The Leaker Is Back
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XXIII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Drip, drip, drip. Drip, drip, drip. As you may recall, Dear Reader, that was the sound of the fluid leaking from my brain. Drip, drip, drip. I’m pleased to report, the leaking has stopped. I’m no longer required to wear that goofy ace bandage around my head. I’m just like a normal person. Almost. I still have a...
'DAD, YOU GOTTA GET A JOB'
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XXII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Dear Reader, did you know I’m a house husband? For three years now, I’ve spent most of my time chauffeuring the kids around town, buying groceries and cooking dinner. “Dad, you gotta get a job,” my 12-year-old daughter says during the ride home from school. “And don’t get a crappy-ass job as a barista. You’d make...
WHO'S THIS GUY WHO DRILLED INTO MY SKULL?
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XXI, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Who is this Ryder Gwinn? I know remarkably little about the man who rewired my brain. He’s short. He’s wiry. He has a twinkle in his eye. Oh, and he made my horrific twitch go away. He came highly recommended by the neurologist who used to shoot the right side of my face full of Botox. As you know, Dear Reader, I...
TODAY'S A BIG DAY
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XX, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Today could mark a turning point in my surgery saga. I will find out whether I’m still leaking brain fluid like oil from a rusty car. (Dear Reader, you don’t want me to park in your living room.) I have an appointment with Dr. Ryder Gwinn, my cranial mechanic, at 3 p.m. PDT. He will peel off my Frankenstein wrap,...
GET YOUR ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XVIIII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY This Stocking comes from good stock. My maternal grandfather was city editor at the New York Daily News, back when it really meant something. My paternal grandfather was the president of the American Economics Association, an advisor to presidents and a professor at Columbia University. Both of my parents went to...
OH, NO, NOT AGAIN
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XVIII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I’m looking at the man in the mirror, and he’s twitching like a freak. This can’t be happening, Dear Reader. Two and a half weeks after Dr. Ryder Gwinn split open my skull in order to banish the dastardly twitch, it’s back. Worse yet, aside from these regular spasmodic eruptions, the right side of my face is...
MAKING THE GRANDPARENTS PROUD
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XVII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I have made the arduous journey from my bedroom to the kitchen, and I’m having lunch with the in-laws, Tony and Carol. Tony is an MD/PhD who has had a very distinguished career in international health. He’s British, but he loves American politics — in particular Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He...
YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE ROOTING FOR ME
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XVI, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Let’s go back to a simpler time, before cerebrospinal fluid began seeping through my skull. It is early February, Dear Reader, two weeks after I underwent brain surgery to stop the horrible facial twitch that had rendered my life a living hell. I have moved out of the hospital bed in the TV room. I can make it to an...
YOU CAN CALL ME FRANKENSTEIN
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XV, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I’ve got another hole in my head. It’s a small one this time. Dr. Gwinn made it with a syringe rather than a drill. It only penetrates my scalp, not my skull. As we discussed yesterday, Dear Reader, I’ve been leaking brain fluid. It had pooled between my skull and my scalp, forming an egg-sized lump on the back of my...
I'M OOZING BRAIN FLUID
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XIV, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I’ve sprung a leak. My cerebrospinal fluid — the stuff one’s brain floats in — is oozing into places it’s not supposed to go. My dura, the protective membrane that seals off the skull and the delicate gray matter inside, has a hole in it. The dura typically comes with a lifetime warranty. The damn...
THE IN-LAWS ARE COMING
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XIII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I’m always on my worst behavior when the in-laws are around. This was true even before Dr. Ryder Gwinn messed with my head. My in-laws are wonderful people, and they’re flying all the way across the country to take care of me this week. Pity them. My wife had to get back to her high-stress job, and my mom had to...
THE MUTANTS AND ME
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XII, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I’m starting to identify with cripples, paralytics and mutants of all kinds. Excuse me for employing politically incorrect language, but as a half-deaf former twitcher with vertigo and an egg-sized lump on the back of my head, I feel entitled. I see these people with their wheelchairs and walkers. I see them with...
