Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like H. P. Lovecraft

caricature by Bruce Timm

Trying to catch up with some of my favorite bloggers, I decided to give one of Fresca's suggestions a try.


American literature's greatest bad writer...

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THE CRITICS CALLED H.P. LOVECRAFT (1890 - 1937) one of the worst writers of the twentieth century. But his cult of fans thought his weird tales made him one of the most compelling writers of all time. Born into an insane family, haunted by night terrors, Lovecraft led a double life...

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[A] pulp writer of passing fancy...

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The Lovecraftian style blends Dunsany with Burroughs...

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Why study H. P. Lovecraft? In the minds of some critics and scholars this question still evidently requires an answer, and will perhaps always require an answer so long as standard criticism maintains its inexplicable prejudice against the tale of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural. In the space I have I cannot hope to present a general defense of the weird tale; but I can at least suggest that Edmund Wilson's condemnation of Lovecraft's work as "bad taste and bad art" ("Tales of the Marvellous and the Ridiculous" [1945]) may, at the very least, have been a little myopic. Wilson wrote his offhand review forty-five years ago, and the vicissitudes of Lovecraft's recognition – his adulation in the science fiction and fantasy fan magazines of the forties; the stony silence of the fifties; Colin Wilson's vicious attack of Lovecraft as a neurotic in the sixties; and the systematic clearing away of misconceptions about the man and his work by his many supporters in the seventies and eighties – would make an interesting study in itself.

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Lovecraft... very skillfully crafted his works on the timeless horrors of the self facing the dark and unknown.
A variable writer...

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

{if you submit several writing samples to be analyzed, odds are that you will end up writing "like dan brown." i am not sure what that means. go on, give it a try -- you know you want to!}

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another Person of Interest

Any news about missing child Lindsey Baum's case seems important, but it is worth noting that the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office is downplaying this recent development reported by ABC News below, and reported on local King5 News, above:

Investigators Looking for Lindsey Baum
Search Man's House, Storage Unit

Inconsistencies Spur New Search, but Still No Suspects

Authorities have conducted two new searches related to the disappearance of Lindsey Baum, who was 10 years old when she vanished June 26, 2009, while walking home from a friend's house in McCleary, Wash.

Investigators with the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office and the FBI grew suspicious after they found inconsistencies in information provided a year ago by a 47-year-old man, whose name they will not release.

Some of the man's account failed to match other information the investigators had obtained independently, Grays Harbor Undersherriff Rick Scott told

"We found that what we were being told and what we now believed to be true were two different things," Scott said. "Those inconsistencies gave birth to some concerns that we needed to explore further."

The Sheriff's Office obtained search warrants and carried out searches on the man's residence and a shared storage unit Tuesday, seizing some items and speaking to the man at length.

Investigators planned to search his car this morning.

Scott downplayed the new search, emphasizing that this man was one of many persons of interest in the case and has not become a suspect.

"A lot of what we were concerned about has been somewhat explained," Scott said.

"We found nothing yesterday that clearly links him to Lindsey's disappearance.

"We've looked at over 4,000 leads so far," Scott said. "Even if it eliminates someone from further scrutiny, it's a step in the right direction."

Investigators will submit the items they seized from the man's residence and storage unit for forensic testing, but Scott said it may be some time before they learn anything.... [cont.]

June 26, 2010 marked the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 12-year-old Lindsey J. Baum from her hometown of McCleary, Washington -- and another birthday. To read all posts from this blog about Lindsey, click here.

If you have any information regarding Lindsey Baum, please call the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office at 866-915-8299 [Tip Hotline].

1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)
McCleary Police Department (Washington) 1-360-533-8765
Family Website: Lindsey Baum

"the present American poetic diction of brevity"

I enjoyed one of those moments, just a moment ago. I was browsing, looking for a short prose piece by my favorite poet, George Oppen. Thomas Devaney reproduced for his blog, creatively titled Thomas Devaney: Poet and Critic (very NPF Person & Poet Series), a newly discovered letter from Oppen to Buddhadev Bose, dated February 19, 1962, reproduced, annotated, and discussed here by Pat Clifford in the Jacket 36 2008 feature dedicated to Oppen's centenary.

What a boring and important world is the world of pain-staked attribution, and, in large part, that is what Oppen's letter to the Bengali author is about -- whose version of this formed the foundation for that, and whose translation of this is best in that application, and whose permission for all of it must be given and by whom received (and when?) -- such are publishing concerns.*

Rewriting exact translations, what Clifford calls transcreation, is tricky business.

In the middle of it all, you read this:

New Directions has agreed to print a collection of my work. I am very anxious to include the 'To Memory' as it appeared in San Francisco Review, and a poem derived from your 'Still Life' which is a still freer version. It contains only the line 'What are you, apple' as a direct quote from your work. Your form, since it has expressed it, is surely 'good' form: it is simply not mine. My alteration is not meant as an attempt to 'correct' your work, but only to assimilate it to the present American poetic diction of brevity: to make the experiment of the American voice and tone expressing these concepts which I believe no American could form for himself.

The prose piece I have been looking for is, largely, about a Frenchman who carefully drives his bike into a tree, carefully committing suicide. It is a war poem, and about family, and about burning, focussed intention, as well. It is a poem against forgetting.

But this letter fragment will do nicely.

*The inferred content of the letters from Oppen to Bose, 1961-1964:

Oppen wrote at least at least five letters to Bose. The first letters deal with publishing concerns: Oppen submitting poems for Bose’s Kavita, Bose seeking to have work included in the San Francisco Review. In another, Oppen requested permission to use Bose’s poems “To Memory” and “Still Life” in The Materials. Other letters concern a memorable visit by Bose’s daughter Damayanti Basu Singh to the Oppens’ apartment in New York.

