Saturday, October 29, 2011

Post Op

Surgery went as expected. I lay down, they cut me, I woke a few hours later all woozy and painful.
I asked for more meds and they dished on command. What's not to like about that?

What was scheduled was a three-part procedure:
Artynoid Adduction: to twist the laryngeal cartilage, putting tension on the paralysed vocal cord and moving it to the center of the voice box.
Laryngoplasty: another shim/implant, to replace the previous from last December, inserted into the cord to lock it in place.
Reinervation: connect a nerve from the other side of the neck that would eventually 'take' and create vibration in the paralysed cord.

Doctor came around later and informed me that things had not gone as smoothly as hoped. Too much scare tissue had prevented the reinervation from taking place.
This was disappointing, but not a total wash. If the rest works, I should still have plenty of voice to alter my life for the better. The reinervation was more of an 'icing on the cake' so to speak.

He explained how my 'stuff' is not in the best physical position. The previous big project (three years ago) had left things rather messy, and proper positioning of the implant was frustrating (his word). This was expected.
The downside... the previous implant had disintegrated.
We already knew something hadn't gone well with the previous surgery but now we know why.
Seems my body doesn't want to cooperate as it should. But we already knew that when all of the variuos injections that were supposed to last 3-5 years were fading away after about a week.
There is very good chance this implant may disintegrate as well.

Doctor is hopeful, but cautions me to be realistic concerning my body's history of noncompliance.

Time will tell, I guess.
In the meantime, I'll remain hopeful.
It's all I got.
Well, that and a really cool scar to show off.

For the next two weeks I am on vocal restriction: I am not to speak. At all. I need all the healing I can get if I am to help make this thing work. The wife is grateful for that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Four Roses And An Update

As the story goes...Paul Jones, Jr. had a case of lust for this particular southern chick. She responded to his proposal by wearing a bunch of roses to their next hook-up as a sign of her acceptance.

Jones later went on to name his bourbon "Four Roses" as a symbol of his love for her.

It's kinda stupid and sappy if you ask me... but whatever. It's likely bullshit anyway.

Smelling clean and sweet immediately on the pour, like Juicy Fruit gum to the nose. Pleasant and fruity, with that hint of citrus that stimulates the olfactory, providing good compliment to the oak and corn defaults that become vanilla/caramel as it opens. Closed, it's unique unto itself. Let it open, and it's just like any other. Keep it closed.

Let this one sit in the mouth for a bit... A mild rye spiciness up front blends easily toward toffee/caramel with hints of pear, apple and banana underneath. A mild burn you may not much notice.

Finishing long and sweet, like a buttered caramel apple, this is pretty good stuff. Perfect for after dinner, maybe having a smoke, relaxing with friends.

Normally about $23 or so at BevMo, but I got a $5 discount with my BevMo card.(Yes, I have a BevMo card, you can't be surprised by that.) Do the math you unfortunate Seattle dwellers... I got a nice bottle of good liquor for $17.

Meanwhile on the medical front:
The Surgery is tomorrow at 8am.
I'll be in the hospital for a few days, might be back Sunday, maybe Saturday... who knows for sure.
I already know this one won't be as pleasant as my visit last December.
Doc advised that I would "experience considerably more discomfort" than last time.
That's Doctor Speak for "this shit's gonna hurt".
Che sarĂ , sarĂ .

See ya in a few.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Attention Whoring Much?

TSA Agent Leaves Lewd Message In Flier’s Luggage After Finding Sex Toy
Not satisfied with fumbling through Americans’ private possessions, one TSA screener saw fit to make a humiliating joke about the contents, writing a personal message on a TSA inspection note after finding a sex toy in writer Jill Filipovic’s luggage.

After arriving at her hotel, Filipovic was unpacking when she discovered her bag had been individually searched by a TSA screener who, having seen the “personal item,” saw fit to comment, writing “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on the reverse side of an inspection notice.

“Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room,” wrote Filipovic.

I get a little unnerved when I open my bag after traveling to find a little note from TSA explaining that they had rifled through my stuff.
I imagine anybody would, but what you gonna do about it?

What I can't imagine is anybody declaring "Total violation of privacy" as they run to the media regarding somebody's comment toward their possession of a sex toy.
Unless, of course, they didn't have much dignity to begin with.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tech 3 Update: A Call To Arms

I couldn't find the Tech 3 razor at Target, yet Target has some Schick items that Wal*Mart did not, so I came home and did some Google stuff.

