I'm back, sort of

What was expected to be found?

Polyps, pre-cancer cells, a large pre-cancerceous mass.

What was found?

Polyps, pre-cancerous cells, cancer cells, a large pre-cancerous mass far more exensive and solid than expected.

We talked to the surgeon last Monday. He got everything he needed to get out. Everything.

Random Obervations

1 While on pain meds you have some really strange dreams. How strange? Remember Green Lantern, the early sixties superhero in an emerald and black costume wielding a magical Power Ring as a weapon? His alter ego was human test pilot Hal Jordan. As a member of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps Hal protected Earth and other planets in his sector. GL was nearly invincible against everything except the color yellow. He was also a member of the group known as the Justice League of America.

I did dream of more than superheroes though. There were student’s I’ve had, schools where I’ve taught, theatre that I’ve done and not to mention a whole lot of s#&t that just made no sense at all.

2 The IV machine makes a different sound on AC than it does on batteries. On AC, Hmmmmmm …Hmmmmmm … and so on. On batteries, pa pa pa pa pa pa Pa Pa Pa … pa pa pa pa pa pa PA PA PA. The things you find interesting when you can’t sleep.

3 Hospital food tastes like crap, especially the broth and the jello. Even the fruit juices.

4 Your meds will be screwed up at least once. Count on it.

5 The reading material and music you take will never get used. Don’t even pack it.

6 During your hospital stay there will be some things that you’ll never do gracefully or with any degree of dignity whatsoever. I just ain’t gonna happen, so live with it doood.

7 Older Black women still sing as they go about their work. I’d missed that.

8 I don’t have friends, only family. Family gets you through these little speed bumps. Thanks Mrs. Cg, Mom, Mike and Deb, Mike and Barb, Number One Son and Em, Number One Daughter, David, Josh, Tristen, Jon, Liz, Stephanie and Derick, Mac Gage, Jordi, Rob and Judy, Jackie P., Steve and Ida, Gerri and Terron, Stephanie, Howard R., Desi, Carla, Clyde Williams, Brad, Pat P., Vickie, Susan, Ginger and Jim, Ellen and Zoe. If I missed someone, blame the meds.


Be back soon

By the time you read this I'll be at St. Francis Hospital being prepared for surgery. I got the news about a month ago. Since then I’ve been trying to write this post.

About a month ago I saw a gastroenterologist and had a colonoscopy. It was my first colonoscopy. I knew that there wasn't a history of cancer on my mother's side of the family. On my father's side, I had no clue. I’m over fifty. I should have had my first before turning fifty. Nevertheless, I didn’t.

This all began about three months ago when I went to my primary care physician for my annual physical. Everything was fine except for some polyps and a little blood. So I was sent to see a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist scheduled a colonoscopy. Some of the polyps were removed during the procedure. Some weren’t. In addition to the polyps a pre-cancerous mass was found in my large intestine. I needed surgery. A week later I met with a surgeon.

The pre-cancerous mass is not malignant, but it does need removing. Another doctor I talked with asked if I realized what was the key word in the phrase pre-cancerous mass. I didn’t know. He said that it’s “pre”. That means that it’s a step above cancer. Good. The surgery is not emergency surgery. Good. There is still plenty of time and the situation isn’t life and death. Not yet, at least.

I realize that this is serious. In addition, I understand pre-cancerous. Mrs. Cg was worried that I’d have a problem getting my mind around all this and that it might be a good idea to talk to shrink. I’ve done that before. This time I have my mind around the situation. I’ve been through other life and death situations in my life. They turned out to be speed bumps. This is just another speed bump.

Anxious? Probably. Worried? I don't think so. Stressed? Let's just say that my blood glucose level has been sky high since getting the news, so I must be. But I know that I'll get through this.

Consider me the colonoscopy poster child. If you’re approaching fifty, get checked. If there’s a history of colon cancer in your family, get checked. If you’re over fifty, get checked. It’s painless. You'll probably even sleep through the procedure like I did. Remember, If you don’t get checked you’ll never know if there’s a problem. You won’t know until it’s too late. So, get checked.

