Thursday, May 31, 2007


Quotes or witty banter?
Quotes. They save original thinking.
I love watching great wits and listening to beautiful people.
Banter. I never look back, darling, it detracts from the the Now.
Telepathy is always witty.
I don't think you could understand my banter. "Differance," you know.
A word once spoken is dead.
Linguam anglicam non intellego. free polls

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quote of the day

"Why do you worry about tomorrow? Tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. Let's skip to June." Amelia

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quote of the day

"I love alcohol. It's great stuff. It burns, cleanses, makes people act loopy. As a Wesleyan, I can say all bad things about it, but actually I'm inclined to say all good things about it." The good doctor

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quote of the day

"We need sugar. We do not believe that tea should be bitter as wormwood." Amelia


This morning we sent a fax to Tatarstan, Russia. This, of course, led to the question: Where is Tatarstan? And is it where Tartars come from?

I inquired of the Oracle (Wikipedia) and discovered that Tatarstan is a semi-independent republic smack dab in the middle of Russia, with a Turkic language, right where the Russian and Greek and Arabic and Chinese and Mongol and Slavic Uralic languages all meet. The Tatars call themselves Tatars, more or less, but you'll get variations like Dada, Tatan, and Tataerzu. "Tartar" is an odd variation which Westerners invented, connecting the Mongol hordes to the Greek Tartarus. They object to being called Tartars these days.

The Kazan Tatars have the literary and common dialect, due to the pleasant circumstance that most of the other Tatars can understand them. (I gather it's somewhat like the distinction between classical versus regional Arabic.) They officially write with the Cyrillic script, but will often use the Latin or Arabic characters (partly, no doubt, due to the heavy Muslim influence). But the ethnic Tatars are a sprawling people-group.

In other news, the good doctor has gotten disinfectant-happy and wanders past my desk at intervals, squirting away. I attribute this to the presence of a new incubator, which reveals to us exactly what grows on my desk. Or would tell us what it was, if we had the machinery to analyze it. But it's definitely there.

Amelia just demonstrated to me that you can use tea-steam to show your fingerprint on a plastic spoon. This is really cool.

Also the rubber-band wars are hot and heavy. I retreated into the waiting room, and today Nikita declared a cease-fire. Unlike when the UN does that, we actually listened to her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


It's a grumpy day.

"You're a fine young man. You've got a fine job, and you're engaged to a fine girl. And you're lost in a fine forest. What more do you want?"

Unfortunately, all occasions do conspire against me. To start with, there's actually nothing wrong. My alarm went off at its usual early hour, but I'm not sick or anything. The traffic was heavy, but I wasn't particularly late. I arrived and work and informed the good doctor that I was grumpy, and he started saying things like, "Oh no!" and "No grumpies!" and "But I depend on you to keep me from being grumpy!" and shooting rubber bands to cheer me up. And it started to work, gosh-darn it.

Then our sweet dental shadow turned up, back from her semester, and we discovered half a dozen mutual friends.

Then I got a cup of coffee. The brew turned out well today.

Then I started my morning calling, and wouldn't you know it? The very first patient was one of those with a sense of humor.

"Good morning, this is C-- from Dr. M's office," I said, as I always say.

"Good morning, C-from-Dr.-M's-office," he replied. He even sounded pleased that he had an appointment.

What do you do with a day that won't let you be grumpy?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Death sets a thing signigicant

On a Typo in a Poem by Emily Dickinson

To say death sets a thing "signigicant"
Makes her meaning strain a ligacent.
Morbidness gets turned out mendicant
Bested by a typist neglicant.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The value of an ethical appeal

I just had an interesting experience. A man walked into my office and wanted to know the building owner’s phone number.

I headed toward my list, looking for it, and tried to find out what he wanted it for. Was something wrong?

"No, nothing's wrong. I’m a contractor. I restore wood."

I gave him the owner’s wife’s work number and said that was the number I usually had the most luck with.

"And what’s her name?"

Hmm. If he didn’t even know the owner’s name, that made me nervous. He definitely didn’t need their home number. But I did tell him her name.

He looked concerned.

Was something the matter?

"No! Nothing's wrong! I’d really rather talk to her husband."

I said I was sorry, I didn’t think I was allowed to give that number out.

"Well, why not? I’m not going to tell them you gave it to me. I don’t even know who you are."

Sorry. It was the principle of the thing. I don’t trust people who promise not to tell if I do something unethical for them.

"The principle of what thing? Look, I’m a contractor. I restore wood, houses, cedar paneling. Your buildings badly need restoring."

No argument there.

