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Alas Babylon! My blood pressure medication (losartan) looks to be a bust and I am at the ‘max dose”. The blood pressure (BP) is running readings as high as 200/105.* It was fine when I was taking amlodipine. Unfortunately that medicine was causing my gums to be bloody and puffy much to the chagrin of the dentist. She advised me to change my blood pressure pill for the sake of my choppers. I did so;  I haven’t had a day’s good reading since. The Good Doctor is trying a few meds of different sorts and none of them work.  The irony of this is the dentist was pleased as punch to see my mouth had improved – but then she took my blood pressure and exclaimed I couldn’t have my teeth worked upon that day due to my elevated blood pressure.** I am ready to just go back on the amlodipine and the teeth be damned.  Dentures seems preferable to having a stroke.

I’ve managed to dodge most major health problems unfortunately high blood pressure is not one of them. HTN (hypertension) runs in my family. I wasn’t surprised when the doctor discovered it (genetics being what they are). I was annoyed though this was happening when I was  ~ 30 years old.  That’s an old man’s disease!  Like many folks I tried to weasel out of taking any meds. I was going to beat this myself! I dieted; I cut out salt; I ‘zenned’.  I tried the Christian Science approach by telling my BP readings it is only ‘error’ and ‘unseeing’ it. Unfortunately it refuses to ‘unsee’ me. Every time I’ve stopped taking meds up shoots the BP and I nearly have a stroke. ***  I stay on meds and there it is.  Now if we can only find one that works AND doesn’t cause gingival hyperplasia (puffy inflamed gums).  I see The Good Doctor next week and I hope he has a solution. I am so far out from med school I haven’t a clue about the on the treatment of HTN so I let him do his craft without any of my smarty-pants/just enough information dialogue.  I have noticed ‘the bar has dropped’ since I was doing internal medicine what was considered “OK” BP readings are now the new ‘borderline hypertension’ making my current pressures a downright crisis rather than being merely elevated.

Until we can figure out what to do I am being a timorous towards strenuous activities such as dead-lifts at the gym and watching CNN. No rolling down grass hills for a while either worse luck.  I dislike the notion of looking into the bathroom mirror to see one eye looking straight and steady while its fellow has become dilated and is slowly slipping to the side like an untied tugboat. Oh the horror.

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*Normal blood pressure is 120/80.  I am nearly double this.  Not good. Not good at all.

**I have moved on to another dentist.

***Someone’s blood pressure always runs low. Whenever I take a reading at home and exclaim in pique the damned machine must be faulty by blood pressure can’t be that high Someone checks his pressure only to get something like 116/70. Stirge.

I’ve been waiting a while for The Muses or somebody like them to give me inspiration for a blog entry. No such luck.  My usual mode of operation is to wait patiently like Penelope but The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections will have none of that. They play the role of The Suitors in my personal Odyssey; they are demanding an entry now or they burn down La Casa de Spo and the garage. So here’s the equivalent of undoing the weaving while I wait for Odysseus or somebody like him.*

Looking back on the summer of 2019 I conclude it was a bit of a bust. As a boy I looked forward to endless summers; now I count the days until they pass. This morning I realized this weekend is Labor Day.  There are no plans but the usual lot of house chores and paperwork. I lead a dull life. Perhaps I will go to the stores and have a look-see at the autumn and Halloween items for sale; this invariably cheers me up.

Here’s a little story to cheer you up perhaps; it is about a good deed doing good:

A few weekends ago one of the bartenders at our favorite watering hole asked me to write an on-line review.  I obliged with the following:

My favorite watering hole.
I return to ‘X’ time and time again, preferring it to the others. There are many good reasons. The traditional cocktails are made well. However the bar staff are quick to create concoctions for the curious. The marvelous bartenders and waitstaff consistently provide excellent service and they make me feel welcome. K and R (the dears!) are especially stellar. They even know how to make a proper boulevardier! The management is lucky to have them.  Excellent drinks provided with good friendly service in a fabulous ambience – isn’t this the bottom line for a bar? I give ‘X’ five stars.

