You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2022.

What’s top of my mind: My physique. In brief I am not happy with it. From head to toe there are many matters that need repair and improvement. I am trying to be more regular in my weight-lifting to prevent sarcopenia and general wuzziness. Eating at night needs desperate attending to. I’ve added a few new stretches to my routine, including something called the scorpion stretch. It is supposed to be very good for the back and thighs. My first attempt was rawther embarrassing as I hadn’t thought things out so I am practicing this one at home now lest there is further fuss at the gym.

Tip: please remember to wear snug undergarments when performing this one.

Where I’ve been: The timeless lands of Erewhon. Spo-fans may remember my lifelong art project to but into a single map all the mythical and legendary places, things, and beasts there are. Whenever I learn of something, I jot it down in my grimoire and later insert it into Erewhon. After a long hiatus I recently got out my notes and sketches to work on it some. It’s quite a collection by now and I am having troubles finding space for everything. I may have to revamp the basic structure for a new lay-out. I ought to say enough is enough/no more collecting and get finish it.

An earlier version of Erewhon designed by Urs Truly

Where I’m going: Bookmans book store. I have a list of book recommendations my high school English literature teacher gave us back in the 70s. There are 19 total; I have read 13. I want to read the remaining 6.* The prices for these novels on Kindle average around ten dollars, so I want to go to Bookmans the used bookstore this weekend. They sell slightly-used paperbacks of literature, sometimes for as little as two dollars. I also get the satisfaction of recycling books and supporting a local business and bookstore. Sometimes they buy old books, but they’ve become persnickety about their purchases. They could fill their bins with my discards.

What I’m watching: Sandman. Hot puppies! For thems unfamiliar with Mr. Gaiman’s story, a nasty man meddles with the dark arts in order to trap Death but he accidentally traps Dream, or Morpheus, the god of dreams. After Mr. Morpheus manages to break out he is goes on a mission to regain what was his. Jolly good fun! I’ve only seen the first episode but I am keen to see the rest. It’s well-acted and well-shot, and the story is just the sort I like. All these archetypes running amok! I couldn’t ask for more.

What I’m reading: A furious sky. I just finished a book on the most notorious hurricanes that hit the east coast of North America. It was a sad read, not because of the deaths and damages but the fact we never learn nor does anything get better about preparing for the next. With rising population on the coastline and the likelihood of bigger and more frequent storms from global warming, the probability of major storms is more than likely; it is only a matter of time when ‘the big one” hits a major city and it will all happen again – and again. Oh the horror.

What I’m listening to: Agnes. Mistress Burghese (the dear!) introduced me to a singer from Sweden who goes by the name “Agnes”. She’s Lady Gaga’s figurative daughter, or perhaps Madonna’s granddaughter. Or Judy Garland’s great-granddaughter. Oh never mind. Just try her out why dontcha.

What I’m eating: Chicken tenders. Oh the embarrassment. Whenever I am tired after a long day of work and come home late too tired to cook, the easiest endeavor is to drop by the deli counter at Uncle Albertsons where they have chicken for sale. Recently they added something called ‘chicken tenders’ which look to be coated chicken breasts. They cannot be good for me, but there it is. They are hot, quick, high-protein, but hardly lo-cal – like my men.

Who needs a good slap: Some of my patients. Urs Truly sees a lot of folks at risk for the monkey pox, and patients who are not. I’m starting to hear from the former group that they are getting the vaccine but then go out on their usual shenanigans. I explain this is a small pox virus, and not exactly compatible for monkey pox. The old papers say the vaccine is ‘85% effective” and this is with the pox virus from years ago, not the one about nowadays. While the vaccine is better than nothing it is hardly a guarantee until we see how the virus goes and mutates. On the other side of the slap are the patients not at risk but getting the vaccines out of fear, thus depriving the folks more at risk of a very limited resource. Both ways of thinking are as old as time, but we should know better.

On my 1-5 scale, I give human folly four slaps.

Who gets the fist bump: I suppose I give the fist bump this week to The Medical Assistant. She saved me some pizza from a pharm rep lunch I missed so the next day when I hadn’t planned anything I had something to eat. She is a dear.

