Open for business.

Sorry for the unexpected day off yesterday. I’d written and crumpled about four posts when the phone rang. It was the school, telling me my daughter has officially inherited her father’s tendency toward headaches. They’d been creeping up for a while, but yesterday was the first appearance of the big-M variety, if my amateur diagnosis is correct. Severe headaches accompanied by vision changes and nausea automatically = migraine, don’t they? (Unless, Dr. Google tells me, it’s multiple sclerosis. Or, you know, a brain tumor.) Anyway, the big purge went a long way toward making things better, but she spent the rest of the day on the couch, and my own was pretty much off the rails.

So thanks to all of you who took the ball and ran with it. Nothing like discussing that old-time cussin’, is there?

One of my old neighbors had a theory that sounds a little New Age-y, but nevertheless has a ring of truth to it. He said every person has a consistent weak spot in their body’s defenses, a door the germs will find unlocked more often than not. His son’s was his nose, Kate’s was her throat, his own was his head, mine was…I guess it was my big mouth, which has no discernment whatsoever, and will say and eat pretty much anything. Although I’ve never had trench mouth, gum disease, or even many cavities. So I guess that theory falls apart.

Anyway, all is well today, if 30 degrees colder than yesterday. Ah, spring.

Between making therapeutic Jell-O and buying Tylenol, I finally got around to reading the Harvard virgin story from the NYT magazine over the weekend. I was looking for some indication that this no-sex club was different from other no-sex clubs, and it seems to boil down to: But this is Harvard. I guess they have Veritas stamped on their chastity belts, or something. And people wonder why the Ivy League still matters. (If nothing else, it’s given us women who’ll be quoted in the paper of record calling oral sex “disrespectful and disgusting.” For you, maybe.)

This meme is making its way around, I notice:

She began talking about oxytocin, the hormone released at birth, in breast-feeding and also during sex. True Love Revolution gives it the utmost significance, claiming on its Web site that the hormone’s “powerful bonding” effect can be “a cause of joy and marital harmony” but that outside of marriage it can create “serious problems.” Released arbitrarily, it can blur “the distinction between infatuation and lasting love,” the Web site cautions, making rational mating decisions difficult. Fredell said oxytocin could also bond people who didn’t necessarily want to be bound, and “you can bond yourself to the wrong guy in the wrong situation.”

This is, I believe, the “science” behind the tape exercise performed in some abstinence classes, where the teacher goes around pressing tape to students’ arms, then ripping it off and repasting it on other arms. This underlines the important lesson that you can get all kinds of diseases from others — because the tape gets kind of gross as it goes around sticking to arms — and also…well, something, I’m sure. If you stick your tape to someone else, not only does it hurt when you rip it off, you’re less sticky the next time around. And this is backed by science! You could look it up!

No wonder these folks can’t get any traction in the real world. Not only are they up against the unstoppable force of humanity, they use bad science and stupid teaching techniques. If people wonder why I pay taxes through the nose to send my kid to a halfway-decent public school, here’s one reason: Because the last time I looked at the health curriculum, it didn’t call for duct tape.

OK, a little lite nosh of bloggage, shall we?

Most people outside the city don’t know that the Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, rolls with a security posse to rival Suge Knight’s. Brian Dickerson pulls it apart, a little bit. He offers the priceless detail that the entourage, already preposterously large to begin with, has been increased in response to “threats” against Special KK, and then notes:

In 2003, after a diamond-studded L. Brooks Patterson memorably lampooned Kilpatrick’s gangsta style by striding into the Mackinac Policy Conference surrounded by aides sporting dark glasses and earpieces, the mayor’s security footprint grew noticeably smaller.

L. Brooks Patterson is the county executive in adjacent Oakland County, and has spent his entire career goading Detroit in one way or another. Guy has a sense of humor, too.

Baseball’s Opening Day is problematic in places other than Detroit. A cool time-lapse video from Cleveland shows how hard a grounds crew can work when snow is in the forecast.

