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Tuesday, February 1, 2005
(12:26 pm)

I suppose the month of my birth is as good as any to have my annual physical. I have an appointment for two o'clock this afternoon. Speaking of the month of my birth. . . Why is it that people, especially those on radio and television, to whom others look for the proper use of language, keep mispronouncing February? Damn it, there are two R's in it. It's not pronuonced "feb-you-ary" or "feb-ooh-ary." It's pronounced feb-ru-ary, just like it's spelled. Jeeze, Louise!


Quote of the Day: "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. " -- President Abraham Lincoln, 1865


Sound like the conditions that exist now? You betcha! Lincoln was the first Republican president. He'd be lambasted by his own party for being a communist or worse now. The world has been taken over by the corporations, and no one elected any of them to rule over us. It's high time something was done about it, but with the fascists in the White House and Congress, there's little that can be done until the vast majority of the people stop being petty over religious issues, greedy for wealth, and stupid about taxes and the function of the federal government. I expect I'll be long gone before that ever happens. I just hope my grandchildren live to see it.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2005
(12:50 pm)

Well, the little furry bastard in Punxatawney saw his shadow! Six more weeks of winter. That puts us right at about the vernal equinox. Wow! Really? I guess the giant rat will pretty much always see his shadow, eh?


Quote of the Day: "If Karl, instead of writing a lot about capital, had made a lot of it ... it would have been much better. " -- Karl Marx's mother


Just goes to show that greed will always trump intellect. It's like Arthur C. Clarke said, "Intelligence has never been shown to have any survival value." Hasn't civilization advanced to the point where intellect, sensibility, and compassion matter more than greed, machismo, and zenophobia? I suppose that's answered in the fact thta I have to ask it.


Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual (anal?) checkup. After being poked, prodded, stuck, hooked up and unhooked, and violated, I'd been there for two hours and forty minutes. Since my appointment wasn't until 2:00, that meant that I'd not eaten until dinner time. I was famished. I finished off the last of the chili I made a few days back and made two grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, two. I was hungry! Anyway, if you can get your hands on one of the Nathan's combo grill/griddle, do so. If I run across another one I'll buy it and maybe two more in case of eventual disaster. They are the best for stove top grilling and they allowed me to make the most perfect grilled sandwiches I've ever done. Witness:

DIgital Camera Image [2005_0201Image001]

One was pepper jack and the other White American. I read that white cheeses are better healthwise than the yellow, so I buy white American and get white cheddar when I can find it. My other cheese choices are mozzarella, Lorraine Swiss, Munster, Limberger, and Gouda. I used to like brie, but I've lost my taste for it.

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Thursday, February 3, 2005
(1:50 pm)

I got a call from my doctor's office this morning. He wants to see me next week. This can only be bad news. A new malady, a different drug to take (in addition to the two new ones he's already prescribed), or something dire like cancer or heart problems (I refuse! to have heart problems). Right now my stomach is so upset it's eating itself. I'd better go feed it something.

I have an appointment Monday. You probably won't hear from me until after that. I really don't feel like writing or using the computer or anything.


Quote of the Day: "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. " -- James Madison

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Friday, February 4, 2005
(11:04 am)

DIgital Camera Image [2005_0203Image0002]
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Tuesday, February 8, 2005
(12:43 pm)

Bad news at the doctor yesterday. My blood sugar is quite high. Now I'm on a 1500 calorie per day diabetic diet. That totally screws my gourmet cooking. That's the unkindest cut of all. I finally gather all the good pots, pans, and other implements and work on my chops as a cook and just when I'm really enjoying myself, bam! I can only eat leaves and twigs, in specified portions. I'm really upset. So far the glucophage isn't doing much, if anything. The idea of eating three meals and two snacks a day is anathema to me. Just what I wanted, more regimentation in my life. I'll never be happy again. Onward! (I guess)

Digital Camera Image [2005_0206Image0013]
"Alternate Matrix"

Quote of the Day: "The beauty I am searching for is inside, sometimes hidden by atrocities. . . that beauty that no eye, no finger will ever be able to perceive. . . that beauty that time is the only one able to preserve. . . that beauty that is only released by the heart. . . the rest slowly but surely perishes and is therefore no good to me at all. "
-- Philippe Fichot


I've taken to drinking green tea. Not much of a substitute for Pepsi or Yoo Hoo. I can't stand diet drinks. I'd just as soon drink chilled piss.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2005
(10:33 am)

Since I started my 1500 calorie per day diet, I think I've gained weight -- inches anyway. Pants that fit me two days ago are too snug today. It's probably due to the medication that I'm on. It warns that one of the side effects is weight gain. I've not drunk as much water as usual either. I can't seem to force myself to put one more bland, tasteless thing in my mouth or something. I can't friggin' win.