Read more about colonoscopies and colon cancer.

BTW, "Be back soon" was not my first choice for a title. Mrs. Cg didn't think "Does this pre-cancerous mass make me look fat?" was appropriate.


Leon, I expected better from you

I just read Leon Gray's latest post at the PROGRESSIVE TALK 680 BLOG. He opens with a discussion of right and wrong using cigarette and beer ads and the KKK having the right to spew hatred as examples. Okay, I got that.

Then there's this:

I will now cut my own throat… Gays and Lesbians wanted feel free to flaunt their sexuality, excuse me their sexual orientation, which without any doubt is a personal choice, and now have managed to force society to see it their way (meaning that their right)… or at least act like it.
So Leon is saying that being gay is not only a choice, but a wrong choice. Moreover, this wrong choice is being accepted by the non-gay community, therefore the non-gay community is also doing wrong.

He goes on to say that "most of us have chosen to do wrong in our lives and now just don’t feel comfortable openly pointing out the wrongs of others. We’re missing the boat! At this rate, our society will change its position to accommodate any and all wrongs based on a person having the alleged right to choose to do wrong."

Leon is just wrong in his thinking here. In this post he shows both his ignorance and his bigotry. I expected better from him.

Just go read the whole thing. Then read LeftWingCracker and Autoegocrat.

Oral history

In another life I was a grad student living in Atlanta. I was a history major working on a degree at Atlanta University (A.U.). One of my teachers was a Dr. Blalock. Among other things, Dr. Blalock was working on a history of the community in which A.U. was located. He decided that the best way to accomplish this was by interviewing the oldest residents of the community. Being one of his grad students I worked on the project. (It became a running joke that the last thing some of those residents saw before they died was Dr. Blalock with his tape recorder.)

I enjoyed working on that project and it introduced me to the importance of oral history. When I read the Commercial Appeal's article on "largest oral history project ever" I was immediately interested.

Before there were $1 million homes on Mud Island, people like Lillian 'Lily' Bukewicz grew up there -- living in a tent as she watched her mother cook on an open fire and her father chop wood.

Sitting in a 26-foot Airstream trailer at the Peabody Place trolley stop, the wispy 81 year-old talked recently from inside a sound booth about her life. It was part of what's being touted as the "largest oral history project ever."

Sponsored locally by public radio station WKNO, the StoryCorps mobile recording booth rolled into town Thursday and will be in Memphis until Halloween, recording stories of everyday people's lives. Nationally, the Center for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio and Saturn Corp. are helping to fund the project that started in October 2003 in New York City.

Read the complete article. Then read more about the StoryCorps project.

It makes you think

First Michael Hooks Sr. is indicted in the Tennessee Waltz case. Then wife Janet informs us that she's giving up her city council seat to head the city's multicultural affairs office. Now Michael Jr. has decided to resign from the Memphis City School Board to return to school and spend more time with family.

So what's up with all of this? Is it coincidence or what?

Go read the article on Michael Hooks Jr.

Katrina response update

FEMA came to the dance with problems. Read about the internal memos.


Trust Bush

Trust our president to realize that there is a problem and come up with the best possible solution.


A good choice

By now everyone has heard that Memphis City Council member Janet Hooks is vacating her council seat to manage the city's Office of Multicultural and Religious Affairs. You also have probably read all the speculation as to why she's making this career change. Well, speculate on my friend, because that isn't the purpose of this post. This post has to do with those who will fill her vacated council seat.
The city charter requires council members to fill the vacancy through a majority vote within 30 days of Hooks's resignation. The successor must live in the council district and would serve through the next regular election in August or November 2006.
According to the Commercial Appeal, the contenders are attorney Dedrick Brittenum Jr., State Representative Henri Brooks, radio talk show host Janis Fullilove, Memphis City School Board member Michael Hooks Jr., Hanley Elementary School principal Ruby Payne, neighborhood activist Elbert Rich Jr., and Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr.

