Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Bad Side of Good News

Today it was announced that a major step forward in the prevention of HIV infection occurred. From MSNBC:
BANGKOK - For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results “instilled new hope” in the field of HIV vaccine research, although researchers say it likely is many years before a vaccine might be available.

Today on Facebook a friend posted to my home page the question "What are your thoughts?" along with the link to the MSNBC article above. My first thought was "GREAT!" Then, as you would suspect, the rest of my mind kicked in.

Yes, overall, I'm SUPER pleased! It's a very small step. It was only effective in 30% of the cases and it is really only effective on one of the strains in Thailand. BUT that's all more than we had last year.

What made me even consider a dark cloud about this was the line in the article that says it is likely to be "many years before a vaccine might be available".

There's a vaccine for swine flu coming out this fall
and that pig hit the fan last year!

Why am I bitching about that? Because if in the early 1980's HIV had been touted as the cataclysmic, earth shaking bug that Swine Flu is now, we could be enjoying the fruits of HIV research NOW... not YEARS from now. But because it was first called "Gay Cancer" then called "Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease" or GRID the general (i.e. religious republicans...) wouldn't touch it. Many were saying it was God's punishment on the Gays.

It was several years and hundreds (if not thousands) of AIDS related deaths after the discovery before our "beloved" president, who is SUPPOSED to represent EVERY American even said the words HIV and AIDS in public. Until then nothing was being done. People were dying and no one in the establishment gave a rat's ass because who's going to miss a few fags out in San Francisco?

A group called ACTUP decided they'd had enough of seeing their friends die; dropping like flies around them. My guess is that less than 10% of the people reading this post truly know what that is like. ACTUP did just that... They acted up! In the joking words of my faux family back in South Carolina they "Showed ass at....." and fill in the blank where applicable.

I don't want to turn this into a rant the length of the Bible, but if you heard me say anything even minutely negative about the great leap forward in AIDS research that we experienced this week, I wanted you to know why. This is a GREAT DAY!!!! I'm just disappointed it couldn't have been August 8, 2001.

So back to the sunshine that today is! It is a great leap forward and we're that much closer to finding a vaccine to prevent and then hopefully one to cure.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Creeping me since 1979

One of the benefits of being in a small town and being a latch key kid (and also being tall for my age since birth) was that occasionally I got to see movies I wouldn't normally be able to. Specifically horror movies.

Now before you start tsk tsking my mom and her parenting ability, there has actually been a very positive outcome from this. After growing up seeing blood, guts and gore in movies, I was essentially desensitized to gore by the time I started working in the Emergency Rooms of my health care career. Broken bones, blood, guts, brains shot out... nothing bothered me to the point of not being able to handle it. Don't get me wrong. I felt for the people, I felt bad and was impacted by these injuries, but the affect was that to this day I can NOT understand people who say (and do) "I faint at the sight of blood" wuss...

So while I join millions who still enter the planet's oceans fearing either sharks or cellos with their forever known duuuuuuh dum..... duuuuuuuh dum. dum dum dum dum dum dum..... ( it's the Jaws tune... work with me) There is another, much more seemingly benign fear that I have to this day as a 43 year old thanks to a horror movie, and that's the fear of 3:15am.

If you didn't see or read The Amityville Horror, you don't know. Part of the story was that the 'evil' of this house continually woke up George Lutz (played by James Brolin) at 3:15am and all sorts of evil would ensue.

There have been times in my life where I would wake up in the middle of the night and it would be 3:13am... and I'd lie there (under the covers) petrified until the clock read 3:16. I'd often give it until 3:20 because who knows, maybe evil missed the L and was running a little late. But still, from the time I saw this movie until last night when I woke up at 4:00am on the dot needing to go to the bathroom I still at the very least NOTICE the time in the middle of the night.

