Aug 31, 2007

Dementia Revisited

In my previous post, I took a humorous look at dementia, from the aspect that it could be a result of not taking adequate estrogen supplements after a pre-menopausal hysterectomy. However, in all actuality there is nothing humorous about dementia at all.

It has been one of my experiences that elderly patients are at times over-medicated to the point where they literally do not know what pill they take is for what ailment. When they start describing their medications as the "blue pill" or the "yellow pill", that's not a good sign. And often times, they will not tell their doctor about whatever over the counter drugs they are taking. (This applies to us all, actually. The most common drugs we don't mention are alcohol and nicotine.) Sometimes just having one doctor go over their medications, and side effects of the medications, can actually eliminate many of the symptoms of dementia they might be experiencing. A drug being hailed as the wonder cure for migraine headaches, topiramate, is also one of the worst drugs in the world for memory problems.

When I worked in the hospital, it was quite common for elderly patients to develop a temporary condition on admittance where they became disoriented, agitated, confused, and at times, combative as the evening approached. We called it "sundowners." There is some school of thought that ties this condition to an early stage of Alzheimer's, but I believe it is just an overload of new information to an aging brain. Once the patient gets familiar with the routine, usually by the second or third day, the Sundowners usually diminishes.

Here are some of the symptoms of Dementia:

  • Having difficulty recalling recent events.

  • Not recognizing familiar people and places.

  • Having trouble finding the right words to express thoughts or name objects.

  • Having difficulty performing calculations.

  • Having problems planning and carrying out tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter.

  • Having trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency.

  • Having difficulty controlling moods or behaviors.Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.

  • Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.*

As you can see, the list of symptoms could apply to a host of many disorders and diseases. Which means that dementia, in and of itself is not so much a primary condition, but a symptom of an underlying condition. Many alcoholics will display these symptoms because of a lack of B vitamins, B1, B12, in their diet. Unfortunately, the same can be true for the elderly, whether it be because of a lack of income, or an inability to prepare meals for themselves. Once these nutrients are replaced and replenished, the symptoms go away.

Hypothyroidism, strokes, diabetes, clogged arteries, insufficient oxygen to the brain because of breathing disorders, and depression can all cause these same symptoms. So, if you know someone who is exhibiting these behaviors, especially if they are of a sudden onset, then get them to a doctor. If they don't want to go, trust me, when the paramedics get there, and ask them a few questions, I can almost guarantee that they'll be going. It would be nice if a family member would intervene in this way. But, more and more, many elderly people are without immediate family, either by distance or lack of concern.

For all you know your crazy neighbor down the street who has taken to watering his petunia's in his jockey shorts may have a frontal lobe brain tumor the size of a pea.

Sometimes, we shouldn't mind our own business.

*courtesy of British Journal of Medicine

Aug 30, 2007

Dementia linked to removal of ovaries - Women's Health -

Dementia linked to removal of ovaries - Women's Health -

See, I'm not to blame. It's that damn surgeon. The only time I ever saw my gynecologist smile was pre and post surgery. He was of middle eastern descent, so communication was a challenge. But I do understand the words, "Going under the knife.." No, he didn't say that exactly, but that's what I heard.

I went to see him because I had developed what Dolly Parton once told Johnny Carson, "female problems". I had uterine fibroids. To the extent that I became anemic. I was 42, I think. Anyway, he did a D&C first.

(D and C is a procedure to scrape and collect the tissue (endometrium) from inside the uterus. Dilatation ("D") is a widening of the cervix to allow instruments into the uterus. Curettage ("C") is the scraping of the contents of the uterus. from MedlinePlus)

I said, "Why don't you just yank out the whole works and be done with it?" He said, "They won't let me!" They being the insurance company. Must follow protocols here. Which for me was medication, a D&C, and then the hysterectomy.

The day I had my D & C, I came home, and my sister Geraldine presented me with my cat Roscoe, who is featured in my picture. The gray one. He was about 8 weeks old, and decided to jump from the top of the wardrobe onto my belly, while I screamed, "No! No!" For a while Roscoe had two names. Roscoe and Cedric. My dad called him Cedric, and I called him Roscoe. My father was for all purposes deaf. He could hear out of one ear, if you bent close to it, and talked low and soft. But, anyway, Roscoe-Cedric didn't mind his name switching at all. This was during the time I was privileged to live with my father and help him with his personal care and needs, while he did his best to drive me insane. By which, I mean, he would take his walker, and carry his 90 year old ass out to the apple tree, climb said apple tree with a saw, and decide to prune the tree.

As we, (myself, my sister and brother), who both had homes nearby, lived in constant fear he would hurt himself, we stayed on pins and needles. I will tell you this, it is not an easy thing to talk a 90 year old man out of an apple tree when he doesn't want to come down. Especially when he is your father.

