Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hajj 2008

Still on an admittedly febrile cruise of the web, I found this site that offers continual live coverage of the Hajj, courtesy of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington. Estimates of the number of pilgrims range from 2.5 to 3 million faithful.

Edit: In what is a fairly creepy move, the Saudi Embassy checked out this humble blog within 10 minutes of this posting.
Aasalaamu Aleikum!
Ahlan wa-Sahlan!

photo credit

A la recherche

I enjoy haphazard travel in the blogosphere. With Blogger, it's as easy as a click -- look to the upper left and choose "Next Blog."

Should your faith in humanity flag a bit, doing so may well restore it. People are amazing: They have tiny babies, and little ones, upon whom they depend (despite the folklore that posits dependency as the child's role!); They make beautiful paper and Bento boxes; They make better flashlights and mousetraps; They explore rhythm and wine.

Anyway, it's the time of year wherein we desperately want to suspend our disbelief, and if you are a cat-crazy socialist... Well, you, especially, are in need... You, especially, may want to embolden and italicize your desperation.

And so, my first click took me to The Holmes Family Adventure and a world of celebration -- with not one, but *three* lovely Christmas trees in the house: the white tree, the gold tree, and the family tree. Don't miss the annual Hartford Festival of Light -- and definitely pause a moment to admire their Scotty and his various ensembles. They are clearly a family of faith, but I confess that I am starting to get the willies, so let's move on...


And voilà Gavroche, who begins her blog of visual appreciation with works by Jim Warren and has, most recently, wrenched a bestiary from the grips of medievalists (annoying folk who get their panties in a wad over something as ordinary as a lettre historiée!). Admittedly, I opened yet another browser window to welcome a wonderfully tangential blog, Chimaera, which somehow foisted itself into my blogroll. Strange how these serendipities serendip!
I had to forcefully reel myself in!

And... click!

Errrr. Okay, I love the collie and -- lacking the translation skills of La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore -- am perplexed by the rest of Treeniblogi ja vähän muutakin. But heck, the blogger is 19, from Helsinki, and loves The Lord of the Rings, both the movie and the books, so she hasn't had time to be all bad! She writes about orbits, barriers, and I am lost.
Again, love the dog -- whose name, I think, is Niki.


We're in Norway now, in Oslo -- visiting min skravleblogg! [Help, someone. Skravle = Jaw. My jaw blog?!] Aase enjoys knitting, crocheting, most handwork -- and also wants to share recipes. I confess that what most tickled my fancy was learning the Finnish for that abominable expression "LOL" -- *ler*! She has a Christmas tree widget that is counting down the days to what must be, for someone as "crafty" as she is, the most important day of the year. Her photos of Vinter i Oslo are charming -- there is a wonderful snowperson who looks a lot like Mrs. Butterworth.

I'm all aquiver as I prepare for my last coincidental click.

Ah, well. It is the price for playing an honest game. Ligeiramente Blasé. Diego, from Brazil, promises us a traumatic time as he details the quotidian, mixing his "no-good Portuguese with his Mexican," and planning to combine this doggerel prose with his propensity for... drama, for the "lightly blasé."

Good luck to you in your travels, Dear Reader! Click...
image credit: Chimaera, British Library, Harley MS 4751, Folio 6v

Friday, December 5, 2008

أنا انظر إلى الضحك لي في هذه المرآة الجميلة

Good evening from Marlinspike Hall, deep, deep in the Tête de Hergé. La Belle et Bonne Bianca is booming through her inevitable "je ris de me voir..." -- except that she is putting herself through some linguistic paces. Whenever I hear her relax into Italian, I am reminded how difficult it must be for her -- she is Italian, after all, even if a rabid francophile. We make no allowances and she is so incredibly fluent that it rarely occurs to me to -- "to" what? Recognize her exile? Sooth her marginalized soul? Please, this is no grand drama! She can wield whatever language she likes, whenever she likes, but she, like most of us, has this incredible fondness for having people respond to what comes out of her mouth.

En tout cas, it is sounding not unlike a papal Christmas greeting around here tonight. Around her, tonight.

I ridere a vedere me in questo bellissimo specchio!

Late last night, my Personal Physician, the Boutiqueur, e-mailed me the wonderful news that *nothing* grew in the cultures of the personal ambrosia that was the aspirate from my left shoulder. From the expansive comfort of my wheelchair, I have been Happy Dancing à la Snoopy ever since.

