Showing posts from 2009

A Word A Day - Last Two Weeks of the Decade

with Anu Garg

Fear and Desire. That sounds like the name of some 19th century novel. Instead, it is the theme for this week's words in AWAD. It seems that in English there's a word for every imaginable phobia and mania -- let's face up to some of these during the next few days. agoraphobia PRONUNCIATION: (ag-uhr-uh-FO-bee-uh)MEANING: noun: A fear of being in public places, open spaces, or in crowds

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek agora (marketplace). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ger- (to gather) that is also the source of egregious, gregarious, disgregate, aggregate, congregation, and segregate.

USAGE: "Concerns a polar bear would suffer agoraphobia after moving from a city zoo to four acres in the Highlands were unfounded." Agoraphobic Bear Fears 'Allayed'; BBC News (London, UK); Oct 30, 2009.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the…

ARTICLE: Blue Moon

By Ranjan Bhaduri
Dec.29, (THAINDIAN NEWS) The recent hullabaloo about the possibility of a Blue moon on New Year’s eve has turned out to be a damp squib. It is not going to take place, at least not in Australia as the web sites and newspapers assumed. The possibility has been ruled out by the leading astronomers. Probably it started when some enthusiastic people misinterpreted the occurrence of a sophomore full moon in a month with blue moon. This phenomena happens once in every two or three years. However, the moon does not undergo any change in its color. According to the lunar calender, a blue moon will be seen on New Year’s Eve. However, its timing is 7:13 p.m. according to the GMT and not as per Australia’s time.The Australians will get to see the moon on the dawn of 1st January. This means it will not be termed as a blue moon. It is not common place to get the moon, earth and sun in a straight line. After the New Year’s eve, the Australians will get the chance to witness a blue …

WOW - Something for MD II

Tarantula Venom, New Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Print ShareThisThey are big, hairy and to many people very scary – but scientists say tarantulas could be a key factor in helping people suffering from muscular dystrophy.

University of Buffalo biophysicists have found a protein in tarantula venom that shows promise as a potential therapy for MD, which is a group of inherited muscle diseases. Dr. Fredrick Sachs, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University at Buffalo, and his colleagues discovered the peptide, which is called GsMTx4.

In collaboration with Dr. Eric Hoffman, director of the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Sachs and his team extensively tested the effect of GsMTx4 on mice with muscular dystrophy and found the drug increased muscle strength and caused no deaths or toxicity.

Sachs said the peptide also has potential therapy for several other conditions, such as neur…

ARTICLE: Ten Things Husbands Should Never Do...

Guys, we love you, we really do. But as wonderful as you are, every so often you do something that makes us want to jump out the nearest window (or push you out first). Please, please, don’t ever…1. Offer to “babysit” your own kids. When your 16-year-old neighbor does it, it’s called babysitting. When a parent does it, it’s called child care, and it lasts for at least 18 years. Get it?2. Imply that office work is harder than housework. At the end of a hard day, there may be smoke coming out of your ears, but let’s face it: You’ve basically been sitting on your butt. That same smoke is coming out of our ears too—but we’ve cleaned the house, shuttled the kids around, run errands all over town and lugged grocery bags besides. When we say we’re exhausted, we are exhausted.3. Give a home appliance as a gift. Forgive us if we can’t work it up for this one. A new washing machine? Really? Can we get you some new snow tires?4. Buy us the “cougar” perfume. Under our crew-neck sweaters may …

Tiger Woods... and Why Do We Care?

Let's be honest. This is not about Tiger. Next week it will be someone else who is rich, famous or both. (The common folk do this stuff, too, but being common, we are completely un-newsworthy!) So why do we care? Does anyone care?

Here are several reasons not to care:

1. Statistically speaking this happens all the time
2. Elin won't go broke anytime soon, pre-nup or no
3. Tiger had a history of this (who is the stupid one here?)
4. Famous/wealthy people get propositioned all the time - eventually the right person will ask!
5. People get bored and when you can have your pick...
6. Wasn't there some teeny little voice in the back of Elin's mind when they were getting married, saying, "Maybe this is not the best idea? Maybe he is too famous?"

That was right off the top. If I mull it over I can come up with more. You see my point, though. And take your pick of the famous people getting/have gotten divorced.

Next week, I'll post about famous people who should be jailed…

Catching Up With WORDS!

Remember the old days when I could post all the time? They disappeared for a while, so I have weeks worth of A Word A Day posts to put up! Here we go:

Week ending 29 November 2009:
A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

Last week we featured verbs. Now it's the turn for their little helpers: adverbs. Adverbs help verbs describe the action with more precision or more detail. How did she enter the room? Cautiously, gingerly, excitedly, etc. We know adverbs as words ending in -ly, but adverbs come in many garbs. This week we'll feature five unusual adverbs. doggo PRONUNCIATION: (DOW-goh, DOG-oh) MEANING: adverb: Still and quiet (used in the form: to lie doggo)

ETYMOLOGY: Probably from dog

USAGE: "The possibility is that [the Australian cricket team members] are merely lying doggo before they come out blazing in the next three days." Stephen Brenkley; Cricket: Anderson Has Australia in Deep Strife; The Independent (London, UK); Jul 18, 2009.



Look at this! I'm on! YEEEEEHHHAAA!

After a too-long dry period, I'm back! Life is so good and about to get so much better! And you are sitting there shaking your head and chuckling, because I have been "jonesing" to write on my blog! Laugh away, my friends, it is funny. At least I'm just jonesing to do this... unlike the frequent fliers on the rig who indulged in their need for alcohol, drugs, both... I'd rather be like me, thanks.

And now, back to all the backlog of things that need to be said and posted!

