FROM CITY TO FARM or I'VE GOT THE COCK, NOW WHAT .... Ramblings political, humourous, opinionated and/or creative writing from a man in flux


2009 02 22

I had a heart-attack almost two years ago, and have been taking a selection of chemicals to prevent a recurrence. They have been causing me some grief, especially pain in my joints and muscles, which is inconvenient, to say the least. Yes, it's better than the alternative, but I would really like to be out of pain for at least short periods each day. So, I have a new doctor, and I want to reassess the drugs that I take, and started doing some research.

I have come to the conclusion that we don't know what the hell we are doing.

Some combination of chemicals is discovered to relieve or reverse, say, high cholesterol. Unfortunately, these drugs not only sometimes do what they are intended to do, they also cause things: chest pain, headache, fatigue, dizziness, rash, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, increased transaminases, myalgia, cough, influenza, allergy, lens opacity, libido change, memory impairment, muscle weakness, neuropathy, paresthesia, taste disturbance, tremor, vertigo, anaphylaxis, angioedema, cholestatic jaundice, cirrhosis, cranial nerve dysfunction, dermatomyositis, erythema multiforme, ESR increase, fulminant hepatic necrosis, gynecomastia, hemolytic anemia, hepatitis, hepatoma, lupus erythematosus-like syndrome, myopathy, pancreatitis, peripheral nerve palsy, polymyalgia rheumatica, positive ANA, purpura, rhabdomyolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, vasculitis, angioedema, cataracts, depression, dyspnea, eosinophilia, erectile dysfunction, facial paresis, hypersensitivity reaction, impaired extraocular muscle movement, impotence, leukopenia, malaise, memory loss, ophthalmoplegia, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy, photosensitivity, psychic disturbance, skin discoloration, thrombocytopenia, thyroid dysfunction, toxic epidermal necrolysis, increased, transaminases and vomiting - in that order of occurrence.

How can a drug cause a virus like influenza?

And that is just the cholesterol drug I take, one of, I don't know, eleven or so. Each of the others has more or fewer 'adverse reactions' in its arsenal. And they work in combination, or fight one another, or affect the performance of one another, or play merry hell with one's liver, kidneys or heart. Some foods, notably grapefruit, cause unknown amplification or suppression of some drugs' actions. Anti-depression drugs cause ... depression. Asthma drugs cause ... bronchiospasm and difficulty breathing. One asthma drug causes high blood pressure, which I take another drug to lower. The drug I take to lower my pressure causes some other drug to do something else that causes some other drug to cause me to take a drug to combat the nausea that they all cause. Is this sounding rational to you?

I've come up with a list of drugs that I think do all the things that my current selection are supposed to do, and, according to a web-site designed to track these things, don't interfere with one another, I started a spreadsheet of the adverse reactions, and now am not sure that I should change any of them: I'm accustomed to the way I feel taking this set, and don't know if I'm interested in accommodating a new plethora of side-effects. The myalgia and arthralgia caused by this set are absent or way down the list on the new set, so it may be worth it. We'll see what my doctor has to say next week. Wish me luck.


2009 02 18

I'm a little worried about my reaction to this. On Saturday, three young men, one about 10, the other two more than 15 but less than 20, stood in the field next door and nattered at me in Spanish that I didn't understand. One of them finally said "fucking money give" and I told them to go away. I continued to work at the other side of the house. A little later, I caught them in the bodega, and they ran away. Once I realised that they were in the yard, I called the police, and the operator hung up on me without saying a further thing once I had explained my situation. Very reassuring. A little while after that, they came to the street side of the house and asked for water, which I declined to give them because I was getting more than a little fed up with their antics, and then they sat across the road and watched me water the plants. Monday, mid-morning, I was in the flat quietly working on my spreadsheet after I'd finished watering, and I saw two of them sneak across the pasillo towards the front door. I went downstairs and scared them as they were trying to jimmy the lock. I was pretty pissed off at this point. I had to go to town to shop, so I had a friend come and babysit the house while I was gone. When I got home, Enrique was here, and we talked about the situation, and he went to Ecuandureo and spoke to the police. Two officers came by later in the day and gave me a direct telephone number to the dispatcher in Ecuandureo, and have promised to add our street to their rounds.

