Have you noticed lately that the there has been this weird marrying of science and religion? There has been this Brundlefly created, where the definition of science has morphed into some kind of belief system and the true definition of science which comprises of theories that can be tested and verified has been thrown out the window.
At first the creationist movement seemed kind of quaint to me. I seriously ached to go to the Creationist Park and Museum in Kentucky. This idea that dinosaurs roamed the earth just a few thousand years ago has that Jurrasic Park kind of excitement attached to it, a fantasy just like any of the hundreds of weird sci-fi movies one can enjoy.
I was astounded when Todd Akin Innocently volunteered to a news reporter a few weeks ago his theories on ‘legitimate rape’. How a woman’s eggs clench up when the rape is legitimate, somehow rationalizing that any woman’s pregnancy is from legitimate sex. He said he heard it ‘somewhere’, without divulging his source. This was obviously the beginning of a difficult go at defending his anti-abortion stance. He never named who he had heard this ‘legitimate rape’ theory from, most likely from some brochure from an anti-abortion group.
The most dangerous melding of science and the bible has to do with the whole Anti Global Warming movement. Anybody can point to some kind of research or study that debunks climate change but in my opinion it all stems from the belief that god created the Earth in a perfect form. Everything on Earth is for us, created by god, and therefore we can’t fuck it up.
I wasn’t going to ever write about my medical problems, or if I were, I was planning to create a whole new blog dedicated to such, but at this moment I feel that there are many people in my situation and I had the need to vent.
I am about to endure my 3rd Prostate biopsy. I’ve had a cancer diagnosis for a while and I am choosing to live through Watchful Waiting. My GP just told me on my last visit that the statistics of death for those who are Watchful Waiting are the same as those who do nothing. If this is true, I really could just forget the whole thing and go about my life and have the same chances of surviving with – or dying from – Prostate Cancer. Watchful Waiting is exactly like having the Immunity Idol on the TV show Survivor. If you use the Idol too soon, you are seen as a foolish, paranoid wasting a chance to be able to use it when you really need it most. If you are voted off the Island while still holding on to the Idol, you are seen as foolish by not recognizing the obvious signs.
10 years ago I was strong-armed into having a prostate biopsy by my urologist. At that time my PSA was about 2.5 well under the 4.0 cutoff for the Prostate antigen. The biopsy showed pre-cancerous cells. I was about 42. I held out on another biopsy until about 5 years ago, my PSA was hovering about 3.5. In one of the 12 samples the results showed a few of the super slow growing cancer cells that most men die having (but not dying of) well into their 80’s.
Allowing that first biopsy was probably the worst mistake I ever made. My doctor, whom I respect and like, gave me this argument at the time: Don’t you want to see? You probably don’t have cancer and then we don’t have to worry. This was ten years ago mind you, the consensus and dogma of the time was to test up the (literal) wazzoo, destroy as many prostates as possible, save lives. I am now living with the diagnosis of cancer. Upon receiving the results of each of the first two biopsies, my Doctor suggested to me that, “patients usually choose to destroy their prostate at this point with this diagnosis.”
With this cancer diagnosis, I can’t go back to ignorance. Long before the US Preventative Task Force came out with their recommendations to stop all PSAs for any healthy men, studies had been coming out furiously over the years about the men who needlessly destroyed their prostates and that a large percentage of men died with prostate cancer but not from it. But I, with the diagnosis of Cancer, am now tethered to the prostate roller coaster with PSAs every 4 months.
I promised my Urologist that if my PSA didn’t go up I could wait 5 years before my next biopsy, next week is 5 years. Plus my PSA did go up a bit. It’s hovering around 5. Probably nothing to worry about… Stay tuned.
Why Not to worry about PSAs: PSAs can fluctuate wildly due to a lot of different factors, and I’m sure everyone who has had a PSA has experienced the insane PSA anxiety when it’s high. My PSAs go up and down. I have pretty chronic Prostatitis. This can raise my PSA about 2 to 3 points. You can imagine how it freaks me out when I see high numbers, but usually with a course of antibiotics these numbers come down. What I have to look for and truly worry about is PSA numbers rising quickly over a short period of time. Other things that can screw up a PSA is having sex or masturbating to close to a PSA, this can raise the numbers a point or two. A tough tennis game, swimming, hard exercise and such right before a PSA blood test can screw with the numbers too.
UPDATE (as of March 2012): Believe it or not the test was clear, whew! 4 more years.
A couple of weeks ago, on the evening of October 5th, I was about to start dinner. My wife comes home from work and as usual, sits on the couch and checks her iPhone for Twitter and Facebook updates. She looks up at me, “Oh my god, Steve Jobs is dead.”