What I’m planning: Eggplant parmesan casserole. I love eggplant parmesan but so seldom do I get one to my satisfaction. Restaurants – including the ones who should know better – either make it soggy or cover it in too much sauce that the flavors gets lost, or both. I recently found a recipe that will hopefully remedy this. It involves lightly sautéing eggplant cut into circles, and rolling them up like taco shells in which one places a cheese mixture. Some, not a lot, of sauce is placed on top. It is all topped with a dry crumbly no-too-oily material. The whole thing gets baked. If done properly, the top provides the crispy element while the bottom layers provide flavor without too much greasy gloppy substance. Or so I hope.

What’s making me smile: Patience above! Why is this always the hardest one to answer? My Blogger Buddies. There! That’s the answer! Your comments make me smile. I smile to read comments from my fellow bloggers; they gladden me to know it is not a one-way correspondence. I smile at the Spo-fans of the regular sort, men and women who don’t blog themselves but pop by regularly to read my rubbish. And I smile at ‘the lurkers’ and ‘long time reader/first time commenters’ who let me know they are there and coming along on my Journey. Regardless which type you are (did I leave any out?) you make me smile knowing you are there.

*The six novels left to read: The French lieutenant’s woman; High winds in Jamaica; Pincher Martin; Sons and lovers; The loved one; The wind in the willows.

In Tom Stoppard’s play ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead’, the story of Hamlet’ is retold through the eyes of his college pals, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In the Shakespeare play they are non-entities while in the Mr. Stoppard’s play they are more complex, more aware and thoughtful, two decent fellows really, trying to make sense what the hell is going on around them. It’s an absurdist play about what’s it like to be caught between two implacable and zany entities, Hamlet and Uncle Claudius, with a sense of being unable to understand and unable to escape to boot. I sometimes feel similar. Several podcasts this week are in an uproar about something called Instagram. Apparently Mr. Zuckerberg of The Book of Faces it trying to turn it into its rival TikTok; thems on Instagram aren’t having it. They are howling like an orchestra of scorched cats. Urs Truly is neither on Instagram nor on TikTok, so I can only sit back like R and G, eyebrows raised, trying to deduce what the fuss is all about until I turned off the podcast. Unlike the poor sods in the two plays I can sit back and avoid the mudslinging. I do have a dread it isn’t so simple. Whether it’s Instagram vs. TikTok or GOP vs. Democrats it feels these villains will bring down the house regardless of thems not involved. The trouble with warring sides is it is hard to be neutral and not take sides. Extremists want you to be one of the other.

When encountering a Hatfield/McCoy donnybrook I strive to be neutral and apart, and try my best not to get sucked up into the shenanigans. Spoilers ahead! In both plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern don’t make it out alive. In “Hamlet” they are killed through Hamlet’s machinations; in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead’ they have a Kafka-like resolution they don’t understand why they have to die but they do and they walk off stage and we are told they are dead.

You can’t win, and you can’t get out of the game. Or can we? It is possible to avoid others’ paradigms and their rules to walk away unscathed? I strive to try. Meanwhile I don’t follow Instagram or Tiktok nor do I intend to. They can both die in Act IV and I can stay on stage, alive.

This one is inspired but somethings I wrote in yesterday’s post. I mentioned some friends are touring South Africa and displaying spectacular past times such as safaris, nature walks, local wineries, and now penguins – comparing them to the ones they saw on their recent trip to Antartica. It got me thinking “am I envious? and what does a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer tell me. Since I have no psychoanalyst or therapist to bounce this by (worse luck!) I turn to writing to sort out my thoughts. Spo

I can never determine whether or not the things that bring me pleasure nowadays is a sign of wisdom or implosion of options to smaller channels. What’s available to me are mawkish pleasures; nothing right now is ‘major’. On the positive – and getting away from judgment for a moment – what makes me feel good are things readily available, inexpensive, and frequent – like my men. While not shameful endeavors none are specular or profound. I would feel squeamish to disclose them at a disco pool party, in response to the question: “And what floats your boat?’. Here though the Spo-fans and drive-by readers may find them amusing (or boring).

