Friday, November 16, 2012

ThreeDot Posting (no coherent theme) . . .

I stole the ThreeDot thing from Herb Caen, long-time columnist for the SF Chronicle who I always enjoyed; RIP, unfortunately . . . Had a quick consultation with my physical therapist yesterday after a three-month-long hiatus; she thinks I am walking better with one crutch and with two.  She also gave me two more stretches to include in my regimen that loosen the basking seal and the hip flexor.  I continue to improve slowly, though I think I have reached the upward inclining plateau that I was told about.  I honestly don't think that I will be walking unassisted by the end of the year, as my neurologist predicted with 90% confidence.  Leave it to me to seize on the losing 10%, though I shall keep working  . . . Traveled alone for the first time since this slo-mo s*** storm overtook me.  Went to LA to adjudicate and give four clinics at the Biola Invitational, then up to Sacramento to see my elder daughter and the two grandsons in Davis. That's into/out of four airports twice each, tipping wheelchair drivers both ways: $5 bills flew out of my man purse! . . . Erin has been in HI since the 11th doing clinics, et. al. for Miguel Felipe (or is it Felipe Miguel?) who is at UH on Oahu.  She comes home on the 19th. Miguel comes here for the exchange of what I call TenureBrowniePoints.  Erin got to go to HI; Miguel gets to come to Alabama! . . . My younger daughter on the Big Island gets married next month in a ThreeDay wedding bash that Erin and I will go to.  And yes, it's her first marriage; apparently she got tired of her serially monogamous ways.  Or just met the right guy . . . While in LA, was great to get together with Christian Campos and Joe Paguio.  We had Korean BBQ and watched Oregon have its way with USC.  Food, fellowship, beer and soju were all wonderful.  Good Korean food is one of only four things that I really miss about Cali; the other three are my buddy Dennis, the Sierra and LAX . . . Have been back at the YMCA since 20 August doing three leg and butt strength builders and six ego-enhancing upper body lifts.  Plus some minutes on the recumbent bicycle.  I just really miss shooting buckets (I miss the sound of the DeadSolidPerfect shot); I hope I can finally do that again before I cash in . . . Just finished subbing for a pregnant/birth-giving woman at the local community college. Reminded my of my Y'all Come Choirs, but they are sweet kids. Am taking Erin's Concert Choir rehearsal today.  That's always fun: they are disciplined (thanks to Erin's threats to 'rip your face off' if they aren't), well prepared, well taught, and the music is really good . . . Speaking of fun: my recent clinics and subbing prove at least one thing: from the waist up, I'm still a helluva fine, fun conductor, you betcha . . . Great day for college football tomorrow in two Pac-8 games that I will watch: USC-UCLA, which has been a favorite of mine since 1960, and Stanford-Oregon, in which it will be fun to see if Stanford's fine defense can stop that ferocious, deadly Oregon offense.  Bliss . . . Yes, I said Pac-8.  Think  about it . . . Thank God Obama got a second term, renewing my faith in my country somewhat.  At least for the time being . . .

OK. That's it for now.  By your leave, I shall gather up my ellipses and depart. I welcome responses here or on my FB page.  Y'all take care, now.

Friday, September 14, 2012


It's pronounced 'tamika' in IPA.  She is the caregiver who has been with me since June from 8-4 five days/week.  She replaced Dorothy, who was with me from March through May, but then changed her job within the company, which is Home Instead, by the way.  Also, by the way, I pay for this with two long term care insurance policies that I took out in '03 and '06, Deo gracias.

Anyway, I couldn't get along without her as either person or professional.  She is easy to be with, is funny, calm and thorough, and is indispensible.  She makes breakfast and lunch, helps with my socks, drives me to appointments and the Y when I have to wear my orthotic devices, walks Sam twice a day, helps me at the grocery store a minimum of two days/week, vacuums occasionally, and in myriad other ways makes the days easier for me and eases Erin's mind at work.  She also reminds me to take my meds and helps me in and out of the shower, as well as standing at the stove and stirring after I have sliced and diced for a meal, usually a soup or a stew.  She even sets up the ingredients for my martini before she leaves.

I could get along without her, of course, by eating at the kitchen counter instead of the table, and by making countless more trips to and fro with the crutch, which would exhaust me more than it already does.  And in a couple of weeks, she will help me as I commute to the local community college to sub for the pregnant conductor two days/week.

