Friday, November 30, 2007


As I'm sure you've noticed, I've had to put blogging on hold to a large extent while I'm getting my health into order. Still, I did want to update you out there who read this blog on a regular basis. Once I get myself stabilized, I will take up the mantle with the eloquence I have shown in months before.

First, the news.

Due to the fact doing so would cause a medication interaction, I cannot eat pizza anymore. Nor can I eat most cheeses. For an Italian food junkie like yours truly, this is a major adjustment, but one that I am willing to make. First coffee, now cheese. *sad face*

I had a minor reaction two nights ago that I believe was due to the fact I had eaten lasagna the night before, and apparently enough undigested tyramine still lingered in my gut to cause a reaction. Six hour long headaches are not pleasant, but I had enough of a taste of what a medication interaction will be like to make me never want to have another one. It was one of those frustrating headaches that force you to constantly switch positions from lying on one's side to lying on one's back, repeat, repeat, repeat, all night long.

The other interaction of note has been with Seroquel, my sleeping medication. It has magnified the drowsiness to the point that I was sleepy most of the day. I still am.

I've been on Parnate now for three days. Tomorrow I increase the dosage to 30 mg.

I already feel the change in appetite. When enough of it is in my system, I know my appetite is going to be greatly affected. This is not a bad thing because I've gained so much weight. And, with the dietary restrictions combined with the medication itself, I'm pretty sure in a few months I'm going to lose most of the pounds I've put on in the last couple months.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I got the proper medication. It took twelve fucking days.

Since I am starting out on the MAOI pill, dietary restrictions immediately go into place. Foods containing tyramine are strictly out.of.bounds.

These include, in particular:

  • Meats and Fish
    • Liver of all kinds
    • pate
    • Pickled herring and other pickled fish
    • Game (venison, etc.)
    • Caviar
    • Snails (escargot)
    • Salted fish (lox)
    • Pastrami
    • Corned beef
    • Sausages (salami, etc)
    • Boveril

  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Pods of broad beans
    • English beans
    • Chinese pea pods
    • Miso and miso soup
    • Fava beans
    • Overripe fruit (especially bananas and Avocados)
    • Raisins and other dried fruits
    • Pickles of any type
    • Sauerkraut
    • Canned Figs

  • Dairy Products
    • All cheeses (Except for cream, cottage, farmer and ricotta)
    • Frozen yogurt (Fresh yogurt is OK up to the expiration date on the container)
    • Sour cream

  • Beverages
    • Red wine
    • Beer and ale (including alcohol-free)
    • Champagne
    • Sherry
    • Brandy
    • Liqueurs and fruit brandies
    • Cognac
    • (Truly moderate amounts of white wine, gin or vodka are OK)
    • Over four servings of caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee, cola drinks, etc.

  • Miscellaneous
    • Soy sauce
    • Brewers yeast (Bread, cake, cookies etc. are OK as they do not contain brewers yeast)
    • Marmite
    • Licorice
    • Over one ounce of chocolate

Major side effect hooray: As tranylcypromine has a strong tendency to cause weight loss, it is not generally recommended for patients with a low BMI in an outpatient setting.

The Jackassery Continues

Medicaid, as I suspected, would not agree to cover the price of the MAOI patch. It balked at the $495 price tag. Now onto Plan B. At the moment, I am waiting for my psychiatrist to call back and prescribe the pill version, which costs $350 less.

As a cost-cutting method, Medicaid requires that I have failed (their nomenclature, not mine) two generic forms of conventional antidepressants. In times past, when I had excellent health insurance, I was prescribed brand name, top of the line medications, so as such I did not fit the criteria.

This is a pitfall we must avoid if Universal Coverage is implemented. Budget surpluses force these sort of loopholes into effect. If it is to be successful, its coffers must always be well-stocked.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Economic Woes

From Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1603:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

A Word of Thanks

Thanks to all of you who prayed for me. Please know you are loved.

I am a bit speechless at the moment. Whatever you said, folks, it worked. My pain did not subside altogether, but it did reach a manageable level; it subsided enough for me to get in several hours needed slumber.

