Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Testicular Cancer Ball

Tuesday night Ferlotta and I went to a testicular cancer semen-ar, and what a night it was. It isn't every day you get to have dinner with someone who's fondled Lance Armstrong's balls (unless you hang out with his homewrecker girlfriend Sheryl Crow, or the wife he abandoned).

Dr Timmerman, formerly of Indiana University, now at UT Southwestern was part of the team who treated Lance Armstrong, and has become one of the big names in radiation oncology. Because of a mix-up in the planning, he ended up sitting with us at the peon table, instead of the bigwig table, so I got to talk with him quite a bit. He's a good speaker, and a relatively nice guy (for a doctor), so I enjoyed it. Apart from cancer treatment, we talked Texas high school football, we talked about the "evil empire", and we talked about the difficulty of getting poor folks to comply with medical treatment (he attempted, but completely failed, to apply one of his pet theories, developed in South Dakota, to Tennesse. As one might expect, acted a bit of an ass when he realized he was wrong, but not too badly).

Those of you interested in prostate cancer might be interested to know that he's gotten a grant to start the first ever clincal study on stereotactic radiosurgery for prostate cancer (I was excited because I had tried to research this before, and found that there have been none). Dr Timmerman says the outcome of this could be taking prostate cancer radiotherapy from 8.5 weeks to less than 1 week, AND with fewer side effects. Good luck, Dr T!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Could I Have Beaten Mike Tyson?

Of course not. However, I find it amusing that the guy who just beat Iron Mikey, the lovely and talented Kevin McBride, was bragging about this:

"In boxing, anybody over 200 pounds can hit and I see myself as a bigger, stronger man than Danny Williams," said McBride, who is dedicating the fight to his late father, Kevin Sr., who died six years ago. "I come to fight. I train hard. I'm bench pressing 265 pounds."

Hell, I did that this morning (and I'm not yet "officially strong", according to Ninong Mike). There's a 70-year-old guy at the "Y" downtown that can do that and more. I once read that George Foreman could bench press 400lbs. Do that, and I'll be impressed, Kevin.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Eat 'em and Weep

I've had the dehydrator hard at work turning habenero peppers from the deep-freeze into my biological weapon chili powder (aka weapon of ass destruction). These are some that we grew on the farm last year.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Boxing Fans Blog

A few friends and yours truly have started a blog within the confines of which we blather on about boxing. Feel free to look, and if you'd like to join, just lemme know.

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Star Wars III: A Steaming Pile of Sith"

Now, I enjoyed the most recent Star Wars flick, even though it was not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. This guy, however, really hated it. Read his review here.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It's Almost Time to Get Out the Guns

Did you guys read this?

Apparently, the supremes are allowing local governments to seize privately owned land for private development. Basically, if your city council decides it wants to have a mall, apartment complex, or some other tax-generating structure built where your house is, they can take your land against your wishes, compensate you as they see fit, and give the land to a private developer.

In her dissent, Sandra Day O'Connor wrote:

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party,
but the fallout from this decision will not be random...The
beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence
and power in the political process, including large corporations and development

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as
well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

The part of my mind that has sympathy for state's rights issues says "yay" for the Supremes acknowledging that the federal government has no business overseeing local land transactions, which the local governments should be best-suited to supervise. Unfortunately, this is one of those issues where the federal government needs to kick the state and local governments in the ass, so that they follow that Constitution-thingy. It's too bad that the Supremes got it wrong, this time. Read the Fifth Amendment, and tell me what you "public use" means.

Anybody notice that it's the "pro-corporation, right-wing nutjobs" opposing this? This is why Supreme Court nominations are so important.

Vote....and learn how to shoot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Shots? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Shots!

Yesterday Veronica had two awful experiences. First, she was subjected to the horror of the four-month immunizations, which she tolerated with a combination of stoicism and screaming. The second bit o' badness was having her pediatrician say good-bye to her.

Dr Kris Rehm, pictured here, is leaving the Old Harding Pediatrics Association to take a job as a hospitalist at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. She has been very good with Veronica (and her paranoid parents), and we'll miss her..

Good luck with the new job, Dr Rehm!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Father's Day Evil

I've often been accused of being evil (even though I swore to use my powers only for good), and I'll have to admit, my accusers are correct.

On Father's Day, I took Veronica out for a long walk (a ride for her, the lazybones), which we both enjoyed. Passing a nearby shopping center, we were accosted by a group of women who wanted to ooh and ahh over Veronica. They were very nice, but one of them hung about after the others passed on. This woman would not quit talking long enough for me to politely move on. I'm known for the occasional bit of exaggeration for dramatic purposes (and dramatic porpoises, too), but the honest to Jehovah truth is that this woman talked non-stop for well over twenty minutes. I must have been radiating misery, as people gave me looks of sympathy as they walked by. It appeared that there was no end in sight, as this woman bombarded us with stories about everything from the NBA playoffs to her experiences with hemorrhoids (no, I'm not kidding). Finally, she gave us our break, stating that "You must be just loving this first Father's Day. I remember when---".

Reacting swiftly to seize this opportunity I interrupted with a sigh, followed with "Ma'am, we're Jewish. We do NOT celebrate Father's Day."

