PSA: PSEUDOEPHEDRINE IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION

FOLKS. THE DECONGESTANT KNOWN AS PSEUDOEPHEDRINE, WHICH IS REGULATED DUE TO ITS USE IN ILLEGAL METHAMPHETAMINE PRODUCTION, IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION. IT IS USED TO TREAT SOME OF THE POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS OF ALLERGIES, NAMELY, CONGESTION OF THE NASAL PASSAGES. IT CANNOT TREAT THINGS LIKE ITCHING, SNEEZING, OR HIVES. IT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE ACTUAL THING CAUSING YOUR SYMPTOMS, WHICH IS PRODUCTION OF HISTAMINES IN YOUR BODY DUE TO IT RESPONDING TO THINGS LIKE DANDER, POLLEN, DUST, AND SO ON.

BUT WHAT, SCREAMING BLOGGER LADY, IS THE STUFF THAT I NEED TO TAKE FOR MY ALLERGIES, AND WHY BY ALL THE GODS DO I HAVE TO SHOW MY ID AND SIGN FOR IT AND BE PUT ON A NATIONAL REGISTER AND BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL AND (QUESTIONER IS DROWNED OUT BY “THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER” RISING TO A CRESCENDO BUT THAT’S OKAY AS THE SCREAMING LADY BLOGGER IS ACTUALLY JUST TYPING). WELL, OKAY, CONFUSED PERSON WITH THE RED NOSE AND THE PILE OF USED TISSUES AND THE WEB-BROWSER OPEN TO THE RIGHT-WING WEBSITE COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW MEDICINES THAT “RIP OUT THE LINING OF THE UTERUS” (AND ALL THOSE LITTLE DEAD BABIES THAT GET STUCK IN THERE I GUESS) ARE OKAY TO JUST BUY OFF THE SHELF BUT POOR ALLERGY SUFFERERS ARE FORCED TO SIGN THEIR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS AWAY BECAUSE DRUG WARS (ONLY WE BETTER NOT STOP THE DRUG WARS BECAUSE REASONS)), OKAY, HERE’S THE BIG SECRET OF WHAT REALLY WORKS ON YOUR ALLERGIES. ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO YOUR SEATS? DO YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE AND MAYBE SOME SMELLING SALTS OR BRANDY NEARBY?

(Maybe you shouldn’t bother with the brandy, though — alcohol can cause swelling of the nasal passages.)

ANYWAY, HERE IT IS, THE MAGICAL MYSTERY SUBSTANCE THAT ACTUALLY TREATS YOUR ALLERGIES: IT’S CALLED… ANTIHISTAMINES.

And antihistamines are not regulated.

Though maybe they should be, as just 25 mg of diphenhydramine (the ingredient in Benadryl and many other over-the-counter antihistamines) can make you feel as zonked as if you’d downed a liter of vodka. Another common OTC antihistamine, chlorpheniramine maleate, has the same effect. There are some that purport to be “non-drowsy” but imho they’re only “somewhat less drowsy-making.” How do I know this? I’ve fucking tried them all. With and WITHOUT decongestants, which I will repeat are only used to treat the congestive aspects of allergic attacks.

Now children, I am coming to the reason you have to show ID and so on when you go to buy your pack of Claritin-D. It’s because of that “D” in there, which simply stands for “decongestant,” and indicates that one of the two OTC decongestants have been added to the allergy medication. Do I have to tell you to read the fucking ingredients on any meds you buy? Of course I do, this is America, we don’t read instructions or directions, we just blindly reach for the package that has the biggest, shiniest promise that it will Make Us Feel Better on the package, or else we take the same thing our mother gave us when we were ten years old and caught cold, because Mommy! Or some shit.

Anyway, you’re there with the card that says “Claritin-D” and filling out a form and feeling all humiliated because Rush Limbaugh says that’s how you should feel about having to show ID (which you don’t mind showing ten times a day for other things, but this is your Health and Physical Comfort! Mommy!), and you see a teenager girl ahead of you walk up, ask for a package of One-Step, pay, and leave without filling out anything, and you are filled with envy and rage! And I’m prepared to feel sorry, as I know that being filled with envy and rage hurts, but then you go home and get on the computer and babble on Twitter about how it’s not fair that you have to show ID for your allergy meds but birth control is being handed out like candy and all my pity evaporates.

