The Personal and Political Ramblings of one guy in Texas.

Friday, April 30, 2004


I should get into slap-fights with Chris and Bubba more often, seeing as how it got me a lot more page-views than in, like, forever.

The Return of the Chickenhawk Meme... 

Means that John Kerry has had a very bad two weeks. Much worse, I suspect, than many of us here had thought. Hence, this speech of Sen. Frank Lautenberg's, via Hugh Hewitt. If you're an ABB type person, this is just some lovely red meat, and of course, true, brilliant, brave, etc. etc.

Kerry himself has gone from saying (back in February) that he was not going to attack anyone for their choices in the 60's and 70's (and why not, plenty of other people would do it for him), to directly accusing Bush of of shirking. Bush may not want to revisit the 60's; but if Kerry's people get to use his real heroism from then as a selling point, then things he did wrong back then have to be fair game, too. You don't get to cherry-pick, as much as various pols would want to.

Although RNC types have certainly done their best to flog the issue, the real damage here has been self-inflicted; Kerry's inability to settle on a single clear narrative of what he did with his medals and ribbons. Its not really that complex a matter, or shouldn't be. That, and his dissembling over an SUV have landed him in some hot water that plays perfectly into the Republican theme that he is a duplicitous flip-flopper.

What a boob. Y'know, a credible democratic alternative could force Bush to actually improve his game, but Kerry is just freaking lame.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Life's Little Vicissitudes 

Trish got into a fender-bender yesterday. Actually, more than a bender I think this qualifies as a minor accident. Everyone is fine (except my truck), BTW.

It happened less than a mile from the house. Trish had taken off to get some medicine for the cat (and I was grumpy because it was my mistake the vet was about to close, and I was sure she was going play the martyr on me for going to get it even after I said that I would do it) while I finished eating dinner with Jacob. Then the phone rings, and its that classic "I'm fine, but there's been an accident" sort of call. So, in a great rush, I drop Jake off at the neighbors, grab a leash (she had taken Hubert, our Great Dane, with her), and jump in her car.

Of course, the road leading down the scene of the accident was almost totally at a standstill. Since it occurred so close by, I then parked her car on a side street and jogged down. There I found a wrecker pulling my Highlander away to the side, two cops dealing with the incident, plus Trish, Hubert, and a big fellow I presumed to be the other driver.

What happened was this...

Lakeline Blvd is a 4-lane, divided residential arterial heading North/South at this point. Another 4 lane road crosses it at the intersection. On the northbound side of that corner of Lakeline is a pharmacy. On the southbound is a strip mall with a Starbucks and sundry other establishments. There is a cut in the divider here, allowing people to cross between the pharmacy and the strip mall. This cut is what, 50 yards from the intersection? Is it dangerous? You betcha.

So Trish is sailing south at 40mph. The lane closest to the strip mall is at a stop from people wanting to turn to the right. According to the other driver, someone in that lane waved him out of the Starbucks lot. He assumed it was clear all the way across (as the cop said, if someone waves you out, just wave back). So out he goes, and Trish finds another SUV pulling across her face. She slammed on the brakes (anti-lock, of course. Strange to get there and find no skidmarks), but it was too late. Whammo.

Near as I could tell, Trish caught the guy on the driver side rear. Somehow, my vehicle wound up with most of the obvious damage on the passenger side front. Anyway, my car also got an obviously cracked radiator and plenty of front grill damage, plus some warping of the side panels and who know what else. It's not drivable, in any case. Oh, and the air bags deployed. So Trish has a nice bruise on her chest, in addition to other minor aches and pains.

What's funny is that the accident was witnessed by both a wrecker driver (wrecker services probably stake out that corner) and an off-duty cop. By the way, insurance adjusters get woodies when your accident is witnessed by a cop who testifies that you aren't at fault. Oh yeah, the other driver got cited for failing to yield right of way. But Trish feels sorry for him, because he trusted the bozo who waved him out -- and who vanished of course.

So we'll have to see if the 1-year old car of mine is a total or can be fixed. It looks fixable to me, but I reckon it'll depend on the condition of the frame. What fun life is, eh? Still, about 1 second or so either way and it becomes story about how Trish almost hit some loon or how some loon hits Trish in the side and she's in the hospital.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Remember that old Twisted Sister video, where the Animal House guy screams at the kid "WHAT DO WANNA DO WITH YOUR LIFE?" and the kid says "I wanna rock"?