GOOD NEWS, FOR A CHANGE
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XI. A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY. Dear Reader, I’d like to take some time out from my harrowing narrative to deliver some upbeat news: I haven’t twitched for an entire week. Thank you, Dr. Ryder Gwinn! Thanks for your scalpel! Thanks for your swagger! Thank you, anesthesiologist! Thanks for your teddy-bear demeanor! Thanks for your mind-numbing...
I WANT TO GO TO REHAB (APOLOGIES TO AMY WINEHOUSE)
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART X, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Today I’m off to the Dizziness and Balance Center at the University of Washington. It’s the place to be if you’re dizzy and you can’t balance. My mom’s taking me, and I’m excited about it. It will be nice to get out of the house and spend some quality time with other handicapped people. Ten days after my surgery, I’m...
MY EPIC JOURNEY TO THE TOILET
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY, PART IX, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY I gotta take a leak, Dear Reader, but I really don’t feel like pissing in the plastic jug the nurses gave me. I’m going to make the trip all the way from the TV room, where I’ve spent the last three days in bed, to the kitchen bathroom. It’s a humiliating marathon. I haul my smelly...
ISN'T IT NICE TO BE HOME AGAIN
My homecoming is a grim affair. I’m confined to a hospital bed in the TV room, but I’m too doped up and dizzy to watch anything. Just looking at my computer makes me want to vomit. I can’t read. I don’t want liquor. I don’t want caffeine. Something about the surgery seems to have made me even more self-righteous than I was before. Just bring me fresh fruit and vegetables. Some braised kale...
THE SAGA CONTINUES
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART VII It’s Friday and I’m still feeling like a zombie. I’ve been here five days now, two days longer than expected, but nobody’s explained why. The nurses are trying to move me upstairs, to the rehab unit, where I can hang out with a bunch of stroke and trauma victims who, like me, are trying to regain their basic functioning. I’m not eager to join a...
THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG HERE BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT...
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART VI My privates are showing again but I don’t give a damn. I’ve been in the hospital for three days now, and at this point my testicles are on a first-name basis with the staff. Diana is going to bring me some pajamas so I can get rid of this flimsy hospital gown, which seems to have been custom-made for flashers. The doctors told me I’d only be in the...
WHO’S BEEN MESSING WITH MY PENIS?
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART V Someone shoved a balloon up my penis. Whatever shred of dignity I once had — and it was just a shred — is gone. They took a little tube and crammed it up my urethra. And then they used it to inflate a balloon inside my bladder. The idea is to keep me from wetting the bed. Like I said, my dignity is gone. I’m a catheterized twitcher...
HAVE YOU SEEN MY BRAIN ANYWHERE?
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART IV I feel like Tony Soprano just worked me over with a sledgehammer. Maybe he saw me twitching and thought I was winking at him. What are all these tubes sticking out of my arm? What’s this gadget stuck on my earlobe? Why is this tube attached to my penis? I’m in a very dark room and my hospital gown is wrapped around my neck. The rest of me is...
BRING ON THE SCALPEL!
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART III It’s 5:15 a.m. and I’m off to the hospital for my brain surgery. As my dear old dad used to say, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” I’m driving to the hospital with my wife, who, despite her myriad charms, is not at her best in the morning . As I do every day, I lured her out of bed with a fresh cup of coffee. I’m not allowed to drink any today...
TOMORROW'S THE BIG DAY
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART II, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Tomorrow’s the day Dr. Rider Gwinn is going to crack my head open. I’ve got to get ready. He told me to expect a two- or three-day hospital stay, one night in the Intensive Care Unit, a night or two in an ordinary hospital room. In two to four weeks, he said, I should be twitch-free and back on my feet. In a month and...
I'VE GOT A HOLE IN MY HEAD
BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART I, A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY Let me tell you about the hole in my head, and the peculiar cranium it exposed. The opening — freshly cut — is just behind my right ear. Shaped like an inverted crescent moon, it stretches in a four-inch arc from behind my earlobe up towards my temple. Dr. Ryder Gwinn, a neurosurgeon wielding a drill,...
