Sick leave, eventually.

Good news, bad news about the ol’ peepers. Or peeper, in this case.

We know what’s causing my vision problems. I have a macular hole in one eye, and yes, that’s its actual medical name: Macular hole. It’s just one of those things that can happen as we, ahem, age, although I’d like it noted that I am still well short of the 60-year threshold when these things tend to appear. So anyway, I have this hole, and it needs to be repaired. Which means?

A DOCTOR IS GOING TO STICK A NEEDLE INTO MY EYEBALL AND SUCK ALL THE GOO OUT BEFORE REPLACING IT WITH A SALINE SOLUTION AND AN AIR BUBBLE. And yes, that is indeed what a vitrectomy is. So I guess that’s the bad news, although the ophthalmologist just shrugged; he does these all the time, mostly on people 20 years older than me, and they breeze through it.

The other bad news is, this will necessitate a break from blogging, because the worst part of all this will be the recovery — five to seven days spent in a face-down position 22 hours a day, so the air bubble stays at the back of my eyeball, providing a bandage of sorts that allows the macula to heal. They handed me this ridiculous pamphlet on the way out, showing me all the equipment I can rent for the recovery period. It’s mostly stuff that looks like a chair-massage outfit, with add-ons. “Visit with friends and family using the two-way mirror,” runs one photo caption, showing someone face down in the apparatus, conversing with someone across the room, using, yes, a two-way mirror.

I think I’ll try to get by with a doughnut pillow and my iPad.

I’m told I’ll feel fine, except for five days spent in more or less a plank position, followed by a few weeks of waiting for the bubble to be absorbed, when it’ll be “like looking through a goldfish bowl,” at least out of one eye. But I can drive, and hope to have a more or less normal summer.

As in so many things, the Burns family has come to my aid, only not J.C. this time, but brother Jim, who had retinal surgery a decade ago and did a comic about it. A dark comic, I guess. “Detached” — read it here.

But this won’t happen for a while, so we’re good. I have a feeling I may be figuring out a way to blog in facedown position before the end of it. And as always, we have to offer up two prayers. The American prayer: Thank God I have health insurance! And the karma prayer: Thank God it’s not cancer!

And I really am grateful. Because, as we so often say, it could be far, far worse. It’s just a little eye thing. Requiring a vitrectomy.

So, seeing as I was all tied up with my own personal things today, I don’t have much for you to read. We’re still waiting on news on the Boston bomber, of course. I didn’t spend much time cruising for news today, but I did see this: What is a pressure-cooker bomb and who makes them. (Gawker: They come in handy at the strangest times.)

This, however, was excellent: American daycare, American horror story. The New Republic. Good journalism.

And now I have to go read up about vitrectomies and all that can go wrong with them.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

136 responses to “Sick leave, eventually.”

  1. LAMary said on April 17, 2013 at 12:58 am

    A co-worker just came back from a week of helping out her sister who had the same procedure done. The sister is 49, so it ain’t just you.

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  2. Jolene said on April 17, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Our bodies are amazing, aren’t they? How intricate they are and what a lot of different ways there are for them to malfunction. Even at my fairly advanced age and with a more than passing interest in healthcare and medicine, I had never heard of this ailment.

    I hope the procedure for fixing it is as ho-hum as the doctor suggests and that you recover quickly. In the meantime, make sure that those near at hand know that it’s their job to indulge your every whim.

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  3. Nancy said on April 17, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Yikes! Will you be conscious when the needle is stuck in your eyeball?

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  4. alex said on April 17, 2013 at 6:45 am

    The daycare story was appalling, but I see this a lot: Personal injury claimants trying to go on Social Security disability following a minor fender-bender or slip-n-fall whose occupation is guess what? People who you wouldn’t entrust with cleaning your house, let alone caring for your child.

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  5. David C. said on April 17, 2013 at 6:54 am

    My father-in-law had a vitrectomy and he breezed through it. But he’s a layabout and didn’t mind whether he was laying around face up or face down. It sounds like a nightmare to me.

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  6. Joe Kobiela said on April 17, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Macular hole, would be a good name for a punk band. Seriously good luck and perhap you could dictate to Kate, or have a guest blogger.
    Pilot joe

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  7. Deborah said on April 17, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Yikes, never heard of it, sounds like no fun. Good luck with the face down part, which by far sounds like the worst part. I don’t get how you do that. I’d help fetch stuff for you if I could.

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  8. beb said on April 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

    They would have to knock me out with three different kinds of anesthetics before I’d let anyone close to my eye with anything remotely sharp. Good luck and…spare us the details.

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  9. BigHank53 said on April 17, 2013 at 7:33 am

    You might cast an eye at Craigslist for a used massage table, which usually have a face-support that plugs into one end. Independent massage therapist is an occupation with a high attrition rate.

    Good luck with the surgery and recovery.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 17, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Blessings on the surgery, curses on the child care system. Our JFS planning committee discussions of child care supports are torn between the non-inconsiderable amounts we’re currently paying out, and the state’s desire to strengthen certification requirements without creating a big political backlash because of the number of in-home care providers we have out there. There’s a belief in the Statehouse that if you push on certification too hard, you’ll end up with nothing but large commercial providers on one end, and lots of individuals (too many of whom do meet Alex’s description, too) who will be shut out and then angrily campaigning against them.

    Add in the wishful thinking of a culture where the majority of kids are being raised 0 to 5 by a biological mother home weekdays wearing an apron and heels, or should be, and you have a political/cultural logjam. And people like my own spouse concerned, as with all-day kindergarten, that an option will quickly become a mandate if universal pre-K through the schools comes next. I’m more pragmatic, because of the number of kids I see who really would be better off with a qualified if mildly indifferent adult caring for them during the day, but I do understand the frustration felt by many traditionalists who see themselves being forced to put their kids in the care of institutions earlier and earlier.

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  11. nancy said on April 17, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I’m not planning to buy anything — not when you can rent all this crap from medical-supply houses. Look at some of this crazy shit. I certainly wouldn’t want it in my house for a minute longer than I needed it.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2013 at 8:02 am

    You are too strong and too tough to let this kind of thing get you down. I imagine the recovery period will be harder on you than the procedure. And at least this procedure doesn’t require a catheter: I swear to god, the very worst thing about my prostate removal surgery was wearing that #%$%@$ thing.

    What’s that old line from Bette Davis? Old age isn’t for sissies??

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  13. James said on April 17, 2013 at 8:11 am


    If it helps, I was only 43 when I had my detached retina, and not to be competitive, but it was super-scary that I had to have both eyes operated on at the same time (as detailed in my story).

    So… I win?!?

    Seriously though, speaking as the internet patron saint of scary, invasive eye surgery (I get lots of email saying… “I have a brother-in-law who went through that, and he enjoyed your comic…”), I have to tell you it will be alright.

    It’s amazing to me that they can remove the fluid from your eye, and replace it, and it all works out. Last year I had cataract surgery in the right eye (the one that had detached) and they replaced the lens as part of the procedure. It’s just astounding what they can do, if you have health insurance. Thank goodness my wife has a real job.

    So the short story is, it’ll get better, after an annoying recovery period. Sheesh! All that medical gear! Pikers! I did it with a normal pillow, and I liked it!

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  14. Suzanne said on April 17, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I’ve never heard of a Macular Hole or a vitrectomy either. Good luck! I love post-op device descriptions–a nice bag so you can be portable! Where are you going to go face down? Hopefully, you can at least read and I’d plan on sleeping. A lot.

