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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stabbing Westwards, Possible Changes, Back to Penn State, and Remembering "Uptown" Janice Brown...

Well, Thelonious Monk's "All Alone" is playing on my iTunes, as I prepare to do anything but what I should be doing right now.  I have a lot of think about, and a lot to do in the next few days, and yet there's really not much I can at this point in time.

I traveled to the Midwest last week, and it was the first time I'd been continuously on the ground that far west in this country.  I've flown over before, but never been on the road in that direction much.  Without going into it, I went west for a job interview.  I am not a terribly superstitious person, but I don't dare talk about it much.

"Angel of Sorrow" takes over, by the late John Campbell...forboding stuff.

Anyway, I can tell you that it's flat out that way!  My trip through West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois was pretty smooth, and I certainly learned a few things about traveling out there.  A lot of flat lands, and it seemed to me a lot like portions of southern Quebec, sort of between the Vermont border and Montreal.  Long, long fields of corn and soybeans; architecture is different there, too.

A lot of the houses seem very thin and built upwards; the barns are not much different, but silos clearly are.  Just a lot of subtle but intriguing differences.  

Billboards were pretty funny at times.  They are a blot on the landscape as far as I'm concerned; but some of them are amusing.  The typical Jesus Freak billboards for one, then of course you have the porn shop billboards, that seem to go hand in hand for that.

Strange adverts for different products, and some people obviously needed some imaging or PR help before putting them up.  

Cities tend to spring up like an oasis.  Then there's the radio thing; being a broadcaster, you listen to different stations to get an idea of what they're doing.  

Not very impressive.  The NPR outlets on the left of the dial are all about the same, with few variations in programming.  I didn't listen to the music on the FM, because they're all the same.

"Stellar Regions," an alternate take, by John Coltrane...that fits.

AM radio is pretty bad.  A couple of big-city "news" stations are not; they are smatterings of news hosted by an anchor who is trying to be a cross between Gary LaPierre (late of WBZ) and Howard Stern.  Does not work.  Vacuous blowhard crossed with shock jock; nah, need some help there, losers.

The Chicago newser, WBBM stood out as a real and still honest to Goddess news station.  Think of KYW in Philly or WCBS in New York, and you know what I mean.  That's how it is supposed to be done, bitches.  

Now I will not discuss where I may be headed, because again it's a jinx.  But I liked what I heard and saw...I will discuss more should the need arise.  I hope it does.

This whole thing could shape the rest of my career, and my life.  I can't help but feel excited and feel like for once I may well again be valued for what I am capable of.

"Cut it Out," the late Gary Moore.  Nice change.

Everyone I met all the way out there, nice folks.  Really polite, friendly people, and I was impressed by the kindness of everyone.  We can get pretty nasty to one another when we see differences and then take them to the wrong kind of limit, but when it's just casual passing through, it ain't so bad, is it?  Think about it.

My ride back on Saturday was interesting; listened to the horrific Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasters for part of the way back east.  Who decided that former jocks make good announcers?  There are very few who can actually get out of that mode and honestly do a good job, show intelligence and rational thought.

Aside of it:  the best one is Lincoln Kennedy.  The former Raiders lineman is on Fox Sports Radio, and I enjoy listening to him.  He is a very smart, thoughtful and intelligent guy.  His regular partner, Andy Furman, is not very good.  Linc needs his own show.

I stopped back in Indianapolis, where I was reunited with an old and dear friend.  Rene and I worked together at the old Strawberries on Wellington Circle back in the day, and we stayed in touch.  She is as irrepressible as ever, and I love her for it; met her man, Erik, awesome guy and we had a long talk.  Great time; and I have an in on the goings-on in that city now.

Well, I spent the night in Wheeling, West Virginia, and motored the rest of the way home Sunday.  Then things got interesting.

The Silver Saturn took me 1400 miles w/o complaint.  Then up the street I go to the Office...and it throws an axle.

I got it back Tuesday.  Poor car; been through so much, and I've put enough $$$ into it to buy another car.  But it feels alright again, so whatever.  Better than more debt for a new ride.  I'll worry about that later.