Quote of the Day: "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. `" -- Francis Bacon


My blood sugar is 267, down from 418 two days ago. I guess the glucophage is doing that part right. To me, the worst thing about having diabetes is having to follow a schedule, a regimen. I'm more of a free-form kind of guy. I was managing to lose weight at a decent rate doing my own thing, enjoying what I ate. Now, it seems I'm gaining weight, eating less and detesting every bite. You might say, "It's not so bad. Millions of people do it." Well, I'm not those people. I resent the fact that in 2002 before I broke my leg I was on the way to losing weight, getting back in shape and good health, and now since I can't walk like I used to, I've gained even more weight and have diabetes, which, in my estimation, has completely ruined my life. Funny thing, before I was diagnosed and put on medication and a diet, I felt great other than the constant pain with every step I took. I'd even managed to get control of my dry skin. Figures!

Digital Camera Image [2005_0206Image0005]
"Sunlight Came Softly Through My Window Today"

It seems this page has become a forum for my complaints, along with a quote a day and a picture every now and then. I'm not pleased with that. I can't think of anything to write other than about what's bothering me. That's probably because so much is bothering me lately. Right now it doesn't seem like anything will get better. People keep telling me it will, but I can't see it. I suspect that if I ever see the light at the end of the tunnel, it will be a trainman with a lantern coming my way, yelling, "Go back! Go back!" I told Emily yesterday that I'd trade my diabetes for schizophrenia. She remarked that at least I still have my sense of humor. Yeah, I've got that. . .

I thought I might be able to swing a new computer this month, but now that seems out of the question. I have an ophthalmologist appointment tomorrow and I'll need new glasses. Ka-ching! We got a new mattress. The old one had had it. It was hurting our backs. Ka-ching! I think the washer and dryer are going, too. We need a new microwave. My blood pressure monitor died. Bada-bing! I'll have to give up buying stamps for my collection, too. Shoot me now.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005
(11:43 am)

The new mattress and box springs arrived. It's a lot thicker than the old one, and the pillow top elevates it even more. I might need a ladder. . .

Of course, since the old mattress was 15 years old, they tell us we need a new bedframe with center support or the warranty is void. Lovely! More expense.


Quote of the Day: "Credibility, like virginity, can only be lost once and never recovered. Hence, the problem the Bush administration has in dealing with Iran is that having been so wrong about Iraq, who can believe it now? " -- Charley Reese, Conservative columnist


This morning, on my way to my ophthalmologist's appointment, we pulled up along side of a vehicle bearing West Virginia Legislature tags. The license read DGP 29, which I am assuming belongs to David G. Perry from the 29th district (correct me if I'm wrong). I guess it's a license to drive however he wants in disregard of the law. I'm not sure, but I don't think he used his turn signal before making the turn from Lee Street onto Court Street. I am sure, however, that he made a turn on red and there was a sign posted prominently that said "No Turn On Red." It is my opinion that members of the legislature should set an example for the rest of us. Flagrant disregard for traffic laws is not a good example. David Perry, you should not only be fined for this behavior -- you should be ashamed and chagrined, and if I had my way about it, publicly taken to task for it. Oh, that's right. . . That's what I'm doing here. And I will send a letter to the editor of both papers. Shame on you!

My ophthalmologist's appointment went well. I'm in the middle of lunch now. A ham & swiss on rye and an apple. I had to bend the rules a bit to get the swiss on the sandwich. This diet sucks.

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Friday, February 11, 2005
(3:27 pm)

I've been busy all day and I feel like I've accomplished very little. I have correspondence and other matters to catch up on, but have yet to do that. Oh well. . .