I wish I had such an easy answer. You may or may not recall that I'm unemployed, and, thanks to some lucky breaks I had only a little bit to do with (but not nothing) we are in a situation where, theoretically, I could just retire.

The hitch, if you would, is that the wife-unit wants me to decide what my "job" is. Obviously job in this case doesn't have to mean an actual 40-hour a week paying job. It means, what are my tasks going to be? I mean, retired or not, I can't just sit in the back yard and drink margaritas; we have a 6 year old kid, two nice dogs, and three cats, plus a house to keep up and a ranch to deal with. And I'm just not the sort of person who can clean house every day for 4 hours. And she's honest enough to say that if I did become a lazy person, she'd get pretty darn resentful.

Do I take a part time job? A part-time job at Petsmart with a 10% employee discount would probably make me more money via savings than the paycheck. What about volunteer work? Is there something that I could do nearby that wouldn't be overrun with raging Lefties? Do I take up acting? Try to write full-time? Or commit full-time to the job search?

A friend of mine suggested that I use this time to engage in "personal development". Take some classes in different things, fool around, try to decide what I want to do. Problem is, its exactly the sort of task I'm not good at. That's a sort of "visionary" kind of task. At least, I think so. I'm good in the concrete; get a good deal on a car, find the best component for a computer, research job numbers, etc. etc.. But trying to decide what the concrete tasks should be, well, that I'm less good at.

So, like the sort of geeky person I am, I'm going to read a book or two on how to decide what to do with your life. And why not? It worked when we first bought a house and in dealing with pregnancy and Jake's first several months of life.

Woe is me? Hardly. About 5 billion people would like to be in my place, and I damn well know it. But its where I find myself. I've got till the end of the year. Any ideas?

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Clean-up on Aisle 4 

Had some trouble posting my Michigan law post below -- but I didn't realize until now just how messed up that all was! Sorry for the mess that was so hard to read, it should be cleaned up now.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Is This What We Think It Is? 

I have to confess a certain unease regarding some kinds of anti-discrimination law. I mean, why should it be the business of the government who I hire or sell my stuff to? It's an amazing level of intrusion.

Nevertheless, I don't think there was a better or quicker way to break the stranglehold of segregation which once existed in this country. The Libertarian argument of how people are just hurting themselves by not taking the best worker or the best deal is quite frankly a pile of crap, and should not be taken seriously. I'll explain why some time. The point is, such laws have proven themselves necessary, however much they offend some libertarian streak of mine.

Another thing you should know that one place I've never (while perhaps not never, but its been a long time) had trouble lining up with the Left/Liberals is regarding homosexual rights. Right to marry, et cetera. No problem here.

So that is why I was outraged at first when I read about this:

Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House.

The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

But when I read the piece and thought more on it, I realized this set of bills is not really aimed at gay people, but at abortion. Though it could certainly affect gay people if read a certain way. You can find the text of the bill as passed here. Note that it talks about health care "services", and defines a service as follows:

"Health care service" means the provision or withdrawal of, or research or experimentation involving, a medical diagnosis, treatment, procedure, diagnostic test, device, medication, drug, or other substance intended to affect the physical or mental condition of an individual.

So I think the real intent of this law is to let people and facilities choose not to provide contraceptive services, especially abortions, as opposed to letting them opt out of treating gay people. A lawyer will have to tell us if the language is slippery enough to allow you to deny treatment to gays on moral grounds, but if its not that slippery, we may have to re-think our outrage.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Jobs -- See Update 

Much has been made of the loss of manufacturing jobs this economic downturn. The phrase "hollowing out" has been floated around a bit in reference to America's industrial base. I began to wonder if that were, in fact true. Were manufacturing jobs really going away? And here I mean as a long-term whole; certainly many have recently lost jobs for cyclical reasons, and factories do close for good.

Another thing I wondered was just what was so magical about a manufacturing job? Have you heard anyone worrying about the decline in the number of agricultural workers lately (as opposed to the family farm)? The hollowing out of the ag base? Didn't think so.

So why the hullabaloo about manufacturing jobs? I decided there were three main reasons. In no particular order they are:

1. Psycho-social. Americans have always been more attuned to the person who makes things, as opposed to the person who arranges things. We like people who deal in the concrete. People who make real things are somehow more valuable than those who do not. I think there must be some sort of interesting feminist commentary on this somewhere.

2. Pay and benefits. Manufacturing jobs pay better than the average service-sector job. This has been part of the recent litany. "Jobs might be coming back," they say, "But they are all low-wage service jobs."