One those names caught my eye. Elbert Rich Jr.

He's vice president of the Barksdale/Cloverdale Neighborhood Association and treasurer of the David Street block club in the district.

Elbert has represented his community as a delegate to Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) and has served on NUSA's bord of directors. He is also a Precinct Goodwill Ambassador to the Memphis Police Department's Southeast Precinct.

When asked about the council seat, Elbert says he's "definitely interested" in the job.
"I feel like I've been doing the job on a smaller scale anyway," he said. "I'm coming from the grass roots. I hear the complaints. I hear the frustration from the people in the community."
The Memphis City Council couldn't make a better choice.

Read the complete story.

And just in case you were wondering ...

In case you were wondering why things are the way they are, Fafblog interviews GOD.

Last Best Chance

I heard about this movie on CBS' Sunday Morning and thought it sounded interesting. It won't be coming to a theatre near you though it will be shown on HBO tomorrow night. Or, you can order your own free DVD.

Just talking the talk isn’t enough

Young repub leaders talk a good game but they refuse to play. Since they support the war, they should fight the war.

Hat tip to Operation Yellow Elephant.

Serious stuff

Something else for the "Would I make this stuff up" file.


More on Voodoo Music Experience

It seems that The Voodoo Music Experience line up and dates have changed since my last post. Two of those additions are truly "can't miss".

A previously announced Neville Brothers free concert, along with other Neville-related acts, is set for Oct. 29 in Handy Park.

Another New Orleans legend, Dr. John, will play a free Handy Park show Oct. 30.

Did I mention the word FREE? OMG!!!

Speaking of the news ...

It was the title that got me; "News can be disastrous to watch". I knew that this was true of some sitcoms, series and movies; but TV news never occured to me until I read this.

Breaking news, breaking news ...

Reliable sources report that the Wookee Chewbacca will become a U.S. citizen. It is thought that this move will open the U.S. citizenship door to Jawas, Martians, Hobbits, Krytonians and some other not so obvious extraterrestrials.


Speaking of Voodoo ...

The New Orleans Voodoo Music Experience, moved to Memphis by Hurricane Katrina, will play the Big Easy, too.

Instead of a two-day event in Tom Lee Park over Halloween weekend, the festival now will feature a concert in New Orleans on Oct. 29 followed by a concert in AutoZone Park on Oct. 30.

For the rest of the story >>

For more Voodoo >>

Speaking of natural disasters …

Is Memphis ready for the big one? Yes, and no. According to Dr. Arch Johnson, Director of the University of Memphis Earthquake Center, Memphis would fare better than Muzaffarrabad, Pakistan but , “a 7.7 magnitude quake would not leave Memphis without problems.”

Among the buildings at the greatest risk to major quakes are most of the public schools in Memphis. School Board member Stephanie Gatewood was shocked to learn that no official study has been done on earthquake preparedness at the schools in 20 years.

"Less than one minute for a warning is not enough time to get students outside, or whatever the disaster plan is," she said.

Now read the complete story.

For info on The Great New Madrid Earthquake >>

Just plain stupid

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in New Orleans working its butt off rebuilding those damaged levees, right? They are building them bigger, stronger and better than they were before Katrina, right? Right? You’d think so wouldn’t you? And, you’d be wrong. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is rebuilding New Orleans damaged levees to pre-Katrina standards.

Why is the Corps rebuilding only to pre-Katrina standards? They are rebuilding only to pre-Katrina standards because that’s all they have the authority to do.

Col. Lewis Setliff, the engineer overseeing the levee repairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the Corps only has the authority to rebuild levees to the strength they were prior to the storms that damaged them.

The levees that broke were built to withstand Category 3 hurricanes, which have winds up to 130 mph. Hurricane Katrina's winds were about 145 mph _ a Category 4_ when the storm hit Louisiana.

Without approval from Congress, the Army engineers cannot build the levees higher and stronger. And even if Congress were to give that approval soon, it would come too late to allow them to be finished by the time the 2006 hurricane season begins in June.

