Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hey dude. We're gonna cut your leg off.

Went to the Asheville orthopedic surgeon Monday for a follow up on my toe surgery. It’s fine. The exam room was a double room. Behind the thin curtain was another patient, waiting for the doctor to come with his X-ray results. He was in a wheelchair and looked to be a Cherokee, maybe 60 years old. He spoke like a simple fellow from some hillbilly holler. A nurse or assistant came in and loudly delivered the news that his mended leg bones were collapsing. The surgeon came in and repeated the same thing more loudly and added, “We did the best we could. It looked good when you were last here but the bone pieces are just collapsing. We need to remove your leg so you can heal.” The man was silent and the doctor continued, “We need to amputate your leg. You’ll have a prosthesis. Do you understand?” The man spoke, “I’m gon’ hab a wooden laig?” The doctor said, “Oh they don’t make them out of wood any more. It’ll be metal and plastic.” More silence. The man said, “I’d like to tawk to somebody.” The doctor said, “Oh, you’d like a second opinion? Sure. I can get my colleague in here right now and we’ll see what he thinks.” The man said. “I wanna tawk to my fambly.”

Anyway I’m not sure why I’m relating this, but it was kind of emotionally wrenching for me to hear someone get such abrupt shocking news, up close and personal. Part of me wanted to laugh and part of me wanted to cry. I felt like jumping up and hobbling over to give him a big hug, but that really didn’t make any sense. He’d probably think he was really in a surrealistic world of craziness. I sat respectfully quiet. I was very thankful that all I had to whine about was a stiff big toe. I’m still counting my blessings.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Magazine Rack Sociology

I just took a good look at the Edisto Island BiLo Magazine Rack. Ouch! I’ve always heard you are what you eat, so naturally I figured that your brain contents are what you read. If so, I think humanity is being redefined. The top two shelves were women’s magazines, about 50/50 divided between food and house & garden stuff. Ho hum! The men’s shelf was entirely stocked with firearms magazines. OK, there was one on muscle building. The remaining dozen were ALL firearms magazines. Duck and cover…at least until you can buy your own firearm and shoot back! The bottom shelf was mostly games and kids stuff.

Does this represent all that today’s humans thinks about or just what BiLo thinks we think about? Maybe BiLo just figures it’s the only thing that low country southerners want to read. Were there any magazines that both genders would find interesting? No, but one actually exists, Garden & Gun. Yankee friends, I’m not making this up; that’s the actual name of it. It’s published in Charleston of course. Who does BiLo think we are? Men are so much more than this suggests. Where are our hot rod magazines and girly books? This is an island for goodness sake, so where are our fishing magazines? I thought women had also been short-changed, but I discovered those gems that define the feminine gender up by the checkout lines. I’m speaking of celebrity scandal sheets that let you know who else John Kennedy was bonking, what aging movie actress showed acres of cellulite in a bikini, and when Elvis was last sighted.

I’ve got to be fair. There was actually a weekly news magazine. You can see it in the photo, looking lonely down on the right end of the games and kids’ stuff shelf. Couldn’t BiLo give it some company? Maybe a couple of science mags, a business mag or some periodicals on sports other than homicidal sports. Fellow citizens, take up the cause of our enlightenment. I shall certainly do so, but right now I’m taking my erudite carcass into the living room to watch the super bowl. Go Seahawks!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The End is Near

Yipes! I’ve recently read two fiction books set in the present and near future that describe the end of the United States as we have always known and loved it. They are One Second After by William Forstchen of Black Mountain, NC and Christian Nation by Frederic Rich. They may not be the literary masterpieces of the century, but they each describe a different danger to our lives, security, and freedom. They kept me on the edge of my chair. I’m now more wary of two dangers, which I believe are both real.

In One Second After, the US gets hit by a nuclear attack involving about three electromagnetic pulse nuclear bombs (EMPs). An EMP is an atomic bomb exploded just a bit above the atmosphere. At that altitude it unleashes a terrific electric pulse that plays havoc with modern electronics over many tens of thousand square miles. The effect is many times more severe than the worst lighting strikes or solar storms that are know to bring parts of the electric grid down.

