Sunday, July 24, 2016

Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, and Don Rickles


In today's Sunday New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes:
Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles.
That's an outrageous insult to Don Rickles.

Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, and Don Rickles


In today's Sunday New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes:
Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles.
That's an outrageous insult to Don Rickles.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The morning after, or, ten events that could very well happen if Donald Trump becomes President

Yes, yes, of course it includes this, but read below to learn how we'll get there.

1. Putin rejoices and moves Russian troops into the former Iron Curtain satellite nations — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, Albania, Romania, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, and the former Yugoslavia (including Melania’s home state of Slovenia.)

2.  Some of the captured nations appeal to NATO for defense aid as Russian tanks rumble down their streets.

3. Donald Trump says he will look into the contributions to NATO that these countries have made and will get back to the world after he discusses the matter with his accountants who at this very moment are flying to confer with him at Mar-a-Largo. Meanwhile, he reiterates that Putin is very strong (unlike Hillary) and he admires that, but that he can easily negotiate a solution to this mess with Putin.

4. Putin shrugs, says in Russian, “What the hell,” and sends troops to take over Germany and Finland.

5. Trump says payments from Russia’s newly-acquired nations were insufficient to warrant heavy boots-on-the-ground expenditures to defend those countries, but that he will “consider” sending in a few spy drones "to see what the hell is going on."

6. Putin reinstalls Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba and and announces he has pointed some of them toward Miami, Houston, Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and just for the hell of it, Phoenix and Indianapolis.

7. Trump calls Putin and demands to negotiate the situation. Putin mutters the Russian equivalent of a statement that if Donald’s fingers aren’t really as short as reputed, he should go have a sexual relationship with himself.

8. Enraged,Trump launches a nuclear strike at Russia. Some of the nukes, powered by aging missiles, fall short of their targets. One lands on London and blows the capital city of our longtime ally to smithereens. Several nukes explode in the Atlantic ocean and the North Sea, poisoning those waters with radiation for centuries to come. Russians shoot down others. However, one missile does manage to get through — and hits the abandoned nuclear power plant in the abandoned city of Chernobyl, just as it was programmed to do more than 30 years ago, before Chernobyl's meltdown.

9. Trump again demands to negotiate with Putin. This time, Putin agrees. Trump negotiates the unconditional surrender of the United States to the newly reformed USSR. 

10. The Russians transport ISIS troops to the United States to “restore order.”  From a secret bunker below what’s left of Trump Tower, Secretary of Homeland Security Tiffany Trump issues a four-step plan to Americans who either think they are suffering from radiation poisoning or who get captured by ISIS troops: “One: Stand with your feet 18 to 24 inches apart.  Two: Do a deep knee bend. Three: Stick your head as far between your legs as it can go. Four: Kiss your butt goodbye."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Republicans demonstrate that their party is nothing more than a comic book, while Melania Trump all but lip synchs Michelle Obama

I  must say, watching the first night of the Republican convention last night was almost as entertaining as my first exposure to comic books.

I tuned in too late for the floor fight to boot Trump off the ticket. News reports have the Republican-Trump Complex squashing their opponents like a bug, thwarting what could have been a grave embarrassment to the party and The Donald.

But I tuned in just as the comic book characters that represent the Republican Party came onscreen.

Among them  were Mr. Flag Wrapper — Willie Robertson, the
Duck Killer Willie disses the American 
flag by using it as a sweat rag
long-bearded, hillbilly-ish, Duck Dynasty dude, who took an American flag and used it as a sweat rag to wrap around his head. Had a Democrat done this on TV, no doubt the Republican outrage machine would have been belching steam and giant clouds of volcanic ash. "How dare some lib-tard desecrate the flag?!?!?!"

But should a Republican even use the flag for toilet paper? Well heck, that’s showing he has a patriotic ass.

Is he Rick or is he Clark?
Then former Governor Oops of Texas, perfectly disguised as Clark Kent, got up and said something so forgettable that I can’t remember what it was. Sort of the way he forgot the three departments he'd eliminate if he remembered to become president.

