Need to be Cured of Drug Commercials

Leg won’t stop shaking? Here, swallow this pill. Eyelashes not long or thick enough? Here, take a swig of this. Scared to meet new people? No problem, we can fix that. Sex life not quite what it used to be? Believe me, we’ve got you covered.

It seems there is a drug for every possible malady nowadays. There are so many things called “sicknesses,” “disorders,” or “diseases” now that I never even knew existed, and somewhere on the market, there is a drug to cure each and every one of them.

Until I found out what RLS meant, I was wondering why they were drugging the Mormons. Now, thanks to Requip of course, we all know that RLS is an acronym for “Restless Leg Syndrome.” Who knew there was such a thing? I always thought if someone’s leg was shaking, they had to go to the bathroom (of course, there are plenty of drugs to help dampen those urges, too).

I was so shocked the other day to see an advertisement on television for a drug called “Latisse” that actually claims to make eyelashes thicker. I guess this is for the women who do not have the time for mascara. Of course, it comes with a warning about how it might irritate your eyes. It does not seem like it would be worth it to me. Big eyelashes, but red, irritated, watery eyes. What a strange trade.

The social anxiety commercial always makes me laugh. I believe it is for a drug called “Clarocet.” The actor in the advertisement is so happy to be out at a party, finally able to mingle with people again. The funny part is when the side effects are listed. It is totally hilarious.

“May cause diarrhea, incontinence, bladder-control problems, sudden mood swings and/or impotence.” Wow, that is totally amazing. Whoever takes that drug is going to be the life of the party.

They will want to mix and mingle. All their fear of social interaction will be gone. The only problem is going to arise when they wet themselves while going bipolar on the other party guests. Yeah, they will be going out again real soon after that. Seems like they should have just embraced their anxiety.

The whole impotence thing leads us up to my last complaint. What is it with all these Viagra and Cialis commercials? I was watching the American League Championship Series the other night and it seemed like every other commercial was for these two pills. What in the heck is going on? Can’t this go back to being a private matter?

I am so tired of seeing those people in the tub. I wish they would just be clean already. Does Cialis really just make you want to take a really long bath outside while the sun sets? Perhaps these men do not need the drug at all. It is the inordinate amount of time they spend in the bathtub that is causing the problem.

It is time to return to the better days of the past, when I could turn on the T.V. and not be confronted with all these advertisements for drugs. We all need medicine some time. We know where to get it, and our doctor or pharmacist can help us figure out what to get. We do not need the T.V. to tell us.

Sadly, Racism is Not ‘Old’ News

I have been out of the loop for a while. Between school, sickness and two little children, it seems there never is enough time or energy. A few weeks ago, I wanted to write about the Serena Williams and Kanye West incidents. Now, those stories are old news. Sadly, as I perused comments about Williams and West, I found out that racism is anything but “old” news.

Now, I have not been a supporter of Barack Obama as President. This has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with his policies and attitude. While he did not receive my vote because of our divergent stance on many issues, part of me was happy to see America elect a black man president. I thought this proved that racism was becoming old news in America. I was so wrong.

Racism reared its ugly head again in the Williams and West debacles. I was completely blown away.

I read so many comments on Kanye West’s inane stunt at the Video Music Awards that seemed to indicate that his actions had something to do with him being black.

Kanye West is not an idiot because he is black. Kanye West is an idiot because he is an idiot. This has nothing to do with race. Every race has its share of them. If there is anything that is colorblind it is this — idiocy draws no color lines. Really, it is about as simple as that.

The Serena story is something else entirely. I am not a follower of tennis, so normally I would not care. But, I read the story about what happened at the U.S. Open and I watched the video. Then, I began to read the comments. I could not believe it.  Nearly half the people blamed her actions on her being black, while another 15 percent just posted blatantly racist comments. I was stunned by this.

Do I think Serena was wrong? Yes, I most definitely do. She acted in a totally inappropriate and unprofessional manner. Do I think it had anything to do with her being black? No, I do not. It has everything to do with her being a highly competitive individual who does not accept defeat easily.

In most things I do in life, I expect to win. I go in with the attitude that I am going to be the victor, even if it takes me 20 times. If I make a mistake, I get angry at myself. Do I sometimes take this anger out on others? Yes, I am sorry to say I do. I work on this and strive to not allow it to happen in the future, but sometimes it comes back, especially when I become frustrated with myself.

