Running down a dream: Merry Christmas

It has been kind of a quiet, slow Christmas Eve for me. I went for a walk because it’s been such a beautiful day outside although I didn’t get very far because of my incessant back pain.

I’ve got this cornucopia of chronic pain problems which my Department of Veterans Affairs doctors have yet to sort out, or rather, I have yet to get those doctors to dissect them  for me. One of the biggest concerns I have right now is having those medical minds figure out whether my back pain is from “structural issues” as one neurologist stated or from a perhaps not-so-rare but still relatively unheard of spinal cord injury condition known as “arachnoiditis.” It is an inflammation of one of the spine’s different membranes which can result from a number of situations and for which there is ultimately no cure. In its most repugnant forms it bears a resemblance to progressive neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. Paralysis can develop and it is incredibly painful.

My last MRI revealed that I have arachnoiditis but my previous neurologist believed it to be “scarred over.” Thus, not a particular issue. That neurologist now has moved on and my most recent neuro specialist believes my back pain is caused by the spider-sounding arachnoiditis. Perhaps some of you might wonder why I am concerned, but, really?

With all my health-care providers “practicing” medicine hoping to eventually get it right (I’m sorry that was just too easy, kind of like lawyer jokes), I have been given a variety of potent concoctions which these medical personnel surmise will help me in one way or the other. I have come to the conclusion that one of those drugs should perhaps be stricken from the shelf.

I speak of Neurontin, actually the generic form Gabapentin. It is a drug that has long been used for treatment of epilepsy. However, it has also had a fairly lengthy history for being controversial. This is especially due to instances where drug company reps were accused of encouraging doctors to use the drugs for non-approved uses such as in chronic pain. I took Gabapentin previously when doctors decided to pile one pain drug continually on top of the next until I just had to say “No to drugs.” At least no to nothing but drug therapy. The result was my having a non-VA doctor perform a procedure known as “anterior cervical diskectomy with fusion (ACDF)” in a non-VA, Catholic-run hospital. It was my second cervical disk operation and in this one the doctor removed disks and replaced them with a titanium plate grafted with a piece of bone from the illiac crest of my hip.

A lot of different pain later in nine or so years I was prescribed Gabapentin again, this time for neuropathic pain in my foot and hip. I can’t see that the particular drug does anything to improve my conditions but it definitely takes me for a wild ride in dreamland. These are not nightmares per se. I can describe the dreams as disturbing at times and certainly vivid. I will spare several of the adventures into “Neurontinville” I  have taken in recent months but will try to describe this morning’s strange story line.

In the dream I was at a courthouse  like the one of my youth.  Everyone came outside to observe a ceremony, for what I couldn’t tell you. But the main feature involved firing a “Polaris missile” at a no longer used or unwanted structure in a harbor. I can just about bet you the missile wasn’t really a Polaris missile as it was more the size of a MK-44 torpedo. (On which I sat once. Don’t ask.) At the last second, the missile was accidentally spun around and fired into the surrounding neighborhood, creating a very breathtaking explosion and fire. A fireman, whom I think I knew, came by talking on a walkie-talking saying there was a conflagration in progress. When I say breathtaking, I mean vivid and in living color. I felt it was my duty as a former firefighter to go to the scene and don a bunker suit and join the fight. I did all of that except for the fighting part because of my rather long absence away from the job (27 years) I had some retraining to do. That was where I was stuck — looking at manuals — until waking up. Oh the humanity.

Well, at least I can say I wasn’t dreaming about people like Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, whose rerun trainwreck of an interview with Anderson Cooper earlier this year was replayed on Copper’s show last night. I can only describe Berman, who despite apparently being educated and being a retired military officer, as clueless. Berman introduced legislation to require presidential candidates to show their full birth information. Not that this particular issue is of a major concern to the Texas House of Representatives.  Which reminds me, all new candidates for especially high-profile elective offices expect some challenges, but the office of Neil Abercrombie the Democratic governor of Hawaii since Dec. 6 apparently has become the repository for all things relating to the birth — some such as Berman think happened in Kenya — of President Barack Obama. I have to say from the story I kind of like Abercrombie given he called the reporter back at 11:30 p.m. worried about deadlines. You don’t see too much of that any more.

Well, thanks for letting me talk out all the things which have been on my mind lately. You, whomever you are, are  great listeners. I know a few of those readers, whether all the time or just occasionally, and I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, brothers Ted, Robert and Dennis, and other readers, Tere, (Hope to see you in a week), Judy, Kenneth, Egberto (I got your book today and just started reading it), Sally, Suzie, anyone else who are good friends whose names begin with “S,” Bruce, if you ever read my blog anymore, Ross, likewise, Diane, Philip, any of the other Texas Progressives who bother to read and last but not least Paul who helps make this whole thing work. Back in the USA for Christmas? We will be looking for how the nation looks after a long absence.  Ho, ho ho,  ho, ho, ho.

Our Congress tis of thee, sweet threat to liberty …

No great profundities have I, at the ready, all waiting to flow like a mountain spring from noggin to fingers onto keys and into the great Internetosphere.