3. Politics/Cynicism. Manufacturing jobs tend to be unionized. Unions vote Democrat, generally speaking, donate large sums to the Democratic Party, provide volunteers, etc. etc. Perhaps this isn't really true anymore because quite a few service workers are unionized (and some factory workers aren't), but sometimes old prejudices die hard.

So I decided to check and see what the numbers were. For the most part, I got my data from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics website. They've got a nice set-up. If I was on Movable type or paid Blogger, I could show you the graphs, which are very illuminating. But if you follow my links and directions below, you can see them for yourselves.

In general I chose the year of 1970 as a start point, because in my memory, people began to worry about manufacturing jobs during the early 80's. So 1970 seemed a good place to start looking from. It also happens to be a nice round number.

The next thing is to consider what "manufacturing" is. The BLS has "manufacturing" in a separate category under "goods producing", which also includes mining (but not oil and gas) and construction. Its not always clear to me when commentators talk of manufacturing versus service jobs if they are really trying to compare a sector to an entire category (I'm also assuming that people such as accountants and computer programmers are not counted as manufacturing workers even though they might happen to work for General Motors). To be safe, I've chosen to work with both the entire goods producing category and the manufacturing sector when making comparisons.

So in the figures below, the first number is for "goods producing" employees and the second is "manufacturing" employees. So a figure of 20,000/15,000 jobs means 20 thousand goods producing jobs and 15 thousand manufacturing jobs.

The first thing we have to disabuse ourselves is the notion of American manufacturing being in decline. There might be something "beyond the numbers" as it were, but the raw data don't show it.

If you look at the data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis here, you see that from 1987 (the earliest point in the data set) until 2001 (last year in the data set), American manufacturing outputs increased about 60% in constant dollars. So we're making more stuff, not less. You could argue it should be a higher figure, but in terms of output, American industrial output is only being "hollowed out" RELATIVE to services, not in any absolute sense.

Next I checked on the number of manufacturing jobs over the time period. Here I got a bit of a surprise. I had assumed that the raw number of manufacturing jobs had risen over time, just nowhere near as fast as service jobs. I was wrong, but what I did find was very interesting.

First I determined the percentage of goods producing jobs relative to all private-sector jobs. The numbers look like this for goods producing (figures rounded to the nearest whole number):

1970: 39%
1975: 35%
1980: 33%
1985: 30%
1990: 26%
1995: 24%
2000: 22%
2004: 20%

You can find the raw figures I used to get these numbers here. Select goods producing and private service providers, then hit "Retrieve Data". You'll get 1994-2004 in table form. From here you can select different time frames, plus get graphs. Cool stuff. For simplicity's sake, I just used the job number for January of each year.

Okay, we knew this already. Goods jobs were declining relative to service. What about the absolute number of goods/manufacturing jobs?

In 1970 that number was about 23/18 million.

There was an absolute low of 21.1/16.6 million jobs in 1975. This was the low point of the 30-year period.

In 1980 it peaked just shy of 25/19 million. This was the high point of the entire 30-year period.

For goods producing, the most recent high point was in 2000, at 24.7 million. No surprise there.
The most recent 2004 data shows us 21,750,000.

So from 1970 until 2004, the number of goods producing workers remained in a band, between the low set in 1975 and the high set in 1980, usually running between 22 and 24 million jobs. If you run a graph, you can really see periods of economic growth or decline in the peaks and valleys.

The absolute numbers of manufacturing jobs have also remained fairly static for nearly 30 years, and from 1982 to 2002, the difference between high and low has been about 1.5 million, with the total generally hovering in the low 17 million range.

For manufacturing, the most recent high point was in 1998, at 17.6 million. The most recent 2004 data shows us 14.3 million, with a massive fall-off between 2001 and today. It is the lowest number of manufacturing jobs in 30 years.

What conclusions can we draw from this data?

The first is that the "hollowing out" of American manufacturing is overblown, to say the least. From 1987 to 2001, manufacturing outputs increased steadily. There is no evidence to support the idea that once the economy is fully back on its feet, that growth will not continue.

The second is a two-parter. While the absolute number of goods producing jobs is near a 30-year low, it is still pretty much in line with recent historical precedent. If the recovery gathers steam, we will probably see the numbers back in the 22-24 million band where they've spent most of the past 30 years.

