Every once in a while the good folks at WordPress inform me somebody new is following my blog. I am grateful of course for anybody following my scribblings and musing. However the announcement is usually along the line of “Dicky Purdy along with 108 others are now following your blog”, which makes me giddy. When I sit down to type out my tidbits I now feel 108 sets of eyes upon me. I feel compelled to “put out” as it were. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is in a swivet over my recent entries for being too short, too lurid, or too gravitas. There is no pleasing them.

Recently I had a patient tell me she was addicted to shopping and the way she described it sure fit the model. She would resist the craving to shop only to succumb, experience euphoria and ‘crash’ into depression and guilt with a vow ‘never again’. She stated shopping would make her salivate and flushed; the rush was positively orgasmic. Lucky her, I thought. She didn’t mean groceries but clothes. Shopping for clothes is a very tedious task in my view. Many of my patient regularly get panic attacks waiting in line at the check out and I don’t blame them. I have myself come close to madness in department stores to the point I could barely restrain myself from knocking over the display cases. I recently tried buying a new suit and couldn’t find anyone to help me. This is called the “Urspo paradox”: if I am ‘just looking’ I am mobbed by staff but if I am earnest to buy something hell could freeze over before one puts in an appearance. In Costco I encounter a myriad of salesladies wanting to sell me various foodstuffs but none seem qualified to tell me where is the ramen.

Smaller shops are quieter and the customer/salesperson ratio more pleasant but I tend to buy something out of guilt and obligation. Sometimes I come out with something I had no interest in having in the first place but it gives me a careful satisfaction I may never have to go shopping there again.

Note: This satirical entry almost didn’t make it past The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections for they were quite remonstrative it was going to be interpreted literally or seriously thus destroying the blog’s (their) G-rating and reputation. I tried to explain it was all nonsense. Alas this did not assuage or appease. For a bunch of Vikings they can be quite prudish. A compromise was reached: I am to tell you this is all fictional and nonsensical and please don’t write in as I don’t mean any of it. 

I hope that satisfies everyone.


Today at the gym I realized my fellow gym-rats have gone butch. The physiques up until recently have all been the types seen in the ‘before’ photos of weight-loss infomercials. To my amazement some time in the past month or so they have all metamorphosed into mesomorphs.  Normally between sets I woolgather or read CNN; I keep to myself. Now I can scarcely keep my eyes in their sockets let alone on the text. I pretend I am Margaret Meade among the Bantus observing tribal behaviors in order to cover up the fact I am basically a wicked old screw with a bad case of satyriasis.

All the same, the pulchritude of these fine young lads* is amazing. What is most noteworthy are the callipygian components of the weightlifters. I have taken upon myself to make a serious study of these people and what they are doing to enhance their backsides. For scientific research sake, I am most grateful the fashion of nasty baggy boxer shorts down past the kneecaps is on its way out and Richard Simmons style short shorts are returning, for the latter make for better and more accurate inspections to see if squats, lunges, and step ups are being done properly and in good form. If I am caught in my furtive attempts to gather data I can explain I was admiring their form and assessing their technique.**

I think like a scientist and I was trained as a physician. This means I seldom miss anything when it comes to observing the couture of human form – and all is objective, especially with that red headed man who did the most riveting bend overs and dead lifts. I suspect he could crack a walnut with those cheeks.

I was on the stretching mat doing side planks watching things from , directly surveying a man who was doing the following:


I saw this once in an adult film although the man in the photograph doesn’t seem to be doing it the quite same way.

I can’t wait to return on Thursday to see if my theories and observations stand the test of time.  I need a lot more data. Meanwhile I leave you this educational photo to make sure when you are squatting down you tighten your gluteals and thrust them back properly.




* Well they seem young to me; nowadays at my age this is a pretty safe bet.

** Talk about poetry in motion and blinding them with science!

I started writing a half hour ago an entry most erudite about cognition bias and how this effects our judgment when it comes to making decisions and drawing conclusions but I got too tired to complete it. Perhaps some other day.  I feel obliged to write something even though I can scarcely keep apart my eyelids.