Luckily for me, I am not a professional star athlete like Serena Williams. My bouts of competitive anger are not international news. I honestly believe Serena was just so angry and frustrated at herself. She was not playing at a level of which she knows she is capable. She showed her frustration at her play when she broke her racket.

While I am in no way attempting to excuse what Serena said or did to that line judge, I do not think Serena’s anger was really with the official. Serena’s anger was with herself. The line judge was just unlucky enough to get in the way.

Competitive people play life with a fire and a passion that sometimes burns hot. It does not matter what color skin we have — the temperature is still the same.

Chiefs Counted Out Before Season Begins

 

I am proud to say I am a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan. They are my team and I will stick with them through anything. Whether they win or lose, there is no other team for which I want to cheer. So I wish people would just stop counting them out when the season has just begun.

Most of the comments directed at the Chiefs by the announcers were negative. It was as if the announcers were already predicting an 0-16 season for the Chiefs in just the first half of Sunday’s season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. It was so annoying.

There was no “constructive” criticism. There was just criticism and, as it turned out, most of it was wrong.

Here are some of the choice statements the announcers made in just the first 16 minutes of play:

  • “The Chiefs can’t deal with this suffocating defense.”— This was said after the Ravens made the Chiefs go three and out on their opening drive, which actually is a common occurrence for any team. While it was an unsuccessful start to the game for the Chiefs, the players appeared to breathing just fine.
  • “The Chiefs cannot do anything on offense.” — This was sort of true at the time it was said, but the first quarter was not even over. We had time to turn it around.
  • “Kansas City has not been able to muster any kind of drive.” — This was said just 50 seconds after the second-bulleted comment above, still in the first quarter. It was true, yet still early in the game.
  • “Brody Croyle is not surrounded by a lot of talent.” — This is when I started to truly get annoyed by the asinine announcers. The players around Croyle clearly are talented or they would not be in the National Football League. An NFL team does not usually shell out millions of dollars to guys who cannot play the game. Yes, the Chiefs might not have a bunch of superstars, but saying the players are not talented is inaccurate.
  • “They need help because they are not about to get it done offensively with that personnel right now.” — Amazingly this was still the FIRST QUARTER of the game. So much for giving them a chance. Just write them off in the first 15 minutes.
  • “If they have any chance in the game, it’s going to have to come on this side of the ball (the defense); they will have to make some plays and keep it close.”— Wow, for real? While the defense did get the Chiefs going with an awesome blocked punt recovered in the endzone and an outstanding interception returned 72 yards to within the 10-yard-line, it was still the FIRST QUARTER when this comment was made. Last I checked, football had four of those.
  • “The way this game is going, that might have been the only way that Kansas City can score.” — This was said just one minute into the second quarter after the Chiefs narrowly missed saddling the Ravens with a safety. We ended up scoring two touchdowns off the arm of Croyle.

I know this will most likely be a rough year for the Chiefs. But if there is one thing I cannot tolerate, it is being counted out before the game (and, in this case, the season) has begun. People who count others out like this tend to underestimate their opponents. Surprises lurk in underestimation.

The Chiefs did lose the season opener to the Ravens by a score of 38-24, but I was on the edge of my seat with just five minutes remaining as the Chiefs tied the game at 24. Despite an admittedly sluggish start, Croyle threw for a respectable 177 yards and the two aforementioned touchdowns.

I just hope some mouths were forced shut by the Chiefs decent performance in the season opener. If not, I will probably just have to get used to muting the game and providing some positive, constructive commentary of my own.

Good luck, Chiefs. Play well. There are many of us who believe. Just push your mute button too, and you will hear us.

Taxes, Death and . . . Easter Grass?

Everyone knows the phrase, “The only things that are certain are death and taxes,” is used when discussing events that will go on forever.  To those two, I would like to add Easter grass, for it also is eternal.

It is already the middle of September, nearly five full months since Easter passed, yet that does not seem to matter to the Easter grass. It is still hanging around. I cannot believe it.

It has become a joke in our house. Some how, some way, it seems about once a month or so, a piece of Easter grass adheres to the bottom of my foot as I am walking around the house. I run to find my wife now to show her (for some reason, this does not happen to her). I exclaim, “Mary, you won’t believe it. There is a piece of …” She interrupts and shouts back, “Easter grass!” I respond, “Yes, Mary, yes and it is stuck to my foot!” We laugh about it and I swear to her that I will never use Easter grass again, even though I know I probably will.