But this I shall say, and permit me please. For if I do not seek permission it will mean not one whit, but polite is all that I attempt.  Say I that the Congress of the United States of America at the moment seem to have lost their collective minds — even more so than usual. If anything gets passed before Christmas with any meaning to the people, for the people and of the people, I shall not eat my hat, not will I be a monkey’s uncle. Likewise will I not be a uncle’s monkey with an eaten hat. However, damned well surprised is what I shall be.

This Congress in all its present glory is what we shall live with for the next two years.  DADT? Don’t Ask! Health care? Who the hell cares! And on it goes.

We are peering into the future.  Only, it will be worse with the new incoming lot of ignorami. Oh, I can see it now. The death penalty for gays and abortionists. A Constitutional Amendment making God the 51st state of the Union. The Great Wall of the United States. Interment camps for illegal aliens with brown skin.

That is malarky, of course, surely some sensible folks will be around to keep the wide-eyed radicals from blowing up the country. I hope, and don’t call me Shirley.

But who knows what the Tea Party will dream up until they start seeing those big, big dollars slipped into their pockets by nice Mr. Lobbyist. Then shall we have both the sanctimonious and the corrupt all rolled into one little, fat, pasty ball. Whoopee!

Just remember, you voted for them. Not you Mr. Liberal or you Mr. True Yellow Dog Democrat. But you know who you are. When the going gets dreadful, the dreadful get going.

Have a nice time until 2012.

Does no mean no for Rick Perry as a 2012 GOP prez candidate?

When it comes to presidential politics, “no” often means “yes,” and even more succinctly, “book” means “yes.”

Fresh from an unprecedented re-election to a fourth term as Texas governor comes Rick Perry, slayer of coyotes, threatening to wrest Texas from the jaws of the rest of the union and now author of a new book called “Fed Up.” If you expected me to link to his new book, sorry, you don’t know me at all.

Quick, a little word association — or in Perry’s case, disassociation:

  • Political figure writing books — running for president.
  • Political figure on TV book tour saying he is not running for president — running  for president.
  • Political figure on TV book tour saying he is not running for president on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” — running for president.

There you have it folks. Gov. Good Hair doth protest a bit too much when declaring  he will not run for president as darling or Mr. Congeniality of the Tea Party. Would Sarah Palin settle for Veep again? Only if she didn’t get the nomination herself. The Tea Party seems way too traditional to even let a woman run for political office when she would best serve someone at home barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But I guess they make exceptions for things such as that, or for bad qualities such as lying. (Saying you are not running for president when you

Dumb and Dumber: Which is which?

have every intention to do so. A white lie for a good ol’ white boy.)

Like his predecessor, Gee Dubya By God Bush, Good Hair is a master at multi-tasking so hedging his bets by staying employed by the State of Texas as its governor no es un problema. Perry can keep his cushy little job as governor of Ol No. 2. I say that meaning Texas is number 2 in population and area. As well as Gross State Product (GSP.) I suppose Perry would qualify for that too.

There is nothing better I like than spending tax money on a politician running for office, but only if I like him, her or it. The GSP, well, not so much.

Now that Bush and Perry have dueling books, the world gets treated to lame TV interviews of the two people whom I least would want to have seen as a representative of this the greatest, even at No. 2 because like Avis we try harder, state in the Onion. Perry’s book said Bush spent too much as president. I haven’t read either one but I suppose Bush will say something about Perry like “his feet stunk.” Boys will be boys!

I really can’t see Perry being elected as president because I don’t think that — even though they did elect George W. Bush — there are quite enough brain dead American voters to pull it off. Of course, it always helps to have a Supreme Court in your pocket.

Right wing candidates behaving like drug cartel thugs

Some of the loudest squawking about illegal immigration is coming from the Right and specifically Tea Party types. Those same types are also using the drug cartel violence as a major reason for supporting moves such as mass deportation or imprisonments of illegal immigrants not to mention locking down the borders.

So perhaps it is ironic that some Tea Party candidates are using the same type of intimidation against reporters that has led to the deaths of more than 30 Mexican journalists in the past four years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalist. Nothing so extreme has come from the Right as killing reporters on el Norte side of the border, at least yet. But the recent roughing-up of an Alaska journalist who dared to ask Republican and Tea Party Senate Candidate Joe Miller a valid question at an event shows that the Right is not  above using violence to intimidate U.S. reporters.

Then you have the Republican and another Tea Partyier running for New York governor who threatened to “take out” a reporter. GOP candidate Carl Paladino became engaged in what was described as a near scuffle with a columnist who had been writing about his out-of-wedlock daughter.

What is even more shameful is the American public is letting this kind of behavior become the norm. Perhaps some in the public dislike the press or at least those who don’t report subjects slanted in their favor like the GOP state-run TV channel Fox News. Will this country have to resort to protection details for reporters like in Mexico? I can’t see U.S. journalists allowing that to happen because they rightfully don’t want to be subsidized by the government.

Yet, until some Americans start complaining about the behavior of these thug politicians and their entourages, we will tread more and more down the path being traveled by those journalists down South of the border. And where those reporters are increasingly ending up is not at all a pleasant destination.