Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thou shalt not dismiss ths article.... 

Got this link from But You Don't Look Sick. It originated a few years ago, but it's something that never goes out of date....

10 Commandments for interacting with the chronically ill

I've gotten a lot more tolerant of insensitive comments than I once was. After 13 years, I've pretty much heard everything. Besides, most people truly don't mean any harm, so I try to consider the source and cut them some slack if I think they are being rude unintentionally.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Raise your mug and rejoice! 

At least, an award-winning gluten free beer! Article courtesy of the Celiac.com newsletter....

Jolly Pumpkins Belipago India Pale Ale Takes Gold in Denver

I no longer drink beer of any kind but am glad for the news of any good-tasting gluten free product. Luckily for me, I can still partake of rum and cola, as long as it's a Splenda sweetened cola. But due to my sensitivity to alcohol, I only allow myself one rum and cola on my birthday and one on New Year's Eve.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maybe we need matchmakers? 

One of the latest articles from But You Don't Look Sick. The frustrations of finding the right doc are all too real....

Doctor Dating 101: How to Find Dr. Right

I never did find a rheumatologist in Sioux Falls that I actually like. I just picked the one who would do me the least harm because my insurance won't let me look elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Got this link via a Facebook friend. Apparently, Republican Senate candidate from Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, challenged whether the Constitution mentions anything about keeping government and religion separate....

"Where in the Constitution is the Separation of Church and State?"

I guess she won't accept the concept unless it is spelled out literally? I wish there was a clause that stated: "there shall be no establishment of 'intelligent design' taught in the public schools".

This should make trick or treating a lot less scary.... 

If you do Halloween candy or know someone who does, here is a list of what does and does not contain gluten among popular brands. Courtesy of the Celiac.com newsletter....

Gluten-friendly and Gluten-free Candy and Treats for Halloween 2010

Even though I have sworn off candy except for a single daily square of extra dark chocolate (equaling one-fourth of a serving), I am most disappointed that only a few Hershey's items are now considered safe. Those miniature bite-sized bars bring back fond memories.

Monday, October 18, 2010

For this, I almost want a cell phone..... 

Got this from a Facebook friend. One of Jeff Dunham's most popular ventriloquist dummies:

Achmed's Ring Tone Mission

My choice for a ring tone would be: "Silence! I kill you!" Would love to see a live Jeff Dunham performance. He has been here a few times, but it's just not in our budget.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five more weeks to go.... 

Here's one of the trailers for the next Harry Potter movie. It comes out November 19....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

In preparation, I started reading the book again. This will be my third time through, and I hope I finish before the movie comes out because I will probably see it opening weekend. I plan to re-watch the first six movies sometime before then too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anatomy of a biopsy.... 

Since I have become experienced at receiving biopsies, I decided to put this knowledge to good use and write up something for But You Don't Look Sick. Here is my latest article:

Breast Diagnostics: Beyond the Annual Mammogram

As has been well-publicized, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are reminders everywhere for women to get regular mammograms as this is the best prevention. What is less publicized is what happens when the mammogram shows a lump that needs more investigation.

If you receive word that you need further screening, do not panic. Many times, a second set of scans will reveal any abnormality to be a harmless cyst. And sometimes, the original mammogram was done incorrectly and comes back fine the next time around.

One thing to keep in mind is that pre-menopausal women are more likely to have breast tissue that is dense, making accurate scanning more of a challenge. Smaller breasted women have less fat in the tissue, so there is less visible difference between a mass and healthy breast. And up to 60 percent of women have fibrocystic breast disease, in which they develop non-cancerous cysts; endocrine disorders such as diabetes and thyroid disease increase the incidence of a fibrocystic breast condition.

If there is any uncertainty after a second screening, an ultrasound will usually be next. These are simple and painless and can usually be done at the same appointment. Ultrasounds make it easier to determine whether a lump is a cyst or a tumor.

Should an ultrasound be inconclusive or suggest a tumor, a biopsy may be ordered. These range from a fine needle aspiration, the simplest, to open surgery, the most invasive. The type of biopsy required depends on the nature of the lump, its size, and whether it is causing pain or other symptoms.

The main thing to remember about breast biopsies is that 80 percent of them are negative, meaning non-cancerous. While it is important to take a biopsy seriously, it is not worthwhile to lose sleep over that other 20 percent chance. Think of it as ruling out cancer if that helps.

