Philippines contraception law signed by Benigno Aquino

"Philippines President Benigno Aquino has signed into law a bill providing for free access to contraception and family planning.
Supporters say the law, which took 14 years to pass, will reduce poverty and maternal mortality in a country with the highest birth rate in the region.
The Roman Catholic Church repeatedly tried to block the bill."-  Any surprise there??

What I'm Reading

Yes, it's YA fiction.
I'm a mom of two, so I keep up with options for them.
It's straight forward and written from the teenage girl's perspective.
It's a quick read, perfect for a flight or long ride.
Don't worry, there's no nutty religious babble from the heroine during the end days.
It's about a family struggling together in face of a world changing event.

A small relief

Got the biopsy results back as benign. Despite my doctor saying to assume it's cancer regardless of the biopsy and act accordingly, I felt relief.

So far I've been on a single track. First the lump, then the blood test, then another, then the ultrasound, then another scan...all on a single course to an illness which left me at the doctor's word, "Cancer".  Now, finally, a bit off course.  If the course had continued, the biopsy would have been Cancer, definitely.  Now I wait some more but this time it seems bearable somehow.

So it's forward with surgery. I go for a surgical consultation MLK Day. They'll take the lump out and they'll biopsy it and decide about the radiation then.  But that's then.  Now I can breathe, labored, but breathing none the less.

Assume you have cancer

I haven't gotten the biopsy results back, but I went to a specialist yesterday and I walked away with, "Assume you have cancer." Therefore, take action as if you have cancer.

I am one to two days away from biopsy results and now I've have been told that the results aren't conclusive if I receive a benign, suspicious, or non-diagnostic response. Apparently the mass is so large and so varied that there is no way to biopsy all significant areas; therefore cancer must be presumed and I must act accordingly.

But this wasn't all. I have a list of indicators for ______. The doctor repeatedly used the phrase, "is indicative of." Note that period.  I did.  So I stopped him and said, "Is indicative of WHAT?"  Because I am sitting there filling in the gaps with Cancer, but I wanted to hear it from him.  To see if my guess was right. Because at no point did he say Cancer.  And so he answers, "Cancer." There it is.  It's out there... That's when he explains why the biopsy I had (a standard procedure) is unlikely to give an accurate response.  Yes, it could indeed return a result of cancer, even telling me what type.  But the chances are it will miss something in a large, varied tumor and that something is cancer.

So it's surgery.  They will remove the nodule and that half of my thyroid definitely.  They will determine whether to remove the other half, a very large goiter, after further consultation. When they remove it, they can biopsy more then.

Ends up surgery is necessary because the mass is causing eating and sleeping problems.  I have some other problems which could be tied to it, but doctors won't say yea or nay.  The docs will get the anesthesiologist report from the surgery cancelled earlier.  (Which reminds me that there are two more biopsies awaiting after this pressing -pun intended- issue is resolved??.)

For now I'm on synthroid, being checked every 4 weeks, awaiting a consultation with the surgeon, a cardiologist, and an anesthesiologist. The doctor did a blood test for cancer markers along with the thyroid tests-again.

Back to the waiting game.  And for right now, the waiting is unbearable.

After the CT school shootings...

I'm reading a lot of bullshit about guns and schools now.  Most disturbing is the news that a mentally unstable man used a bushmaster semi automatic rifle to shoot the victims multiple times. Why does anyone need a semiautomatic rifle to shoot Bambi?  Where's the sport in that?  This time, 20 little Bambis were killed.  I am very offended by gun nuts who shoot from the hip and at the lip at this time. Mouths are like guns: be careful  how you shoot them off.


100% rating on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
It was a Tolkien lovers fantasy, a spectacular nerd fest.
It was if Peter Jackson had heard every longing and every complaint ever voiced by nerds everywhere and listened.
It was NOT too long.  I look forward to every minute of the upcoming two movies if they're this exceptional.
For all the New Zealand fans, he took time to give us long lasting views.  For those you wanted to see more of the hobbit hole, BagEnd, and the shire-lovely, lovely, lovely.
There was no skimping on story with added details from the additional writings.  It moved beautifully.  Three hours felt less than two.
So much action.  So much detail of dwarf and goblin cities.  Gollum was, dare I say it, wonderful, lovely, funny and full of depth. When Bilbo stays his hand, you feel why Gollum must be pitied.
Ken Stott was marvelous and stole Thorin's thunder.  Aragorn was never upstaged once Boromir was removed. But I suspect Balin will continue to surpass Thorin in the next two.  He is like Thorin's herald, praising his king, but like Gimli, he steals the show with affection and good humor. Thorin can not match Aragorn's quiet solitude and feeling of loss. He seems too young and not yet resigned to life as it has been dealt.  If Thorin's anger could be better tapped, he may yet match Aragorn.
James Nesbitt's beautiful brogue shown through his silly disguise, and I hope he'll get more screen time in the next two.  Nesbitt is a versatile actor who can play funny, evil, deranged, driven, and sad so well. He could really shine if given more opportunity.
And then there's Martin Freeman.  Remember when you saw Ewan McGregor play Obi-Wan Kenobi the first time and you swore he was really the young Alec Guinness, except with a shite story?  Well, Martin Freeman pegs Bilbo and Ian Holm.  Holm's portrayal was so short, so limited in LOR, that it never really developed.  It was good, but limited by the script. But the similarity in appearance is readily apparent at the start.  This time, Bilbo is front and center and Martin Freeman fills those Hobbit feet to perfection.
A perfectly wonderful movie.

