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Showing posts from June, 2004

Toe Pain

I have come to the conclusion that I have gout. A friend at work mentioned that gout might be the cause of the pain in my toe. I proceeded to look up gout on WebMD, and sure enough, one of the most common symptoms is severe pain in the big toe. I think I will set up an appointment with Dr. Vinton to discuss possible treatments. I wonder if this is the cause of all of the foot pain that I've experienced in the past few years. I sent Sharon the link to the WebMD site, and she agreed with my self-diagnosis. There was even a diagram of a big toe online!

Gout is a type of arthritis. It often results in acute attacks of pain in the big toe in the middle of the night, which corresponds perfectly to what I've experienced. Gout is a disease that affects 2 million Americans, and it appears that I am one of them. Since gout can affect several different joints, including the wrists, I have a feeling that I have experienced acute attacks of gout in the past. I remember my wrists …

Weekend Recap

We went camping this past weekend at Wallace State Park, about 5 miles south of Cameron, Missouri. Jerod, Sharon, Dominic, Melissa and I camped Friday night, and Ted and Alex joined us Saturday.

I met Jerod at our house at about 5:00 on Friday evening. We loaded up his truck with some of our stuff, and we waited for Sharon and Dominic to get home. Jerod wanted to make sure we got a campsite, so we left at 6:00. On our way, we met Sharon and Dominic, and Sharon wanted us to help her pack the truck, so we went back to our house. We finally got all of the gear packed, and Jerod and I went to Jim & Alice's to get some firewood that Jim got from work for us. Melissa was going to meet Sharon and our house, and follow her to the park.

Jerod and I got to the park at about 8:00, and it appeared to be full. There were a few walk-in sites available, but the walk was pretty far, considering all of the gear we had along with us. The handicap spot was available, but all of the other…

The Eating Establishment Formerly Known As Jeff

Sharon and I went to lunch together today. We went to a Chinese restaurant that used to be named Jeff, according to Sharon. Yes, it is a strange name. However, it has been renamed, and is now known as 'The Lucky Dragon' (I think). The food was good. I had two full plates from the lunch buffet. I had an egg roll, lo mein noodles, General Taos Chicken, chicken on a stick, fried dumplings, a potato dish and several other selections. It was the standard Chinese buffet, and the price wasn't bad at $5 per person. With drinks, our bill was a little over $10, which is a pretty good deal for a good lunch. The restaurant itself looks like a typical mom & pop, hole-in-the-wall establishment. It was clean inside, but it looked old. The decor was strange, as I have found typical in my experience with Chinese restraints. For example, our table had a small sponge bob square pants coffee cup with an artificial flower in it. The cup looked like something that would come ou…

In memory of Mattie Stepanek

I just heard on the radio that Mattie Stepanek died yesterday, June 22, 2004. The world lost, but heaven gained, an inspirational, loving and genuine person. Mattie was clearly a catalyst for positive change in the world, and I have always been touched by his story. I have read some of his poetry, and it is extremely moving and inspirational, especially considering it is written by a young boy with a terrible disease. His poetry stands on its own merit, or course. But, the circumstances which Mattie struggled with are an additional inspiration provided with his poetry. I pray that his mother, who has now lost 4 children to the terrible disease that claimed Mattie's life, finds peace in knowing that Mattie has contributed more to humanity than his short number of years would lead anyone to expect or believe. Mattie, God willing, I look forward to meeting you in heaven.

Beowulf and some vocabulary

I have begun reading Beowulf, a Verse Translation, translated by Seamus Heaney. So far, I have read the preface, and I'm halfway through the translator's introduction. Following is some vocabulary that I have come across thus far:

rapier(n)-a long narrow, pointed, two-edged sword. Example: For a long time, therefore, the little word was--to borrow a simile from Joyce--like a rapier point of consciousness pricking me with an awareness of language-loss and cultural dispossession, and tempting me into binary thinking about language.

