Monday, December 28, 2015

Medical Travails Monday December December 28

Well, Christmas season 2016 isn’t quite completely gone yet, but it is almost out of the picture.  In some ways I have felt like the Bubble Boy – I haven’t really been able to get out and about due to pain and to concerns about contagion (no danger to others just to me).   

The lights of the Christmas season have delighted me more this year than in years past.  Again, don’t ask me why.  But I have tremendously enjoyed picking out and laying the little strands of light around the tree.  Actually, to be honest I should specify that Deborah has done all the laying out of Christmas lights while I’ve acted as sidewalk superintendent.  This works out slightly better for me because that way I can be there to physically intervene should anything appear to start to slide out of the way downhill or whatnot. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Life and Medical Travails Saturday December 12

Well, you can’t tell it to look at the photo in the upper left corner of this page, but a crucial time was ticking down here when I was taking this photo.  The  “fat bulb”  light string depicted here was about to bite the dust.  But on the other hand, the white and gold strand of garland shown here was making its international debut.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Life and Medical Travails Wednesday December 2

Well, let me tell you a little bit about my Thanksgiving.  First and foremost, I found that this Thanksgiving at least, I was the ranking officer in the Carr household.  I know this because for the first time ever, the family thanksgiving was held here, even though it was a tremendous inconvenience to most members of the household to come here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Medical Travails Postscript Tuesday November 24

As it turns out, my mention of the possibility of traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday got me in a bit of trouble.  After my last blog entry on the subject I heard from my hospice nurse.  She had no idea I was thinking about going out of town for Thanksgiving.  Not to put too fine a point on it, I got spanked.  Not a bad one, but it was definitely a trip to the woodshed.  I am, she pointed out, in hospice care.  Someone like me doesn't just pull up stakes, hit the road and start rubbernecking.  Her concerns were all the same as those I'd already expressed, and they all boil down to the same thing:  what if some kind of medical emergency were to arise while I am on the road?  Apparently the routine is to arrange in advance with another hospice agency to be ready to step in and take care of me in that eventuality.  But if I'm going to be gone for more than one week they actually ask the hospice patient to resign the care temporarily and signup with the hospice agency in the area to which I'll be traveling.  Can you beat that? At any rate it sure drove home the seriousness of my situation.  It’s almost like now, in addition to everything else, I have to worry about a tree trunk falling on me, or something worse.

Another medical development today—I now have oxygen in the house, consisting of two emergency bottles and an oxygen generator.  This is to guard against my  next hard breathing/panic attack, of which I had another relatively mild one on Wednesday.  It wasn’t a bad one (thank God) but was it was severe enough to get my attention.  The aftermath leaves me with a tightness of breath across my chest and abdomen, which is no fun, and also with a line of pain across the top of my back.  It’s usually gone within 12 hours, though.

Company is coming tomorrow, so I probably won’t write for a couple of days.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Medical Travails Sunday November 22

Well, as of this week I can feel a little bit less like a bum.  My first social security disability check arrived.  So instead of getting paid nothing to sit around the house and catalogue my various aches and pains, I now have a steady stream of income to compensate me for that.  I think that is pretty nifty.  And it’s not like there’s no real work involved.  New aches and pains raise their heads to be catalogued every single day.

I still really have no idea how much longer I have to be around this tired old planet.   I’m not kidding about the aches and pains; new ones seem to arise every day while old ones fade away or take a back seat.   The theme for most of this week has been pain across my lower back, where my left kidney used to be.  (The bastards took it out and didn’t even give me anything useful in return for it, damn them, leaving me with a hole good for nothing except collecting the occasional ache, sometimes acute).  This week the major line of pain has dissipated somewhat, but in its place are spiking pains descending my side in paths parallel to it.   These pains can be quite sharp when trying to get up in the morning, or when I get up in the middle of the night to answer one of my pain alarms.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Medical Travails Saturday November 14

Another CARE package has arrived at the Carr household.  I could have told  you who sent it from the address alone:  the package was sent to the attention of  “Forrest Carr News Director and Brother.”  Of course, I’m not  news director to anyone to whom I’m actually also a brother, except in spirit only.  That narrowed the choice of senders down considerably.  I won’t embarasss him here by telling you who it is, but suffice it to say that when I worked with him in Florida TV  news, we had a very close and productive relationship.

The package itself shows the man is hip to my current needs.  It’s stuffed to the rims with candy.  As regular readers to this blog know, my sweet taste buds are about the only ones that have survived chemo and radiation and painkillers and all the other indignities they heap on you in the name of trying to eradicate cancer from your body.  I can taste most meat but very blandly.  But Milky Ways, Snickers, M&M’s, Butterfingers, Kit-Kats, and you name what else are completely undiminished in their enjoyment.

They’ve also helped me reach my weight goals.  My doctor was very worried about my weight for a while there.  I was under strict orders to eat as  much as I could and to take on the pounds.  Toward this end I was prescribed an appetite enhancing steroid, the theory being that every ounce of weight you take on is a victory against cancer, which wants to take it away from you.

Well, I’m here to tell  you that the candy and steroids tactic have done the trick.  I now weigh more than I ever have before in my life.  In fact, I intend to cut down.   But not all at once.

