Dogs and HyperActive Thyroids

Dang dogs. I’m pretty sure Patch jumped up on the furniture tonight and got my wife’s thyroid medicine off the end table. When I got home after exercise, it was Bella that was happily chewing on the child-proof (but not dog-proof) plastic bottle.

ASPCA poison control had a nearly incomprehensible technical paper on thyroid overdose. Basically, except for possible vomiting and diarrhea, the dogs should be fine. Dogs don’t absorb thyroid medicine well.

After I’m sure they’re ok, I’m going to kill them. Bad dogs.

Disgruntled Conservatives

When Bush pushed for Harriet Miers, I balked. The Republicans are not only not acting like the majority party, but the few battles they win seem like they’re for the other side. The size of government balloons. From the lack of social security reform to the nomonation of Harriet Miers, I’m done giving Bush the benefit of the doubt. The Republicans are winning elections because they talk conservative. Then they forget to act on it.

Another conservative blows his lid today for the same reason.

Okay, I have had it.

Not a damned thing distinguishes the Republicans from the Democrats anymore…not a damned thing. “No Child Left Behind” in essence, and unconstitutionally, federalized education. The GOP-engineered federal prescription drug subsidy program for seniors was another huge and costly step toward total socialized medicine. The Administration’s response to recent natural disasters — here and abroad — establishes the premise of federalizing all local emergencies globally, and reducing the U.S. military into becoming the logistics wing of the International Red Cross.

And so on, and so on.

During George W. Bush’s first term, you could argue (I did) that his tougher foreign policy against Islamofascist terrorists distinguished him from the Democrats. But even that is disintegrating now. Many top Republicans, succumbing to PC critics and sinking polls, are turning tail and running from the war against the perpetrators of 9/11.

Politically, their effort to ape the Democrats won’t work, of course. Me-tooism never does. Voters will ask themselves: Why get our liberal welfare statism on the rocks, when the Dems offer it straight up? As a result, the GOP is going to be badly, and deservedly, chastened at the polls next time. (It already started to happen during this past week’s elections.)

But this leaves the glaring problem of where people like me — the lonely advocates of rational, principled individualism — are supposed to turn, politically.

For now, nowhere. (No, the incoherent Libertarian Party is not an option.)

Excellent reading thanks to a tip from Right Voices.

Professional Snorer

Except for the part where I can’t figure out how to get paid for it, I could snore professionally.

I should have kept y’all up-to-date along the way, but I didn’t. C’est la vie.

I snore when I’m on my back… and my side. Even on my stomach. If I slept hanging from my ankles from the ceiling like a bat, I’d still snore. There’s no such thing as poking me to make me stop, or rolling me over, I’m just going to keep right on snoring.

The first thing I tried was the Breathe Right nasal strips and throat spray. The strips across my nose felt funny peeling off in the morning, the throat spray tasted like cough medicine. But still I snored.

I visited the doctor who prescribed steroids. Since the snoring is caused by soft skin in the nose and throat vibrating against each other, steroids will toughen up that skin so it’s less likely to vibrate. Ha, another feeble attempt to inhibit my snoring.

I saw an otolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat specialist – who wanted to carve out all my mucus membranes with a carving knife. She said it would be painful, expensive, not covered by insurance, and I’d probably still snore afterwards. Yuck.

I went to the dentist and got a SilentNite mouthguard. I felt funny driving around with a model of my own teeth and mouth in the car. The mouthguard is supposed to keep my jaw forward in a position that inhibits snoring. Ha. I put the mouthpiece in and snored all night long. I’m going to head back to the dentist and see if any adjustments can be made.

Other than continued weight loss, which I’ve been doing, I’m running out of ideas. At least I don’t snore when I’m awake.

Lamentations of the Father

Lamentations of the Father
by Ian Frazier

Laws Pertaining to the Living Room

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.

Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When at Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.

Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you.

Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why.

Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert

For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault.

Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say.

Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations

O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout “stupid-head” and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, “Can I come out?” and I reply, “No, you may not come out.” And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know. For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

Mechanical Investing for March 2005

All in all, a 6.1% gain for the month, happily beating the market. Would have done a lot better, too, except for ALOY.
True story – I’m at the movies, I stop at the restroom. I’m standing in front of the urinal that has an advertisement for Immodium AD diarrhea medicine. And on the frame at the bottom it says, “ALLOY MARKETING.” And I’m thinking, “OH NOOOOOOO! I BOUGHT STOCK IN THAT!!! AAAIIIIEEEEE!!!.

I’m a little heavy on homebuilders, 7 of the 12 holdings are in that industry.