vex(v.t.)-1, make angry or displeased. 2, annoy, worry, harass. Example: I tended to conceive of English and Irish as adversarial tongues, as either/or conditions rather than both/and, and this was an attitude that for a long time hampered the development of a more confident and creative way of dealing with the whole vexed question--the question, that is, of the relationship between nationality, language, history, and literary tradition in Ireland…
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PapPap Jim meets a new friend

Music and Memories

On the way home from the gym tonight, I heard the song 'One Headlight' by The Wallflowers. The song reminded me of Jeff Owenson, and playing basketball with UIHC folks at Oakdale campus in Iowa City. I remember Jeff singing a Wallflowers song out there one time. It's weird how music can bring back the strangest memories, and how we associate particular memories with songs. I rarely, if ever, think of Jeff Owenson, except when I hear the Wallflowers. I probably think of him 95-100% of the time that I hear a Wallflowers song. I also think of Bruce from Iowa City, and how he told me at the Taco Bell drive-through on our way to a Smashing Pumpkins concert, that the lead singer of the Wallflowers was the son of Bob Dylan. I remember that he couldn't remember Bob Dylan's name at first, and that this revelation surprised me.

Some strange thoughts about the power of music!

Weekend Recap

A recap of the weekend:

Friday night, Dad and I went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I enjoyed it, especially since I have not seen either of the first two movies or read any of the books. Dad filled me in a little on the background, and I pieced together the storyline. Dad said that Lynae said that new actors were going to be used for the characters in subsequent Harry Potter movies. That surprised me.

Saturday, Dad any I went to dump my trash at Windrose. Then, we went to K-Mart to pick up a prescription, and to look for lithium batteries for my digital camera. I couldn't find any batteries. Maybe I'll try the rechargeable batteries again. I couldn't get them to work several moths ago. Instead of batteries, at K-Mart I got bird seed, bug spray for my vegetable plants, torch wicks and torch oil. In the afternoon, Dad and I went out again, this time to Nautical Landing, in an effort to find Mom a birthday present. Her birthday is today. Happy b…
I read an article this afternoon about Britian's "cloning watchdog" authority evaluating an application to clone embryos for therapeutic purposes, such as treating an incurable disease like diabetes. Evidently, Britian has strict anti-cloning laws to prevent the quest to create "designer-babies", but flexibility allows the use of cloning for some therapeutic purposes. Some people think that it is unethical to create a clone of a human embryo for the sole purpose of research and/or therapy. I don't have a clear opinion on the ethical issues surrounding cloning at this point. But, I lean towards the view that cloning of embryos is acceptable for the creation of stem-cells that could be used to treat disease. On the other hand, I dislike the gruesome idea of a "baby" being frozen for years, and used to assist in the health of a "sibling". I'm just not sure I consider a cloned embryo a "baby", or "a human life" …
I just made a few changes to my Blog template. I got the ideas from the Biz Stone article, "This Old Blog". His "guest", Eric Case, described how to enable post pages and how to make smart titles. I think that my template already had post pages enabled, since the code on my template looked similar to the code that Eric provided. I did cut and paste some new code onto my template to enable smart titles. Well, I didn't notice any new spectacular upgrades after republishing my blog. However, Biz and Eric say that the changes should make my blog more friendly to search engines, which would be a nice upgrade. I'd like to have some visitors from the superhighway drop in once in awhile to read my ramblings.

I read some more of Dr. James Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys". Specifically, I read his chapter dedicated to the eradication of homosexuality. Now, I have to admit, I don't want my son to be homosexual. I'm not sure how I would react…
I was just about to leave work when I came across an article posted on Yahoo! which was about a group of anti-abortion Catholics urging the United States Bishops to proclaim a policy to deny the sacrament of communion to those that vote for or otherwise support abortion. This position infuriates me. The group contends that some politicians are using the church to further their political careers, without being true Catholics. It seems to me more likely that anti-abortion groups are using the issue to advance their political agenda. I understand that the church unequivocally opposes abortion in any form. It also opposes capital punishment, and a host of other social injustices. While abortion is at the top of the hierarchy of sins for some ready to stand in judgment, child-neglect, abuse and poverty are the ultimate wrong-doings for others. From a spiritual standpoint, humanity cannot rank the degree of offense that certain sins cause to God. I am not defending the act of aborti…
I was at the Clay County Courthouse this morning at 8:00 AM, ready for grand jury service. I was not one of the 12 chosen. I was annoyed that I had to sit until 9:00 before the process even got under way. At least it didn't take up too much of my time. While being chosen would have been interesting, I'm glad I don't have to make the time commitment, and coordinate time away from work. The judge explained what the service would consist of; basically, the grand jury works with the prosecutors office to determine which criminal indictments should be presented for trial (I was summoned for criminal court). They meet every other week for the term of their service, which I think was four months. I am an alternate, so there is still a chance that I would be called to serve, but this is doubtful, since there are probably about 15 other alternates also. The judge informed us that 9 out of 12 grand jurors had to agree for an indictment to be returned.

