Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bugging Out

Will probably be headed for north Louisiana tomorrow at 10 or so. Maybe too much precaution, but I’d be overmatched here if there was a big problem in the storm. I’ll be unplugged for a while.

Rita's No Lovely

If Hurricane Rita ends up targeting Galveston and Houston, that will be a little too close for comfort. High winds could reach my area and who knows how much rain may be brought to bear on my neighborhood. It'll have to get closer, of course, before this is more than a guess. I used to not worry about things like this, but then I didn't used to sick. I was healthy and strong. And, like everyone else, Katrina hadn't scared the shit out of me yet. There's gas in the car. We've got Spam and such. The funny thing is how I plan, if worse comes to worst, more about how to pack my emergency bag with my medicines than my clothes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Admiral, Etc.

Dill Ketchup, back in the seventies, was a friend of a friend. He was a hippie wearing a cowboy-hat and was otherwise known as The Admiral. He had an egotism more fetid and bloated than my own, or so it seemed—as fertile as you'd expect of someone so steeped in bullshit. Still, he was a very likeable guy. He had a sort of Sydney Greenstreet quality, partly slick and attractive, partly oily and repulsive. He always had a scam going; not so much that he was greedy, he was just eager to earn his living without working very hard. Some of his best friends fell out with him toward the end—about money, I think—and then I lost track of those friends, too, and a whole small world was lost to me.

I guess there’s 10 or 20 people like that, people whom I knew through mutual acquaintances and whom I really barely knew. It’s funny how one can miss, not only one’s good old friends and lovers who have vanished, but some of the colorful, outrageous, even disagreeable characters who were almost entirely incidental to our friendships.

One’s life fills up with memories both useful and useless.

Don't ask what this is about, just take a look at The Rat's Delight.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

CNN Split Screens Suck

What’s the use of all these split screens such as one sees so much of lately on CNN? It might have been a little acceptable when they only split the screen in two, but now Wolf Blitzer splits the screen into six parts and then stands in front of all of them because he’s so goddamn important and gorgeous that we have to see him! Wolf and his producers seem to think that all of us are watching their split screens on TV’s the size of their video viewers on the news set or that all of us have the eyes of an eagle. That’s not true! Many still watch small TV’s. Many people watching TV news networks are in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties. The only people who see like an eagle are thirty and under and most of them don’t even watch television news yet! So, what elder hipsters who never suffer eye strain do they think they’re appealing to? “None” is the correct answer, but Wolf’s too stupid to know it!

Mickey Mantle
"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Personal and Impersonal Objects

Talking about pictures of women in a magazine—the women lounging lazily, stroking themselves (or pretending to), obviously posing for men.

“These pictures are awful!” she told him, flinging the magazine down in disgust.

“But what if, instead of such beautiful, perfect, unattainable women, they were pictures of women who look like you? Only as pretty as you, or even not as pretty as you are. What if all such images, of women or men, were of anyone, everyone—all human forms instead of just the perfect ones? Would you, would I, then be free to enjoy them since we were no longer being so undemocratic and exclusive? You know, including everyone in the game?”

“God, you've missed the point entirely,” she said in an exasperated tone. “It's pornography that’s wrong, not undemocratic pornography!”

“Why would even democratic pornography be so objectionable?” he said stubbornly.

“It just is! It's—well, the reduction of people to mere impersonal objects!”

“And is the actual objection,” he asked, “to being an object or to being an impersonal object? After all, we're all an object of one sort or another to each other. We're all objects in nature's game, aren't we?”

“Nobody ought to be anybody's object,” she said firmly.

“Is that the answer to my question?” he asked. “Are you saying it's the mere-ness of being an object, and not the impersonality of it? Which really bothers you?”

“If I had to answer your question, I guess I'd say impersonal objects,” she said with a frown. “But I just don't see how or when anybody is somebody's personal object. It doesn't make sense. Are you sure there is such a thing?”

“If there isn't, I'll by God invent one,” he grinned.

“I thought so,” she said, looking at him sternly.

