Friday, September 28, 2007

Like Worms, They Seem To Regenerate, Only to Die Again

How many "top" al-Qaida leaders ARE there in Iraq, for God's sakes??

It seems like every week, we hear "top al-Qaida leader in Iraq killed." Are they killing the same one over and over? Does he have nine lives, like a cat? Does he grow new limbs like a lizard grows a new tail? Is each one a replacement of the orginal guy, then the next one a replacement of that guy, and so on...? If so, how can they manage to recruit people for this position?

The dental plan must be great.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Condi Urges Cleaner Fuel

At a two-day climate conference called by President Bush (anybody else smell irony here?), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged nations to move towards cleaner energy sources and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Since the U.S. seems to be the biggest offender on the fossil fuel front, Condi has announced her new Flatulence First plan, which coverts naturally-produced human methane gas into combustible fuel for small automobiles and scooters. Nicknamed "The Rice and Beans Plan," the proposal will be put to a special closed-door/open-window vote of the President's cabinet in the Oval Office early next month.

In other news, at a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Wednesday, President Bush slipped up while touting gains in American education, saying "childrens do learn when standards are high."

They certainly does. And the rumble we just heard is the collective sound of the entire world falling over in a dead faint at Bush making a gaffe in public.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Paris' New Boy Toy

How long before she sucks this one dry and spits him out? Honestly, I think she was mainly intrigued by his last name. She probably thought it was an ointment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Which Aaron Answers Other People's Advice Columns

DEAR MARGO: I think my issue is one of the oldest in the book. My fiance and I currently live together. He owns his own business and works from home. I work in an office, and my job is extremely "people-intensive" and emotionally draining.

I often arrive home to a filthy house. I am expected to be peppy and upbeat while I clean up after him, cook dinner and listen to how his day has gone. I have brought this issue up a number of times, and while it might change briefly, we snap back into the same habits as soon as I quit my kvetching.

I don't want to go into our marriage already being the nagging wife, yet it is irritating that it does not occur to him to pitch in. When he chooses to, I am expected to practically give him a medal for doing what I unceremoniously do every day. Anytime the subject of our having children comes up, I simply cringe. I can only see it as another person to attend to!

What's most frustrating about this is, beyond these issues, he is an amazing man . . . the most charming, honest and sincere person I have ever known. I believe he loves me very deeply (as I do him). Is this just a case of you can't have it all?

--Someday My Prince Will Clean


Someday science will turn urine to wine, too--how long do you wanna wait? "Listen to how his day has gone?!" Why doesn't he start with where his day has gone? Answer: not too fucking far, since he "runs his own business from home" and can sit on his ass all day long. And of course he's "charming, honest, sincere" and all that shit--he has the emotional energy left to BE all those things because he doesn't even have to get dressed to go to work, and he's not cleaning up his own squalid messes. I'll bet he smells like a rhinoceros' ass, too, what with not having to shower and all.

Hand him a mop and tell him to pull his "charming, sincere" thumb out of his ass and cook his own goddamned meals. (But if I were you, I'd go out for dinner--you don't want food poisoning.)

Dear Amy: Our family has recently become connected to another family through a relative's marriage. We see this couple at family gatherings.

The husband is a religious fundamentalist. He recently self-published a book expressing his views, and he gave autographed copies to everyone in our family. He has also sent e-mails and postcards asking us to encourage our friends to buy his book.

No one in our family shares his views. So far, we have responded with silence to all of these overtures, but, as we are likely to see him at Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is likely that he will expect some reaction.

I don't want to hurt his feelings, but at the same time I don't want to imply that I found the book enlightening or artistically pleasing.

What do you suggest?

--Walking on Eggshells


Fuck the eggshells, baby, it's time to make omelettes. He'll want a reaction at Christmas? Try mooning him. I guarantee that will get his attention. As far as "not wanting to hurt his feelings," when have you ever met a religious fundamentalist who didn't go out of their way to offend and condemn anyone who didn't agree with them? I suggest you tell this crackpot to read his Bible more carefully, and he'll see that part where Jesus threw the money-lenders and merchants out of the temple. Know what that means? It means that RELIGION IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT COMMERCE, and he should put his faith where his mouth is and give this book away for free if he wants people to be so damned enlightened. Or else he could write about something else, like the family dog. It made a mint for the Bush family--and now the dog's getting married!

Dear Abby: My friend and I read your column often and usually agree with your advice, but we could not disagree more with your response to "Definitely Not Your Ma'am in South Carolina." She's the woman who feels that being addressed as "ma'am" is derogatory because she thinks it's a derivative of "mammy" and another way of keeping women in their place.

