Thursday, March 31, 2005

Day One... still in St. Louis

I'm waiting for the finishing touches to be put on my sweet ride. I'm four hours past when I was hoping to be on the road, but I'm still determined to sleep in Elvis' room tonite... even if it means arriving in Clinton, OK at 2am.

My location right now is Craftsmen Industries. This is the maternity ward of some of the most famous mobile marketing vehicles on the road today. Most famously, the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile is built here. This is a true Monster Garage, where the trained mechanics, weldsman, and overall artisans are able to make a functioning vehicle look like anything, from a tube of toothpaste to a giant, working grill.

Wondering around the shop today I saw a mobile arcade for Playstation 2, a Boeing trailer that has a mini-museum inside along with a professional flight simulator, and a vehicle for Planters Peanuts that make it appear that a Kong sized Mr. Peanut is driving the thing.

The coolest vehicle is a retrofitted 50s era Miller High Life (the champagne of beers) bus - on the inside is a vintage bar set up.

Well, not as cool as MY vehicle, with a treadmill that slides out, hi-def plasma monitor, and flying abilities. Okay, one of those is a lie, but its still cool.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Westbound and Down... Loaded Up and Trucking...

...paraphrasing "Smokey and the Bandit's" theme song...

I'm in St. Louis now, waiting for my fancy pants "mobile marketing vehicle" to be finished so I can drive it back to Los Angeles (actually, I'm heading for San Diego for the first event of the tour, but a few hours later I'll be in L.A.).

I was hoping to have a couple extra days to enjoy the drive, as the route runs along remnants of Route 66, but it looks like I'll have 2 1/2 days to make the trip.


Anyway, I'm hoping to set up the capacity to audio blog from the road, and to post photos in the evening... if I have any energy left.

Ten hours of driving per day will be just right.

I plan to stay here for the first night.... and have already reserved room 215...

blogging LA has a great post for those looking to rent cars on the cheap...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A long, winding, anecdotal view on quality of life and Terri Schiavo...

As strongly as I feel about the Schiavo case, I've got to say I completely sympathize with the side of the parents. If I honestly believed that someone I loved who was in a state like Terri is might recover someday, or that by not keeping her alive would result in my god's anger, I'd also lie to whoever I had to to keep her alive... I'd break the law and encourage others to do so to bring her water and possibly food to either ease her suffering or prolong her life... and overall I'd do whatever it takes, including take the full attention of our Federal judiciary system, just to help save my one loved on.

The kid pictured here was the second person arrested for trying to bring Terri water. I salute the kid, and award him honorary title of Hero of the Week.

Alas, I don't know Terri, so I can only speak from personal experience that in no way compare. So its a good thing I'm not the one deciding on the issue.

The first time I remember hearing about "Quality of Life" was from my dad, when he decided that he and my stepmom Judy's cat Polo needed to be put to sleep. The cat didn't look sick, but the vet assured them that Polo, I believe about twelve at the time, was in pain, but it was up to my dad to put him to sleep, right then at the vet's office. I was visiting him at the time, and was had gone with him to the vets office when he was faced with the decision. On the way there, he gave me one of those undeliberate father-son speeches that should be printed and mailed to every dad out there - the subject was quality of life. How people will hang on to their sick pets because it makes the owners happy, but the pets are miserable. How some old people and cancer patients hang on for years, miserably and in pain, just to keep their loved ones happy. I wish I could remember the talk beyond mere concepts, but, obviously, it stuck with me heavily to this day.

Anyway, we both stayed in the room when the vet finally gave Polo a cocktail of shots to put him to sleep. I'd played with Polo for hours when he was kitten small enough to fit in your palm, and now I was petting him to comfort him as was, for the last time, going to sleep. There was an air of creepiness about it, the death rattle, feeling his final gasps... but I felt somehow blessed and "purposeful" knowing I was there for him at the end. Just for a damn cat. More than feeling sad, I felt relief that Polo was out of misery... on his way to kitty heaven, or his soul about to reincarnated as a dog, or possibly the energy just dissolving and become part of the air around us. Whatever. He was in a better place.

The next time I was with someone when they died was my mom, who'd hate to be compared to, of all things, a cat. Again, I knew she was in pain in spite of massive quantities of morphine, and every breath in her last days was a painful struggle. The one night I decided to stay over at the hospice with her, I tried sleeping in a Lay-Z-Boy a few feet from her bed. I'd wake up from time to time, and see her labored breathing keeping her from really having any sleep. For a woman who loved naps, this alone was torture. He whole body moved, her back arched, with each inhalation of air. I'd long before already gone through the pain and mourning of knowing she'd be leaving us - at that moment I was hoping that she'd give in and die, and move on to a better place. I found myself awaking from a few minutes sleep, and when I looked at my mom, she was no longer struggling to breathe. For a moment, I thought that maybe things were back to normal... but the energy was distinctly different. I noticed that a nurse was also in the room. When I rushed to my moms side and put my hand on her arm, nearly ice cold to the touch, I knew she was gone. The nurse said that she still had to "check and make sure", but there was no doubt. I wasn't sad for her... I felt relief. I knew she was in a better place, and more importantly out of pain.