But, I digress. When the D&C did not work, I got to go in for the ultimate surgery. The yank out all the works surgery. I had mixed feelings. I didn't want to lose my body parts, and I figured I would be in pain. My sister was supposed to help me with my father for the 4 weeks following the surgery, where I was not supposed to lift a finger. That lasted a week and a half. What the doctor found was endometriosis, ovarian cysts, "a uterus as big as a football, and scar tissue" from my cancer surgery. It took me a full day to come out of the anesthesia, and I remember my sister's minister leaning over me at one point. It was so kind of her to come and see me after the surgery. I wanted to thank her so much.

I remember looking at her as her face swam into view, a halo around it, almost, and saying, with as much strength as I could muster, "God damn, I hurt so fucking bad!!" I remember that face, jerking back, eyes opened wider, and words drifting down to me, "I don't think the drugs have worn off yet..." But, in all actually, it was the dementia starting already!! When I told the preacher at my father's funeral that he was the spitting image of Jerry Lee Lewis, and my sister gave me that look, it was the dementia!! When I volunteer to babysit it is the dementia!! I didn't take estrogen until I was 50, like the article says you should. Cancer patients are supposed to steer clear of that stuff. I don't consider myself a patient anymore, but oncologists do. So now, I know why I am the way I am. Its dementia. I have proof.

That's probably why I can't remember what happened five minutes ago, but damn, I can remember what happened 20 years ago as clear as a bell.

The one thing that has puzzled me the most about my surgery has to do with my bosoms. Before I had it, my bra size was a 38 A, and I had trouble filling that sucker up. Now, it is a 40 D. I don't get that. I thought estrogen was what made your bozooms grow. Mine should have shrunk. I liked having the 38 A better. You had more arm space or something. That's probably where my extra weight is too. I bet if I could weigh each one of those suckers individually, they would each go at least 20 lbs. easy. The five pounders are a lot nicer. I'm guessing here. Remember, I have....all together now...dementia...

I'm so glad I found this article. It answers so many questions for me. I'm going to print it out and send it to all my bill collectors, with a note, saying, I know I might be late, but I can't help it...its the dementia...!!! And of course, the standard phone call, "You mean you didn't get my check? I know I sent you one last month. I just don't understand this at all."

Of course not! Dementia.

Blogged with Flock

Aug 27, 2007


Do not Read if you Have a weak Stomach.
Just a little more about my Pandora's box, if you will. About the scenes that I put in that box. They are not Monsters. The only monsters I have seen are poverty, ignorance, racism, and hatred. And the only offspring they have produced is war. The scenes I speak of are real, and I will give you one example, a mild one, of the scenes in the box.

Many years ago, a friend gave me a Siamese cat named Missy.

Aloof she was, but beautiful, and loved nothing more than to wander the fields surrounding our farmhouse. I knew there was no threat of little Siamese cats, as she had been neutered many years ago. There came a time in late summer one year when she did not show up for upwards of a week. We, the boys and I, went looking for her, many times, that week. We called, and searched, but could not find her. One morning I opened the back door, and there she was, full of cockle-burrs, thinner, and obviously having been through a rough time. I picked her up and carried her inside, into the washroom, and set her on top of the dryer, to look more closely at her wounds. One of her legs, while not broken, was stripped raw, and full of tiny holes filled with maggots. Busy little maggots eating away at her rotting flesh.

I remember, even at the shock of seeing this obscenity, telling myself that this was really a good thing. That while it seemed an obscenity, they were actually doing what they were best at, removing necrotic flesh, and perhaps preventing gangrene.

The vet said the same thing, and looking at me, said, "We have to get rid of these you know." And old country vet, he always gave you the truth. "Can you do this?" he asked me. I would be his assistant. I would help him hold Missy down, while he sprayed her leg with the medicine to kill the maggots. "Can you handle this?" I nodded, not really knowing if I could or not, but determined to do so for Missy's sake.

So, a short spray, and what seemed like thousands of maggots boiled out of her leg, like a pot of water boiling on the stove and spilling over, these things came from everywhere. And died. And, while dressing her leg, he spent a long time telling me about the beneficial nature of the maggot. The same things I had told myself. We talked about how they may have saved lives on the battlefields of many wars. Eating away the dead flesh, and saving the good flesh. I knew all of this was true, but the image was burned into my mind. Forever.

With antibiotics, and instruction, he told me, "If she lasts through the night, that is a good sign. I could keep her here, but you can take her home." I liked the way he put that. He was giving her a chance.

We worked with her for days, trying to get her to eat, though she refused. And then she refused water, and I knew it wouldn't be long. And then her death throes began, and I went to get the rifle, as I knew it was time. But, tears and shaking hands, made me so slow, and she died before I could load the gun. And we cried. My boys and I.