Traditionally, all biopsies were done under general anesthesia, the suspicious area analyzed, and a mastectomy done if necessary all in the same day. Now this is uncommon unless a patient has circumstances that would warrant an invasive one-step procedure (such as a health condition that would prohibit multiple surgeries) or if there is some certainty that the entire lump must be removed. Outpatient procedures are preferred whenever practical.

I have had two biopsies. The first was in 2007, and the other was last week; both biopsies were of the needle variety, which I will detail in full as they are fairly common. As I do not have personal experience with open surgical biopsies, I will not go into them here, but the National Institutes of Health is a good place to start if you need more information on them:

Fine needle aspiration can be done in a doctor's office; it uses a small needle to take a sample of the tissue in question and does not require anesthesia. It can also be used to remove fluid from cysts. It is usually only done on tiny lumps; on larger ones, it may not remove enough tissue for an accurate diagnosis.

Core needle biopsies can be done either in a doctor's office or an outpatient setting and uses local anesthetic. Multiple samples, usually three to five, are removed from the breast using a spring-loaded device; because more tissue is removed to analyze, it is more accurate than fine needle aspiration. Ultrasound or other scanning devices may be used as a guide to help with precision of placement of the needle.

Newer technologies allow even greater sample size than a core needle, thus ensuring even more accuracy but without the necessity for open surgery. A vacuum-assisted needle can be used to suction the tissue into a cylinder for analysis. This is similar to the core biopsy in that it is outpatient and requires only local anesthetic.

If you are told you will need a biopsy, you do not usually have to wait long to get one; some places can schedule them in less than a week. But if you are on medication such as blood thinners or NSAIDs or take supplements that have anti-inflammatory properties such as fish oil, you will want to wait at least three to five days to have a biopsy in order to give you enough time to discontinue or modify your dose according to your doctor's recommendation. You can replace your NSAID medication with Tylenol for three days prior if your doctor okays it.

Another thing you will want to do prior to a biopsy is inform someone at the facility where you will be having the procedure, preferably a nurse,  whether you have allergies to latex, adhesives or Lidcocaine-type medications so they can accommodate you. Also call them if you may need an anti-biotic prior to the biopsy because of a cardiac condition, heart valve replacement or joint replacement. For my most recent procedure, I was given a new adhesive tape and steri-strips made especially for sensitive skin, and because of my intolerance of Lidocaine, they actually called my dentist to find out what local anesthetic she used and gave me something similar.

On the day of the procedure, stick to your usual meal routine, particularly if you are diabetic, so you won't have any glucose level concerns. You are not required to have someone drive you; however, you might want to opt for this if you live a long distance away and have a fatiguing condition. If you are working, you might want to take the rest of the day off if possible because you will be instructed against any strenuous activity or lifting.

For convenience, wear an oversized shirt that is easy to put on and take off because it will go over a dressing later. It is recommended that you wear a bra, but you might want to avoid a tight-fitting underwire; an old sports bra that will offer some support but will stretch enough to cover a dressing would be ideal. A sports bra will also be handy for holding ice packs in place afterward.

You will want to arrive a bit early for your appointment as there will be some paperwork and you'll need to go over your medical history and medications. If you are on a lot of meds, bring with you a typewritten list to save time. You'll also talk with the person who will be performing the procedure to make sure you understand it and answer any questions.

You will be asked to take off everything from the waist up and put on a hospital gown that opens in the front. You will make a mark on your skin above the breast that will have the biopsy to make double sure they choose the correct one. Now you're ready to get started.

You'll most likely lie on a table for the procedure at whatever angle will make it easiest to reach the area being biopsied. In 2007, I was on my right side, but during the one I had last week, I was on my back with a foam wedge under my shoulder. If there is something you need to be more comfortable, like a pillow under your knees or a warm blanket over your legs, just let them know.

If this will be a guided procedure, they will perform an ultrasound or other scan to pinpoint exactly where the needle will go. They will try to determine where the edges of the lump are and, if it is a core biopsy, decide how many samples to take. Your breast will be sanitized.

Unless you are doing a fine needle aspiration, you will be injected with a local anesthetic, usually a fast-acting one. Some women say they don't even feel the injection. But if you have a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia, you may notice it.

If you are nervous, close your eyes and do whatever relaxation technique works for you. Focus on deep regular breathing and not tensing up. You may feel some pressure as the biopsy needle goes in; if you feel sharp pain, let them know as you may need more anesthetic.