I am grateful for her and to her for just being herself, and quite often for being far more than she needs to be.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Physical Progress Report (A Good One)

So to begin with, I had to have arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus on my right knee.  That was on 23 July.  It slowed me down the week before and the week after, but I am long since back to normal, using the Lofstrand crutches and resorting to the walker only for trips to the loo in the middle of the night.  And I had GREAT pre-surgical drugs!  Wheeee!

Then today Gwen, my physical therapist, kicked me out ('discharged' is the word they use),  after watching me walk using only the right-hand crutch.  I now have orders to use only one crutch at all times when at home but still two when out and about.  The idea is to depend on it less and less as time goes slowly by.  Tomorrow morning I will carry my cup of coffee from the kitchen to my desk once again, as I had been doing for a while before the knee slowed me down.  (I didn't spill, either). Today Gwen made me walk across their kitchen carrying a plate with both hands, using no crutch.  I whimpered and howled with fear but I made it with her hand on my back.

Also, I have re-joined the YMCA, and I started lifting weights again on the 20th, including leg extensions, leg presses and an abducting butt builder.  The upper body work is just plain male vanity, of course, but it sure feels good, and the upper body strength that I had developed over the years helped me through my lower paraplegia immensely.  Still does.  Good to know I did something right before this slow motion s***storm began and knocked me down and out.

I have to wear orthotic devices on both lower legs that prevent the knees from hyper extending by keeping my weight forward and toward the balls of my feet rather than on my heels.  They are an ugly nuisance but I walk much more correctly and comfortably whilst using them.  Naturally, I hope that in time I can toss them, but there are no guarantees of anything, and I have to protect the knees: no knees, no walk.  The biggest problem with them is that I have been tested to drive and can do so again, but not with those devices on; they prevent dorsa-flexion of the ankle that is required for both braking and acceleration.  Simple sigh . . .

Gwen, by the way, has been working with me three times per week since the first of March and she has been superb in all ways, though she tended to be offended at my occasionally colorful language and disconcerted by my yelps of pain or fear.  I will see her again in November to determine how things stand in her opinion and mine.  I cannot praise this woman enough, and have both respect and genuine affection for her as professional and person.  We hugged before I left for Europe in May, and we hugged today.  I teared up a bit, I don't mind admitting (I am 70 after all, and we old farts tend to be a bit sentimental; my father-in-law called it 'seventy-mental').

I have begun to slowly get back to professional work: I will be subbing for the wonderful woman here at the local community college in October and November, including one concert; am going out to LA in November for a festival adjudication with clinics; making plans for a winter residency in Oregon; making plans for a short spring USC Chamber Choir Reunion tour in Spanish and French Basqueland, where we will rehearse more than perform and eat and drink more than we rehearse (sound about right?); finally, I will possibly be going back for another extended residency (my sixth) with a professional chorus in Korea in the foreseeable future.

 I have come to the end of my celebratory martini, and I will carry the glass back to the kitchen in my left hand whilst using a crutch only in the right.

Mazeltov to me for now at least.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ramo Award Acceptance Speech

This is the talk I gave at Thornton Commencement upon receiving the Thornton School's highest honor:


I’m periodically asked, if I had to do it over again, would I? Would I spend more than half of my life conducting collegiate choral ensembles?  The answer is always yes.  I have been immensely fulfilled by my work—by my 22 years of music making with undergraduates at two previous institutions, and by the chance to teach and rehearse a lot of graduate students for 15 years at this one.  I have spent my entire professional career at the college level—have enjoyed every second of score study, 59 out of every 60 minutes of rehearsal, 45 out of every 60 minutes of classes and private lessons.  I’ve even managed to enjoy up to 10 out of every 60 minutes of committee meetings. 

Anyway you cut it, I’m a lucky man.  I’ve often heard people at occasions like this say that they were so actualized by their work that they would have done it for free.  I might have, too. Until I came to USC, a lot of people seemed determined to let me try just that.  But my family and I have always had everything we needed and even a few things that we wanted, materially anyway, which is all that money can really do for us.

So yes, you betcha I’d do it over.

