Sorry for the disturbing lack of posts. A bunch of stuff has happened lately (more on that in other posts). I got this from my kind spirited and always forgiving mother. Her sympathy for those troubled CEO's on Wall Street knows no limits.
Fast forward a week: I met with the surgeon and he agreed (surprise!) that surgery was the correct solution. The next available date was about two weeks in the future.
Fast forward two weeks: After eating stuff I don't like and not eating stuff I do like, I finally had surgery. I think I may have lost more than ten pounds, between the change in diet and the gallbladder that was removed. I am now free to return to killing myself with food and beer.
After about five days, I was back at work and not really in any pain. After another couple of weeks, I was cleared to attempt to kill myself with exercise and give myself a hernia by picking up kids again.
Conclusion: Don't get gallstones, but if your liver and gallbladder will not cooperate, get the surgery and go back to fun food.
"2001 - One hundred twenty-five Pentagon employees, including 42 Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians, are killed along with 59 airline passengers when terrorists fly a highjacked airliner into the Pentagon."
I am reporting from somewhere in the Pacific (hint, I am on land and not on a boat, that ought to narrow it down to less than a thousand different islands).
I came across this link a while ago, but haven't bothered write about yet. It concerns something near and dear to my heart, namely leaving our cradle (Earth) and conquering the universe, or at least a couple of other rocks in the Solar System. I suppose it should come as no surprise that in this election year, as in most other election years, not a single bloody candidate cares. Check out this link from NPR:
McCain vaguely mentions something on his website about sticking to the Bush plan, which while not bad, is also not tenable since it was never funded. Obama seems to think he can take money away from NASA to educate scientists and engineers (no mention of what they will do with these educated folks, since NASA and it's contractors will be downsizing as a result of funding cuts). Clinton seems to muddle along, vague and noncommittal (no doubt waiting to see which way the political winds are blowing). Clinton's only redeeming quality so far seems to have been hiring Lori Garver, whom I remember from her role in the National Space Society back in the day.
Ugh. I wanted my children to reach the stars. Hell, I wanted to put my bootprints on at least one other world before I died. At the rate things are going, I might live long enough to see the Chinese build their first moon base. Damn reds might beat us after all.
Attention candidates: Prove me wrong, please.
PS: I will try post some pictures tomorrow, just in case anyone wants to guess where I am.
In any case, it seems I have been slacking off on this whole blogging thing. Shame on me. Hopefully, you have found other means to entertain yourselves.
Here are some oddball items, links, etc, that I meant to write about. Somehow, I never get to sit down and waste time in front of a computer until I am almost too tired to do so. Ah for the good old days of Tetris, Wolfenstein, and Doom. When the internet was young and wild and slooooooooooow. Now, I spend my days working (outrageous, where is the socialist utopia where robots work and we play!!!) and I spend my evenings chasing kids and getting them to bed.
This link takes you to a site where you can learn various statistics about your zip code (or any other zip code). Oddly, it was missing crime stats. Never fear, intrepid readers, for that brings us to the next link...
This link takes you to a site where you can search for sex offenders, find their homes and places of work, see their pictures, descriptions, and crimes. Creepy in all kinds of ways. First, you can see just how many sex offenders are living near you. You can see their pictures (most look a bit off, but a couple were disturbingly normal looking). You can see the age of the victim (must control urge to hunt them down). But creepy from another perspective. How long will it take before we are all on a map somewhere, with pictures and other personal information? Assuming, of course, that we are not all plotted on a map somewhere already. And yes, I know, I have a map plotting your general locations posted right on my blog. Hypocrisy is a normal mode of thought for me. Big Brother is watching. "Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 2
This link takes you to a CNN story about a college field trip. To Vegas. And just outside of Vegas to the Chicken Ranch to see a real brothel and meet the working girls. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over. When I was in college, we took a bus ride on the Skyway to Gary, IN to see a steel mill. Granted, we were engineering students, and the steel mill was cool (well, actually, it was really warm, because molten steel is really hot, oh never mind). But if someone said, come on to Vegas, we are going to see how engineering can effect the operations of casinos and brothels, I would have been all over it like a bad rash. Hmmm, perhaps an unwise simile for the subject matter. It's just not fair, I tell you. Kids these days don't know how good they have it. Etc etc blah blah blah, someone shoot me now, because I sound like an angry old man.
Final discussion: According to a travel security service my company uses, Ireland invaded Chad back in February. Somehow I missed that.
Chad February 21, 2008 11:24 GMT
Irish Troops Arrive in N'djamena
Approximately 50 Irish rangers arrived as a part of the EU peacekeeping force (EUFOR) on 21 February in the capital, N'djamena. The troops are scheduled to be deployed in the volatile eastern region of Chad, bordering Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). An additional 400 Irish troops are expected to be deployed in May. In a separate development on 20 February, three prominent newspapers in Chad announced a publishing strike until the government lifts the state of emergency. The media blackout was launched in protest against the state of emergency that places restrictions on the media.
Here are some supporting links:
And this is the unit that Ireland sent:
Seems like a rough and ready outfit.
March 17, 2008 A message from the Office of Workforce Diversity. Celebrating National Irish American Heritage Month This month [deleted company] joins the rest of the country in celebrating Irish American Heritage Month. During Irish American Heritage Month, we celebrate Irish Americans and the significant contributions they have made to our nation.
