Monday, November 30, 2009

Incident Report

This morning at the hand therapist, I learned how to massage the scar tissue from the surgery, which I have to do 3-4 times daily. I also found out that it will be a couple of weeks before I can begin movement exercises with my wrist. Apparently, it will be close to a year before I regain complete mobility, and there's a good chance that that the hand will always seem slightly askew.

I got home to a communication from the insurance company. They require a complete "incident report" in order to "determine if some other party may be responsible for paying the bills." Alarms have gone off. Will they attempt to duck payment? I called for help answering one of the questions; the representative indicated that this was all pro forma. I hope so, because there's no way that this was anyone's fault...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're having ten people over:
  • three children
  • one fiancee
  • three friends of children
  • one boss
  • one friend
  • one boy friend of friend
Oh, and a turkey and four NFL teams.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The doc removed the temporary splint yesterday and sent me to a hand specialist. She created a custom removable splint molded to my arm. This allows freedom of movement in my elbow, plus I can wash my hands and drive. The hand specialist also gave me a set of exercises that I'm supposed to do on the hour: make a fist, touch my thumb with each finger, and spread my fingers. It's a start.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts

As always, click to enlarge...

Big bird. And I mean big...

Blue heart in Donegal...

Numbers, Thanksgiving week...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekly Address: Traveling Abroad for Our Economy at Home

Editilla reflects on the recent court ruling that established the Army Corps of Engineers as being at fault for much of the Katrina-related flooding of New Orleans...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lacuna

I've been reading The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver's new novel about the artistic and political maturation of a peripatetic young writer. I just completed a lengthy passage about the protagonist's relationships with Frida Kahlo (who serves as the writer's friend and muse), Diego Rivera, and Leon (Lev) Trotsky, the Bolshevist thinker and leader exiled from Russia after a split with Stalin.

Kingsolver has a genuine gift for finding and exploring the humanity of such iconic figures, as exemplified by this poetic, evocative paragraph describing Trotsky's wife Natalya:
Perpetua has walked down the street twice this week, to deliver some pottery Natalya liked especially. Her favorite is the white glazed platter with a fish leaping over it, a gift from Frida when they first arrived. Natalya thanked Perpetua and put it away in a cabinet, but today she has brought it out and set it against the wall. In the years with Lev her world has been so constrained, with so few objects of beauty in it. She is not a bulldog, only a woman pressed into the shape of a small jar, possibly attempting to dance in there. It shows in the way she places a seashell on a window sill, a red-painted chair in a corner: she is practiced in the art of creating a still life and taking up residence inside it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And I Quote

"[People] are fed up -- frustrated and fed up and angry about the way in which our government does not work. And I think the filibuster has become not only in reality an obstacle to accomplishment here, but it is also a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today."

Quick, who said this? Was it Bill Clinton, frustrated by the Republican intransigence that blocked even minor appointments? Maybe Barack Obama in an unguarded moment, worried that a few small-state senators stood in the way of health care reform? Guess again: It was Holy Joe Lieberman who, back in 1994, introduced legislation to reform the filibuster. Today, of course, this unalloyed hypocrite threatens to use the filibuster to deny health care access to 35,000,000 of his fellow Americans. Christopher Hayes of The Nation has more here about the most undemocratic practice of our most undemocratic institution...

Calvin Trillin skewers Lieberman here...

Thoughtfulness. Sometimes, a girl just can't win...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Health Care Reform Is Up Against

The honesty of this headline from today's Seattle Times caught my attention:

Front groups target health bill
Attempts to influence public opinio
Sponsors shrouded in secrecy

The story is here. No attempts at false objectivity by quoting "studies" or "both sides." It's simply a reporter doing his job by exposing the vicious machinations of a North Carolina law firm that declines to identify its clients, claiming that "they want the message to be the important thing." Indeed. After all, who would want to be identified with shadowy efforts to intimidate Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Olympia Snowe?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Gripes

As always, click to enlarge...

Maybe it's the surgery, but Citizen K. feels aggravated this morning. It all started with Fox Sports News report in which Terry, Jimmy, Howie and the rest of the football pregame guys visited the troops in Afghanistan. Citizen K. doesn't begrudge a little morale boost; God knows that it's needed. But he couldn't help noticing that of the 10-12 sound bytes from soldiers, only one was from a woman and only one was from an African-American. The rest were from white men.

Citizen K. also took notice of Howie Long's ernest report from a medical unit that treats friend and foe alike. Which neatly sidestepped the matter of civilian casualties, one of the critical issues in Afghanistan. Likely, the med center treats all too many of those...

