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It’s time to renew my medical license.  There is no rational reason to renew this every 2-4 years other than the State of Arizona likes extorting five hundred dollars from me. Stirges.*  Along with handing out their hands for my money they ask a series of questions. They are along the line whether or not am I having sex with my patients (no) or have been booted from hospital (no) or have I sold prescriptions for fun and profit (again no).  Some questions are controversial: have I received treatment for substance use or mental illness.**  One question (apparently new) made my eyebrows go up a bit:

“Have you been involved in actions of moral turpitude?”

I had sense to not be flippant and respond “Alas, not enough’ or ‘As often as possible!’ However the Arizona Board of Medicine is not known for its humor.  I answered ‘no’ to this question on the grounds I never sold white girls into slavery nor skewered babies. I am curious to know how the State of Arizona defines ‘moral turpitude’ but not enough to write to them to clarify the question.  In the past two-four years I’ve had a few actions some may consider of moral turpitude. I’ve had a snort or two but never at work thank you. Arizona is heavily LDS so indulging in any booze could be judged as lacking ‘moral turpitude”. My recently estranged niece-in-law apparently would vote ‘yes’ based on just who I am.  

In the end I believe I have professional probity, so the spirit of the question of my professional life my moral turpitude is ‘no’.  In my private life I fear it is not so. Here’s a sample of my depraved and lascivious lifestyle : 

Swimming sans bathing trunks

Reading Joyce

Whisky 

Saying “bollocks!” out loud and in the presence of others.

Eying gents with bad intent

Rolling down grass hills 

Social dancing

Cards 

Sometimes at night I think on all my moral turpitudes and I go right to sleep. 

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*What am I going to do, say no?

**Many MDs are now taking umbrage at these sorts of questions. They make doctors highly reluctant to seek help for depression and drug problems. They fear answering ‘yes’ to this question will threaten their license and livelihood. 

For some time I’ve been meaning to write a king-sized-titanic-unsinkable-molly-brown entry chock-full of Attic wit and ending (if all goes well) in raptures for my readers. Unfortunately this entry is not one of them. What is on my mind is the kitchen sink, more specifically the disposal. It is acting awfully kind of queer as of late when it acts anything at all. The mercurial disposal is connected to something resembling a PC mouse; it sits on the floor beneath the sink among the boxes of dishwasher soap and Brillo pads. When it detects water it starts chirping like a wounded chicken. This woeful warning woke us last night to alert us to a small stream was springing forth from under the sink.  Someone has a theory the dishwasher gets backed up if the disposal is clogged. I am instructed to always run the disposal for a while prior to starting the dishwasher. I hope this takes care of the problem.

The loading and unloading of the dishwasher is a Sisyphus endeavor for we (I) am forever generating cups and neither one of us are good with ‘pan economy’. When we make a meal we use all the pots and pans in Christendom. Someone is much better at loading items into the dishwasher in a precise compact order. He takes mild umbrage at my poor packing skills which I admit is based on the ‘this looks like it may fit here’ approach. Alas his critique is not so intense he has banned me from loading the machine entirely.* In general he loads the dishwasher and I unload it.** However I leave the clean plastic Tupperware containers for Someone to put away, as I merely have to open the drawer to the container cabinet and the lids and boxes all go into disarray.  No doubt there is some wicked fairy involved, up to no good that’s certain and cahoots with the Cup Fairies and the Car Key Gnomes.

Another area of disharmony in the House of Spo is what utensils go in the ‘gadget drawer’ and which go into the container on the stove top. The latter is reserved for the wooden spoons and spatulas – they are on the ‘A” list – but there is room for some other items. What constitutes the “B” list and worthy for inclusion has never been settled. It is not uncommon for Urs Truly to be summoned to the kitchen with complaints where did you put the metal tongs. The answer is always in the gadget drawer why don’t you look there followed by a corrective remonstrance they go in the container.  I sometimes wonder if the dating apps with their ‘vital questions’ of religion, gender, and smoking preferences should include ‘what do you like to put into the kitchen counter container’ and ‘how well you load the dishwasher’.  For us it is too late.  Someone should have asked a few logical questions when he met me. Meanwhile we have the dishwasher puddle to deal with.

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*Brother #4 tells me his wife has repeatedly shown him how to properly load the dishwasher to no avail. He is no longer allowed to do so. I’ve often wondered if he didn’t do this on purpose, the dirty shriver.