As I compose I am watching “Fantastic Planet” , which if I wasn’t half asleep I’d be flabbergasted.  For something set into the far distant future it looks quite dated. It’s psychedelic. I suppose every generation gets the science fiction it needs – or deserves. A few days ago I glanced on TV a programme set in ancient Greece but clearly 21st century in attitude and hair style. My favorite sci-fi was made in the 70s where the aliens and space men wear bellbottoms and have sideburns and afros.  Groovy. I prefer reading science-fiction for it allows me my own imagination to do the work.

I suppose there is more on this topic but it’s too late to write any more. I will expand on things anon….

February (it is said) was made the shortest month as it is no fun. Everybody I know in blog-land seems to be down in the dumps if not downright disconsolate.  Death, ill health, and bad weather are all to blame. I feel for those who are freezing in faraway lands, cooped up in their homes, and struggling with tenebrous times. No fun, this. As if in solidarity it has clouded over here and we are supposed to get rain tomorrow, with below-average temperatures. So much for sitting out outdoors and feeling smug.

The sewing machine is making rumbles portending a nervous breakdown and I don’t blame it. I’ve been sewing more than usual on a few shirts at a time, which is not my wont. I figured if I turned it off and do something else for a while it might be more willing to cooperate at completing at least the most pressing shirt (pun intended) for the recipient is coming to visit next week – or is it this week? Spring is the time to visit Phoenix before it become unbearably too hot for Die Auslanders.   I’ve got to be more on top of who is down for a visit to the Spo-house B&B. I have a vague recall there are at least three registered visitors and two brothers (with their families). I do hope I haven’t double booked. On top of them, I’m trying to entice a few others to visit with prospects of warmer temps, brighter days, and an unlimited bar (no rubbish either).

Last Friday the summer skidoos were solidified for theatre festivals that require buying tickets now before the good seats are gone. This year’s trek to Canada will include Ottawa where I can get a Capitol Tim-bit and proper poutine.

But that is a long time away. We still have February to wade through. I don’t see anything interesting on the calendar happening this week other than gym time provided it is not inimical to my back which is only recently returned to within-normal-limits.

Last week a patient told me the best bet at beating boredom is to set fire to some public building but I don’t think I will. I am told by Fox News to avoid such liberal rubbish.

There is nothing quite as satisfactory as a good tidy-up. Guests are coming tonight for supper; I am using this opportunity to give the back-porch a proper cleaning. Temperatures getting back into the 80s; the open porch is a marvelous place to sit in the evening with a book and a snort.

The cliche ‘sand gets into everything’ holds true. In Phoenix dust and grime covers all quick a quarter note. Although it is still too cold to go swimming he pool, covered in mesquite droppings, in in desperate need of assistance. Everything needs airing.


The ‘before” photo.


First: put on some music.*

Second: don the weight belt, for my back problem is not quite over.

Third: take the allergy pills – now.

Fourth: haul everything out and start.

Cleaning in the Southwest has its special hazards. You never can tell when you might find a scorpion or a black widow. Lift a pot or chair and find a friend. Today there were none. I did find a dead bird that had flown into the window, Poor thing. Moving the succulents around to sweep means potential pricks and pokes. In between these duties, take a net to the pool and sweep out more mesquite. It’s a race really. Can Urs Truly make a limpid pool or will the mesquite tree put out more and more to the point of futility? **

The poinsettias are perennials; they still have some bright red leaves to them which is a bit unsettling and unwanted.  But at least they are thriving which is more than most things. Two-thirds of the trellis cacti did not make it through the winter and it is too late to trip out to Lowe’s to replenish them.

Well, my union break is over and it is back to the salt mines. I am beginning to sneeze which means it will be a miserable evening. The place will look good but I won’t.  I think this evening after the guests depart I will sit in the hot tub – now shiny and chemically balanced – and be wholly satisfied with the day’s industry. In honor of Wayne Cajun, I hear olives calling me.

* Mama Cass, The Monkees, and singers of that sort are quite lovely for the purposes of cleaning up. Just don’t dance around too much during “I say a little prayer for you” as there will be talk.

** So far I am winning. But let’s see what happens during this blogging break.

Spo-fans remonstrate I did not provide and ‘AFTER” photos.  I am full of compunction.