Here’s the thing. There are two OTC decongestants that you take in pill form, and only one is regulated. There is pseudoephedrine, which is the bad meth-making one, which is regulated, and there is phenylephrine, which is not. By my own trials pseudoephedrine is the more effective one, though the other one works okay. And you know what? It’s not good to take too many decongestants anyway. You will get what is known as “rebound congestion” which is even worse congestion. That happened to me. I thought I was just having a really bad allergy time, but actually I had been stupid and been taking Sudafed for several weeks. I had to stop cold turkey, which means, yes, I had a stopped up head for about two miserable weeks. But you know what? I was able to keep on taking the antihistamine, which I just bought without the decongestant in it. You can do that you know. But it requires actually looking at all the different brands on the shelf and even (ulp!) reading the list of ingredients.

Teal deer, you’re all idiots, I’m sick of ignorant Americans taking their stupid automatic “I know what I know the hell with the facts” and going out in the world and saying stupid shit that messes everything up. Thanks to ignoramuses like this and the people who feed off them like Rush Limbaugh, everyone thinks now that women who take birth control medication are all sluts (I take the Pill to regulate my period so I won’t bleed to death, is that OKAY????) and that the Slut Army is persecuting poor, allergy-riddled victims by elbowing them out of the way so they can get their Slut Pills. Personally, as a Slut Pill user and an allergy sufferer, I hope you all choke on your own snot, but I’ll restrain my murderous rage in order to HELP you to a better, brighter tomorrow where you won’t have to show your driver’s license for this one damn thing:

Don’t just buy “Claritin-D” or “Wal-Phed” or any “allergy medication” that is hidden behind the counter so Meth Mike can’t get his hands on it. Buy a pack of Claritin (or any other antihistamine) ONLY. Make sure (read the fucking ingredients! Turn over the box! Look at the sides! They’re on there, usually under the heading “ingredients”) that the package ONLY has an antihistamine as an active ingredient. If you don’t know what an antihistamine is actually called, do a little fucking research. It’s called the fucking internet. Call your fucking doctor. Or fuck, ask the fucking pharmacist at the goddamn drugstore. You’re THERE ALREADY, aren’t you?

And as for decongestants… actually treating your allergic symptoms should bring quite a bit of relief. Try something non-medicated, like holding your head over a steaming cup of herbal tea. (I almost wrote “go boil your head” but I’m trying to dial back the rage here, I really am.) Take a hot shower. Or if you really must take something, take a decongestant whose ingredient (read them! I swear to God if I don’t see you turn that package over and look at the ingredient list I will fucking ki… dialing back the rage, dialing back, deep breath…) is “phenylephrine.” And don’t drink any booze, booze will make you feel worse.

Or if you really, really want to get that sweet, sweet blocked-nasal-passage-blasting pseudoeffie, then just deal with having to sign for it. If it still shirts you off, then, I don’t know, maybe you could look for ways to make this something less of a shit society so people won’t feel the need to get blasted on weird chemicals cooked up in a shed. You could do that instead of raging about girls and women taking control of their own bodies and lives. How about it?

The Pearl-Handled Ladies’ Revolver

The title refers to the stereotypical idea of the sort of gun a “lady” carries in her purse. Which of course is a bag that snaps shut at the top and is carried on the wrist via a short handle, and also contains her powder compact and her “pin money.” More visuals: she is attired in a smart suit of pastel material, is discreetly made up (pink or coral lipstick, never red), pumps and hose, her hair is perfectly coiffed, and she wears white gloves and a hat when out of doors. And of course she is white.

Do you get this picture? I swear this is the figure conservatives envision when they talk about how women should all be trained to carry guns to “defend themselves in case of attack.” Okay, maybe the NASCAR contingent sees a blue-jeans-clad beauty (who is also slender, young, athletic, and wears her hair long and loose… and of course she’s white) with a shotgun slung over her shoulder. But anyway.

This argument, that the proper way to prevent rape is to arm all women, is just so cute. It implies that using a gun ain’t no thing, that shooting another human being ain’t no thing, that you should just be able to “do it” the way people have to put on clothes to go outside. “It’s that simple!” chortle the dudes, half of whom have never picked up a gun in their lives. “If women want to be equal they should do what we do, carry a gun!” crow the males, one-quarter of whom couldn’t hit the side of a barn door with a cannon.

There are so many flaws to that argument, I’m tempted to just sweep them all away with “you’re all idiots.” But that wouldn’t be helpful, would it. I’m here to help. Let’s review some things. First of all, let’s look at the idea of wounding/killing another human being. That’s what “shoot your rapist” means. Of course, I believe all rapists should be shot. Gosh that might mean we’d be rather short of men… trying to see the downside of that… trying… Sorry, sorry, got caught up in a “moment.” Anyway, look. There’s a reason we put army recruits through horrible, dehumanizing training. Despite the best efforts of our society human beings aren’t “natural born killers” — they need to be conditioned. I’ll just mention I’m not going to argue with idiots who think otherwise: in this case the “you’re all idiots” generalization will apply. Anyway, people can’t just kill “just like that” and especially women, who are conditioned in this society to be quiet, yielding, submissive, and to put up with men’s shit at all times.

