April 12, 2012

Two thinks and a giggle

As is usually the case, I have a random bunch of stuff to throw at you today. My headache finally went away but is trying to sneak back in this morning. I am mainlining tea; I think I'm getting dehydrated, which is causing the headaches; I try to drink water through the night, but then I have to go pee, which means all the way to the basement. Maggie sleeps on top of me and is getting a little angry, and giving me a face that just says, 'can't you just hold it? I do'. So, pushing back the headache, again.

I promised two thinks. The first one, from Salon by Evelyn Nieves, is remarkable. If you watched Winter's Bone, which I hope you did because it was brilliant, or read it, which I hope you did, because it was even more brilliant, you will recall it was a bleak, harsh tale set in Appalachia, with the thread of meth running through it. Drug dealing and use has devastated this region, which admittedly didn't have far to fall. This piece deals with the explosion of abuse of prescription drugs. Read it. I guarantee it will blow you away. Factor in the math involved, and you will wonder how there is anyone left to populate North America. Our race to pharmaceutical bliss is destroying people, families, towns, and regions. And the big bad wolf at the door isn't hash or heroine or coke: it's the pills we have come to expect to help us ride out the pain. The problem now is the pain isn't having your wisdom teeth yanked or hernia surgery: it's the rot of the next generation of drug addiction that is aided and abetted by the medical profession, and fueled by profits to Big Pharma. We are sick indeed.

Okay, we can move on now to a very cool, quirky piece. In Slate, author Tom Vanderbilt goes for a walk. Literally.You know how when you walk down a crowded sidewalk, there are a series of unspoken bobs and weaves and steps you take in sync (usually) with everyone else? How crowded crosswalks seems to work? How everyone factors in their personal space, and knowing *just* when to move to avoid a collision? And, escalators. He talks about escalators. Don't get me started about the terror traps. I am terrified of escalators. BUT. This piece actually makes me understand why. It goes into how many falls take place, and how, on stairs and escalators. Your body makes automatic adjustments without you knowing it, so you don't fall down an escalator. I, however, have no sense of balance, so I bobble all over and clutch the handrail, then recoil in horror because I know that handrail never gets cleaned, and all I can imagine are the people who cough into their hands or wipe their nose on the their hand then hold that rail, then that rail becomes the only thing separating me from those churning, gnawing steps of death. So, germs or slice and dice. No wonder I'm scared.

Read the most dangerous parts of a staircase. Read why we do that jerky movement on an escalator that isn't moving. Too bad he didn't go into those conveyor things at the airport. I could do a whole post just on those. Maybe I will.

But. I promised you something funny. If you love dogs you will love this. If you hate dogs you will love this. There are some bad words in it. There's your warning, but it's hilarious.


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Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

David Baldacci's "Divine Justice" spends quite a bit of its time dealing with pain pill addiction in a place called Divine, Virginia, a coal mining down. It was my first insight into that whole area of addiction.

When I was reading your escalator escapade I was thinking of that new high-speed conveyor thingy at the airport. It is human carnage just waiting to happen. The real danger is when people stop walking as it slows down. The people behind (still on the fast part) have nowhere to go and you get human bowling pins laying all a-kimbo on the ground.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

April 12, 2012 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Zena said...

Yes, it's a situation documented at conveyor belt conventions (if they can have Gremlin fan clubs, I'm sure there's room in the world for conveyor belt conventions...) as "ablegi devented."

I've always loved the word "akimbo." Don't know why. It's just so... I dunno...

April 12, 2012 6:40 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Zena... I threw a "-" in there because I knew a pure "akimbo" would throw you into raptures.

You can thank me later.

April 12, 2012 9:07 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Oh and by the way. Being as I'm the only one saying anything here. Did you ever wonder whose idea it was to have the hand rail on an escalator go faster than the stair part? For those who always spelunk up the escalator with a death grip on the hand rail, it's like a midieval torture device. By the time you get to the top you're three inches taller.

April 13, 2012 8:13 AM  
Blogger David Moffat, Centre of the Universe said...

Don't you just love it when people stop immediately after stepping off the escalator to decide whether they want to go left, right, or straight ahead oblivious of the fact that the escalator is jammed with fast approaching people about to mow them down?

April 13, 2012 9:42 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I realize using the word 'spelunk' was bait.

Escalators are hell. Christer used to hold my hand and say 'don't worry, Mommy'. He was 4.

You have to use them at the Detroit Auto show all day long to go between three levels, and I hold onto somebody's shirt every time. It works best when this is someone I know.

April 13, 2012 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Zena said...

I actually wouldn't mind being three inches taller. With my luck, though, I'd only end up with arms three inches longer.

Mind, that might improve my spelunking skills...

April 13, 2012 1:19 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Zena. For spelunking, etiquette dictates that you're not supposed to use your arms. The spelunkee might get upset.

Just a note to the uninitiated.

April 13, 2012 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

CB - thought you were throwing a sickie today?

April 13, 2012 2:33 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Roz... I'm on a perpetual vacation. Two weeks. When I'm home my family keeps asking "When do you go to work next?" When I'm away they throw parties.

My youngest one calls me "Fabio." It's a cruel prod about my (lack of) hair.

But they love me.


April 13, 2012 3:39 PM  

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