With the package came some nourishment for the soul as well, a pamphlet entitled Keep Calm and Trust God by Jake and Keith ProvanceInterestingly, it’s about the same size and word count as my fourth book, My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences and Strange Happenings, and even touches on some of the same themes, particularly the need to grasp every moment, hold it to your breast and cherish it like it may be your last.  Because it well might be.

Speaking of which, I got my statement back from Amazon and I have to say “thank you” to the many people who’ve been buying my books lately.  It’s much, much appreciated.

Medically, there’s not much else to report.  Some days I think I’m losing ground in the fight against rising pain levels; other days, I’m not so sure.  Yesterday I was feeling so bad that I decided to put my head down and go back to sleep for a while.  I slept until 4pm in the afternoon.  I sort of hate doing that but I did get up feeling refreshed and pain-free.  Those are good feelings.  But I have not slept so late in decades.  I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I do that.

So once again tonight I find myself in the position of publicly thanking someone for reaching out to me.   To my Florida brother-in-arms and his lovely bride, let me extend heartfelt thanks and let you know that your words do mean the world to me.  I will abide by them, keeping calm and trusting God.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Father, the Veteran

I can't believe a whole year has gone by!  Here is a re-post of my Veterans' Day tribute to my father, Frank Carr.

My late father didn’t live long enough to hear Tom Brokaw refer to men and women of his time as “The Greatest Generation.”  Had he done so, I’m sure Dad would have embraced the idea—not because of anything he’d done himself, but because of those with whom he’d served and whose valor he’d witnessed personally.

Frank Pearce Carr, Army Serial Number 01 010 262, had just turned 23 when he signed up for the National Guard in Memphis in 1939.  His Army papers list his civilian occupation variously as an office equipment salesman and as a meter reader.  When war erupted, Dad, who had two and a half years of college under his belt, applied for Officer Candidate School in Fort Knox and was accepted.  In May of 1942 he won the rank of lieutenant and was assigned to a unit of lightly armored M5A1 Stuart tanks.  The Army sent him to the Pacific.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Medical Travails Monday November 9

So.  I got bitten once by a baby water moccasin.  Wanna hear about it?  Because apparently you’re gonna have to.

What, you may reasonably ask, does that question have to do with my sometimes-but-not-quite-daily blog about my cancer battle?  Hang on.  We’re going to get to all that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Medical etc. Tuesday November 3

It was a another somewhat fitful night last night as back pain set up where my left kidney used to be, and didn’t want to leave me be.  But I finally got past it with “prns”--an extra dilaudid pill logged as “pain relief as needed.”  I am finding that if I lie on my side when the pain is at its worst, it does subside and I can get back to sleep.  Still, this new development is not welcome as it causes me to up my pain meds which in turn causes me to be partially zonked during the day.  (I don’t mind being zonked during the night!)

Yesterday was nurse day.  Judging from the color of my eyelids and surrounding tissues she’s pretty sure I’m becoming anemic. This would be no surprise if true; all my taste buds related to red meat are dead or are on strike, so I’ve had very little appetite for it.  If it weren’t for chicken I don’t know what I’d do.  I have discovered an item at Wendy’s that I didn’t know about.   Without looking at the menu the other night I asked for a “crispy chicken sandwich” and what I got was a kid’s entreé about half the size of their adult sammiches.  Two of those perfectly match my appetite and they are quite tasty to  my current buds.

The nurse also wants me to eat eggs.  Who knew eggs could help with anemia?  My taste buds are about 50% effective on egg, bacon, and cream cheese products.  Plus, cooking bacon is messy, and I’m loathe to fix eggs without also making bacon.   However, Deborah showed me how to prepare bacon in the microwave, where there’s far less after odor and no skillet to clean up afterwards.  So we’ll see.  Two eggs, four strips of bacon does not sound like too daunting a challenge for breakfast or lunch—provided I can stand long enough to prepare the meal.  Yes, it has come down to these kinds of questions and I was pushing it today getting through the cooking process for lunch.  And then the entreé was only half as tasty as I remember that bacon and eggs ought to be.  *sigh*

The last of the book reviews I’ve been waiting for in regards to The Dark is now in, and it’s largely very good.  I’ll be promoting it tomorrow or the next day.  The book currently has a 4.9 rating with Amazon readers, with more than a dozen reviews posted, and that is outstanding.  There will be sporadic promotions for the last two books over the weeks ahead but no more writing on new projects, I think, other than this blog.  I’ve pretty much decided to call it quits with the publication of book #4, Weird Coincidences.  I did not submit that one for outside editorial reviews, but if you read it and liked it, then reader-posted reviews on are always welcome.

That’s four books, folks.  Four books published after taking a sabbatical where I said I’d publish at least three.  I don’t feel too shabby about that, although I sure hate the diagnosis that came with it.   I am grateful, however, that my energy levels at least did last long enough for me to get that last one out.  Given what it tries to say about the value and joy of life, that last book may have been the reason for everything.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medical Travails Sunday November 1

As those who’ve taken time to read my latest book, My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences, know, weeks, months, sometimes years can pass by without anything noteworthy or “reportable” springing up in the way of strange or possibly “paranormal” happenings.  But now, several weeks after publication of the book, I finally do have something interesting and new to point out and report.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Case of the Fabulously Fumbled FOIA

What’s surprising to me is not that the Department of Homeland Security, which is part of the self-described “most transparent” administration in U.S. history, waited a year to produce lame results to my Powertalk 1210 freedom of information request.  The surprise is that it produced any results at all.  I mean, the response was so poor and so meager, why bother at all?