What I didn’t expect was the degree of respect and affection I have received from students over the years.  I have two folders in my files, one labeled Ego File and one labeled Soul Food. I used the former for kind cards and letters from students; I would dig it out when feeling insecure and feckless. In the process of weeding my files, though, I decided to do away with the Soul Food file.  That’s because all of the wonderful things that the students have said to me really do satisfy my soul, get right down to where my obsessions are—I just got it wrong about the Ego part.  It was enough for me that those closest to me in my work considered me a good man, an inspiring teacher and one helluva conductor.  That is why they are represented so thoroughly at my table today—I couldn’t have done what I have done without them.

Because we conductors are essentially parasites, you see.  We need a host body to nourish us, feed us, keep us alive.  That host is the ensemble, which could exist without us.  Conductors don’t exist without ensembles, though, and I often wish more of them would keep that in mind.  But I’m starting to rant again, which I want to avoid.

Speaking of Ego:  I want it clear at this point that, while here, I didn’t do the professional convention appearances, the European competitions, the concerts with the LA Phil and Helmuth Rilling, for me.  I did them for the school. I really did do them to re-ratify the importance of choral music on this campus, to make it important again to my colleagues and my bosses, to make it again a thing of wonder, justifiable pride, and long-term efficacy in the lives of hundreds of young people.  Because only choral music has these magic ingredients:  God’s own instrument, the human voice; humankind’s finest achievement, language, and the marvelous ingredient of a bunch of determined, dedicated, occasionally inspired people who are all—literally--on the same page of great music at the same instant, whilst picking pitches and vowels out of the ether--no valves, keys, fingerboards, or animal skins to rely on.

It is the ultimate team sport.

That alone was enough for me.

Imagine then, my surprise when my colleagues gave me this particular award.  I was stunned.  I was speechless.  I had chills, and I damned near cried in front of Dorothy Ditmer and Giulio Ongaro, when they announced it to me.  I had no idea that my colleagues on the faculty of one of the five finest music schools in the country considered me—Minnesota Me—worthy of this great music school’s highest honor.

My teachers, Charles Hirt and James Vail, received this award.  My student colleagues from my time at USC, Morten Lauridsen and Rick Lesemann received this award. To be in such company is more of an honor than I could possibly have hoped to attain.  I am not their equal—I don’t presume that—but I consider it the highest possible professional achievement to merely be listed on the same page with them in the future, forever.


I am almost out of words ("Deo gracias," say you).  I have to say that I really do hope that I have done USC proud, because it has certainly done me proud.

I thank the colleagues who considered me worthy of this, as well as those who have worked with me so amenably the past decade and a half—Terry Cravens, Giulio, Bryan, Debora, and Alan Smith, especially.  I thank bosses who gave me opportunities I might not otherwise have had, especially Rob Cutietta, the finest boss of my entire career, who said, simply, regarding the then-impending 2006 Asian Tour:  "It’s your turn; it’s choral music’s turn."

Mostly, though, I thank the students.  They made it all go. They always have, and I suspect they always will.


I must thank you all, too, for enduring this happy nonsense that I have just tried to articulate.  Please enjoy the rest of your day, possibly with someone you love.

Good afternoon.

Los Angeles, 10 May 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Hirts: Lucy and Charles

The publication of an article about one of my main mentors, Charles Hirt, in the recent Choral Journal got me to thinking and reminiscing a bit.  I'm quoted twice in the article, both quotes from a presentation in 1996 where I was asked to introduce him.  I got to know him well, finally, after coming to USC in 1992, twenty-three years after leaving grad school at USC.  I went over to his home in Glendale many times and visited him before his death in 2001.

But the best part of seeing him again was to get to know his wife Lucy for the first time, really.  After his death, I still went to see Lucy quite a bit; she was always dressed beautifully and I always mixed our drinks at the little bar in their little den: vodka tonic for her, scotch for me.  She was a francophone and francophile of the first order, a superb musician, a wonderful conductor, a great organizer, and an extremely intelligent woman.  She was also charming as could be in the Olde Worlde sense; charming, yes; stuffy, no.

She wanted so much for Charles' work to be more recognized than it was, and donated all of his papers to ACDA immediately after his death.  That donation has finally borne fruit but far too late for her to see it.  I am glad that some recognition has finally come and hope it continues: Believe me, compared with that man, many of today's current famous 'giants' are midgets in comparison. I'll be 70 in a month; I can say that now. (So, Shawna Stewart, finish that treatise and publish the sucker. OK?)

