Friday, April 29, 2005

Letters to the editor

I got yet another spam from the Republican party exhorting me to complain about the Democrats and the up and down vote floobidtydoobity. The last time they wrote to me I told them I was offended by their condescending spam and here they are doing it again. So I used their tool to send some letters to some editors and this is what I said:

Dear editor,

The "GOP" keeps spamming me with terrible anti-Democratic rhetoric. They implore me to come to their site and use their tools to denounce our government leaders.

The first words I see when click on their site is a definition of the word hypocrite, which tells me that this party thinks I am stupid and that they are manipulative.

I will use their tool to speak out against their spamming and propaganda. I urge you to ignore any "letters to the editor" that use the canned language available on the site.

Please take the letters that are written by passionate people who care and can think for themselves seriously and ignore the rest.

One tip-off that these emails are coming from the site is the fact that they have a huge typo and the site suggests you sign off with the word "Sincerly". Maybe that is a new GOP word, who knows.


Three of the emails their propaganda machine sent out bounced back to me. Isn't that unspeakably sad funny?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

One easy way to tell if it's real love

Two years ago I was smitten with a fierce and mighty headache. Said headache eventually got a name, Mr. Meningitis. Mr. Meningitis invited his friend Mr. Intracranial Hypertension aka Pseudotumor Cerebri to come and stay when he was leaving.

The end result is I have had a headache for two years now. That's twentyfour months. One hundred and four weeks. Seven hundred and some odd days now. Isn't that insane? Oh it fades away but it never goes away and it is quick to return and sometimes it is such that I hide from the light and listen to the terrible pulsatile tinnitus and do nothing but cry.

In all that time the strongest pain killer anyone has offered me has been - ready? tylenol. Yep, tylenol and guess what, that causes rebound headaches and liver damage. Boom!

I hear about other women getting better drugs. I see threads where they say dilaudid doesn't work for them anymore (!?!) and what now? And I take tylenol like twice a month.

So yesterday I hit the wall. I was sitting here working, trying to put together the BrokerWire Subprime edition, even though I should have been doing the Commercial edition, crying because my head hurt so much, hardly able to talk, vision obscured by a veil of pain when my friend Kevin called. Kevin convinced me it was time to call for help. He was very calm and said "That's what we're going to do then, you're going to hang up and call your doctor and ask for pain pills and then you're going to call me back, okay?" And that is exactly what I needed to hear because I could not even put the steps together in my mind to do something to make it better. I had waited several days too long and now I was just a wreck.

I called my family doctor and left a message. Then I called my optho-neurologist and left another message saying that I wanted to talk about how I have felt worse every day since increasing the Diamox and I was ready to talk about Topamax.

The end result is the eye brain doctor cut my dose of Diamox down because I have a low pressure headache now from too much Diamox on top of the spinal tap bringing my volume down so low. She also said talk to the neurologist about the Topamax. She is concerned about the fact that it can cause glaucoma. I'm concerned about the fact that it causes aphasia and memory loss, two already serious problems for me. So we'll see what the fancy Johns Hopkins doctor has to say. I have an appointment in July but hope to get in sooner.

And my family doctor? After discussing all my stupid allergies she called in a prescription for darvocet. See, she loves me.

Chris picked it up for me at ten this morning, I took one at 10:30 and by 11 I felt more like me than I have in a year because I was able to think and move and be without feeling like I have a dagger in the back of my head, an ice pick over my eye and an axe in the top of my head. Good times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A post I put up at my support group

I had an LP a week ago Wednesday. My vision and my hearing got better right away and I totally stopped throwing up (a big plus for me) and when I went to see my optho on Tuesday of last week she said my optic nerves were flat for the first time since she started treating me 14 months ago. So that's all good.

She increased my Diamox from 1000 mgs to 1500 mgs; I think to see if she could keep the nerves flat. Meanwhile I am supposed to be seeing how I do preparatory to getting a VP shunt.