I purchased the Cliff…
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Dominic and I goofing off at Worlds of Fun this past Saturday.
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Daddy's Natural Position
On Friday, I began reading James Dobson's book, "Raising Boys". I began reading it with skepticism, because I have often disagreed with conservative Christian radio hosts. However, I want to give it a fair read. Lord knows, one can never read too much about parenting. Well, I guess one could read too much of the wrong thing, but I think Doctor Dobson has his heart in the right place. It will be interesting to learn about some of his parenting theories.

So far, he has documented how boys are at particular risk in today's modern society. He has placed special emphasis on the risk of unscrupulous media. He also has written about the "wounded spirit" of boys, and the primary task of parents to prevent the wounding of a boy's spirit. He spoke harshly against Disney, parent of Miramax, which produced the movie Scream. Now, I didn't see anything particularly wrong with Scream. I don't remember what it was rated, but I thought it was a good mo…
I'm tired of being sick. I've got some type of a bug with cold-like symptoms. It started on Saturday after running in the 5K down in Shawnee. Throughout the afternoon, I began to feel soreness in my throat and sinus area. We were at Worlds of Fun the whole afternoon and evening, where I was feeling progressively worse. Sunday I was worthless, sleeping and laying in bed for a large majority of the day. Today, I feel weak and the soreness has seemed to have moved to my chest. Hopefully that means it is on its way out!!

We had a good time at Worlds of Fun, despite my ailment. Dominic was a little grumpy at first, but he really lightened up after awhile. He enjoyed some of the rides, and he wanted me to ride with him. That was cool, because usually he wants mama to do everything with him. So, even though these were spinny rides that could make me barf, I agreed to ride them with him. He loved the viking voyager water ride. He also liked playing the watergun game, and …
Well, I had my fitness assessment the other night, and I have to say that I was disappointed in the results. I am in the 10th percentile of upper body strength, I have 25% body fat and my cardio fitness is also in the low percentiles. I know that I have not been exercising as much lately as I had last year, but geez, I am surprised that I would have slipped on the charts that far (if indeed I was higher on the 'charts' when I was exercising last year). That being said, I had a couple of vigorous games of racquetball yesterday, and I felt better this time than the last time I played. I am running in a 5K tomorrow in Shawnee. Wish me luck.
Fortunatley, I just now remembered my fitness assessment appointment is scheduled for this afternoon at 4:30. It is now 4:15. I was planning on going to the gym this afternoon after work, but I had completely forgotten about my fitness assessment. I should get into the habit of checking my daily outlook calander each morning as I open my inbox. In fact, I'm sure I could change an Outlook setting so that my calander is visible every time I look at my inbox.

I have read some interesting industry articles today, one about the biotech industry and research related to the human genome. Experts from pharmaceutical compaines said that there are currently so many possibilities to research, that it has been difficult to make their gambles pay off thus far. But, a leading expert in the field suggested that human genome research would be making major contributions to disease and medicine by 2015. I wonder what kind of ethical issues will arise out of this research. What does it mea…
I have finally finished reading "Wealth and Democracy". Toward the end, I think I started reading as fast as I could, without wholly comprehending, just so I could finish the book. I would like to spend some time going back over some of the material in the book. There are a lot of numbers presented, but I want to come away with the big picture theories that Phillips presents.