Wednesday, December 28, 2011


If you're wondering if the title is a word, no it isn't. Hepa or hepar is the Greek word for liver and a myth is a myth. It's simply the best I could come up with to describe a story from mythology. Every now and then, I encounter certain truths that simply astound me. A sort of real life Twilight Zone moment that cannot be explained logically but that just is. It's my very knowledgeable husband that would make me aware of this interesting yet crazy trivia.

A poet from the 8th century BC named Hesiod, wrote a very long and intricate poem  called Theogony about powerful deities. As far as we know, these deities or Titans had never been mentioned before then. In Theogony, the first generation of Titans consists of six males and six females. I'm not going to go into all the names because it gets too complicated. Suffice it to say that cousins married cousins. Lapetus, a Titan, was married to Clymene (a daughter of a Titan). They had several children, one of which was Prometheus. Two other Titans, Cronus and Rhea also had children, the youngest of which was Zeus.

I'd heard the name Prometheus mentioned many times but only vaguely knew who he was. It turns out, he was smart and a real prankster. He was also the god closest to mankind. But before I get to that, let me explain what went down. Talk about family feud, this was the ultimate example. The Titans were powerful deities, but apparently not powerful enough since they were defeated and overthrown by their own children, the Olympians. Out with the Titans, in with the Olympians. They now had all the power, especially Zeus (you know, the one holding the lightening bolt). He sat on his throne in Mount Olympus and ruled over the other gods and men. If he was the most powerful, just like some presidents of ours, he certainly wasn't the smartest. Zeus, the mightiest of the mighty was about to be tricked.

There was a matter of settling accounts between men and gods. Zeus had to decide what the sacrificial meal to the gods would be. Prometheus, the witty but lowly Olympian, wanted to help mankind. After all, we were his best creation. Per Zeus' order, he had fashioned us out of water and clay and loved us much more than Zeus did. Prometheus presented Zeus with two options of sacrificial meals. Whatever Zeus chose would be for the gods, the other for humans. The first meal looked badly but was actually tasty meat once you pealed away the unappetizing exterior. The other looked delicious but inside was only bones. Zeus went straight for the looks. You would think Supergod would know better than to judge a book by its cover...I'm starting to think he came from Hollywood...

Since Zeus chose bones as the sacrificial meal, this meant humans could keep the meat for themselves and honor the gods with...bones. Like a mortal who won't own up to his stupid mistake, Zeus was furious and took it out on Prometheus' beloved humans. The god of gods took fire away from us. We couldn't even cook our food anymore. Prometheus wasn't going to stand for this. He snuck fire from Zeus' lightening bolt, hid it in a stalk and brought it to man. That really infuriated Zeus and, since he was the god of gods, he punished Prometheus. He had him tied to a rock in the Caucasus mountains and every day a vulture ate his liver. The organ would grow back during the night, and the next day the vulture would eat it again.

This absolutely fascinates me. Why did the writer, Hesiod, choose the liver to be eaten and re-grown? How can a story, written by man 700 years BC, full of fantastic characters and events about Titans, Olympians and humans created from clay, get this particular fact right? The vulture ate Prometheus' liver during the day, and it grew back at night. Of course the liver doesn't grow back in a night, but it is the ONLY organ to grow back at all. If cut in half, within several months, it will reach its normal size again. The author could have chosen any organ in our body, especially since he's talking about gods. Why then, did he choose the liver and not the stomach, the heart, the lungs and so on? Back then there was no accurate knowledge of our inner workings. Or was there? And if so, what did we miss in our archeological findings? The point is, somehow, an innate intuition or a seventh sense, or perhaps real knowledge by the ancients we aren't aware of, prompted the author to choose the correct organ, the one that grows back.

By now, you all know that livers are my life long thread. It seems that the fascination with this organ goes back to the beginnings of civilization. I find that amazing. This is my Twilight Zone moment, my head scratching, wide-eyed, mouth agape bewilderment with this... hepamyth.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I turned on the television to watch international news on KCET. Brian Williams from NBC is fine and well, but if I really want to know what’s going on in the world I watch BBC World, Al Jazeera (London), IBA (Isreal) and NHK (Japan).  Holding the remote control ready to turn channels, I happened upon THE STEVE WILKOS SHOW (KTLA 5).

Steve Wilkos is a former, marine, former police officer and former sidekick on the Jerry Springer Show. He now has his own “the apple doesn’t fall far from the Jerry Springer tree” show dealing with child abuse. No doubt, there are plenty of strange shows on TV, but I have mixed emotions about exploiting child abuse.

Parent(s) and abuser come on the show once they agree and submit to a lie detector test. A young mother of an eleven-month-old baby suspected her girlfriend, who lives in the young mother’s house and babysits while she attends school, of beating her baby.

On one hand, if an infant is rescued from an abuser thanks to Steve Wilkos exposing him/her, I applaud this. Toddlers cannot speak up for themselves, and the non-abusing grownup is often at a loss. Steve Wilkos’ show fills a troubling gap between letting the abuse continue and stemming it. And it needs to be stemmed by all means, even if it is within an hour’s show. Hopefully, through his show, both the victim and the perpetrator learn something. Maybe the perpetrator’s eyes have been opened to his/her problem. As far as the victim is concerned, the show commits to helping. What that exactly entails, I don’t know.

On the other hand, it is simply perverted to turn a most serious topic such as child abuse into entertainment. The existence of Steve Wilkos’ show is based on children suffering. Without that fact, he has no show. Child abuse has been turned into a frivolous, superficial sideshow. Two or more people stand on a stage acting out some retaliation scene edged on by a heated, howling and ranting audience. In this frenzy of low-life behavior one easily forgets that it is a child’s life at stake. The outcome is obvious. The perpetrator gets booed of the stage and repudiated by the host; a solution that does nothing but demean the abuser who then probably only feels like finding someone else to abuse.

There are some innate dangers to the show. Lie detectors aren’t 100% fool proof. And how likely is it that some idiot abuses a child just to get his/her fifteen minutes of fame? The players in this real-life game seemed eager to confront each other, perhaps even more so knowing that a camera was in their face. Whether victim or perpetrator, they’ve been lifted out of anonymity and given a platform to vent. And let’s not forget the viewer, without whom this show wouldn’t exist. I’m inclined to think that the people, who enjoy watching the Steve Wilkos show from the comfort of their living room, must have big issues of their own. I know I felt very uncomfortable as I sat there with the remote control in my hand, still ready to change the channel.

I understand that television these days spans the spectrum of viewership. I get that we need a little something for everyone. But with shows like Steve Wilkos’ we have hit a new all time low. And he isn’t the only one. The show TO CATCH A PREDATOR is just as bad except that it has a thicker veneer polish on it. Chris Hanson might be wearing a suit and speak in a more concerned manner, but just like Steve Wilkos, he too takes a serious subject matter and turns into entertainment.