My symptoms have started to return one by one. First the tinnitus and now seeing things out of the corners of my eyes that aren’t there, numb hands and feet and face, dizziness, blah blah blah.

But the thing that really irritates me is that I have been doing really well with tolerating pain and depression for a long time. I don't take anything for pain or depression and I have been doing pretty well. I take valerian and that makes a difference for me, enough that I can avoid painkillers most of the time. I made the mistake of telling my sister all this on the phone last week and now I am so blue and headachy I can't stand it!

So I got to thinking and the last time I felt this crappy was November through January when I was on the high doses of Diamox and the same thing happened. I got so depressed over the war in Iraq that I stopped writing my novel that had been going really well.

Has this happened to anyone else? Have you gotten more depressed and had more severe headaches on increased Diamox? I am ready to throw the bottle out the window and just go blind and at least be happy and have fewer headaches. I could get a cute little monkey to do all my typing for me and a nice Seeing Eye dog; it wouldn't be so bad, right? (That's a joke)

Monday, April 25, 2005

When all is said and done I guess it's still an ass

I was looking at some people fighting today and noticing how popular the word dumbass is. Now if being a dumbass is bad wouldn't you think being a smartass would be good? Somehow it doesn't quite seem to work that way.

I'm reading From Hell by Alan Moore. I bought it a few months ago and have been enjoying having it. Now I am ready to read it. Parts of it are very slow. Parts of it are confusing to me. It's good stuff over all.

I had to increase my Diamox from 1000 mgs to 1500 mgs. I feel significantly worse with a higher dose. I don't think that makes any sense at all but there you are. My head hurts, I threw up today for the first time since the last spinal tap, my nose is bleeding. My fingers are numb. I'm feeling blue, the joys of medication. Maybe I'll just go back to the old dose and take my chances.

Sometimes I think it would be best to just go blind and be done with it. Then no more meds and no more side effects. It could almost be worth it. I still think then I could get the glass eyes and sell the ad space...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fun with colour

I am very pleased to say that I noticed today that my colour sense is much better since this last spinal tap. When I bought that beautiful Hill House edition of American Gods I was saddened to hear that the case is a purple that I could no longer see. It looked like a sort of dried blood to me, a colour that I used to make fun of when I worked at Maryland Renn Fest, but I digress.

I looked at it today and it is purple. In fact it's beautiful. I'm very happy with it.

Then I looked at a new page I will be using for part of my job and this one button is a violent shade of red that is like sticking pins in my eyes, painful and makes me dizzy. My boss said I could specify exactly what shade I wanted so I went here and played around a bit. I settled on 0fa84e, a green that is very soothing to me.

Now the page lets you try both background and foreground colours and I was extremely interested to see that as I changed the foreground colour the background "faded out" an expression I have for when I look at certain colours and they just go away, they bleed out and get duller and duller and turn into this really odd shade that I can't quite describe. The sensation is that they have actually slipped into another dimension and are now out of my range of vision. It's very queer. The cover of the screenplay book that came with my preferred author subscription does the same thing. It's like it's a colour I can't quite grasp.

I wonder what it means that a perfectly ordinary colour can become one of these vanishing colours when the right hue is contrasted with it. Whatever it may mean it's interesting.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Memorial for a bluesman

You would think that being the editor and writer of an entertainment and leisure section for the premiere mortgage website would not entail anything in the way of heartbreak. But you'd be surprised.

I'm doing research for a column about the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which starts tomorrow. The more I read the more I want to be there. I'm busy doing a little research on some artists I want to feature and I find a fellow called Cootie Stark.

Cootie Stark has been described as "a breathing music-box library of the blues," and "One of the last authentic Piedmont blues guitarist/singers alive today." I read how he has played the guitar for fifty years and how his mother said he would sign as a baby. I read about how the life of a traveling bluesman is rough on the mind and body - no surprise there - and how blind Cootie Stark ended up in the Woodland Homes Projects in Greenville, NC in the 80s.

