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Just got back from seeing the no-longer-new Star Trek movie with Jamie at the discount theater.  I kinda liked it.  But it was so much like Galaxy Quest!  It had Sarris, torturing a guy strapped to a table, and it had Crewman Number 6, who dies, and it even had the Omega-13 lava-lamp device.  So that was cool.  It had everything but ducts!  Also an interracial kiss that updates the first-ever interracial kiss on teevee back in ‘68.

And the Uhura-Spock kiss reminds me that I forgot to give “mad” “props” (as the kids say today) to Mad Men for that mankissing scene on Sunday night, which, thanks to the geniuses in marketing, was simulcast on the big screen in Times Square.  At last!  Same-sex making-out returns to Times Square after being banned by Giuliani!  And that kiss (good for Sal, who was visibly crestfallen last year when Cosgrove revealed himself to be a raging homophobe who’d never even considered the possibility that he might have gay coworkers) reminded me in turn that I am so old that I can remember the Rock Hudson TV-biopic which centered on Hudson’s homosexuality but would not show Rock kissing an actual man. This was in 1990, people.  Rock Hudson was gay—OK, this we could finally acknowledge.  But Rock Hudson kissing a man—too ew ew ew for the teevee only 19 years ago.

And reminders of my age remind me in turn that I forgot to tell you all that I came back from vacation with a wicked muscle spasm that eventually forced me to pull over somewhere in Virginia and find a 7-11 so that I could put a bag of ice on my left shoulder and numb myself.  Turns out it’s not the shoulder at all.  I went to see a physical therapist on Tuesday, bright and early at 7 am (the same one who fixed my elbow in January so that I could resume my hockey season), and learned that I have a pinched nerve, probably around C5.  Apparently, when you spend 10-20 hours twisting your neck at the top of a ladder to paint the alcove, and you’re old, this is what happens to you. The giveaway—today, at least—is that I have one of those classic neurological systems, the Tingling in the Arm.

So my MRI is first thing Monday morning, and lemme tell you, brother, I am very happy I have health coverage for this kind of thing.  It would be really nice if everyone had health care for this kind of thing, though of course I feel that way only because I am a card-carrying member of the Liberal Fascist party.  Needless to add, I should limit the number of hours I spent hunched over a laptop (in fact, I’m writing this on the elevated computer table we bought after Janet’s neck surgery).  I don’t think ye olde slipped disc is that severe—right now it’s merely annoying.  I expect they’ll give me a bunch of exercises and stretches to do.  But I think I should probably cut back to something more like a Poor Man Institute publishing schedule for now.  Besides, a new semester is beginning, with all the madness that entails.  So: no surgery and less blogging!  I’ll drop in with an update when I know the results.  Can’t wait to drink that yummy MRI juice!

Update:  Whoa, spoke too soon!  The moment I posted this the phone rang.  It’s Nittany Medical telling me that the insurer has not yet authorized this MRI and it has to be postponed until Wednesday.  I mentioned the ominous Tingling in the Arm and suggested that they pass along the information to whatever insurance-company bureaucrat is looking for a promotion by denying me an MRI, and perhaps that will move things along.  Well, it beats being euthanized by a seekrit Muslim death panel.

Posted by on 08/21 at 03:26 PM
  1. See if you weren’t a Nazi socialist fascist communist illegal alien ufo alien maybe they would approve your MRI.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  05:45 PM
  2. It’s also obviously your fault for getting injured in the first place.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  05:51 PM
  3. Get with the program, Michael! The Seekrit Muslim Death Panels only order you to be euthanized. Their orders would be carried out by the Seekrit Muslim Death Squads!

    An important part of Obamacare’s T-4 program is the creation of make-work jobs to bankrupt our nation so that we’ll eventually be owned by the Uighurs, with whom the Obama administration is plotting to take over China, who in turn is buying up all our bonds.

    Posted by Ben Alpers  on  08/21  at  06:28 PM
  4. Nancy and V. Ed raise important points.  Get them on a cable news show now!

    The Seekrit Muslim Death Panels only order you to be euthanized. Their orders would be carried out by the Seekrit Muslim Death Squads!

    Ah, good to see that Obama is preserving the separation of powers.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  07:17 PM
  5. Seekrit Moorish Death Panels! Get it right!

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  08:26 PM
  6. It’s Nittany Medical telling me that the insurer has not yet authorized this MRI and it has to be postponed until Wednesday.

    Well, just be grateful you’re not in Canada, or that “essential” MRI wouldn’t be for another four-and-a-half years.  And the NMR machine would be made out of wood and rocks.