Another huge highlight for me was Rudy The Air Chopper Giuliani, the so called “security expert.” Rudy's “accomplishments” included establishing a super-double-secret emergency command center for grave emergencies in the World Trade Center, shortly before 9-11 (but after terrorists had already tried to bomb the World Trade Center with a truck bomb in the garage of one of the towers.) 

Shucks, what made Rudy think that just because they failed once to blow the place up, and because it was a symbol of what the terrorists decided they hated about America, that they would never back and try again? 

Crazy Rudy. His gestures are in-sane!
Rudy last night looked as if he had lost whatever common sense and sanity he ever had. He turned into a cross between a super villain out of Batman, and a former New York TV appliance salesman named Crazy Eddie, ("His prices are in-sane" said Crazy Eddie's slogan.) 

It was like a nuthouse ballet to watch Rudy wildly gesticulating, chopping at the air, with his hands, looking like somebody the cops would blow to smithereens if only he were black and someone whispered, “He probably has a gun, and as you can see, he’s a whack job.”

And finally there was Melania Trump, all but lip synching the wife of the man Donald Trump says we should hate. There were some interesting demonstrations on TV this morning: Michelle Obama says it, then Melania Trump says the identical thing. Then Michelle says something. Then Melania Trump copycats again.

"I'm not really bad. I'm just ghost-
written that way."
But I don’t believe Melania plagiarized Michelle. I believe it’s the fault of plagiarizing speechwriters, who put Michelle’s worlds in Melania’s mouth. I feel just a bit sorry for Melania. 

I suspect that after his first very costly divorce from Ivanna, and a later divorce from Marla Maples, The Donald’s lawyers have engineered prenups so harsh that Melania would be all but living on the street if she ever divorced The Donald. So she's trapped, forced to forever mouth plagiarized words and defend a loose cannon of a husband.

She’s like that beautiful but not in control character in the movie, “Who Killed Ronald Rabbit?” I’m talking about the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit who spoke the immortal line, “I’m not really bad. I'm just drawn that way.”

And these are the people that roughly half the voters want to put in charge of America’s future?

God help us! 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

He's alive! He's alive, I tell you! I saw him on a wall. He's alive!

Old icons never die. They just vanish for a while, and then show up on walls with a
new crop of facial hair.
I think the first time I laid eyes on him I was about 11 or 12. A kid in my class named Bernie Feuer turned me on to him. I'm talking about Alfred E. Neuman, the “What, me worry?” boy.

I always wondered what became of the "What Me Worry?" boy. Well, I've wondered about Bernie Feuer, too, but this piece is specifically about the face that lured me into Mad Comics.

For years, he kept me entertained. He kept me spending my dimes, and later my quarters, just to get a laugh from his gap-toothed mug. It was the face of what today you'd call a nerd. In those days, there was no such word as nerd.

Eventually I grew up and went to college. And then, decades later, the last time I looked at Mad, he wasn’t there any more. Or maybe he was confined to a page or two that I missed. At any rate, I didn't see him.

Was he brutally murdered in an editorial putsch? Was he exiled to some distant file drawer to wither away in our aging memories? Had he escaped to another country, where he now thrives by practicing, say, psychiatry or obstetric medicine, or acupuncture?

I don’t have the answer for sure. But it would appear that he became a surrealist artist, in the tradition of Salvador Dali. Or maybe he's just a fading dandy these days, paid by a shipping line to dance with single ladies on cruise ships.

Whatever the case, here’s how you can find him, today. Go to the northwest corner of Second Avenue and 35th Street in New York City. There he’ll be, at least for a while, up against a wall, staring at the garbage cans that would be at his feet, if he had any feet. He has been put on display in this fashion by something called The Bushwick Collective, or so they sign his portrait.

Hello, Alfred. Or may I call you Al? And by the way, after all these years you finally look a trifle worried to me. Perhaps you fear that a Republican congress will cut your Social Security and Medicare benefits. Or privatize them. Or both. Or is "privatizing" another way of saying they're going to cut you to the quick?