It was obvious in August and September of last year when I started down this road that DHS had no intention of shedding any light on its handling of the refugee crisis that was flooding our southern borders at the time.   Supposedly, under the law any time any governmental event generates a document, you can have access to it as a member of the public.  Exceptions, of course, are classified documents.  The laws and process at the federal level are not the same as the local.  The federal law generally is referred to as the “Freedom of Information Act” and is pronounced FOY’-ah, whereas there’s a hodgepodge of state and local laws aimed to achieve similar purposes but which have no teeth at the federal level.  Journalists usually refer to the local laws as “FOIA” laws as well but this is not correct.

The Tucson Traffic Game

Presented in honor of the latest round of Tucson accidents and fatalities that keep our city punching well above its weight in the arena of pedestrian safety.  The latest one is so typical:  pedestrian steps into traffic, in the dark, well outside of a crosswalk.  We're building toward a record.  The Star reports we've nailed 12 pedestrians so far this year--twice as many as by this time last year.

© 2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Leaving Las Vegas

There are, I suppose, good ways and bad ways to leave a job, especially if you’re leaving involuntarily.  In TV news the different styles and methods by which people choose the exit door, or by which they have the method of departure chosen for them,  practically constitute a spectator sport, especially if the person leaving is in management.  Which takes us to KVVU-TV in Las Vegas.

KVVU is the Fox affiliate in Sin City, and happens to be owned by the Meredith company—which, in the interests of full disclosure, let me tell you is now in the process of a merger with Media General, a company I used to work for.  I won’t get into the merits of the firing because I can’t; I know very little about Adam Bradshaw, the veteran and by most accounts capable news director at the heart of our story.  Rick Gevers’ weekly  newsletter reveals to us that Bradshaw had been news director there for about 9 years, which in TV terms amounts to a very good run (news director years are roughly equivalent to doggie years, playing out to an aging ratio of about one to four).  The day before the firing, the city had hosted the first Democratic Presidential Debate, for which Mr. Bradshaw said his station pulled out all the stops, as I’m sure it did.  If you can imagine putting together a coverage plan as aggressive as that that one had to be, busting your butt to get it onto the air in such a fashion as to uphold your personal pride and senses of competitiveness and professionalism, and then hearing your boss say, “Thanks, now GTFO,” you might begin to understand a little bit of what it’s like to be a TV news director.  Nothing personal, just go, and don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.  Or do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fred Flintstone Killed Me

The premise of today's blog entry may seem outlandish, but if you’ll bear with me I think I can prove it out.

A few months ago I was doing some research for my gig on The Forrest Carr show on Tucson’s PowerTalk 1210 when I came across a TV commercial online that just blew me away.  The spot, dating from the early 60’s, had appeared originally in The Flintstones, what was then billed as a prime time animated series aimed at equal parts children and adults.   Barney and Fred had just walked into the back yard and were noticing that their spouses, Betty and Wilma, were doing the chores.  “Man, I hate to see them work so hard,” Barney opined, at which point Fred agreed:  “So let’s go around back where we can’t see ‘em.”  At which point the two of them decide a cigarette break is in order; they proceed to bust out with a package of Winstons.  Barney blows out a cloud of hot air big enough to have rescued Dorothy and Toto from Oz while Fred rolls off with a verse of the Winston Jingle, which you may remember if you’re old enough:  “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should....”  I remember that first line, and as well I should; in 1998 Advertising Age voted it the 9th most effective TV jingle of the 20th century.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"William Larkin Porter, Junior. July 4, 1928 - October 17 2015."

That ten word headline summarizes this news this week regarding the father of one of my best friends in the world, Mike Porter.  In no way do those words sum up the man. Nor are they supposed to.  It's not my place to try to do that either.  That honor and privilege belongs to the man’s son.

I can, however, and will recall the one particular life-changing act of kindness that came my way many  years ago because of the late Mr. Porter and his wife, an act that arguably put me on a better path.  I was maybe 18 years old was going through a very emotionally troubling period in my life.  On that very night at my own home I was  having a crisis of an evening filled with suicidal thoughts and ideation, and inappropriate language and behavior.  My father objected to the way I was talking to my mother and girlfriend – a dispute that culminated in him tossing the both of us (me and the girl) out on the street in a freezing, steady downpour--without my glasses. (For the record I'll admit to having treated my girlfriend very immaturely, but nothing crossed the line to anything illegal, immoral, or violent.  The girl had done absolutely nothing wrong; my father's treatment of her was beyond disgraceful).  I remember after being expelled from my dad’s home that at the end of this 25-minute walk to the closest pay phone, her hair was as frozen as mine; you can’t imagine how mortifying that was.  When I reached that phone, I placed a call to Mr. Porter, and asked him whether he might be willing to drive cross town that night (a 35 minute drive) to rescue  me and my girl from our frozen hair and from my own personal idiocy, and to help me get my girlfriend home since Dad had confiscated my car.  Mr. Porter did all this without batting an eye, sheltering us from the ravages of a Memphis ice storm and then taking me the next morning to retrieve my clothes from my home and then moving me to an aunt's loft—no questions asked.  This helped get me back on track more ways than I can describe.  How do you thank someone for that?  Really, you can't. But mentioning it every now and then in tones of admiration doesn't hurt.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Attack of the Cybercats VIII

I hope everyone is enjoying Monday.  For those who are not, enjoy these cat photos instead.  This expands on the evidence I've been bringing  you for months showing that your typical house cat may not be what it appears to be.  You have been warned.

