Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greetings from Texas

Things are calm here at my parents' house in Houston.  We could have used the rain that came with that little hurricane Irene since there's a pitiful drought and it's something like 107 degrees outside, which is extreme even for Houston. 

Mother has a cartoon she found over at Juanita Jean's The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon hung up on the refrigerator with a magnet.

I have to say that Rick Perry's Texas is pretty fucking scary.   I had just gotten off the plane and was heading toward baggage claim when a booming voice over the PA System announced that services were being held in the interfaith chapel in 15 minutes.  I half expected a homeland security swat team to appear to drag me to church.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thing of Beauty #20-101: Detox Diet, Physical Therapy and Weed

The shoulder with the arthritis and inflammation has shown dramatic improvement since I started the detox diet.  The thing is, though, that I was already out of weed when I started the diet, and I couldn't get any weed for two weeks after I was fully on the program.  It takes a couple of weeks without caffein, gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, alcohol, sugar, etc. for the detox diet to start working.  So just as the diet was kicking in, I finally got some weed.

Then I went to physical therapy.  The therapist has been stretching out my frozen shoulder for some weeks, when the insurance company denied further treatment.  The provider will cheerfully continue to treat me for my original co-payment plus the amount they got from the insurance company.  Turns out that amount is only $15 per session, so I can still go once a week.  That's how it works with our current health care system.  But I can't start thinking about how fucked up that is or else I'll go straight to all that bullshit with the deficit ceiling, S&P, Congress in general, Michelle Bachman's vote-buying tent in Iowa (which I saw on Jon Stewart) and pondering the idea of a progressive challenge to Obama in the primaries.

I probably could have managed all that bullshit without drinking, but when I was sadly fatigued and foggy from a week on the detox diet when Buzz Kill called from the street outside my building at 9:30 Saturday morning.  He wanted to come up and fix the wireless cable with Velvet.  I'm pretty sure he mentioned Velvet.  Anyway, a few minutes later, Buzz Kill was in my space wearing his bicycle outfit and carrying his bike.  Not only did he have on those little spandex shorts, but he wore a white nylon sleeveless top so thin you could see his body hair, white cleats that looked for all the world like maryjanes. Under his helmet he wore a little, yellow bicycle cap. He was very sweaty from riding his bike along the river. He didn't feel like going over the bridge, though, because something was out of whack on his bike. As it happens that my new apartment is not far from one of the spots where folks can connect to the bike/jogging path and the places for giant picnics.

I'm not sure where we were with politics, society and the economy when I saw Buzz Kill in spandex, but I sure was out of weed.  I decided there an then the alcohol moratorium was over and resolved to have sparkling rose at brunch the next day with Gigi - whom I fondly call my daughter the pole dancing quadroon.  She's not really my daughter, and she's not exactly a pole dancer and she may actually be an octoroon - but certain stories have combined and that's how her name evolved.  She and I split a bottle of sparkling rose.  I had a couple of glasses the following weekend, and when I saw the nutritionist on Monday, she said a little wine every now and then was fine.  I didn't ask her about the weed since in my view weed played an integral role in my increased range of motion and decreased pain level.

Weed didn't fix my shoulder, though, because I had weed all spring and the shoulder was fucked up.  When that earnest young surgeon suggested a shoulder replacement I had plenty of weed which was a good thing because he was annoying.

My shoulder was fixed by a combination of physical therapy, diet and weed.  I decided to keep going to PT once a week after the insurance company cut me off.  In the time between my last insurance company approved session and my next appointment, the benefits of the detox diet kicked in and I got some weed.   The therapist had me walking my fingers up the wall trying to get my arm over my head.  It was okay as long as I faced toward the wall, but when I turned to the side the range of motion was sorely limited.  Back at the table, he jiggled my shoulder around in the joint a bit and pushed on a point near the lower scapula.  He repeated the process a few times and even though it was intense, I could tell it was good.  The next day,  the arm moved more fluidly in the socket, and I could even touch my head.

I figure that once the muscles were loose enough, the therapy helped ease the bones back into their correct position.

It is a thing of beauty, and so many little moments of beauty when into healing the shoulder so far that I'm going to give it 5 places in the list I've been making as part of the Discover Beauty Challenge from relia.  That brings me up to #20-101.  Buzz Kill was so funny, he gets to be #21-101.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm still not sure exactly how I'm going to manage October 6th, but every time I watch one of the videos from Dennis Trainor, Jr about the occupation of Freedom Plaza, I become more convinced that as many people as possible need to be there. It's tricky for lots of people because of family responsibilities, health issues, travel expenses and stuff like that, so it's important for those of us who can manage the arrangements to get ourselves to DC.

