So Long For Now

Out of simple courtesy, I thought I should write this note to let anyone who frequents this blog know I won’t be posting anymore.   I’ll keep the domain name registered, and all prior posts and comments will still be available, but there won’t be anything new, at least for the foreseeable future.

There is no big dramatic reason why.  Me and mine are all healthy of body and mind.  Sometimes, life just presents you a corner that must be turned, and this is one for me.

Thanks to all who have visited and shared their comments.  It has been, and is, greatly appreciated.

And now, since I’m hopelessly Irish, a toast from the homeland of my ancestors:

May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

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Real Life Oddity #702

Here’s a bit more evidence that life in America is pretty freakin’ odd:

Obama and daughters visit frozen custard shop

I don’t really find the event or the article to be particularly odd.  The president decided to take his children from some ice cream and that makes for a mildly interesting fluff story on Father’s Day weekend.  Nothing too strange there, we’ve been hearing the minutiae about our presidents’ boring everyday lives for decades now.

What I found incredibly odd was the seemingly endless string of complaints listed by various people in the comments section of the article.  They include:

  1. This isn’t news, CNN should find something important to report on.
  2. This isn’t work, Obama should do something more important than getting ice cream for his kids.
  3. Obama has to stop exploiting his children.
  4. CNN has to stop worshipping Obama.
  5. People who are interested in this are stupid.
  6. Obama is a moron and so are his children.
  7. Obama should have been at the Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati.
  8. Obama, or “Barry” to more than one poster, would have liked the custard better if the store was run by Marxists.  Oh, and “Barry” is  not only exploiting his children, but he’s turning them into the same kind of “shallow and ideologically driven” person that Michelle Obama is.

Some of that stuff is probably true, or at least has some truth in it, while much of it is clearly mean-spirited and biased.  I don’t much care about the content of the individual comments as much as I find it fascinating and sad that we’ve apparently reached a place in this country where the simple act of the president buying his kids some ice cream on the weekend causes dozens of people to throw digital hissy fits.

Lighten up folks, it’s ice cream.

In Case You Were Wondering….

Yes, your tax dollars did pay for this:

BoObama

Hearing Hazard

Being married to an audiologist, I suspect this news is not going to go unnoticed by her:

Golf’s newest hazard?  Hearing impairment

It seems that the sound emanating from these new titanium-faced drivers is loud enough to cause damage to the inner ear for some avid golfers, just like repeated exposure to any other loud noise.

This is interesting news, and usually this kind of thing would cause my wife to warn me about the hazard, ask me to take precautions, wear earplugs, etc., but in this instance I’m not that worried that I’ll have to change my golf game, for several reasons:

  1. I haven’t managed to find the time to play golf, or even hit a bucket of balls, a single time this year.
  2. I’m nowhere near good enough to justify the expense of a titanium-faced driver.
  3. I can’t remember the last time I hit a ball squarely enough to make any sound other than “thud”.

I think my ears are safe.

Free Kila!

Here are some fun baseball facts about the Kansas City Royals.

  1. Their current designated hitter, Mike Jacobs, is hitting .235 with a .315 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage.  In Omaha, the Royals’ Triple A farm team, Kila Ka’aihue is hitting .275, with a .417 on-base percentage and .490 slugging percentage.
  2. For Jacobs’ major league career, his OPS (on-base plus slugging) as a regular player is .791.  Meanwhile, in the brief major league time he’s been given, Ka’aihue has a career OPS of .804, and a career Triple A OPS of .969.
  3. Both men are left-handed hitters.
  4. Both men play first base, the difference being that Jacobs is so bad defensively that he is now a regular DH, while Ka’aihue is, by all accounts, a decent defensive first baseman.
  5. Jacobs will by 29 later this year.  Ka’aihue just turned 25.
  6. Jacobs makes over $3 million, and will do so for the next several years unless he is released or traded.  Ka’aihue would make the league minimum for the foreseeable future.

So, to summarize, the Royals have a younger, cheaper version of Mike Jacobs in Triple A who happens to be better than Jacobs as both a hitter and a defender, yet they continue to employ Mike Jacobs as their DH while Kila Ka’aihue wastes away in the minors.

Gee, I wonder why the Royals have a losing record this year?

Again.