I am not a believer in violence as an answer to problems. I don't think the first action of diplomacy/resolution should be to reach for a gun/nuclear warhead/army. I don't think that bored almost-adults should break into apparently empty houses for the hell of it. While shopping, I seriously considered buying a firearm.

I'm old-ish, fat, can't breathe and can't run. I'm not a muscle queen. I can't handle two Mexican farm-boys on my own, if they decided to get physical in response to my getting physical. Because they didn't know I was here, they ran away when I startled them, but who knows what will happen next time? From what Enrique found out through the grapevine (his innumerable relatives), these kids are supposedly known to the local gendarmes, but they can't do much, as the law prohibits holding minors in custody. So they arrest the little bastards and book 'em, Dan'o - and then have to release them. At this point, I don't give a damn about the sociological pressures or any of the other supposedly mitigating circumstances that led them to a 'life of crime'. What I care about is that I can't afford to replace anything that they might steal, I don't want to have to clean up the mess they are sure to leave, I don't want to have to live in an armoured enclosure and wonder what nasty surprise is waiting for me on the other side of my twelve-foot -high walls. After five years there, I won't live in the US again because of the official 'culture of fear' that permeates everything from airports to McD's, and I sure as hell don't want to live in a gated complex of terrified North-American expats here in Mexico. But I also resent this violation of the rules of good behaviour.

I fired a rifle once, from the back of a bouncing truck, on my uncle's farm, when I was short, which is sometime before I turned 13. I didn't hit the vermin we were trying to eliminate, my father took the gun away after I'd fired one shot, and that was the end of it. I think that the US National Rifle Association is a collection of nuts. I think that the ease with which people, especially in the US, reach for a firearm to settle disputes is disgraceful. Canada has more guns per capita than the US, and less annual firearm-related crime than Los Angeles on a bad day. (Yes, the entire country has fewer gun crimes in a year than LA on a bad day. Think about it.)

I'm appalled that I actually considered purchasing a firearm. I would probably shoot myself rather than the thieves. But the thought of blowing their knees away as a service to mankind was pretty tempting for awhile - it would be really trying to attempt to sneak over a fence in a wheelchair.


Bigotry is a double-sided affliction

I may be a cranky ranter, thank you Baggie, but I am an equal-opportunity curmudgeon. I'm also assuming that anyone who reads my blogs is not going to be a raving homophobic moron, so I don't think I'm running too great a risk of reinforcing silly stereotypes with this post. I try to be informed before I make decisions. I look at both (or all) sides of an issue and then make as informed a choice as possible. (It can drive boy-friends crazy.) A lot, I would even say a vast majority, of anti-gay writing (in all forms, but especially blogs) is based in fear, ignorance and lack of critical thinking. My Tribe is not immune from said sad disease, and the following, from a virtually anonymous comment section on a gay news site, illustrates my point:

Uniting for a “common” cause with heterosexuals who cannot possibly grasp what it’s like being us spells nothing but political SUICIDE! Oil and water do NOT mix(much like science and religion). I prefer it to be ZERO affiliation with the heteros. Simply put I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could toss a semi! LOL! They will always have a superiority attitude in dealing with us merely because they can crank out lots and lots of unwanted babies. For all of our gay “brothers” who pal around with these overactive breeder reactors maybe you should step back and ask yourself exactly what do you wish to accomplish? Your so called straight friends really don’t give a flying F**K about you, about us or(most importantly) about our civil rights movement!! All one needs to do is check out the list of donors to the Prop H8 campaign to confirm THAT! OH how I so SO wish that the names of the signers of that petition were put online! I think it would’ve been quite a eye OPENER for all these yuppie, artsy fartsy middle class homos to discover what many of their absolutely fabulous hetero friends really think of them and US in general. Ass kissing is SO simply pathetic! LMFAO!