The incision from the biopsy needle is pretty small, a quarter inch or less, so there won't be many stitches, and you may not even end up with a scar. When the sample or samples have been obtained, pressure will be put on the area for up to 10 minutes to make sure there is no bleeding. You may need to have post-biopsy mammograms; these should not be too uncomfortable as your breast will still be numb.

Afterward, you will have steri-strips over the incision, and gauze will be taped over that. If you opt to not use adhesive tape, alternatively, you can be wrapped in an Ace bandage to hold the gauze in place and support your breast. You will be given post-surgical instructions; read over these before you leave to see if you have any questions you need answered.

Ice packs are recommended for the next 24-48 hours, replacing them with fresh ones every hour or two. This may sound excessive, but if you are prone to bruising, it will really help. If you experience any pain, you can take Tylenol, but hold off on any NSAIDs for a day or two. If you need stronger pain relief, consult your doctor for advice.

Take a break from exercise and housework like vacuuming for a couple of days. If you can tolerate it, continue wearing a bra even at night for 48 hours. Providing support and avoiding excessive activity during this time frame will help you fully heal.

Keep the bandage dry for two days. I find that removing the dressing and adhesive tape is easier on my skin if I soak it in the shower first. The steri-strips may need to stay on an additional day or two; remove them the same way, or if they are not bothering you, leave them until they fall off by themselves.

The pathology report on the tissue sample is usually ready within three business days; I've gotten them in just 24 hours. If it comes back normal, you may not have to do anything further except a follow-up mammogram in six months. If you have a problem that requires treatment, you will be instructed how to proceed.

Biopsies are less intimidating once you know how they work. This will help you save your energy for whatever diagnosis you might receive.

Today is World Arthritis Day! 

While most people are familiar with osteoarthritis, the kind you get from injury or overuse, fewer are familiar with arthritis caused by autoimmune disease. Here's a good primer on the second kind:

Q&A Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases

While Sjogren's is not in this article, it is nevertheless a disorder that can cause arthritis. I not only have that but also fibromyalgia. Oh, and just for good measure, osteoarthritis in my neck, low back and right knee from old injuries.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adaptation can be beautiful.... 

A young man who lost his arms in an accident and now plays piano with his toes has won "China's Got Talent"....


Hilarious SNL sketch about a "mom" filter for Facebook....

It's Native Americans' Day! 

Yes, it may be Columbus Day in most of the rest of the United States, but South Dakota does things a little differently. Here are some details:

Holidays: Native Americans' Day in United States

Columbus Day remains highly controversial in other parts of the country. In years past, Native Americans have held protests on that day. I don't know if they still do.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What does the cat do during a tilt? 

This is funny and cute. Courtesy of a Facebook friend.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The reality of having an ailment that many still believe is not real.... 

Got this from one of my Facebook friends. The lack of acceptance of fibromyalgia that still goes on is sobering....

Fibromyalgia: Stigmatization and Its Impact

This article didn't say much about those who are too sick to work at all, but I can vouch firsthand for the negative attitudes and lack of support from doctors, insurance companies and family/friends (I am purposefully being vague on the last category). Disclosure is indeed a conundrum because one is considered weak if they cannot tolerate pain, yet they are doing themselves further harm by toughing it out.


The pathology report is in already. The tumor was negative. No word on follow up, but I suspect they'll just say to do another mammogram in six months to make sure nothing has changed, and if it all checks out, go back to the annual screening.

So now all that remains is to recover from the biopsy. I slept 13 plus hours today, and at least five of them were on the couch. I am rather weak and wobbly and sore and out of it.

All about agony.... 

More from the CFIDS newsletter. This book looks really promising:

Review: Melanie Thernstrom, The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010

I am fairly certain that I am one of those people whose untreated pain has rewired the brain. The last time I experienced a completely pain-free moment was April 19, 1999. Even if I were able to eradicate 100 percent of my pain, I have my doubts as to whether I would fully regain normal cognitive function.

When "E" doesn't stand for "ecstasy".... 

Got this from the latest CFIDS newsletter. It's an excellent article on when and if to exercise.....

The "E" Word

It has taken me two and a half years to go from five minutes on the Gazelle glider to my present 25 minutes. I still cannot tolerate a heart rate over 90 beats per minute. That cardiovascular exercise that some docs are pushing will just have to wait until I work my way up to it.

Survived the biopsy.... 

It was at 10:30 this morning. They did an ultrasound first to pinpoint the location, but couldn't find the borders of the suspicious area in question, so it took awhile to decide how many samples to get. The doc settled upon taking three.