In 1997 he was discovered there by Tim Duffy of the Music Maker's Relief Foundation, who got him an acoustic guitar and kickstarted his career, leading to two new albums, Sugar Man and Raw Sugar. Now he's scheduled to appear at Jazz Fest and much to my dismay I find this which relates that Cootie Stark died on the 16th of this month.

God bless you Cootie. I hope you found the perfect audience and you're playing the guitar right now, in the celestial choir.


Addendum - I worried about that Greenville, NC thing, which is straight from my original source because I thought Greenville is in SC. Sure enough Kevin verifies that SC is correct. Thanks Kevin!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I will never sleep again

I was flipping through the Baltimore Sun looking for baby grand pianos for sale and I saw an article about the new Pope. Chris had heard that he had some sort of brain attack today and was wondering how healthy he is and we were talking about various things we had heard and whether we should despise him for his involvement in the Hitler Youth or whether that was sort of out of his control and how I despise his apparent hatred of homosexuals when I glanced down and saw this picture.

Oh My God. I let out a terrified peep of fear. There he was peering up at me, fully aware I had been talking shit about him behind his back, taking notes somehow, it was all rather surreal and horrifying. I'm pretty sure he's going to come and infest my dreamscape and haunt me all night long.

And we still don't know if he is healthy or not...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A poem by me about moderating

This Is Just to Say
by Georgiana Carlos Georgiana

I have removed
your ability
to post at
the Grapevine

an ability which
you were probably
for harassment

Pardon me
you were so disruptive
so rude
and so crass

Friday, April 15, 2005

Update on my headache

My head hurts. My head hurts and my eyes feel sprained. My head hurts and my eyes feel sprained and I want to throw up. My head hurts and my eyes feel sprained and I want to throw up and I had trouble talking this morning.

But somehow, through the grace of God and the internet, I managed to work today. So far I have only taken Wednesday off, the day I actually got the lumbar puncture. But still I would like some sort of medal. The Star of Fat Headed Stubborness Given Only to Those Who Don't Know When to Take A Sick Day.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

My head hurts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why didn't the dog bark in the night?

I had my spinal tap today. Doctor Wang was extremely good, very smart and kind and soothing. So soothing in fact that I didn't even have a sedative, I just did it with nothing and was half asleep through the whole thing. My friend A. says Dr. Wang hypnotized me and he could be right.

We talked about what we hoped to find out from this tap, how to avoid post LP headache, why it's bad to be on coumadin and have an LP, why it's okay to be a chronic clotter and get a blood patch and exactly how meningitis would cause PTC.

We talked about placebo effects, the mysteries of the human body, and how important it is to understand what is happening with your medical care. He said I am exactly right to question everything because the way we work best is to go out and gather a lot of information and then put it together in out heads in new ways and come up with new ideas.

Actually it sounds an awful lot like Neil Gaiman's compost theory of writing but I digress.

I felt totally comfortable and trusting for the tap and it went very well. My pressure was not terribly high, it was 26, and he drew off some and brought me down to a normal amount. I am not remembering very well, I think he drew off 19 ccs and brought me down to 13 pressure. I was thinking it was the other way around but I remember one of the women in the room saying he already had 13.75 ccs so that must have been the way he did it.

He asked if I felt any different and I said no but then I realized I had been staring at my arm noticing I had cut my arm and then I realized that I had not been able to see the cut before so the tap helped my vision right away.

Later when I was in the recovery room I was listening to someone rustle papers and I thought it was a noise that I had not heard in a long time and then I became aware that the constant pulsatile tinnitus that has plagued me was gone completely. Oh blessed silence! It was so wonderful to get a break from that damn noise all the time.

Unfortunately when I got up to go to the bathroom a few minutes ago the whoosh whoosh was back again, very faint and far away but still discouraging.

So now we wait and see if I get a terrible headache. And we see how I feel over the next month and then I go back to see the neurosurgeon.