During the Great Potato Famine of the 19th century, approximately one million Irish came to the United States. And over the past 150 years, millions more have come. In this country, Irish Americans have ably served in their communities, making great contributions in literature and the arts, in business and industry, in government and in the Armed Forces. Approximately 44 million Americans proudly share their Irish ancestry, especially in celebrating St. Patrick's Day with parades, family gatherings,
Masses and dances.
Our commitment to having an inclusive work environment, building a diverse work force, and continuously improving employee engagement make [deleted company] a great place to work. During this month we congratulate [deleted company] Irish American employees.
[deleted company] believes in having its work force reflect the diversity of our more than 9,000 customers in 190 countries around the world. We appreciate all employees for the work they do each day in support of our company's goal to be #1 in our industry.
Here is how I did:
Five year olds beware:
It's clobberin' time! 'Nuff said.
Lunar survival skills:
56%? I feel shame in my emotion processing unit. I should change my user name. My only solace is that I disagree with some of the choices.
My geek percentage:
I took the Death Report quiz and found that 131,367 People Died the Day I was Born. Less than I would have thought.
In addition to my life insurance, apparently my survivors could sell my corpse for:
$4305.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.
And finally, since I have written about zombies before, here are my chances for the infamous zombie apocalypse scenario:
Free California Dating
Joe - I've got a weak back.
Moe - How long have you had a weak back?
Joe - Oh, for about a week back.
Moe - Sounds like you've got a weak back joke.
Joe - Mayhap a Bad Joke Week?
Moe - There -- have your weak joke back...
Joe - Yes, but you gave me my joke back weak!
Moe - This is a whole bag of weak jokes!
Joe - You mean you won't back a weak joke? Aw, c'mon.
So last week, as I was sitting on the floor trying to calm down a screaming child at 0-dark-30, a small bomb exploded in my back. Or at least that is what it felt like. I couldn't stand (pain was too great). I couldn't sit. All I could do was lay on the floor and whimper. I finally summoned enough courage to crawl all the way back to bed (still whimpering), where I stayed for most of the day. Got a doctor's appointment and was rewarded with many different kinds of drugs. A shot of some kind of anti-inflammatory drug, some steroids, some muscle relaxer and some hydrocodone. I am now practicing better living through chemistry. I was a little disappointed with the steroids, however. I have not bulked out like a weightlifter. Oh well. After a week, the pain was manageable, but it was still there. My next stop was a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. After reviewing the images, the doc determined I have a bulging disc. I guess I will now get to see yet another doc next week.
I hope I haven't left you in spine-tingling suspense as you await the results. That would no doubt strike a nerve with some folks. I must now get off my tailbone and lumbar off to bed.
Cupertino, CA (1)
Denver, CO (1)
Avoca, IA (1)
Highland Park, IL (2)
Denham Springs, LA (1)
North Hartland, VT (1)
Quincy, MA (3)
Mount Holly, NJ (1)
Rockville, MD (1)
Raleigh, NC (21)
Tampa, FL (1)
Clacton-on-sea, Essex, UK (1)
Antony, Ile-de-France, France (1)
Cluj, Romania (1)
So, who are all you folks? I don't think I know anybody living in or near most of these places. Let's see what Google says about your home towns (or at least the place where the server sits):
Cupertino, CA--do you work for Apple Inc? I do believe I have mentioned Apple or iPhones or something once or twice on the blog.
Denver, CO--don't think this gets you into the mile high club that easily.
Avoca, IA--either this place is really boring and people are leaving, or you are all dying off, because your population is decreasing (1534 two years ago, down from 1610 in 2000).
Highland Park, IL--since I know people in Chicago, I assume this is where your ISP plugs into the Internet.
Denham Springs, LA--I have actually never been to Louisiana, but I see you are near Baton Rouge.
North Hartland, VT--I think I passed through your town on the way to Killington for a ski trip.
Quincy, MA--I have been to Boston a number of times and recognize the name from maps and road signs
Mount Holly, NJ--Predates the American Revolution by 69 years. Impressive.
Rockville, MD--I have been to Maryland, so maybe this was me logging into the blog.
Raleigh, NC--been to the airport while switching planes. Can't imagine who logged in 21 times from there.
Tampa, FL--I hid from a hurricane once in Tampa, but it didn't hit the place I was living, so it was a wasted trip.
Clacton-on-sea, Essex, UK--Apparently the home to a volunteer life saving station (Royal National Lifeboat Institution, http://www.rnli.org.uk/) similar to the USCG Auxiliary (http://www.cgaux.org/).
Antony, Ile-de-France, France--Looks like a Parisian suburb.
Cluj, Romania--Dates back to the Roman Empire and it's in Transylvania-vampires are now on the web.
Australia--Anyone that will give AC/DC a home is alright by me.
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
Wow. Maybe this whole illegal immigration phenomenon is grounded in this oath. You have got to have some stones to stand up and take this one (assuming you are honorable enough to mean what you say). The pledge of allegiance is down right wimpy and sad compared to the oath above. Just for comparison, this is an oath I am more familiar with, the Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment:
"I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.''
Still pretty scary stuff (it doesn't seem all that bad when you read it, but when you are repeating after the officer giving you the oath, with your right hand in the air, the whole weight of it just comes crashing down on your shoulders).
But going back to that oath of allegiance, a question for my fellow native born citizens: Would you be willing to take that oath of allegiance if you had to? If the answer is no, do you sleep easy at night?