One of the things of which I am most proud is what Lucy thought of my book Chorus Confidential.  Upon reading it, she wrote me this letter.  It is my favorite 'review.' It is one of my most treasured possessions.

Charles Hirt Photos, Choral Journal, ACDA -- August 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Post Parisian Report

We had a great two weeks with Erin's parents in London, Normandy (Bayeux and D-day beaches) and Paris (via Chunnel).  I had been to all, but it was fun to see it with the others.  We had a full week in Paris and I fell in love with the city for the first time, really: other visits had been on tours, where I was working.  Hotel breakfasts were great, lunches in brasseries were fun, and dinners in cafes and restaurants were often exquisite (I had some of the best foix gras of my life).  Dang.  Patti got to go up the Eiffel (after a three-hour wait) and Gene got to see a match on center court of the French Open at Roland-Garros.  Erin's plan and guiding worked beautifully and we had a minimum of drama (except when she drove back into Paris from Normandy and had to negotiate the Mother of All Roundabouts, the Arc de Triomphe).  And I got to see the Musee D'Orsay for the first time: gorgeous re-do of an old train station and a killer collection of Impressionist painting.


I got around quite well, really.  I abandoned the walker in Green Bay and took just the Lofstrand crutches and a traveling wheelchair.  I was in the wheelchair for longer, smoother surfaces and in museums and the like, but I negotiated cobblestones, curbs, stairs in stations and brasseries (both for toilets) with confidence, if not aplomb.  And while the others were out waiting for the Eiffel, I walked alone from the hotel two Parisian blocks to a great Italian restaurant, where I enjoyed not only the food but speaking a language that is far more comfortable for me than French (everyone there was Italian).

All of which is to say, by way of condition report, that I am using crutches solely (which is only a problem getting up out of chairs without arms), and can even carry coffee from the kitchen through the dining room to my desk using just one crutch.  I have never had a fall--akhbar Allah--so I have made considerable progress in the six months since my post-surgical wheelchair days.  The next steps are one crutch, then a cane, then nothing.  I hope to walk unassisted in the New Year. My physical therapy is going well--they are all pleased, in fact have now reduced me from three days to two days/week--and many who haven't seen me in a while are surprised by my improved mobility.

Not bad for a guy who has had a severely wounded spinal cord, is technically an "incomplete paraplegic," and who attains the biblical three-score-and-ten in two months.

Children, Woman and Dog still love me.  Things could sure be worse.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Little Politics; A Little Pride

I thought that I had exhausted my revulsion and contempt for politicians who want to re-enslave women and make them mere property again, slightly more important than the family pet, but barely.  But no, I just heard about the new laws passed in Arizona. The way old, white, privileged men (read: Republican) continue to harass and, literally, get up a woman's vagina all the way to her uterus renews my disgust.  I simply do not understand the necessity for making women second class citizens at best.  Again.  I would appreciate anyone who can justify this to me in some sort of logical, legal (not religious) fashion.  I promise no reprisals: I will merely read.                                                                                                        

Above you see my family: wife, two daughters, two grandsons; taken last summer in Davis, CA whilst visiting.  Second pic above is Erin's college chamber choir fresh from their tour and home concert last month.

Just thought I'd throw something up there this morning; entertain y'all a bit.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I got the first really good news of this drama yesterday at my neurologist's office. It was the post-surgical, post-rehab, post-outpatient physical therapy appointment. He watched me take a few steps while holding on to me and said this:

--You will be walking unassisted by the end of the year. To which I replied:
--No shit? How confident are you of that? To which he replied:

Boy oh boy, was that good news. I don't think he would give me false hope at this point so I choose to believe him and work very hard to make his prediction come true. I won't be tap dancing or running a marathon, to be sure, but I at least hope to walk onto a stage again with a modicum of comfort and ease, if not elegance, and be able to stand through at least half a rehearsal.

My physical therapist punishes me three times per week and thinks I am doing beautifully, given the damage to my nerves and the resultant weakening of leg muscles. For the first time since the Minor Setback, she took away my walker and put me onto two canes and made me walk with them about 150 feet, with rest stops every fifty feet. I was sweating at the end of it. I have to keep doing that because Two Canes is the third stage of treatment, with One Cane being the fourth (wheelchair and walker are One and Two).

