May 05, 2007

So, I finally went to see a doctor about my vertigo, since it wasn't going away by itself. Of course, when I've been hit by this in the past, it's never gone away by itself, but still, I delayed seeing a doctor.

What finally pushed me over the edge was the growing pain I was noticing in one of my ears late at night, making it very difficult for me to sleep. This shouldn't have surprised me, as previous bouts of vertigo have almost (but not quite) always been accompanied by an ear infection or two.

Saw the doctor the next day and, sure enough, two external ear infections and likely one inner ear infection. Many drugs and several days later, and the problem began to subside.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of one of the drugs in question is headaches (nothing new, alas), while another is increase in appetite. As the vertigo began to clear and as my appetite grew, I began to crave soda for the first time since I went cold turkey. While I didn't succumb, I did manage to stuff my face with a bunch of other foods, thereby putting my weight loss to a temporary halt.

But all that is over now, and my appetite has been somewhat easier to handle. The vertigo has vertigone, I've still managed to refrain from spending time with ol' Dr Pepper, and the weight loss has resumed. As of yesterday morning, I'm fourteen pounds below my maximum weight, and still slowly dropping.

Not that you could tell to look at me. I guess that's to be expected when one is already eighty to a hundred pounds over their ideal weight; a fourteen-pound drop really isn't all that noticeable. Still, if I ever am to get to the point where my weight loss *is* noticeable, I'm going to need to continue to make the measurable-albeit-invisible progress I've been making thus far.

There was a Saturday Night Live sketch a few years ago that made fun of Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or some program like that, where they have meetings and talk about being fat. In the sketch, the meeting leader kept saying "No food tastes as good as being thin feels," as a mantra. I'm guessing that this particular line is an actually line lifted from a real weight loss program. It's a great line. I occasionally think of it, and reword it to my current situation: "No Dr Pepper tastes as good as being thin feels...."

But I don't feel thin. *And* I don't get any Dr Pepper. And some Dr Pepper would sure have tasted great with lunch today. But, well, who knows? Maybe I can eventually get to the point where I'll again experience how "being thin feels."

I seem to recall it feels like being hungry.

When I saw the doctor about my vertigo, we also talked about my general health. He had me do some blood work, and it turns out that, well, I'm a healthy guy. I think he was disappointed. It's easier to say, "Being fat is bad for you!" if, in fact, you happen to have all kinds of bad things in your blood that correspond with you being fat. To be totally honest, my cholesterol is just the tiniest bit higher than normal. Alas, that was also true the last time I had blood work done (ten years and fifty pounds ago), and the proportion of good to bad cholesterol remains healthy, just as it was back then.

So, yeah, the doctor is encouraging me to continue to stay off the soda (and to eat more veggies, besides), and he endorses my plan to add some exercise to the program before too long.

I've been soda-free now for over a month. I'll only have to keep this up for the rest of my freakin' life.

PS: "Feed the fat. Because fat people are the hungriest people of all."

Posted by at 01:05 AM in the following Department(s): Journey of a Thousand Pounds | Comments (3)
 May 12, 2007
Newest Addition to House of Cards

Nolan turned two years old this past April.

Today, he received his first solicitation for a credit card.

Oh, sure, Paulette and I ran through the obvious questions:

  • How did he get on a list to get a card?
  • Given how our USPS mail carrier keeps misdelivering our mail to our neighbors, does that mean an unscrupulous neighbor could order a card in his name?
  • How can he sign for purchases, insofar as he can't write, yet?
  • What would he buy if he knew how to use a credit card?
But the biggest questions in my mind are:

How did Nolan get a credit card offer before Alex?

And... will Alex be jealous?

Posted by at 02:30 AM in the following Department(s): The Boys | Comments (1)
 May 13, 2007
For Mothers Everywhere

Happy Mothers Day To Youuuuuuu,
Happy Mothers Day To Youuuuuuu,
Happy Mothers Day, All You Moms Out There,
Happy Mothers Day To Youuuuuuu.

Posted by at 01:18 AM in the following Department(s): Tidbits | Comments (0)
 May 22, 2007
Wag the Elephant

A few years ago, I posted an essay here about specific problems that arise when the highest elected officials of a political party abandon their espoused principles. Specifically, I called the current President a Bad Republican as well as a bad President.

I also acknowledged that, by saying as much, I was being a bad Republican, myself.

If you want to know why I consider the younger President Bush to be a bad Republican, check out the link above to that essay. The list, unfortunately, is too long to repeat here. As for why posting it made me a bad Republican, it all comes down to Ronald Reagan's so-called "11th Commandment": a Republican shall not speak ill of another Republican who is running for office.*

But a better explanation is found in Robert A. Heinlein's little treatise, Take Back Your Government. As I mentioned in my previous essay:

I'd never heard a compelling argument for voting for the party as opposed to the person until I'd read this book. Heinlein's point is simple: your party's choice of candidates represents a compromise. You and your fellow local party members agree on many things, but not everything, and it's your points of agreement that form the foundation of choosing one candidate over another. This means that you will occasionally choose candidates with whom you agree less than other candidates, but that's the nature of the game. Once you get to the general election, you are in a very real sense obligated to vote for your party's candidate, if only because he or she represents the best compromise that you and your like-minded fellows could arrive at -- even if he or she wasn't *your* first choice. To not follow through and vote for your candidate is to renege on your agreement with your fellow party members. It weakens your party, and the very structure of the political system within which you are working.

