Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kirsten Bentley: Please Check In!

This is probably akin to pissing into the wind... {I will give you a moment...}

I am concerned about a sister blogger who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand -- Kirsten Bentley, also known as MedicalBooBoos, and author of two sites -- New Zealand Healthcare and Neo-Conduit, both currently inactive.

If you are Kirsten, or know her, please pass on my best wishes and concern.  When the big quake hit New Zealand, she had literally just returned home following a major surgery.  She was posting mostly about the quake and its innumerable aftershocks when her blogs went silent.

I am reasonably sure she is okay, as she has a host of people who care about her and would lend hands, shoulders, and hearts -- whatever was needed.

I just wanna know for sure!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What are they *thinking*?

Someone needs to say it: 

The school officials in Coweta County, Georgia (of these United States) have lost their minds.  I fully expect to read that Ms. Allwine, "a very good teacher," has been nominated for Georgia Teacher of the Year. 

Given the apparent political acumen of Georgia citizens, and with the help of pharmaceutical corporate sponsorship, she might have made a successful gubernatorial bid.

It's one of those stories that grow on you, if only because there are some enticing details that are left -- at least in this brief news article -- to the imagination.  I won't even allow myself to wonder about her husband and the state of her marriage, as I am fearful of discovering that this has been some sort of a romantic drama, and the lovebirds are planning to renew their vows.

What? Oh... She was arrested after pouring a bottle of Ambien into her Darling's drink in the aftermath of domestic spat.  As the article below puts it, so well:  He survived.

So, apparently, did she, and with remarkable impunity, even retaining her job as an elementary school teacher.

If trying to murder your husband is not evidence of moral turpitude, what, pray tell, is sufficiently turpid to warrant the loss of a job wherein you deal with frequent frustration in the form of tiny, young people?  Just imagine the anger of a turpid-prone educator should the rugrats not make it to the cafeteria in a hushed single line... or upon learning that dogs are eating homework papers again. 

You know, coming as it does on the heels of my first vaunted use of the word toothsome, turpid almost seems gratuitously facile.  It registers at different levels of the NastyAss Continuum, which includes everything from base to ewwww:ick!

My tendency to migrate toward the burgeoning field of Fancy Forensic Linguistics led me to an astute blog entry over at The Toe Blog -- "Turbid, Turgid, Turpid," an intricate study of Lolita.  Well, okay, it is less a study of Nabokov than a list of what the author appreciates in a few examples of language -- but she does juxtapose some meanings in the hope of Etymological Serendipity, and you know, Dear Reader, how much I love Etymological Serendipity!  Ms. McKeel begins her moment of verbal jouissance by noting that Humbert describes himself as "dispicable and brutal and turpid," and then she gets down-and-dirty, playing with words, rolling them between the tips of her fingers.

Turbid: (of especially liquids) clouded as with sediment
Turgid: ostentatiously lofty in style; abnormally distended especially by fluids or gas
Turpid: foul, base, wicked

And of course on a related note:

Tumid: of sexual organs; stiff and rigid; ostentatiously lofty in style; abnormally distended especially by fluids or gas
Honestly, I might have been happier, as a reader and writer, were I incarnated with mild-to-moderate dyslexia.  Those of you out there who actually suffer from dyslexia may have a moment to gift me with a wicked BitchSlap, for insolence and callous disregard... but you'll never make a charge of moral turpitude stick, copper!  [Of course, you have to give me time to travel from Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs) to Georgia -- a rarely traveled route, with no regularly scheduled flights.  Intrepid as I am, I wouldn't dare undertake the journey without a pre-arranged means of immediate escape.]

Okay, so Ms. Allwine has successfully been enabled as a criminal by a backward system.  Technically, and it is behind such things as technicalities that the various organs of oversight in Georgia hide from the glare of their own stupidity -- Technically, Ms. Allwine is innocent of all things turbid, turgid, and turpid, too.

Now... taken as meaning turgid-to-the-point-of-being-bombastic-pompous-and-overgrown, I think prosecutors could go after her enablers, her handlers, at least, with one charge of Aggravated Felonious Tumidity. It's been years since I've heard of a fellow educator or educational oversight entity so charged, but if the times and circumstances are sober enough to warrant it, well, so be it.

In the mean time, the thought of Allwine offering infuriating little Johnny a special glass of juice is a tad chilling.

Easy enough in Georgia to escape attempted murder charges and keep your job as an elementary school teacher -- probably with the requisite raise due all "good teachers" -- until they bus in a few Fancy Forensic Linguists.  You might wiggle out of a turpitude conviction... but tumidity will get you, every time.

