Monthly Archives: October 2012

Post-World Serious Readings, 1

Joe Posnanski, It’s All About October…

Look: How do you explain it? How do you explain Pablo Sandoval, 12 home runs all year, smashing six in 16 playoff games, including three in one World Series game? How do you explain Barry Zito, in year 6 of his “worst contract in baseball tour,” throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings to save the Giants in the NLCS, then pitching 5 2/3 strong innings in Game 1 of the World Series to out-duel Justin Verlander?

The above is not actually explained. It’s more of a statistical ramble through the history of baseball, World Series, and some teevee numbers. Something to think on a little bit for the next four or five months of unremitting bleakness.

Might as well go into hibernation

I don’t know if today will be the last baseball game of 2012, but for sure, the season will be over very damn soon. Blergh. Maybe Big Fat Prince and Big Fat Miguel can back off their hibernation for another week and inject some excitement into this World Serious and at least give it a going-out-in-style ending. Please?

If Texas needed a durn UN, we’d have built a bigger one by now

Texas sparks international row with election observers

Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable,” Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said in a statement. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Blah-blah-blah, with a funny accent. A furious funny accent.

I reckon we’ll have these little bureaucratic chiggers running around — it’s almost unavoidable, considering who’s The Man these days. He loves him some UN. Still, I hope one of them pokes his snoot where it doesn’t belong, just so I can read the headline involving a Texas Ranger and an Estonian or Zamibian. Or the headline about some grannie throwing on down on the little chigger.

Via Big Bill Quick…

Obamabots, commence to glossing over

I told you a month and a half ago that whole disaster wasn’t about any damn movie. That’s not to toot my horn, that’s just what any human who was sentient on 9/11/2001 could have told you about any kind of Mohammedan violence on any subsequent 9/11. And now, lookie here — White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

But we, the American peoples, we got two weeks of outright damned insulting lies about a YouTube video, whose producer remains incarcerated for possible parole violations, with a hearing scheduled for after the election. When The Lightworker will have more flexibility.

This won’t hurt President Golf Shorts with his supporters as they simply don’t care about abstractions like Ambassadors and stuff. No, they’ve got OFA-approved twitter memes to tweet.

One reason my fantasy football team is le suck

I mean, outside of my reliance on pay-for-play cheat sheets that are not very good, my complete unfamiliarity with this generation of player-men, and a complete lack of interest in watching NFL games in any other manner than background noise. I went with my Uncle the Country Doctor to his deer lease down on the Sabine River bottom yesterday, and spent a couple of hours watching whitetails wander around. He and his partners have built this into a Level 3 MLDP joint. We were out there yesterday evening to harvest “cull” bucks…bucks that have wacky racks and dilute the gene pool by siring fawns who will have wacky racks. That one up there is one such cull buck with a wacky rack. I didn’t shoot him…I don’t trust my shooting eye one little bit right now…it’s been way too long…I even think my dominant eye has switched from right to left…with a scope, it shouldn’t matter much, so I’m not swapping out guns and learning to shoot left-handed or anything, though I would enjoy trying that, so send on your unused, dust-gathering left-handed Remington 700 BDLs, OK? That buck up there was about 200 lbs. on the hoof, and had a half-inch of pretty white fat on him, so he was having himself a wonderful summer and fall.

The funny part of the evening was that there were three other bucks in the field, all of them pretty, one of them a really nice 10-pointer. My uncle, a lifetime whitetail hunter, with literally walls full of racks, was getting buck fever, and said he had to force himself to make the shot on the cull buck instead of one of the super-sweet bucks. I was proud of him for sticking to the plan. Now, the head is in the freezer for a European mount, and the meat has gone to a family who needed it, and that’s that. Which explains why I missed all the NFL games after the Cowboys performed their weekly upchuck.

To use an overused phrase

That’s the way baseball go. Three of the four LCS teams are on the 2012 version of Teams I Hate (see immediately below for details). I could so easily imagine and understand the pain of the Nats’ fans last night. I seriously thought they would be yet another “expansion” team who would win a World Serious before my beloved Rangers.

Dale Franks gets it so incredibly right:

Baseball is designed to break your heart. I just watched the Cardinals come back from a 6-0 deficit to go ahead 9-7 in a 4-run 9th inning and beat the Nationals. Why won’t the Cardinals just die, for God’s sake?

I’ve spent my whole life hating the Cardinals. If I were to find an actual cardinal in the forest, twittering with happiness in the dappled sunlight, and I could get it to fly gently into my hand, I would squeeze it until I heard all its little bones break like tiny little twigs.

Then I would cackle with glee.