Last weekend when we went for show tunes night** K presented me with two recently purchased bottles of crème de violette and luxardo cherry liquor. These are the esoteric but vital ingredients to make The Aviation, one of my favorites. I’ve been harping on them for some time.  “X’ now can make all my favorites and I don’t have to go to “H” (their competition).  It’s the same principle as Santa Claus: ask and they bring you things.

It’s a small matter what I did. It’s nice to see it’s still the little things that make Life more pleasant and worthwhile.  Go thou and do likewise.

 

 

*Spo-fans who aren’t getting this should read Homer.

*Last weekend at the grocery store the Halloween candy already up on the shelves. Oh the horror

***I think I will write an entry some day about this dreamy and enchanted place where all the wait staff are dears and well over four feet.

 

 

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Before the Sunday matinee [1] The Arizona Opera had outside in the lobby a table replete with hats, bonnets, boas, and other wearing apparel to pass the time until curtain call. You donned some gay apparel and got your photo taken. As you can see I chose the crown. Other than Burger King paper-types Urs Truly has never worn a crown he remembers. There was no archbishop to lay it one me; like Napoleon I had to do it myself.  Ensconced on my pate the crown made me feel very virile and noble. I wanted to say to the others in the lobby arise my people and look me in the face but no one paid me any attention but the next one in line waiting her turn to stand in front of the Arizona Opera sign. 

It’s good to be King. 

‘King’ is a very important archetype; it is vital for men to get in touch with it. [2]. I have heaps of Lover and Magician energy but not much King. I’ve struggled all my life claiming my crown as it were. As a boy I didn’t feel worthy of such and many seemed to agree. One of the aspects of King energy is honor: you are seen as a strong leader, particularly by your fellow men.  A gay man has a hard time with this.  Another area where I continually strive for King energy is at work.  Being an employee (not the owner) makes it hard to touch and carry King energy. 

Of course, every archetype has its negative/Shadow energy.  Good King energy is a first among others, who takes council; he is not a dictator nor is he surrounded by yes men. He takes ultimate responsibility; he doesn’t blame others when the kingdom fails.  

Some say King energy is outdated and it should be scrapped:

Number one: this is an embedded archetype in our collective Psyche; it isn’t going away. 
Number two: attempts to replace it is ‘president’ energy or emasculate it  is not going to work either.  People who want  the King beheaded should rightfully balk at Shadow-King energy – but not the King. 

I will probably have to work on King energy all my life, allowing myself to claim it like Arthur pulling the sword out from the stone. I need not be afraid of its power and awesome responsibilities. [3] 

All these thoughts ran though my head after as I wore and then put down the crown.  It was made of some sort of foam rubber – not metal and fine jewels as should a proper crown. True King energy is isn’t bestowed from without but from within.

King 

This noble stone King sits in my office; he reminds me of his presence within me. 

 

[1] “Fidelio” for thems curious which one. 

[2] Spo-fans of the female sort have “Queen” energy – not queen as the spouse of the king but queen as the one in charge. Think Queen Victoria or Catherine the Great. 

[3] An immature or avoidant man doesn’t want King energy but to stay as Prince or Child or something like that. It is not mature male energy. We all know these sorts. These types in charge of a proper King make a poor country. I won’t name names here. 

I haven’t written a ‘word’ entry in a while so here’s one……

Sometimes when Someone asks me something I reply in a double negative using a comic voice to let him know the grammar mistake is intentional.

I don’t have no energy to cook; let’s order out. 

As a novice to the Order of Guardians of the Grammar-xy I took to heart the prescriptive rule one does not use ‘double negatives’. To do so was a sign of poor education and low class and you were a member of a bowling club and (from a mathematical point of view) double-negatives turn the statement into a positive, the opposite of what the speaker wants to illustrate.

I didn’t want no mayo on my sandwich.

