And The Bleet Goes On ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

This was posted on one of my absolutely favorite morning blogs –> Daily Kos<- -, which if you have not bookmarked, you should. It is updated during the day, and for American politics, culture with amazing commentary could not be any better (sorry, Huffington Post!)

At first I thought I might make a few “comments” about the mess in Albany, NY ~ but they’re doing just fine holding THAT circus without any further comments from me!!

I had written about RIAA and MPAA –> once before here <– an ezine called Zeropaid. This was the section that was posted at Kos and really caught my attention … These might be the reasons they lost the PR battles and probably the "war" ~ (Republicans, are you listening???)

We figured a short list might be in order:

-destroying Napster and Audio Galaxy and not creating an alternative for the get-go,
raiding people’s homes because they uploaded Star Wars (not necessarily leaking it in the first place),
-hacking the URN hash and polluting FastTrack,
-hacking The Pirate Bay,
-having Viacom serve DMCA notices to people posting video’s of people eating in a restaurant on YouTube,
-suing tens of thousands of average American’s including fining one individual $222,000 for sharing a couple songs,
-saying that files in a shared directory is copyright infringement in court,
-saying that evidence is too hard to get and that the industry shouldn’t be burdened to prove their cases in court,
-suggesting that iPods are little more than little pirate ships,
-saying in court that even making one back-up copy of a DVD is illegal,
-lobbying to put in the DMCA, demanding that laws should be in place to prevent any tinkering with DRM including for research purposes,
-installing rootkits on people’s computers,
-installing spyware on people’s computers via the MediaMax technology,
-being outed for being hypocrites for pirating a documentary movie and claiming that it’ll only be in a safe place,
-tried to bring people a broadcast flag and telling people you can’t record TV shows if the broadcaster doesn’t like it,
-trying to bi-pass the backfiring of WIPO and the FCC to bring in the broadcast flag anyway, -tried to get ISPs to do all the copyright industry’s dirty work,
-pressured and bullied other countries to implement laws the industry saw fit and using shady lobbying tactics to accomplish this,
-tried to sell us music that cannot be copied through the internet and on discs,
-tried to bi-pass the will of the European Union and get countries to pass “three strikes” laws even if artists disagree with it,
-attempted to price fix music albums,
-secretly hold negotiations to pass draconian copyright laws that would see people’s physical property effectively stolen on the mere suspicion of copyright infringement through ACTA, -demanding that laws be passed that mandates the promotion of legal alternatives,
then not providing the kind of deals that would allow legitimate services to flourish with internet groups and businesses like ISPs,
-alienate an entire generation by labeling their own customers as pirates,
-likened downloading music on the internet to terrorism,
-likened internet users who download music online to “biker gangs”,
-spread blatantly false information about file-sharing,
-forcing people to watch anti-piracy ads on movies,
-suing people who had a recently deceased family member,
-argue that the industry is for artists, then going to court and demanding that royalty rates should be lower for artists – thus having to pay them less and keeping more money from album revenues,
-forcing radio broadcasters to pay royalties even if they don’t play music from the copyright industry,
-suing a lawyer for blogging about court cases related to copyright,
-and possibly the whole issue of listing countries that hold 70% of the world’s population and labeling some as rogue nations that need to update their copyright laws via the USTR Special 301 report – thus alienating many countries in the first place.

Again, a short list of probably simple misunderstandings in the world of PR that have been taken out of context by the “enemies of copyright”.

Just so it’s clear, the copy is from the articles, the pictures I added …

A Moving Tale (2) ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

Previous post about moving –>here<– I got the keys to see the apartment, and upon entering ~ I actually loved it. There was a much larger living room, an actual hallway to the bedroom (Le Mutt would enjoy the running room) and, of course, the washer/dryer connections off the kitchen . . . just right to clean and cook, right? The patio was larger and only needed some weedkiller for the forest primeval that was attempting to grow there. All seemed to be well and what I was looking for in living space.

Now came the difficult part, actually making the decision to move. I weighed all the options, made innumerable lists comparing the pros and cons . . . and finally decided that I would once again move. Again, it was only 150 yards down the way. . . and down a short flight of stairs into the apartment or down cement steps OR a slight grassy incline into the porch. Shouldn’t be much of a problem.

