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th    Someone and I have been invited to a party. I can’t remember when we last went to one. To be specific, it is the gala dinner our friend DougT has every year in Hyde Park, Chicago at the ‘butterfly museum’. He and his partner AKA The Wild One are putting together a table of twelve. The thoughtful dear asked us to attend and we said yes.*

This soiree requires a tuxedo. I own one; it resides in a bag in the back of a closet. I better try it on now for size. I recall it was purchased when I lived in Chicago, which is 17 years ago if it’s a day. Someone will point out even if it fits it will be ‘outdated’ and there will be talk. He has a point. I better rent one as he always does.

I am not fond of tuxedos; I associate them with blackjack dealers.  Wouldn’t it be jolly good fun to appear to the fundraiser in top hat and tails rather? I think so, but this may be showy and outdoing the host, which would be tactless.  Someone is very fond of tuxedos; he will no doubt insist we rent and he will tell me where to do this and when and what I should get.  I’ve learned it’s no good trying to find one myself or even get a tux ‘in which I look good’ or feel comfortable so I might as well go with the latest fashion. For me it is darned near impossible not to look like a waiter while wearing one.

I think there is an indirect task to this assignment other than filling chairs at the “A” table: bedazzling the elderly lady museum patron donors to put out as it were. I can be very charming this way. Anything to help out. Even if it means putting on a penguin suit. I just better get that pizza for my pains.

Spo-fans:  do you own or rent a tux? 


*I hope by early May the faraway kingdom of Chicago has warmed up sufficiently to melt off the snow (it could happen). Our investor at ML resides in Chicago. We will have a ‘hot date’ with him to go over our finances.  What I am most looking forward to on this trip is not the dinner or the finances but is getting a proper king-size-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown deep-dish style Chicago pizza.  I doubt the butterfly dinner will be serving such.


The blog is at a standstill.  There was a massive sudden strike on Wednesday. The Muses, The Fates, The Norns, The Graces  – even the The Skanks –they all walked out and are picketing outside of WordPress.  They are carrying angry signs of protest saying the world is rulled by dopes and unfair wages and working environment conditions.  The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections  (predominately male and charm-free) are conducting  the negotiations  like a third-world dictator  during an unpopular strike.  It’s rather ugly and the details are not worth mentioning.  The harridans actually locked me out of my own blog by changing the password!  (hence why I haven’t been writing). I am caught between two archetypal groups neither showing signs of backing down.  Needless to say I haven’t a clue what to write.   Patience please and don’t cross the picket line, The Furies are mean drunks.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day which is unfortunate it falls on a Saturday. Usually I wear to work my green bow tie and I play Brian Baru’s March in the halls, all  for the fun of it. I don’t see any point in wearing green today as I am Home Alone and doing chores.  Someone had to work today, so I made him wear the St. Patrick’s Day bow tie.  Out of my 32 great-grandparents not one of them is Irish so I will ‘celebrate’ with a snort of Teeling and read Yeats.  That’s good enough Irish for me.

I do hope The Archetype Ladies Union finishes its strike soon and gets back to work providing me with something interesting upon which to write.  I wasn’t even aware The Muses et. al. received wages for putting notions into the inner-recesses of my pumpkin, which may be the problem.  As for the working environment, what do you expect from a bunch of bellicose Vikings who don’t trust bathing? I am on their side of the strikers on this one. I would like someone, anyone, to come in and tidy-up the Boardroom which hasn’t seen soap since the Middle Ages from the looks of it.



Another St. Patrick’s Day tradition for me is the annual post of this handsome leprechaun.  I’ve been trying to catch him for years, but  not for his pot of gold.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections sent an email this morning commenting on the recent ‘ratings’ viz. plenty of comments, many of them from stalkers and newbies.  In summary they are pleased as Punch.  As is sometimes the case when they are happy they  a) stop threatening bodily harm and b) give me imperial tidbits. Along with the email I got a bag of small brown seeds with the card with the run ‘enjoy’. Turns out they are mustard seeds for my boar meat.  Mustard is the oldest condiment that I am aware; there is evidence it’s been used for eons. Who knew The Ancients wanted some ‘umph’ to their dishes?*

I love me some mustard.  Someone is quite content to consume bright yellow French mustard (when he uses any mustard at all) but not Urs Truly.  My soul swoons at the number and variety of available mustards to try. The house mustard is Dijon, but I’ve heard rumors the French have several they aren’t sharing with me.