Digital Camera Image  (Cropped) [2005_0206Image0020a]
"Eventual Catastrophe"
(Corrosion Series #4)

Quote of the Day: "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to dark place where it leads. " -- Erica Jong


I'll meet you there. . .

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Saturday, February 12, 2005
(7:17 pm)

Ann and I went for a drive today, up Campbell's Creek. There are lots of rusting and falling-apart things out that way. It's a coal mining area. I met some nice people who showed me a lot of rusting things. This is not one of them. This is a close-up of a metal post that has apparently been several colors in its lifetime.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0212Image0026]
"This Too Shall Pass"
(Corrosion Series #5)

This diet is killing me. I swear I've gained weight. At no point during the day am I satisfied with what I eat. There's too much fruit in it, not enough vegetables, not enough protein. I've found a lot of sugar free and low carb items that would satisfy if only I could eat things I enjoy and when I want to eat. Having to adhere to a schedule completely ruins my Saturday, and probably other days as well. I have to have a snack or meal every three hours. If I want to be out and about during certain times I have to lug something to eat with me, and I have to be home for Breakfast (such as it is), Lunch, and Dinner. Somebody come up with a cure, fast!


Quote of the Day: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. " -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Sunday, February 13, 2005
(11:39 am)

This computer gets slower and slower, worse and worse. It needs a complete overhaul or replacement. I need new glasses, too. The washer is about shot. So is the dryer (we bought it used). Our microwave, faithful as it has been for over 20 years, has about had it too. I am taking three new medications now. Our income has not increased. I'd like to find something that would supplement our finances, but so far nothing has presented itself. I don't know what to do. My attempt at soliciting donations fell flat. One person pledged $50 but found reasons not to contribute in the end. Such is life.


Quote of the Day: "Life is the art of drawing without an eraser." -- John W. Gardner (US writer and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare)


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"Attachment Predisposes Suffering"
(Corrosion Series #6)

It's an overcast day. Dreary. I can't wait for warm, sunny weather. My birthday is coming up in a couple weeks. I don't expect anything special will happen, just a few greetings and maybe a card or two. I'd love to have a nice birthday with presents, friends and family, and a lot of good feelings, but I don't expect that will ever happen again. Those times are past.

I guess my pre-birthday depression is kicking in.

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Monday, February 14, 2005
(11:32 am)

I've been dealing with doctors, lawyers, and bureaucrats all morning. Is it noon yet? I need a drink!


Quote of the Day: "Neither philosophy, nor religion, nor morality, nor wisdom, nor interest will ever govern nations or parties against their vanity, their pride, their resentment or revenge, or their avarice or ambition. " -- John Adams


So far this month, the commentary here has been mostly personal and from my own estimation, quite uninformative and not at all entertaining. I'll try to do better.

Arthur Miller died last week. He was one of the greats. His plays rival those of the great playwrights of the Victorian Era. I subscribe to a Yahoo Group that deals with visual poetry. The other day, the following appeared in the group. It is a quote from Arthur Miller with a prefatory paragraph by endwar:

The discussion on the commercial uses of vispo has focused on the positive aspects. But it's not without its costs, too. Today at a library booksale i picked up Vaclav Havel Living in Truth, a mid 1980s collection of 6 essays followed by 16 texts by friends and supporters, mostly written during the period he was in prison (he was released in 1983). One of these texts is "I Think About You a Great Deal" by Arthur Miller, a monologue written "as an expression of solidarity with Vaclav Havel, for performance at the International Theatre Festival at Avignon on 21 July 1982" (Samuel Beckett also contributed "Catastrophe"). The set up of the monologue is that The Writer is addressing The Imprisoned One. After discussing his junk mail, he continues:

