Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The living Martin Luther King

I don't want just one Martin Luther King day this year. I want 52 or so. I'll get them with my new purchase which I want to turn you onto as well. On iTunes and other download sites there is a 17 hour collection of MLK speeches. Google or search for "speeches by martin luther king, the ultimate collection." Here they are on Spotify. Last night I spent 30 minutes listening to the address made at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March. Yes. Selma.
That 30 minutes was worth the $9.99 cost of the download. Really people, snap this download up. The recordings of the speeches are history in the public domain as far as I know and use of them in a classroom is certainly a fair usage of the words of this true American hero. If I were still in the classroom, I would edit the speech, or simply cue up the day's segment of the speech according to the age group of the student. Younger kids can enjoy inspirational moments. English as a Second Language students can appreciate the references to great quotes such as, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested," and "Josh'a Fit the Battle of Jericho." Teachers can point to the musical use of cadences in Dr. King's speeches. This speech contains the cadences: 1. We're on the move now…;  2. Let us march…;  3. It was normalcy…;  4. How long - Not long.
(This last cadence, in my experience with middle school immaturity, is best taught in the earliest grades.)
A teacher could make lessons for older students directly taught by King in the speech. There is the segment explaining segregation as a creation of politics! Astounding insight. And there is an introduction to the much misunderstood Populist movement.
Teachers, please continue with your lovely stories, but incorporate the living, breathing man as well! His breath is alive and it still vibrates the arc of the moral universe.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Water boarding at the dentist office

I might not be able to go to a dentist again. They water boarded me twice now. I'm only kidding a little bit. It seems that the latest design of dental furniture for patients requires the patient to lie in a horizontal position. The hygienists and dentists actually prefer your head to be lower than the rest of your body, but I said no way so we compromised for a moment. During that horizontal moment (okay, maybe my head was lifted up 5 degrees or so) I pretended to be ok. But when the hygienist finished "brushing" my teeth and I could sit up to wait for the ultrasound cleaning segment, I found myself breathing rapidly. Then I realized that I had not been able to breathe without choking while on the chair, so I stopped pretending. I told them I needed to talk with the dentist and if s/he could not work on me in a more upright position I'd have to forgo dental care. He put me in the most "upright" position he said he could allow. I think he'd put a bend in my knees somehow with the chair - that helped my back-but did not address the issue of fluids building up in my throat. It's like a chair designed to induce the very choking sensation of sleep apnea, and hey, people die from that!
WTF! It can't just be my problem. What if I was pregnant? Aside from the miracle that would be, wouldn't baby be pressing on major arteries? What if I had congestive heart failure? The fluid would build up in my lungs! We're all gonna die in the dentist chair! Arrrrrrgggg!
And, while I'm ranting, what happened to the concept of two people working at the same time? One continuously suctioning fluid and every now and then offering a rinse of mouthwash? And, hey where the fuck is the basin with running water -  you know for you to spit the mouthwash in? I had to get up go into a hall and spit in front of other people. I only do that in bars!
I once had my teeth cleaned by another hygienist who worked alone. One hand bristled with instruments, you know those pin-sharp things they scrape away with. She could have put my eye out! There was no suction device at all, no sink. She could tell fluid was building up so she stopped and said, "Swallow." Eeeeuuuu! Gross.
I told the young dentist that all my life I had gone to dentists without ever having to lean back like that -  there was always a bit of a V-shape in my torso and my head was tilted back for access. He said he was unaware of chairs like that. Bullshit, I thought. But when I speculated that the entire setup was geared to allow rapid work, high turnover, and not even a nod to patient comfort, he admitted, "Actually, it's because the old way of working was damaging to the dentist's backs." Aha.
Well, I wish him a long, healthy career.
Me, I'm going to Mexico and I'll pay cash for my dental work. I bet all those grand old dental chairs are down there. I bet they even have plumbing throughout the clinic with neat basins right by your side to spit in. And I bet I'll never have to swallow such shabby treatment again.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Parody and Contempt

What would happen in the United States if a publication repeatedly drew cartoons of Jesus with the goal of poking fun?  And would it be all the more provoking if the publication were staffed by people of Arab or Persian descent?  Many of our most dangerous gun nuts are "Christians."
It is strange to me that the loudest noise is made when the right of free speech to ridicule is involved, not the right to take to the streets and protest politics. We The Sheep are herded into kennel-like "Free Speech Zones" to keep us from the protective bubble that surrounds that one per cent support groups which comprise our major political parties.
Knowingly provoking resentment and anger in others cannot by its nature lead to positive outcomes. It is a part of free speech, sure, but it's not the part that matters most.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Eli Lilly's troubling "Symptoms of Mania" checklist

I have some pages from an Eli Lilly and Company workbook for mental patients and providers. I don't have all the pages, nor are they in order, but I'll identify the source as best I can. I remember seeing the pages came from the Canadian branch of the company. At the top of the page I read,

"TeamSolutions Workbook 3 Understanding your illness
Session 7 - Symptoms Checklist (Part 2)"

At the bottom of the page I can see the script-style font spelling out "Lilly."
The stated objectives of the worksheets are to:
1. Identify depressed symptoms.  2. Identify manic symptoms.  3. Recognize mixed manic symptoms.

My only problem is with one of the "Symptoms of Mania" number 13. The main learning point of this lesson is that "Symptoms of mania appear when your 'mood thermostat' allows moods to go above the standard range of moods."
Okay, fasten your seat belts, here is a statement of one symptom of mania:

"13. I have my rights and I will stand up for them."

Yes, that is a warning sign of mental illness, my friends. I have my rights and I will stand up for them. So, if you read all my blogs, you will see ample signs that I must not only be mentally ill, I must be dangerously mentally ill, quite probably in need of being locked up!
I imagine that many readers of this blog are also mentally ill by the same standard. Any true red, white, and blue US citizen is mentally ill -  our entire revolution was spawned by sick advice - endowed with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, indeed! Sicko.
As Americans in general and Democrats in particular focus on who is President, more active politicians (the Republican Party) are busy dismantling far more than the federal government. I worked for a school district that used money intended for students to fight a long, drawn-out lawsuit brought by a teacher at his own expense. The teacher was suing the district for not spending federal dollars on the behalf of English-As-A-Second-Language (ESL) students. He lost his suit. The students lost twice.
There are so many lines of battle in the fight against injustice and yet, I feel most people focus only on one or two big issues. Meanwhile, corporations and their lobbyists chip away on every issue and at ALL levels of government right down to the precinct and school district level. And as we sail on obliviously, even a goddamned pharmaceutical company is establishing the definition of crazy to include standing up for our rights!
To get an even fuller idea of the attack on individual liberty contained in #13, here are the others:
1. I have so much energy.
2. I keep having all these really great ideas.
3. It is fun and powerful to drive fast.
4. Who needs sleep -  not me.
5. I can't focus on anything.
6.Other people can't keep up with me - they get on my nerves.
7. My thoughts are racing through my head so fast I can't keep up with them.
8. I feel very sexy now - I don't want to miss anything good in life.
9. I am too much of a man or woman for just one person.
10. It takes money to make money and I am going to spend and be rich.
11. Who worries about bills coming due -  not me.
12. I have a lot to say and you should listen and benefit.
14. I am applying for more credit cards because mine are at their limit.

I have my rights and I will stand up for them!!