Thursday, May 31, 2007

What I've Learned So Far

For what it's worth:

1. When you get the bad news (be it cancer, MS or whatever), let it sink in--but not so long it endangers your health. The immediate first reaction of loved ones is to push you toward a course of action in the next five minutes. Obviously. They love you. Your obvious reaction is to push back NO. Why? Consider that the diagnosis has just knocked the wind out of your sails and, if I might suggest, given your sense of control over your own life a thorough whuppin. You don't need anyone else micromanaging your health, thank you. Acknowledge that, respect it, but then take control back, not by inaction but by resolve.

2. Read Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox. He takes you through all the denial, avoidance, and acting out you're ever going to do, in a compellingly honest way (about his Parkinson's). I cried reading that book because it just felt like he had watched me over the past year and was calling me out as a mother, as a person with a future, and pushing me to both acceptance and battle by telling his own story.

3. Recognize that acceptance is not the same as defeat. In fact, it is the first step to winning your battle, whatever that victory is going to look like for you. I had to stop working with clients. I had to give up my business for the time being. I had to admit to friends that I wasn't invincible. All of which s*cked. But it was time to accept it and move on. I so strongly believe that you can only get to your next place in life when you let go of things that can no longer help you, no matter how comforting it may be to hold on. My next place, unfortunately--and fortunately!--was here. My place after this will not involve working with clients, something I could only have concluded as a result of this happening. The next half of my life will be something different, and I'm now glad I finally managed to let go of my other "stuff-that-defined-me". Something new is going to define me, and I'm still figuring out what that will be. It won't be what I used to do for a job, and it certainly won't be aplastic anemia.

4. Ask family and friends to help you out--and then trust that they will. I didn't lean on my friends for a long time, partly out of (see above) denial, and partly out of perhaps a latent suspicion that I'd be asking too much of people who I knew loved me--but why really push the issue, huh? The hardest thing I've done with this is be open to--and accepting of--help (see control issues above!). But it must be done. And sometimes, only in your saddest and weakest moments, do you realize how strong are the bonds that surround you. And, ironically, something about that makes you feel more optimistic and more in control.

5. On the same note, feel free to set limits about where others belong in your life, when you want to talk, what you want to talk about. I used to always stop my Dad mid-sentence when he was regaling strangers with our health issues with, "Can you please not discuss me in the third person like I'm not even here? This is my business!" Just yesterday, in gross unwellness, I said to a visitor, "Can you please just stop chatting?!" The talking was hurting my head and I just needed silence. Sit and visit if you want, but silencio por favor. And I also set limits on what people should say around Bambina. No one is allowed to call me "sick" because I don't want her to think that if she or anyone gets sick, like a cold, that they'll end up in the hospital. We use the words "aplastic anemia" even though it's probably like that Charlie Brown grown-up "wah wah wah wah" voice to her, because I don't want her to think that if someone goes to the hospital for something else and perhaps doesn't survive or comes home without an arm, that that will happen to me. My situation may be public but I have the right to ask others to speak to my child in the way I prefer. Whiners and naysayers get shown the door.

6. Finally, a thought from the Hasids:

I fear the things that cannot hurt me;
I yearn for things that cannot help me
What I fear is inside me,
and inside me too is what I seek.

7. And finally, finally: feel free to disregard this whole post. It's your diagnosis, your choices, and your life. I'm just some schmucko chatting into your poor hurting headache.


Happy Birthday, Doppio! Keep 'em comin!
As Dino Martin said, "Tell me quick, ain't love a kick in the head?!"

And as my friends the Irish say:
May your doctor never earn a dollar out of you,
May your heart never give out,
May the ten toes of your feet steer you clear of misfortune.
And before you're much older,
May you hear much better blessings than this.

And Because I Can't Make This Stuff Up

...really. It's worth the click. Especially the photo. Trust me.


Interesting article at I thought it was pretty cool when Apple announced that they would soon offer music via ITunes without Digital Rights Management. Turns out, oh gullible Haggis, that they are embedding each file with your username and email address! One wonders why, in the interest of musical freedom?

Apple's much touted DRM-free music download service launched yesterday under the moniker iTunes Plus. But apparently such freedom comes at a price as the computer giant failed to highlight one important point: customers using iTunes Plus will have their username and email address embedded in each DRM-free track they download.

According to speculation on Slashdot and elsewhere it seems Apple has done this possibly to monitor the volume of tracks uploaded by its customers onto peer-to-peer networks. In other words, the firm headed by Steve Jobs has given itself a built-in copyright insurance policy whereby illegally shared music can be traced back to the original owner. But, seeing as such information can be easily spoofed, proving copyright has been infringed could be tricky for Apple., which spotted the hidden user account details, said that Apple already embedded account information on DRM tracks. But this was obviously not a major issue for files encumbered by digital rights management....Jobs said: "Our customers are very excited about the freedom and amazing sound quality of iTunes Plus. "We expect more than half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in iTunes Plus versions by the end of this year."

Right-eous Literary Outrage? Doubt it.

From today's WaPo, regarding Jenna Bush's new book. One wonders whether Daddy's Christian supporters would support their teens having access to such subject matter? Library bans orchestrated by Karl Rove, anyone? Not likely, of course. Only for books like Catcher in the Rye...

Jenna Bush, author. The first twin completes her transformation from party girl to global activist this weekend when she starts the promotional rounds for her book, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope."

Bush, 25, will appear Saturday at N.Y.C.'s BookExpo America, meeting with booksellers to spike sales and generate buzz. "Ana's Story" will be issued Oct. 2 with a huge first printing of 500,000 copies, and publisher HarperCollins will be handing out hundreds of copies of the book at the expo.

So, how'd she do? A peek at the 296-page advance manuscript shows a strong narrative as Bush traces the life of a 17-year-old Panamanian girl living with HIV-AIDS. The two met while Bush worked for UNICEF in Latin America. They became friends, and then the president's daughter spent six months interviewing Ana, her family and others. Her story unfolds like a novel: Ana's parents die after battling AIDS, she is molested by an acquaintance, falls in love with a boy also infected with HIV, and gives birth to a daughter at age 16.

