Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My pity party

Silent Assassin
Originally uploaded by **Anna.
For the first time in ages, I find myself almost at a loss for words. I'm finding it hard to write and blog right now, and I regret that I haven't been following up on comments, though I always deeply appreciate them.

Although I do talk about my life here, I don't consider this a classic "confessional" blog. I think there's a lot that I hold back, and I hide behind stylized "essays" rather than really letting it all out most of the time.

One of the things I usually only touch on, if I mention it at all, is my bipolar disorder--in part because since I've been blogging, I've often felt at least normal if not downright hypomanic. But now I'm clearly in a slump, and though I assume it's just a fleeting thing there's always the fear that it could lead to something more serious in terms of a downward mood swing. All I know is that for the past week or so the joy and excitement of blogging has not been there for me, and I don't seem to have the energy or will to do much blog-wise.

One of the things that is stressing me out is that over seven years after my breakup with my ex-boyfriend of 20 years, we are finally getting ready to sell our coop so we can each buy a place of our own. A few months ago, shortly after we started planning the sale, "L" was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy. In a nutshell, his manual dexterity is deteriorating, and he's prone to falls. He may eventually wind up in a wheelchair, and he may not live past 65, since this condition tends to shorten one's lifespan. So I feel guilty about the fact that we're going through with this move, though I try to keep in mind that I deserve to truly have a place of my own--and he seems fine with it.

As I've mentioned before, with each month of blogging, I've become more of a shut in, and I'm not eating right or exercising. Plus there's the smoking. But part of me feels like the state of the world is so messed up that I wouldn't be at all surprised if it may all be "over" in a "flash" in apocalyptic fashion--so what's the diff if I smoke like a chimney?

In this frame of mind, I couldn't help but think--as I often do--of my all time favorite poem by W. B. Yeats. I first discovered it back in high school, and it has haunted me ever since. To me it is--and will forever remain--the most chilling yet bleakly beautful prediction of unspeakable horrors and woes yet to come.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--William Butler Yeats

During the past year or so, it has occurred to me again and again that if I believed in that sort of thing, what's been happening in the world today would surely have convinced me that the End Times are at hand. (Yes, there have been horrors in our world since time immemorial, but being human, of course I see things from the narrow perspective of my personal knowlege, experience, and Zeitgiest.)

Devastating hurricanes; uncontrollable wildfires; tsunamis; earthquakes; another deadly virus poised to morph into a pandemic; a well nigh unwinnable war with Iraq; Iran's implacable anti-Semitic stance; the worldwide scourge of terrorism and the rogue trading in nuclear materials; the Mohammed cartoon debacle; the port controversy...need I go on?

In any case, I hope that I will soon be able to get back into the swing of things and visit and comment to my blogpals more often, as well as getting back into replying to comments in a timely fashion.

In fact, just writing this makes me feel better already.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love and let die

Dinner Table
Originally uploaded by spunkinator.
When I was a little girl, I had a painful epiphany that may explain why I seek out crime-family films as avidly as a junkie takes to the crack pipe.

My mother was going out for the evening -- perhaps for a one-night gig, since before she married my father she was a nightclub singer. She was all dressed up, and I can still almost smell the perfume that signaled her special night on the town.

My father was staying home with me, but I was inconsolable all the same. To appease me, Mom sang songs to try to lull me to dreamland, but after she left I still lay awake, miserable and bereft. I wanted the assurance that my mother was perpetually nearby, even while I was asleep.

My mother suffered bouts of depression that kept her from me at various times during my childhood. In addition, our house was devoid of visits from either friends or family. My mom, who had married late, was not cut out to be the typical '50s housewife and mother, and our apartment was dusty, desolate, and disheveled. And plagued as they both were by heart disease, I lost both my parents before I turned 15.

Being a lonely only child, I loved nothing better than to visit my cousins, or to spend time at my friends' houses. Here I experienced the kind of close-knit family life I craved. Growing up, many a Thanksgiving was spent at a pal's home, and I was invariably the kind of perfect, well behaved young guest that parents loved to have around.

And thus it is that I have forevermore been drawn to the richly welcoming interior life portrayed in "crime family" films in the same way I was to my friends' warm, inviting abodes.

