Month: August 2008

Democrats are better for the economy

This is hardly news to people who bothered to look at the last 50 years of stock market history or were alive for the last 20 years to watch the Bushies kill our economy and Clinton revitalize it. Princeton economics professor and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Binder talks about a book that “proves Democrats are clearly better for the economy than Republicans”: Republicans like to selfishly vote with their pocketbooks and vote Republican simply to lower their taxes (some are even proud of this idea!) but not only are they hurting themselves, they’re hurting our country.

McCain proves he is a moron

I try to ignore politics as much as I can because after the 2004 election, I realized that most Americans are so stupid that it was too annoying to follow politics. It’s kinda like following professional wrestling — you can feel your brain turning to mush as you listen to the commentaries. But McCain’s pick for a VP is so absurd I can’t believe it happened. When I saw the headline, I thought it was a hoax that media mistakenly picked up. But it is real and we have to have this national talk about whether it makes sense or not! This is like a serious discussion about whether Homer Simpson would make a good CEO of a nuclear power plant.

McCain actually believes she is qualified to be the leader of the free world. He couldn’t find another Republican that he thinks is better at that job. If there was ever any doubt that he’s really really dumb, he just removed it. Americans love their dummies (and hate their smart people), so he might actually win the election. Because he might actually win, I hope McCain wakes up and she “decides” to back out of the position so he can put someone credible in the VP slot. I commend him for choosing a woman, but there are far smarter and more qualified women in the Republican party than Sarah Palin.

I watched the cable news channels last night to try to understand if there’s anything at all that would make this pick not the biggest mistake in political history. I found plenty of Republican mouthpieces trying hard to make the case for Sarah Palin as the VP, and even the eventual President if McCain is incapacitated, and they did it with a straight face. And I learned more about her “biography”, as the Republicans like to say. Her entire political career consists of joining the PTA, being elected to the city council and then Mayor of a podunk town in Alaska and then Governor for the last 18 months. To put the bulk of her political experience, all 6 years of it, into perspective, she was on the city council and Mayor of a town of “6,715 people”: I live on Vashon Island, which has a population of 12,000, almost twice as big, and our Mayor is a fake job that we vote on at the annual island celebration as a fundraiser ($1 per vote). Vashon Island is so small, many people in Seattle don’t even know it exists, even though it’s right next to Seattle. Sarah Palin was the mayor of a town smaller than Vashon Island and that makes her qualified to be the _Vice President of the United States_, according to John McCain and his McIdiots.

You’d think they’d stop there and admit that she lacks foreign policy experience but McCain makes up for it. But they don’t. The Republicans are saying that Sarah Palin has a wealth of political and foreign policy experience. Apparently, Steve Doocy, a propaganda tool (and he is a _tool_) said that because Alaska is near Russia, she has foreign policy experience. What’s the concern with Obama then? Illinois is right next to Canada, so Obama is a foreign policy expert too. Other Republicans said that being in charge of Alaska’s National Guard gives her foreign policy experience. I guess they don’t know the meaning of the word _national_. You know you can’t trust a Republican when they can’t admit that Sarah Palin is not a great VP pick. Behind the scenes, they have to be shaking their heads at how poor McCain’s judgment is. I’d rather have Dick Cheney be VP!

Incidentally, I remember Steve Doocy from when I lived in the Washington, DC area. He was the guy on the local news who did the “wacky” stories around town like the dog that barks at stop lights, the kid who collects bugs, etc. Now he’s someone on national TV, albeit Fox News, and people listen to what he says and believe it. Steve Doocy is a respected journalist and Sarah Palin is a VP candidate… the end is nigh!

Ouzo at home

We picked Ouzo up from the vet today and took him home after his chemo treatment. He’s pretty lethargic and still doesn’t eat, but we hope that’s because of the chemo and he’ll be more active after the weekend. The doc says that the best-case for him is to live another four months, but will probably live half that. Even with chemo, it’s not curable so eventually the tumor will grow too big and prevent his heart from pumping blood.

We want to let him go humanely rather than wait until he dies in pain, so we have to watch him for signs of deterioration and make the decision. This is one of life’s curve balls… Illy is 13, which is old for a Labrador, so I was preparing myself for the day we have to make the decision about her. I never imagined Ouzo, at only 9, would go before her. Life’s too short, especially for a dog.


Chemo for ouzo

Ouzo will get his first chemotherapy treatment tomorrow morning. We won’t know how well it works other than to monitor his behavior but the doc thinks the tumor wouldn’t have to shrink much to alleviate the problem. And it has to stop growing, of course.

We should be able to pick him up tomorrow after his treatment.

