Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An Open Letter to Arnold Chiari Malformation

Hello, Arnold.

Didn’t think I’d see you back again so soon. It doesn’t seem very much time has passed since you last turned my world upside down. In fact, I didn’t think you’d dare show your face around here for another ten years or more.

It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Honoring Carl: Out of the Darkness

Last summer my family was rocked when my nephew's father Carl ended his long and heartbreaking battle with schizoaffective bipolar disorder. This summer, exactly one year and one day after Carl's funeral, Sweet Little Sister and her teammates - the aptly named Iron Maidens - will participate in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness overnight walk in Philadelphia.

Instead of creating a long and rambling post about it, I'll let Sweet Little Sister's words convey what suicide leaves in its wake, and how the AFSP is working to prevent future suicides.

Yes, I am linking to a fundraising page. If you are inspired to donate, please do. Every little bit helps. But even if you don't donate for whatever reason, please read what she wrote. Mental illness is very real. And it is very deadly. And raising awareness is as important as raising dollars for research - so pass the word along.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Polar Vortex According to Sassyfats

If you live anywhere near North America, you are aware that people are freezing their assess off damn near everywhere this week. We’re not just having chilly winter temperatures, though. Oh no. This time around TV meteorologists have given us a new (to us) name for Mother Nature’s temper tantrum: the Polar Vortex.

Let me rephrase that: Polar!!!! Freaking!!!! Vortex!!!!!

Apparently the term is not new to meteorologists. They know all about global weather patterns and the fancy scientific names for them. For reasons I will never clearly understand, they have decided to share the term polar vortex with the general public this week. Which leads me to wonder if meteorologists have ever met the general public.

Agent K got it right.
We can deal with terms like freezing temperatures and wind chills. We've been hearing those terms for decades. We're comfortable with them. We understand that they are actual things that are normal. But if you tell us a freaking VORTEX is escaping the North Pole (!!!) and turning a large portion of our continent into an ice cube, what you have is a “situation.” Close the schools!! Save the children!! You know those doomsday preppers we've all been ridiculing the last couple of years? Well eat crow, motherfuckers, because you’re gonna have to build a bunker and stock it with canned goods and water BEFORE THE VORTEX HITS!!! AAAHHHHHHHGGGGG!!!!

We all have the SyFy channel. We know that a vortex is never a good thing. 

Ok, ok. Calm down. According to meteorologists, there is always a swirl (aka vortex) of air above both poles, it’s all part of the global weather system, it’s normal and natural, we just don’t usually feel the effects because the swirly air stays up where it belongs. But this time, the swirly air at the North Pole got all lopsided n’shit, thereby giving TV news people the opportunity to get everyone all spun up about a vortex then go outside to see if they could turn boiling water into snow.
Pro Tip: Using a Supersoaker is way cooler than using a coffee mug.
Some people (assuming Rush Limbaugh counts as a person) have accused left-wing global warming alarmists of making stuff up to push their left-wing agenda to save the leftmost wing of the leftiest side of our planet. Ugh, liberals.

Or something like that. I, however, have another theory. It’s not political. It’s not religious. But it is very, very alarming. And it is very, very real.

Which pole got a lopsided vortex? The North Pole. And who lives at the North Pole?

This Guy!!
To be clear: I am not implicating Santa in any wrongdoing. He is likely still in the Bahamas enjoying a well-deserved vacation with the Missus. That being said, Santa does rule over a large civilization of elves who also live at the North Pole. I am not implicating them in any intentional wrongdoing, seeing as how most of them work very hard to help Santa pull the whole Christmas Eve thing off every year.

However, Santa does also have an intelligence collecting agency aptly named the North Pole Intelligence Agency (NPIA). The special agents who work for the NPIA are dispatched to homes all over the world right around the beginning of advent - because nothing heralds the birth of Christ quite like elf spies. Their mission is to monitor their assigned children and give Santa daily behavior reports so that Santa knows how much coal he needs to bring with him on the sleigh. 

Yeah. Him. And many the others like him.
The average elf on the shelf is known to be both sneaky (they are, after all, spies) and mischievous. During the holiday season my Facebook feed was full of my friends’ pictures showing their in-home elves swinging from ceiling fans, sitting on piles of toilet paper they’d unrolled, and binge-eating leftover Halloween candy, among other things. 

To some parents, the elves are a helpful part of the parenting team, a visual reminder to children that they really need to up their game if they want the cool swag this year. To other parents (myself included) they are annual reminders that some dolls are just plain creepy. See how the eyes are cast to the side? How long do you have to stare into its adorable face before the eyes slowly turn toward you and peer into your very soul? How long after that before it kills your entire family in the middle of the night, all the while giggling like an innocent child as a cheerful music box plays in the background? Not that my elf-on-the-shelf aversion has anything to do with some of the movie viewing choices I’ve made in my lifetime.
See, Mom? Poltergeist didn't rot my brain. It warned me about the dangers of creepy-ass dolls. 
My point (yes, I have a point) with all this elf talk is that thousands (perhaps millions) of NPIA operatives who have a known penchant for mischief (at best) and are possibly evil murderers (at worst) all had to return to NPIA headquarters after Christmas. Since they work for a jolly old soul, they got a week or so to
cut loose before returning to HQ. 
It's like their Spring Break. Only elfier.
However they chose to spend their vacation time, they all had to report back to NPIA HQ on the same day. Their preferred mode of transportation is flying like Superman above the clouds. But since the legion of creepy-ass flying dolls all returned at once, the atmosphere could not sustain the impact of all their little bodies slamming into the same swirly airspace en mass. As a result, those jokers done popped a hole in the atmosphere, thereby allowing the vortex to get all lopsided n’shit. To put things into a more scientific perspective: Popped Atmosphere + Lopsided Vortex = Frozen Lighthouses.

Move over Einstein. You're not the only one who can create scientific equations.
Now there is talk of us getting hit with another dose of polar vortex in the near future. My guess is because when all those elves saw what they did, mischievous and/or evil bunch of creepy-ass dolls that they are, they celebrated their massive power and then decided to see if they could do it again. Exactly when they'll try their little experiment is not exactly known, but it has been strongly hinted at by TV meteorologists who aren't above scaring the shit out of the general public to get ratings. But whenever they do plan to repeat it, they'll start off like this: 

Gather, Legion!! The time has come!!
 And we'll end up like this:
Is it cold enough for ya? Har har!
Some doubters may disagree with my hypothesis. But since my writeup includes a radar map at the top and a scientific equation near the bottom. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as some rock solid sciencey stuff right there.
Including a picture of Einstein makes it all the more legit.