Wow. I'm amazed.


My fear is that I'm going to end up like this guy.

The Culprit

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Simple Request


Feeling that politics and other such banter are the sole domain of this blog, I deliberately try to keep my personal feelings out of this.

So pardon me this once when I break my own rule. To wit, today is day thirty-four of discontinuation. With every subsequent day, the withdrawal is more and more intense. Keeping it together has been a huge endeavor. There's little to nothing I can do about it other slog and claw and scrape and fight my way through it, which is what I have done consistently in my life. All is not doom, but I'm feeling very discouraged at the moment.

The best way I can put it to you is this: contemplate the worst bout of the flu you've ever had. Remember, if you dare, the worst day of it. Remember the sort of desperation you felt that you would never get better. Yet, all the time you told yourself that this was likely the worst day; you knew full well the next day would not nearly be as painful.

For those of you who are the praying sorts, I ask you kindly for your prayers. I need strength in times like these.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Video

Hooray for snooty French attitudes.

Astronomy Domine from (The) Pink Floyd.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Grim Little Anniversary

In between your Turkey and Dressing, do remember this silent anniversary.


A few interpretations.

1. In Dealey Plaza where JFK was assassinated, they have a museum set up in the book depository where the supposed shot was fired from. The window where Oswald was supposed to have fired from is set up to look exactly like it did on that day. It's called the Sniper's Nest, and the museum is called the Assassination Museum.

The Sniper's Nest is a very accurate reconstruction.

One of the main reasons it is so accurate is because Oswald isn't in it.

-Bill Hicks

2. JFK's death 44 years later and the big 'what if?'

by Frank James

Today is not only Thanksgiving but also Nov. 22, 2007, the 44th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination on Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

Like 9/11 or Dec. 7, today is one of those anniversaries in American history that, for those old enough to remember the tragedy itself, still delivers a certain chill and a sadness. Even for many born afterwards there is a sense of loss, like what we feel for Abraham Lincoln.

Nov. 22 is a day for private remembering. Evidently, the Kennedy family has never wanted large public remembrances of the assassination. Better to remember the president's life than the way he died.

As Dallas Morning News columnist Jacqielynn Ford noted this week, it's also a day for conspiracy theorists to again get ginned up, with something of a spectacle occurring at the site of the assassination.

But for those of old enough to remember, the Kennedy assassination marked the start of the time of tumult that the 1960s were to become. Vietnam. Riots. Anti-war and civil-rights protests. More assassinations.

It is said that America lost its innocence that day 44 years ago. In truth, America was never innocent, could never be innocent.

What America really lost was a chance to see how the Kennedy story, allowed to play out naturally, would've ended. Would he be as highly regarded a president as he is today by so many? Or would his have been another failed presidency?

What would he have done about Vietnam? Would he have done as much for civil rights as his successor, Lyndon Johnson? Would Medicare exist? With his Addison's Disease resulting from adrenal insufficiency, would he have even survived a second term?

Perhaps more than any other event in modern American history, what happened in Dallas forty-four years ago today left us with one of the greatest collective "what if" questions of our time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pitfalls of Reduced Cost Health Insurance

We need to avoid pitfalls like this if we want Universal Health Care in this country.

Those of you who crave a real-life example to back up your arguments, allow me to submit myself.

To wit, I should have started the MAOI patch six days ago, but the Walgreens near my house lied to me twice.

Oh, we'll have it in tomorrow, Mr. Camp.


Oh, we're sorry. We didn't get it in today, but we will have it in Tuesday.


We didn't get it in, and we're not sure when it will arrive.

After being lied to twice, I took my prescription and my business to CVS.

CVS had my prescription in on time, true to their word, but I still don't have it in my hands yet. Here's why.

It's stuck in Physician Authorization (PA) status. This means that my psychiatrist's nurse will be forced to speak to my psychiatrist personally, get his okay, call the Medicaid office, give specific authorization to Medicaid by citing a precise reason WHY I need the patch and not a lower cost alternative, and then and only then will the medication be prescribed to me. Without insurance, it costs $495.

Look how poor people get screwed. Do you think most chronically ill people would have the persistence necessary to jump through all these hoops?