You need to read the complete article.

Hat tip Monisha Sujan at Blog for America.

I know this is yesterday's cartoon ...

I was busy yesterday.


Have you noticed the number of blogs that have gone MIA lately? Why don’t you mosey on over to Jamie Tucker's Blogsquat and take a read.


City Council, 10.11.05

Prior to today’s City Council meeting (which actually started at 4:34 PM), a coalition of groups under the umbrella of the Memphis Living Wage Campaign held a rally at City Hall Plaza. Speeches, signs, drama, protest songs. It was like the nineteen sixties again. Just after 3 PM, three children pulling little red wagons filled with petitions lead about two hundred protestors into City Hall and on into City Council chambers. The petition contained nearly 5000 signatures of citizens urging the City Council to …

pass an ordinance that would require businesses receiving significant city funds, as well as the City of Memphis itself, to pay their workers a living wage. The Memphis Living Wage Campaign defines a living wage as $20,000 per year, or $10 per hour with employer-provided health insurance. This amount is enough to lift a family of four above the poverty line, and enough to lift a family of three about the income level that qualifies for Food Stamps.

Once inside City Council chambers, the singing and waving of signs continued for a time. We left the petition with the powers that be and left the building.

Actually, they left the building. My Loving Wife and I didn’t leave the building. We were also there for something else. The City Council would today vote to issue RACE a Special Use Permit (SUP) to build a radioactive waste incinerator in South Memphis. The City Council came up with a compromise for RACE and the citizen groups that protested the building of the incinerator. The building of a facility would be allowed with the following conditions:

1. A SUP is granted for the storage and distribution of radioactive waste only;
2. A 3 year moratorium is imposed on RACE before it could even apply for a SUP for a radioactive waste incinerator again;
3. RACE will contact MemphisTruth.Org (et al) and inform them of their intent to apply for a SUP for the building of a radioactive waste incinerator;
4. RACE will buy the 3 closest residences to the proposed South Memphis site within 6 months;
5. RACE will assist the Teen After School Program in relocating from its present location near the South Memphis site within 6 months; and,
6. Litigation on both sides will cease.

RACE’s sites will be monitored by the State of Tennessee 24/7.

And a fun time was had by all.

For information on RACE and MemphisTruth.Org >>


President Barbour?

Haley Barbour as a candidate for the repub nomination for president in ’08? Frankly, that’s a possibility I hadn’t considered. Didn’t even cross my mind. Though I’ve never been a Barbour fan I must admit that his stature did increase with his handling of Katrina.

While the White House struggled and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco seemed overwhelmed, Barbour supplied steady leadership and emerged from the crisis with a burnished national reputation.
This couldn’t really happen though. The rebuilding of the Mississippi coast won’t be finished by then. By the way, don’t you just love the “While the White House struggled …” line? Now go read the complete article.

Support the troops

Supporting the troops takes on a completely new meaning. Maybe we should have held bake sales to reimburse the troops.

The Pentagon last week finally issued regulations for reimbursing soldiers for body armor and other gear they bought to protect themselves, but only after members of Congress began to lose patience.

It took nearly a year for the military to implement a program that allows reimbursement for combat helmets, ballistic eye protection, hydration systems and tactical vests purchased between Sept. 10, 2001, and Aug. 1, 2004.

If not bake sales how about raffles.

Read the complete story.

The next big thing ... maybe

Let's all hope that the powers that be learned some lessons from Katrina and Rita because if it's business as usual, we could be up shit creek.
A super flu could kill up to 1.9 million Americans, according to a draft of the government's plan to fight a worldwide epidemic. Officials are rewriting that plan to designate not just who cares for the sick but who will keep the country running amid the chaos, said an influenza specialist who is advising the government on those decisions.

"How do you provide food, water ... basic security for the population?" asked Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota, a government adviser who has a copy of the draft plan and described it for The Associated Press. "This is a much more comprehensive view than has previously been detailed," he said in an interview Saturday.
Read the the story.

Job hunting?

