Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Update: Please note that I know these brave people risk their lives...which is why the more support they receive the safer they will be.
Also go to Michelle Malkin for updates and how to peacefully protest in New York City at the Danish Embassy. Get involved! (Just keep scrolling down the post.)
It's about time! I've been ranting and raving about Islamism and the cow-towing of Western Democracies. It must stop. Civilization depends on free people fighting the IDEOLOGICAL battle for freedom! The New York Times, CNN and all the other pusillanimous media outlets who refuse to print the "offensive" religious cartoons in question to mollify peace-hating Islamists reveal themselves to be hypocritical at best and derelict in duty at worst thus aiding and abetting the enemy. AND WE (all freedom loving and equal-rights upholding people) DO HAVE AN ENEMY much as some would like to magic that reality away.
Here is the letter, in its entirety:
Together facing the new totalitarianism
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Is it wrong to say Amen? Amen. Read more here.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:57 PM
According to Awful Plastic Surgery, Fergie has had some bad plastic surgery. I dunno. I think she kinda looks good.
And Katherine Zeta Jones? Oh, please, please Katherine. You're perfect! Don't touch that face of yours. Don't ruin one thing. And stop smoking.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:18 PM
The government this week is now admitting that the 23 year old man's Jewishness "probably had to do with why he was killed." Really?
Did you know that over 500,000 Jews live in France? I didn't. Will they hold fire to the feet of the apathetic government? I hope so.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:58 PM
See, told ya.
Is it racist/bigoted/stupid to burn down embassies? Is it wrong to never condemn these actions?
While I think there are lots of good Muslims out there, hesitation due to the sensitive nature of job in the context of post-9/11 doesn't seem to be racist. It seems to be common sense.
Getting rid of Miers wasn't sexist. She didn't have the mental chops for the job.
Getting rid of the UAE based company (or at least pausing to investigate further) to manage our ports isn't racist. It is sensible. The bombers weren't from France. And I wouldn't even want a French company doing the management. So there! I'm a Francophobe, too.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:37 PM
If you want to know how one of the busiest women in the world manages to cut a lithe figure while eating great food and sitting on her butt--a lot--read more here. You'll have to get up early to learn her tricks, though.
Do I need any more shame in my life? I'm not sure.....
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:34 PM
What is the solution to insurance? Right now, Maryland is forcing Wal-Mart to offer insurance to it's people or else they will be taxed to make up the Medicaid costs. I'm listening to Rush right now and he's apoplectic. With good reason, I think.
I am not against poor people. When it comes to insurance, I am poor people. We have a high deductible plan $5,500.00/year before one penny of insurance is invoked. Every year we have sidled right up to the $5,000 mark. Every disease-ridden year. Oy.
At our office, we do not accept Medicare/Medicaid. If a patient with that coverage wants us to treat them (because we're the best Alternative Health Care Providers in Houston, of course), they must sign a waiver. They must pay...in cash.
Why don't we provide for the government? Because he is an odious taskmaster, that's why. It is impossible to please him. He pays terrible. We can do nothing right. And when we are wrong, we don't just pay them or people back, we go to Federal Mandated-sentences Jail. Am I being alarmist? Probably. Our office is small potatoes compared to other practices out there, but we must comply to all the crazy rules, too. The regulations stiffle patient care and if you really care about the patient you give lots of services away for free. And why not? This is America--HOME OF THE FREE.
The government is bad enough. The Insurance Companies, the government dressed up in ruffled skirts and stilettos, is equally as bad. Cutting fees like a deranged seamstress, rejecting pleas for payment with callous disregard, limiting patient treatment like sadistic bureaucrats they are all adds up to lots of pain and little gain. Little health gain. Little wealth gain. And the two are connected.
The solution? Go after companies and MAKE them pay their employees health coverage! Yeah, that's the ticket!
Hey, wait a minute. I am an employer, too. Barely able to cover my own health care expenses, we would have to get rid of our two part-time employees if we were forced to pay their insurance coverage, too. It's just to much.
The problem, as always, is the government. Insurance companies now follow Medicaid's lead when it comes to coverage. The government covers the barest minimum for health care survival. So insurance companies have followed their lead. Interestingly, though, fees for one thing are excessive, things for others are obscenely low. Some specialties thrive. Some are dying. General practitioners in stand-alone practices are dying breeds.
What is happening is this: Doctors and patients are turning back to an old standard: CASH. You see, when a patient pays cash, he seems to miraculously get better faster. You might think that it's the doctors sucking up all the coverage and in some cases that is true. But for doctors like us who want our patients to get healthy ASAP, we find that our cash patients consistently follow care recommendations more closely, respond to treatment quicker and generally take charge of life more. They have a BIG incentive to do so--their own pocketbook. While the insurance patients tend to look at their insurance plans as banks from which you can indefinitely withdraw. SOMEONE is paying those bills people. You want taxes to go down? You want your pay at work to go up? Lower your health care usage. Most of it's crap anyway.
Here is what we did for our son because of our lack of health care coverage. Some of you might think that it proves we need universal coverage, but I don't think so. When Little Toot burned his hand, it was an obvious emergency. We knew that we had a $500 payment minimum for what would probably be a one-hour hospital stay, but we had to do it. So we did. At the hospital, the doctor showed us how to treat the burn. We watched closely. He gave us explicit directions for care. We listened attentively. When we got home. We did exactly as told.
Now, the doctor wanted us to follow up with a Hand Surgeon the next day. That would have been at least another $200. For what? So she could look at the hand and tell us what we knew: that the hand was healing nicely and quicker than expected considering the severity of the burns. She would have then asked us to come back in one week--another $200.
Do you see? The care is approaching $1000, actually with the prescription pain medication and hand cream, would have been $1000. Instead, because we are paying the bill ourselves, the bill is around $500. And our son's hand is healing pefectly fine.
Yes, we are doctors ourselves, so feel more confident evaluating the healing process. But that's just the point. For other people it might well be worth their money to get the follow up care because they lack expertise.
For example, when we go to the car dealership, we have to pay for a lot of care that other people might not because they know how to fix it. We don't. Likewise, a lawyer might not have to pay for law advice because she knows it. Or a grocer can skim old produce off the shelf because it will go to waste anyway and he'll save money.
When it comes to cash, people are more willing to deal, too. No patient who needs care but can't afford care gets overlooked in our practice. Thousands of dollars of care gets given away every year in our practice and in doctor's offices (especially the independent ones--the big hospital-affiliated practices don't give as much away because billing is separated from the one giving the service--the doctor) across the USA. And that is as it's should be. We are in a helping profession. We like to help.
I am loathe, however, to see corporate patients with rich health care benefits while their insurance cuts my fees to nothing. In some cases, we go behind financially with insurance covered patients who could more than pay for their care! That is an uneven exchange. The patients are numbed by their relationship with the Insurance Company. They no longer see themselves as consumers. They see themselves as beneficiaries and get angry when they actually get billed for services not covered by their insurance. Newsflash! Why should doctors be expected to work for free? More than many other professions, we have HUGE costs to operate our business. I don't even like to add up our insurance coverage (doctors are big targets), money we spend on accountants (IRS likes doctors too), and then there are our fat college loans.
Cash, which forces a direct doctor-patient (service provider-consumer) relationship, solves this. Doctors can cut fees at their discretion. Patients have to explain to their service provider directly why they can't pay. Doctors can choose to give extra services. Doctors can give the care they believe the patient needs. Doctors can spend the time they would like to understand the problem.
What about high-cost treatments? Well, you know what, a lot of treatments are bunk, but insurance pays them. Consumers would get smarter. Episiotomies? That $400 procedure has absolutely no medical benefit, but it is done all the time. Caesareans? No, "elective" procedures should ever be covered. There is too much risk. But insurance pays them. Blood thinners with Angioplasty? Actually make outcomes worse. But insurance pays it. Angioplasty itself? Not effective one year out, but insurance pays it. Knee surgery? Back surgery? Bunk and bunk. Done all the time and insurance pays it.