It’s not the Cardinals I hate at that level. It’s the GDMFSOBing Yankees. If I were to find an actual Yankee in the forest…

Mike Hindman at the indispensable BBTIA looks back-forward:

If your value is predicated on the theory that your leadership is the only thing holding the clubhouse together and your absence would cause the room to turn into something that looks like this, and then the room falls apart anyway after you held the lineup hostage for four months, forcing them to drag you around like an anchor and slowly but surely sapping the life force out of the lineup, then you don’t have any value.

That’s what Michael Young has become to the Rangers. And we’re screwed because Ron is so GD sentimental. I weep.

GO TIGERS!

An interregnum What Happened To The Rangers post

Big Dick in Austin has justifiably called me out for not talking baseball, and perhaps specifically the Rangers. Fact is, I’m still nonplussed by the Ranger collapse we witnessed. All the theories I’ve heard and read have a degree of validity. As a nerd, I believe a close study of the statistics will shed some light on the potential explanations. What it won’t explain is the mentalities behind the statistics, and we won’t ever learn most of that, so we’ll have to infer. Which I am reluctant to do.

For now, then, I will state my loyalties viz the current post-season:

  • The Detroit Tigers have been my backup MLB team since the mid-80s and a TDY to Detroit, where I was treated to Tigers-Jays rivalry games at the storied corner of Michigan and Trumbull. I love Kirk Gibson. I love Jimmy Leyland. I loved Ernie Harwell. So, Go Tigers.
  • Overriding that, of course, is defeating the Yankees. Can’t stand them, their fans, their sycophants in the media, the bandwagoners, the rappers, the entire & complete world encompassed by the phrase “New York Yankess.” Just go away, disappear into a black hole. So, Go Orioles.
  • The Cincinnati Red Legs are a childhood favorite for Johnny Bench and The Big Red Machine. Sadly, they are out of the post-season at the hands of the Giants, who I simply can’t cheer for. It’s not just that they defeated the Rangers in the 2010 World Serious, they just bug me, probably because they’re in San Franciso, and are eternally linked to Barry Bonds.
  • The Nationals are a bandwagon pick. I like Davey Johnson, though. He seems to be a level-headed guy and a good manager. I guess I want them to beat the hated Cardinals, who won the 2011 World Serious over my beloved Rangers.

Bottom line, it’s Go Tigers for me, my Detroit friends, Gibby, Jimmy, Ranger Peterson of Grand Rapids, the designated hitter rule, and the glory of the American League.*

[* Which really means nothing any longer, which is sad, but it is the way of Beelzebud to water down these distinctions so MLB can become the NBA and The Greatest Game ever invented can just kick me in the nuts again and remind me who's in charge here. It's tough having a crush.]

Meanwhile, I’ll keep cogitating on How To Fix The Rangers.

NB to Big Dick: I hope your crotchety curmudgeonly defeatist demeanour doesn’t filter out to your young son and his love of the Rangers.

Jeezopete, now what?

This flea-bitten bag of bones showed up on Wednesday night, and she hasn’t left yet. It looks like a dump-job to me and she acts like everyone has been pretty mean to her for her entire life — her tail has been permanently between her legs since arrival, except for a few very brief wags. She’s extremely skittish and flinches horribly. You can see most every bone she has sticking through her skin. She stinks to high heaven — I mean, rolling-around-in-dead-possum stink. I just don’t have the heart to run her off. I definitely don’t have the heart to put her out of her misery. My luck, she’s pregnant. I’ve fed & watered here, which is humane, but stupid, as I don’t really need another mouth to feed. If she survives to the weekend, and doesn’t hare off for somewhere else, and I can find a low-/no-cost sterilization deal, I guess the rancho has acquired another dog.

That right there is funny

From 9 things the MSM will suddenly rediscover should Romney win the Presidency

1. The teabagger party isn’t as dead as we thought it was. Instead, it lay hidden, like snakes in the grass, until it was able to overtake the Republican party and create a far right racist theocracy wherein social justice is sacrificed in the name of lower taxes — and monster truck rallies begin to replace PBS and NPR in the public consciousness, God help us.

The popular vision of the tea party people is forever hilarious. It has the advantage of being shape-shifting, too, an all-purpose derogative, perfect for whatever emotion you wish to transmit, AND you don’t even have to be a journalist.

Me & The Wild Injuns

GS1, yr hmbl svt, GS2

Yesterday afternoon, I took GS1 to the State Fair of Texas for a few hours. It was his Fair Day, a quaint custom that I am surprised to see has survived. His little brother, GS2, was in ‘school’, and his parental units met us later that day with him for their own Fair Day. Stupid amounts of money were spent on the sucker games of the Midway, primarily because I broke down in the face of GS1 nagging. We walked around the livestock area as much as I possibly could to forestall the Midway, but the barns were empty, as it’s turnover time from the FFAs and 4Hs to the big-time cattle barons and their breed-specific shows. We saw a dog frisbee show, a cow-milking exhibition, a sheep-shearing, an enormous hog, some horse-riding show-offy kind of deal, the Youth Market winners (sheep, goat, barrow, steer), the AgPower/John Deere display, and random other time-wasters. We ate a Fletchers’ corny dog, and wandered around the new trucks. The Midway, even though he had never ever been to the Midway, was impossible to stay away from. Good thing they had beer. I shudder to think what his parents spent after the hostage exchange, as they were planning to hit the rides.

