RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Sandbox and The Litterbox <

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Sandbox and The Litterbox

Two unrelated items today from the Washington Post struck a personal note

First, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who started a milblog (the Sandbox) to help get the troops blogging overseas more stateside exposure, released a collection by the same name today (War Dispatches to Doonesbury.) I haven't seen it yet, but it should read like a good epistolary novel, except it's true.

I have had the pleasure of corresponding with one or two of the soldier contributors, and if you haven't already done so, you might find the book or the site of interest.
Slate online magazine also carries the Sandbox feature.

Second, disturbing studies of new drug-resistant strains of the Staph bacteria, methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), were published today (Drug-Resistant Staph Germ's Toll Is Higher Than Thought.)
Statistics show that MRSA kills more people annually in the U.S. than H.I.V-AIDS, Parkinson's disease, emphesema or homocide.

Coincident with the news, a friend was diagnosed and sent to a nearby VA hospital with MRSA, to spend several days on an antibiotic IV drip. These bacteria are resistant to traditional "first-line" antibiotics, and can only be treated with vancomycin, the current antibiotic of last resort.

"'This is a significant public health problem. We should be very worried,' said Scott K. Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

"It's really just the tip of the iceberg," said Elizabeth A. Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who wrote an editorial in JAMA accompanying the new studies. "It is astounding."

"MRSA, which is spread by casual contact, rapidly turns minor abscesses and other skin infections into serious health problems, including painful, disfiguring "necrotizing" abscesses that eat away tissue."

Drug companies have not been swift to develop new antibiotics
because the financial incentive is not there.

Another bacterium (Streptococcus pneumoniae) has also become drug-resistant, and
researchers "attributed its resistance to a combination of the overuse of antibiotics and the introduction of a vaccine that protects against (ear) infection.

My friend had just finished spending several weeks in the waters off of our coast, waters with a high human fecal content, sadly
. I won't be testing the waters anytime soon.


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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i've been a fan of reading the sandbox for a while now. the internet provides something vital that we had no prospect of having in RVN. we were out there in the back of beyond boonies, and knew that most of the folks in the world would rather not know what was going on. . .

we did have a radio chief who set up his ham gear so that we could, weather and connections permitting make an occaisional phone call home. beyond that, it was only snail mail.

i used to wonder whether or not the capability for instant contact back home might make things worse for the homesickness, but it appears to be a huge benefit.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Lisa said...


I think the act of writing can be cathartic, and for today's generation, writing is usually done on screen vs. longhand.

However, far as having immediate communications back home, I am a bit conflicted. After speaking with some men who have served, the consensus seems to be that they need to get into a "zone" while in the middle of a war, and such communication might be more of a hindrance (distraction) than a help.

We have no studies on the thing as it is a new phenomena. It certainly has provided certain soldiers publication exposure that many other wonderful voices from earlier conflicts would not have had.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

I check the Sandbox daily. The Litterbox that is the US news....well, does it say bad things about me that I occasionally am grateful for power outages like the ones intermittently hitting today?

I am hungry for good news....and starvation is not only physical any more.

Scotch, anyone?

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 5:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Lisa said...


just happened upon these definitions, and I knew you'd appreciate the last. A nice stiff drink will only stave off the last one:

bushamey (noun)
High crimes and misdemeanors

bushify (verb)
To distort intelligence

bushrepellisations (plural noun)
Deliberately misleading statements

bushawativattropriva (noun)
Outrage fatigue

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 6:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

"bushawativattropriva (noun)
Outrage fatigue"

I'm not sure that stiff drink staves it off; it merely dulls the pain and slows the reflexes sufficiently to keep me out of jail. And yes, it took me this long to respond because I am a victim of busawativattropriva.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 3:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Lisa said...


We need you on this side of the bars, so...just enough to take the edge off. You mayn't get like Otis in the Andy Griffith Show.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 4:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

Aye-Aye, Ma'am. Besides, prison orange is SO not my color!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 5:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Ha! Hot pink if you're in Maricopa Co., AZ. That, you could pull off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 5:48:00 PM GMT-5  

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