I had decided that there was no way I was going to pack and move myself. Somewhere I felt there was one of the moving companies that would pack, move and unpack. That was a correct assumption, but you would have thought I was moving into the White House based on the conversations and prices I was quoted. I was stunned to find out what the charges would be just to MOVE things that were already packed. So now I was faced with doing it on my own ~ so to speak. While I was contemplating this turn of events, I got into a discussion with my daughter. My son-in-law, in order to add extra money into their personal stimulus plan had been doing a number of “side-jobs” on the weekends. I decided that I would hire them for the move. . . and pay them quite well for it.

This proved to be one of the best decisions about the move I could have made. I decided on moving the last week of December. The move would occur the 24th of January. My neighbors were planning to make their move to a different complex the same weekend, so we would be able to share/commiserate during the ordeal of boxes and dumping and hauling and sorting.

During the week of the move the weather reports were quite typical for Houston. . . in other words, no one really knew WHAT the weather was going to be like during the weekend. Of course, there is always the chance of rain or storms ~ but nothing such as that seemed to be on any one’s mind. The day of the move was actually quite cool, overcast, light wind and some rain was forecast at some point during the day. My daughter, Son-in-law and the 2 grand kids showed up ready to begin the day . . . I was actually ready to begin it myself. Very shortly. however, I was banished sent to the new apartment to oversee the arrivals and to place and unpack them as well.

What my Son-in-law has done was hire four men that work on his construction sites to come and do the lifting, hauling and placing. This meant that he could arrange, box and get things finalized (with the rest of his families help) and they would simply “hoof” it over to me. Talk about an incredible time-saver and energy saver! Very shortly furniture, boxes, tables, beds and all the etc. began to arrive to be placed and/or unpacked. What the moving companies had told me would take two days (!?!) was accomplished in a few hours.

The best moment of the entire move was the arrival of Bonzai (who had been in his large crate the entire time to prevent him from trying to help/hinder the move!) I’m old(er) enough to remember the spectacle of Elizabeth Taylor’s entrance into Rome in the movie Cleopatra. The dog arrived much as she did – with one guy on each of the corners of the crate. They carried him through the complex and down into his new kingdom. We were all laughing but I can report that he was “not amused.”

He was even less amused when Daughter, Son-in-Law and grand kids all went to dinner and left him behind.

So now I had moved into my new space without too much difficulty (only one slight damage to a piece of furniture) and I was awaiting the quick connection of the phone, Internet and TV.

—that ordeal will follow . . . and it was an ordeal!

Valentine’s Day ~ Early Evening Thoughts (history)

This year, I’m helping out at the florist shop (again) answering the phones and trying to keep some sense of order in the chaos. I wanted to repost a bit of the history of Valentine’s day . . . and all that goes with it. (I will do my best to do another chapter of “moving tales” tomorrow)

We may owe our observance of Valentine’s Day to the Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a festival of eroticism that honored Juno Februata, the goddess of “feverish” (febris) love. Annually, on the ides of February, love notes or “billets” would be drawn to partner men and women for feasting and sexual game playing.

Early Christians, clearly a dour bunch, frowned on these lascivious goings-on. In an attempt to curb the erotic festivities, the Christian clergy encouraged celebrants to substitute the names of saints. Then, for the next twelve months, participants were to emulate the ideals represented by the particular saint they’d chosen. Not too surprisingly, this prudish version of Lupercalia proved unpopular, and died a quick death.

But the early Christians were anything but quitters, so it was on to Plan B: modulate the overtly sexual nature of Lupercalia by turning this “feast of the flesh” into a “ritual for romance!”

This time, the Church selected a single saint to do battle the pagan goddess Juno — St. Valentine (Valentinus). And since Valentinus had been martyred on February 14, the Church could also preempt the annual February 15 celebration of Lupercalia. The only fly in the ointment was Valentinus himself: he was a chaste man, unschooled in the art of love.