I’ve applied my special processing technique to more cat photos.  The evidence remains conclusive:  what looks like ordinary house cats are really Cybercats—part feline, part machine—who are able to exert mind control over certain individuals.  Although their immediate goal of household domination seems clear, their ultimate plan remains a mystery.  The latest round of processed photos is below.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Gift of Love

An open letter to:
Christ the King Episcopal Church
The Prayer Shawl Ministry
Special attention:  Ann Zasa
    Interfaith Community Services Board
2800 W Ina Rd
Tucson, AZ 85741

Dear Christ the King:

I recently received by way of my wife Deborah a wonderful prayer shawl from your organization.  The tag reads, “Made by hand and blessed with prayers of love and hope, this wrap is a gift to you.  May it bring blessings of comfort, gifts of warmth and the knowledge that you are cared for.”  And it’s signed, the Prayer Shawl Ministry of Christ the King Episcopal Church.

Deborah and I can’t thank you enough.  This open letter, which I am posting on my blog, is an attempt to do that but it only scratches the surface, really, of the emotions something like this inspires within us.  This shawl does make us feel supported and cared for and loved and all those things, and we’re feeling it in a way we certainly never expected when we began to go down this road with my terminal cancer diagnosis back in April.  The journey has been a difficult one, yes, but it’s also been filled with joys that we did not expect.   People reaching out to us in the manner this shawl does falls into that latter category. 

I will put this shawl in a place of honor in my office where I write my blog, which I do on not quite  a daily basis, but often, as a reminder of those who care about us.  Every time I glance in that direction I will  think of this shawl, why it’s there, and of Christ the King.  God bless you for thinking of us, and may He continue to support you in your ministry.

Forrest Carr
Deborah Carr

Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting Down with the People

"Let’s ride the bus,” my friend said. 

Now it can be told.  The Tucson bus strike has ended.  I found this article in my files which seems relevant.  Like most of what I write for you, this has the virtue of being all true, with no exaggeration.  I hope you enjoy.

A friend of mine, Jay, was a TV news director who believed very much in the value of a bus ride.  He felt there was no better way to get to know what was really going on in a given community than by taking a ride on a city bus.  During the time I worked for him, he used to preach this philosophy to me constantly.  But I’d ridden plenty of buses as a college kid, and had no great nostalgic feeling for them.  I ignored his advice.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Reclaiming Life’s Little Joys

Looking back it’s hard not to become at least a little resentful at some of life’s little pleasures that have, one by one, fallen off the list of things of which I am able to partake and enjoy.  The list is getting kind of long now, thanks to my cancer.  It started off slowly enough, though, and initially had nothing to do with any kind of terminal diagnosis.  At first it was just about that process we all have to face, that of simply getting old.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up I fell big for those sugary cereal commercials with which advertisers used to inundate the airwaves on Saturday mornings (I presume they still do).  I wound up with a confirmed cereal habit which continued well into my adulthood.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Some Think You Can’t Handle the Truth

I have a keyboard, a track record as an experienced and fairly well-respected journalist, and given my health it’s not likely I’ll have to worry ever again whether something I say might p*ss off a current or future employer.  So when someone, especially an elected official these days, issues forth with something that strikes me as uniquely boneheaded, it’s hard not to go right to the computer and begin the delicious process of ripping that person a new one.  In a nice way, of course.

Every now and then, though, I like to hang back and see if others notice first, especially when it comes to matters of media conduct, ethics, editorial judgment, and the art of self-censorship.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nurse Day

One of the questions I’m having to struggle with now that I’ve made the decision to continue this blog and to keep you up to date on my medical issues is:  How much “I” constitutes “TMI?”  How little is too little? And should I de-emphasize politics, or toss that subject out altogether?  In answering that question, I’m guided by my late colleague Warren Elly, who also blogged about his medical issues as he was battling cancer.  I wanted to hear more from him.  One day his voice simply wasn’t there.  So, under the premise that too much is not enough for a blog of this nature, I’ll probably wind up writing more than I really should.  Politics we'll take as they come but I probably won't write as much about that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More Outage and Aboutage

Well, I have a confession to make.   Now that book #4 is out, My Lifetime of Strange Coincidences and Weird Happenings, my life is taking on an anticlimactic air.   I guess I was more apprehensive about the book’s release than I realized would be the case.  This is not surprising, I suppose, given that I reveal secrets in that book of which maybe three people in my entire life had been aware, and even those folks did not know the dark, painful details.  I tossed and turned over this one.  But it seemed to me that authenticity is the key.  If I’m going to try to convince someone that a series of miracles revolving around attempted suicide changed my life, for the purpose of perhaps inspiring others to value their own lives more, then the details must be authentic or the whole project will be for naught.  And that goes for all the other revelations in the book.  Still, when it comes to giving away privacy rights, you don’t get much more naked than this.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Final Word

Okay, this is not really my last blog entry.  At least I hope that’s not the case.  Given my health condition anything seems possible but it does not appear that death is imminent at the moment.  Still, if you look back at the slow but steady deterioration we’ve seen over the past several weeks, as outlined in my most recent blog posts, it does not seem wise to take anything for granted or to assume that I have even one more second of time coming to me. 

