A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health: Swine Flu Update


While y'all are panicking over Joe Biden's latest comment (he apparently announced that he'd told his nearest and dearest to stay off trains, subways, and other such crowded places because of the swine flu), here's the latest news on the swine flu. For those disinclined to click the linky, the WHO (World Health Organization, in case you've been a hermit for the past X decades) is stating unequivocally that only SEVEN people have died worldwide since the supposed "pandemic" began.

Brian thinks large, friendly letters saying "DON'T PANIC" should never be reproduced in red, a colour that is alleged to induce panic just by virtue of it's position on the colour spectrum or the eyeball-friendly wavelengths or whatEVER. Point taken, Bri, you'll notice that we've reoutfitted our friendly warning. So. In short. DON'T PANIC. You'll feel better that way.

The reasons the WHO and other governmental agencies, like the CDC, have declared this outbreak of swine flu a pandemic is that (1) it is safer to be prepared for an emergency than to be caught flatfooted; (2) human lives are at stake. An epidemic of butt-vanishment would probably have elicited a worldwide yawn. (3) the epidemic comprises viruses from several different forms of life — avian and mammalian — that have combined to form a new virus; (4) influenza virii mutate quickly and unpredictably; (5) unlike previous animal-source influenzas, this virus can be transmitted between humans.

That said, knowing that a mere seven people have died, not 152 as reported by some hysteria-inducing media morons, is major cause to NOT PANIC. Sheesh, that death rate is way lower than that from traffic accidents, drinking, drugging, and prescription medication mixups. So, yeah, it's sorta worrisome that the disease can be transmitted between humans, but it is almost to laugh that it is transmitted rather ineffectually and doesn't seem to kill very many humans (of whom many should die just because, like Neal Horsey, Michele Bachmann, and Flush Rimbowl, they're a complete waste of oxygen and protoplasm).


In other news, Satan's porcine handmaiden (all praise to Maru, goddess of name-calling and aproposity), KKKarl Rove apparently once mocked President Obama's willingness to spend money battling swine flu. No doubt KKKarl has little to worry about, since his fellow swine will extend him the professional courtesy of "passing-over" him, as it were, you know,making sure they don't infect him. The rest of us, not having that guarantee of rosy health, will just take precautions and pray/work for the day when that oinking swine is in leg chains at the Hague.

Those of you who have given up in exasperation that the li'l porker will never meet the justice he so richly deserves, take heart. Judge Baltasar Garzon of Spain has opened an investigation into the systemic torture at Gitmo, and one can always hope that Dick "Dick" Cheney and Karl Rove get swept up as a result. They'd look so cute in matching orange jumpsuits.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Animal Stories: For Jacqui and Lizzy

Sometimes you think you'll never get over that wall:

and then some kind soul comes along with a backpack and a couple of bags.

Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Health: Swine Flu


For all my fellow swine out there (what can I say, I've been in a swinish mood lately, and the pain meds don't seem to be helping), a little pertinent information on the purported pandemic flu we're in the middle of, currently.

First of all: DON'T PANIC!

Hope those letters were large and friendly enough for you. No, srsly, don't panic. So far, the swine flu cases in the U.S. have been relatively mild. No one has died, and no one has become seriously ill. Plus, this strain of flu appears to respond well to existing doses of Tamiflu. So, once again: DON'T PANIC!


HuffPo has a list of the things you need to know to protect yourself. As you can see, not a whole lot is known about the flu, except that (1) It's a new strain; (2) Although Mexico reports that 149 people have died from this flu, only 20 of those are confirmed. The rest are still being tested. No deaths have occurred in the U.S. It seems we're being hit with a milder strain; (3) Commonsense precautions should be sufficient — wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially if you're around people who are sneezing and coughing; Don't sneeze all over your fellow swine, I mean humans; If you're in a health care setting, wearing a mask might help. Ditto if you're in really crowded conditions; (4) Tamiflu and Relenza work fine, although you shouldn't use them as a prophylactic. Older medications are ineffective.

In other words, don't panic. Don't rush to get antiviral medication if you're not suffering any symptoms at all. You're just helping germs and virii develop resistance to the current medication, which is great for those lifeforms, but not so great for you, or pigs, or, for that matter, birds. In the meantime, please don't go to Mexico unless you have an overwhelmingly good reason, like your nonagerian grandma is ill enough to have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. If you're European, Asian, or African (that is to say, resident in those parts of the world), don't travel to the Americas unless you absolutely have to.

Symptoms are typical flu symptoms — cold, cough, fever, chills, bone and joint pains. If you live in an area where swine flu has been detected, OR you've recently been to Mexico, call your doctor before deciding to rush in. Chances are, they're up to the eyeballs dealing with hysterics. If you don't have a fever, don't bother calling in at all. Chances are, you have something else — allergies, perhaps, or a sinus infection, which is bacterial, not viral.

The CDC is monitoring the situation. Check with them if you need updates.

You'll be pleased to hear that stalwart Republicans wanted the budget stripped of protection against a flu pandemic — like this one. Sort of like Louisiana Governor Piyush "Bobby" Jindal mocking the budget item for volcanic monitoring right before the volcano blew in Alaska. These are the same people who prayed that rain would destroy the Democratic convention and inauguration, only to find themselves on the receiving end of a hurricane during their convention.

If I believed in Gawd, I'd kinda think Gawd was trying to tell the Republicans to FOAD. Incidentally, they did manage to knock a whole bunch of money out of the funding for flu pandemics. I believe "moderate" GOP Senator Susan Collins was the blockhead responsible. Maine, can't you find someone a little more sensible to represent you? I mean, lookit, the Republicans keep wanting to cut taxes for corporations and rich people, but they don't want to spend a penny on sensible precautionary measures for the sick and poor. Someone should point out to them that viral pandemics don't examine your bank account before deciding to infect you.