712M-+luxqL._SY606_If America has French yellow and France has Dijon what do the Brits have? I discovered yesterday Colemans mustard, which is apparently concludes the trinity. Who knew? When I went running into the other room to share my revelation Someone rolled his eyes in that way that means ‘Oh please everyone knows about that” and “where have you been all these years?”  I am hellbent on getting me some Colemans as quickly as possible. I wonder if there is any available at Albertsons?

While snooping about the WWW for “English mustard” I discovered “Tewkesbury mustard”. My eyes widened; my face was suddenly lit with joy like that of a brilliant sunrise.  Spo-fans know the town of Tewkesbury is known for two things:

  1. a famous battle 
  2. inedible rodents 

Who knew they also made mustard? I am fairly certain the brand is not available in the local Arizona grocery, but perhaps at the Fish&Chips shoppe in town where they sell British bits like digestive biscuits and IrnBru. If not, I may have to write the Lord Mayor of Tewkesbury to send me some as soon as possible – or just order some on line.

I may have to modify my expression “Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury” to “Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury without mustard”.   With a dab of proper mustard I could eat anything – Tewkesbury rats included – with relish.



*Fun fact: In ‘Macbeth’ when the witches are making their brew, they are using mostly herbs and plants with funny nicknames. I recently learned “Eye of Newt” is an old word for mustard seed.  Can you imagine? The dears are adding mustard !

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections tells me Spo-bit entries look bad if there are less than five bits but are tedious if there are more.

1- Hurrah! My blood pressure has backed down to 130s/70s-80s! I believe this is due to the new (and 4th) medication. As the 1-3 were a bust, I hope The Good Doctor sees sense to drop the feckless things and let me just use the efficacious new-comer. Patients tend to accumulate useless medications like old cottage cheese containers. Who needs them?

2- I am anxious to read blogs this afternoon as I have a sensation I have ‘missed something’ while I was away at work. The Wonder Receptionist left for a better job. Her replacement is ‘learning the ropes’ to put it charitably. I hope in time she gets things right. It’s been a rough week.

3- Someone and I attend a local performance of “The Barber of Seville”. Rossini is not my favorite. He tends to link aria after aria with a bit of plot in-between them. There is a new bartender at the opera who knows how to make a decent manhattan. He is a godsend for I don’t think I want to sit through hours of can-belto entirely sober.

4 – It’s now warm enough to have the doors and windows open. The former is a relief that I don’t have to get up every few minutes to let the dog in or out depending on which wrong side of the door she is present.

5 – Daylight Savings Time starts or stops tomorrow I forget which. Here in Arizona we don’t do no stinking DST. You would think this would make life simple but it doesn’t. I can never remember if we are on the same time as California or New Mexico let along thems on the east coast. Every six months it feels Arizona is pushed off by either state like the last-picked man on a grade school kickball team pick. ‘Here, it’s your turn – you take it!”

The Board of Directors etc. says that’s five, So I will stop here and go read some blogs and see how everyone is doing. 



Spo-fans (the depraved ones anyway) have wanted for years for me to disclose some of my dark side. They long to go into the dankest corners of my cranium to see the lurid, licentious, and vile desires of Urs Truly.  The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections would sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than have it so, but this one slipped the censors – probably because they don’t find anything dirty or wrong with severed heads.  I hope the satiates some appetites. Now lay off. 

Whenever I am down in the dumps I merely have to turn on a recording of “Salome” by Richard Strauss and this invariably cheers me up. This is quite morbid as there is nothing cheery about the opera. Far from it! Salome is the most depraved, disturbing ninety minutes of pathology I can think of. I suppose it is the operatic equivalent of watching a really trashy reality TV family doing stupid awful things and shuddering at the delight of their depravity – all set to absolutely gorgeous music (mostly in E-flat).