Are you looking for a job? A high-paying government job? A high-paying, government job, with great benefits and the opportunity to make a real difference? You say you don't have the necessary experience, but you do know the president. Well don't you worry Sparky, we have a job for you.

PRESIDENTIAL PALS & BACKERS:"Apply" now to secure a lucrative career both decrying and luxuriating in the spoils of Big Government! No experience necessary! Don't miss your chance to suckle greedily at America's soon-to-be-bankrupt bureaucracy teat!

Interested? You bet you are. For more info go to Crony Jobs.

Thanks for the heads up, General Sir.


Just imagine

June 14, 1928 -October 9, 1967

John Winston Ono Lennon
October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980


Tennessee is no perfect world

Yesterday there was a Commercial Appeal editorial about insurance coverage in Tennessee. At first I thought I’d misread it.
… insurance companies can't be forced to cover medical expenses in a car wreck where a family member of the injured party is at fault, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided.
The rationale?

Plaintiffs, seeking a ban on the exclusion that would create a more consumer-friendly insurance environment in Tennessee, had presented what seemed like a persuasive case: Policies written by the defendants violate Tennessee law by failing to conform to a 2001 law that requires every Tennessee driver to have liability insurance.

Insurance companies fought the ban because of concerns about exaggerated injury claims by family members.

Somehow, I knew that any editorial that used the phrase “Tennessee is no perfect world” would not contain material that would bode well for the state. I was wrong though. There was this punch line. Buyers beware. Select your insurance provider carefully and read the fine print.

Read the rest of the editorial.


As the next election season draws nearer, this site will broadly cover the "big picture" as best it can, but I think that it is also important to provide readers with focused information on those incumbents whose subpar service manifests itself in an urgent need for their replacement.

For example, sitting Senators Bowers and Crutchfield are a couple of obvious picks, but there are others who may have escaped your attention, as they have not been indicted with anything criminal. (Plus, Crutchfield is not up for re-election until 2008.) I will spotlight seats in the General Assembly where I feel a concerted, nonpartisan citizen effort is most needed to "purge" the position and thus provide that district's constituents with the representation they deserve (or, even better than they deserve, as the case may be).

Without further ado, let's raise the curtain on this project, and shine our Cleen Gubmint Spotlight on a Person..


Dear Million Mom March Chapter Member,

October is here and the scariest thing is not Halloween, but the "Shoot First" law that has taken effect in Florida.

The law, which is the handiwork of the NRA, allows citizens to use deadly force in public places as a first resort to counter perceived threats. The law, which is being marketed by the NRA as allowing people to protect themselves, is so overly broad and expansive that everyday occurrences such as road rage incidents or a fistfight in a bar during spring break could have deadly consequences for the people involved as well as innocent bystanders.

By allowing the use of deadly force as a first resort, the law has removed the time-honored duty of citizens to walk away, call the police, or find a safe refuge. Finally, innocent bystanders and their families have no civil recourse against the shooter if they are injured or killed in the crossfire even if the shooter initiated the confrontation and fired recklessly on a crowded street. Learn more about this dangerous law at www.shootfirstlaw.org.

The NRA, with its usual arrogance, has announced plans to bring this law to all 50 states.


Fields not expelled

This from Jackson Baker on the Richard Fields affair:

The shell game that has been the local Democrats’ Richard Fields controversy may have come to at least a temporary stop as of Thursday afternoon, according to state party chairman Bob Tuke of Nashville, who says that he, local Democratic chairman Matt Kuhn, and lawyer Fields have reached an agreement on the issue of Fields’ further membership in the party’s executive committee.
It seems that Fields will not be expelled from the SCDP Executive Committee. Instead,
Fields has agreed to resign from the local committee with the option to run again when a vacancy occurs. Meanwhile, he is apparently free to continue litigating on Roland's behalf.
Read the complete article.

"Start with a cage ..."

Jamie Tucker's take on Company Policy. I love it.