Manufacturing is actually well below its previous historical lows. But manufacturing jobs are very cyclical, and quite sensitive to the business cycle (It was interesting to look at the services table, and see that aside from VERY minor hiccups, the service jobs table showed only a steady line of growth, with a couple of slowdowns), as was readily apparent from the graphs I saw. Given the evidence from 30 years of data, it is way too soon to argue for the notion that at the macro level, manufacturing jobs are being "replaced" by service jobs in any meaningful sense.


Stuff from the comments that deserves highlighting:

Robert Tagorda points us to an interesting article by Dan Drezner in Foreign Affairs dealing with the outsourcing side of this issue. Short version: fears about globalization and outsourcing are overblown.

Dan also states that US manufacturing jobs declined by 11% from 1995 to 2002 (he notes that global manufacturing job loss was -- wait for it -- 11%). My only quibble with this is that by the start of 2002, jobs of all sorts had declined due to the economic downturn; again, we simply do not know yet how much job loss is cyclical and temporary versus structural and permanent.

Bubba of Southpaw grumps that looking here shows you that the fastest growing occupations are pretty much all service jobs. This is not surprising, and is pretty much something we already know. I was heartened to note a reasonable mix of low and high-paying jobs in the listing. Most of the fastest are low-wage, though hasn't that pretty much always been the case? Time for more research!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

I'm Still Here 

My PC still works (though I've had my troubles getting its kinks ironed out). I'm also working on a post that isn't long enough for the time its taken, but I hope will be informative. I take a look at manufacturing job trends and try to sort out fact from fiction. I hope to have it out there on Monday, finally.

Sunday, April 11, 2004


Okay, that was interesting.

Actually, getting the revamped computer going wasn't that bad. I'm not completely done yet, either (need to make a disk image and put it on the nice big 120GB drive), but getting things back to a clean boot was the important part.

Hardware was not a problem (more or less; read on). Everything I plugged in worked when I hit the power button. It was a huge relief to hit the BIOS and see all the parts being recognized and accepted. But then came time to boot into Windows.

It wouldn't. It started to, then stopped and complained about a protection error, and how the NDIS device would not load. Off to safe mode. Safe mode is a pain, because nothing you really need seems to work very well (no CD-ROM drivers, for one thing). So instead I tried doing a line by line confirmation. When I got to the lines that had an "ndis" in them, I simply said "no". This time it worked, I booted up normally, and then dealt with all the driver loading needed as the OS found all the new and different devices on the mobo. Most of them loaded fine.

Re-boot. Still get an ndis error. Finally, that night Trish comes home and I can look it up on the net using her computer. Her computer you say? Why not your computer when it booted up mostly okay? That's because this ndis thing is needed by your dial-up adapter within Windows.

So I find it pretty quick. Seems that in Win98, processors faster than 2.4GHz cause the ndis thingy to throw divide by zero errors. Why should proc speed matter for a network-related device? Who knows, but it turns out there is a fix. A simple patch takes care of it, only the patch ain't located on the Microsoft Support web page where it describes the error. The page says "contact Microsoft". WTF? Why should
I have to contact them for a cheesy file?

Okay, I find the file on another web page. Some guy posted it like a year ago in response to other people needing the fix. Left it up, too. Thanks a ton, Brian. So now I have the file, only its on my wife computer. No biggy, I grab a floppy and sit back down to copy it over and...

No floppy. My wife's computer is a Powerbook Laptop. Jobs has decided we don't need floppies anymore, and besides, not a lot of laptops have a floppy in place anyway, since it takes up so dang much space. Erg. I decide to go to bed.

Next day, I recall that I gave Trish a Zip drive. USB. So off to Office Depot, where we buy some more Zip disks. I put the file on the Zip. I plug the drive into my computer, whereupon we spend a gritty 10 minutes finding the proper drivers. Eventually, I do. Drivers in, drive recognized, file copied. It's a .exe, so I scan it with Norton just to be sure its not a virus. Looks clean. I run it. I reboot.

Yee-haa! Success! No more ndis error. A clean boot. Dial-up works! Once again, I have triumphed over the machine. I go to bed.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Computer Things 

I've dithered long enough. My old PC is starting to hang up on boot about 1/3 of the time. I just hope its my old hard drive flaking, and not some degenerative disease of software that will be carried over on the image I created.

Meantime, its a pain the butt dealing with my case and motherboard. The connections aren't exactly the same of course, and the manuals are a bit on the thing side. The mobo comes with fan power connections, but my fans want the big plugs from the power supply. Fortunately, the PS has plenty of connectors. But the mic input is weird, and the case has extra USB ports on top, while the mobo comes with this front panel that has even more USB connectors. And I'm plum out of places to plug the multiple firewire ports to.

