Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Latest From Death's Door

As I reported earlier this week, I have managed to acquire this flu bug that is going around. Today marks the first time since Saturday night that I have not run a fever of at least 100. ( Actually, I spoke too soon. I just took my temperature. I am running a fever again. Dammit.) I can see how this shit can kill an elderly person or someone whose health status is comprimised. This is easily the sickest I have been in years. Even though I seem to be on the downhill side of this, I have no energy and my muscles are killing me. Even my hips hurt. My hips have never hurt before in my life. My friend who is doing chemo sent an e-mail wanting to know if I could do lunch today. I was afraid to reply for fear of infecting him over the Internet. No, this is a bad one. No two ways about it.

However, I also consider myself, in a very real sense, to be extremely fortunate. I was able to get meds sent over when I first suspected that I was coming down with something more serious than an allergy attack. My co-pay was 18 dollars. The portion paid by my insurance was 53. 75 bucks for 5 days worth of pills! What does a poor person do? For that matter what does an elderly person with Medicare prescription drug coverage do when if they get sick while they are in the so-called "doughnut hole": the period after early coverage where the beneficiary has to pay 100% for a period of time before coverage kicks back in? The flu will kill an elderly person. It seems to me to be one hell of a screwed up system that causes a person on a fixed income to choose between paying for food and getting the medication they need.

My brother Bob is doing clinicals for a Masters in Nursing with a physician in the Conway area. He says that this doctor, who Bob describes as a kind and caring physician, is constantly forced to prescribe drugs he thinks a particular patient can afford instead of what he thinks will work the best. Bob says he sees this every day.

And guess what? The strain on the system will only get worse once the baby boomer generation starts retiring and more people are supported by fewer wage earners.

Me, I'm lucky. I've got good insurance that I can carry with me when I retire. As bad as I feel now I know I will be better soon. But can't we do better by the folks that brought us into this world?

I went to the bookstore this morning to get some magazines. The lady at the counter asked me if I was sick. When I told her I was, she said that she thought so because she hadn't seen me running in the neighborhood. I told her that my goal was to walk to the church and back tomorrow.

Me, I'm lucky. That's the biggest problem I have. That and my hips hurt.


Here's a strange little story in today's NY Times about the widower of an obscure British pianist named Joyce Hatto passing off recordings of other artists as those of his late wife's. Not real bright seeing as how the technology exists to sniff out this kind of fraud.

This sort of thing is not completely unheard of in the music world. After all, Handel was widely known as a plagiarist in his day. But this kind of fakery is generally the province of the visual arts and antiques.

Hit the link to read all about it:


Sunday, February 25, 2007

He's Not Dead?

I was told to take the flu shot back in September seeing as how I am now allegedly in a "high risk" category due to the fact that the armada of docs hovering over me discovered I have asthma. Despite all of this prophylaxis, I have been struck down with the flu.

I'm running @ 100 or so and generally feel like hell. I took a walk around the block to get some fresh air and shuffled like an old man. And I mean no disrespect to old men. Older than me even. A doctor buddy called in anti-virals after I couldn't get anybody that was allegedly covering for my treating physician to call me back. More on that later.

Anyway, frail Lilly that I am, I spent the day reading. I read the piece below in GQ about George Clinton. My buddy PM hates GQ.

Or is it Esquire? I forget.

Anyway, is George Clinton a genius, nuts or what? We report. You decide. But I think he's nuts.

Hit the link. Bring me some chicken soup. I don't ask for much.


