Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Eve

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31:  Fireworks ex...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeThis is definitely my worst year ever, which would have been true of any year when Darcy died. Thinking I was OK was a bit premature, I think I was just stunned when it all happened and now it’s had a chance to seep in. I’ve started having little moments of panic, scared of facing the world without her, but then I think that over the past 2 years I’m the one who was taking care of everything by myself.

But not only did Darcy pass away last week but this was her worst year, ever since the accident last March 1st, where the van company broke her back, she’s just been desperately ill and unable to bounce back for first time in 15 years. They did her in and they aren’t even going to pay very much for it, but they will pay something. She really suffered pretty badly during that time, so sick she was in bed all the time except to go to dialysis. And I would come home from work and go to bed with her and watch TV, just so we could spend as much time together as possible.

We settled the law suit the Thursday before she died. It’s much smaller than I would have liked but it was all I could get. At least I won’t have to worry about money for a while if I don’t change anything and don’t start buying lots of stuff. I need a couple of new Wacom tablets and maybe the $900 MacBook. But that is it.

I’m thinking of downsizing to a one bedroom apartment and hopefully knock off a few hundred dollars per month. Have to prepare for tough times in the future because things aren’t going to be getting any better.

Last New Year’s I posted how I really hope Darcy makes it to this one but I didn’t think she would. She missed it by 9 days. Today would have been her 61st birthday.

It was an incredible year for politics, though. I became a real political junkie, watching all the TV shows and listening to Air America all day long. America elected it’s first black president, and the economy has collapsed in such a way as to show just how awful Republican economics really is - a total failure in every possible way. Unless you are very rich then you can steal from the government and the middle class.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008


FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Tom Brady #12 of ...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHooray for football on Sundays, how wonderfully distracting. And next week are the playoffs so there will be 2 games each Saturday and Sunday.

It was good to see LaDainian Tomlinson back to his old self, I'd forgotten how fast he was and was afraid his career was over. Brett Favre's career is probably over, and maybe for Tom Brady as well. That would really be a shame because I think he is likely the best quarterback ever, even better than Joe Montana. They say watch and see if the Patriots let Matt Cassel become a free agent or if they keep him and pay him millions. If they keep him it means they are worried about Brady, or know he will not be able to play.

At least it occupies my mind so I don't think about Darcy too much.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bad Day

Best Buy is sometimes called the Image via WikipediaI realized today that I am walking around like I have a great, big, gaping wound and any sudden movement will cause pain and bleeding. Meaning that I’m OK but fragile.

Depression has really set in and I just keep seeing so many things that I want to tell Darcy about only to realize each time I can’t do that ever again. One thing that really got to me was watching the season ending of Dexter. It was one of our favorite shows and she missed the wrap up. Then they were doing a Highlander marathon on sci fi and Darcy would have loved that, too. I keep thinking if only she had lasted another week. How absurd.

I find myself wandering around, losing track of time. I went over to Best Buy today to see if they had any good post-Xmas deals only to spend several hours just wandering the store, looking at things.

Tomorrow is football day so hopefully I can lose myself in that for most of the day. Maybe even do some work.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas

Yesterday was a strange day but not an unpleasant one. For the first time in longer than I can remember I was completely alone with absolutely nothing that I had to do and no place I had to be. All great luxuries for me that I enjoyed very much. I spent the day playing computer games, searching all over the web for whatever popped into my head and watching TV. It was also my first stress free day in at least 15 years.

I’m keeping an eye on myself because I’m doing much better than I ever thought I would when Darcy passed on. I’ve had 15 years to think about life AD (After Darcy) and the past year most of all because it was obvious time was running out. Perhaps that prepared me for now. Perhaps I’m just in denial and a full load of grief will suddenly hit me and turn me into jello. I don’t know. I do know that I’m feeling a lot of relief. I know that sounds terrible but when you’ve spent 15 years with a sword over your head to have it over is a relief. Hard to worry about anything when the worst has already happened. I am constantly seeing something where I think I have to tell Darcy about that but I can't do that ever again.

I have been crying a lot, especially when finding something emotional on TV or the Web, like this one; "Please don't divorce us." Photo after photo of families that don’t want to be divorced because Prop 8 passed, and make no mistake the Religious Reich is filing a law suit to have all such marriages done in California annulled. Could there be any better proof that Christianity is a religion of hate?

There were people who had worse Christmases than me. The 6pm news yesterday started out with 2 shootings at Christmas parties with 7 dead and two separate car crashes where the cars flipped over, several dead and several in the hospital in critical condition.