These shows, and in fact most ‘reality shows,’ are meant to make the viewer feel better about himself by pointing the finger at others. In this day and age, when the state of the economy and thus of our lives has nothing positive to offer, we are happy to find distraction by prying into the lives of others.

At the end of the show, the young mother who suspected her girlfriend got the proof she needed. Besides the screaming and the fighting, I believed the young mother when she told her girlfriend never to come close to her house anymore. I could see it in her eyes, her mother instincts wanted to protect her baby; she was devastated that her closest friend and someone she trusted had hurt her child. The young mother threatened to sue her friend. Steve Wilkos then said he would help her with ‘counseling’, I heard nothing about helping her with the suit. My point is, it’s easy to let Pandora out of the box and, in so doing, create shock and awe for viewers. But after you’ve done that, Steve and Chris, what happens then?

Friday, December 16, 2011




My book is available for purchase on my site as well. Great last minute gift.


Monday, November 28, 2011


I began writing my book more than ten years ago. I had just survived a very difficult and serious second liver transplant. It seemed like the appropriate time to seek closure from years of illness. The process of writing a book took much longer than I had anticipated. I had heard this cliche before and was sure it wouldn't apply to me. Yeah right...

I sat at the old graphics design table in the quietest room of our house one night, and began to write. Before connecting pen and paper, I asked myself, how am I going to do this when I've never written anything before, especially never in English? I spoke well enough, but did that mean I could write an entire book? Maybe I should write it in German.

I decided to write in English. The majority of my hospital stays had still been in Germany up to that point, but the transplants had taken place in the U.S., and therefore medical expressions and terminology were at the tip of my tongue. The first outline was done within a few days.

The words flowed out of my mind onto the keys of my computer and lit up its screen. A month after the outline, I had typed over 800 pages. For someone like me who is not particularly known for my memory, I was amazed that every detail was in my mind as if things had happened yesterday. It seems that traumatizing events stay with you. Once this first draft was finished, I put it away for several months. Although I had written a lot, I didn't have a conclusion to my story.

I picked up my manuscript much later and read it again. I couldn't believe what I had written. The story was fine, after all it was pretty much carved in cement since it was a faithful account of my life. But rather because I never realized how poorly I spoke English. The grammar was fine. My mother had seen to this growing up. However, expressions and wording of sentences, all of it was 'off'.

I began listening much more closely to the radio and television. Whenever a particular expression suited what I was writing about I used it. Little by little, the second and third drafts came together. Even though, I still didn't have a conclusion.

While my English was improving, my story wasn't. Not until I gave it to my husband to read did he point out the immense flaw. The solution might be simple, the execution of it, not so simple. I put the manuscript away for several more months still unsure how to fix it.

In my manuscript I had cast myself as a superhero defeating death. My story lacked honesty; honesty, first and foremost, towards myself. I had become so adept at burying my feelings in order to deal with my health issues, that I couldn't bring them to the surface anymore. I hadn't included them in my writing. The act of putting events on paper forced me to confront emotions I had never dared face before. Draft by draft I began removing layer after layer of thick skin. Like an onion, I peeled off a barrier at a time to get to the real story. I imagine this is the type of work therapists do.

By the time I reached draft number XXL, I felt as if I had spent years in therapy. The more I delved into my state of mind during my illness, the deeper the sense of relief. My manuscript was taking shape, but I still didn't have a conclusion.

Ten years flew by in a flash, but illness didn't let go of me. I wound up having a third liver transplant and a new kidney. This last physical trauma had to become my conclusion, the final chapter after twenty-eight years of roller-coaster health.

Finally, I felt confident enough to relinquish my finished manuscript to my most genuine critic. My husband's talent to take a story and find its heart proved invaluable. Once again I ended up under the knife...well, my manuscript did. He and I slashed the repetitive moments, carved out my sometimes harsh words, surgically removed all boring lengths and stitched my story together by keeping the best moments. Hopefully we succeeded.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


She sat on an enormous teddy bear gazing into the room. Not a hint of a smile on her beautiful little face. In her three short years on earth, she had seen more than any man should.

She was barely two years old, when she stood on a balcony chilled to the bones in the icy Russian winter. She was half naked, barefoot, frostbitten, alone. The woman who had given birth to her was much too busy running after her next fix. The neighbors found her just in the nick of time.

She spent a month in the hospital fighting for her life. Pneumonia. Frostbite. When she finally recovered, she was brought to the orphanage. And now she sat on the enormous, white teddy bear, waiting for...her mom.

And then she came, her mom, the woman who had loved her before ever meeting her. The mom who had gone to great lengths to find her. Their eyes locked, hesitant, concerned. Mom gave her a stuffed rabbit, a doll and other gifts. The little girl looked on, serious, poker faced. It's cold.

Then mom blew into one of those party favors that make noise.
The little girl's eyes lit up. There it was. Finally a smile! A party favor had warmed her leery soul. Now they could spend all of three days together before mom would have to leave back to England.

The Russian bureaucracy demanded more paperwork. More forms had to be filled, more 'i's' dotted, more hoops jumped through. Mom had no intentions of giving up. Her daughter was far away, but she was determined to bring her home.

Three months later, mom returned to the Russian orphanage where her daughter was. This time she brought her two sons and her mother. At first the little girl was silent, but soon got swept up in the frenzy around her. Her visitors disarmed her. The boys hugged her and played with her, and held her attention. She was wanted and loved like never before.

The orphanage staff, a group of older ladies couldn't help but smile. If all went well, this little girl would leave them soon for a wonderful family. When the visit was over, the little girl went back to her desolate room where her cot stood among others. Once again, mom had hoped to take her home, but the Russian authorities...

What must the little girl think? Her mom wondered She had come for her twice, and still the little girl was alone. How does her young mind process these visits followed by the stark reality of life in the orphanage? What must she think? Her mom wondered.

Another three month delay. More paperwork for mom and, an appearance in front of a Russian judge. Mom was self-confidence and persuasive. Then came the final verdict.

The little girl looked at her mom. Not a smile to be found. But mom is smiling from ear to ear. She brought the staff parting gifts and they were all smiles as well. The little girl hesitated. She changed into the new clothes her mom had brought. The orphanage couldn't spare the precious few dresses in which they showed off the little girls. Mom slipped boots onto her daughter's feet, her tiny feet that were frostbitten a year earlier. Mom only had eyes for her little girl as she combed her hair and threw a warm coat over her shoulders. The winter ice thawed...just a little.

She took her daughter by the hand. Before they left this place for good, the ladies on the staff cried out, "she can clean and fold clothes for you! She's very neat and will wash the dishes too!" They meant well with those parting words, but mom wasn't listening. Her little girl was just that...a little girl.