You told her she was mistaken -- that "ma'am" is a contraction of the word "madam" and an often regional form of respectful address to an adult (usually married) woman.

Well, Abby, we do not consider "ma'am" a term of respect!

Of course, in theory, the term is respectful. But notice how men have been given one "age-free" form of address ("sir") that follows them from age 9 to 90, while women are addressed according to their age.

Most of the women we know, regardless of geographic location, loathe that moment they are forced into "ma'am land."

-- Don't Ma'am Us Either


OK, I won't call you "ma'am." How does "dumbass" work for you?

Yes. I thought you'd like that better. Honestly, I don't believe I've ever referred to a 9-year-old as "sir." And I always address women that I don't know as "ma'am," regardless of age, because I don't know their name and "bitch" is too rude.

Get over yerself.


That's all for this week, folks! Look for the next installment when hapless folks write to advice columnists asking for no-brain, common sense advice, or as my misanthropy arises...

The Long and Winding Blog...Part Two...


After spending a more restful night (I have to hand it to Mom--she has great DVDs--I watched "A Hard Day's Night" and had a few good laughs), I went in on Sunday morning. She still quizzed me about various family members, including grandma again (she didn't cry this time) and her friend Valita, who just passed away this past winter. She had an inkling that Valita was gone (she was 92 years old), but didn't remember the actual passing. She asked me about a few other folks, and I tired of being her Harbinger of Death. I decided to let her watch "Sanford and Son" on TV Land for a while.

She has quite the imagination, my mom...she said that we'd gone to church Saturday (we hadn't--although there was a service offered at the home, we didn't go, and Mom's a fallen-away Catholic so she doesn't attend services anyway), she and I had gone to see my Dad (uh-UH...he's remarried and no way would she set foot in his house--she's never lived there), and my cousin Hank had been to visit (no, although he did come to the hospital when she was there, and his sister came Saturday and yesterday with her son). I started to realize that there's a blurry line between what she remembers and what's her imagination. My favorite moment was when her friend Kathy from work was visiting Saturday and Mom remembered she and I planting some seeds in the yard and once they grew (beautifully, as she remembers) we got high together. I can categorically state that this did not happen. I would certainly remember if it had!

My second favorite moment was last night when I went down to the dining room to get her some tomato soup (she didn't want to eat in the dining room). As I was walking past the rec room, there were a bunch of old ladies in wheelchairs, and one of them was snapping, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" I happened to look over and realized she was addressing me.

"Pardon?" I said.

"Pardon your left ass!" said the old charmer.

"Up yours, lady," I replied in my best, breaking-point-trying-my-hardest-not-to-throw-a-wheelchair-like-a-shotput voice. And continued down to the dining room. As I passed by on the way back with the tray of tomato soup, I heard her again: "Hey! Hey! Hey!" I flipped her off behind my back and kept walking.

Now, you're probably saying, "That was mean, Aaron. That old lady probably had Alzheimer's and didn't know what she was saying."

Well, then she probably didn't know that I flipped her off, either. Everybody wins.


I stayed through her physical therapy session today. They helped her stand and take some steps hanging onto the parallel bars. They let her rest for a few minutes. The second time, she got up a little easier, and the female physical therapist (I think her name's Tracy or Stacy) just held her lightly by the belt that they put around her chest. Brad (the other one) followed her slowly with the wheelchair, just in case...Mom held onto the bars and took very small steps down the length of the bar. With very little support.

I smiled REAL big this time.

I'm not sure what will happen with the memory thing...some of it may come back, some may not, it may all come back after some while. She just started the Ritalin Friday, and they said it takes about a week to really start working. But I think what's happening is that she's getting bored or tired and her mind wanders...that's why she has these funny fuzzy false memories. Now she has to do the hard work of concentrating and locking these things into her mind. They'll also be working with her on her memory.

I've asked them to bring smaller plates of food, too...I think that will be less intimidating to her and she might finish more of it.

I'm going back every two weeks or so...I'm expecting that the next time I go, she'll be walking. Clearly, her not eating much over the weekend hasn't hurt her strength. So I'm not going to fret about it anymore. I'm going to tell Fay, too, so she doesn't worry about it.

The Long And Winding Blog...A Saga in Two Parts...

I just got back from central IL yesterday, visiting Mom in the care facility...what an interesting weekend it's been, emotionally and physically. Due to its length, this blog will be in two parts...