"Never Last," Johnny Diesel and the Injectors.  This was a great one-off band from the early 90's.  Good stuff.

The DJ work on Radio Airwaves is going good; still learning the quirks of the chatrooms, which we connect to, but it's all good.  Made friends on a whole new network; the DJ community is small but it's a good one, and I'm having fun playing what the fuck I want.

Once again, find out all you need to know at

Shameless plug, heehee.

OK...while I wait for all this, I have to get back to "work."  Such little I have here.  I'm returning to Penn State this Saturday to cover the first Nittany Lion game and season without You Know Who.

This could be a tough game for the Lions.  Ohio went 10-and-4 last season and they employ a fast passing attack.  Supposedly Bill O'Brien's new defensive scheme is set to handle such things, but with a lot of key players gone, you wonder how they'll do.

And of course, the PSU community is still whining and whimpering about the terrible sanctions handed down them by that bad, evil Louis Freeh and the Powers That Be That Want Penn State Destroyed.

Some people never learn.

"Savages," Paul Weller...interesting iTunes choice.

The Paterno family is still bitching, and there's a 400 page book about JoePa that's out now.  I wonder how fast that was written!  I also wonder how much post-life wanking is involved in the making of that.

My job is to cover the game, but I shall endeavor to do my best to cover the vibe, the feelings, the attitudes there.  This is a very new world for the PSU community:  no Paterno, for the first time since 1965 as head coach.  The statue is gone, and memories are all that are left.

Will people cling to them?  Will they still believe that JoePa was the victim of a major screwjob, and will the conspiracies still abound about all the rest of it?

"Raspberry Jam Delta-V," Joe another astral plane we go.

For all the statements that Penn State is going to take its long-overdue ass-kicking and move on, I wonder if they can.  I rather doubt it, because old habits die hard, no matter where you are or what context that's in.

I shall see how the students handle it, how the older folks handle it, and how the players do.

On one level I do agree that the players are suffering, and many have had to leave to pursue their football whatevers...but they are a part of the system, and they'd have to be completely devoid of reality to not know that when something evil occurs at the top of the system, that it will come down and nail you.  If you are a cog in the machine, and it breaks down, you are part of it.

Then again, we exalt athletes, the same way we deify politicians, celebrities and the wealthy and powerful.  We made gods out of them, and then we find out they're human.  Like Paterno; the faith is shaken, but do we ever learn?

We'll find out.

Change is the theme of all of this today; I face potential changes, big-time changes.  People around me face changes every day, but do we embrace them or do we move with them and embrace them?

I for one am ready to do that, because I need to.  If not out west, someplace else; change has to come and I have to change with it.  Not everything about me, but enough of it.


Then comes that other change; death and passing on.  I've lost a number of friends in recent years, many before their time you would think.

"Beginnings," Jimi Hendrix...hmm, that's appropriate in a way.

Yesterday, I learned one of my former XM Radio colleagues, Janice Brown passed away.

It's sad, because how can you not know someone when you spend a good five years around them?  Janice was one of those characters that you find in  every job, and especially in every radio station.  A small lady with big eyes, a bigger smile and a wicked sense of humor.  Also a great sense of self.

Janice was a long-time jazz DJ at WPFW Radio in DC, before she came to XM to inject her style to traffic reporting.  She did standup comedy I believe, and was a singer of great ability.  Janice released a CD, but I've not been able to find it.  I wish to, for I would like to play it on Radio Airwaves and let at least a big of the universe know who she was.

I miss her, and this is hard to write; I had a lot of friends from XM, and I still do.  I don't know what happened to Janice, but the intimation of health issues best be left there.  She had a great love of life, and didn't have to tell anyone about it; she had it.

I have a photo...

This is a bunch of the rapscallion crew I worked with at XM, on our last official day...Janice is the lady on the right in the orange scarf.

A total sweetheart.  Rest in Peace, Janice, you deserve it.  We won't forget you.


Time to move on, I guess...we all do, and I'm sure we'll hear Janice singing in the next world with legends to back her.  Monk, Coltrane, Mingus, Tony Williams?  Yeah, that would do.