Nancy Lanza's guns
Nancy Lanza loved guns. Apparently, she labored under the illusion, widely shared by gun-owning Americans, that they would make her safe. Instead, her son Adam turned one of her own weapons on his mother and blew her brains out. Perhaps he used the Glock. Perhaps it was the Sig Sauer. Perhaps it was the Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle, a weapon similar to those used by troops fighting...
Have you no dignity, Sen. McCain?
With your Benghazi rants and your threats against Susan Rice, you have become a pathetic spectacle, Sen. McCain. You have morphed into what you once abhorred: a mindless partisan. Once upon a time, back in the days of the Straight Talk Express, you were an inspiring figure. You were the rare politician who actually spoke his mind, and much of what you said made sense. You helped normalize...
I love it when the President cries
If they haven’t already, the fulminating fatheads at Fox will probably ridicule the President for crying on camera yesterday. Surrounded by hundreds of volunteers at his Chicago campaign headquarters, he thanked them for their hard work and told them they would do great things in the future. “I’m really proud of all of you,” he said. And then he cried. The campaign staff...
Why the community organizer spanked the...
A few random thoughts about why the election turned out the way it did: 1. Barack Obama had the best campaign organization ever assembled on the planet. The president pointed this out during his marvelous acceptance speech, and he got it right. The campaign quickly defined Mitt Romney as the greedy, tax-evading vulture capitalist that he is, and responded almost instantaneously to his endless...
My beloved Muslim socialist Kenyan President is...
RIP, Willard Mitt Romney
Willard, It’s been nice knowing you. In a few short hours, you will be consigned to the Republican loser club, along with Bob Dole and John McCain. You have lied and flip-flopped your way to defeat. You earned it.
I peered into the ugly face of voter suppression
Dear Mr. President, I almost punched a Republican in the nose this morning. He was a repugnant motherfucker, sir, and I really wanted to deck him. It all started when I gave Emelda Jamarron a ride to the polls. She’s an elderly woman from Cuba who moved to Sarasota, Florida, nine years ago. Today was her first chance to vote. She doesn’t speak any English, and she doesn’t have a car. I speak...
We can't let the haters win!
Greetings from the campaign trail, part II
I’m searching for Aerjordan. That’s his legal name. It says so right here on this voter registration printout. The Obama campaign has sliced and diced all kinds of data and made zillions of phone calls to zero in on potential supporters. I’m walking the streets of Newtown, an African-American neighborhood on the north side of Sarasota, to encourage them to vote. Florida is a battleground state;...
Greetings from the campaign trail
The Obamanator has temporarily relocated to Florida to get out the vote for Barack. I’m working in an African-American neighborhood called Newtown, on the north side of Sarasota. In these last days of the campaign, it’s door-knocking time. The Obama field organization — a massive progressive army directed by high-tech data wizards — has spent months and months identifying registered...
Liar, liar, Mitt's pants are a raging forest fire!
Dear Mitt, You are the most outrageous liar in all of American political history. Lots of politicians lie. But you have distinguished yourself as the slimiest liar of them all. You simply won’t say what you believe. Ever. About anything. I’ve never seen anything like it. Richard Nixon lied about his extensive felonies, but he talked straight about his politics. We all knew he...
Willard Romney: bipartisan bullshit
Of all Mitt Romney’s bogus claims, perhaps the most absurd is his claim to bipartisanship. The man is locked in a passionate embrace with the Tea Party. Paul Ryan, the Ayn Rand devotee, is his running mate. Mitt had one truly bipartisan moment in Massachusetts when he endorsed Obamacare. The legislature had already been working on the plan for months before Mitt showed up, but he gave it...
Teresa Sharp is fifty-three years old and has lived in a modest single-family...– JANE MAYER, writing in The New Yorker, “The Voter-Fraud Myth” (via inothernews)
Robert Reich: Mitt's Question-Mark Economy →
robertreich: As we close in on Election Day, the questions about what Mitt Romney would do if elected grow even larger. Rarely before in American history has a president campaigned on such a blank slate. Yet, paradoxically, not a day goes by that we don’t hear Romney, or some other exponent of the GOP, claim…
Mitt Romney will say anything, do anything, to...