And off they went, mother and daughter, leaving behind memories of their struggle. A little girl beamed as she kissed her mom. A mother lovingly protected her daughter. All is well that ends well for this little girl. Her new family is blessed to have her, and she is blessed to have them. Life is full of twists and turns, and sometimes it makes right, what started out so wrong.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I was sitting in a Japanese restaurant with my friends slurping down noodles when the conversation turned to OCCUPY WALL STREET. My two friends and I agreed that the only way this movement will be taken seriously is if it either gets violent, or, and this would be the preferable solution, if they would hold the banks virtually hostage. This means mounting a viral action through the Internet of epic proportions that would force the bank executives to stop and listen.

I had been thinking about the country’s economic woes ever since our president was faced with this growing, financial meltdown crisis. Long before Congress voted to bail out AIG, before CEOs of Chrysler, and General Motors flew to the nation’s capital on their private jets to beg for money, before Fannie and Feddie, and the banks wallowed in their misery for having cheated homeowners, I had found the solution.

There are apx. 132 million households in the U.S. according to the most recent census. If you don’t know where I’m going with this, let me enlighten you. A true bailout should have consisted of dividing 2.6 trillion dollars among the 132 million American households. This would mean 20,000 dollars each. Most likely, even more if we eliminated NBA, baseball, and NFL players, top billing actors directors producers etc. I would definitely leave out politicians of course.

Imagine that. Imagine,  households adding more than 20,000 dollars to their income at a ridiculous loan rate just like the banks have (0.something?). The timing couldn’t be better. Jobs are scarce. People are struggling. Imagine…this amount is more than many families make in a year. Imagine…homes on the verge of foreclosure, rescued by moneys that didn’t go to the perpetrators, but rather to the victims. Many would have been able to pay off their loans or their homes, or at the very least lowered their mortgage rates. We might have avoided a housing market crash all together. Imagine…people putting this money in a savings account.  Instead of making the banks solvent, they would be transformed into actual service institutions. They would be dependent on us, rather than the other way around. Granted, the bank executives and CEOs would have to get by without big bonuses but I don’t think anyone that’s not an executive would care. Imagine…the post office wouldn’t go broke just yet, because these checks would be sent by mail to each household. Suddenly, they’d have more mail to deliver than in the last five years.

The advantages are endless. The added household cash would do what the bailout failed to achieve. With 20,000 dollars more in our pockets, I can speak for myself, and I think for many others when I say, we would go shopping.

However, we all know what really happened. Nothing. Nothing at all. Everything is as it was before the bailout. The housing market is in the toilet, the banks aren’t lending, the economy is at a stand still, no on is hiring. Just like before, CEOs and bankers have pulled their private jets out of the hanger for company weekend retreats in Antigua …on us.

And how about Hewlett Packard? Executives are whispering among themselves that this is the place to get hired. Mark Hurt, the previous CEO was escorted out of HP for sexual harassment. The sexual harassment paid off…literally. He left with 12 million in cash and 30 million in stocks. He was out, on to the next, new CEO of HP, Leo Apotheker. But fear not, he too was well compensated for being a failure and getting fired. He got the boot and 13 milion dollars...for 11 months on the job.

Now, I don’t know much about business, but I always thought that bonuses were for those who went beyond what is asked of them in their profession. In fact, Webster’s Dictionary gives these examples for the word ‘bonus:’

“As a bonus for good behavior you can stay up late” Well, we know this wasn’t Mark Hurt’s case, the good behavior part. Or,
“Staff members were given a bonus for finishing the project on schedule” Leo Apotheker didn’t finish anything. He got sacked.

So, what are the so-called bonuses?
Why don’t we call them by their real name. Blood Money. Blood money is made off the backs of others. It’s money they did nothing to earn and that they don’t deserve and shouldn’t get. Period.

The top 1% (anyone who makes over $250,000 a year) own 42% of the wealth. The vast majority of them work hard for their income. None of this is a problem. The problem is tightly related to the financial sector and their practices, namely Wall Street.

OCCUPY WALL STREET is a group of peace-loving people who want to make a statement and bring awareness to a variety of problems through guitar playing and lectures. Except for one thing. The people they’re trying to reach…they’re not listening. The cynicism permeating offices of upper management is stronger than ever. They intend to hold on to blood money as long as they can. In their smug way, executives live and breathe Gordon Gekko’s (Wall Street, 1987) words, “Greed is good.”

Like a virus, they need to be contained. They won’t do it themselves and government is unwilling to step in. We, the people, are feeding this virus. It should be up to us to remind them who’s really in charge. Imagine…one well thought out action plan from the people, and by the people mounted and executed thanks to social media and the Web.

Monday, October 10, 2011



Recently with the passing of the great Steve Jobs, I was jolted back to the times I faced death. In his eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer, Steve recalled the words he’d read when he was seventeen: “if you live each day as if it was your last, one day you’ll most certainly be right.” This stuck with him throughout his life, and in a small measure, contributed to his staggering career and success.  That was brilliant Steve Jobs.

Death, the very thing he thought about, I tried to forget. He lived each day as if it was his last, and I lived each day denying it was my last.  Alas…all of us can’t have deep philosophical genius like Steve. My savior was…Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice, the BBC six-part mini series, first aired in 1995 on A&E network.
Opening credits: the most uplifting score by Carl Davis transported me to my happy place before the first scene had begun. I was already inclined to love what came next. It felt wonderful to laugh and cry with the Bennet family, especially the bold Elisabeth ‘Lizzy’ Bennet aka Jennifer Ehle (presently playing George Clooney’s wife in Ides Of March). From the couch where I lay, weak and listless, I saw myself skipping with Lizzy through the lush English countryside in Hertfordshire. I agreed with every word she spoke in that marvelously clear, yet colorful old English speech. When asked whether she plays an instrument she replies, “Aye, but very ill.”

Aye, I was very ill, and nay, I wasn’t playing. Only now, looking back, do I realize the long, dragged out nightmare of my condition. My second transplant was still three years off, but the symptoms of deterioration had already begun. Pride and Prejudice turned out to be a trusted and comforting escape.

I ignored knife-twisting pain in my liver and took pleasure watching beautiful scenes of pastoral bliss in the early nineteenth century. The Bennet girls delighted me with their antics; I felt as if I were part of the gossip. Forget ALT, AST, Alkaline Phosphatase, Creatinine and BUN (liver an kidney function values), more importantly…what?! Charlotte Lucas is marrying that buffoon Mr. Collins? The ridiculous Mr. Collins and over-the-top Mrs. Bennet kept me laughing while my spleen ached. Was my spleen really aching? Or was it laughter that made my stomach ache?