How does Bush address such politically charged issues? In the back of the book, she urges readers to volunteer, educate themselves about sexually transmitted diseases (ideally abstinence, at the very least condoms) and recognize the signs of abuse. Bush will spend the summer putting the finishing touches on the book and prepare for her public debut this fall, said Sandee Roston, head of publicity for HarperCollins Children's Books. A "very extensive" 15-city tour aimed at teens is planned for October and November, when Bush and the book's photographer, college pal Mia Baxter, will appear at schools and public events hosted by local bookstores. And if you're wondering: The acknowledgments include nods to her "amazing" parents and "my patient Henry" -- longtime beau Henry Hager.

Barf Nadir

Apparently, the two-week period after transplant is called "the nadir," referring both to the low level of blood counts and the low-level of feel-good. After an absolutely smashing transplant (which is essentially 15 minutes of what looks like V-8 juice being infused--very anticlimactic), four hours later all hell broke loose. Fevers, chills, barfing, more barfing, high blood pressure, just a completely dismal 24-hour period that followed. Which is why you didn't hear from me yesterday. I think I had fooled myself into thinking that "the worst is over." Well, as the very funny Julia Sweeney's book was entitled, "God said 'HA!'" I'm reminded that it's not called The Nadir For Everyone But E, or The Nadir For The UnScottish. Nope. It's the Nadir. For everyone. And I suppose that includes me...

I'm better today, so will write about more fun stuff later in the day. During my apex. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Like "Night Zero"

So here's me.
Rumors of my demise--spread mostly by me--have been greatly exaggerated. Actually, this is me taking advantage of the couple of hours during the day when I feel good, before I get medicated/procedurated/nauseated and it's back to lying in bed and praying for unconsciousness.

Not sure when my stem cells will arrive; they said more than likely this evening, since the donor has to donate this AM and then they have to be "processed" and delivered. So it's kind of like Night Zero, as opposed to Day Zero. Apparently whatever "process" they give them makes the recipient nauseated {as an aside: is there anything in this entire procedure that is NOT designed to nauseate you?! What a total lack of imagination on the part of American medicine}. So the actual getting of the cells is less glamorous than once I had thought: me with a martini, cute summer dress, big Jackie O sunglasses, classily receiving my infusion, "would you be a dear, darling, and give me a refill?" Nope. It's more like me either passed out or rocking back and forth dramamine-style.

Hey--however it happens, as long as it happens. Darling.

I Coulda Had a G-8

A not-so-happy article for HRC, regarding Billy's ongoing "friendship" with Canada's Belinda Stronach. My favorite line is the last wherein Bill wonders: "Which G8 leader should I visit this weekend?"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Here Comes the Neighborhood!

As promised, I'm down to negligible zero. On any other day I'd say, "Oh Sh*t!" But today it's good news. That means we've cleared out the lazy, unemployed squatters to make room for the new tenants. Here comes the neighborhood, with any luck.

Since today is my day "off" I actually felt like getting out of bed for once in four days. So I put on my flip flops, mask and gloves and (as usual, ie, sans reality-check) strode out of my room with the full intention of doing 50 laps of the pod area.

Or 6 laps.

That's how far I got until I came back in, unmasked, ungloved, and sat my tired a** on my bed till it's time to shower, another activity that now takes a good bit of wind out of my sails. It's pretty amazing how only 4 days of chemo can turn your cardiovascular system into Fat Joe's.

My other job for today is to hope they stop with all the bag fluid they're giving me. I know it's important for moving the chemo through the kidneys and out, but lordamercy, I haven't eaten in 4 days and my AM weight was exactly 6 pounds heavier than when I arrived. And it's not the weight that's bugging me, it's the feeling of puffiness, the sense that if someone were to pinch my cheeks that they might not spring back right away. And the woeful presence of the "cankles," which as you know I deplore. As proof, check me out just this morning:

I'm off for another 50..nah...25...nah...15...nah...2 laps! That's me: Racin' to Day Zero, baby.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Boo Freakin' Hoo

Maybe you've already seen this, but it deserves to be seen again. Boehner is an idiot.
Crying Congressman via TheVigil

Have a Coke and a...Bit of Benzene?

Some news from
The Independent that left me feeling decidedly non-effervescent.

My Middle Name is Danger

Yesterday and today were rough days. I was just sick as a dawg, feeling like I'd slept overnight under a car in the rain. My stomach was growling but I couldn't bring myself to eat anything. I felt nauseous all day. Then my blood pressure jumped and my face turned bright red and I thought my head was going to explode through my eyeballs.

The cause? "No doubt a reaction to the chemo. Don't worry."

Oh. Okay. I'll just ignore my head feeling like an ICBM, then.

Anyway, it's a little better now so I'm able to sit up and write. As all of the drama was going on I noticed a rather fun piece of irony to this situation. The nurse is standing in front of the IV pole dressed in a hazmat-protective gown and glasses, she's hooking up bags that have PELIGRO! DANGER! CARCINOGEN! written all over them, and here I am nonchalantly eating half a PB&J as the stuff in the Danger bags is being pumped into me.

I'm not entirely sure how the first people who thought of chemo managed to get anyone to actually try it: Okay, so I'll be protected behind layers of clothing and gloves so I don't get it near me--and YOU will eat it for breakfast!! Whaddaya say?!! Come on! Be a pal!

So this is Day Four. No more chemo to come. Just the rest of the side effects, which will last for a few weeks. Transplant Day Zero in 2 days. I've been assured that my immune system is, for all practical purposes, nonexistent as of today. My white count was .03, pre-chemo. Do I hear a 0.00 for tomorrow?! Tomorrow is the day of rest, which means I will be able to hopefully catch up on my Monica Goodling-Alberto Gonzales, John McCain-Barack Obama stuff, and comment accordingly.

Thanks again for all of your love and prayers. Believe me, I feel them all, especially when the day seems most peligroso.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Basic Skillz R So Imprtont

From Students who had been planning to walk across the stage at graduation ceremonies this weekend were instead walking a picket line Thursday morning. The Trimble Tech High School seniors marched in front of Fort Worth Independent School District headquarters to protest Wednesday's decision by trustees to bar students who failed the TAKS test from commencement exercises. About a dozen young people, carrying signs and chanting, began picketing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. They represent the 613 Fort Worth seniors who did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam.