Meanwhile I am such an amusing patient that the people at the radiology office have asked me to come back and visit them, to just walk in the door next time, they don't want to see me as a patient just come as I am and hang out. It's nice to know that even when I feel rotten I can still be entertaining.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blood Patch Good, Blood Patch Bad?

I spent an hour or so on the phone with the radiology office today trying everything in my power to set things up so I don't get a ten day low pressure headache. I talked to a very nice nurse practitioner who said she would put a note on my file requesting that I be allowed to stay flat on my back for as long as possible after the spinal tap.

We talked about whether or not taking caffeine pills will work for someone like me who stopped using caffeine a long time ago because of migraines and decided they are a bad idea. We talked about drinking eight glasses of water between the surgery at two and whatever time I fall asleep.

And then she mentioned the blood patch. The dealio here is that the doctor takes a little blood from my arm and injects it into my spinal column. The idea is that it creates a sort of scab seal at the spot where the needle entered and seals it off so spinal fluid doesn't keep dripping out. I know, I know, I have too much spinal fluid so why care if it drips out and I don't know the answer to this one. PTC is a mysterious thing.

But you ask, since I get blood clots so easily and blood clots in the spine are a bad idea do I really want to create a little one on purpose? Good question and I don't know if it is safe or not. I am supposed to talk to Dr. Wang tomorrow. (Thank you Gabe and Tycho for not letting me think of Dr. Wang without thinking of you also.) The thing is usually you would get one of these blood patches a few days into the headache when you are ready go torture and kill small fluffy rare animals if it will mean one second respite from the agony but that doesn't work for me. I have to be prepared for people fiddling around with my back for days of coumadin abstinence.

And if you are keeping track of who I am in love with today it would be a creative friend who will remain nameless who called me back after a phone conversation to play me a song on his guitar. It wasn't any crap song either it was a good one and it had vocals. Good times.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Accidentally in love

It's a bad week when I don't fall in love at least two or three times, or as Kevin says, once really hard. I am so easy when it comes to writing that moves me. In the wrapup for last week I fell in love with Teresa of Making Light (see the post below where I talk about neurological deficits and link to a wonderful post of hers), Steven King again for Hearts in Atlantis, Jon Carroll for the Unitarian Jihad and several warmbloods doing various combined training events.

Things are off to a really great start this week already. I just fell head over heels for MrSpittle for his post in this thread where he is looking for a job:

OK, here's the deal: I want to work from home. I don't want to have to work very hard let alone very long for any given period of time. I don't want to answer the phone or return calls. All I need to maintain my lifestyle is about 10K net a month but will settle for 9K. I really don't like answering to someone but I will on the first Wednesday of every month. After that, I'm off limits. I want a business where the customer is always wrong and I am always right, because I am...

W00t! It goes on from there and just gets better. Yeah yeah it is an old thread so what.

And in other news I fell in love with my family doctor when she said that if I got a terrible low pressure headache after my spinal tap on Wednesday she would call in some pain killers for me. She doesn't think they will help at all but she will try. She also said that I had better make sure they will let me stay at the hospital and lay flat for eight hours post lumbar puncture so I'm calling tomorrow. So many things to set up!

And on still other news I went to the Target with Chris and didn't throw up until we got into the parking lot so that was all right.

I yelled at some guy. There was this young chick staring at me in several places in the store. She had such the look of disgust on her face. Maybe I wasn't looking too hot as I was trying not to vomit (maybe I should have just let it fly on her...) but really I am not so odd looking that someone should be staring at me like I am a flying cockroach.

When I got up to the checkout she was glaring at me again and a guy was standing next to her. They were both in their mid teens and pouty. Then a woman turned to them and showed them something and said "I got this for you" and the guy said "What the fuck do you want me to do about it?"

I pointed at him and yelled "Don't you give your mother attitude." I was really expecting a huge uproar, maybe even from mom but instead he looked really abashed and shocked and didn't say another word until they got out of the store. Man I should have made him tell his mom thank you.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

oops I forgot

I meant to post this:

My Unitarian
Jihad Name
is: Sister/Brother Spikey Mace of Looking at All Sides of the Question.