OK, enough. It’s good to be back. Now I’m up to Kate’s room, which is getting a small makeover, to blow dust off the stuffed animals and make way for some storage pieces (or “solutions,” as they’re inevitably called). Back later.

On edit: Does the type size on this site these days look just enormous? It does to me — more so than usual. I have a call in to J.C., but as long as we’re here, let me know if you like it this big. Does it mark us as a nest of baby boomers too lazy to put on a pair of readers, or is it just easy on the eyes?)

Posted at 9:46 am in Detroit life, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

34 responses to “Open for business.”

  1. Dorothy said on April 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Today is the first time I’ve noticed the font being bigger than usual. I won’t complain about it. These eyes need every little bit of help they can get!

    So strange that you mentioned migraines this morning. Just last week my 28 year old niece decided to “out” herself regarding a blog she’s kept for a few years now. Here’s the link: Last week when I was home sick I read every entry, starting at the beginning.

    I always knew she had severe migraines, but never realized the extent to which it invaded her life so much. She is such a smart and funny girl – she went to NYU and got her Master’s at UGA in Athens (where she lives). She can’t hold a full time job, though, because of her migraines. She is terrific with kids. (I believe her Masters is in gifted education.) I would find it extremely frustrating that doctors still don’t have a handle on how to treat this disease. She is made of stronger stuff than me, for sure.

    989 chars

  2. Mindy said on April 2, 2008 at 10:40 am

    The type looks fine, normal to me. I’m likin’ big type these days and find myself peering through the reading lenses on my bifocals more frequently. Gives me that geezer way of holding my head tilted back. Talk about aging.

    So sorry to hear about Kate’s inherited headaches. Don’t dismiss some of the New Age-y stuff entirely. My alternative guy has worked miracles for me. I also keep an endocrinologist on staff for my sluggish thyroid, however. It’s fun to watch him read the results of my blood work every six months. According to him I should be losing bone quickly given my age and medical history. But my frame is in marvelous shape thanks to the alternative guy and keeps improving. The MD reads my results and blinks at them quizzically, mumbles something about the increase in bone mass, and turns the page. Big fun.

    840 chars

  3. Mindy said on April 2, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Oh, I should have mentioned my dear mother’s horrible struggles with migraines for most of her adult life. She’s been on many strong drugs over the years with little relief. Her neurologist started her on vitamin B-2 two years ago, three hundred milligrams per dose. No more headaches, not even the ghost of one. Her headaches were so bad that she would feel the side of her head looking for the place where the blood was oozing. So it’s been a real cure. Look into it for Alan and Kate.

    493 chars

  4. Jason T. said on April 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Nance, I give you major props for making your way through that New York Times story. I made it through about 200 words before my eyes glazed over. I plowed on for a few more minutes and found every single person reprehensible.

    Knock on wood, I haven’t had a big-M for several years, but I got them fairly regularly as a teenager. Nausea, dizziness, tunnel vision — all that. Laying in a dark, quiet room was the only thing that helped. Maybe Kate’ll grow out of ’em.

    The mayor of Pittsburgh (“youngest mayor of a major U.S. city,” blah blah blah) also travels with an entourage. I have a feeling it’s a way of making himself seem more important.

    Kwame Kilpatrick sure doesn’t seem to lack self confidence, but it occurs to me that he’s /also/ fairly young, by mayor standards. Maybe it’s a youth/inexperience/confidence thing.

    This has been a Lucy Van Pelt five-cent psychiatric analysis.

    904 chars

  5. brian stouder said on April 2, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I noticed the big fonts, and the posts are all in bold-face now…and I noticed that when the proprietress posts in the comments, her font is now distinctive (sorta like when that scar-faced fellow roars around the countryside in his special red train, in Dr Zhivago). As long as I haven’t somehow screwed up my settings (I HATE it when that happens!! Have you ever screwed up how your e-mail appears, and is sorted? I really, really don’t like that) – then all’s well!