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. -- An elementary school teacher gets to keep her job after she was charged with attempting to poison her husband, Coweta County School officials said.

Willis Road Elementary’s Rebecca Allwine’s legal troubles stemmed from a January argument with her husband, Coweta County deputies said. They said Allwine slipped a bottle full of Ambien into her husband's drink after the fight.

He survived, and she was charged with aggravated assault with intent to poison, deputies said.

In September, a grand jury indicted Allwine on a felony charge. Prosecutors dropped that felony after she pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors on Tuesday.

Parents and family members said they were upset that the county allowed her to remain in the classroom.

"She was accused of doing something wrong. Until she was found guilty or not guilty, she should have been pulled out of there," Willis Road parent Frankie Davis told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot.

A spokesman with the state's Professional Standards Commission said that Allwine informed them of the incident within the time frame required by policy. He said because the felony charge did not include the commission or conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude, they left her fate up to the school district.

Coweta County Schools spokesman Dean Jackson told Elliot that they followed all their proper procedures and policies with their decision. He said Allwine was kept in the classroom because she "was a very good teacher." [cont. HERE



Kate McRae's scan has been moved up from Friday to this afternoon, and her parents are requesting prayer.  This is a family of inspirational, fierce faith, so when they ask, we strive to deliver!

You can read about their journey at CaringBridge, here.

UPDATE from Kate's Mom:

Words could not possibly express our joy and gratitude for today's scan. Stable! Never have those words sounded so sweet. We are still trying to let the news soak in.

Kate's oncologist said the scan looked good.... there appeared no new growth from the one 2 months ago. And the enhancement and flair on the scan was actually somewhat less. We could not have been more excited!

We are grateful for the outpouring of prayers. We were in a very precarious situation knowing we could hear one of two drastically different reports today. We are rejoicing that the news was great, and we get more time with our precious daughter. Thank you Jesus.

Helen Philpot: Oh Happy Day

Grrrr. About the only political "pundit" worth the read today is Helen Philpot, of Margaret and Helen fame. You can start here, and finish over on the Front Porch at her place.

I hear that the Back Porch is pretty racy; They serve a mean hard lemonade.  And, for a limited time, apparently, there is pie.

What are you waiting for? Get busy. Read!

Margaret, happy days are here again. The skies above are blue again. It really is just too good to be true. The Republican gains delivered by the Tea Party are almost more than I could hope for. I only wish that lovely Witch in Delaware could have come along for the party as well.

Now let’s see. Where do I begin? Our taxes will soon be about zero percent so let’s start spending today to get this economy back on track. The government will shrink to a size somewhat equal to the size of our military which means Social Security has to go. Those of us who were smart enough to save for a rainy day will be high and dry… for at least a few months. And I got a good check-up from my doctor recently so I don’t need my Medicare… for at least a few months.

Now about that black man in the Oval Office. It will take a few days to get impeachment hearings underway, but until then I hear they are moving him out of the White House and into that little room at the top of the Washington Monument so he can’t cause any more trouble. Oh and Ms. Pelosi is out too. How dare she take on the Health Insurance Industry. Didn’t she realize people own stock in those companies?

Gays are no more. They all left, presumably to join the French Army. And teen pregnancies are a thing of the past. Teens will no longer have sex. Except the Palins. The Palins will abandon teen pregnancies as easily as a camel will pass through the eye of an early pregnancy test stick. No. The Palins will continue to give birth to abstinence only babies. That we know for sure.

Abortion? Well everyone knows that was just a luxury American women really couldn’t afford anyway. And government will now be small enough to actually fit inside a woman’s uterus, so all women with unwanted pregnancies have left, presumably to join the French Army....
[continued at site of origin, HERE.]

From The Phrase Finder:


Meaning -- Acting meanly after a disappointment.

Origin -- In the fable The Fox and the Grapes, which is attributed to the ancient Greek writer Aesop, the fox isn't able to reach the grapes and declares them to be sour:

Harrison Weir's 1884 English translation, which claims to be "from original sources ", presents the text like this:

A famished Fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment, and saying: "The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought."
Some of the fables associated with Aesop were written as late as 1900 and many of the earlier ones were considerably amended in Victorian translation into English. Also, some scholars also prefer 'unripe' to 'sour' as a literal translation of the earlier Greek texts.

The phrase also occurs in the Bible, Ezekiel - in Miles Coverdale's Bible, 1535:

18:1 The worde of the LORDE came vnto me, on this maner:

18:2 What meane ye by this comon prouerbe, that ye vse in the londe of Israel, sayenge: The fathers haue eaten soure grapes, and the childres teth are set on edge?