He shrugged and nodded. He wanted to say, “Go ahead, you goddamn lunatic Lady Cop, hit me, beat me senseless with your crazy moralistic nightstick!” But she would never have understood. She was driving him crazy just with the way she looked; she was beautiful, she was hot. She was desirable, but the things she was saying weren't helping him a bit. He wasn't doing her much good either, though, he realized.

“You’re a friendly fellow,” she said, “but, really, you’re just a sexist.”

“Realizations aren't always worth much,” he muttered bitterly.

2nd draft: 09/16/05
©1989 Ronald C. Southern

Robert Byrne
"Getting caught is the mother of invention."

Friday, September 16, 2005

German Bikini Man

Curious to see who my 10,000th visitor was and thinking it might be some friend or acquaintance, I was soon corrected! It was somebody in Germany looking up words like "bikini". Once in my early days of blogging, I did show a web address for a somewhat mature muscle-builder lady in a bikini. I think I accused her of looking like your old grammar school teacher with muscles. She was hot. I hope that German didn't injure himself.

These Days

[This is post #507. I had meant to keep track and note when #500 occurred, but the best laid plans of mice and men often go to bloody hell, especially mine. I guess I could count backwards, but I'm too tired.]

I’m going through my hours these days and nights in a slight state of dizziness, not quite feeling doped up, but a little distressed. I’m taking two diabetes pills and one for blood pressure and a Zoloft and, more recently, an antibiotic for prostatitis. Everything goes awry at once when you haven’t been to the doctor for a long time! Most of those drugs wouldn’t be considered dope, I wouldn’t think, but I’m not sure about Zoloft. But frankly, I’ve had some dizziness since before the medicines and I have been told that dizziness would not be unusual for a diabetic, so there’s nothing possible here except guesses. I need a new eyeglass prescription pretty badly and I need to ask again if I should continue to delay. When I get better, I’ll feel better—is that it? My blood sugar numbers have dropped a little and so has my blood pressure dropped. Neither is down to normal, really. This feels like a very long wait.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Examination Room

I’ve had a few drop-your-pants exams lately at the doctor’s and I am apparently getting used to it. Or else I’m too sick to care much. The other day, my doctor had to leave the room for gauze or something and I didn’t bother to pull my pants or underwear back up. I flipped my shirt loose so that the shirttails covered my posterior and my front, and I considered that adequate modesty in the unlikely event that someone walked in on me. I’m not usually an immodest person, but neither am I usually sick.

Sure enough, while the doctor was out of the room, this was the only occasion that a nurse came in (this was one I only know by sight) also in search of some elusive medical supply. She excused herself and started to turn away, then came back in, searched quickly, found something and departed. I was still thinking about it (presume a count of ten or so) as she was going out the door and I finally said, "No matter." I didn’t care.

How bad could it be, I figure, as long as it doesn’t involve invasive insertions or knives? Frankly, I’d be willing to sell tickets to my unveilings if such immodesty would advance my cure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Irritated About Nothing Much

What does it take to get me mad? Make me listen to awkward and improper use of English on the part of someone otherwise very impressed with themselves and who ought to know better (reporters, TV talking heads, public officials, teachers, preachers, and other public speakers).

I heard a reporter remarking about Condi Rice "paying condolences" to the British about the recent subway bombings. One doesn't pay condolences, one gives them. One pays one’s respect. If you’re the sort of person down on the creek who wants to “tawk” anyway you want to while you fish, that’s fine—but don’t take a job as an announcer on my goddamn TV!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Things That Don't Occur To Me

You see, I already forgot.

Wryness And Intelligence

Tanner thought about what she'd said about him for a second and, as was often the case, couldn't decide what she meant. It might have sounded like a straightforward compliment from anyone else, but she always seemed to have her tongue in cheek, and that wry tone of hers always made him uncomfortable.

He sensed her intelligence and was thrilled by it, but he was always afraid that she might be intelligent enough to see right through him. He had always liked her and even liked for her to be wry, but she still made him nervous. These days, he was not used to anyone around him being intelligent or feisty, much less both.

What was that she'd said about a chuckle? Or did she say cuckold? It didn’t really relate to their situation. He'd just been diagnosed with a new illness and found that not everything made sense anymore. Maybe things would get better later.