    My computer terminal keeps getting larger as I get older (I think we went from 15″ to 17″ to 22″) so the font is beside the point

    602 chars

  6. nancy said on April 2, 2008 at 11:11 am

    The thing about the Harvard virgins, and all public virgins, and, for that matter, safe-sex education that encourages people to run their dildos through the dishwasher and put condoms on them if they’re sharing them with multiple partners is — they act as though there’s no middle ground.

    The virgins decry the “hook-up culture,” but act as though the only possible alternative to it is virginity until the wedding night, and the safer-sex folks can’t bring themselves to say, “Maybe it’s unwise to have sex with total strangers when you’re drunk.” Doesn’t anyone see a third way? What’s so hard about just treating one another — friend and lover alike — with decency, whether or not it comes with a diamond solitaire?

    And yeah, John changed the font so my comments — and ONLY mine, mwa ha ha ha ha — render in serif type. Bow down before me.

    853 chars

  7. Kirk said on April 2, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Nance, it’s sort of like the red type in the New Testament — the typeface for your comments, that is.

    102 chars

  8. Jason T. said on April 2, 2008 at 11:25 am

    And the NANCE said unto them: “Behold, I bringeth bloggage,” and the people saw that and rejoiced.

    112 chars

  9. alex said on April 2, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Serif type’s more readable. I think it should all be serif. And the font size is great for these blind old eyes.

    112 chars

  10. Neil said on April 2, 2008 at 11:37 am

    First, don’t touch the typeface–love it.

    Second, I actually read the whole NY Times article without retching. But the oxytocin reference struck me as particularly funny. My wife and I breed and show dogs (yeah I know Best in Show, we’re weird, etc.). Oxytocin is used (in injected form) for both animals and humans to cause contractions in the uterus, thus (for dogs) helping Mom push out the puppies. The fact that Ms. Harvard Virginity 2008 ascribes these feelings of love and desire to Oxytocin when this compound’s primary feature seems to be helping the Mom expel the baby seems a little, ironic, no?

    615 chars

  11. nancy said on April 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

    You’re both right. Oxytocin helps push out the baby, and it helps return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size through breastfeeding. If they say it prompts bonding in mothers, I’ll take their word for it. But I balk at shit like this:

    The True Love Revolution Web site warns that bonding hormones are released during any “sexual activity that culminates in an orgasm.”

    No wonder so many of us love our hands so much.

    OK, no, it’s this: If just having an orgasm bonds you to a person, why do so many of us find it possible to have sex with people we may not like but find physically attractive? Also, these folks are advising us to ignore, suppress and otherwise foil one of the strongest physical urges we have, and that it can be done through willpower and resolve. But a little hormone squirted into our bloodstream and we’re powerless? Please.

    868 chars

  12. Jolene said on April 2, 2008 at 11:52 am

    The san serif type in the comments is a little spacy for me. And is the type in your comments larger than in your posts? For me, it’s so big that it almost seems to be jumping off the page.

    191 chars

  13. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Nance, maybe JC could make it so that your font was blinking too. That’s everyone’s most favoritess html tag of all.

    132 chars

  14. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Also, these folks are advising us to ignore, suppress and otherwise foil one of the strongest physical urges we have, and that it can be done through willpower and resolve. But a little hormone squirted into our bloodstream and we’re powerless? Please.

    Very good point.

    281 chars

  15. nancy said on April 2, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I love the blinking idea.

    40 chars

  16. Cathy D. said on April 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Must be something about that age — my son had his first migraine then. Took him to the doc and got some new meds (at the time) for him, which he always forgot to take. Now that he’s 28 his treatment of choice is extra-strength Excedrin. Everybody’s triggers for migraine seem to be different, and it can take some investigation to pin it down…his is tied to low blood sugar.
    P.S. big fonts, good.