And we found a box and a beautiful cloth to wrap her in, and found a spot where she liked to sit, and she rests there today, and rather than curse myself with why didn't you, and if only you, and you really should have...I have placed Missy in my Pandora's box of memories.

So, when it came time at the hospital where I worked to help dress a patients bedsore, infected to the point where the smell pervaded every item in the room, and the tunnels and fissures of it seemed a living thing separate from from the patient, I could say, yes, I can handle this. Yes, I can sit in the room, and talk with her, make her comfortable, because I had been trained by fire.

It doesn't matter who holds the keys to the box. The scenes have no meaning for no one else but you. Other's may find them equally disturbing, but there's nothing in there that anyone can use to possibly hurt you anymore than you've already experienced. And if they climb out, then its usually for a reason. So, look at them, remember them, then tuck them away again. The greatest harm is when they run rampant through your mind, play endless on a repeating loop, to the point that all you see is the recurring scenes of remembered trauma.

This is a visualization technique. Much as laying down at night, and taking a deep breath, and exhaling slowly, but visualizing all the negativity you experienced flowing out the soles of your feet as you exhale. It takes a while, but you can actually feel it happening, if you give it a chance. A deep breath, a cleansing breath, is when you place your hand on your diaphragm and when you breath in, your hand rises. It may sound like psycho-babble, but it is actually a physical response, and if you are going to think about something, why not do your best to make it positive? What can it hurt?

Blogged with Flock

Aug 23, 2007

It took me a long time to make peace with my past. Like twenty years or something. And just when I thought I had, someone from that past reared up and did something that tore my guts up all over again. The second time around didn't hurt quite so much though. I guess deep down I was almost expecting it. A family thing, you know. And we all know how families are.

I used to get so upset when I heard things like this. But, I have changed. Perhaps it is because I feel that nothing much can hurt me now. Certain things just don't carry the same "sting" they once did. And, I have learned compassion from the events of my life. It has given me empathy for those I see going through what I have been through. But, damn, if it doesn't make you tougher, too.

There was a point in my life where I realized I was in a virtual self-help book of my own creation. I had embarked on a continual course of self-improvement. Then, suddenly, I decided, I was fine just the way I was. I didn't stop learning. I just stopped trying to improve. I looked at myself, saw the bad things, the good things, and accepted it. Of course that was around menopause....when one is apt to say or think just about anything. But this seemed to feel right inside my skin.

There are terrible scenes recorded in our minds that we can play endlessly if we choose. I keep them locked in a box in my mind.

Sometimes, if I need to, I take a peek inside, and remember, yes, you lived through that, you will live through this. This is how you coped with that situation, now maybe you can cope with this one. And that is the only reason I look into that box. There are those who choose to live in that box.

Sometimes they even wallow in it. And you know them. They want so much to move from point A to point B, but they remain forever at point A, because of the box. These people will tell you endlessly about why they can't move on. They will point to this scene and that scene in the box, and some of the scenes are memorized, detail by detail, and recalled instantaneously for their audience of the moment, whether that audience wants to hear it or not.

Some shrink might say that I compartmentalize my thoughts or feelings. They may also say this is or isn't a good thing. But that shrink does not live inside my head.

I have also found that the willingness to forgive is a powerful thing. Once you say in your heart, or in words, I forgive this person for this crime, or this action, you are free of that crime or action. And the perpetrator is left with no more tears to feed on. No more fear to plump their egos with. It doesn't matter whether they admit to guilt or not. The point is you have acknowledged their guilt, the consequences of their actions, and what they do with that information is up to them. It can be a freeing experience, unless, like the scenes in the box, you thrive on the anger and the torment. And some people do. And you have met them, as well.

Aug 21, 2007

Vick pleads guilty, waits to hear if he has NFL future -

Vick pleads guilty, waits to hear if he has NFL future -

Ok, I tried to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but evidently he is guilty. He says he is anyway. Now, he wants to know if he can still play football. Let's think about that. Could we live with him running an illegal gambling operation? Perhaps. Can we live with him being convicted of committing attrocious and inhumane acts against dogs? Hell, no!! Will he play football again?  I sincerely doubt it. Somethings can be lived down. Forgotten. I just don't think this will ever go away.  It reveals too much about his inner character, or lack of one.

I really wanted this guy to be innocent. I'm not even sure why. I am not a fan of the Atlanta Falcons. I have never met Micheal Vick. Maybe it was for all those kids with the Michael Vick poster in their rooms, who viewed him as an inspiration, something to look up to, a goal they could aspire to. Why'd you have to be such a prick, Michael? Damn.

While they await sentence, I believe they all should be locked in cages at the local dog pound.  I don't think anyone is going to adopt them. Let them wait and see if their number gets called, if you know what I mean.

What do you think would be a just and reasonable punishment for these guys?