Sharpening a pencil. First of all there is the ‘feel’ of the pencil in the hand, and the smell of the wood – mine are made from cedar – and the anticipation of the sharpening process itself. My stand-up pencil sharper rests upon a foundation made of rubber with a metal lever that you turn to create a suction that makes a sudden ‘suck’ sound to ensconce the sharpener to the table prior to inserting the dullard into the opening between two metallic cylinders of swirling blades. As you slowly turn the handle, it releases a ‘grrr’ sound and shaves of carbon-tipped wood fall into the plastic holder releasing a redolence that can only be described as ‘sharpened penci’l. You slowly remove the pencil to smile at the sharp symmetrical point that had been created. One goes back to what you were writing, and you can feel and see the difference this makes compared to the last sentence down that was composed prior to this ritual. *

Old books. Old books are quite sensual that they have a feel to them and a ‘crack’ sound in the spine as you open one. With old books one wants to periodically put your nose in between the pages and take in the aroma of ink and old paper. This is especially true with books you have read before; it is like meeting up with an old time friend or lover whose aged some but still splendid to touch.

Harper’s paws. Sometimes when I am lying down next to her the only part within reach is a back paw. I hold onto it, squeezing it a little. The fur is soft and remarkable while the pads in contrast are hard and firm. The claws at times are sharp making it a threesome of textures.

The hum of things washing. This one is experienced from afar viz. while sitting in the office chair or in the bedroom. I can hear in the other room the dryer going or the dishwasher humming and sloshing. Both have warmth to them as well. There is a quiet satisfaction to hearing things getting clean.

Drawers of folded clothing. My clothes drawers are orderly done with a precise folding application that upon opening the drawer one sees socks, Tees, and undergarments folded in rows and columns that reveal them all at once so I know what’s there. As I tend to put the freshly folded things in front and take those in the back out for next use, there is a turnover to watch. A neat orderly presentation like this gives me a small sense of wellness.

There are many others like the act of brewing a pot of tea.** They have in common of sensory inputs along with an inner peace. I may not be able to travel to faraway lands or attend local disco pool parties but I can write in my journal with a sharpened pencil with pot of tea besides me, while Harper sleeps nearby. I just heard the dryer is done; I will attend to that now.

And what floats your boat? What are your mawkish pleasures?

*After finishing composition I reread it for errors and was struck by the sensuality this sounds. I suppose sharpening my pencil serves for sublimation for other pasttimes.

**This one has the pleasure of taste as well.

Yesterday I watch a video on various ways to cook an egg. I like them over easy (like my men). The teacher showed how to flip it over in the pan. After instruction I gave it a try and lo! I did it! On my first try too! I was quite surprised and pleased as Punch. This mawkish achievement gave me a nice feeling of satisfaction. Next step: making an omelet, which is something else I have never tried.

A salesperson at work is trying to convince me to sign up for some sort of do-it-yourself testing the I usually farm out to a psychologist or a neurologist. Learning to do my own testing and getting patients to do it (on line) sounds a lot of effort. I’m getting to the age I don’t feel the need to learn fancy new techniques to do my job. I can’t get the salesperson to provide any research papers (other than their own) that shows doing this sort of thing actually improves patient care. I should just straight out tell him I’m not interested but we have yet another meeting next week. It must be tough being a salesman; it isn’t a job I would want to do.

I have a couple of friends who love to travel. They have the time and energy (and the money apparently) to indulge in this past time. Presently they are posting nonstop on Facebook all their sightseeing in Southern Africa. They look to be having themselves a ball, and good for them. I find I am now avoiding their posts as The Goddess Envy has come around to shake me up a bit. She whispers I have neither the resources or the time to do likewise. She’s not wrong but I don’t need her to remind me.

Yesterday I was ‘home alone’ as is the wont on a Saturday. Nobody called and nobody ever came, as they say in “Sunset Boulevard”. I kept down the amount of music and podcasts so it was a very quiet day. Usually this feels serene but it all felt unsettling. There was a sensation no one knew I was here and if I should trip over the dog and die no one would find me. A case of Kodokushi (孤独死) or lonely death if ever there was one. It gave me the willies.