Also, Republican idiots have been holding up the appointment of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Now might be a good time to express your wrath to your Republican Congresscritter in no uncertain terms. But then, why should they care? Thanks to us taxpayers, they have a gold-plated health care plan, may they only catch some incurable nasty that gives them permanent bowel drips.

And finally, in an effort to make you LOL and take your mind off this pandemic — Governor Goodhair, aka Rick Perry of Texas, who told us a week or two ago that Texas should secede from the United States (which, incidentally, is not something Texas has any right to do, so ignore his blatheramskate about the agreement made when the State of Texas joined the others, he's either lying or pig (heh) ignorant), is now down on his knees begging the Federal Government to send aid. Can't have it both ways, Governor, I thought you were seceding, you ambulatory pigturd. Well, the fine folks of Texas shouldn't be punished for failing to boot this idiot out of power, but hopefully his next run for office will find him flailing alongside a few other people who NEED to GO — like Susan Collins, Joe LIEberWHORE, Piyush Jindal, Jon Kyl, James "Pig-ignorant AND Liar" Inhofe, Michele "Fruity as a Nutcake" Bachmann, and the like.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cats: For Lizzy

From ICHC, fulfilling all your Cattitude needs

Anyone who has ever lived with a cat has probably had a sneaking suspicion that the little bastids are way smarter — and sneakier — than we hoominz give them credit for. My personal fantasies about cats range from the wildly insane SF end of the spectrum (they're really aliens from Betelgeuse, doing their post-doctoral work in the field of xenoanthropology or exobiology or whatever) to the paranoiacally prosaic, if paranoia can be prosaic. You know what I mean.

Don't you ever check your credit-card bills to see if there's unaccounted for receipts for tuna-and-anchovy pizza? Or check your phone bills for multiple regular calls to the local pizzeria?

And, yes, I really believe, if they had opposable thumbs, they'd be signing for the double-anchovy extra-cheese tuna pizza, or having sushi and sashimi delivered regularly.

Hmmm ... maybe it's time to stop taking the superduper pain meds.

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Politics: President Obama, A Slide Show

Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

Today marks the 100th day, supposedly, since Obama took office. What a bunch of guff. It isn't 100 working days, although our President appears to work around the clock, rarely taking time off.

However, Time magazine has collected some truly beautiful photographs of our President, and you can see them here. The one above is one of my favourites. It's the President on Air Force One. Interestingly, almost every photograph shows President Obama working. It provides a great contrast with the last occupant of that office. That worthless lout almost never seemed to work. Even the "rolled-up sleeves" during his Hurricane Katrina flyover were strictly photo-op material.

President Obama has set the bar very high, with his daily performance over the past two years leading up to the election, and the 100 days since. Perhaps that's why his popularity continues to increase, while the Republicans seem to be losing ground daily as they do their best to slander and attack this wonderful man.

I'm not an Obamabot — already in the past 100 days, he has made many decisions I'm not happy about. But I recognize his dedication to the country, his hard work, his genuine love for the country and all its people, and I can't help but be impressed. I'm too much of a curmudgeon to "like" people. It's all I can do not to rip most of their heads off, and I've often felt that humanity would improve greatly by being decimated by intelligent aliens, or even microbes and virii.

But I am impressed by, and respectful of, those who love their fellow humans. Our President is clearly one of those people. He is genuinely warm and affectionate to people he doesn't know — and if it's not genuine, then he deserves a fucking Oscar because he is the best damn actor ever.

Check out the pix. Even if you don't like the President, you'll like the photos. There's even a couple of the Obama girls in there. Good work, Time! My only quibble is that Time repeats the falsehood that Michelle Obama flouted British royal protocol by hugging the Queen of England. Our previous post shows Queen E. quite comfortably slipping her own arm around Michelle's waist. An unidentified spokesman of Buckingham Palace stated that Mrs. Obama had not breached protocol, and even the Wall Street Journal, which bears little love for the Obamas, collected a number of references in the news to that effect. So why Time chooses to repeat this bilge is beyond me.

Pas de quois. The issue is, the photos are beautiful. The photogs must be thanking their lucky stars to have such a gorgeous and photogenic couple/family as their assignment. Deity knows they probably had to wait for Georgie to quit picking his nose or playing with his marbles to snap their shots.

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Entertainment: Srsly

With sincere apologies to Jeffo:

I have just ONE request/addendum: Can we deport Flush Rimbowl and Dick "Dick" Cheney to the Lose Star State right before secession?

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Entertainment? Say WHAT?

Given that we just commemorated the anniversary of the Jewish Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto (April 19th), I, personally, find these lying mealy-mouthed fuckheads from Fux News and their ex-Bushwa friends too fucking hard to take. Apparently, Jon Stewart does too.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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Look, you pitiful, hypocritical, butt-sucking, rump-swabbing, anal-poisoned (thanks Flush Rimbowl), yam-sniffing (thanks, Maru!) detritus off a devil's hoof, I realize full well that you don't have the first clue about what comprises ethics, honour, morals, righteousness, good, truth, justice, and what-all. But when you trot out Darth Cheney from whatever pit of evil he frequents to frolic about yawping about how he thinks he and his comrades-in-evil have nothing to apologize for, well, then, you pathetic wastes of air, it's time for a dozen or more resounding thwacks with the trademarked La Casa de Los Gatos' Golden Bat o'Clue:

Dick, here's a list of my wishes for you:
  • May you die soon in excruciating agony a thousand times worse than any of the tortures your minions inflicted on people;
  • Until you die, may you develop some hitherto unknown ailment that causes you agony a thousand times, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, see previous item.
  • May you go down in infamy for all time so that no creature ever mentions your name again without appending to it the descriptors of "torturer, murderer, liar, vermin, unethical swine, profiteer, dirtbag, Satan'spawn, whoreson," and the like ad infinitum;
  • May you never know another night's peaceful sleep from this day forward;
  • May all living creatures shun your touch and turn away from you, including your own family;
  • May you be haunted by the voices and faces of those who have died and suffered because of your acts, direct or indirect, and your omissions;
  • May death become sweet release for you, to be desired with all your energy, and may it elude you until life is nothing but pain and torture, to the same extent that you made others' lives pain and torture.
You vile scum of worthless protoplasm, more evil than the world has ever known, may no medicine alleviate an instant of all the pain I wish on you.

