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Fear of Doctors

My doctor says I need to have a physical, but I worry he'll find something wrong with me. Doctors are vectors of unpleasant news. The best case scenario is that he will find that my inexorable disintegration has yet to organize itself around any particular, acute life-threatening issue. He'll just find the usual corrosion and rust and cellular fatigue. The body will be falling apart at the culturally acceptable rate.

Death will remain on schedule.

He may detect anomalies that require further tests in another week or so. This will give me time to go online and do research. When you do medical research online, you always discover that you have a fatal disease. You're basically Dead Man Walking. The slightest itch or twitch is a sign of something hideous, something terminal but demonically slow.

[Someone should do a book on the whole hiccups-could-mean-cancer concept. They could call it "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death." I am calling my agent right now with this idea.]

My doctor attempts to be reassuring. You're fine, he says. You're doing well. You shouldn't worry. Go away now. Let me see patients who have actual problems. He says these things in the icy monotone of a doctor who knows something so horrifying that there's no reason for his doomed patient to learn about it. He's sparing me. It's incurable.

I'll share my concerns with him, discuss various medical scenarios I'm mulling, and he'll usually say something like, "A tickle on your left leg is not a symptom of Lou Gehrig's Disease." But then I'll wonder if he's read all the stuff I've read on the Internet. Maybe he's been too busy, treating sick people. That's the problem with doctors: They spend so much time taking care of people who are obviously sick and injured that they don't have time for those of us whose ailments are so hard to detect and so terrifying to contemplate that we can barely bring ourselves to make a doctor's appointment in the first place.

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 3, 2006; 7:18 AM ET
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A better title for your book might be The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

right, thats what i meant to type

Posted by: Achenbach | May 3, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell, life is the leading cause of death.

C'est la vie. Or "C'est la mort," depending on your point of view and grasp of French (poor in my case).


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 3, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I go see a very nice lady doctor for my annual checkup in January.

I say she's very nice not because she gives me stern lectures abut the evils of red meat, fried foods, cheese, bread, processed sugar, snack foods, processed flour, soda, coffee, and their individual and cumulative effects on my health, cholesterol levels, weight, etc.

And it's not because she insists on blood and urine work every year, and the chest x ray she makes me take every other year.

It's because she has very small fingers.
The moment I first met her and shook her hand, I knew she was the doctor for me.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I like to say that life is invariably fatal.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse


Hey Linda Looooooo. Great info there (about dogs ability to recognize Breast or Lung Cancer). WOW.

Just don't let the Bush Administration hear about this ... we will be replacing Johns Hopkins hospital with a large PETCO.

BTW, I was out cheering for friends this weekend on the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer and was very very impressed with both what the walkers did and what the Foundation does.

Someone mentioned earlier that so much more money is spent on Breast Cancer than on Colon and Prostate Cancer.... well there is a reason. Part of it has to be the organization and drive of the Avon Foundation and the women and men who have taken the cause to heart and work tirelessly to make it a success.

If you saw the 2,500 pink walkers out there on Saturday and Sunday winding their way from the Kennedy Center to Kensington Maryland and back, please note that they raised about 6 million dollars on this one effort through their pledges. 40 miles over two days starting with 26.

Funny, some people think walking 26 miles is a piece of cake, after all, it's *just* walking! Try doing any physical activity for 11 hours straight and see how you feel! No, those walkers were in great shape. Anyone wanting to really get into shape and do some training for several months for a big personal feat and work for a good cause should look into the walk for next year!

(oh, yes, Avon provides a number of grants to operational groups that fill in the holes where our institutions and insurance companies don't cover such as community outreach and care ... The Avon Foundation, for instance, supports groups that assist those in need of special help during their personal ordeal, such as groups like Food and Friends that delivers meals and groceries to those in need... so if there are men out there feeling left out, just do the Avon, get rid of that beer belly and help out our fellow men living with Prostate cancer, or AIDS, or any of those debilitating diseases that can make normal living more than difficult.)

A special shout out to the survivors and the hundreds of walkers who gave me a high fives at 19th and G at Washington Law Books!!!! Especially Team Hope and the Johns Hopkins walkers... Did anyone see Carmen Miranda and the pink cammo walkers?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

bc and Joel,

What concerns me is that they say that we will live to be 150. That means, we will be drooling more years than we aren't.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Is there a clean investment play on diapers?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I am of the belief that the Bush Administration's obtuse and fairly tortured position on Stem Cell Research is an attempt to hold down future Social Security outlays.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Not me, DM.

Live fast, die young, leave a great-looking corpse. That's the plan.

As far as drooling goes, well, there's incriminating evidence on my pillow that I'm getting at least one night's practice a week during spring pollen season.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I left you a comment at the tail of the last boodle.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Please sub "previous" for "last".


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It's tough enough to find a MD to be comfortable with and even harder to find one that shows signs of recognition when you go for a visit. I'm in the I-won't-go-to-the doctor-unless-I'm-in-the-bed-sick camp, thus, I have to reacquait myself with the doctor when I do visit for my annual/biannual visit. Having attained the age of 48, I'm now subject to the usual battery of tests, and haven't heard that I'm in imminent danger of having to lay out those dreaded final plans. We have a living will, however, with a pull-the-plug clause. I drool enough...don't need to subject my family to it.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

A few years ago, while doing field work in Peru, I had a local scallop dish (boiled, covered with cheese and local spices) for dinner my last night there. I then spent most of the flight home in the airplane lavatory, and those conditions continued for over a week when I finally broke down and went to my doctor, a tiny woman shorter than Mrs. D.'s 5'0".

She asked "Have you eaten anything unusual recently?"

"Shellfish in Peru."

"Shellfish in Peru!!! What were you thinking? You're a scientist, you should know better than that! Where'd you get your PhD, mail-order?"

Just what I love, a doctor with an attitude. But she cured me.

They were good scallops, though.

Posted by: Dooley | May 3, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Joel, it sounds like you need to drink more beer. Tasty beer. It'd take your mind off your limited lifespan, and I'm sure it's good for you too. You could write an entire book on your new life approach: "Beer, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Beer."

Posted by: Huntsman | May 3, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Also, Joel:

You ought to write a novel culled solely from that "Opal" book yanked from the shelves. Think of it: the first double plagiarised book! It'd be deriviative plagiarism, which maybe isn't plagiarism at all. Consider it...

Posted by: Huntsman | May 3, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I remember once returning from a physical and a colleague asking how it went. I said the bad news is I have a very common disease. It's 100% fatal. And there's no known cure. My boss was standing nearby and overheard this. He was an a$$. He just said yeah right, what's this disease called. I looked him straight in the eye and said "LIFE". My colleague, fortunately wasn't drinking anything at the time, burst out laughing. The a$$ just stood there for a few seconds, before telling us to get back to work as he turned to walk away. The a$$ had no sense of humor.

Posted by: omni | May 3, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday I was walking around the apartment with no shoes on when I felt a strange sensation in the arch of my foot. I was convinced something had gone wrong with a tendon -- maybe it had snapped, or something? (This isn't so far-fetched, since my father had a problem with the tendons in his hand, and he tells me it's genetic. I'm always on the lookout for it.)

Anyway, it turns out I just had a little piece of cellophane wrap stuck to the bottom of my foot. Once this piece of plastic was brushed off, my foot was as good as new. No need to make a doctor's appointment -- although it could be time to sweep the floor.

