Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Six Years Ago, Yet Seems Like Yesterday

Six years is a long time.
It's 2,190 days...52,560 hours...3,153,600 minutes...189,216,000 seconds. 
Big numbers there.

Yet I remember 6 years ago today like it was yesterday.

It was the day my mom lost her battle to cancer.

Now forgive me in advance...this isn't going to be a light-hearted blog...or an in-depth opinion piece of the latest and greatest political fiasco in the news...this one is just raw.  But that's where I am today.  That's where I've been every February 23rd for the past 6 years.

Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in April of 2004.  She did chemo and radiation.  She had a significant set-back in July of 2004...the treatment, which is a brutal assault on the body, actually led to her bowel splitting open.

She almost died then.  But she fought.  She held on.  At one of her viewings, an old co-worker of hers, Searle Mitnick, told me that Mom held on to make sure she saw my oldest son's birth.  I think he was right.  That's why he carries my mother's maiden name as his middle name...he was the reason Mom kept fighting, even when all hope was essentially lost.

That set back made her treatments stop.  For awhile.  She was too weak to endure the chemo or the radiation.  The treatment would have killed her.

She got over the bowel thing.  Eventually restarted treatments.  But cancer, being the wicked disease it is, was just a little bit stronger.  It spread.  Fast.

February 2005 rolled around.  Mom was in bad shape.  Weak.  She took a spill in the bathroom at home early in the month and had to have a partial hip replacement.  Another set back.  But again, she fought through it.

February 16th, Dad got the news...the cancer had spread to a point where there was nothing left the doctors could do.  Tumors were growing on her brain stem.  Game over.

Dad told Mom the doctor's couldn't do anything else to treat the cancer. 

She said, "So I guess that means I'm going to die". 
Dad said, "We're all going to die, you are just going to a little sooner". 

Mom had three requests...
1. She didn't want to die in a hospital. 
2. She didn't want to be in pain. 
3. She didn't want to be buried under ground.

All three requests granted.  She came home on Saturday, February 19th.  I didn't go over that day.  I think me staying away made it seem not real...not final.  I wish I would have because that was the last day she was pretty "with-it" still.

I went to see her Sunday, February 20th.  She was laying on her side, I was standing in the bedroom doorway...talking to her about wiper blades for my car and me having a hard time finding them...seriously, that's all I could muster up.  The only words she said were "yes" and "no" during our chat.

Dad asked me Monday, February 21st to come over and help him...every few hours, Mom had to be turned from one side to another so she didn't drown in the fluid building up in her lungs.  Hospice only came in to monitor the drugs keeping Mom pain-free.  Dad couldn't do it alone.  And for whatever reason, Dad asked me, the youngest, to be the one to help.  Reluctantly, I accepted and went to do what he and Mom needed me to do.

I won't go into too many details, but I wouldn't wish my next 48 hours on my worst enemy. 

Mom had a fever.  A high one.  You could feel the heat coming off of her without touching her. 
Her breathing was labored and gargled due to the fluid building up in her lungs. 
She had an pretty good sized open sore on her back (from the radiation) that never really healed. 
While moving her at one point, we dislocated her redone hip. 
She was skin and bones. 

Those days were 100x worse than anyone could ever imagine.

And on top of everything else, the room had a smell to it...Death.

Tuesday the 22nd I was helping to turn her before I had to run to an appointment I had that evening (I was dealing with a slew of personal issues at the time on top of everything else)...I knelt down at Mom's bedside before heading out, told her it was OK, we would take care of Dad, and to let go.

Fact of the matter was, I didn't want to have to do this anymore.  I was, in essence, praying for her to pass before I had to come back and do it again.

She held on.

That night, as we were turning her, one of her eyes appeared to she knew we were there.  My Dad stopped, leaned down, said "Hey there,'re doing great..."...then he leaned down and kissed her head.

I'll never forget that one moment.