I have no interest in abandoning the blog.  Far from  it.  What does interest me is to make sure that I, not my cancer, get the last word.  The only way to do that is to write the final chapter before the cancer has a chance to cut me off.  I can then go back and fill in any blanks (as they come along) at my leisure as life unfolds in real time, as long as I have the breath of life in me and something interesting to say.

What am I babbling about, you ask?

Simply this:  I am faced with a tough reality, and here it is:  the only way to beat cancer is to make sure it does not have the final word.  But of course there will be a day when cancer will have silenced me.  Victory lies in making sure I have said what I needed to say before that point.  And in doing so, this isn’t going to be about cancer pulling the life out of me but rather about me pulling life from the cancer.  I’m going to continue that fight even after I’m gone, and I’m going to do it with the book I’m announcing today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Changing Signs for Changing Times

As if I had not had enough change to deal with in my life, this week, there's a big one.  Well, it's big to me.

To recap, I’ve had a lot to deal with over the last two years—getting a diagnosis of kidney and bladder cancer, undergoing surgery to address both, finding out the surgery was not successful and that the cancer is spreading and will be terminal sooner or later.  This week, more signs of changing times.  Here’s a status check in descending chronological order.

-- Ongoing primary complication:   I’m fighting pain from one or more tumors in my side primarily at night and my overall stamina is slowly failing me.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Stay in Hospice - Updated

Well, one thing I have figured out is that when you tell people you are going to be spending a little time in a hospice facility, it gets their attention.  Most people associate that with dying.  The end of life association is not always unwarranted in a general sense, just not in my specific case at the present time.  No dying is contemplated for some time.  Some people do wind up spending their final days here but I’m told that is very unusual.  Most of those who come here to the inpatient unit are doing what I’m doing:  the case nurses are working with the doctors to try to come up with the proper doses and timings for the various drugs that we hospice patients need to be comfortable and have our symptoms managed.  Such symptom management is one of the key promises of hospice, which focuses on your personal comfort in a way that traditional medicine does not.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

To Blog or Not to Blog

Well, to blog or not to blog is not really the question.  I’m not going to abandon you now.  But as I celebrate (and I do mean celebrate, with all the gusto I can muster) the arrival of my 58th birthday tomorrow (Friday, September 18) one thing seems pretty clear:  it’s very unlikely there’ll be a 59th.

It’s kind of slap in the face to hear those words from a friend, isn’t it?  It’s one big bucket of cold water.  But it’s also nothing but the truth.

I am struck by my late colleague Warren Elly’s blog, The Way Forward.  When he started his blog after receiving his cancer diagnosis in December, I wonder if he realized what he would be putting himself through.  He shared with us the trauma of learning to cope with one’s own impending mortality—and then one day his voice was simply gone.  No goodbyes, no warnings, no heads up of any kind that this entry might be the last.  But then suddenly it was. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Taking Stock

You may be wondering why I would lead off a blog post with a photograph showing a pair of empty boots.  The theme of today’s blog will be “taking stock.”   Basically, I’m looking at where I stand so far in terms of my current abilities—what cancer has cost me, and what capabilities I have left, how much time I might have remaining, and what I should do about it all.

The fact is that cancer is slowly whittling away at the list of things that I find pleasurable.  Those two boots in the photo are one example.  I am not an extravagant person.  But for years I had fantasized about the idea of owning a pair of hand-crafted Lucchesi burgundy ostrich skin boots.  Folks, these are not cheap.  Lucchesi arguably makes the best boot in existence.  I found myself coveting—for years—a $1,500 pair of boots.  Then I met a newscast producer in Tampa who confessed to having plopped down $2,000 for a designer purse—and I knew she wasn’t kidding because a short time later I happened to be in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City and was able to find the exact purse for the price mentioned featured in a locked glass display case beneath a spotlight, lacking only an angelic choir to call attention to and celebrate its existence.  This producer had no other extravagances that I knew of; just that one.  Sometimes you just gotta have what  you just gotta have.  And after all, doesn’t spending money—yes, even if it is a bit over the top—help the economy whether you’re buying clothes or a can of Spaghetti-O’s (which I also do)?  So about six years ago I took part of the royalty check that I earn through being co-author of a college text book on broadcast news writing, and I ordered those boots.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Critical Praise

They say that for an artist, there’s nothing more difficult than the task of getting respect in one’s own home town.  No less than the great Elvis Presley was so afraid of this phenom that he delayed for years the challenge of putting on a concert in Memphis.  So try to imagine my surprise and delight this weekend to see my home town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, review not one but two of my novels, and give both stellar reviews!  This was fabulous news, especially as it comes on the heels of some amazing reader comments as posted on for my latest novel, The Dark.