Actually, I just now got out of bed and while in bed was hurting too much to attempt dance of any sort. (I've been known to do a mean horizontal shimmy. Ar! If you knew the shimmy like I know the shimmy, you'd know I wouldn't be caught dead in mid-shimmy these days. I mean, really, I only have *one* shoulder at the moment and the other one is nothing but a troublemaker.)

Ik lach me te zien in deze mooie spiegel!

What is difficult to explain is my steady tendency to take less pain medication as I hurt more. It's actually not complicated and the logic is stellar, but I am receiving odd silences and regards askance in response. Dr. Paindude's PA, the Lovely Lass, added a fourth dose of 10 mg of methadone. I tried it for a week and know that it will be -- perhaps -- another week for it to leave my system. While there was less bone pain overall, there was not one iota of benefit to the specific pain that is sucking my sanity into its black hole. (Is this where women toss in the odd "LOL"?)

My preference is ibuprofen. It has the important advantage of also bringing down my temperature.

Я смеяться видеть меня в этом прекрасном зеркало!

[These things write themselves -- think Rita Skeeter with her Quick Quotes Quill -- still, the Cyrillic alphabet comes off as uppity when italicized, don't you think?]

Fred is trying to be happy about it. Neither of us think back to July, when this scenario was last in play. The Boutiqueur has conveyed the lack of results but the orthopedic surgeon, ShoulderMan, has yet to weigh in. I imagine forlorn tones as ShoulderMan calls the ID-Dudette, who has already told me that another surgery to remove the remaining shoulder "must happen."
There are times, and this is one, where I think my teetotalism is ill-advised, and is -- indeed -- contrary to good health.

أنا انظر إلى الضحك لي في هذه المرآة الجميلة

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hilary Lister

I confess that I rolled my eyes, and swore.

Jim Broatch is at it again, leaving salient little e-news report thingies in my already overstuffed inbox. There is, thank God, no stopping the man. He's always shamelessly trying to promote that rag -- the RSDSA Review.

Still, as I read the first few lines of his e-alert, I could not help but think how tiring it is to be exhorted continually by tales of Super People. This time? Some quadriplegic yachtswoman. First of all, she doesn't even have CRPS, she is a quad, that is something totally different! Second, I don't take well to language such as "yachtswoman." Such appellations make me want to cry "[H]ow piquant!" and dig out my jar of capers -- after replacing all my onions with shallots. (I haven't had breakfast, lunch, or brunch, yet -- although afternoon tea in the gazebo is looking providential.)

Iceberg lettuce is much maligned, you know, you friséed arugula freaks!

(Pssssssssssssssst! Nasturtium seed pods make a nice replacement if you can't put your manicured hands on that jar of capers.)

(Did I type my schizophrenia out loud?)

What... oh, yes! I remember. A quadriplegic. Who "yachts." And Jim Broatch.

I felt totally manipulated without even subjecting myself to a reading of the article. What? Me, sitting here in my wheelchair, in more pain than I care to express -- what am I? Is CRPS not a pitiable disease? Hasn't Jim heard that we're on the map now -- that our wee little brains are white instead of grey proper, and smaller than the brains of your average bear?

In other words, what am I, chopped liver? (One day, I will have to extol my readership with the tales of my many famous malapropisms... "What am I, chopped suey?" comes to mind... so wrong, on so many levels. And my well-known version of The Turtles lyric: "No matter how they toss the tights... it had to be...")

I almost feel sorry for little Miss Quadriplegic Yachtswoman, trapped as she is in her dry, humorless life of leisure, her private pinky-up. How would she like to be stuck in a wheelchair on dry land, in too much severe and constant pain to zip on down to the marina? I don't even get to float in the bathtub, for Christ's sake!

Okay, so it was kind of humiliating to have my eyes trip and fall near the end of the rich bitch's story -- "progressive neurological disease, reflex sympathetic dystrophy..." Oh. Ohhhhh! Major oops. How faux is my pas!

Still... yachtswoman?

Am I supposed to conclude that CRPS/RSD occurs in a demographic other than my own? Am I supposed to be shocked that the condition of quadriplegia even *happens* in CRPS patients?