Here's the reason for all the fuss. Medicaid wants to save as money as it can, so by irritating doctors and forcing them to go through all this additional work, it hopes it can get them to prescribe lower cost prescriptions that won't drain Medicaid's general fund. Medicaid's general fund is always low and often it runs deficits.

One hopes that if universal health care comes to this country, it will not nearly be this complicated. I suspect, however, that it will be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks to Webtracker

I can officially say that Comrade Kevin's Chrestomathy is


Pre-Thanksgiving Ritual

For the past several years, I make a point to watch the movie The Ice Storm at this time of year. No, it's not a particularly heartwarming film, I'll admit, but I've never wanted to celebrate most holidays in the conventional fashion.

A final note. Yes, adolescent sexual encounters are usually this awkward.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Disquieting Reality of Money

Most people don't have a clue where money really comes from. Nor are they taught in schools the nature of simple economics. I would even go so far as to argue that not making people aware of the basic principles of economic theory is a deliberate measure to pull wool-over-the-eyes of the common citizen. More people would be up in arms if they realized the discomforting fact that money, in its current incarnation, is purely speculative; it is based on supply, demand, and imaginary concepts in much the same fashion as the value of the stock market at any point in time.

Money doesn't exist in any conventional sense. It can't be perceived with any of the five senses. A gross oversimplification would be to say that money is fake. A more accurate description would be to say that money exists in a state of perpetual ebb and flow. In mathematical terms, our fiat money system is akin to an imaginary number, merely a construct created to explain something that exists outside the realm of substantive reality.

The disinterest of most people regarding Economics is understandable, at least to these eyes. The mere mention of the word Economics brings up images of grey, leaden type, numerous esoteric bar and line graphs, and a smattering of important-sounding, intimidating ten dollar words that make the discipline seem frigid and impenetrable. No effort is made to make Economics interesting and as such only those devoted to the subject find it worth their time to wrap their brains around it. It really doesn't have to be that way. Yet, in matters such as this, it's not hard to understand why the powers that be don't want the average citizen to understand.

I am moved to point this out due to the current currency woes our country is experiencing, particularly regarding the deflation of the dollar compared to the British Pound, the Euro, and even the Canadian dollar. The United States and most industrialized nations haven't been on a gold standard for decades. This means that if, at any point in time, all of our creditors wanted hard currency in exchange for their debts, we simply couldn't provide it. We'd be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Lest I seem to pander for the good old days of the Gold Standard, let it be known that we couldn't return to such a system if we wanted to. What I do propose is a return to some sort of system whereby where our currency is backed by something finite.

Instead, we are beholden to a fiat currency system.

For seventy years, our entire economy has rested upon an elaborate scheme, created by the wealthy elite, a scheme which extracts maximum profit from minimum effort. I might go a step farther and say that it caters to human nature, particularly the regrettable tag-team of sloth combined with greed. Lest we forget, this scheme has formed the basis of the banking industry, and has repeatedly led to the same conclusion, financial collapse perpetrated by unrestrained greed.

How long can the best minds money can buy keep this house of cards piling higher before it collapses? Fiat money schemes, in previous reincarnations, have lasted less than ten years. Ours has lasted seven times longer than that, though it has had some very close calls over the years. And if it does collapse, you can be sure that the wealthy could absorb the hit much better than most of us could. The majority of us would be thrust into the sort of poverty of which only our grandparents can conceive.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

El Vomito

Those of you who were alive then... were the 1960s really like this?

If so, I can see why it failed.

Methinks you were taking yourselves A LITTLE BIT too seriously.

Now we're all just tourists.

Saturday Song

Thursday, November 15, 2007

$100 a Barrel

Find the cost
of freedom

in the ground

mother earth
will swallow you

lay your body down.

-Stephen Stills

Too Old to Lose It, Too Young to Choose It

Monday, November 12, 2007

How Most People Respond to GOP Tactics

The Fierce Urgency of Now

Dear Readership,

I received this e-mail in my inbox today.

Kevin --

Barack Obama gave what could be the most important speech of the campaign to more than 9,000 Iowa Democrats in Des Moines this weekend.