Aug 17, 2007


I'm back after fighting with my modem for the past two days. It was a fearsome sight to behold. It had me down for the count one time, but I put it in a head lock, while wrestling it to the floor, and finally got the upperhand. I will be one happy camper when my broadband comes home to stay.

Bruno left something in my comments section about how I needed to get my life back before I became the neighborhood sucker. (That doesn't sound right, does it? But I know what he means.)  If I didn't have to wait an hour and a half for the page to load, I would call it back up, and quote it word for word, but its on the post second before this one. And, he speaks the truth. Now, I wish he would just move in here for about two or three weeks and help me. HA!  No, I don't need any help, as I am the devil.  (I probably should quit saying that, it gives me a weird feeling inside.) Like I've just had tea with George Bush and he was talking about the latest book he read, "Tip and Mitten".

 "See, Tip is this little dog, cute little rascal, and Mitten is a cat, also cute, don't get me wrong, but there's something about that cat, might be an insurgent, don't know, gonna talk to Daddy about it...get some to  jump right on this thing!" 

Well, I found myself volunteering to babysit for two 10 year old boys. It started out as a get them on the bus to school type of situation, and I thought, yeah, I can handle that, but school doesn't start for three or four weeks. (Slap on the forehead! Ouch!!) The young lady is trying so hard to get custody of her children again, and I want to help, so badly, that I have also volunteered to be a witness at the proceedings.  I should be locked in my room with a month full of mystery books, and not allowed to leave.

I took her to work, and the plan was to have the boys come over here when they woke up, as her "friend" cannot stay there while she has her children with her. Her decision, no one elses. So, C comes here.  You remember C?  Got his car repo'ed? When I got home, C hadn't gone to work, and my favorite neighbor of all time, you guessed it, was already here talking to my son, and to use the phone. Now, if all I had to worry about was me, the conversation would have probably been short and sweet. Get the fuck out of my house, you, over there, on the phone. But, I also have my son, who for whatever reason values this woman, and as I want him in my life always, I will make certain accommodations for those he cares about.  And that's just how it will be. This is a decision I made two years ago, and I may gripe about it, but usually I relate these stories for their humorous appeal, rather than their gripe factor. If I wanted to gripe, gosh, there is so many more worthy things to choose from, the list is endless. I wouldn't know where to start.

All through my life I have met and enjoyed the company of some fairly odd and strange people. They are drawn to me, or vice-versa, and I have learned a great deal from them. Some of it was even beneficial. But never have we spent a day window shopping, or fixing each other's hair, or doing whatever it is that normal people do. As you can see, I am guessing here.

So, where was I? Ah,  the babysitting, which I had volunteered to do...Well, C said he would watch them, as he wasn't working, and he was going to take them fishing. I wrestled with the modem, and learned that C had let the boys go to the Butt girl's house to play with her demon child. Ok, ok, that is so mean, even I take offense.  He is not a demon child.  He just acts like one. No, he has issues.  Its just that sometimes I look at him and I think there goes a future Ted Bundy.  I somehow picture him with a box of little animal bones buried somewhere in the woods close by. When a lady stopped and asked if I had seen two little dogs that were missing, it was all I could do to keep from shrieking, "Oh, God, They're in the box!  Good God, in heaven, they're in the box!!"  I just said I would watch for them. (They're in the box.)

Well, of course demon child came back with the two boys, and spent the day with them, which made their mom quite angry as they were not supposed to go there, and C caught hell, but it should have been me, and why, I'm not sure. There, now that makes perfect sense I know.

Tension is in the air, though, not from me, but a show-down between two moms of 10 year olds, and when the forces collide in fury and thunderous energy, I hope I am at Food Lion or somewhere safe, deciding between a plain chocolate bar or one with almonds.

Blogged with Flock

Aug 14, 2007

Vick soon to be the only man standing in a federal dogfighting case - News -

Well, of course he's going to be the only one. The other's charged in this case have been scared into accepting plea bargains, so Michael Vick, the one with everything to lose, will stand alone in this case. And, again, part of their plea-bargain is the save your own ass theory of law, testify against him, and maybe we'll smack your hand.

Did you know in the state of Virginia there is no such thing as entrapment? Oh, yeah, Virginia did away with that a long time ago.

Which means a law enforcement agency can set you up any which way they want to, approach you in any way, shape, or form, and down the road, you cannot accuse them of trying to entrap you into breaking the law.

*ENTRAPMENT - A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.

*The 'Lectric Law Library

In the Indictment, references are made to the Cooperating Witness Known to the Grand Jury. Well, I for one, would like to know how they knew them. These are the people in Virginia who sold them four pit bull puppies to begin with. So, we're to believe that Cooperating Witness #1 sold these puppies knowing full well what they would be used for, because that's the way the game is played people. By also turning evidence against Michael Vick, they get a slap on the hand.