Whatever. What I resent the most is the continual exhortation to be extraordinary. To stop whining "I caaannnn't! It huuuuurts tooooo muuuuccchhhhhh..."

Yeah, well, I'll show that sadist, that Jim c'mon-you-can-do-it Broatch. I'll publish a copy of Hilary Lister's show-off of a story. Geeez, can't a person be a person just by waking up in the morning?

[Shhh! Way to go, Hilary! I can imagine the frothy spray, the smell of sea salt, the blues, the greys, the many kinds of white, the clang and flap of the sails, and your beautiful happy face...)

Disabled sailor to attempt record

A yachtswoman is to make a second attempt to become the first quadriplegic woman to sail solo around Britain.

Hilary Lister, who is paralysed from the neck down, plans to embark on the journey next May using a "sip-and-puff" system of straws to control her yacht.

Her first attempt was abandoned in August because of technical problems and bad weather.

Mrs Lister, of Faversham, Kent, said she was "confident" she would succeed.

She spent six months preparing for the first record-breaking challenge, which was expected to take three to four months in her specially-adapted vessel, an Artemis 20 called Me Too.

It has been designed to be operated through three "straws".

One works the tiller and one the sails while another allows her to select five different functions to help control the craft.

Mrs Lister became the first quadriplegic sailor to sail solo across the English Channel in 2005 and two years later was the first quadriplegic woman to sail around the Isle of Wight.

Her round-Britain attempt started in Dover in June and ended in Cornwall two months later.

Mrs Lister, a biochemistry Oxford graduate, said: "I'm confident that with the experience gained this year, we will achieve my round-Britain dream in 2009.

"Despite terrible weather, this year we sailed the entire length of the South Coast, which is further than any female disabled sailor has achieved before."

'Light switched on'

She was wheelchair-bound at the age of 15 because of a progressive neurological disorder, reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Mrs Lister lost the use of her arms and hands in 1998, aged 27, but in late September 2003 she was taken sailing on a lake by a friend and fell in love with the sport.

She said: "Sailing came along when life didn't seem worth living any more.

"Within seconds of being on the water, a light switched back on inside me. I knew that I had found what I was going to do with the rest of my life."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unraveling Patience::Persistence Is On My Mind

W. S. Merwin (1927- )
For George Kirstein

Always the setting forth was the same,
Same sea, same dangers waiting for him
As though he had got nowhere but older.
Behind him on the receding shore

The identical reproaches and somewhere
Out before him, the unraveling patience

He was wedded to. There were the islands
Each with its woman and twining welcome
To be navigated, and one to call "home."
The knowledge of all that he betrayed
Grew till it was the same whether he stayed
Or went. Therefore he went. And what wonder
If sometimes he could not remember
Which was the one who wished on his departure
Perils that he could never sail through,
And which, improbable, remote, and true,
Was the one he kept sailing home to?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Cable Guy Strikes Again

Note to self: Write future post on the romantic notion that people with CRPS hang out in the garage, contemplating which gas-guzzling garden tool will best amputate the involved limb/s (leaf blower? string trimmer? pressure washer? maybe the SAW?). Better yet -- write that long-brewing post on the mythology of CRPS and suicide.

Baffling Chronic Pain Linked To Weird Rewiring Of Brain
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2008) — Scientists peered at the brains of people with a baffling chronic pain condition and discovered something surprising. Their brains looked like an inept cable guy had changed the hookups, rewiring the areas related to emotion, pain perception and the temperature of their skin. [....]

This 3-dimensional graphic shows the abnormal rewiring of the
brain's right hemisphere in patients with complex region pain
syndrome. The orange path shows the location of gray matter
atrophy and damaged wiring in the anterior cingulate; blue
shows damage in the insula; green in the medial prefrontal cortex.
(Credit for image to Northwestern Univ.)

An even better layperson's overview, which also provides a context for the "discovery" (cough) above, can be found here:

At the time of these studies, researchers noted that although nerve damage is identifiable in CRPS-II, no research had yet shown actual nerve involvement in CRPS-I. In 2005, a research team from the Albany Medical College, New York, performed a microscopic, intricate analysis of skin specimens from the two Israelis.*** The examination showed that all sites in the skin where nerve endings were present, including hair follicles, blood vessels, sweat glands, and epidermis, were markedly abnormal. Results of the study, headed by Frank L. Rice, PhD, and Phillip J. Albrecht, PhD, of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, were presented in the article, "Pathologic Alterations of Cutaneous Innervation and Vasculature in Affected Limbs from Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome," in the February 2006 issue of Pain, published by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

A team headed by Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, a teaching and research hospital, was pursuing similar research. Since small-fiber nerve endings transmit pain messages and control skin color and temperature, and because damage to those fibers is associated with other painful conditions, the team hypothesized that these fibers also could be involved in CRPS-I.

