Whiteboard welcome message at 8CFAC, Froedtert Hospital, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
Whiteboard welcome message at 8CFAC, Froedtert Hospital, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Another Week: Number 31

by | July 30, 2023

We were caged this week — Amy in her cold hospital room, pinned to her pillow by pain in her cranium, and me commuting between there and our estranged home, eating bachelor meals, screening unfamiliar baseball games, and waking at 3 a.m.

Meanwhile, teams of very intelligent people were strategizing to refocus the attack on my wife’s cancer cells. There were some grim glances, some tense moments, and one procedure on Friday choreographed by a half-dozen women in sterile gloves and masks surrounding her bed while I watched from a couch in the corner.

Saturday was our 32nd wedding anniversary.


Caffeinated water: Celsius Sparkling Orange

On Monday morning, we needed to be up at Froedtert Hospital by 5:30 in order for Amy to get an MRI.

I normally have a couple or three cups of coffee each day, but I didn’t want to gulp that much of the stuff that early, and I couldn’t expect coffee to be available at the imaging department.

Instead, it seemed best to pack some cans of caffeinated water — but which brand? Caffeine content varies widely and not all brands are available locally.

Amy suggested Celsius, which is popular among the college students who patronize her coffee shop at UW-Parkside.

Of the many flavors, I went with Celsius Sparkling Orange, figuring orange would be hard to screw up. It contains 200 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can, which is about twice as much as a cup of coffee. It also contains green tea extract and guarana seed extract and ginger root and vitamins B and C and chromium, which all sound great, but I was mostly after caffeine.

The cans are a little odd because they’re taller and thinner than standard 12-ounce cans, so they won’t fit as neatly into the various holders designed for standard cans.

The beverage itself, though, was refreshing and effective. Two cans, about 45 minutes apart, kept me alert through Amy’s day of medical hurdles and my eventual drive home alone.


Trump superseding indictment

On Thursday, while cable news spent the day anticipating our former president being indicted “any moment now” for his attempted coup, Special Counsel Jack Smith instead updated his indictment of Trump in the classified documents case to add new charges and a second Trump employee.

According to the superseding indictment, they have Trump ordering his underlings to get surveillance video deleted from a server right after the Department of Justice subpoenaed those files.

There is no way this criminal con man should ever have been President of the United States in the first place, but knowing what we since then, if he is allowed to raise his right hand and recite the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” again on January 20, 2025, we will — to use his expression — “no longer have a country.”

Anyone who doesn’t see that is also unfit to hold public office.


Jim Gaffigan: Dark Pale

On Saturday morning, I got out to our backyard early to pull some weeds while the sun was still low. Yardwork offers a great opportunity to take in a podcast or two, so I listened to Marc Maron’s recent talk with Jim Gaffigan on WTF. promoting Gaffigan’s latest standup comedy special on Amazon Prime Video.

The special’s title — Jim Gaffigan: Dark Pale — reminds us that Gaffigan has more recently tiptoed beyond the boundaries of his familiar, family-friendly yard into a slightly edgier landscape. For instance, there was his 2020 reaction on Twitter to Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

Look Trumpers I get it. As a kid I was a cubs fan and I know you stick by your team no matter what but he’s a traitor and a con man who doesn’t care about you. Deep down you know it. I’m sure you enjoy pissing people off but you know Trump is a liar and a criminal.

Since the Trump era began, it’s been nerve-wracking to watch comedians try to address its central, ridiculous menace without sounding like a raving partisan. John Mulaney perhaps did this best so far with his brief “There’s a Horse In The Hospital” analogy in his 2018 Netflix special, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.

Talking to Maron, Gaffigan does acknowledge the quandary:

GAFFIGAN: We’re in this time where there are people that are — you know, it’s unfair to say “mentally ill,” because there’s not one or two, there’s a huge amount of people that are like, “I’m with Satan.’

MARON: Yeah — but they think they’re with Jesus.

GAFFIGAN: Yes. Yes! And that’s why it’s sad. That’s why I’m not even angry. I’m sad because it’s like, these are decent people. These people love their kids, they love their community.

Maron also slips in his own keen observation about Trump:

MARON: I used to do a bit that never really worked about how, like, you know, he’s the only narcissist ever that fully succeeded.

GAFFIGAN: Yes! Yes! He’s like, “I am the most important person in the world.”

On Saturday afternoon, Amy and I watched Jim Gaffigan: Dark Pale in her hospital room on our anniversary. Despite his black suit and stark backdrop, it was not the sort of piercing hour that Maron’s own From Bleak to Dark special was earlier this year, and Gaffigan barely mentioned our national or global calamity.

Much of the show was about diarrhea.

But we both enjoyed some laughs.



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