The worst one was Bruce Pardo. He had just gone through a bitter divorce so he went to the house of his ex-inlaws in Covina with 2 guns and a homemade flame thrower and wearing a Santa suit. He knocked on the front door, an eight year old girl opened it and he shot her in the face, then stepped inside shooting everywhere then using the flamethrower, the house eventually burned down. 6 people dead but the 8 year old is expected to survive. His ex and her parents are missing. Bruce then went to his brother’s house and killed himself on the front lawn. Very uncool all around, Brucie. You want to off yourself do it in your own place and don’t take others down with you.

Update: His ex and her parents were found, burnt to a crisp and hard to identify, they had to go by the teeth. Her sister is the only one of the family left. I can understand the kind of despair that brings someone to suicide but I simply can't understand the impulse to take others with you.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008


This is my first Christmas without Darcy since 1985. Back then we were just dating but she moved in at the end of January, after my sister Wendy & Earl’s wedding, which Darcy arranged. She was always the arranger, she got things done & took care of everyone around her.

Wendy died about 5 years ago and we lost touch with Earl after he moved back to New Mexico, but I sent him an email to an old address that I didn’t even know was still good. But it was and he called last night. It was good to talk to him after all this time, really cheered me up.

Probably the best thing to happen was Allan coming over. I called him Tuesday to let him know we were near the end if he wanted to come out and he did. Unfortunately she died just before he got here, but he stayed a while and we drank a six-pack of beer, ate chips and Allan told his stories. Fortunately, not the same stories he told in art school back in 1971 but new ones. For Allan everything is funny and a story, but it felt really good to laugh. I think it’s been 10 years since I had seen him although we talked on the phone a few times. It’s been months since I had a beer, too.

So Allan and Earl really cheered me up when I needed it. Part of why I think I’m taking this much better than I thought I would. I thought I would be a total basket case when she finally passed away but I’m OK.

And I think a lot of it is that I’ve had 15 years of waiting for this, part of it is that it really was time for her to go. All of last week she was just miserable, at night she couldn’t turn herself over if something hurt or she couldn’t breathe. She was so skinny that it hurt to lay on her ribs and several times she said; “Oh, Bear, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Meaning that her discomfort was so bad as to be unendurable and she couldn’t do anything to relieve it and was getting ready to call the paramedics. I gave her a vicodin for the pain each time and she was able to sleep but we both knew time was running out.

It's a relief that she isn't suffering any more.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Darcy Is Gone

This was a post I always knew I’d make some day but now it is here. I can’t even say I wish she had stayed longer, life had been pretty miserable for her for some time now, but it still hits hard. I keep looking around and finding all the things I won’t do with or for Darcy again. I pet the cats and tell them Mommy is gone but they don’t understand. I think of something and the first thing I want to do is tell Darcy about it then realize I can never do that again.

She had been getting very weak over the past 2 weeks and by Friday she could not stand at all even when being held. That’s when we called the paramedics to come and take her to the hospital. We knew this was the end, she even told me to call a certain nurse over at dialysis who had the name of a hospice service to use.

By Monday Darcy was losing focus and tuning out of conversations, I thought it was because they had kept giving her morphine when both of us told them not to. With no functioning kidneys it builds up in her system until she starts spacing out. Last time they did that she started coming back by the next day. By the end of Monday she was in the nursing home but her unfocused look was getting worse. I told her I wondered if they had still kept giving her morphine instead of just the vicodin they were supposed to be giving her. She shook her head no and I asked if she was just tired and she shook her head yes.

I stayed with her a couple more hours until her son, Phil could get there to relieve me, I had been with her all day at the hospital and was pretty zonked. The next morning, Tuesday, I went over there, expecting her to be more coherent and she wanted to take a ride to the beach for a few hours. But instead I found her completely non-responsive. I couldn’t even get her to blink yes. The hospice nurse said this was very typical, as if the body puts out it’s own morphine before death that keeps the person from suffering. She said she could tell the end was near by her labored breathing and that she wasn’t suffering by her placid face.

She looked terrible, so bad I can’t even hold it in my memory, that wasn’t my Darcy. My Darcy was alive and vibrant, a force to be reckoned with. The nurse also said she could go at any time or last several days. By 2:30 she was gone, two days before Christsmas, and the world is a far lessor place because of it, but few will ever know that. It’s better that she went quickly but I sure would have liked to have given her that last trip to the beach.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush Matrix

This is just too good not to post, from Printmeister. Wired has all the Bush shoe parodies.