Mick Jagger committed an egregious error when he sang “I can’t get no satisfaction’. Rather he should have said “I can’t any satisfaction’  which of course isn’t as sonorous or as good a rhythm. I sense Mr. Jagger (always the maverick) is thumbing his nose at his naughty defiance of proper grammar in his lyrics.

I smell a rat. As a boy I figured the more negatives I added gave descriptive emphasis of my disdain.  I was disappointed I could not do so. 

I don’t want no mayo on no sandwich no time never.  

Later in life I learned the no-double-negative rule is a relatively new ‘law’ and using as many ‘negs’ as one needed was once upon a time standard English. In “The Canterbury Tales” Mr. Chaucer describes the Knight (translated from the Old English):

He never yet no villainy no said in all his life and to no manner wight (person). 

This is a – wait for it – a quadruple negative! Mr. Chaucer is emphasizing Mr. Knight was just that virtuous. 

If numerous negatives are good for Mr. Chaucer and Mr. Jagger (fine fellows well over four feet) it is good for me.  It’s time to bring back the multiple negatives if just for the fun of it. It may not be prudent to use in certain situations but they are jolly good fun.  

Tonight at happy hour I plan to order a martini:

Please don’t put no double olives in that no time.

Prescriptive grammar rules may vary but manners are always. 

Note – this is another one of those entries that puzzled The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. They could not figure out if it was serious or a joke.  When this happens they usually just put it on a boat in the middle of a lake and shoot flaming arrows at it or they ask me to write one of these ‘warnings’ to explain it’s not serious.

We are officially in the astrological time of Virgo. This means my propensity towards self-improvement is more active than usual if that’s possible.* Lord knows there are no lack of things that want improving. It’s just after 56-57 years of constantly striving towards self-growth I think I’ve had enough. My brain hurts. Perpetual pursuit of perfection is rawther exhausting. It doe not help no one around me shares in my enthusiasm for ersatz apotheosis.  Someone is quite content at the end of his long and busy day to sit in front of the TV playing a game on his cellphone while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.  Few (any?) of my patients really want to ‘grow’; they just want their symptoms alleviated.  I see on the news the whole nation seems disinterested in improving.

I need to realize I don’t have a problem managing my time as I just want to do too many things – time to cut back. Being a Mr. Douglas surrounded by Hootervillagers is a frustrating feckless thing indeed. The Sleestak devolved so can I. Perhaps it is time to eat the lotus and just play Angry Birds. **  This weekend I could read lofty books and listen to some oh-so-educational podcasts (NPR stuff mostly) and create culinary lovelies to make Martha Stewart mad-jealous – or not.  Wasting two days on mindless endeavors while eating out of tins (better yet – take out) might do me some good.  It’s worth a try. I hope I have enough clean Derek Roses so as to avoid doing the laundry.

 

 

*Spo-fans know in my horoscope has ‘Saturn in Virgo’ which means I have a mania towards improving things. Oh the pain.

** I hope more than a few Spo-fans catch these three-four references.

A few months ago a Spo-fan who is well over four feet asked me about my fascination with rats. I wasn’t aware I was preoccupied so but after skimming through the blog-posts I see they do pop up from time to time.

Rats are the Shadow animal of our species; where humans are there are rats. [1] They are associated with death, pestilence, pollution, poverty, and strip malls. Even The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections who flinch at nothing scream like little old ladies if they see one in the Board Room. Their emotional solution is to set fire to the place hoping to be raze the roof and be rid of the rats. Like Rocky to Bullwinkle I explain this trick never works. [2]

In contrast to normal folks I’ve never thought of rats as something awful or horrid but comical. I grew up with three brothers and countless gerbils that were forever breaking out of their cages and running around the house (the gerbils not the brothers). Seeing rodents whiz around the house was common sight so they didn’t faze me. I suppose it was an easy step to translate cute gerbil qualities to their rat cousins.