**Does this make me a ‘top’ or a bottom”?

Spo-note:  after I composed this one I thought to expunge the first paragraph, but I decided to keep it in.  It is more interesting to see my train of thought.

Sometimes I have an urge to write despite not having anything upon which to compose. This feels similar to scratching an itch that isn’t really there or wiping a spotless counter.  I’ve learned if I just start scribbling something (or someone) takes over and takes form. This makes me feel like some sort of Ouija board. Oh ye Heavenly Muses! I am open to suggestions! My fingers are whizzing up and down the keyboard waiting for your inspiration.

So far no such luck.

Last night I foolishly picked up the phone on the first ring and yes it was a person holding out their hands saying mumbo-jumbo asking for my money. It was the MET OPERA asking for our annual subscription. I am OK with this but I was in no mood for the obligatory customary banter done before they finally ask for my credit card and can it be more than last year. I was also not feeling charitable to fork over more sawbucks given the MET caved in to pressure to cancel one of their broadcasts of a controversial nature. The pressure wasn’t strong enough to cancel the opera but merely stop its broadcast to contributing members like Urs Truly, lest it ‘rouse up problems’.  Fine. Go get those extra pledges from the ones who pressured you to cancel.

I grow more intolerant of censorship even when I admit I wish it were so. It burns my beets to hear of theatres, libraries, and schools banning books and shows from the threats of some who are taking offense.  If this succeeds even once, it is a slippery slope to everyone taking issue with everything and soon there are no books, no theatre etc. Therefore I have to grimly agree organizations I find repellant can picket protest and boycott – but they can not banish.  Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, would get letters from librarians lamenting people in their area demanding his books be banned from libraries (oh the irony!). He would write them back stating he wasn’t going to come to their town to rescue them; they had to stand up for themselves. Just keep putting banned books back on the shelf he advised, until it stays.

On my list of ‘Books to Read” up next is “The Last of the Mohicans”. Last night, hearing about another protest over the book “Heather has two mommies” I shall skip ahead of the list to read “The Satanic Verses”, preferably in public.

Why-banned

 

The entry titled “I can’t do it” was a bit of fun which was well received. Here is a spin-off: things I won’t do. These are not impossible but matters I refuse to do.

Put ketchup on eggs.

Vote The Trump Party nee The GOP.

Drink milk straight from the plastic container.

Take the MOC ‘Maintenance of Certification”. This is a highly contentious new certification process where physicians must take a test every 5-10 years to keep their status as ‘Board Certified’. The test is obscenely expensive, time consuming to study and prepare for, and it shows NO evidence this makes for better doctors. All doctors have to do Continuing Medication Education anyway, so WTF?  It is considered a money-racket, with the threat to ‘remove your BC status’ if not done.  Right now there is a doctor rebellion going on along the line ‘hell no we won’t go”.  The last thing they want is a bunch of older doctors saying they will retire first than do this.   Mercifully I am old enough to been ‘grandfathered’  I don’t have to take the wretched thing. However, if the law should change, I would retire early or not take it. Whether I am ‘Board Certified” or “Not presently Board Certified” does nothing to my work and capacities.  

Change a tire. If this should happen I have AAA for this; I want my money’s worth.

Put sugar in my tea. Oh the horror.

Throw out the recyclables – especially the aluminum cans and glass bottles.

Wear polo-shirts and shorts to work. I could but I won’t.

Watch Fox News. I have to be mindful of my blood pressure.

Go standby on a plane. Again the blood pressure.

Smoke more than one cigar at a time.

Plow through stop signs at intersections and freeway entrance ramps even though I know no one is looking and I won’t be called on it.  

Stop holding doors open for women. My grandmothers’ ghosts would rise up like the Furies at my ungallant gesture.

See children and adolescence as patients, even when begged, buttered up, or bribed.

Telling a man ‘I wish it were bigger” (they’re such sensible souls)

Engage in political texts dialogue on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. Oh the pain.

Say ‘No problem!’ in lieu of “You’re welcome”.

Hit the dog.

Tip ‘before taxes”.

Leave a nasty/negative comment on a blog.

Shave my body.

Ask a vegetarian to a BBQ.

Meet Donald Trump and say “Donald who?”

Confess I still enjoy Saturday morning cartoons.

