Your old friend Keyser is back from his secret journey, ask and not to worry, pharm the world won’t self-destruct after all. Actually, we got back Wednesday night, but a pile of domestic disaster awaited Keyser after sorting out the international chaos. Finally, all is well, and perhaps we can get back to some Lair-erizing.


No, Keyser’s Not Dead


But he ain’t feeling too great, troche either.

As you may know, I had a bad biking accident on August 8. We actually went away to the mountains a few days later. With me in a cast, which somewhat put a damper on the roaming of mountains. The cast was a pleasant bright orange thing, but it made typing difficult, and writing pretty much impossible. For somebody in the daemonology profession, this can be quite a problem. The retard daemon who has control of Keyser’s left hand writes like a half-wit.

Got back and on Aug. 27 went in for another visit. The case came off, more x-rays, then some prodding of the arm.

Doctor: “Does this hurt?”

Keyser: “Well, I don’t know that I’d divulge any state secrets, but it’s not pleasant.”

Back went on a new cast (a more conservative blue this time around). The fingers are a bit freer, but still not much use for writing.

Oh, and did I mention that the right pinky won’t touch the thumb? Doctor thinks that may be from bruising to the ulnar nerve, which could heal itself. Let’s hope!

The doctor was more concerned about something called a scaphoid bone. Seems it’s a crappy little think that floats around in the pocket of the thumb. The cast is meant to help keep it immobilized. I’ve met somebody who said she had this problem, but her hand wasn’t immobilized and it’s never been the same. The doctor said it could go “necrotic” if left untreated. Not sure what exactly that means, but since it comes from the Greek word for “corpse”, it doesn’t sound good.

So, went in for more exams today to a tech place. With added radiation! Got driven there for 8am and was seen right away. Just as jab in the arm with a needle full of some radioactive stuff. The people over at the first clinic had said my piss would be lethal. At any rate, they keep pregnant nurses away from the likes of Keyser. Mrs. S. was curious if conjugal relations would be fatal for her (and no, we’re talking any “golden shower” action, you disgusting perverts!). Turns out this was just wild rumor, and in fact they don’t even warn breast-feeding women to lay off the kids for a day, so we either talking total safety or gross negligence. We’ll go with the former (for Mrs. S.’s sake!). Anyway, the point of the radiation is that with whole bone, the little radiation things stay out, but if there’s a crack, they go in and this shows up as a line on the x-ray. Oh, and there may be a small fracture in the “distal radius” (whatever that may be), so we’ll check on that too.

So, I have to wait around for two hours to let this Fukuyama Fukushima [thanks to inveterate Lair reader Dr. Anton Phibes for pointing out Keyser’s carelessness] spritzer course through Keyser’s veins, a time happily spent perusing a grammaire coptique, while listening to dirges and German pop music on the iPod. After my person is suitably irradiated, I return to the lab. First, a full “nuclear body scan” (I think that’s what they called it). I objected that I was there for hand, but they said they’d do it anyway. I guess if you’ve got this huge fancy machine made by Phillips, you may as well use it.

It was actually pretty enjoyable. You have to lie still for twenty minutes while this gadget moves across your body. The table vaguely undulates under you for some reason, so with you eyes closed, it was sort of like “medical magic fingers”. Until the fire alarm went off. The tech girl said it happens all the time, and until you smell actual smoke or start to singe, it doesn’t mean much. Somewhat ruined the moment, but it shut up soon enough.

So, after this event, the tech girl comes back.

Her: “Does your back hurt?”

Keyser: “Depends on what you mean by ‘hurt’.”

Her: “Well, it should because you’ve broken eight ribs!”

Well, guess that would explain the periodic back spasms that would turn Keyser periodically into Quasimodo while we were on vacation! Seems there isn’t much to be done about it (they can hardly keep you from breathing!), and the sharp pain went away about a week ago. Oddly enough, on vacation we had a long hike up a smallish mountain one day, and the next was a really bad back day. Guess we know why!

After learning of the broken ribs, Keyser was talking about this with the ex-Mrs. S. (who has an interest in necrology), and I commented that it had felt like muscle contractions. She commented that it may well have been, with the muscles attempting to immobilize the broken ribs.

So, to get back to the lab story, they insisted on a 3 1/2 minutes picture of the left knee (must have looked bad to them but it feels fine) plus a good exposure of my paws. After that, they called the doctor, who said he wanted a la-dee-da 3D image of the right hand. This involved lying down, holding the hand extended “above” the head and remaining still for 12 1/2 minutes while the gadget first whirled around swiftly, the slowly rotated. Easier said than done, but Keyser’s a good patient and does what he’s told.

So, apart from the tech girl being surprised to find all those broken ribs, we’ll have to wait for a week to see what the doctor has to say about hand. (Seemingly, the ribs have fixed themselves on their own). “Cause I gotta say, if I have to keep writing Satanic verses with my right hand’s idiot brother, I’m going to start losing my cheerful demeanor. And boy, do I have a spell for that stupid woman who caused the accident!

And it’s hard to post on the Lair too. But maybe I’ll start getting better…

Better Late Than Never: Afghan Edition

The “war” in Afghanistan goes on apace, levitra buy to what end God knows.

A young woman lays down on the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Noah Pier on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, troche 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Pier was killed Feburary 12, 2010 in Marja, Afghanistan.

