Thursday, March 22, 2018


I often see comments sections of political debates comments go something like this:

"Christianity, throughout history, has committed far more atrocities than any other religion. I thought that was common knowledge." That's a claim I'm not sure about.

Christians will reply something to the effect of:

"What about the Nazis?"


"Hitler was a Christian! Here's a meme!"


"He was a charlatan that used Christianity. Nazis we're actually occultists!" Meme return fire! "Now add in Stalin and Mao and atheists killed way more than Christians."

Atheist meme!

Christian meme!

Atheist meme!

Christian meme!

Can we all just agree that any ideology that results in people committing atrocities should be shunned? For fucks sake! Why is this so hard to grasp?

One way to ensure we don't start committing genocide against each other is through political compromise. We need to support our political institutions and compromise! And I don't think this necessarily means the left selling out to the current batch of extreme right wingers. But it can be the left embracing the moderate middle.

I think people are yearning for clean, uncorrupt public servants willing to fight special interests. I look forward to someone finding that path to power.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Fake News

Fake news: Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of a Washington DC Pizzeria basement. Evidence for it: cryptic messages pulled from otherwise innocuous emails about ordering pizza. Evidence against it: Pizzeria doesn't have a basement! Common sense. You might not like her, and think she's bad for the country, but come on! Acting on that rumor a guy went in there and fired an AR-15.

Real news: Donald Trump sexually assaulted nearly two dozen women. Evidence for it: similar first hand accounts from women who don't know each other of the incidents that often times are corroborated by pictures and schedules showing they were together. Trump has decades of interviews admitting to lewd behavior with women. ALSO DONALD TRUMP ADMITTED HE SEXUALLY ABUSED WOMEN ON VIDEO! Evidence against: Trump says it's fake news. It's not.

Get your shit together America.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Messed up dream

While sleeping last night I was dreaming and laughed out loud. Because I talk in my sleep and Jaime tries to egg me on to say silly stuff, she asked me what was so funny. She woke me up and I told her to leave me alone! The benefit of her asking is that I remember what the dream was. I will now share it with you. When you read this you'll probably think that I am making it up or somehow embellishing. I promise you this is the dream I had. Exactly.

I was watching a movie or TV show. I'm not sure which. It was a dark comedy staring Ellie Kemper (Erin from the Office and Kimmy Schmidt) and Jimmy Fallon. The premise is they're a couple living together and planning a spree killing. Oh, and this is a musical.

So they're in their house, singing a song about how they're ready to go on a rampage, while Gary Coleman is installing blinds on their windows. Yup, Gary Coleman. They sing their song about how this is going to be THE BEST DAY! And when they finish Gary Coleman walks out from behind the couch. They'd forgotten he was there while they were singing the song, you see, because he's short and they couldn't see him.

That's when I laughed out loud. Welcome to my mind! It's either a hilarious, or a scary place to be depending on whether or not you like dark, sometimes totaly inappropriate, comedy.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A warning for Antifa

The following is a comment I posted on a Facebook thread to people advocating violent protest, and anarchist revolution on Facebook. I've edited it a bit and added some more thoughts here and there. 

Our country and world have problems. No one is denying that. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

There has never been a safer time to live on this planet than today. There are less wars now than at any time in recorded history. There are less people living in extreme poverty than at any other time. The technological advancement that has made that possible has been brought about by capitalism. We can regulate it the way we have in the past to make it work better for more people. But ultimately capitalism is better than the alternatives.

And even though we've suffered a setback to progress, to say that institutionalized racism and sexism can't be brought about by non-violent protest is just plain wrong. Women didn't fight a guerrilla war to gain suffrage. The Civil Rights Acts of the 1960's didn't come about through anarchist action. To say we can only fix our problems by dismantling the apparatus of state is naive, bordering on childish fantasy.

If we dismantle the state, protections for the most vulnerable among us will crash down.

Answering right-wing violence with violence plays into the Alt-Right's hands. It validates their conspiracy that they're under attack. It vacates the moral high ground. It drives sympathetic potential supporters away. In the end wearing black masks and fighting Nazis in the streets will hurt your cause more than it helps.

