Stupidity Is Infinite

I see from reading Marty Klein’s excellent blog that Ohio, in its race to the bottom for reproductive rights, seems prepared to ban any abortion requested because Down’s Syndrome was detected in the fetus.

WTF?

Aside from the probable unconstitutionality of cherry-picking a woman’s reasons to end a pregnancy, what is the heroic point of this? Are they that anxious to have more mental defectives in the population? Advocates are saying things like ““with nine out of 10 babies with Down syndrome being aborted, extinction is what we are really talking about,” or “…we need this bill so that they can be born, and not culled.” These are the utterances of women who actually have given birth to progeny with this defect, and I can only think that they resent the idea that someone else might be spared what they have let themselves in for.

Hello. People. Infants with birth defects are not a separate species. Extinction is an irrelevant concept. We are not talking about a legacy culture disappearing from the planet. We’re talking about women who don’t want to have retarded offspring. A decision which all of us should support.

Political correctness has gone bananas, and now it is coming back to bite women (of course, women) right in the ass.

Flibanserin, or, Light My Fire

I see here where the FDA has now approved a drug to treat “female hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” previously known as “not tonight, honey” or “I have a headache.”

It’s an adorable little candy-pink pill that works on the dopamine and norepinephrine systems in the brain — for those who are not medical hobbyists, those are the heavy-hitter neurotransmitters manipulated by most psychoactive drugs, which regulate reward and arousal. When you feel lifted by a drink (or an illegal drug) or a hot look from someone sexy, or a high speed careen on a motorcycle or just creating a poem or painting successfully, that’s dopamine. When you respond to a situation with excitement and physical energy and mental focus, that’s norepinephrine. I’ve manipulated them both with amino acids and supplements, though I may say the dopamine precursor I tried once didn’t get me hot and bothered, but I did finish scoring a verse of my setting of John Donne’s “Lecture Upon The Shadow.” It was too expensive for me to go for the rest of the poem though.

This Flibanserin stuff — did anyone notice it sounds like Flubber? — apparently has a host of side effects that the amino acids don’t have, like dizziness, fainting, nausea, and drowsiness, which sound like the perfect combination with ravening desire (or maybe like a frat party flashback).  Reportedly users experience, on the average, 0.5 more sexually satisfying events per month, though how you have half a sexually satisfying event (more college flashbacks rear their, um, heads) is beyond me. Nonetheless, the FDA approved it and I guess some doctors will start prescribing it to women who just don’t feel all that randy any more.

Everybody stand back from the table with their hands in plain sight. An old broad would like to address you.

I am sixty and I have been in this game since I was fourteen. I actually bit the bullet pillow three years later, in my freshman year at college, when I remember the last shreds of virginity exiting to the remark, “Okay, I trust your funny little rubber things.” At the fifty-year mark I finally met the Cute Engineer, and he is still here. In between I was married once, engaged twice, had three other serious boyfriends (the Nazi Ex, the Albino Ex and the Transgender Ex), and if I ever take my standup routine on the road it will include the 68-year-old virgin as well as something Boccaccian that happened in an organ loft, you should pardon the expression. I stopped short, I admit, of keeping an actual catalogue.

And then again, there have been times when I just wanted to put on a flannel granny nightgown and read Tolkien.

They want to give us a pill for that.

Do they have a pill that you can give to Congressmen and state legislators to cure their obsession with restricting abortion and contraception? Because you can’t enjoy sex very much if you don’t trust your birth control method or the one that you could trust isn’t covered by your insurance. The joy of coming together as one blanks out if you know that, despite your own best efforts, it could lead to a pregnancy you didn’t want and can’t end (or can’t end without three trips upstate and a biased counseling session).

How about some birth control methods that don’t themselves screw you up, come to that? Can you dig allergies to latex, to that horrible spermicide they used to put on condoms, septic intrauterine devices, hormone pills that put you in the mood — to tear everyone a new asshole? Diaphragms that no one can get to fit right? You want a tubal ligation? Ready for a lecture from some mansplaining OB-GYN about how you need to see a psychiatrist becuase every normal woman wants at least one child? Years of that kind of experience will really light your fire.

Do they have a pill that will make women’s partners — male or female, I don’t care — clean up after themselves, show respect, take a frickin’ shower, hold a job? Do they have one that will change the labor market and laws so that everyone, male or female, comes home with enough energy to do more in bed than fall on it?

Back in my college years, a friend who transferred from a state school told me how the male students there compiled a photo album of all the incoming female freshmen and passed it around, in aid of deciding which ones they wanted to score with. They called it, charmingly, “The Pig Book.” This morning I read a story about a rape case involving a prep school where the young rascals compete to see “how far they can get” with girls who think they are being genuinely courted. Plus ca change, plus ca reste. Is there a pill for those guys? Because I can’t think of a better boner-equivalent killer than knowing how many men in this world have sex with women in a haze of vague, or even explicit, contempt.

I could go on. You get the idea. At times it’s kind of amazing that women are horny at all.

One piece of good news. If I had not followed up this Flibanserin flap I would not know there was a group of doctors digging in their heels against the pharmification of everything, to include providing continuing education that isn’t funded by someone with a pill (and all its side effects) to sell.

Maybe they’ll come up with a drug for “irresponsible greed disorder” someday. That, I would consider putting in the water.

I Will Sign Your Petition If You WIll Leave Me Alone

If you are active on the Net at all, sooner or later, you get them: you stumble across one, or a friend forwards it to you. You know what I’m talking about: a petition, usually an “urgent” petition, intended to accomplish just about anything you can name. One exhorts the FDA to release an orphan drug, one stamps its little foot and tells members of the Republican Congress to lighten up on Planned Parenthood (rotsa ruck), one asks a rural judge not to euthanize a little kid’s pet hen.

