Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being Shortchanged By My Own Brain!

I've noticed that when I'm extra tired, the dreams I have are much more interesting and sometimes so active I wake up exhausted... and pissed!

I don't really remember what I was dreaming about, even moments after waking up, but I know my dreams are stifling my growth. Not growth like having sipped some of my mom's coffee stunted my ability to be tall, but in life. Not sure if I was shortchanged economically, emotionally or otherwise, but I just KNOW, that my dreams ability to draw things out way too long are really irritating me.

I know that whatever is going on in the dream is interesting, and it keeps leading to some magical golden point. But the dreams keeps elaborating on and on, beating a dead horse. Kind of like those online copy ads that keep telling you what a great product/service/opportunity you can have if you respond now.... oh but wait let us tell you more, by merely expounding on what we just said, but with different word orders and sentence structures, followed with some vaguely written "testimonials". YEAH YEAH YEAH, JUST GET TO THE G%$$@&^* POINT ALREADY!

Yeah, my dreams are kind of annoying like that. Yes, I've been sucked in, I'm interested in your story, but more so, I'm interested in what the point is, what golden nugget of information is going to hit my hears, bounce around my brain and make me better off for knowing it.

And you know what? Every time I think I am right at that point where I'm gonna hear it... I wake up! That stupid alarm clock, or my stupid bladder complaining about how it needs to be emptied right now or it will wet my bed, is always interrupting my dreams just when they are getting to the good and juicy part of the story.

I keep thinking that I'm going to learn the secret of life, or how to make my first billion dollars, by merely HEARING the next utterances of whoever is talking to me in my respective dreams. And I can FEEL it with every fiber of my being. Then that clock goes off or my bladder wakes me up, and I find myself thoroughly disappointed and irritated that I had my chances shot to hell because of having to wake up.

I'll let the rest of you take it from here... I'm sure I had something really important to tell all of you to conclude this blog post, but I can't seem to remember what it is...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God Versus Nature

So just a bit of disgusting guy humor to chew on for a few minutes. Now I know you all usually come here for up to date serious discussions that I introduce which will inevitably change the world, but I figured I'd lighten things up from my usual all-business-all-the-time posts...

So I had some greasy foods and some fiber loaded foods over the course of a few days. Eventually they came back to haunt me while I was working. Before you ask, no I did NOT soil myself while driving the patrol car. I did however go to a familiar facility that I am comfortable using. It also happened to be a church, an episcopalian one at that, that I lock up and do security checks at. I had a copy of the Sunday paper and took it in with me. 20 minutes and 10 pounds later, I ran out of that bathroom. You know its pretty bad when your own stuff frightens your sense of smell to the very core.

Surely I thought I will burn in hell for having destroyed the facilities. So naturally I asked a female friend. She assured me that "Jesus always forgives." That's nice, but also one opinion from someone who doesn't exactly regularly attend church, and keep up to date on the Sin/Not a Sin list.

So I asked a male coworker. He assured me that "Blowing up a Sh***** in the House of God is one of those unforgivable sins like suicide and that surely you will burn."

So, in order to break the tie I went to my lovely sister for her opinion. I told her the basic story and the answers I received from my two friends. She then informed me most assuredly that "God is an angry God. The New Testament and Jesus love stuff was just to co opt the tenderhearted people into worshipping God. And that you will definitely burn in hell." Again this opinion is from a non churchgoing person....but awfully harsh coming from a new age hippie liberal type. That and she is my sister... she probably relishes the day to find out whether I burn in hell or not, hoping for the former. Lot of love between her and I.

I asked her that if I destroyed an Episcopalian bathroom with all their tender loving God ways being a falsity in the name of the true angry God, that I might get leniency for helping to take down his false church. She said I'd be lucky if that were the case... she's probably still hoping for the hellfire and brimstone option for me.

Then I began to wonder... Angry god or not, he made me and he made the stuff to make the food I ate, and he should've foreseen the problem of the nature of my body reacting to this stuff and known that sooner or later, a church would be bombed out by my #2 stinky business. So ultimately this is God's fault (this is purely satire...don't go getting in a huff over this statement, you religious fanatics!) for making me this way...after all He created me in His image....So maybe I'm just trying to achieve His goal of becoming more like him. Maybe this production of Smoke On The (Holy Toilet) Water, is more of an homage of His greatness? Has God destroyed a few spiritual toilets in an effort to exalt Himself in front of the angels as an All-Powerful God among Gods?

Discuss amongst yourselves, and proffer your opinions.... Was it a Holy Sh*t, or a fast track to Hell?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

American Healthcare Issues

First off, let me say this isn't an argument for why we should leave health care in America the way it is, or pushing for universal coverage. I'm just doing a little nit-picking and general complaining over a few things.