School officials said non-graduating seniors will have a chance to take the TAKS test again in July. If they pass, they can participate in a separate commencement exercise in August. The Trimble students said they planned to continue their protest through the day, and may be joined by other students.

If you want to graduate with your class even in light of a basic skills test failure, perhaps you should ensure your sign does not say, "Let Are Kids Walk."


A cool post over at DQ about information. The reference to the card catalogs is right on.
Dubious Quality

Pride Goeth Before A Barf

Yesterday was my first day of chemo. First round at noon, second at 1pm, third from 4-10pm. I spent most of the day congratulating myself on being so unique and special that chemotherapy should not affect me like it affects mere mortals. I felt just fine and wondered what those poor people getting sick from it were doing wrong. Until around 11pm. Then I felt cold and started to shiver like crazy, then I felt wildly nauseous, then had a 103 temperature. Cue the barf. Bring on the Demorol.

Apparently the good people who bring us fludarabine and busulfan did not get the memo to make me the non-upchuck formulation. They'll hear from my lawyers, believe me. Other than the random nausea and general feeling of...what did Jimmy Carter call it?..."lust in my heart"? No, the other one. Right: "malaise," I'm otherwise good. I'm watching a lot of television. We get quite a few channels, including about six dedicated to different hospital departments. So on any given night I can watch programs on uterine fibroids, unexpected vaginal bleeding, care of one's catheter, film of a colonoscopy, you name it. Good times, good times.

The worst part of this whole deal (besides being away from Bambina) is the fact that I don't feel like eating. This is serious! The nutritionist came to see me today to ask why I keep ordering chicken and rice soup for breakfast and wouldn't I prefer eggs and bacon or something "more substantial". Ironically, chicken and rice soup at 8am works for me; hearing her even speak the word "bacon" at 10am makes me gag a little. If you don't count my two-year foray into kashrut (kosher) eating phase, or my four-year vegetarian/borderline vegan eating phase, or my three-year subsist-on-zone-bars phase, I'm pretty much an eat-anything kind of girl. Especially bacon. If you are a praying person, I beg you to a)pray that I get some new and smashing bone marrow and b) that I will soon be back in love with the bacon. 'Cause a life without bacon is a sad existence. Worse even than vomiting randomly and watching a fibroidectomy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Talented Mr. Hickman

He's under my skin and close to my heart. And he scores me some oxycodone to boot.

What a guy!

I'm speaking, of course, of my Hickman catheter. It's the one I mentioned earlier that is inserted through an incision near your shoulder, fed through the artery (vein?) and brought out through an exit hole in the chest. The lumens (small cables) attached to it allow them to take or give blood and to give meds directly, without having to keep sticking my already overtaxed veins.

I was strangely not at all nervous about getting it done, mostly because I was assured it would be done under "conscious sedation." It means that they don't render you unconscious; they simply make you not care that someone is feeding a tube through your veins via a hole they've just opened on your chest. It works, y'all. I could hear the doctors talking, could answer the anesthesiologist when she'd ask me if I was doing okay, could feel the pressure/small amount of sharp pain as they did whatever it was they were doing, but I simply didn't care. It was like I was in a weird altered state. I'm glad I didn't actually speak because sometimes I'd hear the doctors talking and think they were saying something else. I kept thinking they were talking about friends of mine, or mentioning how they'd hung out with my friends, or at one point, how friendly they thought my family's dog was. Then I'd have a brief one-second flash that it wasn't really happening and so would not say, "Yeah! Isn't he cute!?" Very weird, but all in all, a pretty cool experience; especially for someone who has never done any kind of illegal drug. Now I know why it's hard to Just Say No when you're too busy Just Saying Yes to questions no one has actually asked you or to statements not actually being made. Good times, good times.

Of course now Mr. Hickman is aching, so I asked the nurse for some Tylenol. She came back with a small pill and said, "They have you down for oxycodone for pain." Oh, okay. If you insist! Man, Mr. Hickman is a bad influence isn't he? Two Jimi Hendrix Experiences in one day...

Chemo starts tomorrow so I'll have more stories from that, I'm sure. In the meantime, I'm spending my first night with Mr. Hickman, and like all of my evening exploits, I'll be fabulous; he will be simply mediocre.

Good Thing Clicks Don't Equal Votes

Another neat site. This time courtesy of The Moderate Voice. It's a site that tracks hits on presidential candidates' blogs. Pretty cool.

Quick Roundup

If you're looking for a quickie roundup of news of the day, head on over to Carpetbagger where I always find something politically interesting. It takes the work out of finding things to be outraged or delighted about. Less work, more info. I'm a fan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mo' Bambina

The Girl turns 3 very soon, and she just gets cooler by the day, IMHO. I love this age because she is really able to express herself verbally and musically (she routinely yells out Mick-style "Brooooown Suuuugar! How come you dance so goood?!"), she has a fantastic and vivid imagination (when playing with a cell phone she routinely chats with her "friend" Lennon. Who is a girl, apparently, and who loves to respond to the statement, "Lennon, tell me about your day"), and yet she is still quite literal ("Mama, you singing the song wrong!" if I put her name into a song about O Susannah or something).

All of which combine for good humor:

Q: Are you my little lollipop?
Bambina: No, I not your lollipop!
Q: Why are you not my lollipop?
Bambina: I don't have a stick!

Q: Are you farting?
Bambina: No, I not farting.
Q: But I think you are; you just were doing it in my face
Bambina. No. I not! I not fart-ING! I fart-ED.

She's really into rules and regs these days, often parroting back my own words:

B: Okay, I be mama, you be Bambina.
Me: Okay.
B: Ask me for some candy.
Me: Mama, can I have some candy? (thinking she's going to hand me some pretend candy)
B: No! You have to eat your dinner first! No candy for you!
Me: (fake disappointment): No candy for me?!
B: You not whine. I not understand you when you whine.