It also makes our country look like the Weimar Republic, where fascists regularly fought Communists in the streets. When that apparatus of state fell, it didn't end well for anyone. The Nazi party never received more than 37% of the vote, yet it was enough to seize power in a fractured country. Trump's approval rating stands at ~35%. We can consolidate the discontent around a moderate liberal opposition. Or we can fracture further among left and radical left. The result will be a midterm win for Trump, and likely another 4 years in 2020.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cancer Part 2

After leaving the hand surgeon's office I drove home and called my wife and mom to tell them what I just heard. I was in complete shock. When I got home my wife and I began looking up my cancer.

Google is a cruel mistress. The results were terrifying. My cancer is an exceedingly rare and aggressive cancer. There are only a few hundred cases globally documented of my cancer. Testimonials we found were from people who had it spread to their lungs, and some who died from it. Others had parts of their hands or feet amputated.

A short while later the hand surgeon called. He apologized for missing my appointment. He said he was prepared to see me on my original appointment date. He told me he was somewhat familiar with the cancer, and that it would most likely require at least a partial amputation of my finger to get negative margins.

The next day I went to work. I was able to get intake paperwork faxed to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I was frustrated because it was a Friday and I wasn't able to get an appointment booked before the weekend. I worked Saturday and Sunday because I figured I was going to need my leave in the near future, and work would distract me.

Sunday night after work, my wife went to bed and I sat on the couch Googling my cancer. I read too many websites, and looked at too many pictures of amputated fingers. I became so upset my stomach turned and I got up to vomit in the bathroom. I almost passed out. I had to lay on the floor with my feet on the couch to get blood back in my head. Eventually I made it to the bathroom. I then endured a nearly sleepless night.

Needless to say I would NOT recommend Googling serious illnesses. If you need info, go to the NIH site to get basic info and STOP! If you need more, get it from your doctor, or have a trusted and medically knowledgeable advocate read up and advise you. Going down the Google hole is not good for the already stressed out mind.

The next morning I dropped my daughter off at school and stopped at the coffee shop when my phone rang. I recognized the number as a Roswell Park number. When I answered a female voice told me she was calling from Roswell and confirmed my ID. She then asked how I was doing and I answered truthfully. I was terrible. She then told me that she was my friend's wife, that she came in and my file was on her desk. She said she would help me get registered and get an appointment. I was so happy and relieved I almost cried.

I had an appointment for that Friday with the head of Roswell Park's Soft Tissue department. Knowing I was in, and in good hands was a huge relief!

I then went to Lowe's to grab a few things. When I left I decided to stop by my personal physician's office to see if he could review my file and provide advise. He graciously did. He told me I was doing all the right stuff and gave me a script to help with sleep.

Next I called an advocate for 9/11 First Responders. She works for Mount Sinai and was very helpful getting my claim started. She advised me that first responders often are developing rare cancers and she strongly recommended​ that I file.

All in all I started that Monday a stressed out wreck. But by 10 or 11 am I had made a lot of progress and was feeling like I was taking control, or at least starting to. I then went home and installed a closet organizer for my wife, whose birthday it was that day.

I went to my first appointment at Roswell Park on Friday October 21. My wife and Aunt, who is a Hospice nurse, came with me. The doctor meet with us for over an hour. I have never seen a doctor give their time so freely, and with not a hint of impatience in my life. It was really remarkable. He answered every question we had and gave us a lot of information.

Unfortunately he said that the first doctor's diagnosis that the finger would need to be partially amputated was correct. Further he recommended removing a lymph node for biopsy to rule out spread to distant organs.

He told us that having the site treated with liquid nitrogen probably helped keep it small. The first surgery also probably removed all the cancer, but since the biopsy results showed positive margins, he felt the amputation was necessary.

He felt the recovery would be fairly straightforward, and that I probably wouldn't need therapy after. He scheduled my surgery for November 2.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Let's go Buffalo?

The Buffalo Bills' 2016 season ended yesterday with another embarrassing loss. They finished 7-9, and for the 17th consecutive season missed the playoffs. It's also their 21st season without a playoff win. The Bills currently possess the longest playoff drought in all of American sports. Including MLS, that's 133 teams.

They have finished the session with 6 to 8 wins 13 times during the drought. That's not nearly good enough to get in the playoffs, but it's also not bad enough to obtain a high draft pick for the desperately needed franchise quarterback. It's the worst kind of mediocrity.

