Month: July 2012

It’s A Bloody Day

picture of person giving blood
This is NOT me. This is NOT Maria.

For the first time in over ten years, I decided to donate blood. This is something I used to do regularly, but time and fear of pain have kept me off the phlebotomist lounge for a long time.

Yeah. Every time I have a physical exam, and pretty much every time I go to a doctor’s office, they take blood samples, and I always screw my face up and wince when they insert the needle. Wait! It is more complicated than that.

You see, I have lousy veins, and they have to really search and probe to find one, even  for the relatively small amount for a normal lab workup. To make matters worse, only my right arm has an accessible vein, with the left arm being useless for that purpose. According to my doctor, I am a tough stick.

Well, the people at the blood services office are full-time, experienced phlebotomists. I felt that if anybody could do the job, they were the ones. I don’t trust the Red Cross mobile units because that’s where they train the beginners, and I have had a couple of sad experiences with that crowd.

Maria, a ten-year employee and phlebotomist, was the one to work on  me. First, she took a small sample of blood from my right arm to test for incompatibilities. Then, she zeroed on the left arm for the “big daddy” needle through which my life’s blood would flow to help others.

That left arm stuff didn’t work. It was like I said, she couldn’t find a vein to use.

In the middle of this relative slaughter, a young woman in the office passed out after donating platelets. When they revived her, she started vomiting. I guess I wasn’t the only one to having a bad day.

Muttering apologies about the vomit and the pain, Maria tried the right arm with no luck. She had found it fifteen minutes prior for the sample, but with the bigger needle, she just couldn’t make it work.

Yes, it hurt. For both arms, not only did I get the familiar stick, but she had to move the big needle around under the skin on a wild-goose chase for the illusory veins. She probed and I grimaced.

She gave up on me and sent me home with maximum bandages on both arms.

There are a couple of things I can take from this. First, I could never be a heroine addict. Second, I always have an excuse for not donating.

All in all, it’s been a tough day.

Chick-fil-A And Gay Marriage

This subject has been going around all week, and I have waited until now to address my feelings on the matter.

The CEO of Chick-fil-A stated his Christian beliefs in an interview that he believed in the traditional marriage definition. Now, not only the media, but certain politicians have charged that the company itself it against gay people and gay marriage. Of course, this is all politics and convenient, incorrect interpretation by a liberal media.

There is nothing wrong with preferring marriage to be between a man and a woman. There is nothing unusual about this, at all. Just because I don’t always agree with this traditional definition doesn’t mean that I do not respect those with whom I disagree.

What we have seen is a complete lack of understanding of our First Amendment right of free speech from the Mayors of Chicago and Boston. Maybe we should expect this because both are politicians, and they are in the business of buying votes. The irony is that the Boston mayor says he will oppose Chick-fil-A’s expansion in Boston when he has no right or duty to do so. If Chick-fil-A goes to court, the mayor will be defeated in a battle costly to the City of Boston.

Boston and Chicago have picked lose-lose positions. They come across as anti-democracy, and anti-freedom. Both cities are run by crooked political machines.

In my opinion the argument about gay marriage is silly. Some people will tell you that a civil union is OK for homosexuals, but marriage is out of the question. Who are they kidding? A civil union, by any other name, is a marriage. Most unions are marriages, including just living together. Just ask some of those Hollywood live-in actresses if they can convince a court that living-in is a marriage. Of course it is.

You can argue that God doesn’t define marriage that way.  With the risk of offending our Maker, I don’t believe God sees any difference between a civil union, a marriage, or a live-in lover. It all comes down to the same thing.

Legally, there are many differences, but people wrote the laws, and people can change them. The morality was decided a long time ago, and all we have done is legalize immorality.

If there is any threat to the institution of marriage, we have already put it in place by accepting live-ins, civil unions, and anything that allows people to cohabit without assuming responsibility.

As I have said many times, marriage as an institution is threatened by married people who do not keep vows, and do not stay married. Homosexual marriages would be such a small number that its effect on the institution would be negligible. Plus, many of them will not be contributing to the gene pool.

There is no reason to castigate Chick-fil-A because its chairman has certain beliefs. The ravings we have heard are silly, and not well thought out. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with gay marriage that is not already going on, either in civil unions, or as live-in lovers.

What do you think?

Our Handicapped Society

There is a 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, that is about the future in 2081 when everybody is equal. They are not only equal in God’s eyes and before the law, but “equal in every which way”. I learned of the story from an article at the Cato Institute on Income Inequality.

To make people equal in every way, beautiful people had to wear masks, strong people had to wear pounds and pounds of weights to slow them down, and intelligent people had to wear radio devices in their ears that made loud noises whenever a thought would occur, keeping them from thinking.

To enforce equality, there was a Handicapper General to make sure that everybody was equal in everything.

Severe penalties were instituted for being unequal ( or superior), and not abiding by the handicaps mandated by the Handicapper General’s government department.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? We are seeing the beginnings of this Handicapped Society, now, as universal healthcare, income redistribution, and tax-the-rich ideas are being pushed by the Federal Government.  Universal healthcare means that everybody gets the same, inadequate healthcare. Income redistribution means that incentive is sucked out of society. Taxing the rich is a simple-minded way to even out the tax burden that doesn’t need evening out.

It is all about jealousy.

Why do some people want everybody to be equal in every way? We all know that this is an impossibility, so why strive for something that is not achievable or desirable?

Total equality in society necessitates handicaps. It is that simple.

How do you see this working out?

High Definition TV

Three years ago we bought a forty-seven inch high definition LCD screen television for our den. We love it, and cannot imagine watching standard NTSC television.

Do you remember all the hoopla over the previous decade about the government forcing the termination of regular television signals? I was among the many people griping and bitching about this overbearing move.  However, it never had an affect on my television watching as I was a cable tv customer, and they did all the conversion for me.