One of the things I intend to bitch about came up on a blog by Renaissance Guy about a guy with an infected tooth who ended up dying. He went to the local emergency room and they gave him a prescription for some pain meds and an antibiotic and told to go get his tooth pulled. He was uninsured.

The big thing I wondered is why they couldn't have had some doctor come on in and just yank the infected tooth out and go from there with the pain meds and prescription.

One commenter, who goes by the moniker Plainly Spoken, said:
I would suspect that is because ER’s are not equipped for dental work and do not have dentists on staff. I would further think this is because there are not significant numbers of people going to ER’s for dental issues. Also, I would suspect that the large majority of dental emergencies occur because so many people ignore dental issues until forced to deal with them (which may well come from a lack of dental insurance and/or ability to afford dental care).

Fair enough opinion, but still I have to disagree that the people who work in the hospital aren't capable of pulling out a friggin tooth. They have local anesthetics, they have scalpels to cut away the gum if necessary, they have clamps to hold things out the way, and I'm sure something resembling a pair of pliers. Add some gauze to the hole when your done and give the guy some pain meds.

To which another commenter going by Spherical Time replied to my solution:
I think doctors are unlikely to attempt surgery that they haven’t trained for, especially with as few preparations as getting a scalpel, clamps, and a pair of pliers (and the gauze and painkiller).

That’s a good way to kill a patient

As to ST's first paragraph I agree. Although one caveat I might add is how many ER doctors got formal training treating gunshot wounds? Sooner or later it has to be figured out. As for removing a tooth, it isn't exactly rocket science. Yes, it is better to be trained in the professional manner, however, its still pulling a tooth. Take an X-ray to see what the tooth looks like altogether, then yank that puppy out of the guy's mouth. I would assume the reluctance of a doctor in an ER to do such a thing would be more insurance/malpractice/lawsuit related than the ability to do minor in house surgery.

As to removing the tooth killing a patient, I disagree. I've had a few teeth forcibly removed without the help of a trained professional, and I never died from it. I felt like I'd rather have died than deal with that kind of pain, since when it comes to my mouth I'm a big wimp, but somehow I survived it okay.

The stories we were given as kids, and some people may have actually experienced, about tying string to a loose tooth and a doorknob, or pulling a bad tooth out with pliers, they aren't just stories. That kind of thing actually happened... in one's own home, by the babysitter, or whomever.

Heck, for decades, if not centuries, both dental and medical care were administered where ever it was needed. They didn't require a big fancy building and a staff of specialists for every possible scenario in order to do the job. If a guy needed a big gash cleaned and stitched, the old saw bones (doctor) would do it right in his own house which sometimes doubled as his office, or at the patients place. If a guy needed a tooth removed, they removed the dag-blamed tooth.

Who needs big fancy buildings, a board of directors, insurance executives and legal departments to fix minor issues before they become major ones that might require all of the above? Hell, I have known quite a few elderly people who made a trip to the hospital for some reason or another and refused to stay, after the doctor made the decision to keep them, because they knew damn good and well that staying in the constantly sterilized environment might actually be more dangerous in the form of getting a bad antibiotic-resistant staph infection or pneumonia, than going home to heal up from whatever ailment they suffered from. They can check in by phone, or visit the clinic to be followed up with or monitored, and only choosing to stay in the hospital if things get really really bad that they actually physically REQUIRE hospitalization.

But then again, thanks to lawyers, if the doctors don't toe the line and something goes wrong, the patients family can sue the pants off of them. Whether it happened in the hospital or because the doctor didn't make them stay. I do argue for tort reform in the medical field. Not a full on "you can't sue the doctors for shit" kind of tort reform, but for putting a little common sense back into the system. If the doctor fucks something up, sure sue him. Get the cost of the medical requirements covered by the doctor, hospital, and/or their insurance companies. Get the lost wages to the family in the event of death or permanent disability. Even get your mental anguish and pain and suffering payments if you want...not $10 million dollars worth of pain and suffering by any means, but some smaller, more reasonable figure would be fine in my eyes.

I know life is precious and priceless, especially if it is yours or a loved one's, but some of these lawsuits that award millions in damages on top of the economic scope are ludicrous. I don't care if the guy is a $5 million dollar a year CEO of some corporation or some barely making handyman. Cover the health care costs for life for screwing him up, a reasonable wage recovery amount (in the event of the little guy, give him his last 20 years of work he would have done if it hadn't been for this medical "mistake"; as for the CEO, he can do with less than 20 years at $5 million per), and some capped compensation for your pain and suffering.

I'm not a big fan of lawyers and their ability to make a ton of money from your lawsuit while you get a pittance when something goes wrong in the medical business. I'm not a big fan of the insurance and hospital execs who get big pay for essentially "running" a corporation already tracking to succeed regardless of him being a member of the board. I'm not a big fan of the big pharmaceutical companies who insist on pushing their drugs onto everyone at a steep price, and working their damnedest to keep the generic versions from being available, or their working with insurance companies to keep erectile dysfunction drugs covered while not covering other types of more relevant lifesaving drugs and forcing the customer to pony up every penny for them.

