Sunday, December 24, 2017

Gardasil Revisited

Back in 2015, I wrote a post expressing my skepticism about Gardasil--I interviewed the most prominent experts I could find, in the "pro" camp, the inventor of the vaccine, and in what I regard as the cautious camp, a thoughtful physician who was involved in evaluating the vaccine for Merck. My thoughts on the vaccination have changed to the point where my thirteen-year-old daughter has received the first of the two vaccinations. With no ill effects, weeks later. Why?
•The doctors whom I trust believe the drug will protect her from cervical cancer.
•They have never seen a bad reaction--not in over ten years.
•Some types of cervical cancer are epidemic in people under the age of twenty. 
•Since I've now had cancer myself--unexpected, breast--I think my daughter may be at higher risk. 
I'm leaving up my earlier post for anyone researching this topic--I think the controversy hasn't evaporated. But I also now believe I've done the right thing. If anything changes--if, God forbid, she has a reaction to the second shot--I'll inform my blog readers. I'm interested in hearing from readers on this topic.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On Writing Christmas Cards

Writing them, with a pen, on paper, that is. That's what we still love to do. My husband takes family photos, makes up a beautiful card with a greeting, and I write something personal to friends, tuck in the little newsletter and the page of that year's fun photos, stick on a stamp, an airmail sticker, and write an address. In green ink on red envelopes. Is all this sounding too Martha Stewart? Ah, but the house lies in shambles beside me, the mountains of laundry decorate the floor, and the grading I haven't yet finished nods evilly at me from its neglected spot on the sofa. But those cards--they've just got to go out. A third of them thudded to the bottom of the mailbox today, as I sat in my office waiting for a young man to finish transferring the last few files of data from my 2009 computer to my sleek new Mac Air Book.
"Just another five minutes," said the young man who seemed to understand everything for which I grope toward even finding the right name in my new computer. 
Twenty Christmas cards later, a bead of sweat on his face, he confessed that somehow  it still wasn't possible for my computer to receive any upgrades. He was on it, he was fixing it, and another twelve cards later I said I'd head home. He'll be taming my computer over the next day or two, at least I hope he will.
I'll be writing Christmas cards--much more fun. I like getting them, too--not the horrid electronic kind, with the mechanical jingle bells, the fake snow, the trotting reindeer or flapping birds. The kind that come in envelopes that you open and display on the mantel or prop up in the middle of the dining room table. Do I sound very 1965? Well, I'm in a nostalgic mood. It's Christmas. I'm about to look up my recipe for refrigerator cookies, the kind you roll out and make with the aid of cookie cutters shaped like Tannenbaums, stars, half-moons, and hearts. Then you decorate them with sprinkles, glitter, and food dye. Christmas cookies. Yum.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Toto, I Don't Think We're In Trumpland Anymore

Ride 'em Roy. The Marlboro Man stunt backfired when the horse tried to buck that pedophile. Roy Moore's West Point buddies remember him as a hard worker and a guy for whom a girl's virginity was important. That, they remark, is probably why he wanted very young girls. 

Between Moore's wife announcing to a crowd that she wasn't against Jews because "one of our lawyers is a Jew!"--a remark she delivered with a big smile, as if she'd bowled a strike--and Moore's apparent love of the young because they're virgins, the American people just dodged a very big bullet.

It's harder to dodge that repeat-fire weapon of mass destruction who is "the president."

Toto's already pulled back the curtain. He's been yapping and nipping at our heels for months. The penalties Trump should pay for abusing women, his concealed and presumably outrageously out of line taxes, the Russian stuff, Jerusalem, the terrorist attack at the Port Authority in New York two days ago--Toto is barking loudly, America.

When Doug Jones won, America put one toe out of Trumpland. Can we go for a long jump next?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Don Doesn't Own Jerusalem--He Can't Buy Us

By the time I finish this sentence, some new awful event will have made the Jerusalem incident pale beside it, the way the Puerto Rico deaths, the Russian investigation, the taxes, and, despite Harvey Weinstein and company, the abused women terrorized by Trump, have paled before each new, dreadful Trumposity. 
The bully is still bullying--and none stand up to him. I think of King Frank, the first to lead Narnia in the series' inaugural book, The Magician's Nephew. King Frank thinks he's not cut out to be king, the very characteristic that Aslan, the book's Jesus figure, knows qualifies Frank for true leadership. King Frank is a boy from the countryside, he says, used to farm work, and his accent is cockney. Queen Helen, his wife, arrives covered with soapsuds, since she'd been doing the wash when Aslan transported her to Narnia, and both feel humbled by the attention from Aslan, by his confidence in them, and by the loveliness of the Narnian landscape. Love, above all, defines King Frank and Queen Helen, along with that very British desire to do the right thing. 
I feel I shouldn't put the two of them in the same sentence as Donald Trump, but they are such an ideal, the likes of which American politics rarely sees--Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Obama may be the only two presidents approaching that ideal. How we slid from Obama to Trump is Vladimir Putin's best kept secret. But his doped-up athletes have been exposed, and wouldn't it be nice if he and Don got simultaneously deposed.
To be governed by leaders who give a damn about the people and the planet would be the best for which one could hope in 2018. Like the German comedian Jan Böhmermann, whose "Be Deutsch" went viral, we must, in the face of Trump's divide-and-conquer strategy, all "hold together--try to be nice."
My new year's resolution is to do just that, even when I'm introducing ideas to my family or other groups that might not be their favorite. Hold together, try to be nice.