Let’s get right to it.  Messages, my first novel, is a thriller and crime story laced with strong humor that attempts to blow the doors of the TV news industry while also weaving a compelling reality-inspired tale.  Reviewer Mary Kim Dodson, writing in the Home + Life section of the Sunday paper, says,  “Dialogue in this book is amazingly clever, fast paced, sophisticated and at times extremely raunchy, but always thoroughly entertaining. . . .  Carr writes very compelling fiction.”

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Severe Fright

Because so many people have expressed interest, and have give me such an outpouring of heartfelt, warm feedback over the last few months, I’ve committed to keeping everyone fully abreast of my battle with metastatic cancer.  I had an episode today that I was not prepared for, and which has left me truly shaken.

As I’ve been telling you, there are three potential cancers in a race to do me in—one where my kidney used to be that’s also setting up shop behind my spleen, one in my sigmoid colon which somehow managed to spread there from the kidney, and then there’s the bladder itself which is likely to get a third recurrence of cancer eventually but which is clean at the moment.  Treatment for the colon cancer via radiation and chemo appears to have accomplished at least part of its mission in that my intestines are not blocked, although there’s no word on how long I can hope for that to remain the case.  Chemo and radiation on the other cancerous mass were deemed not successful.  Chemo and radiation are what gave me that massive sepsis in June, which damned near killed me, and they contributed to the deep vein thrombosis of my right leg that has left me challenged in getting around.  Because the doctors could not promise me that more chemo would not just leave me sicker and perhaps even take away time I might otherwise have coming to me, I made the decision to come off chemo and radiation and go with hospice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Out and About. . .

I want to tell you about this weekend's junket, but lest I be accused of “burying the lead”—an old and very common sin among journalists—let me give you the medical news right off the top, boom:  My bladder cancer remains in remission.  A cystoscopy procedure on Monday confirms that my bladder is cancer free, one year after the last surgery.

So what does this mean?  It means that of the three cancers that are competing to do me in, bladder cancer now is pretty much out of the race.  Given enough time, it would almost certainly recur, but it's not likely to grow to become a real threat again within the time frame I have left.  Bladder cancer is the most treatable of the three sites.  Since it did come back a year ago had to be removed for a second time at that time, I fully expected it to be back by now.  The fact that it’s not is welcome news indeed.  Under  the terms of my hospice care, which focuses on palliative treatment, not curative, it’s not clear whether my insurance company would have agreed to pick up the tab for a third bladder surgery even had one been needed.  Indeed, it’s not clear whether it’ll pay for my Monday’s doctor’s visit.   But bladder cancer is a very unpleasant business and it is good not to have that sword dangling over my head.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Out of the Blue. . .

Just when I’ve relaxed and settled into a boring home routine my friends manage to think of new ways to reach out to me and remind me that they’re still thinking of me.  Over the past few months I’ve received anything from cards and letters to a prayer shawl—and believe me, it’s nice to know that I’m on someone’s prayer list.  This week something entirely new arrived—a DVD containing video greetings from friends quite literally spanning the planet (one of my former colleagues at KGUN9 is living overseas now). 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Truth about TV News Employees

You probably think you know a great deal about TV reporters.  Really, you don’t. 

My statement may seem surprising and my claim hard to swallow given the fascination our society has for TV news people.  They’re the subject of much pop culture fascination.  But I speak as someone who is in a unique position to know what he’s talking about.  I spent my adult life in TV news, and spent half of that as a TV news director—hiring, firing, mentoring, coaching, and on a good day inspiring TV news reporters.  I’ve had a role in launching or boosting countless careers.  I know what I’m talking about when I say that you really don’t know these people.

Part of the problem, of course, is that pop culture views of TV news employees are filtered through the broken and distorted lens of, well, pop culture.  Like all stereotypes, the worst ones directed at TV news types contain more than a dollop of reality for flavor.  Yes, I’ve known a Ron Bergundy type or two in my life before.  Those are rare. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our Thirtieth

This public tribute to my bride is part of my 30th wedding anniversary gift to her.

Deborah and Forrest Carr have now been together as man and wife for 30 years.

It boggles the mind to hear the words.  30 years is a long time.  We’re now entering our fourth decade!  Most marriages do not get anywhere near that point.  Ours is strong.

Let’s be honest and admit that our current circumstances are not how either of us wanted to be spending our 30th wedding anniversary.  Both of us had a little bit more adventure in mind.  I had promised her I would take her to London at around this particular period of time.  Alas, my health issues now preclude that.  I have to face the reality that my stamina really doesn’t allow me to be on my feet for more than a few paces, after which my legs start hurting and a pain sets up in my back that can go from bad to intolerable within minutes.  In addition, the simplest tasks—including going up and down stairs—leave me winded like a marathon runner, at which point I have to sit down or run the risk of falling down.  And I have to face the reality that my last two hospitalizations came with no warning, the first of which nearly killed me.  I would hate to run into that kind of medical crisis while far away from home. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Musical Treasury of Whistling II

Let Hollis Fernbeck and the Whistling Mothers render those old hits for you in their inimitable style.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Forrest's Folly

Okay, it wasn’t exactly a bucket list item.  But I did something today that I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time.  It all has to do with my nostalgia for the early 60’s, and my love of my music as taught to me by my mother and her mother.

