembly.
What a friggin' mess. I might as well have typed the entire document myself, from scratch.
I've spent the remainder of this week getting it (it now tops out at over 100 pages) into some semblance of readable shape.
But enough grousing.
Let's talk about General
Is it just my imagination or are we in VietNam all over again?
Ya know, sometimes I like to speculate on exactly what we could've bought with that Trillion Dollars we've thrown away trying to subjugate a bunch of hotheaded religious nuts in a country that brings exactly nothing to our strategic party. Perhaps we could've found the cure's for cancer, AIDS, ALS, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy? Or provided free education for every American under the age of 25 up to and including college? Or ... well, I'm sure you have some good ideas, too. Let's hear 'em!
There are some shining spots in this week, though. Today is pay day and tomorrow is Friday!
And that makes life worth living.
Friday, April 04, 2008
The other morning I splurged after my morning 12-Step meeting and went out for coffee with some of my tribe. As we settled down in the far corner of the coffee shop section at Barnes & Noble, the subject came up, as it often does with newcomers who don't know any better, about how other people in the program REALLY need help and what can be done to help them.
I do my best to squash such gossiping before it gets out of hand by pointing out that prayers are always good and that no matter what, we really need to keep the focus on ourselves throughout our sobriety. Fat lot of good that does.
In 10 years of continuous sobriety I've met few recovering alcoholics who weren't, to some degree or another, also recovering codependents. Especially people who are also Adult Children of Alcoholics (boy, does it come with that territory!)
And if there's one thing CODA's are good at, it's taking the heat off themselves by putting it on somebody else (a drunken parent, sibling, significant other, the guy or gal sitting across from them at meetings, etc).
The difficulty comes when you have 10 years, like I do, and you know that your primary purpose is to stay sober and to help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety.
When, then, is it appropriate to discuss what clearly is the borderline mental illness of a group member? Who becomes the anointed adult in a group, charged with approaching someone like that with the advice that their needs are "clearly beyond the scope of any 12-Step program and, therefore, we advise you to seek professional assistance outside of the rooms?"
These are ticklish and uncertain issues for us. Bill W. (one of the granddads of 12-Step programs) never hesitated to jump right in, no matter the consequences, with lots of advice for people, helpful or otherwise. But times were different then.
The temptation to succumb to the need to "fix someone" is at the very core of a codependent's addiction. That addiction being to do everything within their power to avoid having any attention drawn to their addictions (it's tricky, but runs along the line of "as long as everyone is looking at Uncle Joe's drinking problem, nobody will notice what a drunk I've become!"), or, in the case of someone already in recovery, to not have attention drawn to their own (possibly marginal) efforts by focusing a beam of negative energy on someone else's recovery. Someone who may lack the mental or emotional resources to have the sort of recovery many of us desire.
But like all human behaviors, codependency is fraught with pitfalls. Not the least of which is that we run the danger of eventually having that same spotlight shone on ourselves, and our peccadiloes.
You know, I've gotten so much self-awareness in the last 10 years that it seems to some of my friends that I do nothing but spend most of my time self-co-dependently analyzing my every thought, word and motive. We even have an expression for that (surprise, surprise!)
We call it "analysis until paralysis." And yes, I'm guilty of that a lot of the time (not all of it, though).
Like Buddha, we are all seeking "the Middle Way." Balance.
Have an angst free weekend everybody. And remember to keep the focus on yourselves (unless you're a newly minted grandparent in which case it's perfectly alright to keep the focus on the baby).
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I think it might be just because it's Spring and the weather is changing, and the days are longer and I'm older.
Or something like that.
I spent the night in town because I'd been invited to speak at a 12-Step meeting after work last night. The meeting was going to run late and I didn't want to have to dash for the bus, so my friend stepped up to the plate and invited me to crash at his place.
He even cooked a delicious meal for his wife and I.
I slept in until 5:30 this morning, a good 45 minutes past my usual arising time.
But now I'm tahhred, and ready for bed.