See you next time, when hopefully I know more of my future, and where it all leads.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Your DJ in Cyberspace...and Other Thoughts's time for a blog...still feeling very happy about my first time as a DJ in the ether.  After a bit of business about getting the proper software, and configuring everything, I made my debut this afternoon for Radio-Airwaves UK. 

You can find them here at -- just click on "Listen" and you're in!

DJ Groove Rider is my boss, and he helped me a great deal; the vision is music for the people.  We all love music, and it is one of the greatest driving forces in this world.

A little bit after noon did I get on, and ended up going till 5 pm due to equipment issues with one of the other folks.

Here's the set list (via iTunes):

Little Belle 3:14 Gene Dante and The Future Starlets

I'm Alive  4:01 Garland Jeffreys

Radio 4:01 Fono

It's You 4:24 Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets Feat. Sam Myers
Statesboro Blues 3:00 Taj Mahal
Here Comes The Sun 3:02 Sue Foley
Hurricane Party 5:56 James McMurtry
Johnny Come Lately [1987/Live in Raleigh, NC] 3:55 Steve Earle Copperhead Road (Deluxe Edition) [Disc 2]
Jimmy Reed Highway 4:05 Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmy Vaughn

Money for Nothing 6:19 Eric Clapton w/M. Knopfler

Make Out  3:27 Frenchy and the Punk
I Am The Big Easy 4:37 Ray Bonneville
I'm Gonna Catch Me A Rat 2:11 Fabienne Delsol
Ring Around The Moon 3:39 James Blundell
A Brighter Day  3:55 The Doobie Brothers

Down Home Blues 5:16 Z.Z. Hill

Hot Night In A Small Town (LP Version) 4:26 Billy & The American Suns
Green Mountains and Me 3:45 Slaid Cleaves
Be My Number Two 4:22 Joe Jackson
Over The Waterfall 4:33 Robert Earl Keen
Silver City 4:35 Joe Ely
Gimme Shelter 6:12 Joanna Dean
One Drop  4:52 Public Image Ltd.
Revolution 1 4:15 The Beatles
Big Green And Yeller 4:16 Seasick Steve
Easy Come, Easy Go! 4:40 B'z B'z 
Pick Me Up 6:56 Flying Colors
Ain't Doing Nobody No Good 4:47 Tony Joe White
Forefathers 4:57 Dan Fogelberg
This Time 4:18 Dan Colehour
Hey Darlin 3:20 Racing Rain
The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead 5:02 XTC
Time Is Passing (demo) 3:26 Pete Townshend
Redemption Song 3:28 Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
The Point Of It All 5:35 Amanda Palmer
This Is Hip 3:27 John Lee Hooker
Underground 5:09 The Kentucky Headhunters
Iced Honey 4:38 Lou Reed & Metallica
Money 6:16 Roger Waters w/Paul Carrack
London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do) 3:51 Heather Nova
Little Wing 6:51 Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Easy Rider 4:51 Chris Rea
Help Us, Somebody 5:39 Chris Thomas (King)
Man Of The World 3:31 Alejandro Escovedo
Knowingly 4:43 Appalachian Translator
Seattle 3:55 The BPA Feat. Emmy The Great
Let Me Inside 3:31 Santana

Soul Machine 3:03 Manu Dibango

Run Conejo Run 4:52 Dave Alvin
Smokestack Lightning 4:10 Big Jack Johnson; Kim Wilson; Pinetop Perkins
Celestial Horses 7:48 Bruce Cockburn
Give Me The Wonder 3:37 Johnny Clegg
Cut You 3:39 Penelope Houston
Capricornia 3:18 Midnight Oil
A Horse Named Janis Joplin 5:20 Sarah Jane Morris
East Of Woodstock, West Of Viet Nam 4:25 Tom Russell
Say Africa 5:01 Vusi Mahlasela
Beautiful Swimmers 5:21 Jimmy Buffett
Cool On Your Island (LP Version) 4:59 Y Kant Tori Read
Imperfection 3:40 Rachel Fuller Cigarettes & Housework

I'm not saying I'm gonna do this for every shift, mind.  This was just to give you a look at the breadth of what I offered up.  My music collection got pretty sizable over the years, and I was happy as ever to finally get to play what I wanted again.

