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Warning: this entry maybe too mephitic for the more sensitive Spo-fan.

Board members, relatives, or people offended easily:  you may as well leave now.

This week a patient asked me the question “Is farting bad?” This wasn’t a symptom per se but an inquiry whether it was a sign of good or ill health. I’ve been thinking about flatus a lot actually; lately I’ve been sleeping in the guest room so as not to bother Someone, who wakes in the night to lift the covers and shake out the sheets and inquire what have I been eating. This is a good question; I am trying to figure that out myself. Something in my diet is creating miasma. I’ve narrowed down the culprit list to yogurt, eating too quickly, or breakfasts with a lot of eggs. The redolence of sulfur suggests the later.

On average a person passes wind ~ 14 times a day, a natural phenomena which everyone does.  This is about a pint/day of gas with each fart is weighing ~ 0.04g.  Due to the individualism of the gut, each person has his or her own individual ‘odor signature’.

Try to tell as many people as you can at your next dinner party, why don’t you.

Farts as a source of humor goes back a long awhile. I remember reading ancient Greek comedy about Protagoras, who abstained from beans for religious reasons. His followers did the same. The parody mocked this with the actors eating beans and producing boisterous farts. “Fart jokes” started early and have never gone out of popularity. People may not remember too much of “Blazing Saddles” but they remember the campfire scene – over two million ‘hits’ to view it at Youtube. “I fart in your general direction” is the battle-cry of all Monty Python fans.  Mozart wrote fart music; I recall Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay titled “Fart Proudly”.

Needless to say these are all “male endeavors”. Men tend to fess up and even boast about theirs to other males, so with men farting isn’t ‘bad’. On the other hand females start to find farting repugnant and taboo pretty early in life, and would sooner die than admit having such*.  As a consequence, women tend to hold in their gas while men often exert theirs.

I told my patient a person’s diet effects their flatulence.  Chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, eating too quickly, and eating foods disagreeable to your constitution can all influence the amount of gas your produce.  Ironically eating more healthy foods like vegetables produces more gas albeit ‘cleaner’. Diets rich in meat and eggs (sulfur containing foodstuffs) produce less but more toxic ones.

All the same, I am abjuring eggs and soda pop, as well as artificial sweeteners, until things quiet down at home.

Rather than riposte a denial, or “blame it on the dog”, my new response to Someone’s inquiry “Did you fart?” is “Of course, you think I usually smell this way?”

* On the whole females are more sensitive than males towards things that evoke disgust. I think this is a fascinating topic in itself; it is worth blogging about someday.

I don’t get the Superbowl. Perhaps it is genetic: my queer genes aren’t able to grasp sports, like being unable to see the red. As a psychologist (in the broader definition) and asamaetuer anthropologist I am intrigued by tribal rituals surrounding the game.

Since when did Superbowl Sunday become “The second Thanksgiving” ? Every year I hear more people anxiously inquiring others if they have a Superbowl party to attend. If the answer is ‘no’ there is a gasp or anxious concern, not unlike hearing a single person has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. This simply won’t do; people have to be with others.

Like Thanksgiving, Superbowl has a lot of food now. The ‘Superbowl feast’ is becoming just as important to plan as thanksgiving dinner. One doesn’t just open some brews and a bag of chips anymore. I am seeing recipes appearing on line, as well as grocery sales to ‘stock up now’. Like Thanksgiving you are supposed to have gobs of food and stuff yourself. Thanksgiving without a turkey is deemed sacriligious; Superbowl Sunday now has chicken wings as the centre of the feast. It is becoming a ‘must have’ item.


Both holidays have football. While TV/football is (hopefully) an ‘extra’ to Thanksgiving, it is the centre of attention on Superbowl Sunday. There is something about it all that makes me uncomfortable. My list of concerns:

Massive drinking and eating of high calorie junk food*
Sedentary TV watching
Commercials as entertainment.
Overproduced expensive spectacles**
Superbowl as “American culture”


I don’t see myself in the midst of this. 