Easter grass is just simply amazing. It has reached the point where I am just totally astounded and in awe of its absolute resilience.

How does it stick around for so long? Where does it hide? Why does it only come out every once in a while? Why does only one piece come out at a time?

To most everyone, Easter grass is just fake cut plastic that you fill a basket with for your children once a year. Yet, there are three important lessons we can learn from the Easter grass.

One, don’t give too much of yourself at once, people will just be overwhelmed by that. Parcel yourself out and give a little bit each time, spread over the course of lifetime (I think the lifespan of Easter grass has to be at least 400 years).

Two, hang in there despite the odds. We have vacuumed the house dozens of times since Easter and we have one of those fancy Dyson “It-doesn’t-lose-suction” vacuums; yet, the Easter grass has the sheer tenacity to still be around. One cannot help but be impressed.

Lastly, it might be a small thing and it might even annoy you, but if you find the humor in it, that’s all that matters in the end. For a month after Easter, it drove me nuts. Now, I just can’t help but laugh (while still being totally astonished by it).

For most of my life, when someone asked me to list three things that we could count on forever, I could only think of the two — death and taxes. Now I know what my third thing is — it is Easter grass.

I can step on it from one Easter to the next. I could probably step on it for the next 400 years if death wasn’t one of the three things on the list. That truly is miraculous.

The Omnipresent President: T.V. Star or President?

It seems I cannot turn my television on nowadays without the President interrupting my delightful escapist programming with his mind-boggling version of reality and what is best for the country. I cannot even escape him when I go to school.

This guy is everywhere, talking about every thing and yet nothing is getting done. He came on like the second coming itself (and does actually believe he is our “savior,” albeit not a “Christian” one, God forbid), yet he has nothing to show for it.

Maybe, if he would get off my television for a bit, he could get some things accomplished. On second thought, maybe television is right where he should be to keep us all safe from his plans. I can change the channel much easier than I can find $900 billion.

Tonight he was on television again telling us what a great health-care reform plan he has. His plan will not only drive our country further down the path to bankruptcy, but it will allow employers an easy out of paying for their workers’ insurance.

All the stress from our country being in debt, higher taxes, trying to figure out how to participate in the “public” option because our employer dropped our nice, “private” one, is going to kill us all. It will not matter if we have health insurance or not.

We will be dead just from thinking about it. Dead or broke. We will be starving to death, but finally we will all have health insurance, dang it! Ridiculous. This is a crazy joke.

If I am an employer, and suddenly this “public” option is available, why would I continue to pay for my workers’ insurance? I would not. In his effort to insure those who are not currently insured, Obama is going to take away the insurance millions of people have now. The old switcheroo…hope you are paying attention.

Earlier this week, I had to watch him yet again, but this time it was right in the middle of my school day. He did not say any thing new. He did not say any thing controversial. He actually just said what we, as teachers, already say every day. Yet, he somehow believes he just thought of it.

I have to give him credit, though. I have to say he is one shrewd politician. What better way to ensure your reelection in four years?

His main strength was among younger voters. Who better to appeal to then current 14- to 18-year-olds, the very demographic that will be voting for the first time in the next election? This is a brilliant strategy to ensure the young will vote for him. He is indoctrinating them into the cult of Obama.

Good job, Obama. Way to continue to sell yourself; way to continue jamming up the air waves with your omnipresent smirk; way to continue making me find the darn remote. But, I have to say I am sorry, because a long time ago I swore I would not join a cult.

Whole New Meaning to ‘Mile High’ Nickname

For many years and for obvious reasons, Denver has been known as “Mile High City.” Recent news emanating from there about enforcement of marijuana possession laws is giving a whole new meaning to that nickname.

Last week, a committee voted to send a letter to the Denver County Court urging the fine for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to be one dollar. The total penalty for marijuana possession would be $111 once state fines and other fees are levied. (1)

While these other fines do increase the severity of the punishment, Denver will still be sending out a strong message about its lenient view regarding marijuana possession if the court accepts this recommendation. The Mile High city truly will be a place to get high.

As a former high-school teacher (I teach middle school now), I heard students talk about the safety, pleasure and healthful nature of smoking “weed.” Despite all their praise of the habit, I continued to advise them against such behavior and pointed out all the reasons they should stop, including the fact that I do not agree that marijuana is safe or healthy (as far as pleasure goes, I cannot attest to that since I have never myself indulged).