Why does insurance pay this stuff? Heck if I know! Why do patients submit to these ridiculous, painful, unhelpful procedures? Mostly becuase they have the s%#t scared out of them and "Something MUST BE DONE". Bah! So many patients would rather have a sexy surgery, than exercise, change their diet or do the very unsexy work to get back to health--because they wrongly believe the "procedure" will save them time and money (because the hard work stuff isn't paid for by insurance). Which it doesn't.
Our practice is full of post-surgery pain-filled people who are as bad off or worse than before their procedure. That's why we call our office a RESORT--the last resort. Frustrated, embaressed, the patients are willing to try anything to get back to their old way when "standard practices" and "procedures" fail them.
That is not to say Modern Medicine fails everyone. On the contrary, patients need surgeons to cut out bad stuff, emergency medicine in emergencies and high-tech diagnostic procedures to catch bad stuff before it gets really, really bad. That costs money. A lot of money.
The high-deductible insurance is a good choice. Consumers will have to decide if the problem their facing rises to the level of serious monitary investment. No? Maybe they dodge a bullet and the problem goes away. Yes? Maybe they pay money for nothing. Yes? Maybe they catch a life-threatening problem.
Patients know. They might be in denial, but they know, often intuitively, when something is not good. Doctors are notoriously wrong when it comes to knowing how much worry to invest in a patient's symptoms. This is proven as more and more care is dictated by computers because they are less wrong than human doctors! (Heart attack signs are better evaluated by a complex computer algorhythm than people. It's true. The computer ignores all the doctor's biases. Even really good doctors.)
Let the patients decide. They have to live with the results anyway. When costs come down because patients take their health into their own hands, the result may be that more employers pay for the high-deductible plans. It's a nice BENEFIT.
Insurance is not an obligation of the government or big business. It just creates a further class divide. Health care payment is the obligation of individuals. Everyone needs to remember this as their insurance coverage dwindles.
The country will be a better place when insurance companies diminish and the consumers take charge again.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:42 PM
Holland's warning is clear. Douglas Murray relates how the loss of free speech will change all of our lives. Free speech means freely saying just about anything--except it seems, to report the obvious: that Islam is the current tool of undereducated, angry, suppressed, impoverished (morally, ethically and socially) people and those who want to suppress them with simple-minded ideology.
Please note that I'm not saying that Islam is necessarily simple-minded. I don't know enough about the religion to make that statement. But any religion in the hands of egomaniacal tyrants whose only motivation is self-interest will become a tool to enslave people. Make no mistake, those who worship at the fanatical fringes (or is it more mainstream than we like to admit?) of Islam are enslaved by choice to a cult, an ideology that suppresses even as it gives license to the basest human urges: revenge, domination, and glory. There is nothing more dangerous than immorality backed up by God, Himself.
This trend toward Islamic fascism will not stop. History has shown that it must be pushed back and that to only contain it. Why won't it stop? A little Biblical history is in order:
- True believing Islamists (as opposed to the weak, back-sliding "moderate" Muslims who say nothing for fear of their own lives) know that they are the heirs of the FIRST born son of Abraham--Ishmael. Isaac whose name was changed to Israel wasn't the first-born son at all, in their opinion, and should not have been so blessed. It is unfair and wrong. Israel must pay. Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Sarah's (his wife's) handmaiden Hagar, was the special one for many years before baby Isaac came on the scene and ruined everything. When Isaac turned five, Sarah finally weened him (can you blame her, she was in her 80s when she finally had her kid--I'd spoil him, too) and Abraham had a party to celebrate. Ishmael, being the older brother, taunted Isaac (can't you just hear him saying "Mama's boy!" and then Isaac crying, which only proved the point). Hagar had been insufferable for quite some time and refused to take direction from her boss once Ishmael was around. Sarah took it for so long, but had had it at the party. Sarah begged Abraham to turn them both out. Abraham was distressed (he loved Ishmael) and asked God what to do. And God said, "Listen to your wife." Read the whole account in Genesis 21. Hagar wasn't much of a believer as she sat in the desert waiting to die, but Ishmael was and he prayed to God. God told Hagar,"Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand: for I will make him a great nation." And he is a great nation today.
- True believing Islamists share the following trait with their father Ishmael. I quote here the King James version of the Bible in Genesis 16:12 where the Angel of God talks to Hagar who has run away from Sarah because Sarah wasn't too kind to the unsubmissive Egyptian woman, "...you shalt bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael: because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." Can you think of a better description of the Middle East?
There are plenty of secularized Christians and Agnostics or even Atheists whose new religion is Humanism mixed with a little Relativism, who view this history as pure silliness. All ideas and people are the same. What quaint little ideas are put forth in the Bible. Or even more likely: the ideas in the book cause the world's conflict--the solution is to get rid of religion all together and work together person to person.
Many Jews I know seem to shy away from their "destiny" wanting to melt into the surroundings as average people. You might too, if you knew the prophecies yet to come. As the people in France and the rest of Europe prove, though, anonymity will elude Israel's descendents just as peace will elude Ishmael's.
Isn't it amazing how the legacy of two brothers affects us all?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:52 AM
Monday, February 27, 2006
While looking to see what the folks at Passionate Users were up to, I read and went to the link about a friend whose daughter Elena had just died. While the years fade away the sharpness of the pain of the loss of a child, when my mind turns to it, Andrew's death is like a present-time-consciousness thing. I'm in the hospital. The weight of the decisions are upon me. The pain is real. My grief immediate.
It is helpful during our narcissistic forays into everyday life, to remember that people all over the world suffer unspeakable grief. Tsunamis, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, disease, accidents, war, famine, life have taken children from parents. Every death is a tragedy. Every sorrow personal. A parent is never the same. Never.
It pains me that one more family suffers. Thy Kingdom Come.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:51 PM
For oh, let's see, three or four years now (you'd think I would know this more clearly but oy, kids drain your brain) I've owned/operated/directed Ocean Management, LLC.-- a consulting company that applies some mind-body research to business environments.
The Ocean Method, which I researched and put together works by removing unconscious emotional barriers to success. Anyway, my normal website has been down and out for some time now due to extraordinary technical difficulties. (The programming is intricate and difficult to host. Sigh.) In the meantime, I've thrown together a small website (two pages--that's really, really small) at Google Pages: You can find it at Melissa.Clouthier.
Speaking of, I'm about 90% finished with Phase I of DrClouthier.com. Go check it out and tell me what you think!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:18 PM
I got this link from Seth Godin. It's so true, it's not even funny. In fact, I kinda cried inside as I watched it.
The real problem? The loquacity doesn't end with the packaging. Nothing about Microsoft is simple. Not one thing. Inane error messages taunt you--"Does this mean that my computer is dying?" Stupid multiple steps to fix anything irritate--"Do I have to be a programmer to fix this?" It functions, yes. But ease and beauty?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:02 PM
Depending on who you are, this could be good news or bad news. For the curmudgeons among us, they can add dying to their lists of "one more crappy thing that will happen to me". For the optimistic--they will literally get the last laugh. For those sick of the Polly Annas, at least you'll be out of your misery soon.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:18 PM
Sunday, February 26, 2006
How small is the world? Really, really, really small. Today I received a note in my MySpace account from a guy I went to High School with -- Bobby D'Haene. He was smart, funny, a great musician, theatrical (literally: the lead in Oliver Twist and other local theatre productions), and a nice person. Well, he endured my insufferable shyness and put me on the ticket with him and some other friends to run for Student Government. He won, I lost. Oh well.... But I was a Student Senator anyway. I can't remember his job. See, that Bob? Your "bold inititatives" didn't even stick to one of your most loyal supporters. Anyway, while I could live the rest of my life without being in contact with most of my High School classmates, it was a joy to hear from him and see that he is still rockin'. (And drinkin' and livin' hard by his own account. Could a true rocker be any other way?)
Rock on D'Haene!
Check him out here.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:17 PM
I will keep coming back to this over and over and over. The Europeans view Jews as the biggest threat to peace? Yes 75% in the Netherlands do, 69% in Austria do, and 65% in Germany do--don't worry France only lags a little bit: 59% of their enlightened citizens view Jews as a menace.
Will Europe actually see the truth and stop scapegoating the Jews? Doubtful. Very, very doubtful. Glenn Reynolds still holds out hope for Europe. I don't.