Here's how Iowa's top political analyst, David Yepsen, responded yesterday:

Should he win the Iowa caucuses, Saturday's dinner will be remembered as one of the turning points in his campaign, a point where he laid down the marker and began closing on Clinton, the national frontrunner.

So allow me to respond.


I'm not drinking the kool-aid. As a blogger, I don't particular feel like regurgitating spin or toting party line at the expense of reality. Nor is it really my duty.

Good luck to you on your second place finish.

Comrade Kevin

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Game Time

Specifically, it's called NAME THAT RIFF. I have played seven opening riffs from a variety of recording artists. Some are more challenging than others.

Kindly name the tune and the composers.

Winners receive a dose of smug gratification. All ready? Good, let's begin.

Your subject is 1960s Rock and Roll.

Please post your answers in comments below.

1. Example One

2. Example Two

3. Example Three

4. Example Four

5. Example Five


6. Bonus Song


7. Extra Super Bonus

Thursday, November 08, 2007


When I'm at the pearly gates
This will be on my videotape, my videotape
Mephistopheles is just beneath
and he's reaching up to grab me

This is one for the good days
and I have it all here
In red, blue, green
Red, blue, green

You are my center
When I spin away
Out of control on videotape
On videotape
On videotape

-Thom Yorke


Today is the most labor intensive day of my training, so I don't even have time to have my appendix out at the moment.

Please enjoy today's video.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Little Babies' Eyes

No alarms and no surprises, please.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Politics of Panic

(click to enlarge)

The above cartoon underscores my point.

I've taken time out to address a matter I've seen all over the place. Such behavior is evident both in liberal circles and in conservative circles, though each side takes great pains to blame the other for its own sins. Liberals see the imminent rise of Fascism in the form of George the Worst and his gang of neo-thugs. Conservatives fear a Democratic president in 2008 will institute policies that rival the excesses of the Bolsheviks.

These are hyperbolic times, but we cannot afford to resort to cheap theatrics in the process. Yes, I understand the temptation to make a big stink of things in the hopes it will rouse people out of their collective stupor. However, such behavior often backfires.

We humans love to be entertained. A flair for the dramatic lives within most of us. As regards attention from fellow beings some of us, as O.Henry so cleverly put it, take the form of outfielders, and some of us pick them off the bat instead.

Likewise, this flair for the dramatic has some fine old company throughout history. Eschatology appeals to that mad prophet in the wilderness in all of us. We are all Howard Beales and John the Baptists, to some degree or another. At least we think we are, anyway.

We Will Only Be Saved By Aliens

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Male Mind at Work

Ex-People Talk

Here's how conversations with Exs would go if we were a bit more
honest with each other.

CK: Fucking shame we had to make eye contact with each other.

EX: I know. Every time we bump into each other we kind of fall into
this groove of pretending we like each other.

CK: Together we sort of surf the waves of social paranoia, don't we?

EX: Let's pretend we didn't see each other next time, okay?

CK: I think it's time for your Houdini impression, whatd'ya say?

EX: Sounds good. So, I'm going to get a drink from the bar.

CK: And you're with friends, right?

EX: Look forward to seeing you!

CK: Yeah, like an illness.

EX: Don't get run over, k? *smiles*

CK: Die!

EX: Die!

EX: *turns away* Wanker.

CK: Wanker.

And how!

Click to enlarge.

I will gladly take this role. It DOES feel this way sometimes, doesn't it?

News from the Home Front

Posts are going to be scanty for the next few days. Comrade Kevin is participating in a training course which, if successfully completed, would net him a job as an online instructor at a local community college. It runs from today until 16 November.

Thus, he has packed up his digital camera and his sense of righteous indignation for the time being. But, he has enough videos in reserve to keep the readership entertained, he hopes.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Comrade Kevin Unvarnished

One of those dark nights of the soul.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Alabama Man!

File under wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sadly, there are grains of truth to this.

As Chris Rock pointed out, most people in America are poor-ass white people living in trailers, eating mayonnaise sandwiches, listening to John Cougar Mellancamp albums.