    I did stay home with my kids for the most part until they were in school and was fortunate to find a nice woman nearby to watch the youngest when I got a part time job. I fear for my kids, though, if they marry and have kids. I doubt they will be able to afford decent child care, but not be able to afford to not work. It’s a crazy world we live in.

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  15. nancy said on April 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

    True, James, but detached retinas can happen anytime. Macular hole, it seems, is primarily a condition of one’s Medicaid years.

    I’m told cataract is one likely down-the-road side effect of the surgery, and the greater my discipline in remaining face-down, the less likely it will be.

    But I’m assuming it’s in the cards, one of these days.

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  16. coozledad said on April 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Where are you going to go face down?
    It never held Ivana Trump or Lindsey Graham back.

    But there’s an idea. Fuse that massage table to a Hoverround chassis. Those five days will just disappear as you crush the tarsals of unwary shoppers at the mall or the Safeway. That two way mirror will help you drive.

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  17. Jolene said on April 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

    That post-vitrectomy equipment is amazing. As a word person (that is, a person who never for a moment considered becoming an engineer), I am always amazed to see the highly specific gear that people have invented.

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  18. Nancy said on April 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Okay, I’ve just read “How a Vitrectomy Helps Heal the Eye” as presented by the Facedown Rental company, and I cannot believe that doctors haven’t come up with a better treatment plan than putting a bubble in there and having you remain face-down for a week. I mean, really? Who even thought of that? I think it’s a conspiracy between Big Medicine and Facedown Rental.

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  19. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 8:38 am


    When I encounter things like this thing Nancy describes, it induces mild terror, followed by resignation.

    To me, it’s only slightly exaggerated to think that the quiet theme, as we all age and encounter these surprising things, is that Jim Morrison song The End

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  20. nancy said on April 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I’m more alarmed by Facedown Rental’s FAQ page on the recovery time. My doctor said I need a week off work. Facedown Rental — and yes, I laugh to imagine that guy making small talk at cocktail parties, explaining what s/he does — says two to three weeks. Honestly, a tiny spot of blurriness sounds better than that.

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  21. Scout said on April 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

    None of it sounds like fun, but I’m glad you are focusing on the silver lining. I know we would all be happy to help out if we were we close.

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  22. Connie said on April 17, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Oh Nancy, that just sounds so boring. And uncomfortable. And I thought spending several weeks in a lazyboy with my legs elevated was bad. I hope you can roll your facedown chair out to the patio.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Audiobooks are marvelous entertainment when you have to stay put like that. Think of the recovery time as a bonus vacation of sorts. I hope it goes well.

    I mostly stayed home when my kids were small, and it was a financial struggle. But a couple of times I took jobs and ended up paying so much for childcare that we didn’t come out much ahead. And then my provider’s husband lost his job so she took in more kids, and mine came home with bruises. So I quit. I feel very fortunate that I had that option. We drove old cars, didn’t eat out, and bought our clothes at Goodwill, but we could manage.

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  24. Dorothy said on April 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

    My sister Diane had this procedure done two days before Christmas 2011 when she was 49 years old. NOT fun to go through as an emergency but she came through it just fine eventually. She has a very lighthearted attitude towards life in general so of course they came up with lots of jokes to tell on themselves involving driving from Indiana PA to Pittsburgh in heavy traffic with her in anguish and her husband risking running red lights. You know we’ll miss you but look at this way: lots of fodder for future blogging once you’re up and around. Dictate notes into your iPad or iPhone if you can’t actually write them down from a face-down position.

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  25. Suzanne said on April 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Julie, the funny thing is that my kids are mostly grown (well, one is still in school and I’m not sure that will ever end!) and we STILL drive old cars, buy clothes at Goodwill (just got a pair of super comfortable $6 jeans!) and eat out mostly when someone gives us a gift card. I guess I got in that thrift groove when the kids were young and my finanaces now dictate we stay there!

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  26. Randy said on April 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

    All the best to you Nancy, it is good to know you have good doctors and good people to care for you at home. Can we as your loyal readers build and create a reading list and send the actual books to help you through recovery?

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  27. LAMary said on April 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I’m liking cooz’s plan with the hoverround. Plank position, full speed through the aisles of some crowded retail establishment. Bring a cameral crew.

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on April 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Ouch. Good luck, Nancy.

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  29. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Mary, I volunteer to be on the crew!

    Lemme be the Gaffer…or the Best Boy. (I’ve no idea what either of them do, but it sounds fun)

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  30. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

    We still live pretty frugally too. I no longer understand the need to buy lots of new stuff and have the latest car, or even to have cable. I think I would feel like I was wasting money. And hey, I’ve found a lot of good stuff at Goodwill & Salvation Army.

    All that said, we are taking our parish secretary to lunch today and she chose Biaggi’s, so I’m gonna eat like the 1%.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Best Boy is an electrician.

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  32. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Just call me Sparky!

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  33. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I ate lunch at Biaggi’s once; they have a sort of ante-room/bar, where the tables and chairs are tall.

    The lunch menu wasn’t terrible; I probably spent $5 more than I would have at, say, Subway.

    One place that has a pleasnt ambiance and is a good lunch spot is Calhoun Street Soups and Salads.

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  34. MichaelG said on April 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Nance, after my two cataract trips, my guess is that the operation won’t be bad at all. They will probably have you about half conscious and drugged and they arrange the lighting so that you will never see the needle. I never saw the scalpel when they did my lenses and never felt a thing other than vague pressures. The recovery period from the surgery was instantaneous and the eye patch came off the next day. There never was any pain. So I wouldn’t expect any big problem with your surgery. Now that recovery, however, period sounds horrible. I have no idea how you’re going to get through that. Best of luck.

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  35. MichaelG said on April 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Now that recovery period, however. sounds horrible.

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  36. Catherine said on April 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I say, if you’re forced into the massage position, insurance should pay for a couple massages too.

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  37. JWfromNJ said on April 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Shheeee, that would be no challenge to a high-school kid about 5 years ago when they could text on the num pad with one hand, holding the phone under their desk, or even in their pocket.

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  38. Michael said on April 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

    From the “been there, done that desk”:

    It was exactly this time of year seven years ago when I noticed a dark crescent shaped shadow in my left eye. I don’t see much out of that eye as a result of an injury from a rock throwing incident that occurred when I was ten. But I still see light and something was starting to close the shade.

    The next day I went to an early client appointment and then reported to the Ophthalmology department at Henry Ford Hospital where they already knew me well. The young resident was a very good looking African American and being gay I enjoyed the close encounter. I described the symptom and he looked at the eye through the microscope. He said being a resident he could not tell me what he thought was wrong until he consulted with a staff doc. So I sat in a chair outside the exam room. I was teaching at the university that semester to I pulled the Blue Books out of my briefcase and started reading. Dr. Anderson walked by and said, oh, Mr. Einheuser you shouldn’t be reading. First ominous sign.

    Another 20 minutes passed with me staring at the “art” on the walls and Dr. Anderson came back. “Mr. Einheuser, may I ask when was the last time you had anything to eat?” Second ominous sign. I’ve been through this drill a number of times before. That question is relevant when contemplating, oh, I don’t know, general anesthesia?
    The staff doc finally showed up with the news that my retina was peeling away from the back of the eye which was the source of the shadow. He wanted me in surgery as soon as the retina specialist on call could be summoned to the hospital.
    This was literally the 17th eye procedure I’ve been through since the injury (isn’t “procedure” a much nicer work than “operation” or “surgery”). Most people don’t like to use the words “needle” and “eye” in the same sentence but it’s really not a bad as one might imagine.