I got to the facility (the nursing home, if you will--and I DID back in the 70s, when that's all it was and my school choir used to sing there among the seniors yelling at each other and biting) Friday at about 1:00. Mom had been speaking with one of the nurses, who was quizzing her on her address, phone number, etc. (her short term memory is mucho bad, still). She had a good afternoon session of physical therapy and they were happy with her (it was only her second day of that).

In my previous entry, I mentioned getting "tough" with her. And boy, this weekend, I was. Abundantly. She still won't eat much at all--they'll bring her tray and she'll take one or two bites and that's it. She has been drinking the health drink they give her three times a day, which is about 500 calories a serving, with 19 grams of fat and 23 grams of protein, so at least she's getting something, but she's being a real pain in the ass about food. When they say what they're bringing, she'll say it sounds good, but then when they actually bring it, she wrinkles her nose and won't eat it. The first time, I said, "Instead of sitting there making cute little faces, why don't you try actually eating it?"

"I can't eat all that," is her answer.

"You don't have to eat all of it, but you're going to eat some of it."

One of her nurses (her primary caregiver right now) turns out to have a family connection with us: she was once married to my Aunt Fay's nephew (the son of the sister she hates and only refers to as Fat Ass). So Sandy (not her real name) calls her Aunt Fay, too. And she hates Fat Ass with a passion. (They harrassed her after the divorce, flashing lights in her window in the middle of the night and making prank calls. Her father paid Fat Ass a visit and soon put a stop to it.) Fay's my mom's sister-in-law, so I'm not related to Fat Ass's son by blood, but I quickly grew to love Sandy as if she were family, which she will be by the time Mom gets out of there. Friday night, after another round of not eating (both Fay and I were cajoling with her), Sandy shut the door and gave Mom the queen mother of all "come to Jesus talks."

"You're 60 years old. Look around these halls--these other folks have to be here. They can't be independent anymore and they have no family--I'm the only family they have. You have a terrific family and you're strong enough to get better and do this on your own. You want to stay here? You want me to help you to the bathroom, feed your meals, wipe you? I'll do that because it's my job. But if you want to walk out that door on your own, you need to start eating. We'll bring you anything you want. But you gotta meet us halfway."

I silently applauded. Mom nodded really slowly, although I knew it was going to be a battle of wills to get food in her.


I was right--by Saturday afternoon, when her lunch came, we were back to square one. This is how it always happened:

Food arrives on tray. Mom says to me, "You want some of this?"

"No, Mom, I don't--that's your food, and you're going to eat it."

"I can't eat all this."

"Pick up your fork and start eating! I don't care if you don't finish it, but you will eat some of it."

Mom gives Aaron baleful look and takes two bites. Then stops.

"Fine, Mom...we'll sit here and take our time. But you'll finish at least one of those things."

She never did, of course. I thought, maybe it's the food. To be frank, some things weren't very appetizing. I tried them myself and knew that if I didn't have much appetite, this wouldn't exactly kick-start it. So I went across the street to her apartment and cooked some pasta and sauce and took it over to her.

She ate five bites. I smiled.

Saturday night, however, she wouldn't eat dinner again. I had gone to the dining room and gotten her some carrots, rice and a pork chopette (spelled "copette"). She ate one bite and refused anymore. I flipped my lid.

"What the hell's wrong with you?! Do you realize that you're not getting out of here unless you start eating and get strong enough to walk??" Another baleful Mom look.

"I just can't eat all that."

I was near tears of frustration at this point. Fortunately, Fay and my Uncle Jim were coming in around that time. Sandy was close behind and could see trouble was afoot.

"What's the matter, hon? You don't like it?"

She brought Mom a Rice Krispie treat and some strawberry ice cream. Mom turned to me and said "You want some of this?" All over again. And I knew it would never stop.

That did it. I started sputtering and stammering and said, "I'm going outside. I'm going outside for a minute, I'll be back." I stomped through the hallway and out the door and down to the end of the driveway, where I lit a cigarette and turned around and around like Blanche Hudson in her wheelchair. I turned to go back in and Fay was coming outside. "You OK?"

"I will be. I think I'm just going to stop fighting her on this. Maybe the Ritalin will make her hungry, but I'm just too tired to fight with her." We went back inside. Mom had nibbled at the Rice Krispie Treat and started on the ice cream, which she finished. It was a start. I started to realize that she doesn't remember from one minute to the next what she says until she's reminded...this accounts for the same problem every mealtime, I'm thinking...