Seems there is a message board/blog or several dedicated to shaving products and performance. Who knew?
Amongst my newly acquired knowledge bits:
--I was reminded that Wilkinson Sword is parent of Schick. I knew that long ago.
--Gillette has done very well in it's marketing and kicking Schick's ass for years now.
--In response, Wilkinson Sword seems to have reached the point of going guerrilla, to chip away at Gillette by any means necessary.
--Wal*Mart seems to have struck a deal with Wilkinson Sword to re-brand the slower moving Schick Products under an economy line, in this case "Wilkinson Sword", as it has largely disappeared from the American marketplace, yet still harkens a 'oh yeah, I know them' from some of the older generations.
--By partnering with Wal*Mart, W/S can get their economy brand before as many consumers as possible and the upside for Wal*Mart is giving it's budget-minded consumers one more reason to eschew Target.
--I'm all for eschewing target, by any means necessary.
--Tech 3 blade cartridges are made in the USA, unlike their competitors.

This move could have larger ramifications for the personal grooming industry in the long run.
IF Wilkinson Sword succeeds enough in this latest Battle Of The Whisker Busters, downward pressure would be applied to the costly Gillette products (mainly, the Mach 3).
Should this scenario take place, I expect Gillette to launch a new marketing campaign stressing hi technology processes or something else like that to justify the higher price in the consumer's mind...that they will move first to protect the profit margin before engaging in price reduction. Or maybe a combination of both.
Either way, Gillette won't take this hit in the breadbasket laying down.
Keep your eyes open. This could get interesting.

If Wilkinson Sword can sell the re-branded Schick blades at a substantial price reduction and still do it profitably enough to be worth while... why cant Gillette stop gouging us with Mach 3 blades made in China?

Lather up and join the fight, fellas.
Gillette's been jewing us for years. I'm fed up and throwing in with Wilkinson Sword.
Tech 3 forever!
Go to Wal*Mart and get yours today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Official Gear

As a rule, razors and cream are not something I tend to skimp on.
If you've been cursed with thick and heavy whiskers like I have, then you already appreciate a smooth and easy shave and just accept that such a thing can't normally be had with cheap razors.

I get maybe 3-4 shaves from my usual blade, and by judging according to the offerings at Wal*Mart or Target, my usual blade is the same as everybody else's usual blade as the Mach 3 from Gillette controls about 90% of the shelf space.

I can see why it's popular.
It gets the job done, although something tells me such an effective piece of hardware is either wasted on most men, or they use them over and over. Maybe it's just my own experience, but I can't imagine using the same cartridge repeatedly for weeks. Do people do that?

Anyway... out of blades, I found myself back in the 'razors and cream' aisle when I saw something new. New to me anyway: the Tech 3, from Wilkinson Sword. For five bucks I bought the razor handle with two cartridges, noticing the replacement blades were only $5 a for a pack of four, half the cost of the Mach 3.
It was worth a try.

It's been a week and four shaves with the same cartridge, just as smooth as the Mach 3.

Besides the price difference, the Tech 3 appears to do a better job around the jaw line with fewer misses and skips. I attribute this to the flexible head the Gillette lacks.
The only minus: it's just a smidge lighter in the hand. I feel as if I get more control with the heavier handle, but in this case the results don't really bear that out.

Give the Wilkinison Tech 3 a try if you can find it. You'll save a lot of money.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obamageddon Comes For Sick People

Cannabis patients demand reopening of pot shops
Michael Hawkins, an Army veteran stricken with a double-fist-sized brain tumor, pleaded with the City Council to reconsider its stance toward the medical marijuana dispensaries that operated in Lake Forest
"The tumor decimated my marriage and what I spent my life building," the 60-year-old said, adding that marijuana reduced his pain. "Look into the eyes of the people who need medical cannabis, If that day ever comes for you, I'll stand with you. Please stand with me."
Obama's henchmen are making good on their threats to close down dispensaries up and down California.
Unfortunately, the city of Lake Forest can't be lamed or what is going on and these people need to take their fight to the White House.
Federal agents Saturday delivered asset-forfeiture summonses to some of the dispensaries, including the Independent Collective of Orange County and Cannabis Permanente...

For the record, medical marijuana dispensaries in California operate on a non-profit basis, and pay millions in taxes.

I know that much of the fear concerning legalised pot is that non-sick people will use suspect doctor's prescriptions just to get high legally. And it happens all the time. The pot-heads probably get the most benefit, I'll admit that. Tell how that justifies forcing sick people to suffer?

The Bush administration did what I think was an effective job in this area. Yeah, the law says one thing, and we can't have a lawless society but part of maintaining respect for the law is the ability to show some discretion in it's enforcement.

The Bush administration did a lot of huffing and puffing, closed down or prosecuted a few dealers, but for the most part let Medical Marijuana serve it's rightful place.
The message I got from them was: keep it on the down low and we'll forget what's going on.
Nobody legitimate was denied access through Bush policies.

This current administration is different. Obama seems determined to let everybody know who's the boss and doesn't give a shit about cancer patients.

Maybe that's why he sold those guns to the drug lords? To help them in their business just like he is helping to expand the illicit pot trade right now.

