Hot Air: Guns & Hoses

My Prayer? No Prayers.

How many times do I have to say this?

I’m sick to goddamned death of flags flying at half-staff, memorial services, and communities pledging to “survive.” All this folderol is nothing more than useless, annoying eyewash in response to America’s regularly scheduled school mass shootings.

Rather than bathe ourselves in bullshit, why don’t we figure out how to keep firearms out of the hands of crazed kids, psychopathic adults, drug-addled rage freaks, and others who shouldn’t come within two blocks of any device with a trigger.

Until that time, let’s stop with the prayers. They only serve to remind us how helpless we are.


Yesterday, I cancelled an appointment I had next month for a medical procedure that everybody in the world insists I get but, in reality, for a variety of reasons, I really don’t need. I won’t go into details except to say the author Barbara Ehrenreich in her latest book, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness…, describes the procedure as a form of rape.

Funny thing is, it took me a couple of weeks to get the guts up to cancel the app’t. Why? Because I, like the rest of humanity living in a corporate health care world, am afraid to disobey doctors. That’s right.

One doctor told me I had to do it. He referred me to the doctor who would do it. The second doctor’s office sent me a notification telling me all the things I should do to ready myself for the procedure, including ordering a “preparation kit” from him. Now, I’ve had this procedure done before and that time the doc who did it told me to go to the drugstore and buy the junk I needed. The cost, IIRC, about five bucks.

Guaranteed, this current doctor’s “preparation kit,” very likely consisting of the same stuff I bought years ago over the counter, would cost either me or my health insurance carrier a good fifty or a hundred dollars or more. Easy. That’s the way corporate medicine works. But that’s not why I wanted to cancel the procedure.


I did so because, to the best of my understanding, whatever horrors the test will uncover won’t affect me for many years, probably decades. How long do I expect to live?

Answer: I’ll take 20 years. That’d make me 82. Then I’ll be ready to turn in my ID badge.  Because what can one expect after the age of 82? Especially one who suffers already from a congenitally malformed heart, the resultant congestive heart failure, and has in the last couple of years been bombarded with so much radiation that the odds of me catching cancer again are so great Vegas wouldn’t even touch the proposition.

The procedure I’d been wanting to cancel supposedly will help add years to my life. Frankly, I don’t want that. I don’t want to be wracked with arthritis pain, alarming shortness of breath, the prospect of more chemoradiation treatments, the loss of continence and memory, and all the other things that happen to old bats. I’m an old bat already and I don’t want to suffer all too much more old bat-ism.

But our corporate medical system insists that I strive with every fiber of my being to extend my life into my 90s, my 100s, hell, even my 110s.


Also, our hierarchal, even patriarchal, doctor/patient paradigm demands we obey our medical practitioners. Did you catch that? Obey.

That’s why I was jittery when I dialed up the doc yesterday.

I guess I’m just disobedient.

Lost & Fickel

Whaddya doing next October, ’round about Hallowe’en time?

Guitarist extraordinaire Jason Fickel will be strumming his instrument — picking, plucking, and strumming, to be precise — in accompaniment of the movie The Lost World, a 1925 silent featuring then mega-star Wallace Beery. This scifi/horror shebang, based on the eponymous Arthur Conan Doyle novel (ACD himself actually makes a cameo in it) will run at the IU Cinema, Friday, October 19th.

One Of These Men Is Jason Fickel

Click on over to the Cinema’s website for ducat info (although you ought to keep your shirt on because tix aren’t on sale just yet).


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