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Entertainment: Today's Attack of Teh Ghey

From the funny people at Funny or Die:

Okay, we know those NOM-able Nitwits at NOM (National Overseers of Marriage) are getting their naughty bits in a twist because all over the nation people are saying, "We don't care, already!" Most of us really don't care what other people do with their naughty bits unless it affects us directly, like, say, they come into our house and do it on our good couch. Or our lawn. Or with our spouse. We don't even care if they're doing it with our sister, brother, mother, or neighbour. But not our underage kid, or our dog. That's all we ask.

You know why? Because we don't want THEM getting all excited about what we do with OUR naughty bits, that's why. Nobody has straight, missionary-position sex any more, not since the fifties, and maybe not even then. Maybe Mormons. Orthodox Jews. What are they, two per cent of the population?

The remaining 98 per cent of us enjoy all kinds of naughty stuff. Girl-on-girl, boy-on-boy, chicken feathers, plastic toys, scented oils, bondage gear, crotchless undies, whatever. And we want to get our naughty on without other people scanning our bedrooms with their binoculars and video cams, OK?

So get with the program already. As long as it's consenting adults and no one's being forced or hurt, we really should be supportive of people who love each other having the right to publicly declare their love for each other. And bless George Takei for his lengthy struggle for equality!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

In Memoriam: Banshee

Image Copyright Sharon Boggon, fabric artist/Web designer extraordinaire*

For those of you who know, La Casa de Los Gatos was established so that its inhabitants could, among other things, pay full attention to the joy that is Cats.

We regret to announce that joy is somewhat diminished as of Saturday, April 18th. Our good friend Lizzy of the blog 922 Cats saw one of her 922 — Banshee the Elusive and Beautiful — off on her journey to the Rainbow Bridge.

All dogs go to heaven, it is said. What is less well known is that all OTHER critters also go to heaven. Humans have intent, and memories, and willful behaviour. Animals do not. They may remember, but are not ruled by, the past; and they do not speculate about the future. Theirs is an eternal Zen-like now. So we know that although Banshee the Beautiful knew that she was greatly loved, when her time came to go, she went, and did not worry about what lay ahead or those she left behind. This memoriam is for those who will miss her.

She lived with Lizzy for fourteen years, though she was older when she left. So Lizzy mourns her, and as Friends of Lizzy, we mourn her too. Enjoy what lies beyond, little kitty! Long may you nap in sunbeams, and may every flower fill your air with sweet scent. Beyond the rainbow bridge, where the mice are fat and the birds are lazy, and you don't have to share your Fancy Feast with anyone, wait for us all to join you someday.

In Memoriam, Banshee D.
?/1995 - 04/18/2009

*Sharon Boggon's beautiful work — and fundraising activities — may be viewed here. The image credited to Sharon Boggon may not be reproduced without her permission.

Note the tiny face of Banshee hidden in this beautiful example of Crazy Quilting created by Sharon Boggon. She sits at the peak of a triangle with its endpoints at the golden butterfly and a collection of three buttons. Like Banshee herself, she is elusive and very difficult to see!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Bill Moyers and The Wire's David Simon Talk

Tonight's Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS is a must see. It is soooooo good. His guest: David Simon who used to work for the Baltimore Sun and was a screenwriter for HBO's The Wire. He talks about the "drug war", inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today.

And David Simon was one of the authors who wrote a pledge in Time magazine that says:

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest. If some few episodes of a television entertainment have caused others to reflect on the war zones we have created in our cities and the human beings stranded there, we ask that those people might also consider their conscience. And when the lawyers or the judge or your fellow jurors seek explanation, think for a moment on Bubbles or Bodie or Wallace. And remember that the lives being held in the balance aren't fictional.

The other authors (also screenwriters on The Wire) were: Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Richard Price. If you want to read the entire editorial, go here.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Entertainment: I Can't Take No More

First the teabagging.

Then the RIMjobs.

Now it's 2M4M:

It's obvious that the Republican Party has been infiltrated by GAY, GAY, GAY activists with their own agenda: to make a hideous mockery of the fight against gay marriage.

Who knew (except, of course, for anybody who has ever read the dead-tree personal ads, or used the Internet, or tried to hook up with a date through a dating service) that 2M4M meant "Two men looking for a third man for a GAY GAY GAY threesome"?

WARNING: Decidedly and absolutely NSFW.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Entertainment? Say WHAT?

First the teabaggers.

Now the RIMjobs.

Get yourself one here:

Found over at Watertiger's, home of LGBTQ amusement for the gay and straight masses.

Admit it, you actually wondered if it was for real, for just a minnit, din'tchu?

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For Sandy

Part of being a gimp, and growing steadily gimpier over a period of five years, is — you don't have time to clean. At all. And if you have five cats as well, your house slowly acquires an impressive coating of cat hair and dander, with an overlay of all the other detritus that a house acquires over such a long period.

I was reminded of this rather forcefully when fellow-blogger Sirenita Lake and her partner came to call. He's violently allergic to cat hair, and after an hour or two, was forced to take his leave. The good news is that I managed to stay on my feet long enough afterwards to vacuum up an impressive quantity of life-debris, including various "knitting kittens," which is my term for the clumps of cat hair that seem to rise spontaneously out of every nook and cranny. In the process, I cleaned out my art materials, so that I could prepare to work on a piece of fabric art that is being inspired by my dear friend Sandy, who often comments here. That's the good news.

