Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Meds...oh...the Meds

For many people a diagnosis of shingles brings weeks of nasty, burning nerve pain along paths called dermatomes. Shingles is caused by the virus varicella-zoster, the same virus that gives you chickenpox on the first go around. The virus then goes dormant and lurks within your body. For reasons as yet unknown, the virus suddenly becomes active again, and viola, shingles is the result.

While I would rather have skipped the entire adventure, I breezed through one of the mildest cases of shingles. My response to the prescribed medications were more of a bother than the disease itself.

The Lyrica prescribed to deal with nerve pain was never opened. Valacyclovir, the antiviral taken three times daily was not a big deal either. The steroid taper was another story entirely.

Prednisone comes with a whole long list of possible side effects, but for me it was as if someone had turned up the internal volume and revved my motor Not known as a low energy person, steroids gave me motor mouth, unfocused energy and insomnia. Side effects were not unlike certain street drugs of the 70's with names like white cross and black beauties. They weren't my cup of tea back then and I was more then happy when this 12 day prescription had been completed.

February is shaping up to be a busy month with multiple collaborative project due dates. I'm hoping to photograph a few of those and give you a peek at a variety of projects, showcasing the work of a host of different artists.


Monday, January 24, 2011

No Disease for Young Ladies

It started simply enough the Saturday before last. A pimple, a zit developing in my left eyebrow was clearly just everyday stuff. Come Sunday, the scalp on the left side of my head was curiously and exquisitely tender. The tracks of the hair comb caused moderate pain.

These are the times when medical training is both a blessing and a curse. I could rule out several possible diagnoses, but others that would never occur to the average person tugged at my awareness. Temporal arteritis and mastoiditis were among the not-so entertaining and frightening possibilities.

By Monday morning I was weighing the need to call my doctor. The symptoms had lessened and my scalp only exhibited numbness, so maybe this whatever had run its course and was resolving, as many things do. Midway through lunch with my friend the medical librarian, she looked across the table at me and asked " Carina, was your eye like that when lunch started?"

Say what?! A peek in the mirror showed that over the preceding half hour, unbeknownst to me, my left eyebrow had swollen and taken on an ominous shade. A phone call got me in too see the nurse practitioner and she summoned my doc to come have a look.

Shingles, they decided. While this had been one of the possible diagnoses floating through my brain, I still thought - Ac-ck! Old Lady Disease! This is something your mother's friends get, not me, no no no!

Fortunately, the disease was caught pretty early in its progression. I have a very mild case and am doing well.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nope on Hope?

Blog readers that know me, have seen a political opinion or two expressed on these posts. Being a political creature and loving images as I do, the attraction to political cartoons is strong. The ability to vividly and clearly express viewpoints with images has my greatest admiration.

This recent cartoon commemorating John Boehner's ascension to Speaker of the House is a fabulous riff on Shepard Fairey's iconic Obama Hope poster. Of course, knowing a little more background enhances your appreciation of the art form.

Left: AP Photo/Manny Garcia, Right: "HOPE" poster by Shepard Fairey

Emerging from the skateboard scene, Frank Shepard Fairey is an artist, graphic designer and illustrator that first garnered national attention with his "Andre the Giant has a Posse" (OBEY) sticker campaign. The Obey Giant website says: "The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker."

Fairey created a series of posters supporting Barack Obama's 2008 presidential candidacy including the "Hope" portrait. Art critics have called the poster "the most efficacious American political illustration since "Uncle Sam Wants You". Because the Hope poster had been "perpetuated illegally" and independently by the street artist, the Obama campaign declined to have any direct affiliation with it. Although the campaign officially disavowed any involvement in the creation or popularization of the poster, Fairey has commented in interviews that he was in communication with campaign officials during the period immediately following the poster's release. Fairey has stated that the original version featured the word "PROGRESS" instead of the word "HOPE," and that within weeks of its release, the campaign requested that he issue (and legally disseminate) a new version, keeping the powerful image of Obama's face but captioning it with the word "HOPE". The campaign openly embraced the revised poster along with two additional Fairey posters that featured the words "CHANGE" and "VOTE".

Shepard Fairey

In 2009, it was revealed that the HOPE poster was based on a copyrighted photograph taken in April 2006 by Mannie Garcia while on assignment for the Associated Press (AP), which wants credit and compensation for the work.However, Garcia believes that he personally owns the copyright for the photo, and has said, "If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and what Fairey did, what he did artistically with it, and the effect it's had.Fairey has said that his use of it falls within the legal definition of fair use.

Mike Peters

Three cartoonists ranking among my favorites, include Mike Luckovich, Ann Telnaes and the creator of "NOPE" Mike Peters.

Besides creating political cartoons Mike Peters draws the syndicated comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm." And that would provides the surprising background to his 2009 legal troubles. His comic strip, not his political cartoons became the basis for a defamation lawsuit.

The offending strip

Colombian coffee growers took offense.Fedecafe, the representative for the coffee growers, said the cartoon "associated organised crime and the atrocities committed by violent groups with the hard, delicate and honest work of more than 500,000 coffee growers and their families".

The cartoon also affected the reputation of Juan Valdez, the "icon and symbol" of Colombian coffee, by suggesting that there was a connection between coffee tins and the victims of violence, Fedecafe said.

The iconic coffee grower, accompanied by his faithful mule, was created in 1959, and has appeared in countless TV advertisements, in the US and elsewhere.

The federation said they would expect coffee growers to be adequately compensated for damage caused.Gabriel Silva Lujan, Fedecafe's general manager, told reporters in Bogota that the cartoon "was an attack on national dignity and the reputation of Colombian coffee."He said he expected the lawsuit to be filed by the end of the week and would be for at least $20m.

Mr Peters has said that he loves Colombia, drinks Colombian coffee and did not intend any offense.

"The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one," Mr Peters said in a statement.

"I thought this was a humorous subject and all my Mother Goose and Grimm cartoons are meant to make people laugh. I truly intended no insult."

I am happy to report that the lawsuit was eventually dropped, but I would not blame Mr. Peters for drinking tea rather than coffee.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

And the Winner is!

To celebrate 100 posts last year, I concluded the year with a drawing for a postcard give-away. Names of the people posting comments were literally put in a hat (a vintage Stetson) and a name was drawn.

The winner is Karen Samuelson Ricks over in Utah.

Thanks to everyone that commented. I loved reading your postal tales.
Have a wonderful 2011.