The deeper you look into this shit the worse it stinks.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Aug 13, 2007

I have lately become acquainted with a young man named...C. Of course there are more letters in his name, but C will suffice for now. He spent some years in the Air Force, and now, he seems to wander from job to job, as my son has been doing since his brother's death in Iraq. They have started working for a temp service, and I am not complaining. He is doing something. My son I mean. He is finally moving forward, and that is a good sign.

C is one of the those rare people who just by being tends to make you laugh. He is totally in love with my friend, who calls me Miss EJ. However, Saturday night, because of my son's 42 year old 'friend', (yes, the butt girl) they decided my new nickname should be "the devil," loosely based on the Waterboy's mother in the Waterboy. Seems my son's friend's little boy let slip, after a lot of coaching from me, (the devil), that his mother thinks I am mean. So, of course, being somewhat of a sarcastic nature, I said, "Boy, don't you know that I come from the devil?" He looked at me, somewhat dubious, and said, "No, you don't." Of course, my son, ever my defender, said, "Yes, she does!!" Wasn't that sweet? What happened, you may ask. The last time I wrote about this woman we were going to church. We'll, we didn't make it. She went fishing instead.

She came down a few days later with her son in tow to use my phone. She still has to pay a 95 dollar deposit to get her phone turned on, and she uses my phone until she does so. I don't have a problem with that, unless she plans on calling relatives in Afghanistan or Iraq, and not because I am racist per se, but that is probably the calls that Homeland Security monitors, and I just don't need that shit right now. Anyway, everything was going fine, until she and her son began to fight with one another. "You are a liar!" "I am not mom!" "Yes you are you little fucker!" "Mom, please, I'm not doing anything." So, rather than find something handy to brain her with, I politely told her, "Look, if you two or going to fight, ya'll will have to take it elsewhere, cause I don't want to hear it." Then, Poof!! she was gone....Yes, just like Keyser Sose! So, she wouldn't come back to my house for was so peaceful.

She returned one night, as my son, the boy, and she were going fishing. Well, the last time they went fishing they left a cooler with a dead crab in it on my porch. Guess who opened it after it had sat in the hot son all day? You guessed it. Guess who has bleached the cooler twice now? You guessed it. They also froze some undressed fish, meaning it had all its guts and everything, and left it in my freezer. And left it. For two weeks. Because she doesn't have room in her freezer, as she has no food, and is starving. I know that doesn't make sense. But, I'm the devil and can say shit like that. At least this is what I hear her telling various church groups. On my telephone. While I cringe in the corner.

So, I'm getting ready to tote the trash off, and I see all this fish, that no one wants or they would have cleaned it to begin with, and I decide to chunk it out. I also see a box of squid, bait, and chunk that too. I hurry and take this to the trash dump, and when I come back, I admire all that empty space in my freezer.

Then they come down with the fishing poles and fishing stuff, and make a beeline for the freezer, looking for the fish! (where is it? I don't know!) and the bait (where is it? I don't know!) and she comes out fussing about having to buy more bait. So, I'm sitting there with this shit eating grin on my face, when this young man C says, the devil did it.

C recently had his car repossessed. He says his mother turned him in. I have no idea. We were all just shocked that they would repossess a car when he was just three weeks late on a payment. So, C has been working at this temp place, and he worked one day at one place in particular that hired him full time. Before the car was repossessed. Of course without his car, he called and told them he would not be able to work there, but they are a patient lot, and told him to come back when he gets his car out of the shop. So, he decides to call them back a few days later, to find out when he can pick up his check for one day. All we hear is "I know damn well I worked there. I worked for ya'll one day, and you told me to come back when I got my car back. Well, you better check your computer, cause my names in there, dammit. I want my check." When he hangs up, he turns and looks at us, and starts laughing. We ask him whats so funny. He says, "Damn, I just called the repo man."

"Why didn't you just have them apply your check to the balance due?" I said. "Did you help him hook it up, or what?"

"No," he said, "I just dialed the wrong number. No wonder she didn't know who I was."

Moments like this are precious and few, and we laughed ourselves silly.

I don't feel any different having been deemed the devil. I don't even look different. I've always been scary looking. I guess now I have a reason to be. I asked them, why me, why am I the devil? My son explained the best. He said, "Mama, as long as I've known you, I have to say you are like some wines...and acquired taste." I think that's a compliment, of sorts.

Aug 10, 2007

The following is taken in its entirety, courtesy of Wikipedia. I decided to post this because Anne asked me What misleading or untrue propaganda did they make up about your ancestors? Well, other than that we are all barefoot, ignorant, and inbred, eat peas with a knife, and po' molasses over everthing we eat, a lot of people think we are nothing but dirty coal-miners. Well, this is what coal miners did for the working man.