Get yours.

What have I been doing for the last few months?

I keep meaning to write a little something explaining why my blogging has been so erratic. Unfortunately I usually think about it when I'm the state that keeps me from blogging so it never gets done.

I didn't get much sleep last night. I fell asleep around four and my CPAP machine kept coming apart and waking me up. The hose that runs from the machine to my face mask comes away from the actual thingie blowing the air and the result is suddenly I feel like I'm suffocating and wake up in a panic.

Doing anything in a panic when you have PTC brings on a headache which makes getting back to sleep problematic.

I woke up at nine thinking I would have to close the blinds because the light is killing my eyes. The blinds are closed. It's just more photophobia. Sigh.

So yeah it's hard to think today and when I do think I think maybe I'm going to throw up and my whole big plan to venture out into the world with Chris for a haircut and some patio furniture may be shot. Right now I haven't mustered the ability to get up to brush my teeth. And it's not because I am depressed, really, it's just that movement triggers pain and vomiting. I think maybe I am training my body to be immobile by rewarding it with awful things when it does ordinary activities.

Days like these don't usually result in blog entries. I might have something perfectly good, interesting, or amusing to say but I can't figure out how to say it properly. Words and phrases that I can access seem like pale ghosts of themselves. I know there are better ones floating out there but they can't get past the PTC shield to get to where I can use them.

Teresa Neilsen Hayden described it much better yesterday.

With a little luck I will get a handle on this disease and life will get back to normal. Then I'll be too busy doing stuff to post...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The countdown has begun

I started Lovenox shots this morning. I do them in my belly every twelve hours. I'll do them until 24 hours before my surgery on Wednesday. Then I start them again 24 hours after. I do them for four more days while the coumadin comes back up to what is hopefully a good level.

Lovenox is low molecular weight heparin. It's an injectable form of a blood thinner with a 12 hour half life (I think it's 12 hours)

The idea is that I don't want a bloodclot so I don't want my blood to be of normal clotting abilities any longer than it has to be. But if I get the spinal tap while on the blood thinners I will get bruising and bleeding of the spinal cord. That can lead to paralysis and death. Being a coward with a lot of things I still want to do before I die I frown on either of this side effects so Lovenox it is.

These shots have come a long way. When I was pregnant with Cam and had to do plain old heparin I would draw the stuff up in a syringe, tap out the air bubbles, disinfect my belly, pray for strength and inject. I kept the heparin in the refrigerator and the used needles in a mayo jar. When I went in to see my OB he would toss them in with his sharps for proper disposal.

These 21st century shots are much cooler than that. They are premeasured. Swab, stick and go. (Of course I still have to pull back on the plunger once the needle is subq to make sure I haven't hit a blood vessel.) When I am finished with the shot I press a magical button and a cover springs up and over the needle, rendering it safe for the word. It's rather cool. I'd like to make some sort of sculpture with the needles. They look so interesting and springy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

David, line breaks are your friends

Somehow I just ended up at David Duchovny's blog in support of his new film House of D.

One of the reasons I dig David is because the first I ever heard him say was a scathing diatribe against The Bridges of Madison County. I wish I could remember the exact quote. It ran in Entertainment Weekly and it was something about how the book was anti-literary, anti-romance, anti everything. Or maybe pseudo (my word!) but the whole point is that he was not taken in by the common belief that this book was the Next Coming of the Romance World and Waller was the Last Cowboy (let us worship at his booted feet) and he knew it was no good and not a romance.

Lots of people are billed as smart. Freaking Dan "DaVinci Code" Brown is billed as smart, heavens knows why, and lots of times I think oh yeah, whatever.

Usually it's the ones who don't get the smart praise who catch my eye. Someone with a great turn of phrase showing an odd twist of mind and catch me, I'm in love again.

Well Mr. Duchovny certainly lived up to his reputation as far as I could tell.