18:3 As truly as I lyue, saieth ye LORDE God, ye shal vse this byworde nomore in Israel.
The difficulty in dating Aesop's work makes it uncertain whether it first entered the English language via the Fables or via the Bible.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CRPS... We've arrived!

"This one was made by Holly Schank for hers and our friend Michelle De Leonard."

There's been a pleasant dearth of fresh CRPS/RSD research to report lately, and so it seems the right moment to announce that, as a disease entity, CRPS is now on the map.

Things that mark this arriviste take on things? A ribbon. A plastic bracelet. A few correspondingly sick celebrities. An annual black tie Silent Auction... and at least one Walkathon.

Check, check, check, check, and... check!

But most of all? Most of all, there has to be a quilt. 

I have an Attitude about Awareness and the various ways of Raising Awareness.  I experience roughly the same sensations that I associate with a plummeting blood sugar -- it's très hypoglycemic.  It's kind of a reaction against the prevalent Political Correctness. 

Let's just say that my favorite cause button depicts a crisp red AIDS awareness ribbon against a white background, with "Fuck the red ribbon / Find a cure" in bolded italics.

Okay, so in addition to a constitutional dislike of What's Expected, my wariness about all the Awareness flying around might -- might -- have something to do with laziness, and I ought to be ashamed.

The most excellent Doctor Roberta, who Suture[s] For A Living, is the obvious medical blogger to make the announcement, as her handiwork outside surgery is as beautiful as it is within. She is one of few doctor bloggers to address Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: Here and here.

In her blog recently, she passed on details about the CRPS/RSD Awareness Quilt Project from its organization page over on Facebook:
Contribute a 12" x 12" patch to be added to the RSD/CRPS Awareness quilt. Make sure you keep what you want to show 1" away from the borders... This is for pain awareness. Help spread the word and make a square...if you need help participating please let us know....Mail all quilt panels to: RSD/CRPS Awareness Quilt P.O. Box 500915 Malabar, Fl. 32950-500915. Check out our links for information that can help you put your square together...everything from sewing tips to iron-on tranfers using your printer. If you have any questions please feel free to drop Troy Walker a message and I'll help you out if I can. Thank you very much for helping to spread awareness of Chronic Pain.

At last count, there were 137 panels documented by pictures on the Facebook page.

Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert

cold bay sunshine, this pearlized sky,
a panel, the door to the apartment on a red brick.

concentration on the midrange,
the keys clanged: "oh!"

pink stucco on the baptist church
red neon cross on the corner of the avenue

annotate his gasps
(and jagged mesmer!)

annotate his gasps
(and jagged mesmer!) --

It hasn't happened in a while, though it easily could and be but rarely a bothering thing. 

Who hasn't rocked and writhed to Keith Jarrett's pestered, stepping, bobbing piano -- that bad, bad piano which forced him to the middle ranges, thank God and praise the Lord?

Who hasn't grunted, and grunted gloriously -- the grunt::gasp pulled straight out from what we now call The Core, what the commercials say needs strengthening, where we reside -- there where we rock from side to side?

I have made a place for dangerous music again, memories be damned, because I need to be somewhere other than here, now, and I am deep down glad for the world's talent, and amazed.  In the street in my nightgown, running for the bus on Telegraph Avenue, this last little bit of Oakland, then home again, home again, after the Night Bus, fumes in white cotton, oh!  Jagged "oh"s.

Preliminaries to the concert were not auspicious. The concert was organized by Vera Brandes, Germany’s youngest concert promoter. Brandes had selected a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance, but the stagehands did not realize that the piano was stored in the cellar of the building. Instead, they found a Bösendorfer baby grand backstage and assumed that it was to be used. This piano was intended for rehearsals only, and was in poor condition.
Jarrett had not slept in two nights. He arrived at the opera house late and tired after an exhausting hours-long drive in a Renault R4. He rushed to finish a hasty meal just minutes before the concert was to begin. After learning about the substandard piano, Jarrett nearly refused to play. Brandes, who just turned 18 years old, had to convince the 29-year-old Jarrett to perform nonetheless. Almost as an afterthought, the sound technicians decided to place microphones and record the concert, even if only for the house archive.
The instrument was tinny and thin in the upper registers, so Jarrett concentrated on ostinatos and rhythmic figures.

Despite the obstacles, Jarrett's performance was enthusiastically received, and the subsequent recording was acclaimed by the critics and an enormous commercial success. With sales of more than 3.5 million, it became the best-selling solo album in jazz history. [wikipedia]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Here is the weekend tally:

Friday night was a write-off;
Saturday, I excelled in Pitiful;
Sunday, today, there came The Demand that I Show Up For Life -- I did --  and we all had a nice time.