    My recovery consisted of being face down for four weeks. I remember two things. First, I discovered books on tape and devoured them. Second, my Circadian rhythm went to hell. I kept the tape player next to my bed and would often listen to the books in the wee hours and sleep during daylight.

    Enjoy the down time and absolutely demand that your family pamper you.

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  39. Judybusy said on April 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Wow, what a process to heal! Maybe you can angle the mirror to watch lots of good movies, too. I hope all goes well.

    That day care story was really terrible. I was struck by France’s approach, and how common-sense it seems. I will be shocked–happily–if our country ever comes that far, for the reasons mentioned by Jeff. Our paper, the Star Tribune won a Pulitzer for the reporting they did on this very issue. It resulted in changes in our state law, and now deaths are down dramatically.

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  40. Mindy said on April 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I know of a lady who had to spend fourteen days strapped in a chair face down after her surgery for a detached retina. She was given a sort of mirror contraption that would help her at least see the room she was in.

    Best of luck in everything this procedure entails, we’ll be thinking of you. I hope your doctor will allow you to have alcohol during your recovery. And, if there was ever a reason to buy a new iPod and load it full of new music, this is it.

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  41. Charlotte said on April 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Ack! Ack! The only thing I fear more than teeth-issues is eyeball-issues. My beloved grandmother tore her eyeball in the early 1960s on the edge of a car window — they fixed it, and she was in our attic (why the attic the adult wonders? there were bedrooms on the second floor) for six weeks, recovering. Flat on her back. Enormously difficult for someone as athletic as she was. A few years later she fell off the barn roof while fixing a shingle and tore it all to hell again. Lost the sight because she couldn’t bear to go through the recovery again — wound up with a glass eye. Which did lend a sort of credence to the evergreen childhood warning “someone’s going to lose an eye.”

    I think Mark Doty, the poet, had the bubble-in-the-eyeball surgery about a year ago. He was at Utah when I was there, and we keep up on Facebook … he seems entirely recovered, back on the go, and writing poems about the shimmer of the world …

    And in local news, our Margie Kidder lost her fabulous, sweet love of a hound dog last night. RIP Pierre Trudeau Kidder (really!). He was one of those great dogs — made it to 13 though. (My favorite Margie quote, as she was preparing to come read at my brother’s funeral “Do I need a hat? For Pierre’s funeral I needed a hat!”)

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  42. alex said on April 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Well, I just had a big blob of skin cancer pulled out of my nose this morning. The PA who excised it was telling me how Sarah Palin wasn’t full of shit about the death panels and that GM is never going to pay back the money it borrowed. All in all an excruciating experience and I didn’t even feel the scalpel or the cauterizing needle.

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  43. Connie said on April 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    So Alex, were you able to keep your lip zipped in that conversation? I was just in a small meeting where a woman said they had been thinking about retiring to Colorado, but it looked like Colorado was about to ban open carry so they were thinking Texas instead.

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  44. alex said on April 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    The guy’s face and eyes got all twitchy when I challenged some of his statements with facts. I suspect he listens to a lot of talk radio and accepts right-wing talking points uncritically, but doesn’t have what it takes to back any of it up.

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  45. Laura said on April 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    This just happened to my mother last week: Detached retina, macular hole. There really is a company called “Face Down Solutions.” But the best solution was family, friends and laughter because — technically speaking — being face down for five days is not funny.

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  46. Sherri said on April 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I had to have holes poked in my irises (with a laser) a few years back because a combination of age, medication, eye structure, and being far-sighted was putting me at increasing risk of acute glaucoma attacks. (I never knew glaucoma could be acute before this, either.) Fortunately, my recovery didn’t involve lying face down, so other than getting over the idea of having a hole poked in my eye, it was no big deal.

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  47. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    he listens to a lot of talk radio and accepts right-wing talking points uncritically, but doesn’t have what it takes to back any of it up. and of course, what it takes to back it up is a willful ignorance of the surrounding world! Yesterday on the way to lunch, I had WOWO on (always a mistake, I know) and did a 90-second Oxy-Rush hit….and his reaction to the Boston bombing was an open-ended attack on (wait for it) Bill Ayers; and by extension, the president.

    So I tuned back to Rock-104, and joined a Doors tune, which is probably why The End leaped to mind, earlier.

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  48. Kaye said on April 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Investigate the used massage table idea and plan to rent mirror and maybe a chair. A donut pillow means your eyes are just inches away from the surface you are laying on – no faces, no tv, and the ipad only VERY up close. That situation may be bearable for a day or two perhaps, (I could sleep that long)but not longer. Don’t risk a solid recovery to avoid durable medical equipment in the house.

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  49. Deborah said on April 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    My thoughts too Kaye, I don’t get how you use a donut pillow on the surface of a bed?? I would feel like I’m suffocating and my back would be killing me. Sitting in a chair stooped over with a donut pillow on some kind of stand over your lap seems more imaginable to me, and more comfortable. That way you could read and watch movies on your iPad or whatever. As someone already mentioned I would expect my family to pamper me and I would eat whatever I wanted at whatever time I wanted it.

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  50. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve played poker with Bill Ayer’s brother, John, so clearly, I’m a suspect, too.

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  51. Basset said on April 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    The gaffer, if I remember correctly, is the head stagehand.

    Meanwhile… Jr. and I are just back from the vet, who helped our sick golden across the rainbow bridge. She quit eating over the weekend and could no longer breathe properly or stand, it was time.

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  52. alex said on April 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Gaffer. I was thinking fluffer. That’s a stage hand job. 😉

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  53. MarkH said on April 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Specifically, the gaffer is actually the chief electrician on the set.

    Condolences, basset. Our dog took that trip five years ago. And, belated cheers to Mrs. basset’s recovery.

    The payback for the automotive industry bailout is a little more complicated. Yes, GM did pay back all its actual ‘loans’ (TARP money), but the stock picture is another story. We taxpayers owned at one time 61% of GM. That is now down to 32%. GM and Chrysler have done surprisingly well after the bail out. But the big surprise is that Ford was actually given huge loans to develop electric cars at that same time. This has gone nowhere due to a racous lack of public interest and one-time recession darling Ford is struggling to establish repayment to the government.

    Borden, you’ve always been suspect. 😉

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  54. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Numerous news agencies are reporting a suspect has been identified in the Boston Marathon bombings. Surveillance video from a nearby department store and some local TV footage apparently were key to the ID. I’m generally wary of the surveillance state that is any U.S. city these days –if Bush and Cheney had installed as many spy cameras in Chicago as Richard Daley people would’ve howled bloody murder– but they seem to work fairly often.

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  55. Deggjr said on April 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    although the ophthalmologist just shrugged; Minor surgery is surgery performed on someone else. (Hey, it could be worse, it could be me that needs that operation.)

    Rush Limbaugh/Bill Ayres. The Ohio National Guard killed more people than Bill Ayres. Two of the dead were on their way to class; one of the two was an ROTC cadet.

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  56. James said on April 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm


    The cataract surgery is the one you should look forward to. They actually replace your friggn’ lens. It was a piece of cake, and now I can actually see some out of my right eye without glasses.