Of course, as soon as I uploaded this piece, I found what I originally wanted tonight, which turns out to be Section 5 of Route. It tells of the dilemma faced by Alsatian men during World War II, when they faced the possibility of being drafted into the German army. Some went into hiding, living in holes, which came to be known as faire un trou, and some lived in those holes for years. The Germans took revenge by killing his parents, pimping his wife, stealing his children.
There was an escape from that dilemma, as, in a way, there always is. Pierre told me of a man who, receiving the notification that he was to report to the German army, called a celebration and farewell at this home. Nothing was said at that party that was not jovial. They drank and sang. At the proper time, the host got his bicycle and waved good-bye. The house stood at the top of a hill and, still waving and calling farewells, he rode with great energy and as fast as he could down the hill, and, at the bottom, drove into a tree.

It must be hard to do. Probably easier in an automobile. There is, in an automobile, a considerable time during which you cannot change your mind. Riding a bicycle, since in those woods it is impossible that the tree should be a redwood, it must be necessary to continue aiming at the tree right up to the moment of impact. Undoubtedly difficult to do. And, of course, the children had no father. Thereafter.

There have been maintes opportunities lately for me to embrace the PennSound Project. One of those is its author page for Oppen.

what better place to rest?

posted by brother-unit TW over at american idyll -- go visit the canyon, go stand by the river

route through
the Supai,
Boucher Trail

inner gorge
outside Agate Canyon

near Burro Spring

I remember the temple, this route I've travelled before,
I recall the bridge as I cross it again.
It seems the hills and rivers have been waiting,
The flowers and willows all are selfless now.
The field is sleek and vivid, thin mist shines,
On soft sand, the sunlight's color shows it's late.
All the traveller's sorrow fades away,
What better place to rest than this?

--Du Fu

Light Held Together By Moisture

posted by ruuscal over at american idyll

Credit & Copyright: Miloslav Druckmüller (Brno University of Technology), Martin Dietzel, Peter Aniol, Vojtech Rušin

Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured above, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the 2008August total solar eclipse from Mongolia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields. Bright looping prominences appear pink just above the Sun's limb.

The Sun,
with all those planets revolving around it
and dependent upon it,

can still ripen a bunch of grapes
as if it had nothing else
in the universe to do.*

Wine is sunlight, held together by water.*

*Galileo Galilei

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Short Shrift: Breakout at PTZ

It was fun while it lasted.

Well, that's not true, entirely.

It's fun as long as you protect yourself with some fluid-absorbent pad of an absurd persona.

I made the huge error of going as myself [profderien], and not taking la bonne et belle Bianca Castafiore along for the ride!

Unfortunately, The Castafiore is busy with rehersals for the upcoming operatic season. We've pitched in, as well, and are selling tickets to the 2010-11 repertory as part of the Marlinspike Hall ManorFest -- proud to be the only venue with tickets available before they flood the Tête de Hergé TicketTron on the first of August.

We chose not to make much noise about it, but there has been a huge infusion of energy into our Summer Comestibles Project, which forms the heart of ManorFest (excuse me for belaboring the obvious!).

A relish here, a chutney there, here a candle, there a bramble, ohhhhhhh! (To the liberalized tune of Alouette)

Of course, this means of making pocket change is hardly unique to our humble estate, as the Cistercian monks down the unpaved country road peddle all sorts of "benevolent" crap, er, crafts and products, from Benevolent Biscuits to Ink and Toner supplies. It's the height of collusion, but my Marlinspike Pickles owe a good bit of their Pucker Power to the Monastery Mustard Glorious Garlic Blend.

Anyway, between broken hips, infected shoulders, rehersals for Gounod's Faust, batches of cucumbers, and intensive Moat Upkeep (yes, the algae is back!)? There's no time for the stress of social networking over at Poke That Pus Plug, Perforate That Sinus, and Pop That Pointy Zit dot com! [I don't know if owner Chris Azzari still has the site up for sale, but back in 2007 he was ready to ditch it for a mere $10,000 starting bid. At the time, he said he received an offer of $22,000, as well as many partnership offers. Three years later, much more media savvy, I bet he's hoping for much more! I don't think it can still be called a website flip at this point -- it's more like a senior citizen tumbling pass. As I try to support the things that I enjoy in this world,I recently enriched Chris with a donation of Ten Whole Bucks... The "DONATE" button disappeared later that same day, prompting some of the warm, fuzzy feelings I have for Azzari's site at the present time.]

Honestly, personality disorders (in multiples) are breaking out at PTZ faster than any pimple ever could, and I finally came face-to-face with the fétide, puant, malodorant, croupissant, infect, et immonde underbelly of the zit-site beastie. Who knew that the Phone Sex Operator -- who sent me a video of a cat dissection on the occasion of Sam-I-Am's death -- would end up looking like the healthier end of the mental spectrum for the website?

Oops, I forgot: LOL, ROFLMAO, etc. You see, it is often suggested that emoticons might temper my speech for the better, with the usual reasoning that my interlocuteurs can't discern when there's a little smile playing upon my lush red lips -- or a merry crinkling of the tiny laugh lines that frame my shining hazel eyes!

Short of that, I could always claim to "love" the other pimple fetishists and admire their dastardly acumen at finding YouTube videos of weeping abscesses and bubbling boils -- not just in English, mind you, but in Japanese, U.S. Southern, and Belarusian, as well. The competition is fierce and the accolades steady -- how else to keep the supply of masturbatory material coming at a generous pace?

It's a sharp mind that can plomb the depths of the zit-ified and conduct searches not just for "abscesses," say, but for its misspelled and foreign variants, as well.

Absess! Abses! Abcess! Absceso! Abcès! And so on!
(Staying abreast of popular misspellings can be a challenge to the searching poppologist.  My most recent favorite? "Purlunet")

Ah, I am going to miss that rush of adrenaline that comes from scooping the cyst, exposing the repost, and being all witty about it, too. Not as easy as it sounds, my friend, not as easy as it sounds.