I had a lively stichomythia on Facebook today on the topic whether or not this is The Year of the Sheep of the Year of the Goat. There is a difference of opinion, depending upon what country is calling the shots. This is not straw-splitting but very important,  for the animal portends the year’s temperament.  Sheep are rather passive creatures that are associated with being readily ordered about.  Goats (on the other hand) kick butt.

I’ve never owned a goat but I have always been fond of them, having first heard about goats in the A.A. Milne poem “Four Friends”. *  As a boy I thought goats looked and sounded rather comic.  I have a vague memory of a W.C. Fields movie, in which Mr. Fields retires for the night, thinking he is bedding down with Mae West (of all persons!), only to discover a nanny-goat therein.”Yow! (he exclaims It’s Beelzebub!”  I had to ask Mother who was Beelzebub.  The answer was unsettling; up until then I thought goats benign and certainly not some sort of Satan’s sleigh ride. Mind! They are a little unsettling to look at face-on. It’s their pupils that’s does it I suppose.

Goats have a reputation of being stubborn ** and they have ferocious appetites. I read you can rent a herd of the curious critters to clear out the lawn of weeds and grass; they work faster (and greener) than a herd of weed-whackers.  Cool.

When I was six-year-0ld I figured there had to be some sort of cosmic inter-species connection to explain the fact goats have kids and people do as well. ***

My vote and verdict: This is the Year of the Goat.

Besides, they make lovely cheeses.



*Indeed, whenever I should obtain a billy-goat his name will be George.

** as in “Stubborn as….”

*** My third grade teacher despised the term.. She thought it demeaned us to address us as kids. We rather liked it.

I learned this morning via text message and later through the network of blogging network the sad and awful news Cajun has died.  I am touched by the eulogies I am reading at various sites.  I too am honored to have met him, and that he was part of my life. At times like this I reach for words of comfort or consolation, but I come up with only lame and useless ones.

My eulogy is the following:

I made him a shirt; it comforted me knowing he had this and he would think of me whenever he wore it. Two years ago, when we met at his restaurant at the first blog convention, I knew I wanted a souvenir of him. Perhaps in hindsight I had the terrible intuition our friendship time would not be long.  The bus boys and wait-staff   wore brightly coloured aloha-style work shirts – just the sort I relish.  He sent me one.  It hangs among my collection.

It is said we die twice: the first is when we literally die; the second is when we are forgotten. So long as I have the “Cajun Shirt”, I will be reminded of him. I am so grateful he allowed me into his life.

And I am most thankful to have this relic.

Rest in Peace, Wayne.  Thank you for everything you gave me.


Today is Shrove Tuesday,  a day  for self-reflection and examination of conscious prior to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.  Being an introvert (and a shrink) I am all for self-examination.  This sounds to be a more useful way to spend the day than wearing garlands of purple, yellow, and green beads and drinking too much. (1) Every year when I announce Lenten plans to scale back ebullient living for a quieter/simpler lifestyle people poo-poo it all and wonder why I bother.   Many religious practices have traditionally set aside periods of abstinence to work on spiritual endeavors. (2)  I think it good for my soul. Some years I ‘give up something” but this year I think I will strive instead to lead a more austere life.  I will eat less lavish foodstuffs and take smaller portions – and more meatless meals.  There will be less time on the iphone watching Youtube and Facebook and more time for stretching and yoga.  I should dust off the zapoten and give meditation another try.   Best proposal:  cut down on my continual reading of newsites like CNN, Yahoo, Huffpost, and (worse of all) Joe.My.God. (3) Perhaps what this all means is making Lent a time of less noise and a more a time of Silence. That’s the dot!  Silence.   I could benefit from  Silence.  How often do I encounter quiet?  Answer: hardly ever.  The workplace has continuous background music. (4)  In the car I am hearing lectures, podcasts, or courses.  At night I fall asleep listening to something or other.  I talk too much; I don’t tolerate ‘dead air’. There is no Silence in my life anymore. Silence.  That’s the goal of forty days.   images   (1) Admittedly not as much fun. (2) It’s also good for the waistline and saves on bar bills. (3) Mind! “Joe” does a great job, but through his website I am constantly exposed to vitriol.  I sponge this stuff up all too readily and it makes me ill.  Until I have better boundaries I best abjure. (4) As I type this I hear out my office door the hourly broadcast of “Don’t Stop Believing”.