Despite the efforts of the Church, Valentine’s Day continued to echo Lupercalia in at least one respect – men and women, married or single, would draw lots to select a “valentine.” Once paired, the couple exchanged gifts and sometimes love tokens as well. The custom of lottery drawings to select Valentines persisted well into the eighteenth century. Gradually, however, a shift took place. No longer did both parties exchange gifts; instead, gift-giving became solely the responsibility of the man!

This new twist helped to finally bring an end to the random drawing of names, since many men were unhappy about giving gifts (sometimes very costly)to women who were not of their choosing. And now that individuals were free to select their own Valentine, the celebration took on a new and much more serious meaning for couples!

The first written valentine is usually attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans. In 1415, Charles fought his lonely confinement by writing romantic verses for his wife. By the sixteenth century written valentines were so common that St. Francis de Sales, fearing for the souls of his English flock, sermonized against them.

Manufactured cards, decorated with Cupids and hearts, appeared near the end of the eighteenth century. A purchased valentine became the most popular way to declare love during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Miniature works of art, the cards were usually hand painted and were often lavishly decorated with laces, silk or satin, flowers (made from the feathers of tropical birds), glass filigrees, gold-leaf or even perfumed sachets!

Did you know that the current popularity of St. Valentine’s Day owes much to the modern postal service? Until the mid-1800’s, the cost of sending mail was far beyond the means of the average person. Even worse, the postal service demanded payment from the recipient, not the sender, of the letter! Imagine receiving a Valentine card, paying the postage due, then reading that you were “…valued beyond rubies” by your Valentine. Even more ironic… discovering that your Valentine card was from an unwelcome suitor! So, until the advent of the penny post, most valentine cards were hand delivered by the prospective lover.

This history adapted (stolen) from
http://www.me2u.com

Please Pass (over) The Nuts (3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

I, along with many others, watched (in my case overwatched) the inauguration of a new President on the 20th. (Yes, I was still watching at the 10th Presidential dance! If their feet didn’t hurt, mine certainly did!)I was hopeful that a new beginning might signal a new start in areas where so much has been lacking. As a gay and fundamental Christian, I believe I have a Biblical obligation to pray for my leaders, even those I disagree with. As an American, I feel I have an obligation to hope and pray for the best from my leaders, and to “hold their feet to the fire” if they are not doing their best.

The cynicism that I posted about last, had even gotten into that area where I could no longer even look at any of the governments – federal, state and local – with any degree of objectivity or hope. In the amazing book “Language In Thought And Action,” the author talks about when we have cast someone in the role of the “enemy” ALL communications/actions by them are immediately suspect and are filtered through the lens of how I view the “enemy” regardless of the truth.

So, I began to climb out of THAT hole and back to the level playing ground of attempting to see what was truth and what was not. And based on the last several years of watching government, not an easy task ~ not an easy task at all.

Over the last couple of days, two instances of people working on the premise that someone is the enemy and all communications are to be dismissed as lies and deceit have really hit me. Both are disturbing in many ways, but most disturbing to me as to their own lack of humanity and belief in people. Both would claim that is not true, but sadly both would be wrong.

The first came from a supposed christian (small c) self-appointed leader. Joseph Farah is the founder of a very conservative web-site WorldNet Daily. It has a number of contributors who echo the views of the founder. That’s not a problem for me, as I will defend their right to say what they think, just as I will defend my right not to read it. I will also defend my right to comment on it, and give my view of it.

Back in August, I posted about christian hate and christian witchcraft. Christian witchcraft to me is asking the Almighty (however you regard that) to do something “to” another rather than “for” another. It’s charging into the Throne Room ~ demands in hand and expecting that regardless of the Person on the Throne’s attitude/statements/desire we will get what we want, when we want it and, “oh yes, make that yesterday” because I say so. In this case Joseph Farah does something a little more insidious than that. He cloaks his witchcraft in a seemingly nice Christian outfit, with a few well chosen verses thrown in for good effect. He is asking ~ Well, here’s the article. . .

Joseph Farah Pray Obama fails
Posted: January 19, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.

It has become a sort of conventional wisdom among soft-minded believers. The biblical proof-text for this misguided way of thinking is Romans 13:1-4:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

What could be more clear-cut? At face value, it would seem the Bible is telling us government is a God-ordained good and that we are not to resist its terrors.