Unfortunately, I tend to think emoticons the refuge of the inarticulate, and my resultant reliance on words -- put in certain order and modified at will, mind you --made some of the pseudo-writerly members nervous to the point of requiring sedation.

PTZ is a site that attracts people much like myself, I think -- people in physical pain, disabled people, insomniacs, perhaps fighting an excess of invasive medical procedures in actual, real life, on actual, real bodies. We so want to understand life's various putrefactions.
(Ewww. No, we don't!)

We just think blood and guts are cool, in the same manner that little boys and men "like to blow stuff up."

Like any fetish site, it has more than its share of unstable people, so it's easy to spend too much time catering to the psychically funked instead of just having a good time. Trust me, I have met each and every Neurological Misfire, and been subjected to the folksy stylings of each and every Ingrown PTZ Heir.
Fetish site demographics, a hot new area of statistical study, reveal frustrated doctors, frustrated lawyers, people passing themselves off as all kind of things... but above all, passing on burgeoning needs for importance. The blog-writer becomes An Author -- the risk management specialist, An Incomparable Neurosurgeon -- the Obese Hausfrau, An Intrepid First-Responder.

Given my congenital weakness and my "condition" (Walterus Mittyitis) -- you would think I'd be in the thick of all that pretense. Well, of course I was! Yes, I passed myself off as A Retired French Professor. The truth? They can't handle the truth! Already subject to severe bouts of Clinical Unworthiness, how might these fragile psyches react to the presence of someone who is lodged in a place like Marlinspike Hall, nestled in the heart of such perfection as is found deep, deep in The Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs)? And if they knew I was a dear friend of Captain Haddock? Imagine the whirling dervish of jealousy!
I have given short shrift to the counter-balance of wonderfully normal people over at PTZ, so allow me to lengthen that shrift (more on shrift below * ). From owner and steward Emilbus to the charming but testy Cyst Face, there are dozens of fun, knowledgable, and decent folk from all walks of life, in all sorts of circumstances. Those two, for instance, are new fathers -- I imagine that the births of their sons put a zit-popping website into proper perspective. Innaffitoften enlivens the place with a pure love of fun; Twisted Cyster joyously keeps the home bot fly fires burning; Anna Nonymous and her brother-in-law Evil Felon have even gone so far as to star in and produce what will soon be video cult classics -- So no... PTZ is not overrun with delusional depressives!
Still, and even so, I cannot help but wish I'd never stopped to scope out the less wholesome side of things.

Folks get terminally ingrown and pustulently petulant for a reason -- I forgot that. Don't push, don't call anyone on it, don't do the Dr. Phil 8-minute cure. Fear of exposure can make the barely stable personality spin out of control, or at least melt into a mess of childish tantrums.
Stress is hell on the complexion.

La bonne et belle Bianca Castafiore has further opined that there's a hell of a lot of prescribed painkillers sliding down gullets and a real heft of untreated clinical depression among PTZ denizens. Fortunately, I know *nothing* about the snarky, contrarian behavior that can ensue, given those variables! I just have to take the fat diva's word for it.

The weirdest thing, and it shouldn't be a perpetual surprise to me, as I encounter this in most insular online communities, is the way too many people decide that every word uttered by profderien somehow has to do with them. The level of paranoia astounds, and like the sebaceous cyst invaded by green-pus-producing bacteria -- it's gonna blow!
Sobering. And, ultimately, off-putting to a degree that drives "people like me" away.

Excuse me for a moment. The Cabana Boy is outside on the drawbridge screaming about an infestation of Hair and Bubble algae [Bryopsis plumosa and Dictosphaeria cavernosa, respectively], and demanding emerald crabs and Mexican turbos to stave it off, "or I am outta here!" (He's cute, the way he stomps his little feet!)
I need to go talk water parameters with him, and to do it before he forms a blood blister that no self-respecting zitmeister would deign to pierce.
You see, we maintain a high nutrient content in Our Moat, a necessity because of the Koi, as well as the Lagoon Sharks that we shelter in the winter for @Yoclutso, Beloved Twitter Twin, when she is busy with her castle and the Ark is out of commission. What do you do when your moat is overrich in phosphates, silicates, and nitrate? A flat out better sort of person, @Yoclutso sometimes mentors The Cabana Boy, whereas I state clearly to his vapid little face that he is a blatantly inefficient skimmer!
Maybe a few mangrove plants will suck up enough phosphorus that we won't need to go the macroalgae route (sort of the Activia Challenge for Moats)...
Ah, well, as far as PTZ goes, I am, of course, responsible for all of my actions, and many of them were clearly wrong.
I will mea my culpa, but I will not mea my maxima, ultima culpa. I mean, be real! I have a freaking estate to run!

I will examine my behavior... I always do. Any improvements, though, made on the current Model of Moi shall remain unheralded by the Occasional Crazies and Purported Popologists over at PTZ. I'll just have to waste my stunning renovations on you, Gentle Readers, and the lovelies of The Manor!

So, good luck, Emilbus. Many happy poppin' returns!

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* My regular readers know my love of word/expression origins. Today, let's visit The Mavens' Word of the Day, where Maven Georgia just happens to be addressing the saying short shrift:

Do you remember the scene in Romeo and Juliet where Romeo says to the Nurse: "Bid her devise / Some means to come to shrift this afternoon; / And there she shall at Friar Laurence' cell / Be shrived and married."?

The English words shrift and shrive derive from an Old English verb scrifan which comes in turn from Latin scribere 'to write'. The Old English word had several meanings: 'to decree a person's lot', to 'pass sentence', and, in the ecclesiastical sense, 'to hear confession and then impose penance and grant absolution'. When Juliet goes to shrift, she is going to confession, and when she is shrived (or Modern English shriven), she has been given penance and granted absolution.

The original sense of shrive seems to have been that of 'writing or prescribing a penalty'. It never meant simply 'to write' in English, but German schreiben and Dutch schrijven, both meaning 'to write', come from the same Proto-Germanic root. The Scandinavian languages also have the 'penance' sense, which does not exist in the West Germanic languages.