Of course, like millions of others, I adore the thrill of watching mob murder and mayhem from a safe, vicarious distance. And the fact that the male protagonists are ruthless criminals and murderers in the big bad outside world -while their sheltered wives and children often seem oblivious to daddy's grisly day job - gives me a feeling of cozy comfort. As Vito Corleone once counseled his son Michael in The Godfather, wives and children can be careless -- men cannot. And I wanted to be that careless - and carefree - child I never was as I snuggled in the darkened theater.

Despite my omniscient "role" as engaged filmgoer, I am nonetheless blissfully, guiltlessly impotent to do anything but watch in awe as rival families slaughter, betray, and avenge each other. Although the violence can be graphic, there is usually a sympathetic bent in the film -- an opportunity to get to know the man behind the monster and tease out the underlying motivations for his crimes. And one of the prime motivations is always to protect and provide for the family as well as the Family.

One can see this dual dynamic in action in virtually all crime family film sagas. In The Godfather I and II, time and again the secret deals and cold-blooded murders are ironically countered and softened by scenes of idyllic bourgeois family life -- the raison d'etre behind it all. The opening Godfather wedding sequence, so full of gaiety and joy, is prefaced by a somber blood pact as the Don offers revenge for a brutal rape from the sanctuary of his dark, den-like office -- the selfsame room his daughter-in-law finds herself banned from at the end of Part I ("Don't ask me about my business, Kay!")

Similarly, at the moment Michael's sister and brother-in-law Connie and Carlo's baby is being baptized, Coppola cuts to flashes of merciless wholesale vengeance. (Carlo himself is soon garrotted with dispatch as well.) Later, Michael's shooting of his hapless brother Fredo at the family lake is put off until after their mother's death -- so as not to break momma's heart.

In Goodfellas,Henry Hill, not being the "old school" monogamous type, even enjoys a dual "home" life with multiple women to appease. A sequence where Henry enters his mistresses' pied a terre and exits again at dawn quickly segues into a scene of Henry's wife Karen, child on her hip, jubilantly entering "Uncle Paulie's" for one of the ubiquitious family/Family get togethers.

In the penultimate sequence in Goodfellas, the day Henry Hill gets busted is full of the ebuillent mundanities of home and family life: Henry preparing the sauce and veal for that night's dinner; picking up his wheelchair-bound brother from the hospital; Lois the babysitter making funny faces at Henry's baby before the drugs that she will mule to Pittsburgh are strapped to her body; making a panicky call to the Pittsburgh drug connection from the comfortingly banal setting of a Queens shopping mall.

Ten years ago, the late Chris Penn played opposite Christopher Walken as Depression era New York gangster brothers in Abel Ferrara's brooding masterpiece The Funeral. Here, the wives of Chez (Penn) and Ray (Walken) Tempio witness and comment on the behind-closed-doors torments, vulnerabilities and deep dysfunction hidden behind their husbands' merciless, take no prisoners persona.

A series of flashbacks gradually fleshes out the grisly sequence of events leading up to this grim family get together, which finds youngest brother Johnny (Vincent Gallo) also present - albeit in an open casket. But it is the late night kitchen and bedroom scenes of wives Annabella Sciorra and Isabella Rosselini which are the most emotionally revelatory of all. As helpless, dutiful bystanders, they alternately pray and plead with their husbands not to seek the heartless revenge which will quite literally lead to the wholesale destruction of their family.

One late night scene where a sleepless Sciorra goes to the kitchen for a scotch (I can tell from the way she downs it that this is not something she does except in the most dire of circumstances) makes me see her as a "perfect" mom - beautiful, dignified, calm yet troubled - completely stripped of any illusion that there is anything remotely "romantic" about her husband's (Ray's) clan.

''They're criminals because they've never risen above their heartless, illiterate upbringing,'' she tells Johnny's disconsolate, erstwhile fiance (Gretchen Moll) who has wandered in, sitting down at the kitchen table teary eyed as Sciorra pours her a drink.

But nevertheless, I know that no matter what, Sciorra's character will never leave her murderous husband or her children "'til death do us part" - enduring her fate with a grim, eyes-wide-open resignation - so unlike the guilelessness of Don Vito's wife and young Kay Corleone.