Monty Python often used rats in their sketches which programmed me to laugh when I saw one. Rats were in the same box of comedy props as rubber chickens, banana peels, and fart bags. In “Fawlty Towers” John Cleese frantically tries to keep the health inspector from discovering Basil the rat. [3]  It is one of the funniest comedies ever and worth a look-see on YouTube.  No –  go on, I’ll wait.

Spo-fans know some of my favorite expressions involve rats:

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“I smell a rat”

 

“Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury”

And

“A recipe fit for the rats” [4]

 

If you got to this part of the read without running off or being sick/offended I thank you for sticking around for my rhapsody on the rat.

 

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[1] Others argue our Shadow species is the cockroach. This is reasonable. However there is nothing humorous or charming about cockroaches. They evoke no comedy and should be stomped upon.

[2] A few years ago they  brought in a cat imported from Iceland to try to keep down the rat population. Jolakottur was a huge rather dirty-smelling puss who lasted only a few weeks. I don’t recall her actually catching any rats; they just laughed at her. She disappeared one day and was never seen again. To be safe I didn’t have the meat pies that evening.

[3] Unsuccessfully passed off as a Siberian hamster.

[4] Just typing these out made me giggle.

Note: this is one of those entries slowly written over a long period of time, done in piecemeal whenever there is a few minutes repose from what I ought to be doing. These patchwork posts tend to be a bit incoherent. I don’t edit them much, as the tangents have their charms I suppose.  – Spo

My brain seems to have snapped a tether as it is inoperable at the moment. Normally it flits about like a hummingbird but not this week. Perhaps it is the heat. We are having record highs (again) and this makes any actions foolish – best to just sit around in ones boxers and not move nor think. I looked up the average age of a hummingbird: it is 3-5 years*.  It’s a miracle mine has lasted this long.

aybs

There’s been more turnover of staff at work. Currently the two incarnations of The Wonder Receptionist are two men. This is a new situation for Urs Truly. Usually I have young ladies handmaidens but they have been exchanged for a couple of male minions. The fellows are polite and obsequious; they address me as “Sir’ or “Dr. Spo”.  I address them with the title ‘Mister’ for I despise first name basis relationships especially in an iniquitous arrangement.. As a consequence we sound like  “Are you being served?”. They are Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas to my Captain Peacock. Both of them are well over four feet but also well under thirty years old and would not have a clue to this reference (hopefully older Spo-fans get the gist).  I mentioned this situation to Someone who shrugged and said perhaps they can get me a glass of water when I am vexed.

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It has only taken two years but I think I am finally having the Helen Keller “wah-wah” metanoia in my Spanish lessons. I am reading at a sixth grade level; I hear a basic conversation in Spanish and get its points. Unfortunately I haven’t had much if any chance to actually speak Spanish. What comes out of my mouth could be labeled as comically painful.  It’s funny how small talk is quite easy to do in ones native tongue but when you try to do it in a new language I can’t think of anything to say other than how is your dog and what color is your hat – hardly worth asking.

Spo-fans will be happy to know I am nearly done sorting my recipe collection into taxonomies and editing out the redundancies and the now-sounding-not-so-good recipes.**  They cover the dining room table I think much to the chagrin of Someone. We’ve not used our dining room table in years so I don’t see why it can’t be put to use as a very large desk.  I hope soon to put them all in tidy well-organized brown accordion files and that concludes that stage in the process.  Then – make them?

I had a sudden revelation last week it’s not that I can’t manage time well it’s I want to do too much.

I have such a desire to knock heads together – I can’t remember now what that’s about but I daresay it is a discreet reference to FB statements or patience up to no good or something on CNN. Come to think of it just about everything on CNN makes me want to knock heads together or move to New Zealand.

It’s noon on Tuesday and I would give any thing for a bag of nasty chips with a big bowl of dip (rubbishy is OK) but I can’t because I am trying not to eat trash so I will have a lean cuisine page 71 indeed.