But I know what this game is. I know. It goes like this: men don’t want to take responsibility for controlling their penises, as usual anything to do with emotions is fobbed off on women. This is how a rapist can say a helpless woman who was nowhere near strong enough to make him do anything “made him” attack her by merely existing in a female form. Women are given the responsibility of controlling the emotional responses of everyone on earth, while men go on their merry way saying “Nope, not me.” This is how they get away with shit, and women have let them do that because being told you can control men with superpower mind controls is a kind of power. Even if it’s not a real one.

Telling women they need to carry a gun is another way of giving us this false power. It’s actually just another responsibility. Because now we not only have to take time out of our lives to make sure we don’t look “provocative” in our dress or manner, we also have to make sure we add yet another thing to the already heavy bag of stuff we carry (and we need it all: the phone to call the police who won’t get there in time, the mace to enrage our attacker so he beats us half to death, the money to assuage his rage just a bit, maybe…) — this time a gun, which will also cost a pretty penny (a decent handgun costs hundreds of dollars; look it the fuck up — and then there are bullets, which also are not cheap) — we have to go to gun classes to learn how to shoot the thing, we have to pay for a license, and then we have to maybe one day shoot a person, or maybe we’ll just get overpowered and have our gun taken away and be shot to death. And added to all this will be the idea that if we don’t do all this crap, it will be OUR FAULT, the way it is now OUR FAULT, the way it’s always OUR FAULT, that we got attacked.

Fuck you, gun people. I have no intention of playing your game. I have no money for this shit — the gun, the classes, the licenses, the ammo, ALL COST MONEY — and furthermore I have no intention of taking any of MY VALUABLE TIME out of my day to learn to use a gun. You know, if guns are your thing, fine. They aren’t mine. They don’t interest me. I don’t want to kill anyone (except maybe some of the smug Joes who push this shit). I pay taxes. Some of those taxes go towards laws and police. It’s their job to protect me. Either do your jobs, or get the fuck out.

And men, your emotions and reactions to the world around you are not my problem. Control your penises. Teach your sons to control theirs. I’m not your mommy. No woman is — even your mommy isn’t supposed to run your life 24/7. Use some of that manly manhood and DO IT YOURSELF.

You’re all worthless and weak

In light of the fun message we’ve been getting from people like Missouri senate guy Todd Akins, Mike Huckabee, et al, I have a message for our Republican congressdudes which you can extend to white American guys in general but for right now, let’s focus on the GOP. It is this:

SHUT UP.

I’m serious you guys, you need to close your mouths. Do not say another word. Do not even issue a statement through some poor flunky. I’d say don’t even think but I believe that little problem has been taken care of some time ago. But just, as a (not) friendly suggestion, please

SHUT THE FUCK UP.

And that having been said, here’s my second (not) friendly piece of advice:

GO AWAY.

Yes, go away. Leave the stage. Leave public life. Cease and desist all political activity. None of you so far have displayed the governing ability of warm sand. You act like you’ve never talked to another human being in your life, except for maybe your golfing buddies. Since it’s a requisite in this fine modern democratic individualistic (cough cough cough sorry got some irony stuck in my throat) land that anyone who wants to get anywhere in politics has to be married with at least 2.5 children you must have touched a woman at some point in your lives, but you don’t seem to have ever had a conversation with one. You act like you have no idea what these mysterious uterus-having beings are like. Why should  you be allowed to be anywhere near any position of power? I’d be hesitant to hire you as Walmart greeters — instead of saying “Welcome to Walmart” you might end up blurting out “Hey, that’s not legitimate rape!” And then you’d get torn to pieces and I might get blood on my cheap Walmart pants. That would suck. (Blood on my clothes, that is; I couldn’t care less if you were fed to wolverines and it was all shown on Pay-per-view.)

So. Leave office. Leave the public eye. Leave town. Go off into the wilderness and found that Christian community of righteous-living sexist racist pigs you seem to want to live in. Just go away.

(Note: this can, as I said above, be extended to many who are not in the GOP. Plenty of white male Libertarians, Democrats, Socialists, and “independents” are like this. So this goes for you guys too. And for those of you Republicans who protest you’re not like this, well good. Run these guys out and clean up your party.)