    The problem is my left, which is totally blurry. I can’t wait to replace that one.

    Then I’m going for bionics.

    n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-neh! (that’s my bionic jumping sound…)

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  57. Dorothy said on April 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Oh Basset I’m sorry about your pup. I hope Mrs. B. is doing okay today after her surgery yesterday. How sad that these events coincided. She’ll have to come home to a dogless house. But I’m sure she was aware that was a possibility since the dog was ailing.

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  58. BigHank53 said on April 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry to hear about your dog, Basset. I called for the needle for my 17-year-old cat last week. He was still getting around (albeit pretty slowly) after he stopped eating, but he started to have trouble breathing. No need for any excess suffering.

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  59. Peter said on April 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Sorry I haven’t been checking in the last few days – boy, miss a little, miss a lot.

    Basset – I am very sorry about your pup. Ours went to the Big Fire Hydrant a month ago today, and my poor wife still cries every night. I hope Mrs. B is feeling better.

    Nancy – Ay yee yee – I would need all the weed I could get to undergo that procedure. As opposed to your other contributors, though, that laying down for a few days or weeks doesn’t sound too bad. Here’s a cheap alternative to Cooz – how about mounting some really big casters and using ski poles? That would be a sight.

    Alex – I thought you were going to say that you had this big blob of skin cancer removed and then the doctor said “Boy, that looks just like Sarah Palin!” What a letdown.

    Boston – I’m kind of surprised that the NRA hasn’t come out with some statement that this wouldn’t have happened if them liberal marathoners carried heat.

    Child Care – My brother in law works for a medium sized bank; he told me that most of the tellers work at the bank only for the health insurance coverage – their whole paycheck goes to daycare, but the free health coverage means their husbands can freelance. Is this a great country or what?

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Politically, I’m afraid I agree with almost anything being said by someone performing a procedure on me. I’m not proud of it, I don’t egg them on, but that’s not the time and place for persuasive rhetoric to my mind. Just lots of “Mmmmm. Hmmm-mmm. Oh.” Of course, this most often happens at the dentist’s, so I’m not expected to be terribly articulate, but I have to admit I’d be the same with someone slicing through my epidermis no matter how shallowly.

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  61. mark said on April 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    So maybe the Texas DA murders aren’t the first shots in a “new civil war.”

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  62. Judybusy said on April 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Basset, I’m sorry, too, about your dog. They are such loves. Losing our cat was hard, but when the dog goes, I think it will be much more difficult because the relationship just feels so much more two-way. Best wishes for Mrs. Basset’s speedy recovery, too!

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  63. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    See, this is what happens when BREAKING NEWS is the order of the day, regardless whether the news organization can confirm that they are reporting….news.

    The telling part of this tale is that the headline keeps changing, and the lead paragraph; and the rest stays the same.

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  64. brian stouder said on April 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    btw, the current headline is

    “Source: ‘Significant progress,’ but no arrest in bombing”

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  65. JWfromNJ said on April 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I’d be screwed because I can only sleep on my sides, and my wife says watching flip between them all night long is like watching a chicken on a rotisserie. Can’t imagine sleeping face down or on my back without horse tranquilizers.

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  66. Scout said on April 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Peter @ 59 FTW.

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  67. coozledad said on April 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I wonder what squalid tunnel this worm has poked his head from, and why the fuck he isn’t properly employed harvesting ass mushrooms in the bathroom of a Stuckey’s on I-85.

    Another preliterate piece of Republican trash who hasn’t got enough cortical material to process the “representative democracy” concept.

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  68. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    My lunch at Biaggi’s was a delicious spinach salad and a yummy pasta dish, and, including a beverage and generous tip, $16 and change. Ouch. But, our secretary is terrific and regularly rescues us all, and the whole thing was my suggestion, so I daren’t complain.

    It’s my understanding that just about everyone eventually needs cataract surgery, and I’m looking forward to the new cornea part. According to my eye doc, mine are plasticizing as a result of a genetic thing called Terrien’s. The corneas thin out, change shape, and turn white around the edges. With the shape-shifting comes a need for new glasses, and for awhile that was every year. But just like cataracts, they can’t do the surgery until the corneas ripen.

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  69. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Grass hasn’t even begun to grow on the fresh graves of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, but our craven cowards in the world’s greatest legislative body have been unable to pass even wimpy and watered down background check legislation.

    Someone tell me again how a functioning democracy where 90% of the citizens and a majority of NRA members and Republican voters favor background checks can reach this point?

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  70. Sherry said on April 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I think we’re about the same age, Nancy, and I was diagnosed with a Stage 2 Macular Hole about 18 months ago. Retinal surgeon said as long as I can function with a blurry, sometimes dark, spot in the center of my left eye that he does not want to do the vitrectomy. And that was entirely because of the recovery process. He said 3 to 4 weeks, face down, for 55 minutes of every hour. That gives me 5 minutes every hour to pee and not much else. Yikes! If I have to spend that much time staring at our floors, my husband should start buying carpet shampoo now. I’m sure I’ll be noticing a lot of “little things” during the recovery period.

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  71. Scout said on April 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    That the background check bill went down despite having the support of 90% of Americans is mind boggling. I mean, WTF? How do we as a nation break this gridlock? Because dollars to donuts, nobody’s getting voted out of office for this vote, although all 46 of them who voted against it should be. It’s infuriating! Also, too, maybe somebody here who is much smarter than I am can explain why Harry Reid didn’t change the filibuster rules when he had the chance.

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  72. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Scout, the sad thing is, you’re correct. The trogs who voted against this will be reelected again and again and again. Incumbents win something like 92% of the time. It makes my stomach and head hurt to think that all this went down with the Newtown families sitting in the Senate gallery. My God, how they must’ve felt as they witnessed their elected officials performing fellatio on the gun industry.

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  73. Jolene said on April 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Amen, Jeff. I was watching the vote on C-SPAN and could barely contain my rage. Can only imagine how the Newtown families felt. Just a frickin’ disgrace.

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  74. Charlotte said on April 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Baucus is running again (spits on the ground at the sound of his name) — voted against it, is making public statements about his doubts about Obamacare implementation (pretty rich considering it’s his bill) and has apparently raised $1.4 million already. I’m not Schweitzer’s biggest fan but I wish he’d primary Max — I think he could win.

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  75. coozledad said on April 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    We need to start routing rurals into trades and close them off from the public sector except as recipients of goober job training. The meth belt is dragging the country down.
    They don’t even grow anything anymore. Worse than useless.
    Gun fetish creepjobs like Glen Harlan Reynolds get a lifetime combat eligibility notice and get dropped wherever bullets are cutting down swathes of vegetation. They’ll function primarily as sandbags:

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  76. Bitter Scribe said on April 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    How can a minority of corrupt assholes ignore the will of 90%—that’s N-I-N-E-T-Y P-E-R-C-E-N-T—of the public?

    Fuck the fucking filibuster.

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  77. Jolene said on April 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Your question contains the answer, Bitter: They are corrupt assholes or, if not corrupt, cowardly assholes.

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  78. Dexter said on April 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Watch this when you get a chance…NatGeo channel.

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  79. Crazycatlady said on April 18, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I know this is crazy, but how does one go to the bathroom after this surgery? Yikes!