Funny thing about rest. It's like a drug. The more you get, the more you want.
And this alkie can really relate to that!
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Today I read that Karl Rove had the nerve to refer to Barack Obama as "arrogant." Barack? Arrogant? The Pillsbury Doughboy actually had the nerve to say that? About anyone? If there's anybody who served in the White House in the last 8 years who has less right to call anybody "arrogant" it's Rove.
Worse, it's that time of the political cycle where PLMs (people like me) get thrown under the bus for political gain (again). It was on the ticker this morning that Teddy K. (D-MA) is tossing some of us in front of mass transit by threatening to introduce the tranny-excluding ENDA bill to the Senate.
Both sides of the aisle piss me off. Neither side of the aisle ever wholeheartedly represents my wants and aspirations.
I am the Alienated American.
I do not believe that the United States of America is a "Force for Good" in the world. I do believe that it is merely "a force" and, like all forces, it needs to be carefully watched. I agree with Winston Churchill's observation that "America can always be relied upon to do the right thing.... having exhausted every other possibility."
Which is not to say that we are utterly without charm. We have many redeeming qualities (industriousness, creativity, compassion, just to name a few). But the one quality I admire the most is our ability to finally get thoroughly fed up.
Once upon a time we Americans sat idly on our hands while a far-away power imposed it's will and it's armies upon us. It taxed us without representing us. It took and took and took and gave us nothing in return except it's overbearing arrogance and a common mother-tongue. This sorry state of affairs went on for decades until we, the people, finally said, "FTS (f*ck this sh*t)ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
The crowd that occupies the acreage inside the Beltway these days would do well to remember what happened when the American People in those days finally got fed up with the pricks with the guns. We threw the bastards out.
Here's my current deal.
We've had as president, since the year I was born (1948), the following (initials, party, term(s))
HST (D-1), DDE (R-2), JFK (D-3/4), LBJ (D-1 1/4), RMN (R-1 1/2), GAF (R- 1/2), JEC (D-1), RR (R-2), GHWB (R-1), WJC (D-2), GWB (R-2).
That's six terms for the Democrats (24 years) and nine terms for the Republicans (36 years).
As far as I'm concerned we've had way too many Republican presidents in my lifetime and REALLY way too many Bush's and Clintons.
Barack's my Main Man from here on out.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
A couple of years ago a buddy of mine in my home group made a bet with me. He'd just spent a half-dozen years being a "househusband" while his wife, a high-powered poobah in something or other, was the breadwinner in the family. He stayed home, cooked, cleaned and, in between, got sober.
"If I ever get a job, you'll start dating", he said.
Well, that seemed innocuous (and improbable) enough. I knew enough about him to know that he'd never give up his cushy gig as wife and mother, notwithstanding his successful previous career at a national broadcasting network here in NYC.
"Done" I said.
Long story short, the SOB decided to try his hand at investment banking and damned if he didn't just close his first deal!
It's not the dating I mind, but there was a subsequent codicil to the bet. That if he was successful at becoming an investment banker, I'd give serious thought to going to work with him in putting deals together.
He could scarcely contain his glee when he called me with the good news this morning.
I don't know whether to jump off the Verrazano Bridge or to toss myself under a downtown express train.
After all, what's wrong with living alone, like a hermit, in sublime isolation with a virtually do-nothing job that pays "okay" for somebody who's 25 and just starting out in life?
I'm scheduled to speak at a 12-Step meeting tomorrow evening after work, at 6:30 p.m., here on the upper east side of Manhattan. So I asked my friend if I could spend the night with he and his wife, who live right over the river in Queens. He agreed, as long as he and I have "the chat."
Well, there's one good thing about this. At least I won't spend all my time between now and tomorrow night worrying myself sick over speaking before a bunch of strangers at a 12-Step meeting.
No. Instead I'll spend all my time worrying about the impending conversation with my friend over my future plans.
I HATE thinking about the future. And I'm clueless when it comes to planning.
I'd much rather run away. Just like I've done a thousand times before.