Sunday, January 25, 2009

HPV Vaccine Killing Girls

If you want to help a young woman in your life, stop reading this blog entry and Google 'HPV vaccine girls death'. Yes, the vaccine that only protects against certain strains of HPV is being improperly administered by doctors thus incurring hospitalization and in some cases death of young girls.

1,637 adverse reactions have been reported by Judicial Watch, a public interest watchdog, including three girls who died shortly after receiving the immunization. Judicial Watch obtained the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration using the Freedom of Information Act.

I was aware of the pharma hype associated with this controversial vaccine, what I was unaware of is that when this shot is administered with any other vaccine severe sickness and / or death can result. I first learned of this through a close girlfriend, Blair. Her husband's client's daughter received the HPV vaccine and when the doctor administered it he additionally provided other shots. Later that day, she became severely ill and had to be taken to the hospital where she has been on life support - for several months.

Don't believe me, see these resources yourself:
* FDA report states 1 death / month from HPV shot
* CNN reports girls that received Gardasil shot can become paralyzed. 7,800+ reports of adverse events submitted thus far.
* As of August 31, 2008, there have been 10,326 VAERS reports of adverse events following Gardasil vaccination in the United States. Of these reports, 94% were reports of events considered to be non-serious, and 6% were reports of events considered to be serious.

Bottom line, before encouraging your daughter, niece or friend to receive this shot, please do your homework.

Happy adoption day Oates

Tomorrow marks one full year since Mike and I adopted Oates (previously known as 'Willy'). It has been an eye-opening experience adopting an adult dog through a local rescue. The experience has gone so well in fact, we adopted a second pug in May and even encouraged my folks to adopt an adult dog last month.

Oates has always had bittersweet luck. He was homeless and wandered into a local radio host's garage on South side. Later that week the host commented on the wandering pug on the radio, and connected with NM Pug Rescue to find him a home. Oates was fostered by several families, although several of which found him too energetic and puppy-like. At a Pug Rescue fundraising event, Oates bolted from his foster parent and was hit by a car thus resulting in a shattered hip and blood loss. The dedicated Pug Rescue Director wasn't about to let his story end too soon, and Kelly rushed him to a local vet and pleaded with them to treat his injury.

Legend has it, one of the nurses on staff offered to pay for Oates' reconstructive surgery (estimated around $1-$2k) under one condition - that Kelly place him with a loving home for life. Several months later, Oates was back with foster parents in a body sling to use the potty outside, and constrained to a crate by day.

Meanwhile, while Mike and I were living in an apartment in Albuquerque, I started hunting for pugs online. Since I was 18 I have always wanted one as a pet. I found NM Pug Rescue's site through, and I combed through the pet listings. There was the happiest little Puggle I'd ever seen, and I couldn't help but email the Rescue to learn about his story.

By the time Kelly got my email, Oates had been placed with a family and we were unsuitable to adopt him because of our apartment's rules & regulations. The timing was such that by the time Oates healed from his injury, failed placement with foster families, and his posting was back on Pet Finder... I found him, and by this time we had a house with a back yard!

I hope over the years our experience adopting an adult dog might inspire some friends and family to consider adoption before buying a puppy. Oates was lucky he wasn't taken to a pound... and lucky he survived being hit by a car... many other adult dogs aren't so lucky.

So, Oates. Cheers to you my furry pal on the eve of your adoption day. We're glad we found you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pictures from inauguration '09

A few snapshots from travels to Inauguration '09.

Man flying Kenya flag near where we were standing and shot of press.

A common Obama trinket sold - Obama flag, and a shot of the jumbo screen near where we were standing. I was extremely thankful to be tall so I could see.

Peaceful masses shut down all streets surrounding the Mall. This crowd was just blocks away from Pennsylvania Ave at 9 am walking to the Mall. Second picture - Mike and I bundled up to brave the cold temperatures. For most of the festivities we were in the National Monument's shadow, thus making it easier for fingers and toes to numb up through multiple layers.

Our Capital a few hours after the celebration. Teleprompters at left included messages about Metro closings - not too convenient for pedestrians several blocks away trying to push through crowds to get to closed stations. Second picture - my best friends from college, Nerissa and Erin, with Mike and I out near Adam's Morgan the night before. The whole bar starting dancing around midnight chanting 'O-ba-ma'. Good times!