I began to feel myself crying. And just a little over 6 weeks since my own father’s passing, I became teary over someone I did not know personally, although in some respects Steve Jobs was in my life as much if not more than maybe even my father. Steve Jobs had really become a kind of patriarch of modern life, it was really he that was Apple: completely synonymous. Even I, who is now typing this Post on a Windows 7 computer, who does not personally own any ‘i’ anything am affected daily by the new world that Steve Jobs created. Every modern computer device that is not Apple evokes the Apple design and concept.
My next phone may be an iPhone, but what about the phone after that? Will Apple still have the vision with out the patriarch?
Being a pop-psych doctor on TV doesn’t necessarily immediately qualify someone as a douche. I have a great respect for Dr Drew Pinsky, even though I’ve heard him talk out-of-his-ass a few times about celebrities’ personality disorders without (I’m sure) ever having met them. But I guess that is part of being a TV psychologist: analyzing someone from afar and having the gift of being able to give an on the spot diagnosis.
What makes Keith Ablow seem like such a douche to me is the outrageous agenda that colors his diagnoses. The first part of his agenda is that he is such a media whore, he’s written novels, he’s a celebrity life coach, he’s had a couple of failed talk shows, self-help books, etc, (see Bio). By comparison Dr Drew emits a true sincerity and to me his pop diagnoses do not seem outrageous or irresponsible.
The agenda that irks me the most is Ablow’s affiliation with Fox News, it just completely rubs me the wrong way. It’s obvious now that anything he says is slanted toward the Fox right agenda. (And nothing against Fox per se, especially where politics are concerned, all is fair in love and war, and I’ve been known to be a Bill O’Reilly fan even though our politics tend to deviate most times.) But the thought that some, supposed doctor could filter his prognosis through the distorted lens that is Fox News Broadcasting, just seems incredibly douchy and disgusting to me.
The most relevant example of Ablow’s douchyness comes with his amplified objection to Chaz Bono’s participation on Dancing with the Stars. It irks me as much that he is media-whoring up a controversy to get on all of the news and talk shows, (most likely looking toward the future for some resolution to meet Chaz on some talk show couch. I’m sure he is just wishing that Opra was still on the air) as the fact that he is using homophobia or some type of xenophobia as the agenda for his objection to Chaz. Ablow says that children will see Bono as a role model to ‘kindle’ and emulate. This is just an absurd assertion. Using myself as an example, no matter how much I want to be gay, I’m just not attracted sexually to men and I just don’t get the whole Lady Gaga thing. To think that someone would want to change their gender on a whim is absurd. If anything, Chaz should be respected and celebrated for his ability to make difficult decisions in his life in order to find the ultimate truth about his existence on this planet and for not towing the line of what the current status quo is for normalcy.
Ablow goes on and gives another example of why Chaz shouldn’t be on DWTS: that transgendered people do not go on to live physically as healthy lives as the non transgendered and if a child sees Chaz on TV they will then go on to live unhealthy lives. This is such bullshit, basically he is saying that Jacky Gleason should not be on DWTS because kids would get fat and hilarious and go on to live unhealthy lives. (Obviously Jacky Gleason is dead and couldn’t appear on DWTS, but I couldn’t think of any other funny, fat people at the moment). Or, OK, Carrot Top shouldn’t be on DWTS because he takes steroids and dyes his hair too much. Or Elton John, because he wears bad glasses. Or Tony Hawk because the kid watching DWTS will later go on to break their neck on a bike. I can go on and on.
So, even though I hate Dancing with the Stars and probably won’t watch it, (I have too much on my plate as it is now with House Hunters, Survivor, now X Factor and America’s Next Top Model) . I will still be rooting for Chaz though, remotely and passively while watching 2 Broke Girls… By the way, I didn’t even scratch the surface about the fact that Chaz looks like a dude and what kid watching DWTS would even know that he was formerly a girl at some past time anyway.
Post Script: Below is an Ablow attack on Bill Maher that is just stupid, douchy and colored by the Fox News agenda:
My first memory of my father outside of his role as my dad was in the spring of my senior year in high school. My classmate and friend, Phil and I traveled to Israel, the first time traveling unsupervised as part of our high school’s senior curriculum. We later had to write a paper on our experience for credit before we could graduate.
Previous to that spring of 1977, Morris was to me, I guess, as most dads were then, hard working – even though I wasn’t exactly sure what he did – and a great provider. My mother was the nurturer, my father, semi-aloof behind the newspaper.