Thanks to the deities of health and wellbeing, I am in much less pain than I was a few weeks ago. It's going slowly, but fabric art can be done sitting down, so I plan to start on the project soon.

Pictures will be posted when the project is ready, over at the sisterblog, CultureVultures.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tales of the Horrorspital, Part II

Calcium burn at one IV site

So, where were we already? Bemoaning the lack of adequate staffing at our hospital surgery recovery rooms? The paw in the above picture belongs to yours truly. It was actually the better of the available paws. The other had swelled up like a house but was not discoloured, so we went with this photograph for the "roast chicken" effect.

The nurse staffing situation was actually the least of the problems. Or the least enervating, anyway. Pain is pain, and bad as it is, it only hurts until you pass out or fall asleep or they bring you medication to numb it.

My roomie, on the other hand ... think ground glass in underpants. With all appendages tied, so you can't even get it out.

After the nice Vietnamese lady left, and before I regained consciousness, the hospital staff trundled in the Roomie From Hell. Naturally, when I awoke, I was otherwise occupied, as in, trying to get pain meds, but once that was taken care of, I began looking around. The Roomie From Hell (let's call her Dolores, shall we? Dotty for short? As in, that's what I was after two days of exposure to her?), for reasons that will never be clear to me, decided at this point to introduce herself. Thus:
RFH: Hello.

TPC: Hi. (All friendly-like.)

RFH: Can you take me upstairs please?

TPC: ??? (with a silent WTF? for emphasis)

RFH: Hello?

TPC: Yes. (Probly a mistake. I should've said, "NO!")

RFH: I need to go upstairs.

TPC: Uh, well, I'm sorry, Ma'am, I've just had surgery and I'm not mobile. Maybe you should press the call button.

RFH: I need to go upstairs. Can you take me to the operating theater? I'm supposed to have surgery at four o'clock.

TPC: (Squints at clock, which clearly shows the time as being 11, although it's not clear whether this is in the AM or PM) Ma'am, I'm sorry, I'm your fellow patient? And I'm not mobile, so I can't take you anywhere. Please press the button, and a nurse will attend to you.

RFH: (Begins to hum a song, and then talks to herself, first in Spanish (fluent, unaccented AFAICT), then in French.) Excuse me?

TPC: Yes?

RFH: Nurse?

TPC: No, ma'am, I'm a patient. The nurse will be along in a minute. (Begins to long for a larger dose of painkillers to drown out rather annoying RFH.)
Nurse arrives.

Nurse: What's the matter, dear?

TPC: (Cringes at the use of the word "dear." It's pretty obvious the patients are "dear" only in the sense of "expensive.")

RFH: Oh, nurse, could you have someone take me up to the operating theater? My surgeon, Dr. Blarney (I swear, that's what she said) is supposed to be operating on me at four o'clock.

Nurse: (Distinctly unamused) Uh, ma'am, why don't you try to go to sleep, you're not having surgery till tomorrow.

RFH: Are you sure?

Nurse: Yes, ma'am. Let me know if you need something to help you sleep.

RFH: Begins a lengthy gabbling conversation full of extraneous details about friends, family, dog, surgery, clothing, doctor, and blood while TPC desperately tries to sleep. No such luck.

Exeunt Nurse, edging out of room after fluffing RFH's pillow and sneaking away.)

RFH, stymied, picks up her cellphone and begins calling everybody she knows with details about her dog, car, surgery, clothing, and some fireman's luncheon at which she will donate blood. TPC desperately continues trying to sleep.

Some time later (the attempt to sleep was, apparently, successful) TPC is woken by the morphine wearing off and the gabble of voices. Apparently, RFH has now decided that she is actually at the firemen's luncheon and needs to go home.

Nurse: Ma'am, you're here for surgery.

RFH: This is America. You've heard of the Constitution, haven't you? You're holding me against my will!

TPC: (sotto voce) WTF?

Same arm, reverse side

Nurse: Ma'am, we're not holding you against your will. Your doctor will be here in the morning, I suggest you talk to him about it.

RFH: But I'm not supposed to be here. We finished the demonstration, and I have to go home now. My dog, she'll be all alone, and I've never left her alone in my life!

Exeunt Nurse looking annoyed

TPC: (Feeling sorry for the lady despite her obvious lack of anchor to reality) Ma'am, it's in the wee hours and your doctor will be here in a couple of hours more. Why not just take a nap now? I'm sure your dog will be fine, you were talking to your neighbour earlier, and you said she was looking after the dog for you.

RFH: I'm calling the police. I'm being held against my will. This is America. You can't do that to people here. (Calls 911)

Enter young policeman, looking confused

COP: Ma'am, are you Dotty?

TPC: (sotto voce) Hell, yeah, she is.

RFH: Officer, they're holding me here against my will, I've told them and told them that I need to go home, but they JUST won't LET me GO, Office, you've GOT to DO something ... gabble, gabble

COP: Ma'am, this piece of paper here? You signed it, Ma'am, that's your signature there? It says you're having surgery at this hospital. So, no, Ma'am, they're not holding you against your will. You're having surgery tomorrow and then they're going to release you. Do you understand me, Ma'am? Is there someone you'd like to call who could come down and help us explain this to you?

RFH: Gabble, gabble (punctuated with breathy, hand-wringing cries about the firemen, the demo, the blood samples, and other completely incomprehensible blatheramskate).

TPC: Oh, Deity, fucking kill me now. (very sotto voce. Not in front of the cops, and all that.)

Several more hours pass in a stupor, with TPC regaining consciousness at intervals.

Enter a short, brown, efficient-looking man.

MAN: Ma'am, are you Dotty?

TPC: (sotto not so voce) Holy Mother of God, can a person get a little shuteye in these parts or what? Excuse me? Can I help you? (This last addressed to the man)

MAN: No problem, I'm just here to take a blood sample. Dotty, could you roll that sleeve up for me?