Maybe it is too late.

Black Friday: Worse Than Reported Edition


Keyser previously posted on news that this year’s “big” start to the Christmas shopping season was pretty much the same as last year’s dismal start. But no, click here’s news that it’s worse.

Gallup’s Thanksgiving week results tend to confirm fears of a weak holiday sales season as consumer spending was unchanged from the prior week, clomid even though it included Friday and Saturday of the Black Friday weekend. At the same time, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index and its Job Creation Index were essentially unchanged from the prior week. A rather gloomy consumer mood and consumer spending — trailing last year’s financial crisis-depressed comparables by 25% — may not be unexpected, but are surely a disappointing way to start the Christmas sales season for the nation’s retailers.

Holy shit. People did no more shopping than on the week before Thanksgiving and instead of the previously reported decline YoY of .5%, it’s down 25%?

Meanwhile, the stock market continues its upward trend to PEI’s previously unheard of on the basis of delusions about the “fundamentals” and (perhaps more importantly) vast numbers of zeroes concocted by Bernie Bernanke. Now, there’s “Hope and Change” you can bank on. Just don’t buy stocks on it…

Another Green Shoots Graph Not Looking So Green

Keyser’s swamped with Super Tuesday shopping, salve headaches and various other blogging-obstructive maladies, view so look at this and consider what future earnings the stock market is “pricing in” to the 50% increase in prices since the lows of last winter (as always, recipe click for a bigger picture):


Whoa! That’s something like a 25% decline in the past year. This brought to mind a piece of idiocy Keyser came across last Friday, when the horrific unemployment statistics were released (the “official rate” up to 9.8%, but M6 – the figure including people who’ve given up, those who’ve settled for part-time employment and want full-time but can’t find it etc. – is 17%):

The employment situation has remained much weaker much longer than the overall economy. In September, the jobless rate rose to the highest level since 1983, total hours worked fell at a 5.9% annual rate, and wage gains were a soft 0.1%. Payrolls came in worse than anticipated, falling 263,000, although payrolls fell a smaller 210,000 in the private sector. There are two reasons for the disconnect between the economic recovery and the labor market. First, productivity growth has been rapid of late, part of the ongoing process of technological change that rivals (and may surpass) the industrial revolution. Second, corporate leaders still think the recent spurt in growth will be short-lived and so are being overly cautious. In the short term, productivity growth lets companies raise production even as they continue to cut jobs. Over time, though, higher output with lower labor costs mean more profits, which will help stimulate rapid job growth once companies become more confident about the staying power of the recovery. When the labor market eventually turns positive, it will do so with a vengeance. One interesting detail in today’s report is that the Labor Department now believes total payroll losses between March 2008 and March 2009 will be revised from 4.8 million to 5.6 million, with greater losses across the private sector. In turn, this means corporate profits last year and early this year may eventually be revised upward.

This idiocy comes from the “senior economist at First Trust Advisers (you have to follow the link and search for “today’s jobs reports”; seemingly there’s no independent link). Presumably, this clown was one of the types going on last year about how the “fundamentals” were just dandy, so buy, buy, buy! Here, the claim is implied without evidence that the massive job cuts are the result of increases in productivity, so when companies start hiring, it’s bee “to the moon, Alice!” (as Ralph Kramden used to say). But that’s just lunacy. Who’s going to buy all these supposedly cheaply produced goods, if there’s such high unemployment? Surely, the huge drop in durable goods orders reflected in the graph is a better indication of what the effect on the economy of reduced spending is.

But people like this guy (or at least those who follow his advice) are those who are taking all those dollars created ex nihilo by Bennie and Timmy and snapping up all those stocks. Because, after all, once things get going, they’ll “do so with a vengeance.”

The only question will, who will they take their vengeance on?

The Food Lines are at the Grocery Line


In response to yesterday’s post on how high unemployment rates really are, treat longtime Lair reader she said commented (on a different post):

…after your post about unemployment levels yesterday, viagra sale I thought shaaa it can’t be 20%. There are no food lines.

The quotation is misleading taken out of context (SS does not in fact dispute that things are bad), but it serves as a convenient lead-in to the following item, which indicates why there are no food lines these days:

A record 33.8 million people received food stamps in April, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as unemployment surged toward a 26-year high, government figures show. Spending also jumped, as the average benefit rose.

It was the fifth straight month of record participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and up 1.8 percent from the prior month. Total spending was $4.5 billion, up 19 percent from the previous all-time high reached in March, the USDA said.

Texas was the only state where the number of participants declined from the previous month. It still had the most recipients, 2.92 million, followed by California with 2.7 million and New York with 2.34 million. The average monthly benefit for an individual rose 17 percent from March to $133.28.

An average of about 35 million people are expected to be receiving food stamps each month in the year that begins Oct. 1, according to the budget President Barack Obama sent to Congress in May.

Whoa, that’s something like 10% of the total US population, no? That’s a lot of people getting fed at public expense, and that’s also why there are no food lines. And the fact that this goes on in a much less “overt” way than was the case with food lines in the ’30s is another reason why things don’t “look” as bad as they are.

That was the number from April. It’s just going to keep getting bigger for some time, as the big news heartening the “green shoots” crowd is that the rate of increase in unemployment is declining. But that’s hardly the same thing a decrease in unemployment, is it? We ain’t out of this yet by a long shot.