I went over to my friend's house in the stereotypical southern United States. I got out of the car and walked up the well-worn path in the grass to the old weathered house. My friend was rocking back and forth in his chair on the big dilapidated front porch. His loyal old hound dog was laying next to him, but he was squirming, and whining, and making a terrible fuss.
"What's wrong with your dog?" I asked.
"He's layin' on a nail."
"Why doesn't he just get up and move?"
"The nail ain't hurtin' him bad enough."
-- paraphrased Ed Foreman story
Some of my closer friends may remember that little story from the Ed Foreman "Attitude" self-help audio tapes that I spread around our motley group as if I had account passwords to a premiere porn site to share.
The story also illustrates one of those old-school truisms about human behavior:
People only change when the pain to remain the same is greater than the pain to change.
This particular truism was forced to the front of my own thinking tonight like an ice pick in your eyeball, or bamboo slivers under your fingernails, or an appropriate heart attack in the McDonald's drive-thru lane. Remember the truism and I'll try to tell my tale.
For background information, check out a blog entry from over a year ago. It has nice picture of my right leg, post-op, after both bones in it had been shattered. Then it was fileted and surgically repaired like "propping up a crushed bag of Saltine crackers" -- according to the osteopathic surgeon -- with some handy-fucking-dandy titanium brackets and a half-dozen screws.
I spent several initial months horizontal and not placing any weight on that leg for fear that the weight of gravity itself might force the bones in that leg to mend in an unnatural fashion, requiring more surgery. I spent many subsequent months bouncing around inside my house with a walker. The osteopathic surgeon warned me that I would have instant arthritic pain from the injury. Check.
As little as three months ago, I would use my emergency response vehicle to take my own household trash to the neighborhood dumpster. It was only a football field away from my house, but it was painful and tiresome enough just limping around inside the house everyday.
Remember the change truism. Tonight, it was raining. Tonight, I had a throbbing tooth ache. It friggin' hurt so bad, I couldn't think straight. I had already spent the last 24 hours with this evil pain in my face and had only slept about thirty minutes at a time. I was inconsolable. I had to get some relief.
What to do? I had to get some pain relief -- that much was certain. I had already eaten a bottle of ibuprofen with little success. My only option was to get up, get out of the house, and walk to the pharmacy before it closed. I had to succeed.
I got dressed. I put on my black jeans. I put on my black steeled-toed boots. I put on my black U.S. Army standard-issue raincoat. I grabbed my backpack. I grabbed my institutional-looking aluminum cane. I donned my "Grumpy" hat. I'm ready. I can do this because I am stubborn, in pain, and just thinking about it makes me hate the rest of mankind.
The pharmacy is about two miles away. Within twenty minutes, the dark miserableness of my situation began to become very apparent to me. I was stubbornly walking in the cold rain, watching my breath in front me, and the numbness in my feet was quickly working its way up both legs. They call that numbness peripheral neuropathy.
I finally limped out of the darkness and into the glow of the exterior mercury vapor lights of the pharmacy. Imagine how I must have looked to the patrons and employees. I was dripping wet, walking even slower than normal, with a backpack over an old Army raincoat. Clearly, I was a mentally disturbed homeless man. With the throbbing nerve ending in my molar, I was in no mood to shatter this aura with a disarming smile.
I stopped for a minute in the pharmacy, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I had made it here, afterall. Unfortunately, this just made me dizzy and I nearly fell down. I scanned the hanging overhead aisle signs for what I wanted. "Dental Care" and "Pain Relievers" were on opposite corners in the back.
I picked up a bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol and a bottle of Maximum Strength Anbesol. Since the ibuprofen wasn't completely helpful, I figured a switch to acetaminophen might work. The Anbesol was 20% benzocaine. To relieve my pain, I would have bought a five gallon drum of Anbesol and bobbed for Halloween Tylenol tablets at this point.
On the return trip, I noticed that I no longer stared into the distance for progress markers. I stared at the road directly in front of me -- one day at a time -- one step at a time. My walking was getting worse. I felt like one of those poor people caught on video who has fallen through thin ice on a winter lake. Time was my enemy. Surely my legs would become so completely numb as to make me falter in my trek, lose my stubborness, and slip under the ice forever.
I could see the wet asphalt road glisten with the headlights of oncoming cars. I would wave my shiny aluminum cane horizontally when I saw the glow around my next step. I was defending my personal space. At this point on the way back, I was also walking like a Lon Chaney mummy. I knew I was stealthily dressed in all black. I didn't want Grandma or Grandpa to unceremoniously mow me down with their late-model Lincoln or Cadillac because they were doing 40 in a 25, can't see at night, and probably had too many cheap Margaritas during happy hour.
"Is everything okay, here?"