My Sunday Feeling

I have only been to Florida once and I enjoyed myself very much. Of course, I had gone to Florida merely to play golf. I did not travel to the Sunshine State to attempt to cast my vote in an honest election. Nor did I go over there to litigate a case before "Judge" Larry Seidlin. I don't think I would have enjoyed myself very much if I had been forced to do either.
For those of you who have been living in a tree the past week or so, Larry Seidlin (pictured hereinabove weeping from the bench as he read his decision in the case) was the presiding judge in the ostensibly serious case concerning who would be the proper party to take custody of the body of Anna Nicole Smith.
There has been a lot written about Seidlin's thoroughly ridiculous demeanor in the courtroom and I won't add much to what has already been said. Except that I liked celebrity criminal lawyer Roy Black's comment that he would have said that Judge Seidlin had turned the case into a circus but that " I sort of think it gives circuses a bad name."
Look, I'm depressed enough as it is. I didn't think that a steady diet of this man's turning what on paper should have been an exceedingly solemn proceeding into an ego-driven fiasco would much improve matters in that regard. So I didn't watch just a whole lot of it. But I saw enough to arrive at 3 conclusions.
1) Anna Nicole Smith had a serious substance abuse problem. There was much testimony about her using aliases to get narcotics from different physicians. There was a video of her taken about a month before she gave birth to her daughter. She was inexplicably wearing clown makeup. She was slurring her words. Alleged husband Howard K. Stern can be heard asking her if she was "on mushrooms." He later testified that he was joking.
2) Speaking of Mr. Stern, from what I can tell, he is about as repellent a human I have seen in a courtroom since Orenthal James Simpson. Some witnesses you just don't believe. It's a vibe they give off. Or as a female friend in Texas who reads the blog put it more succinctly, " He is definitely a creep. But you don't get to run around like she did and pick up Dobie Gillis right?" I guess not. In any event, as far as I could tell, the only time he flat out told the truth after stating his name for the record was when he admitted that, although he had held himself out as Anna Nicole's attorney, he had not actually practiced law, or done much of anything other than sponge off of Anna Nicole since 2001. Which brings me to my 3rd conclusion.
3) Anna Nicole was poorly served by the men in her life. This is an observation about which my Texas friend wrote "Now there's an understatement." If ever a woman has ever taken up with a more motley collection of bums, enablers and nuts than did Anna Nicole Smith I don't know whoo it is. And what is remarkably sad about the recent furor concerning who might be the biological father of her infant daughter, out of all of the worthies that have come forward to claim paternity, I don't believe I've heard anybody admit to having loved her. That's impossibly sad.
Granted, Anna Nicole was not the brightest bulb on the porch. And you can't disport yourself like she did and expect to wind up with Dobie Gillis. But one would hope that in death Anna Nicole would finally secure the peace and dignity she never found in her ridiculously flamboyant life.
But until she is in the ground, I will continue to bet the under on the "peace and dignity" thing.
And now, here's a special announcement! My buddy in North Carolina obviously has too much time on his hands and has taken up the dark practice of blogging. Trust me. This is going to be good. Really good.
Go to http://polycarpblog.blogspot.com/ and see for yourself. I will add him to this space once I remember how to do it. Actually, when my new computer is delivered next week, my buddy PM will come over and show me how to pimp this space in exchange for drinks of whiskey.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Take That, Eh?

The good folks at hockeyfights.com have preserved footage of the brawl between the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sbres which took place a couple of nights ago. This is a pretty good melee even by hockey standards.

Hit the link. It won't hit back.

Good day.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Sunday Feeling

I had not talked to Miss June in awhile, probably not since Christmas when her daughter was in town. Besides, it was Valentine's Day. That seemed as good a reason as any to give her a ring.

" Hi, Miss June." I said when she answered. " Happy Valentine's Day!"

" Ohhhh.." she replied. "Aren't you sweet to call. How are you?"

" Doing great. Cannot complain."

" I hear sounds. Are you in your car?"

" Ummm, yes ma'am. I am. Why?"

" Well, why don't you call me back when you get home honey? That's dangerous."

" Oh don't worry. I have my Bluetooth in. I have both hands on the wheel."

That was true so long as I wasn't taking a sip from the gin and tonic I had on board. But she didn't need to know that.

" So how's it going?" I asked.

" Not too badly. " she said. " I'm doing pretty good for 80. I still can pretty much do as I please. I just don't get to it as quickly as I once did. And I still try to get out and around. I go out with my lady friends once a week. That's always fun."

" Good for you! That's important."

" And I have a man friend."

" Oh yeah?"

" I didn't say BOY friend. He's a man who is my friend."

" You don't have to explain anything to me Miss June."

" I mean, I spent the last 50 some odd years talking to a man every day. I love my lady friends and there's more of us at this stage of our lives than there are men."


" But I don't want to talk to women all the time. So I have a man friend who I talk to on the phone a couple of times a week."

" I think that's just great. Really I do."

" But I want you to understand that he's not a boyfriend. He's a "

" I know. He's a man friend. So what else is going on?"

" Not much. Like I said I try to stay busy around here. Won't be long until it's time to get the yard and the garden ready. I still have all of those pictures of Oather up on the wall. I say 'good morning' to him every morning and I say 'good night' to him every night. The way I look at it they need to stay up as he's the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I turn in. You probably think that's crazy."

" I absolutely do not! I think those pictures should stay up as long as you want them to stay up. As long as they comfort you, I wouldn't give it a second thought."