We still had an old fashioned, seventeen inch CRT type television in our bedroom. The ATT Uverse box converted the digital signals to analog to satisfy the ancient little television.

picture of high definition televisionLast week we decided that it was time to upgrade the bedroom tv, and bought an off-brand television from Brandsmart for less than $250.00. It is a thirty-two inch high definition television with 720p HDTV format and an LED screen. Note that most thirty-two inch sets came with 720p, not the desired 1080p. The LED screen is brighter than the bigger LCD screen downstairs, and the picture is beautiful. It was made in China.

The good news is that now, we have a nice high definition television in our bedroom for late night and early morning viewing.

The bad news is that we, the United States of America, invented high definition television and have to buy devices made in Asia to enjoy our labors.

Yeah. I know that this story is repeated many times with pretty much any consumer grade electronic device. We don’t manufacture much of anything, anymore. The base problem is that the American worker (if you can find one) will not work for a wage that is competitive around the world. It is getting to the point that we will have to start outsourcing our defense manufacturing. I sure hope that statement is wrong.

Right now, life is good with cheap televisions from China, along with Apple iPads, iPods, and Apple computers coming from the same place.

So, what is left for us to do in the world economy? Any ideas? Anybody?

What’s For Breakfast?

Sans the political and economic stuff, I am focused on one thing, lately. Breakfast.

Left to my own devices, I am a bacon, egg, grits/hash browns guy. The medical community doesn’t like me to eat pork sausage, so I rely on bacon for generous doses of fat. Gotta love that fat.

Now, if you are of the Yankee or uncultured persuasion, you may not have had proper exposure to hominy grits. I don’t know how the hominy stuff comes into play, but if all you do is boil some water and dump in the grits, it will taste pretty much like cardboard. It is kind of like the plantains found on Caribbean islands, which also tastes like cardboard. You really have to add the spices for that stuff.

This is why grits are always served with generous gobs of butter, or even with cheese is cooked into the dish. Also, bacon bits can help immensely. Shrimp and grits is a popular entre at many fine restaurants. It is amazing how good simple hominy grits can be.

The docs don’t like me eating grits, either.

I have been experimenting with turkey sausage. The Jimmy Dean brand is good stuff, but has about 900  milligrams of sodium per serving. The Kroger brand tastes just as good, with a good bit less salt. Either way, there is too much sodium in the bacon/sausage replacements to consider for a healthy breakfast.

Morningstar soy sausage is actually good stuff, and a pattie with an English muffin is one of my preferred substitutions for eggs and bacon. They are pretty expensive per pattie, but are acceptable ingredient wise.

My breakfast preferences break down, here. I used to like fruit and cereal, but my nutritionist doesn’t. The fruit is OK, but cereal is all carbohydrates.

I am on the make for breakfasts. I need a better list. What is you favorite healthy breakfast? The medical profession is out to ruin my life, and I need some help.

Our Crazy World

Just in from the Indian Express (Journalism of Courage) Five Jealous Wives Rape Nigerian Man To Death!

What is our world coming to? I have a problem believing the story, much less picturing how this happened. Go ahead. Link to the story. Do you believe this, at all? Did they have to force viagra down his throat?

Is there a moral to this story? From my experience, only one jealous wife is needed to do the job, and her modus operandus would likely be a butcher knife, or 9 millimeter automatic. Forget the kill by sex thing.

Maybe that poor Nigerian with six wives was being stimulated with clubs and knives.

Was Penn State Penalized Enough?

  • Sixty million dollars – equivalent to one year’s revenue from the football program
  • No bowl games for four years – football program once again slammed
  • Reducing football scholarships from 25 per year to 15 per year
  • Probation for five years
  • All football wins from 1998 to 2011 vacated

These are the fines and sanctions levied against Pennsylvania State University as announced this morning by Mark Emmert, President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In a Sports Illustrated article, the writer says that Emmert overstepped his authority. It seems to me that if the NCAA doesn’t have the authority to punish an institution, who does? Do you leave it up to the students, faculty, or administration? Do you leave it up to the state legislature?

I am trying to decide in my mind if Penn State was punished enough. How do you get a young man’s life back after being abused by a famous man at a powerful university? Nobody wants to listen to you because there is so much money at stake in a football program like Penn State’s. There were at least ten of these young men who were inflicted with Jerry Sandusky’s attention multiple times.

Joe Paterno, famous and respected  head coach, knew about it. The university president knew about it. How many others in the university administration knew about it?

Many people don’t like the idea that the current students at the university will bear the brunt of the penalties. So what? Should not the students in former years have taken some of the shame when these crimes should have been reported?

I think it is a case of compounding guilt, similar to compound interest for money. The longer the crime goes unreported, the greater the guilt should grow. No, the students, today don’t deserve what they are getting. But they have alternatives.

The press has not gotten wind of another scandal that reveals the culture of corruption that Penn State has become. The famous Climate Gate email scandal in 2009 implicated Michael Mann, a Penn State climate studies professor in acts of academic malfeasance. This was an international scandal, and academics all  over the world were seen as scientists who had trashed the principles of science, and had published studies based on bad science, bad mathematics, and just plain lies.

Mann’s name was at the center of this scandal, and Penn State chose to investigate one of its own. There was no sign that anyone among the investigators was from anywhere other than Penn State,  and most of the outside scientists interviewed were friends of Dr Mann.  None of the complainants were interviewed. This is like having a trial without a prosecutor, jury, or judge. Penn State whitewashed the whole affair,

Dr Mann’s whitewash is just another cover up by Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, who was ultimately responsible for the Sandusky cover up. How many other cover ups have been perpetrated by Penn State and its administration?

What do you think?