Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Sunday Feeling

No blogging today as I just now bonded out after this little problem at the family reunion. 

Will get back to you when my lawyer says it's safe to talk again.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Sunday Feeling



When you get to be a certain age, especially if you have played sports or otherwise been physically active, stuff starts to hurt.  I ran and played competitive tennis until my late forties.  

Due to degenerative arthritis in my lumbar spine, I no longer do distance running.  Due to a slight tear in my right rotator cuff I am banned from tennis and pretty much doing anything over my head.

But even before my most recent physical maladies, I have practically lived on Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDS for the past 20 years.  First it was Celebrex, the ads for which showed older folks dancing on the beach, which I guess was designed to show its miraculous healing properties.  I took it back then to ease my hamstrings and Achilles tendons from the rigors of playing tennis 3-4 times a week. And it worked great. 

Then Celebrex and Vioxx started killing people and it got took off the market. Indeed, Celebrex might have caused the heart attack that took my Aunt Jean in her sleep. So, my doctor switched me to a prescription dose of Naproxen which is sold as Aleve over the counter. I took 500mg of that twice a day until I hurt my shoulder in the gym.  That's when they switched me to meloxicam which I have been taking for close to three years now.  

It works great.  It gives me as much relief as the Celebrex or Vioxx did.  And I only have to take it once a day.  Indeed, I can't imagine playing golf, working out or raising my right arm above my shoulder without meloxicam.  

So imagine my amusement when last week the FDA issued new warnings about the risks of taking all NSAIDS, including meloxicam were greater than once believed.  According to an article on the subject in the New York Times, the evidence of increased risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke "is now extremely solid."  The risk is higher in people with heart disease and people over 65 with with heart disease are urged to be "extremely careful" with this class of drugs. 

Perfect.  

Of course, I have coronary artery disease (CAD) which is the genetic bequest of my father.  However, I am asymptomatic despite having a pretty high calcium score which is indicative of gunk in my system.  And I have a completely lousy (perversely referred to as "strongly positive" by the medical profession) family history.  My paternal grandfather died from a coronary at 56.  My own father checked out for the same reason at 52.  

But I got a few things going for me.   I don't smoke.  My BP is well controlled. I'm not obese.  I don't have diabetes.  And I am extremely active physically.  The cardiologist didn't do a stress test on me last November because there was "no need" for it given what I do in the gym on any given week.  And none of the docs I got on the payroll right now have called, texted or left me Facebook messages to quit taking the stuff.  Indeed, my PCP refilled my prescription last week.  

So what to do?  It's a risk-benefit thing I suppose.  Do I quit taking a good and useful medicine that helps me maintain my vigorous exercise habits, which in turn, helps my health because of an increased risk of what they refer to as a "cardiac event" and to which I refer as "buying the farm?" They give cancer patients exceedingly toxic medications in order to kill the cancerous lesions or cells.  

That's not a completely lurid comparison and I certainly don't equate myself with a cancer patient.  But there is a cost-benefit aspect to virtually everything. And I guess this is no different.  In any event, my physical is next month.  I guess we will take it up then.  I think I will live that long.

Indeed, if I play my cards right, in October I will be the first male infected with my grandfather's genes to hit 60 in two generations.  

I like my chances.  NSAIDS or no NSAIDS. 







Sunday, July 12, 2015

God Save The Queen

No blogging today.  I'm too busy watching Roger Federer return from the dead at Wimbledon.

Keep calm and watch tennis.

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Opposite of the Manly Art of Pugilism


"Any man who hits a woman is a coward. And I don't need cowards on my football team."
                                                                                     Then Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach


Thus was Mike Leach quoted by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian in their expose of college football entitled "The System." Leach was talking about his code of conduct that governed what players did off the field.  The erudite and eccentric Leach-now at Washington State-called his code the Three Queen Mothers.  Players who were caught stealing, smoking dope or hitting a woman were kicked off the team.  Period. No questions asked.