I mean look, I'm not anti-regulation. I believe there has to be some regulations to protect all parties involved, but often times we over regulate things, and use too broad of a brush with those that exist that actually stymie the process in some instances.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Frogs, Bats, Wasps and FAIL!

This year Iowa has seen a ton of tree frogs doing their wall and window hanging impressions. Like little green mimes, they just stick there silently mocking us humans who need to invent crap to stick to walls in such a way.

The other night I had the animal kingdom out in full force for my viewing pleasure while working. I saw a fox run down and then slaughter a little bunny rabbit. As I watched this spectacle occurring alongside me as I creeped through a residential neighborhood in my patrol vehicle, I was doing my best to mimic a combination of the National Geographic narrators combined with the guy who does the commentary at horse races. I found myself very amused by me, but then again, those of you who know me, know that isn't a hard thing to accomplish.

Cicadas have been out in full force this summer as well. With their little camouflage thoraxes these things seem to believe they are soldiers, or rather the live embodiment of attack choppers, with all their loud noises and their flying about haphazardly. While most keep their distance from me, this particular night I disturbed one that was on the edge of a door frame near a scan strip I have to swipe in an effort to let the boss know I was in fact there. As son as my hand got near the unseen bug, it swooped up in the air and then proceeded to dive bomb me, repeatedly, for about 10 feet. I'm not sure what the goal of this attack was on the Mookified Leader was, but it was kind of annoying and did make me jump and swipe. Luckily no one was around to witness this spectacle I was putting on, other than a billion flying insects that swarm the lights at the facility I was checking. He finally gave up after hitting the ten foot mark, and lucky for him... I was about to kill the little flying bastard, instead I found a few making due on the concrete below some ground lights and killed them instead as a warning that the Mook does not take kindly to acts of terrorism, especially from insects.

Then I crossed the street to a group of 3 buildings I check nightly, and the place where I most commonly find my little tree frogs. As I pulled up alongside the first building, I saw something hanging alongside the door on the cement/stucco wall of the building. It was rather large in comparison tot he frogs I usually see hanging about. As I got closer, I realized it was awfully furry to be a frog. Then I got right up on this intruder and realized this furry thing was definitely no frog but a God-forsaken BAT!!!!

Just hanging out on the wall about a foot above the sidewalk, I was not only being Marcel Marceau-d by frogs, but also a fucking bat! Those little sonsabitches usually only confronted me inside old buildings, schools and some houses, and now they were brave enough to come at me, a trained professional bat killer, errr bat remover, outside in the open air? Luckily for him, I had my blood lust satisfied by watching the fox and rabbit massacre as well as the killing of a few misguided cicadas... oh and the praying mantis that tried to go toe to toe with me (pretty much literally)outside the local medical school earlier that evening. I left this rabies infested scourge of the night alone to sleep against his warm wall, vowing his um, removal, should he be there the next time I returned.

Anyways, back to the frogs. The boys and I went camping the other weekend at Lake Ahquabi, which features a load of trails, bathroom facilities- some of which are loaded with wasp nests galore (more on that later)-, and a nice little lake that also happens to be home to a lot of frogs. One guy was jigging frogs out of one end of the lake, playing with the bullfrogs and then letting them go back to their homes. My oldest son had found a new friend on the campgrounds and they spent hours out hunting for salamanders and frogs. They had a good time.

One thing that struck me dumb was at night while the boys were sleeping in the tent. I was watching my little campfire burn, adding a few logs to it when necessary to keep the fire going so I could stare at and be lost in the flames that much longer. I heard stirring from the tent, and my oldest Joshua is talking in his sleep. Mostly mumbles then suddenly and very loudly I hear him exclaim, "FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!"

I'm not sure what that was about. It could be that since he didn't get video games at all for the weekend, they invaded his dreams for a bit and he was yelling at the TV screen while playing, or trash talking some friend playing against him in a video game. I don't really know, but it was funny as hell, and again, amused me greatly. I never heard another peep out of him the entire night.

This year has been an odd one for flying stinging insects for me. It was just 2 weekends ago that I literally saw my first honey bee all year. Growing up, I would see them all the time as they hit the dandelions and other flowers from early morning til early evening. Now I rarely see them at all. I had heard of mysterious drops in honey bee populations, and of course I have seen more than my fair share of wasps and hornets. And this little video tells me all I need to know about that:

I really really like honey... So I find it in my heart to ally myself with honeybees and do in their predatorial cousins any chance I get.