This particular site requires that one put in a name and an e-mail address, but only the name one uses is visible to the general reader. This means that the moderators of the site would be able to contact a truly offensive person and/or provide said information to police, in the case of real extremists. It unfortunately doesn't add any personal responsibility to what is published, as one is not required to use one's real name. There are some very thoughtful posts, some of which even get written in real English with punctuation and everything. There are rants from The Enemy, people who read articles on gay-positive sites and then post virulent, offensive, or merely astoundingly uninformed opinions from their religious/right wing/outsider perspective. There are rants Against the Enemy, with which I have more sympathy but which sometimes come from the same mentality as the rants 'from' The Enemy. The quoted post is my first exposure to such stupidly blind bigotry from, I assume, a gay person.

I understand the feelings expressed but abhor the reverse prejudice. I saw ten minutes of some afternoon American talk show, LaToya or some such, in which the black hostess informed the general public that she "would never hire a white man, no matter how qualified he was for the job". I understand the feelings there, too. Unfortunately, both of these people, and undoubtedly many others, espouse truly revolting prejudice in the guise of repudiating prejudice, and without any irony or sense that they are just as bad as what they purport to be fighting.


2009 02 12

I could learn to hate people, and here are two reasons why.

Reason 1. When I came to this little village in southern Mexico, there were four dogs about the place, three little ones and a Dalmatian. I blogged, on a different site, about Walt Disney having a lot to answer for in popularising a difficult dog such as the Dalmatian: high-maintenance puppies who require a lot of consistent and patient training, starting from when they are very young. They, and Great Danes, get purchased as cute little pups for all the wrong reasons by people who don't know anything about how to raise them or what they'll look like when they grow up, and then, when they get older and are turning into a total pain in the ass or a giant that no longer fits into the one-room flat, they get abandoned or shunted off to other people or fates even worse. This is the case with the Dalmatian here: the original owner got rid of him to the owners of my house because they couldn't control him. He had a lot of bad habits firmly entrenched by the time I arrived on the scene, and I put a lot of work into persuading him to behave in a more gentlemanly fashion. I was making good progress, and he was becoming a good companion. The proper work when he was young, and he would have been a very good companion from the get-go. Everyone with children has seen 101 Dalmatians, and all the local children used to love to come and see the living example. Which leads to ...

Reason 2. This is a very rural, agricultural living-off-the-land kind of village. There are seventeen identifiable types of animal shit in the road leading to the front gate. There are cows in the fields next door, just like on the real farms you drive by between major cities. Apparently, there is also some kind of predator that the locals kill off with poisoned meat. Reverting to Reason 1 for a minute, there are some cardinal rules in raising dogs, and one of the most important is to teach them not to eat anything that you don't give them. It isn't easy, but if you don't, you end up with a dog that eats whatever it finds on the road or in the field or wherever. Getting back to Reason 2, all the dogs have died from poisoning. One of the Dalmatian's bad habits was not allowing fences to delineate his territory, so that every time I left the yard, he came too. On the occasions that it wasn't convenient to have him with me, I would put him on a leash tied to something he couldn't move. The neighbours like to throw food they won't eat out into their 'trash' heaps, and the Dalmatian would regularly go visit in the night if I didn't confine him in some way. And they complained bitterly about it if I didn't confine him at night, so it had become a regular habit.

This morning, I needed to go into the village to buy food, so I left him on the leash with his water and feed and blanket. I got home, let him off the leash, and he raced around the yard a bit and then followed me around doing my chores. Sometime in that first hour of freedom, he ate something in the yard that killed him. I don't think he jumped the fence, but if he did, it was only for a very short while, as I couldn't move without him underfoot. Whatever it was, it was very fast-acting: he was running around and being a dog and then he was writhing in pain and convulsing.

This whole sordid episode could have been avoided by a little bit of thought on the part of the people who bought the dog and then couldn't/didn't train him, and the locals, who don't think about the ramifications of their actions in throwing poisoned meat into their fields to control the coyotes or whatever the hell they are. Manchas, 2007 - 2009 R.I.P.