Many a coward has been bolstered in his conviction against challenging tyranny by not reading too deeply into the Scriptures. Yet, nowhere does the Bible ever suggest evil rulers are to be obeyed. When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand.

That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state.

It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

And please don’t tell me about “rendering unto Caesar.”

It’s important to consider the circumstances and the audience behind Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar.” The Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus into advocating open contempt for Caesar. He recognized their wicked and hypocritical little game and answered them with a totally truthful response that astonished everyone.

But think about it. There are two components to Jesus’ words. We are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” but we are also to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” Well, everything ultimately belongs to God. But, most of all, this injunction by Jesus instructs us that government laws cannot trump God’s laws – ever.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the “render unto Caesar” line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don’t have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no “rulers” in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.

If, indeed, Mr. Farah is the Christian he claims, and not the christian he seems to be representing here ~ there’s a very strong disconnect from the reality of Scripture. I’m not going to head into a theological argument here, that will be for another time. But I will say time and again The Bible makes it perfectly clear that indeed we do have leaders and we have an obligation to pray for them.

He also conveniently ignores the number of instances where Biblical characters not only DID support what Mr. Farah would consider to be evil, but actually in some cases ruled WITH them.

Yes, there is a time for resistance – but this is not one of them.

And a final thought on this man ~ if, indeed, the President WERE to fail would he stand on his cyberspace rooftop and shout that God had answered his prayer? I rather doubt it. . .

Then, today ~ I ran across this gem from someone who should know better, or is so desperate for ratings or sell his material that he would grasp at straws to accomplish his ends. Rush Limbaugh (remember him from the prescription addiction/pharmacy shopping episode). had this to say about being asked for a 400 word article on what he hopes from an Obama administration:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

Again, this from the man who indicated a number of years ago that dissent was equal to terrorism ~ I suspect echoing the press secretary right after 9/11 who warned that “Americans…need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” They were chilling words back then and became even more so during these last years.

I’ve discovered I’m not as young as I used to be ~ my body keeps reminding me of that daily and going out and about reminds me of that as well. One of the things it has done is allow me the luxury of looking at things with very different “eyes” and outlook. These people are sad in different and similar ways.

I’m not joining the “cast them into the fiery pit of hell” crowd because dissent is a natural and important part of the American political process. What I, and I hope others, will do is to point out the hypocrisy and errors of their dissent.

And, alas, to pray for them.

It’s That Time Again ~ Early Evening Thoughts

It started in New Zealand

– followed about an hour later in Sydney.

The New Year is being celebrated around the globe – and each area hopes that this year will be better than the last, and not worse!!!

But behind the fireworks, cheers and cheery drinks is an amazing combination of hope and fear. I have to agree with a commentator I heard last night that this combination is almost 50-50 in people. It will be interesting to see which side gains strength in 2009.

The most amazing part – it’s up to each of us individually and collectively to decide whether fear or hope will rule. There’s an intersting verse in the Bible that talks about “men’s hearts will fail for fear” . . . I have NO intention of letting mine go that route. I already went down that road once before, and am NOT going down it again.

Am I doing resolutions – no. Am I making commitments instead – yes. I’m convinced I will have better luck with that then resolutions. Of course, if I really want to make sure I continue on with the commitments/resoltions – I could use the services of –>this web site<– to keep me on the straight and narrow!!

I am going to continue to blog, with a lot greater frequency and relevancy this year. I’m going to continue to loan money to individuals around the globe through –>Kiva<– and challenge each of you to take $25 and put it to good use through them AND you get it back . . . it's a loan program after all. Welcome to the New Year

Hey, my lad, ho, my lad!
Here’s a New Broom.
Heaven’s your housetop
And Earth is your room.
Tuck up your shirtsleeves,
There’s plenty to do-
Look at the muddle
That’s waiting for you!

Dust in the corners
And dirt on the floor,
Cobwebs still clinging
To window and door.

Hey, my lad! o, my lad!
Nimble and keen-
Here’s your New Broom, my lad!
See you sweep clean.