For thems who don’t know the tale, “Salome’ is based (albeit loosely) on the Bible story of a young princess named Salome who dances for King Herod, who foolishly promises her anything as a reward. What she ask for is the head of John the Baptist. Trapped by his oath he obliges her. This minimal outline allows the reader to wonder what on earth were they thinkin; it certainly allowed Richard Strauss to come up with a humdinger of a sordid story. There is no intermission but 90 minutes nonstop degenerate depravity set to chromatic music (oh how jolly!).  Just about every character is disgusting or a psychopath,  ranging from the superstitious wicked old screw Herod who lusts after his niece Salome to Salome herself, who seems to have snapped a tether by play’s end.  All she wants really is to kiss the prophet on the mouth. When she doesn’t get her way, she dances the dance of the seven veils and Herod creams his pants. She demands John’s head and there is no changing her mind not for love or money.  The executioner is called and you think that would be the end of things, wouldn’t you?

The executioner presents Salome with the head of John.

Someone needs to explain to me why the executioner is naked. 

The ‘highlight’ is after she receives mentioned head on a silver platter. She proceeds to roll around on the stage in a delusional ecstasy making love to the nasty thing. She has achieved her goal:  kissing him on the mouth.  King Herod has her promptly smashed to death for the sake of the community.

Needless to say when this scrumptious piece came out it caused a lot of scandal. Letters of outrage were written to the press and a boycott was called for and it became a hit. Since its debut the opera has never lost popularity. It isn’t done too often as it is a bitch to do for the star soprano has to sing nearly nonstop for ninety minutes while behaving in a most unlady-like manner. Sometimes the dance of the seven veils ends in the nude, so you can imagine.

Although there is not a drop of homosexuality to Salome, the opera comes across as quite ‘gay’.  It has always been a favorite among the Opera Queens. Perhaps it is the Rocky Horror Picture Show elements that make it alluring, or the obsession with body parts; perhaps it is her passion for a man so intense she goes nutters and can’t see straight (pun intended). Who knows.

“I want to kiss you on the mouth!” I sometimes say to Someone. He  usually runs away or reaches for any nearby defense weapon.

So there you have it. My dime novel delight is revealed for all the world to know.

Here isa clip of the finale. It’s a splendid watch but if you are in a hurry, fast forward to ~ 6.00 minutes and watch the last three minutes why don’t you.

Someone is doing jury duty. I don’t think I am violating any laws to say so. He has to walk around downtown with a sign around his neck stating he is such, so this is ‘public knowledge” What he can’t do is talk about the case, so I don’t know what it is about other than it may take weeks to settle. I was recently summoned to jury duty; I go for my screening in May. I would like to be on a jury but I never am picked. I merely have to start talking about myself and say the ‘P” word and I am out the door. Oh, well.

Having never served on a jury I am unfamiliar with the judicial mysteries. Someone says they have strict rules. Curious! One of the strict ones: jurors are not allowed to look up legal words they hear in court. I would be first in line to do so. They are allowed to take notes but he can’t bring them home, which makes sense of course. I remember reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ wondering why the jury members were writing words onto their chalk-slates during Alice’s trial. Now I know why.

I am proud Someone is doing his civic duty but it does gum up our lives for a while. He is missing work and he isn’t able to do his the usual things of life. I hoped we would ‘do more together’ this month – and get the taxes done. Ha! Fat chance of that! Poor thing! He comes home and falls asleep in front of the TV and that’s that. I’ve had to skip things as well, as I am needed to come home right after work to let out the pooch. Oh the pain.  However, it is only three weeks of inconvenience.

I doubt I will be picked next May, but it is worthwhile to try. I don’t mind the day off work. I sort of make it a holiday. I come from a family of attorneys, who told me to respect the law by showing up in appropriate attire. Reporting for jury duty in a suit makes me an object of suspicion in the eyes of the attorneys and my peers. Perhaps this is why I am rejected, and not that I am a board-certified psychiatrist with some experience in forensics.  🙂

Today is National Grammar Day!  On this day, Guardians of the Grammar-xy rise as one to go forth to combat ignorance, nominalization, and dangling particles.