Whatever is driving the administration, it cant be righteousness.

Alcohol Taxes

Taxes on alcohol in California:
Wine: $0.20 per gallon
Beer: $0.30 per gallon
Liquor: $3.30 per gallon

I may be getting my stuff cheap in comparison to other states, but this is just an illusion. For the purpose of discussion, I'll limit my comparison to the two places I am most familiar with, tax-wise, and where I've recently spent the most money across the board: Washington and Oregon.

Washington charges a sales tax of 6.5%
Oregon has zero sales tax.
California sales tax is officially 7.75%, but is actually higher in most counties, up to 9.25% in some areas. I'm living in a right-wing cowboy county that routinely votes down tax increases, so my usual sales tax rate is the minimum 7.75%.

Gasoline taxes:
California: $0.465
Oregon: $0.25
Washington: $0.375

Don't know about the others, but California adds sales tax to gasoline, while Washington has no income tax.

Generally... I buy a bottle of bourbon every week, and about 25 gallons of gas.
My weekly Bulleit ($19.99+tax at Trader Joe's) would cost me about $30.00 in WA and OR, a little higher in WA after I pay the sales tax and a higher excise tax.

It looks like the $10 I'm not giving to The Man for bourbon I end up giving to him when I fill my tank. A guy can't win.

Reference link: The Tax Foundation

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve

Wild Turkey 101 is a good serviceable bourbon for drinking straight up, on the rocks, as a mixer... whatever your preference.
This time, I'm drinking the small batch, 10yr Russell's Reserve. It's the same recipe as the standard offering, or so I've been led to believe.
Only difference is that it's been sitting around in those charred oak barrels a whole lot longer. Like about... six years longer.

The difference is readily noticeable upon purchase. About $6 bucks noticeable. Doing the easy math, I'm reckoning that the rent space for one barrel of bourbon comes to about $250 per year, plus tax.

Hmm... I think I've just brainstormed a solution for the crisis of upside-down mortgages. Let's convert these homes to bourbon warehouses and in a few short years, all these properties would be paid for. It's freakin genius!

Anyway, on to the pour:
A deeper amber hue due to the longer aging, and like the original starts to open up with an ice cube, bringing forth scents of vanilla, caramel and oak. It's sweeter by comparison, not as leathery.

The same balanced attack, transitioning smoothly along the tongue with pepper, spice, caramel, hot cinnamon... culminating with a pleasing burn that doesn't overwhelm as the sweetness fades away. Maybe due to the lower proof (90 v 101?)

Surprisingly or not, just like the original, but smoother and more refined.
Those six extra years do pay off.

Yeah, you could still use it for a mixer because it retains the same character but that would be a waste of a good bourbon that was intended to stand alone.

About $25 round these parts.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where's It All Go?

My medical plan is an 80/20 type thing with $1,000 deductible and an $8,000 out of pocket maximum.

As it stands currently, I have outstanding bills of $6,000 for the calender year in which nothing has been done... yet.
You got that? Nothing.
How the hell does Nothing cost over $7,000?
And I am near my $8,000 maximum.

Soon, I expect to have this damned surgery they keep promising me. I know it will cost, but it's nice knowing that I've nearly hit my 'out of pocket' and therefore, this whole rest of the thing is 'on them', so to speak.
I think I'll request the golden bedpan and lot's of $50 aspirins.

The medical industrial complex in this country is fucked beyond comprehension. I don't know what the answer is, but I sure do have a lot of confusing questions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flea Baggers Calling For Blood

The Democrats and the Obama Administration would be better served if they backed off their wink and nod approval of this Flea Party movement.

Saul Alinsky-ites might be the cool crowd to hang with when your in Harvard, but eventually you'll need to grow up and realise that when the shooting starts it will be real people getting killed; real people bleeding real blood after getting their fashionable Che T-shirts perforated with real bullets.

I don't think these guys can handle that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jim Beam Devil's Cut

As whiskey ages in oak barrels a small amount is lost to evaporation. This is called the Angel's Share. That which is trapped within the barrel wood is what Jim Beam is calling the Devil's Cut.
(Normally, Angel's Share applies to all the whiskey lost during aging through evaporation and absorption, but hey... Beam has a new gimmick and isn't beyond redefining age-old words to suit it's marketing endeavors.)

According the the web site, this trapped product is extracted from the wood through some process or another (it's not really that important 'how', is it?) and blended with 6yr bourbon.
So, what Beam is marketing amounts to bourbon flavored with... yeah, you guessed it! Bourbon.
It's all too gimmicky for me, and I suspect it's mostly a bullshit way to sell $15 bourbon for $25.

Enough talk from me, let's get to the pour shall we?

More rusty in color than usual Beam, with scents of oak, nuts and cinnamon/nutmeg.