The Butchering: I Read Changes, Book Something Or Other of the Harry Dresden Files

So there’s this popular fantasy series about a “wizard detective” called Harry Dresden. I’d never read any of the books before; I don’t particularly care for “urban fantasy” — i.e., fantasy set in the more or less modern world. While I might have loved it when I was younger (and some of the fantasy I read in my teens and twenties had elements of what is now a fixed subgenre, namely magical things happening in the “real” world), now it strikes me as a subgenre suited for children and adults who never grew out of the childish desire to have magical things happen while never having to leave the comfort and safety of their bedrooms. You know, like wanting a tame dragon to be your pet, or a handsome rich vampire to marry you and settle down with you in a nicer neighborhood in your home town. But anyway, I was given the chance to read one of the books of this series, called Changes. I’m a couple chapters in, and frankly already I’m bored.

I’m also pissed off. Jim Butcher is an American dude, you can tell by the way the only thing his protagonist seems to care about is the fact that his ex-girlfriend didn’t tell him he had a daughter until said daughter was kidnapped by some of his enemies. Oh yes, the plot: Harry the Wizard gets a phone call (because despite the effects of his wizardly powers on computers, somehow he can get phone calls without the things fritzing — oh yes he talks about “receivers” and “the hook” but those old-fashioned things had electrical parts and computer bits in them since the 70s, and this story is not set in the 70s). Anyway he gets a phone call from his ex, who left him for Tragic Reasons (tl;dr: she was half-vamped by an enemy of his, and she’s okay only as long as she doesn’t drink any more blood, so she ran away south of the border so as not to be tempted to drink her boyfriend’s blood, and also to become a vampire fighter), and she tells him they had a daughter and the daughter’s been kidnapped by his vampire enemies. Anyway, you can tell that Butcher is an American male because he has his hero spend precious thinky time moaning about how awful it is he was never told about this daughter, even though as his ex has to point out (because hurt male ego and reason can’t share space in Harry’s head) they are both involved in dangerous evil-creature fighting which leaves no time to take care of a kid, so she had the kid fostered by a “normal” family. I will point out I can understand his ire but the question of just what can two vampire fighters with dangerous enemies do with a kid is left sort of hanging. I mean even if they retired until the child was grown, they’d always have to be in hiding… I dunno.

This fucking thing is longer than the Silmarillion so I’m just going put the rest under a more tag. You have been warned:

Continue reading

The Free Market Is Not A Free-For-All

Original thing I was going to post on has been canceled because this happened: in a comment thread about a publishing company’s follies, one of the commenters told a story about a coffee shop that failed because despite the nice decor and cookies, the coffee was lousy. I thought something was missing from the story so I asked:

Didn’t anyone tell him his coffee tasted like sock water?

I got the following reply from another commenter, not even the one who was telling the story:

He’s running the business. It’s nobody else’s responsibility to keep him in business.

Okay, I admit I blew my stack (and at first mistook the second commenter for the one who told the story, I was that mad). Because, what the fuck, you hear a story about someone whose business is failing because of some simple thing (in this case, bad coffee), and your answer to a question as to whether or not anyone had ever told him what the problem was that there was no reason to tell him because “it’s nobody else’s responsibility to keep him in business“????

See, this is why so many people are against capitalism and the “free” market. Because they see this sort of “fuck you, I’ve got mine, I don’t care if you starve” attitude from too many of its proponents, this attitude that even if you do everything right one tiny mistake OR EVEN unforeseen shit happening like a hurricane or other natural disaster wiping you out means your business should fail and you should crawl off into a hole and die, this dog-eat-dog nasty-ass treatment of other people, and of course they start looking at socialism, communism, anything communitarian that seems to promise a system where people won’t be treated like disposable garbage. What the fuck do you expect? I mean seriously, what the fuck?

Why I hate it when you tell me to “smile”

You’re walking down the street, absorbed in your own thoughts, when suddenly a man stops you and tells you to smile. For him, it’s nothing – he thought it was a nice day, you didn’t look like you were enjoying yourself, and he took it upon himself to brighten you up. For you, however, it’s just one more incident in a long line of things telling you that you don’t own your body, that you exist for other people’s pleasure, and that conformity and pleasing others is more important than whatever you personally feel or think.

(Yes it’s an old link. Whatever, deal with it.)

The ugliest fountain in the Western Hemisphere

ugly fountain

Can be found in Winchester, Virginia, USA. I have no idea why it exists; most of these things have plaques or something denoting who constructed it and why, but apparently whoever brought this object into existence (sometime in the 1970s probably, because the hideousness, the colors, the tiny square tiles set in a random pattern, all scream “the No-Taste Decade”) was too ashamed to do so. It is a mystery.