The Bills will now be looking for a new coach and quarterback in the offseason. Their drafting has been consistently terrible, yet they still retained their GM Doug Whaley. Also not losing their job is team president Russ Brandon, who happens to be a former team GM. By MANY accounts Brandon still is GM in effect, or at very least meddles in football operations on a daily basis.

Possibly more disheartening is that Russ Brandon is now also the team president of the Buffalo Sabres. On the day the Bills' season ended the Sabres sat in last place in their division, and are charging hard for a 6th consecutive season without a playoff appearance.

In 2000, when they Bills had made the playoffs, but lost in their first playoff game for the second consecutive season, their president and GM John Butler was kicked to the curb. Yet for some reason Russ Brandon has lasted nearly 20 years with the Bills. He has been there in some capacity during every year of the playoff drought and even seen promotions despite continued failures.

Ultimately the blame now lies with Kim and Terry Pegula. Their honeymoon with both teams is long over. It hurts to say it. They seem like very nice people, and are probably doing their best. They may have saved the Bills from relocation, but for what? At this point being a Buffalo sports fan is an exercise in self flagellation. Until a complete firing of the entire executive staff of the Bills is administered by the Pegulas and a new staff composed of football people is hired, I will expect no change. Fans should stop giving them their cash and demand change immediately.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cancer Part 1

About a year or so ago I started to notice a pain under the fingernail on my right middle finger. At first I thought it was a sliver under the nail. It bothered me, but only occasionally. A few year ago I definitely had a sliver under that same nail. So this seemed like it either happened again, or the sliver from last time was still there and coming back to bother me.

Fast forward a few months and the pain under the nail was now a bump under the skin at the very tip of my finger, close to the nail. I again thought it was the sliver, now being pushed out of my skin. The pain was worse, but only when I hit the very spot on something.

A few months went by and now the skin on the tip of my finger changed color. The skin changed from the normal, semi transparent color, to a more off-white opaque color. Now I was more concerned, as this obviously was not a sliver.

In May 2016 I went to a dermatologist. The growth on my finger was really starting to get painful. The slightest touch could send a jolt up my hand. When I called for the appointment the doctor I saw last time, for something else, did not have any available appointments for over a month, so I booked an appointment with her physicians assistant. 

May 5th I met with the dermatologist and her physicians assistant. Each of them looked at the growth and agreed it was a wart. I was only a little surprised. I've had warts on my feet before, and this did not look like a wart to me. But I never really challenged the diagnosis. They were the doctors, and what did I know?

The physicians assistant froze the growth with liquid nitrogen. She told me to wait a week and treat it with Compound W wart remover. I did, and did. I had a follow up appointment scheduled in one month just in case the wart persisted. 

On June 8th the growth was still there. The physicians assistant was surprised to see me back, but said it's common for warts to be stubborn, especially in hard to treat places, like under a fingernail. She treated it with nitrogen again and gave me the same directions, wait a week and treat it with Compound W. We scheduled another follow up, just in case.

July 7th I returned to the office, we finally seemed to be making headway. The growth was still there, but much smaller. The physicians assistant froze the small spot that was left and gave me the same instructions, wait a week and treat it with Compound W. We scheduled a follow up for August, but she seemed confident we wouldn't need it.

I waited the week, but before 4 days had even passed the growth was as big as ever. In hindsight I remember thinking that even though the growth was small on the surface, I could feel a large lump underneath. I kicked myself for not telling her at the last appointment. I think this is the month I hugged my wife and gasped in pain when my finger touched a fold in her shirt.

In August our family was getting ready to travel to London, England and the growth was really bothering me. My next appointment was weeks later and I was dreading traveling with my finger in that shape. I called the office but was told there was no way they could see me before we left. So the trip to London was spent pasting Compound W on my finger every night, and keeping it covered with a bandage at all times. The smallest bump was excruciating. But generally speaking, it was a minor annoyance.

