Friday, November 30, 2007

Evil adults

So this Lori Drew gal--a 47-year-old mother--faked an identity on MySpace to mess with the head of a 13-year-old neighbor who had lately stopped being friends with her daughter. She pretended to be a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans and befriended Megan Meier for a month before starting to be mean to her. After writing to Megan something like "The world would be a better place without you," Megan committed suicide by hanging herself with a belt in her closet.

Drew seems pretty remorseless. She didn't tell Megan's parents what she'd done. She had been hiding a game table at the Meier home as Christmas gift for her own kids, but when the news came out--six weeks after Megan's death--that Drew was 'Josh Evans,' Megan's parents hacked up the table with an ax and threw it in her yard.

Seemingly without shame, Drew reported them to the police because, she said, since she found out at the funeral that Megan had attempted suicide before, she doesn't feel as guilty as she first did.

Here's the deal: because Megan had traveled with the Drew family when she was still friends with their daughter, Drew knew Megan had been on anti-depressants, and yet she still schemed and concocted this ruse.

Yesterday, I was in shock mode with this story. I googled "Lori Drew" and 14,600 sites came up. I'm not the only one horrified by this woman's behavior and apparent lack of feeling.

I know that perhaps Drew hasn't had her proper say in the media, but rack my brain, I can't think of anything she could say that would make me less horrified.

The Meiers have no criminal case, but I wonder if they can seek damages in a civil court. If I were them, I'd want to punish Lori Drew. I also wonder, could a case be made to have the Drews' children taken out of their parents' home? They are in grave danger of growing up to be evil adults.

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Alzheimer's test?

And would you want to know in advance?
The company is also validating protein-based tests for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, the latter an affliction for which the only conclusive test is currently an autopsy. Among the possible benefits of a proteomic Alzheimer's test, due out late next year, would be the ability to definitively separate sufferers from those with other neurodegenerative problems, now a major obstacle to running effective clinical trials of drugs for Alzheimer's.
I wonder if long-term care insurance companies not accept you if you tested positive for a neurodegenerative disease. (Via Instapundit.)

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Head injuries

My brother's comment about my history of falling off ladders in the post below is a fine segue into my story about Alexa, another head injury survivor. Alexa is a six-year-old girl whose parents used to live in the house across the street from mine. They moved to the growing, unincorporated community of Lantana before my family moved in.

In that community, where houses are still being built, on Aug. 6, Alexa rode her bicycle right into a parked truck with rebar hanging out the back. The rebar pierced her skull.

The first person at Alexa’s side was a neighbor, Kris Black, an experienced firefighter and paramedic: “He was the first one on the scene and I’m sure he saved her life,” said Peg Eason. In twenty minutes an ambulance arrived, paramedics assessed her condition and called for Care Flight to meet him at the E.P. Rayzor parking lot and helicopter the first-grader to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Doctors there did not expect her to make it through the night, but they put her on medications to keep her sedated. They took pieces of her skull off to let the brain swell. And then they waited.

And waited.

Word spread throughout the community. Everyone wanted to hear. Finally, Peg, through an online journal, Caringbridge.com, posted good news.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2007 11:27 AM, CDT

Just a quick update, Alexa had a great night; very restful. She is making good progress again today and they may move her out of ICU soon. She is still listed as critical but getting better everyday. I have printed the guestbook entries and will take them to the hospital today so we can read them to her.

Good wishes flooded in to the online guest book from Lantana, Flower Mound, Highland Village and around the country—everyone wanted to know the status of Alexa Eason.

“It was nearly two weeks until she was responsive,” said Peg, “and then it just seemed like leaps and bounds. That Sunday was the day she started giving us thumbs up and thumbs down.”

Can you imagine waiting 12 days before your child started being responsive? I still get upset thinking about it. It wasn't until Oct. 9, October 9 !, that Alexa was able to come home. Peg is still giving updates through Caringbridge.