Today, while I was waiting for the rain to stop so I could run an errand that would have been tricky to run in a downpour (carting a large framed print with cracked glass down some steep steps to the framing shop at the bottom of the hill), I watched a couple of episodes of "Six Feet Under" on DVD. When the rain stopped, I was almost too scared to run the errand -- it seemed to have "opening-scene-in-which-someone-is-about-to-have-a-shocking-freak-accident" written all over it. Sanity prevailed, and I ventured out -- although I did take the precaution of wearing cross-trainers instead of the flip-flops I'd originally planned to wear, which was probably sensible given that I'd recently applied some Bag Balm to my cracked heels and things could have gotten a bit slippery.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

TBG--as a completely serious answer to your toilet paper roll question: no doubt tubeless rolls are possible. Or, more like, tubes could be made from compressed recycled paper pulp, which would dissolve in water and could be disposed of in the toilet. I guess it's just not marketable enough...cardboard tubes are already biodegradable after all, and if they didn't exist any more, what would kids use to make pretend telescopes?

Posted by: jw | May 3, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

My doctor tells me I am in good shape. I attribute this to a healthy diet. I eat enormous quantities of dark chocolate, usually washed down with a glass or two of therapeutic red wine. I consume lots of cancer-suppressing broccoli, typically drenched in generous quantities of calcium-rich cheese sauce. I follow a strict regimen of consuming numerous high-fiber oatmeal cookies each day. Finally, of course, I am crazy for those anti-oxidant rich blueberries. Why, just this morning I had an enormous blueberry bagel slathered with heart-healthy margarine and all-natural organic honey. So enthusiastic am I about good health that I am seriously considering wandering down to the cafeteria for one of their jumbo-sized low-fat all-natural muffins chock full of even more blueberries. But perhaps I should not. After all, just how much health can one man consume? I mean, who wants to live forever?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

jw touches on an important point. Without the paper rolls, kids would have to make their pretend telescopes by using the entire roll of toilet paper. If you think the tough kids call the astronomers dorks now, watch what happens when the Charmin' Space Telescope goes into operation.

OTOH, you would always have something handy with which to clean the lens.

Posted by: byoolin | May 3, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

jw, you seem to understand what I mean. But I just think that the last few sheets used (or first few sheets put on the roll) could be wound around tightly or something, but still leave a big enough hole for the dowel. No change in how we put a roll on the holder, just nothing to throw away at the end (ha ha).

But I agree that the "toot-too-tooot" capabilities of young people would be seriously hindered if we were to eliminate the cardboard.

I guess I should just be thankful that they haven't started using plastic tubes. Or that each brand doesn't have a different size tube so you'd have to keep buying TP holders every time you change brands, à la cell-phone chargers.

So, bc... what do Windows and TP have in common? Do I really need to ask?

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Joel, the very strange but oh so human thing is that if the doctor doesn't find we suffer from an exotic and deadly disease (as seen on House, ER or one of the CSIs) we suspect he missed it while if the doctor states the data-rich obvious (you are too fat, your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are too high) we think the doctor is exaggerating...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I once saw Andrew Weil, M.D., on a PBS program about the 10 healthiest foods, or some such thing. This list of foods included blueberries, tomatoes, salmon, nuts, and I think avocados and cheese (although I'm not 100% sure I recalled these last two correctly -- I might have just included them because I like them). I don't think dark chocolate and red wine were on the list, but they *should* be (ideally, to be consumed together).

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes the doctors really don't know the stuff you've read on the internet, or at least in the paper. I read about people who had not been on antibiotics getting clostridium difficile infections on A friend of mine got it and her doctor said, "But that's impossible because you haven't been on antibiotics." Scary.

Posted by: RM | May 3, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The enthusiastic young internist who presided over my blood pressure and laboratory results fled Florida because of malpractice insurance costs and because he foolishly sold the family house during the fever period of the Late Great Real Estate Bubble. They couldn't afford to replace the house with anything nearly as nice. Now, of course, there's a house glut.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 3, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The single scariest thing about doctors is that for those of us who have reached a certain age (and many of us in the boodle have, but I won't name names) when you get a new doctor for something and your first reaction is, "Why, he/she is just a kid!"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 3, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Your agent called. No go on the title. Also, someone named Gene is at the door. He's pist.

Posted by: slothrop | May 3, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I concur Curmudgeon. A college student just started working with me for the summer. They keep making them younger and brighter it seems. I foolishly asked her what was her final year's project. Of all the words she said I understood two, and they were "the" and "for". But I wisely nodded my grizzled head in understanding nonetheless.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I like the comment the labs often put on the results printouts - "Unremarkable". Uh, thanks!??

Posted by: ebtnut | May 3, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

You forgot about taxes.

Posted by: candide | May 3, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad they're getting brighter, Shriek, 'cause this younger thing has just gotten out of hand.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 3, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

TBG- no, you don't need to ask.

I think you're underestimating the need for rigidity at the bearing surfaces between the roll tube and dowel. A soft interface between the dowel and the tube will result in an unsatisfactory rolling experience. High friction (not smooth action), lots of tugging with both hands, etc.

I 'spect that it's possible that the soft roll seizes up on the dowel (particularly if the roll becomes damp it'll go limp), and exacerbate the problem.

I'm glad you're watching Six Feet Under, Achenfan. A friend loans us a season's worth of DVDs at a time - that's good stuff.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Hiccups are a telltale sign that the affected individual has been laughing. They are a symbol of happiness. That's why children get them more than adults.

Posted by: Pat | May 3, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I do tend to delay visits to the doctor in such a manner as to absolutely define the term "procrastination", but that's because they invariably tell me the latest to be afraid of, offer me a pill to buy and then ask me for a wad of cash or my insurance card.

The medical establishment seeks to create hypochondriacs by instilling fear in everyone the minute they pass through the door.

Rarely do they spend more than 15 minutes with me, and in general they seem aloof and distant. That serves to heighthen the sense of 'other-ness'. There's very little human to human interaction. It's very different from my father's practice, (he was a neurologist), and I guess that makes me sad for the medical profession and not just a little resentful.

See, my dad was the type of doctor that literally got paid in tomatoes or okra, who only asked $5 from little old ladies on Social Security because that's all they could afford. He hated scams, whether they be insurance scams or prescription drug scams. He hated insurance companies that wouldn't pay for legitimate testing and wrote his Congressmen and Senators more times than I can recall. Medicare and Medicaid drove him insane, yet he felt it was his obligation to take those programs because whatever problems there were, it wasn't the patient's fault. He tried hard, worked harder and gave more of himself than any other person I know.

I remember going to the hospital with him before church to sit with stroke patients, I remember how it was agony for him to recommend whether someone should stay on life support or if he should recommend that the family let go. I remember a lot of love, respect and personal attention. These are the experiences that shaped my life and world views.

To me, anything less than that is shallow and empty and not worth having. A lot of the doctors coming out of medical school today either have or want MBAs to they can 'maximize their profitability'.


I will die one day and have come to accept that inexorable fact as part of my existance, so it seems rather insane to get yearly updates as to how much sand has raced to the bottom of my hourglass and how many estimated sands might be left - and pay for the privilege. I feel it diminishes the quality of my life. I'm big on 'quality of life'. Real big.

Many people want *quantity* of life, but it makes me wonder why since they seem so afraid, miserable, angry, unhappy and depressed most of the time. What's the point of extra years of that? I'd rather have 75 good years of love, fun, experience, passion and adventure than 125 years of depression, boredom, fear and vanity.