Again, I say to the Jews outside Israel and the U.S.: RUN! Now is the time to leave. Five years from now may be too late. Get out while you can still make money on your business, while you the economy is good and you can get a job.
Interestingly, the poll that Mark Steyn quotes from doesn't say how many people in the U.S. view Jews as "the biggest threat to world peace"--probably because the poll was funded by the European Commission. But I'm curious. For me and my neighbors, I'd think the question is patently absurd on the face of it. It seems racist to even put forth the question. If even 10% of our population believes that, I'm alarmed.
Can you imagine: The greatest threat to world peace:
- The United States of America
- Israel and All Jews
- Communist countries
- The European Union (Heavens no!)
- Islamic Countries
- Al Queada
The fact that anti-semitism is getting more blatant, more bald and vicious scares me. Why? Why? Why would a secular country mind about a tiny percentage of the population? Why would a little Middle Eastern country get so much attention?
Do you know the answer?
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Have you noticed my silence about the ports being run by the UAE issue? With everyone screaming about it, and seemingly so little solid information to be had about it, I have refrained from entering the melee.
Well. The two arguments seem to be thus:
- The UAE aided and abetted the criminals who terrorized us. They are Islamic. They have every reason to allow money, arms, and very bad things into the heart of the enemy--US. Therefore, no company with Islamic Middle Eastern ties should ever be allowed to handle such a sensitive position--ever. Or until the war against the Islamist is won--if ever.
- The UAE has been a loyal ally to the West in the War on Terror. By allowing this business deal to go forth we demonstrate that we are against Terrorists in particular and not Muslims in general. The business deal was between the British and the UAE and we have no legal reason to stand in its way. And, the U.S. will make lots of money. People who are against this deal are xenophobic simpletons.
What was my second reaction? (And this came quickly on the heels of the first.) Dismay. Why was I hearing about this deal from Chuck Anti-War Schumer first? It stinks. What was his motivation? He has been very consistent about his position about the War on Terror--against it. Against the troops. Against any security measures. Against Bush. Ahhhh, there we are. Bush wants the deal. Schumer is against Bush. But that doesn't necessarily make the deal bad. In fact, since I trust Bush more than I'll ever trust Schumer, it makes me rethink my first reaction.
What was my third reaction? Anger. Will this President and Administration EVER take a strong position and L-E-A-D? Oh yes, the War on Terror and all that. The lilly-livered Harriet Miers decision. The knee-jerk airline security decision. The budget and debt and gluttonous pigginess legislation and NOT ONE veto. And now he would veto legislation that would stop the port deal? Is he kidding? No, he's not. That's one thing about G.W.: he means what he says.
Meanwhile, back at the liberal ranch, the talking heads and pundits and know-better-than you newscasters refuse, REFUSE, to report news. Most people, unless they have the internet, have yet to see the "offending" cartoons. The news has become one big propaganda tool--for the enemy. No fires in Paris seen--and it's still not over. No defense of Denmark--a liberal minded democratic country, who by the way, is our ally. Oh, that's right, our ally....so an American liberal's enemy. Because Bush is BAD!
And then, our civil liberties are being chipped away at one peck at a time. Like the Noonan piece--it feels like being in a communist republic to get on a plane these days. The utter nonsense of TERRORIZING common citizens by bureaucratic boobs. ARGGGGH! I always go back to High School, the microcosm of the world that it was, where the Pinkertons would give the common kid without a yellow hall pass shit for having to go the bathroom while the known drug dealers and wastoids were let be because the Pinkertons were scared of them!
Yup, we'll be in a safe U.S.A.: safe from litter, safe from smoke, safe from nail files, safe from HURT FEELINGS, but we will be a wide open book for every half-baked Islamic, Neonazi, White-Supremist, fill-in-the-blank CRAZY LOON because "everyone is beautiful in his own way". In short, we'll be EUROPE.
So back to the port deal. How do I feel? I feel like the President needs to give ALL the information. EVERY LAST BIT OF IT. I think the press needs to check for accuracy. I think that Congress must verify.
Then, the stupid, pick-any rules that are torturing (oh, it's torture by any liberal's definition) common Americans need to be thrown out--NOW!
Americans need to see that we are safer--the statistics. Plots thwarted. They need to see Osama CAUGHT NOW! I don't give a flying flip if it will make life hard with Pakistan. Bin Laden must be strung up.
Americans need to see their government stand up for freedom of speech. The President needs to unequivocally condemn the actions of terrorizing Islamofascists. His courage will again put the presses equivocating in stark contrast.
America must appear SO STRONG that when the idea of a UAE company working in our ports doesn't offend common sense, but rather causes people to pause and look at the facts rationally.
There is a good reason the American people, myself included, question this deal and it is not because I'm xenophobic. I'm government-phobic. I'm law-phobic. I'm bureaucrat-phobic. I do not trust anyone in our government right now to do anything but what is good for them politically. Our safety seems a distant dream.
The big, bloated, ponderous, layered, removed, rarified, self-loving, self-indulgent, out-of-touch, morally bankrupt, thing we call government in the U.S. disgusts me. I had really hoped the Republicans would do it different. I had hoped.
My biggest problem? It's not trusting the UAE. In fact, I'm pretty sure how much to trust them. It's trusting my elected officials to make sure the bureaucrats point their multitudinous weapons where they should be pointed--and that's not at the average American citizen.
Whether this Port Deal goes through or not, the fact remains: Washington elites including and especially the Press trust and protect Islamic madmen more than the average citizen. Enough is enough.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:08 PM
Friday, February 24, 2006
George Will reports about why conservative, southern, sunshine state people are happy and thus? more conservative. Even if you disagree with his sociological analysis, his interpretation is funny--and laughing makes me happy.
But, then, conscientious liberals cannot enjoy automobiles because there is global warming to worry about, and the perils of corporate-driven consumerism, which is the handmaiden of bourgeoisie materialism. And high-powered cars (how many liberals drive Corvettes?) are metaphors (for America's reckless foreign policy, for machismo rampant, etc.). And then there is — was — all that rustic beauty paved over for highways. (And for those giant parking lots at exurban mega-churches. The less said about them the better.) And automobiles discourage the egalitarian enjoyment of mass transit. And automobiles, by facilitating suburban sprawl, deny sprawl's victims — that word must make an appearance in liberal laments; and lament is what liberals do — the uplifting communitarian experience of high-density living. And automobiles . . .
You see? Liberalism is a complicated and exacting, not to say grim and scolding, creed. And not one conducive to happiness.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 5:01 PM
Can change happen in todays heirarchial religious institutions? Are the commoners capable of contributing to the whole? Hmmmm.....
I have more thoughts since I was raised in a quazi-cult, or at least a very obsessive weird Evangelical Sect. But I'll write more on that later.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:44 PM
The biggest fight with educaters about my autistic/aspberger son is getting them to see him not see The Condition. He is a smart boy who sees things in his own unique way. He has his own sense of humor. He works hard for everything he gets and learns.
Being realistic is BS. No realistic person ever invented anything. No realistic person ever conquered anything. No realistic person ever set a world record. No realistic person ever solved a world-changing mystery.
My son is capable of more than the limitations others impose on him. His survival is a miracle. His existence proof against realism. Here is another boy who is a miracle. Thank you to my brother for forwarding this awesome story.
Why do we impose limits we ourselves would hate imposed on us? It is so much more fun to see the possible. It's even better to imagine the impossible and then doing it.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:31 PM
"If I'm really myself no one will like me."
This belief thwarts so many people on their road to happiness. Well intentioned people choose careers to please parents, chose spouses because it seems like the "right time" or "he's a nice enough person" or fill-in-the-blank reason, choose all kinds of things for all the wrong reasons.
What if you were not held by any supposed constraints and did exactly what you wanted? What would you do? What would you say? What friendships would you pursue? What friendships would you leave behind? Where would you live? What would you believe? How would you act?
What if I told you that the only constraints upon your life are the ones you are making?
It is a true statement, whether you believe it or not. Oh, it is convenient to blame the boss, blame the wife, blame the in-laws, blame your race, sex, age, education level, cultural upbringing, religion, society, and mom, always mom, for the current state of your state of affairs. The only problem? Those things are external to you--which is precisely why we blame.