    Their orders would be carried out by the Seekrit Muslim Death Squads!

    Gay Seekrit Muslim Death Squads.  First the mankissing, then they euthanize you.

    But I think I should probably cut back to something more like a Poor Man Institute publishing schedule for now.

    If I wanted The Editors, I’d pay Editors fees instead of dangeral money.  If you weary of your return to blogging, why not just say so, instead of shuffling your feet and mumbling excuses to the death panel?  “Oh, I have to paint a house.” “Oh, I have to wait for a television premiere.” “Oh, I’ve snapped both arms off at the shoulder.” “Oh, I’ve fallen down a thirty foot well, and don’t have a long enough extension cord for my computer.” What’s next, you have a Technological Singularity to schedule?

    Speaking of which, how’s that 2010 Prius working out?  I notice that they’ve moved the gearshift to a depressingly normal location.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  08:33 PM
  7. Hi, mds!  Hey, thanks for sticking up for me chez Ioz yesterday.  Yes, that was me peering around the corner at the bottom of the comment section.  I understand I’m in bad odor over there ever since I suggested that Chomsky shouldn’t go around misquoting documents issued by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, but I really don’t get the bit about Ed Herman.  I mean, Chomsky is a global icon and manages to be right 88 percent of the time, but as for Herman, well, people on the left should lose their shit when leftists decide to devote an entire “Research Project” to genocide denial.  Nor do I understand why a trust-fund libertarian/anarchist with a passing crush on Ron Paul gets to call Digby “stupid,” but that’s just me.

    Oh, and thanks for all the dangeral dollars you’ve spent here over the years.  Your dangeral dollars actually purchased the extendable ladder on which I did all that painting!  I still heart the blogging, really I do, but the trifecta of (a) neck injury (b) Jamie-at-home-all-the-time and (c) impending semester is pretty severe. 

    I’ll do what I can.  In the meantime, just remember, health care reform and the Democratic Party are toast.  I don’t think Obama fully realized what he was up against, and I’m not sure it would have made a difference even if he did.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  09:31 PM
  8. Just reading this made my old neck hurt; please do take care of yourself, and let the pain be a reminder that you are not yet whole.  Too many of us spend too long trying to ignore the aches and pains of various actual medical issues, hoping that they just go away.  I have to laugh at myself each time i do summer tour work, when i actually try to do the physical labor in the correct safe way.  If i had only had that patience in my ute (you know, back at the university in 1968 fighting over whether to watch StarTrek interracial kissing or ISpy interracial spying), i wouldn’t have to deal with so much arthritis and other pain tweaks.  Do get well!

    I suppose we could imagine a time in the not so distant future, when in some furrin country there will be docudramas of all the gay actors of the last 50 years getting their kissing on???

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  10:37 PM
  9. Ah yes, that whole insurance authorization thing is always a blast.  I eagerly await going into labor and being told that I have not yet been authorized to give birth.

    Of course if I were living in Communist Canukistan, I’d probably be in the ER until the child was 4 or 5 years old before I was transferred to the labor and delivery ward.  Or so I hear.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  11:18 PM
  10. Needless to add, I should limit the number of hours I spent hunched over a laptop

    Plus mama was right, computers are the Devil!

    Poor Man Institute publishing schedule

    Maybe you could even publish some blog posts at the back of one of your books or something. Maybe kinda derivative, though.

    Anyway, get well. Don’t mind us, there are a lot of good things on the teevee, or so I hear.

    Posted by  on  08/21  at  11:59 PM
  11. Yes, that was me peering around the corner at the bottom of the comment section.

    You’re Mr. Fundamental? . . . Actually, that would explain a lot.

    How do you and Warren Ellis do that, anyway?  Do Select Internetters get a panel that lights up whenever they’re mentioned in a blog?  Do you have a script that Googles your name hourly?  Or is it something more supernatural?

    Nor do I understand why a trust-fund libertarian/anarchist with a passing crush on Ron Paul

    Um, not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with libertarian/anarchists, right?  Except anarcho-capitalists.  I hate them so much.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  12:51 AM
  12. Splitter.  And yes, Select Internetters get a “death panel” whenever someone links to an old post.