We went back to her room and got her ready for bed. She asked me "Am I losing my mind?"

"No, mom...your chemo made you weak, you were really sick and didn't eat for about 6 weeks. You were getting IVs at the hospital, but weren't getting any calories. Your brain's gone into 'hibernate' mode, and you need to get built back up. That's why you need to eat."

She asked me about various family members. She clearly had no short-term memory of things that happened after about 1994. After we got her in bed, she asked me, "How's grandma?" Meaning Dad's mom, whom she stayed close with after the divorce.

"Well, grandma passed away a few years ago."

Mom was there when grandma died, but she didn't remember. So I got to watch her grieve all over again. Lovely.

I went to the local pizzeria/bar and had three beers and half a pack of cigarettes...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A "Coming-Out" Party

My mother is being discharged from the hospital today and the facility across the street from her apartment in her town has accepted her. So when I go visit again Friday, I can literally run back across the street if there's anything she wants. I can bring her movies, books, etc. I'm really happy about that.

The change of location might also help her memory, which is still patchy and not coming together well. At this point, it's hard to tell what will come back, but with good occupational and physical therapy (since she hasn't been on her feet in so long), she'll have a much better chance. My aunt is still getting the run-around on getting a second opinion on mom's neurological diagnosis, because "the doctor says the hospital has to OK it, the hospital says it's up to the doctor," etc. But I told her that once she's in the care facility, we can get another assessment independently of the hospital rules. My aunt agreed, although she pointed out that it will mean another trip in the ambulance, since mom still can't ride in the car. But we'll get this worked out--I know we will...

She's being transferred at 5:00PM today. I may need to sign and fax back some papers as her POA, so my aunt will call me if they need my signature.

So, this is the next step on mom's journey. I'm really relieved, and nervous at the same time. But I think that being out of the hospital might help, since it's a more familiar looking place and may jog her memory (especially when she sees her apartment building and car).

As always, thanks to all for their good thoughts and prayers! They seem to be working...

Monday, September 17, 2007

When Grandpappy Has A Secret...

I saw this letter in "Ask Amy" recently, on the subject of people finding "embarrassing possessions" in their deceased loved ones' homes after their deaths:

Dear Amy: Grandpa died more than 10 years ago, and Grandma has recently gone into assisted living. This has left my mom, aunt and grandchildren to go through things at the house.

My grandmother seemingly had nothing to hide. Nothing juicy in her dressers, no hidden cache of naughty bits. My grandpa, however, left marijuana joints hidden in desk drawers and in his toolboxes.

We figure these came from his brother, also long deceased, who grew marijuana in his back yard. We also found porn in the garage tucked in with repair manuals -- and pictures of naked Army buddies sunbathing in Fiji during WW II. All of this from a pretty strict Catholic.

People are human. They have vices. None of us was disgusted, shocked or appalled at what we found. I'm going to leave behind something, I'm sure, that others will raise their eyebrows at. Who cares? You're gone.

-- Not Ashamed

Whoever Grandpa was, he's my frickin' HERO! Especially the part about the photos:

"Naked Army buddies"?

Go Grandpa!

Coach House With A View...

I just got back from Peoria Saturday night, visiting La Mama at OSF St. Francis Hospital (Forest Park wing--the "coach house"). I'm cautiously optimistic right now, so my report will reflect this mood...

I went down on Thursday morning, and was really dismayed at what I saw at first--she seemed very confused and asked me what year I was in college, where she lived and where I lived. Also, her left eyelid was drooping and she was squinting a lot, making me really fear she'd had a stroke. However, the EEG results were normal, and she'd already had an MRI which was clear. Friday morning, I went with her to radiology, where they did a spinal tap to check for any problems there. Nothing. My aunt still wants to (and we concur) get a second opinion, since the symptoms are so stroke-like, and there's "something missing," as she says.

Absent the stroke diagnosis, the only thing to conclude is that the Avastin (chemo), combined with over six weeks of not eating anything substantial, plus the diarrhea from the Avastin, left her in a really weakened state and caused her brain to malfunction. Her oncologists hopes that these effects will wear off eventually. I was encouraged, too, because the more time I spent with her, the more signs I got that things were trying to "come back," so to speak. When she saw visitors from her office (and there were many--it was great), she remembered their kids' names, where they'd been on vacation, etc. It's still very "in-and-out," though, and she has patches of forgetfulness that are quite large. But she's eating regular food now (and can even hold a fork on her own, albeit shakily), and I was supervising her meals on Friday and Saturday (basically standing over her, ordering her to eat and feeding her when she wouldn't).