And question: if Donald Trump actually manages to get himself elected, and then actually manages to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, should your portrait be on the wall, too? And if so, on which side of the wall?

Anyway, I’m glad to think you’ve finally learned to worry. Why should you be any different than the rest of us?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

But before I leave on vacation again….is 316-630-8031 a scam operation or a cheesy ambulance chasing lawyer?

I don’t know who got hold of my phone number, but I live with a constant barrage of scam phone calls. Sometimes I get as many as ten a day. 

This is outrageous because I’m on a FCC no-call list. I’m beginning to suspect that all these phantom callers got my number directly from the list of people who it's against the law to call.

Many of the calls are from “engineers” purporting to be from Microsoft (oddly, they all have Indian accents) telling me I have to get in front of my Windows computer and type in some code that will help them get rid of viruses they have detected on my computer.

Yeah, right. And don’t think my Mac wasn’t insulted to hear that the guys in a Mumbai boiler room thinks it’s a Windows machine.

Some callers promise to reduce my credit card interest payments. That's tempting, except for one thing. I don't have any credit card debt.

About twice a month I get congratulated on winning a “free” cruise. I’m beginning to think “free cruise” is the most deceitful phrase in the English language after “I love you”.

Today, I got a new one from 316-630-8031. When I picked up the phone, a robot played a recorded announcement informing me that if I had taken Xarelto, I might have a cause to take legal action and I should stay on the line. 

No, I don't take Xarelto. But I stayed on the line anyway.

When a live person finally came on, I asked for the name of the organization she was calling from.   

“Legal Assistance Help Line,” she said. Then I asked her what attorney or law firm the "help line" represented.

She immediately hung up.

If this operation is a bottom-feeding lawyer or law firm trying to siphon up business from the sewer, he or it ought to be dragged naked before the bar association and have his or its law licenses burned at the stake while the naked lawyers themselves are clubbed over the head with a judge’s gavel.

If it’s a scamming operation representing themselves as lawyers, the scammers ought to be dragged naked to a negligence law firm. What will happen next? It’s likely too cruel and prolonged to go into here. 

That’s it. I’m outta here. Happy July 4th. And don’t forget to disconnect your phone before you go.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit at Tiffany’s, Johnson and Trump, bad hair — and other reasons I’m sorry I came back from vacation

 So I’m back in New York, rested, refreshed, even re-quirked after spending time in Yellow Springs, Ohio. And what’s the first thing that smacks me in the face? Boris Johnson, the leader of the British Brexit movement, who got what he asked for and now seems to be suffering from snake oil salesman’s’s remorse.

Brexit, as you almost certainly know by now, is not a morning meal you eat while dashing out the door because you’re late to work. Brexit is the exit of Britain from the European Common Market and the European Union. 

Britain, egged on by yet another fair haired bullshit artist with a bad haircut, a spiritual and coiffure-cousin of Donald Trump named Boris Johnson, bought the notion that all their problems would be solved if only they got out from under the thumb of Common Market bureaucrats in Brussels.

Like followers of Trump, a large mass of dopey Brits said, in effect, yeah, Brexit is a great idea. We’ll keep out all those Mooooslims who are free to travel to Britain under Common Market rules, and we won’t have to do any more bureaucratic paperwork or pay money to Europe. In effect, the Brits thought they were building a wall around the British Isles and making Europe pay for it.

So they cast their ballots, and with remarkable speed reaped a whirlwind of financial and political nightmares. The bottom fell out not only of the European stock market but of the British securities market. In case you haven’t checked your own 401(k) or investment account in a while, I’ve got bad news for you. While screwing themselves, the Brits also screwed you. The Dow has dropped so fast, far, and hard in the last few days, it’s amazing it hasn’t been followed by bodies tumbling out of windows on Wall Street.