There is increasing society pressure to participate in it all. If you don’t it borders on being ‘un-American”. It’s like announcing you don’t do Thanksgiving. People are shocked.

Happily, I am not one to be sucked into TV or sports culture. I admit I will watch the opening to hear Renee Fleming sing the National Anthem***. I am likely to either go exercise or read a book.


I am curious to know what Spo-fans do on this high holy day.  Am I missing something?  Should I be deported as un-American, or does my gay card get another hole punch?


* I am seeing news articles assuring people there will be enough Velveeta for all. What a relief.

** Well, at least those that don’t have opera singing. But this year there will be some – can you imagine?

*** I am wildly curious to hear how the audience will react to her. Football fanatics are not known to be opera fans, and tend to ridicule the genera. Will they boo? Will they actually appreciate someone who can sing it on key without weird interpretations?


It arrived! My subscription to CSPMP is here!

CSPMP stands for “Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program”.  This is a government website where a physician or pharmacist can look up what a patient is getting from any and all prescribers. For example: if “Dicky Purdy” shows up to my office announcing he is changing shrinks and he has anxiety and he takes valium and he consumes 30 tablets a day andhe  wants three months’ worth, I can enter his name and birthdate into the program and discover when/where he has received similar.

“Curious! According to the CSPMP, Mr. Purdy, you received 90 tablets of Valium only a week ago from a Dr. Frankenstein and 120 tablets three weeks ago from a Dr. Freud.”  (translation: out you go!)

So as you can see it is a good way to ferret out the scoundrels and scollygosters who are doctor shopping.  I can also investigate if my own patients are getting duplicate prescriptions from other MDs or are taking things they haven’t mentioned but could be hazardous to combine with what I am giving them.

The CSPMP has strict rules: I can only look up my patients; I can’t go poking around the files of friends, neighbors, relatives, or Spo-fans out of morbid curiosity.

I am curious to see if I discover scandal. So far, some of the patients I frankly don’t trust have ‘come up clean’ and I caught an elderly dame patient getting tranquilizers from another doctor soon after I told her to stop such.  The little old lady types turn out to be Uriah Heeps more than I realize!

CSPMP is a necessary evil for making sure patients are not putting themselves at risk for drug interactions and addictions.  I feel a bit ‘Big Brother” but it is empowering.

I seem to have hit an impasse; I know of several things that want doing, but my backside is ensconced in the kitchen chair. It refuses to get up other than to tend the boiling kettle to make a cup of tea.

Our annual winter holiday is a fortnight away, but I am already starting to packin. What I mean by this is I am starting a careful consideration of what books, shirts, and I want on my journey. I do this sort of pre-planning every holiday.  I start by making a list of things I want to bring, so when the packing commences I won’t have to wonder but merely check off the items.

Mind! I am not talking about important things, like passports, cash, and underwear, but the bibelots that make vacation time jolly or less stressful.

Here’s a few:

A keychain.  


On every vacation I spend a considerable amount of time wondering where on earth did I last put the room key.  Usually the resort keys given to me are on a small nondescript ring which only encourages loss and misplacement. Thus, I bring a large and gaudy one, which less likely to go a-missing. This precious keyring has managed years of Key West Big Ruby’s room keys. Ah! the memories!

Tea things.

Yes I bring my own. Unless the guesthouse resides in “The Commonwealth” one can not get a decent cuppa. I recently bought some Assam (no rubbish) for those anticipated mornings when I may still in a hebetude from last night’s convivial shin-dings – if such happens on this trip. I was in Boy Scouts; we were taught to be prepared.


I pack both kinds: playing cards and a Tarot deck. Cards are a nice way to break the ice with strangers or just pass the time with your fellow travelers. Euchre seems to be everybody’s favorite. Alas, I don’t know how to play bridge but then again so few play it nowadays, worse luck. “Uno” is good for groups, but don’t sit next to DougT.  Someone always whips me at Spite and Malice.


