An Argument for Psycho Control- and Workouts for Kids

gun control

One (very rare, may I add) positive to come out of the Obama administration was that his ineptitude and usurpation of Americans’ rights made me very much more aware of my both my first and second amendment rights.  I never dreamed five years ago that I would ever want to own a gun, let alone apply for concealed carry.

Times have changed.

gun-control-compensating-poster

I don’t feel safe going anywhere after dark.  That’s not necessarily Obama’s fault, because the neighborhood where I work has been going downhill for years, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. I don’t feel safe going out after dark because there are crazy people out there. If the crazy people have guns, then why do I want to be unarmed?  Doesn’t it make more sense not only for me to be armed, but also for me to know how to use a firearm correctly?

This morning there was a shootout just down the road– in the WalMart I’m afraid to set foot in, no less.  The shooter shot a little kid, a woman while she was sitting in the dentist’s chair, (?) and a cop.  Shooting the cop got him killed- and saved the taxpayers some money- at any rate.  I don’t like to see people get killed, but shooting a cop is just plain asking for it.

I don’t blame the firearm, or even the fact that this guy had access to one.  I blame him and him alone.  Triggers don’t pull themselves.

Gun control is holding on with both hands.  Psycho control is what we need in this world, and unfortunately in the trees of civilization, there are more than a few fruits and nuts.

fat-kids1

Really?  Where’s your mother?  In the rhino cage?  That explains it!

When I was growing up (in a rural, poor area…) there were no fat kids, except one.  That was Scottie-Scottie Two By Four.  You know the rest of the rhyme- “couldn’t get through the bathroom door/so he did it on the floor/licked it up and did some more/Fatty-Fatty two-by-four”  In middle school he was well over 200#.  This poor kid was harassed so relentlessly that the summer between seventh and eighth grade he went to football camp, as well as he went on a crash diet and lost well near 7o#.  By the beginning of eighth grade he was still big, but it wasn’t fat any more.  The coaches had ran it all off of him.  His parents were lard asses, which probably explains how he got so large- Daddy was about 400# and Mommy wasn’t far behind.  Yes, the kids made some serious jokes about Scottie’s Mom and Dad having to do the wild thing on a steel reinforced mattress.   There was also much speculation that they had to go out in the garage to do it because the floors in their house couldn’t take it.  I don’t know if that was true or not.  Some things are just not worth finding out.

 fat_people_08

The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But most of us kids were thin according to today’s standards.  Even though I was never allowed to play organized sports after I had rheumatic fever, (and nobody wanted me to before, because I sucked,) I still got lots of exercise.  Self preservation is a good workout motivator.

My Mom liked to lock us outside and turn up the TV when she’d had enough, or just when she was spaz, which was a good deal of the time.  Although I was never a fast runner, I was good at hiding. I had to work to avoid getting my ass kicked.

ignore your kids

One of my favorite hiding places was with the Rottweiler down the street.  I wasn’t afraid of him, even though he wasn’t always terribly clean, and his fleas had no problem biting me too.  The other kids were terrified of him.  Ass kicking or flea bites?  Most of the time I took my chances with the unauthorized insect life.  Mom really didn’t like it when I came home eaten to death with flea bites, and smelling like dog shit, but at least it wasn’t blood and broken bones. I did manage to get through childhood without breaking anything.  I did get blood poisoning from scrapes, cuts, splinters and so forth, a few times though.

old bike

You put it together with whatever pieces you could scrounge.

Your bike was your transportation.  Mom didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 12 years old, and even though the state of Ohio thinks she’s cool to drive, I’ll beg to differ.  Riding a bike was safer on many levels than riding with Mom, even though there is a good deal of comic relief to be gleaned from her chronic road rage.

It’s sad but true- my son learned how to fly the one finger salute (age 5) by watching my mother road rage.

one finger

Thanks, Mom!

Now people don’t let kids ride their bikes unless they have so much protective gear on that they look like the freaking Transformers.  And then they can only ride their bikes on the designated bike path, never on makeshift BMX trails in the woods or back along where the railroad tracks used to be.

bike gear

Welcome to the Thunderdome!  Oh, I was just riding my bike down to the carry out?  Really?