And now here we are, years later, I'm a little more brain damaged than I used to be, and he's what? What happened David? Why did you give up on capital letters and spelling words like San Francisco out? Why hast though forsaken the line break? Why David, why?

When you have a disease like pseudotumor the only way to read anything and not get a worse headache or throw up is to read black on white with lots of little chunked up paragraphs. It really helps to have nice big font also.

(Disclaimer - everyone's pseudotumor is different, some people see just fine, some never throw up and some can apparently read just about anything. Everyone's mileage varies greatly. )

All of this is one reason I was not able to read Making Light for such a long time. The CSS coding made it impossible to make the text larger in IE. Of course now that I am using Firefox I can get around it and now that Andras has supplied me with this beautiful laptop I can balance it on my tummy as I recline like a nearsighted queen and peer at the screen until I can't take it anymore. Teresa's blog is worth the aggravation. But I digress.

David, as long as you are going to write great big blurts of all lowercase text with no line breaks the only way I will be able to read your posts is to copy into a document and fool around with it. Can you imagine me and a gazillion other people doing the same thing? What a waste of man hours.

I'm going to leave you with two words David, learn them, live them and please remember I say all this not just because I am a selfish bitch but also because if I have enough of a problem to complain about it then there are many others who just give up at first sight of your blog and that's not going to help make your movie a hit is it? Right, so learn them and live them.

User Friendly.

I beg your pardon?

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing has published a link to a Salon article about Torrid.

I was surprised to hear the store is meant for XL teenagers. I've been shopping there for years, I guess since they opened. I have a particular soft spot for the store in Annapolis because they used to go out of their way to move racks and things around to make Danny feel more comfortable scooting around in his wheelchair. Not that he really needed it because he was all about feeling confident but still, it touched me and after he died I made a point of going back to the store to thank them for all the times they were thoughtful.

So anyway, look at this:
Now, no one wants heavy teens to feel bad. But a handful of weight-management experts wonder if there's such a thing as feeling too good. "If the teens are overweight and are physically healthy then I think the 'cool' plus-sized clothing can help overweight teens become comfortable with their bodies," says T. Joel Wade, a professor and the chair of psychology at Bucknell University, who focuses on body image and self-esteem. "However, if the teens are overweight due to diet excesses and a lack of exercise and physical activity, then I think the clothing can simply reinforce that they do not need to exercise or care about their physical health."

Let me be clear that the author addresses this but still Oh My God how offensive is this?

Cory sums it up this way:
The article does a good job of turning them up, including a coda about whether a plus-size fashion boutique encourages obesity

Can I just scream? Has anyone ever dreamed of saying that Big and Tall stores for men encourages obesity? Of course not. What about the fact that Torrid is really Hot Topic? You want cool Torrid clothes and you're not a woman of size then take yourself down to Hot Topic and get what you want. It's laughable to think anyone would want to be fat and get all the crap fat people get just to wear some clothes.

I think that the attitude is really that fat girls should be punished. Obviously anyone who is fat is engaging in the deadly, yes deadly because we all know fat kills, right?, sin of gluttony. How dare these girls be fat and still want to be cute? It's outrageous! That's what I think is going through the minds of these dolts. They want to shame fatties into losing weight.

Guess what pal, it's not so simple. There are plenty of us who eat right, exercise and still continue to weigh a heck of a lot more than you think we should.

Dr. Marie told me once that back in the day my tribe was captured and taken on a death march. Other members of my tribe died of malnutrition, dropped dead of hunger while we kept on our forced march. But my wonderful genes were able to carry my ancestor through and she likely nursed a baby or two at the same time. I have an incredible ability to get every bit of use from a calorie and then store the rest for that future death march that my body knows, knows in its deepest, darkest DNA, is waiting for me.

God bless my genes. I am one lucky camper and if I want to dress my genes up in a pair of bright green flood pants then more power to me.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More complaining about the Washington Post; why can't I ever shut up?

