Jim Varagona

Month: November, 2005

>How did you celebrate Diabetoboy Day?

>Yesterday was my birthday. My gift to myself was moving into a flat. There’s nothing better than more bills and responsibility as a gift to oneself. Hope you had a swell D-Day and a unit of insulin in my honor.



>So Long Mr. Miyagi…Pat Morita Dead at 73

Pat Morita, best know for his role as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, died yesterday at the age of 73. He started out on Happy Days, but you can’t get past the Miyagi role, which he was actually nominated for an Oscar for as Best Supporting Actor. Bonsai Mr. Morita. Next time I make a shower curtain costumre for Halloween, I’ll think of you.

I have to say though…this is too much death and destruction for my birthday week and month. Tomorrow is Diabetoboy Day, so get out your syringe shaped cakes and wrestle a woman (Andy Kaufman style) in my honor.


>Our President Is Funny


(Photo from Jason Reed/Reuters)

You can’t escape George!<—click there for video.

>More Reasons to Be Weary of Home Depot…

>I caught this story on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. He listed Home Depot as the 3rd worst person in the world today (a favorite segment of mine)…

Man accidently walks out with pencil, then banned for life. Home Depot headquarters has apologized. He still doesn’t plan on going back though, and it had nothing to do with the restrooms.

>R.I.P. Kelly Russo


Kelly Smith-Russo passed away on Saturday, November 19. I worked with her for a short period of time in the electronics department at Target #0051 on Hampton and Chippewa in St. Louis City.

Kelly passed away from pneumonia while she was waiting for a bone marrow transplant. She was 20 years old. I don’t claim to be a good friend of hers, but we talked whenever I saw her at work. I knew she was sick from her leukemia at times, and I tried my best to do my part keeping her in good spirits. It’s not good hearing about a death, but it’s multitudes worse when it’s someone young. I know this because I watched my brother die from a horrible disease at the age of 14 in 2000.

It sounds cliche (and there’s a lot of cliche used during these times), but she’s not in pain now. She can rest in a better place. My sympathies go out to her family. She was a fun girl, which knowing what she was going through, made her an even more amazing person.

>”…Bush’s sucker punch of patriotism.” Genius…My Sentiments Exactly

>Sylvester Brown’s column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today sums up my opinion exactly of the President and American politics in general right now. It discusses how with everything that is going on surrounding Bush with the war, the CIA leak investigation, and Libby indictment, he should have been down for the count now (to borrow from Brown’s multiple boxing analogies). Somehow he stays afloat though, partially because of his “sucker punch of patriotism” which he throws at any that disagree with him. Aren’t we patriots if we use our freedom of speech to disagree with you Mr. President? Because 60% of America does.


>What I am Doing Tonight and You Should Too…At Least Eventually


“Walk the Line” debuts today. Johnny Cash was one bad ass mofo and a romantic mofo, so I suggest going to see it. I’ll post a review when I get time.

Here’s Rotten Tomatoes compilation of reviews.



>R.I.P. Hefner(ita) 11/?/1998-11/15/2005


Hefnerita (left) sniffing Shannon’s armpit.

My rabbit, Hefnerita, passed away this morning.

I came home from work yesterday and noticed she didn’t look right. I set her down outside her cage and when she attempted to hop, she flipped over and to the side. I knew it wasn’t good, but I never have gotten her medical care in her 7 years, and pretty much knew it would do nothing for her anyway. My fiance, Shannon, and I laid her on her side and comforted her as she labored through her last few hours. I made sure she wasn’t treated like Terri Schiavo by rubbing water on her lips with alfalfa. She couldn’t even lick it, but she tried getting at it with slight openings of her mouth. I knew it was the end, because she was letting me touch roll of fatty skin under her chin, which usually would be met with a nip or a grunt. All we could do was comfort her as much as we could.

She took her last breath shortly after midnight.

I like to say I gave her a much better life than she would have had. Sure she was kept in her cage a bit much at times, but we did let her run around the basement periodically and gave her more than her fill of bunny food.