In hindsight I should have been a linguist and not a physician for nothing floats my boat as the study of words, language, and history and neurodevelopment of such. I am also intrigued by grammar, which is the topic de jour. Grammar is something apart from language. Language is what we speak; grammar is how to speak properly.  Grammar is the study of words, phrases, and sentences. There are two types of grammar: descriptive grammar, which is rules of how people speak, and prescriptive grammar – the rules how people ought to speak.

The dirty secret of grammar is there is no ‘right way’ but mostly an agreed-upon decision what is correct and what is not.  Grammar is fluid; grammar evolves – and no one is in charge either.**  The other secret of grammar (far more positive) is the screwballs like Urs Truly who are in love with grammar are not tight-hole sour pusses who run around ready to pounce whenever someone makes an grammatical error.  Rather they see themselves as, well, guardians, who are excited about it all. The current generation of The GG are not your elderly grandmother’s.

Is grammar important? Hell, yes  – but not necessarily all the time. Grammar is vital for writing prose (lest TBDHSR take umbrage) and for conversations of importance. People who poo-poo grammar often pounce on politicians who make errors – just think of the current president’s tweets.

While grammar is not so crucial in speech and informal conversations (or in text messages) I believe people should have the ability to use it when called upon. It is similar advice for men they should have a ready to wear suit in the closet for a wedding, sudden funeral, or for job interviews.



As a Guardian of the Grammar-xy I am often asked is it rude to point out people’s grammar errors.  Unless you are an editor, a boss, a teacher, or my late Aunt Barbara, the answer is yes, it is.  🙂



**In France there is an actual ‘someone in charge’, Le Académie française. Apparently their job is to determine what words are permissible and what words are not “proper” to include in the French language.  I find this feckless endeavor droll. It would be like Congress telling the nation they can’t use the word ‘yeah’ for ‘yes’, or it is not allowed to use words like gracias.

Harper 16

I am finally tacking Pepys Diary. For thems unfamiliar with this ponderous tome it is one of the Mount Everest reads of the lexicon.* Mr. Pepys wrote a diary for nine years starting in 1660. So far it’s fun reading (if only to learn some jolly good words worth reviving) but I do feel a bit sheepish poking about someone else’s journal. The editors of the diary probably expunged entries too racy. I just hope it doesn’t take me nine years to get through the darned thing.


baku  Does anyone know where I can get a Baku? I would like one. In Japanese mythology the gods took the leftovers after creating all the animals and made a pastiche critter called Baku. It eats bad dreams. I read when Japanese children have nightmares their parents tell them to call upon the Baku to come by and eat their bad dreams. The little tykes are given stuffed Bakus to take to bed, like Teddy bears. The classic Baku from Japanese art looks like nightmare himself, but the cartoon versions I see on Google image search look like they could do the job quite nicely.

Someone is spending more nights nowadays sleeping on the couch in front of the TV. This means I have the kingsize bed more or less to myself. It’s marvelous to spread out on the bed like a Dutch windmill.  However Harper likes to sleep almost literally in the middle and somehow she manages to become ensconced there like the centre of the sun, leaving me to circle around her all night like a planet.**

Lately I haven’t been sleeping so well given the man things on my mind, having a stiff back, and the low room temperature. Phoenix has been under a cold spell lately with lows around 3-5 C. We’ve been too cheap to turn on the heat so serves us right for feeling uncomfortable. Alas it doesn’t look like it is going to warm up anytime soon, so I better turn on the heat or put on some wooly socks. Oh how toasty.

Long time Spo-fans know of Henrik the Ghost. I am sorry to report there have been no sensations of the lugubrious fellow in what feels like over a year –and who can blame him for staying away? With Someone’s TV on at night and The Great Courses singing an ersatz lullaby in the east wing I suspect the noise is too much for the old fellow.  We recently had a pleasant middle of the night rainfall which sounded quite sonorous but not enough to entice Mr. H in for a drop-by. In contrast The Cup Fairies were quite active in the storm; by morning several half-consumed cups had appeared and been moved about.  No wonder I can’t sleep.



*Some others: Ulysses by Joyce; War and Peace by Tolstoy; The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon.  Oh the pain.