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Listening to the chatter on cable news this morning, I just have to ask out loud — stipulating that I would have happily voted for Toomey-Manchin or would re-elect senators who had voted for it — is it possible that there’s just still a pretty big urban-rural divide on how guns are seen and regarded, and we have some work to do yet to ask those in squirrel and groundhog shooting areas to consider how these issues are playing out in the cities? I think much of the more agitated coverage is over-focused on suburban hypocrisy, which is always a big fat easy target, but DuPage County gun shops supplying armaments for downtown Chicago aside, the electoral pressure is from Kankakee south in an Illinois, or out past the Outerbelt(s) in Ohio, or out in the prairie for a Heidtkamp (sp.?), where guns are an everyday tool combined with a symbolic heft that goes beyond caliber. But I haven’t heard a straightforward appeal to those constituencies saying “Look, we’re not worried about you, and we know guns are a community value for you, but can we ask you to accept a certain amount of added legal inconvenience to help make our cities safer and reduce the more casual purchasing that leads to gun accidents in suburban homes?”

    I think you might get some willingness to ruefully support legislation like Toomey-Manchin with a pitch like that.

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  81. Jolene said on April 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I’d like to think you’re right, Jeff, but I wonder. Partly because my roots are in North Dakota, I’m particularly offended by what looks to me like Heitkamp’s spinelessness. She is not up for re-election until 2018. If she can’t find a way to explain the logic of background checks to the tiny population of her home state between now and then, then, really, she should lose. What is the use of having Democrats if they are going to vote like Republicans.

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  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Or, she knows her constituency is that strongly against additional regulation of guns, and her party didn’t give her much to work with on a short time frame to be convincing. I don’t disagree with someone who says “well, she should take the blows, and plan on spending five years doing the work of connecting the dots” and it would surely be an honorable choice. I just don’t know that the pivot to “shame” “shameless” “spineless” “vile” is going to move many of those votes, in the constituencies, or in the House or Senate. There’s a logic to new gun controls that just hasn’t been laid out, and I think it will (like single payer health care coverage nationally) prevail, but there’s too much positioning for advantage by both parties, who’d rather lose and have an electoral issue than win and craft policy.

    And, pace Cooze, the rural parts of the country are not simply ignorant and lovingly attached to their sisters (or male cousins, whatever), but they do have a different worldview than the standard left/right depictions. And they do, in fact, love their guns. That has to be addressed, and snide contempt ain’t gonna make them unlove ’em.

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  83. Deborah said on April 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

    How can the polls show nearly 90% of the American people are for stricter background checks if there is this rural/urban divide of which you speak Jeff? Seems to me that would have to mean a sustantial chunk of the rurals already understand the problem. The NRA seems to be the clinker, or in other words the gun industry, not reasonable people living in small town America.

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  84. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

    The national anthem from the crowd at last night’s Bruins game at TD Garden was pretty amazing:

    Actual costs of business doing business,, to everybody else.

    And the people that go on and on about the 2nd Amendment, what part of “well-regulated” baffles them. Of course, when it s meaning escapes Supreme Court Justices I guess it’s not surprising that run-of-the-mill Murcans don’t get it. I find that inconceivably sad. And anybody that believes that the federal gummint is coming for their guns, or that they need arsenals to protect themselves from the feds, needs psychiatric help.

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  85. brian stouder said on April 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Jeff – I think Cooz has the better of this argument, at the end of the day.

    Here in urban Fort Wayne, our local right-wing radio lip-flapper will immediately agree that we shouldn’t sell guns to felons or people who are deranged or wife-beaters…but he’s adamantly opposed to ‘back-ground checks’. Possibly I’m just too stupid to square those two contradictory beliefs of his, but otherwise it strikes me that such people adamantly cherish beliefs (felons and psychos shouldn’t have guns) that are contradicted by their impulses (I hate Obama and anything he’s for I’m against).

    My understanding is that when the president made his eloquently angry response to the Senate debacle, the WOWO radio hack actually voice-overed their live coverage to express his disagreement with the president… the very great joy of chuckleheads in our Summit City.

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  86. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

    13 oil spills in 30 days. If I lived in Oklahoma and somebody told me I had to let the Keystone XL pipeline be built across my land, I think I might get a gun, or a rocket launcher, or a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. How can GOPers support the pipeline, which will require scads of eminent domain taking of land? Isn’t eminent domain anathema to the GOP? Isn’t that why they need ether guns? Hypocrites.

    And no matter what the oil companies say, they have proven time and again, they have no clue how to clean up these messes. When the oil spilled in the Kalamzoo River, the company claimed it would cost $5mil to rectify the situation. They are at $350mil now, and are bitching about their insurance coverage having run out of money, and the spill is not yet “mitigated”, as the industry likes to put it. Mitigating doesn’t mean fixing the problem, it means making it not quite so bad. They obviously aren’t great at building pipelines that don’t rupture. There are still tarballs on the Gulf Coast beaches, and lord knows what the ultimate damage to wildlife will be.

    The recent spill in Arkansas repeats a story we know too well. In 2010, an Enbridge Energy pipeline in Michigan broke and spilled more than 800,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River — and it still hasn’t been fully cleaned up. That same year, TransCanada, the company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline now, built a pipeline that experienced 12 separate spills in a single year. In 2011, one of Exxon Mobil’s pipelines in Montana ruptured and contaminated the Yellowstone River. And even just last week, a train derailed in Minnesota and spilled 30,000 gallons of tar sands crude.

    This guy has the right idea:

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  87. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Lord knows what an ether gun is. I imagine it would be a nonfatal weapon, that might be more effective than the lead Milltown variety. Anyway, I meant to type “their”.

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  88. coozledad said on April 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I live in the country. A gun is not a daily tool. That’s complete horseshit. The idea that there are still sons of the soil engaged in a battle with nature is a jerkoff fantasy indulged by men who would not be able to function without the extensive and cost inefficient networks that cool their lard asses in the summer and give them a warm place to shit in the winter. There are no pioneers, only god-bothering dependents on foreign oil.

    The closest neighbor who still raises whatever cash crop some pyramid scheme has roped him into, buys forested land, cuts every fucking tree off of it, sprays it with heavy metals laden human shit from Synagro- a subsidiary of George Bush, Tony Blair and Dick Cheney’s Carlile Group, and raises beef cattle on it that are injected with broad spectrum antibiotics. He, in turn sells this shit to you, at the end of a process that consumes even more fossil fuel, with the heroic assistance of the government he is utterly dependent upon, yet professes to hate. If you eat a hamburger from on of the big chains, chances are you’re getting a dose of antibiotics along with a couple of gram negative strains of gut bacteria. He doesn’t give a fuck. Science is a hippie lie.

    He not only believes his right to do this comes from Jesus, he believes he is smart. He is as about as one dimensional a motherfucker as you will find anywhere, and he is everywhere down here. He’s the backbone of your gun worshipping racist party, and Glen Harlan Reynolds is its muse.

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    • nancy said on April 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Slow clap.

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  89. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

    BP still hasn’t finished the clean up three years later, and they are trying to weasel out of responsibility for finishing the job.

    Jpy, Rapcha. I found a Starbucks card in one of my desk drawers and found out on theStarbucks website there is $25 on it. No idea where it came from. I do love the breakfast food choices there. And that Sumatran coffee they use for house blend is excellent.

    So, coozledad, you don’t like that guy much, eh? The problem of antibiotics in our factory farm food chain is pretty scary. There won’t be any cures for the syphillitic or the gonorrheal. A few more strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and we could all be looking at The Stand. Thaat’s another of those costs of doing business that society pays so that CEOs can make 300x as much as their employees.