RFH: (Complies while engaging man in a lengthy conversation about her youth in Argentina, spec. Buenos Aires, her education at a French convent, her subsequent marriage and move to the US, her membership in the local Democratic Party, et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseam, winding up with her own declamation about what an interesting person she is)

TPC: Oh, Christ. (semi-audible groan, combined of parts physical pain and parts guilt about being not-very-nice to an apparently impaired and elderly woman - also parts sheer crabbiness from meds and lack of sleep)

Man leaves, silence reigns, TPC passes out, only to be wakened by TWO screaming nurses.

NursieChorus: WHAT have you DONE? Oh, my GAWD! What has she done? What happened to you? Who did this to you?

TPC: (Abandoning all further thoughts of sleep) WTFFFFFF??

NursieChorus: Oh, my GAWD. Can you believe this? What are you doing, Dotty? Who did this to you?

TPC: (Wonders WTF is going on but daren't ask. Not in the mood for further gabbling details of woman found dead in her bed or whatever. Hears, with relief, the dulcet tones of ...

RFH: Well, a man came up here, he said he was from the fire department, and he wanted a blood sample, so I gave him some blood ...

NursieChorus: WTF??? Dotty, there are no firemen here.
Apparently, the man was actually a hospital employee who had been sent to get a blood sample, which Dotty generously provided. While in the same generous mood, she apparently decided to provide a poop sample, too. Apparently, the man then fled. Dotty, discovering that her fit of generosity had, so to speak, spilled over onto her dressing gown, took it off. We leave the audience to imagine the result.

Dotty spent the next X hours until surgery railing at me for failing to get her wheelchair, find her dressing gown, find her coat, dress her, and take her upstairs for surgery. She punctuated the raillery with a hearty breakfast, complaining all the while that she was STARVED, yes, simply STARVED, and a person couldn't get a thing to eat around here.

Over the next two days, she somehow managed to persuade a really sweet gay man to wash her disgusting pooped-on dressing gown and insisted to anyone who would listen that I had stolen her lamb-lined floor-length leather coat. In between, she hissed the following repeatedly through the curtains that separated us.
RFH: You think this is funny, don't you?

TPC: Oh, jeez, wouldja leave me the fuck alone?

RFH: I can hear you laughing over there. You took my coat, it cost a thousand dollars! And my Democratic Party keychain, and my watch, and my bracelet. You think I don't know. But I do. I know you took them. And now the two of you are standing there behind the curtain, laughing and staring at me.

TPC: Goddammit, where's my book?

RFH: Why won't you take me upstairs? I need to go to physical therapy!

TPC: Look, I've told you before, I'm a patient just like you. I've just had surgery. I can't walk. I sure as hell can't take you anywhere. Now please, leave me alone!

RFH: You're just angry because I'm using logic on you.

TPC: WTF x n???

RFH: Why don't you just come over here and help me get upstairs?

TPC: Lady? I can't walk. But if I could? I wouldn't be pushing you upstairs, I'd push you through that fucking window. It's a three-storey drop. Now leave me the fuck alone, goddammit.
I don't think I slept more than two hours at a stretch the entire time I was saddled with Dotty. And how glad I was to get out of there, you'll never know. I was definitely ready to kill someone by the time I made good my escape.

Poor thing, it really wasn't her fault, though. Her surgeon had her on a pretty toxic combination of drugs and a psychiatrist or geriatrician should have been monitoring her. I think she was suffering temporary psychosis. Ah, whatever, lookit, I'm still feeling sorry for the bitch, and after she deprived me of sleep during the worst hours of my life, at that.

Part I of the saga here.

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Entertainment? Say WHAT?

Okay, c'mon, you all knew about this and have been laughing into your sleeve for weeks. I didn't. I only just heard about it recently. And when I did, I thought, "Oh, no, they didn't say that! It's the surgery, it's the meds, I've GOT to be imagining this, they couldn't possibly have said "tea bagging," could they?"

But yes, it's the Republican Party, after all, AKA the Party of FAIL. And they said "TEA BAGGING!" Yes, they did.

On April 15, patriots like Sean "Butt Boy" Hannity, Flush "Anal Poisoning" Rimbowl, Glenn "Snivel" Beck, and their like will be participating in Teabagging Parties all across the nation. To show us that, uh, well, um, that ... Gay Marriage is Wrong! And, and, and, uh, they're ...

Oh, never mind. Watch this for yourself. And keep the laughter down. You don't want this to go viral.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Light blogging interspersed with rain, pain, and much swearing at an overactive Gustav, whose Neurotic Glands are, apparently, exuding Miasma of Neurosis. Stupid psycho feline!

The current issue of The Funny Times arrived this week, ensuring that my mood is somewhat better than it has been of late. If you don't have it, consider a subscription. Also, consider gift subscriptions for friends. It makes an inexpensive, wonderfully enlightened and enjoyable present, and is a great way to support cartoonists like Nina Paley and Keith Knight, and columnists like Lenore Skenazy.

From the current edition of the Funny Times:
It is God that has made us and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture, and George W. Bush is no longer the top sheep. Altogether a cause for rejoicing


Meanwhile, we have this classy family in the White House, overachievers but gracious about it, mischievous kids and a smart man and a woman who sometimes tosses him glances that say, "Oh, just get over yourself." What their presence says about the decency and generosity of this country is huge, friends, just huge. Rejoice, America. Je suis Americain. Ich bin ein Amerikaner.

