Archive for May, 2002


Tuesday, May 28th, 2002

Work called today.  Somebody was out, they wanted me to come in.  But I was so bad yesterday that I was feeling that familiar fondness for the rope (and I don’t mean the one with the life ring at the end).  I retrieved myself from that abyss, but only with the promise that I would be ‘sick’ on Tuesday.  One day off isn’t enough this week, not to mention that I was given four hours worth of work to do at home today.  So today I didn’t call them back.  It is bad enough to be still suffering from my time there; to respond to their call for help only to say, “you’re on your own” is cruel to both me and them. 

I didn’t eat all day.  Just ate ten minutes ago.  And there’s a muscle in the back of my neck burning like an oil field on fire.  I haven’t begun to recuperate from the last week of hell-on-earth at that hospital where I work.  Staying home tomorrow is not about recuperating, it’s about avoiding harm.  But I don’t know if staying home just one day is going to help anything at all. 

I work in the admitting department at a detox.  However, we can’t admit anybody without first beeping at least two people who are seldom readily available–and even less so on a holiday weekend like this last one.  But we cannot even begin the ordeal of beeping doctors and administrators for approval until after we endure the ordeal of lying to suffering people, telling them there are no beds when in fact there are empty beds.  It’s just that their non-Medicare insurance is acceptable only if we have admitted one, and preferably two Medicare patients before them.  Guess which pays more. 

I might have some tolerance for this situation, if the hospital were not spewing cash to seven vice presidents and more, most who have the same last name as the hospital’s president.  Nepotism aside (some waste is endemic), they just spent ninety thousand to replace a working phone system with one that doesn’t.  More cash down the drain, and I can’t admit you because your insurance pays fifty a day less than Medicare. 

There was general astonishment surrounding the new phone system’s inadequacies when it was initially installed, and this fed some feeble hope it would be made right by the powers that be.  Over several month’s that hope has been extinguished, and I can see now that everyone is grimly bearing as a matter of course the vast inefficiencies and impediments introduced by this expensive downgrade of our phone system.  ‘The way they do things will never change;’ that’s what everybody says. 

Let me go into just a few of the many lies and misrepresentations which arise from the fact that we also answer 1-800-ALCOHOL, the national drug and alcohol information and referral line.  If, for example, you are calling 800-ALCOHOL from Florida (or anyplace else outside of New England, for that matter), good luck.  You will be swiftly referred to another phone number which probably doesn’t work, and if it does, it probably won’t provide you with the information you are seeking.  This is more of a crime because our ‘hotline’ is advertised as something which it is not.  Until I complained a couple years ago, that page called us ‘trained counselors.’  Now it calls us ‘highly trained staff’, and elswhere lies that ‘you can talk through a difficult situation with one of our on-line counselors.’  The training I recieved six years ago (and repetitively since then) regarding calls to 800-ALCOHOL was very clear; it is not a counseling line, and we who answer it are not counselors, but admissions coordinators.  We arrange to admit you, or we give you a number and end the call. 

Somewhere between the institutional neglect, and the naked agony of the individual, there is me and a few comrades making 9, maybe ten bucks an hour.  We really do our best to help. 

I acknowledge the fiscal realities of providing an expensive service, and detoxification at AdCare Hospital is expensive; we require a three-thousand dollar cash deposit at the time of admission for patients who can’t–or choose not to–use insurance.  And I think it is almost worth it.  It is a good place and it does a great deal of very good work.  But it wastes a lot of money, and it doesn’t seem to be as bothered as me by the corners it has to cut to make ends meet.  There is somebody who needs help standing on every corner that they cut, somebody who is going to call me sooner or later, and I will have to say, ‘not here.’ 

Maybe I really am too sick to work today.

ice cream gone

Monday, May 27th, 2002
Into the 60’s Howard Johnson’s still owned the road. Expansion had stretched coast to coast. In 1965, sales exceeded those of McDonald’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken combined. They were the second largest food feeder in the United States exceeded only by the US Army.

The last Howard Johnson’s restuarant in Massachusetts, the state where HoJo’s began, is closing today.

an old note

Monday, May 27th, 2002

A Memorial Day musing from a while back: ‘memorial’, Joe: 05/31/00

I think I have forgotten the entire year, 2000.  I do not recall whether I wrote it (in handwriting) as ’00,’ or ‘2000.’  It seems unattached to the events which ocurred within its duration.  The year 2000 feels like a year whose arrival I am still anticipating.  Come to think of it, last year and this year both feel that way, too. 