For some time now I’ve wanted to write something either profound or outrageous, but nothing comes to mind.  The only outrage in my life nowadays is my lower back, which remains intensely tight and truculent.  Someone gave me at Christmas a gift certificate to the local spa “Happy Healing Hands”*  but I’ve not had time to cash it in. I figured this was as good a time as any to check them out.

I prefer masseurs to masseuses. There are a few contributing factors: I am more comfortable to be exposed to man than a woman.  In general men go more deeply than women in their therapeutic touch. In my experience female massage therapists want to chat more than the males; other than the occasional feedback I prefer silence. ** . Mind!  I’ve had good experience with women. It is just I don’t relax well around them, thinking they are on edge. I wonder if they wonder if I am going to be a creep.


Someone regularly forwards to me Hx3 emails reminding me they have lots of appointments and please call. So I did. I announced I preferred a man, and times after 5PM. We then proceeded to reenact Monty Python’s “Cheese Shop” sketch.  In The Cheese Shop phenomena you make requests only to have all of them denied for reasons no two are alike. Despite the list ‘there were multiple openings’ the telephone receptionist shot down all my requests. “Tom” was booked all Monday (although the weekend email said he was ‘wide open’ between 6-9PM).  “Dick” actually had openings but only on Wednesday at 10AM in the morning.  They just hired “Harry” who was eager for new clients, but apparently not on Monday, Wednesdays, or weekends when I wanted one.   I eventually gave up and said I would try later – probably 2017.

I suppose if I allowed a masseuse I would have succeeded. I just might have to do so if I am every going to see Happy Healing Hands make good on their certificate. By then my back will probably have healed on its own, following the Hippocratic approach to Medicine.***   Meanwhile it’s Ben-Gay, Motrin, and small snorts of scotch. With these I don’t need an appointment.

* This is not its real name but for embellishment and legal matters I’ve changed it.

**  With a masseur there is a touch of eroticism viz. the possibility it will transform into some sort of Karma Sutra apotheosis complete with happy ending. I should go on record here this has never happened. Either I go to the wrong establishments or I radiate ‘don’t touch’ chi energy.

*** Hippocrates said “The art of medicine is entertaining the patient while the body heals itself”.

Man-with-bad-back-300x237I have hurt my back – again. It is the same old story: I was at the gym attempting a deadlift and lo! there was a sudden tightening in the right erector spinae which not only canceled the show but heralded another week of intense soreness. The Personal Trainer thinks the cause of frequent lumbago is poor technique combined with not enough rest between sets. I have a terrible intuition the real explanation is I am no The Mighty Hercules or Antaeus but a 52yo old man who shouldn’t be lifting heavy things off the floor anymore.  Whatever the cause I am ensconced in a chair, popping Motrin and asphyxiating on the Ben-Gay fumes. This time it was a doozy; I should be out of commission for a few days at least.

Having to sit still and not jump about is a challenge but it gives me the opportunity to read. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good; a bad back is a good-enough excuse to avoid certain house projects for a while. I can tidy up the laptop and catch up on blogs. I can justify this evening’s snort of scotch as a most efficacious tonic for muscle relaxation.*

I’ve started sneezing which portends the start of the allergy season. Poor Someone worked hard last week draining the pool to replenish it with fresh water. For a day it looked limpid but now it has a thin film of mesquite pollen floating on it. This nettlesome material will get up my nose now for some months. So, I have the misfortune of a sore back and a stuffed nose.   I would go sit in the hot tub, but this exposes me to more pollen. I just can’t win.

Someone is ushering again today and he won’t be home until after 9PM. I am left to fend for my own for supper. I’m too decrepit to cook so I may order something for pick up. Pei Wei sounds lovely although it means getting in and out of the car.  But it will be comfort food.  Yes, this sounds a good idea. Kung Pao Chicken with extra veggies and Motrin.   :-)



*There is a double blind study in JAMA that compares placebo to Cutty Sark with the latter beating the former by 15%. Do not dare to question this.

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