Foot Pain and Other Mysteries

Recently, I did something to my left foot that left me hobbling around like James Caan in Misery.  Exactly what I did is a complete mystery, because I have no recollection at all of hurting my foot.  I didn’t step on anything, or bang it into a wall, or kick something hard and immovable, or twist it the wrong way, or anything else that would cause this kind of pain.  Yet it hurt anyway.  Right below the joint where my second toe meets the foot itself, it felt as if I had a hard, sharp stone just below the surface of the skin with every step I took.  This lasted for a few days, so, needless to say, it concerned me a good deal.  I thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor to get it checked out.

Actually, scratch that.  I didn’t think it was a good idea.  My wife thought it was a good idea.  Another one of life’s little mysteries is that for any health issue that arises, women will always think a doctor visit is a good idea and men never will.  It’s probably a macho thing, or something left over from sports.  You’ll still hear the male healthcare maxim used on sports telecasts from time to time; “You’ve got to know the difference between injury and pain.”  If you’re genuinely injured, then you need to go to the doctor, get it fixed, then rehab like crazy so you miss as little time working or playing as possible.  Doing anything less than that is just selfish.  But if you’re just in pain, suck it up and soldier on.  I’m definitely a follower of that maxim, and typically won’t go to the doctor unless the pain is simply not bearable anymore, or the problem has lingered so long that it’s clear it won’t go away without some medical intervention.

My foot problem didn’t quite fit either catagory.  It certainly hadn’t been hurting me long enough for me to consider a doctor visit, and the pain, while extreme, wasn’t so sharp and agonizing that I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have done anything other than pop some Advil, try to rest it, and shop for some padded insoles.  In fact, I did all of those things and they worked.  My foot started hurting less.

Still, these were not ordinary circumstances.  A couple of intervening factors were involved.  First, I really couldn’t stand my existing doctor.  It’s one of those uber-practices with multiples locations and physicians, they always overbook and keep you waiting 30 minutes past your appointment time, and they never give you more than three minutes of actual face time with the doctor.  On top of that, the guy I saw there decided to change locations and focus only on their urgent care patients, without bothering to send a notice to his existing patients about this change.  That ticked me off, as did the last visit I had there, where I waited 40 minutes past my appointment time before seeing a guy I’d never met before for some lingering redness in one eye, only to have him ask me three questions, shine a light in my eye, and pronounce, “There’s nothing I can do for you”, before referring me to an ophthalmologist.

Total service rendered = none.

Total time spent with patient = 3 minutes.

Total payment from me and the insurance company = $74.38.

So I was looking for a new doctor anyway, and it seemed that maybe my foot problem was a good excuse to go to a different guy with a real problem instead of just a general physical.  My wife really likes her doctor, so we called them up to see if he was still taking new patients.  The answer we got was a bit mystifying.  Essentially, no, he wasn’t taking new patients.  Only, yes, he would take a new patient as long as he was related to an existing patient.  This was good for me, because it meant I could switch to him as my doctor, but it still confuses the hell out of me.  Either the guy has capacity to take new patients or he doesn’t.  I don’t see how the fact that my wife is a patient there should really have any impact on that.

Anyway, since we had this additional intervening factor about whether or not the doctor would take a new patient, we threw in my foot problem as a means of hopefully getting them to take pity on me.  “Hey, his foot really hurts, can’t you see him?”  I don’t know if that helped or not, but they agreed I could switch to him, so I sort of felt obligated to go see him despite the fact that my home remedies were already making my foot feel better.  We made an appointment, I showed up, filled out the expected reams of paperwork needed on all new patients, got right in, and got real attention, including an x-ray and a pair of possible diagnoses (either a stress fracture or an “I don’t know what it is”).  Once the x-ray came back negative for any breaks, the treatment advice I got was…

Rest it, keep using the cushioned insoles since they were working, and take pain relievers as needed.

So the mystery of what exactly was wrong with my foot continues, unsolved.  The mystery of how my new doctor is able to create more time on his calendar only if a new patient is related to old patient also continues.  But we did at least solve one mystery during this episode, the one about why women always want to go to the doctor and men don’t.  And the answer is….

Men are right.

God and Politics

I saw this headline a couple of days ago and it immediately bugged me:

“Obama invokes Jesus more than Bush”

Then I actually read the article, and it bugged me even more, for a wide range of reasons.