I need a haircut so I will put myself down for appointment this afternoon at Supercuts. The place resembles a McDonald’s how people get in and out so. Oh to have a proper barber who leans me back and gives me a shave as well! Presently I look like The Wild man from Borneo, but I hope a haircut and a shave (done myself, worse luck) will make me presentable for Monday. Every time I go for a cut I see the bottles on the wall and fancy having my hair dyed just once some color found in Froot Loops. Fluorescent blue or green sounds jolly good fun but I would shock the patients and the APA Secret Police (already fed up with of my shenanigans) would arrest me and haul me away. This prompts a memory of reading pamphlet on the college dormitory bulletin board that said:

“Have you been abducted by aliens but are too embarrassed to say so because they didn’t subject you to a humiliating exam but they gave you a haircut and a complete makeover and fear no one will believe you? “

Aliens or the APA are welcome today so I don’t have another unsettling solitude.

24: Start a Saturday morning with some classical music – it sets the tone for a calm weekend.

When I read this, I had flashback memories of being woken on Saturday mornings to The University of Michigan fight song “Hail to the Victors” which Father played at highest volume on the hi-fi to rouse us sleeping-in types for “there’s-work-to-be-done” yardwork. Oh the horror.[1] The irony of this recommendation is Monday through Friday I do wake up to classical music. My alarm goes off at 5AM to play the prelude to “Das Rheingold” – but I shut it off on Saturdays to allow myself to sleep in some. [2]

Father wakes every morning to a Sousa march, which some classical music radio station with a morbid sense of humor plays every 715PM, thus carrying on his lifelong tradition of being awakened by a football half-time show. In our daily calls he reports which Sousa march was played that morning. They all sound alike to me and sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than listen to one, let alone at 715AM. Whatever floats your goat I suppose.

When I was in medical school I lived in a house in with other students and we lived next door to a family that liked to party loud and long into the night every Friday. In neighborly reciprocation I played first thing on Saturday morning (at high volume) the finale of Act II of “Aida”, which I hoped they appreciated as much as I enjoyed their Friday night tunes.

I listen to a lot of classical music as it is so hearing more the first thing on weekends isn’t for me. What I do first thing Saturday mornings is look about to see if Someone and Harper are there or did they go in the night to sleep in The Dragon Room (a.k.a. the guest room) where they can sleep-in knowing I will get up at 5AM anyway with or without the music of Herr Wagner.

It is the primal scream of children throughout Time we will turn into our parents and I am no exception that every Saturday morning when I could be sleeping in or lounging about in my jammies I start doing ‘there’s-work-to-be-done’ chores right away while waiting the slug-a-beds to wake. You bet your flaming knickers I do not play The U of M fight song or Sousa or anything else. Can you imagine?

[1] Thanks to this Ludovico-like technique I dislike the tune to this day.

[2] Someone’s alarm is a loud beeping continual foghorn that comes on suddenly and sounds like a ship announcing it’s just been torpedoed and get to the lifeboats as soon as possible.

For a some time I did not make the bed, done on the rationale it took time in the morning rush and I would just have to unmake it that evening. I wasn’t at ease with this though. An unmade bed looks slovenly and reminds me of less-mature times of my college days and bachelor living. Oh the pain. A few years ago I heard a podcast in which a woman recommended making the bed every morning. I forget what the reasons were exactly, but the gist was it starts the day with a sense of mastery and accomplishment.* I had a sense my life was slipping into degeneracy and sloth enough, so I gave it a try.

Now I make the bed every morning, more or less, and I confess it feels good to do so. Making the bed done properly isn’t as easy as it sounds for there are the two obstacles of Someone and Dog. The former doesn’t give tuppence if the bed is made or not. The latter has the irksome habit of sleeping at the end of the bed in the night but moving up into my space while I am up in the loo doing my morning routine. There is nothing like an ensconced elderly dog to impede the making of beds; she is as steadfast as crabgrass. After rousing both offenders out of my way I can make the bed, often explaining the rationale for doing so out loud. “Harper! We have to make the bed! We don’t want to look like poor white trash!”**

It’s not a bad habit to develop. It doesn’t take too much time and does me a world of good. Making the bed gives a small satisfaction of starting the day right and this follows into other so-called good-to-do routines like walking the dog and putting on clean undergarments. At day’s end I like coming home to see the made bed – usually with Harper still asleep at its head.

I am working on putting the dishes in the dishwasher after use. Alas, Babylon! I can’t blame Harper on this one.

Do you make your bed?

*I think there was an element of ‘what would Mother think’.