Office

After a few tedious weeks of experimenting with ‘classical radio as background noise’ the Mesa office hall sound system has gone silent. I was just in the process of preparing some politic email to ask thems in charge to turn it off or even back to the ‘classical rock’ station when it happened. The quiet hallway is now quite peaceful. On the downside I sometimes hear through the walls the more boisterous therapy patients bemoaning issues of Love  but this is a small price to pay.  I don’t know which I now hate more, Journey or Telemann. Brother #2 recently reminded me The Nephews have hours of the most horrible cacophony and I should count my blessings. I have no idea who the hell is making music these days but it all sounds dreadful.

I realized just before they pulled the plug on the classical rock station nearly every song was about Love. I don’t often think of Love but what to make for dinner and what to do about the car door. Perhaps these topics are not suitable for singing but I am in favor of songs other than about Love.  In my profession I don’t meet many made happy by Love. Rather it drives them crazy. No one has ever come into my office dancing for joy about Love but many have come in to cry about it. The smitten one often is of two opinions about Love: the loved one should either devout all his/her life to the smitten one or should drop dead. I don’t hear this in the classical rock station songs. Sometimes they admit Love is over and now it’s time to move on with dignity after conveying they have made complete fools of themselves on social media.  They don’t sing about that either.

I am on pins and needles waiting to hear if the office music remains off or goes back to the Scylla and Charybdis of rock and roll vs. classical music or it goes on to some new sort of horror-show.  I suggest if we merely want sound to drown out the lamentations of the smitten ones we try some sort of new-agey sort of songs, which are easily dismissed and they never have Love in them.

Viking Horns 2  I seem to be developing “Norwegian tendencies”. This is a combination of gloom and no-nonsense seriousness. I find it fascinating after countless generations of living outside the fiords my ancestral archaic bubbles up so readily. I dare say it is the latitude that does it – that and Lutheranism.  All and all Christianity has had quite a detrimental effect on the psyche of the Scandinavians. It is hard to imagine such somber souls were once the boisterous pagans as represented by The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. 

I blame Henrik Ibsen. Mr. Ibsen is a throughly gloomy fellow, the original Danish Debbie-Downer.  The man is brilliant playwright but nothing goes right in any of his plays. I’ve been recently watching various versions of “Hedda Gabbler” – particularly the ending. There is a Lutefisk leitmotif throughout his work one can not escape the Life’s yokes.  I think today’s headlines and USA politics make Ibsen even more apt and applicable.  I’ve given up reading the news for awhile as it is all too depressing. Ibsen seems a picnic in comparison.

 

I suppose I could turn off CNN, Huff Post, AND Ibsen plays on Youtube to cheer up.  If I need to indulge in Scandinavian shenanigans I could ‘lighten up’ with “Miss Julie” or “The Seventh Seal”.* Perhaps I should just order a Grandiosa Pizza and break out a copy of “Pippi Longstocking’. Just avoid trolls either in literature or on-line.  

 

*I hope some Spo-fans catch on. 

We have just returned from a weekend holiday to Lake Havasu AZ, where the London Bridge is located. It was rawther fun walking across this bridge, touching the stones and imagining the generations of British citizens who have walked over it between 1831-1963.*

It’s Sunday afternoon. The laundry to going. There is a slight melancholy feeling in the air, the sort one feels after returning from a holiday and/or on Sunday evenings knowing the work week is waiting. It’s funny to feel ‘sad’ on Sunday afternoons for it they are one of the few times when I don’t feel the urge to do anything.  I wish it were more ‘zen’ than the sense of merely counting down the hours until bed time. This has always been so going back to grade school where Monday’s approach tainted Sunday just enough to make it moody. I suppose it will always be so until and if I retire when Monday is no longer equivocal to obligation.

We pick Harper up from the kennel in a few hours; she is always blithe to come home. Usually she goes right to sleep as if she’s been up all weekend (partying? the noise of the kennel?) I may join her in her Sunday siesta rather than go poking around the house looking for something to do. When in doubt get horizontal –  especially if it is next to a warm and furry four-foot friend. 

The week ahead doesn’t look to have anything good or bad but more of the same: work, exercise, read, write, and a few new podcasts.  I lead a dull life – but not a bad one. We enter the heat of summer where the daily temperatures readily hit 40C and above.  There isn’t an urge to do anything but estivate. Such is Sunday in the Southwest in the Summer.  

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*We also went to a local goodwill store for the local hospice; we bought four and five dollar shirts that are the height of fashion. We also went to a local distillery where they make a rum using agave syrup.  Jolly good fun !