This one hurt quite a bit more than the last one. Yes, they numbed the area, but fibromyalgia likes to give bonus pain outside the area being worked on. I kept my eyes closed through the whole thing and tried to focus on my breathing.

They used a numbing agent that did not contain epinephrine, so I was spared the adrenaline reaction that looks deceptively like a panic attack. They have a new adhesive tape for people with sensitive skin; we'll see how well I tolerated it when I remove the bandages Saturday. After the procedure, I was kinda shaky, so I got wheelchair service back to my car.

I am following the after care instructions to the letter, which basically involves ice packs every two hours. I had Dan pick up anything that weighed as much or more than a gallon of milk tonight. I will skip aquacise tomorrow and will wait to shower and take my anti-inflammatories until Saturday.

Meanwhile, my fibromyalgia has decided to visit Intense Flareville. My entire torso feels pummeled even though they only did a semi-small procedure. I will have to take heavy duty muscle relaxants if I am going to be able to get any sleep tonight and put up with the post-medication hangover tomorrow.

I will probably get the pathology report on Monday. I am debating whether to go to aquacise as usual on Monday because I will really need to work the soreness out of my muscles, or just stay home and wait for the call. I will definitely wait until at least Tuesday of next week to return to the Gazelle machine because I usually do Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; Saturday of this week will be too soon.

Am thinking about writing an article about breast biopsy procedures. This is, after all, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there should be more to the awareness than just telling women to get mammograms. They also need to know what to do and what to expect if their mammogram shows a potential problem.

But for now, owwwwwwww.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The legacy of severe M.E. 

This comes from The Hummingbird's Guide. It's a moving tribute to a woman who suffered from severe M.E.

Sharon O'Day Memorial

M.E. is an invisible disease in more ways than one. In its severe form, the person who has it becomes housebound and/or bed bound, and the world does not see its effects. But that should not mean that that person loses their importance.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Pass the buck(wheat)! 

Got this from the latest Celiac.com newsletter. Despite the name, buckwheat is safe for a gluten-free diet and has health benefits too.....

Buckwheat Flour Makes Healthier, Better Tasting Gluten-free Bread

While I don't do bread, I did decide awhile back to eat more whole grains, and buckwheat is one of them. I eat cream of buckwheat hot cereal, buckwheat breakfast cereal and buckwheat waffles.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My first poem in five years! 

I started writing poetry when I was eight years old. It came easily to me, perhaps too easily. I took this ability for granted until I got sick in 1997, when, due to cognitive dysfunction, I began to have trouble sustaining a metaphor and coming up with synonyms, and I stopped writing them altogether in 2005 when I could not complete a poem about, of all things, writer's block.

When I found out my church was hosting a writing seminar inspired by the Psalms, I changed my mind several times about whether or not I should sign up. With my limited energy, I have to be extremely cautious about commitments. And I thought that even if I did manage to write my own psalm (the goal of the seminar), I might be embarrassed about how much the quality of my writing has deteriorated.

But then I found out last week that I would have to have a breast biopsy, and between that and thinking about my dad's cancer, I desperately needed a distraction that didn't involve food since I can't binge eat anymore. So I signed up for the seminar, figuring that if nothing else, I would learn more about the Psalms, which have always fascinated me. And maybe I'd be able to knock something loose in my addled brain, which would be a bonus.

The workshop was taught by Ray McGinnis, who is doing a 29 city tour of the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of "Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-Inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry". There were 25 of us in attendance, some who were writers, some who had never written, and the rest somewhere in between.

We took a look at some of the psalms in the Bible and their recurrent themes and forms. We also looked at modern interpretations of them and of other religious inspirations. I was struck by how simple they were and yet how they got right to the core of universal emotions.

We had been given a packet with some worksheets in it. One of them had a list of phrases from psalms. Our writing exercise was to use at least one of the phrases as a jumping off point for our own thoughts and see where that took us spiritually.

I went with lightning as metaphor and wrote my version of a confessional psalm. When I got stuck, and I did a few times, I looked at the list of phrases, grabbed one, and continued. I stopped when time was called.

I was surprised that the end result did seem to have a coherence. And because everyone in the room used the same list of phrases, I did not have to be embarrassed about "stealing" an idea. I realized that I don't always have to create something out of nothing, that incorporating existing ideas can actually lead to something new.