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  90. Jolene said on April 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Wonkblog has good commentary on the gun vote, beginning with the wildly unrepresentative nature of the Senate itself. Worth a look.

    I guess I’m somewhere between Jeff (tmmo) and Cooz on the attributes and persuadability of rural voters. My father owned a gun, and my brother does too. But, for both, I wouldn’t say that having one is in their top 25 priorities. Both of them have hunted, but infrequently, pretty much in the way they’d go to a poker game if someone happened to invite them. I know there are people who care a lot more than the do, but, honestly, there can’t be that many. Even in that extremely rural state, most of the population lives in cities and towns. So I don’t see these folks as beyond the reach of reason.

    Heitkamp is a Dem who won a very close election in a state that voted twice for Obama, so, of course, she has to think about her electoral prospects. But if the point of holding office is simply to hold office, we are well and truly done. It may have been unsympathetic to call her spineless, but I think she’d have done more to advance her case by standing with her party and defending her choice.

    There are other issues on which she could have demonstrated her home state bona fides. but, alas, she needs the support of the Obama administration to do that, and now she will be very unlikely to get it.

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  91. brian stouder said on April 18, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Jolene – aside from the wildly undemocratic group that is the United States Senate (2 each for tiny Rhode Island and Wyoming; and 2 each for colossal California and New York), I am also struck by the pig-headed attitudes of angry white males who work in municipalities (such as Fort Wayne) and live in the suburbs that cities make possible, and who unblinkingly and whole-heartedly support the NRA and all their angry musings against the ‘guh-mint’ in general, and the president in particular.

    By way of saying, the rural/urban divide is there, but it ain’t just rural. Plenty of chuckleheads ‘with all the (unthinking) answers’ live just outside the cities. (the folks who want clean city water and sanitary sewage, but who think property taxes are an outrage)

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  92. nancy said on April 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Sorry no blog today. I was out doing journalism awards last night and came home too pooped to care.

    But I do want to say something about rural people and guns, which is really about all people and guns:

    In all the discussion about this, I heard a back-and-forth on some NPR show with the host and a self-described “gun guy.” The latter mentioned that city people don’t know what it’s like to live in an isolated area and not be able to depend on the police protect you, etc. It made me think, again, of something I’ve long believed — that most people perceive themselves to be in far more danger than they actually are. I know shit happens, and it happens everywhere, but it doesn’t really happen all that often. A colleague of mine said his brother began open-carrying after the Luby’s cafeteria massacre; he ate at that chain often and couldn’t get out of his head the idea that it could happen again, and he wanted to be ready.

    Now, we’ve talked here, many times, about the chances that anyone, in a panic situation, has the sort of skill it would take to “take down” a shooter. I can’t believe this isn’t some sort of macho fantasy he’s been carrying around in his head for, what, years now?

    I don’t think much of Michael Moore as a documentarian, although he’s a superior propagandist. He always wrecks what are pretty good arguments with one or two scenes underlining what an asshole he is. In “Sicko,” an otherwise dead-on indictment of American health care, he had to throw in that stupid Cuba sequence. In “Bowling for Columbine,” it was the Charlton Heston stuff. But in that film, he absolutely, positively nailed it when he said the one thing we all have in common is Fear, capital-F Fear, and how much of it is unreasonable.

    Living so close to Detroit, we have a certain amount of petty crime here. People like to think they live in paradise, and they leave doors unlocked, or they don’t, and stuff gets taken. Whenever this is in the local media, there’s always a roar from the gun people: STRAP UP. DEFEND YOURSELF. All I can think is, I am *not* shooting anyone over a fucking television set. In fact, it’s illegal to use deadly force in anything but a life-threatening situation. Which hardly ever happens, at least around here. If you really wanted to make that argument, it’s *Detroiters* who have the most justification to walk around armed to the teeth, but I doubt a single Grosse Pointer would be cool with that.

    As for people who live in the country, I guess it’s handy to have a varmint gun around, maybe a shotgun, but I don’t understand the climate of fear that people live in. I can count the people I’ve known who’ve found themselves in a life-or-death situation on one hand, and I think that includes beb’s stickup in the Hardee’s drive-through window a few months back. See above re: Detroiters.

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  93. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I really enjoy“>Neil Gaiman’s books, and I love the movie Stardust, so this new project looks interesting to me. What he says about physical books is a good explanation of why I’ll never be a Kindle convert.

    Mike Luckovich burns Wolf Blitzer a new one:

    Turner Classic Movies is showing Carousel tonight. I played Billy Bigelow in a HS production. Couldn’t sing for shit, but I do love the music in that show. We did all think the bathetic You’ll Never Walk Alone was pretty hilarious though. The waltz on the other hand is simply gorgeous.

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  94. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Brian, some GOPers and Teabangers are trying to make it much worse, by bagging the direct election of Senators in the 17th Amendment. It’s a direct attack on the voting power the large majority of people that live in cities. Goes hand in hand with the new supersized GOP gerrymandering. Yeah, both parties gerrymander, but the GOP version is like snakeheads in American waters.

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  95. Connie said on April 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

    In more medical news: After going to the wound care clinic twice a week since August today I was declared cured (for now) of my rare auto immune skin disease. I long ago got to the point where my insurance pays 100%.

    This disease is so rare that other doctors came to see it, they had never seen it before. Even the company reps for the products they used to treat it came to see it. Not at all a good reason to be famous.

    However I must continue to wear medical grade support stockings. Ick.

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  96. brian stouder said on April 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Connie, regarding the news about being cured: Huzzah!! And, times being what they are right now, and given your occupation, I’m assuming libraries treat returned materials with some precautions in place, yes?

    On second thought, don’t answer that!

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  97. brian stouder said on April 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Good God – The Texas story just keeps worsening; I had not understood that the fertilizer plant was in the middle of the town.

    an excerpt:

    Vanek said first-responders treated victims at about half a dozen sites, and he saw several injured residents from the nursing home being treated at the community center. Swanton said the injured rescued so far had been taken to hospitals in Waco and a triage center at high school in nearby Abbott.
    About 100 of the injured were treated at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, where five people were in intensive care. Another 65 were taken to Providence Health Center in Waco. Officials said the injuries included broken bones, bruises, lacerations, respiratory distress, and some head injuries and minor burns.
    Erick Perez, 21, of West, was playing basketball at a nearby school when the fire started. He and his friends thought nothing of it at first, but about a half-hour later, the smoke changed color. The blast threw him, his nephew and others to the ground and showered the area with hot embers, shrapnel and debris.

    “The explosion was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Perez said. “This town is hurt really bad.”

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  98. Jolene said on April 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Amen, Nancy. People spend way too much time thinking about rare events, many of which are beyond our control, and not nearly enough time thinking about the everyday predations that we could fix if we only would.

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  99. beb said on April 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Burger King. I don’t think there’s a Hardee’s anywhere in southeast Michigan.

    The recent spat of men exercising their constitutional right of open-carry, I think, demonstrates that there’s a strain of ass-holery among the people who feel most strongly about home ownership.

    The really irritation thing about the vote is this was a vote to end a filibuster and not an actual vote on the bill. It’s one thing to allow senators to vote their conscious on important bills but on motions to proceed Democrats who oppose the leadership should be made to suffer, in seniority or leadership positions.