A shite day in CT.

Thought I'd print this after a shite day in CT
In the aftermath of the Colorado school shooting, Marilyn Manson speaks out

JUNE 24, 1999

It is sad to think that the first few people on earth needed no books, movies, games or music to inspire cold-blooded murder. The day that Cain bashed his brother Abel's brains in, the only motivation he needed was his own human disposition to violence. Whether you interpret the Bible as literature or as the final word of whatever God may be, Christianity has given us an image of death and sexuality that we have based our culture around. A half-naked dead man hangs in most homes and around our necks, and we have just taken that for granted all our lives. Is it a symbol of hope or hopelessness? The world's most famous murder-suicide was also the birth of the death icon – the blueprint for celebrity. Unfortunately, for all of their inspiring morality, nowhere in the Gospels is intelligence praised as a virtue.
A lot of people forget or never realize that I started my band as a criticism of these very issues of despair and hypocrisy. The name Marilyn Manson has never celebrated the sad fact that America puts killers on the cover of Time magazine, giving them as much notoriety as our favorite movie stars. From Jesse James to Charles Manson, the media, since their inception, have turned criminals into folk heroes. They just created two new ones when they plastered those dip-shits Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris' pictures on the front of every newspaper. Don't be surprised if every kid who gets pushed around has two new idols.
We applaud the creation of a bomb whose sole purpose is to destroy all of mankind, and we grow up watching our president's brains splattered all over Texas. Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised. Does anyone think the Civil War was the least bit civil? If television had existed, you could be sure they would have been there to cover it, or maybe even participate in it, like their violent car chase of Princess Di. Disgusting vultures looking for corpses, exploiting, fucking, filming and serving it up for our hungry appetites in a gluttonous display of endless human stupidity.
When it comes down to who's to blame for the high school murders in Littleton, Colorado, throw a rock and you'll hit someone who's guilty. We're the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns, and we're the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what they do with them. I think it's terrible when anyone dies, especially if it is someone you know and love. But what is more offensive is that when these tragedies happen, most people don't really care any more than they Would about the season finale of Friends or The Real World. I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals. Then came the witch hunt.
Man's greatest fear is chaos. It was unthinkable that these kids did not have a simple black-and-white reason for their actions. And so a scapegoat was needed. I remember hearing the initial reports from Littleton, that Harris and Klebold were wearing makeup and were dressed like Marilyn Manson, whom they obviously must worship, since they were dressed in black. Of course, speculation snowballed into making me the poster boy for everything that is bad in the world. These two idiots weren't wearing makeup, and they weren't dressed like me or like goths. Since Middle America has not heard of the music they did listen to (KMFDM and Rammstein, among others), the media picked something they thought was similar.
Responsible journalists have reported with less publicity that Harris and Klebold were not Marilyn Manson fans – that they even disliked my music. Even if they were fans, that gives them no excuse, nor does it mean that music is to blame. Did we look for James Huberty's inspiration when he gunned down people at McDonald's? What did Timothy McVeigh like to watch? What about David Koresh, Jim Jones? Do you think entertainment inspired Kip Kinkel, or should we blame the fact that his father bought him the guns he used in the Springfield, Oregon, murders? What inspires Bill Clinton to blow people up in Kosovo? Was it something that Monica Lewinsky said to him? Isn't killing just killing, regardless if it's in Vietnam or Jonesboro, Arkansas? Why do we justify one, just because it seems to be for the right reasons? Should there ever be a right reason? If a kid is old enough to drive a car or buy a gun, isn't he old enough to be held personally responsible for what he does with his car or gun? Or if he's a teenager, should someone else be blamed because he isn't as enlightened as an eighteen-year-old?
America loves to find an icon to hang its guilt on. But, admittedly, I have assumed the role of Antichrist; I am the Nineties voice of individuality, and people tend to associate anyone who looks and behaves differently with illegal or immoral activity. Deep down, most adults hate people who go against the grain. It's comical that people are naive enough to have forgotten ElvisJim Morrison and Ozzy so quickly. All of them were subjected to the same age-old arguments, scrutiny and prejudice. I wrote a song called "Lunchbox," and some journalists have interpreted it as a song about guns. Ironically, the song is about being picked on and fighting back with my Kiss lunch box, which I used as a weapon on the playground. In 1979, metal lunch boxes were banned because they were considered dangerous weapons in the hands of delinquents. I also wrote a song called "Get Your Gunn." The title is spelled with two n's because the song was a reaction to the murder of Dr. David Gunn, who was killed in Florida by pro-life activists while I was living there. That was the ultimate hypocrisy I witnessed growing up: that these people killed someone in the name of being "prolife." The somewhat positive messages of these songs are usually the ones that sensationalists misinterpret as promoting the very things I am decrying.
Right now, everyone is thinking of how they can prevent things like Littleton. How do you prevent AIDS, world war, depression, car crashes? We live in a free country, but with that freedom there is a burden of personal responsibility. Rather than teaching a child what is moral and immoral, right and wrong, we first and foremost can establish what the laws that govern us are. You can always escape hell by not believing in it, but you cannot escape death and you cannot escape prison.
It is no wonder that kids are growing up more cynical; they have a lot of information in front of them. They can see that they are living in a world that's made of bullshit. In the past, there was always the idea that you could turn and run and start something better. But now America has become one big mall, and because of the Internet and all of the technology we have, there's nowhere to run. People are the same everywhere. Sometimes music, movies and books are the only things that let us feel like someone else feels like we do. I've always tried to let people know it's OK, or better, if you don't fit into the program. Use your imagination – if some geck from Ohio can become something, why can't anyone else with the willpower and creativity?
I chose not to jump into the media frenzy and defend myself, though I was begged to be on every single TV show in existence. I didn't want to contribute to these fameseeking journalists and opportunists looking to fill their churches or to get elected because of their self-righteous finger-pointing. They want to blame entertainment? Isn't religion the first real entertainment? People dress up in costumes, sing songs and dedicate themselves in eternal fandom. Everyone will agree that nothing was more entertaining than Clinton shooting off his prick and then his bombs in true political form. And the news – that's obvious. So is entertainment to blame? I'd like media commentators to ask themselves, because their coverage of the event was some of the most gruesome entertainment any of us have seen. I think that the National Rifle Association is far too powerful to take on, so most people choose DoomThe Basketball Diaries or yours truly. This kind of controversy does not help me sell records or tickets, and I wouldn't want it to. I'm a controversial artist, one who dares to have an opinion and bothers to create music and videos that challenge people's ideas in a world that is watered-down and hollow. In my work I examine the America we live in, and I've always tried to show people that the devil we blame our atrocities on is really just each one of us. So don't expect the end of the world to come one day out of the blue – it's been happening every day for a long time.