It was a generous gift of my parents to send me to Israel that spring. On our trip we took a planned bus tour with other Americans to Masada. Through the hot Israeli desert, up to the high bluff in the 110 degree heat, I began chatting with another American on our tour, a bit older than me but not by much. He said he was a New Jersey lawyer. So, just to make conversation, I mentioned that my father was a lawyer too, “Morris Brown, do you know him?” “Your dad is Morris Brown?” he exclaimed. I will never forget the expression on his face; to me it seemed a strange combination, a mixture of respect, awe and terror. I assumed immediately that it was because Morris was such a force to be reckoned with in court. This was not the last time this happened either, in fact where ever I traveled since then, if I ran into a New Jersey lawyer, they would know Morris Brown. “Tell you father, I said hi.” Most would request of me. I would always try to remember their names to relay back to my dad.
Coming from modest means in Carteret and on a lark taking the bar exam after college, he came in the top 5 percentile on the exam and went to Harvard Law School. Morris was incredibly motivated to do well in life, he knew that success was not defined by how wealthy you are but by how generous you are. He was one of the most gracious, generous people I’ve ever met. Generous almost to a fault, I’m sure anyone here; who ever tried to buy lunch would agree.
My father would tell me this story: There is this town; it is the toughest town in the state. He would begin. And in this town there is a neighborhood; it’s the toughest neighborhood in the town. In this neighborhood there is a street; the toughest street in the neighborhood. As you go down this street, with every house you pass the street gets tougher and tougher. And you want to know what? He’d say; I lived on the last house on this street!
In more recent years I shared my father’s passion for enjoying the newspaper. When visiting, I’d usually have some gnawing question about a piece of news I read that day. “What’s this about congress having to pass this bill now?” I’d ask. He’d answer me with patients and with such an incredible grasp of the material, I was in awe, and frankly envious. He knew every congressman who was involved with the bill by name, what state they were from, what their politics were, why this bill needed to be passed now, what previous presidents tried to pass this bill before and so on. I could only imagine trying to win an argument in the courtroom with someone so brilliant, someone who could retain so much of the material plus view the bigger picture.
My father tried to be stoic during my mother’s long battle with cancer. On the morning that my mother died about 10 weeks ago, he offered the best advice anyone could give. Be strong, he said, we all knew what was coming. I looked up at him and saw he was completely devastated, frail and sick himself, he was still able to see outside himself, still looking to provide for his family.
Living in suburbia forever is like being married forever, certain qualities you may have originally found endearing are now just annoying, obnoxious or at the extreme can be grounds for murder.
If you are reading this and you are from Greenwich, Bedford, Palo Alto or Alpine, you may not recognize, in your neighborhood, any of these pet peeves listed below at all. In my suburbia – not poor – not rich – just middle class with a lot of recent NYC transplants out to the sticks, we have many, hmmm, how should I word this… ‘Aesthetic infractions’ that could easily upset one’s eye or stomach.
#12 Weird Fencing
I’ve never been a big fan of stockade fencing, especially the cheap wood ones. I’ve warmed up a bit to the big plastic stockade fence.
In photo #12a: I’m not sure what happened here. Either the neighbors were fighting over their property lines or somehow they both had their new fences installed on the same day without mentioning it to each other. There is about 16 inches between the fences. I’ve witnessed one of the fence owners squeezing between the two fences to rake out the tall overgrowth, weeds, leaves and such. Very weird.
#11 Ugly Electric Poles – Ugly Trimming of Trees Around the Ugly Electric Poles
Do you want to live in a town where the high school looks like shit? If there is some kind of referendum coming up to cash some bonds or something to renovate your schools, vote: Yes.
#9 Suburban Blight
What the hell is it with these big stores moving into my town and then going out of business within a year leaving their big-ass, empty, ugly storefronts to linger as huge canvases for bad graffiti artists to desecrate?
If you see photo #9a, this is an abandoned supermarket. A&P built this with my townships blessing literally 200 yards from our well established Shoprite. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the A&P would be out of there in a year or two.
#8 Politico Banners
Don’t wear your politics on your sleeve and certainly don’t put banners with your John Birch, or for that matter Al Gore, all over your house. It’s just tacky.
#7 Arborvitae Killers
We all know the arborvitae killer, the guy who wants to create a natural fence around his yard. These guys usually get the bright idea to do this planting around May or June. (Arborvitae is the knee-jerk go-to shrub when planting. Arborvitae is really the poor man’s boxwood, just go to Deal NJ or Bedford and you’ll see what I mean).
