Tag Archive: rant


I’m going to start today with a web site’s “Civility Pledge.” Towards the end I will circle back to my comments about the group site that created this pledge:

“As a member or guest of ***, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful towards people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process”

The existence of the above pledge makes me absolutely sick. It thoroughly offends me that this pledge exists. Now, before every person I know grabs pitchfork and torch while trying to find out who scrambled my brains… allow me a clarification.

The pledge sickens me. Not the sentiment. The pledge sickens me because frankly it should NEVER be necessary to codify this sentiment into a pledge in relation to the governance of the USA. Americans are a nation of people founded on the concept that ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL. You may remember “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Admittedly, from a Thelemic philosophy, everyone has the right to hate, lie, disrespect, and manipulate.

The above pledge is from the new counter movement called the “Coffee Party.” I’ll talk specifically about the group later but first their raison d’être.

The group formed as a result of one Facebook member ranting about the current obstructionism in the government. Friends ranted, someone made a joke about the Tea Party… and then there was a ‘Coffee Party.’

I very specifically in a recent post said that I was not interested in discussing politics. Well, it’s been 24 hrs; I’ve had a bad day; and I haven’t come up with anything better from Formspring.

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Jim Bunning

The Bunn Ultimatum has come and gone. Bunning tried to suggest he’d filibuster (without the support of his party) and the opposition positioned itself to make him actually stand up and filibuster. In response he offered a solution that undermined something else the opposition was working on and inevitably ran and hid.

Current obstructionism. I have to highlight current because it’s the same obstructionism that’s been going on in our government on both sides for a very long time.

Now another comment to make you again wonder if I have suffered an ‘alien brain scramble.’ “I don’t want to be a Democrat.” (amaransezwha?) For what it’s worth, “I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO BE A REPUBLICAN.” I did. For a while I really was up for ‘fiscal conservatism’ and ‘Keeping government small and keeping the fed out of the state’s business.’ Which was great… until Trickle down economics didn’t. Which was great… until the Fed marched into Florida to help with their 2000 election mechanics.

The Coffee Party and I see eye to eye on one major topic. Finding a bipartisan solution is not the problem. Bipartisanism is the problem. Three houses to form checks and balances fail if the entire game becomes a race for one of two parties to take over all three houses. The concept that independents are asked which of the two parties that they will caucus for makes no sense to me.

Hearing that tertiary candidates are not allowed in the current debate because they don’t have the level of representation which is decided on by the parties that do makes no sense to me. Continually, I hear stories of tertiary candidates being taken forcibly from debates by police because they aren’t allowed in.

Our current government is a football game of “We Good, you Evil” So much for civility towards ‘the other party.’

I don’t want to be a Democrat. I am currently watching the “Rachel Maddow” show on MSNBC. (And don’t get me started on the concept of NBC plus Microsoft equals news.) Rachel Maddow is like watching Jon Stewart without the occasional laugh at his own side. The current rant is over the hypocrisy that the Republican representatives are doling out. And it doesn’t take much effort to see it. Unfortunately, I cannot stomach the other side of the debate enough to watch a “Glenn Beck” or a “Rush Limbaugh” give examples of the hypocrisy of the left because they are too busy playing the “Incite to Riot” card (See previous two links).

So, on one side we have the Conservatives. These are the people who during the Bush Administration said, “You don’t like the president? Suck it up or you’re a treasonous traitor to the country.” These are the same people who are painting pictures of Obama to look like Hitler (Godwin Points) and calling for “Revolution.” Of course they don’t realise that the Pacific Northwest is defined as “Hippies that want their guns too.”

The Right is running on fear. Terrorize the masses into believing the Left is evil, destructive, villainous, and planning the downfall of Apple Pie and Mom. (Remember, Health Reform is socialism; but SOCIAL security isn’t)

The left. There’s the dove. At least that’s the visual message they offer. We love everyone, we want to bridge the gaps, and we’ll meet you half way in that Zeno’s paradox kind of way. (What, halfway more? But if I keep cutting the distance in half; I’ll never get to you.) The problem is that the left wants to play by the rules up until they are pushed to break the rules and then … well, they don’t admit they’ve changed their tone either.