Read more: 

What I'm Reading

Hiroshi Yoshida

Artist: HIROSHI YOSHIDA (1876-1950)
Dated: 1929
Artist: HIROSHI YOSHIDA (1876-1950)
Dated: 1933 

Artist: HIROSHI YOSHIDA (1876-1950)
Dated: 1930

Artist: HIROSHI YOSHIDA (1876-1950)
Title: OMURO
Dated: 1940

What I'm Reading

Great Article from Time Magazine

Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.
          This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.
          I’ve written a lot about the GOP’s defiance of reality–its denial of climate science, its simultaneous denunciations of Medicare cuts and government health care, its insistence that debt-exploding tax cuts will somehow reduce the debt—so I often get accused of partisanship. But it’s simply a fact that Republicans controlled Washington during the fiscally irresponsible era when President Clinton’s budget surpluses were transformed into the trillion-dollar deficit that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama. (The deficit is now shrinking.) It’s simply a fact that the fiscal cliff was created in response to GOP threats to force the U.S. government to default on its obligations. The press can’t figure out how to weave those facts into the current narrative without sounding like it’s taking sides, so it simply pretends that yesterday never happened.
          The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day. I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered. Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans  (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version. The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.
          I guess it’s finally true that we all are Keynesians now. Republicans don’t even seem to be arguing that more stimulus wouldn’t boost the economy; they’ve suggested that Obama needs to give up “goodies” like extending unemployment insurance (which benefits laid-off workers) and payroll tax cuts (which benefit everyone) to show that he’s negotiating in good faith. At the same time, though, they also want Obama to propose bigger Medicare cuts, even though they spent the last campaign slamming Obama’s Medicare cuts and denying their interest in Medicare cuts. I live in Florida, so I had the pleasure of hearing a radio ad from Allen West, hero of the Tea Party, vowing to protect Medicare.
          Whatever. I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position. It would seem tendentious to point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth. But we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.