**This is what is called an indirect speech act, in which the listener is given a not direct statement to read between the lines the real intent of the speaker and act accordingly. I often talk to Harper what she is allegedly not doing or needs doing on the grounds others will pick it up and act. As Rocky says to Bullwinkle “But that trick never works!” No harm trying I suppose.

What’s top of my mind: A friend dealing with cancer. I recently heard from a dear one who was recently diagnosed with a cancer. At first it sounded ‘not too bad’ but the follow-up appointment revealed it’s not as ‘good’ as first imagined; a more aggressive treatment is indicated. Hopes that were high were crashed. During these times one wants to ‘do something’, say something, do something/anything to assuage the sense of helplessness. – none of that works very well. Only thing really is to let that person know I love them and I am there.

Where I’ve been: Tucson. My direct flight from Detroit Metro to Phoenix was diverted to Tucson due to a storm that shut down all flights hither. I have never been to the Tucson airport. We landed and stayed on the runway for a while, waiting for the ‘all clear’ to fly to Phoenix. I wondered if we were going to be dumped out in Tucson and I would have had to call Someone to drive to down to pick me up. We got the OK to take off the flight to PHX took all of thirty minutes to do. I felt relieved to be home but I also felt sorry for all the poor souls that had connection flights. Missing a connection flight and feeling stranded in an airport is an anxiety like no other. It is one reason why I give myself 3-4 hours between flights.

Have you been to Tucson?

Where I’m going: Nowhere. After a week away from home I plan on staying put. I have no need nor desire to go out other than to Uncle Albertsons to pick up prescriptions and basics.

What I’m watching: My left knee. For some time now the L knee has a pain inside it. It is not red or puffy, and it doesn’t hurt to walk. However if it bends ~60 degrees there is moderately high local pain. Squatting hurts. I’ve seen what happens to old folks when their knees go and they can’t maneuver. Oh the horror.

Anyone with a dodgy knee?

What I’m reading: An article on the efficacy of genetic testing for prescribing psychotropic medication. There are a bunch of fancy genetic tests these days and they measure all sorts of things that so far no one really knows if knowing this sort of stuff actually does anything really to better patient treatment. They don’t tell me what to prescribe or what the patient may respond to. Rather they tell what the patient may be sensitive to take. I always start low and go slow with all medications so that knowledge doesn’t really help: I don’t like ordering tests whose results won’t help me make a decision. An article in JAMA last month summarized these genetic tests (which are mostly ‘paid out of pocket’ and the data possibly sold to other companies) haven’t shown any great saving costs or avoidance of side effects. I found in one of the shrink-rags a recent article suggesting otherwise they do make a difference. I plan to read this one carefully. It looks written by someone working for one of these genetic test companies, which immediately raises my suspicions.

Any Spo-fan get genetic testing done by your doctor? Did it make a difference in care?

What I’m listening to: Hadestown. I got the soundtrack some months ago and am finally getting around to hearing it. Podcasts take up so much of my listening attention I have many CDs and music downloads yet to be heard.

What I’m eating: Detroit-style pizza. The Hallmark store next to Uncle Albertsons closed and the place reopened as a pizza parlor. One option is to get the pizza ‘Detroit style’. Hot puppies! This is the best style of pizza; do no dare to question this. As Detroit-style pizzas go it is ‘fair’ but it beats the usual pies any day. We promised ourselves to limit our pizza consumption to no more than once a week, on ‘date night’ when we both sit at table eating pizza while quietly watching a TV show neither one of us enjoys, like a normal couple.*

Have you ever had Detroit-style pizza?

Who needs a good slap: My colleagues. Many of my fellow wizards here in PHX only work for cash. Many folks cannot afford to do this and this is at a time when there is a rising need for help. This need is being filled more and more by RNs and in some states by PHDs who get to diagnose and write prescriptions for mental illnesses. The MDs in response lobby and spend money against the PHDs and they aren’t overall supportive of RNs either. Folks, you can’t have it both ways. If you won’t treat patients yourself, please don’t block them from getting help where they can.

On my 1-5 scale, I give my colleagues two slaps.

Who gets the fist bump: Filiberto’s. ~ 2-3 weeks ago I went through their drive-through to order lunch and drove away only to later realize they have given me someone else’s order. Yesterday I went in to order in. The lady behind the counter saw me, lit up, and exclaimed “Oh! You’re back! We got your order wrong!” and took down from the bulletin board the receipt she had saved. She gave me that order for free. Gracias!