I had wanted to get other voices into the story besides Peg's, but this story was being written and bumping up against deadline during some unexpected family business. But with Peg's journal entries I think it came out nicely enough. My neighbor, who is publicity shy, was a friend of the parents before they moved. She's been a huge source of support and strength for Peg. I asked her for a quote, but she said only if I don't use her last name, which I thought would come off strangely in a story like this because you have to write, "who didn't want to use her last name," so I scrapped the idea.

My head injury, at 7 years of age, involved me falling off a high dive at our local swimming pool onto the cement. I bruised my brain and didn't wake up for a couple of days. What I take away from that accident are just a few memories. In the ICU, I was experiencing unfocused, unadulterated anger. I refused to take medicine from a nurse; I seemed to be in a big open room with other patients who were extremely old. At one point Mom brushes my hair.

The memories sharpen once I get into a private room. Two of my older siblings who aren't generally at all sympathetic to me are being fun and nice. They're playing on my hospital bed. I'm playing cards with one of them, but I can't count the cards right. We later visit my grandfather in a hospital next door with a neighbor. Mom pushes me in a wheelchair through a tunnel that connects my hospital with his.

But most of the memories belong to my oldest brother Joe, who had the unfortunate luck of being the oldest son in the family and was told to bike over to the neighborhood pool, while Dad drove, to find out what the hell happened. He then shared the backseat with me fading in and out of consciousness for the approximate 30-mile drive to Methodist hospital, to hear the doctor tell Dad that I was probably not going to sink into coma, that most coma patients throw up and I hadn't done that, and then to see me throw up a whole mess of--chocolate ice cream, was it? I don't remember.

Not long after that incident (and before a second one that left me in the hospital for 6 weeks-- oy!), Joe went to Astroworld with a boy down the street and brought me back a stuffed animal. Now, that I remember, and quite fondly, too.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Laura Petry Petrie moment of the day

I've always thought that taking things down from attics and putting things up in attics were at least a two-person job, if not the husband's job, and in my case, it turns out I was right. I just fell off the attic ladder, coming down hard on my right foot with a weak ankle, breaking the top to the Christmas wrapping paper container, knocking over an open can of mineral oil, spilling it all over some unfinished cabinet doors, and probably getting it all over my butt.

Oh, Rob!

(That's gonna really hurt in about 20 years.)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is plenty to be grateful for.

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Email subscription!

By popular demand (well, one request really) I have added an email subscription button just below my profile.

I thought that Blogger provided this function because when my sister-in-law asked for email updates, I entered her email under Settings/Email/Blog Send Address, but Blogger won't allow me to add any more emails. I must be misunderstanding that function and using it incorrectly. Hopefully this little Blogarithm button will help.

I found it at Life Lessons, the author of which I have lately come to know and really like. Have I introduced her to you all yet? Stop on by, she's a hoot.

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Redneck Boy

This is actually one of my favorite songs. I think it's from his The Sound of a Car cd. That cd has written a movie in my brain. The whole thing is a soundtrack and all I need is the funding to put it on the big screen!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Today's Best of the Web

James Taranto: "People who claim to oppose "homophobia" or other forms of prejudice often turn out merely to want a monopoly on it."

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Pop quiz!

Ready?
ARE YOU A DEMOCRAT OR A REPUBLICAN?

IS YOUR CLASS LIBERAL, MODERATE, OR CONSERVATIVE?

ANSWER THIS TRUE/FALSE QUESTIONNAIRE AND FIND OUT!

The questions that followed were eye-popping:

1. The United States was right to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power in 2003 (True/False).

2. Gay couples should not legally be allowed to marry (True/False).

3. Every law-abiding American should have the right to own a gun (True/False).

4. A woman should not have the right to have an abortion to end her pregnancy (True/False).

5. A convicted murderer should receive the death penalty (True/False).

Pencils down.

This test was given the sixth graders at a public school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Hmmm...I wonder if there are no wrong answers? Nah, too much to ask. (Via Jonah Goldberg.)

Folk star sighting!