She's been a total gem through all of these changes, transitions and upheavals, and I can't wait to tell her when she's older how amazing she truly was when anyone would excuse a three-year old from losing it. It hasn't been without incident, but I cannot believe how she simply rolls with everything as long as we give her a heads up about changes coming, give her permission to be scared or sad, and then demonstrate through our own words and actions that although this isn't normal, it's still okay. Tonight was my last night putting her to bed for who knows how long (not to mention that I will only be able to see her on webcam till I get home). Bedtime is our special little ritual, so this one meant a huge deal to me. We have talked a little most nights about me "staying over at the doctor's" and how I won't be here for bedtimes for a little while, but today and tonight were the times to tell her that it was imminent. We read books as usual, sang a song as usual. Then she said, "Me not want you to go to the doctors." I said, "I don't want to go either. But I have to go. But I'll be back super soon, and when I get back we'll do a special night time again." She then said, "You bring me a present from the doctors?" I obviously answered yes. She then asked what the present would be, and I said I'd have to think about it. She pressed me to say something but before waiting for my answer said, "you will bring me grown-up minty gum?!" (something she is never allowed even though I chew it like a madwoman). I lied and said yes because I wanted to reassure her that I was indeed coming back, with the gum as collateral. So now I have ten or so days to figure out how to convince her that a candy cane or a starburst fruit chew is gum. Suggestions welcome. Because I don't want to get chastised by a three year old in a mama tone of voice, "Mama! You making up stories. That's not nice."

That's The Way It Works

Most likely no posts from me tomorrow since it's my admitting day to DF. Getting there in the AM, getting platelets, then getting my Hickman catheter in the OR. Then recovery, then chest x-ray to make sure the Hickman is in right, then at some point moving into my HEPA-filtered/secure air-locked pod. Chemo starts on Thursday.

I am a walking soup of contradictions. I'm psyched to get it started, but not psyched to be doing it. I'm thrilled to have family and friends around, but not thrilled to have to be social if I'm not feeling like it. I recognize that people want to spend time with me at the hospital, but I also recognize that there is a certain amount of mental solitude required for anyone getting their head in this game. I'm in awe of the people I've known who've done things like this and still managed to remember things like friends' birthdays and grandkids' names. I'm in awe precisely because I'm not one of those people.

What this means is that you will, over the course of the next few months, probably consider me to be some combination of impolitic, antisocial, forgetful and too tired to care. Lest you think I'm a complete a**hole, I apologize in advance, and I also offer felicitations in advance: Happy Birthday, your baby is so cute, tell me all about your trip again, mazel tov on your bat mitzvah, and good luck with the appendectomy. I swear I'll be an involved and gracious friend again when this is all over.

In the meantime, to answer the question that everyone is asking me (and which I appreciate, btw)--how are you doing?--I'll reprint my favorite piece of dialogue from the movie Three Kings (Clooney, Wahlberg and Ice Cube in Iraq War 1):

Archie Gates: You're scared, right?
Conrad Vig: Maybe.
Archie Gates: The way it works is, you do the thing you're scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.
Conrad Vig: That's a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around.
Archie Gates: I know. That's the way it works.

That is indeed the way it works.

Monday, May 21, 2007

All Hail Empress Landrieu

I know I don't live in DC anymore. I also recognize that my final experience there involved broken glass, a rather uninterested police department, and sweet relief to just get the hell out of Dodge.

But here's the thing.
La Senator Blocked Vote on DC Schools

Yeah, you read that right. A Senator from Louisiana can completely halt action to improve DC's public schools. How f'ed up is THAT?! Could your state or city have any hope of achieving anything if some random senator from some random state could just randomly halt random policies *she* decided needed more study, based on the gripes of someone in city government?! Are we really shocked that DC is the mess that it is?!

It seems to me that The Good Senator From Louisiana might have issues more germane to her position in Congress than blocking DC's Mayor's public school plan. How are those Katrina survivors doing, Senator Landrieu? Everyone back in their homes and back at work yet? Back in New Orleans' stellar public schools yet, Senator Landrieu? You plannin' to send your kids to public school in Louisiana since you seem to be SO CONCERNED about the fate of America's children in DC's schools?

Some city-states fail on their own (lack of) merit. Others are "helped" along by power-hungry, dick-swinging public servants, male or female, who think that their precisely zero years of experience in DC public schools justifies their power grab.

Forget Taxation Without Representation. More like Taxation With Representation By Moron Senator From Louisiana. I'm not sure which is worse.

{And here's the best part: Bets on how long it will take The Gentle Lady from Louisiana to realize that Robert Bobb just played her? Bobb dislikes Fenty, Bobb gets a real live senator to act as his henchman in an inside baseball city issue. Landrieu deals with the negative fallout of the powergrab, not Bobb. Yeah, it's partly the question of doesn't she have something more Louisiana-focused to take care of, but it's also the complete loss of credibility this action has wrought for her--while curiously and inversely increasing the perception of credibility and power for Bobb. Embarrassingly bad politics for Landrieu. Lamentably bad luck (once again) for the kids in DC's schools.}

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Vote for First Lady

From an article in The Times (London) about Mrs. Kucinich.
Awesome. As in, awesomely nutty as a (peaceful) fruitcake:

An Essex girl may be the first lady with a tongue stud to have set her sights on the White House. The wife of Dennis Kucinich, a left-wing Democratic congressman and 2008 presidential candidate, is a 29-year-old hippie chick from Upminster at the end of London Underground’s District line. Elizabeth Kucinich, née Harper, has been on the stump with her husband, a 60-year-old anti-war campaigner from Cleveland, Ohio, mingling with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama backstage at the Democratic presidential debates. “There’s a kind of camaraderie,” she said.

A 6ft tall willowy redhead who has been compared to Arwen Evenstar, the Lord of the Rings character, she towers over her diminutive husband. “Who cares?” she said in an interview. “I like wearing high heels so I’m used to being taller than most men I stand next to.” Nor is she bothered by their 31-year age difference. “I have never noticed it at all,” she said. “Dennis is a very mature but young-at-heart gentleman and we complement each other.” Kucinich met her husband-to-be two years ago when she visited his office in the House of Representatives with her boss as a volunteer worker for the American Monetary Institute, an offbeat group dedicated to reforming the “unjust monetary system”.