    402 chars

  17. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    HA! Love it. The sandwich-board of html fonts!

    48 chars

  18. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Nance, I know you’re just trying out new things, but text-based communication has little enough nuance as it is. Your larger, bolder, serif comments are less … I don’t know … readable? Something.

    Overall font size is not an issue because “ctrl -” or “ctrl +) takes care of that.

    285 chars

  19. Cara said on April 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Sorry to hear of your daughter’s Migraine headaches. A close friend suffered with them for many years, then found wonderful relief in chiropractic care. I too benefit from alternative care, and yes, it is fun to watch the puzzled looks on the MD’s faces. 😉

    269 chars

  20. joe k said on April 2, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with Cara,try the chiropractic rout. I suffered from hay fever when I was younger and went to a chiropractor as a last resort, no drugs no weird wheat germ stuff, just adjustments and I haven’t had problems since. They can’t cure cancer but they can do a lot of good. If you want the name of a good one in your area let me know. One of my partner in my airplane is a chiropractor in Fort Wayne and may know some one up your way.

    446 chars

  21. Harl Delos said on April 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve had migraines since about the age of 8 or 9. They were accompanied by headaches when I was a teenager, but then they went away. The migraines got worse when I crossed the 50-yard line, and they’re sometimes accompanied by the headaches again.

    I think it has something to do with blood chemistry, OTHER than blood sugar. If I’m careless with my blood sugar, I end up flushing a lot of fluid through my system, which carries the sugar off, but it also carries off other nutrients, such as minerals and water-soluble vitamins. If I’m paying close attention, I just take more insulin, and don’t go through the flushing.

    When I go through the flushing, I end up with severe charley-horses. I can resolve the charley-horses with about a pint of raw milk (sorry, Indiana and Ohio folks, the state won’t let you buy raw milk) or about a gallon of pasteurized homogenized milk, or I can drink some liquid minerals from the health food store. I think it’s the calcium, but I have no evidence of that. Milk has a lot of milk sugar in it, so it actually boosts the blood sugar levels.

    The flushing, however, often ended up with my getting migraines, and if it’s worse, headaches as well. The raw milk cure doesn’t do anything, good or bad, for the migraines or the headaches, though.

    However, I’ve noticed that it makes a difference what kind of water I drink. If I drink refrigerated spring water (I get Kirkland private label water from Costco), I’m unlikely to get the migraines or the headaches. If I drink tap water with ice, it’s much more likely. Lancaster gets their water from the river, not from a well, and it’s fairly soft water. Commercial ice is made from especially pure water, because it’s cheaper to make (purifying water is cheap, but tap water costs more to freeze). Seems to me the difference is minerals.

    Females tend to get migraines much more often than males, and they usually set in about menarche. Some women get headaches about every, oh, 28-29 days or so. And women, unlike men, have special problems with minerals. If a man, for instance, has an iron deficiency, a doctor automatically assumes that there must be internal bleeding. That’s not the assumption with female patients.

    Could it be that taking liquid minerals might your daughter’s headaches? Seems like a pretty cheap experiment, and one without much risk of adverse consequences.

    But a little hormone squirted into our bloodstream and we’re powerless?

    My experience is that a hormone called insulin pretty much works that way. Too much insulin, and one gets very fractious, and even passes out. Too little insulin, and one gets sleepy, and even passes out.

    Women tell me that testosterone is pretty powerful, too. There’s some quip they make about a man’s body only having enough blood for one head, and if the blood goes to the one down south, the head up north doesn’t work too well. I’m not sure I buy this one. Didn’t Freud say all women suffer from penis envy? (Not sure I buy that one, either. I think it’s mostly men who are envious. Maybe Freud’s wife was envious but my wife seems happy.)

    3125 chars

  22. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Women tell me that testosterone is pretty powerful, too.

