Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Sunday Feeling

It all started about a month ago when I woke up around 2:30 in the morning with a terrible pain in my hip and thigh. I had given myself a pretty good hematoma the week before in court of all places when I ran into the corner of counsel table when coming back from a recess. I am graceful like that.

Anyway, I wore a thigh wrap to play with the Miracle League kids the Saturday after Court and didn't think that it was anything more than a charleyhorse. A couple of days later at 2:30 I knew that whatever it was, it wasn't a charleyhorse.

The first trip to the orthopedist was inconclusive. X-rays revealed "the hip of a young man" with no arthritic changes noted. Which surprised both Dr. Peeples and I. He diagnosed the buzz in my leg as a hip strain, gave me an anti-inflammatory medication and told me to lay low and come back in a week. I came back in a week. The pain was worse. Unbearable really. He brought out the rubber mallet. He hit my right foot. No reflexes.

He looked up at me over his glasses. "Not good," he said.

He ordered an MRI. He gave me Vicodin for the pain so I could sleep. Told me to reeeeeaaaallllly lay low and this time he meant it.

Between the time of that visit and the MRI, the pain got better. In fact, I started walking pretty freely. The problem was I started falling. The first time was when I was out walking ( Doc said I could walk) and United States District Judge Leon Holmes (of all people) slowed his truck down to let me cross Kavanaugh. When I started to jog across the leg went out from under me. I somehow stayed upright. I was not so lucky the night of the 4th of July. I fell twice out on my deck. The leg just crumpled out of the blue both times. It was scary.

Peeples had suggested that I get a cane until I got better. Guess that was why.

I suppose that, all in all, I have led something of a charmed life when it comes to major health issues. Granted, I have worked hard at staying in shape over the years. But apart from my allergies and asthma I really don't have any chronic condition. I do not take my generally healthy life for granted. I have lost friends to cancer, AIDS and automobile accidents. I watched Parkinson's take my mother and a stroke hobble her brother.

I cough and sneeze. Poor me.

Not being able to stand upright gets your attention though. That's a marker. And I'm too young for this.

Once again, I got lucky. Though the MRI revealed degenerative disk disease in the lumbar spine, there are no blown disks. Dr. Peeples said a disk fragment had pinched a nerve. He said "had" because my pain is better and the strength in my leg is returning. The reflexes are back. So he suspects that the fragment has been reabsorbed in my body. Treatment plan? Do nothing.

Here is what I can do: I can play golf as long as I don't carry a bag. I can walk and I can ride a bike. I can start working with a trainer again in 2 weeks.

Here is what I can't do: Run, play soccer or rugby. Soccer or rugby? Ok. I can give those up.

In other words, I am officially at a stage in life where I am officially no longer a kid and my activities are to be governed by the concept of "using good sense" instead of "pretending I'm still 30." The doctor said my motto from here on out will be "Don't push it."

I can do that. Falling down is scary. Chronic pain is miserable. And I was just visited briefly by both. I cannot imagine trying to live with severe back trouble as so many people do. Cannot imagine.

I am a lucky, lucky man. And I do not take it for granted.

I have a bad back. I can't push it anymore. But I gotta tell ya, giving up rugby is gonna be tough.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Extreme Example Of Why Some People Should Really Do A Better Job Of Risk Calculation

This modest and seemly gentleman is former Little Rock area resident Dale Miller, known around these parts as "Skirtman" due to his penchant for cross-dressing. Which ain't exactly the sort of thing exactly sees a lot of around here.

I once saw Dale in all his glory at a restaurant a couple of years ago. About all that I remember was that he was in a skirt and had "deely boppers" on top of his head. Any self respecting drag queen would have fainted in his presence. Wait. I also remember that my excellent and feisty friend Lynne was with me that night. She was aghast at the fact that Dale's shoes didn't match his handbag. Or so she said. Anyway, she was going to confront him but relented when I offered to buy her another glass of wine if she would just shut up.

Anyway, you might have noticed that I referred to Dale as a former resident. That's because yesterday he caught 2 consecutive 10 year terms in the state pen for having child porno on his computer. This was discovered pursuant to a search warrant issued in connection with an investigation of his communications over the Internet with a 16 year old girl that was found by law enforcement over at his house out in Roland. The fact that he answered the door in a bathrobe when the cops knocked on the door didn't put him in the best light in the eyes of the law.

And so we bid farewell to Skirtman. At least until he makes parole. It is my understanding that sex offenders don't fare so well in a prison environment. I think this would go double for a sex offender who liked to wear pumps.

Good luck Dale. You will need it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

This is our new Miss Arkansas a couple of years ago. This is the same act she performed during the "talent" portion of the competition.

I have momentarily lost the power of speech.