Dad had a split second of hope in his voice.  But I'm pretty sure that was the moment that Dad said goodbye...that was the moment Dad gave up.

She made it through another night.

Wednesday morning, I stopped by before heading into work.  Mom-Mom (my mother's mother who lived with my folks since I was 3 weeks old) had just gotten home from the hospital the day before...she was at her usual spot at the kitchen table having her coffee and a Tastycake or donut...I went back, helped turn Mom (for the last time, thankfully), and started to head out to work.

When I got to the kitchen, I noticed I hadn't taken off the surgical gloves - we had to wear them because of that open sore on Mom's back.  Mom-Mom saw the gloves, asked why I had them on, I told her I didn't want to get messy before heading into work.

She asked, "She isn't going to make it is she?"

I said, "No".

She asked, "When do you think she's going to go?"

I said, "Today".

Here I was telling the woman that helped raise me, Mom-Mom, that her only child, my mother, was going to die...really soon.  Another surreal moment I'll never forget.

I left for work.  Dad came out and told Mom-Mom that he thought the end was a matter of minutes away, and if she wanted to be back there, she should come back right away.

Mom-Mom went to the bedroom, picked up Mom's hand, kissed it, and at that very moment, Mom slipped away into the hands of God. 

She was gone.

It's a damn shame that most of my memories of Mom seem to be of that last week.  It was traumatic for everyone.  Left some scars that will never heal.

She was a wonderful woman.  The best Mom I could have ever asked for.  Everything she did, she did for my brothers and I, and for Dad.  Mom was the glue for the family. 

She talked.  All the time.  To everyone.  She got along with almost everyone.  She just had that way about her.  She was down to earth. 

She loved her grandkids...I know my two boys would have kept her and my dad busy...and it wouldn't have ever been a chore...I think we would have had to tell Mom and Dad that they couldn't take the kids more often than needing to ask them to!  That's just how they were.

I miss her everyday.

And I hope I'm making her proud.

Rest In Peace, Mom.

Ann Rita Stone.  August 15, 1944 - February 23, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Interseting History Lesson..or The Horse's Ass Blog

This one is too good not to post...


Railroad tracks...

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions.  The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.  Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder, "What horse's ass came up with this?", you may be exactly right.

Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses (two horse's asses).

Now, the twist to the story -

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. 

These are solid rocket boosters, or SRB's.

The SRB's are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRB's would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB's had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.

The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRB's had to fit through that tunnel.

The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important?
Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...and CURRENT horses asses are controlling everything else.

Happy Tuesday...or, Happy Day With No Redeeming Value.

Until next time...don't be a horse's ass, Beatdowners.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Bad Mood Blog...or The List of Stuff I Can't Dig

**WARNING** If you are offended by overwhelming negativity, stop reading this entry and go on your hap-hap-happidity doo daa way...

Happy F'ing Thursday, Beatdowners...

I haven't really written a carefree kind of blog in awhile, so I might as well right now...

This will be a dozy because I'm in a suck-ass mood.



I'm just not satisfied.

And I hate February. Lots of bad memories. Too many.

"Hate". That's a strong word. I "REALLY DISLIKE" February.

Anyhow, I'm in a mood. A wicked bad one. And what better way to vent than to blog about stuff I strongly, mildly, and/or obsessively dislike?

In no particular order....

