12 February 2016

My aunt’s sister-in-law, Agnes, had a tumor removed last week; my aunt called to tell me the news.  Agnes was an RN and for several years, worked in the operating room beside several cancer surgeons.  She’d help them shovel out lung cancers, prostate cancers, thyroid tumors . . .  you name it.  Always in the pink of health, Agnes was upset to detect a growth in her lower back.  Perhaps it had been there for a long time (she couldn’t say) but some months ago, Agnes started feeling a lump.  Agnes is a stout woman so she thought the smallish lump could have been what her mother called a “fat cyst”.  Agnes’ mother had one for years.  This cyst presented as a large soft lump with a duct to the skin’s surface.  When Agnes’ father squeezed his wife’s cyst, a copious stream of fat and sebum shot out, spraying a considerable distance.  Having the cyst “milked” like this every few months relieved all problems and the cyst remained in place for the woman’s life.

Agnes felt that, thanks to her mother’s experience, a fat cyst could be successfully managed by its owner.  Unhappily, Agnes’ cyst was around back and, thanks to her ample frame, it was unreachable.  Also, being a spinster, Agnes had no one at home who could squeeze it for her so the cyst was left to its own devices.

And so it grew.

Finally, after becoming quite uncomfortable whenever she reclined in her Lazy-Boy, Agnes decided to visit one of her colleagues.  “Could you cut it out?  Or at least drain it?” she asked.  “We’ll see,” said the doctor in a doctor’s non-committal way as he poked and prodded.  The healer’s sensitive fingers perceived some irregularities and  thickenings within the lump.  Turning to face Agnes, the doctor said he needed to perform an MRI or CT scan “to get a better look,” as he put it.  When the doctor saw the images, he swallowed hard.  Three days later, the doctor admitted Agnes to the hospital and preped her for surgery.  Agnes had what’s known as a teratoma.  According to the diagnostic images it was a tumor, large and full of teeth, hair, skin, neural tissue and what looked like an eyeball (see image below).


But why all these body parts?  Well, you see a teretoma is a tumor that develops from a germ cell as does a fetus.  Well now, this raises the question, can it not be considered a parthenogenetic organism, i.e. a baby with no father?  But a baby nevertheless?  Indeed it can.  Not a particularly pleasant form of of human fetus, but a human fetus nonetheless.  So can Agnes have it cut out?  Or would that be construed as an abortion?

Yes, and why should it not!  Many right-to-lifers demand anencephalitic infants (see image below) be carried to term, then be kept alive with all possible means.  They maintain an anencephalitic, even though it will be born with no brain, can’t be aborted for that would be taking the life of a “pre-born”

Bad baby

Almost all anencephalitic infants are either born dead or die within minutes of birth.  However, in one celebrated case, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_K) some judges came down on the side of right-to-lifers and ordered the “baby” be kept alive by all heroic methods.  And live it did, for a little over two years before succumbing to the inevitable.  (Of course the good jurists couldn’t use brain death as a criterion in making their decision as the issue was moot; little Baby K had no brain to begin with.)

So could Agnes’ teratoma, having no more brain than Baby K, but having neural tissue, skin, some bone, be considered a “re-born”?  To some, no doubt.  Naturally Agnes’ doctors did not agree.  They considered Anges’ teratoma to be a tumor and most definitely not a baby so they cut it out, dropped in the specimen tray and whisked it of to Pathology.  But by the lights of those prancing about in front of Planned Parenthood clinics, Agnes just had an abortion on par with removing an anencephalitic before it is born.

I wonder, though, if a teratoma can be fed and irrigated outside the “mother”‘s body in the way of Baby K?  If it can, boy can you imagine the rukus?

In any case, what do you think?




Indeed so.  A teratoma

The So-Called “Dinner Train”

10 February 2016

Egged on by the real estate industry, the panjandrums of my little town are contemplating the addition to the community of a Dinner Train.  A superannuated locomotive tows a superannuated dining car and a superannuated passenger car.  You hop aboard, eat a fine meal accompanied by a fine beverage of your choice, and watch the world glide by.