What I’m planning: A Spo-shirt. Last Christmas I made a Spo-shirt for Brother #3 that turned out to be not his size. I took it back and when I was in Michigan last week I took his measurements and we went to Joannes to find fabric. He found some none-too-subtle U of M fabric to make a shirt suitable for tailgate parties and football games. Whatever floats your goat, bro.

What’s making me smile: The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. These rapacious Ragnorak-types recently voted to renovate the Heorot Johnsons II kitchen as the avocado-green cauldrons and harvest yellow fondue sets were looking worn from wear. They went to ‘Bed, Bath, and Beyond’ which they misread as ‘Bloodbath and Beyond’ hoping for some quick pillaging of kitchen knives and espresso machines, those sorts of things. They forgot there are no electrical outlets at HJ2 and worse they didn’t have any coupons. Oh the horror. Their “I want to speak to the manager” remonstrance beats all “Karen’ types by a country mile. They came back with wagons full of towels, humidifiers, dinnerware sets, and a few cashiers in ropes to serve as thralls. I persuaded them to let the BBB staff go and hire instead some electricians (or someone like them) to get the hall wired for electricity and artificial lighting. They are soon off to Home Depot to look at chandeliers , preferably strong ones suitable for swinging from.

Have you ever burned down a Bath Bed and Beyond?

*This is an attempt at humor. Please don’t write in.

Spo-fans know I am fascinated by cognitive bias, those unconscious ways of (poor) thinking that greatly influence our actions and decisions even when we think we are being rationale and impartial. I’ve written on a few of these. Yesterday Debra (the dear!) left a comment about my great-aunt, a woman who believed all weather-related damage was a sign of divine wrath upon the wicked – until there was a flood in S.D. where her people were. That was not G-d’s will as they were good people. The flooding was the fault of the U.S. government for not putting in place proper levees. It made me think of the “no true Scotsman’ fallacy.

The name of this fallacy comes from a story about a Scotsman with a conviction what defines a true Scotsman. What he believes makes a true Scotsman varies. In example I first heard said Scotsman criticizes a local brouhaha that he reads in the newspaper that occurred in an English town. He comments ‘no Scotsman would act that way’. He then reads the perpetrator comes from Scotland. He then states the man is no true Scotsman. Another example: “No Scotsman puts sugar in his tea” says our man. Another man replies “I was born and raised in Edinburgh and I put sugar on my tea.” The first man replies, “Well, no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

The No True Scotsman (NTS) is an error in logic; it is committed when someone tries to change the definition of something in order to ignore a valid counter-example. You fall victim to the NTS fallacy when your identity becomes intertwined with your definitions. It happens in a conflict of belief and data. NTS is an attempt to defend some universal claim like “all X are Y”. It does this by excusing a legitimate instance of the contrary “here is an X that is not Y.” The logical response would be to drop the beliefs in favor of “some Scotsmen do put sugar in their tea’ and “Scotsmen are capable of shenanigans just like the English.” Rather than kicking out the ones not fitting into your convictions.

Leaving the Scots alone for a while (true ones or not) I see this in American politics. Once upon a time (I think it was in the 70s) there were various GOP types, but none were accused of being ‘not true GOP’. There were varieties under the same roof. No more they’re not. Ms. Cheney is arguably still quite a GOP-er, but she’s been ostracized for being no true GOP-er as she doesn’t believe what all GOP members are commanded to believe. “No true GOP-er” would say what she says, so out she went.

On a lighter note, in high school, in German class, I sat next to an exchange student named Sheena Livingston who was from some town north of Edinburgh. We would run by her cliche-questions* about life in Scotland. She would laugh and say no true Scotsman would do such a thing. She pointed out Scotland wasn’t a homogenous country but a collection of regions with different tastes and sometimes vastly different styles, not unlike comparing New Englanders to folks from Wisconsin or Alabama. There was no ‘true Scotsman’ thinking for her. May it be so for all of us, and not just thems from Scotland.

*Do all people in Scotland know how to play the bagpipes – that sort of thing. Oh the horror.