Doctors today tend to have egos that make them believe they can and should prevent me from dying, not to mention an oath that requires them to disregard my personal philosophy unless I release them from all legal and civil liability. Which I have; the paperwork is ready for the if/when.

Death is nothing to be afraid of; it helps us define life, it alleviates suffering and it releases us into whatever the next ? may be. Death is not failure.

I wish more people could understand and embrace that ide.

Posted by: amo | May 3, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Chit-chat with the doctor. Assorted measurements, probing of stomach to locate internal organs and thumping various other places.

He reaches for the gloves. Me: "Time to get serious, I see." Him: "So much for witty repartee. Drop 'em and bend over."

He may not like it any more than I do. Maybe that's why his office doesn't bug me to come back every year.

Posted by: kindathinker | May 3, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I always prided myself on being perfectly healthy and rarely went to the doctor. I think I've had two "physicals" in my life and neither one was as thorough as I think they are supposed to be. I am now approaching an age where I should be getting a more detailed examination, but I still sort of feel like I shouldn't go looking for trouble - ignorance is bliss, etc. I did have a physical exam scheduled for last month but cancelled it because I am really busy getting ready to move. Of course I'm ignoring some key facts when I tell myself that all is well - a bit more than a year ago I had hip replacement surgery. The fact that I needed that made me really angry at my body, I never abused it, I'm not overweight, I've always kept in reasonably good condition, how could it have allowed my hip socket to deteriorate? After I was done being mad, I decided I was going to be as good as before and I am, pretty much - although I can't touch that foot to my nose anymore. My mother was perfectly healthy when she died a month short of her 87th birthday, except for Alzheimer's, which is what killed her. That is what terrifies me. Watching someone you love become an empty shell, someone who no longer has a clue who you are or who she is, was the most awful experience of my life. As an only child, I bore the burden alone, although my daughters did what they could. I would rather be dead by my own hand than put them through all of that with me. I notice that as a "lady of a certain age," I seem to be more aware, and a bit panicky, that the time left is shorter than the time gone by and I am making a mental list of all the things I want to do and places I want to see while I'm still up and about. I'm hoping to retire in 4 years and travel and read and learn more stuff. This boodle makes me realize how much I don't know and I would like to learn some of it.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 3, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see you here Mudge, you're not off for your nail pulling until later then. I'm sure Dr Torquemada will take good care of you. Better that than get sliced and diced by the Prostatonator 2000, ew that.
As a fellow type II guy, I have two words for you: diet and exercise. Exercise at least 2-3 times a week (an hour) and vigourous walk on days without real exercise. It greatly helps to keep the beast at bay.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"This is George Costanza, I'm calling for my test results.
Negative? Oh, my God. WHY! WHY! WHY?
What? What? Negative is good? Oh, yes of course!"

[However, "Prognosis Negative" is definitely *not* good.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

[That Seinfeld quote was inspired by ebtnut's post about "unremarkable." Sorry -- it's looking a little out of order right about now.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If someone call tell me how the brain is wired for pain and how calcium helps to convey nerve impulses there, I'd be more than grateful. Do I have an abnormality in the baroreflexes? Why would I experience a reaction in the tenth cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, to cause the vaso-vegal, or fainting episodes, that I've had over the years? Are there scientifically proven low- and high-pain thresholds?

My fainting incident at the opthamology clinic last week wasn't the first time, by a long shot, that I've had a vaso-vegal reaction. In fact, I think the retina specialist who was trying to revive me was rather surprised that I could name it. In fact, the first time I experienced a vaso-vegal reaction may have been on a camping trip with the family to Santa Cruz while I was a teen. I got either the flu or a bad sore throat that required an emergency visit to some local doc in the area. I received a shot, and remember riding the elevator to the ground floor from the second floor, and waking up on the floor of the elevator to look at people in the elevator and those outside the elevator trying to board staring at me. I had passed out on the short elevator ride between the two floors of the building.

Does this reaction stem from seeing my neigborhood playfriend Debbie Dorsey sever, right on the sidewalk in front of my childhood home, almost half of her big toe in the spokes of her tricycle when I was four? My mother came out of the house to see me passed out on the lawn and Debbie bleeding profusely. My mother claims that she didn't know who to run to first. Does this childhood incident or visually traumatic event explain why, in high school, my lowest score on the Kuder Vocational Preference Test was for the profession of nurse?

My mother and I have had the circular argument *for years* that the pain is all in my head. I have tried to tell her that my reactions are not psychosomatic but a physical response to an unpleasant stimuli. I personally don't take a lot of pleasure in passing out. I am haunted by these reactions since my mother and I fought our different viewpoints for decades.

Cases in point: The most severe reaction came after a Kaiser Permanente doc in Fremont, Calif., took perhaps a little too much hunk of flesh for a cervical biopsy. The veso-vegal reaction was severe and after two hours, they finally gave me a shot of Valium that warmed me, stopped my tremors, and put me into peaceful slumber for several hours.

I awoke from my third D&C with a nurse and a doctor in the recovery room working and fussing over me because my blood pressure had dropped to about 80/40. I had gone under anesthesia, was totally unaware of my surroundings, and had felt nothing in the surgical suite--yet, as I was coming to, I had a vaso-vegal reaction, extremely similar as far as blood pressure drop to the experience last week at the opthamology office. If fear is driving these reactions that I've had for years, how could I be fearful under anesthesia that literally conked me out?

Joel's Kit enables a Boodler to head down many subjects that branch from this topic. There is also the dreadful "putting the medical exam off for another day." As I e-mailed a friend in California last night, I am somewhat furious at my husband for not having taken his SUV into the shop since 2002. I blame him for the expensive car repair bill that we'll have at this week's end. I begged, I pleaded, I cajoled, even when smoke began to pour out of his tailpipe, to get some regular maintenance on the vehicle. No, it was only when the motor in his automatic window went out that he took the whole shebang to the shop for the valve work. But who am I to talk? I haven't had a Pap smear since 2001. I got in the car last week to go to my appointment, but my battery was dead. So, now I have a new battery and a rescheduled appointment.

Knowing firsthand how nasty breast cancer is--sis and I drove from opposite ends of the state and arrived a the same time to check my mom out of the hospital after her mastectomy since dear ol' Dad didn't have the gumption and didn't even bother to stay with her to check her in for the procedure, I finally had a mammogram a year ago February, after a lapse of several years. (Thanks, Dolphin Michael, for your post and the joke about Johns Hopkins that it leads off with.)

I am probably schizophrenic about doctors' visits--trying to balance the years of opinions in my head from a father who dismissed doctors' skills and their necessity entirely (or was it his morbid fear?) versus a mother who was the penultimate, over-the-top hypochondriac. I think it's difficult to take the time and, these days, to incur the expense of going to the primary care physician for the well-visit, the routine maintenance.

Today in our paper it was front page news and I also heard it on NPR, coming back from dropping hubby at the airport early this morning, that the British are about twice as healthy as we--with about half the expense. The radio talking head was trying to tease out the apparent discrepancy from researchers--the American obesity epidemic including the fact that British subjects may have been skinner as kids, although some are as heavy as Americans as adults, Americans devotion to work versus Brits devotion to holidays, stress in the American workplace, and the social isolation in the United States brought on by spending too much time at the office and not being able to take care of family needs. She said that if you're older and ill, the best place to be is in the U.S., raher than Great Britain, because we spend a phenomenal amount of money treating diseases of the elderly.

And geez, I feel so embarrased not fully realizing that Don is undergoing a doughnutectomy.