Scrifan first appeared in English around 776, and scrift around 900. Both, in assorted spellings, were in common use for centuries. The meanings got a bit tangled up so that shrift at various times meant 'penance', 'absolution', and 'confession'. Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is the day when people are "shriven"--they go to confession and receive absolution before making merry on the last day before Lent begins. The three days before Ash Wednesday are sometimes known as "Shrovetide."

The earliest citation for the expression short shrift in the OED is from Shakespeare's Richard III: "Make a short Shrift, he longs to see your Head." The man being addressed is Lord Hastings, whom Richard has just condemned to death with the sentence to be carried out immediately. Time is short--and Hastings' shrift must be similarly brief. This is apparently the original meaning of the phrase: a criminal condemned to death was given only a brief time to make his confession before being executed. He was given short shrift.

There seems to be unanimous agreement among scholars on this derivation, but I wasn't able to find any solid evidence, and there are no citations. One source tantalizingly said the phrase appeared "late in the fourteenth century" but didn't give a citation. There is also a great gap in citations between Shakespeare and the first quarter of the nineteenth century when Sir Walter Scott used the phrase in several of his novels and popularized it. Did he pick it up from Shakespeare? In A Legend of Montrose (1819), a man asks what a traitor deserves, and someone replies "A high gallows and a short shrift." Joseph Conrad wrote in Arrow of Gold (1919) of "a man condemned to a short shrift by his doctor."

To give something or someone "short shrift" now means 'to give little consideration'. This sense developed late in the nineteenth century. Here is an 1887 quotation from the Times of London: "Every argument...tells with still greater force against the present measure, and it is to be hoped that the House of Commons will give it short shrift to-night."

A Web search produced thousands of current examples: A recent article in the Economist contains the sentence: "Jordan's foreign minister...predictably got short shrift from Mr. Sharon" (April 2001). And Newsweek noted that "...[risk is] often given short shrift when investors peer into the future in an area like technology" (April 2001).

All of this sounds quite benign when we think of the phrase's origin.

The Impaired and/or Incompetent Colleague

Out today, in JAMA, study results that one editorialist says "constitute a frontal assault on a basic premise of medical professionalism." The issue is the self-policing function that is allowed the medical profession, and the degree to which this function is ignored.

Physicians' Perceptions, Preparedness for Reporting, and Experiences Related to Impaired and Incompetent Colleagues

Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH; Sowmya R. Rao, PhD; John A. Fromson, MD; Robert J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD; Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc; Christine Vogeli, PhD; Eric G. Campbell, PhD

JAMA. 2010;304(2):187-193. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.921

Context Peer monitoring and reporting are the primary mechanisms for identifying physicians who are impaired or otherwise incompetent to practice, but data suggest that the rate of such reporting is lower than it should be.

Objective To understand physicians' beliefs, preparedness, and actual experiences related to colleagues who are impaired or incompetent to practice medicine.

Design, Setting, and Participants Nationally representative survey of 2938 eligible physicians practicing in the United States in 2009 in anesthesiology, cardiology, family practice, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Overall, 1891 physicians (64.4%) responded.

Main Outcome Measures Beliefs about and preparedness for reporting and experiences with colleagues who practice medicine while impaired or who are incompetent in their medical practice.

Results Sixty-four percent (n = 1120) of surveyed physicians agreed with the professional commitment to report physicians who are significantly impaired or otherwise incompetent to practice. Nonetheless, only 69% (n = 1208) of physicians reported being prepared to effectively deal with impaired colleagues in their medical practice, and 64% (n = 1126) reported being so prepared to deal with incompetent colleagues. Seventeen percent (n = 309) of physicians had direct personal knowledge of a physician colleague who was incompetent to practice medicine in their hospital, group, or practice. Of those with this knowledge, 67% (n = 204) reported this colleague to the relevant authority. Underrepresented minorities and graduates of non-US medical schools were less likely than their counterparts to report, and physicians working in hospitals or medical schools were most likely to report. The most frequently cited reason for taking no action was the belief that someone else was taking care of the problem (19% [n = 58]), followed by the belief that nothing would happen as a result of the report (15% [n = 46]) and fear of retribution (12% [n = 36]).

Conclusion Overall, physicians support the professional commitment to report all instances of impaired or incompetent colleagues in their medical practice to a relevant authority; however, when faced with these situations, many do not report.

Author Affiliations: Mongan Institute for Health Policy (Drs DesRoches, Rao, Iezzoni, Vogeli, and Campbell); Biostatistics Center (Dr Rao); and Department of Psychiatry (Drs Fromson and Birnbaum), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

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A slightly more fleshed-out summation of the JAMA article, from PhysOrg:
"Many states have mandatory reporting statutes, requiring physicians and other health care professionals to report to appropriate authorities those physicians whose ability to practice medicine is impaired by alcohol or drug use or by physical or mental illness," the authors write. But data suggest that the rate of reporting by physicians is far lower than it should be, given the estimated numbers of physicians who become impaired or who are otherwise incompetent to practice at some point in their careers, according to background information in the article.

Catherine M. DesRoches, Dr.P.H., of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues conducted a study to assess physicians' beliefs, preparedness, and actual experiences related to colleagues who are impaired or incompetent to practice medicine. Data for the study was derived from a nationally representative survey of 2,938 eligible physicians practicing in the United States in 2009 in anesthesiology, cardiology, family practice, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Overall, 1,891 physicians (64.4 percent) responded. Physicians were questioned regarding their beliefs about and preparedness for reporting and experiences with colleagues who practice medicine while impaired or who are incompetent in their medical practice.