A Bad Confluence of Events

Nothing serious. I just can access Blogger from only two places:

Luis' computer

Work is immediately out of the question. It is not even in the equation. I made the rules, so breaking them is not acceptable. That's one avenue down.
Luis' computer is - as you can see - available, but the moment he gets home all bets are off. You cannot come between a gamer and his computer. Watching him come h0me to this unit is like watching Stratavarius go to his violin. I know where my blogging falls in the grand scheme of things.
I have two computers - my office one, where my awesome new monitor is now completely non-functional; and my laptop, which somehow now can't log in to Blogger the moment I finished installing Windows 7 - a pity. Eventually I'll find the cure. Eventually I will take care of the monitor, too. I got it in August, so the clock is definitely ticking...
So five million things have gone unsaid - so unlike me - because of this weird confluence of celestial compute…

Finally Enjoying the Ride!

I have been feeling so good since getting back from Philly and getting into a more normal rhythm of living. I still feel good. I e-mailed my doctor to set up an appointment so I can follow up with the sleep testing and ask if they know any particular opthamalogist in the CIGNA plan. I wanna get this ball rolling!
And I love the medication for my muscles! Almost no side effects, doesn't make me tired or loopy on a full stomach, does make me tired on an empty stomach and works well in tandem with Ambien, so I have cut back on that. I eating less, getting back into exercising, getting into the holidays and taking pictures again... it's awesome! And work - I always love work but it had gotten so uncomfortable with the back spasms and neck tightness. Now I am focussing on work and not being in pain!
I don't think of it often, or I should say, I try not to think that this may just be a momentary thing. I don't want this to be a couple weeks of feeling great and then going back …

The Luck of a Quiet Thanksgiving!

It really is usually far nuttier on Thanksgiving, but the gods smiled upon us this year.
One call, at 1820, for a syncope patient. That's it. And the patient was a perfectly wonderful person, having a good chuckle over this. We liked our patient, and our patient liked us. That is usually not the case with holiday calls.
Even 65 had an easy night. They were called out when we were enroute to the hospital for a 19-year-old choking (worry not, I believed all turned out well) and then around 2100 for someone at Greystone - better them than us. I've been to Greystone far too often this year... that is not my side of town and let's face it, no one wants to go to the scary old mental patient facility. Granted the facility we usually go to is modern and well-kept, but it is still freaky. A little bit.
After that, silence reigned - except 69 (the Hevy Rescue guys) had a board up to go to.
Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Processing the Philadelphia Trip

As you., my few readers know, I went to Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon, had my doctor appointment at 0800 and left shortly after to return home.

We drove down Route 287 for a while until the navigator, harboring its own thought-processes on how to get there, took us off the highway and put us on Route 206 South, which was, in short, a nightmare. We passed through small towns; many, many traffic lights, all of which turned red just for us; cows; farms; open fields... it was boring, long and complete with schoolbusses, the root of all evil where road travel of any kind is done. I wanted off of those backroad, backwoods lanes NOW!

Eventually we made it to Route 95S (the other Route 95S - don't ask!) and there I happily took my chances with the local constabulary doing 80 - 85 the remaining distance until we reached Route 30 in Philly. Then the wretched traffic confined my speeding to low but steady numbers. That, and sheer stress - I hate driving in cities. Any city, really, but especi…

Thanksgiving - Just Another Day Off

Every Thanksgiving is the same, whether we go somewhere or not. When I was little, Thanksgiving was a Grandparents' holiday. I was exchanged at Checkpoint Charlie (The then-lone Howard Jonsons restaurant on Route 80 right at the Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania side) from my mother to my paternal grandparents, Grandma and Pop-pop (usually both grands have funny nicknames, but I wonder if my grandmother would have considered that beneath her dignity. I don't know, and it is unlikely I will ever know, but that sort of fits her.

That lasted into my 11th or 12th year, maybe into my midteens. Once my grandmother allowed herself to show anger that I was getting my menstrual cycle, Thanksgiving became the Platt Family sideshow.

Just a freaky little behaviour from my grandmother that no one could have predicted. All families have their idiosyncrasies and homegrown weirdnessess, but this was so pervasive that I elected to stay home for every holiday. They'd send gifts, but the …

I Hate Feeling Like This

I don't know if it has been the sleeplessness of being on call 23.75 hours, the DM II, the weirdness that my life has become, but I am feeling very depressed. I have no doubt that the westerned sun at this early hour has a part in it as well, but not so much as the rest. Maybe medication adds to it. And a million other little things.
I don't want to feel this way. I feel like my life doesn't have enough meaning. Like I'm just taking up space or converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. That may sound valuable, but a vegetable can do that. I don't know what to do about this. We'll be in Philadelphia on Wednesday, though to meet with the DM specialist and maybe there will be something - a new direction or insight or I don't know what - to help me deal with all of this.
Well, enough for now. One hour left of covering.

Catching Up on Words

with Anu Garg

Little strokes make a letter and those letters come together to form words. We assign meanings to the words. Often they express simple ideas: a tree, a rock, water, and so on. Sometimes a word describes a more complex idea.

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Wouldn't it be nice if there were a word for it?" Well, there is a word for almost everything under the sun. This week we have dug up five words you may not have known existed.
MEANING: noun: The part of the body where one cannot reach to scratch

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek aknestis (spine), from Ancient Greek knestis (spine, cheese-grater).

USAGE: "In what has to be the longest post-election season in living memory, the last five months have felt like an acnestis upon our collective soul; like that little patch of skin on our backs that we just can't reach to scratch ourselves. It's irritating. It's annoying. It's left us reaching and spinning around…