A few months ago at work, where we write the date on hundreds of forms per day by hand, I wrote 10/19/86.  I don’t remember the month and day when I wrote it, but that is what it looked like.  It came as clearly and naturally as if I had been writing it all day long.  I stared at it for an uncomfortable moment, pretending to wonder what it might mean.  I pretended not to be embarrassed, but I threw the page away.  And I pretended that I am not evading life, but living it.

Excuse me but, what year is it?  I know it is absurd of me to ask, but I seem to have been away.  I don’t think I know this place, nor this body of mine, nor this life I apparently have lived. 

Happy Memorial Day.

in the quiet

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2002

I am easily intimidated–until I know better.  I always think I am wrong, or scared?or wrong to be scared?whenever someone wants to have contact with me.  It could be someone I have never met who wants to establish a new connection with me, or it could be a past intimate who wants to ‘reconnect’.  Unfailingly, in every case, I choose the safe path, the one less chosen by most of humanity when navigating the interpersonal space.  I suppose I choose the lonely path because I do not want contact; how could I rationalize it any other way.  And what are the reasons that I do not want contact?  …well, my quest for that answer is yet unfinished. 

When I do isolate, I almost always mercilessly degrade myself for the crimes of cowardice, inconsideration, self-centeredness, and deliberate cruelty.  And only occasionally do I realize, in fleeting glimpses as represented by this post, that I never make a frivolous choice to isolate based on laziness or disinterest.  Never.  Once in a while I realize that every contact I have ever walked away from tore me both inside and out; many of those failures to connect will hurt forever.  Anyone who thinks I could do that to myself in the absence of profound and unrelenting anguish is either ignorant of anguish in the world, or does not know me at all. 

Yet some of my most intimate friends do, nonetheless, fail to see any evidence of the blood-spattered carnage within my heart; they fail to recognize in the fears and anxieties strewn liberally about my life any evidence of something out-of-sight gone wrong; and in the quiet of my isolation some of my most intimate friends fail to hear the muffled—nay, strangulated?cries which might help explain my reluctance to come out and play. 

This hermit might never have had the courage to stand up for himself and his eccentric ways if not for a few brave friends, who fearlessly acknowledged (on the outside of me) that some grave horror dwelt inside me out-of-sight.  They did not pretend not to see.  They didn’t pretend at all.  They recognized some hidden agony, and dignified me by accepting, non-judgementally, whatever path I chose upon which to bear my burden.  In some small way, they liberated me. 

You were among them. 

Of course I am sorry if my behavior has disappointed anyone, especially those whom I have loved.  I know you are out there still, in Northern Europe, and if you see this, please don’t be offended.  You’re the reason I haven’t written anything for two weeks.  If I wasn’t going to write to you, I couldn’t very well write… anything.  So this is my compromise.  I am not emerging as might be necessary in a personal letter to you, but I am writing to you anyway.  It hurts more than I can say to be the way I am, here in the quiet.  But here in the quiet is the only place I can say anything at all; it’s the only place that feels safe enough for me.  Just me. 

This is my place, alone.  Despite that, I love you. 

One might wonder how I can say that with a straight face, and remain hiding.  Maybe I don’t love you.  I suppose it is possible that I have no idea at all what constitutes love.  You have some historic insight in this.  So let me say it this way:  As far as I have ever been capable of loving you, I do.


Sunday, May 12th, 2002

W3C HTML Validation Service Results.  After an all-nighter on this, I still have miles to go before… whatever comes next.


Saturday, May 11th, 2002

In my cynical way, I tend to doubt that reworking all the style and positioning elements on these pages has improved the way they display for my mac friends.  But I can hope.  Besides, when I find out (inevitably) that my blog looks worse now than it did before, I will at least still have an intractable problem which might help to divert my attention away from the Summer-warmed bare-skin boys who inspire in me unattainable hopes and ignite conflagrations of desire.

I needn’t fear, even if I did fix these pages, for I will always be able to find some tedious and un-breathtaking preoccupation to keep me safe from Summer affairs and the trauma of dreams come true.

Please tell me if it still looks wrong.  I need something to do…

all new

Friday, May 10th, 2002

This is it.  The Blogger™ version has a new home; /blogger/blog.htm.  You don’t need to change any bookmarks (but if you do, bookmark this.)

Gotta go, late as always, more later…  thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

DSL, once again

Thursday, May 9th, 2002

First off, I am just testing my blogThis thingy with Movabletype.  I’m doing it while checking my DSL status.  Yes indeedy, boys and girls, I have succummed again to the enticements of manymanybits.  Last time it was Megapath who fed my addiction?or, rather, was promising to when I ran out of cash.  In all fairness, they would have been my selection again, …except they never answered the e-mail I wrote them last week.  This seems unlike them.  I am glad though, because I was undecided (can you believe it; me?  undecided?) between Megapath (read: fantastic customer service, fantastically expensive), and Covad?slightly cheaper, slightly less renowned for customer service, but, get this, they responded!  Hah!

