Wednesday, January 26, 2000

ER Horror Story. (by the Tuna Can Man)

As you may know by now I'm from NY. Well, in NY I was a Paramedic for awhile. I've got tons of crazy stories but one that stands out is real funny and kinda sad at the same time. I was working one day, part time, for a transport company, basically just taking nursing home patients to and from the hospital. We got a call to go to some nursing home near Tarrytown, NY. When we arrived we found out it was a routine transport to a hospital nearby. Apperently the nursing home nurse said he was going in for a routine check up and they were waiting in the hospital for him.

I went to his room and began to examine him when I discovered he was having trouble breathing and his pulse was a little weak. I told the nurse and she said this was normal and he would be fine. His blood pressure was near normal and I read his file and he did have a history of heart problems. This is fairly normal of a transport but I kinda had a gut feeling that something was going to go wrong. Most nurses at nursing homes are burned out and understaffed. I again expressed my concern to the nurse who promptly told me to "take him and get the hell out of here." I said "fine, okay, whatever".

As we began to pull away from the home, I realized that already something was going wrong. His breathing became more labored and his blood pressure began to fall. Within minutes what we called "coffee grounds" (that's what they look like) began to appear from his mouth. Now bare with me, it's been a long time, but I think this is a condition called CHF. Basically heart failure. He began to choke. I screamed at my partner to go lights and siren and make it quick! I tried in vain to keep him from choking. Suction, clean, oxygen, suction, clean, oxygen. At this point I was assiting his breathing and actually began to stabilize him a bit.

My partner and I roar up to the hospital. We rush into the ER with the patient choking and these "coffee grounds" (blood, water, lung material) all over him. I'm "bagging him" (pumping extra oxygen into his lungs). He and us looked a mess. Now when a patient is this critical the procedure is to take him to the ER first. I run up to the nurse station and tell the nurse what's going on. Without even looking up from her desk, she tells me "oh yeah, he goes straight upstairs to a room on a floor" I said he's really critical, I don't even he'll make it up there. She yells at me, "Take him the fuck upstairs now." Now sometimes the ER is busy and a ER is one of the absolute wildest places, but they were not that busy!!! Like the nursing home nurse, most hospital nurses are just concerned about their paycheck and that's it!! Not all but a lot.

At this point we begin to argue but I was quickly losing. I turned to my partner and said, "Well, let's bring him upstairs." So here's where it gets funny. We begin making the trek to the elevator and again the patient begins to go "downhill". Everybody is looking at us like we're nuts! Doctors, hospital staff, random visitors are all commenting to us to go to the ER. I kinda told them what happened and also kinda ignored them to just concentrate on the patient. We get on the elevator, with regular people visiting and the patient pulls his airway out right there and starts to spit these coffee grounds everywhere. It was all kinda sureal, as we're fighting for this man's life on an elevator as everyone stared. People were shaking their heads and gasping at the site of this. The patient begins to go into some sort of seizure and begins to really spit all over everything and everyone on the elevator.

We get to the floor and I rush over to the nurse station and guess what?!? Without even looking up she says, "Oh yeah, put him into room 434." Again I tell her how critical he was and she says, "Okay fine, here I'll sign for him, just put him in the bed and go." When I reach my partner we just can't believe it. This patient was not that old, nor was he senile. He should be treated better than this. I asked my partner what to do and he said "Let's just go, it's their problem now." We stabilized for a few minutes more and left. Still no nurse came to even check him out. We figure we would get the hell out of here. Because as usually, somebody would check on him, see he was AFU and blame us. Shit rolls downhill in Hospitals! Paramedics are at the bottom. So as were going thru the ER a good few minutes later we here "code blue room 434" In other words, the patient was dying. As bad as this sounds, some nurse finally decided to see this guy and finally realized he was "Gacked" as we used to say.

As we barreled out of the ER ambulance bay, I turned around a gave the angry goodbye international sign (my middle finger) in general to the hospital and left. You know, I wonder if she even accepted the paperwork, now that I think about it the nurse may have thrown it out. They may have even known who he was! Now you may think this is the exception, but it's not! Doctors and nurses having sex in the closets. Doctors drunk on the golf course calling someone to forge their signature for a RX. Rats, roaches, stealing, and just general "burn out" feeling from the staff. Drug use, old boy network, and bitterness just run rampant among the personel. It sucks. I've been cussed out by more nurses for nothing more than asking them, "How long of a wait until a bed opens?" Do you ever wonder why we don't have a national health care? I'll tell you, doctors and nurses would lose their high paying jobs and have to do more work! That's it, nothing more. Hospitals (all employees, on all levels) fight it tooth and nail! Do you know a large percent of doctors never pay back their school loans? Now listen, not all are bad and some of this was due to the fact of working in a large Metro area but, when I went to EMS conventions, I'd ask other EMT's about this and they all admit, it was changing this way even in their small towns. I'll stop for now but I'll write another article soon about this BS system and tell you more and in more detail. Check out the web site and see that new movie with N. Cage it's very accurate!