This caused her to pause (with a really confused and horrified look on her face) long enough that we could make our escape, after saying "Anyway, have a nice day, ma'am".

I'd like to take this opportunity to apolgoize to my Jewish reader for appropriating her religious tradition to save myself from a fate worse than watching Donahue. Also, I apologize to my Palestinian reader for calling my Jewish reader Jewish and not a "Zionist War-Monger".

Comrade Joe Would Be Proud

From each embryo, according to it's ability to provide stem cells, to each youth-obsessed member of the Russian elite, according to his need for a questionably effective age-defying treatment. The story is here.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Have You Ever Been Interested in Rastafarianism?

Me neither. But I stumbled upon this, and thought that some of my loyal pothead readers might like to have some idea what Bob Marley and Peter Tosh were talking about (other than "ganja"). But if you ever want to create your own religion, this might make for inspirational reading.

First Father's Day

Today is our first Father's Day, and I gotta say, it's a great to be a dad (at least so far...ask me again when Veronica is 2,16, etc). Ferlotta and I have both been very fortunate to have great dads, and I'm hoping to get Rani (and any subsequent siblings of hers) raised up without screwing things up too badly.

As our good buddy Rogers has reminded us, tell your dad you love him.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Put Down the Chicken Wing, and Step Away, Slowly

Congratulations to Hatch and Marissa, who got to hear the heartbeat of their new "bundle(s) of joy to be" today. Hatch even took a break from eating to express his unbridled joy.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ferlie and I have been working for some time on a landscaping project at "Cattledog Farms". Here, Ferlotta shows her true feelings for me.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Saudis Advance to World Cup

Funny story. Of course, I remember the dread that the expats shared whenever the Saudis won a soccer game. Riots, bizarre behavior, and hellish traffic jams. Fortunately it didn't happen often. Story here. Great excerpt follows:

Many left their cars in the middle of the street to celebrate with their
compatriots on the roadside. Quickly the euphoria shifted into madness as Saudi
males attempted to frantically open taxi doors and give their mobile numbers to
the female passengers inside. It is a shame that despite their happiness these
football fans could not control themselves to a degree to keep the celebrations
to the roadside. On Tahlia Street traffic had become a mosaic of modified cars,
fans and Saudi flags honking their horns and setting off car alarms on purpose
in order to fill the night with their celebrations.
It worked once, it sorta worked twice, will it work again?

Last Friday, the Israeli army used a non-lethal sonic weapon to disperse Palestinians, and others, who were protesting/rioting in an attempt to disrupt the construction of a "security fence". It worked. Story here and here.

I'm in favor of further development and intelligent use of "non-lethal weapons", though I'm adamantly opposed to using them to disperse non-violent, non-distructive, and orderly protesters (if there is ever such a thing again).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

It's Official....I Hate Nashville

I've long been a'thinking that Nashville has lost anything significant that would make it a "Southern" city. We Southerners like to think of ourselves as being more polite, and more willing to personally help out one another than the average bipedal carbon-based life form. Well, that certainly is no longer the case, if ever it was, in Nashville.

The proverbial back-breaking straw-of-the-day was found in the BelleMeade plaza parking lot at around 1100 hours today. This youngish male was unfortunate enough to have his car cease it's primary function in the middle of the intersection leading into the parking lot. The guy turned on his hazard lights, tried a few unsuccessful cranks, and then just proceeded to sit there, blocking 3 lanes of traffic. Ferlotta, Veronica, and I were enjoying a couple of environmentally unfriendly cups of Starbucks coffee nearby, so I went over to "help a fella out". He was chatting on his cellphone, but followed my recommendation to put his car in neutral so I could push it (and him) out of traffic and into the nearest parking space. There were several other able-bodied men walking past, and nary a one offered to help. Several folks honked and gestured, but none irked me more than the quasi-elderly asshole who pulled around us and took the parking place towards which we were heading. I was pushing this car up a slight incline, so, unfortunately, I didn't have the leisure to communicate my displeasure to him. Fortunately, another space opened up a few slots down, and all was well. The kid continued to sit in his car with the windows up, gave me a slight nod, and continued his telephone conversation. Perhaps the situation would have transpired differently in a different area of Nashville, but I am, more than ever, feeling the desire to leave this septic tank of a town and find a friendlier, more civil set of neighbors.

See my new blog at If you want to be a contributor, just let me know.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Jim and Nicks

Last night, after leaving Applebee's due to profoundly bad service, Ferlotta, Rani, and I went on down to try out the ribs at Jim and Nick's BBQ, which did not impress. Their general issue barbecue sauce is pretty good, and they have a habenero sauce that was good, though not what any Texan would consider "spicey". They offer a lot of choices for sides (we were disappointed with the creamed spinach---it was more like spinach in a fairly bad bechamel sauce), and the salad was better than average, with lots of cheese. The ribs were certainly edible, but they were not much different than the junk you'd get at most other moderately bad chain restaurants, and were definitely inferior to Famous Dave's or Smokey Bones. They didn't even come close to our two favorite rib sources Jack's and Mike's backyard (as many of you know, Mike's ribs are better than any you can buy).