I’ll be back on Saturday, during the UT-OU game, to drive a shuttle for the livestock exhibitors, twixt the overflow parking and the barns. I hope it’s hot, or at least warm, so as to enhance the girl-watching — no old man wants to see co-eds in warm coats.

Ten Steps To Surviving Lung Cancer, by Tom Galli

I’m re-publishing, in full, an article written by good friend and now-regular TFG commenter, Tom Galli. I was introduced to Tom by my Uncle The Country Doctor on the occasion of my diagnosis of lung cancer. Tom was the first non-family, non-lifelong friend I talked to after leaving the hospital. His advice that night has stayed with me, and it has been an extremely important part of my own (fight for) survival. His continuing support and advice, from the viewpoint of one who has gone through it all, is and will be very valuable to me. The words that follow are from Tom, not me.

Step One – Invest in sophisticated diagnostics before diagnosis

If you smoke, were a long-term smoker, or are in an occupation that exposes you to carcinogenic toxins (asbestos removal, auto mechanic, painter, etc.), get a computed tomography (CT) scan, often called a CAT scan, of the chest once a year.  Insurance won’t pay for it, but CT will detect tumors far earlier than a chest x-ray.  Early detection of small tumors dramatically enhances your survival chances. I had a chest x-ray in January 2004 and was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 3b, non-small cell lung cancer the following month.  The tumor hadn’t shown on the x-ray; but at diagnosis, it was almost 3 inches long and ½ inch in diameter.  The only symptom I had was coughing up blood the day before diagnosis.

Step Two – Choose a good general practitioner

Your general practitioner will be the manager of your lung cancer treatment.  The GP likely will pick your cancer team and may need to do a little arm-twisting to get things moving.  Therefore, he or she needs to be seasoned and well known in the medical community.  I prefer doctors of osteopathic medicine to medical doctors.  I’ve found that the former treat people, not patients. I believe a good physician shows kindness, consideration and compassion toward those in his or her care.  These characteristics are essential.  Be sure you know your GP and your GP knows you. Such knowledge and trust will give you a survival edge.

Step Three – Ensure your oncologist is a physician

A doctor has a degree in medicine and a license to practice, but a physician is devoted to restoring, maintaining and promoting your good health.  My physician oncologist does a complete examination (looks in eyes, nose, and throat, checks pulse in the extremities, checks reflexes, listens to breathing and heart rate) every visit.  He reviews and explains all test results and asks how I feel.  He looks at me as I speak, and he listens and makes notes on what I say.  He carefully explains medical treatment alternatives that may arrest the disease, and together we choose each next step.  He never rushes consultations and, consequently, often is late to scheduled appointments.  Because his tardiness results from spending time with those he treats, I know he cares about me and every other patient. These are characteristics your physician oncologist should possess.

Step Four – Learn about your disease

At diagnosis, I had no idea what lung cancer was.  Moreover, I didn’t know what an oncologist did, nor could I spell the word!  After diagnosis, I read everything I could find about the disease, starting with the American Cancer Society website.  Then I read medical journals, government reports, research papers and studies. I made notes about things I didn’t understand and asked questions at my oncology consultations.  My wife attended every consultation, procedure and test to ensure every question was asked and answered, and that we understood the answers.  You need to know about type, stage, statistics, radiation, diagnostics, chemotherapy, side effects, surgical options and so much more. Your chances of survival are improved if you are informed enough to ask highly perceptive questions.

Step Five – Acquire a Sanguine attitude Quickly

Cancer is a disease of death; lung cancer kills more than all other cancers.  Your attitude toward treatment is, I believe, essential to survival.  When you acquire a sanguine attitude, your treatment team will notice your optimism.  They will enjoy interacting with you; they will care about you. I strongly suggest you read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay “The Median Isn’t the Message” to help you understand survival statistics and find optimism about what appear to be bleak probability of survival projections.  Join a cancer blog.  I am a member of RedToeNail.org, a place where I can broadcast my complaints and protestations to people who understand and have useful advice for coping.  Find cancer support groups and join one or several.  Most people who treat you have no idea how you are feeling.  But survivors in cancer support groups understand; they know how you feel—you’ll fit right in!

