Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.

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Friday, April 30, 2004

Some relief

Well, I'm less itchy. Found some stuff that sells for $40 an ounce that actually seems to work. That's the trick with really expensive over the counter medications. The expensive stuff that offers long-term benefits- weight loss schemes, vitamins, etc.- can get away with the exorbitant pricing because they figure you'll lose interest and forget about the fact you were scammed. But if you're charging $40 for something that promises immediate relief, it better damned well work, because someone's going to actively seek revenge.

Zanfel Poison Ivy Cream offers more relief for a longer period of time than any of the other medications I tried. Calamine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) didn't work, and hydrocortisone cream provided maybe two hours' worth of relief. The first application of Zanfel gave me about five hours of itchlessness; the second, 12; and I'm about eight hours into the third application.

Watch the spelling. I entered this by mistake, and couldn't figure out the relationship between contact dermatitis and pan flutes.

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

My skin is not my own.

Since there's nothing quite as entertaining as reading about someone else's skin problems, let's forge right ahead with the continuing saga of my poison ivy outbreak.

My Chicago doctor is at a conference somewhere, so I called my real physician back in Pittsburgh, Dr. Larry. He's been my doctor since 1972, when I was 17 and he started his first practice. (I like to refer to myself as his longest surviving patient.)

Dr. Larry called in a prescription to a pharmacy in Pittsburgh and they transferred it to the local mega drug depot. I started taking the oral steroid immediately and slathered on a thick layer of hydrocortisone cream, but things got progressively worse.

The rash had spread over about 60% of my arms and chest; given my size, this is the equivalent of 2.1 people having 100% coverage. I look like a red leather Laz-E-Boy recliner.

And the itching is unreal. I don't think I slept for more than 40 consecutive minutes last night.

This requires an aggressive approach. More later...

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Overcome by the creeping blorch...

You can never forget your roots, especially when the last time you visited one of them, specifically a toxicodendron radicans, it presented you with a nice going away present of contact dermatitis.

Yep, poison ivy. I got it last Friday night while cutting the grass. I had a little rash on my head Sunday, but now it's spreading and beginning to itch.

I'm going to call the doctor this morning to see if he can prescribe an industrial strength dose of prednisone, a steroid that usually works quite well on my allergic reactions. If I can't see him immediately, I'm going to have to brave the wilds of the CTA bus system (I'm a train man, you know) to the ER of the closest hospital.

Coincidentally, I have an appointment with the doctor here in Chicaco for next week. I had to make that one six weeks ago. I hope I can get hold of him; by May 4 I'm going to resemble a crusty, seeping 270 pound strawberry. That itches.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Thought for the day

It's not bothered that my life is essentially an existential game of whack-a-mole, I just hate the days when I'm the mole and not the mallet.


I just entered into my electronic planner the last of 14 "to do" items that accumulated since my return to the office yesterday, and the program promptly crashed. Hey, I can take a hint.

Last night the Chicago Police Department descended upon Edgewater, amid the drug-dealers, winos and assorted miscreants, and spent hours ridding the neighborhood of civilzation's most dangerous scourge: double-parkers.

However, I feel an argument can be made that parking in the street because there's an unconscious druggie hanging off the meter isn't a traffic violation but a humanitarian-tinged display of common sense.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

My left sock.

We managed to get into the air at 8:48 EDT last night and, as I predicted, I dragged into the apartment at 11 p.m.

Things are really slow this morning; after two weeks back at home, the routine is all shot. I do know I prefer letting out the dog in the morning to stepping over the neighborhood wino on the way to the train station. The smell is similar, but the dog has a more attractive coat.

The transition from suburban squire to dazzling urbanite is always a bit disconcerting.

Gotta run... need to find my CTA fare card and my left sock. Don't know what it is about left socks; I can never find them. The right one goes on without any trouble, but the left one invariably disappears. Nothing like starting a Monday morning with a recurring cognitive dysfunction.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Wheels down in PIT

Bad weather in Chicago means my flight, originally scheduled to leave at 5:26, won't depart until 9:03. Of course, the FAA's official "Air Traffic Control System Command Center" web site is quoting delays of an hour and 52 minutes, so you know they're really on top of things. I haven't even bothered to look at United's site- oh, what the hell, wait a minute... ok, the web site says we're leaving at 8, which is a crock, since Captain Skippy (who's currently perusing the wares at the golf shop) says we're not going to even get on the plane until then.

Again, if you're going to be stuck somewhere, this is the place to be. Just had some General Tso chicken, sent an email to my mother and wrote and uploaded this. (Greater Pitt has free wireless Internet.)

It'll probably be eleven central time before I hit the apartment in Chicago. I'm gonna be sharp as a tack tomorrow at work, that's for sure.

(Oh, and FAA... this isn't a weather delay. It's a bad airport design and failure to build some more freaking runways at O'Hare delay.)

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Out of the frying pan...

Granddaughter Leanna's first birthday party was a smashing success, provided you ignore that little incident where I accidentally knocked her down and stepped on her hand.

Fortunately, she recovered. Below, she contemplates revenge via vehicular homicide:

Wonder how much damage I can do to the fat guy with this sucker?

Thank goodness for loyal females:

Best pals

Gee, I miss 'em already.

Well, the radar shows thunderstorms of biblical proportions heading toward Greater Pitt. Should be an interesting flight.

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Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The e-mail address is now something other than saga. used to be until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up and adopting created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the domain name in 1993, and had since that time used as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that was no longer but rather which is longer than and more letters to type than and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than but actually just as functional as I sent e-mails from the address to just about everybody I knew who had used in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that no longer is the they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...


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