2009 02 10

A while back, I wrote about and the stupid definition I'd found for oral. Well, I actually wrote them, and very politely told them that they are a bunch of asinine wankers (paraphrasing here) if they think "verbal" can mean "written". Surprise surprise - I haven't heard a thing from them, not even an automated reply. Wankers.

I'm not the only one who likes to have things spelled properly, and thinks that words have meanings that represent concrete things and ideas, am I?

I came across a posting on some other site with (some other) smart-arse writer saying he was looking for someone who knows the difference between they're/their/there, your/you're and some other common misuses. He was listing his age at not much under 40, which I thought of as a personal cut-off: anyone under forty is very unlikely to know the difference between syntax and sales tax. I didn't bother to check if he had a public school education or not. Like it or not, bad grammar and bad spelling are signs of sloppy thinking, and the current cult of SMS abbreviations (u = you, et cetera) is not really going to improve the language.

There is a difference between using a second language badly and not bothering to learn your first language properly, so I don't need lectures about that, either. Language usage changes with time; basic rules of grammar get stretched but remain the same. If you have a clear idea of what you want to say, and say it clearly and grammatically, most people will manage to get a clear idea of what you had to say. Surprising, but true. It's/its your/you're option to learn how to communicate. They're/their/there will be more on this cite/sight/site regarding language, I think it is more important then/than blogging about my toenails.


repost 2009 02 09

Another example of that damn left-leaning media making life inaccurate.

Quoted entirely from: ("Fighting the Spin")

As debate on the economic recovery bill continues in the Senate, a reminder of how the spin war has been fought:
Last week, ThinkProgress released a report showing that, in the debate over the House economic recovery bill on the five cable news networks, Republican members of Congress outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by a ratio of 2 to 1. [...]
In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews by members of Congress (from 6am on Monday 2/2 through 11pm on Thursday 2/5):

And adding insult to injury, a number of the Democrats who appeared are opposed to the stimulus bill.

© 2005 - Steal what you want


2009 02 08

I think one of the great disservices perpetrated on the world during the Bush interregnum was the soi-disant debate about global warming. I know that most of you think that global warming was invented by Al Gore along with the internet, but it is a serious issue that deserves serious attention. We, humanity as a whole, are fucking up the planet to the extent that we are not going to be allowed to continue living on it if we're not pretty damn quick about fixing the issues we've been causing. Yes, George, there is world outside the US and because of idiots like you, it is in serious danger. I tend to read a lot of articles and reports on the issues that I think are important, and I came across a piece on that deserves my attention. Don't ask me how I got to, I usually get my news from reliable sources such as the BBC. Anyway ...

After many pages of fairly interesting exposition on his trip across part of Greenland on a dog sled, and citing lots of examples of how global warming is affecting the locals, animals and men, the author ends his piece thusly:

"After all, new signs of climate change are occurring constantly. For example, the largest floating glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, the Peterman Glacier, in northwestern Greenland, appears to be coming apart. In July 2008, satellite photos showed a giant crack in it, seeming to indicate that a massive breakup of the glacier might be imminent.

I have no idea how all of this will affect the way Greenland will look in a hundred years or 20 or the next decade, or what it will mean for the rest of us. Yet when I give Mathaeussen [local guide and sled driver] a tip which I feel he well deserves, he is so profuse in his thanks, swearing he will spend it on dog food (although I know there is also a fresh supply of pipe tobacco and probably a little whiskey involved too), that I suspect that as long as tourists are coming to see global warming up close, Greenlanders will continue to adapt just fine. (my emphasis)" (, "Going to the Dogs in Greenland")

I find it offensive that he passes off global warming as a tourist attraction. But maybe I was reacting badly because, just before this little titbit, he meandered into hetero-sexist bullshit that could easily have been edited out without loss to the world of literature:

"We spend our final night in a cabin similar to the first day’s, except it’s bigger and we share it with two Danish women and their dogsledding guides, all of us wedged against one another on a sleeping platform — in the Inuit tradition, apparently. Although it is a long evening of conversation, mostly in Danish, my only recollection of note is that there is nothing like sleeping in close quarters with women who are of slight acquaintance and quite attractive to make you realize how desperately you need a bath."