I didn’t identify closely with the main character in One Second After because he’s sort of like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. He’s not much like me. He’s a super achieving nicotine addict with lots of guns, and he sort of defines himself by his former great military and academic accomplishments. Worst yet (for me) is Forstchen’s book is highly praised by his pal Newt Gingrich. OK I’m diverging.

So anyway, with the EMP attack, virtually all computer devices used for electric power, communication, and vehicle engine control are destroyed even though humans are not directly injured by the bomb blasts and radiation. Nobody can drive anywhere and nobody can make contact with anyone beyond walking distance. The US is sort of knocked back into the 18th century. That might sound nice but we’re hundreds of millions of people now and very few of us live near a nice water well and a patch of arable land with tasty wild animals browsing nearby. Everybody starts dying fast and battles over scarce resources begin.

The other book is even more chilling. In Christian Nation, the Republicans win the 2008 presidential race and McCain with Palin as VP take over the country. McCain promptly croaks and Palin becomes president. This sparks a tremendous political advantage for the evangelical Christian right who promptly gain majority control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. Freedom of religion quickly ends, replaced by the US being proclaimed officially a Christian nation. Soon there are rules and laws forcing prayers everywhere and proof of literal bible-believing Christianity for anyone who wants a job. Eventually fundamentalist hardliners bring back public stoning to death as a penalty for perceived immorality of all sorts, especially homosexuality. Even the treasured relief of masturbation is forbidden and enforced against with the help of hidden cameras for those not fortunate enough to find an opposite sex marriage partner before they’re very far into adult age.

All right, I’ll stop right there for all you readers on the edge of your chairs. I’ll just say (as I always said in my elementary school book reports) “If you want to see how it all ends, just read the book.” As for me, I’m gonna pray to keep my religious freedom while I head to the hardware store to buy metal Faraday shield boxes to protect my treasured electronic gadgets. Actually those metal tins that Christmas cookies come in work fine. I think I shall buy a bunch of cookies.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In the south, even religion is interesting.

I love living in the south. There’s some of everything going own somewhere in this motley culture. Not everything is to my liking, of course, but every bad thing has its antithesis and there’s always some high drama, often with comical, poignant, or absurd manifestations. Sometimes it’s even uplifting.

My latest experience in southern culture is getting up close and personal with the civil war in the Episcopal Church. This issue is not confined to the south but it is really big here. For those of you who live on Venus, this has blown up over the issue of gay marriage. I understand from my neighbors in the struggle that attitudes about sexuality are not the only issue but it’s probably the issue that precipitated the big flare-up and it’s certainly the issue of wide popular interest.

How did I get up close and personal in this? A retired friend here is a former Episcopal rector. I know my close friends, especially in the heathen west, cannot picture me being friends with a clergyman. But, this is a real regular guy who has traits I admire like a liberal theological and political ideology and the spunk to cuss a stupid motorist with colorful eloquence. He invited me to attend an important church service of a minority group of Edisto Episcopalians who…(pause for disclaimer) OK, I’m a real outsider to theology so I’ll probably get this screwed up, and certainly oversimplified, but here goes. It seems that the diocese of South Carolina seceded from the overall Episcopal Church over issues crowned (at least) by the gay marriage issue. Then, a minority group, within the seceded diocese, is seceding its way out of the seceded diocese and back into the Episcopal Church. (South Carolina is big on secession.)

All this splintering off wont seem like a big deal to most of my friends who have only lived in their current home states for a couple measly generations to as little as only a few months. However, the real estate helps make it a really big deal here on Edisto Island. Not only is there a lot of dollar value in the church buildings and grounds, there is a tremendous emotional or spiritual tie to the land. Some people have ancestors in the church cemetery tracing all the way back to when Adam slew his first dinosaur. They feel their very souls dwell not just in their bodies, but also in the hallowed halls of the sanctuary, and the massive spreading Live Oak trees draped in vestments of Spanish moss. Right now, the minority group (the one that wants to stick with the national church and its more liberal attitude toward gay marriage and other stuff) is on the outside without property.