Holy shit! It's the po-po. While I may have looked like the Slow-Motion Ninja Homeless Burgular on the local BOLO list of the Twilight Zone PD, I certainly was in no mood to have any interaction with the young patrolman.
Quick. Think. I looked up at him and calmly used a "nothing to see here" Jedi mind trick. Anything to make this guy continue his boring night without a squirt of adrenaline or suspicion.
"Oh. Yeah. I'm just out for a walk. I figure if I can safely take a shower, I can safely take a walk in the rain and get some rehab on my leg."
Somehow that seemed plausible enough for him. Had he noticed my backpack? I certainly didn't want to explain to him the wisdom of lugging a 12-pack of beer in there. The schlepping wasn't the issue with me, it was just the walking. He wouldn't understand. I would have just been a suspiciously-dressed degenerate. But, off he went.
I made it home. I popped some Tylenol like happy Tic-Tacs. I swabbed the Anbesol. I drank some beer, caught a buzz, and made a self-effacing fool of myself on the main tagboard to the regulars there.
But, in the end, I survived the journey. I don't prefer to blog about personal stuff. I normally avoid it. But somehow, after reading some of the entries I've seen lately among my regular blogdrive haunts, I thought I should share this private lunacy.
The change truism holds true. Verdad. Do you have any moments when you decided to get off your ass and change something big or small? If so, leave a comment or a link.
Rip it good. Hotlink bad. Right mouse button. Save picture as. That's pretty simple, don't you think? If you like a graphic, or image, or any file enough to display it on your own blog or site, you should like it enough to give it a home by hosting the file on a server you control. If you don't, I have ways to embarrass you on your own site. Now that you have the lowdown, here are some grafix I use for my side section favorites -- aka pheatured phaves.
So ... why? Well, I go through the TAG board periodically (or when asked) and delete entries. Mainly I delete your entries because it reloads the page periodically or when you add a new entry for chatting and when it gets too large, it takes up bandwidth loading constantly. My general rule was this: if you put an annoying little smilie emoticon on the TAG, that entry was the first to go when I cleaned house.
The second rule: if the entry was older. But the second rule bummed me out because I hate to throw away memories, so, some entries were deemed to be classics and had to be preserved (like Hygelic reading my blog in the bathroom on his cell phone).
Then the first and second rules unfortunately clashed when it came to old school phreeks who might put an ascii emoticon at the end of their sentence, like Skennedy (et al). These people were violating my first unstated rule through no fault of their own, and, because the programmers of the TAG board must have thought to themselves, "how handy-fucking-dandy would it be if we just translated every ascii emoticon to a different happy little yellow face?" So, they dropped another few hits of Exstacy, patted each other on the back and went back to coding the TAG board.
So, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing -- I've decided to archive the TAG board here for all to see -- and still be able to delete older entries (and keep the TAG.html small) with a clear conscience. I normally archive halfway through the month.
Jude » Two great pieces, John! You continue to deliver, babe... Lyly » hi KOZO » Everyone loves Kozo. sweetness » is this a ><4X0I2 website? Xavier » Great to see ya ; - ) ~ J f Z » I feel snurffled ... I think. Gloria » Hiya. BrokenChaos » Hello wailfulrhyme » hullo. long time. Lan » Awesome place you've got here. I love it more than the last time I visited. I'm gonna link you, hope you don't mind. dead petals » ~melicious(c) » Yay!! Tomorrow night i get to snurffle my JfZ. mel is happy KellyK » Hope you had a great weekend! muahhs Jude » "Although dead, Hunter S. Thompson hasn't slowed down very much." It's statements like this that make Edna dig JfZ... Jude » Hey JfZ...I can smell that swamp gasssss from here drivezila » J f Z thinks aloud » Although dead, Hunter S. Thompson hasn't slowed down very much. Rocker » I said Murble out loud. It made me giggle ever so slightly. Aye. J f Z thinks aloud » <-- Murble. Gonzo gone. amber » hi amber » hello amber » hey BrokenChaos » Linked. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. drivezila » Lyly » Good weekend, J f Z. Have one. angelgrayson » Cool pic! Hope you are doing well Lyly » great picture/story john. Melly » boo firepixie » just dropping in to say hello. my mind is empty... Rocker » Keep hoping, sometimes it works. I keep hoping for a 1969 Camaro and you know what all that hoping finally got me?! My brother built me a toy model version of one. So I'm getting there. Jennifuzzy » hello again! KellyK » *stabs J f Z* Here's your belated v day pressie! *hugs Jf's corpse* J f Z » Maybe you should change your nick to "Blatantly Snarky," so as not to confuse my fragile little male mind, as Slippy obviously did. You know what they about first impressions. Blatant Honesty » I was never crabby, trust me. I