" So, tell me. What are you doing tonight?"

"Not much. Probably going to throw some stuff on the grill. Probably going to watch some hoops."

" Isn't it late to be eating, Son?"

"Hell, June. It's 7:15. I'll probably eat around eight."

" That's too late for me. If I eat too late I don't sleep good."

"What time do you eat your dinner?"

"I dunno. Three or Four."

"OK. Now THAT'S crazy."

At this point I needed to jump off.

"Hey, this has been great but I have to go now." I said.

"Are you back home?" she asked.

"No ma'am. I am at the liquor store."

" Lord, you beat all, Son. You beat all."

"So I've heard. You have a good evening, Miss June."

" You too, honey. You know what?"


"It was awfully sweet of you to remember an old lady."

" Nah...I'm just hoping you will cut Judy out of the will and put me in it. I can rewrite that for ya you know."

"You beat all, you know that?"

I have a Roman Catholic friend who has battled cancer of the brain for the past 4-5 years. He and I have good talks about many things. He has a perspective that is obviously unique and I find his insights useful at this stage of my life as I have some things on my mind nowadays. Anyway, he has says that our lives are "but a flicker" and that we should strive during our brief time here to live our lives in such a way that is most meaningful both to ourselves and to others rather than in just in pursuit of money.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with an nice old lady cultivating new friends. We can't have too many friends in this life regardless of our age. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with her starting and ending each remaining day that the Lord lends her with that dear face on the wall.

Unless the Hindus are right, this is our one and only trip. You've got to find yourself some peace and it is up to you to find it. Because life is but a flicker.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

When You're Hot You're Hot

I eat a lot of peanut butter. Or I did until recently when I learned that Peter Pan had recalled a zillion jars of product it had shipped that was tainted with salmonella bacteria. Naturally, being the thrifty sort of person that I am I bought two jars when the local grocery had them on sale for 2 for 5 bucks. This is the kind of luck I typically am plagued with in matters of finance and love. I can usually leave my paranoia in the grocery store parking lot.
This is a luxury I will permit myself no longer. I don't know about you but under these facts I find scant comfort in the fact that these jars were each adorned with tamper proof seals. After all, we wouldn't want anybody coming along and trying to adulterate the product now would we?
Salmonella in peanut butter... Next thing you know, they will try to tell us that fluoridation of water is good for us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Nolan Speaks

Hit the link below for the thoughtful and nuanced thoughts of Nolan Richardson on the retirement of Frank Broyles and the attendant mess up there in Hogland.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Simile Even Wally Hall Wouldn't Use

FSN's Marques Johnson on tonight's brickfest between Stanford and Washington: " This looks like a shooting contest between Stevie Wonder and Jose Feliciano."

Of course, Wally wouldn't use it because he probably has never heard of Jose Feliciano.


I apologize for the fact that today's musings appear as one long run-on sentence. I don't know if the insertion of the picture is the cause, but for some reason Blogger refused to save the post with the usual spaces for paragraphs.

It is better than it was before Google bought it but Blogger is still pretty clunky at times. Sorry!

