Sunday, May 13, 2018

Conference Finals

The Capitals took a 2-0 series lead against the Lightning tonight, with their second road win. The Caps have outscored the Lightning 10-4 through two games. Are we seeing the weakness of the Atlantic division? Or is this just an example of a team in form versus a team that has rested?

Winnipeg just played a brutal 7 game series against Nashville. The Jets dominated game 1 with a single day of rest 4-2 against a well rested Vegas Knights. The Knights cruised through the first two rounds with dominating series wins against Los Angeles and San Jose. Then Vegas rested for almost a week before the third round.

Regardless, a Winnipeg Washington Cup Finals will be a fun series to watch. I'm definitely rooting for Washington.

Mothers

Everyone likes to say they truly appreciate and respect mothers, especially on Mother's Day. But sometimes I think it's said but not really understood.

The sacrifice women make to become moms is enormous and rarely given its due in our society. Seriously. Children are a gift, and a blessing. But women make sacrifices to bring them into this world. First they sacrifice their bodies. Our society judges every choice they make and puts unfair pressures on them. In order to be the best moms they can be they often sacrifice their careers. They make less money than in the careers that men typically choose. They give more time to their families than men do, and their employers hold it against them. They often do an unfair amount of house work and child rearing. They are the glue that holds our society together and it would crumble into anarchy if left solely to men.

So while you're honoring the moms in your world today, take a moment to think of additional ways you can honor them tomorrow and the rest of the year. They deserve more thanks than we can give them.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Atrocities

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?"

Atheists:

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

Christians:

"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.