Step Six – Any port in a storm

There is no such thing as “a little stick!”  During procedures and treatment, almost everyone will attempt to gain access to your veins with an intravenous device of some type.  All such intrusions are uncomfortable, and unless the practitioner is good and lucky he or she will miss more often than not.  If your treatment involves intravenously administered chemotherapy, you likely will get stuck at least once a week.  A good way to avoid discomfort and frustration is to ask for a port.  Installation involves simple, low risk surgery.  Once in place, you need to keep the area clean and exercise precautions when bathing—but access to your veins is no longer a storm but a port in a storm!

Step Seven – Don’t believe the miracle cure

The consequences of a lung cancer diagnosis are frightening.  For most, it will be your first serious encounter with the prospect of death.  When you type “lung cancer” into Google, you will be bombarded by advertisement that promises miracle cure at considerable expense.  There is no such thing as a miracle cure!  Before you invest time (now precious) investigating one of these “too good to be true” remedies, check it out on www.quackwatch.org and discuss it with your physician.  Oncology is a medical science.  Procedures, drugs and protocols are tested using scientific methods that are published and reviewed by peers and regulating organizations.  When science-based breakthroughs are discovered, they are broadcast very quickly throughout the practitioner community.  One of the smartest technologists and businessmen the world has ever known—Steve Jobs—might be alive today if he had accepted treatment by conventional means.

Step Eight – Don’t try to tough it out

I am a retired Soldier and believed I was man enough to handle almost anything.  Cancer proved to be the “anything” I could not handle! I suffered a long time trying to tough it out before I admitted I was depressed.  My physician’s response: “Of course you are depressed—how could you not be?” He prescribed appropriate medication, arranged consultations with a physiologist, and suggested I attend support groups. Unless you are tougher than I, you will experience depression.  Admit it and accept help.  Here are some other things you might try.  Ask for the “freeze spray” before an IV is used.  If claustrophobic, get a script for Xanax and take it shortly before scans.  Even in summer, wear warm clothing to diagnostic and infusion sessions.  Areas where these take place are kept very cold.  Many treatment centers have American Cancer Society volunteers—engage one in conversation.  Most are survivors or caregivers and have a wealth of helpful information.  During consultations, I was so frightened I couldn’t rationally ask questions about results or next steps, and I certainly couldn’t remember what was said.  Consequently, never go alone to a consultation.

Step Nine – Become a Calendar Maniac

If you have a Smartphone with a calendar application, become an expert in its use.  If not, keep a paper “cancer calendar” to record information.  Your life after diagnosis will become filled with scheduled appointments, and given the nature of the disease and intensity of the battle, these are appointments you don’t want to miss.  For example, my chemotherapy cycle required an infusion every third Friday.  I had to record three rounds of steroid medication taken every six hours before each infusion.  I had a scheduled blood test every Monday following infusion.  Nausea started Sunday morning and lasted until Tuesday.  Joint pain started Wednesday and lasted until Saturday.  If I took the nausea medication about an hour before onset, symptoms often were minimal.  Furthermore, if I started pain medication a couple of hours before onset, my pain was manageable.  I used the alarm feature on my phone to warn me in advance.  Plus, there was life to live, and the calendar helped me avoid conflicts between my cancer treatment schedule and my life events schedule.

Step Ten – Choose To Live

When asked about my cancer experience, I often tell those in treatment that cancer is a disease of life or death.  If you choose treatment, you are choosing life.  And if you choose to live, do something with the life you are given.  The “something” will be different for each of us, but doing whatever you enjoy or find fulfilling is so important.  If you enjoyed an activity before diagnosis, do it afterward.  Look at yourself in the mirror every morning.  If you don’t see an expiration date stamped on your forehead, then enjoy the day and look forward to the next! Oh by the way, your hair will grow back!  Baldness is a beautiful badge of courage.

Want to know about my lung cancer experience?  Google Tom Galli – Chronicles of Cancera.  

The author acknowledges the competent editing talents of Kathy Nolan.

[TFG here again: if you have a blog, please feel free to re-post all or part of this, with (or even without) a link back here. The message is important.]

Shower or no shower?

The last time I showered, Wednesday*, it was a must-win game for the Rangers, and they lost. I am skipping it. I’m also pulling out the big gun — the much-derided-by-baseballerati Claw & Antlers shirt. It’s time for the Rangers to return to their destiny as steely-eyed missile men.

[* Yesterday was a grueling travel day.]

My Uncle the Country Doctor thought that the Bachelor Line Shack needed a girly pin-up calendar. He’s right. So I got one:

You can get your own copy for your line shack or (ugh) Man Cave* here, from Amazon:

Remember, anything you buy from Amazon, even if it’s not a pin-up calendar, puts a thin dime or two in my account.

[* I detest this term, but it has become universal. Men used to be King of their Castle, and now they may possibly if they are well-off be allowed a Cave. Does noticing this make me a misogynistic pig?]