I came upon Hefnerita while volunteering at Gardenville Community Center in January of 1999. It was mandatory to do this for a month in order to graduate from high school. This is where I got stuck. Anyway, they had a outdoor garden area on the second floor and a floppy eared bunny named Barney that regularly resided there. Somehow, a lady bunny came into the equation and they had two litters. Apparently this was too much for the people that were running the center, so they told Dallas, the older, leathery gentleman I was working with, to get rid of them soon. He told me he tried to take a few from the first litter home and his dog ate them. I figured I could give one a better home than the digestive system of a canine, so I asked if I could take one home. He said as long as I caught her myself. I attempted to chase the tiny bunnies around. I believe there were four or five of them. Dallas and Brad, another man that worked there, told me to corner it in the hutch that they stayed in. I chased her into it, then lifted the roof.

To my horror and disgust, this rabbit family was sleeping on matted fetal rabbits. It was literally a layer of dead pink bunnies mushed together. I couldn’t do it, so leatherface stepped in. He put her in a bucket and agreed to take us home. His car was half made of wood. You see he was the resident handyman at the center, so of course this translated into his everyday life as well. His bumper was missing; in its place was a two by four. The console inside the car was gone; instead, a wooden box. There were no handles on the doors on the outside. You had to get it to open by sticking your hand in a hole and shimmying a bar. I considered failing high school at this point.

We arrived home and I named her Hefner…ita, because I’m not really sure about the sex one way or another.

I’m sure she outlived the rest of her family. The horrors they must have seen and the life they must have lived.

Burial for Hefnerita was held in the easement way behind my house. She was buried in a fine casket made from a box that used to contain mass quantities of soy sauce. My religious mother read “The Lord is my shepherd…”

So long Hefnerita.

>At Least My Diabetes Is Good for Something…Another Video of Mine Made It

>On October 8th, I blogged about discovering that a video of mine made it onto Post-VideoArt.com. Blowie the Spacemonkey isn’t my best work, but apparently someone took to it.

About a week and a half ago, I submitted what I consider my best experimental piece, Diseased Sensations. It is an 8 minute piece about my Diabetes, the emotions involved, and the repetitive nature of the Diabetic lifestyle. Today, I discovered, they picked it. It is now the 147th submission to make their list.

It holds a special place in my heart as the first piece of mine to be viewed on a big screen. It was beautiful, even though there are many glimpses of my obese body (according to the BMI). I have also been told that the barrage of needles and bits of blood may require a warning, so this is it. The web site’s viewing size is unfortunately small, but if you turn up your speakers and sit back, you’ll get the gist.

Special thanks to Van McElwee. I made this for his Experimental Video Production class at Webster University.


>I Could Make A Better Wal Mart Movie, But It’s Still Effective

>If you haven’t heard, there is a new anti-Wal Mart movie out there. You can’t see it in theaters, unless it’s at your local University theater screening. It is available on DVD though. Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price first caught my notice, because it is directed by Robert Greenwald, who also produced other expose documentaries like Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, and Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election. Obviously there is a bias to his films, but if it is based on facts, more power to him.

The doc goes into detail on how the biggest of the big box stores rips off its employees through meager wages and benefits, and basically takes advantage of government assistance programs for its workers. The company is very anti-union, and it is amazing what they do to squelch the unionizing of its workers. You get to hear first hand accounts from former workers as well as former higher ups with the company. Clips from speeches by their CEO and their own training videos and advertisements are sprinkled throughout to show how they like to spin these issues.

It is very effective in proving its point, which is how can such a lucrative company get away with being so cheap with their employees? I do think it could have been a bit more structured though. Greenwald’s other docs seem to go point by point more. At times during this film, I felt like they would throw something in because they had nowhere else to put it.

People go to Wal-Mart for jobs because it’s a job. I have considered going there because I have a background in retail and I need money. Even if they treat you like crap, I know of plenty of other companies that do the same to save money, which pays their big boys more. Michael Moore was right when he said the world is run by Stupid White Men. Can we stop them? Sure, we could stop shopping at Wal-Mart, but how many others can you convince, especially considering how much you can save by going there. It is selfish, but what are they to do when they are already barely getting by? It’s rough out there, and sometimes you got to do what you got to do. Right now, there is a better chance of impeaching our President than overthrowing one of the biggest corporations in the world.

The UFCW is pushing hard to do something about Wal-Mart. Check out their report here.


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