Got Work!

October 31, 2010 at 8:45 am (By Amba)

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October 29, 2010 at 7:16 pm (By Miles Lascaux)

Hey! I wanted to e-mail this to some people, and I realize most of them are probably reading here anyhow. Some nice fellows did an interview with me recently, and I’m enough of a blowhard to plug it.

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Rise Up!

October 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm (By Randy)

(Gerard Van der Leun at KA-CHING!)

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She’s not a witch!

October 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm (By Ron)

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Attack Ads

October 29, 2010 at 10:43 am (By Randy)

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Not His Thing.

October 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm (By Amba)

Dying, that is.

J appears to be making another comeback.

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Awesome Quote

October 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm (By Amba)

The epigraph on m’bro’s intermittent blog, True Ancestor, this could be the last word in some of the perennial debates here.  Really, what more is there to say??

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

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more news from 1928

October 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm (By Ron)

Sorry kids, this is NOT another of my Fred and Ginger posts. They haven’t met yet. That will be next year during the rehearsals for Top Speed in what is now the Neil Simon theater… but I start off digressing.

Here ya go…

This is Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac, which just sold for over $500K at auction. Is this an ordinary Cadillac? No, this one weighs 9000 lbs! 3000 lbs of armor and inch think bulletproof glass on this bad boy! Who wound up with it after Al got tax evaded into the pokey? FDR, of course, for protection after Pearl Harbor!

On Monday morning, December 8, 1942, the day after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. military installations in Hawaii, nearly every radio in America was tuned in waiting to hear the news that President Roosevelt would address the Congress and ask they declare that we were at war with Japan.

According to former Secret Service Agent Mike Reilly, the Secret Service had determined the previous night, that a bulletproof car was needed immediately to protect President Roosevelt from possible assassins sympathetic to Japan or Germany.

But federal law prohibited purchasing any automobile that cost more than $750. An armored, bulletproof car would certainly cost more than that. Yet there was no time to wait for legislation authorizing such a vehicle, nor the time required to build one, and one was needed instantly. FDR would need it Monday morning.  [my bold]

However, Reilly, who was head of the 70-man White House detail, discovered that after Chicago gangster Al Capone, was convicted of income tax evasion in 1931 (he was sent to Alcatraz in August, 1934) the U.S. Treasury Department had seized the crime boss’s bulletproof 1928 341A Cadillac Town Sedan. It had a whopping curb weight of 9,000 pounds.

A team of government employees and mechanics worked well into the night of December 7 cleaning and preparing the car, checking everything to make sure it would run and perform as intended to be ready for use by FDR the

following day.

On December 8, 1941, when Roosevelt left the White House and went to the Capitol to ask Congress to declare a state of war existed with Japan, he made the trip in Capone’s refurbished Cadillac.

I faint at the idea of the Feds limiting themselves to a $750 car!

Ford cranked out a more modern Presidential tank, er, limo a few months later.

reference: Capone’s tank

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October 27, 2010 at 9:23 am (By Pat)

Does this Charlie Chaplin movie show a time-traveller talking on a cell phone?


I apologize in advance for posting this after yesterday’s comment thread. I just can’t resist. I’m part Irish, you know, and can’t resist a little mischief from time to time.

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The New Normal [UPDATED]

October 27, 2010 at 12:12 am (By Amba)

UPDATE: As he did yesterday morning, J looked somewhat better this evening:  drank and ate more (modestly speaking), had less pain, and was semi-present.  Every time I say that he conks out for another 18 hours, but maybe there is an upward trend.

At least, I now have two points from which to hypothesize such a line.

*     *     *

The hospice aides have cut back from 5 days a week to 3, because J is not, after all, “imminent.”  (That’s what you’d call a euphemism by omission.  I got a look at that word from the other end once:  a friend got us into an investment we couldn’t afford, the payoff of which he kept promising was “imminent,” when it was actually a very good thing to put in a drawer and forget about — it paid off handsomely years after we’d caved and sold it at a loss.  I developed an allergy to the word back then.  I don’t like it coming or going.)  Friends are still loyally giving time to us, and bringing food, but of course not at the intensity they did when this was a crisis.  It’s chronic now, and they have to tend to their own lives.

So life’s iron walls have contracted another turn. (An image from The Pit and the Pendulum.)  My outings have shrunk to shopping, though shopping has paradoxically expanded a bit because J no longer waits for me in a conscious, impatient panic.  But bigger expeditions are out, because they entailed taking J someplace (to the dojo, to his gym, to the pool, to a restaurant with friends), and he can no longer go.  He was some kind of a companion before, and now he is mostly not.  He revolves through three parts of a cycle:  he hallucinates and talks to people on the ceiling for 18 hours, then he sleeps so deeply (regardless whether lying down or sitting up) that he is unresponsive or barely responsive for 18 hours; and in transition between the hallucinatory and near-comatose states, he has brief periods when he communicates with me as well as with the people, horses, swallows, rats, or whatever on the ceiling.  During these shorter periods, like this morning, he might drink two glasses of milk or three of water, and swallow some applesauce with crushed medicine in it, and greet people with a tattered bonhomie, and say funny things (I nagged and pestered him to cough until finally he said, “You cough!”).  It looks as if he’s finally beginning to get better, but no, he’s not, any more than he was dying.  It’s just an interlude.  An imposture.

(As for his breakfast boast this morning — his retort to the offer of a fried egg was a scornful “One??” — by the time it was fried, he couldn’t manage even one bite.  Joke: short-order cook to Frenchman:  “Would you like two eggs?”  Frenchman:  “No.  One egg is un oeuf.”)

Our friend the hospice volunteer will be coming back now that the chickenpox virus is gone; Felden-Chris has offered to sit with J on Thursday nights so at least I can get to the karate dojo once a week; the hospice social worker urged me to make such arrangements so that I’m not too trapped and isolated.  (They could also take him into the hospice facility, where I could spend as much time with him as I wanted, including overnight, but I’m resisting that for now.  Whatever little of his surroundings he is taking in, let it at least be familiar.)

This phase is less demanding of me physically and temporally — J mostly does not interact, and except in those little windows of opportunity when he’ll drink, eat, and talk a bit, there’s not much I can do for him.  But it is . . . what?  Like floating weightless in outer space:  empty, directionless, disorienting.  The hospice nurse says she has seen dementia patients go on like this for months, without any artificial support, on the small amount of nourishment they can take in.

All bets are off.  Anything could happen, or, more likely, nothing could.  How do you brace yourself for complete irresolution?  It’s an oxymoron.  The will could quickly atrophy, the way the weight-bearing muscles do in space.  Then too, the house is a minefield of little reminders of our life before, just a month ago, which wasn’t half bad, and has now been sheared off, even though both of us are still right here.  (I know, I’m far from the first or the only one in this waiting room without walls.)

I’m actually hoping not to have to decide whether to go back to New York City, where my last “in absentia” lease ends in February.  That would be a really tough decision.  I’d rather have it taken out of my hands.

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