Found in the Commercial Appeal’s Daybreak section. Feel free to insert your own joke.
Name recognition just ain't what it used to be: In a recent edition of the local magazine PROUD, which focuses on ethnic pride and culture, newly elected state Sen. Ophelia Ford is among many Memphis notables pictured in a spread on "Power-Networking."Unfortunately, the photo caption identifies her as Ophelia Fark.
Read the rest of Daybreak.

For info on PROUD >>


Chickens? Will there be chickens?

Most Memphians know that our city is stepping up and taking up the slack by hosting several New Orleans events. So far the Ponderosa Stomp and the Voodoo Music Experience have temporarily relocated to Memphis. It’s the latter’s name that is causing some of our citizens worry. Some have a problem with the word voodoo. They feel that we are risking ruin and damnation by hosting this event. They say, look at what happened to New Orleans. Bless their hearts.

Wendi Thomas says,
If you think that the Voodoo Music Experience includes classes like Evil Eye 101, or Advanced Curses and Hexes, or How To Create a Home for Demons in Your Heart, then you've allowed one word to crowd out your better judgment and the facts.
Well said. But just what is voodoo?
Voodoo is a derivative of the world’s oldest known religions which have been around in Africa since the beginning of human civilization. Some conservative estimates these civilizations and religions to be over 10 000 years old. This then identify Voodoo as probably the best example of African syncretism in the Americas. Although its essential wisdom originated in different parts of Africa long before the Europeans started the slave trade, the structure of Voodoo, as we know it today, was born in Haiti during the European colonization of Hispaniola. Ironically, it was the enforced immigration of enslaved African from different ethnic groups that provided the circumstances for the development of Voodoo. European colonists thought that by desolating the ethnic groups, these could not come together as a community. However, in the misery of slavery, the transplanted Africans found in their faith a common thread.

They began to invoke not only their own Gods, but to practice rites other than their own. In this process, they comingled and modified rituals of various ethnic groups. The result of such fusion was that the different religious groups integrated their beliefs, thereby creating a new religion: Voodoo. The word "voodoo" comes from the West African word "vodun," meaning spirit. This Afro-Caribbean religion mixed practices from many African ethnics groups such as the Fon, the Nago, the Ibos, Dahomeans, Congos, Senegalese, Haussars, Caplaous, Mondungues, Mandinge, Angolese, Libyans, Ethiopians, and the Malgaches.
Now read Wendi's column.

For more info on voodoo >>

For more info on the Voodoo Music Experience >>

Must read

You need to read this posting at Smart City Memphis.

She’s a what?

Harriet Miers is one of us! She is (dare I say it) a BLOGGER?

Thanks Len.


Are we surprised?

Some how I knew this would happen. I just knew.


How about some good news

Ever heard of Jacob's Ladder Community Development Corp.? It’s a new non-profit in town. This cdc renovates houses and then sells them. Moreover, each house has a built-in learning center in the child’s room.

I like that.

Jacob’s Ladder is the brainchild of Rev. Bill Marler. Marler’s mission …

is as much about symbols and perception as about wall board and shingles.

Jacob's Ladder's logo -- a white cross in a red ball, a white hammer in a yellow ball, a white house in a blue ball -- "is like a new gang symbol," he said.

I like that.

Jacob’s Ladder is presently a small operation. Marler is the only paid employee. But he has help from his board of directors, volunteers and 20 companies that contribute to his efforts.

Not bad. Now read the complete article.

Resources for evacuees

I found this in today’s Commercial Appeal.

Meet Leslie Coleman, a sterling example of a new kind of FEMA -- Female Empowering Many through Action. As a senior human resource representative at FedEx Express, she knows the value or a clear, concise resume. When shelters here filled up with people needing all kinds of help, she organized volunteers to help them complete on-the-spot resumes for free. Her Operation Resume Rescue provides a one-page resume on a disk to storm victims and is compiling them into a directory to be distributed free to local businesses and organizations. The group so far has helped 110 families.

Call 434-6239 if you can help.

A “new kind of FEMA”. I like that.

Then there’s this.