Driving around today I heard U2′s “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” on the radio. The song took me back to my college years, when it was one of the songs on the U2 tape I listened to when I rode an exercise bike at the gym. Back then Nelson Mandela was still in prison and there were still people arguing about the merits of sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa. You would never know from yesterday’s radio coverage of Mandela’s death that the Reagan administration opposed increased U.S. government sanctions. Indeed, the coverage on WTOP last night implied that Reagan’s administration played a role in ending apartheid.
Today I was off work to do round of doctors’ appointments for self and Podrostok. I brought along Angela Davis’ autobiography from 1974. I wound up reading the whole thing today. There were – and are – big holes in my knowledge of what black radicals did in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was a useful first step toward filling them. I also feel better about liking the writings of Herbert Marcuse now that I know he was her academic mentor.
Now I’ve started reading about Marcus Garvey. I admit I’m partly interested in him now because he came up indirectly in the plot line of the most recent season of “Boardwalk Empire.” Still, knowledge is knowledge.
* Best Thanksgivukah tag line ever. Totally stole it from college classmate’s Facebook post.
Thanksgiving didn’t hurt one bit. All of the basic conditions for a successful holiday were met. I am thankful for a lot of things.
I grudgingly pay tribute to the daily devotional e-mail I get from Regent University (it’s a long story) for Christians in public service. I did not sign myself up for this but I haven’t unsubscribed, either. It doesn’t hurt and it reinforces my sense of proportion. One recent topic was the phenomenon of “wishing” for things as in “I wish I could have a million dollars and a pony so I could be a better person.” I am thankful for that e-mail. “Is this wishing or is this actual thought?” has been a soul-soothing heuristic this week. The point being, of course, that one should focus on living one’s actual life and behaving decently and all instead of daydreaming it away and wishing for something else to come along.
(On a perhaps related note, I think my new psych meds are starting to work. This is another point of gratitude for me.)
Sometimes I earn pin money by writing federal resumes for people (see my Disclaimers). For some reason I am most productive doing that in the wee hours of the morning. I fear this is not a sustainable business model. On the other hand, it did buy me some nice arthritis-lady shoes to wear if the swelling in my left foot ever goes down. (For the record, I had the foot reexamined last week by a different podiatrist in the same practice and he found the greenspring fracture in my third metatarsal that was causing all the ow. He wrapped and padded the foot and put it in a surgical shoe and (until the tape disintegrated Sunday) made it all better. Heading back tomorrow to said podiatrist for rewrapping.)
In the course of manic preparations for Mouse’s birthday party three weeks ago, I did something to the top of my foot that made it swell up and not fit into my usual shoes. This led me to do all sorts of foolishness in the course of favoring the (up til then painlessly) swollen foot, which led to it becoming painful, which ultimately led to it being encased in a compression tube and immobilization boot by a podiatrist earlier this week. I’m not sure it needs a full exoskeleton to get better. Indeed, I was underwhelmed by the doc’s (non)reading of my history or ratio of effort to sell custom orthosis to effort to develop custom diagnosis. But one of us has a medical education and training, and it ain’t me, so I will go along with this cyborg-looking boot thing for now. The swelling is starting to improve, at any rate.
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Let’s pretend I’m keeping this blog up to date and skip the apologia so I can move straight on to the recent political unpleasantness and its impact on the Dinosaurov family. Long-time paleontologists will recall that Dino Spouse and I are both career federal employees. His agency shut down October 1, so he had the privilege of serving the taxpayer uncompensated* for the first two weeks of the fiscal year. My agency eked along on impulse power until Congress finally voted on a Continuing Resolution to end the lapse in appropriation. We are saving now for January.
I will refrain from further comment on our specific situation out of gratitude for my continued paychecks and respect for my agency’s policies on outside writing activities. That being said:
- End direct election of senators. We need more honestly smoke-filled rooms and less illusion of transparency to make the bicameral legislature work as it should, with checks on the self-interest of elected representatives in the form of the self-interest of non-elected representatives. And vice-versa.
- A smart person I know suggested that we prevent future Congressional deadlock by adding more members to the House of Representatives. Adding more distinguished citizens to that august body would be a counter-intuitive choice, but maybe it would encourage participation of additional political parties in Congress and prevent gridlock in the House.
- Remember when they taught us that the two-party system led to government stability? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha no. Stasis, yes. Stability, not so much. We’re about as stable as the bipolar Cold War world was a week before the Berlin Wall fell. I’ll never laugh again at Italy for changing governments every week – at least their civil service gets to keep working throughout. (I think, anyway. Anyone know anything about this?)
* Yes, of course we had reasonable expectations that the government would pay Dino Spouse when all was said and done. My blues ain’t like the blues of people who lose their jobs or can’t find jobs or work their butts off in miserable McJobs. And if you don’t feel it when your paycheck is short, I congratulate you on your superior financial planning and management skills.
I find that life without anti-depressants has some unanticipated upsides: I find that I have more energy and better powers of concentration than I did three weeks ago, and I am making fewer stupid impulse buys than usual. The major downside, other than the cymbalta withdrawal symptoms, is that ever single damned thing makes me tear up. This is an improvement over, say, two weeks ago, when every single damn thing made me full-on burst into tears. However, it still stinks. So here is what makes me cry lately:
- power chords
- every scene in third season of “Boardwalk Empire” with Margaret and Owen
- news from the middle east
- drum cadences
- pretty much every other thing