Goodbye Norma Jean

I have been on the road the last couple of days so I have had the chance to think about the tumultuous life of Anna Nicole Smith. Besides, there's only so much ESPN Radio that even I can listen to.
I described her earlier on in this space as "a completely useless woman" and I will not much back off from that characterization. However, upon reflection, I felt that when this uniquely American story is looked upon in light of some of her contemporaries in the world of celebrity, the life of Anna Nicole can at least be described as benign. Not everybody in what passes for her peer group can make that claim.
Where to begin? So much of this woman's life defies description. So let's just jump right in.
First of all, what of her marriage to the late billionaire J. Howard Marshall who became obsessed with her after seeing her perform at a Houston strip club? He was in his eighties when they married. When he died he left her approximately 500 million dollars in his will, a devise that has been the subject of hotly contested litigation in State and Federal Court. As you might imagine, J. Howard Marshall's son portrayed her as an abject gold-digger which she has always denied.
Was she a gold-digger? Of course she was. It is laughable to believe that Anna Nicole could be attracted to an octogenarian that wasn't loaded. However, the Federal Judge that presided over the portion of this Gordian Knot that wound up over before him viewed the relationship charitably if not entirely sympathetically.
"[T]heir lives were intertwined in need, and driven by greed and lust." wrote United States District Judge David Carter in the case of Marshall vs. Marshall. " She cherished the protection and security he afforded her and the lavish gifts that he gave to her in order to win over her affection. J. Howard used his money to get Vickie (Anna Nicole used her legal name of Vickie in the litigation) to fall in love with him, and in her own way, Vickie loved J. Howard."
In her own way Vickie loved J. Howard. Not exactly Robin Givens and Mike Tyson is it?
Speaking of litigation, this is the first time in the history of family law that 3 different guys have stepped up and admitted paternity. Of course, when parenthood comes with the potential of playing half a billion dollars for the use and benefit of Anna Nicole's infant daughter
Dannielynn, the woods may soon be full of putative babydaddies before it is over.
Anna Nicole was as crude and vulgar as American junk culture itself, her blond mane and what has been referred to as a "pneumatic" figure propelling her to fame and fortune far beyond what may reasonably be expected out of a high school dropout from Mexia, Texas. Vulgar she was, but her vulgarity was a caricature based on Marilyn Monroe whom she sought to emulate. There were no videos of her having sex floating around on the Internet, claims that cannot be made by her equally useless counterparts Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. And unlike the even trashier Britney Spears, Anna Nicole was usually fully, if immodestly, clothed when she went out on the town.
Anna Nicole never assaulted anybody. Kobe Bryant can't say that. O. J. Simpson can say it but nobody with a half a grain of common sense could possibly believe it. She had her troubles with booze and drugs. But, unlike Courtney Love, nobody ever accused Anna Nicole of shooting heroin during a pregnancy.
Finally, Anna Nicole Smith deserves some measure of sympathy for no other reason than the tragic circumstances surrounding her untimely demise. I don't mean to imply that her passing leaves much of a void in world. Anna Nicole will be with us as long as there are drag queens. But anytime a mother leaves behind her an infant, it may fairly be considered tragic.
Further, her 20 year old son Daniel died of a drug overdose 3 days after the birth of his half-sister. While the cause of her death has yet to be determined some suspect that Anna Nicole met the same fate. She was said to be beyond despair over the loss of her son. Who knows? Anna Nicole was not particularly stable under laboratory conditions. Combine a history of drug abuse with grief and throw in some post-partum depression on the side and you have a surefire prescription for disaster.
Anna Nicole Smith's life was an absolute train wreck. She died a caricature of herself as if that is possible. She leaves behind a potentially limitless estate and a generation of unresolved litigation.
But as completely useless though she was, she was not the worst of her kind. She was benign. That's not much of an epitaph, but that's a better claim than Paris Hilton can make.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lisa Nowak Catches A Break

Anna Nicole Smith died today in a hotel in Hollywood, Florida. Hit the link below to read an excerpt of what the Federal District Court Judge who ( I believe) reversed the Bankruptcy Judge's determination that federal jurisdiction took precedence over state probate proceedings (Anna was in a bankruptcy at this point in time).

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this completely useless woman's life, more amazing than how much money she was able to extract from an old man with more money than sense, and more amazing than the fact that she had more than her fifteen minutes of fame as a Playboy "Playmate of the Year" which she parlayed into a stint modelling blue jeans, is the fact that this pissing match made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. And they ultimately ruled in her favor thereby settling a highly technical point of bankruptcy law.

I doubt that Anna Nicole understood the first damn thing about her case. I doubt many lawyers would either. Is this a great country or what?

BTW, I am writing this from Tunica. Tomorrow I will attend the Mid-South Bankruptcy Institute seminar which will be held at the Gold Strike Casino. No lie. Like I said, is this a great country or what?

7 come 11 and all that.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Man Gets Open

To my knowledge, this the first NBA player to extricate himself from the closet. John Amaechi was a damn good player in college and a serviceable pro.

One of these days, an active male player in some professional sport is gonna come out. Or get outed. It's inevitable.

Hit the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2757105

Location, Location, Location

Tiny Hendrix College, founded by a Methodist minister named Tiny Hendrix, made today's New York Times. It looks like the old alma mater is getting into the real estate game. I sure hope they are more successful at this venture then they have been in basketball lately.

Hit the link.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You Think YOUR Partner Is Crazy? I'll Show You Crazy...

Below is a link to the bizarre story about soon to be former astronaut Lisa Nowak who got herself arrested in Florida for attempted murder and kidnapping after she confronted a romantic rival in an airport. Her story and the considerably less flattering mug shot that accompanies same is brought to you courtesy of The Smoking Gun which revels in this kind of stuff.
Just think. At one time this-OK. We're going to say it-Space Cadet was authorized by the government to operate a million dollar piece of machinery. I predict that her life will be rendered considerably less complicated in the long run and that the universe of choices afforded her will be constricted.