1. I don't like Tuesday's.
2. I don't like February.
3. I don't like cauliflower.
4. I don't like when people say they will do something, or ignore questions and/or requests purposefully to avoid conflict, or what they may perceive to be conflict...if someone asks you something and the answer is "NO CHANCE, BUB", grow a set and say it instead of making the person asking look like a fool, or keeping them around like a little puppy dog for when you are bored or for an ego boost.
5. I don't like pennies.
6. I do not - DO NOT - like the word "moist".
7. I do not like when piss shivers are so strong that you accidentally pee on the wall and the floor rather than in the toilet bowl...c'mon, that can't just be a Stone thing.
8. I do not like when people leave floaters in public rest rooms.
9. I do not like the phrase "ON THE BRIGHT SIDE" real, if you have to say that, chances are sh*t sucks all around.
10. I do not like when people (girls, guys, and anything inbetween) think they are all that and a bag of chips when chances are they are most likely average at best...sure, you may have big boobs, a nice butt, big muscles, money, what have you...but don't be bigger than your britches...chances are you get the time of day because alcohol is involved, someone is looking for a sure thing, or someone has low confidence...these people I refer to are the usual suspects on Facebook who have no shirts on in their profile pic, who have their bikini on in the profile pic, who have booze in their hand in most pics, and/or who wear paint-on tight clothing (that laughably usually shows off their adoration of Big Macs, milkshakes, burritos, and beer in the form of a muffin top or beer gut) and bend over to spill out of their tops or show off their ass(sets).
11. I do not like judging a book by the cover only to find the story inside is a sh*tshow.
12. I do not like ingrown toe nails.
13. I do not like infected hair follicles.
14. I do not like those super small - and SUPER painful - zits you get in the corner of your nose.
15. I do not like Justin Beiber.
16. I do not like missed opportunity.
17. I do not like girls that wear white shoes/loafers and colored socks...I knew this chick in high school that did that...we affectionately called her Puff Socks...and Weedwacker.
18. I do like like quitters...not talking about when someone gives up on something, I'm talking about socks that lose their elasticity at the top and they sag on you all day. F'ing quitters.
19. I do not like treading in dog poop.
20. I do not like when you order food for delivery and you are so psyched for it, and when it gets to your house and is all paid for and the happy little driver is on their way, you open it and it's WRONG.
21. I do not like indecision.
22. I do not like ruts - especially the current one.
23. I do not like being unmotivated.
24. I do not like know, boogers that kinda slide on out there for the world to see - usually at the most inappropriate times.
25. I do not like when women allow douchebags to treat them like dirt and they keep going back for more.
26. I do not like telemarketers.
27. I do not like it when I don't have the winning MegaMillions ticket.
28. I do not like scrapple.
29. I do not like Oil Slicks...but watching the after effects of people doing them is pretty fun, even when it's me ralphing all over the parking lot of Cheeseburger in Paradise.
30. I do not like mistakes I've made...but do like the fact that I've accepted them and risen above does that one even count?
31. I do not like being labeled.
32. I do not like people who see only one side of things...people who refuse to compromise, listen, or accept a difference of opinion.
33. I do not like gutless turds who talk smack behind people's back and won't to someone's face.
34. I do not like being misled.
35. I do not like tequila.
36. I do not like cigars.
37. I do not like my meat well done.
38. I do not like people mispelling every second or third word on their Facebook status...or worse, talking "Urban" when they are most certainly NOT.
39. I do not like jitbags and posers.
40. I do not like the font Wing Dings...seriously, WTF?!?!?!?
41. I do not like emptying the dishwasher.
42. I do not like always picking up the tab.
43. I do not like when people snort back snot...blow your friggin' nose already.
44. I do not like gas stations charging the extra .009 cents per gallon all the time.
45. I do not like lime flavored beer.
46. I do not like Cadberry Eggs.
47. I do not like people who take themselves too seriously.
48. I do not like flat soda.
49. I do not like how political correctness has made everyone so friggin' uptight.
50 I do not like knowing that I'll post this and have another 50 things pop in my head that I shoulda posted.

Ah well.

F it. There is always tomorrow. TGI f'ing F.

Sh*t mood continues. Feel free to leave comments on things you don't like. Or suggestions on how to snap out of this mood...

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Happy Wednesday Beatdowners...

It hasn't been a good morning.  I was running a little late this morning, I tread in dog poop, I got stuck behind a school bus on my way into work, and to cap it all off, I got pulled over by a fine MTA police officer that delayed me even more, but thankfully only gave me a warning for a burned out tail light on my car...I think it's high time for me to get that fixed.