It's like college radio to some extent, or if you managed to have an owner who was cool about you doing stuff in the off-hours.  

Still some tweaking with the headset mic, jump drives, and monitor issues, all while running all this from my poor aging desktop.

But it was fun...and that's the point.  I for once got to (again) play music that while not at all mainstream, was music that had meaning to me, and I hope for others.

My thanks to Groove Rider, and my Radio Airwaves colleagues for their help and support; I feel good at being wanted in somewhere.

So...unless I get called to be a substitute, my regular gig will be Mondays, Noon to 2 pm Eastern time.  This was fun, and I'll have more next time 'round.

Thank you all for listening and helping me out!


That said...Open Wound Update:  my leg is doing just fine; the incision has not become in any way dangerous.  I do my best to keep it clean as well as wrapped up.  Tomorrow morning I see the surgeon again for follow up and we shall see what she thinks we should do from here.

I don't know how they will close this; the big problem with cysts like this one is that they can come back.  The area of the skin where it made its presence felt has to be completely free of it.  Either way, we'll see.

Biggest problem is getting the wraps tight enough, and then hoping normal activity doesn't pull or slide it away from the site.  I can usually tell when it does.  Still walking around like an old man, but at least it doesn't look really bad.

Really gonna need to see the chiropractor after this heals up.


Cleanup:  more junk outta here, and another giant green bin of rubbish and another of recycling is awaiting pickup.  Have not been in season to do much more of late, but eventually I will be able to handle it.


Brain waves...since I finished "Time the Healer," I've considered another edit, and also a new idea.  The latter is going to take a long time to "cook," so there will be no "new" writing for a while.  Enough going on in my life right now!

Anyway, that's life in the breakdown lane...up and outta here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cyst Removal, American Health Care and Who in Russia is Reading My Blogs?

Okay...I am lying in bed with my wounded leg propped up, and Mitsuko Uchida is finishing off Schumann's "Davidsbundlertanze & Fantasie" on my iTunes, though I can barely hear it with the fan going.  I am not officially on the disabled list, but I have to be good and not do too much over the course of the next few days.

Right up front, I want you to realize that what I'm writing about is not to bemoan my condition, or that I am at death's door.  I've already been there once, so let's forget that.

But...what was to be a routine procedure turned into a week-long agony of weirdness which brings is to the state of the average person's health care and the wonder of why we need to do something about it.

If you don't know, I'm staying quiet on this because I really don't want to talk about it, but I can't help it.  Here's the deal:  I have over the years found myself susceptible to having a thing called a Sebaceous Cyst, or rather, several of them on my body.

I have two along my jawline, one of which got to be the size of a damn golf ball a few years ago before it blew, and I spent the better part of two days squeezing blood-tinged cottage cheese out of it.  Lovely sound it made, too.  The same one blew again a couple years ago, but cleared itself out with one huge sound of like someone blowing their nose.

I have one on my lower back which has been there for years, and the one on my inside left leg, right near the family pride.  They tend to be hard as rocks, and occur when hair somehow gets twisted up inside the skin (I think).  Sebum, this lovely white substance that is either like cottage cheese or hard as a rock, fills into the area and makes things get really big.

They are not cancerous, nor are they particularly dangerous.  They're just there; some people notice them, some people don't.  I don't like it when people stare at the one on my face, and immediately think something's the matter with me.

Surgical removal is the only way to officially get rid of the things.  Draining them doesn't really work, you have to remove the wall of the offending area.  

So anyway, a week ago I'm on this same bed, and I felt and heard the cyst go...internally.  A very strange feeling.  Where's it going, is it getting into my bloodstream, etc., etc.  These things make you wonder.

I was urged by a friend of a friend to go to find a doctor, fast.  I went to a Patient First outfit, and I must say I like the place.  They're open a lot, and provide decent service for not much money.  

The doctor there took one look at it, there really wasn't much to look at but the now diminished ball; he saw no issue, no sign of infection, but, "We don't do that here."

The above is almost like the mantra for a lot of doctor places.

This fellow says I need a General Surgeon, for an in and out job.  Okay; need to see primary care physician, can't see anyone till Monday.

