Friday, October 24, 2014

Rays of Light


  1. Howard Dean is a ray of light
    and a breath of fresh air.

  2. I'm having that muesli-in-a-bag for breakfast. Pretty good, but they don't get the texture quite right.The brand is Red Mills and it's available at Whole Foods.

    Comments on a couple of things Alan said on the previous thread:
    1. We have seen two major political changes just within the past 20 years. Most recent was the Dean campaign's demonstration that the internet let you raise far more money from the grassroots than you could ever get from the big money guys. Before that there was Rove's Contract for America, which introduced party discipline that had never before been seen in my lifetime. I think this made politics more confrontational and, as an unintended consequence, set the stage for gridlock. Going back before that, you had the rule that all delegates to the party conventions had to be selected by popular or open-caucus vote rather than by state party leaders. Totally changed the presidential nominating process.

    2. I'm not surprised that rail traffic in Chicago got into a mess. Thirty and 40 years ago people expected almost all long-distance freight to move by truck. Rail tracks were torn up. Freight lines signed contracts giving Metra commuter trains preferential right-of-way on sets of tracks they didn't expect to use regularly. But rather than dwindling, long-distance freight traffic has been growing steadily. Union Pacific tracks are adjacent to the "El" stop I frequently use, and it is common to see a freight train on the middle set of tracks waiting impatiently for Metra traffic on one of the through tracks to clear so it can proceed. But no one has quite found the money to build the infrastructure that is now needed. Nor is it clear where the extra sets of tracks would go -- exactly what would be torn down to build them.

    And it's important to remember that Chicago is the nation's rail hub. If you want to send a freight car from the East Coast to the West Coast, it has to be switched from one train to another in Chicago. Same for passenger service, of course. If your destination is Los Angeles, you have the option of changing trains in New Orleans. Otherwise it's Chicago, Chicago, Chicago.

  3. Here's hoping everyone has a good weekend.

    Send me good vibes for working tomorrow, because it's pretty intense right now. Thanks!

  4. Gorgeous photo!

    Didn't realize I'd been away so long.

    Susan, glad your tree has no more ammunition.

    Bill, I'm delighted Sea Monkey is working so well for you!

    Dad went for his colonoscopy yesterday. Since his brother had colon cancer they need to keep a close eye on him. They removed several polyps. Waiting now for the lab report. I pray it comes back negative! Though of course thanks to Alan I know colon cancer can be beaten, Sis would quite literally have a nervous breakdown if her daddy were diagnosed with cancer. Mum is more stable but a tremendous know-it-all as well as having a pronounced ghoulish streak, and she wouldn't pay any attention to me. Not altogether sure Dad would either. So, all in all, not having to deal with a diagnosis would be much the best outcome.

    *scratching head* Did any of that make sense?

    Currently reading "Witches, werewolves, and fairies: shapeshifters and astral doublers in the Middle Ages" by Claude Lecouteux (translated from the French). Here's the NLS blurb:

    Professor of medieval literature analyzes the origins of several fantastic beings in the lore of Western Europe and examines their impact on the collective psyche. By exploring the concept of the soul and its "double," he posits ancient unifying themes across various cultures, including Celtic, Scandinavian, and Germanic. 2003.

    It's fascinating, only I keep falling asleep. :(

    1. You *would* mention colonoscopy. Mine is scheduled for Nov. 7. The good news is that my doctor says this is probably my last. Five years from now I'll be 83, and there comes a time with preventive screenings no longer make sense. The PSA screening I had Tuesday will be my last.

    2. It must have to do with risk. Dad is 81, but they told him he'll need another in two to three years. He was, shall we say, dismayed at the prospect of going through that again!

    3. Well, I don't know. I've had polyps removed at every colonoscopy, and they've always said, "Come back in 5 years." (It would be 10 if I'd never had polyps and my father hadn't had colon cancer.) I can easily imagine the G-I clinic saying come back in 5 years this time, but it's my primary doctor that has the say. And at least for the moment he's saying it wouldn't make sense.

    4. Cat--astral doublers are a new concept to me; I suppose Wikipedia will be informative.

      Re colonoscopies, it wouldn't be difficult to think of a number of things I would prefer to do, but they're not so bad. I opt for general anesthesia (fentanyl and midazolam), so that makes it easier. I have heard some people like to be awake and watch the show on the video screen, but not me. The meds wear off quickly with no hangover. The bad part is the necessary purging beforehand. These days they use a safer purgative than they used to--polyethylene glycol (with salts kind of like Gatorade) rather than phosphates. They say to make up the solution with cold water and keep it in the refrigerator because it won't taste so bad that way--I would say maybe even slightly warm, certainly no less than room temperature. It's going to taste bad anyway, and if cold (even room temp) it will chill you from the inside out--no amount of blankets or external heat will help.


  5. Midazolam = generic name; Versed = most common brand name.