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  100. beb said on April 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    The Fertilizer plant fire and explosion is horrendous. Just a reminder, one type of fertilizer is potassium nitrate, which Timothy McVeigh mixed with diesel oil and detonated to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma.

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  101. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Texas has very weak zoning laws –if any at all– which allows for the juxtaposition of a fertilizer plant using dangerous chemicals with a nursing home and a school.

    Gov. Goodhair, as Molly Ivins famously labeled the pinheaded governor of Texas Rick Perry, is all over Chicago radio urging Illinois companies to come to his pro-business state. Pro business, of course, being code for no fucking rules or regulations to worry about, pal.

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  102. Dexter said on April 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    By now we have all seen the graphics of West, Texas, and the layout of the town, and the shockwave overlays that show the destruction of the first wave of the explosion. The estimate now is 15 dead. I don’t understand that at all. A nursing home was totally destroyed as I understand it. A fully functioning and staffed nursing home, and many houses were simply blown all to hell. How could just 15 have died. That is a miracle if true. The explosion registered a 2.1, and was felt for seventy miles.

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  103. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    It will surprise exactly no one here that the last time the fertilizer plant was inspected for safety adherence was five or six years ago.

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  104. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm


    And Perry is soliciting campaign cash from those same folks in return for big tax breaks. like his buddy with the radioactive waste dump:

    Pony up and Perry delivers the sweetheart deals, and it’s all legal in Tejas. To think that so many GOPers thought he’d be a worthwhile President is sickening. Texas campaign finance laws are as lax as their zoning. Think Perry will take some federal disaster cash? Any goobernor that doesn’t accept fed help in that kind of emergency is an incompetent asshole ideolgue that should be impeached or recalled immediately. Of course, that’s a perfect description of Rick Perry.

    There used to be a prosecutor in Texas that went after both Malathion Delay and Goodhair, named Ronnie Earle, but Texas GOP framed him on some trumped up bullshit. Consider the source if you read this:

    Pretty appalling and pretty funny at the same time, considering how the Bugman ended up. I always connect DeLay with the Dale Gribbler character on King of the Hill. Excessive exposure to malathion makes people nuts.

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  105. Jolene said on April 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Dexter, I think the nursing home was evacuated after the fire started, but before the explosion.

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  106. Dave said on April 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Just over the weekend, I believe, some concealed-carry clown dropped his gun in a local Walmart and it went off. Luckily, it didn’t hit anyone but it scares me and I just know there’s a whole host of cretins carrying just because they can.

    My father, who just thought he had to have a concealed carry permit and got one at 83, told me the other day that he wouldn’t actually carry it, actually carrying it might give him a Wild West mentality and that would be enough to get him in trouble. I wondered why he ever went to the trouble of taking whatever the Ohio class is that allowed him to get it, then, let alone buying the weapon that he bought appropriate for concealed carry.

    Dad was a NRA member, although I believe he has let it expire, mostly because of his declining health. I can’t get over the amount of mail they send out, mostly looking for donations to fight those who would take away their freedoms, their words, not mine. I’ve been tossing it, even though I don’t think it’s right to toss my parents mail. Guess I don’t feel that guilty.

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  107. Sherri said on April 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    You know what would change the dynamic on gun control laws? For the NAACP to start urging members to get carry permits.

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  108. Connie said on April 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Brian, at my last library we had a procedure in place to deal with cockroaches in videos. And the only stories I’ve heard involving bedbugs has to do with books donated to a book sale.

    Beb, there are all kinds of fast food places missing from southeastern Michigan. Or at least from my west Oakland bit of it. Since moving here I have not seen a Fazoli’s, a Hardees, or a Long John Silver. And the nearest Steak and Shake is a long way away. I live ten miles north of a major mall area, but there is no Pier One anywhere near me.

    Long ago in southern Indiana we became fans of Captain D’s and we’ve missed that ever since as well. I see the nearest one to me is 97 miles away in Defiance Ohio.

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  109. Dexter said on April 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Ha! Connie, my wife and I heading to Captain D’s for dinner tonight. Defiance, indeed.

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  110. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm


    A few days ago in the suburbs of Chicago, a retired Chicago cop with a concealed carry permit brought a revolver along in his fanny pack to his grandson’s Cub Scout meeting. The fanny pack fell off. . .the gun discharged. . .luckily no one was hurt. He took a fucking gun to a Cub Scout meeting. Jesus.

    More people die of firearms accidents than die in fires, yet we see relentless advertisements and public service announcements about the value of smoke and fire detectors, the necessity of good extinguishers, etc.

    Guns? Nah, not so much.

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  111. nancy said on April 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    How do guns just go off when they’re dropped? Every time I’ve mentioned that, gun owners tell me you could drive nails with their .38 special, or whatever, and it wouldn’t fire unless you pulled the trigger. Don’t tell me gun owners lie!

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  112. Prospero said on April 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Sherri, back in the 60s and 70s gun registration was a large part of the MO of the Panthers.. Went over like a lead balloon with the NRA.

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  113. Deborah said on April 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Boring, boring day here in Chicago. Rain, rain, rain. Flooding highways, 60 something but nowhere to go. A good day for reading.

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  114. Dorothy said on April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    We hit 82 today, Deborah, and it’s been non-stop sunshine. But there is a good bit of wind. Storms begin tonight with that rain from Chicago.

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  115. Connie said on April 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Cool Dexter, have one of those deviled crab fried in the shell things for me.

    Wow did it rain today. I am seeing facebook reports of flooded basements in both suburban Chicago and Holland. My poor dogs.

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  116. brian stouder said on April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    When I met Pam for lunch today*, it was warm and blustery and overcast…and when we left it was raining. As I proceeded east down Spring Street toward the University of St Francis, I could see the wall of rain I was headed for, and then – boom – I was engulfed and deluged. And then, not more than a mile later, I popped out of it again. Tonight promises to be the classic ‘dark and stormy night’.

    Aside from that, the right-wing talking point right now seems to be to try and set up another “heads-we-win, tails-you-lose” deal, with regard to whoever the good guys catch in connection to the Boston Marathon massacre. There seems to be genuine, desperate anticipation on their part, regarding this as-yet-unknown piece of the story from Boston. If it’s angry white guys (again), then the “main stream media” will be accused of being heartlessly gleeful over that fact**; and if it’s anyone other than angry white guys, then it’s another example of how the president has let this country go right to hell, blah blah blah.

    I think tonight will be a good night to skip the news and go to bed early.

    *At Don Chava’s on Wells Street; a great place to eat, indeed!

    **I think Lawrence O’Donnell has made the point – which is undeniable – that Oxy-Rush always always always engages in ‘projection’, as he sits there and talks to himself each day; he stares unblinkingly at his personal atrociousness and assigns it to those he disagrees with; the self-loathing is palpable

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  117. Jeff said on April 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    No one, other than *some* police officers, needs a gun. Some people think they do, for reasons that aren’t necessarily traceable to racism. They’re still wrong, but I don’t see how calling them racists changes any minds or votes.

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  118. Jeff said on April 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    And guns go off if dropped when you a) have the safety off, and b) have filed the mechanism down. IOW, that fellow should have his weapon confiscated. Period.

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  119. Sherri said on April 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Pros, that’s my point; when the Panthers were arming themselves, the NRA was in favor of gun control. The right wing doesn’t want those people to vote; can you imagine the freak out over those people getting guns?

