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Some things are to the bone

Dad and I went up to visit with Mother today. She's completely out of it--where once she was responding to outside voices, at this point, she is no longer aware of them.


When we first got there, I stood by her bed and said, "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

And she said, "What?"

It was the only really coherent thing she said all day.

Once you are "Mommy", it would appear that you stay Mommy, and you answer your child's voice, no matter what.


Lack of congruence

I posted this on my Facebook this morning--

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." - Mahatma Gandhi

And it explains a lot, because that is not what I have been doing, and it may be the key to why I am NOT so happy right at the moment...

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For your consideration....

A Wall Street Journal article, from someone outside the industry, that pretty much verifies what I said in my last friendslocked post.

Please--be educated about this. Learn as much as you can. And express yourself accordingly.

You wanna have a grammar-gasm?

There are those of us out there who, whether willingly or not, are Grammar Nazis. We literally cringe at abuses and misuses of our mother language, and sing the praises of the Oxford comma and correct spelling. We are driven to madness when we realize that we often occupy the planet with folks who turn verbs into nouns and vice versa because they think it makes them look intelligent, or who think that to, too, and two are interchangable spellings of the same word, or who can't quite grasp the innate and subtle beauties which make up our delightful language.

We learned how to diagram sentences, and often do, just for fun.

Grammar Nazis can make mistakes, too--especially if we are Star Trek fans, and have learned to split our infinitives with abandon because we prefer "to boldly go" rather than "to go boldly" just because it sounds neat to us (thanks, Gene!). But we are aware of the mistakes, often as we make them, and hope that no one is out there with a red pencil, because we are Roddenberrying, or misspelling, or making typos in our haste to get our thoughts down.


Once in awhile, we come across a situation where our minds are so assaulted by a mangling of the language that we can barely contain our rage. This happens most especially when we come across an individual who uses the language to actually un-say what he or she may be attempting to say. Invariably, these nincompoops look at you when they catch your puzzled expression and say, "What do you mean, you didn't understand what I said? I said it flat out! How could you possibly misunderstand what I said? I talked for a full FITB period of time and you don't get it?"

And our only response can be, "Well, you used a lot of words, but you didn't really say anything. Or you said a bunch of words that were confusing, twisting in a most agonizing convolution so that they lost all meaning. It isn't the number of words you use that make you understood--it's the way you put them together."

Hence, if we grow up to be real Grammar Nazis, we find ourselves in a position to relate entirely with every high school and college writing teacher we've ever known in our lives--those brave men and women who slogged their way through the purple prose of our adolescence, armed only with their editing skills and a red pencil, to make some sense of what we've written in sweat and blood. We come to admire their courage, their valor, and their devotion to clarity and meaning in the face of our rampant and completely incomprehensible creativity.

We squee at the idea of red-pencilling. And fall instantly in love with anyone else who can red-pencil with a similar delight.

Like Wayne Lawson.

Dear godz--I think I need a cigarette...

"And that's the way it is..."

Walter Cronkite died last night at 7:42 PM. Interestingly enough, it was a time that would have seen him safely and responsibly through his own evening broadcast, which would have aired between 6:30 and 7:00 PM. Plenty of time to put the day's stories to bed before he himself put down his own head and rested.

He was the first person to be labeled a news "anchor". He was the only person that the Big Wigs thought would be capable of holding the nation's attention for a full 30 minutes, rather than the 15 minutes that had been previously allotted for an evening news broadcast. He was the bridge that held hands with both Edward R. Murrow and Dan Rather.

My family was a Huntley/Brinkley family, but when it came to NASA broadcasts, there was no one else but Walter Cronkite. And reporting space flight in the era of the Mercury astronauts was no easy feat. I remember sitting in class with a television in front of the room, listening to Walter Cronkite, who was able to hold the fascination of millions of school children through endless and interminable countdown suspensions (a ten minute earth orbit would often require a full day's broadcasting, they put a hold on the countdowns so often, while NASA tinkered with their new and incredibly dangerous toys) with animations and simulations and models that showed us just exactly how the science WORKED.

I remember secretly squeeing as my parents bemoaned and disparaged him when he told the nation that the war in Viet Nam was unwinnable. How dare he? It's treason! How dare he broadcast such subversive hippie shit when all he was supposed to do was read the news!

I freakin' LOVED him for it. It was only one more aspect of his incredible bravery--risking his own reputation and the ire of the American people with the same courage that he called upon to glider onto Normandy Beach on D-Day and report from war zones all over the world. And while you're watching all the memorial coverage today, with reflections on his marvelous and incredible life, remember that he was, after that broadcast, one of the most hated and reviled figures in America, among the very people upon whom he depended to do his battle in the ratings. The first of the "liberal media figures", when that wasn't a particularly popular thing to be.

The truth was that important to him, and telling the truth was what he did, even when the truth was hard to tell, and hard to hear.

I also loved his "You Are There" series, where he would take us back in history, reporting on the significant events of the world just as if they were happening right now, and we were watching them through our TV windows. At the end, he would always tell us, "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... and you were there." Considering the fact that Walter Cronkite reported the news during some of the most significant events in human history, from WW II to Watergate, I would imagine that reporting on the great events of the past was very much the same as reporting on contemporary events, and that he was completely aware of the marvels of change that he had witnessed and told us about that were, indeed, happening RIGHT NOW, and what their significance would be in the context of history.

He told us our beloved president had been shot. He told us that man had left his footprint on the moon. He told us we could not win a war that so many of our sons and brothers had spilled their blood to win. He told us who our new president would be. He told us when one of those presidents betrayed us. And he did it in his grave and reassuring baritone, and often with a twinkle of excitement in his eye when the nobility of humankind made itself evident. He also told us, from time to time, with a tear in his eye. He told us in color, as he had told us in black and white--and even before there was a picture at all, over the waves of our radios. And you knew, when he finished, that it really was "the way it was", with his personal integrity intact and his dedication to the truth unmarred.