Ouzo update

We talked to “the vet”: this morning. Ouzo’s abdomen looks good except for one small tumor in his spleen. They’re going to try to get a sample from that and check it out. They are also going to check his lymph nodes in his neck that are a little bigger than normal. Other than that, he seems to be feeling fine and is eating well and playing with the vets. It’s only a matter of time, unfortunately. He could live days, weeks or months.

We’re going to get him home as soon as possible so we can spend some more time with him while we can. At least Havana got to know him.


Ever since Havana moved into her own room, Ouzo slept outside her bedroom as if he was guarding her. And, not realizing there was a baby monitor in our bedroom, he’d come get us if she ever cried. On the bright side, we can spoil him all we want with people food.

Scary news about Ouzo

In other news, Ouzo has a serious condition. For the last week or two he hadn’t been eating or would only eat a little of his food. He’s done this before over the years and we’d give him some wet food or put something more tasty on his food and a couple days later he’d be fine again. But that didn’t work this time. The night we were leaving for the hospital to deliver Hudson, Kelly noticed that he had a “growth” underneath his chin that we hadn’t noticed before.

Kelly took him to the vet the next morning and they decided they couldn’t figure out what it was. They took an X-ray and discovered a lot of fluid in his chest cavity. This was beyond their skills and referred us to a specialist in Seattle. Kelly then took him to _that_ vet. We still haven’t heard anything from the vet.

Update: We talked to the vet tonight and it doesn’t look good. He has a tumor at the base of his heart and it’s inoperable. They can’t do a biopsy on it because it’s on his heart. So they’re going to do an ultrasound on Wednesday to see if there are any more tumors in his abdomen which, ironically, would be good because they could then do biopsies on those to determine if it is cancer and what kind of cancer it is. If it’s a cancer that responds to chemotherapy, we can try chemotherapy to see if that helps the tumor on his heart.

August 25th

I’m glad Hudson was born 5 minutes after midnight because August 25th is a much cooler date for birthdays than August 24th. Hudson shares a birthday with conductor Leonard Bernstein, movie director Tim Burton, Sean Connery, Elvis Costello, Frederick Forsyth, Rob Halford (singer for Judas Priest, a favorite band of mine as a kid), Monty Hall, football player Marvin Harrison, Stuart Murdoch (founder and singer of Belle & Sebastian, a favorite band of mine as an adult), Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray, Claudia Schiffer, Gene Simmons, fellow Seattleite Tom Skerritt, and Wilco singer Jeff Tweedy. Even a movie director with the same name and initials: “Hugh Hudson”:

Hudson's birth

The labor progressed very fast. At 10pm, the doctor predicted he’d be born by 2am, which we thought was quick and too optimistic — doctors are always optimistic. We were expecting to still be waiting at 6am! But by 11:50pm, less than 2 hours into labor, the nurse called the doctor for the delivery. What?!? The doc got everything ready and by midnight, Gay was doing the breathe and push exercise. That lasted for five minutes at most and the baby was out. From my perspective, Gay seemed to be in more pain than she was with Havana, maybe because her body really wanted him out quick, so it was good that it was so short. Granted, the mother does all the hard stuff, but it’s hard to sit there and watch your wife go through so much pain and you can’t do anything about it (and trust me, nobody involved wants the father to do anything about it).

I cut the umbilical cord, something I foolishly passed on with Havana’s birth. I didn’t think much of it with Havana and I don’t think Gay wanted me to last time, but I’m glad I did it this time just for the experience and to participate in the process. It’s like cutting a firm piece of pasta.

Gay asked for him to be put right on her stomach afterwards, which she didn’t want the first time. I’m not sure what’s better… he was dark grey when for the first minute or so, then he transitioned to a dark purple. Hudson was pretty ugly, not nearly as cute as I thought Havana was when I first saw her. The second birth isn’t quite the shock as the first one, but when a human being suddenly appears in a room without entering through the door, it feels like a magic trick just happened.

After two more hours in the delivery room for some poking and prodding of Hudson by the nurses, we moved to the post-partum room. I chilled our bottle of champagne, the same one we had for Havana’s birth, and had a couple glasses of that until we could get some sleep at 5 or 6am. I got maybe two hours of sleep, Gay got less, before the next round of checkups, tests, shots by the nurses which continued throughout the day.

After dropping Ouzo off at a specialist vet in north Seattle for a diagnosis (more on that later), Kelly brought Havana to the hospital to meet Hudson.

H1 & H2

She petted him the way she pets the dogs and stared at him a bit, but was mostly indifferent to him. She can almost say his name, though: “uddsu”.

Incidentally, after Havana’s birth last year, I spent the day watching the construction of the building next door. That building is finished now. It’s the “Swedish Orthopedic Institute”: Whenever we drive by it, I can tell Havana that it’s the same age as her (and she won’t care).