Further, the canny Scots, who mostly liked Brexit, are now thinking of pulling out of the British Commonwealth. Which would leave Britain vastly diminished in territory, population, and industrial output.

Now Boris is pulling a Donald and saying, well, he didn’t really mean a total Brexit. The Brits hope, to quote a story in The New York Times, that “Britain could, while leaving the European Union, somehow maintain access to its signature achievement: the world’s largest common market.”

It’s as if I walked out of your dinner party declaring, “Your food is sewage, your culinary skills are disgusting, your dining room looks like a toilet, and your ugly guests have body odor.” And then, ten seconds later, I rang the door bell and told my shocked hostess, “However, I’ve always like your key lime pie, so I will come back in for dessert.”

The hostess would slam the door in my face, which is exactly what the Continent should do to the Brits.

This will not only teach the Brits a lesson, it will also teach other dissident European nations a lesson:

If in unity there is strength, in disunity there is nothing but chaos, disaster,  financial collapse, the potential for bloody revolution, and an open invitation for Vladimir Putin to come in and take his Iron Curtain back.

The British pound is, at least compared to last week, toilet paper. That’s fine. It means strong dollar Americans and Continental Europeans loaded with Euros can traipse around Britain, lording it over those remorseful Brits and rubbing their noses in one of the greatest acts of self destructions since the lemmings invented mass suicide.

And that object lesson may help keep Europe together. It may also serve as an object lesson to Americans as to what is almost certainly going to happen if you elect any blubber mouthed blusterer with a bad haircut and a penchant for going it alone in an interconnected world. Yes, I’m looking at you, Donald.

If the Brits want back in to the EU, I hope the Continent will make sure it’s all or nothing. And I also hope Europe makes the Brits pay for their folly. How to make them pay is easy. Charge them a one trillion pound re-entry fee. Cash only.

Meanwhile, I hope there will be no “gradual” Brexit. Europe ought to grab Britain by the armpits and give it the bum’s rush out the door.

Oh, and should you happen to go shopping in Tiffany’s here in New York, odds have it that the gentleman at the diamond counter buying bright shiny rocks for his third and much younger wife is not a Brit. However, a real Brit’s $20 million New York apartment is, I'll betcha, going to be up for sale soon, at distressed prices, one supposes.

That said, I find all the Brexit news nauseating. So I’m going back on vacation for a while. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


This is not a picture of me, but it's a pretty good representation of how I
feel about blogging at the moment.
That's it! That's all. For the moment at least, I've had it. I'm done. I have nothing more to say. Kaput!

Nothing about Donald Trump, even though every time I mention his name in a headline, my page visits soar.

Nothing about Hillary either. Or Bernie. Or DeBlasio. Or about anything else.

My brains cells ache. My hair hurts. My nose is twisted out of joint.

Maybe you've noticed that my pace of posting has slowed noticeably in recent months. Every time I sit down at the computer and look at my blog, a loud voice inside my head screams, "Noooooo! Not again! No mas, no mas!"

So I'm going to stop posting for a week or two. Given the rate at which I have been posting recently, you should hardly notice.

And I'm going next week to my favorite quirky American small town, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Maybe somewhere on the main street, Xenia Avenue, between a shop called Mr. Fub's Party and The Gulch Saloon (well, that's around the corner from Xenia Avenue, but even so) maybe there I'll find my soul sitting on a quirky, psychedelically-painted street bench, waiting for the next flash mob of dancing grandmas. (Yes, such things really happen in that town.)

"I wondered when you'd finally come back to me" my soul will say.

And I will put it on like an old glove, or an old shoe, or an old sweatshirt, or maybe a brand new hat, and I will feel comforted enough to start muttering about politics again. Or potty mouthed politicians. Or potholes in Manhattan. Or why I have a blog in the first place.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Are you insane enough to be President of the United States?

No matter what happens, the next President of the United
States will be nuts. The question is, how nuts?
Let’s face it, you’ve got to be nuts to want to be President. 