When an episode of Pride and Prejudice came on once a week, I climbed into the television, sat at the dinner table next to Lydia, the youngest and silliest of the Bennet sisters, and watched her make one childish mistake after the other. How could she? I asked when she took off with Mr. Whickam, that lying son-of-a-bitch. And of course there was Mr. Darcy, handsome, seriously handsome Colin Firth. I loved every moment Lizzy and he appeared on screen; he, the arrogant prick, and she, the no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is rubenesque, rosy cheeked, bulging breasted beauty; basically me, except for the rubenesque, rosy cheeked, bulging breast beauty part. Everything she said to Mr. Darcy she copied from me. I lived vicariously through healthy-looking Lizzy. Ouch! My stomach

I re-decorated in my mind the Bennet’s Longborn residence, but left Mr. Darcy’s magnificent chateau at Pemberley intact. The simplicity and innocence of life back then felt soothing: their days consisted of going from one ‘ball’ to the next, one dinner to the next, one rose branch to the next.

In 1996 Pride and Prejudice came out on DVD. I kept a copy next to my bed. As my body deteriorated, and working out at the gym wasn’t enough to stave off fear and depression, I watched P&P repeatedly. After that, the world was right again. I had regrouped; I’d found my way back to my center and my strength.  

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice deals with deeper issues than the superficial level at which I chose to view it. It addresses everything from women’s rights, rebellious youth, pedophilia, class separation and class-consciousness, ignorance, and of course pride and prejudice.

In 2007, I underwent a partial knee replacement. I was walking with crutches towards my house when the phone rang. My coordinator at UCLA Medical Center (person who follows you after the transplant) was on the phone. He didn’t mince his words when he told me I was rejecting my second liver and had to go to the emergency room right away. Instead, I speed-dialed my doctor in Miami. Then I booked a flight, a red-eye, packed a few things and waited for my son, Daniel, to pick me up. While I waited, I elevated and iced my freshly operated knee, then popped the DVD of P&P into my computer and visited the Bennet’s…for six hours.

I’m convinced that any method you find to cope is a good one. For Steve Jobs, a sentence he had heard in his youth made something click. Pride and Prejudice was one of the tools I used when bad news kept coming. To this day, P&P is downloaded to my computer. Every now and then, I’ll watch it, because the Bennet’s and I, we’re family.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Nine month before my third liver-first kidney transplant, I visited my eldest son on the University of Virginia campus at Charlottesville. I was overjoyed to spend time with him, even though this trip had more to do with a costly shopping spree at Ikea than him missing me.

I booked a last minute flight on Jet Blue, the Kmart of the air: a bus that flies, offering cable TV so you don’t focus on how uncomfortable you are. I always choose an isle seat when I fly, because anything other feels slightly claustrophobic, especially on Jet Blue. Luckily, I got my seat. The plane was packed; everything was taken, except for the window and middle seat next to me. I looked up the isle just as the flight attendant announced that the door would close shortly. I couldn’t believe my luck! Only two empty seats on the entire plane, and they were mine!

And then it happened. Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum (the two fat characters in Alice In Wonderland) came waddling down the isle barely clearing the sitting passengers. They were heading straight for my empty seats. Oh shit! I thought. First the son squeezed in close to the window, shifting his body as best he could. As he sat, his fat spread onto his mother’s seat. I watched in horror, fully aware of what this meant for me. Then the mother shifted and squeezed her way into the middle seat…and mine.

The son couldn’t put down his armrest because he was too fat. The mother couldn’t put down the armrest between us, because well…you get the picture. The woman glared at me as I took what was left of my seat. I managed to accommodate a little over half of my buttocks. The rest of me hung over the isle. The Gargantuan couple beside me dwarfed my one-hundred-and-five-pound build. I felt like Alice In Wonderland, the shrunken one, shadowed by six hundred pounds of Dee and Dum. I strapped myself in, while the flight attendant handed them extenders. I’d never heard of such things until then. It’s for people who can’t fit in a regular seat belt and need an extension.

The flight took off. The woman was unpleasant. She couldn’t put her arm down and held it in a sort of self-embrace position. If she had lowered it, I would’ve fallen into the isle. To put it simply, the sacred distance strangers enjoy, the space we take for granted even on a Jet Blue flight, was gone. She and I rubbed against each other like lovers. Thank goodness for Jeans and long sleeves. I turned towards the isle to create some semblance of private space, only to encounter the gaze of the passengers around me. They all sported the same “Oh, do we feel sorry for you,” look. And I replied with a beaten puppy face. I didn’t know it yet at the time, but I was already quite weak and sick, and had no energy to deal with this situation.

As unfamiliar as I am with the plight of fat people, I’m sure they’re not all as unpleasant as this woman and her son were. She glared at me every time she maneuvered her arm, as if all of this were my fault. Then, the snack cart came by. Suddenly her arm darted straight out with a wobble as she said, “Four barbecue chips and four Doritos.” Her son asked for the same. Once the attendant silently handed them half the snacks on the cart, Fat lady mouthed something under her breath. She couldn’t get drinks because the tray wouldn’t go down and her hands were already full. But her son insisted on a coke. The mother continued to mumble as she struggled to bring the Doritos to her mouth without knocking me over. Leary of this whole state of affairs, I left them both to their junk food feast to go to the bathroom, and to complain. After all, I had paid for a whole seat, and I wanted it.

The flight attendant agreed with me. A few minutes after I had returned to my seat, she came over and told my sticky neighbor, “Ma’m the armrest has to be down. Please lower the armrest. The lady looked at her and replied, “I never heard of such a thing. No one has ever asked me that,” meaning this wasn’t her first flight, nor was it the first time she inconvenienced a passenger. The stewardess grabbed the armrest, and began pulling it down with all her might, claiming with each jolt, “this…has…to…be…down.”

Not exactly what I had wished for. Fat bulged from my neighbor’s torso and rump to compensate for the space taken over by the armrest; and my sitting surface shrank even more; one buttocks cheek, and more personal contact. As soon as the well-meaning flight attendant left, I raised the armrest again, quickly scooting into the space it had just freed. I sat sideways facing the isle, and stared out the opposite window, hoping for…land, please? In the meantime mother and son munched on their fourth bag of barbecue chips. I sipped my water, exhausted, and drained, but did what I do best. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s making an intolerable situation better. I’d done it pretty much my entire life with illness; I certainly could do it with some obnoxious woman invading my physical and air space…in a plane. Mind over matter. I zoned out the fat squad and meditated on seeing my son, meeting his friends, and wondering what we would do besides spend money at Ikea.

