Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Boondock Saints Justice!

I'm not a big movie goer....In fact, it's probably been 10 years since I've seen the insides of a movie theater and the last video I watched before this one was "Shreek."

Be that as it may, I spent Thanksgiving at my youngest son's house and we had a marathon video-day in between several marathon football days. Joe got to pick all of his favorite movies and we all got to watch them.

I'm so proud of him. He's obviously just as disturbed as I am when it comes to movies and why we like them.

While all of the films we watched were fine ones, this one has stuck with me the most. It's not a well known film, in fact it had a theater showing of one week in a grand total of 6 theaters.....but it has apparently become something of a cult film and I've (just as apparently) joined the cult.

If you don't mind gratuitous violence (and even if you do - you can do as I do and shut your eyes when you just know something or someone is going to explode or esanguinate) and you love tight-knit American Irish Catholic families, the idea of Willam DeFoe as a gay cop and comic Italian side kicks - you really really have to see this one.


Donovan - Season Of The Witch

Ya gotta love it. Well, you gotta love it if you're old, anyhow.

School Daze School Daze

You paid attention during 63% of high school!

51-67% You are smart enough to be ashamed of still scoring so low; remember that there are books in the world, full of information? Yes, books are our friends.

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Not bad, considering I virtually never even went to high school.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Intoxication Update

(CBS/AP) Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a woman believed to have been killed by drinking too much water in a radio station contest.

On a tape of the Jan. 12 show, disc jockeys on KDND-FM's "Morning Rave" joke about the possible dangers of consuming too much water, at one point alluding to a college student who died during such a stunt in 2005.

During the contest, a listener - self-identified as a nurse - called the live radio broadcast and warned that the game was dangerous, CBS News station KOVR-TV reported.

"I want to say that those people drinking all that water can get sick and die from water intoxication," said the caller.

"Yeah, we're aware of that," one of them said.

Another DJ laughed: "Yeah, they signed releases, so we're not responsible. We're OK."

Police Probe Death

I wonder if anyone told the radio station that a "release" and "informed consent" are two different things....and when you're dealing with the possibility of death (which apparently they were well aware of) I'd think that you'd have a hard time even making a signed "informed consent" stick. I can't imagine a mere "release" will hold up in court.

That poor woman....and her poor children and family. Ugh. Firing them all just isn't good enough. They were fully aware of previous deaths from drinking too much water - they were informed on the air of the dangers involved...and they joked about it.

How sick is that?

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Autopsy Finds Signs of Water Intoxication in Radio Contestant's Death

Well, duh!!! "Water Intoxication" is not a new phenomenon. Atheletes have died from it, babies have died from it, hikers have died from it. Unfortunately, people continue to die from it - and now they're having contests to see how fast they can do so.

The medical name for water intoxication is Hyponatremia and I've seen firsthand what happens. It's not pretty, either. We had a baby in the ER once, about 9 months old, whose parents were told by the family doctor to make sure the child got enough fluids during a bout with the ordinary flu. Unfortunately, the doctor forgot to tell them that there was such a thing as "too much fluid" and they gave the hungry baby all the water that she could drink - which turned out too be too damn much - and by the time the poor parents realized something other than the "flu" was causing the baby's rapidly progressing problems and brought the baby into the Emergency Room, it was too late, and she died in spite of our best efforts.

Hyponatremia results when a dehydrated person drinks too much water without the accompanying electrolytes. When too much water enters the body's cells, the tissues swell with the excess fluid. Your cells maintain a specific concentration gradient, so excess water outside the cells (the serum) draws sodium from within the cells out into the serum in an attempt to re-establish the necessary concentration. As more water accumulates, the serum sodium concentration drops. From the cell's point of view, water intoxication produces the same effects as would result from drowning in fresh water. Electrolyte imbalance and tissue swelling can cause an irregular heartbeat, allow fluid to enter the lungs, and may cause fluttering eyelids. Swelling puts pressure on the brain and nerves, which can cause behaviors resembling alcohol intoxication. Swelling of brain tissues can cause seizures, coma and ultimately death unless water intake is restricted and a hypertonic saline (salt) solution is administered.

The kidneys of a healthy adult can process fifteen liters of water a day! You are unlikely to suffer from water intoxication, even if you drink a lot of water, as long as you drink over time as opposed to intaking an enormous volume at one time.