It was love at first sight for both of them. Immediately after their meeting, Dennis Kucinich phoned a friend and said: “I’ve met her [my future wife].” He was mesmerised to receive a business e-mail from Harper with her usual signature line from Kama Sutra, one of her favourite films: “Knowing love, I shall allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.” He proposed at their second meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and they married three months later. The Hollywood actress Shirley MacLaine attended their wedding.

“I knew at once I really wanted to marry this man,” Elizabeth said. “When you know it, why hang around?” It was Dennis’s third marriage, but by the time he met Elizabeth he had been single for more than 20 years. If Dennis were elected, they would make a great team, Elizabeth said. “Can you imagine what it would be like to have real love in the White House and a true union between the masculine and the feminine?”

There were clues in her childhood that they were destined for each other, Elizabeth believes. She lived with her mother, a divorcée, on the outskirts of London in a farm labourer’s dilapidated house that was lovingly restored over the years. “The address was 4, Dennis’s Cottages, Dennis’s Lane,” she said. Her mother runs a healing and therapy centre and passed on her love of new age philosophy to her daughter. Known at school in Essex as “the Jolly Green Giant” because of her height, she studied religion and theology at Kent University and spent time in India and Tanzania, where she worked for Voluntary Service Overseas.

It was in India that she encountered somebody with a tongue stud and later had her own implanted — a bar with two delicate balls on either side. On her MySpace website she lists one of her favourite bands as Coldplay and says her heroes are “my beautiful husband and anyone else who embraces peace”. She describes Dennis as a “very philosophical, deep thinking person” rather than a new age type, but he is a vegan, unlike her — she still cannot resist occasional dairy products.

At Kent she unexpectedly signed up for a master’s degree in conflict resolution after meeting the course lecturer in a pub. She knew she had chosen the right subject when her final exam took place on September 11, 2001. “The rest of the world was sending out its love to America but US officials just wanted to kick out. I remember thinking then I’d love to come to America and help them to reconcile with the rest of the world,” she said. A shy girl in class, she has now learnt to speak in front of thousands of peaceniks and activists on behalf of her husband and his presidential campaign. Dennis was slated for his anti-war views when he first ran for president in 2004 but now “represents the voice of the majority”, she said. “Americans have come to understand he was right all along.” ...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Some TLC PDQ for BB

This post is for BB, who is in the hospital at the moment. I was about to say that BB is the grandfather I never had. Luckily for me, he's the grandfather I DO have, and have had, for most of my adult life. He, with his swingin' sidekick GG, have been showin' us young'uns how it's done right: with grace, with class, with verve, with humor--and maybe with a little Campari to boot.

So I'm sending some big fat loving vibes to BB, who for me represents the original man's man. He sees what needs done and does it. He doesn't make excuses or wait for someone else to do it, he doesn't sit and bemoan the fact that it needs done. He just gets on with getting it done. He's old school through and through, and thank God for that.

Of course, the only person I can think of who could appropriately describe BB is another man's man: Teddy Roosevelt. “We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking from the rough work that must always be done.”

Yup. BB is a man who gets it done. Including being loved massively and fiercely loyally by everyone who knows him. Go BB! We love you!

John Breadwards

Wow. Edwards has a lotta bread, doesn't he? I mean, we all knew it. All the other POTUS candidates have it too. And there is no rule saying that someone "with" isn't allowed to advocate for those "without." But, dude. Wow. You made $1.7 million from working 'part time' for, and investing in, the Fortress hedge fund. Fortress, the one that owns offshore funds, and whose portfolio includes subprime lenders, the ones who offer shady high-risk loans to poorer people. You know, the kind you deplore in your campaign.

At the very least, it's a massive oversight of a granular detail, but one your campaign ought to have seen coming.

Next up: Giuliani and Breadwards have investments in Sudan. Is ANYONE in this campaign paying ANY attention to where they put (or get) their money?! For the love of god, y'all. Your accountant is calling.

Happy Wolfowitz Day!

A wee celebration has broken out over at The Vigil. Read all the comments, including the links to a great Salon article.
The Vigil

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hot Nerd Boys

VH1's Best Week Ever compiled a list of the Top Fifteen Sexiest Nerd Boys. I think it's high time. Who among us is not over the whole Pitt/Clooney/Beckham/Gyllenhaal monopoly on "sexiest" lists? It's time for geek boys to get some recognition. I love that Hugh Laurie is on this list. I'm kinda bummed that Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) from Lost is not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And Speaking of "Shady Since Day One..."

One word: Wolfowitz.

On what other planet, in what other line of work, can you have your girlfriend promoted and compensated above her pay grade, and use the line that there were no rules governing such an action, so therefore you haven't broken any rules?

Cheney has called Wolfowitz "an able public servant." Nice. He's also an exceedingly able *personal* servant, isn't he? How nice of him to ensure his "companion" has a fat check and a sweet job. And how about the Bush administration lobbying hard to keep him as President? This white house just simply cannot get enough of failure. It is absolutely resolute in its support of ethically dubious "public servants" and morally dubious policies. It's like you have to rate high on a Myers-Briggs-style "Dishonesty and Arrogance" scale to get to the first round of a job interview with them. For the second round you have to renounce your religious faith and replace it with fealty to Bush, taking a vow of 'Vous Et Nul Autre.'

Wolfowitz screwed up. No matter how badly he wants to rewrite the rules--or pretend that somehow the lack of a specific rule saying, "the leader of this institution shall not ensure the income and job position of his girlfriend" absolves him--Wolfowitz needs to go.

But Bush will work to keep him, just as he is hanging on to Alberto Gonzalez against all good advice. Why? Because he's breathtakingly arrogant, stubborn and dare I say stupid. God forbid he announces a reversal in one of his lines of thought. God forbid he admit that some of his employees (I'm looking at you too, Goodling) are utter disgraces to American democracy. And why not admit it?

Because everyone knows that a fish stinks from the head down.

Gonzalez: Shady From Day One

Here is a link to an article about a truly unbelievable occurrence involving then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez, while John Ashcroft was critically ill in 2004. It's not unbelievable so much as reminiscent of medieval royal power-grab machinations. I never adored John Ashcroft, but I definitely felt bad for him and his wife while reading this.

