And speaking of woo-hoo!, we’re getting seriously steady rain here. And it looks like we’re going to get more. Yay! It’s about time.
Friday, August 30, 2002 12:21 pm
Thursday, August 29, 2002 11:15 am
“Do you have a headache?”
“Yeah, sweetie, I do.”
“Want me to kiss it so it’ll feel better?”
“Thank you, sweetie.”
“Does it feel better?”
“A little bit, yeah.”
“Well, I’ll give you lots more kisses, then.”
Friday, August 16, 2002 4:51 pm
Wednesday, August 14, 2002 1:06 pm
Now that NFL running back Ricky Williams, who moved from the Saints to the Dolphins in the off-season, has gone quasi-public with his social-anxiety disorder, we’ve also learned via ESPN‘s Aug. 12 “Monday Night Countdown” that Williams is taking Paxil for his disorder.
What, I wondered, might that do to his performance as one of the NFL’s premiere running backs (and, by extension, among the most desirable additions to a fantasy-football roster)?
Fortunately, because Paxil is among the most-prescribed drugs in the country (No. 16 in 2001) — it’s a common antidepressant as well as a treatment for social-anxiety disorder — finding users who might be in a position to answer this question wasn’t hard. None of them wanted to be quoted by name, for obvious reasons.
They said Paxil’s effect on his play should be zero. But they cautioned that Williams could expect:
Constipation. “It’ll be bad,” said one of my sources. “Sometimes I feel like I haven’t pooped in days.” The folks I talked to said even eating more dried fruit won’t do much good; one, who has a lactose intolerance, said that the only way he can “get cleaned out” sometimes is to eat a bunch of dairy and then wait for the inevitable diarrhea.
Sleep changes. He may need more sleep and he may sleep less well, my sources say. Also, the pill bottle will caution against driving or operating heavy machinery. “Believe it,” says one of my sources. “I used to like to drive long distances, but I just can’t do it anymore. I get road fog and then, if I don’t pull over, I’ll go to sleep at the wheel. It’s scary.” (If that doesn’t scare you, consider this: Williams recently got pulled for driving 128 mph and admitted in the “Monday Night Countdown” segment that he had driven as fast as 188 mph on public highways. Forget the risk to himself: If he’s going 188, could people get out of the way even if they saw him coming?)
Memory changes. His memory is likely to get a little fuzzy, particularly about names — nothing serious, and probably not enough to affect his ability to remember his playbook, but he might have to stop and think for a minute about the title of his favorite song from when he was 12.
Prostate trouble. “He’ll wake up and think somebody stuck a 70-year-old man’s prostate in him when he wasn’t looking,” one source says. “He might come in from practice needing to pee like a Russian race horse, step up to the urinal and … nothing. Talk about frustration.”
Sexual dysfunction. Williams might or might not care about this, but apparently Paxil (and other antidepressants) can … well, as one of my sources put it, “He’ll be able to negotiate for hours, but he won’t be able to close the deal.” In other words, he’ll have trouble achieving orgasm.
As previously noted, these issues probably won’t directly affect his play. (In the case of a couple of ’em, I’d certainly hope not.) And personally, I think that anything that will keep him from driving in excess of 100 mph on public highways — I’m reminded of Charlotte Hornets guard Bobby Phills’ death in a speeding sports car on a city street — is probably a good thing overall.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002 5:19 pm
Presumably because my last name begins with A and I am a faithfully registered and extremely regular voter, I get called for jury duty about every two years. This is seldom more than a one-day inconvenience because North Carolina adopted “one day or one trial” jury duty some time back, and journalists seldom get seated on juries, particularly in criminal trials. (I did spend most of a week on a jury in a civil trial once, but the parties settled before we jurors got the case.) Moreover, working as I do for a fairly large company, I’m fortunate that my employer pays my salary even when I’m on jury duty; service for me involves no financial loss. But beyond the convenience factor, which can be daunting — about a decade ago, one jury in federal court here sat for more than a year on a civil trial involving arcane issues related to generic cigarettes and restraint of trade — I see jury duty, like voting, as the privilege of a citizen, although I certainly sympathize with those, such as small-business owners, whose lost time is also equivalent to a substantial amount of lost income.
But I have no sympathy whatever for this guy, who, no matter how inconvenienced he was and no matter how creative his request was, should not have been surprised by the judge’s response. His behavior was a direct affront to the court — which is to say, to the taxpayers of the United States — and I’m perfectly OK that he got his chain yanked. Indeed, I hope his travails aren’t over yet.
Interestingly, the version of this story that moved on the New York Times News Service wire (which also includes some Hearst papers) included a final graf that the Web version did not:
“It’s obviously become a testosterone deal,” Williamson said. “And he can obviously make his bigger than mine.”
Mmm-kay. Apparently Mr. Williamson thinks this is just about whose is bigger. I trust the judge will shortly whomp him upside the head with a 10-foot clue stick, which should settle that question.
Most people, if they think of Delaware at all, think of it as a harmless state, tiny and cute, sort of like a … oh, I don’t know, a chipmunk or something. Now, The New Republic confirms that Delaware is indeed a harmless state, tiny and cute, if by “harmless, tiny and cute” you mean “a parasite on the body politic and the nation’s foremost enabler of corporate welfare.”
This, of course, is great news because it gives me an excuse to gig my friend Herb, who’s from there. But he says the other states are just jealous.
Friday, August 9, 2002 2:39 pm
One of the many things that get my goat is the tendency of people who do not believe in evolution to claim that evolution is “only a theory, yet it’s taught as fact.” That’s because they either don’t know or ignore the fact that “theory” has a specific meaning in science — not just an educated guess (“hypothesis”), but an educated guess that has been tested directly in some way, or has had its logical ramifications tested in some way, and appears — note the verb — to be true. An example, of course, is Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (energy = mass times the square of the velocity of light, or E=mc² ), which, believe it or not, is rapidly approaching its 100th anniversary.
One heretofore uncontroversial aspect of this theory was that it presumed that the speed of light is constant. That’s what the “c” in E=mc² means: “constant.” There’s just one problem with this aspect of the theory: It might not be true.
If it’s not, then much of what we think we know about the universe, from huge black holes to the smallest subatomic particles, may be up for grabs, much as it was a century ago when Einstein’s work enlarged upon that of Newton. Of course, it’s hardly clear what, if any, the practical ramifications might be. If the speed of light, normally 300,000 kilometers or about 186,300 miles per second, only varies a little bit, the only things in the universe that might care might be the universe itself. Or it could have ramifications for everything from human evolution to interstellar travel. That’s the beauty of it: All of a sudden, no one knows nearly as much as they thought they did and a whole lot of hypotheses, theories and just plain assumptions must be re-examined in light, if you’ll pardon the pun, of this new information.
Although I’m just an ex-English major, I think that’s way cool. But then I think every time we find a new Jovian moon it oughta be front page news.
Wednesday, August 7, 2002 10:45 am
When I walked outside to get the paper this morning a little after 7, the sky was a crisp, cloudless blue and the temperature was hovering around 60 — probably the coolest it’s been here in at least six weeks. My first thought: Man, what a beautiful morning. My second thought: The morning of Sept. 11 was just like this, too — here and in New York.
So is that one more legacy of 9/11 — that every clear, crisp morning henceforth will remind us of that tragedy? If so, perhaps the terrorists already have taken more from us than we knew.