My favorite item I saw the whole day, an Obama puppet that ordered a victory beer at a pub in Columbia Heights. Second picture - a balcony just a few blocks away from the Mall in the morning. I think the patriotic donkey has a gold tooth?

There were tons of guerilla marketing campaigns on the mall ranging from Guantanamo Bay protests, PETA, to Jesus people. Shots above were taken behind the National Monument. People were provided with 'Hope' posters where they wrote in things they hope for. Also saw some t-shirts sold in DC where you could write in what your hoped for in '09.

This shot was taken with my back to the Lincoln Memorial facing the National Monument. Note the wave of people taking up every square inch of ground on the Mall. The ground was dusty and cold, and I love the clouds that were stirred up by foot traffic.

MSNBC was one of many stations set up on the mall, most of which outside of the Natural History Museum. We stood outside the 'fish tank' and waved to Rachel Maddow - I hope she saw us. We love you!

Last but not least, Mike took this shot of the 'Wonder Ball' at a bar called Wonder Room in Columbia Heights. It was just one of many posters of Obama we saw the weekend. We were tempted to try to tear this poster down, but were unsuccessful.

Inauguration '09: Part II - Planes, Trains, & Homecoming

Buzzing cell phone alarm. Drive to airport in darkness. Quiznos for breakfast. Making our flight on time. The trip is off to a good start.

We flew from Albuquerque into Midway (Chicago). Our flight had a short delay before departing from Midway to Philly. Luckily we beat ice storms that were looming overhead. Young female who looks like my first college roommate sits next to us, hopefully it isn't my old college roommate - we didn't get along very well to say the least.

Lindsey is from Phoenix, about 22 and works in local government. She took a hiatus from work to join the Obama campaign for approximately two months - turns out she was assigned to Las Cruces, NM during that time period. Fastest way to make friends - share some free drink tickets. Trip is off to a good start.

Lindsey became our partner in travel crime for the next few hours. Shared stories about her campaign experience as a volunteer recruiter, managing the status of grants in her office, and her passion for wine (she's a bartender / manager at a wine bar in Phoenix). She shared that her next trip after Inauguration is to take a one-week cheese course so she can become a master cheese monger, a cheese connoisseur of sorts.

Smooth arrival into Philly. Typical East Coast skies - grey, cloudy, with lots of chill in the air. Three of us split a cab ride to the 30th street train station, just a few hours earlier this was where Obama kicked off his train ride into DC.

Delays were experienced, but not half as bad as we anticipated. We kill time hanging out in a pub enjoying vanilla stout beer, hummus and bruchetta. Pieces of confetti and wrist bands on the floor of the station from grandeur earlier in the day.

Train ride from Philly to New Carrolton, MD. Sit next to a woman from town (Bloomington - Normal) next to Mike's hometown (Chapaign, IL). Her daughter worked on the Obama campaign and has tickets for them to attend a ball. She also scored a hotel reservation within walking distance of the Mall.

Arrive in New Carrolton, just ten minutes from my parents' house in Glenn Dale, MD. Familiar spot. Many childhood train rides on field trips to museums commenced at this location. In high school I celebrated new found independence taking the train to loud concerts. This is also the station I'd navigate to from College Park, MD for food and laundry visits with my folks. Full circle. It feels good to be home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pre-Trip: Inauguration '09, Washington, D.C.

'Jen, they're putting up thousands of port-a-potties, thousands... are you sure you want to go?' Since early November, my family has forwarded Nostradamus-esque emails to me predicting the crowds and chaos that will be Inauguration '09. Most recent reports include an estimated 4-5 million people descending upon DC and closures of all bridges into the city (even the Woodrow Wilson Bridge).

Our trip will start next weekend on Saturday the 17th. Due to exorbitant flight costs going into BWI or DCA, we're flying into Philly. For the past few weeks I've been going back and forth weighing whether to rent a car or take Amtrak from the 30th street station. I caved last night and purchased two round trip tickets only to find out this morning that Obama is taking the train that day too!

Obama is taking Amtrak from Philly on the 17th and traveling to Wilmington, Delaware to pick up Senator Biden. From there, they are riding into DC - a nod to Lincoln's route to DC for his inauguration. See Washington Post article here.

Once in Maryland, our current plans are to visit with friends and family, and go into DC Monday night. We're staying in Adam's Morgan with my college roommate, Erin, and then walking to the Mall the next day.

More anecdotes from our adventure to come!