I think part of the reason why kids of my generation got plenty of exercise is that we were pretty much left outside to fend for ourselves most of the time.  Most of our families were poor.  Most of our families had two or more kids, so if one went missing, it’s one less mouth to feed.  Oh, well.   Now people treat their kids in much the same way as some of the poor dogs I see in the vet’s office.   They mollycoddle, indulge and literally “love” them to death.

fat_dog_006

It is cruel to let a dog get this fat.

Science is on my side here: obesity kills dogs.  It’s a proven fact, and since a dog lives about 15 years give or take, it’s easy to see what happens when dogs are allowed to be hugely fat.  But there are people out there who just can’t see the correlation, that overfeeding and under-exercising their dogs takes years off their dogs’ lives.  Every time I take one of my girls to the vet’s office, I see obese dogs suffering from preventable health problems.  The vet sees it too and it has to really bother her.

Perhaps people are viewing their kids not as liabilities or money pits, but as pampered pets.  I don’t know which mindset is worse- leaving kids to their own devices and out to the wolves, or mollycoddling and indulging them.

Kids have to get out and get dirty.  Kids have to have limits.  One Klondike bar once a week is fine.  Three after dinner is way too much.

Maybe if we could worry less about the psychos in our midst, we could let kids go out and play and be kids and not feel as if we have to indulge their every whim.

A Requiem for Common Sense (Part 2)

happy honda

Ah, the paradox.

This car I spotted in the Target parking lot cracked me up.  The likelihood of this decrepit old Accord attaining highway speeds is actually fairly good if it’s getting a reasonable amount of regular maintenance.  I just hope the timing belt’s been replaced some time in the past ten years, otherwise the unfortunate owner of this rather obsolete piece of automotive technology will get a thorough schooling on the definition of interference engine. Usually when the belt breaks, it occurs at highway speeds, out of the blue, in the middle of nowhere.  The non-motorhead translation is, that if that timing belt breaks on an interference engine, your engine is toast.  Instantly and irrevocably, as in bent valves, or even valves through the pistons.  The repair cost (i.e. engine replacement…) is usually more than the value of the car.

interference engine damage

This is one reason why I chose a vehicle with an engine that features a timing chain, but in their defense, the old Accords- properly maintained- are often 300,000 mile or more cars.  Toyota still uses belts on some models, but most of their engines are clearance engines, (if the belt breaks there’s enough clearance that the valves don’t hit the pistons) so the worst that happens to you is that the car immediately stops running. You’ll have to have the car towed and replace the belt, which will cost more than if you had replaced it before it broke, because the tech will have to line up the cam and crank before installing the belt.

Ok, enough motorhead jargon.  Automotive is almost worse than the medical profession as far as specialized language.  It’s sad,but every time I see one of those old Hondas I remember the people who didn’t pay attention to replacing that belt from time to time.   Just like every time I see an old Camry I think about (well, a number of things) but primarily about a certain primadouche technician who couldn’t stand the sight of blood and guts.  I couldn’t help it that mice liked to make nests in the blower fans.

lightning

This morning I was rather disappointed when I went to go to the Y and the pool was closed due to thunderstorms.  I know they have rules regarding closing the pool (even though it’s an indoor pool) during thunderstorms and for a little while afterwards, which may be based on dubious science, but it still sort of sucked.  I didn’t waste workout time though.  I got on the one of the elliptical machines and still got in my 40 minutes of exercise.  I do have to wonder, though, if lightning could strike the pool, isn’t there’s an equal chance that lightning could strike the workout room where the ellipticals and other machines are?  As long as the building meets modern electrical codes, which it should since it was built in 2005, you’re safer in the pool than you would be in the showers, in the locker room,- or dashing out to your car in the parking lot.  Hell, I’d probably been safer in the pool than on the elliptical machine, but either way the odds of getting struck by lightning while working out indoors are probably about as good as me winning the lottery or suddenly being 6′ and 120#.  Ain’t-a-gonna-happen.

However, sometimes rules are made either without considering the science that nullifies the need for them, or old rules hang about that were made using outdated standards.  Whether a rule is logical or not isn’t my judgment call.  When I was in high school the whole concept of having to abide by illogical and archaic rules drove me bat shit, and still does to a certain degree today, but doesn’t change the fact that I still have to abide by them.