There is always a pay-off for every decision we make.
This statement is also true, whether you believe it or not. Choosing to staying in the job, to avoid fights with the wife, choosing to knuckle under to the in-laws, choosing to define yourself as what you perceive the world defines you (by your looks, money, occupation, culture, religion, gender, marital status, sexuality, whatever) pays off some how, otherwise, why do it?
We always make choices that feel safe and ensure survival even when the choices don't make sense.
The body will not allow you to do something unless it helps support it and take care of it. It's true. Somehow, you feel more safe in certain crazy situations. Perhaps the abusive in-laws work because you grew up in an abusive family--you might not like the abuse but you know the abuse and can deal with the abuse.
The body strives for homeostasis and new things causing change disrupt homeostasis.
So, while it might seem that you've gotten yourself into a strangely familiar terrible situation yet again, changing to a different situation requires a disruption. The body does not like a disruption--even one that is good for you. But to get to where we want to go we must disrupt, change and choose a new way.
Don't underestimate the desire for sameness as a major factor interfering with authenticy and the true happiness that comes from being authentic. Don't underestimate the other forces in your life that desire your sameness either.
When you change, you change your system--the system must change in order to keep you in it.
Some systems will rebel. The kids and hubby may have a fit if you say, "Okay folks, you'll have to fend for yourself on Thursdays, I'm taking the painting class I want."
Oh well. If you are feeling conflicted, ask yourself: is this new, authentic choice loving? Some might argue that the loving thing to do is to cook a meal on Thursday night for the fam. Others might argue that by bending to everyone elses' needs all the time, you're teaching your children to also live inauthentic lives, teaching them that their happiness depends on you, rather than themselves. Is this the belief you want to convey to your children?
Authenticity requires clarity. Who am I? What do I want? Why do I want it? It is soooo easy to say, "I don't want this. I don't want that." The negative is much easier to define than the positive. But the negative is essentially playing "life defense". You end up never making positive points--you just try to run away from short-term difficulty.
Authentic living frees you to use your talents. Why are you concerned about being judged by people? Why aren't you concerned about what God will say about how you used your time and talents while on this earth?
Wouldn't you like to be one of those brave people who walk through life utterly committed to your purpose? I know I would. I'm still working on it, but it is a worthy goal.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:26 PM
She writes the truth. Why do we have undereducated, no-talent-ass-clowns performing needless harassment for psychological ease when no ease results? There was a time when everyone was so hysterical that being patted down, and having your baby patted down too, and being separated from your children (I almost went postal when my kids stared terrified through the X-ray thingy and being shooed away from me) could almost be outweighed by supposed security measures. But when anyone of Middle Eastern descent waltzes through while grandmas and mothers with children get frisked IT PISSES ME OFF! We are due, in America, for a revolt. Peggy, lead the charge!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:20 PM
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Is life a treadmill? Yes it is. Can we stop it? Not sure we can. Difficult to get things done when life is intruded upon 24/7. Difficult to think a sane thought when you can't finish it due to an interruption. I think a solution to this nonsense would be company-wide moratoriums on interruptions at a certain time of day.
When I was an executive assistant, I made an executive decision that pissed almost every one off except the executive: no one was to interrupt him for any reason. He would answer any and every question between one and two and he was to be ALWAYS available during that time. And he was. Otherwise any questions, complaints, blabbing had to wait.
A funny thing happened. Even during the one to two hour time Carl was interrupted less than before when he was interrupted ALL the time. The sales reps were forced to make decisions themselves. Other things that seemed like fires flamed out in the span of an hour or two. The sales people calmed down because they knew if something was important they would get an answer that day no matter what.
Everyone's anxiety disapated. It was actually calm in the Sales Department. Who ever heard of that? If something did rise to crisis level it had to go through me. Now, if something really important got undealt with--it was MY fault. The sales people were off the hook and could relax. Likewise if silliness got presented to Carl and was unnecessary, my fault too.
Most of the time, I just helped the rep figure out the best answer him or herself. Oh! How smart they were. They were empowered. Everyone was happy.
As an aside, I instituted a once weekly vendor meeting with vendors I thought would help them sell the product better (network administration company). Oh, how the reps howled. For a while I was the most hated person in the company. But again, with the time circumscribed and helpful, they learned to love them. The nincompoops were weeded out. No more wasted time. The helpful ones, really helped--plus they often got a free lunch.
Another decision that made everyone crazy, I implemented a program where every sales person HAD to take an engineer with them at least once a month on a sales call with their BEST clients. Guess what? The engineers knew everything about the products and how to make it work. Sales went through the roof. Also, salespeople stopped griping about the "stupid engineers dragging their feet" and the engineers felt better because they could educate the reps.
Finally, every Monday morning for one hour the reps all got together with Carl. A pep meeting, a planning meeting, a "go forth and conquer" meeting. The hew and cry was almost unbearable. Almost. I'm a stubborn woman. Again, though, questions were answered, priorities made clear and then everyone was set loose.
After the first two months Carl said, "Melissa, I do believe everyone in this department has come to me complaining about you. You must be doing something right."
Four months later, after the reps saw things work, we all be came fast friends. Trust was very high. The reps finally realized that the desire was for them to get more sales and to have the tools to do that.
The most important thing though, was a boss who let me do my job and supported me. He supported everyone else too, but they were too undisciplined and took advantage of it. By setting up some perameters, boundaries in psycho speak, everyone worked more efficiently, and ultimately happily.
I abhore wasted time and disrespect for other people's time. It was so satisfying helping people achieve their dreams--even if it was only monitary goals set in a sales department. That was a fun job. I was low man on the totem pole, but so what? I got paid squat but so what? Challenging work, a free rein to do it, and a great boss--that is what people want more than money. The lack of these things results in rushed work with nothing done and frustration--sounds like the current business situation.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:57 AM
This time, Alan Dershowitz and Bill Bennett, (!) agree on something we should all agree upon: self-censorship = Islamists win. Do you see where "tolerance" without morality can land you? In a neverneverland lacking decency and virtue and honor and full of violence and unchecked criminality travelling there along the paved road of good intentions.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:18 AM
Let's see, genetic testing so we can have male children (abort those worthless girls), put naked, nubile women on the cover of a magazine with a fully clothed man, what else lately to throw women back to the STONE AGE!
What are we neanderthals?
Oh yes, for careers, for money, for stardome, we'll do anything, anything at all. Where are the feminists? ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:07 AM
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Yippee! Charmaine Yoest links to a father of a Down's kid who tells his story and then lets you decide if these kids should end before they begin. I had a cousin with Down's and when she died, the whole town was at her funeral. Everyone knew and loved her. Sharon was a gift to her family, her community, the world. Perfection comes in every kind of package.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:33 PM
Today we enjoyed celebrating Mr. Dr.'s birthday with thanksgiving. What a blessing to have a good, loving dad, right? This family highlighted by Michelle Malkin is not so lucky.
She says, "There is so much to pray for." Amen.
UPDATE: The family has a good and loving father...they were only luck for too short a time.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:15 PM
Since this has been a day of senseless happenings, I thought I'd direct you to the crazy cats at the Census Bureau where Michael Barone pointed me and I'm pointing you to the current world population statistics. Wow! Lot's of people...almost 6.5 Billion.
They also have some interesting statistics on economics and such. You're tax dollars at work. Nice to know they're doing something.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:05 PM
For all you in the do-not-know, Larry Summers is the resigned Harvard University President. He dared utter politically incorrect views (some I found silly, some I found provocative, some deserve further investigation) and is now being soundly spanked by those smarter than even him!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 1:23 PM
Monday, February 20, 2006
Organic food really does make a difference to your child's health. Pesticide residue is much less, if non-existant, and those build up in our systems over a lifetime. Your children will benefit from what they don't get, plus they will benefit from what they do get: more nutrition and better taste, too.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 5:32 PM
And why shouldn't they? Back and forth the pendulum swings and nobody looks at health problems holistically--a hormone here, a vitamin there, a test here, a weird result here. Research, by it's very nature, looks at one tiny sliver of the whole. Variables need to be limited, any "abnormalities" (what's normal, anyway?) excluded from the study. Consumers need to educate themselves and take their own needs into account before blindly following the latest research trends--because those could change tomorrow.