Farewell, Reverend Falwell

Just in that Jerry Falwell has died at age 73.

What a man. I'm sure someone will find a way to put all of his beliefs and actions and words into posthumous soft-focus, but let's be clear on a few facts:

He was a vocal supporter of South African apartheid.

He called Desmond Tutu "a phony," later apologizing and saying he had "misspoken."

He spearheaded the production of "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton." {From Wikipedia:}The video connected Bill Clinton to a conspiracy theory involving Vincent Foster, James McDougall, Ron Brown, and an alleged cocaine-smuggling operation. Despite the theories being discredited by all major investigations, the video's sophisticated production techniques served as effective exposure, and sold over 150,000 copies. Falwell's infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell interviewing a silhouetted journalist who was afraid for his life. The journalist accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to his illegalities. However, it was subsequently revealed that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of Citizens for Honest Government. "Obviously, I'm not an investigative reporter," Matrisciana admitted (to investigative journalist Murray Waas), "and I doubt our lives were actually ever in any real danger. That was Jerry's idea to do that ... He thought that would be dramatic." In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President Falwell admitted, "To this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles," but failed to condemn the poor research.

He said that the Antichrist would be a Jewish male. (What? Not gay or liberal?)

He laid partial blame for 9/11 on pagans, gays and lesbians, feminists and abortionists.

He stated that AIDS is the "wrath of a just God against homosexuals."

He wrote in 1979, "I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" I wonder if the happiness would still overflow if those Christians happened to be Mormon or Unitarian...

He wrote, "The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior."

All in all, the primary message I got from Mr. Falwell was so much anger, so much hatred, so much seeming dishonesty. If he was really trying to do the Lord's work, he might have shown a little bit more love to his fellow (wo)man.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Massholes R Us

Returning to MA was a prospect that often filled me with both loathing and wonder. The loathing mostly stemmed from my ongoing, ever-present fear of becoming a Townie. I liked my childhood and adolescence fine, and was happy enough as it was occurring. But both my parents and something inside me always insisted that my town was fine enough a place to start out but nowhere to end up. By my senior year of high school I couldn’t wait to escape, so confining was what I considered to be the aggressive provincialism of my town. I was all-too aware of how returning college students were treated if they’d dared to go more than 30 miles away, how anyone who confessed a need for “more than this” was branded a snot, a person who thought too highly of herself. If you didn’t want to laugh at the kid who was obviously gay but struggling with the knowledge, or the one Jewish kid in the school, or the ten Black kids, you just didn’t fit in. If you listened to the wrong kind of music (me, it was REM and 10,000 Maniacs and various British bands—absolutely not the approved Guns-N-Roses/Zeppelin/Top Ten stuff), you were not to be trusted. At the time I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now as I look back it was a fear of the unknown, a distrust of the unfamiliar, a seemingly community-level resistance to a change of tradition, i.e., gays, “coloreds,” “retards.” Maybe I’m describing every high school in America, but for me this was my experience and it simply sucked the life out of me even as I played sports, got elected to student government, dated boys, did all the things high schoolers do. I was pretty much pretending to be someone I wasn’t just until I could escape and breathe free. I never begrudged the happiness of anyone who wanted to stay; I just knew that I needed to go somewhere else. I just so desperately, deeply, overwhelmingly couldn’t wait to escape the suffocation I felt every day of senior year, and that I can recall vividly even now as I write this.

When my parents retired elsewhere during my college years, I didn’t mourn my old bedroom, old yard, old hangouts for even a minute. I missed people and I missed memories made in certain places, but I did not long for the places. I never missed the place or its recalcitrant parochialism for one minute. So my return north was unavoidably colored by my feelings about my hometown. Luckily, my new digs are about an hour—and a million years—from it (or, more accurately, am *I* or is 2007?), which has made my return so much more psychically rewarding to the point that I can simply focus on all the wonderful wondrous wonders of being a Masshole again. For example:

No. 1: Dunkin Donuts on every block.
No. 2: Women who call you “Hun.”
No. 3: The highest ratio of men’s face to goatee (fu manchu?) hair in the nation. I deplore the look but seeing it everywhere offers a strange kind of nostalgic comfort.
No. 4: Turning on the local news and seeing the same old anchors and reporters. All of whom have aged right along with me. And damn if I don’t look better. ;)
No. 5: Red Sox hats everywhere. And no Roger Clemens anywhere.

Ah yes, it’s good to be home. Especially when it’s a place I’ve never lived before.

*Shirt from

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to Yo Momma!

Call your mother.
Tell her she's Da Bomb.
Or, if that will invite confusion, tell her she's the original hot ticket.
Or the bees knees.
Or such a card.

However you say it, just say it. Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world. How great is it? It's better even than being Ewan McGregor's girlfriend.

Yeah. It's THAT amazing. And everything you do for your kids is a complete labor of love, it makes you happy to make them safe and happy. And even on the days when you are not feeling outwardly happy, somehow it still makes you happy.

Only now that I'm a Mama do I really understand my own Mum. It's such a tedious cliche that "you'll never understand until you have kids of your own," but for me it really has been true. I never really understood, but now I do. There is no fatigue, worry, pain, heartbreak, fear, happiness, contentment and glorious unbridled joy like it.

Just don't expect to get any REM sleep till they're in college.
Happy Mother's Day!
To my Mummy
To Bambina's Gram
To GiGi
To ma soeur
To ma soeur in law
To all the amazing women who have treated me like their own daughter. You know who you are.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The New "One Second Rule"?

As psychotic as I have recently become about germs, I still held, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, a belief in the Five Second Rule. It maintains that a food item dropped on the floor but retrieved before five seconds have elapsed is still safe to eat. I always assumed that once my bone marrow/immunity issues were handled, that I'd return to following the Five Second Rule.

Wow. Read this article. Then know that anything you drop should probably just be put in the trash.

Friday, May 11, 2007

In The Unlikely Event of an Emergency Landing...


You remember those times when you are on a plane and the captain announces that they have to de-board you to fix a "mechanical issue?" Then an hour later they cheerily announce that you can all get right back on the plane because it's all been taken care of? And a small part of your brain wonders, "Okay, so what precisely was wrong? Maybe they should just bring out a new plane rather than deeming this too-broken-to-fly-one-hour-ago one shipshape?"