Meanwhile, Isabella Rosselini's private, behind closed doors scenes with a seriously troubled Chez reveal why Penn's character is so unpredictably unhinged. Rosselini's prayers and pleas for him to enter a sanitarium make it crystal clear that Chez is dangerously insane. Nevertheless, there is a quiet serenity about her character which lends her the aura of an eternally patient Madonna. Here, Rosselini embodies another type of mother figure--perpetually steadfast, merciful, and forgiving.

And so it is that in a darkened theater surrounded by strangers, I so often find myself catching a privileged glimpse of my fictional, (mostly) New York "neighbors", as their unseen but all-knowing guest. And for a few precious hours, I feel like I've at long last come home.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The "offended" offenders

Originally uploaded by Rigmarole.
The recent attempts to placate Muslim demonstrators--and calls to "understand" how "deeply offended" the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed are to Muslims-- frankly offends me to the point of fury. The reasons for this are, literally, graphically clear. The source of my rage is not hard to locate--it is readily available on websites which offer up the richly perverted tradition of antisemitic cartoons and televised antisemitic and anti-American propaganda disseminated throughout the Muslim world on a regular basis.

It seems to me that the West has been put in the position of the over-indulgent parent who is haplessly trying to placate an out of control bully. Anyone who's seen an adult trying to patiently deal with an irrational, screaming child who does not understand anything but what they want when they want it should be able to see the parallels here.

Muslim extemists do not speak the same language we do, and never will. They are not interested in fairness or consistency. The freedom and democracy we hold so dear are anathema to them, and so any attempt to appease them will just be seen as another sign of weakness on our part, aiding them in their determintioin to bend the whole world to their radically insane will. Fascism of any kind--religious or otherwise--is not about freedom, or equality, or fairness. Trying to reason with these fanatics is reminiscent of Europe's attempts to deal peaceably with Hitler in the 30s--with similar results.

Perhaps the most offensive aspect of this to me is the presumption that Muslim extremists have any right to control what other nations choose to publish. If they want to live in an oppressive hell of their own making, that's one thing. But to try to tell the rest of the world how to conduct themselves is beyond the pale--especially for those who emigrate to Western societies in order to enjoy the freedoms and opportuniites available to them there.

But enough ranting and rambling--I'd like to cut to the chase with some examples of virulently anti-Semitic cartoons in the Muslim press and video clips of anti-Semitic lies disseminated to the Muslim people.

As the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' website, which displays some of the more egregious examples of anti-Semitic cartoon stereotyping, explains it:

"The main recurrent motif in Arab cartoons concerning Israel is "the devilish Jew." This image conveys the idea that Jews behave like Nazis, kill children and love blood. The similarity with themes promulgated by the Nazis is evident. Many Arab cartoons praise suicide bombing or call for murder. The collective image of the Jews thus projected lays the groundwork for a possible genocide....

"Palestinian cartoonists often place emphasis on the anti-Semitic accusation of "ritual murder" of children. This is underscored by their claim that Israelis target Palestinian children. To dehumanize Jews, Arab cartoonists often depict them as malevolent creatures: spiders, vampires or octopuses."

The Anti-Defamation League's website offers some charming cartoons from Al-Watan,stating:

"Anti-Semitic stereotypes continue to be prevalent in cartoons published in the Qatari newspaper, Al-Watan. These cartoons demonize Jews, often depicting them as dirty, hook-nosed, money-hungry world dominators."

Just silly cartoons? Well, even more disturbing are the television programs throughout the Arab world which spread the most outrageous lies about Jews and the Holocaust on a regular basis. The excellent, non-partisan Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) website is a veritable treasure trove of eye-opening clips which show that Hitler's practice of "the big lie" is alive and well in these regions. They include (these are just a few of many) such memorable themes as these;

Zionist Paid Denmark Cartoonist to Draw Muhammed Cartoon

Holocauset Denial on Iranian TV: Crematoria and Gas Chambers Were Used for Hygienic Purposes

The Jews Killed Children and Used their Blood for Passover

The Holocaust is a Lie

Gas Chambers were not Used to Kill Jews

Jews Turn into Apes and Pigs in a Clay-Mation Film for Children on Hizbullah TV

I'm sure that most of you have seen the "offensive" Mohammed cartoons that have spurred riots and wreaked havoc around the world. I'd urge everyone to take a peek at the cartoons and a few of the clips mentioned above, and see how that sits with you.