You’ll spend a year in a grueling, voice-killing, health-wrecking political campaign. 

You’ll be lied about and vilified by the opposite side as the devil incarnate, while you throw similar charges at them.

I admit, it's possible that you may undergo all this, and a gauntlet of press scrutiny, and of violently negative commentary, a bit more serenely than most of the Republican candidates for nomination have this year. You may not have to fight a self-evident urge to whip out a ruler, zip down your fly, and measure your penis on television. But you’ll undergo an unbearable ordeal all the same.

Then, if you win the election, you’ll spend four years away from home, sleeping in a public building . That’s almost exactly what homeless people do on freezing nights in New York.

Furthermore, regardless of where you stand on anything, the Other Side will be out to fling mud and manure at you. They will try to wreck your reputation and destroy you by any means possible, some of those means extra-legal.

Your life will be in danger. There will be all kinds of enraged people out to kill you, from stray drunks, and unemployed and politically disaffected malcontents, to Al Queda and ISIS. You, and your family, will need to be guarded day and night by phalanxes of Secret Service agents, some of them so unreliable that when they should be guarding you, their minds are likely to be on booze and hookers.

Little wonder the hair of most American presidents  to date has turned white while they were in office, if it wasn’t already white by the time they got there.

Nixon and John F. Kennedy clandestinely filled their medicine cabinets with psychotropic drugs, recently uncovered documents reveal. In fact, Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. suggested in his journals that several modern presidents were mentally unbalanced; he recorded top aides arguing whether President Lyndon Johnson was clinically paranoid or a manic-depressive, and fretted that there was no constitutional “procedure for dealing with nuts.”
As I said, you’ve got to be nuts. It seems to be a prerequisite of the job.

Donald Trump is so nuts that he has received mental status diagnoses that range from "classic narcissistic personality disorder” to full blown “psychotic.”

Not that Hillary isn’t nuts, too. What’s with her obsessive-compulsive need, as demonstrated by the whole e-mail server brouhaha,  to shoot herself in the foot? And then what's with her other obsessive-compulsive need to tough it out and pretend her toe isn't bleeding, instead of fessing up and putting the whole matter to rest by admitting she made a dumb mistake and apologizing? 

Bernie Sanders? He thinks he can start a revolution of the human spirit. He thinks he can inspire civil behavior, human kindness, and social consciences, by sheer force of will, from coast to coast, right here in the United States of America. Right. And I am the King of England and Slobovia.

Jill Stein of the Green Party? If she gets so much as a significant fraction of one percent of the vote, and the Democratic candidate loses by a similar fraction, she’ll forever after be vilified with the same kind of opprobrium that Ralph Nader suffered when Gore lost to Bush. And yet she insists on running.

So what are we Americans to do?

Here's what. This nation needs to design a presidential insanity scale. It should measure a variety of psychological factors and first of all avoid vetting  for nomination any candidate who is not nuts. That's because any sane person won’t want to run. (Case in point, Elizabeth Warren.) 

Nor should anybody who is one of  the wildly, totally, unstoppably  out of control whackos be permitted to run, because that person might, during his first 72 hours in office, sink the United States economy, loot the U.S. Treasury, set off a nuclear bomb, unleash a nuclear war, and get us all incinerated. (I’m lookin’ at you, Donald Trump.)

No, what we need is somebody who is certifiably half nuts. Crazy enough to run. But not crazy enough to do  more than a generation or two of lasting harm. And we need a diagnostic scale to measure that person by.

Psychiatrists, do your stuff!

Friday, May 27, 2016

New York Mayor Bill deBlasio’s bum rap. And also some not-so-bum raps.

The phoniest plumber since John McCain's "Joe The Plumber"is
part of a fictional team of "victims" attacking Mayor Bill DeBlasio

In a way, I feel kind of sorry for Bill DeBlasio, the current mayor of New York.

Not that I’ve ever been a huge fan of his. He has all the personal magnetism of a third-ranked accounting professor at a second-rate cow college. I agree with a good many of his political positions, but if he offered to have a beer with me, an image of library paste would flash in my head, and I’d suddenly remember a prior engagement.