Megapath would do well to allow ordering online.  What the hell, their best prospects for selling an ‘always-on’ connection is to people with Social Anxiety Disorder who cringe at the thought of using a telephone for anything other than a modem connection.  On May 6, I ordered online from Covad.  The phone company confirmed the data line on May 9.  Three days, and I have not spoken to a person.  Now, you may think that is not a good thing, to have no live contact with a person.  But, sadly, it’s the way I like it.

We shall see how long it takes them to get the DSL router, cables and software to me.  I think if I had all that stuff today, I could be connected and avoiding human contact at a rate of about a megabit per second. 

Sad, isn’t it?  I can’t wait.

tweak, tweak, tweak

Thursday, May 9th, 2002

I have been tweaking like a madman, getting all the thousands of style properties just so, adding and renaming selectors, removing them and adding them back again, adjusting declarations and values, screaming, throwing coffee mugs (well, only one), and alternately weeping and beaming.  I haven’t even begun to attack… oh, hell, I can’t remember anymore what I haven’t gotten to yet.  I am just simply exhausted.  So is my ftp server and my modem (oh!  I can’t wait til I get DSL again?soon, very soon). 

We are all going to take a break.  I am going to eat food I do not need to eat.  I am going to watch a happy movie, like Shrek or Toy Story, while I indulge in comfort foods.  Eventually I am going to go to bed and entertain erotic delusions and go happily to sleep.  Then I am going to get up early and drink strong coffee, and eat my last piece of gourmet fudge, and I will come back to this, my isolated little riskless world of recalcitrant clients and vanishing servers, of style sheets and templates and colors and text. 

…and words.  That’s the final product, after all, isn’t it?the words.  And I think they all look pretty good right now, even if I do say so myself.  ‘Night.

deep link, or die

Tuesday, May 7th, 2002

Terreus has a compelling posting regarding deeplinking, and the beancounters’ and lawyers’ progress toward preventing it. 

I say if a site does not want deeplinking, then they should write a script to prevent unauthorized access to their sites.  Otherwise everything on the web is (and should be) fair game.

how to love

Monday, May 6th, 2002
Update: success.

The [Durham Catholic District School Board] has said it supports Hall’s right to be a homosexual but that it does not support “a homosexual lifestyle.”

Of all the hypocrisies of the religio-sexual Catholic church, this one is made of the flimsiest tissue of illogic and rationalization.  I am not sure if I am more insulted by the seething hatred which this line of bigotry pretends to cloak, or by the bigots’ patently disengenous effort at concealing their contempt.  “We love you, we just hate what you do.”.  I guess they think that immunizes them against the hatred which they hold so dear.  Go on, keep hating me, I want you to.  Because I know your hate will kill you.  And if I loved justice like I say I do, I should feel bad about that. 

You would think that the Catholic church would have a little discretion in the tame matter of allowing a high school boy to take his boyfriend to the prom?I mean, it’s not like they’re going to be having sex in the rectory, they’re just going to be dancing at a prom.  I can’t resist:  It would appear that the Church will overlook a priest fucking him, but won’t allow his boyfriend to hold his hand.  There, I said it.

However, these sex-abusing priest scandals rocking the Catholic church right now are just a flash in the pan.  Anyone who has close friends who attended seminary has heard about how handy it can be for a young man to be sexually versatile.  It can help a great deal in gaining good grades and promotion.  I don’t know why we pretend to be surprized about that, it is a not uncommon theme in our culture; Madonna once said that losing her virginity was a career move.  Why should we think this would be any different among the men and boys of the altar? 

Probably because it is worse among them.  Men are pigs, according to a current maxim, and absent a woman’s longer view of sex?which tends to include consequences, emotional and otherwise?men-on-men sex can quickly become a runaway chain reaction.  And the conditions, which arguably have helped promote the recently revealed abuses, such as exist with an all-male clergy, all-male religious orders, and an all-male Magisterium, have all been in place for hundreds of years.  This crisis has been in the making for a long time.  Recent headlines and lawsuits represent a very superficial flash restricted so far to the extreme fringes of promiscuity and abuse among priests.