It's been a shitty week or two. The bull shit over the deficit ceiling reinforced the fact that Corporate Money is the problem with our government. Some people still cling to the notion that Obama is Mr. Spock playing three dimensional chess. I don't know what he's playing at. To me, he's still just like Tiger Woods - a corporate spokesperson (stonerdate 04.16.11) which puts Obamafiles in a position not unlike a cocktail waitress who has been seduced into a one night stand by a smooth talking salesman who creates the impression that he'll leave his wife.

Obama seduced voters with all that speechifying.  He's as good a speechifying as Tiger is at golf.  To extend this metaphor, though, Obama's wife is not Michelle.  He owes his allegiance to the Corporate Sponsors who paid for his campaign in 2008 and are paying again for 2012.  Some Democrats cling to the illusion that Barack will forsake the money he requires for reelection, and do the right thing for the people - just like a delusional "other woman" remains convinced a man will leave his wife someday so that their love can flower.  Meanwhile he's going through the motions occasionally, tossing a trinket now and then, just so he can fuck her at his convenience.

Diehard Democrats say Barack needs our support, and that Progressives shouldn't play "hard to get" as if he's our boyfriend while they're acting like he's going to leave his Corporate wife for We the People.

As if.

All I have to say to that is remember how he said he thought single payer healthcare was the way to go, then compromised the hell out of everything in back room deals in the name of bipartisanship?  And how is it that those Bush Tax Breaks for the wealthy never expired? The list of Obama's return on investment for his corporate sponsors is lengthy, and nuclear power is simply the latest.  All but a handful of State and National elected officials are Corporatists.  The difference between Republicans and Democrats are as insignificant as the difference between Skippy Peanut Butter and Jif, and we don't even have a Peter Pan  alternative.

In my view, there is no reason to talk about the upcoming presidential elections because a lot can happen between now and November 2012.  We have troubles TODAY.  Our population is every bit as volatile as that of England, and all we need is a trigger of our own for the violent class war to erupt over here.

It's bugging me that the military is sending tanks to California in preparation for civil unrest. They're probably sending them other places too, I just saw the ones on their way to California on Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff this week. The turrets on the tanks have been modified for non-lethal weapons. I can see the need for police support if riots break out, but it makes you wonder what the government already knows if they are making these kind of preparations.  Apparently Survivalist types, including Glenn Beck, have been making noise about Unified Quest for several months, but these trains full of tanks suggest the Pentagon isn't just playing out scenarios for the class war at home.

Maybe there will be some tanks in DC on October 6th, when we'll be standing for Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Which Velvet gets Conked on the Head

My ass is dragging today.  I'm pretty sure it's all because of the inflammation detox diet I started last weekend, under the guidance of my nutritionist, to help with my arthritis.  I do think it's helping even though I've been fatigued, foggy and somewhat fragile in the afternoons, but my mother says the afternoon piece is the result of no caffeine. I felt pretty good yesterday, though, and was very nearly celebrating getting over the detox hump when I found out that Velvet got mugged on the way to work.  Velvet would argue with the term "mugged," but when somebody in the South Bronx conks your kid on the head and tries to swipe his headphones, I think the term applies.

Velvet believes the two teenagers were on their way to summer school at the High School near the park where Velvet is a day camp counselor.  They didn't get his headphones, though, which is a good thing since Velvet thinks those headphones are balling.  They didn't get his sunglasses either - which makes me suspect they weren't nearly as interested in his possessions as they were in conking a skinny, white college kid with big red headphones on the head.  Fuck the Ray Bands.  I agree with Velvet, though, that they were probably headed to summer school because professional thugs generally aren't awake and on the job before 9:00 in the morning.

From what I've heard so far, two young black fellows conked Velvet on the head just as he was going into the park on the way to work.  They must have come up from behind, but I haven't questioned Velvet thoroughly about this event since he spent a lot of time with Buzz Kill yesterday going to the doctor.  We really have to get him a new doctor because he's much too old to go to the pediatrician, but that's just one more thing we haven't gotten around to doing.  Anyway, Velvet fell and skinned his knee when they conked him, but he got right up and started cussing and hollering.  Velvet quickly assessed the situation and determined that they could kick his ass even though they were younger, ran into the park and shouted, "I know the Ranger, Motherfuckers!"  The boys ran off - maybe to school - the witnesses who had gathered went about their business, and Velvet went to work as usual because Shit Happens.

Velvet did take time to mention the incident to his supervisor, and the next thing you know the Park Ranger in charge of their program loaded Velvet into the cool Ranger Vehicle and took him straight to the police station to file a report.  It didn't take very long since park rangers get to go straight to the head of the line at the police station.  Professional Courtesy, I guess.  It's kind of the same with Right To Carry permits because any time a cop has stopped my dad for something he's done while driving, the cop sees Dad's Right to Carry permit, asks him if he's carrying, and lets him go.  One time the cops in Texas were writing all kinds of people tickets for driving across the grass to get off the freeway and onto the feeder road, but one look at the permit and Dad was free to travel.

