Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Trips to the ER, Student Abandonment Issues, Etc.

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- It's been more than three weeks since the Woeful Librarian @ The Library hit me up with a meme.

And for two weeks now, I've been trying to come up with something original, going through my usual routine of figuring out what's appropriate for an online audience, what I still need to keep private and what I'm comfortable discussing.

The problem?

I've already done this meme once in 2007. Jessica, The Cool Librarian, hit me up back in January.

The first time was way back in 2006, when I was inspired by Mizzy B's post (she didn't tag me, did it on my own). She, in her own Bohemian way, took the thing one step further, with six things.

So where do we go from here?

Oh well. Fuck it. Let's see what I've got...


There's an abandoned beer pong table right outside my apartment door. It's been there for four days now, abandoned by my student neighbors. The unfinished plywood top reeks of flat Natty Light. One of its two-by-four legs, in true unskilled but educated fashion, bows inward and the table wobbles like nobody's business.

Rotten furniture lines the streets. There's busted futons clogging the curbs, busted plastic lounge chairs crumbling to dust in the gutters. Dumpsters around Oxford Fucking Ohio are packed with box springs and mattresses, busted plasma screens and junk MP3 players.

Walking about town this weekend, I found a perfectly good leather armchair left in an alley. There was one slight problem, however. The chair had been run through with what appeared to be a machete, the blade sticking out of the back. "Fuck FIJI" was carved into the upholstery by some very angry, artistic vandal.

And this is how the Academic Year ends - not with a bang but with a whimper.


I spent part of Sunday night in the local emergency room.

It started last week sometime - I noticed that, well, I was having trouble taking a piss, pain and swelling in my testicles.

I called my physician Thursday to set up an appointment - the earliest available time was for a week from the time I called.

I figured I could wait. It's time for my annual physical anyway. I couldn't.

And nor should I have even considered waiting.

Testicular pain, shouldn't be ignored - ever. Men lose a ball or two all the time, as a result of trauma, infection, and illness. I've known two people in my life who've suffered from testicular torsions - one nut was saved, the other amputated as a result of a coach telling a kid to "just walk it off."

By Saturday, I was beginning to regret every "It burns when you pee..." or "I'd give my left nut..." joke I've made in the last, oh, ten years.

Fortunately, no trace of gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any other bacterial infection - the most common causes. Two separate urinalysis and culture tests were clean as a whistle. Unfortunately, neither the ER doctor nor the urologist seems to know what's causing it. No immediate evidence of hernia, either, but to be safe, again, it was recommended that I abstain from heavy lifting for a while.

To be safe, just in case, the urologist put me on antibiotics, and the ER guy slapped me with enough Motrin to make a gunshot wound feel like a pin prick.


I had a confrontation with a local Radical Left blog reader a few weeks ago, over my silence on the issue of immediate troop withdrawal of "Imperialist" American forces from Iraq, why I don't use my blogging powers (ha!) for something constructive, like "raising awareness."

This young woman wanted to know - no, demanded to know - why I quit posting about politics and other things related to foreign policy. She felt the need to critique my blog's content based on my lack of "awareness raising" efforts to just about every progressive cause known to Man, only about half of which I support as, yes, an independent.

Completely batshit conversation. Nothing like an angry drunk activist.

Why oh why don't I blog about hot button political issues anymore? And what about "raising awareness" over this "immediate withdrawal" stuff?


Well, it's simple, really.

First, I quit blogging about politics because, well, political blogging to "raise awareness" or to "advocate change" is a pointless exercise, a pseudointellectual circle-jerk of like-minded people reading only what they want to read, consuming opinions to merely justify their own opinions, or gloating with ideological glee at the slightest misstep of the opposition.

What's the point of blogging, really, if one just wants to scream from some bully pulpit? A personal blog should be, well, personal. And this is my personal blog. And I don't like it when people feel the need to tell me what I'm to put into this silly thing, based on their political agendas.

For the record, I don't support any of this current "immediate withdrawal" rhetoric pushed by pundits, activists, or, especially, politicians. To me, it's nothing more than the Democratic version of bread and circuses, thrown around to pacify and condition the masses, no better than the Republican posturing of the past four years. And lately, as a whole, the Democratic-controlled Congress hasn't been acting much different than the Contract with America era GOP-controlled Congress, spending more time attacking the new minority government Executive than actually moving anything past respite and petty bickering.

Ultimately, a hastily assembled retreat is nothing more than a momentary escape from ultimate responsibility. We, all Americans, bear some level of responsibility and accountability towards securing Iraq's future - there is no easy way out, no pointing fingers at the President or screaming that the opposition didn't try hard enough to stop it. We fix it, and then we can go. One does not enter another's house, burn it down, and then leave without paying for the damages done.

Most of the plans put forth seem to forget the legacy of the U.S. Civil War Reconstruction era, a time when hastily assembled, mob-rule ideas during a different sort of occupation played out as tragic comedy. While Reconstruction, in the end, did reunite the South with the Union, the far-reaching side effects still haunt this continent.

Reconstruction politicians and activists spent more time trying to figure out new and creative ways to expedite national healing with words and knee-jerk reactions than actually worrying about, well, the long-lasting ramifications. It is not mere coincidence that the bloodiest acts of genocide committed against this continent's indigenous tribes occurred during this period, that liberated former slaves earned physical freedom only to be faced with a century's worth Jim Crow terrorism and oppression, that political corruption and corporate influence blended industrialized, capitalistic expansion and influence to the concept of democracy.

Sounds familiar, eh?

Mark Twain called that period in U.S. history the Gilded Age. Lasted almost 40 years, and included the assassinations of three sitting presidents, an almost total restructuring of American diversity through waves of immigration and subsequent backlash, two economic depressions, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, massive government corruption, labor revolts, and a Centennial presidential election mess that made the 2000 election look legit.