I read several interesting articles in today's WaPo. Let's jump into the one about the Pulitzer Prizes. Now you would think that even someone as grouchy as I could not find anything to complain about in a simple listing of who won but don't worry I find a way.

The article is called L.A. Times Wins Pulitzer for Public Service. The part that offends me is this bit:

And the smallest winning paper, Willamette Week of Portland, Ore., captured the investigative reporting prize for disclosing the long-ago affair with a 14-year-old girl involving Neil Goldschmidt, a former Oregon governor, who resigned from a state higher-education board as the story was being published.

Um, no, when a 35 year old mayor is having sex with a 14 year old girl that is called rape, sexual abuse, molestation, destroying someone's life, the list goes on but it is not an affair. The whole sentence seems to be written to downplay exactly what happened. "Long ago" makes it sound unimportant but from what I have read this girl's life is still totally screwed up so to her it's current. "who resigned from a state higher-education board as the story was being published" also sounds like the two were not related but my understanding is he resigned citing health problems hoping the Oregonian would go easy on him and they did. Their initial story used the word affair right in the headline! And they didn't mention at all that the reason Goldschmidt came to them was because Willamette Week was about to break the story.

Ugh. Come on WaPo how can I trust the rest of your article about who won what and why when I think the part about this story is soft peddling? (is that a real expression?)

You can find the story I read last fall here, it's a fascinating look at the story behind the story (in fact that is the title). It's from the American Journalism Review.

Moving on, this article, Big-Game Hunting Brings Big Tax Breaks, is very good. The subject matter is appalling to me. It's about how hunters can donate the mounted bodies of the animals they kill to this ghastly museum and get enough of a tax break to pay for the whole expedition.

In all, there were more than 800 big-game and exotic animals piled into an old railroad car behind the Wyobraska Wildlife Museum, a modest and lightly visited facility here, far from any population center.
(Isn't that the worst name ever? And I thought DelMarVa was bad...)

The public benefits, hunting advocates say, because visitors get to see animals they would otherwise never encounter.

That's right and when they shoot enough of them they'll take care of any chances of us ever encountering any of these animals in the wild.

The article also says:

According to critics in Congress, top officials at natural history museums and animal rights advocates, this form of charitable giving allows wealthy hunters to go on big-game expeditions essentially at taxpayers' expense -- an arrangement so blatant that one animal trophy appraiser advertises his services under the headline: "Hunt for Free." The taxpayer subsidies also encourage hunters to track down and shoot the largest, fittest and rarest of the world's animals, the critics say.

See my point above about not encountering these animals in the wild anymore. God this is depressing. It's an excellent article though and you should read it.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Washington Post is My nemesis

I have a lot of freedom when it comes to writing my Quality Time columns. Picking my topic for the week is really difficult for me I have so many choices. My main restriction is that I don't want to be like everyone else. I don't want to write the same way or about the same topics as the pieces you would find by clicking on the msn homepage.

A couple of months ago I subscribed to the Washington Post online. I'm not entirely sure why because normally I hide from the news as most news depresses me and makes me feel helpless and inconsequential. But for better or worse I subscribed and I noticed an incredibly annoying pattern.

Every single week WaPo scoops me. They wrote about the Dali exhibit before I could arrange for a ride to the museum. They wrote about the upcoming Tut tour before I had time to do any research. They see movies and get books before I do. They certainly got their hands on the PSP before I did. I have to expect a lot of this because they are THE WASHINGTON POST and I am only Quality Time but still it irks me.

The final straw was this last week when I was thinking that the Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up and wondering if it is a big enough event that I could write about it and the freaking Post scooped me. Dad blast it, I have been going to the Sheep and Wool for years and years, at least twelve, probably more, it is my Festival. How dare they?

I think at this point I have two choices. I can paint my house with aluminum paint to keep them from reading my brain waves or I can cancel my subscription so I just don't know that they are scooping me.

In the meantime I wrote this week about arboretums. Take that Post!