My blog is ready by literally tens of people. By publicly announcing my disappointment with our then candidate for President, I was, by the logic above, being a bad party member.

But if I'm a bad Republican, then the neo-conservatives who have hijacked my party are substantially worse. In an Associated Press story attributed to Liz Sidoti (and repeated, for the time being, at Yahoo News), a "prominent Christian leader said Thursday that 'my conscience and my moral convictions' prevent him from voting for Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination."

The "prominent Christian leader" in question is James Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family, and his big beef with Giuliani is that the former New York City mayor does not believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned by the US Supreme Court.

Dobson has a conservative radio show that, according to the AP article, enjoys a listenership number around seven million people. If I'm a bad Republican for voicing my discontent to tens of people, then Dobson is an outright traitor to his party. He is not just saying that the Republicans should nominate a candidate other than Giuliani (which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do during the nomination phase of the election); he is telling his listenership that it would be better to allow a Democrat to win than to support a Republican who differs with the Religious Right on this particular issue. He is not just advising a handful of readers; he is appealing to millions of his followers.

These are the very tactics that have allowed the neo-conservatives to hijack our party. They are dedicated, organized, and tenacious. They can get out the vote when they want to. And by golly, you'd better kiss their ideological ass if you want them to want to help you. McCain didn't kiss their ass in 2000, and they exerted their influence hard and fast to get his strongest opponent onto the top of the ticket. And if the rest of the Republican party doesn't kiss their collective ass this time around by selecting a candidate who drinks their particular brand of Kool-Aid(tm), then by golly, they'll abandon the Republican Party until it comes around and remembers what to kiss, and when.

Don't get me wrong: I don't know that Giuliani is the best this party can do. Truth be told, I have yet to see a candidate for either party who really appeals to me. (McCain, my candidate of choice in 2000, is grimacing a lot these days as he puckers up for the neo-conservatives.) But to preemptively announce that you'll abandon your party (and, by strong implication, take your millions of listeners with you) if the party doesn't follow your dictates on a particular issue, well, that's hardly bargaining in good faith now, is it?

Here is what Dobson is saying to me and all of the other Republicans:

"Selecting a candidate means compromise. No candidate will ever completely satisfy any one of us. If, by means of caucuses and primaries, we select a candidate that you agree with on some issues and not others, well... you should still vote for them, because that's the compromise we reached. But if you select a candidate of whom I don't approve, well, then fuck you, buddy, you'll just have to go along without any help from me."

The Republicans are not the only party to have ideologues on the tail trying to wag the whole dog (or, in this case, elephant). The Libertarian Party has been completely bereft of any hopes of ever having any kind of real representation in the government because the "big L" libertarians refuse to compromise with any "little L" libertarians who acknowledge that dismantling the entire government might be impractical. And as for the Democrats, they've got the self-styled "Progressives" whipping their party apart in exactly the same way as the neo-conservatives are with the Republicans.

Here is my question for Dr. Dobson: if you are not duty-bound to actively support, in good faith, the candidate chosen by your party, then why should I, as an active member of that same party, bargain in good faith with you to select a candidate at all?

* I am given to understand that either the RNC or my state branch of the Republican Party has decided that the so-called "11th Commandment" is no longer in force. If, indeed, it has been repealed, then perhaps I'm not a bad Republican after all. Unless, that is, you still subscribe to Heinlein's philosophy as I outlined it above.

Posted by at 11:58 PM in the following Department(s): Tidbits III | Comments (3)
 May 29, 2007
Ah Bih Mah Ung

Went to the dentist today to have some work done. When the procedure was pretty much completed, the dentist asked me to bite down on this little paper thingy that stains your teeth, thereby revealing how your bite is lining up. So I bit down, but didn't seem to quite be able to close on the paper thingy. Tried again, with no luck, and then third time was the charm.

Well, the bite needed adjustment, so he made some tweaks, and then got another paper thingy for me to bite on, and the exact same thing happened. Only this time, I began to have an inkling as to why it was so hard to clamp down on that paper thingy. Something was in the way, perhaps? Hmmm. Near the very end, the dentist's assistant was looking at my mouth and said, "It seems you've bitten your tongue."

I didn't see it in a mirror until later, when I checked out the damage in the vanity mirror of my car. Oh, yeah. Pretty obvious.

"I'm going to feel *that* in about an hour."

Boy, did I ever. And it made talking after the anesthetic wore off *very* difficult. Putting me in a situation where I'm not able to speak, especially when there's stuff I need to communicate with others, is just plain mean. It's like the poor Italian in the joke:

Q: How do you torture an Italian?
A: Tie his hands together and then ask him to explain something!
Avoided chewy food tonight. [shudder].

Posted by at 09:52 PM in the following Department(s): Tidbits | Comments (1)

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