The Tuna Can Man is a crazy New Yorker.

Monday, January 3, 2000

Cleaning Tips for Bachelors (by Admiral Bugsy Kludge)

One thing that I love about the Internet is that if you're a writer, or consider yourself a writer, or even if you only consider yourself a vaguely half-assed writer, you don't have to come up with any great, lengthy amounts of prose to pad out a really half-assed idea into an article. Just so long as you're able to type enough bullshit to fill a browser window, the viewer's more than likely going to be happy, and go tell all of his friends about the goofy half-assed idea he just read on that thing called the Internet. Anyway, here's one of those half-assed ideas, and here I am padding it out with lengthy prose. So sue me. I'm about to give you an education here, and it's not even costing you college tuition, so just shut up and stop giving me lip, okay?

Anyway, I was about to school you on something that you might find useful in the future: house-cleaning. It's something you do when you can't find the floor through the mess of pizza boxes, beer bottles and porno mags. Not only does it enable you to find loose change on the floor, but it'll also impress all those girls you've heard about. House-cleaning is sanitary as well. Like you care, you slob. Some people, older people mostly, make house-cleaning their hobby. Others, mostly poor people, make house-cleaning their vocation. Rich people are usually not at all involved in the process of house-cleaning, but I'm not writing this with them in mind.

House-cleaning has a varied and fascinating history.

When you finally decide to start your house-cleaning, you'll find that you will need certain utensils. The first one, which should be at least vaguely familiar to you, is called a garbage bag. All the shit that you keep pushing out of your way when looking for your cigarettes goes in there. The next object is one of the most amazing objects I've run across in all of my travels; I don't know if I've seen a device with a larger variety of uses. A sponge. The sponge is the most important and diverse tool for the cleaning of the house, as it can be used to on almost any surface in the house: walls, floors, kitchen appliances, yourself, mirrors, computers, assorted foodstuffs, the list goes on. The final item that will be required for this house-cleaning thing is some sort of solvent. It really doesn't matter what type or brand, the products are all pretty much the same as far as I can tell. There is usually one aisle of the supermarket that sells only products of this nature. They'll slap different labels on them: glass cleaner, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, abrasive cleanser, non-abrasive cleanser, laundry detergent. It doesn't matter. They all pretty much do the exact same thing once water gets mixed up with them. They make little bubbles and clean stuff. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention about sponges. Buy two of them. One for the toilet, and one for everything else. And keep 'em seperate, maybe even label them. You don't want the toilet sponge giving the general sponge any ideas. So anyway, garbage bags, sponges and solvent is what you need. There are other things if you want to get fancy, or technical, and maybe someday you'll want to look into these other items, such as vacuum cleaners, brooms, mops, toilet bowl cleaners, and dusters. I wouldn't necessarily recommend those now, though. You'll end up with some if you ever get married.

So now we'll assume you've made the trip to the store and have your house-cleaning utensils. Good. Now we can really get to the meat of this process. First, throw everything you don't use away. I find that a good rule of thumb is that if I haven't touched the object intentionally in the past week, then I don't need it. You'd be amazed at what sort of space you can free up in your house if you follow this process. Anyway, find the nearest garbage dumpster and deposit all of that stuff there. Now we're cooking! Next, put on some punk rock music if you have some at your disposal. I've found that punk rock is the best genre of music to listen to while cleaning house. I'm not sure why; I haven't been over to many clean punk rock houses, but this seems to work. Take your sponge (not the toilet sponge) and get it kind of wet. Now, apply some solvent to it, and start scrubbing a surface. After the surface has been appropriately scrubbed, or if you start getting sick of that particular surface, rinse out your sponge, and go over the surface once more. It is actually important to do this thing of giving the surface a good once over without the solvent, because otherwise it tends to eat through crap. Like paint, or wood. That sort of thing. So rinse it, and there's usually no permanent damage. So it's easy as that. Them's the basics. Just apply that routine to every surface (except the toilet! Hit the toilet with the toilet sponge.) in your house, and you're all set.