Among the findings of the survey, 64 percent (n = 1,120) of surveyed physicians agreed with the professional commitment to report physicians who are significantly impaired or otherwise incompetent to practice; overall, 69 percent (n = 1,208) of physicians said they were very or somewhat prepared to deal with impaired colleagues; 64 percent (n = 1,126) of physicians overall reported being prepared to deal with colleagues who were incompetent in their medical practice, and preparedness varied by specialty and professional age. Seventeen percent (n = 309) of physicians reported having direct personal knowledge of an impaired or incompetent physician colleague in their hospital, group, or practice in the last 3 years, and 67 percent of these physicians (n = 204) reported that individual to a hospital, clinic, professional society, or other relevant authority.

According to the researchers, underrepresented minority physicians were significantly less likely than other physicians to report, as were international medical graduates compared with graduates of U.S. medical schools. Physicians working in hospitals or medical schools were more likely to report than physicians working in small practices. The most frequently cited reasons for not reporting an impaired or incompetent colleague included the belief that someone else was taking care of the problem; the belief that nothing would happen as a result of the report; fear of retribution; the belief that reporting was not their responsibility; or that the physician would be excessively punished.

"These national data regarding physicians' beliefs, preparedness, and actual experiences related to impaired and incompetent colleagues raise important questions about the ability of medicine to self-regulate. More than one-third of physicians do not completely support the fundamental belief that physicians should report colleagues who are impaired or incompetent in their medical practice. This finding is troubling, because peer monitoring and reporting are the prime mechanisms for identifying physicians whose knowledge, skills, or attitudes are compromised," the authors write.

The researchers offer several suggestions for improving physician reporting systems, including making external regulation stronger; designing and maintaining reporting systems to protect the confidentiality of the reporting physicians; and to provide physician reporters with confidential feedback about the outcomes of any actions taken based on the report to address the concern that nothing will happen as a result of the report.

"All health care professionals, from administrative leaders to those providing clinical care, must understand the urgency of preventing impaired or incompetent colleagues from injuring patients and the need to help these physicians confront and resolve their problems. The system of reporting must facilitate, rather than impede, this process. Reliance on the current process results in patients being exposed to unacceptable levels of risk and impaired and incompetent physicians possibly not receiving the help they need," the authors conclude.

I will keep my eye open for discussions of the study in the medical blogosphere.

Walking: Brother Wind Returns

nomads sauntering into Turquoise Canyon

Lazing about, trying to remember, as well as invent, the rules for living with a fractured hip, I discovered that ruuscal, associate of Brother-Unit TW, and co-contributor/dirigeant to American Idyll, often the blog of my short dreams, thanks to their haunting meld of image, text, and sound...

I discover that russcal, he has posted an entry on walking, the son of a gun.

Wow, I am getting good at approximating bitterness, eh?

It turns out that handy-dandy Fred recalls every "hip precaution" in the Conservative Approach to Periprosthetic Femoral Bust-Ups Manual. Me? If I do something and it hurts beaucoup or makes a sound like metal torquing on metal, I try not to repeat that motion.

You can shout, even whisper, seductively, hip precaution rules at me all the live-long day and I won't remember to follow them. My learning curves are notoriously stubborn; I am stuck in Lacan's stade du miroir.

Really! See his Le stade du miroir. Théorie d'un moment structurant et génétique de la constitution de la réalité, conçu en relation avec l'expérience et la doctrine psychanalytique, Communication au 14e Congrès psychanalytique international, Marienbad, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1937.

I'm just kidding.

However, the fact that I had recourse to Lacan, and to that stade, formateur de la fonction sujet? That means I am angry from piled-on frustrations, and hiding behind declarations of powerlessness. I never did get Lacan!

I am unable to walk, and by walk I mean the expansive exercise of going from, say, bed to bath.
I am unable to stand, at least as of this moment. (Because this must change, it will change: being sweetly scrubbed to a glowing pink, or even remotely toileted by Fred, la bonne et belle Bianca Castafiore, or any other denizen of The Manor will mark my perfect day for bananafish.)

I had forgotten how painful a busted hip can be, so much so that mere mention of the idiotic pain scale makes my upper lip assume sneer posture. Fred says that when my upper lip sneer combines with my much preferred toothy grins, it's a scary proposition.

You've long ago figured out what I need to relearn daily: It's not about me.
The Good Lord didn't intend for me to take this crap seriously!

On a good day, I remember that before hitting the bottom of my first mug of coffee.

On a bad day, friend, foe, family, or feline has to politely smack me upside the head before that old lightbulb stutters on, and remind me that I long ago left the 6 - 18 month age group behind.

Still, don't mistake my daily enlightenment for willingness to submit to "there-are-people-a-lot-worse-off" or "God-will-not-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle." No, those remain retarded statements, no matter their truth value. Such statements might be backed by the virtue of all the saints, but you don't want to inflict them on someone in the grip of endless, severe pain.

No... You will want to wait a bit, wait for the grip to loosen, for the jets to cool, then smack the Loser in Your Life with all the truisms you have on hand.

I simply need to remember, and to readjust, and then, to hush. It needs to be done quickly, before lack of sleep, loss of x, y, or z, before the firm establishment of a pout, and the deep, deep blues.

Maybe ruuscal has something for me, then? Maybe the impulse of this sister to need a brother has intuitively led to the saving grace of the ant's forefoot* , and to a brother's friend.

Maybe it is always about paying attention, being aware, praying centering prayers.

He's presenting Thoreau, of course, Thoreau's Walking. From our very recent beginnings, TW and I have honored text and image, literal and visual, ut pictura poesis, and almost always through the beauty of the canyon, by the wild, old river.

slanting light on an esplanade afternoon

globe mallow and sandstone

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil--to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.

I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that.

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks--who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.