Here’s how it started.  During a rough patch in my mother’s marriage, she took my sister and me to live with her mother in Tupelo.   Grandmother had a console Motorola Stereo Hi-Fi.  This thing was humongous—measuring end to end at least as much your typical wide screen TV today.  The words “Stereophonic High Fidelity” were emblazed across the front.  Inside the dark wood interior lay the mysterious workings which, if arranged just right and operated just so, would allow one to play records.   I fell in love with Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (did I mention I was about four years old?)  You may have heard the signature hit from this album, the smash single El Paso.  The cover featured Marty wearing all black and sporting a pistol against a lurid red background. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Really Cool Shout-Out & Medical Update

John Schuster, Media Watch columnist for the Tucson Weekly, just gave me a really nice mention in the current edition of the paper.  John focused on the last two rounds of media appearances I’ve made, one on Jim Parisi’s Powertalk 1210 AM radio program and another on Guy Atchley’s popular Periscope account.  Here’s a link to the full article (scroll down to find my segment, which is about midway down). 

John was kind enough to point out that my novel, The Dark, is getting some good feedback and critical reviews, which is what the two media appearances partially focused on.  John also put in a nice plug for my blog, The Bashful Bloviator, writing, “In addition to the three books, available on numerous e-book platforms, Carr's blog is a must read for those who want a frank, pull-no-punches insight into the cancers that have ravaged his body, and how the treatments have, in many ways, been as debilitating as the unforgiving disease.  A lot of Carr's lighthearted radio parodies are available at bashfulbloviator as well. It's also where you can find the audio to his interview with Parisi and, indeed, information on where to find the three books already completed.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Musical Treasury of Mouth Trumpet II

More of your favorite tunes, done up in a truly unique style.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Acme Audible Fertilizer

Harness the power of lying politicians for a cheap and easy way to fertilize your crops.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Acme Car Alarm II

Let the power of annoying, lying politicians keep your car safe!

© 2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My First Periscope

Write this name down:  Periscope.  I think you’re going to be hearing it a lot in the days ahead.  Periscope is yet another addition to the social media landscape but this one lets you do something a bit different:  broadcast yourself live.  This means interviews.  It means reports from the scenes of events.  It means going live from the locations of spot news, just like TV reporters do.  All you need is an account, a smart phone, and a follower.

My friend Guy Atchley has embraced the new technology big time.  Even though the service was only announced a few weeks ago, he’s already signed up thousands of followers.  Mostly they tune in for various behind-the-scenes things he has going on at KGUN9—and judging from his schedule of broadcasts, his camera is almost always on. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Vomcom, Redux

Or maybe that should be “Vomcom Reflux.” Judging by the amount of movie product out there, Hollywood’s latest genre is doing fabulously well.

In case you haven’t noticed, Hollywood thinks you are obsessed with excretory functions, and that you find them to be the height of entertainment.  Whether you really do or not, movie producers certainly believe you do, and they fear you will eschew motion pictures that fail to depict them.  An entire sub-industry has sprung up to serve this perceived consumer need.

I first wrote about this new movie genre, the vomcom, a few months ago.  I noted at the time that the wife and I watch upwards of four movies every week, and that about six months earlier, we’d begun to notice that at least one item on the excretory checklist would get marked off every single week in at least one of the four movies we were watching.

Here is the list:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Powertalk 1210 Guest Appearance

Radio host Jim Parisi had me on Tucson's Powertalk 1210 this morning to talk about the rave reviews my  new novel, The Dark, is getting.  I also got the opportunity to discuss my medical challenges and future projects.   Thanks, Jim!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dark: Nightmare Maker?

When you’re a new author, especially an independent one, one thing you really want to be careful about is getting your hopes up.  Even great authors usually start slow and have a tough slog of it; some quite famous ones have impressive stacks of rejection slips from earlier in their careers. 

But even so, I have to admit that I’m starting to get excited about some of the feedback I’m receiving for my third novel, The Dark.  Never before have I received progress reports from readers who haven’t finished the book yet, but felt compelled to send me an email or post on my Facebook page to say that they’re really enjoying the novel and can’t put it down.  This is a new experience for me.

John Armand posted:  “So, Forrest, 70% in to your latest novel, The Dark, and ALL I can say is Holy Crap!!! You are scaring the bajeezus out of me!!!!! Tell me you've sold the screenplay rights!?!!??!?! So far it's the scariest novel I've read in decades!!!!!”

Friday, July 17, 2015

Radio Play: The Acme B.S. Alarm

The ACME B.S. ALarm.  Now, you'll never have to wonder again whether a shady statement might be B.S.!  Get yours today!  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Attack of the Cybercats VII

The Cybercat conspiracy continues

The latest round of cat photos I have processed from my archive adds new knowledge to what we’ve already learned.  The Cybercats—part feline, part machine—are seen here testing their mind control on other species.  However, those experiments failed, as you will see.  But the Cybercats’ dominance over my spouse continues to be complete.  Further, I have now grown concerned that my belief in my own ability to resist the mind control may be overstated.  It has occurred to me that I am personally responsible for having brought most of these creatures into the household.  Before, this seemed like my own choice.  But now, I am not so sure.