Hey you guys, you, like, have to a Jew, these cartoons and videos are DEEPLY offensive to me. So cut it out, ok? Or else I'm gonna get REALLY, REALLY mad....

Friday, February 10, 2006

My blogger burnout

Originally uploaded by Mr. Orange*.
After nine months of blogging, I've finally given birth to my own personal case of blogger burnout. Although I still love blogging, there are aspects that I used to enjoy that have become an effort, if not a downright chore, and my "real life" has suffered gravely in the process. Here's a few examples.

What season is it?
I've literally let several seasons go by, hardly noticing, because I've spent so much time indoors blogging. There was a time when this kind of homebound lifestyle would have horrified and depressed me, but this past year I blithely blogged the weeks and months away as spring became summer and fall became winter. In NYC, we've been having unseasonably warm temperatures day after day, week after week. A normal person would be outside every day reveling in the sunshine and mild temps. Not I.

Blogging has become hazardous to my health.
I'm not exercising, I'm not eating right, and I'm smoking so many cigarettes I have no idea how many packs I'm going through each day. I feel like absolute shit physically, and wake up every day feeling lucky that I haven't keeled over.

My ex-boyfriend's brother in law actually dropped dead in front of his computer several years ago. His wife found him there in the morning. I don't think he was a blogger--all I know is he was in his fifties, and he was interacting with a machine instead of being in bed with his wife. It's not the most glorious way to go.

My attention span is shot.
As a writer, when I discovered Blogger it was like I'd died and gone to writer's heaven. When writing for print pubs, feedback from readers was not a routine occurrence. But with blogging came the technology which allowed readers to respond, and me to respond to them.

My initial posts were very long, and one writer acquaintance who didn't blog pointed that out to me. I didn't care though--I eventually built up a modest number of blog pals who would slog through and comment to my posts. I gradually began to shorten and edit down my entries, and was often surprised to see that a short post could generate as much of a response, if not more, than a long one. When I started to put myself in other blogger's shoes, I understood why this would be so.

Trying to keep up with other blogs and post to your own regularly can be arduous. I also am very anal about trying to answer all comments, and to comment to other blogs.

But as time went on and my link list grew, I found it harder to devote the time to blogpals's good but longish posts. When I did my blog rounds, I found myself sometimes skipping over other bloggers who, like me, wrote longer entries. What used to be fun started to become a chore, and I found myself with less and less patience in terms of reading everyone's entries. And forget about perusing the archives, even though I knew I was missing out on some great stuff. Blogging is kind of like newspaper publishing--anything below the top post is yesterday's news.

Instant gratification will bite you in the ass.
Although I prided myself on the number of comments I was beginning to get on my blog, as time went on, every time I received one I quickly noted it and then impatiently waited for the next one and the next. If a post didn't amass as many comments as I was now used to, I'd be crestfallen.

I became petty and spiteful and self centered.
Any bloggers on my list or off who never commented to my blog or never responded to my comments on their blog were on my "shit list." There were a few that I still visited anyway, and I was mindful of the fact that more popular bloggers couldn't possibly respond to all comments, and some didn't respond to any. But I found myself becoming more and more of the "what's in it for me" mindset, which is very messed up, isn't it?

Print media? What's that?
I have stacks of great books that I've been meaning to read that I haven't had the time or inclination to dig into. I've let my subscriptions to New York and the New Yorker magazines expire, since I wound up with piles and piles of unread issues I didn't have room to keep. I hardly ever read the paper anymore at all.

So what's my plan?
Well, I still love blogging, and writing my personal blog along with posts for Blogcritics is still very rewarding to me. But I have to begin to realize that the lifestyle I've developed is literally hazardous to my health, and I have to take definite measures to balance my life in a more healthy way.

Eating better, exercising regularly, cutting down on the chain smoking, getting fresh air and sunshine are essential. I live in New York City, and there's really very little excuse for me to not take advantage of all the city has to offer. My 83 year old aunt, one of the coolest people I know, suggested that I schedule myself--devote a few hours to blogging, then turn the computer off and devote the rest of the day to living. Then in the evening, I can blog some more.