I returned to the office after the trip, August 23rd, really frustrated. I was so tired of this ordeal. I wanted the physicians assistant to try something new. Clearly freezing and Compound W was not working. I wanted her to burn or cut it out. She wanted to give it one more try. I agreed, but asked her to make sure she froze it completely and deep. I definitely mentioned that I felt it deep under the skin. I said "I don't care if you have to freeze the entire tip of my finger, I want this thing gone.“

She froze it more than any prior visit. My hand entire hand hurt for an hour after the appointment. I began to wait the week before treating it with Compound W. Each previous time the growth hardened and turned a light brown color. It either peeled off or was absorbed into my skin. This time a large scab developed. At the end of the week the scab partially peeled off around the edges. In the center though it didn't seem to be healing. It wasn't drying up the way scabs usually do. Eventually it opened up in the center and started oozing blood. But when it did, it wouldn't clot the way I'm used to. It would just ooze blood until I covered it.

It would bleed anytime I changed the bandage, or banged it on anything, which I did 10 times a day. At work I would shift the car into drive and clip the radio receiver. I would smash it doing yard work, or just about anything else. Eventually it began to morph from an open scab into a bloody growth. My wife recognized it immediately as granulation tissue, or a granuloma.

When I returned to the dermatologist on September 20th, she confirmed what my wife suspected, it was a granuloma. She seemed to genuinely feel bad about the diagnosis and my ordeal. She advised me that unfortunately she could not treat it. She referred me to a hand surgeon.

I saw the hand surgeon, again a physicians assistant, a few days later. He confirmed the diagnosis of a granuloma, but would not perform any procedures in his office, as I begged him to do. He treated the growth with silver nitrate sticks. He gave me a week's supply and told me to come back. 

The silver nitrate sticks turned the tip of my finger black and burned the granuloma. After a week my finger looked like charcoal. My mother was horrified by it when I showed her one morning. I went back to the hand surgeon on September 29th. He said the granuloma was pretty much gone,  but they can come back. Also it looked like the silver nitrate was burning down into the wart tissue. He scheduled me for surgery the following week to remove the entire thing.

I was elated that the ordeal finally seemed to be ending. On October 4th I went into the Buffalo Surgery Center where I met the hand surgeon for the first time, about 15 minutes before surgery. He explained that he was going to remove the main growth, which they would send for biopsy, just in case. He would then scrape out the rest of the wart tissue. I could expect a stitch and not too much pain.

They surgery was fairly quick. I was awake, under a local anesthetic. He informed me when he removed the biopsy portion, and moved onto scraping out the rest. After a bit he said he was scraping the bone, which horrified me. I almost passed out and a nurse came over to try to keep me awake. In the end the doctor removed over a centimeter of tissue from the tip of my finger and had to use three stitches to close it up. 

I had a large bandage on my finger for two days. It was uncomfortable, but not too painful. Motrin at night was more than enough. When I took the bandage off for the first time I was pretty shocked at the appearance of my finger. The tip was flat and had 3 stitches running side by side, and through the nail. The stitches were disolvable. The doctor said he wanted to see me in 10 days, but I hadn't yet scheduled the follow up. 

On Monday October 10th, Columbus Day, I got an automated call from the the hand surgeon reminding me of an appointment for Friday October 14th. I didn't remember making this appointment, and still think I never did. On Tuesday I called back to reschedule the appointment for Thursday afternoon, a non-work day. It was scheduled for 3:30 p.m., after I pick my daughter up from school. But as the receptionist said "bring your daughter. It'll only take 10 minutes." 

I brought her in and we waited longer in the waiting room, and then in the examination room, than I did in any of my previous appointments, including the surgery. Again the physicians assistant entered. We talked while my daughter sat next to me, playing on my phone. He looked at the incision, which was in decent shape. The stitches had all come untied and I snipped them at the nail and skin with nail clippers. He poked and prodded it for a minute while I asked him how it would fill out and return to its previous appearance. He said it most likely would.

Then he rolled his stool over to the computer screen and said "I want to show you something." When I came close his whispered "I didn't want to say it out loud with your daughter in the room." With his right hand he was pointing at the screen which displayed my biopsy results. Just above his finger were the words "papilary digital eccrine adenocarcinoma."

I was stunned. I said "is that what I think it is?" He said "yeah, I'm sorry." My hand went up to my face and I sat down on the examination table. I asked "what do we do now?" and he said something about consulting with the doctor. I asked "do I need to see an oncologist?" And he said "I don't know. I've never heard of this cancer. I was just reading up on it for 5 minutes before I came in here to talk to you."