Whether Terri Schiavo is in pain or not, nobody knows, except for Terri. So I could even be wrong about her "Quality of Life" - maybe she's perfectly content. Maybe George Bush is right and that life should have the benefit of the doubt. I really don't know.

FDA fends off Killer Hospital Beds!!!

While my mom was in a Toledo hospital a couple years ago before she died, my brother, sisters and I were comforted by the fact that her bed was marked with a sticker that certified it Y2K compliant.

What concerned us was that not every bed we saw had a similar safety sticker.

We were tempted to report to authorities... but figured that anyone lucky enough to have a family member killed by a non-Y2K compliant hospital bed would have a much more interesting, much funnier story to tell than the one about our mom dying of lung cancer.

And you laugh:

From CNN...

FDA orders killer hospital beds to be seized
Warns: Vail Products' beds have trapped, killed patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citing a public health risk, said Tuesday it ordered the seizure of enclosed hospital beds made by Vail Products Inc.

The FDA said it was aware of 30 people who became trapped in the beds, seven of whom died.

Officials at Toledo, Ohio-based Vail Products could not be immediately reached for comment. The company's Web site says the beds, used for clinical and home care, allow "the patient to move about freely within a safe, padded environment."

The site makes no mention of Tuesday's seizure.

See that? Also from Toledo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wow, I have plenty of time...

Army raises enlistment age for reservists to 39

A few thoughts on the Schiavo issue

Sorry to bore my five loyal readers with more political mumbo jumbo... alas, when I finally make my road trip I'll try and make it up with moblogs, audioblogs, and daily recaps. Until then...

As much as its being covered, the press about the Schiavo case has barely discussed the absolute core issue: Quality of Life.

The real debate American's should be having is if your spouse should be able to make such critical decisions of life or death if you were to fall into a state like Terri Schiavo. If not, who should? Should marriage rights be negated at any point?

If you don't have a living will, is your fate in the hands of the courts, your parents, or nobody?

And besides all that, people need to look at Terri Schiavo, study her condition, and ask themselves if they were in the same situation, would they rather live or die?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Teri Schiavo

How can anti-gay marriage Republicans trample on marriage rights and still be taken seriously?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Abandoned Kids Stores.

Here's how John Gibson of Fox News recently referred to orphanages: "abandoned kids store".

To put this in context, he was talking about how gays need to get kids. The full sentence was this: "Gays can't have kids — other than going to the abandoned kids store and getting one or two, or borrowing sperm from someone with more sperm than brains — so by definition they're out of the marriage game."

This is the basic sentiment of his entire article. That gays shouldn't be allowed to marry, simply because they're not meant to have kids.

Which would also eliminate any infertile couple too, I suppose.

Gibson totally avoids the argument that perhaps gays make bad parents. Anyone want to take a guess as to why? Because there is no substantial evidence to back this up.

Gibson also writes: "Now, gay couples should have certain rights of marriage — inheritance, insurance, visitation — all that lawyerly stuff... But they should take the advice of a friend of mine who said he'd defend gays against any form of discrimination, but they had to pick a new word — marriage is taken."

Which brings it back to another argument, if all the rights afforded to same sex couples are the same as a straight couple, why shouldn't it be called marriage? Is there a single married couple out there who would find their own marriage invalidated just because gays can call themselves "married"?

Maybe Gibson should come up with a new word - he seems to be on a roll having created a new term for orphanages.

you can read John Gibson's full article here... thanks to the gorgeous redhead Wonkette for bringing it up... on an unrelated note, Katzinjammer hasn't updated in over a month...

Sunday, March 13, 2005


...for the light posting.
Work has been insane.
The shoe company is keeping me busy, and I just recut my sixth and final Group 101 project. I won't be putting it online until I have a score made for it, and its tidied up a bit. A few more weeks perhaps.
It looks like I'll be gainfully employed for the near future, and my newest gig will begin with a cross country drive along Route 66. Same shoe company, new promotion.
Lots to blog about, but little time.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Study finds disproportionate abuse by 'gays'

Here's a class assignment for my handful of loyal readers.

The World Net Daily is a somewhat respected online news source (heck, Drudge references it often). They recently posted the following article:

Study finds disproportionate abuse by 'gays'
34% of sexual molestations of foster children were same-sex

A six-year study of sexual abuse committed by foster parents in Illinois found a highly disproportionate percentage of the cases were homosexual in nature.

About one-third were same-sex while estimates are that no more than 3 percent of people in the general population say they engage in homosexual acts...

Your assignment is to spend five minutes in research, and find out what the fine journalists at World Net Daily have failed to disclose.

By the way, it took me less than two minutes to largely discredit this piece.

To find out what this is all about:

Go check out Shabooty's blog.