Short Chemistry lesson

How the radio station in question missed all this, I don't know. There has been enough published material about so-called "Water Intoxication" and the resulting deaths of otherwise healthy people that you would think that someone there should have been aware of the dangers involved and done something to ensure that the contest did not take place.

Apparently not, though.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sitters Aren't Necessary if You're Married

They called it the week of heroes in New York City. In three different instances, bystanders saved life. In the third instance, a three-year-old climbed out onto a fourth-floor fire escape while a sitter was otherwise occupied. Two men saw the child about to fall and caught it. While New York may have improved its civility since the murder of Kitty Genovese, when bystanders did nothing, I was troubled by some details in the story of the child. I noted at once that the boy and his mother had different surnames. This working, single mother left her child in the care of a negligent sitter. She probably paid a good fraction of her wage for this service. Would a sitter have been necessary, if the woman had been, you know, married? A tragedy was averted; but children should not have to rely on the kindness or bravery of strangers, when the disordered lives of their parents put them at risk.


Hmmmm. I don't normally cut+paste from someone else's blog, if I have something to say, I say it in their comment section - but in this case I'm forced to say it here. Alan tends to not like posting my comments and that's his perogative. However, this disturbs me enough to think that it's only fair that it gets refuted to some degree - and by whom better than a "working single mother?"

Not only that, I wonder just how many people agree with him on this one?

I'll try to take this in order here:

1) There's no real evidence that this child's mother WAS a single mother. She may have been married, she may be living with the child's father, she may be a widow, she may be almost anything. It's somewhat unfair to "guess" at her marital status based on different last names. My children and I have different last names....doesn't mean I wasn't married while I was raising them. Doesn't mean I was, either. Point is, it really isn't anyone's business, is it?

2) Why are we assuming that the sitter was negligent? Because she took her eyes off the child for a second or two? Show me a sitter (or a parent) who says she hasn't turned the other way or answered a phone or picked up a cookie while caring for a small child and I'll show you someone who's probably lying about it. As any parent of small children can tell you - children can get in a whole world of hurt in about half a second - and you can be looking right at them while they do it. Eric Clapton's child fell to his death from a balcony while his mother was right there in the apartment with him. Shit happens. And it happens regardless of who's present and who's not present. I watched one kid bean another kid with a sledge hammer (accidently) and fracture his skull - not 12 feet away from me - but there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it - by the time I screamed "Look out" the hammer had connected with the forehead. Was I an unfit mother? Nope - just not quite quick enough. We cannot lock our children in a room nor wrap them up in cellophane - sometimes they get hurt. We can only do our best and pray alot.

3) As for "would this child have needed a sitter if the mother had been, you know, married" - the answer is probably yes. In today's world most parents, even in two-parent families, work. Now maybe that's sad, but it's fact. And they do it not necessarily to pay for "goodies" either - but to pay for things like food and shelter. The cost of living is bad enough here in DC, I can't imagine trying to raise a family in NYC. And if she was a single mother, and she was out there working to put food on the table, would you rather she be on welfare than bustin' butt trying to take care of her own?

4) Last but not least - if all the hypothesising done above really happens to be correct, how come no one wonders where Daddy was during all this? How come the question wasn't "Would the sitter have been necessary if the father was, you know, around?" I mean, he could have been the one out working while the mommy was staying home "where she belonged" or (novel idea, I know) he could have been home babysitting while mommy was out working. (Although for the life of me, I've never figured out why mothers who stay home are "parenting" and fathers who stay home are "babysitting.")

5) All children have two parents - regardless of how many of those parents they are living with. All parents are (or should be) equally responsible for providing for that child's welfare and upbringing. Why cast stones only at the custodial parent? After all, the custodial parent is the only one at least trying to do the right thing. Working to support your children is not bringing your own "disorder" to your child's life - it is a wonderful attempt to bring order into both lives.

I don't know the "whole story" here. I think that all any of us needs to know is just what the story reported - that two strangers thought enough of life to attempt to save one small falling child - and they did it without stopping to question the lifestyle, marital status or current whereabouts of the falling child's mother.

I mean, jeez, what if they had stopped long enough to think about all the things apparently thought of here? They might have gotten all rightously judgmental and decided that some lives are just not worth saving at all.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Words From Eliot

" For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice."

LIttle Gidding
# 4 of Four Quartets
T. S. Eliot