Battle of Blair Mountain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest organized armed uprising in American labor history and led almost directly to the labor laws currently in effect in the United States of America. For nearly a week in late August and early September 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners confronted state and federal troops in an effort to unionize the southwestern West Virginia mine counties. Unionization had succeeded elsewhere as part of a demographic boom that was triggered by the extension of the railroad and was characterized by unprecedented immigrant hiring and exploitation in the region. The battle was the final act in a series of violent clashes that have also (confusedly) been termed the Red Neck War, from the colour of neckscarves worn by the miners, and the likely impetus of the common usage of the original Scottish term Red neck in the vernacular of the United States.

Though tensions had been simmering for years, the immediate catalyst for the uprising was the unpunished murder of Sid Hatfield, police chief of Matewan, on the steps of the McDowell County courthouse in July 1921 by alleged company goons. Hatfield had been a long-time supporter of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and their efforts to unionize the mines.

At a rally on August 7, Mother Jones called on the miners to march into Logan and Mingo counties and set up the union by force. Armed men began gathering at Lens Creek, near Marmet in Kanawha County on August 20, and by four days later up to 13,000 had gathered and began marching towards Logan County. Meanwhile, the reviled Sheriff of Logan County, Don Chafin, had begun to set up defences on Blair Mountain.

The first skirmishes occurred on the morning of August 25. The bulk of the miners were still 15 miles away. The following day, President Warren Harding threatened to send in federal troops, and the miners began to leave. However, mistaken reports came in that Sheriff Chafin's men were deliberately shooting women and children - families had been caught in crossfire during the skirmishes - and the miners turned back towards Blair Mountain, many travelling in on stolen and commandeered trains.

By August 29, battle was fully joined. Chafin's men, though outnumbered, had the advantage of higher positions and better weaponry. Private planes were hired to drop homemade bombs on the miners, though many of these failed to explode and none are believed to have caused any injuries. Sporadic gun battles continued for a week, with the miners at one time nearly breaking through to the town of Logan and their target destinations, the counties to the south, Logan and Mingo. Up to 30 deaths were reported on both sides, with many hundreds more injured. By September 2, however, federal troops had arrived, the fledgling United States Army Air Service had dropped a few bombs as a demonstration meant to overawe the labor organizers and in the event, the miners dispersed the following day. It was the only time in history of the U.S.A. that military planes were used against its own people.

Following the battle, 985 miners were indicted for "murder, conspiracy to commit murder, accessory to murder, and treason against the State of West Virginia." Though some were acquitted by sympathetic juries, many were also imprisoned for a number of years, though they were paroled in 1925. Short term, the battle seemed to be an overwhelming victory for management, and UMWA membership plummeted from more than 50,000 miners to circa 10,000 the next several years.

In the long-term, the battle raised awareness of the appalling conditions faced by miners in the dangerous West Virginia coalfields, and led directly to a change in union tactics into political battles to get the law on labor's side vice confrontations with recalcitrant and abusive managements and thence to the much larger organized labor victory a few years later during the New Deal in 1933. That in turn led to the UMWA helping organize many better-known unions such as the Steel workers and Teamster's during the mid-thirties.

In the final analysis, management's success was a Pyrrhic victory that led eventually to a much larger and stronger organized labor movement in many industries, not only mining, and labor union affiliations and umbrella organizations like the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), and their successor the AFL-CIO. Hence, part of the legacy of this battle is the near universal eight-hour workday, workers compensation insurance, paid vacation and medical benefits now enjoyed by most full-time American workers.

In fiction

The Blair Mountain march, as well as the events leading up to it and those immediately following it, are depicted in the novels Storming Heaven (Denise Giardina, 1987) and Blair Mountain (Jonathan Lynn, 2006). John Sayles' 1986 film Matewan depicts the so-called Matewan Massacre, a small part of the Blair Mountain story. Diane Gilliam Fisher's poetry collection, Kettle Bottom, published by Perugia Press, also focuses on the events of the Battle of Blair Mountain, from the perspective of the miners' families.

Corbin, David, ed. The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Martinsburg, W.Va.: Appalachian Editions, 1998. ISBN 0962748609
Lee, Howard B. Bloodletting in Appalachia: The Story of West Virginia's Four Major Mine Wars and Other Thrilling Incidents of Its Coal Fields. Morgantown, W.Va.: West Virginia University Press, 1969. ISBN 0870120417
Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990. ISBN 0822936348
Shogan, Robert. The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest Union Uprising. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2004. ISBN 0813340969

External links
"The Red Neck War of 1921." Accessed February 28, 2006.

Organized Labour Portal
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Logan County, West Virginia Miners' labor disputes Labor disputes in the United States History of the Southern United States Appalachian culture United Mine Workers of America

Now, ain't that sumthin'?

Aug 9, 2007

Illegal immigration--read this

Do yourself a giant favor and read this:

Holly's Hystrionics: An Illegal Immigration Rant

And then read this:

It really opened my eyes about the illegal alien situation and its ramifications in this country. Here in Virginia it is not uncommon for workers from across the border to say how they can work here for a few years at minumum wage, return home, and not work for three or four years. Certain commodities that are extremely expensive 'back home' can be purchased here, sent 'home' and resold for a nice profit.