Let’s face it. From the moment that the Left lost 60 in the Senate; they knew Health reform Reconciliation was on the table. The fact that they still haven’t “Said it” is just an olive branch being held by a fist.

Personally, I think the Democrats right now are far more dangerous than the Republicans. Not for what they want to do; but for how far they will be pushed and compromise before they decide that all bets are off. Let’s look at historical examples of behaviour that is pushed over the edge: Road_rage, John_and_Lorena_Bobbitt, Going_postal.

I will hand it to the Left for trying to hold out as far as they have. But I really think that before things go much further… it’s going to become a figurative blood bath in Washington. Honestly, I have never felt as close to the history of the Civil War as I did in the run-up and aftermath of both the 2000 and the 2004 election.

So we have the Bully and the Conscientious Objector. Pick your side. That’s what Washington really wants. As long as they can keep this country torn down the philosophical center (no matter where the lines are) then their pundits will keep putting them back into office and they will maintain their 50/50 split of only handling issues that most people are too apathetic or untrained to see.

Let me comment about some of the changes I want in the US government:

  1. A bill must pertain to one topic.
    • How the hell the Port defense act garnered bank control for online Poker is beyond me.
    • The idea here is as follows: Take a bill that overwhelmingly is going to pass both houses from both parties. (Typically this would be something like… oh I don’t know… shoring up unemployment). One rep has a pet peeve that she/he wants to nip in the bud. Worse, they are under pressure from a lobbyist to fix something that’s causing them to lose money. In the 11th hour when no one is paying attention, the amendment to the bill is slipped in. Exploiting parliamentary procedure loopholes may do this. Wording the amendment in a manner that is innocuous to those that haven’t spent time studying it may do it. The committees study the bills, not the amendments.
  2. Committees are transparent and your representative listens to you about issues that aren’t on their committee.
    • I used to write my congressional representatives and senators. I do not anymore. I am not a lobbyist. I am just the person that either did or more likely did not elect them. One law that passed in Washington I was very unhappy with. I contacted the state reps that voted against my opinion and was told that I should contact my own representative. I contacted my federal representative from my own district concerning a bill I wanted to see supported. I was told, “That bill is not in my committee.” I honestly don’t care if it is or isn’t in your committee. You can talk to your ‘friend’ the representative from “where-ever” and tell them that your constituents care about this bill.
    • Since the activities of committees are done so secretively to the public, we really don’t know which elected official is supporting a bill, discussing it in committee, or even aware that the bill exists. And when we do contact them; if we aren’t talking them out to dinner or golfing or creating a trust fund in their name; our opinions don’t seem to matter.
  3. Hare Clark. Hare Clark. HARE CLARK
    • For the rest of you: this is “Single_transferable_vote.” This system eliminates “Wasted Votes”, “Spoiler Candidates” and, “Blowing off the good candidate because he can’t win.” I’m not going to explain how the system works. It is a bit on the complicated side.
  4. My favourite one. Hypocrisy and self-serving abuses of power in the Federal positions of the Legislature, Executive, and Judicial are treasonous acts against the country and should result in public execution. Said execution will be pay per view with the proceeds going to pay back the deficit
    • I guarantee you, hang one Democrat and one Republican on PPV; you’ll easily knock ½ trillion off the deficit and the rest of the gov’t will get REALLLLLY HONEST REALLLLLLLLY FAST.
    • A note: I am not condoning killing our elected officials. I’m not a fan of the death penalty. I often float this idea more for the reaction than an actual desire to see it enacted. Please do not call the FBI, the CIA, or the ASPCA on me.

Now, there are countless other things that could contribute to fixing our problem. One of course is remembering that just because a corporation is a legal entity; doesn’t make it a person. Corporations have far too much power in this country and this alone is a topic for another post.