Even if arborvitaes are relatively inexpensive, you still have to buy enough of them to create a visual blind circumnavigating the perimeter of your property and depending on how large your lot is, can become expensive. So in May or early June inevitably we will drive by one of our neighbor’s homes and notice hundreds of newly planted arborvitae fencing in their yard. What your lovely neighbor doesn’t realize is that it’s a good idea to water your arborvitae or they’ll die, newly planted arborvitae die real quick. June is usually a hot month and what can be predicted is that before the July 4thweekend probably about half of these beautiful plants are as brown as the Gobi desert. The unfortunate thing that happens is that not all of the plants die, a percentage of them can survive through a hot summer, so as each plant dies the beautiful fence will eventually look like the teeth of a hillbilly. (Replanting is an option, but will be seen as cost prohibitive to someone who just spent $3000 on the original plants).
#6 Skinny Columns
After you just spent $30k to $50k renovating your home, spend a couple hundred extra and get some meatier columns for your front porch or façade.
#5 Weird, Tacky, Bad Architecture
These come in all shapes and sizes. Terrible architecture usually occurs when someone renovates their home without using an architect: screwing up proportions, removing nice detail, bad wrapping of aluminum around detail, making a nice porch terrible, weird kitchens or an extra bedroom sticking of the side of the house like a goiter or malignant growth, etc.
Bad architects can create all sorts of visual nightmares too. The knee-jerk, uninspired architectural element is the double gable. Check out the facades of newer McMansions with the double gable element.
If you see photo #5a, this is an example of atrocious, tacky design. The architect must’ve been going for that King Arthur /post modern/Big Ben, who knows, but I personally think that theserealtors hired Papa Smurf to design it.
#4 Bail Bonds – Check Cashing
As soon as you see a Bail Bonds – Check Cashing storefront open in your town, you can just see your property values diminish as every scoundrel or scoundrel’s spouse or relative walks through those doors. Or for that matter, anyone, for whatever reason, who doesn’t have a bank account walking around your town looking for a check cashing place.
#3 Poodle Trees
Thank god that the trend for poodle trees (topiary) is passing. And some topiary can be beautiful if well maintained and trimmed by a professional. Bad maintenance of a poodle tree and it looks like someone took a huge, green shit on your front lawn.
#2 Anti Abortion Protesters – Abortion Clinics
I didn’t even know that we had an abortion clinic in our town until I saw the anti abortion protester. I have nothing against abortion or abortion clinics, except the fact that they draw anti abortion protesters. I subscribe to Howard Stern’s proclamation that a woman should be able to have a legal abortion until their child reaches the age of 18 (it gives a mother enough time to determine if her kid is going to be a shit or not).
Yet on the other hand, there are so many great drugs these days like the morning after pill. I hear they even have a 5 day pill, that any cell divisions within 5 days of sex can be washed out of a woman’s system. Any woman, who walks around for 5 days with some guy’s jizz sloshing around in them and can’t decide whether or not to have his kid, should just bring it to term.
#1 Boat, RV, Project in Driveway
Come on. Is there anything more trash than leaving your boat, RV, camper or project in the driveway? If you love these things so much and you call your boat ‘Obsession’ or something, get a garage or slip. Jeez.
It has to be, that any clothing designer who ever added a button fly to a pant instead of choosing a zipper could not be straight**. And I can confidently say that there is not one straight man on this earth who enjoys the extra attention paid to his crotch while he tries to button his button fly pants in a public restroom.
“Ahhh, no sir, I was not playing with myself in front of your son here in the airport restroom. I was just trying to button my new fancy, button fly pants.”
“Yes, sir, I realize that the zipper was invented like a hundred years ago. Actually, it was about a hundred and sixty years, in 1851.”
“No sir, I do not think I’m ‘some kind of fucking cowboy’.”
If I was Larry Craig’s lawyer I would screw the ‘wide-stance’ defense***. What I’d do is, I would appoint as many men to the jury as I could. In my opening statement I would walk up to the jury and just say three words, “Button fly pants”.
All of the jurors would then go, “ahhhhhh”. End of case. In the law books forever as, “The Button-Fly Defense”.
** I may at this point be accused being some kind of homophobe, which is completely untrue. I am the least homophobic person that I know, (and I will be able prove this in a future post). I just feel that a gay clothing designer would have trouble predicting that there would be an issue with the extra 5 minutes that it takes to button up your fucking button fly pants.
*** Larry Craig was arrested for soliciting sex from men in the restroom of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He tried the now famous ‘wide-stance’ defense.