This was such a great concert. If Tom makes it back to Salmon, Idaho next year, I hope I can, too.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Rock star sighting!

One of my favorite commenters at The Festering Swamp has started his own blog. It's called A Brief History, and I urge fans of politics with a side of American and military history, medical history, yachting and occasional crankiness to bookmark it. I've learned a lot from his comments, I'm excited about his blog.

Update: Thought I'd celebrate with a piece of chocolate. (Any excuse.)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanks, friends

Thanks to everyone who has posted comments or emailed me to show support for me during this difficult time. Mom has slipped into late stage Alzheimer's, and it is unclear how much longer she'll be with us. I drove down to be with her and Dad Sunday and returned last night.

Mom is comfortable, resting in a newly rented hospital bed, and I just got good news that she walked today! She injured herself last week, and in resting and recovering from that, she stopped walking and her appetite diminished, hence the need for a hospital bed. She's still eating--sometimes feeding herself, sometimes not. Because she cannot communicate well, it's difficult to assess some of her problems.

She's in the best place she can be--with Dad, under his watchful eye and good care. And she gets the occasional visit from one of her wandering six kids.

I'm catching up on some promised freelance stuff and home stuff. I'll be in and out; on and off. Thanks, again.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Boo!




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Friday, November 02, 2007

Christian magnet

A comment made by an online friend stirred up my juices the other day. She was making the distinction between different kinds of Christians in response to a political comment.
You need to make sure you note the difference between NOMINAL Christian (calls them selves that but attends only rarely and can't explain the Gospel to save their lives.) and ACTUAL PRACTICING Christians (Is an active member and can accurately convey the gospel.)
I am not a churchgoer, and I don't know that I could explain the Gospel to everyone's satisfaction, but I keep attracting actual practicing Christians in my life and I think I know why. I'm ethical. My brother, also not a churchgoer, said he experiences the same thing.

I recognize the difference between living a good and moral life and actually doing the work of worship. Maybe I'm just lazy, heh. Anyway, I'm living right on the buckle of the Bible belt and my article about Sujo John struck a chord with another of the devout. He felt he was saved by Christianity and wanted to tell his story.

As a parent, his story alarmed me, and I'll confess it's got me thinking about joining a church. The other thing that's got me thinking about regular worship is a letter from my son's preschool, which is at a Lutheran church. The letter read that I had not marked on a form a church that my family attends, and it invited me to consider their church because--and here's the part I liked--life is hard and it's going to get harder. People in my family are going to get sick. Maybe it'll be me. Accidents are going to happen, as will unexpected deaths. And when any of this happens, I'm going to need some ministering.

It was the most honest and straight-forward pitch I'd ever received from a religious organization, and I appreciate it. Here is the article, but I'll get you started with this:

What it is that transforms a sweet little boy or girl into a drug-addicted juvenile delinquent, Rob Reid cannot say. In his case, finding an identity was part of it. So, at the tender age of 11, he said, “I started experimenting with drugs.”

His drug use progressed from marijuana, to LSD, to cocaine, to heroin. Basically, you name it. By eighth grade he had an arrest record.

Think it couldn’t happen here in childhood’s incubation chamber? Rob Reid grew up with one foot in Fort Worth and one foot in Plano. Like a lot of kids he was shuttling back and forth between his divorced parents.

“I wanted to get into trouble,” he said. “I wasn’t running from abuse or anything. That’s kind of the problem, I grew up in a town very much like Flower Mound, with upper- middle class families, and drugs were just as prevalent or more so as they were across the tracks.”

One could lay the finger of blame at the divorce or suburban boredom or even a culture of instant gratification—Reid mentions some of them, but points to none of them.

From Flower Mound Officer Steve Caldwell’s perspective, peer pressure is the problem. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time it’s going to have to do with who they’re hanging with.”

After eight treatment centers failed to help him cure his addiction and with a lengthening arrest record that included possession charges and driving-while-intoxicated, by the age of 20, Reid’s rope was thinning, frayed and he was holding on with one hand.

And then he found Isaiah.

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