– Eleanor Farjeon

This is probably one of my favorite New Year Videos ~ ABBA around the piano is what it is normally called – and is usually played in Sweden around midnight!!

New Year’s Resolutions


Each year I resolve with the strongest intent
To be better this year than the last.
And I work very hard; the rules hardly get bent,
But this discipline gets old so fast!

But with this new year I just know I’ll win out,
Just watch how I do and you’ll see!
I’m not going to have yet another blowout;
I’ll be good as I know I can be.

But, if wicked things beckon, and I’m not so strong,
If I weaken and fall on my ast,
I’ll be thankful again that you’ll help me along
As you have during all new years past.
I’m so glad you are all my friends!!!

— Karl and Joanna Fuchs

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!

A Short Thought ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Yesterday I found this image of the world according to Ptolemy (born around 85 A.D. and died around 185 A. D.) As I was looking at this image, I got to wondering what kind of a map of my life could be made. Where would things go? Would there be more mountains than valleys? What about rivers, oceans and such. I began to sketch around some ideas…then decided that I would just stick with enjoying this beautiful rendition of what the man knew.
(For a larger view —>click here<—)

And as I often do, I’ve turned to others to describe their feelings ..

Blessed Earth

Consecrated waters flow
From this blessed earth I know.
We owe so much to this earth,
And its life supply of hearth
Here everything thing can grow.

Consecrated waters flow,
From this blessed earth I know.
I was born here,
And I shall die here.
Precious times, this earth did sow.

Consecrated waters flow,
From this blessed earth I know.
It has seen all my days,
And every one of my childish ways.
Oh beautiful earth I hoe!
—Ashley Donovan

Waves at Hawkwood
(from the book “In Touch with Water”)

This grass is like the sea;
I ride over it with big strides
uphill away from the spray of civilisation.
Deep breaths of green
rinse over my head and chest.

At the forest edge the water level rises;
trunks are awash with ivy.
The green sound of crows
flaps up from the valley
like wet raincoats.

Stalks bob buoyant heads
in the wind, and I take
the seed of their image
back with me towards the buildings
where roses cling to liferaft walls.

I walk in the translucent water
of silence.
The wooded hill behind the house
is a tall green wave
towering over the place.
—written by Julia (Jay)
(note that the three lines in italics can also be a haiku)

And last ~

Shall earth no more inspire thee

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee,
Shall nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving,
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving,
Come back, and dwell with me.

I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still,
I know my sunshine pleases,
Despite thy wayward will.

When day with evening blending,
Sinks from the summer sky,
I’ve seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.

I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway:
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given,
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet few would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee
Thy comrade let me be:
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return–and dwell with me.
–Emily Bronte

The Pen Becomes Mighty ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Those who have followed this blog know that I love words, language and writing. It wasn’t until tonight that I discovered ~ to my horror ~ that poetry is considered dangerous….

Yes, those wonderful collections of words are now terrorist material!!

You might want to get a pencil and pad to take notes … everyone is depending on you!!!

Remember ~ no more poetry!! They will come and take you away!!!


Edit: January 29th, 9:49pm ~ I feel terrible! I forgot to mention that the video was taken from The Durn Moose blog – a really great blog that I try to read every day!!! Sorry Moose!!!!

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 5) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside at the last minute ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming ~
Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!

(You can read the previous posts here … >1<>2<>3<>4<)

At this point in the story, I was finally in a hospital bed. There were bandages for the gash in my forehead ~ for which, since I was hanging by my neck in a looped belt, there is no explanation. There were bandages running up the operation incision (running from just below the ear almost to the collar bone) in my neck ~ which was closed with butterfly bandages to reduce the scarring. There were no bandages on the slits I made in my neck ~ those, I was told, would heal by themselves with no visible scarring. So far … I was able to absorb that much information. I was also introduced to “the watcher.” Basically, there was going to be someone sitting at the foot of my bed 24/7. While people think that it’s only to keep someone from trying again, it actually provides much more than that.

There was constant monitoring (and recording) of what I was doing, my mood and my activities. They were also expected, during the day, to engage me in conversation.