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I suspect thet a fear of rubber gloves and lubricants deter quite a lot of men from getting a physical. That and being lectured about their weight. That's why whenever I seek a physician I always specify that I want a chubby person with very small hands.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Linda, a very good morning to ya! And, no drooling onto the keyboards!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

RD, I kind of feel sorry for the doctor who is deemed to meet your requirements. Imagine the receptionist saying, "Hey, Dr. ______, we have a patient who wants to be seen by a chubby person with small hands. That sounds like you -- are you free?" [I'm picturing the Grimmace, or a Teletubbie, or maybe a hedgehog.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I could probably lose a few pounds, live longer and healthier if I just quit drinking beer. then I think, "What the hell is the point of doing that?"

Posted by: Pat | May 3, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I would find myself quoting a financial-news-type, but I gleaned this quote from the AP obituary for Louis Rukeyser: "The teachers we all remember in high school and college were not the ones who put us to sleep. I don't think any of us should apologize for not being dull."

I have found that many people really are bothered by the idea of a scientist who is funny. If you aren't solemn, then you aren't serious, in their view. Maybe more important, if you aren't dull, then you haven't sacrificed anything to become a socially-inept ascetic geek, which is troubling to rationalizations about not having learned science.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 3, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

All this doctor talk has been getting me paranoid. I have had a very bad rash on my chest for about a week and I decided (well, my wife insisted) to get the doctor to look at it before it evolves into flesh eating bacteria. He had no appointments Friday or Monday and doesn't work Thursday afternoons. I had to get transfered to his nurse to be penciled in for Friday morning, a task the scheduler is obviously not authorized to do.

I then said I might as well schedule my annual physical (the 2004 one, I'm going to clear the backlog before I get up to date) and the nurse had to transfer me back to scheduling because she couldn't do that herself.

The earliest date he had open for physicals was August 30. I grabbed it because that gives me 4 months to get in enough shape to fool him into thinking I'm healthy.

I have several male friends who subscribe to the lady doctor with slender fingers theory. I feel most women snicker at the male fear of rectal exams because of their much greater familiarity with being probed and inspected. I feel a male doctor is more sympathetic to the psychic trauma that such a procedure inflicts on even the most latent of us homophobes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 3, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I didn't even mention the additional requirement that the ideal doctor be a fervent advocate of red wine therapy.

And regarding the Brits being healthier than the us. I suspect it's all that tea they drink. Let's face it, tea and crumpets are bound to be healthier than coffee and donuts. Even with the lemon curd.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Multiple Choice SCC: I meant either "than us" or "than the US." Take your pick.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim: When I was in high school I was on the debate team. (I'm not proud of this...) I was actually very succesful and developed a lively speaking style. This style served me well as a physics tutor in college. Then I moved to Washington DC and got a job as a government contractor. Total disaster. I was told that I had a flippant demeanor. To be sarcastic, I made my next presentation in a dull monotone and did nothing but read the powerpoint charts word by word.
Predictably, they loved it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Geez, what a bunch of wusses (sp?) you men are.
Try having your breasts squeezed flat between two freezing cold glass plates (mammogram). And holding your breath and staying perfectly still for an impossible 30 seconds or so while being bombarded by radiation.
Not to mention the delightful pelvic exam, including medieval stainless steel apparatus inserted you-know-where and vigorous squeezing (what? more squeezing??)of various internal parts...
And we get the rear entry treatment ON TOP of all the above.
So shush with the whining.

Posted by: farnorth | May 3, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention the stirrups, also icy cold.

Posted by: farnorth | May 3, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I've only had two "turn your head and cough" exams, one from a male physician who was a family friend (THAT was disturbing), one from a female doctor (THAT was disturbing, too). Let's face it, having your delicate innards palpated by anyone is always disturbing. Amusingly, the female doctor kept a nurse (also female) in the room during the exam. I get the point, but it's instructive to be on the receiving end (as it were) of such treatment. Interestingly, there was no nurse present when another female doctor diagnosed me with epididymitis during college (go look it up).

I'm getting to the age where I will have to ask my doctor, a pleasant and (I think) highly capable doctor who happens to be a woman a few years older than me, to perform this "service" regularly. Oh, dear.

If I had to choose physical characteristics in a doctor for this purpose, I guess I would choose long fingers. Get the fingertips to the right place with a minimum of force, you know? Leave the palms and the rest of the fingers on the outside, thank you.

Posted by: Tim | May 3, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael,

These sweet lips part often to deliver tender kisses
Not to drop saliva onto my rigid computer keyboard.
Drooling, if perchance, happens in the dark of night
Never in broad daylight. You crazy, out of your gourd?

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

[This will probably be another out-of-order comment (it takes me so long to compose), but here goes.]

I recently came across a Web page called "Things in Hong Kong We Could Do Without," by one "Mr. Tall." One of the items on his list is "Fat boys":

"One thing I really appreciated when I first moved to Hong Kong was how normal people looked in terms of body shape and size. Traditional Cantonese cuisine provides a very healthy diet, and it showed. But now Hong Kong seems to have absorbed some of the food-and-health extremes so common in western countries. I was thinking the other day: when was the last time I saw a 10-year-old Hong Kong boy who wasn't a wobbly little butterball, fattened up like a veal calf by his overzealous mommy, and by confinement in school and in front of TV and computer?"

-- Mr. Tall

[At first I thought, What a weird thing to include on the list, but then I started seeing fat 10-year-old boys *everywhere* -- always dressed in their school uniforms and always giggling about something or other.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

farnorth, I have often said, and I'll say it again: I know few men who are man enough to be a woman.

Posted by: Tim | May 3, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

farnorth, you are quite right that women must endure much more discomfort and personal invasion in the pursuit of health than do men. However, I do not consider men as whiny or wimpy when facing a doctor. (In fact it is not facing the doctor that worries men at all.) Rather, I like to think we just have a natural reticence to reveal the depths of our inner sensitivity.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

And to think I was wondering yesterday about whether commenting on the finger treatment part of prostate exams was over the top.

Someone asked if there was a ribbon for prostate cancer and I was going to suggest a string around a finger.

re: Brits. I have a hard time believing that Brits (steak and kidney pie, guv'nor?) are substantially healthier than Americans, so if there's a link I'd like to see it. There was a joke that went around comparing nationalities and their dietary habits and health, with the punch line that it's speaking English that kills people.

SciTim - looked that condition up. Funny (situation, not condition). I also agree that family friend status trumps sex/age/finger size for awkwardness.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Here is the list of "Superfoods" which I copied from some magazine, carefully stored away, and was able to find. I now see it has no attribution.

- beans, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, soy, spinach, oats, sweet potato/carrot, walnuts, wild salmon, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate ---and can include grapes, red wine, green tea

sorry, no cheese or avacado!

Posted by: nellie | May 3, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

You know what, I've never had a physical in my entire life, just a few bloodtests here and there, and all they ever showed was my perfect health (even when I was feeling..., well, not so perfect.)
Even so, eight months ago I felt an anomaly in my breast, but doctors couldn,t find anything until three months ago. By that time, I knew it was cancer (it runs in the family). The diagnosis was nothing more than a confirmation.
So, sometimes staying healthy it's just a matter of kowing your own body and knowing when to go see a doctor.
But then again, any hypochondriac will tell you that's all they ever do...

Posted by: Overseas | May 3, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The main problem with seeing a doctor is not the rubber glove routine. It doesn't hurt. The main problem is that doctors are such uninteresting nerds. Spending more than five minutes with one is rather a pain.