Now, some advanced maneuvers. Oh, but first let me explain something to you about toilet cleaning. I suppose you think that you don't need to clean the toilet because it's just going to get gross and dirty all over again. Well, that's certainly true, but the crux of the matter is that you never really know when the next time is that you're drunk and emptying the contents of your stomach directly into that thing. It might be tomorrow, it might be next week, but it's probably going to happen. And when it happens, it's best if you aren't being bothered by loose pubic hairs and dried pee while you're doing it. I think. Anyway, the advanced maneuvers. Okay, actually at this point, I've got to concede that I really don't know many advanced maneuvers myself, but I'll pass along the few I know. The main one is that if you're going to try and clean any surface that's been hit with wine, blood or both, don't even bother. That stuff just doesn't come out. Just paint over the area in question. That usually takes care of it. Also, you can usually clean off the majority of burns from fireworks and other sulfurous materials if you scrub hard enough with your sponge, but this will sometimes remove a portion of the surface along with it. Again, just paint over it. Those are the advanced techniques.

Do this, then take a look at your house! Amazing what a little "elbow grease" will do. The ladies will be over in no time flat. Just sit back, relax, and for God's sake, don't touch anything! You might get it dirty.

Admiral Bugsy Kludge is an Official Graffiti Inspector and a pirate. He has attempted to teach community classes on house-cleaning in the past.

Music is Obsolete

When you go to a store that sells records, tapes and CD's, you find music. This doesn't surprise most people at all. But shouldn't it, considering all the audible things that could be recorded and enjoyed? More or less, the only thing available for listening recreation is music. (In the record store you may come across some subliminal weight-loss tapes, but these are generally not used for entertainment. And the artistic value someone might find in stand-up comedy or spoken-word albums can usually be argued to lie in the literary value of the material presented, not in the recording medium itself.) We propose non-musical organized sound as an equally enjoyable alternative to music, with even more artistic validity.

"What is This 'Music'," you ask?

As with any art, each person has his or her own definition. But music is usually recognized as organized sound that follows a particular rhythmic and harmonic structure. Fortunately, this definition is changing, but it's the one we'll use for right now.

Why Did Music Come About?

Organized sound can be enjoyable listening, that's why. But why does sound always have to be organized according to a standard rhythmic and harmonic structure?

Before audio recording, the only semi-practical way to preserve music was the standard musical notation, which assumed standardized instruments playing a standardized series of notes scattered amongst regular predictable beats. This way, music could be performed the same way every time from a standard recipe, using universally recognized instruments (a violin in Moscow will sound similar to a violin in London), and performed by musicians that may have never heard the piece before.

This is why music's standard "beats 'n' notes" format came about. It became necessary to pare down all the possibilities of the sonic spectrum in favor of those that could be easily reduced to standard music notation. Otherwise, a composer would have to perform all music by himself, and multiple instruments would be almost impossible.

Now that audio recording has been perfected, this isn't the case.

The Reasons Music Was Invented are Now Obsolete

Audio recording should be considered the ultimate form of musical notation. It captures all the things that standard music can't: all beats (regardless of how regular or irregular), all tones (whether they can be found on the piano or not) and the sounds created by non-musical instruments. You would have no trouble recording, say, drum sticks on a toaster. But if you were a composer and really enjoyed that sound, you would have no luck writing that on sheet music. And who's to say that your toaster in Boise is going to sound similar to another toaster-musician's toaster in Detroit? Toasters will vary in tone more than other musical instruments.

Which brings up another point. The composer's arch-enemy has always been the musician. Musicians make mistakes and are rarely able to express the "emotion" and other intangibles that the composer intended. Audio recording eliminates "bad performances" of works by doing away with pesky musicians as soon as the recording is finished (or eliminating musicians from the start, if the composer is taking full advantage of the recording medium and forgetting traditional music and traditional instruments entirely).

The composer really can play all the instruments at once now. This way, the recording becomes the best and only performance. And really, now that audio recordings exist, isn't watching a musical performance as absurd an idea as sitting in an audience watching some guy hired by Andy Warhol paint a soup can?

Organized Sound, A More Expressive, Less Limited Audio Art Form Than Music

When photography was invented, the more forward-looking visual artists were freed from their uncreative, robotic tasks, like portrait and landscape painting. It's unlikely that the modern arts of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism or Cubism would exist if the visual artists hadn't given up competing with the camera, and embraced the new freedom it gave them. But it took some time for the artists to recognize that freedom and longer for their audiences to appreciate it.

Why has it turned out differently in the case of audio recording? Well, there's a massive Music Industry in place that has made audio recording their own. They use it as a product rather than a new artistic tool. Consumers won't go out of their way to find "music of noises" simply because they don't know it exists and therefore had never given a thought to such a thing. Also, there's sort of a negative connotation to the word 'noise', which is unfortunately the only single word that describes non-musical sounds, no matter how pleasant they may be.