They were supposed to, but I really didn’t want much of that. I discovered that the day watchers loved “trash TV.” If you are not familiar with that term, it covers all the reality (supposedly) type shows from Jerry Springer to Divorce Court and everything in between. So I would turn the TV (which I didn’t want to watch anyway.) toward the foot of my bed and they could watch to their heart’s delight.

The statistics are a little frightening. Someone of my..um…age who is depressed, is very likely to make a suicide attempt (there had been three half-hearted previous ~ I’d posted about one of them in Poison to Medicine) and what I did before was not more than an overture for this event. The most frightening statistic is that those of my age who make an attempt are probably going to make another one ~ and succeed without life skills retraining and/or serious intervention and/or continued therapy, help/support system. And so, the real journey had started.

— more tomorrow

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 4) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming ~
Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!
(You can read the previous posts here … >1<..>2<..>3<..)

At the ending of the last post, I still had (and have) no idea how long I had been in the trauma unit. I have only some fading in and out memories. I do know that the white coats were re-joined by the black t-shirts. I also remember a discussion about x-rays and MRI. I remember being aware of all the tubes and machines. I didn’t have a neck/back board, but everyone kept telling me not to move my head very much. I felt that “they” thought I was a dislocated bobble-head doll. I remember being taken to the MRI room, where I was confronted for the first time with the donut machine. My immediate reaction was that it looked bigger on TV.

I was asked if I knew where I was. I replied that I had been taken to the machine where you were to lay absolutely quiet and not breath if at all possible ~ there was no memory of what the machine was actually called. I suppose they thought I was being an “educated donkey” as there were some chuckles. I was frightened as I really couldn’t recall what the thing was called. (hospital machines for $800 Alex.) I finally had a memory kick in that there wasn’t supposed to be any metal around and I literally panicked ~ about 15 years ago I had stomach surgery and there were a LOT of staples in there.

I was convinced ~ I’d seen enough TV and movies to know ~ that all that metal was going to rip out of my body and attach itself to the revolving magnets. I was reassured that there would be no such incident as they weren’t going down that low . . . and unless the staples were in my head, I was OK. I made it through ~ without breathing I might add ~ and then fade out/fade in. I was being taken to surgery…long hallways…strong smells…funny looking lights. There was a sudden stop (must have been a student driver with a learning permit)

There was a realization that I had not signed even more forms. This meant that somewhere in this hospital maze I was trying to listen to what I had to sign, still didn’t have my glasses and still couldn’t see what I was signing. Of course, in a trauma unit operating rooms are at a premium and tightly scheduled. This was turning into a delay that needed to be hurried up…STAT! And we were off again to the races. My mind (what was left of it) hauled out a memory of a terribly frightening Discover Health show about people who wake up during operations ~ they feel everything including the pain, but because of the paralyzing drug given to them, they are unable to tell anyone they are awake. Now that certainly added to my comfort level and my already high hysteria level. Not eating or sleeping for a number of weeks can do strange things to you!

We arrived in the operating room, and I was convinced it was a broom closet – at least what I could see. The room was very dark except for the lights on the table where I was being placed. There were two “wings” for my arms that were raised up – which made getting me onto the table quite interesting. And then ~ get this ~ the anesthesiologist made me very angry by lying to me. I had been lying to myself and others for weeks – had just committed suicide and I’m angry?? All he did was tell me that the mask he was putting on my face was going to help me breathe…and right before I finally was allowed/forced to pass out, I’m angry? (right mind behavior, correct?)

When I finally awoke, I had no memory of the recovery room and how I ended up in the hospital bed. A nurse was standing by as I tried to focus my mind and eyes. I felt the bandages on my head and neck. As they were BOTH vertical bandages, I was a little confused ~ the one on my head was OK – that was a vertical gash. The ones on my neck confused me as the slits I had made were horizontal and this was about a 10 inch VERTICAL bandage/gash. It was explained to me the operation I had undergone was by a neurosurgeon who literally opened my neck from the jawline down and did exploratory surgery to see if I had bruised, nicked or damaged anything.

—more of the story tomorrow

Thanks to several of you for the encouraging emails……