The Ranger then drove Velvet to Vagina Denta and Buzz Kill's house so he could go to the doctor.  If he weren't able to get an appointment, the Ranger would have taken Velvet to the Emergency Room and charged the whole thing to Workman's Comp.  Buzz Kill, wisely in my view, declined the workman's comp offer because Velvet had a claim last summer when he was a bus boy and slipped on the stairs to the basement in the restaurant.  We can't have some random insurance company declaring that Velvet is an employment risk.  Besides even though his health insurance is very reasonably priced, it's still $700 a year, so I like to use it as much as possible.  The pediatrician examined the boy and wrote a note saying that it was cool for him to return to work without restrictions.

Overall, the Ranger was very helpful.  I'm positive she was well aware that skinny white college boys tend to have parents that sue the city when their kids get mugged on city property on the way to work.  Nevertheless, she was proactive, responsible and efficient.

I'm not sure when Cupcake arrived on the scene, but once they were done at the doctor's office, Buzz Kill took Velvet and Cupcake out for good pizza.  Then Velvet put Cupcake on the bus back to her house and came on home.  He was so tired that I didn't want to ask many questions, especially since I knew that he'd been answering questions for the police, the pediatrician and Buzz Kill.

Velvet's ass was dragging this morning, too, but he made it out the door on time - wearing the tiny little earbuds Buzz Kill got him yesterday afternoon.  Velvet grumbled a bit about the earbuds, saying they were goofy and that his father would never know if he continued to wear his big, red headphones, but he complied. I'm taking that as another sign that the man-child has matured this year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to School

Velvet has been readmitted to Tree Hugger.  The letter from the dean was delayed due to the address change - but it's here, reminding him that he needs a 2.0 to stay off academic probation.  I'm confident that it will be a successful semester for Velvet, largely because I've insisted that he arranges a cake walk for himself.  The whole focus must be on removing a couple of the Fs from his transcript so that it will be easier for him to transfer, if that's what he wants to do.  Or he could graduate.  Stranger things have happened.

With Velvet officially back in school, this August is shaping up much like the last two except that this time, he'll be a FIFTH semester freshman instead of first or third.  I'm not sure if Tree Hugger will take any of the credits Velvet earned during his Semester in the Rockies.  If he goes on another expedition - and I have promised Velvet that if he does well this year he can take a Semester in Patagonia, The Amazon or New Zealand - then Tree Hugger will count it as a semester abroad.

But we shall see what we shall see.  The first item on the agenda is getting registered for the fall.  Essentially, he'll be repeating his last semester, less one class so he can build up to the work load.  He also has to join one of the outdoor clubs so he can go climbing, floating, snowshoeing or whatever the hell they do because the Semester in the Rockies proved that as long as Velvet is using his body, his brain works fine.  It's sitting on the sofa in Hookah House drinking beer and playing video games that's the problem.

One of his brothers has a young female Doberman named Carob whom Velvet must take out for a run twice a day.  There's some kind of sports field next door to Hookah House, so Velvet and Carob can play frisbee or something over there as a substitute for one of the runs.  It'll be good for both of them. Carob's master, CT, is totally down with this idea.

That my son is now a Fifth Semester Freshman somehow seems to combine the Sublime and the Ridiculous and kick the situation beyond Absurdity.  But, that's the way we roll here at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters.  The good news is that Velvet is doing very well at his summer job as a counselor at a day camp in the South Bronx.  It's tough duty because he's with kids 8 - 10 years old who come from a very underserved population.  Some privileged kids would be bitching and moaning when they come home from work at a job like that - outside all day in the hot sun with kids whose preferred recreation is beating on each other - but when Velvet gets home, he's as cheerful as when he left in the morning even though he's been on the subway an hour.

I'm very encouraged since Velvet came back from the Rockies thinking that he'd like to go into Outdoor Education.  And truly, the world would be a little better with Velvet in Outdoor Education.  Meanwhile, I've been settling in to the new home and fooling around with Worldwide Hippies on Facebook.  The Open Group has gotten to be a lot of fun lately with ongoing discussions about the Hippie Ethos and how it evolved, guys sharing their draft board experiences and the obligatory political ponderings.  Nobody has gotten pissed off yet, although that will surely come since a couple of folks have posted Ron Paul banners, and nothing gets Woody spitting bullets like people who think Ron Paul is liberal just because he'd legalize weed. Or at least he'd try - I'm pretty sure nobody can get a damn thing done with all the douchebags in Congress sucking up lobbyists' cash.

I haven't gone through my FB friends list and added people willy nilly.  Lots of people don't like Groups, and I hate to be that presumptuous.  But if you're on Facebook and like to shoot the shit with old geezers, I'd love to see you there.  This means you, Jaded J - and a bunch of other folks I won't single out because I'm much too shy.