Learned control of brain activity leads to improved pain control. This figure shows increases in brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region involved with the perception of pain. Increased control of this region led to corresponding changes in pain.

The team studied 18 CRPS-I patients and seven control patients with similar chronic pain known to be caused by arthritis. Skin biopsies from affected and unaffected areas of the CRPS-I patients' bodies showed that the density of small-fiber nerve endings was reduced by 25 to 30 percent in affected areas compared with unaffected areas. The arthritis patients did not have comparable nerve loss, indicating that the damage was specific to CRPS-I, not chronic pain in general. "These results support the hypothesis that CRPS-I is specifically associated with post-traumatic focal MDNI [minimal distal nerve injury] affecting nociceptive small-fibers," Oaklander stated in the study, "Evidence of Focal Small-Fiber Axonal Degeneration in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome-I (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)," also published in Pain, February 2006. "This type of nerve injury will remain undetected in most clinical settings," she added.

***When I first read about this study performed on amputated limbs, I got the heebie-jeebies, and wrote (spewed?) the entry "Outsourcing."

A Happy Girl

I'm surrounded by some of my favored Sunday morning things.

It has taken a while to get over Tim Russert's absence from Meet the Press, but I am getting there. Politics may never again be so much fun. The show is not what it was, but that is only right, and it is still a nice weekend habit. I am respectful of Tom Brokaw, reflexively.

I taught Tom's daughter Sarah, so I am a close family friend. Okay, that's not true. But I *did* speak with the man on the phone once, on a Friday evening, about a grading/attendance issue that intersected, thematically, with a ski trip discussion. My reaction to that, unfortunately, was what most university profs might feel when put in the situation of having a "teacher's conference" with the parent of someone purporting to be an adult.

So he had the Dean of Undergraduate Affairs on speed dial! Who knew?

A flash of memory. (No -- not madeleine* calibre.) My first semester teaching -- and it seemed like one of my classes was made up of nothing but recidivists, among whom figured the son of a minor starlet. Okay, some people think of her as a major starlet, but these people are of the ilk to host Three's Company marathons. So... I lost quite a few students as the drop deadline came and went, and confess that I encouraged some of the more borderline to take advantage of it. The real power of advising on this issue comes into play when you want a borderline student to stick it out -- when you know, sneaky little you, that they will turn out okay.

Anyway, I believe he was a Junior at that point, possibly even a Senior -- in either year, he was in the position of *needing* to take, and do well in, my class. It was perhaps a week past the date he could have dropped, and it seemed to me that he had been considerably more obnoxious than usual. His teeth glowed whiter. His tan-from-a-can emitted an eerie orange halo. He thought winking a clever thing. I guess he could not help but be an anachronism, having grown up in LaLa Land, suckled on Artificial Everything.

I was returning their third major test, which he failed. As we got ready to go over it, he came up to me and asked if we might speak in the hall for a second. Most everyone was engrossed in double-checking my math, so I said, "Sure thing!" and out we went.

"Madame, I don't think you realize who I am."

I am not kidding you. He actually said that, standing there all orange and gleaming white, getting ready to lay a wink on me, The Undisputed, and Still Champion, Madame.

It was all downhill from there.

He finagled** a drop, and went on to soaring mediocrity.

I like the way Tom Brokaw says "terror." Unfortunately, we get to hear the word all too often.

Laura Bush is today's guest, and I have to wonder for the umpteenth time how such an intelligent, smart, well-spoken person ended up partnered with our relatively gauche and tongue-tied, intellectually-challenged President. She speaks eloquently about women's rights in Afghanistan and her passion is real, just witness the way facts, opinions, and details flow from her pretty red-lipped mouth.

Hmm, it sounds like I have a crush on the First Lady. Not true. I haven't had romantic feelings for another woman since I was 23.