But these two bloggers do a much better job than I do at explaining this situation, and both deal with it on a much more personal level.

And now, the News

Farmer attacks police with muck spreader

A farmer in Germany, after police tried to take his tractor from him, attacked, evaded, and escaped said police for seven hours in said tractor. He used the attached muck-raker to damage several police vehicles before he took off through the forest. They found him hiding out in his barn seven hours later, no doubt with an order to approach with 'caution'. No, he did not borrow the muck-raker from George Bush. A man and his tractor shall not be soon parted.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a baby..

A couple in New Zealand are fighting the good fight for their two month old son. After their initial name of '4Real" was turned down for their tiny son by the register's office, they have decided to name him "Superman" instead, and call him 4Real, anyway. (Dammit!) However, they are fighting for the right to have his legal name registered as 4Real Wheaton. Or maybe just '4Real'. If only little babies could talk at 2 months old. This kid's got to go to school someday dad.....?! "So, for real, what is your name?" "4Real" "Right. So what is it?" "4Real." "That's what we said, ain't it?" "Yes" "So what's your name?" "4Real." "Yes, for real...god, you're so stupid." "It's 4Real!! I'm not stupid!!" "It's for real you are!!" Gives me a headache.

It's safe to go back into water, doorman says

Ok, everybody back in the water. Forget about taking your in laws on that sea-side excursion to the sunny coast of Cornwall, England. There are no great White Sharks in the water. The picture, of a great white shark, (can't fool you guys!) that caused all the excitement was actually taken during a fishing trip to South Africa by Kevin Keeble, a local doorman, and evident Wild and Crazy Guy. He sent said picture to the paper saying it was taken near the British surfing resort of Newquay. Reporters, always check your sources!!! Always check your sources!!! Are you daft?

Parking-Lot Fender Bender for Britney

Poor Britney, she hit another car trying to park her own while shopping today. She evidently inspected her car and went about her merry way, not leaving a note or anything!!! Ooooowh!!!The owner of the Mercedes, the car that got rammed, Kim Robard-Rifkin, 59, thought she would be a "mensch", (good person, for all the non-Yiddish out there) but instead she turned out to be a putz. Britney, hire a professional driver. Take a limo. Ride a bike. Jog. Or better yet. Stay home. I thought maybe she had ran into Tupac or something.

Oh, well, enough excitement for one day.

And, I'm outta here...............................................!

Aug 5, 2007

Crazy things we did when our kids were small.

Trying to be good parents is a challenge to say the least. Being new parents, no one presents you with a handbook, where we can turn to page 63 and see what we're supposed to do when say, a child steals one of your children's toys.

The first house we lived in was in Pensacola Florida. My husband was a flag driver for the admiral, so it was a nice tour for him. This was the first house we owned. Unfortunately, we did not discover that our neighbors were mentally challenged in anyway until after we moved in.

The neighbors on the right slept during the day and cooked and partied at night. I suppose there were at least 15 people living in the house. When we decided it was time to go to bed, they decided it was time for supper. As they were feuding with the garbage people at the time, they bagged their garbage and stacked it on the side of the house facing our bedroom window. The smell...ah, the smell... We tolerated it for about a week, then made an anonymous call to the health department, who, in turn, made them come out and clean it up.

One day, the lady next door came over, introduced herself, a beautiful, cultured, black woman, and said, "Do you know what someone did to us?" Well, you know what someone did to them. We did it. I, of course, played dumb. "I can't believe it!" I said. We actually became good neighbors, well, she and I did. My husband never forgave them for the trash incident.

The house on the other side of us was the house that could have been occupied by Cheech and Chong had they been the parents of 6 or 7 children, we were never really sure how many lived there. The guy here ,too, only came out at night, and it was usually to work on some kind of diesel engine that required someone to rev it up over and over again. Or, one of his favorite past times was to grab his chain saw, and start pruning his trees. Maybe he needed firewood, (in Pensacola, during the summer of 79?). We just thought he was crazy, and probably should be avoided at all costs.

That changed when we noticed the black plastic car in their yard. Because EJ, all of 10 months old, had a black plastic car just like it. It was about a foot long, a convertible, and he could park his diapered ass on it and scoot around. It had been stolen! One of the nefarious little children from next door had snuck in our yard and had stolen it. At this time in our lives, we never considered confronting the parents and demanding the return of our child's toy. That would come later. With experience. Remember, we had no handbook!

