A Week Later

So, last Tuesday was a pretty big day around The Aerie. Naturally, the election was big news (although actually the race for our Congressional seat is still going on – that is still being tallied, it’s that close), but I also had the surgery for the basal cell carcinoma that I had on the top of my head.

The surgery went well and many thanks to those of you who sent warm messages and thoughts my way. Everyone at the clinic was very nice and the team did a great job. I even got to see how they stained the cells to determine whether they were normal or cancerous. I mean, as a scientist, I see images of cells all the time in journals, but to see it with cells just excised from your head? Pretty damn cool. Even better was that the carcinoma was small and hadn’t spread. I was stitched up (with three levels of stitches) and home in time for a late lunch. Actually, today I’m heading back over to the clinic to have my first level of stitches removed.

Over the past week I’ve been reflecting on the election. I mean, it was a good day for Team Donkey and I’m glad the President was re-elected. And I’m especially glad that it was not a litigious election (three in a row! Go America!). I chuckled at how the punditry was, of course, trying to decide if the election was a “mandate” for Obama. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but winning every “battleground” state, picking up seats in both houses of Congress, the “rape guys” all losing, and winning every marriage equality referendum seemed to me like winning the World Series in four one-run games. Sure, it was close, but it was still a sweep.

But I think the thing that I will remember the most though is how the GOP-punditry and the Romney campaign seemed utterly blindsided by the results. This was not the traditional Mondale-ian stiff-upper-lipping through an Election Day you knew wasn’t going to go your way, it was clear that they thought that they were going to win and that the majority of pre-election polls that showed the President doing well were all “skewed” in that they over-represented Democrats (or those leaning) or how likely those people were to vote.  Fox analyst Stuart Varney famously said, “look, [you] can go through all the scientific gobbledygook you like, I don’t believe them!”

Believe me, I’ve got a post or two about the GOP’s lack of respect for the scientific method, but that’s for another day. But as a scientist, you quickly and sometimes painfully learn that if nine experiments refute your hypothesis and one supports it, it’s probably that lone one that’s the outlier and incorrect — no matter how much you don’t want it to be true.

I wonder if it will be enough to make them change their practices.

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32 thoughts on “A Week Later

    • RR — thanks! He’s right about that — and it’s killed me to see him (as a former biology major) have to do the same sort of pretzel bending to support ideas he knows are BS. Of course, the GOP made the once moderate Romney go far right to get the nomination and it ended up too far for him to credibly go centrist.

      Here’s also another interesting piece of data:

  1. I’m glad your head is healing up nicely!
    At least the more vocal GOP are still making up reasons why they didn’t win. They don’t seem to have learned anything so far, but if some of them listen to Governor Jindal, or Gov. Christie, some intelligence might return. Hard to imagine, but it could happen.

    • Thanks Lauri — I’m glad it is too! :)

      It will be REALLY interesting to see where the GOP ends up over the next 4 years. They could go to the center, or they could go even further to the right!

  2. I think you’re the first person I’ve met who thought seeing the skin surgically cut from his head stained and placed under a microscope was “cool.” I’m glad I didn’t watch the lab techs while they were looking at my pre-cancerous mole on a slide—yeeesh.

    I’m also glad you are okay—you are okay, right? No follow-up treatments, no radiation? Penny needs you to take her for walks!

    • HG — it’s funny, you spend a career looking at bits of biology in a research and it’s really fascinating to see “real-world” application. It reminds me why I got into this business in the first place. And yes — no follow-ups needed as far as we can see. I’ll go back to my dermatologist for a once-over in the New Year.

    • empress — no, it’s not very stretchy. It was really interesting to feel the stitches pull when I’d yawn or laugh. They’ve definitely relaxed over the last week or so.

  3. I’m so happy you’re doing alright! You’ll have a helluva scar. My godfather does but he’s a very thick-haired geezer, so it came in and covered after 6 months or so…
    I agree with your assessment of the political ‘atmosphere’ but don’t see it changing. There’s always money to be had from idiot, bigot, freaks. I was at hospital last night. A family of 8 were LOUDLY (very, very loudly) going on about liberals being the death of America and blahblahblah only Christians are Republicans or vice versa. The things they said were so hateful, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I guess they got it from Rush because it’s far more than any politician would say — and this was in a hospital waiting room!

    The one that got me the most (not that it was ‘worse’ but the completely backwardsness of it) was that Obama (and I don’t like him) is trying to Starve Americans. This confused me because these people were going on about liberals want to be on the dole and never work… It was also confusing because each of these people had been talking about their disability checks… Yet another thing: each of these 8 individuals were morbidly obese. There were 2 women about 200lb over weight. I mean they both EASILY were OVER 300lb. The other six were men who looked like those ‘ton man’ documentaries.

    I love people who weigh over 400lb. I’m not saying big people are bad. I’m saying…
    Wait. You weigh 300-700lb. You are on the dole. You are saying Obama wants to ‘starve’ Americans?

    Finally I understood: they were talking about that law controlling the size of SODA SERVINGS.

    Seriously. Don’t fuck with these peoples’ soda. It was shocking. They (of course) went on about trickier things like race, immigration and abortion but that one thing really confused me. Like…soda? No food stamps for others but you’re literally hundreds of pounds overweight and receive disability checks for it? And it’s ALL 8 OF YOU?

    I dunno. Those people will always give $20 to whatever politician says they’re right.

    • MT — thank you! They’ve done the surgery to minimize the scarring — since it’s on my head — so we’ll see in another couple of weeks how that turns out.

      I shouldn’t be, but I am still constantly amazed by the cognitive dissonance of the American electorate — the Tea Party complainers who get all their information at the public library. The people on Medicare with anti-ACA signs saying “No government healthcare!” etc. It’s remarkable.

  4. Sorry to hear of your ordeal, Steve. I am glad however that it’s such a treatable one. My mom had basal cell and squamous cell by the time she was in her 20s and it came back recently. A few treatments later and she’s good as new. These days she’s retired as a teacher and has decided to go back and earn her master’s in criminology. A bulldozer wouldn’t slow her down!

    I am praying that the Republicans become the party they always should have been; Jon Huntsman and Bob Inglis are actually more outspoken on climate change than anyone on Obama’s team. They have the potential to be good conservationists, and I agree with them that the health care mandate is nonsense. Get everyone approved for coverage, then make it mandatory.

    • Amelie — thanks! It hasn’t been so bad, except for feeling staples everytime I touch my head. I saw a bit on CNN last weekend where Huntsman said “We have to get our fiscal house in order and then get out of peoples’ lives” — I mean, who WOULDN’T at least listen to that?

  5. Steve, I was having trouble leaving a comment. I am glad everything went well. What treats should I send? Any preference? Andrea

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