So let’s stop for some coffee.

I digress. I resent the Tea Party; not just because they are primarily composed of people that I view as alarmists and the easily manipulated. I resent them for co-opting tea. I love tea. The Tea Party doesn’t even connect to the Tea Parties of history no matter how hard their leaders and representatives try to shoehorn the definition. These Obama-as-Hitler mobs are the same people who decried arguing with the president 2 years ago. I’d use the more apropos ‘objurgate’, but I’m pretty sure less than .01% of them could define it before the other 99% accuse me of using some gay-socialist code word.

Right… coffee. The founder/leader/talking-head of the Coffee party is Annabel Park. As far as I can tell, the Coffee Party extols olive branches to both sides with the hopes that they will play nice. If they don’t play nice, the Coffee Party will hold their representatives accountable.

The Coffee Party currently has just over 75.5K ‘fans’ on Facebook. I don’t mean to doom say here. But if we divide that number by 50 we get a number that winds up being just over 1500 per state. This number doesn’t represent enough people to get a referendum on most state election boards let alone the strength to remove a 6 term senator who plays the politics game very well.

You don’t organize a movement by ranting politely and offering olive branches. You don’t affect change without a much larger mass. You can tell how seriously the mainstream media takes them when CNN entitles their story with the pun, ”Coffee Party gaining Steam.” My biggest concern with the future of the Coffee Party is that Ms. Park has very little charisma to inspire anyone to stop being inevitably apathetic about government.

And here (in my less than humble opinion) is the root of our problem. Washington polarization and gridlock has led to our general apathy with the whole problem. And here is proof. How many of you knew/know the following:

  1. How can one senator stall a bill without majority support? Without even minority support?
  2. What was the actual bill that was stalled? Do you know the H.R. number? Where can you find the text of the bill? Where can you find the text of the laws changed by the bill?
  3. What amendments were added to the bill? Who added them? Who supported or didn’t support them? Why?
  4. What have your representatives voted for or against this session? How in line with their, your, all parties was it?
  5. How many of you know how to get a referendum on your own local ballot?

American Civics is a joke for the places that even still bother to teach it. We have been raised and continue to raise our young to follow the status quo and trust someone else to tell us how to think and what to do.

Sure, I want to believe the Coffee Party has some legs on it. Granted, I also want tea back from the radical jihad of the intellectually conservative. (I guess now that the intelligent Christians have wrestled their religion back from the extremists and the Republicans; the Republicans need a new group that they can find a stupid sub group within to be their voice of fear and doom.)

I remember about 9-10 years ago trying to deduce what a Democrat and a Republican stood for. After asking moderates on both sides all it really came down to was, “Don’t trust the other side.” The tenants of “Fiscal conservatism”, “Social evolution”, “Government regulation” all became talking points that you used to identify which ‘team’ you ‘played for.’

None-the-less (with some exceptions over theTea Party members, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh) I have tried to comport myself within the confines of the “Pledge of Civility.” I suppose I rule the aforementioned out because they do not come to the floor with opposing ideas. They simply come with the words of hate and mistrust based solely on either their own imaginations (as in the talk show hosts) or the imaginations of others without seriously giving consideration to what is going on.

I want to see cooperation in government. I think the Coffee movement has its heart in the right place. I just don’t see government really worrying about the hearts of the individuals of this country. I really don’t see government as a whole really worrying about major changes to the status quo.

…because the status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just… need to blog it.

Living with Chronic Pain

Let me start by stating quite simply, writing an article with this as a title is damned ballsy of me. To look at me or interact with me you probably wouldn’t believe that I live with Chronic Pain. However, by the time I’m done, I hope to not only to explain the horror of living with Chronic Pain, but then explain how my experience is nothing compared to the woman I love being the one who lives IN Chronic Pain.