Sits lightly on the tongue, remotely tickles with cinnamon and spice, buttery yet not overly sweet. Heavy oak influence (which I like) but not as heavy as I was expecting.
Strong pepper and spice burn front and back with some scraping/stabbing rear heat as it goes down. Woeful lack of regional transition.

Finish is easy enough, mellow and warm, not overly impressive. Compared to the initial introduction I expected a longer, stronger, more masculine finish.

I actually like it better than standard Jim Beam, but I never liked standard Jim Beam (it reminds me of iced tea, southern style, which I don't like anyway) so what's that tell you?

Overall: Disappointing. It's manly enough at first glance, but don't take it to the rodeo.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bear Thoughts

Enough can't be said about Jay Cutler's performance tonite after having kept the Bears in it for four quarters. It's not easy staying upright and completing passes without protection or recievers.
I don't care what others say. Jay is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league today.

Props to the Lions. From here, it looks like the long slog from hinterlands is paying off with good draft picks and a team that won't give up after they've been beat, which is why they haven't yet been beat.

Meanwhile, it's gonna be a long rest of the season for us Bears fans.
Maybe we can win seven games this year?
Hopefully, the off season will bring some different minds to top management, but I won't hold my breath.
Congratulations to Bike and Mrs. Bubba on the arrival of Benjamin Bubba.
Adorable baby pic at the link.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Firearms dealers in states that allow medical marijuana can't sell guns or ammunition to registered users of the drug...
Federal law already makes it illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to" marijuana or other controlled substances.

I see. If you are a rancher or lifelong hunter who's fighting cancer and chemotherapy you are an existential felon under federal law.

But, if you are a drug cartel from Mexico, the Feds will sell you lot of military style weapons.

Glad I got that cleared up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

California Vs Obama

Fifteen years ago, California approved the medical use of marijuana. For the most part, it's been working well. It provides sick people with their medication of choice, is heavily regulated as to sales, adds to the economy, and is taxed up the wazzooo.

Back then it was seen as a thumb in the eye of the federal government and a blow for State's Right. I was on board with the idea.

Throughout the Bush administration the pot users of California were facing the threat of the justice department which made it's disapproval clear. It was just a matter of time, I assumed, before we would have the showdown.
I thought the bullet had been dodged with the election of the supposedly more progressive Obama administration.

It looks like I was wrong.

Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on some pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

There have always been threats, maybe an isolated action here and there, but for the most part medical marijuana has become accepted institution.
"Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," according to the letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego. "Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary."

The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana. For two years before that, federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors' recommendations.

Looks like we have a justice department that will sell weapons to Mexican drug smugglers while taking action to remove valid medicine from cancer patients requiring further smuggling and increased profiteering for violent cartels.
Going after property owners is not a new tactic though, Hermes said. Five years ago, the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush made similar threats to about 300 Los Angeles-area landlords who were renting space to medical marijuana outlets, some of whom were eventually evicted or closed their doors voluntarily, he said.

"It did have an impact. However, the federal government never acted on its threats, never prosecuted anybody, never even went to court to begin prosecutions," Hermes said. "By and large, they were empty threats, but they relied on them and the cost of postage to shut down as many facilities as they could without having to engage in criminal enforcement activity."
(Emphasis mine)

The one thing that surprises me about the Obama Administration is that it continues to surprise me at all levels.
I guess none of this should surprise me anymore.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Trying to avoid paying too close attention to the race, this is my take:

Mitt Romney: the most potential president on the stage, but he still reminds me of Darrin Stephens.

Newt Gingerich: Politically brilliant 89% of the time, an ass 11% of the time.

Rick Santorum: needs a few gay friends and fewer Jewish ones.

Herman Cain: the GOP equivalent of the coolest black guy in the room.

Michele Bachmann: 'better prepared than Palin' does not a Thatcher make.

Ron Paul: 90% spot-on, 10% delusional. But it's the 90% that confuses the others.

Rick Parry: Guns + Jesus = Texas 2.0

Jon Huntsman: the other Mormon.

Gary Johnson: who?

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Based upon a book by the same name, Moneyball is the story of one man's (Billy Beane) attempt to rethink the game and restructure a small market team (in this case, the Oakland Athletics) that could compete with larger economic powerhouses such as the Yankees.

Defying the collective wisdom of baseball's best minds, Beane takes a more analytical approach to player recruitment relying on a different set of stats in order to find undervalued players.
Anybody who follows baseball already knows of the eventual success of the new paradigm.

If you're looking for dramatic story telling, go elsewhere. This is about baseball, not broken hearts, vengeance, romance, comic books or any of that other stuff movies are usually made of.
Instead, it's just an excellent baseball movie.
Check it out.

If you really, really like baseball, see it twice.