I'm really glad this happened because this is what Bush is going to be remembered for, this is his legacy. And no matter how much Bush, Rove and Cheney try to re-write the terrible truth they will never erase this incident. It will live on for hundreds of years. The Buffoon In Chief.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Senate Seat For Sale

This is Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, probably, like me, you never heard of him before today but now he is infamous in a real life tragic/comedy. This guy is a crook and so over the top you have to laugh or shake your head in disbelief. This is from the Huffington Post:
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges he brazenly conspired to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder as part of what federal prosecutors called a "political corruption crime spree."
Obama is not implicated as knowing anything about what Blagojevich was doing. He seems as surprised and amazed as anyone. I bet he is rather ticked off too because now his replacement in the senate is up in thin air. No one seems to know if there is any other way to replace Obama's seat nor how long Blagojevich will be in office. One thing everyone agrees with is they aren't going to let him make the selection now. But it could be held up for many months as the wheels of justice grind on.
"We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree, and we wanted to stop it," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said, calling the charges against Blagojevich "a truly new low." He added: "The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."
And Fitzgerald is the guy on the case. He's the one who investigated and prosecuted Scooter Libby and is said to be damn good and damn thorough. Blagojevich is finished for sure. What is really unbelievable is how blatant he was about asking for a payoff for the senate seat even though he knew he was under investigation and there was a good possibility his phones were tapped.
The FBI said in court papers that the governor was intercepted on wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell the Senate seat for campaign cash or plum jobs for himself or his wife, Patti. He spoke of landing a job with a nonprofit foundation or a union-affiliated group, and even held out the possibility of a Cabinet appointment or ambassadorship for himself.

"I've got this thing and it's fucking golden," he said of his authority to appoint Obama's replacement, "and I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I'm not gonna do it."

Blagojevich also considered appointing himself to the Senate seat, telling his deputy governor that if "they're not going to offer me anything of value, I might as well take it," prosecutors said.
Who talks like that when the FBI might be tapping your phone? Hell, I wouldn't talk like that even though there is very little chance the FBI even knows who I am or has tapped my phones. Nor would my trying to sell the senate seat mean anything since I have no authority to do anything about it. But I still wouldn't talk like that - just in case.

And the guy's a "bleeping" democrat! I hate to see dems act like this, the Republicans are the thugs who think they can get away with anything. One big difference is that the Democrats are not going to rally around him and try to excuse what he's done, unlike how all right wingers will tell the most outrageous lies to defend one of their own caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The only thing they won't do that with is if you're accused of being gay. Just ask Senator Larry Craig.
In court papers, the FBI said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor. "I want to make money," the governor, whose salary is $177,412, was quoted as saying in one conversation.

The head of the FBI's office in Chicago said he phoned Blagojevich at 6 a.m., telling him of a warrant for his arrest and that there were two FBI agents at his door of his Chicago home. Blagojevich's first comment was, "Is this a joke?" said agent Robert Grant.

Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussions or knew of them _ something Fitzgerald repeatedly made clear at Tuesday's news conference.

In fact, Blagojevich was overheard complaining at one that Obama's people are "not going to give me anything except appreciation." He added: "(Expletive) them."

The conversations took place between Election Day and as recently as last week. On the recordings, Blagojevich was clearly aware authorities might be listening, warning one person not to use the phone and saying, "The whole world is listening. You hear me?"

Fucking unbelievable! Somebody is on the phone right now about making a movie of this thing, dontcha think? I would be absolutely ecstatic if I was making $177,412 a year as salary. I can't get over that last line from Blagojevich: "The whole world is listening, You hear me?" As Bugs Bunny would say "What a (expletive) maroon!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Frost/Sheen and the Magna Carta

Haven't seen the movie but I love the commercial where Frank Langella as Nixon says his most outrageous line: "If the President does it it's not illegal!" Michael Sheen as Frost says, with a look of incredulity on his face; "Excuse me?" Because he can't believe Nixon just said that.

It's a line that has ticked me off for years, it goes against every principle of the Rule of Law in a democratic nation. And to say it to a Brit would be really ridiculous because it is practically burnt into their DNA.

That's because of the Magna Carta. Most people have heard of it but don't really know what it is or what it actually says. Many have heard it was the start of Western Democracy and it is, although no democracy actually existed in it. It did what was first needed in a society before democracy could happen, it established the rule of law as supreme, only from that concept could true democracy grow. It's hard to describe how incredible an idea this was at the time, all over Europe it was a given that Kings were God's representative on Earth and his rule WAS the law, and he could do what he wanted.

To see what happened we need Robin Hood. While Robin never existed the framework of England in the story is reasonably true. Richard the Lionhearted was king of England, but that didn't mean much because in his ten years as king he only set foot in England for a few months. He was raised in Normandy (remember the Norman Invasion?) and spoke French not English. And soon after becoming king he went off to the Crusades where he fought Saladin to a standstill and earned fame as a great military leader.