What we're getting at is...

The obstacles that traditional music was created to overcome have been overcome by the invention of audio recording. Organized sound composition can take full advantage of the recording medium without the (now) arbitrary restrictions of music.

Commercial audio recording is dominated by a Music Industry that's making great money from a system that isn't broken, and they expect to make plenty of money in the future without the trouble and financial risk of advancing the quality of their product.

Bonefish Sam & his Power Orchestra will continue to provide healthy alternatives to traditional music.

Bonefish Sam is an experimental musician. If there was an experimental musician's union, he'd be in it.

Refrigerator Odor? (by Admiral Bugsy Kludge)

would you have any tips for eliminating a stinky smell from the fridge? I have tried 3 boxes of baking soda and cleaning thoroughly and it still smells.

Please help!


Mike, I'm glad that you came to us with this problem, as I do believe that I can help you out with this one.

Now, my initial solution to this dilemna (one that at one time or another, all bachelors and pot-heads seem to face) is to unplug the refigerator, and empty it of all contents. Those two steps are very necessary, and, if you were to try this solution, the first one that comes to my mind, I would insist that you follow those instructions before reading any further. Good. Now, what I would do next, is take some gasoline or some lighter fluid, whichever you have on hand, and give the innards of the referigerator a good dousing with the stuff. Apply liberally. Once the cavity of the referigerator is thoroughly soaked, light the liquid, and give it a good minute or two to burn. If you're not an adult, by the way, make sure you've got some adult supervision. One very important aspect of this method is to make sure that the flames don't start burning into the plastic of the referigerator, because that's going to create a completely different order entirely. Also, given the economic condition currently present in this country, it seems more than likely that this refridgerator does not actually belong to you at all, and in that case, you really don't want to start burning the plastic, because that becomes money out of your pocket. In any case, do the following *just* before the inner plastic of the fridge starts getting mushy: close the refrigerator doors. This should cut-off the flame's supply of oxygen, and leave your fridge intact. The end result should be a fridge that smells faintly of gas fumes, an aroma than many people enjoy.

All of that said and done, though, I must concede that this was merely my initial reaction. I'd advise against doing it, due to the possibilities of destroying both the appliance and your apartment. I hope you didn't take my first thought without reading the rest of this, because that would show you to be an impatient, illiterate moron, Mike.

I spent the better part of the week sitting in my studio apartment with my two piss-ridden cats, drinking Pabst tall boys, and reflecting on your situation. Nothing was coming to me, until I made a rather serendipidous discovery, jumping up and proclaiming,"Why, I have unpleasant odors, myself, and I know just how to take care of them!" Here's the deal: my cats piss on every square inch of the cardboard box that passes for my studio apartment. Smells awful, like cat piss. Probably smells worse than your fridge. Here's how I deal with unpleasant odors in my small, confined spaces: burn lots of nag champa incense. Go on down to your local hippy store, or, if you're a Limp Bizkit-listening asshole, truck on over to the nearest Hot Topic, and buy yourself a box of nag champa ($1.50 at the hippy shop, $5 at Hot Topic). Now, go home, open the fridge, find something that looks like a really old block of cheese, stick about ten of the little nag champa sticks straight up in that "cheese", light 'em, and let them burn down right to their cheesy stand. In this case, you'll want to leave the referigerator door open, but you'll also want to turn off your apartment's fire alarm. I should point out that this method doesn't actually remove the smell of cat piss or rotting food, it simply makes it near impossible to smell anything *but* nag champa.

Wanting to make sure that I had all bases covered, I asked a girl I know what she would do regarding the situation. She had a solution, that to me, seems a little far-fetched, but what the hell, I'm throwing it in here for posterity. First, remove all food (especially the afore-mentionned rotting food) from the refrigerator. Then using a mixture of non-abrasive cleaner and water, wipe down the interior of the fridge with a sponge. Do this several times, until there's no random food pieces left. Scrub if necessary. Then, remove the metal racks and the "crisper" drawers, and place them in a sink full of hot water and bleach. Let 'em soak in it. Then rinse 'em off real good, in order to make sure that there's no residue bleach that can soak into your food. Then put 'em back in. That should take care of the smell pretty well, but it does seem like a pretty boring idea.

Anyway Mike, whatever method you choose, best of luck to you, pal. Let us know how it goes.

Admiral Bugsy Kludge is an Official Graffiti Inspector and a pirate. He has attempted to teach community classes on house-cleaning in the past