My Sunday Feeling

The pinched nerve that caused all of the pain in my hip and thigh has subsided nicely. But the right leg is still weaker than the left one and about all the orthopedist will let me do is walk until we look at the MRI next week. So, I have been mixing in the treadmill at the gym (still way too boring even with a TV monitor) and walking outdoors. I also hit irons and wedges under the watchful eyes of a pro last week. So far so good. I haven't fallen down since the 4th of July. Progress.

I was trudging West on Kavanaugh when I heard "Hey Mister!" There was a little boy about 9 years old standing on the sidewalk beside the Brazilian restaurant. At first, I thought he was my Godson with his bleached out summer hair and tanned arms and legs. But my Godson wouldn't address me as "Mister" and upon focusing in I realized that I had never seen this kid before. He motioned for me to come over. I thought that perhaps he was lost or something. So I went over. As I got closer I noticed he was holding a book that he had evidently checked out of the Public Library called "Reading Body Language."

" What me to read your life line?" he asked.

" Do what?"

" Your life line. I could read it for you."

" No thanks."

" Wait!" he said as he flipped quickly through the book. " The way you're standing. There's a picture in the book."

In my rare dealings with young people I firmly believe that an idea is innocent until proven guilty. So I put up with this nonsense while trying to maintain a straight face.

" Here," he said. " Look. Hands on hips with arms akimbo. Means you are trying to assert authority. It also means you have issues."

The latter sentence was delivered with all of the gravity of a terminal diagnosis. I about wet my pants.

"Of course I have issues. And so do you. But I think a better explanation for my body language is that whenever a person I don't know confronts me on the street I tend to give off a very confrontational body posture. You seem to be a nice enough kid but quite frankly this is a very bizarre conversation, Son."

I shifted my weight.

" Whoa! There's a picture what you just did." Back to the book.

" When you put your hand behind your back? It means you are indecisive."

" No it doesn't. It means I needed to scratch an itch."


"Yeah, really." Freud's statement that sometimes a cigar is only a cigar came to mind but I chose to let it pass.

" Look," I said. " I'm glad that you are having fun with your book. But it takes a lot of experience and context to be able to read tells. You can't just do it out of a book for the first time and do it right."


"Law enforcement term for reading body language. Took it from poker. A person's body language is used to assess whether he is telling the truth. So they call body language 'tells.' "


" I have a friend who is an FBI agent. She told me that a tell they look for when interviewing a subject is that people who tend to gaze upward and to the right while talking tend to be lying. I do that all the time. I'm not a liar. At least I don't think I have that reputation in the community. The point I'm trying to make is that being able to read body language takes a lot of training and experience and can't be learned in a few days out of a book."

"Wait," he said as began thumbing through the book again. " Arms akimbo again. You know what that means."

So much for this being a teachable moment. He was fixated.

" I know. I have issues. See ya later buddy. Have fun with your book."

And with that I limped on back home.

I never caught the boy's name. I wondered if he stayed outside to bug folks while his parents were eating in the restaurant. More likely he lives in the neighborhood and got thrown out of his house after driving his Mother crazy with his observations about her body language. So he decided to branch out and to use the parking lot of Bossa Nova as his own personal amateur crime lab.

Which is what is so great about kids. I wonder what got him sufficiently interested in body language to make him want to check out a book on the subject? And precocious sort that he obviously was he just as obviously saw nothing remotely off-putting about sharing his insights into the subject with an absolute stranger. Good thing for him I have a highly developed sense of the absurd. That and as far as I am concerned any kid's idea is innocent until proven otherwise.

But what the hell do I know? I got issues.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vox Populi: The Option From Hell

I was standing in line behind a young couple as we all waited to give our order to the counterman at a restaurant in the River Market. I noticed that the young man seemed to be studying the menu with great intensity. Eventually his partner turned to him.

"You know," she said. " Couples counseling might be an option."

I turned on my heel and left at the mere mention of the two words most men dread to hear.

Good luck buddy. I hope you enjoyed your lunch.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Sunday Feeling

In one way, Thursday night's infomercial on ESPN concerning where LeBron was going to sign was good for me. Until that night I thought that I had lost the capacity to be amazed.

After all, there's some important stuff going on in the world. We are embroiled in a shooting war in the Middle East. There's a goddamn hole in the Gulf of Mexico that has been spewing oil for two months. The economy is tanking. Again. A search is on for a little boy in Oregon. A big vote is coming up in Congress on bank regulation. Elections in November.

Big stuff.

And yet in the midst of all of this important stuff roiling about us, ESPN decided to devote an hour's worth of programming in prime time so an anxious nation could watch LeBron tell his home state of Ohio to go screw itself. Or as he modestly put it " I'm taking my talents to South Beach" and the Miami Heat.

The Accord at Appomattox received far less hype than this exercise in egomania. And of course, I watched.