Because he was so removed from England in many ways he really did not care about it so he left his brother, Prince John, in charge. And yes, he really was evil, or at least an asshole. After Richard left the Middle East he still didn't want to settle down and he was killed when an arrow went through his throat while holding a siege on a German castle 10 years after becoming king. So John inherited the throne.

King John was so bad (no other kings have been named John since then) that all his nobles rebelled. Despite how kings were looked at they really needed their nobles' support, at least some of them, in order to rule. John not only pissed them all off but made them realize that none of them were safe from his arbitrary wrath.

Now it's important to note how everything from this point on was totally unprecedented in Europe of the Middle Ages, these things were not even thought of let alone pursued. Which shows just how bad John was to have pushed his nobles to do this. They got together and wrote the Magna Carta (Great Charter). Here is what Wikipedia says:
Magna Carta required King John of England to proclaim certain rights (mainly of his barons), respect certain legal procedures, and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects, whether free or fettered — most notably the writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal against unlawful imprisonment.
For the first time rights were given to the King's subjects, he couldn't just do anything he wanted to them. He also had to be bound by law. Think of how amazing this is when up until that time Kings had absolute power and could not even be questioned. Even the serfs had rights! Every man, no matter what, had the right to habeas corpus, which means they had a right to know why they were imprisoned and had the right to defend themselves

For the first time in the Western world the Rule of Law was named supreme, even above the power of the king, that the king himself, was subject to the rule of law. Meaning he could not break it and if he did he could be held accountable.

This happened in 1215 and was one of the truly great revolutionary moments in the history of Europe, and in our history since we came from Europe. This is why a Brit would be taken aback by a mere President claiming to have a right not even a king in England could claim in over 7 centuries.

And here we are today, with Bush having said what Nixon said and he successfully demolished habeas corpus, the very foundation of the Rule of Law. If the Rule of Law is gone then we have the Rule of Men and presidents become kings. I doubt that any American would approve of that if they truly understood what it all meant. But for most Americans terms like the Magna Carta, habeas corpus and the rule of law are just things they have heard but aren't quite sure of their meaning or importance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Requiem for a Maverick

Few reporters can tell it like Matt Taibbi. He is currently my favorite, not only great insights into people and politics, but a truly delightful use of language. Read the whole article here, and it's well worth the time spent. Below is an excerpt:
John McCain ran one of the most incompetent, schizo campaigns in history — and for that we owe him big-time


Up until this year, McCain had firmly rejected the emotional imperatives implicit in Bush-Rove-Gingrich conservatism, in which the relentless demonizing of liberals and liberalism was even more important than policy. While other Republicans were crusading against gay marriage in 2004, McCain bashed a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment, calling it "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans." While the president and other Republicans wrapped their arms around the Falwells of the world, McCain blasted those preachers as "agents of intolerance." He talked of seeing the hand of God when he hiked in the Grand Canyon, but insisted loudly that he believed in evolution. He even, for Christ's sake, supported a ban on commercial whaling. If there's anything that a decent Republican knows without being told, it's that whales are a liberal constituency.

But McCain didn't care. Back then, his political survival didn't depend on keeping voters artificially geeked up on fear and hatred for Mexicans or biology teachers or other such subversives. He was, after all, a war hero, and Sharon Stone's cousin.

In short, McCain entered this election season being the worst thing that anyone can be, in the eyes of the Rove-school Republicans: Different. Independent. His own man. He exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the hated liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove's cock in his mouth. Even if you wanted to vote for him, you didn't know who you were voting for. The old McCain? The new McCain? Neither? Both?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's Official

We ARE in a recession and have been since LAST December. Boy, what a relief, now I know I'm not just a whiner.

The Big 3 auto makers are heading back to Washington to beg for money. This time they are going to drive there in hybrid cars. Each taking a private jet to go to Congress, hats in hand to beg for taxpayer money, was such a bad idea you have to wonder why it never occurred to even one of them that they shouldn't do it. It's because the rich live in a bubble and don't have a clue what it is like down in the trenches. I did hear that for one of them part of the plan is for him to take one dollar in annual salary until they are solvent again, guess he got the message.

And the auto workers are not to blame for the dismal state of companies. The idea that the average salary is $75 an hour is a blatant lie spread by Republicans. What they did is take all salaries, all medical benefits, all retirees and THEIR medical benefits, and add them together then divide it by the number of actually worked hours. One guy announced this in the news and everybody took it up and spouted it like it was true without ever checking. The truth is the average auto worker hourly wage is $26. This is only $54,080 a year, not exactly a huge salary. And if they were making $75 per hour that would still be peanuts compared to the millions the top execs take when they are the ones making the decisions that got them into trouble.