Sunday, October 29, 2006

K. on Drugs

He's back on the catnip (my fault!)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Aunt Yvonne, 1932-2006

From the St. Petersburg Times/Brandon Times:

She wouldn't let a debilitating illness ruin her life

Yvonne Pepper, who died Oct. 17, lived more than 20 years with multiple sclerosis .


Published October 27, 2006

In many ways, Yvonne Pepper lived the ordinary life of a housewife and mother. Her ability to inspire others was anything but ordinary.

For more than 20 years, Mrs. Pepper, who died Oct. 17 at age 74, lived with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

The condition changed her life and made some of her former activities difficult or impossible, but it never affected her spirit.

"She had some hard times at first right after we got the diagnosis, but as time went on, she just lived her life," said her husband, Richard Pepper of Brandon. "She was definitely an inspiration to her friends and her neighbors, and to her family."

Mrs. Pepper was born in Memphis, Tenn., but moved to Miami with her family when she was about 5 years old.

She was just a sophomore at Miami High School when she met the love of her life, the man who would become her husband of 55 years.

"We had fraternities and sororities in high schools in those days," Richard Pepper said.

"She was in a sorority, and I was in a fraternity. We met after a meeting one night. We just saw each other and that was it."

They married two years later. They celebrated their 55th anniversary shortly before her death.

The Peppers and their children came to Brandon in 1962, when Richard Pepper took a job as a tugboat captain.

In the 1980s, Mrs. Pepper started noticing some numbness and some vision problems.

The Peppers went from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong. They finally got an accurate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. "Every case of MS is different," Richard Pepper said. "Hers was progressive, but she was lucky compared to some people. She was always able to walk, with a walker, right up until the time she died."

She eventually had to stop doing housework, but she was never the kind of person who would just sit back and let life pass by. She stayed active at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church and was an avid reader, especially of religious books. Her husband said her faith helped her deal with her debilitating condition.

She also remained a devoted mother and grandmother. She loved the Atlanta Braves and her beagle, Chico.

Besides her husband, Mrs. Pepper is survived by four children, Dianne Pepper, Karen Resciniti, Donna Pepper and Jay Pepper, and four grandchildren.

Back to Blogging

I stopped blogging for a while (not that many people noticed). I used to blog under the name "Arch Creek", which has since been taken over (robotically, I suspect) by a gambling site. Ultimately they're the losers -- as you may know, President Bush recently banned internet gambling in the U.S. Meanwhile I'm back with the Arch Creek Blues.

("Arch Creek" is an old name for North Miami, where I live. The building I live in borders the geographical Arch Creek, which feeds into the Intracoastal Waterway. I guess the panoramic view of Miami Beach and the Intracoastal makes up for the recent 100% increase in our condo insurance, which upped the unit's monthly maintenance by 20%.)

Much has happened since I last blogged. B. was in the hospital for over a week at the beginning of July, being detoxed and rehabbed for a Xanax addiction. This drug is difficult (and dangerous) to get off of. Unbeknownst to his doctor, B. tried to quit cold-turkey and ended up having convulsions. I called 911 while he was having a seizure here at home, and the paramedics took him to the nearest hospital emergency room. The next day he was admitted at another hospital for treatment. (He also had a severely lacerated tongue, along with a bad bump on his forehead from hitting the tile floor here, both of which had healed nicely by the time he left the rehab.)

On a happier note, over Labor Day we spent a relaxing week in San Francisco and saw a lot of sights we didn't get to see last year. We also took a guided bus tour of Monterey and Carmel, with beautiful Pebble Beach nestled in between.

Marie Antoinette

Last nite B. and I went to see the movie. Stupendously boring. I wouldn't see it again for free. I'm not much of a Marie Antoinette fan, for that matter, but an article I read in The New Yorker a while back piqued our interest in going to see the movie. (B. and I rarely go to the movies since B. works most weekend nights.) It turned out that the article is a helluva lot more interesting than the movie. Go read it while you can. Yet one thing neither the article nor the movie really gets to the bottom of (no pun intended) is the conjugal problem between Marie and Louis.

According to a 2002 article from the Guardian, "[o]ne of the underlying causes of the French Revolution, the disastrous marriage between Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, has been brought down to size [pun intended, for sure] by a meticulous investigation into the royal couple's sexual incompatibility. Put simply, the king was endowed with a ' bracquemart [sic] assez considérable' - a rather large penis - and Marie-Antoinette suffered from a condition known in the court as ' l'étroitesse du chemin', a narrow vagina, that made her frigid."

"I refuse to believe that it is my daughter's fault," the empress [Marie's mother] wrote to her ambassador at Versailles, maintaining demands for an operation on the king even after several intimate inspections by doctors. They repeatedly said there was no evidence of phimosis, a narrowing of the preputial orifice, a theory that Zweig [a biographer] insisted on after reading nagging letters from the imperial mother-in-law replying to misleading correspondence from her daughter.

From the "Circumstitions" website:
It is widely reported that Louis XVI of France could not father children until he was circumcised. Unfortunately for the story, he was already a father well before the alleged operation. Remondino invented this lie in his history of circumcision. It served his need to find historical precedent for circumcision in Europe, to make the ritual seem less alien and more familiar. These were calculated lies without any historical basis. A more scholarly study from France (Le phimosis de Louis XVI (1754-1793) aurait-il été a l'origine de ses difficultés sexuelles et de sa fecundité retardée? [Prog Urol. 2002; 12(1):132-7] by G. Androutsos) thoroughly debunked this myth.