"You’re trying to protect them from you don’t even know what!"

I was, actually. Perceptive of him. I asked if they’d contacted him.

"No, they haven’t. He probably doesn’t even know I exist."

Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t give that number out. I think he should try her work number.

She wasn’t there. He argued a bit more with me.

I finally smiled. "I can be very ornery."

"Well, good for you!" And he stomped out, to get the number from next door, apparently.

No, he definitely didn’t need the building owner’s home phone.

How the Tempest went

"The Tempest" is over! It definitely qualified as an adventure, but it did go through. God sent me just enough people--a nice lady to help put up the trees, Catherine to manage backstage the first and scattier night, my sister to manage it on Saturday; random church men to put the stage extensions up and enough play guys and dads to put them away again; it worked. We had nerves and dropped lines and a cloak that went missing just when it was time to go onstage. We had Gonzalo dreaming Friday night that there was one more performance (terror!) and then waking up and it was true. We had interminable three-minute scene changes and costume problems and location problems and prop problems--one night they forgot to bring out the piano bench at all, and the next day they left it on for three scenes. But they kept going. Amazing how that worked.

My nymphs and airy spirits danced beautifully. Everyone seemed happy at the end, actors and audience both. And someone's English grandma said afterwards it was the best Shakespeare she'd ever seen. I'm not sure I believe it; but it was a very nice compliment.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I just came across a post from The Point (it really was The Point this time) on friendship. It caught my eye because it was about a 12th-century monk, but I kept reading it because I love good friends. :-)

A random patient came in yesterday. He was just some high school guy; I pry wouldn't have thought anything particular of him, but he was reading the Silmarillion. We struck up a conversation that lasted nearly half an hour. It wasn't about our life histories; it had nothing to do with anyone's love drama or medical issues or finals or current events or even movies; it was, in fact, fun. I hadn't had a good talk like that for a long time. We may not see each other until his six-month appointment, but--it's nice that there are kindred spirits around.

There's a lot to be said for being on good terms with everybody and having the social skills to be able to have fun no matter who you're with, but there's also a lot to be said for a good solid friendship, the kind that has been around for years. And I think it right and proper to want the company of your friends. How sad, if you don't!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Life and death in Louisville

"I'm in pretty good shape, except I can't hear, can't see, and can't remember anything," announced the patient perfectly cheerfully. "I had two great-grandchildren last month, and they weren't twins, either. TWO of my daughters became grandmas. That made me feel old."

As he went out the door, I yelled, "Have fun in Louisville!"

He stopped. "I am goin' to Louisville for my granddaughter's graduation. She is graduating from the Baptist Theological Seminary to be a pastor and a missionary, and every time I see her she tries to convert me. She hasn't done it yet. She's goin' to Peru to convert all the heathens there. And then in June I'm goin' back to Louisville to swim in the Senior Olympics. If I stop swimmin', I know I'll never start again, so I better not stop. The other day a little girl asked me if I was swimmin' in the Special Olympics. I know what those are. I must have looked really bad that day!"

After the door closed behind him, Lisa-here-at-work said, "He told me that at the last meet, a man much younger than him set a world record for the 200-meter butterfly, got into a different pool, had a heart attack, and died. He said it was the second-best way to go."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

April is over and done, and May has made her appearance, complete with sunny woods back behind the office.

This made me want to go a-Maying as I (sort of) did last May first, but due to certain prior obligations, I think I shall content myself with wearing green and posting one of the more famous May-day disasters, er, excursions.
SO it befell in the month of May, Queen Guenever called unto her knights of the Table Round; and she gave them warning that early upon the morrow she would ride a-Maying into woods and fields beside Westminster. And I warn you that there be none of you but that he be wellhorsed, and that ye all be clothed in green, outher in silk outher in cloth; and I shall bring with me ten ladies, and every knight shall have a lady behind him, and everyknight shall have a squire and two yeomen; and I willthat ye all be well horsed. So they made them ready inthe freshest manner. And these were the names of the knights: Sir Kay le Seneschal, Sir Agravaine, Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Dodinas le Savage, Sir Ozanna le Cure Hardy, Sir Ladinas of the Forest Savage, Sir Persant of Inde, Sir Ironside, that was called the Knight of the Red Launds, and Sir Pelleas, the lover; and these ten knights made them ready in the freshest manner to ridewith the queen. And so upon the morn they took their horses with the queen, and rode a-Maying in woods and meadows as it pleased them, in great joy and delights; for the queen had cast to have been again with King Arthur at the furthest by ten of the clock, and so was that time her purpose.

More of this story may be found at this site.