It’s that time of year viz. hurricane season in the North Atlantic. As a boy I was fascinated with them. As a lad I had an unhealthy lust for destruction; when it was hurricane season I always hoped for big ones.* Needless to say I was safe in the Midwest and had never lived through one, although I thought it would be jolly good fun to be in one.** In time I grew out of the death and destruction phase (mostly) but I still am fascinated with these storms. They are beyond awesome in the literally definition of the word. Late August through mid-September have historically been the times for the big ones. So like always I sit up and watch the news of the weather off the African coast.

The 2022 Hurricane season is quiet one so far. I love how The Weather Channel tries to keep people glued to the set with ongoing lurid what-if headlines and pounces on tropical depression systems “we are watching this closely!”. Like myself in my youth they claim not to like them but this is their big-ratings season and without a few whoppers, ad sales fizzle. Once upon a time hurricanes were sort of surprises as we had no means to track them. Now we track their every minute move, trying to guess where they will go. I wouldn’t be surprised this is something you can bet upon at the tables in Lost Vegas.

I’ve grown fascinated with the psychology of the people effected by hurricanes. Over the years there is more clap-trap about ‘G-d’s will” hurricanes hit here or there out of divine wrath for so-called wickedness of the victims – until it doesn’t suit their beliefs.*** Some rich big-wig TV evangelist (I remember) claimed his prayer diverted a hurricane away from his flock, although he was a bit mum about the poor sods where the hurricane hit.

Another aspect (and not a good one) is the usual TV interviews of the dimwits who defy evacuation recommendations but choose to stay where they are. Their actions are seen as stoic and brave when in fact they look like stubborn fools to me. These types are often the first ones to call for help and complain when no one is coming to rescue them. I don’t recall reports on ‘what happened to these types’ viz. they stayed and are now dead. I think this might promote adherence to recommendations rather than promote defiance.

Sad to say human nature remains the same how people keep building where once hurricanes obliviated the whole town (I’m looking at you Miami: remember 1926? Florida Keys, 1935? No? Of course you don’t). Given global warming and no-stop development we will probably see more death and destruction even with the minor storms – Lord help us when a big one that blows in.

Have you been in a hurricane? What was it like for you?

If you live in an area at risk for hurricanes, do you prepare/have a plan each summer/fall (I hope)?

*Tornados also evoked a morbid fascination with destruction. Oh the embarrassment.

**I was a dumb kid. No one who has ever lived through a hurricane has ever described it as ‘fun’.

***I have vague memories of a great-aunt who thought all weather-related destruction was G-d’s will, a sign of the victims’ shenanigans. I remember commenting once on a massive flood in South Dakota (where her relations lived) that they must have been very bad to have such divine wrath. She scolded me they were good people and this flood was the fault of the government. She was ahead of her time.

Today (Lord willing) Brother #4 drives me to the airport and I am on my way back to AZ. 

Funny how four days of tending to Father flew by fast. The days fly when nothing really happens.

Princess-Goddess wanted to make a cake using marshmallows. I introduced her to the concept of a ‘double boiler’, something she had never heard of nor does SIL #3 have in the house. I sounded quite the ‘Gordon Ramsey’ in my teaching and received the compliment ‘you sure know how to cook better than dad does”. Go figure. 

Speaking of gay-uncle goings-on, I bought the niblings each a bag of locally-made sweeties. Their father told me they can do with a small bag to share but screw that I’m the uncle so they got big ones. 

Dogs are always on the wrong side of every door, the chickens are never on the right side of fence, and cats get into everything and they stop at nothing. 

After a week of having afternoon naps while Father took his, it will be difficult to not have them anymore. The ability to take a nap seems correlated with freedom.

I played a card game called “chameleon” with the niblings. I never quite caught on to the point of it. I had enough sense to let them win but the consequence of this charitable action is they think less of their brilliant uncle as being ‘slow of study’ as we like to say. 

Brother #2 had a shift with Father just before I arrived. He brought from Wisconsin a lot of lovely cheeses, which were ate with relish.  No more cheese for a while thank you. 

A final Spo-thought for Sunday: I got a proper Midwest thunderstorm! Unfortunately it arrived around 3AM which woke me up and my brain felt obliged to stay awake to listen to it. I think to sleep on the flight home, provided I am not next to a restless seat mate. 

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August 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018