Anyhow, I get into the office some 20 minutes late (which is never, ever fun to do), turn the computer on, open my purchasing program and my e-mail...and in my e-mail, I see one message waiting simply titled QUOTE OF THE DAY.

I want to share...

"Fathom the hypocrisy of a Congress that requires every citizen to prove they are insured...but not everyone must prove they are citizens" - Author Unknown


But isn't that the truth? 

Obamacare DEMANDS that everyone has insurance...yet illegals - or should I call them "New Americans" as our esteemed Governor Martin O'Malley did in his second debate with Gov. Erhrlich back in October, 2010 - continue to collect paychecks, skip tax payments, and COST hard-working, honest, and legal taxpayers money each and every day.

Damn shame if you ask me.

Think about it...if it bothers you as much as it bothers me, make a change - demand a change.

We the People can.  We the People will.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Quick One...or A Gen X Anthem

Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I randomly heard this song today and thought back to the first time I heard it back in 1991-1992.

The song blew my mind.

Dare I say it changed me...I officially got pissed. I officially realized my Generation X roots. I was 20.

And today, as it blared through the speakers of my Jetta, I quickly realized that a fair amount of Gen X has grown up, and probably forgotten about the attitude of our youth.

The way we gave the proverbial finger to the status quo.

The way we questioned and resisted listening to the mass media, to the politicians, to the mainstream.

And I think it's OUR time to do it again.

Give a good ol' whirly bird salute.

Don't fall victim to the Pied Piper that is the mass media.

Tell the politicians in our states and especially in DC that WE call the shots. WE dictate policy...not big banks, not lobbying firms, not political action committees...and that we won't allow BIG government to run our lives.

Eliminate the attitude of ENTITLEMENT.

Embrace the attitude of EMPOWERMENT.

Generation X, we move through our 30's and into our 40's...this country's future is on our hands now.

WE the People can.

WE the People will.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Bit of Chicken Fried...

TGIF Beatdowners...
So a quick one for you...

I'm not much of a country music fan. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some of the more upbeat, beer drinking tunes that make me think of summer or a NASCAR race infield party...

Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band
Beer in Mexico by Kenny Chesney
I Love This Bar by Toby Keith
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere by Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett
Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer by Billy Currington

You get the picture.

Anyhow, a guy I sit near at work plays WPOC (Baltimore's country station) all day now that the football season is over (since the Ravens got bounced by the Steelers)...and I gotta say, that station has my upmost respect.


Every day (during the week, at least) at Noon, they play the Star Spangled Banner. 
Without missing a beat. 
High Noon. 
A different country star's version.

An outstanding tribute.

An amazing patriotic act.

One that makes me proud to be an American.

Thanks, WPOC for keeping it real, for the daily reminder that despite all the BS we do live in the greatest country on Earth, and for reminding everyone listening that when it all comes down to it, we are AMERICANS first and foremost.

That's it.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It's becoming painful to turn on the TV.

Turmoil in Egypt.

Cyclone Down Under.

Snowmageddon acorss the US.

Mom's shooting their kids.

The Mexican Drug Wars coming closer and closer and closer to our country.



Attempted assisinations of Congress members, and sick and twisted politicians using it for fodder in re-election bids.

And America more divided than ever, thanks to the BS political games throughtout the states, blue states, Liberals, Conservatives, Tea Partiers, Birthers, and everything in between.

What's going on in the world?!?!?

I'm goin' crazy!

"It's not a hill, it's a mountain as you start out the climb"...time to start the climb, folks,  Time to fix things.  At home.  Here.  Now.

To quote Bishop Tutu..."Yes, there are many obstacles...of course there are always roadblocks in the way of justice...but God will put a wind at our backs, and a rising road ahead, if we work together as ONE".


We the People can.  We the People will.