"Reminds me of another writer I knew many years ago in New York. Quite talented, we all thought. Poet and playwright. Lot of promise. But he had an active case of claustrophobia. Couldn't bear to enter an elevator. And they had no money so he and his wife lived in this tiny room which drove him crazy— used to walk the streets half the night (It was a lot safer to walk the streets at night in those days.) Anyway. . . in desperation he took a job writing advertising copy for. . . I think it was General Motors. Which allowed him to move into a larger apartment, and eased his anxieties. Years passed and I met him again and naturally I was curious about what he was working on. But the poetry had died, the plays too; what he wanted to show me was the thick file of ads he had written. In fact, he was such a favourite, the company had given him a special office on the ground floor of their skyscraper so he could avoid the elevator. He was middle-aged by this time, and it was quite. . . moving, actually. . . to see how proud he had become of these works in praise of General Motors. In fact, he showed me his different drafts, and pointed out how he had shifted various ideas around until the whole conception was perfected. And I kept watching the look of triumph on his face. And you couldn't help being happy for him— that he had earned so much space around himself. He obviously no longer lived in his old anxiety. He seemed really satisfied with life now, with a solid feeling of accomplishment. His was clearly a successful life. . . that had substituted itself for a poet.

"[slight pause]

"I thought about you, then. They have taken away your space, haven't they— because you have refused to write their ads. Amazing how, more than anything, power loves praise."

I'm not so sure power loves praise more than anything. I suspect power loves obedience more than praise. Power loves obeisance, requires it even. Power demands fear and deference. Praise is merely an outward gesture of that fear. Power wants poets, artists, and intellectuals relegated to the fringes, ignored, disenfranchised, alienated, and mistrusted, for nothing threatens power like a new idea, especially one whose time has come. Power cannot tolerate freedom of thought and creativity unless they are yoked and in service of power.

Digital Camera Image [2005_0212Image0003]
"The Mountains of Mars"
(Corrosion Series #7)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005
(11:14 pm)

Yes, it's late. I was out and about today, visiting with new and old friends, enjoying myself. This evening I lounged and watched television. Can't miss the last three episodes of NYPD Blue, ya know?


Quote of the Day: "Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses. " -- Lao Tzu, Circa 600 B.C.E.


Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0213Image0005]
"Unintended Consequence"

I had a rather long and meandering conversation with an artist who teaches classes locally. He's an interesting fellow and I greatly enjoy our conversations. I had hoped maybe the time spent with him (while he worked on a painting) would inspire me to pick up brushes and tubes and find a spot to unleash my easel, but it really didn't. I thought about picking up a sketch book (I have a rather substantial collection of them) several times during the evening, but I couldn't think of what to draw. I'm still in a funk -- in a place where I can't bring anything out. Soon, perhaps. I don't know, but I think the pain and fear and anxiety I feel most of the time might have something to do with it. There is a nice discussion going on in the Yahoo group I belong to that concerns visual poetry, but I've not felt like following it closely. I've been stuck on the same chapter in my book about Egon Schiele for over a month. I need something to pull me out of this hole.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005
(3:14 pm)

I've been thinking about driving up to New York to see the gates. I've never seen any of Cristo's work, and I'd love to see one before I die. I probably won't, though. The trip would be tiring and parking would be nightmarish. Not to mention, the A-Train is running right now and that's my main subway line when I'm in the city.


Quote of the Day: "An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. " -- Oscar Wilde.


Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0212Image0018]
"Tired of Waiting"
(Corrosion Series #8)

My eyes are bothering me today.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005
(2:49 pm)

They need me in Hollywood, and in the television studios -- to read the scripts and point out their idiocies and boneheaded notions, like the one on ER the other night, where the surgeon goes into the bar and orders a hamburger cooked medium!! No physician in his right mind would eat ground meat any way but well done, and suggesting otherwise is irresponsible. I've noticed, in my limited experience with Hollywood and television directors and screenwriters, that they seem to think they know everything and actually know less than the average guy on the street. And, I am not average. They need me. Convincing them of that, however, is not as easy as it should be.


Quote of the Day: "No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. " -- Sigmund Freud


Notice he said "portion of reality," not reality in toto. I think work can ground one in reality, but only if that work is fulfilling and contributes to one's own sense of worth. A lot of work degrades the worker and disconnects him from the human community. Freud was a little too insulated in his comfortable middle class world to understand that work, per se, is for most a drudgery, even in this age of technology which was forecast to alleviate much of man's misery caused by labor. What it's done is relieve most men of much of the fruits of their labor.