This real estate struggle ensures that the lawyers will be making a killing on this deal. For the present, the minority group has borrowed what they call “St. Bobo's Cathedral” for their Sunday worship services. Other than on Sunday morning this cathedral is known as “Bobo’s Po Pigs Barbeque.” Bobo is not the owner’s real name of course. About everyone in the south has a nickname. His real name is (Yankee friends, I’m not making this up.) Robert E. Lee.

I know this is shaping up like a southern caricature farce but it’s not right down the formula script line. Bobo is a Clemson grad and a Democrat, which doesn’t fit the formula script. Also there is some pretty real heartbreak in this rift. People in the breakaway minority love their friends with whom they disagree and they don’t want to lose their relationship with them any more than they want to lose their claim on the church facility and the white sandy soil upon which it sits. I’m sure most folks in the majority group feel the same and I hear many of them are on the fence in this issue or just hope for any reuniting resolution. I hope they get this healed up as soon as possible. As for me, I’m sticking with my Unitarian Church, which is very accepting, multi-faith, and tolerant. And, if you, gentle reader, are not accepting and multi-faith tolerant, I hope you keep your ass out of my UU church.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Barbies Everywhere

Help! I’m being overrun by Barbies. These are candid shots around my granddaughters’ home. They are not posed or arranged. It seems most Barbies are blonds but not all. I spied a fifth one with red hair but I was told that she was not a Barbie but a mermaid who had already metamorphosed into a legged human. Apparently mermaids are like tadpoles. They can grow legs but it requires some sort of stimulus from a prince. Anyway the redhead was not included in this photo shoot since she was not a genuine Barbie. There was another genuine Barbie that I encountered on a glass shelf over the sink. She was nude and seemed to be attempting something improper with the toothpaste tube, but by the time I found my camera she had departed the venue.

For those of you who don’t know, Barbies are dolls of post-pubescent young women with distorted features. They cannot stand on their own because their legs are way too long and thin, and their feet point straight down and are shorter than the distance between their eyes, which are huge and usually, but not always, blue.

By popular demand, Barbies are now being manufactured in variations other than the original blonde vacuous airhead. There are specialties with dark skin and brown eyes. There are also specialties who have good prestigious professions, usually represented by a special set of clothing on the same strangely proportioned nude plastic bodies. My granddaughter recently received a political candidate Barbie. She may have been the one who was stripped naked and doing something weird with the toothpaste tube. That would be typical of a political candidate. The most unusual is the one I call Caesarian Barbie that you can see in one of the photos. She seems to have a giant opening into her abdomen. No one in the family can quite remember her story but it is thought that she was a gift, perhaps not arriving with all her accessories.

Oh, by the way. Whatever happened to Cabbage Patch dolls? They were kinda cute.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I wrote a play!

“BEACH NOTES”, an original play by local talent, Johnny Douglass, is sponsored by the Edisto Art Guild and will be performed by the Edisto Players at the Edisto Beach Education/Civic Center Thursday October 18 at 7:30pm. Drinks and snacks are available and seating is at tables. Tickets are $10 per person in advance and are available at True Value Hardware, Beach Combers Hair Salon and the Edistonian. Tickets are $12 at the door if available.
Sunday October 21 is a champagne brunch at 12:30pm with the performance at 1:30pm. The cost for the brunch and performance is $30 per person and reservations are required.
Come and see Earl, Bubba and Darlene as they romp through a local bar, a beauty shop and even a Town Council meeting in a little town on the South Carolina coast.
Community Friends for this event are The Piggly Wiggly, Edisto Seafood and McConkey’s Jungle Shack. The Champagne Brunch is catered by Southern Affairs with the menu of Mixed Greens Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Egg and Cheese Strata, Shrimp and Geechee Boy Grits, Sausage and Bacon, Roasted Asparagus, Assorted Muffins and Danish, Tea, Water and Complimentary Champagne or Mimosa. For reservations call Emily Craig at 843-869-9275 and send check to Edisto Art Guild PO Box 732, Edisto Island, SC 29438

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rest stop closed?! Are you kidding?

We just drove through Illinois from bow to stern. I don’t recommend it for pregnant women or senior-age men. Half the rest stops were closed and half the others were just truck rest stops with no rest rooms. Say what?

The best I can figure is that it must be a strategy for dealing with the drought. I did my part to help out the dessicated corn crop.