Was this as good as what I used to write without so much effort? No. But I was also not disappointed with the result.

I did acquire Mr. McGinnis' book and plan to use the exercises contained within. Perhaps in time I will again be able to compose poetry without assignments. But even if I continue to need prompts, it will ease some of the void I've been feeling over the past five years.

Here is what I wrote tonight:

Flashes of lightning cascade across the sky,
Illuminating what I do not want to see.
Lightning inspiring, yet overwhelming.
Sometimes, it strikes.
Other times, less direct,
but its beauty more obvious.
I do not want to look away,
but fear being blinded.

Yet even when lightning strikes,
and I am wounded,
I stand.
I stand on solid ground.
You, my creator,
my brilliant earth,
do not crumble beneath me.

Hidden foundations
I too seldom acknowledge
Bolster me,
have always bolstered me,
will always bolster me.

Give me the strength to look
at what is illuminated.

What's new on TV this season? 

Here's my latest article for But You Don't Look Sick:

TV Review: Prime Time Network New Fall Shows, 2010

There are a plethora of new shows which debuted during prime time on network television in September, over 20 of them in fact. Unfortunately, I stopped watching the networks this summer because I don't care for repeats or reality shows, so I missed the promos that advertised the beginning of the CW new season, which started on September 9. But I did manage to catch the premieres of several series airing on September 20 or later. I skipped any that were on at the same time as my favorite returning shows, which left me with a grand total of eight new programs on various networks in various genres that interested me. What follows is a mini-review of each.

"The Event", NBC, 9PM Eastern on Mondays. This show had a great deal of pre-season promotional hype that was so vague that I didn't even know what genre to expect: a political thriller, family drama, science fiction? Turns out there was a good reason for the vagueness, because it's actually all three, and to give away plot details would spoil the excitement. Here are the basics: Jason Ritter (son of John Ritter) plays a young man who goes on a Caribbean cruise with his girlfriend with the intention of proposing to her. But his girlfriend vanishes from the ship while he is on a day trip, and the cruise staff has no record of her even being a passenger. Scott Patterson (who was Luke on "Gilmore Girls") plays the father of the girl who vanished. He is an airline pilot whose life takes a very surprising turn. Blair Underwood plays the President of the United States who made an unpopular decision regarding illegal detainees. He is on his way to a press conference when "the event" for which the show is named takes place, putting him and his family in danger. Turns out these circumstances are all related.

I was intrigued enough by the pilot episode to see if the following week brought any revelations or just more questions. I was pleased to see some of the puzzle pieces starting to come into place. Turns out the detainees have something to do with the attempt on the President's life, or at least the successful thwarting of the attempt. Here is where the science fiction aspect comes in. The true nature of the detainees and the shocking conclusion of the second episode hooked me; I have set up my DVR to record the series.

My only gripe with "The Event" is that it jumps around too much in time and story line, making it a challenge for someone with cognitive dysfunction to keep up. If you have this sort of problem, I recommend you record it so that you can re-watch portions if necessary to keep track of what happened when. This may become easier as more episodes air and the viewer becomes more invested in the characters.

"Raising Hope", FOX, 9PM Eastern on Tuesdays. This comes from the creator of "My Name Is Earl". Like "Earl", this is a half-hour comedy featuring outrageous characters and situations. In it, a young man who still lives at home has a one-night stand with a young woman who is later revealed to be a criminal who is caught and jailed. A baby results from their encounter, and the young man is left to raise the child in the midst of his extremely dysfunctional family. Martha Plimpton portrays his mom, and her own child rearing skills are so deplorable it's amazing any of her kids survived. Cloris Leachman portrays the senile grandmother who forgets to wear a shirt and chain smokes like a freight train. This show should come with the warning label "don't try this at home". I found the pilot episode extremely funny, but the second week was considerably less amusing. It is definitely not a model of parental or political correctness. I am going to watch one more week before I decide whether to commit to the season.

"Running Wilde", FOX, 9:30PM Eastern on Tuesdays. This is another half-hour comedy. It stars Will Arnett and Keri Russell in the story of a rich man and a poor woman whose family used to work for that of the rich man when both were kids. They're all grown up now, and Arnett's character is so self-absorbed that he devises a lavish gathering so that he may present himself with a humanitarian award. Russell's character has dedicated herself to a life of activism in the Amazonian rain forest with her eco-terrorist boyfriend and her daughter, who has the unfortunate name of Puddle. Rich man reunites with poor woman, sparks fly, and Puddle engineers a way to stay stateside. Maybe some viewers will find this scenario amusing, but I thought the lack of chemistry between the two leads to be annoying. It was my least favorite of all the new shows I watched.