Senior_Xing

Last night when Jerry and I were out at Little Sicily’s- a tiny but fantastic pizza joint on the far east side of Columbus- there were a group of geezers sitting across from us.  I like old people.  Their perspective is closer to mine than people my own age or younger seem to have.

So as I was eavesdropping on their conversation, one of the ladies mentioned that life has gotten way too complicated today.  In a lot of ways yes, and even in some ways for the better, but I understood her frustration at how unsafe the world has gotten.  It seems that the powers that be try to take all the danger out of things we consider fun- it’s a major ordeal to get a kid in and out of a car seat for instance, and anyone who would have worn a bike helmet back in the 70s would have been assumed to be someone who had a weak skull or prior brain damage.  But in spite of adding more precautions and layers of safety, the world gets more and more dangerous- or at least that’s what we hear about.

kids_on_diamondback_bicycles

A good example is what people do with their kids.  Back in the day no one had a problem with letting the kids roam the neighborhood, because everyone knew everyone else, and any adult could correct a child and bring that malfeasant offspring to its parents’ attention.  It was a double shame to be caught in misadventure by someone other than one’s parent, because not only would the first adult likely tan your hide, so would Dad, for committing two offenses- the original offense, and the added offense of misbehavior within public scrutiny.

paddle

This was Dad’s definition of the “Board of Education.”

Today I would be positively mortified of correcting another’s spawn, even though the little barbarians may richly deserve it, for fear of being sued.  Parents are afraid of correcting their own children for fear either of the child him or herself reporting them for child abuse (another reason to keep your kids out of public school- as the kids are drilled from day one to report, report, report) or because some well-meaning but thick-headed bystander will mistake well-deserved discipline for a “beating” and call Children’s Services on them.

tantrum

Personally I think that it’s abuse to keep a child locked up inside, to let them become obese, and to fail to discipline them when they deserve it.  The wussification and the overprotection of children is partially in response to the horrible headlines we see where children actually are abused, but most of it stems from a parental desire to “make things better for my kid.”  This desire to “make things better for my kid”- combined with the abysmal performance of most public schools- has resulted in an entire generation of overindulged, undereducated, young adults who expect everything to be handed to them and for their actions to lack consequences.

The Things We Do For “Health,” and the Scourge of Domestic Drudgery

Tapeworms, tapeworms, jolly jolly tapeworms, eat them up- YUM!

The tapeworm diet was featured on an episode of 1000 Ways to Die not too long ago I know I probably shouldn’t watch that show so much, but it is entertaining in a dark way to see the convoluted manners in which some people have managed to earn their Darwin Awards. While the thought of going from a size 12 to a size 2 in a few weeks is tempting, the thought of flatworms burrowing through my vital organs and feeding on my blood and other important stuff gives me serious pause.  If we give dogs a monthly de-wormer (essentially this is what Heartgard and other products that contain Ivermectin do- kill off any worm larvae that end up in a dog’s bloodstream or intestinal tract) to prevent them from getting tapeworms, heartworms, and other assorted wormy life forms because they’re harmful to dogs, then it would stand to reason that it’s not healthy to harbor tapeworms in one’s innards.

It’s interesting to note that dogs are always susceptible to worms because of the rooting around and scavenging that they do in the course of their daily activity. There are even worms that are spread by fleas and other disgusting insect life, which is yet another reason to avoid insect infestations.  Dogs’ preoccupation with all things feces also predisposes them to exposure to all sorts of nasty things (sort of like little kids.)  The difference with dogs is that they seem to have much hardier immune systems than humans- at least in regard to infectious disease- and digestive systems that can metabolize almost anything.

Lilo (and every other dog on the planet) might consider cat poop to be the highest of rare delicacies, but she won’t eat lettuce.  Unless it’s soaked in Ranch dressing, that is.

I wonder if the health “benefit” one would gain by losing weight on the tapeworm diet would be negated by the effect of the tapeworms munching on stuff they shouldn’t be munching on.  It’s one thing if they’re sharing that chili dog you had for lunch, but quite another if they are making a meal out of your liver, or your brain.  I guess the bottom line on weight loss by parasite is that it’s probably ill advised.