Posted by: candide | May 3, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

not kowing, knowing, of course. Sorry!

Posted by: Overseas | May 3, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

My step-father was well-known in the family for being a hypochondriac. One Friday he was complaining about feeling poor, and everyone said "oh, you probably just have a cold."

The impending massive heart attack apparently didn't care about his hypochondia, and by Monday afternoon he was pushing up daisies.

Sorry Joe.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 3, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I thing the term "uninteresting nerd" is an oxymoron. In fact, I consider myself quite fascinating.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn! Good to see you back on the blog!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Not just steak and kidney pie, but sausage rolls, Cornish pasties, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and -- in keeping with the spirit of the past couple of 'boodles -- spotted dick.

[Tee hee hee . . . I think I'm over-tired again. Night, all.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Just wish it was a more pleasant topic...gosh what a dreadful story. I have been very lucky. Nobody close to me has ever died without warning. They have all been very old or very sick. My condolences.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Farnorth: then there's the whole having babies then, with 9 months of visits you HAVE to make to the doctor's.

Posted by: lom | May 3, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Snort - Achenfan said "spotted." Go to bed young lady. Sleep is important to your health. Yet another way in which I am Mr. Healthy.

Now back to work for me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

[Not just over-tired, but over BOOO-ing.
Do I win the award for most inappropriately timed attempt at humor? Someone throw some blueberries, tomatoes, or spinach at me.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

RD, how ya doin?! Good to have a minute of non-total craziness to stop by, but it's kind of the lull before the storm.

"I suspect that a fear of rubber gloves and lubricants deter quite a lot of men from getting a physical."

I'm fine with both, as long as I'm wearing the gloves to keep solvents off my skin and the lubricant is WD-40. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 3, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: having babies thing, not then.

Posted by: lom | May 3, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Lubricant ? They can use lubricant ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

British food is pretty good if you stick to the Indian, Chinese, Jamaican, french and Italian restaurants. Chain pub stuff though, Yikes ! Absolutely everything is fried and the only greens are peas, mashed or otherwise. Peas (and toast) can be fried as well, and they may be served with a little dispenser of oil if you feel they are not greasy enough. Scottish delicacy : fried Mars bar with Irn Bru, an orange soda that is so sweetened it litterally peels off the enamel off your teeth.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

now that hit my funny bone :)... Joel, did you take the opportunity to lick all the tongue depressors while no one was looking? Remember, pants beats no pants :) hurrah for Seinfeld.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 3, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Iom - at my pregnant wife's request, I once went with her to the gnyo. The doctor left the room and said "Please undress from the waist down." After a moment's pause I turned to my good wife and asked. "She just means you, right?" That we ever had another child has always amazed me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

My doctor, God bless her, is about twice my size and I'm not skinny. The issue with seeing her is getting an appointment. I called last July and couldn't get in before the middle of November for a physical. But she's good, and because of that, popular.

Some years ago, after having unpleasant experiences with male doctors, I decided I'd go with females for the rest of my life. So far that's worked pretty well. The ob-gyn who delivered by younger daughter was five months pregnant herself and cool with my preferences (She: What did you say about having an enema? Me in labor: I don't care, but I don't need it. [At that point, everything had already been eliminated.] She: Okay. No episiotomy either!)

When I was in grad school a generation ago, my urban problems prof said the American Medical Association is the most reactionary union in the nation. I wonder how much that still holds true.

Posted by: slyness | May 3, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I've heard of the deep-fried Mars bar, but not the drink. Maybe it got its name from the first person that drank it (deep Scottish accent: "It burns!")

Welcome back EF. Undoubtedly you were waiting for a boodle appropriate for your status as our nomination for President.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, friends. Been to the eye doctor and back. Dialated the eyes, recommended glasses so thick they need to be shaved down so the frames won't bend. Two pair, not one. Can't wear the bifocals because of the balance problems. Everything looks fine, that what he said. No glaucoma or diabetes. Now if I can just get the glasses. There's always something.

Hi, error flynn, glad to see you back.

TBG, you and those bathroom paper rolls.

Another doctor appointment next week, this one with the guy that sticks his finger you know where. Monday with the doctor that stuck the finger you know where, for women. A woman's life is tough. At least when this is over, I hopefully won't see these folks until next year. And scheduled for a mammogram next month. Gee, I'm tired already.

RD , you sound really healthy. Mudge hope your procedure went okay.

Life is good, and I thank God, through Christ for all my blessings and gifts. I pray the same for you my friends, God's blessings through Christ. It's a beautiful day here, and I hope to get out and enjoy it, when my eyes get better.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 3, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh candide, the Cajun, Catholic, compassionate general practitioner who delivered my and Mr. Nani's children was anything but uninteresting. We were two scared teenagers who'd eloped to Tijuana, disowned by my Dad until we remarried in the Church and expecting our first child. How many doctors keep a fiddle in their office and play/sing Jambalaya for their patients? Dr. Hebert (pronounced A-Bear)was handsome too. My mother-in-law came to all my monthly appointments, I think she had a little crush on him.

Lindaloo, Patty, my best friend in highschool (1950s) fainted between our first and second class every day of the week at the very same time, at the very same location. She told me that her family doctor could find no reason for this. Some insinuated that she was faking it, but Patty didn't faint in a graceful slump, the girl literally crashed to the floor. I never learned the cause. We lost touch after graduation.

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn - hello! I've been watching for you every day. Happy to see you. (Now where's Eurotrash, Shiloh and ot?)

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I want to clarify that although I don't get regular physicals, I do see my gynecologist every year. I'm sure it's because she's a woman of my age and spends plenty of time with me.
I used to faint in church when I was a young girl so I can relate to what Nani said about her friend. When you go down, there isn't anything dainty about it - head wedged between the kneeler and the pew in front, legs under the pew behind. I do remember one time a young nun being fascinated by my fainting and asking me questions about how it felt until the Mother Superior told her sharply to stop. That was the first time I realized that nuns were actually people.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 3, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

There ARE uninteresting nerds... they're the one who never figure out they're supposed to respond when you say something. I once tried to do a conversation with a guy from NIST but gave up when I didn't get more than one sentence out of him. Maybe he was fogged out on drugs or red tape.

Good debate on dogs' sniffers last chat! I have to say Mudge was wrong, SciTim, Dr and others had it about right.

Hypoglycemia can cause ketosis, which produces a fruity odor on the breath. Dogs may detect this much earlier than people can.
In fact my dog has been known to sniff my breath, especially when I lie down unexpectedly, he'll come over and sniff. "I'm NOT drunk!" I alway say. (I just fell down and can't get up...;)).

So that's one possibility. Another is that hypoglycemia can cause adrenaline fluctations, sweating, and tense muscles as the headache hits. Dogs can smell adrenaline, and they do read body language.
Also, dogs certainly can smell changes in urine characteristic of diabetes.

Dogs can also detect epileptic attacks before they occur-- but not all dogs will alert to this, what dogs do and why is baffling, but the personality traits seem to be similar across epileptic detection naturals-- highly bonded, social, likes to hang out with owner all the time, and very alert.

Hmm, maybe all those dogs sniffing each other butts aren't just meeting each other, they're doing prostate checks. Especially the older doggies.

"Hey pal, you know you have colorectal cancer going on? YOu should eat more fiber."

"Yeah, tell it to my human, I keep eating paper, and she doesnt get the hint at ALL."