    Did any of you catch an interview on NPR a few weeks ago regarding a guy, who through some medical procedure or as the consequence of some ailment, lived for a period of time (weeks or months) without any testosterone?

    He described the effects upon his life and it was pretty wild. He felt like he had become a neutral observer of all things, without any passion or feeling almost. Life had lost its taste somewhat, but he described that he oddly felt that everything was “beautiful.” Didn’t matter what it was. A painting, and old shoe, a button, whatever. He was a way different person for a while there.

    681 chars

  23. Jen said on April 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    “The thing about the Harvard virgins, and all public virgins, and, for that matter, safe-sex education that encourages people to run their dildos through the dishwasher and put condoms on them if they’re sharing them with multiple partners is — they act as though there’s no middle ground.”

    Amen, Nancy! I think that hooking up with a lot of people is a pretty bad idea, but at the same time, I’m not going to look down on someone who has premarital sex with someone they’re in a relationship with, even if they don’t end up married to that person. Also, I’m not going to judge someone for staying abstinent until their wedding night, though I am going to be rather skeptical of them. Then again, my fiance, who went to a very conservative Christian college, told me that he knew people who refused to even kiss someone until they were married. That blew my liberal-college-attending mind.

    898 chars

  24. joe k said on April 2, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Remember your dad reads this blog.
    Please don’t blow his mind.

    83 chars

  25. Danny said on April 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm


    7 chars

  26. MichaelG said on April 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I had a girlfriend once (many, many years ago) who suffered severe migraines. She was helped by acupuncture. It took several treatments over a couple of years but she did get permanent relief.

    And, yeah, I’m kind of attached to my hands.

    243 chars

  27. Dexter said on April 2, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    I love the new font. My brother sends emails is tiny font , always black . The type breaks apart and melds together. This is so much better.
    The blinking reminds me of when Chuck Blevins owned Cricket’s Tavern in Auburn. (Chucky, the son, owns it now). Chuck would never allow even one blinking light in his highly-decorated, lighted tavern during the winter holidays. I have no idea what purpose it serves here, either.
    I’m frustrated as I sprung for a portable XM radio so I could listen to all the baseball games when I was outside. Even in an open field away from all trees and buildings, it cuts out and I get the old “CHECK ANTENNAE” message. Grrrrr!!
    I missed the L. Brooks Patterson Macinac story…good one!
    Kwame’s entourage reminds me of the story at NYT last Fall.
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg was featured in a story about how he rides the subway—just the common billionaire commuter!
    Later a follow-up story showed six Chevrolet Suburbans rolling up to the subway stop , discharging Bloomberg, then racing twenty blocks to be on call if he needed anything at the end of the “commute”.
    Didn’t Mayor Coleman Young pull a stunt like that on The People Mover, years ago? By the way, I actually liked The People Mover. It was fun for a tourist to hop on and cruise around Detroit for a loop and disembark where you got on. I suppose it served a few commuters, but man…the derision it brought on to itself!
    One funny example of public transportation gone wild happened in Chicago , summer of ’81. Mayor Jane Byrne lined city buses up to the curb at Navy Pier , to be used to ferry anyone who wanted to go anywhere, for free, as part of the Chicagofest celebration.
    I had rented a bicycle which broke down and I had to push it from Fullerton clear back to Navy Pier, a helluva hike!
    I was late for my Amtrak departure and I ran to the buses and asked a driver the quickest way to get a cab right there. I hadn’t known about the bus deal. He said “Get in! I’ll get you there!” And , I swear to God…it was like a “Speed”movie or something…that man rammed that bus like a crazy man …he even ran a couple red lights…and got me to Union Station where I barely made my train…maybe 10 seconds to spare.
    Thanks to Jane Byrne’s insane policy of using city buses as personal taxis, I was drinking shots and beers as I rolled back to Indiana.

    2455 chars

  28. Heather said on April 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    And then there was an NPR story (This American Life, maybe?) about a female-to-male transsexual who started taking testosterone and was amazed at how strong the urges were–he couldn’t stop ogling women on the street, even though as a former lesbian he was horrified at such behavior.