Once it warmed up we had wasps and hornets flying all around my apartment building. I armed myself with enough spray to poison the entire fresh water supply in central Iowa. Did I mention I hate flying stingy bugs? I don't care much for bugs at all as it is, especially itch-making mosquitoes and chiggers, but the things that can fly great distances and change direction in mid flight to avoid a swatting and still come sting me??? Forget that noise. They can all die!

And die they did. One steady stream of non-electrically conducting liquid wasp & hornet death juice at a time brought to you by RAID! I even nailed a bumblebee out on my deck, drenching him with approximately 3 cups (4 quarts Canadian) of the stuff.

But I still had an elusive enemy lurking about the property. This thing was big and black with a few very thin yellow half stripes. It's body gleamed in the sunlight showing its true body armor. It started out hanging out near the drainage coil underneath the sidewalk that led up to the south end of our building. Occasionally it would buzz up near the doorsteps, but rarely. Then one day the shiny knight of the Hornet kingdom buzzed my deck, hovering a bit as if to challenge me to battle before dropping down to a dirt patch where some bushes once stood. It would fly up quickly to the trees along the west edge of the property going after the cicadas I presume, and then shortly it would return to the dirt patch, hovering about, never landing. I don't know if it was a Cicada Killer, or a giant effing hornet, but I wasn't about to ask it face to face. The Mookified Army had to mobilize at this new threat to its leader's peace.

Armed with my previously aforementioned can of hornet death juice, I went outside to the sidewalk to confront my enemy, with a spotter on my deck to keep an eye on its whereabouts. When I landed below, the Hornet Knight was still hovering about the dirt patch. I drew my trusty can of death juice and fired away from a safe distance. The can stated to have a 22 foot range, however had finally giving out... white gaseous clouds emitted from the nozzle, essentially gassing the area around the Hornet Knight! GASP! I began the quick retreat of fear that little kids exhibit when they get spooked. But the Hornet Knight just buzzed about his happy little existence, surely laughing his little buzzy laugh at me as I went inside, thwarted once again by the failings of technology.

Then the other evening, the Hornet Knight reappeared as I sat on the south stoop having a cigarette and enjoying a nice cold refreshing Barley Soda. He zipped in close, hovered near the legs of myself and a friend. I moved slowly and proceeded indoors. My friend asked me if I was scared and running away. To this, I, General Mook, proclaimed that I was not afraid, but must secure my weapons of war and deal with the evil invader that flies and stings stuff. You see, I had since procured more flying stinging insect death juice in a can!!! I left my friend to keep an eye on it. Of course when I returned, the Hornet Knight must've smelled the scent of its one weakness that comes in a can. He had disappeared. I boldly stated how he must be scared of the deadly Mookist military machine, to which I received in response a small and sarcastic sounding chuckle. but then, back to the stoop the Hornet Knight came a calling. He had been querying a spot between the bricks underneath a layer of steps. I told my friend to back off and let a professional warrior handle this business. I too stepped back about 5 feet from the stoop. The Hornet Knight then settled in and landed on the steps, preparing to crawl into the crevasse.

SHWOOOOOSHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hit that bad boy with everything I had for about 10 seconds straight. The Hornet Knight's own body armor could not withstand the heavy onslaught of flying stinging bug death juice in a can. It quickly curled up almost appearing to have stung itself in the face to get its death over with quickly and avoid suffering the burny sensation that must be caused by my aerosol technology.

The previous few nights of work, about 8 miles away just outside of downtown, I had found a nest of little yellow jackets or wasps or some such thing that had built a nest in front of a boarded up window on the backside of an abandon tenement that I patrol. Teeming over the nest and keeping an eye on my once the beam of my flashlight illuminated it, I knew they too were preparing to deal with the Mookist leader while he played rentacop. However, after the death of the Hornet Knight, these wasps had disappeared, leaving nothing but a dry nest behind them. Some might say the falling temperatures made them abandon the nest for a more desirably insulated location, but I know it was because I had eliminated the regional warlord that I had dubbed the Hornet Knight...however he was no knight, but a Hornet King!!!

And I single-handedly squashed any flying stinging bug uprising that may have been about to occur by taking out their leader!!!

So hopefully next spring and summer, the honey bees return and make my precious product that I crave so much. If not, I may have to start a new career as the Great White Wasp Hunter!!! And I will bring virulent death to all that fly and sting, besides the honey bees, until they are no more!!!

And then they will make a new and improved Starship Troopers, where Instead of Johnny Rico going after some kind of friggin arachnid threat from outer space, Chuck Norris (Playing former Texas Ranger turned Mookist Emperor) will be the lone savior of humanity as he roundhouse kicks hornets and wasps and bumblebees of all varieties, in an inter-species war of attrition (they sacrifice themselves in huge numbers, Chuck Norris sacrifices midget babies as bait) and extinction- on earth AND in outer space!!!