She will definitely need transitional occupational and physical therapy (due to the memory issues and her general weakness), but there's a terrific facility in Chillicothe, right across the street from where she lives, and they are a PPO provider, which is covered by her insurance, so she might go there. Not sure when she's leaving the hospital yet, so this is all yet to be determined. (Ironically, the facility in question was just a scary old nursing home with a different name when I was a kid--when I was in the St. Edwards kids' choir we used to sing there for the old folks and they were clearly suffering from what we now know was Alzheimer's. Amazing how things change with better management! And treatment methods.)

Thanks to everyone for the good thoughts and wishes and prayers! They are much appreciated...

Oh, and Taylor Joans (Ross) and I laid down the initial foundation of Ed-Joans-as-Carol Ann's new song, "You'll Never Find Another Woman Like Me." It needs a bridge or final verse, and maybe a key change, but so far it's peppy and fun and a little spicy. It's the Taco Bell of pop music.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well, at least they all agree on ONE thing...

Religious leaders of various faiths gather on the Illusisat glacier in Greenland to pray for the future of the planet.

Can we get some money from the Federal Government for this project? Why, we could slip it in as on of those "faith-based initiatives" that seem to be all the rage these days...

Monday, September 10, 2007

So Long, Mrs. Gipper The First

AP Photo.

Jane Wyman has died at 93. A ripe old age, to be sure, and one that she certainly earned. While she'll be remembered for many roles, to me she'll always be Hayley Mills's Aunt Polly in Pollyanna and, of course, Angela Channing on "Falcon Crest" (where she showed three emotions during the whole run of the series--"flinty," "steely" and "hard").

But before either of those, she was Ronald Reagan's wife. They were married for several years and had two children. During a 1960s interview, Jane explained the reasons she never talked about Reagan:

"It's not because I'm bitter or because I don't agree with him politically. I've always been a registered Republican. But it's bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives, that's all. Also, I don't know a damn thing about politics."

Well, we figured out that last part when you said you were a Republican.

Anyway, Jane, rest in peace. Thanks for the flicks and for being the best TV bitch of the 80s! (Those dressmakers' dummies on "Dynasty" could have learned a lot from you--but failed to.)

Ol' Lady, I'mo Put You In A Home!

I spoke with my aunt this morning, and she says that the oncologist was in this morning with mom's MRI results and they're clear ("which shocked me," my aunt says). So we're very, very happy about that.

We're also happy because mom will be discharged in a few days, but instead of sending her right home, they're going to do what they should have done last time, and put her in a "halfway home" sort of center where she can be rehabilitated and strengthened before she goes home.

This was a huge relief to me, because it became obvious to us this weekend that mom needs to get "built up" again, and she can't (or won't) do it on her own. She hasn't really eaten in six weeks, and she's so weak she can't think or walk. She's only 60, and it's way too early for that sort of deterioration. I called her Saturday and she was pretty good, but I called her twice yesterday and she was out of it. Never in my life have I not been able to have a conversation with my mom, but it happened twice yesterday, and it really bothered me. There were literally two or three minutes of dead silence on the phone while I waited for her to say something. And I can only ask "are you eating?" so many times before I sound like I'M the one who belongs in a home.

More as the story develops...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mother Update

Well, I was SO excited that mom came home yesterday from the hospital, but now my aunt has called me and said that they shouldn't have sent her home so soon...she's really weak and can hardly walk (well, she hadn't been taking walks in the hospital, which she probably should have, to get her built up).

So we are back to square one...I don't know what we're gonna do! (To quote my aunt.)

UPDATE: My aunt called me earlier to let me know that they've readmitted my mom to the hospital. She sounded much less panicked than she did this morning, which is good thing. I think she's relieved that Mom's under supervision (since they all have to work and can't be with her all day). And maybe this time, they'll take her for walks in the hallway, like they SHOULD have done last time!

She's going to give me mom's room number and phone number when she has them, so I'll give her a call tomorrow...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's Important For Our First Lady To Have A Cute Little Hobby

When she isn't writing children's books with her daughter (and let's face it, it's really for hubby, isn't it?), Laura Bush is working hard on behalf of a jailed opposition leader in Burma.

Isn't that sweet?

She and 16 senators worked hard on a draft to send to the U.N. (you know, the organization that her husband wants to distance us from? Apparently, it's O.K. as long as it serves certain ends) to call on the Myanmar government to release 62-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, whose been under house arrest since protesting price hikes in Burma.