I sign a lot of these things (even the pet hen one, surprisingly). There are quite a few started by real people, who are not after your wallet or your loyalty; they just want to stop a pig fight or spare a pit bull. Some of them are obvious harvesting devices — a candidate for office or a political asks for your signature and then up pops a screen asking you to donate. Others lie in wait. A week or two down the road, your mailbox is full of stuff from the League Of Environmental Hand-Wringers or the Send A Gay Kid To Camp Committee, advising you discreetly at the bottom that you are receiving this mail “because you signed up for updates from us.”

The one I just deleted stated candidly that by signing the petition I was requesting updates from the League Of Conservation Voters. Wonderful group I’m sure. Doing good work. Lots of groups like that out there. I’ll gladly sign any petition instrument they circulate that I consider worthy of attention, but please, please don’t send me all this goddam mail.

Can we make a deal? Seriously? I’ll sign if you promise to never send me anything else unless it’s another petition that addresses some action of consequence that you want taken or prevented. You know, a piece of legislation or a commutation of sentence or something. I have already decided who’s getting my charitable money and I don’t have time to delete mail from forty-seven different committees, or even unsubscribe from all their mailing lists every time one circulates a petition that I actually think is worth supporting.

The Internet is a mighty engine and it has given small movements the power to create great change, but in the great tradition of this land, both politics and now activism are becoming indistinguishable from marketing.

Oliver Sacks

I had no idea that Oliver Sacks was gay. Not that it matters. Or should, except:

It was then that my father, inquiring into my sexual feelings, compelled me to admit that I liked boys. “I haven’t done anything,” I said, “it’s just a feeling — but don’t tell Ma, she won’t be able to take it.” He did tell her, and the next morning she came down with a look of horror on her face, and shrieked at me: “You are an abomination. I wish you had never been born.”

Oliver Sacks. The man who made the world aware of Temple Grandin, the ambassador of high functioning autism; Oliver Sacks, the lyricist who gave us Awakenings.

Because of a thing that cultures have about who excites the joy of attraction in your heart, a parent could say of such a man, “I wish you had never been born.”

That is only a sidelight of his essay, goddess, it is a glorious essay, and it comes back to the Sabbath, let me note I never even appreciated that Sacks was observantly Jewish to any extent, contra his excellent and late colleague Harold Klawans who wrote neurology essays that made the heart leap and then sent fictional doctor heroes to Israel to find smoking guns, fun, yowza. But the Sabbath. It is, as we state, a Jewish concept but the world needs more testimony to the need for a still place in the cacophony of existence, and Sacks at the end of his life speaks more poignantly than anything I can begin to say of it.

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MY mother and her 17 brothers and sisters had an Orthodox upbringing — all photographs of their father show him wearing a yarmulke, and I was told that he woke up if it fell off during the night. My father, too, came from an Orthodox background. Both my parents were very conscious of the Fourth Commandment (“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”), and the Sabbath (Shabbos, as we called it in our Litvak way) was entirely different from the rest of the week.

more….

I wonder what that mother thought of herself when her son, whom she wished had never been born, became, well, Oliver Sacks. I wonder about everyone who can’t get past the prescribed ideas and see their children or merely people around them for who they are.

I just wish everyone could fucking get over it.

It’s a stunning article. Make time for it, if you can.

Geckos

I love geckos. Who doesn’t love geckos? They can climb up walls and amble across ceilings. They don’t have eyelids and lick their eyes instead to keep them moist. Unlike most lizards, they talk. I looked them up on Wikipedia and my eyes glazed over, but that may be because it is only about eight in the morning and I am not up the the physics lesson about how they stick on. I worked five appointments yesterday and was pushing a Ukrainian whiplash patient out the door at a quarter to nine. She passed my new gecko.

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Just something I picked up in a catalog. Four geckos for a Jackson. The other three are on the back fence.

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I just felt like the house wasn’t complete without them. I mean, for years I have had a crush on the Geico Gecko.

(Strangely, I have never been inspired to buy the insurance. I just like the gecko.)

Real geckos don’t have a British accent of course. They scream sometimes though.

So now I have my very own lucky geckos. Who are fortunately very quiet. Sometimes you just have to do something silly.

Mutant Shrubs

It’s supposed to be a Hydrangea. Which in my life up to now has meant a polite little bush that is pink or blue depending on the soil and comes up to about your chest, at most. It was a gift from a client — one who is no longer with us on this Earth, sadly, so that I can’t even ask her what the fuck?

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Yeah, it rained a lot in the spring and early summer. This thing is starting to devour the driveway and threatens to take over the house. The flower clusters are the size of my head.

Now they tell me.

I’m expecting “take me to your leader” any moment.

Public Works

Yesterday, after the usual warnings, operatives of my county government showed up to seal the asphalt on my street, an undertaking that required I move my car around the corner and warn my clients that they would have to park remotely as well. I spent the afternoon instructing arriving clients to accompany departing clients back to the curb of the main road to transfer the parking pass.

This fairly pedestrian, if that is the right word, alteration in my daily routine seemed like such an adventure that I ended the day feeling faintly… well… exhilarated. I suppose there was a moment of derring-do attached to getting out of the driver’s side on a four-lane divided just below a serious curve — I honestly considered clambering over the transmission hump instead. But… hmmm.

I have often said I longed for a life of delicious boredom, and I finally seem to be managing it. I hope I haven’t taken things too far.