was merely using my sarcasm as a means of trying to point out my opinion. J f Z » *Maroux and Lyly: Thanks! *Rocker: A man can hope, right? *Dr. God: Sounds cool! *Slippy: Heh. *Blaty: I'm glad you're now amused, instead of just crabby. Blatant Honesty » ROFL @ you trying to use "being a MAN" as an excuse. * smh * FreudianSlip » Ok.. I think I'm staying out of this one. - blink Dr. God » Consider yourself formally invited to OM. You may begin posting at any point in time. Rocker » Lingerie pics? Me? Lyly » Awww, thank you J. Maroux » stopping by to say Happy Valentines day J f Z J f Z » No, I guess not. After reading a week's worth of entries about Mr. Clean, I thought it was something that just happened. But, that figures. I still don't understand women at all. Blatant Honesty » about the PAST. Blatant Honesty » From a woman's perspective :: I honestly don't think you were paying all that much attention when you were reading Freud's blog. To her entires, or the comments surrounding yours. Freud is talking Rocker » You unintentionally gave me an idea. I should learn to brew beer, sale it for 25c a bottle. My beer doesn't even have to taste better than the king of beers, people will buy it because it's 25 cents! Lyly » Happy Valentines's Day #6 SSunsprite » Happy Valentines Day to You! Gloria » Yo yo, J. J f Z » Blue: I'm just getting in the spirit surrounding Valnetine's Day with some Swamp Gas and Bugs n Cheese. Heh. blueskelton » Yo whats happening Jfz What you been up to? Sinister Ninja » Great stuff, as usual. Angel » wow.... FreudianSlip » Hey you.. just stopping by to read the latest ElvenSarah » You da man JFZ! Jude » interesting blog...am sending the link to several friends. Will check back on ya' later... Melly » boo walrus » nice blog, man!!! J f Z » Wolf: It's bizarre and mixed movie metaphors like those that will get you on the Homeland Security watchlist. Heh. Wolf » JFZ. JT phone home. The space ship is in orbit awaiting reply. Stacks of unreplied e-mail MSGs? "What we have here, is a failure to communicate." CHL SSunsprite » OMDoggg JfZ do you know you actually made it rain here this morning! LOL SSunsprite » dont rain on my parade! LOL Fabi Chan » Ohhh cute blog ^^ kristi » peek a boo Lyly » *smirk* Lyly » the shadow of the ends of the swastika can be seen on the left, top and right. not on the bottom. whoa. J f Z thinks aloud » <-- a Nazi swastika? That's just crazy talk. firepixie » holy shit, there is!... i think i just puked. Brandon Starr » Is it just me, or is there a touch of the swastika on that cross? wailfulrhyme » bangers! with orage juice! SareBabe » To my knowledge, "sheeple" was made popular by Michael Savage. It's a great word. gf » hi J f Z » *Hal and Gloria: Just get a room and be done with it! Heh. *Angel and Sprite: Thanks! *Pixie: NP, I enjoy your poetry. *Lyly: Thanks, but I made that 'list' just for blogdrivers. *Hexawulf: Cool! canis lupis » (aka hexawulf) good call ... the Democrusader. Had me going for a while but then I got it. Lyly » <--another link to add to your 'sexy links' firepixie » ok, i didnt think my tags went through haha. sorry for the double. firepixie » thanks for the link. lovin it. ill link you tonight. firepixie » wow thanks, i like the link you made. and im flattered you wanted to make one/link me. i have a few links i need to update, so i will add you when i get to it, prob. tonight. be well.
Kissinger has been heard to describe Rumsfeld as the "most ruthless man" he ever met while in government. It is a view that is disputed by almost no one.
-- from Inside the Committee that Runs the World
By David J. Rothkopf
Foreign Policy magazine
Faster than you can shred a pre-employment non-disclosure agreement, people in-the-know of the Democrusader's first term administration are now giving us some of the answers to those nagging big issue questions we've all had concerning U.S. foreign policy over the last four years.
Despite first term pre-election promises by the Democrusader not to engage in nation building, we all know now that George W. Bush must have had his fingers crossed behind his back when he made that claim.
Dubya-defenders will point to the September 11th terrorist attacks and exclaim, "All bets are off."
At the same time, Bush-bashers will point to Iraq and exclaim, "No WMDs. No take-backs."
What is the truth? Over the past four years -- if you wanted the truth from people in the Democrusader's inner circle -- you would have had to make them stand akimbo on a box, throw a rain poncho over them, and hook their thumbs up with battery cables plugged into an electrical wall socket.
Now, however, people like Colin Powell can speak up and be more candid. In his first substantial media interview since resigning as the Democrusader's U.S. Secretary of State, he sheds a bit of light on the run-up to the Iraq war with the U.K. Telegraph:
Mr Powell said he had warned President George W Bush over dinner in August 2002 that the problem with Iraq was not going to be the invasion but what followed.
He told him: "This place will crack like a goblet and it will be a problem to pick up the bits. It was on this basis that he decided to let me see if we could find a United Nations solution to this."