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  120. Judybusy said on April 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Snowing in MN; thankfully I was able to work from home, but did venture out to go to a marriage rally at noon. Lots (hundreds) of folks there, even in windy, sleety weather!

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  121. Rana said on April 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Nancy, that made my eye water just thinking about it. Good luck with the recovery process; I’m not good at being forced into immobility when it’s not out of laziness, so the thought of two weeks stuck on my stomach is unpleasant. Thank god for iPads and insurance, yes.

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  122. Rana said on April 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Also, stupid question: how do you eat during that recovery?

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  123. Rana said on April 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Basset, I’m sorry to hear about your dog. That’s hard, even when “it’s time.”

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  124. Deborah said on April 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Seeing the photos and video of the possible bomber suspects is chilling. They look like ordinary guys. Creepy, they walk among us. I’m kind of surprised the FBI would release those photos what with all of the roadblocks to justice they could provoke.

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  125. basset said on April 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks, Rana, and everyone else who expressed support… just got done burying our golden in the back yard, lying on her side just as she used to on the living room rug. We have a calico cat about thirteen or fourteen years old and we’ll wait for her to go before we get another dog; a golden puppy bouncing around would probably traumatize her.

    Connie, you should come to Nashville just to eat. We have everything you mentioned – Hardee’s, Long John Silver’s, Fazoli’s, Steak & Shake AND Captain D’s, in fact Nashville is the home of Captain D’s… it is or used to be a division of Shoney’s.

    We are also, I’ve heard and can’t prove but it could well be true, the only city with both Krystal and White Castle.

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  126. Joe K said on April 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    It’s been a wild week flying, last Wednesday flew thru that front coming home from Arkansas, Friday was nice in hickory n.c. 75 and sunny, love the Carolina’s, Tuesday was jeffcity Missouri, thunderstorm and rain, Wednesday out to Philly, crossed the bridge east of the airport and found myself in some funky little neighborhood, and had a great turkey club wrap from this dinky little hole in the wall dinner, then today Yipsolanti to Muncie, windy wow, landed back in yip around 2:30, came in when they were reporting tornados in Ann Arbor, waited about 90 minutes before heading back to Auburn. Chicago Palwakee Friday morning. I think the drought is over.
    Pilot Joe

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  127. Dorothy said on April 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Okay this might be crass but we discuss lots of stuff on here so I’m just gonna come out with it. I am a stomach or side sleeper. And last night when I was trying to fall asleep, all I could think about was “Poor Nancy, her boobs are going to be so squished after a week of stomach-down position!” Sorry…but I hope you will be as comfortable as possible, without permanently mis-shaping your girly goods.

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  128. Joe K said on April 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Also the air traffic was so backed up, getting into Midway, there was a falcon waiting to get their clearance to midway from Detroit at 3:30 pm, they were told they couldn’t get in till 8:00 pm yikes.
    Pilot Joe

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  129. Dexter said on April 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I have always been told cops are required to always carry a gun when off duty. It’s the policy. Once I was making small talk to a guy at a White Sox game. He revealed that he was a cop, off duty, taking in a ball game. This was in the days of cheap beer and I would buy anybody a cold one at a ball game, so when the beer man came, I bought our group a round and offered the cop a beer, but he declined. In a few minutes I said something like I thought cops liked to drink off duty, and he, in good humor, said he did, but he had this thing going for him where he had to carry his service revolver at all times in public. I dropped the subject.

    Is it possible the Cub Scout fanny packin’ incident was simply a cop complying with police rules?

    If you still have a free click left, NYT has this very interesting story from last year:

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  130. Dave said on April 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I believe Jeff Borden said the Chicago cop was a retired cop. I doubt that he had to carry, maybe he didn’t feel dressed without it. Isn’t that a line in more than one cop/cowboy movie?

    Since our son has been living in Nashville for nearly a year now, we’ve made a few trips and were surprised to find that there is only one Bob Evans in the entire city. You’ve got Jack in the Box there, too, Basset, another chain that is nowhere near here.

    We used to like Captain D’s, it was several cuts above Long John Silver’s, which have also disappeared around Fort Wayne.

    I was surprised when I got off Route 33 in Bellefontaine, OH, recently, to find a Rax Roast Beef.

    Also, our sympathies on your dog, Basset, always a hard loss.

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  131. Dexter said on April 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

    We got to Captain D’s parking lot but since it was her birthday, she chose to go next door to the Asian Grille. Buttered baked crab meat was the sensation, but I ate plenty of cold crab meat and iced shrimp as well, plus a round at the buffet table with all the spiced chicken and beef dishes, a little of this and a little of that. That place is pretty good and less than $23 at the cash register for two people. They always have a great salad and fruit bar as well.

    Man, this rain is one shade from biblical. Many fields flooded badly from here to Defiance, and it has poured rain constantly here in Bryan for at least six straight hours. Hard rain fallin’. My back yard is half under water, and I need to mow soon, but I refuse to mow grass in the rain.

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  132. Dexter said on April 19, 2013 at 12:46 am

    A couple years ago nance posted a blog about hamburger and how it comes from many different countries and gets all mixed up and packaged for supermarkets. I think I have had two hamburgers since then, but no more than that. I do cook a little each day to mix with my dogs’ food , after discarding about 18 tablespoons of melted fat from a pound of cooked meat.

    I look at that stuff and no way could I eat it. All the fecal matter contamination stories over the years (the e coli) and the mad cow problems, and the lax inspection process…wow…can’t eat it. The couple times I did try one again was when I was with family members and burgers were bought and one other time at a hamburger BBQ.

    Still, I am curious…anybody ever heard of Kewpee in Lima, Ohio? My Lab doggie charged and broke our picture window last week and yesterday the window guys finally replaced it. The dude was telling me about this little original Kewpee joint downtown Lima where you would drive in, get your sack of burgers, fries, and frosties, enter your car, drive straight ahead, and a huge turntable spun your car around so you could exit the place. He said there are now three Kewpees there. The burgers are rated highly, and the window dude said Dave Thomas stole the Wendy’s menu from Kewpee. Square hamburgers and all.

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  133. Prospero said on April 19, 2013 at 12:48 am

    If you can get to it, Sunday’s NYT Arts Section had a great article about the etherally lyrical guitar man, Shuggie Otis. Shug and Shuggie are common Southern nicknames, from Sugar. And the one page article in the style mag T about Julianne Moore is superb, with stunning photos, and there is a great article about restaurants in Charleston. Shuggie played with his dad Johnny Otis’ band in Detroit a lot when I was a kid, and I saw them many times. When the kid was 16 or 17, he was starting to get into Jimi’s neighborhood, and the shows were always riotous affairs, with the old man’s Hand Jive always the center of attraction.

    Johnny Otis was a Greek immigrant, who called himself “black by preference”. Johnny Otis was largely responsible for recognizing the tremendous talent of Etta James and promoting her career. Eric Clapton does an absolutely reprehensible version of Wille and the Hand Jive. About as compelling as Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart.

    The sort of person Rupert Murdoch employs on his papers.

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  134. Ac said on April 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Had this surgery last year at age of 52. Messed me up for 3 months and this is coming from someone who misses a day of work about every five years. DO NOT underestimate the impact on your ability to function during the period when your vision is obscured by the gas bubble. I hope, of course, that your experience is better than mine, but at least put it on your radar that you might be out of commission for six weeks. And yes, now have a cataract.

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  135. Ac said on April 21, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Re: “good drugs”. Ask for sleeping pills – they were key to survival.

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