One of the last times my entire family was together before mom passed, I found out through telling the story that my brother MaleSib ALSO had this 315aphobia. My first reaction was I was glad I wasn't the only one. My second was a sense of relief that he never found out until I was an adult because he didn't need any more ammo to scare the bejeezus out of me as a kid! Being the web based tech geek that he is and loves, he was surfing about and found an online auction of pop culture items and sent me a link to a couple of them. The first was a computer panel from Star Trek: First Contact. The second was this:

It's not only A clock reading 3:15, it's THE clock from the movie.... SEE... if he had known I was afraid of 3:15 as a kid he'd have set his clock every night until I was in a padded room!

Luckily the bidding starts at several hundred dollars and a gag gift isn't worth all that. Although, perhaps if we got it we could have a sledge hammer party and bring closure as he said.

But then the hammers would start to bleed, the flies would come out in the winter and some pig's eyes would appear in the broken glass and turn away suddenly with a OINK!

Don't get those last references? Good, that means you'll be sleeping well tonight. Me, I'll be taking some Tylenol PM and not drinking water after 8pm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

OK, I'm back sooner than I thought...

But for good reason!

I'm starting up again to take part in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3Day walk in August.

My mom, who you all know if you've read my blog, passed away in 2005 and I really want to do the walk to honor her. So cough it up! (Lea, you're set) I'll be posting on my Walk For Patsy blog as I get ready and there will be a comedy benefit with me, my fellow blogger Stephen and another of our comedy friends and (hopefully) a surprise REAL get-paid-for-it comedian in Chicago in February so if you're local, get ready!

Meanwhile, get out the credit card and help out!
Donation Page

Yes I'm shamelss... go give dangit!

Yes I know.....

It's been forever since I posted. (well, a week in blog time IS close to forever)

Work has been oppressive as we prepare for our annual conference in Anaheim, California. The highlight of which, aside from seeing someone after 6 months, will be finally getting this albatross of a conference over with.

However, I have several postings that I've started, but left unfinished as work pulled me away.

I'm going to turn my United flight 556 into my writer's office and the four hour flight into my catch up time. That... or I'll read Kathy Griffin's new book and laugh annoyingly out loud for my fellow passengers :) Am I sitting with my coworkers? No. They know better than to sit next to the 6'7" person who doesn't fit into anything commercial.

Watch for more posts to pop up after September 26.

If you don't, blame Kathy Griffin

Friday, September 11, 2009

George Patrick McLaughlin

This is a special post for Project 2,996

George Patrick McLaughlin

I hope it’s not too forward of me, someone who’s never met him or had heard his name until this week, to call him Georgie. However after reading about him, Georgie seems to be the name those who loved him used and I would guess, by the smile that I’m sure was everpresent, that he liked Georgie just fine.

Georgie was 36 when his life ended and our lives changed forever as he was one of the 2,996 victims in the September 11 attacks. In honor of Georgie, though, I’d like to think that he and I were a little alike in that while we respected the tragedy, we would both be the kind to try to lighten the mood. I didn’t know him, but I feel that through reading about him and reading the comments posted on various sites to him that I came to know him as I come to know literary figures.

Georgie seemed to be the one that made people laugh, no matter what. I imagine that his time at Matawan Regional High School in Matawan, NJ prepared him for what his mother called “majoring in girls” at Wesley College. Comments of the parties, talks, and Georgie watching out for his friends populate all the comments made through the various Remembrance sites.

The Georgie in my mind was loyal to his friends and family. He had 3 sisters and while not the oldest, I see him as the big brother to all of them. Georgie could be laughing and having a good time in one moment, but switch gears to help someone who had a problem the next moment. How would he help them? Make them laugh. Long talks, pulling them out of the blue mood and making them feel bigger than the problem they had originally experienced. His ability to look after and over people were so strong that people reference his insight and taking care of a recently passed loved one even after Georgie was gone.

Georgie, my fellow Irishman, those you knew miss you greatly, but still smile even if through tears when they think of you. I never had the privilege of meeting you, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn a little about you and form who you were in my mind. I hope I got it right. The world is at a loss without you in it, but it is a comfort to know we have a good hearted man with a sense of humor watching over us.