It was a remarkable life--a life that was lived in a time when it was glorious to be a reporter. And I don't think he ever lost the gratitude that a real reporter would have for the privilege to have witnessed such a remarkable space of time, or the excitement a reporter would feel as he watched history in the making. That gratitude and excitement was obvious to those who watched him--just as obvious as his precision and his character and his endlessly high standards.

And the rest of us who were around got to share that with him. There are many, many people, some reading here, who weren't so lucky, and I feel a certain sorrow for them, that they didn't get to experience what was arguably the last of the true NEWSMEN, because it is very different from what we know now. Reality without cynicism, truth without varnish, information without opinion, news without spin.

It was glorious.

And if you want to know what it looked like to us, here's an example...

Facts--with a heart.

Thank you, Uncle Walter, for all you did.

Godspeed, and rest well.

Sunday Morning Entertainment

If you need a little break from the "All Michael, All The Time" nonsense that is currently sucking up airtime on every bleedin' television station from coast to coast, and you need a bit of a giggle, go meander your mind over to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, and read what messages your fellow 'Merkins have written to Saint Sarah.

It would appear that the majority of her fans are flexing their uneducated writing skills, chomping at the bit to support her petty and vindictive public flounce out of the governor's mansion and into the wild blue yonder of her narcissistic personality disorder. And a more swirling, illogical, misspelled and ungrammatical flood of blind and misguided adoration you would have a hard time finding in the blogosphere, let me tell ya.

Meanwhile, our intrepid Alaskan bloggers and Huffington Post contributors Shannyn Moore and Ak Muckraker are going strong in the face of ridiculous threats of slander suits from the Palin camp. Shannyn is making halibut ceviche and Ak is attending backyard barbecues in the face of this legal folderol, clearly maintaining what is known in the politically correct corporate world as a "work/life balance".

And good for them, I say. Would that Sarah Palin could have done the same thing.

It would appear that Ms. Palin is all for free speech if you are a misguided, half-assed, deposed California beauty queen, but if you are actually exercising that right in criticism of her...no, not so much. Call the lawyers and start them composing blue-backs to help protect the Fairy Princess of the Wilderness from those meaniepoos.

And the truth is, she ASKED for this. She made herself, and her family, with all purpose, public figures. She did it to herself. And what made her think that she would somehow be immune to the kind of public scrutiny and its attending ridicule that every public figure, since time immemorial, has suffered? Did she think that an allowance would be made for her?


And what is it with Republican women? Do they not get the concept of "contractual obligation"? Miss California gets canned because she won't get her ass to contracted public appearances, and St. Sarah bows out, mid-term, from her obligations as the duly-elected governor of Alaska and decides to take her show on the road because it's not fun for her anymore and David Letterman makes jokes about her daughters? You were mean to me, so I'm going home to my pretty pink bedroom to lick my wounds?

I mean, PLEASE. Are they incapable of seeing anything, save a pregnancy, to completion?

What intelligent life form could actually buy into this shit?

She is a living, breathing joke, and if she thought that she would be able to deflect the public ridicule by stepping down, she was sorely mistaken, because now the likes of George Freakin' Will is disparaging her.

I don't know about you, but I'm poppin' the popcorn--this is only going to get better.

Happy Independence Day!

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

--Emma Lazarus

As you celebrate today--and you SHOULD--remember that the battle still goes on, and that we must win.

And special shout outs to the Great State of Alaska, who earned a little more independence yesterday!



Things were so busy yesterday that I thought my brains were going to explode.

Back to the surgeons--there's something surreal about hearing someone singing "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" from Grease into your crotch as they deal with your dressings..;-) It all got very silly, which is better than everything being awful at the doctor's office--it's better to be laughing than crying, definitely. The surgeon says three more weeks and I'm back to work, so I'm taking every minute of laughter I can get before the stress ramps up.

Then we went to check out the nursing facility that they'll be releasing Mother when she gets out of the hospital. The last four days in that whole area of my life have been a little emotional, as well as busy, so going to this lovely place back in the woods full of what appeared to be truly happy people and to be treated so well and so attentively gives me hope that this will be a good place for her, at least temporarily and maybe permanently. I hope that she likes it as well as I did.

Then over to the hospital to visit her, and then on to Dr. G's office for MY PCP checkup.

He was in rare form.

He took a look at my incisions, then grinned at me and said, "Your ass looks great!"

"Thanks," I said. "So does yours."

I like him. I don't know why I resist going to him as much as I do....;-)


All the news

On Friday, Barb The Home Care Nurse (she takes care of both Mother AND me at this point) called me from Mom and Dad's house to let me know that Mom was running a fever of 101.6. Their doctor's office was closed for the day (which is a whole 'NOTHER issue, that may or may not be expanded upon later), and Mother was so weak that she probably could not have walked herself to the car to go to the doctor's office anyway, so they called the ambulance and off she went to the ER.

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This is just heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. To have to face this whole idea, for him, is to have to face the idea that he isn't who he thinks he is, and that his life isn't what he thought it was. It's having to face 81 when he doesn't FEEL 81. I get it. I totally get it.

But the idea of having some stranger decide FOR him what needs doing, rather than being denied the dignity of making those decisions for himself, is far more heartbreaking. And he doesn't understand that that could happen, without too much trouble at all--that he could transition from being a human being to a "case" without too much sweat at all.

So I'll be going over in just a little while to make sure that the bedclothes are changed and washed...and do what I can to reverse the idea that I hate them, and am only interested in "putting them away".



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