And Phil Proctor, in Phil's Phunny Phacts, sends in this from Ben and Jerry's:

Yes, Pecan ice-cream for Obama

and a contest asking people to finish this sentence: "And for George W. Bush, they created ..." which resulted in the following entries (there were many more, but these were selected):

Grape Depression
Abu Grape
Cluster Fudge
Nut'n Accomplished
Iraqi Road
Chock 'n Awe
Impeach Cobbler
Heck of a job, Brownie!
Rocky Road to Fascism
The Reese'scession
Cookie D'oh!
The Housing Crunch
Nougalar Proliferation
Death by Chocolate ... and Torture
Credit Crunch
Country Pumpkin
Chunky Monkey in Chief
George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Chimp
Bloody Sundae
Caramel Preemptive Stripe
"I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands" ... with nuts
I'd change the last one to "millions," but hey, that's just me, yaknow? Iraqis count, as do Afghanis and Pakistanis.

I'm an atheist, and I never did like Garrison Keillor much, but I have to admit that the snippet above made me feel good when I read it. Especially because the bit about the Obamas is so right on.

Good thing I don't like ice-cream, that list would make me explode otherwise. Got a name you'd like to bestow on ice-cream in (dis)honor of Gee Dumbya? Send it in!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Politics: Trailer Trash

Thanks to pain and meds, posting is light today, but I just had to share this with you.

Levi Johnson, erstwhile babydaddy to Sarah Palin's daughter, is now on Tyra Banks' show telling the troof about that hot unholy mess. Now, La Casa de Los Gatos very very rarely pays attention to the hoohaw and foofaraw involving celebrities, and Mrs. Palin, who has the IQ of a root vegetable, falls into the category of celebrity, rather than "political entity."

So mostly we've avoided slinging snark at the silly bitch. Gawd knows she's plenty capable of shooting both feet into Swiss cheese without help.

But this has gone far enough. She trashed all us city-dwellers with her "small-town values" crap. She insinuated that even the hypocritical HolyBook bashers of McCain's campaign weren't good enough for her to pray with. Pretty nervy for a follower of Jesus, eh? Jesus prayed with prostitutes and publicans, thieves and outcastes, Romans (enemies of the Jewish people), Samaritans, beggars, and smelly, uneducated fishermen, for cryin' out. Apparently a class of people not good enough for our girl Sairy Failin'.

She flapped her gob about abstinence-ONLY sex education (miseducation, rather) and continues to yawp endlessly about how she's "pro-life," when what she really means is, any slut who opens her legs had better be punished, and her children, if any, with her, by having to feed, school, and care for said children without the tools, or with inadequate tools.

Well, I've had enough of Miss Holier-than-thou. Hey, Sairy, we're not all stupid dumbfucks with a limited attention span, like you, OK? We know quite well that you "eloped" with Todd, and your first child was one of those "early" babies, you know, born a mere eight months after Todd put the cigar band on your finger (but probably a little over nine months after he popped yer cherry.

Well, now we find that Sairy Failin's "small-town values" include letting your underage teenage daughter shack up with her boyfriend under your own roof. Interesting thing about that, Sairy, is most of my fellow urbanites did not elope into a shotgun marriage. Sure, they had sex, but they also had sex education, and chose not to rush into a marriage based on the presence of an unplanned infant. And most of my urban contemporaries don't believe their underage daughters should be shacking up with their boyfriends. In fact, I don't know a single parent of a teenage daughter who allows the boyfriend to sleep over in the daughter's bedroom.

A bit too wholesome for your taste, huh? Welp, now the wedding's been called off, Bristol has a sprog screaming down the house, and her ex-almost-MiL, a known meth dealer, is arguing that her son should have a share in raising his child.

Levi? You don't know what you're getting into. Get a DNA test, kid. For all you know, that kid is someone else's. After all, according to (dubious) sources, your ex had quite the reputation as a party girl.

In other thrilling Paiin news, Paiin's sister-in-law Diane was recently busted on burglary charges, for breaking into someone's home for the second time in a row to steal money. The cherry on this particular cake? She took her four-year-old daughter with her and left the kid outside in the car. Sweet Christ!

Holy Mother of God, is this what small-town values means? Is this what John McCain means by "country first"? Oh, wait, Undeniable Liberal over at WTF Is It Now? corrects me on what McPain meant.

In other news, after rushing to distance herself from corrupt windbag and felon Ted Stevens, former Senator of Alaska, Sairy Failin' wants Stevens back at his post, taking huge bribes and building roads and bridges to nowhere.

I don't know what John McCain was thinking, bringing this sleazy grifter and her trailer-trash friends and relatives into the spotlight, but their fifteen minutes is like, SO up. Please, you thieving, lying, ass-shaking, makeup-slathering, clothes-stealing, money-grubbing, tasteless, senseless bunch of fools, just step off the national stage. Get the hell outa Dodge, yaknow? Because I canNOT take this anymore.

I don't even dare to ask what next. With this crowd, it'll be our joint and sundry worst fucking national nightmare, I swear.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ms. Manitoba and Her Knee Replacement Story

My tale is quite different from PolCat's. Come to think of it, my tail is too.

I had my operation at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Antioch, CA. I was extremely well-prepared and prepped beforehand ... I mean weeks of pre-op visits of various kinds -- not necessarily at Antioch. My doctor practices out of Walnut Creek so I went there for some of these pre-op meetings.

The Antioch hospital is beautiful and clean. The staff was wonderful. My needs were taken care of so well. It was a very good experience.

Maybe "top-notch" is not what we need? Is it a case of the tortoise and the hare? Maybe the flashy hospitals who are supposed to be top-notch don't get the basics down right.

Pain management was perfect for me. The only time my pain went above a point six (ten is the highest level of pain) is when I was home and dosing myself and fell asleep and waited too long to take my meds.

In fact, PolCat was writhing in pain the evening after her operation, while I had the best sleep in years ... being a middle-aged woman and all.

True, the staff paid less attention to me the two days I was there after my operation ... but by then I really didn't need all that attention.

I highly recommend Kaiser Permanante in Antioch. They have a lot of joint replacement surgeries there. They are set up to take care of all of us boomers who are having our joints replaced.