This does not mean the blaze will get worse and consume the Church; the Catholic church has a thousand years’ experience in controlling public opinion and squelching scandal.  What this does mean is that religious ministry will lose a sizeable chunk of its already narrow philosophical base under the guise of hunting monsters. 

Most of the priests I have known are gay, and many were sexually active (with peers, not children).  In my experience these men undeniably gave more compassion and humanity to their ministries than did any of their scared-straight counterparts.  They gave me faith.  Once upon a time, I believed that real genuine love (not sex) and complete acceptance were a part of religion.  I believe this no more.  But these men also gave me a faith?and this faith I keep?that genuine love and complete acceptance are a part of me.  Sadly I cannot thank you all by name here, and sad is it too that we cannot relive those days of high holy hell-raising together, in the 80s, when our church felt so joyful and wholly alive… 

Fanaticsm will rise and fall, bigots will ascend and be cast down, boys will go to proms with boys (or not), and what we call love will continue to be spoken in either froth-mouthed rages, or gentle sincere whispers.  But the choice will always be ours. 

We can learn a great deal from a fresh-faced seventeen year-old in love, but will we?  The choice will always be ours. 

culture of the gun

Sunday, May 5th, 2002

A Massachusetts State Trooper shot and killed a man who was threatening suicide.  Of course, I wasn’t there, and it does seem too easy to take pot-shots at the cop after the fact, so until today I didn’t.  But today I read of a riot in which police officers suffered terribly?huge lacerations, concussions, and broken limbs?yet none of the rioters was killed. 

No jokes about showing up to a gunfight with a knife.  No jokes at all; this isn’t funny though it is grotesquely absurd.  Did Trooper Wildgrube sustain any injuries?  Did he tear or soil his uniform in this conflict that left a man dead?  I could see the use of a semi-automatic .357 with hollow-point bullets if they were in hand-to-hand combat, and the trooper was within range of the knife’s lethal potential.  I could even almost understand a cop in body armor firing a gun at a crazed man charging homicidally at him with a knife.  But Mr Twedt was, by all accounts, a remarkably harmless fellow who was distraught, depressed, most likely angry, and at the moment he was shot, he was coated like a ghost in white fire-extinguisher powder.  I wonder, did those two hollow-points raise a puff of dust when they hit the pathetically powdered suicidal man?

Forgive my brutality, but the use of lethal force opens you up to that.  And that is as it should be when police officers start using overwhelmingly lethal force as if it were a television remote control, when they do not like what they see and can’t deal with it in any way other than to just shut it off. 

Nash recovered without meds

Friday, May 3rd, 2002
Most Americans are unaware that the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly found that long-term schizophrenia outcomes are much worse in the USA and other ”developed” countries than in poor ones such as India and Nigeria, where relatively few patients are on anti-psychotic medications. In ”undeveloped” countries, nearly two-thirds of schizophrenia patients are doing fairly well five years after initial diagnosis; about 40% have basically recovered. But in the USA and other developed countries, most patients become chronically ill. The outcome differences are so marked that WHO concluded that living in a developed country is a ”strong predictor” that a patient never will fully recover.

This is what we want; rape in the embrace of a self-seeking capitalism, in exchange for the promise that it will not kill us?not right away.  The myth of medication makes no one well, least of all those whom it makes rich.  Restoring humanity to the societies of the world will take a long time, but restoring humanity to ourselves can be accomplished immediately.  You just have to really want it, so much that you are willing to turn your back on the homicidal rapist who wants to keep you right where you are.

Mayday, mayday…

Wednesday, May 1st, 2002

Anarchy means “without government” and anarchists believe that people live more fulfilling lives without the coercive pressure of authority. Of course most people don’t trust authority. How many of us have a good word to say for politicians or bosses, or even think they do anything useful?  Most people would more willingly rely on friends, neighbours, relatives and work-mates than on the managers and politicians our rulers tell us are essential to run our lives. In anarchist societies people make decisions for themselves and co-operate to meet each others’ needs without the obligation of toiling to benefit owning and controlling elites. The common misunderstanding that anarchy is no more than hopeless chaos ignores the fact that most people throughout most of history have lived outside of a dominant authority and have fought against attempts to subjugate them. When society breaks down it’s because co-operation itself has broken down under pressure from the poisonous doctrine that you have to trample other people in order to survive. Anarchy means freedom and co-operation.

I think I am an anarchist.  Oh, my. 

I guess I have always accepted the recieved notion that anarchy and peace were mutually exclusive.  I am now beginning to develop the opinion that peace without anarchy merely represents order within the prison yard.  True peace is, I think, serenity within the natural freedom which exists prior to ‘administered freedom,’ which is what we define as freedom today.