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
AAPL $26.345 $44.16 4 +67.6% Apple Computer, adjusted for the 2:1 split. I think I’ll buy an iPod Mini this month. 🙂
CMC $24.965 $35.05 2 +40.4% Commercial Metals Company. No complaints here. 🙂
NVR $630.50 $793.75 4 +25.9% NVR Inc. Sort of went flat this month, but a good return.
RYL $63.18 $69.00 1 +9.2% The Ryland Group, yet another homebuilder.
TOL $76.90 $87.85 1 +14.2% Toll Brothers, Inc., homebuilder.
.ADQGH $3.10 $0.30 2 -90.3% ADSK (July 05 40), will sell in April. Looking like a total loss on this one though.
.CQRFI $2.80 $0.10 0 -96.4% CREE (June 05 45), will sell in April. Unless the commission costs more than it’s worth. 😦

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ALOY $7.71 $5.88 2 -23.7% Media and Marketing for Generation Y. Pffft.
BZH $146.19 $169.81 1 +16.2% Beazer Homes is yet again another winner. Odd that this is one homebuilder stock being sold this month.
DXYN $17.94 $18.35 1 +2.3% Dixie Group, Inc., carpet manufacturer.
LDG $25.58 $27.22 5 +6.4% Long Drug Stores Corp.
NAFC $28.34 $39.25 6 +38.5% Nash Finch Company. Very happy with this one.
PRXL $23.89 $22.35 1 -6.4% Parexel International, biopharmaceutical services company.
RDA $16.09 $16.93 1 +5.2% Reader’s Digest Association.
.CAIFN $4.10 $0.15 3 -96.3% CAI (June 05 70), essentially a total loss.
.TXUGN $2.85 $8.80 3 +208.8% TXU Energy (July 05 70). Tripled in 3 months.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CMCO $12.74 $N/A 0 N/A% Columbus McKinnon Corp., cranes and hoists and stuff.
FDG $91.85 $N/A 0 N/A% Fording Canadian Coal Trust.
HOV $54.20 $N/A 0 N/A% Hovnanian Enterprises, homebuilder.
KBH $123.17 $N/A 0 N/A% KB Homes, another homebuilder.
KMG $76.20 $N/A 0 N/A% Kerr-McGee, oil & gas exploration.
SPF $79.24 $N/A 0 N/A% Standard Pacific, another homebuilder.
VLO $67.28 $N/A 0 N/A% Valero, oil & gas. Made a wee profit on this one last November.

New options for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Weeks Return
No new options until October.

Next trade will be March 28 or April 4, I haven’t decided yet.

The Healing Power of Chocolate

Chocolate is good for you. It's even better for me!
The ancient Mayans were right. Chocolate heals. Among the benefits reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

  • Cocoa, rich in flavonoids, help keep blood platelets from clumping together which can reduce the risk of blood clots that could lead to heart attacks.
  • Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure in elderly hypertensive patients.
  • Chocolate compounds can make blood vessels more flexible, improving cardiovascular health.
  • An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine might be more effective in controlling a persistent cough than traditional cough medicine containing codeine.
  • A study of 163 women about their chocolate consumption and their love lives revealed that the more chocolate a woman ate, the more likely she was to have a satisfying sex life.
  • Most chocolate desserts are rich in sugar and saturated fat, which makes them high in calories. Extra pounds would undo all the good that chocolate could do. Ingredients like margarine, butter and cream are not heart-healthy.

Scratch that last one, I didn’t like it. I plan on being a elderly hypertensive patient; please pass me the dark chocolate. 🙂

Prayer Request for Hayden

I spent the afternoon with my good friend John at the Texas Children’s Hospital where John and his son are spending 18 hours a day this past week. John’s granddaughter, Hayden, is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in an induced coma with significant brain swelling. The doctors have exhausted the types of medicines available to bring the swelling down; now only prayers and a miracle can bring her back.

It was heart-wrenching to walk into the PICU. Hayden was removed from full life support yesterday and is breathing on her own after the surgery this week to relieve the cranial pressure, but the doctors are not painting a bright picture for full recovery at this point. She still has wires all over her and her head is bandaged with tubes for a vent on top. The monitors to the right and left are silent, counting off the breathing, the pulse, the oxygen content, and who knows what else. The doctors and nurses are there around the clock; Hayden is getting the best care there is.

John says that her optic nerve, pupil response, kidney, liver, temperature and blood sugar are all looking good, but the cranial pressure is high; normal pressure is 5 (mmHg? I didn’t catch the units) with brain damage possible above 12. Hayden’s pressure has been above 40 since last Tuesday.

John has asked that her picture be forwarded to all to ask for prayers. John and his son are spending 18 hours a day at the hospital in the PICU; they can use your prayers, too.