It is true, we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return--prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again--if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man--then you are ready for a walk.
--Henry David Thoreau (from "Walking")

Brother Wind - Tim O'Brien with Darrell Scott
Made up my mind to go
Some place so far away, I headed west
Without a sad goodbye
No hugs or tears that way, it's probably for the best
Sent cards along the way
Said I was looking for a brand new life
I never settled down
My wanderlust would always cut the ties like a knife
Sometimes the lonesome wind
Calls out just like it knows me
And on a night like this
When I don't know where to go, he shows me the way

He knows me, my brother wind
He's lonely too and he takes me away

I always looked ahead
I was so afraid that I'd be caught behind
Followed a crooked stream
To places I'd never seen and one more highway sign
Just like some other guys
I count the hours 'til the day will end
But it's not so I can rest
For me it's the time that's best for talking to my friend

Cause he knows me, my brother wind
He's lonely too and he takes me away

Now half my life is gone
The only home I have is open road
My skin is cracked and brown
A mirror to the dessert ground and the dusty wind that blows
I never made a mark
Just scattered footsteps on the shifting sand
Whatever pushes me
It's something only he can understand

He knows me, my brother wind
He's lonely too and he takes me away

*** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** ***
*So does the poetry of attention indite salvation, restoration, and peace. Pound sees the lizard in its wild enormity stalking prey along a grass-blade. The world is at work, dramatic and wide. Nature is not arrested. All's well. And this wellness seen up close goes far, all the way to Pound's beloved London where the river, gulls, and garden also go on. His faith restored by sight, Pound continues to see, and the elegant drama of lizard and green fly unfolds along his rain ditch. The pleasures of peace and the gifts of civilization and society are given freely to the open eye by the undetained light of a sunset, the new Pound's (his poem has made him new) "grand couturier." Everywhere in The Pisan Cantos, Pound the hysterical aesthete is calmed and renovated by intimates of his eye, as here, in "Canto LXXXIII:"

mint springs up again
in spite of Jones' rodents
as had the clover by the gorilla cage
with a four-leaf

When the mind swings by a grass-blade
an ant's forefoot shall save you
the clover leaf smells and tastes as its flower

In the poetry of attention, the poet comes to his senses. He is saved along the way. Proud mind, which loves to impose itself between appearance and reality (such imposition lies at the core of all bad poems), "swings by a grass-blade" until fact, in the shape of "an ant's forefoot," strides to the rescue. Fact is, faith is, appearance and reality remain tenderly intimate at the origin of poems. Pound knows, having come to his senses: "the clover leaf smells and tastes as its flower." In the attentive occasion that is truth in poetry, what you see is what you get. O taste and see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Best Alibi

I am abed.

Which is a great deal better than "I am a bed," of course, of course.
(As the bad poet in me cries out, "a horse! a horse!" *)

Yes, I am high on ibuprofen.

While abed, I am watching hour after hour of Law & Order. I hope to snag a passerby who can hand me the remote so as to rectify the situation, but in the interim, in this very mean, mean time? It is Law & Order or nothing.

Okay, Detective Lennie Briscoe is questioning a suspect, trying to establish where he was at the time of a murder. It's a cold case; The murder happened way back in 1981**. Even so, the guy barely bats an eye before coming up with this, my new favorite alibi:

I was buying a recliner with my ex-wife.

Okay, maybe you had to be there. Or here.

I like it, and am filing it away for possible use the next time I am being beat with a wet noodle under a swinging, bare lightbulb. Go ahead and laugh. You won't be laughing when you get tossed in the clink, the penitentiary, the pen, the pokey, jail, slammer, clink -- all for lack of a decent alibi! In anticipation of my eventual arrest, I am also reading How Police Interrogation Works, which is chock full of helpful suggestions, insider tips, and even friendly decorating advice.

The physical layout of an interrogation room is designed to maximize a suspect's discomfort and sense of powerlessness from the moment he steps inside. The classic interrogation manual "Criminal Interrogation and Confessions" recommends a small, soundproof room with only three chairs (two for detectives, one for the suspect) and a desk, with nothing on the walls. This creates a sense of exposure, unfamiliarity and isolation, heightening the suspect's "get me out of here" sensation throughout the interrogation.

I think -- and Martha Stewart, with her wealth of life experience, backs me up --
that every home should be outfitted with a chic little interrogation room of its own. Think of the possibilities! Perfect for interviewing lying teenagers, or even the odd stray tween! Ideal for the in-laws or other unwanted guests! The only place to be for wine and cheese with a wayward spouse...

* A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this: "I'm Mister Ed."

**This episode, Amends [2000], was "ripped from the headlines," being a legible reference to the Martha Moxley murder, the Michael Skakel case. Skakel was recently denied a new trial, which one hopes is the final insult to Ms. Moxley. In this television version, the victim is Mary Beth Mosely and the defendant, Michael Sarno.

Happy Bastille Day!

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé ! (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes !

Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! Marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !
Amour sacré de la patrie,

Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs !
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis)
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents !
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !

Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! Marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !
Nous entrerons dans la carrière

Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus ;
Nous y trouverons leur poussière
Et la trace de leurs vertus. (bis)
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre !

Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! Marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

Is that right? Well, "fête" this, mon ami!

There's nothing like a little Placido Domingo to set the mood. OomPaPa, OomPaPa.

I've been somewhat lost these past few days. Part of the problem has been being overmedicated -- but that is now resolved.

I always wish for a stunning story to tell, something that'd knock your pretty little socks off. Unfortunately, my realities are about as dull as can be. OomPaPa, OomPaPa.

I increased my "base" dose of methadone -- and still was taking less than my pain management dude wants -- because I fractured my right hip.


Well, my legs were hurting awfully, and the circumference of the right one was at an all time high, so I decided to elevate it on a few pillows.

That's it.
That's the whole story. OomPaPa, OomPaPa.
While lying in bed, with my right leg elevated, I fractured my right hip.

It's called a periprosthetic femoral fracture and I didn't know it was even a possibility -- to further fracture the femur *after* a hip replacement. As my bones and joints have steadily gone to shit, my bionic right hip was the star of the show -- it rarely hurt, it was rock steady, it was my one reliable major joint.

But the prosthesis must have been loose, right on the cusp of causing problems, for the humongous stress of elevating the leg to have cracked that bone.