See where the trouble is beginning?  The delay in getting this looked at becomes a problem.

Well, my primary care physician is on vacation (heard that one before, haven't we?).  I get her boss; a doctor who was way too happy with the world around him.

By the time this dude sees me, that cyst is now reddening, and not looking so good.  I'm doing my best to keep it clean, but the swelling makes it rub...everywhere.  Against my skin, against my clothes, against everything.  It's getting raw, and it's getting ugly, folks, see where we're going here.

Well, the doctor takes one look at this mess and says he does not dare tap it himself.  Okay; why not?

Too many other patients (customers) waiting?  Worried about your skills?  Or are you just grossed out by what you're seeing and I'm feeling?

So he sends me out front to the desk people and it's call the General Surgery people up the street and get me an appointment.  Oh, and drugs.

Antibiotics and me don't get along.  I'm allergic to penicillin, and most sulfa meds.  So they call in a scrip for a powerful, and expensive antibiotic.  Very expensive.

And they try to book me.  Oh, tomorrow they say?  But he won't have the antibiotics?  Let's again ask the doctor if that's okay, shall we?

Appointment lost. 

Meanwhile, I'm standing there, and realizing that the pain that is coming out of that throbbing mass of gristle inside my skin is getting worse.

So they call again..."they have one on the 14th," the young lady behind the counter says.

Eight more days...let's pause for a moment here.


I'm saying that to myself of course.  They then find one for today (this day), and I figure all right, I can hold out till then.  Knowing in the back of my mind, that I am in trouble.

The glutinous mess inside my leg is now expanding and hardening again.  There's one small area that's flaming red, and losing its skin.  I cannot even put bandages over it, it's that painful.

So, two more fucking days of this and trying to act like everything's okay.  And people say our health system is the best ever?  NO.  NO.  FUCK NO.  YOU SNOTTY LITTLE FUCKTARDS WITH INSURANCE FOR LIFE, GET REAL!

I have insurance, and it don't pay for shit.  I pay $180 for TEN, count 'em, TEN Avelox pills.  They make me dizzy, they make my body temperature rise and fall like the waves around Cape Horn, and you hope they actually work.

So I'm toughing it out.  The only way I can be comfortable and pain-free is lying down or sitting and not moving.  When I stand, not good.

Okay, flash forward to 4 am.  I am awakened by something, and I know it ain't good.

I don't even dare move, but I have to.  Something down on my leg does not feel right.  I feel something there; it's wet.  Thick.  Glutinous.

It blew.  Outward this time.  Now a closer inspection reveals the top of this dome has opened itself up to the air.  It's dark purple, it's ugly, it's bruised, it's bleeding.  Oh, and the pus.

The wastebaskets in my bedroom, office and bathroom became repositories for medical waste.  And lots of it.  The fucking thing is bottomless, and I am in fucking agony.  Two more Aleve (how many of these have I had?) and I finally force my body to calm down enough to where I figure I have no choice but to take the pain of wrapping this semi-fecund mess and hoping I can make it to the appointment.

Bless my friend Alice, for coming to drive me out there.  I could not have done it.  Into the surgery place, which is basically a doctor's office for the specialty; the guy who leads it looks a prize.  


So finally I am brought back to another waiting room, then into the exam room.  More questions, blahfuckingblah and I meet the young female MD who's going to do the job.

Wow.  A smart one.  One who doesn't think she is all that; one who is professional, not a smiley faced nut, and actually seems to have a handle on the matter.  


Well, the Doctor gets down to business.  Now...I should tell you if you are eating, STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW.  This is not for the squeamish.  This is not even for the sadistic or those who derive cheap thrills out of reading or watching a train wreck happen before their eyes.

Needless to say, breathing near this dome of infected flesh causes pain.  I keep telling myself that I've endured much worse; my car wreck in '94 and all that went with that, yes, damned sight worse.  But this had its own fun little moments, to be sure.

Anyway, the procedure generally calls for a draining of the blood and pus, removal of the cyst (if anything hard actually remains) and a cleaning out of the wall.  First things first, cleaning around it... doctor did a very good job, and she was very keen on causing me as little discomfort as possible.  (Mozart's Mass in C Minor, with valkyries singing along with forboding music has begun...oh this works).