The Chosen One feigned concern for the loyal fans back in Cleveland. He vowed to always maintain a home there.

Don't cry for me Parma.

Of course, this is all bullshit. Who can blame him for wanting to winter in Miami rather than in the Mistake by the Lake? Besides, only in the NBA could three guys ( Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade were the other two parts of this troika) collude with one another to essentially shift the balance in the Eastern Division. At least on paper. More on that later.

And speaking of bullshit,Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said LeBron's leaving was "shameless" and a "betrayal." As if the Cavaliers wouldn't have gotten rid of LeBron or anybody else if they had gotten hurt or old and couldn't play anymore. It's a business. Gilbert also vowed that Cleveland would win an NBA title before the new and improved Heat would. That's rich. They couldn't get it done WITH LeBron. I'll turn Baptist if the Cleveland Cavaliers win 35 games next year. Anyway, if you want to read more of this petty bullshit hit the jump: . Such petulance is breathtaking. But by the same token, I too would be upset if the value of my franchise took a 250 million dollar hit as of 10 PM Central time.

As for the Miami Heat, I wouldn't break out the "anointing oils" just yet, to paraphrase Bill Parcells in reference to Jessica Simpson's old boyfriend. The Heat will be good. But if history is any guide, it's a lot harder to buy a pennant in basketball than it is in baseball. Unlike baseball, basketball requires teamwork and chemistry.

When I was a little kid the Los Angeles Lakers started Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. 3 guys who made it into the Hall of Fame. And they didn't win nearly as many titles as people thought they would with that all talent.

It will be real interesting to see if there are enough basketballs to go around with those three. Also, it's not like Bosh and LeBron are the greatest jump shooters who have ever played. The Celtics pretty much let James fire away with impunity during their series. I foresee many zones in their future. If opposing teams can get them into a half court game the Heat may struggle.

Finally, there is the wuss factor to consider. Noted tough guy and former Celtic Paul Silas coached the Cavaliers when LeBron entered the league. He was quoted the other night as saying that LeBron doesn't have a killer instinct. Dwayne Wade on the other hand has won one ring and tried to win another while barely being able to raise his left arm. Neither LeBron or Bosh are known for doing the dirty work champions like Wade aren't afraid to do.

LeBron is going to want to be the man for the Miami Heat. But they already have a man.

Oh and just wait until Pat Riley fires the putative coach of this bunch so he can take over and try to get another ring for himself thereby infusing another massive ego into the mix. It will happen. Trust me.

This will all be real interesting. The only prediction I am willing to make is that the Cleveland Cavaliers will NOT win a title before the Heat.

Everything else is up in the air. More so than Miami fans know.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hold That Tiger

Former LSU star and NFL bust JaMarcus Russell got popped for possession of a controlled substance in his home in Mobile, Alabama. The substance in question was codeine syrup for which he could not produce a prescription. While it may be true that JaMarcus may have had a chest cold, the more likely explanation is the one offered by the authorities: that he, along with other pro athletes and rappers, enjoy imbibing an elixir called variously "Purple Drank" or "Sizzurp." Indeed, unlike most athletes who get nailed with drugs, JaMarcus didn't get popped after a traffic stop. According to USA Today, he got caught up in a sting operation in which his name kept popping up.

The recipe for Purple Drank was popularized by the late rapper DJ Screw and consists of codeine syrup, 7 up, antihistamines and is given its color by purple Jolly Ranchers. An Old Fashioned it is not.

By the way, betcha can't guess what killed DJ Screw. Let's put it this way. It wasn't a hunting accident.

Anyway, now I know that JaMarcus got cut by the Oakland Raiders after a spectacularly inept 2 year career. Indeed, his work habits were considered so lackadaisical that the Raiders are suing him to get back the signing bonus they paid JaMarcus. But still, he's got to have some money saved somewhere. Even a knucklehead like JaMarcus Russell can't blow through 34-40 million bucks in two years.

So my question is, if he just liked to unwind and catch a buzz now and again, why didn't he just go to a bar? Or by a six pack and chill out at home?

Why drink THAT shit?

I mean, you can get just as fucked up and blow your life and career all to hell and back without using illegal drugs. Ask Damon Evans, the former AD at Georgia, who was caught driving drunk with a young blond not his wife who just happened to have doffed her red panties prior to Evans seeing the blue lights in the rear view mirror.

And besides, Purple Drank just sounds vile. As the sickly son of a chain smoker, I took a lot of codeine cough syrup as a child. I hated it. Still do. Cannot imagine sucking that stuff back on a recreational basis.

Listen to me, JaMarcus. Next time you want to get loaded on something that tastes awful I have a 100% legal suggestion for you. Two words:

Dirty Martini.

Besides, it will get the taste of the Purple Drank out of your mouth.

You idiot.