And, keep a few principles in mind:
- Medications manipulate the body unnaturally and ALWAYS have side effects
- Surgery cause other problems for the body, unless you're removing a tumor
- Good genetics only goes so far--how you treat your body matters
- Good diet only goes so far--if you are under constant stress the best diet won't help much
- Happiness means health, health means you can do what you want to do, which makes for happiness
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 5:00 PM
A girl got very, very sick because she can't have gluten and casein (wheat and dairy proteins) and those products are in (gasp!) McDonalds French Fries. You're kidding right? The biggest health concern you have with french fries is a little gluten and casein sprinkled on a fat-filled death stick? This caused me to laugh and laugh, but it's so inane the people suing will probably win.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 4:55 PM
With assisted suicide becoming more vogue-ish every day using the same drug cocktail used on death-sentanced criminals, it seems absurd that those same criminals could cry out that the death is cruel and unusual. For those choosing to take their own life, or the doctors who believe that life is no longer worth living, those medications would be called kind and merciful.
So which is it?
In addition, since none of us is going to live forever, wouldn't it be delightful to know when you were going meet your maker to within oh say, a minute or two? Now that is controlling your destiny right there, right? You have only so much time to get done what you want. Yes, yes, it's behind bars, but that's besides the point. You know. Knowledge is power.
I can think of other cruel and unusual punishments: stoning, flogging, beating, setting on fire, drowning, raping and strangling, suffocating, freezing, choking, cutting off appendages, plucking out eyeballs, etc. Do I need to link to all the instances of these cruel acts? I didn't but it would be easy enough to do. In fact, in certain countries of an Islamic persuation, every one of these acts happens nearly daily without so much as a raised eyebrow--especially if the recipient is of the female persuasion.
Going to sleep and never waking up is cruel? Why do so many want that legal right bestowed on their fellow citizens? Perhaps we should withhold food and water and oxygen like happens in NICUs, ICUs and other medical facilities every day. It should only take a couple weeks to die. That's much kinder. No pain at all.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 4:40 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2006
When your spouse is sick and dies, you're in trouble too. As doctors, we watch closely the surviving spouse. They tend to have severe health trouble for a while. I've also noticed long term immune suppression--catching every bug that comes along until rising out of the chronic depression.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:54 PM
Just as the US is trying to ramp up for some form of socialized medicine (PLEASE NO!), Canada is taking baby steps to privatize.
I was talking on the phone to a 22 year old dude who was helping me with my I-Pod fix. He had heart pain after losing a significant amount of weight, he was a smoker and has some serious signs of impeding cardiac event. He can't get an appointment for three months. He was so frustrated. He said that his GP shooed him out with a prescription, no testing and ignored his pain when he ended up in the hospital with pain that sound pre-heart attack to me. The doc gets paid $45 no matter how long or what he does with the guy. Not exactly an incentive to deliver stellar healthcare.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:42 PM
A very close family member married to a complete @)!**! for nearly forty years got zip, zero, nada spousal support with no real way to support herself and Nick Lachey that no-talent-ass-clown wants spousal support? Is he nuts or just a California girly man?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:37 PM
Read this horror story. The antisemitism rising in France and Germany worries me. If I were Jewish, I would be leaving those countries and soon--Israel or the US (yes, that bigoted, scary country who takes everyone's rights away.)
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:27 PM
Friday, February 17, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal defends Al Gore's actions in Saudi Arabia. He states exactly what I thought upon hearing Weird Al spout off over there:
Second Thoughts About Gore
Usually when Al Gore gives a speech, left-wing blogs are filled with enthusiastic reviews. But we haven't noticed a single plaudit for, or even defense of, Gore's weekend speech in Saudi Arabia, which we noted Monday. So we thought we'd offer one. To recap, here is what Gore said, as reported by the Associated Press: Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment. Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. We objected strenuously to this, for the obvious reasons. But later we thought of another way of looking at it. Think of the message Gore is delivering to the Saudis: If your countrymen attack America, you will be "indiscriminately rounded up," held in "unforgivable" conditions and subjected to "terrible abuses."
And don't bother trying to appeal to American public opinion. Most Americans already oppose such treatment, but Bush is too crazy and mean to care. If the Saudis take Gore seriously--a big if, but remember that they don't know him as well as we do--they will be way too scared to try any terrorism any time soon.
If Saudi Arabians truly believe this, good! In fact, recirculating the Abu Graib pictures, while vile and disgusting and hopefully no longer representative of how our soldiers procure information, if bad guys believe this, who cares?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 4:24 PM
As a self-described futurist, and being an amateur trend-spotter, one trend that I see as an almost universal desire, but still in fantasy land is simplicity. One could argue that death is the ultimate simplicity, no decisions needed anymore, and that simplicity is not necessarily something to aspire to.
Simplicity as I see it, though, is not an absence of stimuli, but the presence of inherently understandable, refined to the essence with all the good of the place, experience or thing gleaned and brought to the fore kind of stimuli (whew that's a run-on).
As much as audiophiles scoff at the Bose sound systems, the reason above-average people like these is because they simplify. While the quality is superior, but not necessarily exquisite, it is good enough for someone who loves music and simplicity too.
The I-Pod succeeds for much the same reason. What are some other inventions that simplify life?
- Books--less eyestrain, no moving parts to break, quiet, requires little energy. Computer books by contrast cause eye-strain, break, are loud and can poop out. Sony, I beg you not to go down this computer-book mode. It will fail.
- Internet--out with encyclopedias, in with the Internet. Who needs heavy books when all the information in the world is at your fingertips? Now, if the power goes out that's another story, which is why books are an even better back-up than back-ups. Who needs a newscaster's shrill voice, when I can read comprehensive news or be updated instantly when something happens? Now Sony might be able to score with a mobile, automatically uplinked to the Internet "book" that could be used for research purposes--Doctors, Lawyers, etc. who might need to verify a treatment or case, etc. But I still say pleasure reading will be with books.
- Sticky-notes--for the obvious reasons
- Pencils--pencils have a nice feel, can be sharpened or allowed to dull to preference (pens, you better buy the exact kind you like 'cuz you're stuck with it), can be multiple colors and can write under water, too! See, when you go through a hurricane, and are sitting in a flood and have to make a note to yourself or someone else, pencil is good. Paper might be soggy though.
- Fruit--Perfect package, beautiful textures, biodegradeable. MacDonalds hamburgers--ugly package, bland texture and biodegradeable in the year 2050.
People ask, "Why did you move to Houston when you can live anywhere?" Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Fill-in-the-Blank is sooooo beautiful! True, that. Here, though, was our criterion:
- Cosmopolitan--Close to the arts, science, professional sports, culture.
- Industrial--A city who was at least partly based on something tangible--not just service industries.
- Low cost-of-living--A city where average people, with average salaries could live.
- Water--Close to big bodies of water where there wasn't reliance on say, the Hoover dam.
- Sunshine--No freezing temperatures, no gray skies for eight months, no need for winter clothes. (Saves money and storage!)
- Airports--Driving an hour to tiny airports where tickets are expensive holds no allure having done it for years. (Again saves money.
Companies who want to succeed will simplify things for people. Homestead.com and Squarespace.com help people create beautiful websites easily (you'll see for yourself, soon). What is behind the simple facade may be complicated, but for the average person who doesn't want to be an expert Mechanic, Computer Programmer, Cook, Pool Owner, Home Owner, etc. As people specialize professionally, they don't want to have to be a genius to buy and sell a stock, communicate via the web, eat a gourmet meal, swim in a pool.
Oh, and another trend? The product, place or experience must be asthetically pleasing. Ugly is out. Form and Function is the goal. Simple, beautiful and functional. That is why a good book will always be "in" while computer books for pleasure will have a tough time gaining traction.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:11 AM
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
China, a US competitor and notorious human rights violator has benefitted from the best technology Silicon Valley has to offer. The worst being software and instructions for Chinese cops written by Cisco to bust people spreading irksome ideas--irksome to the Chinese government anyway.