Maybe some of the problems were PolCat's spidery veins ... I don't have that. But these folks are professional ... they should be trained to take care of and monitor folks with spidery veins. I think PolCat is being too kind to the general staff there. There is *no reason* to have that kind of pain after an operation. Pain management is a very integral part of someone's care.

Post-op: I had great follow-up and physical thereapy afterwards. My doctor has been very helpful in counseling me through the battle of my dependence on pain medication. I am totally off the pain meds now and have been for a while. But addiction to pain medication is not an easy recovery. I don't think people talk about that enough. Or maybe I am more susceptible to addiction? I went through a week of hard times getting away from the drugs. I spent three very sleepless nights with what PolCat called the "junkie bugs." Do not minimize this! It's tough. My doctor's advice really worked.

Here's what he said. Take 1/2 Norco, then 6 hrs. later take 500 mg (or 600mg) of extra strength Tylenol, followed after 6 hrs. with 1/2 dose of Norco. Do this for a couple of days. Then start taking the Tylenol in place of one of the 1/2 Norcos for a couple of days. Then take only Tylenol. I started this protocol in my fifth week post op.

Yes, one day I actually paid attention after I took the full Norco ... I was tired so I was lying down ... after about 30 minutes, I could feel this delicious warmth and sense of well being just spread in my body ... see, that's why I was having the trouble!

The other part of post-op: DO YOUR EXERCISES. These exercises are for the rest of your life because you have to keep those muscles surrounding your knee strong and in shape! I stopped doing them regularly and I started having a cracking sound and pain when I got up from a sitting position. Plus, I was getting up wrong. When you get up from a sitting position, do not put pressure on that knee. Even if your knee feels great and you feel like you're on that road to recovery. (I'm four months post op.) It takes a full year to heal.

For those of you contemplating knee-replacement surgery -- prepare yourself well, make sure they take good care of your pain and other needs, have a friend or relative who will be your advocate throughout your stay at the hospital, get good physical therapy afterwards, and do your exercises.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Caturday! Excerpts from Dog and Cat Diaries

A friend sent me this in email a couple of years ago and it still makes me laugh ...

** Excerpts from a Dog's Diary **

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

** Excerpts from a Cat's Diary **

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the
guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, So he is safe from me... For now...

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Entertainment: Jon Stewart and The Queen of England

In case you hadn't noticed, all the conservative Republican offense kleptomaniacs are screaming and fainting with pretended outrage about How. Michelle. Obama. Hugged. The. Queen. Of England.

Oh, yeah. Suck it, you eejits. So what? The Queen was, apparently, far less offended than our bunch of panty-twisting pantywaists. If you watch the clip, you'll notice that Her Majesty was comfortable enough to slip her own arm round the First Lady's waist.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Poisonous Queen
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

Not at all like her shooting the hairy eyeball at Georgie the Lesser when he had the temerity to wink at her, eh? Or even the acerbic comment she threw at Silvio Berlusconi today when she let him know she didn't appreciate his"Yo, Blair!" moment.

So bag it, you vile Republiscum. The Queen of England is perfectly capable of deciding for herself who she likes and who she doesn't, and she wasn't in the least put out by Mrs. Obama's affectionate gesture. Furthermore, when did you yobs get so excitable about a foreign monarch? Greasy pointyheaded eejits. Back into your cave, yo!

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Tales of the Horrorspital

Today I'm in a lot of pain, so why not tell how I got here, I asks meself. Why not indeed. Those of you who have been following my saga know that I ended up needing a knee replacement after I injured my knee. The fall broke my heart as well, as the year before the damage, I had hiked 20+ miles in one day and was planning to do a few more of those. In fact, I had my eye set on a lengthy nature trail which spans several counties and would have been a three-day hike altogether.

From thrice-weekly gym workouts, thrice-weekly workouts on the treadmill, and one or more lengthy hikes every weekend, I went to sitting in my bed, walking with a hideous limp, using crutches, canes, and finally just plain grumping in a seated or lying position. By the time I got the doctors and insurance jerks to agree that the knee ought to be replaced, five years had passed. Five years of no hikes and no workouts. For a pretty active person, that's torture. Plus, even as the joint and its surrounding cartilage deteriorate, one gains weight from the lack of activity, weight which can't be taken off except with activity. Catch-22.

So when I finally managed to get those eejits to agree to replace the knee, I thought I was in heaven. You know that old saying, "Beware what you wish for?" I could well have done to remember that.

My surgeon is top-notch, he trains other surgeons in the techniques of knee-replacement, and teaches at a top-notch hospital in an area filled with top-notch hospitals. Many famous people would be hobbling around if not for his surgical skills. He told me he was going to put me in the hospital where he taught, and I was thrilled.

But the gods of comedy and tragedy accompanied me there to ensure I would have some useful tales to tell, some, as it were, learning experiences. No, really.

The surgery probably went fine, although I wouldn't know squat about that. All I know is, he used the latest technique leaving a scar barely four inches long, and less than a month afterwards, it's hard to see the neat scar. This is impressive, because I tend to keloids and have impressive twisty ropes of scars from things as minor as blisters, scratches, minor knife injures garnered from cook-prepping, and so forth. All hail the surgeon. I did, however, notice that all the muscles around the hip socket felt agonizingly painful, as if someone had twisted the joint nine different ways. Pas de quois. It's just a leg, after all, and there's a reason we have a spare, yes?

The fun and games began upon recovery. Begin, if you will, with the spideriest of veins, in which the good nurses had inserted various needles for the transportation of fluids, blood, saline, anesthesia, and so forth. The problem with spider veins is, they pop, or, as the nurses like to say, "blow out." What this means is, the needle pierces right through the vein causing fluid to leak out under the skin and concentrate in the tissues around the vein. Rather than, for example, going where it needs to.

