Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Feeling Cranky And Churlish Today. . . .

. . . . . . . . but I think I have good reason to feel that way.

One annoyance is that the Blue Angels are in Corpus Christi this weekend for shows at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. They have been rehearsing today, and as a result our condo has been repeatedly rattled by low flying jets screaming in off the Gulf of Mexico. Even car alarms are being set off by the jets' shock waves. And for what purpose? If these were training exercises for an anti-terrorist mission, that would be one thing. But instead the Blue Angels are training for a series of stunts, all performed at low altitudes over heavily populated areas. As I asked before, for what purpose??

Attention President Obama: if you want to save on defense spending, ground the Blue Angels. And when you're finished with that, start showing more respect for civil liberties and privacy than George W. Bush did. Your somewhat. . . . . . shall we say, overenthusiastic embrace of warrantless wiretaps is one reason why people like me------people who voted for you and donated to your campaign----are experiencing severe buyer's remorse these days.

I'm also pissed off at an event being held tonight at a local high school running track. The event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. People will be walking the track all night, and sponsors will be donating a certain amount of money for each mile walked.

So why does that piss me off?

Because the American Cancer Society, like almost all other cancer groups (such as the Jimmy V Foundation that Dick Vitale slobbers over each basketball season) focus their efforts almost exclusively on research into "finding a cure for cancer." But that approach has two big shortcomings: 1) as you can read here (and here), all of those billions spent on research have brought very little improvement in cancer survival and no further to a "cure," and 2) all that money spent on research leaves very little money left over for support and aid to existing cancer patients and for making diagnostic tests for early detection more widely available to more people.

One of the things that shocked me when I began chemotherapy was how many fellow patients had no reliable way to travel to and from their treatments. Make no mistake-----you are in absolutely no shape to drive after a chemo infusion, and you remain physically impaired for days afterward (I was typically bedridden for five days following each of my infusions). I was fortunate to have Di to drive me to and from the hospital in Austin, but many people, especially the elderly, had to search for a ride each treatment session. And sometimes they had to cancel their treatments if a ride wasn't available.

Some of that money being spent in futile searches for "cures" needs to be redirected toward services and support for people who need rides to their chemo treatments, who need people to check on them after treatments to see how they're doing, who need psychological counseling, etc.

Those sorts of tasks aren't glamorous enough for the American Cancer Society. Yet those tasks make life far more bearable for those dealing with cancer.

Some have asked if I would like a donation made in my name to the American Cancer Society after my death. And my answer to that is. . . . . . . hell no!! Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation does an infinitely better job of supporting and aiding cancer patients, especially in Central Texas, and deserves your support far more than the American Cancer Society does.

See? I may be falling apart, but I'm still the same irascible son of a bitch I've always been!