"Undercovers", NBC, 9PM Eastern on Wednesdays. An hour-long spy drama from the man who brought us "Lost", "Fringe" and "Alias". But this bears no resemblance to the previous shows. This is the semi-lighthearted story of a husband and wife who retired from the CIA when they married and have opened a catering business. Five years into their marriage, they are coaxed back into their old roles, this time working as a team. There is romance, intrigue and action, and I enjoyed it more than I had expected. I had never heard of the lead actors, but they make an attractive and very convincing couple. Throw in an overeager, over-prepared assistant and an aggravating old flame who is assigned to work with them, and you have the makings of a promising series.

"Hawaii Five-O", CBS, 10PM Eastern on Mondays. I was on the fence about whether to watch this "reboot" of the old series, as I don't generally go for cop shows. But it features one of my favorite places, Hawaii. It has the added bonus of Daniel Dae Kim from "Lost". And when I found out that they replaced a male character from the original with Grace Park of "Battlestar Galactica", I decided to take a peek. Everything about the new series is modern day except for the familiar theme music (and the phrase "Book 'em Danno"), and that's not a bad thing. I like the island vibe and the fact that they don't just feature the more glamorous spots in Oahu. There's humor and an interesting crime-solving dynamic between the two main characters. Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park play cousins, the former an experienced but disgraced cop and the latter fresh from the police academy. There are gadgets, unusual tactics, hand to hand combat and fast vehicles. I don't know if I will watch the entire season, but I like it enough after seeing the first two episodes to continue at least for awhile.

"No Ordinary Family", ABC, 8PM Eastern on Tuesdays. This started a week later than the others, so I have only seen the pilot episode. In it, a family of four on vacation crash into the Amazon, but aside from the trauma of near-death, they return home thinking they are unchanged. When they go back to their old routines, each is shocked to discover they have developed a superpower that fills whatever they were lacking in their lives. The dad, who is a police sketch artist wishing he was something more, finds out during a shooting at the station that he can catch bullets and other incredible feats of strength. The mom, who can never seem to get enough done in a single day, now has the ability to move at such high speed that she can almost be two places at once. The daughter, a teen who has trouble judging the true motivations of her friends and boyfriend, discovers that she can read minds. And the son, a teen struggling through school, is suddenly a genius. Will these new talents help or harm the family dynamic? It's too soon to tell from the pilot. But to be honest, I am burned out on the super-hero genre, and the characters didn't intrigue me enough to want to keep watching them each week in an hour-long drama.

"The Whole Truth", ABC, 10PM Eastern on Wednesdays. Rob Morrow from "Northern Exposure" and "Numbers" portrays an aggressive defense lawyer. Maura Tierney plays an equally aggressive prosecuting attorney who is Morrow's former classmate. They butt heads in court on complex cases where the facts are revealed slowly through their opposing viewpoints. If you have ever toyed with the idea of a law career, you could learn a lot from watching how these cases are built, what works in court and what can tear a case apart. The guilt or innocence of the accused is not easily discerned, and only after the verdict is it revealed what really happened. I'm not sure this show will survive given the glut of legal dramas, but you could do a whole lot worse than "The Whole Truth".

"$#*! My Dad Says", CBS, 8:30PM Eastern on Thursdays. As if you couldn't tell from the title, this half-hour comedy is not for the easily offended. It is actually based on a wildly popular Twitter feed. William Shatner plays the title role, an Archie Bunker for the new millennium. His life is turned upside down when his recently unemployed son comes to live with him. Shatner is blunt, outrageous and hilarious, but his character does care about his son in his extremely awkward way, and this is what made the show work for me. Also, I think everyone has a cantankerous relative that reminds them of this dad. I will continue to watch the program and laugh loudly at it.

It remains to be seen how many of these shows will get to run a full season. Two that I missed, "My Generation" and "Lone Star", have already been canceled after just two airings. "The Event" seems to have the best shot in my opinion. If you want to pick up any of the above from the beginning, most if not all should be available for viewing or downloading online. Happy viewing!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Inpiringly funny! 

Familiar with those ubiquitous motivational posters? Well, a Facebook friend posted a link to the opposite:


The best one is probably the fish swimming upstream about to land in a bear's mouth. I can relate, heh heh.

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