    Spyder, JP, Marita, thanks for the good wishes.  The arm, it is yelling at me today.  And Marita, did you say “labor”?  Good luck and congratulations!  Stay far away from Canadia, where they don’t even allow people to give birth without permission from Wayne Gretzky.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  09:22 AM
  13. I did indeed say “labor”, Michael, and thanks!  Of course, if you had joined and not joined Facebook, you would know these things…

    Hope the arm quiets down and behaves today.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  10:01 AM
  14. I’m 55.  A few years back I had tingling in arm when I turned my head to that side; also neck spasms.  Took about 4 hours of Alexander Technique (look it up) and cranio-sacral release (look it up).  What can I say, it worked.  I’m totally fine w/ trad med, but it doesn’t have all the answers.  You can probably get by w/ a cortisone shot to the shoulder, but if that doesn’t work you might want to consider this.
    Feel free to email me.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  01:18 PM
  15. Bummer. C5 is one of my favorite spinal nerves.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  01:41 PM
  16. Actually mds I think those Canada MRIs are made out of stone knives and bearskins, in a totally City on the Edge of Forever kind of way.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  01:49 PM
  17. If they check your blog, you’re hosed. Weathered, peeling paint is a pre-existing condition.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  08/22  at  02:49 PM
  18. Thanks, Joeff!  I’ll definitely check those out.  I’m open to all manner of alternative strategies.  One major difference between Janet’s situation two years ago and mine today is that she’d already exhausted pretty much every alternative to surgery—yoga, chiropractic, even rolfing—whereas I haven’t even begun to explore my options.

    And David, the old paint wasn’t even peeling, so I’m doubly hosed.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  04:56 PM
  19. That sounds like a pre-existing condition to me.  After all, you had C-5 and that nerve before you were insured, didn’t you?

    I had the same problem about 6 months ago.  Heavy doses of NSAID’s cured me in about a week.  The MRI would have exhausted my benefits for the year.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  06:51 PM
  20. Michael: Anyone who feels like it gets to call Digby “stupid”, even when it’s not as appropriate as it is in this instance; that’s what free speech is all about.  Don’t knock it, since it’s also what allows regurgitators of conventional pieties like yourself to smear their intellectual betters.

    Posted by John Caruso  on  08/22  at  09:05 PM
  21. Just checking in to get Michael hyperventilating, and to say that Herman also happens to be right on a lot of things, including many things having to do with the break-up of Yugoslavia. Although he was and is wrong about Srebrenica, and about Milosevic. 

    But isn’t that “genocide” thing useful? It’s kind of like “totalitarian”. It’s so ill-defined in practice it can be applied to almost any violent action you (dis)like - instantly promoting it to the level of those massive crimes most people associate with the term, i.e., the holocaust and crimes on a similar scale. At that point people who (rightly or wrongly) question the official story are transformed from people who are right or wrong into “genocide deniers”, meaning, really a variant of holocaust deniers: in other words, nut cases, Nazis, and such.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  09:23 PM
  22. Hmm. “Genocide denier” or “intellectual better”? I think I’ll go with neither.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  09:25 PM
  23. Which is precisely why it’s important to use the term “genocide” carefully, Christian, and to pay attention when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia applies the term to Srebrenica.  (And to excoriate the Clinton Administration for refusing to use the term in re Rwanda.) As for John Caruso:  I do appreciate the friendly reminder that I should know my place.  But would you be so kind as to explain to me just where I have “smeared” my “intellectual betters”?  Please pay careful attention to the term “smear,” if you would.

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  09:36 PM
  24. I happen to think that the genocide convention doesn’t define genocide with care; and the ICTY made use of this lack of care in classifying Srebrenica as genocide, conveniently providing a justification for the use of force by NATO in Yugoslavia. Now you (and other liberals) are making use of that classification to, in turn, signify people you disagree with as unworthy of listening to. I don’t agree with this whole process.

    I happen to think that Herman’s attempts (and those of others) to deny the reality of the Srebrenica massacre are unworthy, are undermining the anti-imperialist cause by giving, well, you for example excuses not to engage valid arguments against intervention, and are by now bordering on the pathetic. Of the same caliber as holocaust denial, they aren’t.

    [Vaguely related remark: some former members of the “Committee to defend M.” have now apparently moved on to denying there was a genocide of Tutsi in Ruanda. That, I’d agree, is of a kind with holocaust denial.]

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  10:05 PM
  25. Oh, and get better!

    Posted by  on  08/22  at  10:05 PM
  26. Don’t need an MRI, you already know what the problem is. And don’t let them cut you. Go to Amazon. Check out this device, for $52. It works. Really does.

    NeckPro Overdoor Cervical Traction Device
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    4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews) | More about this product
    List Price:  $87.19
    Price:  $52.30
    You Save:  $34.89 (40%)

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  11:29 AM
  27. Wow.  I followed MDS’ link to the commentary on Ioz on Tiabbi and all I got for it was this lousy headache.  With friends like that, Chomsky doesn’t need enemies.