We arrived at Dulles. Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum stayed seated while the rest of the passengers deplaned.
A couple of months later, back at UVa I met a Jet Blue executive whose daughter also went to school there. I told him the story. He suggested I write the airline a letter. So I did. The reply shocked me: ‘we’re very sorry for your inconvenience, but we can’t discriminate against obese people. We hope you’ll understand our position and continue to take advantage of our many destinations all over the country.’ Seriously? And what about the rights of regular folks? I thought. I tore up the letter and never flew Jet Blue again.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I decided to write this in honor of Troy Davis who was executed after three different stays of execution. The case was flawed from the very beginning. As time passed and his defense team changed, it became clearer that many mistakes had been made by the police, the witnesses and his lawyers.

Troy Davis has been all over the news so here his story in big strokes: Troy’s friend, Redd Coles was arguing with a homeless man over a beer. Redd Coles pistol-whipped the homeless man. A security guard, by night and a police officer by day, Mark McPhail came over to break up the argument. Suddenly, he lay dead from two gunshots. The very next day, Redd Coles and a lawyer arrived at the police department in Savannah, Georgia and accused Troy Davis of murdering the off-duty cop. Here some words in poetry instead of prose.


Die a useless death for those who come after you
Die like a junky, justified with a needle in your arm
Justify his death through eyewitnesses
Witness his demise as if you’ve done no harm

Today the law stands accused
Of killing a man they say killed another
Today power has been abused
For refusing to investigate further

He’s not your man, his lawyer said,
Here, take a look at what we’ve found
Sorry, is what the judge replied,
This case is closed, review denied

How can you throw a man under the axe
When all we want to do is crack
This case and discover the real facts
Which could give him his life back?

He is a murderer, this is a fact
He’s had his day in court way back
Twenty years since then have past
He’s guilty as hell. And that’s that

Twenty years since then have past
And still I swear I’m innocent
Twenty years is time I’ve spent
Breathing sweat from the cement
In this jail, which is my home
I’ve checked out long ago
I’ll never leave but in a box
Even though this debt I don’t owe

I’ve killed no one, not then not now
I’ve done no wrong, of this I swear
Twenty years since then have past
I’ve killed no one, law doesn’t care

Let this man live, the whole world cried
Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter
Millions of people were on his side.
Save his life! Make no martyr!

The judge, the governor, the Supreme Court
Watched as the Board made up of five
Turned a blind eye on Troy’s case
Any more time spent was a waste

This is it, no more appeals
This is it, you’re going to die
They won’t make any more deals
Because the system's gone awry

It’s all good, it’s all okay
I’ve made my peace, I’ll feel no pain
I’ll close my eyes and drift away
But don’t you worry, we’ll meet again

Die a senseless death for those who’ve come and gone
Die like a junky, justified with a needle in your arm
Justify his death through eyewitnesses
Witness his demise as if you’ve done no wrong

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Death doesn’t become me

I spent the next day as I had the previous one, crying and drawing blood as I tore at my feet with a key. Every so often I dozed and awoke, my delusional mind hoping for a miracle. Around nine that evening, Uli called.

“I’m in so much pain,” I cried. “I’m so scared!”
Schatz, Schatz, Ich komme bald.” (Dear, I’m coming soon.)
“Hurry, please come. I can’t stand it anymore!”
Uli heard the panic in my voice. I should have gone with her, shouldn’t have let her fly to Miami by herself, he thought. “Call an ambulance! Go to the hospital right away,” Uli said.  “I’ll call the lobby for you. You must go to the hospital immediately.”
“But Gloria F’s coming. She’s already on the plane. She called and said she’s on her way. I’ll wait for her.”
“Don’t wait! Just go. I’ll call an ambulance.”
“It’s okay, I can catch a taxi in front of the hotel. I’m going.”

Jackson Memorial hospital is in a seedy part of downtown Miami. Crowds of people, mostly Cuban and Haitian, loitered outside the emergency entrance. They smoked and shouted in a cacophony of Cuban Spanish and Patois. I immediately perked up at the sound of foreign languages, but I was too weak to listen to everybody’s conversation the way I usually did. Not this time. Not now.
The emergency room was packed with people slouched in chairs. I’m not waiting. I can’t wait. I walked towards the information desk where a heavy-set African-American lady sat behind a tall counter.

“Where’s hospital admissions please? I’m Dr. Tzakis’ patient,” I said, barely holding it together. My feet didn’t itch anymore. Instead they were on fire.
“What did you say your name was?”
“Gloria Edel.”

A quick glance at the computer screen. The clerk immediately went into action. She looked around and said, “George, come over here with that wheelchair.” She looked back at me. “Someone’ll be right with you,” she said, calmly and emotionless, like someone who’s seen it all.
Within minutes a suited woman wheeled me through a door at the far end of the emergency room. A déjà vu moment. I was checking into Jackson Memorial the same way I had checked myself into Presby almost fifteen years ago. Back then, I was achy and bloated, my ankles were on fire, pretty much the same as now. The suited woman asked me the usual pre-hospitalization questions while handling papers. Tears poured down my cheeks. Someone handed me a tissue, and then discretely placed an entire box in my lap as I sobbed, hiccupped and blew my nose through the Q and A session. The process took longer than expected. The woman often had to repeat herself. I couldn’t always hear her. I felt like I was in a tunnel, far away from her although she sat right across from me. My mind was distracted, sinking into black holes and then re-emerging to hand her my insurance card, or spell out my address. Once formalities were finished, I waited a few minutes, or perhaps it was an hour, I wasn’t sure, for a volunteer to wheel me to a room.

I want to pause for a moment, and talk about luck. Carl Gustav Jung called it ‘synchronicity’ or ‘acausal connection of two or more psycho-physic phenomena.’ He believed that there are no coincidences, no serendipitous moments in life. Relying heavily on his psychoanalyses, Jung concluded that synchronicity begins in the dream state and materializes through the connection in the mind with the outside world. Certain people might find this sacrilegious, but a part of Jung’s theory has been watered down, or perhaps a better word is bastardized, in the book, The Secret. If you think it, it can happen.
On the other end of the spectrum, luck is seen as divine intervention. We say “good luck” when taking leave of someone, as if luck were something that falls from the heavens. Or perhaps it’s a moment in time when the stars, moon, earth, and universe are aligned with your consciousness to conjure up the phenomena called luck. However you perceive it, we know luck or synchronicity to be intangible, unpredictable and only appreciated in hindsight.
I was in a fog, my mind fading and blacking out. In this scariest moment, luck was about to materialize. The volunteer and I left the emergency room and approached the large overhang, shadowing the hospital’s main entrance. Suddenly, I became lucid, as if the tears, dazed state, and blackouts had never existed. Two men standing against a column carrying on a conversation zoomed into focus. One of them held my attention.