That done, the injection of painkiller, with a very long needle.  The young lady medical assistant did take an effort to hide the length and thickness of said needle from me, but I still saw it.  Strangely, that did not bother me; consider that my dental hygienist went through school sticking those into her own gums as part of her training before she got to me...and you will find that not much fazes me.

"You'll feel a stick, and then a burn..."  Well, not so bad, really.  I felt it, sure, but again the doctor showed her skill at doing this without much issue.

Then we get to the issue.  I barely felt the incision, only about an inch long through the infected epidermal layers, and down and in we go.  The doctor begins the "draining."  Actually, more of a heavy-handed massage of my thigh...the top of the dome had been seeping out all this shit in the morning, so I could only imagine something reminiscent of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 going on where I could not see.

That is one creepy fucking can feel the ooze splattering, gushing and crawling down your leg into the waiting formerly white medical stuff they use down there to catch shit.

I have seen Youtube videos of this kind of procedure; if you want, go there and then you'll really be grossed out.  

Now if this is not enough for you (are you with me still?  Good.), we then get to the main event.  REMOVAL.

I don't know what tool the doctor used, a forceps of some sort, and she started working around in there with it.  Now the pain really starts.  This is a unique brand of torture; didn't last long, but that was enough.

The doctor shows me a piece of the sebum that was in there; half the size of a dime, it looked like a piece of plastic that had been chewed on by some animal.

So while they fill a wastebasket full of the remnants of my leg, they finally clean it off again.  In the past, they used to pack the entire hole with cotton or something other; you'd have to have it removed every day, cleaned, repacked, etc.  They don't do that anymore.

The wound is still open, and the idea is to keep it draining.  You tuck a corner of a gauze bandage into the hole, then hold that in place while you use your second and third hands to wrap it in place.  Not too difficult, but you have to be thorough.  You need to get it tight, but not too tight.

So...hopefully there's a scrip for Vicodin awaiting me, though I don't think I will need it.  The post-operative pain is very little, and Aleve does a good number on me.  I can shower, but I cannot swim, so I need a new training adjustment.

I have to keep an eye on this wound, and make sure it stays good until next Tuesday, when the doc wants to see me again.  Hopefully we'll have made progress; a re-drain, maybe or something other.

Anyway...the point I make about all this is that I really don't feel I should have been made to fucking wait an entire week to have this done.  I would not have an abcess and infection had I been able to have access to my doctor, or any doctor and be able to get this done.

Instead we have this; someone has to be seriously fucked up or near death before anyone will act.  I have never understood the world of insurance billing, but I know when things don't work.

The argument over what kind of health care works and does not work is left to the people who think they know what works.  I don't want anything to do with it, and I'm sick of hearing all the lies about how wonderful it is.

It is not.  It is a fucked up system where bureaucrats and non-medical people are deciding how things will be run, and doctors, nurses, assistants and patients have to figure out how to work within that.

You may not like Obamacare, but is it worse than what we have now?  Or what we once had?  Remember HMO's?  Managed Care?  Horseshit, was what it was, and I know because I had to fight with them every fucking time I went to the pharmacy or to any doctor's office.

So...just to make a long story short, I'm okay.  I'm taking it easy and hopeful this all works out.  I think it will.  Exercise in patience.


Now, here's the update on my moving of the blog.  I will likely be leaving here and going to Wordpress.  The aim is to attract a wider audience and have something a bit better to present.

Also, to stop the Russians from pinging me, or whatever it is they're doing.

I'm getting a lot of hits from Russia, but I don't think they're humans.  If you are, please leave a comment and tell me what you are reading of mine.

Some kind of bot or engine is doing it, and I don't know why.  Weird.

Anyway, I shall have hopefully better things to write about.

Oh, and I have studiously ignored the Olympic Games.  They really rather bore me.  NBC's coverage has been absolute shit, and the BBC has totally owned them.  The Brits get that little nuance that there are actually nearly 200 COUNTRIES WHO HAVE SENT ATHLETES TO THE GAMES.  


Time to crash.  Hope your week went better than mine.  Peace.