This sounds like a great plan. I'm going to start asap. Um--maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Shithouse rat lab

Well, after careful consideration--and a flagging hit counter and comment box--I've decided to at least try reposting my latest Blogcritics piece here for starters. Somehow it seemed kinda tacky and/or redundant before, but if truth be told, I think the Shithouse has been devolving lately into a shell of its former self--and most of my posts here either seem to consist of blatant BC pimp outs or feeble kvetching.

So I've posted Duck and Cover below, in the hopes that it may get some feedback from Shithouse readers--most of whom don't read the posts and/or comment over at BC. If that "works," I'll go ahead and repost more of them. If it doesn't work, I'll go back to the drawing board--or just buy some beers and cry into them.

I'm also making the rounds and trying to catch up on all my blogpals' sites. There's so many good ones, and I feel like I'm missing so much when I don't have the time to check everyone's latest posts out. So that's my experimental plan du jour.

Duck and cover--and kiss your sweet ass goodbye

Chemcraft Atomic 2
Originally uploaded by Todd Ehlers.
Although it now has some hefty competition, CBS's 60 Minutes is still, to my mind, the best of the TV newsmagazines. Maybe one of the reasons I don't watch it too often anymore is that I typically come away from the program ranting and muttering to myself over some horrible injustice and/or outrage that Morley Safer and company have unearthed. Exactly what do I do with all this frustration and fury other than watch my blood pressure rising?

But this past Sunday's segment--entitled "The Worst Case Scenario"--left me with more than a feeling of impotent rage. It gave me a rare impetus to want to do more than just kvetch to myself. I think a quote from the segment's intro by Ed Bradley might be appropriate here, so here goes:

We can no longer ignore the worst-case scenario of a nuclear terrorist attack on an American city. Osama bin Laden has made it clear he wants to obtain nuclear weapons and use them against us.

The 9/11 Commission considers such an attack the No. 1 threat today, not because it is the most likely disaster scenario, but because it would be the most devastating. The chairman of the 9/11 Commission even says he expects to see such an attack on an American city in his lifetime.

Hundreds of thousands of people could die in a nuclear attack, but hundreds of thousands of others could be saved. That's because the Pentagon--after decades of searching--believes it has found a drug to treat radiation exposure. Why isn't that drug available?

Well, I have an answer to that. It seems to have a lot to do with one Stewart Simonson. He's the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness in the Department of Health and Human Services. Rather than make a radiation drug available to a large number of potential victims in major cities, Simonson seems to think that in the event of a nuclear attack, victims bleeding to death can simply be treated in hospitals.

Does any of this sound sickeningly familiar to you all? Can you say "Katrina," "FEMA," and "Michael Brown?"

In case the situation isn't crystal clear, I'll quote a Fox piece from February 2nd for emphasis:

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said Thursday that the Al Qaeda terror nework remains the "top concern" of the U.S. intelligence community, followed closely by the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea....

"Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missles in the Middle East," Negroponte said.

Meanwhile, he said that North Korea's assertions that it has nuclear weapons are "probably true."

Back in 1951, a civil defense film called Duck and Cover, produced in cooperation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration, was released showing schoolchildren what to do in case of an atomic attack. In it, a cartoon character named Bert the Turtle was employed to demonstrate to children how to "duck and cover" if they see a flash in the sky indicating that the Soviet Union has just delivered us a little gift to remember them by.

Looking at this film now (you can view it here), it seems hopelessly corny, quaint, and naive.

In the film, kids are told that there are two possible nuke attacks--one with prior warning, and one without. In case of the latter, when one sees a very blinding light, one should try to quickly get to the relative safety of the side of a building or even a street curb, sort of roll up into a ball covering your face and back of your neck, and "stay covered until the danger is over." This will prevent that pesky radiation burn, which is "worse than a terrible sunburn." If possible, cover yourself with a coat and your hand so as not to be burned--even a thin cloth or a newspaper.

To my mind, Simonson--"a Republican political appointee" and former "lawyer for Amtrak"-- is the Bert the Turtle for the new millenium. Instead of merely addressing guileless children, his message to every man, woman and child in our country is to crawl to the nearest hospital--and whether or not you make it there, it's pretty damn certain you'll be kissing your barbequed ass goodbye either way, so may as well take your time. (Remember how effective the hospital service was during Katrina? Imagine what it might be like during a nuclear holocaust).