I am no expert, far from it, but I saw what marijuana did to my students. I could tell which ones were “potheads.” They were the ones with the glazed eyes, staring off into space during my class. They were the ones who never got their work in on time, if at all. They were the ones who did not have even an inkling of concern or plans for their future.

That was the effect I found most devastating about the drug — its power at creating apathy. The students who abused marijuana were the most apathetic young people I have ever met. Nothing mattered to them — not their education, not their futures, not their lives.

The only thing they cared about was getting home that afternoon so they could take some “hits.” They would joke about it, but I knew that most likely that is what they were going to do after school. While “jonesing” for another hit, they would stand there and argue how marijuana is non-addictive. I could never make them see the irony of that.

And now a committee — who knew a city had such a thing as a “marijuana policy review panel” — is recommending that Denver make a mockery of its drug laws by lowering the fine for marijuana possession to $1. This is a shame.

People actually do believe marijuana is “safe.” It is this misguided belief that makes marijuana one of the most frightening drugs of all. When something appears “safe,” we are more free to partake in it. It is like the wolf in sheep’s clothing — once we realize the danger, it is far too late. And, here is Denver potentially providing the wolf with the innocuous costume.

Not only do I not agree with the contents of this letter, I also do not understand how this committee was appointed or how its members were chosen. How does an activist who heads an organization dedicated to the legalization of marijuana — Mason Tvert, the executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER, more irony) — end up on an official marijuana policy committee in the first place? He does not seem like the most impartial choice to me for such a group.

No wonder this committee agreed to send such a ludicrous letter to the presiding county judge. With members such as Tvert, this group is busy blowing smoke, obscuring the facts as they take one more step in their quest for legal marijuana.

(1) http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_13212872

Swine Flu: True Stats or Just Plain Slop?

Frightening words and scary numbers are being bandied about when it comes to the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as the “Swine Flu.” Words such as “pandemic,” “epidemic,” “surge” and “die.” The numbers range from 30 percent of the U.S. population to 50 percent, with up to 90,000 dead.

All these frightening words, all these scary numbers; yet, little evidence to back them up. More people will wind up dying out of sheer terror thinking about the swine flu than actually from the illness itself.

Tonight, the Channel 9 (ABC-Kansas City) news caught my attention with their report on the swine flu. The report said that some so-called “experts” were saying up to half of the U.S. population could be infected by the H1N1 virus this year and up to 90,000 people could die.

I then read an article by Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press that reported the findings of a “White House expert panel” that said anywhere from 30 percent to half of Americans could be infected “during the course of this pandemic and that from 30,000 to 90,000 could die.” (1)

To that I say, prove it. To that I say, I will believe it when I see it. To that I say, stop trying to scare us to death and start governing the way you should.

We are being toyed with by this sorry excuse for a government. This is the classic trick of the illusionist, being executed on a grand scale. The trick is distraction and, sorry to say, for many it is working.

When the threat becomes one against life itself, all other threats rapidly recede into the background. Front and center is swine flu and its voracious appetite for destruction.

Economic woes are forgotton; the rising cost of energy is forgotton; the attacks on the very foundations of our society are forgotton. We are too busy sanitizing our lives, hiding behind useless masks with big deer-in-the-headlight eyes to see all that is being taken from us.

It is unbelievable to me that in the very same AP article, just a little more than a paragraph under the claim that “30,000 to 90,000” people might die, Stobbe writes, “No cause for panic. So far, swine flu isn’t much more threatening than regular seasonal flu.”

What? Are you serious? Who is sending out the misinformation here? The White House and its “experts”? The optimists at the AP? Who are we supposed to believe?

Here’s what I believe — don’t buy into the hype, don’t believe what you hear. Use common sense and don’t allow these “experts” to frighten you to death. Let’s not repeat the big Y2K scam (invest in a generator company, anyone?)  and make the elderly rush out to purchase bubbles in which to live (if I knew what company made those bubbles, I would definitely invest!).

Since the threat of terrorism has diminished, the government needs some other way to distract us while our rights, freedoms and ethics continue to erode. This White House has found just such a threat and have given it a name.

Its name is the “Swine Flu.” I think it is just a bunch of slop.

(1) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090901/ap_on_he_me/us_med_swine_flu10_things