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"Flowing Mane"

My vision is changing. I'd developed floaters in both eyes, but now the seem to have gone away. Also, I can see better without my glasses than I can ever remember. For distance vision I have to look through the middle section of my progressive lenses. I think I need another trip to the ophthalmologist.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005
(11:15 am)

I went to the doctor yesterday. I've lost two whole pounds on my new diet. That's after I'd gained three pounds over the weekend before he told me I have diabetes, worrying and obsessing about what he wanted to see me about so soon. Before that gain, I'd lost seven pounds in the month between visits, on my own, eating according to my own weight loss plan. So that puts me at a net loss of six pounds in two months. At this rate it will take well over two years to get down to my target weight. Staying on a starvation diet for that long is not a likelihood. Great. . .


Quote of the Day: "Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there. " -- Josh Billings, American humorist (1815-1885)


Apparently my visual poems got into the show at Harvard University. Is that a feather in my cap or a laurel to rest on later in life?

Digital Camera Image (cropped)  [2005_0212Image0005]
"Rocky Rode"
(Corrosion Series #9)

I have to go get prescriptions refilled today. Painful. Painful. Even just the co-pays gets expensive in a hurry, especially when one of my drugs is "off the formulary" and two others aren't available in generic form. When did drugs become so expensive? I suspect it was when they started being paranoid about euphoria and had to engineer the "buzz" out of as many drugs as possible. The unfortunate unintended consequences of this were increased cost and some really nasty potential side effects and interactions. Doctors, researchers, and others involved in the healthcare industry are not infallable, or anything close to it. They seem to want to replace lawyers in the hierarchy of wealth and power. Note the number of them running for office and the laws being passed that directly benefit them.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
(11:43 am)

My birthday is rapidly approaching. My Heinz year (57) will soon be over. I won't miss it much. I doubt the coming year will bring much in the way of improvements, but I can hope: Dum Spiro Spero.


Quote of the Day: "All that we behold is full of blessings. "
-- William Wordsworth (1770-1850)


Really now? I suppose I need to work on that. I see few blessings anymore. There are so many things I could rant about -- the disrespect shown to us by manufacturers and merchants by affixing bar code labels and price tags to everything that require upwards of half an hour to remove, if they can be removed at all; voice mail -- need I say more? I could go on and on, listing grievances in detail and in vast quantity, enumerating every bit of information about what's wrong with the world and how it could be made better if only such creatures as MBA's and sellers of goods would be willing to slightly inconvenience themselves instead of massively inconveniencing the customers. But, I won't. Instead I'll try to focus on my blessings. . . as soon as I can find some. . .

I'm being too negative. I do have some blessings, mostly in the form of family and friends. Then again some members of my family and some of my friends are less than gifts from heaven. But, they try.

Digital Camera Image [2005_0213Image0006], Polyurethane sculpture, painted with gold paint, dust naturally occurring.
"Twisted Blister"
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Thursday, February 24, 2005
(5:23 pm)

I picked up my medical records to take to the pain clinic tomorrow. Can't wait to see what their determination might be. I just know I'd love to have a lot of my periodic pain disappear.


Quote of the Day: "Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but, disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort. " -- Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)


With this diet I'm on and the new medications I'm taking, I'm supposed to be healthier and feel better, so how come I feel so lousy? I have less overall energy than I did before and don't even feel like doing the simplest things. My whole life seems centered around food, and what I eat is not at all what I want to eat and little of it is satisfying in the slightest way. I lost more weight on my own, eating just a couple times a day, eating high energy foods, things like patty melts, black bean soup, chili, multiple servings of vegetables, soups of my own devising -- things that were gastronomically and psychologically satisfying. Now I think about food more than I ever did, can eat less, and am never completely satisfied with what I eat. Something in this equation is terribly wrong.

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Monday, February 28, 2005
(1:38 pm)

Sometime today I'm having a large cheeseburger or something equally detrimental to my health, diabetic coma be damned. I'm still having problems with my vision, problems with pain (it looks like the pain clinic isn't going to be much help there -- the doctor wants me to undergo physical therapy. . . I mean really, what good is that going to do? cause me more pain, perhaps), problems with my skin, too much fiber in my diet. Lovely way to start, as my friend Robin puts it, another orbit around the old ball.


Quote of the Day: "When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do. " -- William Blake


It's been snowing and I have to go out to get my prescription refills. Wonderful.

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