Dogs have been used in medicine from time to time since Roman times.

Given that one of the oldest tests for diabetes mellitus ("sweet urine") was tasting urine...
I'd have used dogs immediately to replace urine-tasting once I learned about it in Apothecary school, or as an apprentice.

By the way, about smell and vision. It appears that primates lost their sense of smell as their vision got better, since they were able to find fruit and other stuff without a sniffer instead. The key is that we don't use smell to find mates as much, of course.

But it's not that they were lost per se that neatly-- its that mutations accumulated without cost to the person. People still do need certain key aspects of smell apparently and those are well conserved.

But I've always wondered how much people really do vary in their sense of smell.

I've been known to smell stuff nobody else can pick up, yet skunk actually doesn't smell that bad to me... at first. I'll be investigating smells that make others gag.

Yet I can get olfactory migraines from many types of floral and perfumy smells that other people don't seem to mind.

As for skunks, it takes time for the real rancidity to hit, as I found out bathing my dog after she got a skunk's valentine.

I can recognize old skunk spray outside but it never smells quite right, not bad enough to be skunk.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 3, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

My dad, my kids, my husband and I all go to the same wonderful doctor, who believe it or not is at a Kaiser Permanente center. He is smart, funny and extremely chatty and won't let you leave until he's explained fully what's wrong with you.

I feel so "small town" when I'm there with a kid, but we end up talking about my dad. (All with everyone's written permission, don't worry.) Or he writes me an Rx for my me when I'm there with my dad. It's also nice to know that he not only knows me and my medical history, but my mom and dad's too.

He also gives great "sex and drugs" talks to my son after I leave the room. My son loves them. He says they're a hoot. Dr. hasn't gotten there with my daughter yet, but I'm sure by her next physical he will.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

A French md doctor told me they are actually trained to recognize typical odors. Smell the breath for this or that armpit for something else etc. He was genuinely amazed that North-American doctors weren't trained to any great extent to do that.
BTW SonofCarl, Irn Bru is supposed to be for Iron Brew. I learned that in Embra (a.k.a. Edinborough)

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 3, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse


I am convinced that when my son was born, I could smell him when the nurse brought him into my room (as opposed to the baby of my roommate). Even if I wasn't facing the door, I knew when he was on his way. It was a very strong feeling.

He was my first child; I don't remember it being like that when my daughter was born 5 years later. But #1 was a C-section, so I was in the hospital for 4 or 5 days; with #2 I was home in less than 24 hours. I just don't think I had the chance to see.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I remember having strept throat as a kid, and going to the free clinic (we were poor-no health insurance). The doctor, who to my 10-year-old eyes looked to be roughly 700 yrs old but was probably in his 60's, took a sniff of my breath and said "yep, it's strept".

He left the room to get something to write a prescription on, then came back angrily a few minutes later and said the administrators were making him do a culture anyway, that they didn't believe you could smell strept, and that I couldn't get the prescription until the tests came back.

A few days later, we got the results. It was strept.

Posted by: Dooley | May 3, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

My shuns all male doctors because of poor bedside manner. She wants lots of explanations. I want to know what's wrong with me and what I need to get better.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 3, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Links, Sonof Carl, you want links?

First graf ...about Brits being healthier than Americans:

Morning Edition, May 3, 2006

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association comes to a conclusion that has surprised even the researchers who conducted it. Middle-aged whites in England are significantly healthier than middle-aged whites in the United States. That's despite the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person on health care.

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse


A study in, I think Israel, maybe 10 yrs ago, looked at how human mothers recognized their babies. As I recall, scent was far and away the most reliable indicator for the mothers to recognize their babies, over sight and hearing.

So, I guess there are still some significant functions for our reduced sense of smell.

Posted by: Dooley | May 3, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Another link to the same health story from the Houston Chron:

Breaking news:
Just over at Google News...apparently an 8.0 earthquake occurred near island of Tonga, with a tsunami warning issued...

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, going back to your comments about Alzheimers. I agree with you heartily. I would rather die by my hand than have my loved ones and in a lesser sense myself, go through this.

This is a public service heads up for anyone who is dealing with it in a family member. Several years ago, PBS aired a program called "The Forgetting". My DH and I saw it just after his mom was diagnosed and it was a great help to us in coming to grips with her disease. The whole family has since seen the dvd, and some of us have read the companion book. The link follows.

Be prepared to cry. Anyone who has had contact with Alzheimers, knows this, but the program is very good at helping us understand what happens next, and how this is a very physical disease. Knowing made our hearts be easier, and took out the fear of the unknown. I hope it can for any family who is dealing with the initial stages of the disease in a loved one.

Also, from our familiy's personal experience, there are parts you can laugh about, because sometimes it can be really funny, like anything in life. If you can't change it, laughing about it helps.

Posted by: dr | May 3, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

First graf of the WaPo story, everything very preliminary...tsunami warning issued as a precaution based on earthquake's magnitude--wonder what the warning system is like for the islands named in the first graf? *someone go wake up Achenfan...*

A tsunami warning was issued today for New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji and neighboring islands following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the Tonga Islands, the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Loomis! That is very interesting. I'm going to make my million flogging the Fish n' Chips Diet.

All rights reserved with respect to The Fish n' Chips Diet.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

From Reuters:
An earthquake measuring 8.1 hit the Tonga islands on Wednesday and a tsunami warning was issued for Fiji and New Zealand.

The earthquake struck 95 miles (155 km) south of Tonga's Neiafu island and 1,340 miles (2,145 km) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey Web site said.

Here are some key facts about Tonga.

GEOGRAPHY: The Kingdom of Tonga consists of nearly 170 islands east of Australia and northeast of New Zealand. CAPITAL: Nuku'alofa

AREA: 720 sq km (278 sq miles) POPULATION: 0.102 million (2005)

ETHNIC GROUPS: Tongans are a Polynesian people. It is estimated that 20 percent of them now live abroad.

POLITICS: The archipelago of "the Friendly Islands" was united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900.

Tonga gained independence in 1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth. It is the only monarchy in the Pacific.

The government is appointed by the monarch, with the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed for life. The king and the country's 33 hereditary noblemen have a permanent majority in the legislative assembly, electing 70 percent of its 30 members.

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

i'm very lucky with my doctor - i worked at a university medical center for a year and knew all the docs personally cuz i fixed their computers - when i left i was delighted to know that the same med center was a pic on my insurance and i got to pick a young male doc that i had a great repor with when we worked together. i've had him for over 5 years now which is good cuz i have hypothyroid so i hafta get my blood checked every six months (at first they thought i had hashimoto's disease but nah...) - the only problem is that he's cute so i get very embarrased during my female wellness exams.

my grandmother was sick for over 10 years with diabetes, skin cancer, kidney failure, etc (she had everything and was always complaining about everything)... she died of sudden heart failure one afternoon - went so peacefully... THAT's the way i wanna go (without all the other stuff she had, tho)

wilbrod - i'm very sensitive to smells as well (tho all my other senses seems fine - tho my hearing is somewhat deteriorated from too many concerts) any cologne from calvin klein immediately gives me a headache as well as other very sweet or fruity colognes. and, this is way weird, the smell of orange peels gives me a HORRIBLE headache! i can't be anywhere near a person peeling an orange...

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"[Alzheimer's] is more painful than many people can even imagine, but it is also perhaps the most poignant of all reminders of why and how human life is so extraordinary"
-- David Shenk

Posted by: dr | May 3, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

BOOO: The Brit health thing is interesting, not the earthquake, which is also "interesting"...oh forget it.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl, Nani, Cassandra, thank ya, thankya verrry much!