So this could be America Man.

The Unpleasant Reality

Rules of Life

1. Wealth and power grant a person the ability to be taken seriously.
2. Small potatoes will always be taken advantage of.

My apologies. I'm a bit peeved at the moment. Comrade Kevin was a victim of identity theft back in August. Someone hacked into his checking account and after doing so, rang up charges at an Atlanta area strip club and a gas station. Either his card was stolen from the mailbox of the apartment where he once lived... or someone hacked into his account via the internet. The latter scenario is more likely.

I hope this someone enjoyed the two lap dances as well as the pack of cigarettes.

Four months later, my former bank wrote to tell me that yes, I was not responsible for those charges. No shit, Sherlock. That's what I said. I resent that it took you four months to discover the obvious.

However, the letter informed me, I would still be responsible for the overdraft charges that resulted from this "error". Need I remind you that the only reason the overdrafts happened in the first place are because of the identity theft. That's like saying, well, we realize that you weren't at fault for being hit by a car, but the impact of your body hitting the car caused some damage so we're taking that money out of your account to cover the expense. Absolutely ridiculous. This is when I really become Comrade Kevin. More like Communist Kevin.

If I had more money, I could threaten the bank with a lawsuit. If I had a big enough account, I could threaten to close my account and go to another bank, and I bet this matter would be dealt with in about two seconds. But since I have a small account, they can pull this kind of shit.

I know money isn't everything, but at times like this, it'd be a big help.

I think I wanna be rich now. Anyone want to contribute to my fund?

The Comrade Kevin Wants to Have Money and Influence Fund.

*Don't worry. Comrade Kevin would an enlightened despot.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Music Friday

Dear Readership,

Comrade Kevin at times gets overwhelmed by how much information is out in the world. He could spent six hours at a time just reading the daily news.

More music therapy forthcoming.

Here's the age old musical question.

forget about

your house of cards.

P.S. Thanks so very much for the love and appreciation. I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Times in Which We Live

I thank my readership from the bottom of my heart for their kind comments. Know that you are all loved dearly. *blows you a kiss*

Rest assured that in another few days, I will get back to commenting on your blogs. Comrade Kevin is feeling the guilt of not giving back more to his friends. I just have to slog through another few days of this withdrawal hell. Life has taught me a lot of lessons, and patience is perhaps the most important one.


I hardly ever comment upon, much less acknowledge such things, but the recent Heather Mills banter has grabbed my attention. Paul McCartney's soon-to-be ex-wife speaks the truth, though I wonder if it's not a self-serving tactic. She has articulated perfectly the sort of indignation at our celebrity-obsessed culture that many of us bloggers have been saying for years. Count this as another instance where truth dribbles out even when it's presented as a means of pandering for sympathy. My fear is that such theatrical banter cheapens the truth. Her defiant, pushy attitude, while understandable in this context, has massively backfired. I don't know if she even bothers to contemplate the way she comes across to the rest of us. Self-awareness is a gift that that some people lack. Self-awareness requires a person to put himself or herself in an introspective, and yes, vulnerable position.

That being said, if Heather Mills acted like a contrite, humble, woman-done-wrong-by-man, then the public would sympathize more. Her behavior, dear readership, might be evidence of a double standard against women, particularly those which come across as strong and forceful, but let me remind you there's a difference between narcissism and courageousness. I daresay any man who exhibited similar behavior would be lambasted for different reasons, particularly this wide-eyed, why-is-the-world-so-unfair kind of banter.

Mills says the media is too obsessed with celebrities and pays too little attention to important issues.

“Why are we so obsessed with celebrity culture?” she asked. “We have front-page news about divorces instead of front-page news about global warming, about women being abused, about children being abused. We’re going on a downward spiral.”

Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses. Nowadays, it seems like celebrity gossip and the cult of celebrity serves that role. My first cousin, my mother's sister's daughter, quit being a television anchor on the local news because of the dramatic shift in the news media in which it was decided to focus more on soft news garbage at the expense of hard news.

We are all a bunch of voyeurs, delighting in the freak show but living in fear that someday the cameras might be turned upon us.