**Like Mars I sometimes go retrograde. Both celestial movements portend disaster.

I haven’t done a ‘Random Thoughts’ entry in awhile, so here it goes……..

I am pleased as Punch to announce my blood pressure is improving. Tonight I registered 160/80; last weekend it was 200/110.  I attribute this to virtuous living and the amlodipine.  I still have to get an ultra-sound of the kidneys to rule-out renal arterial stenosis. That’s for Friday.  Whether it’s funny or not I will get you a full report.

insanity  It’s raining in PHX which means the roads are chaos. Arizonians drive in mild rain as well Southerners in a one inch snowstorm: pandemonium.  Since nearly everyone who lives here came from somewhere else, you would think we could maneuver inclement weather.  Not so.  Best to just stay home after the rush to Albertsons for the milk and bread and toilet paper.

Someone keeps buying bags of shredded cheddar cheese for reasons uncertain. It may be I never find out what it is for as I tend to eat them before he gets to them. Then he buys more and the cycle reports in a sort of diary Sisphysus.  Harper is crackers for cheese; she senses an opened bag of cheese clear across the house and promptly shows looking up like something out of those pathetic “Save the Children’ commercials.  Someone tells me not to give her any cheese but you try telling that to a dog that is laying on the guilt. I tell him a simple solution is not to buy any more but oh never mind you get the picture.

I may have to break down and hire a tutor as my Spanish lessons on Duolingo are not progressing. By now I can read and translate Spanish at an elementary school level, but I have can hardly speak or ask for a pencil or do you have any red shoes today.  Perhaps I can employ un nino bonito but I then I will be hardly likely to wrap my own tongue around past verbs.

Insanity  Podcast Updates!  It seems every time I trim down my podcasts load new ones creep in to replace the ones discarded.  My latest find is ‘TWIP’ – This Week In Parasitism.  Two scientists give fascinating lectures on various worms (all very nasty).  For biologists they have an Attic wit and a lovely sense of humor. The opening music of the podcast is the theme from “Halloween”.   ‘The Mental Illness Happy hour’ is good albeit lengthy. ‘ LA Theatre works’ is presently doing Steel Magnolias which is jolly good fun although Someone seems to know all the words and he jumps cues.  ‘Imaginary Worlds’ did a good job this week with Dr. Who on why it isn’t a good idea to hitch are ride with The Doctor and become his travel companion.  I would rather face wormholes in space than worms in the intestines any day.

sick-bearThe Board of Directors is pleased as Punch at the outpouring of comments in the recent entries. They love comments (greedy gannets that they are).  In gratitude they sent me a large Grandiosa Pizza ‘with anchovies’ although I’m pretty sure the large silver smelly white fish they are calling anchovies are actually pickled herring.

I am staying home from work today as Sunday was hell. I woke that morning to a migraine-like headache that lasted the whole day.  BP readings were around 200/100-110. SIL #3 (an ER physician) confirmed going to the ER would accomplish nothing for the headache was likely the new BP Rx ‘kicking in’.  Motrin and ASA and Tylenol – and lots of them – were consumed.  I found a few Ativan tablets ‘in case of emergencies’ ; a half tablet was enough to take down the anxious edge of worry that any minute I was going to snap a tether and my brain would explode.

I haven’t eat anything x 36 hours, much to the chagrin of Someone. Whenever I am sick my appetite goes to zero; even the thought of food, any food, makes me nauseated.  Someone believes I should cram eat; I won’t. He gets cross and then leaves me alone. His style is from The Ratched School of Nursing.  We both stay home today which may be tense.

Happily this morning I woke to no headache. The mild fever and chills aren’t happening either. Best yet – the morning BP was 160-90! Perhaps I am not going to burst a brachial after all!  If I have the strength I may try to tackle some of Sunday’s tasks I could not do. The house is a mess; homework needs doing; taxes need prepping. Or not. Probably I should just do nothing and let my arterioles relax after months of intense tightening. I would dearly love a cup of tea. I may defy doctor’s orders and make a cup albeit a weak one while Ratched  has his back turned.

Update:  today’s BP reading is 160/80 !! Let’s hear it for the common-sense notion to just reuse something that was working !

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