As far as burning up calories the old fashioned way, a rousing round of housecleaning can do that.  Even though it can count as exercise, I hate cleaning.  I consider exercise to be a necessary evil also. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like the prospect of my ass being as big as the front end of my car.  I don’t want to be the one trolling through the Newark WalMart in search of size 20 underwear.

These could also be a car cover for my Yaris.  Just sayin’.

The problem with cleaning, in my house, is that it is an ongoing effort in futility.  Jerry can destroy hours’ worth of scrubbing and cleaning in one drunk-n-stupid episode, as was evidenced last night.  All he has to do is get good and besnookered, go out to “water the garden” at dusk, and then traipse back on in the house, flopping about, soaking wet with dog shit caked on his shoes.

Let me fling poo on your linoleum!  YAY!!

Yes!  My purpose in life has been fulfilled- scraping dog shit off of the linoleum in the foyer, and then in the kitchen (thank God I got to him before he made it to the carpet, which I had also just scrubbed and cleaned Saturday) and then getting to (joy and rapture) scrape the dog shit off his old-man velcro shoes and hose them down.  Then I got to peel his wet and dirty clothes off the bathroom floor, and had to clean the floor up too.  Never mind that I had scrubbed down and mopped the foyer, the kitchen and the bathroom on Saturday.  Apparently I needed to do it again.

I would hire cleaning people.  If I could afford them- and if I wouldn’t be embarrassed at what they might encounter.

I have found beer cans in places where beer cans should never go.  Beer cans next to the toilet (why not just eliminate the middle man and pour the Natties right on down the john?)  Beer cans in his underwear drawer.  Once I even found a beer can in the litter box, which is making me wonder if Jerry is going down there (the cat boxes are in the basement) and helping the dogs sample the recycled feline buffet.  If it were only beer cans, it wouldn’t be so bad, but Jerry’s filth parade goes far beyond beer cans.

Jerry is also an incorrigible smoker.  If he removes a cellophane from a cig pack, it ends up where it lands- on the table, on the floor, in a house with a mouse- wherever, as long as it’s not in the trash.  The cellophanes are just the tip of the iceberg, not to mention the bane of all vacuum cleaners, especially when encountered in combination with copious amounts of dog hair.   Jerry also has essential tremor, so the world is his ashtray, literally.  That’s part of the reason why it pisses me off so much when he smokes in my car.  I don’t think he can actually make the ashes land in the ashtray, (in the car or at home) and I’m doing good when he actually puts the butts out in the ashtray instead of (acck, acck, acck) the toilet (bad enough) or in the sink.  Removing nicotine stains from porcelain is just so much fun.  I need just such a hobby.

It’s just depressing to spend an entire Saturday cleaning and the place is trashed again by Monday night.

Some more enlightened souls may ask, “Doesn’t Jerry do his share of the cleaning?” I know that there are some men who understand the importance of helping with errands, cleaning and stuff like that when their wives also work.  However, the fact that I don’t have 24/7 to fetch stuff for, clean up after, and cook for His Nibs does not register with Jerry.   Not at all.  He was raised by wolves.  He willingly wallows in squalor as long as it means he doesn’t have to think about where the beer cans, cig pack cellophanes, or dog shit lands.

So forgive me if I’m no Martha Stewart.

I can cook, but you can leave the decorating and cleaning to people who don’t live with Jerry.

You Might Turn Blue and Die (or Not,) Pharmaceutical Fun, and Science?

Today’s science is tomorrow’s quackery.  Case in point- the “medicated” cigarettes shown above are in a museum.  I don’t know of any Dr. who would recommend smoking anything for the “temporary relief of the paroxysms of asthma.”  I don’t know of any Dr.s who would use the word “paroxysm,” even though it’s a pretty cool word.  Here’s the definition according to Merriam-Webster:

paroxysm: (n)
1: a fit, attack, or sudden increase or recurrence of symptoms (as of a disease) : convulsion <a paroxysm of coughing>
2: a sudden violent emotion or action : outburst <a paroxysm of rage>
 
In my world, synonyms for “fit” are always welcomed, if for no other reason than to keep me from sounding as if I am repeating myself incessantly.
 