We indulged ourselves with an afternoon showing of Rosemary's Baby, cinematic wholesomeness that stands up well to the tests of time.  Mia Farrow was divorcing Frank Sinatra, The Dakota became The Bramford, and Sharon Tate was just another girl at the party, though Polanski did not credit her. 

Okay, so Fred fell asleep -- his belly full of raisin cream scones that I whipped up at the ungodly hour of 4 am -- very buttery things to which he added additional dabs and smears -- and therefore needed his total blood supply redirected to his gastrointestinal innards -- which action decimated his cerebral forces.

Oh, Reader Dears!  This is a *moment*.  I am about to use a word for the first time.  It's a word I like but that has always seemed a bit much, a bit dated, sort of a hey-look-at-me kind of word.

Ahem:  My raisin cream scones -- if they were anything at all (verily!) -- were toothsome examples of crunchy luciousness, and yet, pure restraint, as well.

I think it works.  It's the kind of thing I might say.  If I drank vermouth, sported cocktail rings, and wore wide belts of crushed velvet -- one belt per jewel tone.

I remember Friday, September 26, 2003, the day that toothsome figured as Word of the Day over at  I remember as if it were yesterday.

Do you recall where you were when toothsome passed from palate-pleaser to larger-than-life, far beyond tired old va-va-va-voom?

1. Pleasing to the taste; delicious; as, "a toothsome pie."
2. Agreeable; attractive; as, "a toothsome offer."
3. Sexually attractive.

Sentences were presented that suitably displayed the meaning and the gravitas, yet retained the essential flirtiness of... toothsome:

Fleming was impressed not only by its taste but by its astonishing durability: Caudle's apple, after ten months in storage, was still toothsome and fragrant.
-- David Guterson, "The Kingdom of Apples", Harper's Magazine , October 1999

Their topic, naturally: business niches that offer toothsome opportunities and comparatively limited competition.
-- Dick Youngblood, "Business niches can be opportunities", Minneapolis Star Tribune , March 2, 2003

The myth, which Kournikova herself often takes great measures to perpetuate, is that she is an imposter on the WTA Tour, a toothsome starlet who simply uses the tennis court as a catwalk.
-- Jon Wertheim, "Any day now for Anna", Sports Illustrated, April 14, 2000

Speaking of toothsome...

The Manor is Halloween Haven in this neck of the Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs).  That means gourds, cupcakes drowned in orange icing offset with licorice dots:  that means hot chocolate, and cider, and smile-like-you-mean-it-dammit!  Mostly, that means joyfully suspending disbelief so as to celebrate the little ghouls and their trailing, traipsing goblins.

I have a soft spot, though, for little girls, intransigent, in flannel pajamas, slightly tear-stained, not at all sure of this Trick or Treat business. 

Propped on parental hips, their somber eyes warn you that this-is-not-what-they-signed-up-for.

Intransigent and toothsome, certain Little Girls use Halloween to put the world on notice.

Songs of Experience::The Weight of the World

"The Tyger" by William Blake

as sung by Allen Ginsberg
w/ Steven Taylor & Jim Jones
Recorded by
The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics,
July 1988

courtesy of superheronamedtony's YT channel

A beautiful thing, the free download and streaming from the internet archive project at Naropa University:
 A reading by Allen Ginsberg performing William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Songs of Innocence includes: "The Shepherd," "The Echoing Green," "The Lamb," "The Little Black Boy," "The Blossom," "The Chimney Sweeper," "The Little Boy Lost," "The Little Boy Found," "Laughing Song," and "Holy Thursday." Songs of Experience includes: "Nurse's Song," "The Sick Rose," "Ah Sunflower," "The Garden of Love," "London," "The Human Abstract," "To Tirzah" and "The Grey Monk."

And then, there is the always lovely PennSound, center for programs in contemporary writing at the University of Pennsylvania, and their New York, December 15, 1969 recording of Ginsberg singing William Blake -- plus PoemTalk podcasts.

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


"My father died while I was out here. So I flew black... back, and on the way [home I w]rote a blues: Father Death Blues."

Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey old man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

Father Death, don't cry any more
Mama's there underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death, don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death, I hear your groans
O Sister Death, how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths, go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death, your art is done
Lover Death, your body's gone
Father Death, I'm coming home

Guru Death, your words are true
Teacher Death, I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is true
Sangha Death, we'll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath, once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.

July 8, 1976 (Over Lake Michigan)