I will print a pile of Sudokus and bring them along with several virginal GAMES magazines.  These are mostly for the airplane rides, but are they good for afternoon down-times. They also make a clever front over which to view sunbathing resort residents. With a panama hat and sunglasses one can gaze over a puzzle without raising suspicion.  It helps to move the pencil from time to time.


Just a quick post; we have opera tickets this evening.

I promise, promise to get to my blog reads by the end of the weekend.

I finished this shirt today; it is for my trip to PV in two week’s time.   It turned out well-made; I was pleased with some improvements. Mostly I like the colour. I likes them loud, colorful, and attractive – like my men.

Shall I say, I am fishing for a compliment with this one? 

Don’t take this entry too seriously: After a night at the pub and a consequent supper I asked Someone to stop by the sweetie shoppe where I loaded up on gummi-bears and other unnaturals . I am intoxicated on sugar and artificial food colouring; I can’t vouch for my typing.

For a long while our house alarm system has been dismantled. I forget what exactly happened to it; its repair has been on the ‘honey-do’ list for sometime. We leave for Mexico in a few weeks; we agreed fixing the alarm system took priority. So today Someone had the alarm man over”** and we are back in business, heavily fortified.


We now have this survellience camera which sends continual coverage of goings on in our house while we are away. This is supposed to give me a sense of security but it gives me the creeps. I keep waiting for Henrik or some other paranormal phenomena to flit across the screen. Like most technology it comes with a plethora of options which leaves me bewildered and overwhelmed. Apparently the choices lacks the one option I most covet: the ability to send out a laser beam to annihilate an intruder.

I hear younger folks don’t mind or even care they are under twenty-four hour watch via parent’s cell phones and public cameras. Apparently they are at ease with the trade off having instant communication with everybody at the expense of no privacy. Nowadays one can disappear; everybody knows your whereabouts. Everyone can instantly contact and can see where you are and what you are doing.
Call me an old fuddy-dud but I still relish being unavailable and unreachable. Being on call 24/7 most of the year makes me more appreciate the precious times when I can’t be contacted.
I suspect in the 21st century people will pay for the luxury of what used to be taken for granted: quiet, space, solitude – and disappearing.


** Whenever we have a repairman or sales representative pay us a visit, I always ask if the fellow was sexy. Someone always reports this was not so.

He is either very discrete or we have the ill luck to get only the homely ones.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is pressing me to put out something more substantial than random thoughts stitched together quilt-like into a hodgepodge post.  I sent back an email explaining The Muses are snowbound in Philly and I haven’t the foggiest what to write. Always draconian, they replied I needed something written by this evening,  “ preferably with photo”, or there will be hell to pay. I won’t say they used the word” blackmail”l; let’s just call it a vicious threat.

My blog-anniversary is coming up in early February, so I was thinking of changing my blog’s format style. After all, there is nothing like a new frock to brighten up the day. On the other hand, I’ve had the same setup for eight years; I am comfortable with it. 
I’ve been thinking a lot about change. The new year with its multiple resolutions **  makes me think that way.  I see 2014 already looks predictable:  the same vacations and events at the same time with the same people etc. Mind! This is lovely and I like the constancy. However there is nothing novel.

Perhaps I am going through another mini-midlife crisis. Alas, I am too cheap to get a sports car and too prudent to become out of control or do something radical.  I suppose I could dye my hair (blonde), or get a tattoo, or shave off the beard. Maybe an impromptu trip to someplace novel is the remedy.

I feel the need for a shakeup but what that is I am not certain.


Fabulous Photo in honor of The Board



**So far, not doing too well.

Spo-fans will be happy to know Someone found my List folder. He located an old copy in the office PC. He sent the contents (clever man!) via email this afternoon. The lists are only up to 2010, but this is better than trying to recreate them from scratch. I am quite relieved – and I’ve learned my lesson: back things up!


21 January is St. Agnes’ Day, traditionally the coldest day of the year. It is all ‘uphill’ now.  Every year I reread Keat’s poem “The Eve of St. Agnes”.  However it is hard to feel frozen, residing where I do. Today it was in the mid-70s; at 930PM it is 64 – hardly the ambience to freeze your wrists off.  Back East I hear it is rather snowy and inclement, which is much better for St. Agnes day. Lucky people!