    Will stop now, having used up all my cliches.

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  11:33 AM
  28. Your full name wouldn’t happen to be Vince NeckPro Overdoor, would it?

    Posted by Lance  on  08/23  at  04:21 PM
  29. Who among us can forget when Professor Bérubé crashed the set of Gilmore Girls, seized a spreading knife from amongst the bagels on the catering table, and attacked the actor who played Rory’s grandfather?  Alas, the blade was loaded with well-chilled pats of butter rather than cream cheese.  So the whole incident became known as the time Michael Bérubé “shmeared” Ed Herrmann with his “ineffectual butters.”

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  05:03 PM
  30. That was a memorable episode, mds. Of course its fall-out was that Rory decided to hook up with that awful yuppie and join the Daughter of the American Revolution, thereby sending the show into a tail-spin it never recovered from. All Michael’s fault, clearly.

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  06:00 PM
  31. You two (mds & ch) have me so confused now, i was picturing Fred Qwynne as Herman spreading the various dairy products of Shroudshire (of which he was the 5th Earl).  Now i see it was Eddie who got into the schmearing, and since it was all in black & white, there could be no multiple-ethnicizing of the cast.  As Herman did work for Gateman, Goodbury and Graves funeral home and crematory), and his wife Lily was from the Balkans, perhaps they knew more than they were telling about the ethnic clean-zing of television in the early 60s (pre StarTrek and ISpy).

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  06:15 PM
  32. Well, this whole episode is confusing.  Remember, it started with another installment of “flog the pwogs” kicked off by M. Ioz’s response to Matt Taibbi saying, in so many words, that Noam Chomsky Was Right, and that the national media are covering the health care debate in a way that pretty much bears out the Manufacturing Consent model.  For this, Taibbi, the holder of the Distinguished Hunter S. Thompson Chair of Beyond the Leftward Boundary of the Thinkable in American Mass Media, gets the “he’s just a corporate hack like Klein and Yglesias” treatment.  Weird.  It’s almost as if there’s a certain kind of Chomsky fan whose outrage at Chomsky’s marginalization in mass media is exceeded only by his outrage at the rare moments when someone in the mass media admits that Chomsky is mostly right about the mass media.  I wish I could put this into one of those handy “I used to be an X, but ever since Y, Z” formulations, but this time I got nothin’, not even a schmear.

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  08:17 PM
  33. Re: “NeckPro Overdoor Cervical Traction Device”

    The image this causes in my brain is that of a noose. While that would undoubtedly solve the localized tingling problem (exchanging it for a profound, generalized numbness problem) it would seem a bit extreme.

    And get that MRI. My father went to the doctor for occasional tingling and numbness in his hand and they told him it was a pinched nerve. Two years later the brain tumor killed him (21 years ago tomorrow, in fact).

    Not to be alarmist, but best to check it out.

    Posted by Jason B.  on  08/23  at  08:19 PM
  34. Oh, and Christian, thanks for 25.  As for 24, actually I do try to attend to good arguments against intervention.  Just last week, I spent a few instructive hours with this thread and (more directly to the point) this thread.  And I admit (here and in the book) that even though I believe that intervention in the Balkans was justified, going around the UN b/c of the Russian-veto problem unfortunately created the conditions for the liberal hawks to dismiss UN authorization in the runup to the Iraq war.  That’s why I think it’s important that those people not set the terms for discussions of R2P in the future.

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  08:26 PM
  35. Jason @ 33:  wow.  And my father had a subdural hematoma in 1995 after a minor car crash, which went undetected until the point at which he was basically a few hours from death.  So yeah, this feels like minor pain (though three comments in 15 minutes is starting to hurt, and I’m going to go away from the computer now), but I’d really really like to know precisely what I can and can’t do over the next six months or so.  The thought of missing another hockey season and of Jamie losing his golf partner makes me pretty depressed.  As does the fact that the painting still isn’t completely done.

    Posted by  on  08/23  at  08:31 PM
  36. Aaah, i am starting to get it now; it is never about reality nor facts, just the perceptions of some pernicious vipers worried about themselves, with regard to their expectations of how others might view them, that truly matters.  As in this exchange:

    Right as we walked off stage, he said to me “that was a cheap shot.” I said “what are you talking about?” and he said “you know it.” I then said that I monitor msm coverage very closely and asked him what was not true that I said on the show. He then replied: “that’s not the point. You sullied my reputation on TV.”