My first thought was that I don’t really want the President of the United States to be invoking the name of Jesus or Allah or Buddha or any other deity, thank you very much.  I take that whole separation of church and state thing seriously.  Not as seriously as the people who sue the U.S. Treasury every year to get “In God We Trust” removed from all of our money, but I do feel that it’s important to remember that the entire country was founded  by people who were seeking religious freedom, so having the top dog in the government openly quoting one particular religion’s favorite guy is a bit off-putting.

Second, the fact that Obama’s references of Jesus are tracked against Bush’s references strikes me as insane.  Like I said, my preference is that neither of them mentioned Jesus while they are in the Oval Office, but as long as they are, what purpose is being served by comparing the number and type of those references?  I don’t think Jesus really cares all that much about how George Bush or Barack Obama refers to him, or how frequently.  At least, I hope He doesn’t.

On that same note, the third thing that bugged me about this article is that both of these avowed Christians have chosen to discuss their faith in Jesus Christ in different specific, carefully crafted ways, not based upon their actual faith but rather based upon the reception they believe it will have among the public.  In my opinion, that means that neither one of them is actually practicing Christian values.   I say this because if this is true, then each of them, in their own way, has chosen to politicize God, something I suspect God would not approve of.  At least, any God that would approve of his name being used as a chip in a grandiose popularity contest is not a God that I would want to believe in.

Fourth, this quote from Tony Perkins, the leader of some family values group, hit me the wrong way:

I think it’s a veneer, a facade that covers over a lot of policies that are anti-Christian

In short, Mr. Perkins thinks the president isn’t really a Christian, which means he essentially thinks Barack Obama is a bald-faced liar.  I think he makes that point pretty clearly.  What he isn’t so clear about is this….what, exactly, is an anti-Christian value?  Perkins cited Obama’s stance on abortion rights as an anti-Christian policy, but that seems wrong because millions upon millions of practicing, faithful Christians support abortion rights.  Does that mean that they aren’t real Christians either, at least in Tony Perkins’ book?  I wonder what else disqualifies a person from being a real Christian in Tony Perkins’ view.  Is George Bush not a real Christian since he openly advocated war in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Is Dick Cheney not a real Christian since he openly advocates torture?  Last time I checked, war and torture are pretty well frowned upon in the Bible.

Also bothersome to me is the way he confuses a policy that may or may not be in line with Christian teachings as being ANTI-Christian.  A true anti-Christian policy would be one that actually attacks Christianity by making it illegal or openly discriminating against Christians, or something of that ilk.  Being in favor of abortion rights is NOT an attack on the Christian faith as a whole.  Perkins can say that such a policy is UN-Christian, in his view, but calling it ANTI-Christian is simply wrong.  He seems to be under the impression that anyone who disagrees with his views must also be disagreeing with his right to hold those views, a dangerous level of paranoia in my opinion.  But then, I suppose he is just following the crowd these days, as it seems politics in this country has become an all-or-nothing game in which you either agree with every single position taken by a person or a party or you’re the enemy, with no middle ground possible.

Finally, this little nugget appeared:

[R]egularly invoking Jesus helps Obama minimize the number of American who believe he is a Muslim — a linkage that can be politically damaging. According to a Pew Research Center study, 11 percent of Americans believe, incorrectly, that Obama is a Muslim; it’s a number that is virtually unchanged from the 2008 presidential campaign.

Two things here.  First, apparently 11% of Americans need to stop believing every insane conspiracy theory that pops up.

Second, I think it’s incredibly sad that in this country, which was founded on the basis of religious freedom, it is considered “politically damaging” to be of a certain religious faith.  Personally, I don’t care if Barack Obama is a practicing Muslim or not, just like I don’t care if he’s a practicing Jew or Buddhist or Catholic or Southern Baptist.  Makes no difference to me at all as long as it doesn’t interfere with his duties or cloud the public policies he puts forth.  But there are a lot of people who DO care about it, enough to consider a person negatively as a result, or to think they are unfit to hold public office based solely upon their religious beliefs.

That’s sad.  Because it means that a healthy percentage of the population in this country really don’t have any clue about what the United States of America is supposed to be.