And while I'm sure it will make no difference at all to my presidential aspirations, I did in fact become an ordained minister in the meantime. (It's amazing what you can do with $30 these days. Nifty bumper stickers too.)

Unfortunately there was already a Rev. Error (really!) so I went by my actual name. Phonetically, it comes out as "Rev. ARRRRRR".

See ya again soon...

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 3, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Dr, regarding laughing and Alzheimer's, one of the things I remember vividly from the support group I was in at the time is that Alzheimer's patients tend to remember the emotion long after the "why" of it is gone. My younger daughter was especially good at getting my mom laughing about something silly. One small simple pleasure was in knowing that she would be happy for a while after we left the nursing home. And once in a while she did say inadvertently funny things, and thankfully, she never became cross or hard to handle, as many of them do. The nurses told me, after mom died, that she was "a lady" to the end. I'm gonna cry here at work if I don't stop this.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 3, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

dr, a dear friend's elderly husband suffered from Alzheimer's to the point that, even tho they'd celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, he no longer recognized her. June needed to work, so each workday morning she'd take him to a day care center for Alzheimer's patients and then pick him up each evening and take him home. He didn't like the arrangement much and every morning when she drove up to the center, he'd say "I'll just wait in the car." It broke her heart a little bit. Then one morning, he sat looking at her quizically for awhile then asked "Say, aren't you June Halligan?" "Why yes!" June replied. He said "You look pretty good, wanna go dancing?" That just made her day!

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

From the British Mail and Guardioan Online:

A small tsunami was generated off the Pacific islands of Niue and Pago Pago following an 8.0-magnitude quake in Tonga, but the threat to New Zealand and Fiji was subsiding, United States monitors said on Wednesday.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, which issued a warning following the 8.0 temblor that struck at 4.26am local time on Thursday (3.26pm GMT on Wednesday), said a half-metre tsunami welled up in the Pacific but that it did not appear to be destructive.

Now the humorous part--sometimes the fear'll do ya more harm...:

There were few early reports of injury or damage in Tonga, although a hotel guest hurt his leg when he jumped from a third-floor window.

"He was the only tourist injured. He jumped from his room, maybe he was afraid," said William Vea, the night receptionist at the Pacific Royale hotel.

Posted by: Loomis | May 3, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Tim mentioned the passing of Louis Rukeyser. I've worked for Lou for almost 14 years now. He's been sick for the past 3 and hasn't been really a part of our day-to-day business since then, but I still feel strangely sad, like a family member has died.

He was personally very much like he seems on the air. His standards were high, and I think we lived up to them. I guess I can only say that it's truly the end of an era for me.

Anyway.. I felt funny not sharing that with you all today. I mean if Mudge can share his toenail issues with us...

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Linda, sorry, I am a nutcase. A fruit. I am certainly an unstable element in a boodle.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

mo, I'll make sure they take the duck a l'orange off the next BPH menu...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 3, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the BHP...I really want to go, but I ALSO really want to go to the Pearl Jam show that night (at least, I think they're the same night).

Decisions, decisions.

Posted by: jw | May 3, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I missed the news, that is terrible. AND, I really understand your loss. LR was one of the icons of the business. He may have actually created that business for all I know. My heart goes out to you.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 3, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

TBG, my condolences.

Mudge, I hope everything went well.

jw, why not both?

Ach, bach to work.


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I was feeling a wee bit guilty about posting the cat-in-the-sink story the other day, but after Prostate Wednesday I don't feel bad at all. Wilbrod, you're off the hook too. (Love the dog info, by the way.)

Posted by: Boodleaire | May 3, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I once again answer my own question. The semi-official color for prostate cancer awareness is sky blue.

The cute anthromorphic mascot is the walnut since it's about the size and shape of the prostate.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 3, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

scottynuke - i wouldn't eat the duck either... anyone know why orange peels (the smell) gives me a headache? sciencetim? dooley?

TBG - *gives her a great big bear hug*

boodleaire - 'tis ok - i thought it was funny cuz my cat pees in the bathtub tho i did NOT train him to do that - had to get mcguyver on him to get him from peeing in the bathroom sink!

wilbrod - they may need to replace ceasar romaniz with you as the "dog whisperer"!

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I just got a beeeyooooteeeful wedding invitation from a certain bride in Utah!


Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

TBG, my heart goes out to you. Hopefully he knew what a positive impact he had on those who knew and worked for him.

mo, the smell of gardenias give me a severe headache. Lack of coffee or chocolate too. I've tried different forms of caffeine but they don't work. Nothing worse than waking up and realizing there's not a grain of coffee left in the can.

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nani, you're a lucky person to have to have chocolate! Wish I could say the same...

Posted by: slyness | May 3, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Prostate Wednesday, Boodleaire? How about Reproductive/Urological Systems Wednesday. Or maybe just the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Wednesday.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 3, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Worst medical moment in the last ten years was not while getting two stitches in a smashed finger. Rather it was while being prepped for a diagnostic x-ray. Never a good sign when the x-ray tech is yelling "Get the radiologist in here NOW!"

Posted by: Ed | May 3, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Now this is really morbid, but I was just thinking what songs I want sung at my funeral. Strike that, no funeral, my going-away party:

Three versions of Ave Maria: Sung in German by Joan Baez; sung in Latin by Aaron Neville, and also sung in Latin by Kiri Te Kanawa. Softly and Tenderly sung by Emmylou Harris; Just a Closer Walk With Thee by Joan Baez and the grand finale: Oh Atlanta! by Alison Krause and Union Station.

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

slyness, no chocolate? Por que cherie?

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that the songs for my funeral haven't even been written yet!

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I 'spect some smart alec will play Johnny Cash's "Sam Hall" at my funeral.

On a related note, today is Niccolo Machiavelli's 537th Birthday.

I wonder how Karl Rove and the rest of the WH staff are marking the day?

Perhaps a reading of selections from "The Prince" in the Rose Garden, followed by, I dunno, ritualistic animal sacrifices or bowling? Maybe both!


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Life for Zacarias Moussaoui. I'm so glad.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

An ode to Machiavelli...

I can't seem to forget you... your Wind Song stays on my mind.

Oh, wait. That's Prince Matchabelli.

Never mind.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

TBG - inappropriately loud LOL here!

Also, I agree good result on Moussaoui. A blaze of "glory" is what he wanted, and I'm glad it wasn't provided.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Songs I want at my "going away party"

Vienna by Billy Joel
Long As I Can See the Light by John Fogerty
Let It Be by the Beatles

Posted by: OK | May 3, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh I eat chocolate, Nani. It's just that I shouldn't, because I weigh more than I should. *sigh* Can't blame it all on the hypothyroidism.

Posted by: Slyness | May 3, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

slyness - oh yes you can! what do you think i blame it on? that's right... say it with me sister - HYPOTHYROIDISM!

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

For my memorial service (I have instructed my kids to cremate me): John Donne's Holy sonnet #10: "Death be not proud..." The Scottish setting of the 23rd Psalm. Psalm 121. Amazing Grace.

I'd like to think that I'd rate a reading of Proverbs 31, but I'll let them make that decision...

Posted by: Slyness | May 3, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

LOL... More like the dog shouter than whisperer.

There are studies on women's ability to smell male sweat and pick out preferences-- the smell seems to be correlated to the major histocompatibility complex genes
(tissue rejection genes key to immune system).