I've got a graduate degree, have messed with computers since high school, including doing lots of my own hardware installations (this is my first motherboard, though), and I'm still puzzled by the proper order of doing things and the way it should be done. Man, I hate computer instructions.

Anyway, I really really need to get the new machine going, so if you don't hear from me for days and days, I reckon its because something went badly.

Iraq and Roll 

Well, things have gotten pretty damn messy in Iraq the past week. The military and administration people are acting sanguine, the press and the Left are gloomy, and the Truth is probably somewhere in the middle of these extremes. Where is that point? This is vitally important, but its hard to tell right now. The situation is fluid and confused, at least from over here.

So is this Tet (military success but political disaster at home), The Battle of the Bulge (scary, but ultimately just a bad bump in the road), or post-Soviet Afghanistan(a complete disaster for pretty much all concerned for years to come)?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


In April of 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear reactor suffered a catostrophic accident that resulted in a lot of deaths and a large area being rendered unfit for human habitation. This set of pages (which I found on Oxblog) was created by a biker who sometimes travels through the area, and it chronicles some of the sights. I find it quite...fascinating I guess. I'm not sure the proper word, but its really worth a look.

Happy Birthday To Me 

Oy, massive thunderstorm greets my new year. But I get to sleep in a little bit (normally, I get up and get Jake ready for school Tue-Thur) and have some bacon for breakfast in place of cold cereal. But with no sign of the bus after 10 minutes I elected to drive Jake to school. Oh, and of course, Hubert breaks a claw and will need to go to the vet for a bit of bandage.

Then I get to clean up the detritus from Trish's breakfast preparations and try to straighten the house up before the vet trip and then the drive in to get some inserts for my boots.

And I still don't know when I'm going to get to put my new computer together.

Monday, April 05, 2004

The Left's Pity Party...Same as the Other Pity Party 

Includes self-indulgent pap like this. If you haven't noticed the unfortunate warts and imperfections of America until the Opposition gets into office, you'd best lay off the hack poetry. And if you really think you're being oppressed and people are starting to fix elections on you, I would suggest reading up on Daley's Chicago, and then Shirer's _Rise and Fall of the Third Reich_. That's oppression, as opposed to a distinct lack of popularity.

Its bizarre to me for people to go on and on and about how they must battle bravely to speak truth to power, and then whine about how much people hate them. And its doubly ironic to read blogs like Southpaw's, and even Josh Marshall on a bad day, which are about as spite-filled as anything you will hear on Rush Limbaugh[*]. And the comments on some of the Lefty blogs are even worse. The Paw people don't even have a single non-left liberal blog linked on their site. Not one. And they whine about echo chambers on the right?

This shouldn't be taken as some sort of excuse for people on the Right who are full of shit themselves. I could probably spend a week fisking everything John Derbyshire has ever written, not to mention the awful Ann Coulter, who spend long periods engaging in their own pity parties. I used to read Little Green Footballs regularly, for example. At first it just read like an angry blog by a "liberal who got mugged". But it changed, and eventually became the very nasty place it is today. I don't go there anymore.

It's never ceased to amaze me how the Right and the Left are absolutely convinced the other has amazing power over the world, and how that other can be so incredibly stupid and frighteningly clever at the same time.

Why do I read this stuff? I don't know. It's not good for my acid reflux, that's for sure. It's like looking at a bad car crash, I guess. Some sort of weird desire to see the awful.

I try to remind myself that despite what a lot of people whine about how this is the worst its ever been in terms of public discourse, there was never, ever, a Golden Age of high-minded debate in this country (or anywhere outside of Athens, probably), and its arguable been worse than this before. Lincoln was called a gorilla. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were called despots. Lyndon Johnson's people came up with the Daisy ad, and Goldwater was called dangerously unhinged. Even George Washington had his critics.

I suppose I'm telling everybody they need to get over themselves, though I'm more sympathetic to the right than the left.

* Blogger's spell checker suggests "lumbago" for "Limbaugh". That's pretty funny. The Leftists Conspiracy Rides Again! :-)


Is the title of a book by a fellow named Dave Eddie. In it, he describes his life as a househusband following the birth of his child. It's an interesting read, and now and then things he said struck a chord. Especially the part about cooking. I've started creating the weekly menus around here, in addition to doing the shopping. I've even done more of the cooking. It can be kinda fun.