Here are a few highlights:

"military regime...listen to the people"

"military regime...listen to the people"

Yes, I know, it's the same words, but I got stuck on it because she used them in THE SAME SENTENCE! Yes, she actually said it's important for a military regime to listen to the people! Good God, does she not see the irony??

So Laura doesn't like people being detained for no good reason? Hmmm...oh, excuse me, gotta clear my throat.


There...all better...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Yay! Mumsie* Goes Home Tomorrow...

I just got off the phone with mom...they're taking her down to remove the old port they installed for her chemo in June (and which got infected and they couldn't use, so she had to take the chemo through a vein in her arm). She'd said before that she wasn't going to let them put another one in, but she told me a few minutes ago that they're putting one in on the other side (they install it just near the neck arteries). Probably because her veins are in such bad shape from all the chemo that it's hard for the nurses to find one that works!

She sounded pretty chipper, too...nobody's been in today, but she's had lots of phone calls.

The big news is that she's going home tomorrow! Well, not her apartment, because the stairs might still be a bit too much with her sprained foot (did I mention she sprained her foot two weeks ago? Yeah, she looked terrible when I first saw it Saturday, and that was after a week! It looked better by the time I left, but it needs more time to heal).

Anyway, she's going to be staying with my aunt and uncle, who live right down the road from her, so it's easy to get the whole family in one fell visit when I go.

The other day, while I was still there, she ate solid food for the first time in about two weeks (she'd been getting liquids before that). She had half a turkey sandwich (leaving most of the bread, but still...). And let me tell ya, I saw that sandwich and I don't think even I could have eaten it! So that was pretty encouraging...

Yay! Another milestone in the Mumsie* Recovery...

*OK, here's the deal...years ago, we watched "Mother Love" with Diana Rigg on PBS, and I dug the book up at the library to read it. She was a psychotic paranoid divorcee who forbade her grown son from contacting his father. He did, of course, which opened a whole 'nother can of worms...but anyway, in the book, she refers to her mother as "Mumsie," so I started calling Mom that as a joke. I used to call her "Mommie Dearest," but she was not amused...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A "Let's-Get-Over-Ourselves" Moment...

Uh-oh, Jerry Lewis dropped the F-bomb toward the end of this year's Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. No, not the one Cheney likes so well. The other one--the anti-gay slur. And true to tradition, GLAAD, which has lately seemed to make a habit of giving a pass to the truly objectionable while roundly condemning the non-malicious blunders, has stepped into the fray. Of course they have--it's expected.

GLAAD President Neil Giuliano says that Lewis' use of the word "fag" (as a whole word or a fraction of a word, it wasn't clear from the broadcast) is simply unacceptable, and "could inspire anti-gay violence."

Of course it could inspire anti-gay violence, if any of the telethon watchers weren't of a median age of 75, and actually took the words of a very tired 81-year-old in poor health at all seriously.

Oh, yes, I can see it now: two redneck teenagers sit in the bed of a pickup truck, sipping Busch straight from the can, throwing the empties onto the gravel drive.

"Cletus," says the skinny, toothless blond, "I was watching that thar Nuke-yoo-lar Dis-trophy telephone the other night, and I heard Jerry Lee Lewis say 'fag.' Why, if he's a-makin' of 'em, we jest GOTTA go out and kill every one of 'em."

"I'm with you, Jesse," says the other skinny, toothless blond. "Now let's fuck. We ARE cousins, after all."

Whoops, wrong story. I think I saw it once on the "Dukes of Hazzard." Or maybe it was a nightmare, inspired by God knows what.

In any event, let's get hold of ourselves here. It was JERRY LEWIS, for Christ's sakes--he's hardly Malachi to the Children of the Corn, is he? I don't think he's busily inciting anti-gay violence among the masses. He's busy doing other things, like raising money for Muscular Dystrophy and not dropping over dead. Cut him some slack for crying out loud.

Also, Neil, let's look at your communication style. It just screams "WHINER." Every time you make a mountain out of one of these molehills, you're casting all gay men and women as a bunch of dour crybabies who can't take an offhand comment by an ailing old man with a pinch of salt. It's not like he withheld funding for AIDS research to a generation of people, while declaring ketchup to be a vegetable so that school lunches could meet FDA guidelines more cheaply. (That was the OTHER feeble old man.)

So choose your battles a little more sparingly, OK, Neil? And don't try to speak for me, please--I can make myself look like a moron all by my lonesome with no help from you.