Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Song of the Day: Countdown (Rush)

Today's the anniversary of Shuttle Columbia's maiden flight in 1981. Here's the original STS-1 launch video:

...and a fan-edit putting a shuttle launch to "Countdown" by Rush:

 It looks like mostly Shuttle Discovery footage, but I won't quibble--a shuttle launch is a shuttle launch, and they still choke me up and give me goosebumps even when I know what'll happen next.

Friday, April 11, 2014


I’m finally getting something done about my legs. For several years I’ve had poor circulation that’s puffed my lower legs and feet up and is causing some bad-looking discoloration and blistering from fluid collecting under the skin. I’ve gone from wearing size 9 sneakers to size 12 deck shoes–and on a bad day even those won’t fit. My doc got the go-ahead from Medicaid or Medicare for some kinky air boots and compression socks to clear this stuff up. These items also come with one (1) blonde and one (1) brunette to manage and maintain the medical aspects. I inquired about adding one (1) redhead, and it seems there already is one at the doctor’s office, but she doesn’t come to my house, so it doesn’t really count. The blonde lady says that my legs will be looking normal again within 3 months. Some of my walking troubles and even some of the chronic cough/congestion I've dealt with for several years can be traced to all this crappy circulation.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fred Phelps Dies...I Catch a Cold.

That effing bastard.

I just got back from dominating--DOMINATING!!--my local CVS. Walked in like a boss, made the place mine.

Well, yeah, I leaned on my shopping cart a few times and limped, but I did all this without crutches.

Forgot to mention that, did I? Sorry. Been off my feet for most of the last 29 days. I've only been able to put weight on them without howling for a little over a week.

My vascular doc says that the root cause is poor circulation in my legs; the valves in the big vein aren't closing properly, so blood tends to pool at the bottom end of me, especially in my left leg and foot. Most of the time, it just makes walking a hassle. But every few months one foot or the other will start hurting in one area--the ball, the top, whatever. Within days it spreads across and then up and it's the worst pain I've ever had. Nothing touches it. If that foot's on the floor, I can't pick it up; if it's off the floor, I can't put it down.

Almost inevitably, a day or two after one foot starts this crap, the other one joins in.

It's been one hell of a month. My left one started aching Feb. 19th (Wed.); the right one joined in the following Saturday. I stayed in bed as long as I could. Lost so much strength in both legs that I had to use a walker. That was an entirely new dimension of pain, since I still had doctor's appointments to go to. Getting from my room to my nephew's car took 15 long, long minutes. Getting back in took 40.

After the second week, I started being able to use crutches. "B.C." powders started helping with the worst of the pain. I've never had this stuff last so long, a month. It's usually a week, several days on crutches and a few weeks building my leg muscles back up.

The vascular doc says I'm going to need air boots and compression stockings. He's already done treatments on each leg to block off some under-performing veins, but the others need all the help they can get.

After all the crutching around these last few weeks, tonight's shopping run was the first time I've gone without them or that walker. So, like I said, I dominated that store.

Song of the Day: Spring is Here, Suh-puh-Ring is Here!...

...and here's the ever-brilliant Tom Lehrer's "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

Saturday, March 8, 2014

RIP Bartop, one of the first liberal bloggers

Blogger Terry R. "Bartcop" Coppage died Feb. 7 of complications from flu, pneumonia and leukemia. He was a liberal blogger before blogs. When he started up in 1996, I didn't even have a modem in my elderly IBM PC, let alone know what "websites" or "blogs" were.

It was awesome, finding a fire-breathing, no-bullshit liberal during the waning days of the Failure Bush's final term.He was calling the Fratboy "Worst President Ever!" while the finger-wagging media shitheads were still on board and dreaming of Bush in his flight suit.

Here's the Crooks & Liars writeup and TBogg's eulogy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pic of the Day: Big Freeze

I've never seen ice like this in Pensacola. This was taken Wednesday morning, after nearly 20 hours of icy rain, freezing rain, and sleet. No snow, but plenty of ice blanketing everything. The National Weather Service estimated 0.2" of it by dawn Wednesday.

Every tree had ice weighing its leaves. One on my side of the house was leaning badly enough to grind its limbs against the shingles.

Every car's doors were iced shut...except for the X-11's. Any time it rains I have to run out to throw a tarp over the still-leaky sunroof. I could try to be smug about being able to open my doors, but the tarp was ice-welded to the roof and doors. Couldn't see, anyway, since the windshield wipers were frozen to the glass and their mechanical stuff was entombed in ice.

The rest of my car looked about like everyone else's--a heavy coat of ice on every horizontal surface, all exposed glass iced over, icicles drooling from overhangs.

Nobody went anywhere. I didn't even try walking on that road. There's enough ice there for a hockey game. Before everything finally thawed out sometime early Friday, I heard at least three cars coming around the curve too fast and sliding into the curb. Otherwise, it was deathly quiet, even on the Interstate a mile away. There were something like 100 traffic accidents, one 17-vehicle pileup on I-10, and a train derailment in that frozen 48 hours.

I managed a couple of photo-reconnaissance trips Wednesday and Thursday mornings, right when it was the coldest. I thought of Fort Pickens, which must have looked spectacular just then, but all the bridges in the area were closed even if I were fool enough to try driving the icy roads.