Thank you for sharing. However, this is a story that I would never be able to write because I don't think I will ever be able to force myself to endure temperatures of less than zero again as long as I live, so I point it out to you with caveats.


2009 02 07

Yet another example of that damn left-leaning media making life inaccurate:

quoted from

"As debate on the economic recovery bill continues in the Senate, a reminder of how the spin war has been fought:
Last week, ThinkProgress released a report showing that, in the debate over the House economic recovery bill on the five cable news networks, Republican members of Congress outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by a ratio of 2 to 1.  [...]
In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews by members of Congress (from 6am on Monday 2/2 through 11pm on Thursday 2/5):

[there's a lovely graph here that won't copy into this post]

And adding insult to injury, a number of the Democrats who appeared are opposed to the stimulus bill.

© 2005 - Steal what you want"


One day, you, too, will be over 30

My Tribe really pisses me off in another way. On another site, there was an article about "middle-aged men" being arrested by policemen in one of those narrow-minded states - New York City, in this case - and charged with prostitution. Apparently, a good-looking young (plain-clothes) policeman comes on to men in adult bookstores and eventually offers to pay for having sex with the victim. The victim is then charged with prostitution whether or not he agrees to accept the money offered. Leaving aside the considerations of false arrest, entrapment and homophobic police bullshit for the moment, the description "middle-aged" gets interpreted in the public comments as " old men" who are "so grateful to be picked-up by good-looking younger men" that they are flattered into total imbecility and are "probably thrilled" to accept money for sex. Everyone knows that gay desirability ends at 22, but the comments on this story ignore the entrapment and homophobia angles and concentrate on deriding anyone older than 30. Come on, boys, get real. When you turn 30, I sincerely hope that you have the good manners to off yourselves so that up-coming generations won't have to be embarrassed by you drooling on real gays.

Which leads to the broader issue of age discrimination in general, and the issues that face Tribe members as we age. Such as our partners being denied visiting rights when ill enough to be hospitalised, among a lot of other issues. There are groups attempting to address these issues, of whom very few of you have heard, I'm sure. A gay actor by the name of Robert Gant (the US version of 'Queer as Folk'; ) has been actively supporting the work of two of them: SAGE ( and GLEH ( Read up, get involved: your turn is coming, one day, you, too, will be over 30.


continuing the theme ...

I visit several gay-themed blogs and news sites, which purport to glean news from all available sources that would be of concern to the members of my Tribe. I get fed up with the lack of inclusion in the 'mainstream' media we experience, and the negative coverage if we are included. There are problems with the gay sites, too, and one of the most irritating is the lack of training most of the writers for these sites have in basic logical thinking and the use of English. This is taken from one of the talking heads on a site called

By Emma Ruby-Sachs, Blogger, 365gay Agenda Blog 02.02.2009 1:32pm EST

For those who have had a chance to look through the list of new donors  to the Yes on 8 campaign on the California Secretary of State’’s website might happen across radio personality Gary Bryan from KRTH 101.1 FM. Other observations include a suprising number of teachers and administrators from colleges in the State. For those of you in California, I’d check and make sure your kids aren’t attended classes with one of these people. At least, knowing who they are could make the next parent-teacher meeting more interesting…

I don't' even know where to begin, there are so many things wrong with what she's written. I know what she was trying to say, but really, it takes some decoding to get there. This particular blogger has a habit of going off half-cocked, as it were, not bothering much with fact-checking or accuracy or any of those mundane tenets that apply to reporting news, or in opining thereon. The site allows readers to comment upon news stories, and the Tribe's comments range from so badly written as to make no sense to the well-thought-out but atrociously spelled missives of people who at least try, a little. Sandwiched In between are the idiot knee-jerk reactions consisting of cries for the blood of all straights and off-topic rants about whatever wrong has irritated the writer first that morning. Someone said "the public gets the kind of leaders they (sic) deserve", and I'm beginning to think whoever said it was right. Ungrammatical, but right.


About Me

recently retired to southern Mexico from Canada