Google has seen their stock price take a dive because some investors are PO'd that the "Don't Be Evil" company sold it's free speech soul for the almighty dollar (aka Shareholder Value). While brave Chinese people risk life and limb fighting for freedom or at least unbiased news, government transparency, and maybe even a more liberalized government, US companies undermine this process by giving the government tools to censor information, restrict access to news and hunt down "bad thinkers."
These same companies are extremely liberal in their politics--99% of Google's political contributions went to Democrats in the 2004 election. Aren't these the same people crying foul at the 1700 wiretaps in the US (yes that is the full number of wiretaps by all governmental agencies in the US)? Aren't these the same companies who refused to give the US government the URLs of child traffickers and pornographers? Why, yes they are. Why would these same companies facilitate this reprehensible Chinese Big Brother state that they so despise and fear here?
Please spare me the argument that the US should be above this and the Chinese can only control their people with Communism and Dictatorial rule--a friend actually told me this. I swear, Middle Eastern people really can't deal with democracy, African people can't really deal with democracy, and Oriental people, too. What, democracy is for rich, white people only? Better people. Smarter people.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:13 PM
With the self-actualization trend in business (do what you love!) which I agree with in principle, sometimes people get in emotionally precarious positions. Talking to a distressed executive today, who was told that the VP position was not coming as promised due to age--she was younger than her boss was when she got VP and that's just not fair, even if she had been promised and had more than earned it. At the end of the conversation, the psycho boss actually patted her head. Patted her head! And her boss was a woman!
Yes, these inane things happen in the cut-throat business world. Another executive I know was recruited to a company to understudy for the role of CEO in a year. Well, guess what? The CEO wasn't so sure he wanted to move on quite yet and, he decided to consider five, FIVE, other people, too. Can you say leadership chaos? This type of thing does not increase cooperation and creativity, it breed discontent and sabotage, but some leaders know this which is why they do this.
My response today was this: Who says you have to love your job? Love your kids, your house, your spouse, God, but who says you have to love your job?
Sometimes the satisfaction of a job only comes from the ability to feed and support your other loves. It is difficult to imagine how some jobs inspire devoted adoration, note the pictures above. Oh well, sometimes the love of a job is having one.
In the meantime, punch the clock and spend your QT with a recruiter. A new job is no guarantee that you won't have a pathological, lying snake as a boss, though. Better to love what matters and you can control. Create the life you want, all of sudden, the job is just a job. It doesn't have to be your vehicle for enlightenment.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Big sigh of relief, folks, they're still together. Could it be that she is tiring of Sir-Cult-A-Lot's craziness? Every time I see Tom Cruise interviewed, he seems to be in complete and total control. Every word said, emotion expressed and action taken comes across as calculated and contrived. Perhaps he is just so charming that people like Oprah and his "best friend" Jada Pinkett and others (see how much popular culture filters through and I haven't watched the news or seen said Oprah in three years?) fail to see how they are being manipulated. But a person with healthy self-esteem would grow weary of his machinations, I think. Sure Katie is pregnant, but doesn't she look kinda lifeless, too? Ironically, Nicole Kidman looked to have more vitality with him and has seemed like an empty vessel afterward. This guy does weird things to the women in his orbit. Strange. Very strange.
Okay, I've already spent five more minutes than necessary on something totally irrelevent. Junk food for the mind moment is now officially over.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:28 PM
George Clooney and buddies pine away for the good old days when Walter Cronkite was THE VOICE of ________________________. While arguing stupid-heads on TV holds zero interest for me anymore--thus, no cable--reinstating a stupid government regulations seems to be a well, stupid, idea.
Hat tip: Glen Reynolds
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:23 PM
The posts have been few, for that I apologize. The stars are misaligned because all heck has been breaking loose, and not just for me--friends and family too.
Dr. M's #1 kid suffered heart pain (EKG and Chest X-ray negative) and today, Dr. M's Baby suffered a burned hand and a nice little visit to the local emergency department (baby just got over German Measles last week--that was eight days of pure pleasure, I can assure you). 1st kid is ultimately more a concern--90% of preemies like him have enlarged hearts and he does have breathing/energy/overheating problems that are yet undiagnosed. So, we'll see.
Oh yes, a delightful meeting with educators awaits later this week, too.
In addition, putting the finishing touches on Mr. Dr.'s website which should be up in the next week at www.DrClouthier.com. Working on it day and night to get it finished to the exacting Mr. Dr.'s standards. Scratch that, actually they're mine.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a slow week. Ha! Next week will be even busier. Life in the very hot, Dr. Melissa fast-lane. That was sarcasm, in case you wondered.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 1:39 PM
On this February 14, and in the spirit of Eros, Wall Street Journal writer Tara Parker-Pope asks "Have we medicated away romance?" The short answer is yes.
An unintentional side-effect (or, for some intentional) of most antidepressants is feeling no love and the enjoyable lust that can go with it. Even potentially more distressing, is that the drugs interfere with bonding hormones (oxytocin) which may account for "I just don't love you anymore" nonsensical reasons to get divorced. Ms. Parker-Pope (oy, hyphenated names are soooo annoying) provides anecdotal evidence of a woman on antidepressants who considered divorce, but got her drug dosage lowered and is happily married two kids later.
Two good friends of mine like keeping their husbands on Zoloft because it keeps their amorous advances at manageable levels. Another girlfriend takes some SSRI, has no libido and her husband is about to go nuts.
But that is actually rare. You would not believe the number of guys totally not into sex and the number of frustrated women who come looking for help. Then there are the men who want their wives on antidepressants because life is so much easier when their women shut up already. The drugs do that very nicely, thank you very much. So, no sex and no meaningful conversation. Ah, to have an American marriage in the new millenium.
What the antidepressants create is a hermetically sealed life: like living at the Mall. You don't get hot from the sun but you see no light and blue sky either. You don't worry about your safety during a thunderstorm but any enjoyment from a gentle rain or sultry breeze is gone. A bland, spice-free life of processed food--you might be surviving, but you can hardly say you're thriving.
Antidepressants reduce the lows and also the highs. They take away the sweet nuances of thought and feeling. They reduce empathy--so you don't feel pain for others and you don't feel your own, either. Everyone is comfortably numb.
Were these drugs created to save us from the inconvenience of feeling desires, longings and needs or worse expressing these feelings? I thought they were created to help people who would ordinarily die at their own hands or could barely function. I never imagined they were for people afraid to really live.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:14 AM
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Very Public Restroom (picture credit)
I wasn't a germ freak until spending four months in a well-respected hospital where surgeons routinely "forgot" to scrub in, where communal pens were used without thought to what bodily orafice had been recently touched, etc. When my perfect little four-pound lump came home with me, every person, place and thing presented a dire threat to his fragile life. I became a germophobe.
When relatives cavalierly left the bathroom after taking a whiz without handwashing murderous rage bubbled within. When thoughtless moms brought sick children to church and the grocery store, it took great restraint not to box ears. But I digress.
My mission after witnessing appalling personal hygiene was to spread the germ-killing gospel. So tonight, I dedicate this post to eradicating disease in the world. Like Miss America, I want peace on earth and all disease stopped and this mission begins with me.
Threre are three ways to get sick:
- Poor hygiene
- Eating things that make you sick
- Low immune function
Now, how do we prevent sickness?
- Wash hands, thoroughly, e v e r y time you go #1 or #2, every time you work with food before or after, every time you touch an animal or person, every time you sneeze, every time you eat. Wash your hands! Wash your kid's hands after every public exposure--playgrounds, play groups, other nasty little kids.
- Quarantine yourself at the onset of symptoms not just when you're full-blown sick. Be impolite. When someone (usually a family member or close friend) says, little Johnny has had a fever but it's only allergies. No it's not. Allergies don't give you chronic ear infections. Allergies don't cause green goop to come out of your nose. That, my furry friends, is a virus or infection. Stay home. Make them stay home. Be rude. It is better than being homebound for three weeks as the ick cycles through your house. As an aside, the allergy excuse has been more in vogue recently. Every one, it seems has allergies, no matter the time of year. It's dust in January and weeds in August. Don't buy it. More than half the time, it's something contagious and the parents are just medicating to cover symptoms because it is an inconvenience to have a sick kid or to be sick.