The ortho explained that there were lots of predisposing and complicating factors in play -- osteolysis, osteoporosis, avascular necrosis, CRPS, and... osteomyelitis. Basically, the body kicks bone resorption into high gear in an attempt to get rid of the particles caused by wear-and-tear. My THR was back in September 2001. In fact, I went home via ambulance on September 11, 2001.

That was truly a strange morning. At the time, I lived in a major urban area served by one of the largest airports in the world -- yet the sky, framed by the boxy window at the rear of the ambulance, was a pristine, uninterrupted blue. You don't realize how accustomed you are to the sight and sound of airplanes until there is no air traffic.

Anyway, 9 years does not seem long enough time to wear out-- OomPaPa, OomPaPa -- titanium.

So I hurt quite a bit, and in response, raised my dose of methadone to within 10 milligrams of the prescribed amount! It's a strange drug, in that it could be considered a timed-release medication due to its very long half life -- 15 to 60 hours, in rare cases up to 190 hours.

In other words, it can sneak up on you. Oom... Pa... Pa... Oom... Pa... Pa...

I have a healthy fear of it, but even so fell prey to overmedication. After two days of returning to my pittance approach to pain management, my mind is clear and I have stopped drooling.

It was the wrong response, anyway. The best drug in my world for bone pain? Ibuprofen. [Actually, Toradol [ketorolac], but I can only get that in the hospital, and then for only three days at a time. As if my stomach lining could get any worse!]

So... much less methadone, much more ibuprofen, and the usual amount of break-through Percocet. Oom! Pa! Pa! OomPaPa!

If you follow this odd blog, you know that I'm without insurance, having been priced out of my coverage by BCBS of Tête de Hergé. They helpfully hiked my monthly premium to an unmanageable $1513, with another $5000 in deductibles. I am in the process of applying for coverage available thanks to the new health care laws -- as one of the few changes implemented *now* is access to coverage for people like myself: The Uninsurable. It is not great coverage; It is not perfect coverage; But it is coverage!

I feel like abusing semi-colons. (You may want to get out of the way.)

There are a few hoops through which I must jump, and there is the surprising issue of emotional upheaval causing mental and physical stasis. As in -- I am depressed, and stuck. I mean stuck in the technical sense of the word, of course.

I am afraid.

The infection in my bones began, it is theorized, thanks to one of the many orthopedic surgeries I've had to undergo because of rampant avascular necrosis, helped along by my suppressed immune status. Orthopedic hardware served as a petri dish. Despite the presence of evident abscesses, despite pus accumulating to such an extent that the head of my left humerus literally burst when the shoulder prosthesis was removed... the offending organism(s) will not grow in lab cultures. I had bilateral replacements, then several antibiotic-laced spacers on each side, then new TSRs -- even though we knew that infection remained -- despite course after course of intravenous antibiotics that should have killed any microbe within a square mile of moi. My infectious disease doctor almost begged me to fire him, saying -- and it was a real confidence-boosting moment: "I don't have a clue what to do next."

ew-w-w-w-oom pa pa, oom pa pa-a-a-ahhh...

The latest plan is to leave me without shoulders. No prosthesis, no spacers. No hardware, period.

I suspect, without any proof whatsoever, that whatever morphing of bugs has gone on is due to the nefarious influence of CRPS. It's the standard move when we don't know what's going on -- blame CRPS, because no one anywhere can figure that stupid disease out. Got a wart? CRPS! Is that a freaking stye in your eye? CRPS!

Given the reluctance of any sane orthopedic surgeon to operate on a limb with CRPS, my orthopod is a real hero. In total, he has performed seven major surgeries on my shoulders. Yes, my CRPS "spread" to take in both arms, fully -- but I am not convinced it was due to the surgeries. Pre-op regional blocks were done each time, and, true to form, I never kept either arm immobilized (as instructed!). For the longest time, I did not even care about upper body involvement. Now, as my hands become testy -- clumsy and burning -- now I pay attention.

En tout cas. So when OrthoMan came up with the plan to totally disable my upper body be eliminating these pesky shoulders? It wasn't a cop out. It was him saying what had to be said.

oomph pah-pah oooooomphh pahhh-pahhh.

Add to this picture a newly fractured hip, and for total complication, make it a periprosthetic fracture in a person with advanced CRPS, AVN, and an unresolved osteomyelitis, and you've the punchline to a bad joke!

When I sat down to write this morning, honoring my ongoing attempt to do so everyday, whether anything worthy is produced or not, I had the fête nationale française in mind as a topic.

Also percolating around up there in the grey matter were some words of wisdom about getting along with others, and a killer tricolore pasta salad recipe. Other people surely don't have to contend with so much crap when they try to write a sentence.

Fear won out, obviously.

How long can I continue with daily fever spikes, pain that gets worse instead of better, clothes and skin drenched in sticky salty sweat? I have been given an answer, you know. This is it: "Until you can't." And then, in response to my smartass query as to how I would recognize that state of "I cannot go on", came this equally smartass pronouncement: "You will know."

It's like my doctors have decided to become annoying incarnations of Yoda.

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Grave danger you are in. Impatient you are.

Do or do not... there is no try.

OomPaPa, OomPaPa.

Maybe it is not fear I am feeling. Maybe it is grief. Each episode, long or short, now leaves me in more pain, and more disabled. And my level of pain and disability now actively impacts how the doctors come to various decisions.

As in, it is okay to leave her without shoulders, with one fractured hip, and one collapsed hip, because she is already in a wheelchair and already has limited function of her limbs.

I'm sorry, but last year's celebration of the Jour de la Bastille will just have to be recycled. It's not as if the words to the Marseillaise have changed in the intervening 365 days; It's not as if freedom is on the march.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner

I love a good parody, and they're hard to find. When I heard that Steinbrenner had died, I remembered this piece from The Cubs Brickyard, published back in April 2008.