Mind you, the "pain management team" of the hospital had inserted a spinal and a hip catheter to manage pain. The hip catheter is a relatively new technique and, in my personal experience, utterly useless. If they suggest it to you, suggest you will insert it in anyone who tries to use it in lieu of proper pain meds. Srsly. I'm not going through that again. The spinal, or epidural block, I guess, was fine, but when it started to wear off the full worthlessness of the hip catheter made itself, haha, felt. And felt. And felt again.

A word of caution for those about to have surgery. Horrospitals in the U.S. are utterly worthless except for approximately 72 hours during and after surgery. Their sole purpose appears to be to provide a location for the butchery and medications that won't require major DNA samples from everyone handling them. When it comes to taking care of you after the surgery? It's preferable to have unprotected sex with a chainsaw for all the care and effort you'll get.

Now, this is not the fault of the nurses, most of whom are fine individuals who work hard to take care of way more patients than they should. It's a horrible job that I personally would never do, and wouldn't wish on an enemy. It's hard physical labour for a relatively inadequate salary that invariably ends up crippling the performer. If you're lucky you can last two decades and a little more as a nurse. If you walk away without carpal tunnel, permanent back problems, and various musculoskeletal disorders, you're a lucky soul.

So big kudos to most of the nurses.

Of course, with my luck, I wound up with Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. On the plus side, she didn't show her face till the night shift. On the minus side, she didn't show her face till the night shift. At least on the day shift, you can call other nurses, the supervisors, doctors, and senior staff are around, you can telephone (or scream loudly) for assistance, and with any luck, you have visitors who will agitate on your behalf. The night shift is called the graveyard shift, and I'm sure it's for the most sinister of reasons. Plus, Ilsa was the senior nurse, and made good use of it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. My first day in recovery, I shared a room with a very sweet elderly Vietnamese lady who spoke not a single word of English. With gestures and smiles and variously-pitched grunts, we managed to make ourselves intelligible to each other, and I passed a relatively peaceful time, not even noticing that the venuous system on which I relied was busy distributing unwanted substances to unneeded areas.

When I finally noticed (thanks to climbing pain levels), I requested more pain killers. They gave me a patient-operated morphine pump. Well, screw that. The only time you operate it is when you're conscious, and the whole idea is to be conscious as little as possible, which means that you're constantly waking up in pain and pumping the thing like a bicycle tire. With scant effects.

By the time I finally got the "pain managers" to agree to something more effective, the right arm (with the recalcitrant vein) was beginning to resemble a turkey leg in size and consistency. Still being doped up, I only noticed when those fluorescent plastic ID bands they place on each wrist began cutting into the right one.

This caused so much pain and itching that the staff finally cut it off, replacing my meds with something that caused me to, mercifully, pass out. Unfortunately, I apparently passed out for over 24 hours, waking to the worst case of the junkie bugs, which is the crawly sensation your skin gets when you take too many powerful drugs. I began scratching even as they trundled my sweet little old roommate out, and by the time the nurses bothered to answer my increasingly desperate requests for something to take care of the pain and itching (yes, the pain was back, of course), had removed a dime-sized piece of skin under the other wrist.

Unbeknownst to me, the needle in the left arm was beginning to leak. Ilsa the She-Wolf was on duty by this time, and if ever you find a nurse you dislike, please hold your opinion in abeyance until after you meet Ilsa. I'd like to think you will dislike her even more. She invented the term bitch as a self-endearment. Rly.

Next installment tomorrow.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Politics: Telling It Like It Is

Damn, I am SO proud of my President! Again! I haven't stopped being wildly happy about President Barack Obama's election win since November 5th, 2008.

Today's good news comes from Jake Tapper of ABC, who rarely writes a pleasant word about our President. However, this was just too good to miss out on. Apparently, our President intervened in an argument between Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jin-tao at the G-20 meetings, an argument that was getting quite heated before President Obama spoke with each party. He pulled each of them aside and only the fly on the wall knows what he said to them, but it appears the Chinese premier and the French prime minister saw the good sense of what he was saying and are now back and making nice with each other again.

Can you imagine something like this happening in the era of the loudmouthed arrogant idiot blowhard who dragged our country through the mud the past eight years? No, that fool was good for nothing but talking with his mouth full, addressing other foreign leaders by yelling "Yo!" across the room, groping foreign dignitaries, and generally acting like a stupid drunk on an eight-day bender. Just look at the picture of him trying to drag the Chinese premier around by the sleeve, or the unbalanced, red-faced gin-blossom expression at the Olympics for a quick and painful refresher.

Our President makes us all proud to be who we are, proud that we have elected him.

Bonus FYI: If you write him a letter, there's a pretty good chance that he will read it. According to ABC, President Obama reads ten letters a day from his fellow Americans. In addition, he reads letters from children, so write the man!

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Awww! Teh Cute!

Look, when you're in pain and suffering, you need to distract myself.

At least that's my excuse for posting this very adorable video clip of an orphaned zoo orangutan and his/her? babysitter, Bugsy the French bulldog.

This is for my friends out there who are in pain, physical or emotional.

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Entertainment: Stephen Colbert's New Project

must include mocking and humiliating loony toad impersonator Glen Beck, preferably until he screams, "Melting! I'm melting!" and disappears into a puddle of green jello.

Because, Nation! If you haven't seen this, please go laugh your ass off.

I did.

The sharpest cut of all had to be when Colbert, trademark sardonic eyebrow raised, pointed out, to a background of Beck's own ranting hate of the 9/11 families, that Beck's so-called "9/12 Project" was not for those who lost friends and families in the incident, only for those who make a career out of it.

Colbert and Stewart are right. Treating these Beckoid ninnyhammers and their poisonous home, Faux Noise, seriously, is a waste of time. Only mockery of the highest quality will do. (Hands out delicate embroidered, lace-edged lawn handkerchiefs.) Here, folks. Shed a tear for Beck, won'tcha? He's gonna need a few. Tears of laughter, that is.

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