- Boost your immune system. Lack of sleep, sugary foods (8 oz of Coke suppresses immune function for four-eight hours after ingesting), unresolved conflict, sad or violent movies/media, the news, a spouse who hates your guts, another virus (a cold), menstruation, pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, many medications, an oppressive boss, loneliness or depression, social isolation, excessive exercise, etc. lower your immune system. Do your best to eliminate these stresses wherever possible. We all have stress, so learning coping mechanisms helps, too. If you are crappy at conflict resolution, admit it and learn skills to help you. If parenting your toddler or teen is sending you around the bed, get help. If your diet is interfering with your health, put into place some simple behavioral changes. Not sure what to do? Email me and I'll try to point you in a helpful direction via books or other resources.
- Load up on Vitamin C, Zinc and Ginsing. All have plenty of research backing immune boosting properties.
- Sleep. Get horizonal, dude. Your adrenal glands function best when you are laying down. Give them the rest so your body can fight.
- Laugh. Read something funny, watch a funny movie. It boosts immunity.
- Get/give a hug. TLC really helps shorten misery.
- Let the fever work for you. A fever is turning your body into an inhospitable host--cooking the bugs. Let it go and you'll overcome it faster. If you have suffered long enough, take a warm bath and let the water go cool. It is a more gentle way of breaking the fever than an ice-cold shower or bath.
- Drink water and Powerade. You feel like s**t when your electrolytes get out of whack. Throwing up and diarrhea dehydrates you and you lose all of your water soluble vitamins and minerals. Powerade has the sodium and potassium you're pooping and puking out plus B6 which really helps you with the aches and pains.
- Massage. This increases immune function and accelerates detoxification. Don't be surprised if you feel worse before you get better.
- Chiropractic adjustment. At the first sign of sick call your Chiropractor. Sound self-serving? Kinda, but solid research shows that adjustments increase immune function immediately. It also helps to eliminate the aches and pains. What do people do who aren't married to a Chiropractor? I don't know and I sure feel sorry for them!
Another potential problem: you do your business, wash your hands and then touch the paper towel dispenser--well lots of people with dirty hands touch it too. Me, for example and I'll tell you why in just a minute. So you're contaminated even if you wash your hands.
Here is the procedure for being germ-free:
- Flush toilet with shoe bottom. Sometimes I look like a Kung-Foo master.
- When washing hands, dispense the towel BEFORE you wash your hands. Do not remove it yet.
- Turn on the water and wash hands with soap for at least 30 seconds. DO NOT TURN OFF WATER. (You will recontaminate yourself.)
- Tear papertowel, with towel turn off the water.
- With towel, get more paper towel if necessary. DO NOT THROW PAPER TOWEL AWAY YET.
- Use paper towel to open door. If there is not a trash bin by the door and not one easily accessible (like at a McDonalds), throw the paper on the floor. Sound terrible? It is the establishment's own durn fault that there is no sanitary way to exit the bathroom. Especially in a restaurant, you can be sure that your food is being touched by contaminated hands if a trash bin is not near the bathroom door out because the worker must touch the door with a bare hand if he or she also throws away the papertowel. If you find throwing paper on the floor beneath you, at least use part of your shirt to open the door. If you touch the door handle, you might as well have not washed your hands.
You'll notice that extremely successful people care for their health in almost neurotic ways--professional athletes, CEOs, leaders all guard their health. Why? They know the cost to themselves and the people they serve when sick. They exercise, they are fastidious with hygiene (Donald Trump hates hand shaking for this reason) they rest, eat well and maintain their health through massage, chiropractic, medical check-ups and denistry. If they are smart in all aspects of life, they surround themselves with love and give love--lots of it.
Why do average people think that their lives are somehow less important? We all have people who count on us, who need us at our best. We need ourselves at our best. You have a God-given mission on this earth. Time is short. Do you want to spend your few breaths playing defense, sick, or wouldn't it be better to be moving toward your purpose healthily and happily?
See? Getting out of that bathroom with clean hands does matter. Now, go forth and spread the Gospel of Clean!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:40 PM
Friday, February 10, 2006
Oy. Remember my post last year? Considering that my husband and family (except my mom) no longer can find the time to read my blog, you probably don't remember either. So, I'll remind you: low fat diets, Lipitor and other fat-busting drugs are STUPID! They cause so many other problems: men, this should get your attention: impotence. Women: low sex drive. We need good fat to survive and thrive.
Good fats: BUTTER, OLIVE OIL
Vitamins D, E, A are fat soluble which means they need fat to be absorbed and often fats (like butter) deliver them! If you want to be able to build bone, you need fat. If you want to think, you need fat. If you want to get pregnant, you need fat. If you want to maintain the pregnancy, you need fat. If you want to feel happy, you need fat.
While I don't advocate becoming fat, (that means you're eating too many carbs and bad fats) I do advocate keeping good fats in your diet. So throw some butter on your veggies and enjoy!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:14 PM
Thursday, February 09, 2006
This is a very interesting, thoughtful post. I, too, have wondered about the phenomenon: conservatives seem to be willing to engage a liberal's thinking, while liberals dismiss or label a conservative as not worth the time or energy to engage. Interestingly, though, my liberal professional friends are very tolerant of me! I think it is because they are older and figure (hope) I'll wise up someday.
Here's the thing: while I'm very conservative in some ways--national security, anti-abortion, small government (meaning that funding goes to essentially basic services not the extravagant services we have all come to enjoy as "necessary" government since the New Deal), pro-gun ownership, there are areas where I'm far more libertarian.
For example, I agree with guys like Chrisopher Hitchens about legalizing some drugs and encouraging developing countries like Afganistan in the legal cultivation of poppies for medical purposes. Big pharma and big farming both are inappropriately supported and coddled by the government. I think that the subsidies and government connections feeding each other are utterly corrupt. The new laws penalizing the common man for bankruptcy while allowing stupid industries like airlines off the hook for horrendous business plans strikes me as unfair. So no, GM should not be bailed out. No, churches should not be reimbursed for Katrina.
But see, I'm ready for radical solutions. The public schools aren't working? Let's clean house and try something crazy new, but the liberals I know seem far more interested in weirdly protectionistic positions based on out-dated reliance on unions. The union mentality penalizes kids and teachers, too. Many teachers would make far more money if the market were to open up--and yes, some would make deservedly less.
Also, the medical system is heavily subsidized. This drives up costs for the uninsured. The solution is not to insure everyone, in my opinion, since the government is notorious for turning beauty to shit, but to remove the subsidies. New imigrants who pay no taxes get free health care in Texas with the Gold Card. Yes, they have to wait two months to get in, but it's freer than what I pay and drives up everyone's costs. Universal health care? No health care: fee for service. That's why I agree with Bush's MSA idea. Some say it's cruel for poor people, but I think that insurance should be for big whopper problems, anyway. What incentive do people have to get well when being sick is subsidized?
I chafe at the amount of money being thrown at an AIDs vaccine when the common cold still has no vaccine and the HIV virus is infinitely more complex. I have kid with Autism and I would love for a solution, but you know what? State-mandated care is BS. Give me a tax break for finding a unique solution that fits my kid--that would be nice. But what about the poor people, you ask. Well, state-mandated solutions don't work for them, either. I went to school with government loans, but think they should be abolished. Let everyone pay cash and guess what? Costs come down and dedicated people would pay as they go (I know I still would have). It may sound old-fashioned but it is a better solution than the government getting their grubby paws on so many American's futures in the form of indebtedness.
Anyway, my opinions are not down the line anything. Certain principles lead me to certain conclusions. I understand where liberals come from and enjoy engaging in spirited debates about the best way to do this or that. It is disheartening to be discounted as a mindless rube because my philosophy about certain areas don't agree with a typically liberal position.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:35 PM
I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I'm siding with Britney Spears. Have you heard the hub-bub? She's in trouble because her car got swarmed by photographers, she felt threatened, and she drove off with her kid in her lap. Of course, those same picture-takers got her picture driving with the baby in her lap. Now, she's being investigated by CPS. Puhleeze!