Why look! The secret service just pulled into the drive! Okay, okay, I have no designs on the First Lady, and the President is a top secret brainiac for whom I have the utmost... {fit of coughing}

Bianca and Fred sleep in -- both make Saturday night noises about going to church and charge me with waking them in time, and both grunt "go-away-I'm-not-going" ("va-t-en, j'n'y vais pahhh...")when it comes down to leaving the bed's warmth on Sunday morning.

God, I love MadTv's Soprano skits! [Ted Turner took Laura Bush's place, cuing my exit and escape to the Comedy channel.]

Even the Stuart skits crack me up, but that sometimes worries me.

This coffee is perfect. We have developped an alarmingly bad habit, but cannot find a better way -- the three of us have differing opinions about correct strength and brewing technique, so there is never the cozy offer to fix one other a cup, and gone are the days of making a pot for everyone. When entertaining the public, we avoid coffee service, preferring instead to liquor up our visitors. (Don't fret! We keep them well away from the Old Masters and the Manor's "extensive decorative art collection of baroque furniture -- mostly cabinets, commodes, and French stools.")

*From Swann's Way (this is the Penguin trans. See the Moncrieff trans. at Project Gutenberg):
For many years, already, everything about Combray that was not the theater and drama of my bedtime had ceased to exist for me, when one day in winter, as I returned home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, suggested that, contrary to my habit, I have a little tea. I refused at first and then, I do not know why, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump cakes called petites madeleines that look as though they have been molded in the grooved valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, oppressed by the gloomy day and the prospect of another sad day to follow, I carried to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had let soften a bit of madeleine. But at the very instant when the mouthful of tea mixed with cake crumbs touched my palate, I quivered, attentive to the extraordinary thing that was happening inside me. A delicious pleasure had invaded me, isolated me, without my having any notion as to its cause. It had immediately rendered the vicissitudes of life unimportant to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory, acting in the same way that love acts, by filling me with a precious essence: or rather this essence was not merely inside me, it was me. I had ceased to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Where could it have come to me from—this powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected to the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it went infinitely far beyond it, could not be of the same nature. Where did it come from? What did it mean? How could I grasp it? I drink a second mouthful, in which I find nothing more than in the first, a third that gives me a little less than the second. It is time for me to stop, the virtue of the drink seems to be diminishing. Clearly, the truth I am seeking is not in the drink, but in me. The drink has awoken it in me, but does not know this truth, and can do no more than repeat indefinitely, with less and less force, this same testimony which I do not know how to interpret and which I want at least to be able to ask of it again and find again, intact, available to me, soon, for a decisive clarification. I put down the cup and turn to my mind. It is up to my mind to find the truth. But how? Such grave uncertainty, whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself; when it, the eeker, is also the obscure country where it must seek and where all its baggage will be nothing to it. Seek? Not only that: create. It is face-to-face with something that does not yet exist and that only it can accomplish, then bring into its light.

And I begin asking myself again what it could be, this unknown state which brought with it no logical proof, but only the evidence of its felicity, its reality, and in whose presence the other states of consciousness faded away. I want to try to make it reappear. I return in my thoughts to the moment when I took the first spoonful of tea. I find the same state again, without any new clarity. I ask my mind to make another effort, to bring back once more the sensation that is slipping away. And, so that nothing may interrupt the thrust with which it will try to grasp it again, I clear away every obstacle, every foreign idea, I protect my ears and my attention from the noises in the next room. But feeling my mind grow tired without succeeding, I now compel it to accept the very distraction I was denying it, to think of something else, to recover its strength before a supreme attempt. Then for a second time I create an empty space before it, I confront it again with the still recent taste of that first mouthful, and I feel something quiver in me, shift, try to rise, something that seems to have been unanchored at a great depth; I do not know what it is, but it comes up slowly; I feel the resistance and I hear the murmur of the distances traversed.

Undoubtedly what is palpitating thus, deep inside me, must be the image, the visual memory which is attached to this taste and is trying to follow it to me. But it is struggling too far away, too confusedly; I can just barely perceive the neutral glimmer in which the elusive eddying of stirred-up colors is blended; but I cannot distinguish the form, cannot ask it, as the one possible interpreter, to translate for me the evidence of its contemporary, its inseparable companion, the taste, ask it to tell me what particular circumstance is involved, what period of the past.