 “Andreas!” I called. “What are you doing here?!”
“Gloria! I should be asking you that! When did you arrive?”
“I’m so sick, Andreas! I’m in so much pain I can’t take it any more…the day before yesterday…I just checked into the hospital.” I was sobbing, and took advantage of the box of tissues still on my lap.
“That’s okay,” he said to the volunteer, “I’ll take it from here.”

It was eleven o’clock at night on a Sunday. What were the odds of running into my doctor right at that moment? Less plausible is that I would experience a moment of lucidity just then. He didn’t know I was in Miami, or that I was checking myself into the hospital. Had he known I was in town, I’m certain he wouldn’t have expected to see me on a Sunday night in front of Jackson Memorial. On my way to the emergency room, I had daydreamed about Dr. Tzakis. I had hoped I would run into him, that he miraculously would cross my path. This Jungian ‘synchronicity’ born from my mind and my environment had come to fruition, and it meant more than I could even fathom at the time.
Time was of the essence. I can’t say for sure, but if I had waited until the next day for my doctor to see me, if matters had been delayed just by a couple more hours, there’s a very good chance that I wouldn’t have survived. Dr. Tzakis immediately started the ball rolling. There’s no doubt in my mind, I   was   lucky.
Dr. Tzakis grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and took control of the situation. A waterfall of meaningless words poured out of my mouth while I cried. Dr. Tzakis listened to my senseless gibberish on the way to the room. He knew what this behavior meant. My system was on the verge of shutting down permanently. 
Once I was settled in bed, my mind began to completely fade. I was still coherent at times, but the moments of lucidity were few and far between. No medication could fix my condition; it was the precursor to death. At some point, Gloria F. stood by my bed and rubbed my temples. I suffered from a migraine headache. Most of the time, I was out of it. She spent the night in the room with me. Early the next morning, she left to freshen up at the Doubletree.
Back in Los Angeles, Uli rushed to tie up loose ends with the producers of his next project before catching the red-eye to Miami. He arrived a day later after a grueling trip, and headed straight for Jackson Memorial. He was holding my hand when I regained consciousness.

“They have a liver for her,” Uli whispered.
“How soon are they going to operate?” Gloria F. whispered back.
“Stop whispering. I want to know what you’re talking about,” I called out, the feisty side of me emerging from my confusions. “Uli you better not go with a younger woman. It better be someone older.”
Schatz, open your eyes,” Uli commanded gently as he stood by the bed and stroked my face.
“Don’t ask …I can’t.” 
At that moment, as I uttered those words, Uli became frightened. This seemingly harmless remark took him aback. For the first time since we were married, he finally realized how close to death I really was. A few weeks earlier I had spent hours in the gym. In what state was I, if I didn’t have the strength to perform the simplest of tasks, and open my eyes?

   Later that day, Dr. Tzakis stood at the entrance of my room.
   I gestured for him to approach.
        “I don’t need to get any closer to see how sick you are,” he said.

The last time we had met, I was strong and looked relatively healthy. At that time, I wasn’t convinced I even needed a transplant. He knew better than anyone that I could die before making it to the operating room. In fact, I was going to die if a liver didn’t become available in the next few hours. The irony was, the liver and the papers were in another building of the Jackson Memorial complex. The fax machine on the other end was broken, and took six hours to repair. You would think someone could’ve simply walked over and collected the authorization forms and the organ. However, protocol can’t be breached when it comes to organ donation. Finally, the fax arrived. At five in the evening, Dr. Tzakis ordered the nurses to prep me immediately. I was placed on a gurney. Uli and Gloria F. walked along side. We took the elevator down to the operating room.

“Don’t cry,” I said to Uli “I’m going to do this.” I turned to Dr. Tzakis, “Andreas, could you give me a tummy-tuck while you’re at it?”
Little did I know that those would be my last words for the next two months.

Friday, September 2, 2011


I was intrigued a couple of days ago, watching a Nightline special on transgender kids. Lately, sexuality in the United States, a historically taboo topic, has taken the cow by its implanted testicles and put a face on the many shades of preferences. Well, it’s about time.

I enjoyed the piece about the mother who wrote a children’s book called My Princess Boy in honor of her five-year-old son, who, ever since he was a toddler, loved or rather demanded to wear dresses. This beautiful, brown-skinned child, with big, witty eyes feels much more at ease in a sequenced dress, and playing with Barbie, than in pants…and playing with Barbie. It took just a few words from his not much older brother for his mom to realize her son was going to vogue to his own techno. “Mom,” her older son said, “just let him be happy…” Out of the mouth of babes…

For someone who grew up in Germany, when it comes to sexuality, I’m amazed how the ‘Old World’ (that would be Western Europe) is more understanding than the ‘New World’ (more specifically the United States). In Germany, and in most of Europe, sexuality is a matter of fact. In Holland, gay marriage is a given. Italy, (yes, the country where the pope resides) has more porn channels than regular ones. France always praised and admired their transgender artists. In Germany sexuality isn’t a topic. It just is. A nude body on the cover of Spiegel, (German Times magazine) just is. The popular model/singer/talk show host Romy Hag, a transvestite, just was. Homosexual kids and adults, just are. Totally naked people in the English Gardens, (a park in the middle of the city of Munich) playing frizz bee, just are. The only reason why I bring this up is because we, here in the New World, are supposed to be the open-minded ones.

After all, this is the country that embraces innovation like no other. We make millionaires overnight; we come up with new vocabulary and new expression to match the mood of the moment. We make a family of five girls whose names all begin with ‘K’ famous for…absolutely nothing. We’re a creative, ‘go for it’ people that thrive on new ideas. But when it comes to sexuality, suddenly, it’s all over.

I blame our puritan forefathers for this. As ground-breaking as we are, somehow we can’t shake our, firmly planted in austerity, history. Nudity is nasty, masturbation, the devil’s work. Although these views have evolved (it sure took its damn time!) we aren’t ready to embrace all sexuality. Today, we still grapple with total equality for gay people. Transgender is wrongly considered a choice, just as homosexuality was years ago, and still is in some places. Anything beyond the archaic and prehistoric definition, man is man - woman is woman, man loves woman - woman loves man, is labeled ‘sexual deviancy.’ This expression from our ever-evolving language is supposed to refer to any sexuality other than the archaic definition. However, I’ve decided that sexual deviancy has become synonymous with ‘priest.’ And no, I’m not going there.

The man who feels he’s female, or the woman who ‘s convinced she’s male knows from an early age. Princess Boy, and Kim Petras, knew who they really are. In they’re minds, there’s no gender confusion. They might need some adjustments to make the body and mind match, but there    is    no    doubt.