If I do no other service in this world, I can only hope to expand someone’s vocabulary.
 
I would love to find a pic of it, but there was an old patent medicine featured on the Science Channel program, Oddities, that was supposed to contain strychnine and testicles- and 18% alcohol, ostensibly to help one forget that he was not only drinking powdered gonads, but was also poisoning himself.  100 years ago, the testicle tonic would be considered modern pharmacopoeia.  Today it would be considered just plain gross and poisonous, but science, like history, has to be taken in context.  100 years ago, cocaine was believed to be therapeutic.  How any of our ancestors lived long enough to procreate is beyond me.
 
I’m sure that some of the pharmaceuticals we use today will be eliminated or phased out due to side effects.  I just read today that benzocaine- a topical anesthetic found in Blistex and cough drops- can make you turn blue and die if you OD on it.  Apparently if you OD on this stuff you can get methemoglobinemia  ,which sounds like a really scary condition in which you turn blue because you can’t get enough oxygen in your blood, so you die.   I wonder if it’s in Carmex, because that’s generally my cracked-lip remedy of choice.  I would hate to begin my trip to the Great Beyond by OD ing on Carmex.
How many of us remember the old style mercury thermometers- or playing with liquid mercury in science class?  Now mercury is considered hazmat.  Apparently you can touch it and die or something. That would have been handy information back in 1980-whatever when we were farking around with the stuff.   Then again, apparently kids who fail to wear a helmet while riding a bike, pedaling a Big Wheel, swimming or (let’s hope the really paranoid people out there don’t jump on this bandwagon) eating a cheese sandwich, risk grievous head injury should they fall and skin a knee. 
 
No wonder kids are fat, if they have to suit up for a moonwalk just to go out and get some bloody exercise.  We got plenty of exercise back in the Dark Ages, and it was bloody at times, but scars add character.  I must have a lot of character as I have plenty of scars from cuts, scrapes, burns, falls, etc.  Even as uncoordinated as I am, I usually managed not to bang my head on stuff.  My arms and legs, not so lucky- but I have managed to go 42 years and still have all my fingers and toes, which given my complete lack of physical prowess- and complete lack of protective battle gear to play in as a child- is pretty impressive.
I can see some advantages in this kind of protective play gear had it been available to me as a child.  I probably would not have gotten nearly as much sunburn.  I also probably wouldn’t have felt as much pain as I was getting my ass kicked either.  However, I do see some distinct potential for dehydration and hyperthermia (overheating) if one were to wear this on a hot day.
 
I think part of the paranoia surrounding one’s offspring comes in part from the fact that people don’t have as many kids.  When you have three or four kids they might seem a bit more expendable than when you only have one.  People also have to spend a lot more money on kids today, so children just playing like normal kids jeopardize your investment . The calamity factor- and the potential for catastrophic expense- rises exponentially when they go out and do stupid and reckless things. 
 
I know the incident when the POMC had to get crowns and multiple root canals after some “buddies” of his sabotaged his bike (something about 160# of fourteen year old boy hitting the pavement mouth first is really not good for his dental health) cost me over three thousand dollars- and that was after the insurance paid. I couldn’t leave him to go through life with a Billy Bob mouth- and the crowns are lovely- but now I see why some mothers strap a helmet on their offspring at birth and don’t remove it until the child is potty trained, literate and no longer on a parental health insurance policy.  The bad thing about that particular incident is that he would have needed a mouth guard to mitigate this injury.
 
Even if he had been wearing a helmet (which I seriously doubt, knowing him) it wouldn’t have done jack to protect his mouth unless he would have had one of those full face motorcycle helmets. I can only imagine the mocking he would have gotten from his posse for wearing a full face motorcycle helmet to ride a BMX bike.

I wonder if it would do me any good to start wearing a helmet now?  Probably not.

Then again, science has advanced from the days of patent medicines with really gross stuff in them, at least I hope.

Pile is an old time euphemism for hemorrhoid. Another fun fact to share with friends and family, best reserved for conversation over the dinner table,at least if you’re looking for shock value.  I have to wonder if the “active ingredient” in the A.J.P. Pile Cure is kerosene.  It wouldn’t surprise me.   If it’s burnin’ it’s workin’!