Welcome to the Second Gilded Age. By my estimate, we entered into this era of American History sometime in the last decade, sometime before this clemency petition was released.

Getting out of Iraq by the end of the year? Not happening. Nor should it, without some sort of practical, actual solution that leaves Iraq a better place than when we invaded against international law in the first place. Immediate withdrawal by this Imperialist America? Even during the Manifest Destiny era, immediacy was measured in dead bodies and decades.

The Iraqi insurgents there, just like Al-Qaeda, are much harder to kill than those pesky Dakota or Sioux, and smallpox tainted blankets are, like, so 1872. We've modernized to suit or Nuclear Super-powered status - we just torture people in secrecy, lock them away in Cuba, and have secret military tribunals in charge of separating terrorist from patriot.

And, besides, now that the Dems are in power, they'll need at least a year's worth of preening and gleaning to give all of those defense contractors, corporate lobbyists, and little old ladies from Kansas enough time to fill the ol' campaign war chests for the 2008 Freak Election...

See. Like I said. Simple.


Last night, I dreamt that I was having sex with one of my sister's childhood best friends, a woman I haven't seen or thought about in more than a decade.

Sex at my senior prom. And it was snowing.

It wasn't as good as I remembered, at least compared to the dreams I used to have about this woman when we were both in Mr. D's fourth period journalism class.

Hell, it's been 12 years. I wonder if she's still single?

Trust me. Much more interesting than waking up and thinking about Iraq.


Favorite quote of the week:

I had a cat once, but every time I tried to give him a bath, the fur stuck to my tongue.


Jessica said...

About your balls:
Years and years ago my (then) boyfriend suffered from the same thing. One day I noticed that he looked swollen, and he said he'd been in some discomfort. A trip to the doctor initially revealed nothing - no infection, no hernia, nothing. Meds eased the discomfort, but the swelling persisted for quite a while. It was later discovered that he had "degenerative disc disease" (not nearly as bad as it sounds!) and that some disc compression was causing his man-bits to swell. Just something to keep in mind.

Hope you feel better soon! And hey, thanks for the link-love.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, the "About your balls" just makes me laugh.

Yeah, I've now spent more than $300 in copays to learn that,no, its not bacterial and, no, its not normal. Saw my regular MD earlier today, but, ironically, she did a more thorough exam than the male MDs. And she did ask about possible nerve issues, too.

And thanks! You've very welcome, too.

cooper said...

I have a friend right now who is hanging out and working for a week after school gets over in a school north of Columbus, he will be dumpster diving as graduation takes place this weekend.

This is going to sound strange and the fact that I am writing it is a blog of some veritable stranger even weirder but I hope your testicles recover. You will have to give us updates. I say that with good intentions and in all seriousness.

For sure if some part of my nether lands were swollen and...out of sorts I'd probably let everyone know just to share the misery.

Just so people do not think I am the radical left blog reader to whom you are referring.......

You are right about like minded people reading the same old stuff, as I've written before but overall if you get one or two people who actually think about it that is a good thing. I have also noticed a switch for many to a more bipartisan approach and not so much screeching and yelling.

i think a personal blog should be whatever you want it to be.

xboxgirl said...

I'm an independent as well and I usually only like to get into long deep yak-fests about politics if the person/people are in the same room as me, with lots info(because I get the point a cross better).

And I hope you and your man parts don't suffer any permanent damage.

G said...

An excellent post (well not your bloated balls - really, hope all is well there), but overall so very well put.

Nice to read an even keeled outlook.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, I think I was actually editing this post whilst you were reading. No. 3 ended up so long, I think, primarily because the more and more I thought about having someone demand that I turn my own blog into some local version of the political tabloid, the madder I seemed to get...

Lol,'re at least rational on the Far Left and try to be open-minded :P

And thanks for the testicular concern. Swelling seems to be going down, so we may be good...fingers crossed.

Yep. Good way to do it. I'm a firm believer in Tip O'Neill's philosophy that proclaims "all politics is local."


Thanks, and I hope so, too. I'm thinking, now, that it may be some kind of nerve/vessel pinch. The longer I'm on the anti-inflammatories, the more I'm able to isolate surface pain.

You know what's funny? I had someone ask me this morning, via IM, if I had insider information on the latest Congressional approval ratings (AP polling) that put the Dems on par with the Bush administration - 35% compared to the the president's 32%.

Lol. Made my day.

Woeful said...

Thanks ZenFo Pro.

The ER is never a fun place, and for your symptoms... Even less so.

Political blogs indeed preach to the choir. No, we can't leave the house after we torched it... But we shouldn't hang around to crap on the remains either. Not an easy situation to rectify... Especially since we armed and trained the bad guys to fight the Soviets to begin with. It seems that we spread the crap on our boots wherever we go. We ought to learn to wipe our feet once and a while.

Lastly, if you hadn't noticed I've been a bit out of touch as of late. This is primarily due to a hard drive crash that happened over a week ago. I'm still waiting for the new one to arrive. Grrr. Always a fun thing.

Oh, and happy birthday Jason if I don't get to write again before then!

The ZenFo Pro said...

You're welcome. Finally got around to doing this damned thing :)

Yeah... lol, I always laugh any time I hear some idiot screaming about how we "won" the Cold War...

No worries. I'm in the same boat, blog-wise. Post-Doc funk.

Lol...that's right. Gracias!

Woeful said...

Yeah, winning the Cold War is/was like winning the battle against cancer. You hope the disease dies before the patient... If I'm making any sense?

The ZenFo Pro said...