Now this isn't entirely new territory for me. I was on my own and working for a good five years, and managed to keep my weight up without resorting to take-out every night. In fact, I cooked for myself all week, and only relaxed on weekends. Now granted, a lot of it was hamburger helper-esque, but I was able to get the job done. Now, I'm getting funky. My best meal so far has probably been the turkey meatloaf with Parmesan-olive oil mashed potatoes.

One thing I've not mastered is leftovers. Now, I like leftovers. Or at least don't mind them. No cooking that night, minimal cleanup. But its hard for me to gauge when a meal is going to leave enough for another meal. So we end up with strange odds and ends, and sometimes the ends don't get used the way they should. I hate to waste food.

Friday, April 02, 2004


I'm expecting no fewer the three FedEx packages today (normal expectations == 0), and they just dropped off two. I couldn't catch the guy before he drove off. One was a package for Trish I didn't know about (in our house there are three certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and the Weekly Amazon Order for Trish). The other was for someone else. I called it in and the nice Indian-sounding (or it could have been Hispanic, but with all this hullabaloo about call centers and outsourcing my brain initially said Indian) person arranged for the guy to re-deliver.

I'm looking forward to these, because they contain the components needed to launch my tired old PC back into the ranks of hot rod from which it had inevitably fallen since the last upgrade.

This Month, Two Steps Forward 

The jobs report for March is out and is very good. 308,000 jobs were created, almost triple what the analysts were expecting. Even manufacturing appeared to gain jobs, and the figures for January and February were also revised upward (I heard this on NPR this morning). The unemployment rate stayed about the same, though weekly jobless claims dropped off, suggesting large numbers of people re-entered the job market.

One thing about this recovery that has struck me is its jerkiness. One month, the numbers come in better than expected, the next they are worse than expected. In terms of the analysis, I think it really has become a different economy than what we had in the past. Computers and the internet are really making their presence felt, and the ramifications and effects of this have yet to be fully understood. So has globalization. People simply haven't been able to get their economic models up to date yet.

The other factors, of course, are continuing nervousness about war and terrorism. Arguably, you can't put those into a mathematical model. You just have to apply your own personal english to the numbers, and that's a hard thing to gauge. The analysts are reduced to guessing.

But I'm not a trained economist, so who knows.

Politically this really good news for the Bush team, who really had to be sweating after the original February numbers came out, and every left-leaning blog and commentator spent about a week dissecting them. I reckon the shoe will be on the other foot this week, with Bush-supporting blogs and commentators crowing about the last missing piece of the recovery falling into place. At least until the next set of job figures comes out.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Going to the Dogs 

We've known for a while that Hubert, the big black Great Dane, has back problems. He's been on Deramaxx (essentially doggie ibuprofen) for a year and a half. It's gotten worse of late, and the x-rays basically prove it. We could have an MRI done to find out more, but that costs $2k, and there's just no way to justify that.

So anyway, the regular vet feels this is beyond them. So yesterday we went to see another vet they recommended. This vet does acupuncture.

Yep, acupuncture for animals. This is Austin, after all, or close enough. It's mighty weird to hear your vet discuss bone structures and diseases in highly technical terms and then start in on how an imbalance in the chi of the kidney can be related to spinal trouble. Or maybe it was the yin. Anyway, its weird.

So after a long examination, observing him walk, manipulating his joints, checking x-rays, etc., she stuck him full of acupuncture needles. And that was weird too. Took it like a trooper he did, and Trish is swearing that he acts as if he feels better today.

Well, I hope so. We're talking $60 per session, and a minimum of 8 sessions (1 per week) to see what happens. I suppose it'll be worth it if at some point we can do fewer sessions and wean him off the Deramaxx. He gets 1/2 a tab of that stuff a day, and it costs at least $1 a day. I'm pretty sure its more than that by now; every time we've gone to get another bottle the price has gone up.


Y'know, I said I was going to try an exploration of how one deals with politics and their religious beliefs. I have to confess that my heart isn't in it, despite the fact that I think its an important topic. My muse is silent.

The intention was to avoid being in snark-mode on a full-time basis, to generate some light instead spending all my time as a critic. Well, that's not working out as well as I'd hoped. This may be too much information, but I started this blog for several reasons, and one of them was as a place to vent my frustrations, blow off some steam, as it were. And the best way to do that so far seems to find something stupid and rip it to shreds (fairly). So I think I'll be going back to that for a while, along with some shorter "side trip" type posts on whatever catches my fancy.

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