The image above is of Florida State quarterback De'Andre Johnson slugging a woman in a Tallahassee bar last month.  You can see the full video here on Deadspin.com: http://deadspin.com/video-shows-fsu-qb-deandre-johnson-punching-woman-in-fa-1716030886

It appears that Johnson and the woman were jostling for position at the rail.  Things evidently got testy and the woman appears to take a swing at Johnson.  He then pops her good and beats a hasty retreat.  Er, let's change that to makes a hasty retreat.

FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, who certainly is no stranger to recent high spirited antics from his student-athlete quarterbacks-has hauled off and suspended Johnson from the football team on an indefinite basis.  Johnson has also been charged with misdemeanor battery by local law enforcement.

First the human sideshow known as Jameis Winston and now this.  Can they recruit quality human beings at Florida State or what?

Let's not make this too complicated.  The video reveals that a putatively drunk chick tried to take a half-ass swing at him.  But can it seriously be said that Johnson was acting in self-defense?

No. It can't.  Hearken unto the words of Johnson's lawyer as quoted an hour or so in TMZ.com.

"While it is clear from the video that De'Andre Johnson was not the initial aggressor," attorney Jose Baez said with presumably a straight face. " [h]is family wants to take the lead in helping him learn and grow from this experience."

It gets better.

"He is currently participating in community service, and faith-based programs focused on battered women, substance abuse and the empowerment of children."

This is an organ recital.  It is not a defense.

Nobody asked me but Jimbo Fisher-or whoever is in charge of FSU (and by that I mean the actual institution of higher learning)- would do well to adopt Mike Leach's Three Queen Mothers as the Seminoles' code for off-field conduct.  Don't hold your breath.

I asked the following rhetorical question on Facebook:

"What does it take to get kicked off the team at FSU?  Shooting up a convent?"

My buddy Don posted the following:

"Throwing too many interceptions."

Look for De'Andre in the Garnet and Gold about October.  Surely this will mean that he will have "learned and grown" from "this experience" by then.  And that he will have had the self-indulgent pussiness rehabbed out of him too.

Yeah right.  Business is business.


















                                                                           

Friday, July 03, 2015

On The Road

No MSF this week. I'm off to the Zarks to spend the weekend at Crystal Bridges.

If you must drink and use fireworks please do so responsibly. 

That is all.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Sunday Feeling

Last week I got to spend a good bit of time with Melissa's son Joe.  He had driving school here in Little Rock and she was jammed up at work.  So I picked him up everyday, got him fed and watered and took him home.  

While I have spent a good bit of time with teenagers the last 3 years or so, I don't often spend a lot of solo time with anybody other than my nephews or my Godson.  And while there were other things I could be doing, spending time with a 15 year old sure beat hanging around my house listening to the floor in my bathroom being torn out and watching dollar signs fly out the window.  

As anyone who has been watching the news lately can glean, last week was pretty momentous.  So I took the opportunity to pick Joe's brain about current events.  Just to get the perspective of a young person about all of this.  

Now Joe is a really good kid and his plenty smart just like his sister.  He is refreshingly free of the narcissism you can find in teenagers in general and boy athletes in particular. I suspect that is due to the fact that he knows in his heart of hearts that his mom would kill him if started copping an attitude. And while we get along pretty well, our deepest and most animated discussions revolve around sports, particularly football and basketball.  So this was the opportunity to change the subject.  Besides, what was he gonna do?  Walk back to Conway?

"So Joe," I asked him at lunch on Wednesday. " What you think about all this stuff with the Confederate flag?"

He munched on his sandwich.  He shrugged his shoulders.

"It's disrespectful," he said. "I don't think they should fly it."

" Do you and the black guys you hang out with ever talk about this stuff?"

He gave me a blank look. He shook his head.

"No." He shrugged again and returned his attention to the feedbag he had tied on.  

He was in class Friday while the Supremes were dropping the bomb over in DC. I asked him if he had heard the news.