 The latest photos are below.  Let them serve as a warning to the world.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Welcome to Cancerland

Okay, if Disney were to make a theme park out of my life, I really wouldn’t want to call it Cancerland.  After all, Cancer has not defined my life and I don’t want it to.  But there would have to be at least a cancer ride.  For that I’m envisioning a Space Mountain kind of thing, a rocketing, rocking. rollicking thrillcoaster where you never know how long you’re going to remain on a straight and level course before getting knocked about again, all done in the dark.  That’s the ticket.

The word “cancer” does not do the disease any kind of justice.  At first glance, the label raises alarms and creates a vision of someone facing a dire medical challenge that could be fatal eventually.  There’s a simple progression and an easy-to-follow plot:  Cancer threatens vital organs.  Cancer may take those vital organs.  Fight ensues.   If the cancer wins, game over.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Old Southern White Boys

Is it time to finally retire the Confederate Battle Flag from official display on state property?  How this loyal southerner found an answer to that question (as the story appears in the Montgomery County Sentinel.)

continue reading>>

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Life Changes IX: The Road Ahead

Whenever I bring you an update on my medical story, I always try to be upbeat and to inject a sense of humor.  I’ll be honest and say that I’m having to reach to do so in this one, although I can share this:  The other night the wife and I broke out the Saran Wrap and had a grand old time.  No, it’s not what you think.  Before I can take a bath these days, I have to cover my PIC line—which is a form of IV—with waterproof material.  Saran Wrap actually is the recommended cover, and I can’t do it myself due to the positioning of the line in my arm.  Hence the Saran party.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Life Changes VIII: OK, That Was Uncalled For

And then just like that, I had a week and half ripped out of my life.

On Wednesday, June 10, I began what had become my daily routine normally enough.  I went to the Banner-University of Arizona Radiation Center for my daily dose of radiotherapy, then headed to the Arizona Cancer Center for what was supposed to be the last of my current round of chemo infusions.  On the way to the second stop, a pain flared in my belly.  At first it presented itself as a mild cramp, the kind you might get before needing to go the bathroom.  But a trip to the bathroom did not resolve it.  Within moments, the pain in my abdomen was more than I could bear.  I kissed off the infusion session and announced that I was going back to the Radiology Center to see if I needed a trip to the emergency room.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

“The Dark” Is Out!

In this furthest reach of space, not even God can hear you scream.

As regular readers of my blog and Facebook pages know, my latest novel, The Dark, is now available both in  print and for the Kindle.  I did things a bit differently this time.  Due to the press of time caused by my health issues, I elected not to wait for any reviews before proceeding with the print edition.  If you’ve been following my health advisories, then you know why I elected to publish both editions at once and not delay. 

As with its predecessor, when I started The Dark I had no idea I was ill.  Yet I was laboring under these very intense premonitions that my time could be running short.  I had done only six weeks’ work on the project when I got my cancer diagnosis.  So I can’t claim the choice of subject matter was directly related to my health although the premonitions may have influenced me.  Still, for the second scifi/horror novel in a row I found myself wrestling with issues of both theology and annihilation.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Life Changes Update VII

Yesterday’s dinnertime conversation—

The Bride:  “How was your day?”

Me:   “Woke up.  Ate breakfast.  Drove to radiation therapy.  Came home.  Slept.  Woke up nauseous.  Took pill.  Slept.  Woke up nauseous.  Took another pill.  Slept.  Then you came home.”

Such is my life on radiation and chemo.  I thought the chemo was probably responsible for the low, low, low energy levels.  But my radiation doctor says no, it’s probably her doing instead.  She says studies have shown that radiation zaps the energy and causes great fatigue, even more so than the type of chemo I’m receiving, and I’m getting blasted every weekday for not one but two internal masses.  They don’t know precisely why radiation has this life-energy draining effect.  But the nature of cancer is that your body can’t tell the good cells from the bad cells.  So it sees radiation as a form of attack and rallies bodily resources to defend against it.  I have another two weeks of this ahead of me.  Lord, help me.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life Changes Update VI

You know, I had expected to be blogging more than I actually have been doing.  I had a big burst of energy right after the Stage 4 diagnosis came in and added several passionately written items in fairly short order.  And I have a newspaper friend out east who’ll take anything I write that makes a decent point.  As the Walter White of bloggers, I expected to be even more vocal than before.  But my energy levels have been in the toitie since the chemo began.  I find that I have about enough in store to prod my existing book projects along, with not a lot left over for bloviation here.

Not that I don’t still get worked up.  The upcoming expiration of the Taliban Five travel ban is pissing me off, and would have rated several days worth of coverage on the radio program if my cancer had allowed me to hold on to it.  It’s not news, really—which the White House was quick to point out this week.  The Obama administration (if you can use that word to describe what this regime does) said one year ago that the Taliban’s five worst terrorists would be free to move about the planet one year after we got our man back.  At least they were honest about that, although they described Bowe Berdahl at the time as someone who had served with honor, which we knew at the time was not only an artless lie but an artless g-d lie.  But at least the process did set a value on the manpower for the various sides when it comes to this sort of thing:  The best men the Taliban have to offer are worth zero point two American deserters a pop.  (Excuse me, make that accused deserters).  Imagine how they’d stack up to real American soldiers—many of whom died to put them in cages to begin with?