Did the preposition throw you? I am basically a physically healthy 42-year-old, Caucasian, male. I have a son who is creeping up on the age of 3½. This of course means he has no boundaries, no patience, no strong sense of right and wrong, and most importantly, no real sense of when to back off.

Then there is my wife. A woman who succeeded in my life after an endless string of failed relationships to be the one who I would trust with my life and sharing the responsibility of raising children. Nearly two years ago while taking on that responsibility by driving to pick up our son from day care, while stopped at a traffic light, she was rear ended by a 19-year-old that was speeding. The details beyond that are inappropriate for further discussion beyond that; we are still working with a lawyer to try to get fair recompense from the driver’s insurance.

The result was that she was injured. And much like childhood mental abuse the damage does not leave visible scarring. At first we thought it was mild whiplash. But, for some reason, no matter what the doctors told us at first, it kept getting worse. After 4 or 5 doctors an MRI showed us the permanent spinal damage. This is the kind of spinal damage that causes endless pain, doesn’t go away, and really has no cure; contrary to the impression that the medical industry gives you.

Now, let me explain what it’s like to watch someone you love in chronic pain. Imagine stubbing your toe really badly. The pain from that proceeds in several distinct phases: the Impact, the Blammo, the Wash, and the Recovery.

The impact. Usually it hurts immediately, but not always. When it does hurt, it’s like a blast from your body realizing what’s going on. This is the Blammo. This is when you are grunting, hollering, or expending a rather large and noticeable interjection (more often than naught unacceptable for school children).

After the Blammo we move right into the Wash. Whether the pain subsides or gets worse can determine how serious the problem is (did you stub your toe or cut it off?). The Wash is the recovery phase where the brain says, “Hey that was pain and I need to expend your daily energy supply to get you through the shock.” Typically you signify this by not responding to worried questions from bystanders. You are too busy dealing with the pain to really be able to do anything else. This is the part the sucks the most for a loved one, because the person who is hurt is suffering but really not consolable and now is not the time to offer assistance. The wash subsides and then we laugh about clumsiness. The toe may be sore for a little while after – that is the Recovery.

But hey, that’s a stubbed toe. The whole episode is maybe 2-5 minutes. Chronic Pain? From my point of view we make two very specific changes. First, The “Blammo” is sometimes incredibly subtle to onlookers. Is it any less painful? Not that I can tell. So, why should the sufferer choose to be subtle about it? Well, let’s look at the other change. Let’s pretend that the Blammo could last for 15 minutes to 6 hours. Let’s pretend that the wash lasts for 4 hours, 8 hours, maybe 4 days. And let’s pretend that the Recovery (and the exhaustion it causes) lasts for about 2-4 hours until the next Blammo. What if the Pain and the Wash basically become indistinguishable? What if one Wash caused another Blammo? What if reacting to one Blammo caused another Blammo? Do the Washes combine, overlap, or increase? What if the phases were about as clear and definable as mud?

In the case of many Chronic Pain sufferers you may also likely deal with the complication of Fibromyalgia; a short-circuiting of the touch sensors that sometimes can make the lightest touch set off a “Blammo.”

When you ache or suffer post pain wash, you are expending energy. So things like making people worry and hang over you for the hours that there’s nothing they can do about it… that’s just more annoyance that’s exhausting. And for the person watching it? It’s just the person you love suffering for most of the waking day and there’s pretty much NOTHING you can do.

As caregiver, your job is to not waste more of the precious good energy that a chronic pain sufferer has. Communication where appropriate to learn the subtle differences between “I hurt, go away” and “I hurt, be here.” While it seems that there shouldn’t be a subtle level of difference here, you have to accept that there will be because it will occur typically when the person is in the most pain. They are too busy trying to minimise uncontrollable pain and transition into a wash that won’t cause more pain.

This is a frustrating job. And it’s most frustrating because this situation typically is not the fault of the suffering person. You can find yourself frustrated at the situation but NOT the person.