I am thrilled to discover Renee Fleming will be singing a live concert aria on national TV, two Sundays hence. Apparently there is a football game afterwards or something.


This month I am inudated at work with prior authorization forms.  This happens every year; people change insurance and the new providers start faxing a fury of paperwork demanding to know why am I prescribing such and such to so and so. I have to be keep calm and politic and explain patiently “such and such” has kept so and so stable for years; if you f-ck around with their meds you are asking for trouble.  Most insurance companies seem satisfied with this, but a few are peristent in their demand I change my patient’s medications to something cheaper. The difference between me and Dr. Lector is I generally choose not to, but when it comes to prior authorization reviews I get in touch with my inner-Hannibal. This monstrous Muse allows me to write bone chilling letters saying in acrimonious and menacing prose if they dare deny this Rx it will lead to chaos and (if all goes well) to murders and suicide. If this doesn’t work, the ultimate trump card to use is to point out their proposal will cost them more money in the end than if they just left things alone. There is a certain delight in composing these letters, despite the tedium to do so.

It’s late. I need to knock off and start that Keat’s poem. I promise to get caught up with blog reads this weekend.


th0KVP62YSI am in a solicitous state this morning. Last night I realized to my horror I have deleted my ‘Lists” file.  Someone is astonished how on earth did I manage to do it; I believe I transferred the file to the rubbish bin and then emptied it without first double-checking what was within.

I am List-master; I continually make lists to keep my life tidy and organized. My lists are my peripheral brain where I store information.  I spent the night wracking my brains what I have lost. Every hour or so I would wake up with the sudden realization of another list now gone.

Some of them I can recreate – in time. Example: The prints of have a certain artist. We have dozens of them, scattered around the house. It would be a bit time consuming but it can be reproduced.  Other lists would take longer, such as the list of Spo-shirts I have made throughout the years. Can I remember them all?  Which ones I gave to whom?

What really makes me lachrymose are the lists I won’t be able to recreate.  Here are some I realized as irreplaceable :

The plays I have attended in Stratford Ontario, going back to 1982.

My medical history.

Quele dommage.  (Laurents – help me out here)

There’s a lesson or two in this fiasco.  This was stupidity on my part, I admit, but this wouldn’t have happened with paper lists.  I grow more suspicious of capricious computers as a means for saving important documents. Laptops get stolen; PCs blow up. I prefer papers in proper file cabinets or safety deposit boxes.

I think this may be Heaven’s way of telling me to stop making lists. In am calmer moment I know none of them are ‘vital’.  I depend on them more than I should.

Life without lists – what a concept. My day began without issue; I can still ride a bicycle – despite the lack of training wheels.

The only lost list I feel compelled to recreate is the one for the shirts. It feels more of a puzzle challenge than a necessity.

Last night while falling asleep I had one of those theophanies in which I thought I had the answer to life, the universe, and everything** and now I’ve forgotten what it was. Worse, I can’t imagine what it was could have been.  All I can recall is it dealt with something at the opposite end of one of our current paradigms. I suppose I should just wait; in every generation we are told what we hold true is now rubbish and everything we know is wrong. It’s maddening but predictable.

One example of this pendulum on truth is leisure. I’ve been extolling my patients to take vacations, stop moving, and sit still lest they have heart attacks. Now I am told sitting is the new smoking: if we don’t get moving and doing more we will become slugs and have those heart attacks anyway.

I asked Someone what he had thought I might have thought but being negligent in his telepathic skills he could not tell me. Rather, he played me several podcast episodes of “Grammar Girl”, in which I learned about gerunds vs. participles.  Fascinating indeed but poor consolation for missing the train on total enlightenment.

I wish I could remember why I started on all of this. Having an apotheosis snatched from me (again) makes me confused if not a bit truculent.  I may have to go get some gummi-bears as anodyne. At least they don’t change: they are just plain bad but oh so tasty and jolly good fun.


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January 2014

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