"What news?" he asked.

"The United States Supreme Court ruled that state statutes banning same sex marriages are unconstitutional," I said.  

"Whoa!"

"Yeah."

Lunch arrived about that time so he quickly turned to the more pressing business at hand.  After all, a man's gotta eat.

After he inhaled his chicken nuggets or whatever they were, I decided to press him a little.

"So what do you think about gay folks having the right to marry?" I asked as he loudly sipped through the straw.  

"I don't care."

"What do you mean you don't care?"

"I mean they should be able to marry if they want to.  I don't care."

"Ah." 

A confused look crossed his face. 

"What Joe?"

"Tell me again what happened today."

This happens in class sometimes.  Joe, like a lot of kids I have the privilege of being around, is plenty smart.  But he's 15.  I forget this sometimes.  As Huey Long once said, "You got to put the hay down where the goats can get at it." Even the smart goats.

"OK," I said as I backtracked. " The Supreme Court ruled that laws making same sex marriage illegal are unconstitutional. You know you have to get a license to get married right?"

"Right."

 "The Supreme Court ruled that states can't refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay folks just because they are gay."

He nodded his head.  And that was that.

Besides, he wanted to talk about the NBA draft.  Fine with me.  We talked about basketball on the way back to Conway.

Mike Huckabee can threaten to call down fire from Heaven until he is blue in the face.  Right wing pundits can bemoan the alleged eradication of "our heritage." The next generation just doesn't see it that way.  

After all, it's pretty simple to young Joe.  Flying the Stars and Bars is disrespectful.  Gay marriage is no big deal.  I suspect his views are pretty much in line with others in his peer group.  Sure. Not everybody will agree with him. But I'm guessing his opinion is not too divergent from that of his associates.

And that's what won't change.  And that's why things will never be the same. 

It doesn't matter what Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz thinks.  It just doesn't matter.  









Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Sunday Father's Day Feeling



This is hilarious.

I ran into my friend Bill in the grocery store the other night.  We hadn't seen each other in awhile and resolved to go get some dinner soon to hoist a few and catch up on old news.  

I admit to having some reservations about this.  The last time I planned to meet Bill for dinner, I wrecked my car en route in the ice and snow.  But I'm not overly superstitious so I agreed to meet him Sunday night.

This morning (Friday) I got a text asking for a rain check.  Seems he had forgotten about Father's Day being this Sunday.  

Now, I tend to forget about Father's Day with something approaching regularity. I am not a Dad and my own father died damn near 40 years ago.  As I have written before, at this stage of the game it's almost like Buck never existed. He's an abstraction made tangible primarily by the presence of myself and my brothers and a marble marker at the Veteran's Cemetery.

But really that's about all he remains at this point.  No disrespect.  It is what it is.  I forget about people I haven't spoken to in a year.  Try 38.

But Bill has 3 kids.  2 of them are still in town.  I think.  At least one of them is. Of this I am sure.  And Bill forgot Sunday is Father's Day.

I submit that this is one of the main differences between men and women.  No Mom in the long and storied history of motherhood has ever forgotten Mother's Day.  Ever.  I can state this with teleological, if not metaphysical, certitude.  I challenge you to prove me wrong.

Most Dads I know can take it or leave it.  Or at least they don't want a big honking deal made of the day.  My brother Bob probably does but that's OK too. Back when my friend Richard's kids were in the house he used to say that all he wanted for Father's Day was to be left alone.  Bill says that while he can relate to Richard's sentiments on the issue, by the same token he allowed as how he could use a travel coffee mug that doesn't leak.  If his kids presented him with that he wouldn't turn it down despite his ambivalence about the occasion.

The word "ambivalence" would never be used in connection with Mother's Day by any Mom worthy of the title.  Hence another difference between men and women.  

I hope Bill gets his mug.  If you are a Dad I hope you get your wish for Father's Day.  

Even if its just to be left the hell alone for one day.