*I also looked up the average velocity of an unladen swallow. It is about 24 miles per hour or 11 meters per second.

**I see I tore out several versions of Coq au vin only to realize now it doesn’t sound worth it. Living in the Southwest with all its spicy chilies has made French cuisine dull and tasteless.

iuThe men-folk around these parts don’t wear much pants. What I means is few wear long trousers other when they have to like going to work. Otherwise they walk about in public in gym or cargo shorts. These are never ‘tight’ but often looking so roomy as to resemble badly-built kilts. This informal attire is seen even in the ‘best places’: it may be a swanky restaurant but no long trousers ever. * The explanations for the fashion are simple enough: it is too damn hot to wear long pants and men tend to wear what the other guys are wearing. All the same I can’t help but wonder if there is an unconscious slowly-shaping rebellion developing towards the termination of trousers. Pants are usually uncomfortable (especially dress slacks). They tend to pinch the yarbles making for a continual need for self-adjustment often needing doing in public and hopefully passed off as just looking for something in my pocket. 

Urs Truly tends to walk around the house in his boxers (Derek Rose is you are asking) keeping at the ready some quick slip-on cargo shorts in case the doorbell rings and he has to attend to the JWs or the Scouts selling cookies. That said I like cargo shorts when I have to put on something as they are loose, familiar, and easily assessed – like my men.  I once read few men thought about cargo shorts as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ until some NYT female fashion plate lamented cargos were ‘over’ and ladies tell your men to be rid of them. This went over like a lead balloon and now they are won’t be given up without a court order.  If there’s going to be an androsartorial revolution it must be from within. I think a lot of men would vote for no pants and more kilts** if we could just publicly admit to this Emperor’s new clothes matter – pun intended. No doubt Pat Robertson (who is always seen in a suit) would bellow this as a satanic threat to masculinity and raise a caterwaul against returning to the historical and traditional use of robes, kilts, and – yes – dresses.***

Meanwhile it remains 40-45C outside La Casa de Spo and inside it is 30C so trousers be damned. I like being in touch with my inner-Dionysus who was a fellow never found of pants in the first place. My brothers and I grew up with the silly statement “You put your pants on and face the facts!” We still don’t know what it means exactly but it does convey pants are funny things and one is better off without them really. 

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*In preparation of this entry Urs Truly has done a lot of ‘in the field’ research looking at men’s pants etc.

**I want to call them skirts but we need to fight one war at a time here. “Kilts’ sounds less threatening than ‘skirts’ although I fail to see the difference. I’ve learned not to ask a kilt-wearer as he becomes flustered in his inability to tell me and he then he hits me. 

***Come to think of which some of the worse patriarchies abjure pants for robes: Orthodox and Catholic church leaders, the KKK, and members of the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t be surprised Mr. Robertson has several frocks of his own.

As one enters La Casa de Spo through the garage one goes first into the laundry room in which stands an old wooden IKEA kitchen island. The top, now faded with use, is handy to place items just in from the car. On the blue and yellow stand lives a large blue piggy bank in which to put loose change. Down the board and nearest to the door is a shallow leather square-shape dish designated “The Key Bowl”. As one can guess by the name this shallow black receptacle is for keys. When used properly The Car Key Gnomes are prevented from hiding our keys around the house. Someone in the house (I won’t say who) has yet to connect the dots car keys go into the key bowl. One often sees car keys sitting on the island literally next to the key bowl. This infuriates the other member of the household who puts them into the key bowl. This often leads to the offender wondering out loud where the heck are his keys which in turn makes the one who fixed the matter inform the miscreant his missing keys are in the key bowl where they belong which leads to physical altercations that if this keeps going will lead to murders and suicide.*  The only defense for the one who doesn’t put keys in the proper place is The Key Bowl is rawther full. This is surprising as there ought to be only four sets:

Keys to the Elantra (my car).

Keys to The Precious (Someone’s convertible).

Keys to the backyard gate.

Spare key for the front door for any houseguests and gentlemen callers.