Will it reach the clear surface of my consciousness—this memory, this old moment which the attraction of an identical moment has come from so far to invite, to move, to raise up from the deepest part of me? I don’t know. Now I no longer feel anything, it has stopped, gone back down perhaps; who knows if it will ever rise up from its darkness again? Ten times I must begin again, lean down toward it. And each time, the laziness that deters us from every difficult task, every work of importance, has counseled me to leave it, to drink my tea and think only about my worries of today, my desires for tomorrow, upon which I may ruminate effortlessly.

And suddenly the memory appeared. That taste was the taste of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because that day I did not go out before it was time for Mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie would give me after dipping it in her infusion of tea or lime blossom. The sight of the little madeleine had not reminded me of anything before I tasted it; perhaps because I had often seen them since, without eating them, on the shelves of the pastry shops, and their image had therefore left those days of Combray and attached itself to others more recent; perhaps because of these recollections abandoned so long outside my memory, nothing survived, everything had come apart; the forms and the form, too, of the little shell made of cake, so fatly sensual within its severe and pious pleating—had been destroyed, or, still half asleep, had lost the force of expansion that would have allowed them to rejoin my consciousness. But, when nothing subsists of an old past, after the death of people, after the destruction of things, alone, frailer but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, smell and taste still remain for a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, upon the ruins of all the rest, bearing without giving way, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory.

And as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine dipped in lime- blossom tea that my aunt used to give me (though I did not yet know and had to put off to much later discovering why this memory made me so happy), immediately the old gray house on the street, where her bedroom was, came like a stage set to attach itself to the little wing opening onto the garden that had been built for my parents behind it (that truncated section which was all I had seen before then); and with the house the town, from morning to night and in all weathers, the Square, where they sent me before lunch, the streets where I went on errands, the paths we took if the weather was fine. And as in that game in which the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little pieces of paper until then undifferentiated which, the moment they are immersed in it, stretch and bend, take color and distinctive shape, turn into flowers, houses, human figures, firm and recognizable, so now all the flowers in our garden and in M. Swann’s park, and the water lilies on the Vivonne, and the good people of the village and their little dwellings and the church and all of Combray and its surroundings, all of this, acquiring form and solidity, emerged, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.

**Unsure of the spelling for "finagle," I ran across this in, of course, the phenomenon of Wikipedia. (I never apologize for my tangential ways; Most of my hard science acumen and winning Trivial Pursuit/cocktail party data bank has thus been acquired... and I know how jealous you all are of my hard science acumen.) ------->

Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives (also known as Finagle's corollary to Murphy's Law) is usually rendered:

Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment

One variant (known as O'Toole's Corollary of Finagle's Law) favored among hackers is a takeoff on the second law of thermodynamics (also known as entropy):

The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum.

The term "Finagle's Law" was first used by John W. Campbell, Jr., the influential editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later Analog). He used it frequently in his editorials for many years in the 1940s to 1960s but it never came into general usage the way Murphy's Law has.

Eventually the term "Finagle's law" was popularized by science fiction author Larry Niven in several stories depicting a frontier culture of asteroid miners; this "Belter" culture professed a religion and/or running joke involving the worship of the dread god Finagle and his mad prophet Murphy.

Hanlon's Razor (or Hanlon's Law) is a corollary of Finagle's law.[clarify] Hanlon's Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity," a variation on a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte.

I dug up Proust and put him properly bedside (don't touch that sentence.).

Oh! Oh! Dinocroc is on the SciFi channel! [ Costas Mandylor, Bruce Weitz, Charles Napier. (2004) Several townspeople step forward to save their community from the jaws of a prehistoric reptile. ] One and a half stars!

Oh! And later, a bunch of UFC stuff on Spike!

That makes for a happy bedbound girl!

Pakistan-India: Beyond Kashmir

You know, the day that Bush somehow decided that Pakistan was {*poof*} a partner in the "War on Terror," I blew generic diet cola out my nose.

Pakistan has long been mother's milk to terrorism, and the skirt behind which terrorists hide.

Of course there is a Pakistani connection to the Mumbai attacks!

(Since I am in a snit, the photo posted serves as a separate vent -- I will spare you the "thousand words" of socialist commentary. Just pair the image of the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai with all the photos of the burning Taj.)