On top of the pasty je ne sais quoi of his personality, DeBlasio has made some political appointments that make you wonder what the hell the man is thinking. One such is his transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg. 

Commissioner Trottenberg  brings to mind, in her physical froideur and distinct lack of empathy for afflicted New Yorkers,the meanest teacher you ever had in elementary school. If you had a Roman Catholic education during certain decades of the 20th Century, I suppose that, based on what some of my Catholic friends tell me, you could make that the second-meanest nun.

Her primary interest seems to be in pleasing and absolving motorists of any chaos and tragedy they cause in New York. She also appears to be unraveling the progress New York had made in helping to make the city more habitable for pedestrians, cyclists, and even tho those apartment-dwellers who are subject to incessant honking during midnight traffic jams. She seems almost equally interested in punishing those who complain.

Last November, for example, after eight people were hit, broken, crushed, and killed in a single week by various motor vehicles, (two city busses were among those vehicles), Trottenberg announced that pedestrians ought to watch where they’re going. 

What next? A statement complaining it’s a shame the busses got dented?

All this while bike routes deteriorate, some bike paths become rutted, pitted, potholed, tire-trapping death traps, and the traffic Trottenberg works so hard to encourage grows more constipated than ever. 

For example, there’s  another currently-brewing controversy involving Trottenberg. Residents of a beleagured building in Midtown have been tortured for months by a loud cacaphony of blaring automobile horns, sounded  by frustrated motorists in the middle of the night on Trottenberg’s jammed streets approaching the Queens Midtown Tunnel.  The residents have pleaded that Trottenberg’s department place signs on their block asking the gridlocked and furious drivers not to honk. 

Trottenberg’s kiss-off reply, completely ignoring the specific request, was in a letter to a City Councilman. She said that somebody else’s agency had put up some signs somewhere else, and besides, there were cops directing traffic. In other words, she didn’t give a flying flamingo. Or perhaps she was flipping the residents some other kind of bird. I suppose she thinks that if residents don’t like it, they can just go move to the suburbs.

Despite the Trottenbergian shortcomings of the DeBlasio administration, I give less than full enthusaism to the current investigation into possibly shady dealings (or possibly not) involving Mayor DeBlasio’s fund raising efforts.

Seems to me that at best, DeBlasio is small potatoes. The bigger and likelier rotten spud is New York State’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who literally shut down a statewide corruption investigation when it got a little too close to home.

And yet I still feel badly for DeBlasio, whose numbers lately have been sinking like the Titanic. At least part of his loss of popularity is due not to his charmless personality, or to the corruption investigation centered around his campaign, or even to Commissioner Trottenberg’s“Screw You” style of public service.

The cause is more insidious than that. You see, one of the good things DeBlasio has done has been to try keeping rents affordable for New York’s middle class and working poor. The alternative would be even more of the homelessness  that is now evident in many parts of the city.

Of course, the landlord hate this. It means they can’t gouge their tenants. This has left them feeling terribly sorry for themselves. But advertising, “Boo hoo, we can’t get rich by raising your rent" is such a self-evidently losing proposition that they’ve come up with something far more insidious.

They’re running, at considerable media weight, a television campaign in New York in which various actors posing as hispanic small businessmen — a guy who seems to own a plumbing store and a guy who seems to be a painter, for example — complain that DeBlasio is starving them out of business.

How? By viciously strangling greedy landlords’ excess profits, thereby making it "impossible" for the landlords to keep up their buildings, thereby killing the incomes of small tradesmen who service the buildings, thereby hurting "everyone." The ads are paid for by something called the "Rent Stabilization Association," which is actually a bunch of landlords who want to de-stabilize rents. 

The implications of the ads: If you favor rent control and affordable housing, you favor throwing Hispanic small business owners out of work, loading up the unemployment roles with ruined plumbers and painters, and wrecking the city’s economy. 