Here's the 60 Minutes story in a nutshell. (Note: all quoted material unless otherwise noted is from the 60 Minutes transcript).

Hollis-Eden, a "small biotech company in San Diego" which had developed a drug which could serve as a "possible treatment for radiation sickness," was approached by the military in the summer of 2001. According to Bob Marsella, VP of the company, they were told during this visit that "we've been testing your drug and we've been looking for a drug like this for 40 years.'"

Two weeks after 9/11, the military came again and said they'd be interested in developing the drug for civilians as well as troops.

Marsella and his boss, Richard Hollis, did the numbers and realized that the potential market for their product could be huge--in the millions of units. They set about "circulating in Washington" trying to get investors in Washington who would get behind the drug.

But it was no go until President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech. In it, he announced a new initiative.

'Project Bioshield' provided nearly 6 billion to create a biodefense industry. The program gave drug companies a powerful incentive to come up with new drugs to be used in the event of terrorist attacks. For the first time, there would be a guaranteed market for drugs if they tested successfully. It was the assurance Hollis-Eden had been waiting for....

With the prospect of a huge market, investors put money in the company and Hollis-Eden's stock soared from $5 to $35 a share....

Over the next three years, Hollis-Eden spent more than $100 million, with the expectation that the government would buy millions of doses.

And the beauty part? The new drug, Neumune, could actually be self-administered in the event of a nuclear attack.

So how does Simonson the Turtle--the man who oversees Project Bioshield-- shine in? Well, I'll tell you how. This past September, "the Department of Health & Human Services surprised everyone by announcing that it would commit to purchase a radiation drug from whichever company had the best product, but only 100,000 doses." Hollis-Eden's stock, needless to say, quickly plummeted.

"Assistant Secretary Simonson has been under fire for committing nearly a billion dollars to acquire a controversial new anthrax vaccine, but he has been given credit for successfully stockpiling drugs for smallpox."

Representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who chairs the Committee that oversees Project Bioshield, feels that Simonson is "over his head" regarding this issue. Comparing him to Michael Brown, he observes that he has exhibited "the same kind of arrogance, a lack of expertise. This is a serious job at this point, and I think we need to have professionals filling it, not political appointees." As a matter of fact, Davis, who generally supports the Administration, called for the removal of Simonson from Bioshield in this 60 Minutes story.

It may come as a shock to learn that Simonson declined a request for an interview, but sent his deputy, Dr. William Raub, to be grilled by Ed Bradley. Here's a little of the back and forth, just for a goof:

Bradley: Why did the government decide to buy only 100,000 doses to treat acute radiation syndrome?


Raub: Well this is the place to start and we don't see 100,000 as the end, we see 100,000 as the beginning.


Bradley: So if you order 100,000 and there's a nuclear explosion...when do you get the rest of them?


Raub: Again, we take this a step at a time. First off, we need agents that we can be sure will work.


The Pentagon continues to endorse the drug. Meanwhile, Simonson "wrote a letter to congress empasizing that nuclear victims bleeding to death could be treated in hospitals."

In response to the question concerning whether he thought hospitals would be able to respond adquately to such an event, Raub stated, in part: "By no means would there be the ability to treat all of it, and therefore that's what makes it a catastrophe."


In response to Bradley's information from a top hematologist who estimated that perhaps dozens of people could be treated, rather than hundreds of thousands, Raub said: "But no one has ever claimed a perfect response here."


Bradley: Do you imagine what it would be like to evacuate New York City?


Raub: ...this is a catastrophe and I think people would do their very best on under those circumstances.


For those of you who did not see the show, all I can do is note the fear and loathing I felt when 60 Minutes offered a clip of Simonson in action. The look on his irritated, arrogant face filled me with the same sort of fury as did the clueless, befuddled mug of Michael Brown several months ago.

Perhaps Simonson has some personal strategy for surviving a nuclear attack. Maybe he'll be safely ensconsed in the "shell" of some government bunker, away from the flying debris and radiation. Maybe he has no wife or children to worry about. Perhaps he lives down the block from a hospital and plans to be the first on line for "treatment."

But for the rest of us, I think duck and cover and crawl to the hospital -- especially if there's a drug that could save countless lives--is not sufficient.

If anyone can offer any suggestions about if and how the average citizen might bring pressure on our Administration to oust this smug, clueless little turtle of a man, I'd appreciate it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Best posts of 2005 a la Mr. Snitch!