Michael Jackson dangles his kid by the ankle from a three-story building and finds "companionship" with little boys. All manner of monsters caging, beating, depriving their children get the greenlight by CPS. And Britney Spears gets a visit for trying to protect her baby by driving away? Come on.
A generation ago, fifty kids piled up like dirty laundry in the station wagon and most of us managed to survive okay. Today every child must be pinned in to the vehicle. Not that I don't think that car seats are a good idea, because I do, but can we have some perspective here?
This is why five million rules and undereducated beaurocrats irritate me. The damage they can do is endless--the power of the common citizen to claim freedom shrinks. Every day, people have their freedom infringed by do-gooders in government uniforms--airport security, CPS, IRS, etc. While lots of people right now are wringing thier skinny, vegan hands over the NSA survellience flap, thousands of other decisions are made daily that chip, chip, chip away at our freedom.
Right now, some innocent person is investigated because of a vindictive or ignorant somebody. They are investigated by people with almost zero eductation and loads of apathy. The person investigated is not a person at all, but a potential perpetrator. Dehumanized, it is so much easier to enact the truly cruel government policy--forced separation (CPS), ridiculously punitive
financial penalties for making a Tax Return mistake--that often exceed the original amount due (IRS), frisking of babies at the airport (NAA). Argh!
It just occurred to me why this rankles so much. Last week, our dog got loose in the neighborhood. She is losing weight dramatically. She is fourteen years old. Blood tests reveal a failing liver. She doesn't have cancer that can be seen, but the Vet couldn't tell for sure. She is nearly blind and almost totally deaf. Her hips are degenerating. She is dying. She still eats like a puppy (a lot) and drinks well, but she is skin and bones. She doesn't seem to be in any pain. We have to be careful with her, though, her body doesn't handle temperature changes well, so she must stay in if the temp drops too much or gets too hot.
So our poor bedraggled, skinny dog got loose and does what she normally does--runs amok and has fun getting after cats. Two helpy helpers in the neighborhood didn't return Cali to us and ask what was wrong with her. No, they called the police. They worried about the dogs care. Perhaps the new doctors in the neighborhood enjoy abusing thier dog after a long day of helping people feel better. So the neighbors brought Cali back into the yard with the cops and "investigated".
To their amazement, they found a nice fluffy pillow, copius amounts of food and water--all signs of a deprived dog. Nevermind, it was illegal for the police to be snooping around our yard. Nevermind they could have found out the answer if they had come to our front door and asked.
The government's role in our safety starts at our borders--no not the borders of my back yard but our country's borders. That is why I'm all for tough border security. I'm all for telephone listening of conspirators who are interested in blowing up this or that public space. To me, this is a bare minimum requirement for government involvement. Now if it comes out that my phone is being wiretapped or your phone is wiretapped to get the hot gossip about innovations in alternative health care, that's a different story.
It is the little, ticky-tack stuff happening every day that is being ignored that needs to be focused upon. Civil liberties need to be protected and cherished. Freedom of the press must be cared for and reinforced.
Terrorist bullies being wiretapped? Fine. Their stupid ideas ridiculed in a silly cartoon? Print them. These threats bother me and the government and press ignoring them pisses me off. When the U.S. government talks blandly of respect for Islam when crazies are burning and pillaging and then CNN refuses to show the newsworthy (and offensive, but so what) cartoons out of fear, THE TERRORISTS ARE WINNING AND AVERAGE INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE LOSING. Alan Dershowitz understands this. Here's what he says in Time:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ Harvard law professor
The U.S. news media, by refusing to run these cartoons, are giving in to intellectual and religious terrorism. A separate standard is being applied here out of fear of physical retaliation. Whatever is fair to say about one group must be fair to say about another. The European papers are doing the right thing. They're being courageous. It is in the public's interest to see these cartoons that are causing so much outrage. When you see them, you see the extent of the overreaction. They are not nearly as bad as cartoons that routinely run in the Muslim media against Jews, Christians, the U.S. and Israel.
The government spending my tax dollars to prosecute people for "not cooperating" when real solid crimes like murder, rape, stealing, people and drug trafficking, etc. get ignored makes a mockery of justice. Leave Britney Spears alone. Fine a real criminal act or terrorist plot to solve.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:22 AM
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Two days ago, we read research stating that women who go off their antidepressants during pregnancy risk terrible depression. Certainly pregnancy doesn't guard against depression. If they stay on them, they risk a baby who can't breath at birth.
Post-partum depression can be predicted by fatigue. This seems to be the chicken-egg question. Does fatigue cause depression? Or are depressed people fatigued? My answer, at least to moms, is that the fatigue is causitive. Over and over we have encouraged women to sleep and the depression and crazy feelings evaporate. It would be interesting to see if extra sleep, or more consistent sleep, would help all depressed people.
For those profoundly affected, whatever the cause: Should women who are so depressed even be getting pregnant? Read more here.
Speaking of depression and kids: kids born preterm (before 33 weeks especially) suffer more depression. I can think of lots of reasons this might be true and they don't involve genetics as the study's authors suggest. A child born severely premature must overcome severe medical conditions (breathing problems, musculoskeletal problems), often suffers delayed development socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively, often has some permanent disability (blindness, deafness, kidney, heart, lung problems) that impairs activity levels, spent lots of time in the hospital and have taken almost every kind of medication in doses that would kill adults. It makes for a difficult childhood and transition into adulthood.
And, parents are more depressed than non-parents. The study's author states: it appears the emotional costs outweigh the psychological benefits, she said. Yup, I think the solution is to stop having kids. They are so depressing! People need a hermetically sealed life--perfect climate control, calories delivered by IV in exact doses to keep you enviably thin (fat people with heart disease are depressed, too), plastic surgery to keep you young, forced sterilization to keep you happy. Oh never mind that society will become extinct over the next 100 years. At least we will be gorgeous and happy--richer too--we won't have to spend all the money feeding the little creeps either. What a relief!
And racism makes us depressed. Well, duh! It's not like I'm happy when I'm discriminated against, how 'bout you? Perhaps the forced sterilization would help here, too. When everyone is guaranteed to be wiped out within 100 years, maybe your skin color won't matter anymore. Oh heck, what am I saying? It will too. We will need to add scientific skin toning to the end of the world equation so we are all the same color, live in perpetual sunshine, take in minimal calories, and don't have children. Perfection.
And winter makes us depressed. SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) which I suffer from, sucks. Which is why I live in sunny Houston. Howdy ya'll! I love it here, sporting shorts in February.
Finally, all this depression costs the U.S. a ton of money.
Is it possible that all this depression is a creation to make money for drug companies, let people with crappy attitudes off the hook, and is just a symptom of our disconnected, socially fragmented and malnourished society? Nah.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:18 PM
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Is there anything better than a country where free speech allows you to smack down the President at a funeral, no less, for a civil rights icon? That is like, so totally cool! Maybe we can, like bring cream pies and really have fun at the next funeral! Funerals are the best place ever to play politics and be superficial. Coretta Scott King would be soooooo proud. Dr. King would be even prouder, yo!
This blogger defends Ms. Scott-King's eulogies by former Prez Jimmy and others blasting the war and bad stuff by Bush as what she would want. is that true? If it is, why even invite the Prez? Surely, she wouldn't want the black-hatin' oppression-lovin' whitey there, right? Why the farce?
Conversely, it seems that those who loathe Bush can't even imagine that he would be happy for equal rights for all people black or white. They seem convinced that his desire for freedom for all is a cynical one. They can't imagine that he would mourn the loss of a black person, never mind a black civil rights leader.
Do liberals really believe all this or is it a major case of transference?
As I walked down the hall of my kids school today and read all the paragraphs about Dr. King and saw the drawings, too, and thought grateful thoughts for his vision and leadership and dreams, and then looked at the flag at half-mast for the woman who carried on this vision, I was happy to be an American. I guess that's why it makes me so angry that liberals just can't believe it and can't put their anger aside for one minute to have a loving, pure tribute to someone so deserving.
Update: I guess this is what bugs me: by spanking Bush's tushie, they made the day about him instead of about Ms. King! Why can't they see that? IT IS ABOUT HER WORK AND SACRIFICE. It is about a positive. Leave the other stuff for every day rants--not HER rememberence. Oy!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:31 PM