Well, I got a call from the DF "Captain" today telling me that my transplant is delayed because they have to "do additional blood tests on the donor." Like, what extra kind of tests would you not already have done? She was really nice and did the whole, "I know this is unsettling, but it's nothing to worry about, and if all goes well with his tests next week, should only set us back about a week and a half." She obviously can't tell me more than that about an anonymous person's health situation, but the question hanging in the air, screaming for an answer, was, "what exactly do you need to check all of a sudden that might potentially be a dealbreaker? And even if you do decide it's all good, what the hell WAS it you were checking for?!"

For various reasons too boring to detail here, I knew that the donor was out of pocket for a period of time, which is how we arrived at the transplant date of May 21st. So now I'm (tongue in cheek) starting a pool trying to connect the dots between where he was and why that might impact his ability to donate. My three current guesses are:
A. Took a trip to sub-saharan Africa minus the necessary shots, arriving home surprised that the doctors aren't psyched about it.
B. Been in prison on a 30-day Paris Hilton-style charge.
C. Never mentioned that he was a beef enthusiast in Britain during the late 1990's.

Any others?

In the meantime, I'm just being zen about the whole thing. However it happens is how it's meant to happen. Whoever provides the goods is who is meant to provide the goods. Although, I do reserve the right to move Mr. "Men I Love" Donor to my "Men Who I Believe Need a Smack" list. It's not beyond the realm of reason; most of the men on the former list also inhabit the latter. Although I guess I now have to worry about being moved from everyone's "Friend In Need" list to "Friend Who Pretends To Be Critically Ill to Wrangle Packing and Moving Assistance..."

Tony Blair: You Coulda Been a Contendah

I know he's all 'persona non grata' these days for his support of GWBush and the conflict in Iraq, but I'm just gonna say it. I still love Tony Blair. He and Bill Clinton made such a great team; it was truly his heyday, very much "the boys are back in town." And then, along came GWBush, and it was like Blair became the Dick Sargent 'Derwood' rather than the Dick York 'Darrin' on Bewitched. He looked the same (sort of), he acted the same (sort of), but something key that you couldn't put your finger on was missing, and no amount of Dr. Bombay, Gladys Kravitz or the amazing Agnes Moorhead's Endora could take your mind off the fact that everything had changed. So much promise, so much squandered.

I'm not sure what PM Blair's long-term legacy will be, especially in terms of the Iraq War, but I am delighted that he has endorsed Gordon Brown--a Scot--to be his successor. Putting a Scotsman in No. 10 Downing Street will be a legacy that I, for one, will always respect. Unless, of course, Tony goes and sets up McMann, Tate and Blair Consulting, a Subsidiary of Halliburton.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What A Tangled Web We Weave

A fantastic article over at National Journal revealing, "The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas."

"Several of the e-mails that the Bush administration is withholding from Congress, as well as papers from the White House counsel's office describing other withheld documents, were made available to National Journal by a senior executive branch official, who said that the administration has inappropriately kept many of them from Congress."
It's a long read, but worth it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Richardson's Resume

Here is a link, via Chris Cilizza, to some commercials Bill Richardson is running. The idea is that he is interviewing for a job. I liked them. It's folksy and totally designed to raise his name recognition factor in places like Iowa. What do you think?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sorry Seems To Be the Easiest Word

Pinkerton makes a short and compelling case for the fact that true contrition really comes after the "sorry." His thoughts on Tenet are right on. If you are so sorry, George, return the medal and donate the book receipts to a charity (benefiting returning troops, perhaps?).

Also, more on Tenet over at The Vigil

How Do You Say "Rudy" in French?

Here is an interesting look at the results of the French election. The author posits that the first 18 months of the Sarkozy administration will give us a look into a potential Giuliani administration. Plus some good links out of the article re: Rudy. Me? I'm a fan of the "broken windows" theory. But that might simply be because I so recently had a window broken...

It's On!


I get admitted on the 15th. Transplant on the 21st. And then we wait for the good stuff to happen.

Upon hearing this news, people who see me are giving me what I've called before "cancer face." That furrowed brow/eyes cast downward/head slanted sideways "how are you doing?" earnest inquiry. It's entirely well-meant but it drives me insane because I feel great, I look great (thank you very much), and I haven't felt so hopeful and positive in months. December and January were dark days, where I couldn't go forward and couldn't go back. Now, at least I'm on a path forward and I'm actually happy. Not happy-happy like "Woo hoo! A year in Punta Cana! I love it!" But definitely as in, "The only way out of some situations is through, so let's at least get the 'through' part started."

The coolest part of this is that my donor is a 23 year-old guy. How awesome is he? I don't know what you were doing at 23, but I sure wasn't concerning myself with some random lady's bone marrow situation. When I first found out his vitals I couldn't think about it without getting a little teary-eyed, just because I'm gonna owe this guy my life, and I'm stunned that someone is doing this for me, especially at 23. He's a perfect HLA match, the same blood type, and I am imagining that he is a dead ringer for Ewan McGregor. ;) He and I may never meet or know each other, but I've decided that I'm going to add him to my long list of Men I Love.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Gotta Get Me Some Hostiness

If you listen to public radio and want to kill some time listening to some interesting demos, click on this link to vote in NPR's quest for a new radio host. They are looking for someone with that ineffable, intangible quality called "hostiness." It's some good listening if you are looking for a diversion.

Fear The Haboob

This photo just blew my mind:

From Britain's Daily Mail:

"These bizarre images show a gigantic cloud of dust billowing over an African city - just like a scene from the movie The Mummy. The dust storm - known as a "Haboob" - gathered over Khartoum, the capital of Sudan in north east Africa yesterday. It lasted for about two hours, carrying dust and sand from the Sahara across the city. Haboobs - which are a type of seasonal storm - are formed in summer months."