The ever fantabulous Mr. Snitch! has amassed his list of the best posts of 2005. The list was assembled from a combo of reader's and poster's picks and Mr. Snitch's own picks. There's tons of great stuff here, so do check it out if you have the chance. Mr. Snitch also offers some great insights into what makes a good blog post, along with his rationale for undertaking this monumental task. Two of my posts are included, but I'll be ladylike and demure and not mention them here.

Mulitiple blogging personality disorder?

Originally uploaded by defekto.
I'm faced with a blogger's "identity crisis." In a nutshell, I don't quite know what direction to take in terms of whether, or how, to continue to "pimp" my BlogCritics posts here.

Some, or perhaps most, other BC writers double post their BC work to their blogs and vice versa. But to me this seems kind of...well...redundant, no?

I've stopped posting here about every new BC post I have published. It just seems wearisome and contrived to do so, but I don't know, maybe that's just me. Yep, that's Elvira all right, wearisome and

I think I could use some advice here. I'm leaning towards using Shithouse more as a forum for my more personal rants--the kind that wouldn't be fitting at BC. I have one brewing right now. But should I still mention the BC posts, even if only in passing?

Nevertheless, I'm doing two things for the time being:

Near the bottom of my link list, I have a BC banner. Below that I've provided a link which goes to a master list of all my BC posts.

For this post, I'm providing titles and brief descripts of all my BC pieces thus far--both those that have appeared only there and those that have also been previously published here. In some instances, I've re-edited or shortened or otherwise attempted to "improve" the Shithouse posts when including them at BC. And of course, the comments and commenters vary from this blog to BC. Anyone who is interested in perusing them can click on the link above. And here they are:

Duck and Cover - and Kiss your Sweet Ass Goodbye
The Pentagon believes it has found a drug that can treat radiation exposure. So what's the holdup on mass-producing it?

John Lennon: New Yorker
As the mobs gathered in honor of Lennon, all I could think was: What would Lennon think of all this?

Love and Let Die
Half-dead bodies banging around in car trunks bring me comfort and joy.

AA: Threat or Menace?
Sex fiends, malodorous misfits, old timers with control issues, making amends to jerks - AA's enough to drive you to drink!

Let's Talk About Drugs
I'm sure I would be a "Ritalin kid" if I were a first-grader today. I'm grateful I wasn't.

Uh-oh: Brain Itch!
Why is it that the vast majority of mainstream pop music STILL comes only from the U.S. and the U.K.?

The Day the Bottle Dropped
On the mean streets of the Bronx, New York, you'd best learn to hold your liquor - and grip that bottle.

Those Army Ads Are BROILING My BUTT!
Army recruitment ads urge parents to help children "find their strength." Hopefully they won't "find" them returned in body bags.

Help! I'm Turning Into A Pack Of Marlboro Light 100's!!!
I started smoking at 16. Over thirty years later--especially now that I'm blogging--I am totally outta control. Help!!!

Pro-Life or Anti-Sex?
Pro-lifers have a "final solution" for anyone having extramarital sex--just say no!

Confessions of a Comment Whore
I adore comments, but respond lackadaisically. I post comments to blogpals' sites, then forget whether I did. I've got issues.

Soundtrack Review: Goodfellas - Martin Scorsese's Sensational Sounds of the Seventies
Incorporating "What is Life" and other seventies classics into Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese takes a good song and makes it better.

Annoyed? Don't EVEN Get me Started!!!
"Annoying" other people online using a fake name is now a federal crime. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Website Review: Thank You, Mr. Skin!
Longing to see 27 seconds of Glenn Close's "breasts sitting down in the shower crying?" Check out Mr. Skin's site.

My Blogging Doppelganger
For me, blogging under a "pen-name" means that I now have a separate blog-self that's better-looking, more fun-loving, and more popular than "I" am.

Apocalypse Now?
Yeats' "The Second Coming"--a chilling vision of the End of Days--has somehow never seemed more prophetic.

Pomo for Dummies
What the devil is postmodernism (aka pomo)? And why should you care, anyway?

Here's Looking at Jew, Kid
As an emotionally challenged New York Jew, I identify with Woody Allen. But like all Americans, I also revere Bogart.