Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aside From That, Mrs. L . . .

I don’t know if it’s me or the medical profession (I’m just kidding—I know it’s the medical profession), but every time I have a conversation with a doctor, things get surreal.

Just had my yearly checkup, which, given the circumstances seemed a little unnecessary, although I thought it would be interesting to learn if there’s anything going on that might kill me before ALS does, and at the end of the exam, my darling doctor (she is a peach) said, and I quote: “You know, aside from the ALS and the heart disease, you’re really in very good shape.”

I wonder what I have to do to be considered in lousy shape by this woman. Get run over by Amtrak?

(And aside from the engine and transmission, my car is in very good shape, too, except for the brakes and the tires.)

I promised no more obits, so let’s switch to my tombstone:

She Is in Darned Good Shape
Considering She’s Dead and All


Ok, enuf of that.

I’ve been rooting for Barack since the California primary, and holding my breath and trying not to jinx the election by being overconfident, and sending tiny checks and thinking “it’s impossible but maybe it’s not, maybe it’s a teeny, tiny bit possible” and it turns out it was very, very possible.

And I had the strangest reaction to Obama’s resounding victory. I mean, he clobbered them. And for the first and only time in my life, I felt proud to be white. And that is a very strange feeling indeed. I wanted to run around screaming, “See, we’re not all bigoted jerks, and now I can prove it.”

We must take good care of this man, because he’s going to be one of the great presidents, and he’s going to turn this country around. And boy, does it need turning.

You betcha.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset ...

OK, enough is enough.

I have been waiting since 1945 for the U.S. government to get its act together regarding daylight savings time. We gave up growing Victory Gardens in our backyards when The War was over, and food and gas rationing also went away, not to mention those sad little banners with red stars we put in our front windows showing that we had a family member in the military, or even sadder, gold stars meaning our soldier had been killed. The term “gold-star mother” was eliminated from our vocabularies. We stopped buying war bonds, and the Friday grammar school ritual of bringing a quarter to buy a stamp to stick in our war bond booklet until we had amassed $18.50 for a complete war bond went away, too.

Housewives stopped saving grease and tin cans and kids stopped saving tin foil gum wrappers to help the war effort. Soldiers and sailors and marines and WACs and WAVEs came home, we tidied up the big mess Hitler had made of Europe and sent Care Packages to hungry people overseas, and life returned to what I assume was normal, because I can’t remember much before the war.

But ... freakin’ daylight savings time is still with us! Why is this?

This utterly stupid idea started in 1918, during the First World War, and was abandoned in a hurry in 1919 because everybody hated it. It was brought back in 1942 when America entered the Second World War, in order to save energy and permit longer working hours. It was called “War Time” then, and it was in effect all year long. No switching back and forth. After the war, the Feds abandoned War Time, but some states kept it, some didn’t. The railroads fussed and fussed because every state had its own system. So finally, in the 1960s and 70s, uniform time laws were passed incorporating "War Time" for everybody, and now we all have to change our clocks twice a year together. To what purpose, nobody knows.

Everyone in favor of daylight savings time, raise your hand. I didn’t think so.

Did I point out that this is stupid? How about dangerous, too. Heart attacks increase in the three days following the spring change. Traffic accidents go up. Pedestrian fatalities skyrocket in the fall after the change as drivers adjust to driving at dusk. Everybody gets annoyed and grumbles. This idiot law has no purpose and no function.

So, apparently, I will have to solve this for the U.S. government.

Here’s what we do: Compromise. Let’s change our clocks by 1/2 hour and leave them there forever. OK? Is everybody happy now? You’ve got a little extra sunshine at the end of the workday for everybody who cares about that stuff, and a little extra darkness in winter for everybody who wants that, vampires or whatever.


On the Lou Gehrig’s Disease front, there is more good news coming from Washington, to wit, the application time for social security benefits has been speeded up for fatal diseases with short lifespans, including ALS. (If our bureaucrats can figure that one out, how come they can’t figure out that daylight savings time isn’t saving anybody any daylight or any time?)

Also, a new ALS online forum has just been formed to try to increase public awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. We’re hoping that not only patients with ALS and their caregivers will join this effort, but also family members and friends of patients ... and also members of the public who want to pitch in with ideas and help support the search for a cure. (It’s a free forum ... we’re looking for moral support, ideas and helping hands.)

The forum is called ALS Matters: You'll have to cut and paste the url, because I cannot for the life of me make this program put in a live link:

You’re invited to check it out, and join us (i.e., register) if you’re interested.

As for me, I’m still here. Yabba dabba doo.