Dana Farber: Gentlemen's Club

Today was a long day at D to tha F. I got all my "pre-testing" for the transplant done. Pulmonary function, heart function, etc etc etc. As does any hospital procedure worth the name, each of the tests involved either some kind of needle or some kind of nudity. The real fun ones required both. Not X-rated nudity or anything. More like Girl's Bone Marrow Gone Wild-style nudity. A boob flash here, an a** cheek there. You know, nothing that would get the joint closed down by Vice or anything. Just some good old-fashioned American T&A.

My favorite part of the day went like this:

DF Lady: I'll be doing your chest x-ray today.
Me: Nice to meet you.
DFL: You can go in here and remove your clothes from the waist up, then put on this robe so it opens in the front.
Me: Okay.
DFL: Have you ever been x-rayed here before?
Me: No.
DFL: Well, in that case, (goes to small closet, pulls out small piece of paper with two--stickers?----on it) put one of these on each nipple, please.
Me: (Looking at the round silver/metal things in the center of each sticker)--What? No tassles?
DFL: (No reaction). I'll be in the room across the hall when you're ready.
Me: (Alone in the room attaching my pasties and laughing at the bizarre hilarity of it) "Dontcha wish your girlfriend got a transplant like me?! Dontcha?! Dontcha!?" [for our older readers, that is a cheeseball stripper song made famous for reasons we will never know].

I could not stop laughing. I must have looked unhinged to this woman, but I literally could not stop thinking the entire time she was x-raying me that I had STICKERS ON MY NIPPLES for reasons I could not begin to fathom. Would the person looking at the x-ray have some additional knowledge of my lungs and pulmonary capacity as a result of being able to say, "Oh yes, I see the alveoli now that I've located the nipples..." Like, without pinpointing they somehow would lack an essential baseline measurement of my...lungs? I guess I don't have enough of that there booklarnin' to help me understand the desperate importance of Nipple GPS to the transplant process.

Anyway, as I said, I was laughinglaughinglaughing. Until, of course, it came time to remove the stickers. If you've never removed a sticky object from your nipples (and those of you who have, you know who you are you dawgs), you ought to try it sometime. Be sure to take some Tylenol first. Because (and here is the first of what will I'm sure be many Public Service Announcements throughout the course of this transplant) nipple skin is not meant to meet an adhesive. Really.

Next time I'm gonna demand the tassles.

Not Staying The Course

Unlike our president I have seen the error of my ways. I admit to having made the decision with little input from my advisors. I perhaps relied on faulty reasoning. I certainly didn't anticipate the work and complications involved in my decision, nor did I fully take into account its effects on others.

I speak, of course, of my post last week about putting transplant info on Fantastic Aplastic and only Haggis-type stuff here.

That, as one trusted advisor warned me, was a quagmire waiting to happen. And so it has come to pass. I just don't have the time to be all "so is this a Haggis or a Fanta post?" So, forgive me my original error, and just know that any news you need will arrive here at SSHaggis.

At the end of the day, I just don't have the time or the inclination to flip between blogs (how lazy does THAT sound?!), and I suppose you don't either.

Call it cutting and running if you like. I call it Less Work, More Info.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Fitting Send-Off

I'll post a photo tomorrow, but I have to share the details of my last few moments in DC with you now.

Can you guess how it went?

Well, as if God himself were telling me that moving on is a good thing, some crackhead (no doubt) smashed my car window and stole my suitcase. I went to bed at midnight, and by 6am when we were leaving the house, someone had done a Smash and Grab on my car.

The f&*%ers got all of my underwear save the pair on my butt, all of my favorite T-shirts (Scottish Mafia: Frugal But Deadly, Needs More Coffee, Nerds Are Cute, etc), all of Bambina's first aid supplies, all of my jammies, and a damn good pair of shoes I was so looking forward to wearing. I'm sure some other things were in there too but I can't recall them all at the moment.

So here I sit, ordering underwear online, hoping I can get away with one pair for two days (don't tell my mother...), wearing a random shirt, an outdoor fleece and some surgeon pants instead of jammies, and alternating between furor at the total violation of not only having someone take something that is yours, and annoyance, wondering where my underwear is and who is touching it. Like, are they going to sell my purple thong for...pardon the pun...crack money? Who is buying used underwear and some Old Navy pajamas? Who ARE these people?! Why not just bring it back when you realize there is nothing but drawers in the suitcase? Not, I suppose, that I'd be wearing any of them again anyway now that Drunk High Dude has handled them...

But anyway. My point: sometimes a place or an experience leaves you with the lingering joy of good memories, warm feelings, and a soul-deep ache in the moment of departure. Other places kick you in the (naked) ass and send you on your way in a cacophony of shattered glass and the flapflapflap of taped-up plastic blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Movin' Out

Tomorrow early AM will begin the road trip to Boston. It will end almost ten years here in DC. There are so many things about DC that I will miss: the Capitol view every day, the constant hum of politics in the air, not having to drive anywhere, having one of the first things Bambina knows how to say be "Thurgood Marshall Federal Building..." Living here provides you with an education and an atmosphere that you can't get anywhere else. It's fun, it's very serious, and it's very fun to watch other people being very serious about moronic stuff.

I'm going to miss seeing the female Hill interns crossing the street in their tits-out shirts and flip flops, as if they think that attention equals credibilty. I'll miss seeing the male interns wearing suits with baseball caps. Or, more accurately, I'll miss laughing at them. I'll miss the motorcades, the minor political celebrity sightings (Oh my god! Look! It's Tim Russert!), and most of all the sense of history and patriotism inherent in living in DC...Not that Boston lacks for history and patriotism, of course.

I won't miss the random crime that always occurs just one block too close to my house to let me shrug it off, the reassessment of my property taxes that now rivals communities where they can actually send their kids to the schools those high taxes are funding, and--of course--not having representation in Congress. Now when someone says, "Call your Senator!" I will actually have someone to call.

Aaah. A little change might do me good.

There She Goes, Miss America

Here's an article on Miss America helping the police to catch online sexual predators. Seriously. The current Miss America. She pretended to be 11 years old for an episode of America's Most Wanted.

Perhaps Miss America needs a new booker? A new agent? I'm certain there were some mall openings or car shows going on that day, so why she ended up talking to pedophiles on a TV show is beyond me. Is this really the next step for this franchise in its attempt to be more relevant? Surely a classroom reading of The Pet Goat cannot be far behind?