We decided to wait until everyone was gone, hop the fence and steal it back. EJ had been walking for some time now. And he toddled after us as we made our way to the fence, checking the backyard for the crazy man, nope, he's gone, making sure the coast was clear. Then, my husband gingerly, standing on tip-toes, stepped over the fence, and keeping low to the ground, grabbed the black car, turned and ran like the devil, and practically leaped back over to safety. EJ was delighted. He sat on his little car and scooted around for a bit, while my husband and I sat on the front porch steps, feeling like theives, waiting for the sirens.

Then ,wordlessly, we watched, as he grabbed his little plastic car, walked to the fence, and, with all his might, through it over into the neighbors yard. Then he looked at us, expectantly. Then he pointed. "Ca! Ca!" he called. "WEll, shit!" my husband, said. He turned around and walked in the house.

When the boys were three and four, he listened to EJ cry and tell about a bigger boy of seven who had stolen his He-man sword, and went with EJ so he could show his daddy who the boy was. I'm saying, "let's just get him another sword." "No! It's the principle of the thing!"

So, my husband spent one whole afternoon following a seven year old boy, waiting for him to put his sword down so he could steal it back for EJ. We were watching TV when he came bounding in the house, "I got it! I got it!" We were so proud...until, we discovered EJ's sword behind the sofa. Which meant, my husband had just stolen a toy from a seven year old boy for no reason whatsoever.

The next morning, the little seven year old boy came to the door and demanded his sword. I gave it to him, and apologized, saying it was a mistake. He just looked at me, and asked, "Tell your husband to quit following me or I'm gonna tell my dad and he'll beat him up!"

"Yes," I said. "I will." What could I say? I didn't have a handbook!
how hot it was
the night we couldn't sleep
I opened the window
in my bedroom
and the breeze
the fresh, cool breeze
came rushing through.

So cool it felt,
And, I got you, and you,
out of your tiny beds,
and, you being the oldest,
I laid you down first,
and, you being the youngest,
I kept in the middle,
and I laid down, at the end,
so you wouldn't slip away.
crossways, we were
on the bed,
And the cooling breeze washed over us,
as the curtain blew in,
over and over.

I watched the stars,
And I watched you, and I watched you,
just so happy to see you breathe.
such contentment,
can only be felt once,
I think.
Why wasn't that night
much, much longer?

The cool summer breeze,
my sleeping babies,
and me.

Aug 4, 2007

So, where the heck have I been? I'm not too sure myself. My neighbors have been having problems, and somehow we seem to be the helpers of choice. Glad to be able to do it, though, and I mean that. I have myself been in situations where I have stopped and asked myself, "Hey, where the heck did everybody go? Damn, they were here just a minute ago. I seen em with my own eyes!!" So, it's nice to be there for somebody. And, as I've probably said so before, my son has been bringing home strays since he was knee high to a, yep, you guessed it...grasshopper.

I keep feeling like I should write something about Michael Vick. I really don't know if the guy is guilty or not. I live not too far from where the scene of the crime took place. Evidently, "Ookie" or as Vick is known by his partners in crime, "Q", "T", and "P-Funk", his co-defendants, (you can find the whole indictment for download at, started a venture called, "Bad Newz Kennels" for the purpose of buying, selling, training, transporting, staging, and sponsoring dog fights. In other words, they were raising dogs for gambling purposes. Buying and selling dogs and training them to fight on the illegal dog fighting circuit. Which also means they transported said dogs from state to state.

If the dogs did not perform well, they were put to death in extremely inhumane and cruel ways. Which is odd as a vet had been retained to treat dogs who were injured. Anyway, the whole thing sucks, and the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

To understand Surry, you have to understand that every body's cousin is every body else's cousin. And my cousin's cousin's good friend wants to know if he can....blah, blah, blah. We will never know the extent, if any, of the involvement of Michael Vick in this enterprise. If a federal attorney offers just one of these guys a plea agreement, then I imagine he may very well implicate his own mother. "Yep, she was there, I told her, I said, Mama, go home...this ain't no place for you...but she wouldn't listen, what could I do? Damn, Mama, why did you do it? Oh, lord, my own mama!!

This is a federal case, meaning its the United States vs. Michael Vick and company. At the end of the indictment it says that if they are convicted they will be made to forfeit property, proceeds, or assets "obtained directly or indirectly as a result of such violation".

I know of a young man who was doing some private contracting for Mr. Vick, I'd say for a good while now, and he has never once mentioned dogs. He has mentioned that he will not be getting paid.

This supposedly went on from 2001 until 2007. Just how much evidence did they need to collect?

Why wouldn't he just invest in a race horse? This is horse country around here. If you have money, chances are you have a horse, worth big bucks.

And why in the world would an NFL quarterback jeopardize his career, everything he has worked for, to enter the underworld arena of illegal dogfighting? If he wanted to gamble, hell, there's a Texas Hold'em game going on somewhere around here all the time. No limit.

"So hot today, I was sweating like a poodle at Michael Vick’s place." David Letterman.