Colin Powell passed the State Department baton to the former uber-grrl of the National Security Council, Condoleeza Rice. While I'm not that adept at sports analogies, I'll try one to show props to Hunter S. Thompson.
While some observers may be freaking out that Condi went from the NSC to State, I also recall seeing the outrageously outspoken Defensive Tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Warren Sapp, freak out the opposing team by joining his team's offensive line when it counted. Just being Warren Sapp would draw attention to that switch in any situation, but he was able to score a touchdown any-damn-way.
A touchdown in an NFL game is a far cry from a touchdown in Iraq. Also, many people are listening intently to the Democrusader's public statements and worrying that Operation Iraqi Freedom is only the end of the first half of the big game in the Global War on Terror.
Think about it. This past presidential election season was just an expensive, extortionate, and entertaining half-time show before George W. Bush was able to come running back out of the GOP locker room with the confidence of neo-con steroids coursing through his veins, waving his cowboy hat, and screaming, "I have a mandate!"
While I'd have to check with Media Matters to confirm it, my feeling is that the Exposed Nipple Moment in this last troubling American half-time show was provided by the Swift Boat Veterans for the Wind-Sailing Lycrasuited Liars and then broadcast as a public service announcement on every FOX Television affiliate on the planet.
What should we watch for during the next four years? As far as U.S. foreign policy, I am intrigued by the observations of David J. Rothkopf, whose recent article in Foreign Policy magazine excerpts his upcoming book, Running the World.
Rothkopf describes the inner tug-of-war in the ideological rift between the traditionalists and the transformationalists in the Bush administration. While the U.S. government is indeed a Republican monopoly now, there are a few wrinkles in the otherwise smooth and lobotomized brain topography of the Democrusader.
I don't want to be a spoiler -- read it for yourself.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone but they always worked for me."
-- Hunter S. Thompson
The man is dead. We been told that much so far.
If Hunter S. Thompson is not a familiar name to you, I would suggest you simply click through some of the off-blog links that I am inevitably going to pile into this entry like the empty cans of Budweiser beer strewn around your puke-stained Lay-Z-Boy on Dale Earnhardt tribute day.
If one of Hunter S. Thompson's last wishes comes true, the body of the late gonzo journalist will be cremated this week and his ashes blasted from a cannon across his fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colorado.
The obituaries and tributes are coming in from all over the planet like cockroaches from the dumpster scene in Men in Black. I wouldn't want to be laying around in a closed casket with part of my head tastefully replaced with a pound of mortician's wax while family and friends sat around a floral arrangement discussing these things either. Unlike Hunter S. Thompson and despite the manner of our own inevitable death, everyday twits like you and I will be allowed to die in relative obscurity and without as much fanfare.
Nonetheless, if you are a blogdriver or even a truly lame blogger using an inferior blogging system like livejournal or blogspot, you still owe a little thought and reflection on the death of Hunter S. Thompson. He popularized the writing format sometimes called first-person journalism. He was, by all accounts, a diarist.
My idea was to buy a fat notebook and record the whole thing as it happened, then send in the notebook for publication-- without editing. That way, I felt the eye and mind of the journalist would be functioning as a camera. The writing would be selective and necessarily interpretive - but once the image was written, the words would be final; in the same way that a Cartier-Bresson photograph is always (he says) the full-frame negative. No alterations in the darkroom, no cutting or cropping, no spotting . . . no editing.
Hunter S. Thompson's own explanation of his style of journalism is apparent in most of what he published. Unlike you and I, he got paid to blog an event. The first HST book I ever recall purchasing was "The Curse of Lono" in which he covers the 1983 Honolulu Marathon race. As you can see from the bizarrely illustrated cover by Ralph Steadman, HST had a unique viewpoint to offer on an otherwise mundane topic. At the time, I remember thinking to myself that my day in highschool wasn't at all defined by the AP classes I took, but rather, by the weed my friends and I shamelessly smoked for breakfast before Calculus and the half-gallon of vodka we drank in the parking lot during the extended lunch hour.
He may not have been the best role model to emulate. He wrote his stories for Rolling Stone magazine for fucksakes. A little mind candy goes a long way, though. If you'd like a nice online sampling of his writing, I suggest the Hunter S. Thompson archive of Page 2 articles at ESPN. For some of us who appreciated his voice, this archive is like the last remaining free methadone clinic in the neighborhood.
Why is the death of Hunter S. Thompson worthy of a Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica entry? Simply put, the man was the Grand Poobah of Bush-bashers. Ho ho. Hunter was linguistically fraggin' the idiot-in-chief when Michael Moore was a just double cheeseburger-challenged 200-pound 3rd-grader.
Oh, and if you just happen to work for the U.S. federal government in any way ... I hope you realize, for my own sake, that whole Democrusader thang was a parody.