At last look there are nearly a dozen sets on various key rings.

We may have our differences as to where to put down the keys (one of us just wrong) but we both wonder how did all these keys get there. I have an urge to throw out the keys that don’t seem to have any value – perhaps they are from old cars or bicycle locks – but you know what will happen.  As soon as they are tossed a week later we will need to unlock something only to realize the key is gone. I think this weekend I may go to Home Depot and purchase some key ID tags in bright gay colors and label the ones with recognized functions. The keys of which there is no lock (sad!) will be strung on a large key ring labelled ‘WTF”. Being of a charitable nature I will donate the lot to The Car Key Gnomes who can move them around the house to their hearts’ content. For the keys were actually use I hope to find some sort of electronic device that emits a plangent lamentation if said keys are not placed appropriately in The Key Bowl.  For a while La Casa de Spo will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats until the offender finally learns to use The Key Bowl.

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*For the sake of entertainment I’ve allowed myself one or two equivocations. Please don’t write in.

Someone thinks I’ve joined The Society of Tinfoil Hats as I worry about the dastardly deeds done by Google, Facebook, and other internet hegemonies. I regularly report what I’ve heard about these villains from listening to tech-based podcasts. These on-line miscreants have infiltrated our phones and are selling our data etc. Someone doesn’t deny these aren’t happening but takes the ‘this is no surprise and you shouldn’t have anything to hide anyway” approach. In contrast I am outraged. Deception and being duped matters creep up my neck like a hot hands. It burns my bacon thems at Facebook are watching everything I say and like and are selling it to marketers and/or the authorities. I use Duck Duck Go rather than Google and I turn off cellphone options so Mr. Jobs* and his ilk won’t gather information – on my data no less!

The internet has been overall a bust and I vote to pull the plug on it all. We should have asked a few questions before we all became connected like the Borg. Negativity spreads faster than truth. It is no surprise rather than everyone becoming enlightened through the universal sharing of knowledge the internet has allowed the wing-nuts to gather together to form living and (worse) influential entities. Thanks to WWW folks like the flat-Earthers, anti-vaxxers, thems into unfluorinated water, and the global warming deniers are organized and (worse) running things.

Another ‘what were we thinking?” hindsight is making things on the internet free, which makes it all dependent on advertising. This would be OK if they were up front about things but for their nasty means to manipulate us is Evil incarnate.

Our monkey brains are wired to take in facial expressions, body language, and voice nuances of voice as the main means to communicate.  Written word only texts and emails don’t evoke the inhibitions necessary to assuage us from going towards anxiety or paranoia. Emojis help some but they are not enough.  I wonder if the youngsters now growing up are the first generation failing to learn how to ‘read people’ in real life.  What a horror if this is so.

Next up on the Spo-edition of The Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Internet Indulgences is the proliferation of scam and con-artists which pop up as frequently as the ads. By now I don’t trust email contents, When I get one I often call the sender to ask if this is really from them. This seems to annoy some but I point out it is to our mutual welfare to ascertain it isn’t a scam. One of my correspondences has learned it is better just to call me about things – which is fine by me.

A pharmaceutical representative is coming to convince me to use a generic medication  now packaged back into a brand-name ensconced into some tracking device that sends me (and them apparently) information via the internet to tell how often the Rx bottle is actually being opened and if the pill was ingested. My soul swoons at the many objections this conjures up in me.  Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than play Big Brother watching patient’s compliance while their data is being sent via Wifi to the Pharm Company who is probably going to sell this information to someone(s).  The Other Doctor tells me when we meet with these reps to just smile, eat the food, and keep my mouth shut – and leave behind in my office the tin foil hat.

*I know he is dead; please don’t write in.  In my defense deleting something like your membership or data anywhere online is doubtful that this makes it really go away. Everything on line is permanent. If stuff  doesn’t disappear who says Steve-Wonder isn’t around lurking around like Ghosts in the Machine ?  It could happen.

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