    I like your neighbor’s theory. It would explain my 6 colds a year.

    354 chars

  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I vote for the third way — agreed.

    But is the tape thing really that pointless and stupid? The idea is to help kids understand that just a couple of people per person has bigger implications than you think for infectious everything. That’s isn’t about saying everyone must wait until they’re married (some of us did, just to not throw that idea out too quickly), but making clear and coherent the idea that multiple sexual partners can get more multiple than your realize, and the difference between two partners and four isn’t two from an epidemiological standpoint.

    Having just done two mediations with pregnant teens who have no idea who the father is and the parents of the juveniles involved don’t seem to have a clue or interest either, i’m not feeling casual today about casual sex.

    Not horribly judgmental, either, but worried, yes.

    852 chars

  30. John said on April 2, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Type size is fine by me.
    P.S. I missed your writing in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel, glad I found your blog.

    109 chars

  31. Harl Delos said on April 2, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Not horribly judgmental, either, but worried, yes.

    I know I worry too much, about things that may or may not come to pass. I suspect you’re too worried, too.

    making clear and coherent the idea that multiple sexual partners can get more multiple than your realize, and the difference between two partners and four isn’t two from an epidemiological standpoint.

    Actually, it’s *less* than two, rather than *more*. Laumann’s study says that sexually, we form “islands”, and everybody on each island will be pretty similar – pretty much the same religion, same income category, same education level, etc. The second, third, fourth, etc. lovers are likely to be from the same island, and so they don’t introduce much additional risk at all.

    What’s more, if you take new lovers frequently, you’re much less likely to come to grief with AIDS than if you have few lovers. There are a number of STDs which are much more contagious than HIV. If you get one of the STDs, the doctor will automatically check you for HIV, and the health department will screen all your past lovers. (And since you live on the same island for nonsexual social purposes as well, the rumor mill works even better than the health department.) If they discover HIV early, they can knock it down relatively easily.

    But if you rarely take a lover, your odds of getting both STD and HIV at the same time are pretty low. You’re probably going to get just one or the other. HIV doesn’t have many symptoms until too late. And if you are pretty chaste, it’s not like you live on that island. It’s like you’re an infrequent visitor. You don’t get the benefit of rumors that fly about.

    None of which has anything to do with pregnancy.

    There are a lot of preschoolers living on my street. Only one is living with both his biological parents, and they aren’t married. Without exception, though, those kids are very much wanted by the parent they live with (which isn’t always their Mom), and very much loved.

    What’s more, I don’t think anyone’s collecting child support (although one kid is getting Social Security because the non-present parent is disabled) and I don’t think anyone is actively seeking child support. They regard their kids as a blessing, not a burden, and from outward appearances, they’re spot on.

    2337 chars

  32. basset said on April 2, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I say one font for all. Egalitarian, y’know. The current font is just fine.

    77 chars

  33. del said on April 2, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Couldn’t finish the NYT mag article. Reminded me of a strict southern Baptist girl I dated from Wayland, MI freshman year. Told me she liked me but it was her “firmly held belief” that I “shall perish.” Ouch. But maybe that’s part of why she, evidently, had it goin’ on — an English professor recited poems he wrote to her in class.
    Would it be paradoxical or predictable that that prof’s longstanding female companion allegedly worked at the local brothel?
    Best phrase in the Dickerson column: “Posse Kwametatus.”
    Sorry to hear about your little girl’s migraines.

    576 chars

  34. velvet goldmine said on April 3, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Nance, My daughter, who is 12, has had migraines for a few years now. She’s had good luck cutting down on the frequency and severity with butterbur and, lately, feverfew. I might have mentioned this before, but I can elaborate if you’re interested. We tried chiropractors and massage, but the herbs are the only things, in her case, that have made any difference.

    363 chars