Does anyone remember the Lake Roesiger* fiasco?  When it was being proposed, I told my County Councilman it was an abominable plan that would be badly executed by a builder who’d go bankrupt leaving the local folks with an eyesore and a multi-million dollar mess to be cleaned up at public expense.  Which all came true.

So let me predict what will happen if the so-called “dinner train” comes to be.  But first let’s understand the idea of a dinner train between Snohomish and Woodinville is risible — it’s only a five mile-drive.  If I go to the Burger King up on the north side, buy one of their meals, I’ll still be working on it when I pull into Costco.  Unless the dinner train will crawl at no more than 2 mph, there is no way to serve decent meals to a train full of people.  “Dinner” will consist of two vending machine and a microwave oven.

Though the movers and shakers won’t admit it, the ultimate goal of this enterprise is carrying commuter traffic to Redmond and Bellevue so Microsoft employees can over-populate the towns of  Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan, Startup, Gold Bar, Index, Skykomish and the ski area at the summit of Stevens Pass.  Eventually, even that won’t be enough; they’ll rip up Centennial Trail and re-lay tracks so we can have commuter trains all the way to Canada.

OK, now for the list of horribles:

ONE: Who will be the lucky people to have their homes condemned and be tossed out on the street to accommodate the depot and it’s parking lot?

TWO: A parking lot means oily runoff into the Snohomish River, which will be mitigated by, yes, us taxpayers.

THREE: As for sanitation, where does all the human waste go?

FOUR: Where does the water come from?

FIVE: Who’s going to pay for the road widening to accommodate all the people from Everett to Skykomish who are commuting to Bellevue?

SIX: If you’re living near the depot, remember the place will be lit up like a Christmas tree 24/7/52.  You’re going to have to paint your windows black if you want to get any sleep.

SEVEN: And don’t forget the noise.  Automobiles, the muttering throng waiting on the platform, clanking railroad cars and bellowing diesels.  Of course as soon as Bellevue commuters start riding, the first train to the east side will depart at 5:00 AM and the last one will arrive at 10: PM, just as in Chicago and other cities with commuter rail service.

EIGHT: There’s the stink.  Those diesel locomotives have no pollution controls and stink like the Infernal Pit.  And hundreds of cars dont smell so good either,

NINE: How about parking?  Well the parking lot will soon be expanded to a multi-story garage (built at our expense).  But in the meantime, the streets will be chock-a-block with commuters’ cars and you won’t be able to park in front of your own home.  You’ll probably find the occasional commuter, desperate to make the train, will have parked in your driveway.  Oh, if if you want to nip into downtown for some nosh, you’ll have to make a reservation to get a parking spot.

TEN: Property values — and taxes, never ever forget the taxes — will will rise to the point you’ll no longer be able to live in your home.

And once this abomination is up and running, we’ll never get rid of it.

If the city fathers and mothers are itching to spend some of our money, don’t you think they should maintain what we’ve got?  For example, the pot-holed washboards that pass for streets?

I don’t know why, but it seems everyone in public office eventually goes nuts and gushes and enthuses over every cockameme and destructive idea that comes along.  If we don’t drive a spike through this dinner train idea, the town will be ruined for good an all.

Remember Lake Roesiger.

*Lake Roesiger was a small residential community deep in the woods.  You could only reach it by a winding, hilly 2-lane road, or a helicopter.  The developer wanted to turn this little bedroom community into a city.  So the dolts on the County Council gave the go-ahead and the developer started cutting down all the trees.  While the trees were being sawed down, he discovered that the cost for a water supply, a sewer plant, a 4-lane road and the subsidies  needed to attract grocery stores, gas stations and the like, would exceed the price of an NFL team, so he filed a Chapter 7 and walked away.