“Eccentric” Owner George Steinbrenner Leaving Yankees to Become Crazy Old F*ck

(New York, NY) – Change is in the New York air after another abrupt Yankee exit from the playoffs. Was it Joe Torre’s last as manager of the Yankees? Will Alex Rodriguez opt out of his contract and become a free agent? Such changes will have to wait, because perhaps the biggest change possible has already happened: George Steinbrenner will no longer be running the team.

Steinbrenner, who will continue to serve in a nominal role, has owned the team for decades, and has run the team with what some have euphemistically dubbed a pleasant eccentricty. Whether it was publicly threatening to trade players or fire managers, or requiring players to honor rigorous grooming standards, Steinbrenner has always been a bit strange.

And now that he’s leaving the Yankees, that’s really all he’s going to be.

Steinbrenner was caught Tuesday trying to eat his own armpit.

“When he was running the team, it made a little more sense to do whatever Mr. Steinbrenner told me,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “But now that he’s just a regular old guy, it’s a little strange when he asks me to pop out of a giant birthday cake in a diaper and sing ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President.’”

Yankees coach Don Mattingly agreed. “Before, when he told me to shave something, I figured fine, whatever, he’s the boss, you know? But now it just feels weird. And frankly, there’s only so much I can shave.”

“I am not crazy!” an indignant Steinbrenner shouted at a parking meter last Friday. “I’m eccentric, rich, smelly, crazy, and ruggedly bow-legged. But I am not a haberdasher!”

Steinbrenner plans to retire to a bench by his favorite lake where he can feed/thumb-wrestle the ducks, and debate the merits of hip hop music versus the color green with other special members of the New York community

Steinbrenner deserves something of a more elegiac nature, I suppose, so here is an offering from Ken Burns, assuming that he wrote the copy for John Chancellor, the narrator of his documentary Baseball. It might also have been Geoffrey Ward, of course.

And the elegy? It's more for the game than for The Boss, which is as it should be.

It measures just 9 inches in circumference, weighs only about 5 ounces, and it made of cork wound with woolen yarn, covered with two layers of cowhide, and stiched by hand precisely 216 times.

It travels 60 feet 6 inches from the pitcher's mound to home--and it can cover that distance at nearly 100 miles an hour. Along the way it can be made to twist, spin, curve, wobble, rise, or fall away.

The bat is made of turned ash, less than 42 inches long, not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter. The batter has only a few thousandths of a second to decide to hit the ball. And yet the men who fail seven times out of ten are considered the game's greatest heroes.

It is played everywhere. In parks and playground and prison yards. In back alleys and farmers fields. By small children and by old men. By raw amateurs and millionare professionals. It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed. The only game where the defense has the ball. It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime and ending with the hard facts of autumn.

Americans have played baseball for more than 200 years, while they conquered a continent, warred with one another and with enemies abroad, struggled over labor and civil rights and the meaning of freedom.

At the games's heart lie mythic contradictions: a pastoral game, born in crowded cities; an exhilarating democratic sport that tolerates cheating and has excluded as many as it has included; a profoundly conservative game that sometimes manages to be years ahead of its time.

It is an American odyssey that links sons and daughters to father and grandfathers. And it reflects a host of age-old American tensions: between workers and owners, scandal and reform, the individual and the collective.

It is a haunted game, where each player is measured by the ghosts of those who have gone before. Most of all, it is about time and timelessness, speed and grace, failure and loss, imperishable hope, and coming home.


there are things that just should not be.

someone entering the following searches should not be directed to this piece-of-fluff, navel-gazing blog:

CRPS + facial pain
new wheelchair
laxative XXXporn**
andrea gianopoulos lancaster pa*
andrea gianopoulos and laura beckett, ketamine kills*
scott reuben
tennis undies
severe bras
belle sex positions**
rsd/crps law suits
fear fire famine foes
crps rsds cure
amputation cures rsd
marqueterie fraud
boobs whishes
lindsey baum
mrsa and paralyzation
crps 10 pain
laura beckett*
rsd on fire
gambling your heart away near the seine
i know where lindsey baum is
wheelchair lift honda
what kind of cancer killed leslie scalapino

and the one that prompted this failed post, in this failed blog -- the one that logged in at 3:03 in the morning, some woman, some man, sitting, nursing a cup of cold, burnt coffee, elbows propped on that red formica dinette table, long in the family, forehead damp from humidity, not heat, god damn it:

doctors in sedalia missourri that takes wellcare

*Months after posting about Andrea, her father and sister wrote me, very angry. In their eyes, I defamed her and said hateful things. They were very hurt by what I wrote, and reminded me how little I actually knew about her, her life, and her death. I have left the posts untouched but want to acknowledge their deep and abiding pain at seeing her name in a silly blog maintained by a silly blogger. Good things will continue to be born through their daughter, their sister, by virtue of the work she did, and the example she set. And Laura Beckett? I wait in pregnant silence for some lecture or outburst about my rude insinuations... but the lectures and the outbursts never come, and that only seals the seams of my knowledge, that only leaves her in unresolved expectancy, that only means she gambled, and she's been punished. I hope to hear of her dancing her way out of the rehab center one day, pain free. More selfishly, I hope the ketamine coma is perfected, and proves to be a real, accessible answer.

**Okay, so I find that kind of... tittilating. La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, Fred, and The Four-Now-Three Felines cannot stop their giggles, and -- very strangely -- keep checking themselves out in the Roman mirror of blown glass coated with molten lead, that serves as a sort of night light for the passageway to The Laundry Suites. The thing dates from the first century AD and we've no idea how The Captain's family got their sticky little hands on it. Undoubtedly it involved stuff like "swashbuckling," and "booty." I still don't know how to clean it... but have watched enough Antique Roadshow to know that leaving it as is is probably the best thing. Should you know the proper cleaners to use on first century AD Roman mirrors? Leave me a note.

But I digress (because sometimes, most times, that's all I know to do).

[a slightly revamped repost]