    Posted by  on  08/24  at  06:55 PM
  37. Michael (34.): fair enough. I should have pointed out that while bad arguments might give you an excuse to ignore better ones, you often make a point of missing that opportunity.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  10:19 AM
  38. It depends on what the meaning of “often” is.  I did spend the last three years sifting good anti-my-position arguments from bad in yon forthcoming book.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  10:37 AM
  39. It also depends on what the meaning of “good” and “bad” is I guess. It wouldn’t surprise me if we disagree on that wink.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  11:13 AM
  40. Nor me!  But I was hoping you’d be a wee bit surprised that I agree with (part of) the proceduralist argument against war in Kosovo.  It’s not as if I don’t understand that the principle of intervention can be hijacked by neoimperialists and neocons, and that that’s one of the reasons to be wary of it.

    Posted by Michael  on  08/25  at  05:54 PM
  41. No surprise: (a) I know you like your procedural [insert choice of {liberalism, argument} here] and (b) I have known since reading your various comments on Chomsky (novel concept: he’s often right, but not always, without being all evil or infallible!! Wow!) you are open to arguments, procedural or otherwise.

    Of course you won’t be any more surprised that I don’t agree imperialists are “hijacking” the principle of intervention. I happen to think that Richard Seymour is doing a pretty good job laying out the history in his (somewhat aggressively named) book.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  06:58 PM
  42. Ah, good, we disagree already.  Whew!  All I can do in response is to say that the idea that sovereignty rests on a responsibility to protect vulnerable people within a sovereign state actually goes back to Hobbes.  OK, I can also say that the people who cite Agamben (sovereign is he who can declare the state of exception) need to be reminded of this, because it helps distinguish legitimate from illegitimate claims to sovereignty.

    Posted by Michael  on  08/25  at  09:17 PM
  43. I’m not quite sure who you’re arguing with… it ain’t me. This left fixated on sovereignty is largely a figment of your imagination. Not entirely, but largely. [I do think reaction to recent event in Iran, for example, showed that parts of the left - “Stalinists without Stalinism” as some comrade dubbed them - sport a state fetishism as bad as any the IR crowd have. But that’s not the same.] I am most certainly not fixated on state sovereignty, neither is Seymour or anyone else in the IS (or other Trotskyist) tradition as far as I can tell.

    What I don’t agree with is your suggestion that the use imperialists make of the “principle of intervention” is somehow a bug. It’s a feature. The idea grew out of the same old “civilizing mission” garbage that has been used for centuries to justify Western invasion and colonization of non-Western peoples.

    Since you brought up the origins of the doctrine of sovereignty, the fact that its founders made exceptions that happened to apply precisely to the targets of colonial aggression - the native Americans, for example, were deemed incapable of protecting the vulnerable population, ie, themselves due to their lack of civilization - is evidence for this.

    If a “humanitarian intervention” actually does any good (very rare - I don’t know of a single case where the problem being alleviated wasn’t created or made worse by meddling in the first place) it’s incidental.

    That is not to say every one who supports it, in general or in a particular instance, is a supporter of imperialism, that would be a silly accusation. Still, you are wrong, imo. Anyway, gotta shut up now and stop hijacking the thread. Apologies.

    Posted by  on  08/25  at  10:02 PM
  44. This left fixated on sovereignty is largely a figment of your imagination.

    Would that it were.

    I don’t know of a single case where the problem being alleviated wasn’t created or made worse by meddling in the first place.

    Really?  Then you must disagree with lots of people in that thread I mentioned in 34.  And with the people of East Timor, Sierra Leone, etc.  I’d say Kosovo too, but we’ve been over that before.

    Posted by  on  08/26  at  09:45 AM
  45. This left fixated on sovereignty is largely a figment of your imagination.

    It’s certainly true that it’s not called the Fourth National.  Then again, there might be a wee bit of room for a few people between them and mainstream American liberalism.  Which is part of what sets these things off: this defines The Left, that defines “pwoggies,” and batshit insanity defines the Right*.  Start painting with too broad a brush, and next thing you know you’ve got a pinched nerve at C5 and David Broder is going through your refrigerator.

    *With each passing day, I’m more inclined to believe that this one is true in the US.  And I thought I was already maximally inclined.

    Posted by  on  08/26  at  03:38 PM
  46. I’d really really like to know precisely what I can and can’t do over the next six months or so.  The thought of missing another hockey season and of Jamie losing his golf partner makes me pretty depressed.  As does the fact that the painting still isn’t completely done.

    Posted by Age Spot  on  08/27  at  10:41 PM

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