Willem de Kooning
"The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Things That Occur To Me

Plinkus, plankus, plunkus,
I'm in another fuckin' funkus.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Boredom, even combined with only slight discomfort, can really get to you sometimes. And me, too. This is a day like that.

H. L. Mencken
"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking."


I cannot seem to say to you
How bright and pretty you are;
I feel like some old workshoe
Out of place at a festive dance.

I seem to always see myself as marred—
Some awkward, dark-stained, bended thing
Beneath a grievous cloud…
Why must this be so hard?

Were I all that men aspire to be
And something more beside,
Still I could not tell you all you are
Or make your moving spirit
Stand still upon the page.

Carol, kind heart, you are so dear,
But nothing near, nor will be;
Soon you will be gone
And this, all this will be in vain.
(Most vain in me is the notion
That you could care for me.)


4th draft: 09/08/05
©1986 Ronald C. Southern

Friday, September 09, 2005

Confusing Illness

Just a few weeks ago I went to the doctor for the first time in years. I had a great many symptoms and complaints, some of which I still have. I had a boil at the base of my spine (so to speak) so that I could not very comfortably sit down for any length of time. I couldn’t always lie down either. I had it lanced, but it lingered. I had more procedures and antibiotics, one week, then a second week. Fortunately, this has slowly gotten better and is now nearly gone. I hope.

I was also diagnosed with diabetes II and am now taking two oral medications for that. Because I was so anxious, it seemed very hard to sort out the pills and to master the use of the glucose meter and blood sampler (finger stabber!), but after about ten days, it begins now to seem a bit familiar and not so nerve-wracking. My blood sugar numbers are all still high, but the few dates I have to go by so far show that there is a trend for those numbers to go down. Closer to normal, but not normal! It’s probably too early to conclude much, but one looks for hope where one can!

I’m starting to read the books I have on the blood testing and on diabetes, so I've stopped putting that off. I’m also taking some Zoloft to quell my vicious, finicky, overanxious, increasingly claustrophobic, frazzled nature. It may be working a little, but it’s early. I have a lot of adjustments to make. I feel a little more clear-headed than I did, but still feel like my equilibrium is off-kilter—and I can’t explain those coexistent contradictory conditions at all! I very much need a new eyeglasses prescription, but have been advised to wait a bit because of the diabetes. That's hard, too.

I was also informed that I have high blood pressure and so now I’m taking medication for that. I’ve looked up a little Internet info on the blood pressure numbers and realize that I’m pretty damn high. I only paid attention to this last reading, so I guess I need to ask them if I’ve shown any sigh of improvement since the first few readings.

So, among these and other things, I have symptoms going away and symptoms going strong. I’m getting better, but not well exactly. I don’t feel well, at any rate. It is still not predictable how steady I’ll be about blogging yet, but I’ll make a few chicken scratches here now and then, no matter what.

Sorry if I told you more than you wanted to know. I tried not to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Let It Be

lyrics by The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Galbraith, Doris Day

John Kenneth Galbraith
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."

Doris Day
"The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Will Rogers and Mahatma Gandhi

Being rundown and tired, I limit myself today to contributions from other intelligent people.

Will Rogers
"We don't know what we want, but we are ready to bite somebody to get it."

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - Humans Make It Worse

I've been sick and self-absorbed since before hurricane Katrina and all through the ordeal that has followed. The damage and the suffering are of such enormity that maybe it doesn't seem real or possible to anyone just looking at it from afar. It doesn't to me. I don't claim to know why there have been such shortcomings in the speed and quantity of aid being delivered in the first days, but it is mortifying and embarrassing to know that we as a country can't do better than that. The flow of aid and supplies has started now, but the plan still seems helter-skelter. I've heard a great deal of self-congratulation out of FEMA and the other agencies and responsible parties and frankly they just strike me as old-fashioned bureaucrats buried up to their ass in paperwork, self-importance, and dithering. These are not the men who are capable of quick responses to terrrorist attacks and natural disasters. And that's a shame.