The logic  of this argument, if you can follow it, leads straight to the garbage pit.  Moreover, casting Hispanic types as the victims, when in fact a significant number of the city’s newly arrived Hispanics are really landlords’ victims, is the height of hypocrisy. And nowhere do the commercials say that what the "rent stabilizers" really want is for  the rent  to be raised. That's for DeBlasio himself to read between the lines, while it passes right through the uncomprehending  skulls of dullards like ourselves. What we're expected to remember is, DeBlasio is a no good bum who's killing poor Hispanics plumbers.

So the landlords are spreading their venom. The corruption investigators are sniffing around in all the wrong places, perhaps to avoid Governor Cuomo’s displeasure. (DeBlasio and Cuomo are anything but close buddies.)

Meanwhile, well-intentioned poor schnook DeBlasio keeps taking it on the chin, while his traffic commissioner must fall asleep every night cheerfully dreaming of occupied baby carriages getting squashed by eighteen-wheelers.

Hey, fella, welcome to Noo Yawk. We got the best of everything heah, including a multiplicity of political operatives with very sharp shivs up their sleeves.

Cross-Posted at No More Mister Nice Blog

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chest belts, sausage feet, oxycodone, and other cranky complaints about medicine

I suspect that the witch doctors who treated
me today learned their craft from this guy.
About eight weeks ago I crashed my bicycle. I seemed all right at first, but after the shock wore off I noticed something was hurting. I wondered if I had cracked a rib.

So I went to the doctor, who sent me to another doctor, an orthopedist, whose assistant took an X-ray. Sure enough, I had busted a rib.

So the orthopedist gave me an elastic belt to wear around my chest. And he insisted — even though I clearly said I didn't want a painkiller and that my pain was only minor —  a prescription for Oxycodone. The pills are still sitting, never opened, in my medicine cabinet, waiting for a rogue house guest to steal them.

I was also instructed not to lie down until I was healed. Which meant I had to sleep sitting up. I did that for a few days and suddenly my feet started swelling until they resembled huge salamis with tiny toes. I figured that was due to either the sitting while trying to sleep, or the chest belt, and I ignored the swelling.

Today I went back to the doctor for a mandatory visit. I mentioned that my feet were swelling and that one of them hurt. The doc's PA sent me across the hall for an X-ray that unmasked a bone spur. And the doctor himself was horrified by the swelling feet.

"You could have a blood clot in one of yours legs," he said. "A deep vein thrombosis. Very serious."

So he sent me two blocks away to a medical imaging lab for a sonogram of both of my legs. Then I went home.

An hour later the doctor called. "The good news is it's not a deep vein thrombosis, although I will inform your personal physician so that he can do further investigation," the doctor told me. "Also, about that bone spur. You need lifts in your shoes, but there aren't lifts big enough, so you need  very high heeled shoes. If you don't have any, maybe you could buy cowboy boots."

I'd rather be caught putting mustard on my swollen feet while eating oxycodone than be seen walking around New York in cowboys boots.

"Oh by the way, what about the belt?" I asked the doctor.

"What belt?" he asked.

"The one you told me to wear around my chest for my broken rib."

"Oh, you don't need that any more."

I'm not certain how he knows since the one thing nobody x-rayed or scanned  today was my rib cage, but to hell with it.

"And do I have to sleep sitting up any more?"

"For what?"

"For my cracked rib."

"No. But wear cowboys boots."

I went all the way uptown to see the doctor so he could examine my rib, and that's the one thing he didn't do. But foot X-rays? Leg sonograms? Cowboy boots? Oxycodone? And you wonder why Medicare cost are going through the roof and drug heads are causing financial meltdowns?

The Crank's late beautiful girlfriend, herself a physician, used to say that "Hospitals kill people." I'm beginning to suspect that it's really the doctors in the hospitals.

Oh well, if Medicare ever goes belly up, I can probably get together the scratch for my next medical visit by going out in the street and selling my little stash of Oxycodone.