At any time in this have you considered what could be going on in the mind of the person suffering? This is a person who lives with the things that they may no longer be able to do anymore. By helping them accomplish things you are taking the burden off them while at the same time parading in front of them the things they can’t do.

You are a cheerleader. You are there to make them feel as much themselves as you can. You have to be prepared to let them burn some energy in the few good hours despite the massive dip it may occur because it is the rare sense of normalcy that makes it all endurable.

The hardest part is the communication. When a person lives in pain; finding the middle ground over something as amorphous and unpredictable as pain can be maddening. Further, trying to talk reasonably about it can be just as mentally painful for everyone as the sufferers physical pain is. (But it truthfully probably isn’t)

Because, as much as you sympathise, living with someone IN Chronic Pain, you cannot understand what it feels like. I had a strained muscle in my shoulder that was not getting taken down by OTC pain meds. It lasted for days and I felt like hell. And I still have no idea what it’d be like to have something even 10 times worse that just never goes away.

Personally, I think that any Doctor that’s going to deal in pain management should be put into Chronic Pain for a month. During that time they should have to fight their own bureaucracy and paperwork, spend hours in uncomfortable waiting rooms, be subjected to the repeat humiliation of feeling like they have no idea what they are talking about, and be given false hope at every turn.

As a caregiver I also get to interact with the medical industry. There are no cures for Fibromyalgia. There are no cures for Syringomyelia. And most of the Pain Clinics don’t know how to deal with neuropathic pain; this is pain that comes from problems in the spinal chord communicating with the brain. Pain clinics understand muscular pain. Shove a needle in your back filled with cortisone and come back in x weeks.

What’s even more fascinating at this level of the medical industry is how severely the system doesn’t work. Your primary physician is not really qualified to manage chronic pain. They ‘refer’ you to a pain clinic. Typically this is the Clinic that the hospital they are aligned with suggests. You then contact the pain clinic. The pain clinic then tells you the following:

Have the doctor contact us and send us all your medical history and your insurance. In some cases if you’re dealing with a lawyer they won’t talk to you. (There’s a fear that they may have to testify in court and risk being torn apart by an insurance lawyer who’s purpose is to discredit them rather than actually listen to their testimony). Once the medical admins on both sides (People reallllly invested in your care… okay… really invested that they’ll be able to get your co-pay and bill your insurance) have exchanged the necessary paperwork, now you wait.

You are waiting for your stack of papers to climb to the top of the doctor’s stack for evaluation of your case. This can take a month. They will tell you it should be a week… but doctors “get busy.” Interestingly, if they forget to get back to you it’s possibly because they were given the wrong number (which really should make you worry that if they can’t get that piece of information transmitted correctly, do you really trust the quality of medical records being transferred.) Maybe it was the admin who forgot to call you back. (Similar to how they may forget to call in your prescriptions when you run out of painkiller). Interestingly, if you follow up and find out why there’s been a delay that often does little more than move your file lower in the stack. I remember because I called one and asked why it’d been three weeks and they said my wife’s file was the next one up after the current one. The following week I was told it was in the top 5.

After a month of wait with two separate Pain Clinics I was told that the Doctor wasn’t going to take the case. The reason was that he didn’t handle her specific type of spinal damage. I was tempted to fire on all chambers because one actually listed her specific type of spinal damage on his web site. The excuse I got was, “That information isn’t current.”

I strongly recommend the paper to doctors called, “How Not to be a Dumbass” by the blogger Jenny Ryan also known as “Cranky Fibro Girl” who has eloquently written what dealing with these issues is like. Please read her blog.

Writing a posting like this is not easy. Because I go back to a comment above, “By helping them accomplish things you are taking the burden off them while at the same time parading in front of them the things they can’t do.”

People often ask me how life is. People often ask how my wife is. For me… this topic is my Wash. I don’t want to answer it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t like talking about it. Especially in front of the woman I absolutely love who has to live with it.

In my opinion the world and my life would be much more hollow and empty without her in it. And that is the thought I’d rather have than to have to linger on the pain that she has to live with.