Kim Petras, the budding teenage pop star from Cologne, is the youngest person to undergo a sex change. I wasn’t at all surprise that Germany is the place where the surgery was performed. The psychologists and doctors evaluating the sixteen-year-old agreed that waiting two more years for her to turn eighteen, thus adult, was unnecessary. Several conversations with Kim, who used to be Tim, convinced them that, although she was only sixteen, she was ready to make the cut. Now, a popular, beautiful and complete young lady, Kim said it best. She wants her fans to know that it’s all right to be who you are. Wise words indeed.

In the meantime, there’s been an outcry in this country because the producers of Dancing With The Stars have invited Chaz Bono to participate in the show. Some have vowed never to watch it again because a man they don’t approve of is in it. Deep-seated fear and the need to point a finger are ingredients for hatred. Princess Boy and Kim Petras have families that encourage their children to become the person they were intended to be. For every transgender child with a positive support system, there are thousands of others who suffer daily. They’re forced to live on the fringe, shunned by society and their family. They often end up selling their bodies to pay for the medication that allows them to maintain their identity.

There is no conclusion to this topic, but I’ll end on a positive note. Never before has there been a generation of young Americans more open and inclusive than now. They don’t care what your sexual orientation is or what you wear. Gay marriage is a right, it    just    is. Fortunately, that right continues to gain ground, and included in this conversation are the rights of transgender people.   

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As I was preparing dinner a few evenings ago, a friend of ours dropped in for a visit. I was particularly happy he’d stopped by because the last time I’d seen him was in a hospital bed. Several months ago, his future was very uncertain at best. Diagnosis: MDS.

Myelodisplasty Syndrome a.k.a. pre-leukemia is nothing to laugh about. This very serious condition is as sneaky as it gets. MDS is a mutation of the bone marrow stem cells. They become discombobulated and ineffective, often without the person knowing it, depending on how severe or mild it is. My friend visited his doctor in Berlin, for no other reason than some slight aches in his joints. Although it doesn’t run in his family, he thought he might have rheumatoid arthritis. He’d gone to a yoga class and had felt that his downward facing dog wasn’t as soothing a pose as it used to be. His doctor took some blood tests. They revealed abnormalities. She referred my friend to an oncologist who diagnosed MDS.

After the initial shock, my friend consulted with the best doctors he could find in Berlin and in Los Angeles. He educated himself on MDS, weighed his options, and then decided against the only cure available. Why would he do that? Because those of us who’ve been diagnosed with deadly diseases grab at straws. I call it distorted hope. When facing an almost incurable illness, you hope for a miracle. Hope of finding a less invasive solution; hope for a potion from an alternative medicine man that’ll fix you thanks to natures wonders. You’re convinced the cure is out there, and that it’s just a matter of you happening upon it. Take my…yada yada yada. The key word here is almost in ‘almost incurable.’

Acupuncture and stem cell therapy helped my friend for a while. It did some good but didn’t free him from frequent blood transfusions. Fresh blood on a regular basis was the only way to keep him relatively active. Without the transfusions, A) he was two weak to function, B) he would die. Thankfully, it’s hard to keep a good man down. And certainly not one with such a strong will to live. He opted for the almost in ‘almost incurable’, a 25% chance of beating this thing.

Approximately 13,000 people are diagnosed with MDS every year, and many more don’t know they have it until it’s too late. They’re more likely to die from symptoms (infection, anemia) than MDS. It’s a progressive illness, which can lead to complete bone marrow failure, and in 1/3 of the cases, leukemia. It usually occurs in the sixty and older age group, and is more prevalent in men than in women. It hardly ever affects children.

The cure: chemotherapy, then bone marrow transplant. Chemo is a bitch. No two ways about it. It’s meant to kill everything good and bad in your body and that’s what it did to my friend. I visited him in the hospital right after he’d completed chemo. He was weak and drugged, but also a man on a mission. Step one accomplished. On to step two: my friend has a brother. Bone marrow stem cell compatibility with a family member or a sibling is not at all guaranteed. Certain criteria must be met and they can be present or not. The closer the match, the better the chances. His brother didn’t have the same blood type, but he turned out to be a 99.9% match. With no stem cells of his own left in him after chemo, my friend received those of his brother.

And this is where I’d like to make a point. Most of us cringe at the thought of a bone marrow transplant, because we envision some invasive, painful procedure for both donor and recipient. This used to be the case. Newsflash: donating bone marrow is as easy as donating blood. My friend’s brother sat for four hours with an IV in his arm. His blood was processed through machines that separated stem cells and T-cells, (which went to my friend) and then was fed back into his body. Done!

Today, my friend is back to his energetic self. His brother, who lives in New York, enjoyed a three-week vacation in L.A., while saving a dear life. My friend has been given a clean bill of health from MDS. If ever any of you are in need of a good deed, I would strongly suggest thinking about donating bone marrow. The need is great, and the act, saving a life, is exponentially greater.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I opened the tamper-proof bottle, poured the two white tablets in the palm of my hand and stared at them. Flashback to the gym. In the morning, my body had said, “I’m not anywhere near twenty years old, so go easy on me,” and my mind had replied, “fuck you, I’ve got energy, and I’ll do what I want.” So, I pumped too much iron, burned up the spin bike, and now, I was paying for it big time. If I didn’t want to walk like a zombie for the rest of the week, I’d have to swallow those two pills. I should take them, I thought hesitating. I need to get rid of this pain. In the past, before my third liver/kidney transplant, I’d relied on painkillers to make it through the day. That didn’t work out too well for me. One must learn from ones mistakes at some point in time…at least one would hope one does...

20 million Americans take prescription painkillers daily. Every year, 70 billion over-the-counter painkillers are sold. Advil, Aleve, Anaprox, Aspirin, Anacin, Ecotrin, Excedrin, Motrin, Nuprin, Voltaren, Celebrex, to name a few, are all NSAIDs or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. There are more commercials for painkillers in the United State than in any other country in the world. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of these drugs and have probably taken one or the other. Here’s what’s going on in your body when you do.  

First, what’s pain? Pain is the result of chemical messengers (prostaglandins), which alter the make up of your cells wherever you hurt yourself, have physical damage, or develop a headache. This change in your cells alerts the nerves and spinal cord and they send an electrical signal to the brain. Voila! You’re in pain! Chances are, according to statistics, you’ll grab one of the above-mentioned pills, just like I had.  

Meet COX 1 and COX 2 (cyclooxygenase). These enzymes promote fever, inflammation and pain, which is a good thing because they’re our primary alert and defense systems. COX 1 can be found in most of our tissue. Besides bringing about the things we dread, this enzyme helps make mucus, which protects our digestive tract from its own (battery acid) juices, thus making sure the flora and fauna, so to speak, in our stomach and gut is healthy. COX 1 also manages blood flow in our kidneys, which keeps them working properly. COX 2 is responsible for inflammation (arthritis, menstrual cramps), but also manages our platelets so that they don’t clump together and cause high blood pressure or put us at risk of a stroke or heart attack.  

