Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Bad Liver, But No Broken Heart!


During my last visit with my doc, he was a bit startled at my Liver numbers. All my other numbers were fine, though my blood pressure was still a bit high.

But my liver numbers! They were high enough that he joked (?) that I’m close enough to be on the liver transplant list.

I know he was joking, really. I could see it in his face!

BUT—when he asked what could’ve caused those high numbers, I admitted that I indulge in some heavy drinking at times. And, since the blood tests were taken during the Holiday season, I’d have to say I had a few nights binge drinking with friends and family here at home.

Still, his comments alarmed me. I knew that I needed to change my behavior.

Now, he strongly recommended that I stop drinking completely. Though I shook my head in affirmation, I know I can’t do that. I’m not sure if that revelation makes me an alcoholic, but I honestly like the drink and the buzz a bit too much to give it up (unless I find an alternative).

So, I have adjusted my drinking habits. IF I find the time to take a drink these days, my limit is two. I can have no more than 14 drinks a week—which is within the bounds of normal. I can’t drink all 14 in one sitting, though!

And I’ve adjusted (again) my eating habits. More fiber, taking a liver oriented detox herb (Milk Thistle), and more exercise.

My next blood test is in two months. I am really hoping for a “normal” liver test result. If so, then I know I can keep drinking—just in moderation. If it’s not, though, then add me to the liver transplant list. Knowing the likelihood of that happening in my lifetime, I’ll just settle for whatever happens next.

It’s All Good!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Politics

I take my politics seriously. My parents are responsible for this—the tv was on the news every night, and they were constantly talking about current events in a critical way. My grandparents are somewhat responsible too insofar as politics was the center of family conversations during holidays to the point where my grandfather and dad would yell at each other about their narrowly different perspectives on certain issues.

When I look back on their perspectives, though, I am amazed at how I came to view the world. THAT was all my mother, and perhaps that was because of her immigration to the US and experiencing our society as a minority.

But my grandparents and my dad—they were Kennedy Democrats. Working class democrats, pro-union, advocates of social programs that helped working people. And they were racists. But their working class roots, and perhaps their experiences during the Depression, marked them to always question the motives of the Republicans. My grandparents and dad hated the Republicans because the represented the interests of corporations. For my grandfather, the prospect of me going to college angered him—I would be rubbing elbows with “those educated idiots” who he framed as the leaders of corporate America. Educated Idiots didn’t care about the working class. I would become, he thought, one of them.

I guess with my conflicted political background, I can say that I fully understand where the Drumpfer’s come from. As I see the rural poverty around me here today in East Tennessee, I understand as well their frustration that the economy no longer favors them. I am angry, though, that they’ve kept that racism that is generationally passed down as the reason for their plight. They have forgotten their working class roots—the foundation for their anger should be corporate interests as they have moved to not only maximize profit by taking jobs offshore but have also maximized investment by keeping (hoarding, actually) the profits they make all to themselves without investing in the US worker.

I’ve always been a political nerd. When I was in the 3rd Grade, I worked the Bobby Kennedy campaign handing out pamphlets at the Democratic Party headquarters on weekends in May and June 1968. His assassination hurt me to the core, but work me up politically. It matured me politically at a very early age. I had stickers on my bike (that I made myself) that said “Nixon—In Prison Now More Than Ever.” It was a play on his reelection campaign slogan in 1972.

Politics is important to me. It started at an early age.

That is why it is so difficult for me today to interact with those who are Drumpf supporters. I can handle interacting with anyone, really, but if they begin to articulate a Drumpf ideology, I will not only turn them off—I will cut them off in my life.

I need a place (like here) to make that sort of testimonial. A mix between being too old to care, and valuing my interactions with people, moves me towards eliminating the interactions I have or may have with Drumpfers. It is for my own mental health to a large extent.

I’m rambling quite a bit here, but as I start this new year, and given that in less than two weeks Drumpf has only dug the hole deeper as far as loss of international respect, even placing our society in graver danger when it comes to nuclear war, understand that I will not tolerate spending much time with those who support his agenda. Life is too short, I believe in my perspective too much, and I know there are others who see the world the same way I do that will support me. I will write when I can about those things that trouble me politically. I will because it too is good for my own mental health. It is about time.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

It's Only January 3rd and in Washington....

There's a helluva shit-storm happening in and around the White House these days. I continue to be amazed at how the Conservative/Republican base rallies around a crazy man in the White House.

Well, given the new book by Michael Wolff "Fire and Fury" it seems that Drumpf is really as crazy, paranoid and senile as we all thought.

I was asked this morning what can we do in practical terms to make social change in the immediate future. I responded with this--

As a sociologist, I can fully see lots of things we must be doing. (Indeed, there is so many empirical findings for the last 20-30 years on how to help bridge social, political and economic gaps that it would make your head swim). But, whether our society has the will to do it (to implement strong, empirically based social change policy) is quite another thing.

But, this is a systemic issue and will take decades to repair. In my honest opinion, we need to first put people in office who have a progressive worldview. I'm talking about at the local school board level. We need to nurture new leadership for the future (see Julian Castro's "Opportunity First" initiative).

Second, we need to mobilize and vote in the next elections (again, at the street level and on up). There were a number of factors that led to the 2016 debacle, but complacency and lace of real get-out-the-vote efforts would be my strongest observations. The recent Alabama Senate election is an indicator of what can take place when you fully mobilize oppressed communities in the election process. We need to harness our anger and mobilize the vote. We need the "Tsunami" electoral effect to take place in 2018 and beyond.

Finally, we need to find a way to get Drumpf out of office before 2020. A Democrat controlled Congress will impeach him. Otherwise, we need to wait until 2020.