Then there's this depressing story from the New York Times about the mounting costs of the war in Afghanistan. Reporter Christopher Drew writes: "While President Obama's decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one..." This is not only exactly wrong, it's part and parcel of the problem with sending more troops. BECAUSE THE DECISION ABOUT SENDING MORE TROOPS IS STRATEGIC, NOT MILITARY. What strategic interests does the United States serve by propping up a corrupt, dysfunctional regime?...

On the good side, The Lacuna, Barabara Kingsolver's superb (so far) new novel, really eases recuperation. As does Little Moon, Grant-Lee Phillips fine new CD about the pleasures and responsibilities of fatherhood...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Recovery

The surgery went well. The doc had three back operations before digging into my wrist, which he described as a "relaxing surgery" in comparison. Everyone at the hospital was supportive and efficient; once again, I was struck by how good our health care system can be if you have access to it and if you live in the right part of town. Anyway, the post-op pain grew rather acute. What can I say buy Percocet Rules!

Rehab last 12 weeks, including eight weeks in a splint and appointments with a Certified Hand Therapist who will design a custom splint.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knife City

Much to my surprise, I'm going under the knife tomorrow. The doc was direct: Setting this particular break in a cast won't work long term. I'll lose substantial mobility and be at increased risk for arthritis. So, in goes a pin and a plate. Rehab involves working with a hand therapist; I'm pretty sure that that's a new development since my childhood bone breaking years (not that I actually broke anything as a kid).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Citizen K. broke his wrist yesterday. All I can say is to beware of dark elementary school parking lots, especially when it's cold and rainy. You tend to overlook those concrete parking rests.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old/New Baby

Old/New Baby, Luke Winslow-King. On Old/New Baby, Winslow-King combines the sensibilities of contemporary songwriting with the sounds of classic New Orleans jazz. Unlike Paul Sanchez, King eschews contemporary brass band embellishments in favor of Creole waltzes, rags, and what came to be known as Dixieland. Winslow-King has plainly spent time studying and learning the genre, as the arrangements on Old/New Baby are much more than novelties: They support and extend the lyrics and melodies, creating a tightly integrated and innovative set of tunes. Moreover, Winslow-King has a gift for writing hooks, as the album overflows with hummable melodies. His soft, unobtrusive vocals seem just right for the material. At 36 minutes, the album is too short, but that's a minor critique when the time spent listening is so enjoyable.

Style rules for catching Mardi Gras beads...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts

As always, click to enlarge...
A joyous feast in the comeback city of New Orleans...
Wall poetry tells story of immigration...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekly Address: Tragedy at Ft. Hood

There's not much to add. We've all read about the individual acts of heroism that day. We've all wondered how a psychiatrist, of all people, could so tragically lose his bearings. Deep down, we all know that the victims are casualties of war as sure as if they were stationed in Baghdad or Kabul. We can only hope that this calamity reinforces the President's plans to withdraw our troops from Iraq and gives him pause as he considers increasing our commitment in Afghanistan...

The Seattle Times wants to know if Hamid Karzai's election is worth dying for. Good question...

Portraits created for families who lost theirs in Hurricane Katrina...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's It All About?

You can read anything into anything. El Rushbo thinks that the Democrats losing the New Jersey governorship is like Stalin losing Moscow. (Go here for a more nuanced analysis.) Republicans crow over their gubernatorial triumphs in New Jersey and Virginia just as they diminish the impact of their defeat in NY-23. Democrats will shrug and point out that neither defeat was unexpected and that the winner of NY-23 defeated a candidate of the extreme right.

It's true that there's more to this than meets the eye. In Jersey, budget deficits forced Democratic governor Jon Corzine reneged on a campaign pledge to reduce one of the nation's highest property tax rates. Virginia Democrats split their primary votes between two liberals and wound up nominating a conservative Democrat who did little to rally the party base. Moreover, Democrats had held the State House for eight years; Virginia voters arguably went for change.

Of greater interest to me is the NY-23 special election to fill a congressional vacancy created when President Obama nominated Republican congressman John McHugh to be Secretary of the Army. When 23rd District Republicans selected a moderate candidate to run for the seat, conservatives reacted by getting behind an ultraconservative (and comically ignorant) third-party candidate. This candidate gained support from mainstream Republican politicians and, shortly before the election, effectively forced the moderate from the race. The moderate endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, who won the election with 49% of the vote.

So what does it mean? While the 23rd went heavily for Barack Obama, it has also been traditionally represented by a Republican. It's one more loss for Republicans in a region of the country that trends inexorably blue. It also illustrates the dilemma posed by wingnut conservatism: In many parts of the country, it will be strong enough to push the party even further into extremism while simultaneously creating the conditions for defeat in the general election. Suits me...

They Reminisce Over You (T. R. O. Y.)...

Russell's Cleaners, Tulane Avenue...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Funnies

As always, click to enlarge...

Youtube is down for maintenance, so no Gospel Time this week...