NSAIDs are COX blockers. Well, not exactly, but pretty close. They’re COX inhibitors. When you take a couple of Advil, it impairs all of the COX 1 functions. Much like bringing your little sister on a date, it stops you from having…pain. It also diminishes kidney function and mucus formation in your digestive tract. When you take Celebrex, currently the only COX 2 inhibitor still on the market (Vioxx and Bextra are no longer available), you’re targeting inflammation without impacting kidneys, stomach or gut. However, there is a potential for high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack because your platelet protection is suppressed right along with inflammation.

But fear not. If you only take NSAIDs when you really need them, none of the side effects matter. The astounding machine, which is our human body, bounces back. It continually seeks balance because that’s what it’s programmed to do. Take it from a pro that has unbalanced her body more often than I care to remember. Hell, I’m well acquainted with both my digestive tract juices and the effects of too many NSAIDs, but you’ll have to read the book (coming in September) for those stories. I’m not alone though, because every year over 100,000 people are hospitalized for NSAIDs related gastrointestinal problems.

Like all NSAIDs, Aspirin is harsh on the stomach, but it has stood the test of time. Probably one of the oldest medications ever, It’s been around since 400 BC. Hippocrates (you know, the one from the doctors’ oath) gave women willow leaf tea, a plant that carries the pain-killing component, after childbirth. Aspirin later became folk’s medicine, and then evolved to be a painkiller. In 1897 the German pharmaceutical company Bayer patented the current form of Aspirin (they added the component, which makes it less harsh on the stomach). Aspirin, among all NSAIDs, is unique because it’s the only one that keeps platelets nice and loose and prevents them from clumping together and causing a heart attack.

Back to the two pills in the palm of my hand. Tylenol (Acetaminophen). The only over-the-counter painkiller I can take. A wonder drug. No really, scientists wonder how it works. This one-of-a-kind pill isn’t a NSAID. It’s not a COX inhibitor either, and it doesn’t impact the kidneys or the stomach. They think it works with the central nervous system but the debate is ongoing. Tylenol has one drawback: it’s quite toxic for the liver.

I stood there, weighing the pros and cons of swallowing the pills in the palm of my hand. Yes, I’ll feel a lot better, but if I don’t absolutely need it, why bother? Then I realized: one had learned something after all. One had learned that one mustn’t turn to pills for ones own fault by overdoing workouts. I placed the pills back in the bottle, and walked over to my computer…like a zombie.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Like a tree in the forest, he’s fallen from very high. The case, the handling of it, and its players leave us with more questions than answers.

First, there’s the man. DSK was Professor of Economy at Science Po in Paris, the prestigious Political Science university, and sister school to Harvard. He became Minister of Economy when Lionel Jospin of the Socialist Party was president of France. Oddly enough for a socialist, during that time DSK privatized, among other things, France Télécom, the main telecommunications company.
He sought but lost the Socialist nomination for the presidency to an unwed mother of four, who believes in women’s rights, abortion, condom use, gay marriage, equal pay for women and plenty of other things that should be taken for granted (Ségolène Royal, you rock in that respect).
In 2007, the 27 European Union countries voted him managing directors of the International Monetary Fund. Not that there were any other candidates (Russia pushed for some Czech guy but he didn’t really have a chance).

With respect to the Guinean chambermaid, things aren’t as clear. My feeling is she’s done no more or no less than the average immigrant, to get that all mighty green card. Whatever it is she wrote on her application, it can’t be that bad. I know many people who ‘marry’ for the green card. Every time they go with their ‘spouse’ for an interview, they’re lying. If she claimed refugee status but really wasn’t, well it seems to have worked, that’s what counts. I neither advocate nor disavow the practice of lying on any application, but to point the finger at her when it’s commonplace, seems hypocritical.
Telling her incarcerated boyfriend that “she knows what she’s doing” and that “he (DSK) has money,” well, surely both statements are true. Does this mean she wasn’t raped? I wasn’t in the room so I don’t know.

And now the Perp Walk. There’s a history, especially in New York, for such dramatic action. Apparently, J. Edgar Hoover began the practice. It’s meant to be a proud moment for the boys in blue, an expression of triumph for catching the bad guy. The police let reporters know when the ‘perp’ (short for perpetrator) is going to be led in or out of a location. Once the reporters are all gathered, the police proudly parade the person through a crowd of flashing cameras. These perp walks haven’t always ended well. One gentleman who was led out of his office in handcuffs and in tears, allegedly for insider trading was eventually let go for lack of evidence, and therefore lack of a case against him. His life was ruined. We all know what happened to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was taken handcuffed from the garage. Jack Ruby shot him.

DSK in handcuffs surrounded by law enforcement, appeared guilty before proven innocent to many, which is the very opposite of our justice system, or so they say. The French, more than the Americans, were appalled at the way DSK was disrespected. The sight of one of Frances, and indeed one of the world’s most powerful men being humiliated in this fashion, was more than the French could bear. Especially since it’s an unproven accusation.

So we have the accused, the accuser, and the police department. In my opinion, three shady sides to a shady case; the perfect example of a bad human tragicomedy. It’s fair to say that DSK isn’t without fault. He fits right into the formula: Male+Power+Female=I can do whatever I want i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger, J.F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, to name a few. Should the case here in the States fall appart, a likely scenario as things stand, DSK’s troubles aren’t over by a long shot. Tristane Banon, another woman, has come forward and accused him of attempted rape. The French prosecutor is investigating.

As for the Guinean woman, the way I see it, she hasn't got a chance. She’s black, poor and a foreigner...who lies. Need I say more? Perhaps she was raped. At this point in time, after being discredited, it makes no difference. Whatever she says from now on will be viewed with suspicion. And then there’s the part about DSK forcing her to give him a blowjob. I’ve been pondering the logistics of such an act, and somehow I feel the woman has the upper hand (no pun intended) in this situation. Clenched teeth would have had him meowing like a cat.

Speaking of cats, if the New York police department needs a pat on the back, recognition for the ‘amazing’ job they do, they should go rescue a cat. They shouldn’t parade someone around like some trophy. And why would anyone gloat in someone else's misfortune? Oh, I forgot, it's the NYPD. After the incident with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the practice called perp walk is in serious jeopardy. (Yeah…right).

All parties involved in this affaire are suspicious.

Where is Shakespeare when you need him? He would have had a field day writing a contrived, over the top drama called Who Rapeth Whom? Thee the Rich, Powerful, White Frenchman, Thee, The Poor, Black, Foreign, Chambermaiden Or Thee, The Fucketh Up, New York Police Department?