I am lucky to have a superb caretaker, Dorothy Miller, during the week, who punishes me almost as much as the physical therapist and is a joy to be around. We're going out for Happy Hour oysters and martinis tomorrow for a minor celebration of sorts. Erin comes home Sunday and maybe we can do the same.
This will be the last post about this soap opera for some time: nine months is the gestation period for humans and my gestation period for a rebirth of ambulatory independence. It's a long time. I may go back to discussing politics, which at the moment is rich with topics. Who knows? Maybe I'll run for president in 2016.

Thanks for staying tuned. All told, I'm a lucky guy: I have two daughters, two old friends, an adopted family, and numerous former students who apparently really do give a rip about me and bother to tell me so, for which I am more grateful than I care to express here.

Cheers, then,


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Minor Setback Amidst Slow Progress

I'm back in the wheelchair. At 300 am on 16 March, whilst taking walker to the toilet, I noticed my right leg was dragging. When I got up at 700, neither leg was working and I was in the same condition as before surgery: useless. I was unable to do any of my leg exercises that morning. At physical therapy that day, the therapist who is very experienced in spinal cord injury said that my symptom is not uncommon. My strength will probably return, but I must work hard daily to regain the progress I had attained in the 5 weeks since surgery. (I'd been out of the wheelchair for about two weeks). As a result, I have requested 24-hour caregiving while Erin is on tour next week; if something happened at night while alone, I could be helpless until morning, unable to even reach my cell phone. Sigh, sigh, double sigh. Will use walker AMAP today and resume trying leg exercises. Triple sigh.
I think it's important to relate here what I have to tell myself more than weekly: I did absolutely nothing to myself to deserve this. I did nothing to cause it. Shit happens. Nor did I coach the four incorrect diagnoses from three neurologists and one orthopedic surgeon over a four-year period of slow deterioration; I merely accepted blame and one unnecessary back surgery. Neither blame nor surgery helped. I am where I am, that is, a victim of the "best health care system in the world." Only frequent bouts of cursing seem to help temporarily, as does a lot of sleep (everything I do is an exhausting effort). According to my neurologist, it could be six months to a year before any real progress might be noticed. No guarantees as to how much progress I might experience nor how long it might take because we have no real idea how much nerve damage was done before the corrective surgery, which may have come too late. Only guarantee is that symptoms will not get worse. That's something, at least.
Am looking forward to a corned beef sandwich today to celebrate St. Paddy, as well as more of the world's second finest athletic event: NCAA BB Tournament.

Cheers, gang.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Up and At 'Em (I guess), At Least Not Down and Out (yet)

Was discharged from an acute rehab facility here in Huntsville and returned home on 27 Feb so on Monday it will be a week. I had been hospitalized since surgery on 2 Feb and have been in a wheelchair since. My walking with a walker improved very much in the three weeks of daily therapy and am now in outpatient rehab here in town three days a week, where we continue to work on muscle strength and flexibility in the legs, as well as my gait. While in rehab I learned to transfer smoothly from wheelchair to bed, easy chair, dinner chair, and toilet with help. I now do those things without help but I still need help in and out of the shower. I dress and shave myself, though I have to transfer to a stool so I can sit at the sink for ablutions (wheelchair is too low). In short, I think my legs have improved in terms of strength and movement. We'll see what Erin thinks when she arrives home.

I have two long term care policies to which I have made claims so I hope they don't act like normal insurance companies and find an excuse to refuse me: my nest egg would disappear; it would have disappeared long ago without Medicare (Democrats and Lyndon Johnson be praised). I have had in-home help from Home Instead since my arrival at home: my main caregiver is a delightful woman who was here from the first day. Have also had help from three others this week when Dorothy is off and during the night; we didn't want me home alone at night while Erin is attending the ACDA Southern Division, where she made a successful presentation today. She arrives home tomorrow.

Am trying to use the wheel chair less and less; I now take the walker instead when going to the bathroom or into the bed for a nap or at night. I can now do everything for myself except stand and cook, as well as fetch things (hard to do when you have both hands on the walker). Standing without any support at all is still very hard because of weak muscles, yes, but primarily because I can't feel my feet, so my brain doesn't know where I am in space and I weave like a helpless drunk after a short time.

Thanks for the many expressions of support both here and on Facebook; I am deeply grateful for them and am so glad that I have so many former students who still care about me after all these years and take the time to say so in some form.