I Would Apologize Some More But I'm Late For "Group"

Hit the link for a funny piece in the New York Times about the difference between apologizing and backpedalling.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Give Your Nearest Available Equine Christ-Figure A Starlight Mint

Passed along without comment is the following letter that was published in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette :

Barbaro Filled Our Need For Hope

For the uncounted numbers of people who mourn the death of Barbaro, I relate to you and sense the network that connects us [to] the loss.

It has been said that some of us, and maybe most of us, seek purity, goodness, innocence and kindness. That we seek an objectified representation of these qualities is pointless and a moot search. But we persist.

When citizens can no longer pin hopes on the leaders of the nation and have experienced unbounded disillusionment, they still continue to hunger for the closest subject to perfection that they can find. Barbero satisfied that hunger, at least for lots of us. He restored our faith that, once in a great while, our ideal appears.

Four years ago, this horse was born and was known buy numbers of people who oversaw his growing up. His existence and his essence came into focus nationally when he prepared for the Kentucky Derby and blew past his competitors to win the race.

He became a tragic hero early in the Preakness race. How many persons felt the pangs of despair as they watched for updates on his condition and blessed the doctors and caregivers who loved and attended the great horse?

We needed Barbaro. He came to us in a time in which we had become saddened and disillusioned. He lifted our spirits. His life pulled from us a pure love for him. My own personal fantasy was to walk to him, unescorted, and offer him a Starlight Mint. I think my heart might have burst with the joy of the encounter.
Lorna Stokenbury Pryor
Fort Smith

I Cannot Make This Stuff Up

Check out the name of the sponsor of this bill to decriminalize marijuana use in New Hampshire.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Sunday Feeling

This was the scene at my house last Friday morning. Central Arkansas got a mild dusting of snow and hardly any of the ice predicted the night before. While I was disappointed that we didn't get a "snow day" I was relieved to see that the roads were fairly passable. The older I get-and I am just old enough to preface a sentence with "the older I get"-the more I detest the cold. It didn't used to bother me much at all. But whenever the temperature gauge gets below 30 I start to feel it in what my doctor calls my "tennis shoulder." I can barely raise my hand above it the past week or so. I hope it loosens up during the Spring thaw. Also, my nose hurts in the places where it has been broken.
Still, I insist on getting out in it as long as there's no ice on the ground. My ribs still hurt from when I slipped on the ice just before Christmas 2 years ago. (I forgot about them. I don't know how I could forget that old injury when I was setting out my litany of woe. Between my ribs and my shoulder I hardly slept last night. ) But while I don't walk or run when there's ice on the ground, I will bundle up and get down the road as long as the temperature is above 30 or so.
The Super Bowl will be televised later on today. I am having some friends over. We will have barbecued chicken, ribs and I don't know what all else. I am providing the chicken, the ribs, Dixie beer and two televisions. Everybody else can bring what they like. I enjoy cooking and I also enjoy having folks over. It'll be a good time.
As for the game itself, I pretty much don't care and I really don't pay much attention if any to all the pre-game bullshit. I had lunch with a friend last Friday. Sherri, an otherwise imminently sensible woman, was telling me about some of the accounts of the interminable player interviews in the local paper. My eyes glazed over. She's really into it. I don't get it.
I know I usually write about the Super Bowl but for some reason I just can't bring myself to get too interested in it this year. Maybe it's because the Saints got clobbered in the NFC title game by the Bears. I don't know. But as one of my friends used to say, "As long as they are putting it on we might as well watch the goddamned thing." What the hell. It'll be an excuse to eat and drink. Us guys will nod and offer sage pronouncements about the action. The women will enjoy the commercials. There are worse ways to spend a cold Sunday in the People's Republic of Hillcrest.
As long as they are gonna put it on, we might as well watch it. Beats busting your ass on the ice in any event.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Last week, I received three or four messages regarding the story in the Onion about Barbaro receiving a State funeral that I posted here. These people thought it was real. This says a couple of things to me. First, not everybody has heard of the satirical magazine The Onion. Secondly, it kind of points out that things are sufficiently screwed up out there in the real world that people can actually believe that not only would the government hold a funeral for a horse but that his remains would be placed in a coffin as depicted by the obviously faked up picture in the story.
So, just in case anybody is wondering the story was a joke. Really.