My original goal of this post (okay, rant) was the hopes to communicate that no matter how hard we try to sympathise… the pain someone caring for a Chronic Pain sufferer is unbelievable… and it is still very small compared with the pain the sufferer is living with.

As much as I can not comprehend what someone living IN Chronic Pain feels like, most people also will not comprehend what someone living WITH Chronic Pain feels like. I guess I can find my relief in the knowledge that I may have a community of people in similar situations who do get it.

And that is just a smidge of what it’s like to live with Chronic Pain.

I’m a regular user of EA’s online game site. Pogo

This evening I received an error message. So I wrote a VERY long post to their support division. And internally… I really don’t think I’m going to let this one lie… especially if I get crapped on by some outsourced tech support pre-fashioned script.

I invite you to read the rather biting letter. But I really don’t think most of my readers are that interested.

Last week I walked into the break room. There were two folks taking opposing views on who did better in which debate.

8 days into 2008 and the presidential election is in the break room.

I’d like to take this opportunity early in this hell year to make a request of the readers of this blog.

Be intelligent and not apathetic.

This actually goes a long way. The terms ‘democrat’, ‘republican’, ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ have all pretty much lost their original definition.

The bi-partisan government wants you to be polarized, pick a side, and then see if they can get a 50/50 vote that will require their unbiased hand to help decide.

The issues that will be argued and debated are all things that will not be dealt with. They are simply hot button terms designed to make you pick “one side” or “the other side”… Black or white… there is no middle ground.

Well, the government would like you to believe there is no middle ground.

Last hell-year, I watched as intelligent friends fell right into the morass and backed their candidate based on how well they linked up with their list of pointless issues. I watched as they bickered these points. I saw people in social circles actually come to blows.

This year… think about what’s important to you. What are the problems you see on your street, in your town, state, etc. Because I can guarantee you; stem cell research, gay marriage, social security privatization, removing evolution from the school books… will not occur in the next 4 years.

People say that their vote doesn’t count. That government doesn’t accomplish anything.

Both are unfortunately, untrue. Unfortunate, because we let the government polarize us into a 50/50 split. If just one state did something unexpected the election would change. Visibly.

And before you tell me that government can’t accomplish something in a timely manner… get me started on how the Washington state legislature made online gambling a felony in 45 days from law proposal to passage.

I stand by the phrase with which they promoted the move “V for Vendetta”

“People should not be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.”

I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican.

I am an individual.

Okay… first off colour my buttons sensitized. I have not watched “Finding Nemo” in (oh… about) 9 months. I can no longer walk thru a public area without turning quickly when I hear a child cry. I am surprised at the number of children I never noticed at the Zoo.

This weekend in Pike Place Market while a grandparent was paying at a cashier, a person in a hooded sweatshirt grabbed and tried to abduct his 7 year old granddaughter.

The grandfather shouted for help and made pursuit, the child yelled, screamed and fought the assailant. The criminal let go and ran.

So why is it a rant? The grandfather later reported in interview that despite screaming for help… no one looked. No one reacted.

Have we become so desensitized to crime that we’re more worried about being “HERO”s by phoning in HOV lane offenses than we are to the plight of a child? Why as a society are we being driven to fear thought-crime and consensual vice, but at the same time ignore the crimes of child abuse, abduction, and property theft.

Bar brawls are now television entertainment rather than physical assault. When I have to turn to the observations of a writer of fiction to see the inhumanity in this world without sensationalism on the news… I wonder where our priorities have really gone.

Personally, I’m getting tired of being told what to think, what I can and can’t do, and what makes me a good citizen. I am tired of this when I discover the people telling me these things not only don’t practice what they demand I do and shouldn’t have told me such in the first place.

You want to show support of our troops? Bring them home to their families and make sure there are jobs waiting for them here that bring in enough money so they can support and raise those families.

Just a little undirected rant. Move about your business.
Go back to Standard Operating Procedure: “Nothing to see, here.