Am trying to follow my Viking forebears' excellent advice: 'Pray to God in a storm if you like, but keep on rowing.'

Will keep rowing.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Latest Post-Surgical News

Operation was a success; i.e., he did what he wanted to do. Whether or not--and how much--I recover critical functions remains to be seen. Am in inpatient rehab here in HSV until 27th. Meanwhile, am fitting the house for some critical things that people in wheelchairs need. I am now one of them. Erin holding up well. Dog still loves me. Have walked 250 feet very slowly with the help of a walker and helper. That's the best I can report at the moment, other than I hate hospital food. Am receiving fine medical, therapeutic and technical care. My legs are beginning to work again after three weeks of utter uselessness.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Cause of My Problem and the Slow Recovery

Yesterday's spinal arteriogram revealed a hole in one of the blood vessels in the thoracic spine. Dr. Chan, who did the procedure, said he could have fixed the problem while in there if his probe had been a bit smaller (he went in from the groin) but, alas, that will have to wait.

Diagnosis: what I have is Foix Alajouanine Syndrome (in English, spinal dural arteriovenous fistula), a very rare condition discovered in 1926 by two Frenchmen that feels and acts like normal peripheral neuropathy but is instead the cause. My neurologist, Dr. Mulpur, has only encountered four such cases in his twenty-two years of practice. The progress of my condition can be halted by a surgical procedure going in from the back that will remove a section of the offending vein, returning the blood flow to normal, relieving the pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure is what has caused the problem from the beginning. The procedure will be performed by one of the finest specialists in the country, Dr. Dan Barrows at Emory University in Atlanta. Drs. Chan and Mulpur are working as I write to schedule an appointment that fits Erin's schedule so that we can get this done ASAP.

Prognosis: Symptoms that generally respond well to this treatment are walking difficulties and muscle strength, which believe me are my most serious problems. In other words, there is hope and a chance that I will walk unassisted again sometime in the foreseeable future (within about two years; it was slow in coming, it will be slow in leaving). I should sense improvement within several weeks after the procedure. I may not tap dance or run again, but I hope that I can at least return to shooting hoops (a whole-body endeavor, which is why I had to quit: I only had half a functioning body) and stand in front of a chorus again without leaning on the piano or using a stool. Maybe even yoga, if I can get off the floor smoothly.
I wish I could drive to Atlanta and have this done on Monday, but alas will have to wait on Barrow's schedule.
Profound thanks to Dr. Stephen Somerville in Green Bay, who saw me over Christmas, looked at all my medical records, and said "No, it's not neurological, it's spinal and it's in the thoracic spine." He was correct. Thanks to my wonderful GP, Dr. Ghanta, who ordered the MRI with contrast of the thoracic spine. Thanks to my neurologist, Dr. Mulpur, and the neuro-radiologists who read the MRI and definitively confirmed Somerville's diagnosis. Thanks to Dr. Alex Chan and Nurse Moss, who were not only professional but personable as well. Boos and hisses to the anesthesiologists, who put me out so fast that I didn't even get three seconds of '60's opiate euphoria. I had asked for thirty seconds and should have gotten it, given what those guys cost.

More anon. When I have news, you'll get it. Thanks to all the faithful: Xn, Katie, Bob, James, Pam, Joe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Morning Briefing

My condition has worsened considerably. I can barely walk even with the walker. Am undergoing a spinal arteriogram on Thursday, which is supposed to halt the progress and begin the long slow climb back. Neurologist and three radiologists are convinced it will work. Don't know that I am; I was fooled once a year ago. Am beginning negotiations to have myself checked into Vanderbilt medical center to confirm or refute this diagnosis/prognosis, or to possibly discern other causes. This will be my fifth surgery in the past year, though one was very minor. The good thing is the 30 seconds of opiate euphoria I experience while being wheeled into the OR; I should have done the 60's in a way other than grad school, lemme tell ya. Boy, I'm clever on that gurney! Erin and her parents have been wonderful throughout this mess.
In other news, the Republican field of delegates is the most disgusting, frightening thing I have experienced in my long, full life. And why we have to be treated to debate after debate of this clown-show-turned-fecal-fest is way beyond me.

This just in! Have begun negotiations to e-publish my second book. By popular demand!

Stay tuned for more if you've a mind. Breaking news at 11:00!