Yesterday morning at work the (female) staff called me to the waiting room. They were sorely vexed; they wanted me to come as soon as possible. I figured someone in the lobby was having a medical emergency. It turned out to be a cockroach as big as a Buick. I was being called upon to kill it. Gregor Samsa was not cooperating in a quick but painful death but kept flying and racing about. My combat skills were marred by the ladies in the waiting room  who added to the donnybrook a chorus of shrieks and advice. Eventually GS came to a boom-squish ending and I was seen as the hero.

It made me recall a time when I was leading a psychotherapy group in which the members began discussing gender roles. Someone asked if there anything anymore that is gender specific no matter how enlightened we are. A woman raised her hand and said “It’s the man’s job to kill the bug”.

Despite living in the 21st century, one does not have to scratch deep to find the Archaic. The killing of bugs indeed seems to be the man’s job – as is changing the flat tire. I can’t imagine any man allowing his good Lady wife to change the flat tire along the highway while he stands idly nearby while the cars roll by and see this spectacle. Talk about the influence of Public Opinion! Another ingrained ‘man’s job’ I don’t see going out of fashion time anytime soon is the notion of ‘women and children first’ in a disaster.

It gets down to the ‘reality’ the man is more expendable than the woman; after he’s sired some kids he’s more or less useless unless there is danger, whether from sinking ships or fetid 3 inch long cockroaches.

Men can take some comfort knowing at times of dirty work they are still wanted – nay, required – to rise to the occasion and save the day.

When I was a boy one of my favorite games was “Masterpiece”. It was a board game based upon the same principles as ‘Monopoly’. The difference is  in this one you buy paintings instead of houses and hotels.  There were twenty-four paintings in total. After countless plays I grew quite familiar found of them, although I never learned all their titles. Later in life I realized they all reside The Art Institute of Chicago. * I don’t know if the game was purposely trying to get one to ‘appreciate art” but it worked for me.  Thanks to ‘Masterpiece’ I developed a lifelong appreciation of art museums. I still enjoy learning about art, especially of which I am not familiar.

I recently did on-line research to locate the twenty-four paintings to (finally learn their names and their painters.

Just for the fun of it, I present to you some of the paintings from Masterpiece – along with docent narratives I made at ten years old. I hope I don’t give Laurent chest pains.

 

This painting is titled “Madame Green Face”.  There is a lot of ugly people in this painting but it’s so cool. 

 

This guy doesn’t know how to paint portraits it’s all jumbles.

 

I could do this one.

 

And this one too but it’s prettier.

 

This is real painting. I don’t know why people don’t paint stuff like this anymore.

 

This is soooo cool! I just love it!

 

We have something like this hanging at home in our living room. Mother says it is a ‘Monet’. I think Monet is French for the style of painting which is dabbing and not drawing straight lines. I was disappointed to find out our Monet isn’t real but a copy. I think I will get Mother a real Monet for Christmas this year. 

 

How did the food stop from going bad ? I guess the painter had to paint real quick. 

 

This one was painted by a woman! I didn’t know they had women painters!

 

People painted different back then.

 

This one looks like a photograph.

 

We have a picture of John the Baptist too, but ours got more trimmings.

 

This one is another way cool awesome painting although it looks scary too.

 

Landscapes are boring.

 

*Oh to go back to Chicago and spend an day at the AIC in a scavenger hunt to see all 24 in real life ! Yes I must do this and soon.

Here is a little list of impossible matters. Despite time and trial I can’t do them.  Some are embarrassments; most are mere resignations of matters never to be.  I’m sure certain Spo-fans will write telling me to ‘keep trying’ but alas it is feckless.  

Whistle.

Operate the TV entertainment system.

Throw a ball.

Understand ‘violence as entertainment”. 

See a spider without going into hysterics. 

Make a decent onion soup. 

Remember the difference between Linda Ronstadt and Pat Benatar. 

Hit a high C. 

Roll my tongue.

Eat rats a Tewkesbury 

Eat just one potato chip

Eat in peace without Harper begging for something. 

Properly spell without spell-check < chandelier; medieval; calendar; prejudice.

Sit through Die Walkure without falling asleep at least once. 

Vote Republican.

Drink coconut-based cocktails.

Remember where I last put my keys.

Smoke more than one cigar at a time.

Go fifteen minutes without checking my cellphone.

Finish reading “Stranger in strange land” 

Remember the day Brother #4’s birthday. 

Feel it isn’t my fault when I don’t hear from someone in a long while. 

Drive a stick-shift.

Sit still.

Understand the rules of football. 

Remember who won of The Thirty Years War. 

Listen to “Don’t Stop Believing”.

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