Women prefer similar, but not TOO similar to the sweat their fathers had (and thus themselves) The study didn't specify whether this was "imprinting" from environment or just innate.

TBG's story suggests it could be innate.

Most people, if they really admitted it, could probably identify which of their family members used the bathroom last. I had a friend, blissfully unimpaired by social awkwardness come out and say "hey, I smelled somebody different using the bathroom so I knew we had visitors."

No, I didn't give the friend a biscuit for such keen sniffing. Tempted, though.

That is interesting about French doctors. If you read James Herriot, he says he learned to diagnose various diseases by smell alone.

I guess France, the land with 500 cheeses and the a dedicated perfume industry, would be the most logical country to incorporate smell as part of medical training.

It's neat that they teach their doctors that their noses can be valuable tools as well.

When I was told that Japanese people think americans smell like cows because they eat so much beef, I couldn't figure out how the smell could transfer to body smell. One summer I gave up red meat, and sure enough, the day after I ate some beef I definitely could recognize a prickly leatherish smell to my sweat.

So beef smell does transmit through sweat, just like garlic does (garlic compounds have the additional benefit of being small enough to leave blood vessels and literally exude right out of your lungs). Weird, I wonder why.

Mo, no clue, why orange peels don't appeal to you. I had a friend who couldn't stand the smell of green peppers. Green pepper smell is mostly very simple molecules, I think some of the same molecules as green grass smell.

If you have a significant allergy, sometimes the body overreacts so the mere smell of compounds associated with an allergen can make you react.

People with olfactory synthesia can dramatically change their brain blood flow from a single smell trigger (Read "the Man who Tasted Shapes" by Richard Cytowic).

There's a lot we still don't understand about smell. One thing we have in common is hypothyroidism, which affects the electrolyte balance in our bodies (which is why heart rate slows so much), and can dull hearing and make sense of smell a little wacky (and increase migraines).

Wait, I found a possible lead... Limonene, found in over 400 plant species. If you're allergic to any plants... well, orange peels have over 95% limonene as part of its essential oil. It's the same stuff used to give household cleaners their citrus smell. If you also react to orange-scented cleaners, this is very likely your chemical trigger.

If not, the search goes on...

All plant compounds are two-edged swords to animals. In high doses, Limonene does irritate the skin and sensitivize the skin.

So maybe you overexposed your skin to citrus-scented cleaners once? This is also listed as toxic by Wiki.

Mo's a miner's canary against citrus fruit!!!

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 3, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

At my funeral, I'd like people to tell stories about all the stupid things I've done that should have killed me, but didn't. The anti-freeze incident. Hypothermia. Giving rides to street hustlers (not hookers, just con men). Fording a river in flood. Racing a dump truck downhill with my bicycle. Hiking an arid desert with grossly inadequate water supplies. And so forth.

Music: Die Moldau. I just love that piece.

True story: When I was a wee lad, maybe 1-ish, I had a little silver cup that had been a birth gift (my mother still has it). Being 1-ish, my favorite activity was to bash my cup on the floor and on anything else I could find, such as the vacuum cleaner cord from the floor socket that should have been mounted more deeply in the floor. I blew a fuse on that one. The cup has some nifty scorch marks.

Having survived all these things without noticeable harm on the outside, I figured myself to be pretty near immortal until Friday, January 13, 2006, about 11:00 AM, when my cardiologist told me I had had a mild heart attack and needed the plumbing in my heart to be roto-rootered.

I'm making plans for the form of my eventual demise. I'm thinking high-altitude ski-jumping from the loading ramp of a cargo aircraft, at age 97 (Only 53 years away! Get your tickets now!). Although that may not be sufficiently spectacularly stupid. I may need to add some bimbos (with parachutes), for an element of ludicrous immorality. Para-strippers!

A reasonable alternative would be to die while attempting to parachute from a home-built suborbital spacecraft in order to test an inflatable home-built one-man re-entry system. I've got ideas, you know...

Posted by: StorytellerTim | May 3, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

i think you got something there wilbrod - i hate the smell of orange cleansers as well tho i don't think i have exposed myself to any during my lifetime... interesting about the hypothyroidism affecting hearing! maybe i didn't go to too many rock shows! i also didn't know it affected sense of smell - slyness, is your sense of smell wacky?

i want mozart's Requiem for the Dead at my memorial (i'll be the ashes in the urn)

my co-workers once pranked me by pinning orange peels behind my cubicle calendar - i couldn't figure out where that smell was coming from for ever and i had the worst headache!

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I had the experience of being in a dressing room after a chest X-ray and being told by the nurse to hang out and not get dressed again until the radiologist makes sure the X-ray turns out OK. A minute later from the next room I hear "No, I can't leave a voice mail, I can't leave a message, I have to speak to the doctor- this is an emergancy!" 'Bout that time the nurse pops her head back in and says "Sir, we're trying to reach your doctor right now, if you could get dressed and go to the waiting room we'll let you know when we do..."

Got me in that "let's do whatever the doctor says needs done" mode real quick.

Posted by: Les | May 3, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

mo, what a lovely prank. Tell me, do your co-workers sneak smears of peanut butter to the co-workers with nut allergies, just to see if they (were) fooling?

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 3, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

...classier to be shot into eternity from a cannon, like Hunter....:)

Posted by: thereIsaidit | May 3, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

That was a mean prank, Mo.

Fortunately my smell aversions are more heavy floral types, not light terpenes. I do have a lavendar oil cleanser that just opens up my sinuses. Gotta be careful not to overuse it, my dog hates it.

Hearing often can improve with proper treatment of thyroid issues... although I must say, NOTHING could resuciate my ears.

I like Tim's ideas on a proper memorial.

I'd probably videotape all those awful stories about me in case people forget the best and juiciest stories-- so many they don't even know anyway. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 3, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Para-stripping sounds mildy unpleasant, and possibly painful. You have to know this is going to turn up on some stupid tv show.

Tim, if these are stories your mother does not already know, do not tell her. My sister says that when her 3 boys get together they talk about the stupid things they did, like riding bikes off the small cliff into the river and almost getting swept away, you know good stuff like that. She firmly believes that moms don't need to know everything you do.

Posted by: dr | May 3, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

what an interesting kit...I don't know what I want done at my funeral. I just know I don't want my family wearing black for months and months. I remember my mom wearing black when my grandfather passed away. I was seven at the time. I kept thinking she was going to die, too, the way she dressed. It freaked me out.

To this day, I don't care about my own death. I worry about my family. Both my parents are still alive. But my grandmother passed away in 1993 and I couldn't get over it for years and years. Every time I went to services at my synagogue, certain parts made me cry. I'd dream about her constantly, and every time, she told me she missed me and knew I missed her, too. I only got over my grandmother's death after my daughter was born, almost eight years later.

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

yeah, it wsa a mean prank - we were pretty cruel to each other - but it was all meant in good fun - we never did anything to really hurt each other - besides, they knew i wouldn't be permantly hurt or sick so... (this was my old job)

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I used to think I would go back to school, and finish my degree when my kids moved out and moved on. I'd planned on this for years, had a program of study all mapped out and was really looking forward to it, had already begun the registration process. In the end I decided against it because I would have given up more than I gained just to do it. I still need to work, and so I would have given up all the rest of the things I wanted to do with my life. No free reading, no making doilies, no sewing, no miniatures, no gratuitous boodling, no gardening, no reading cookbooks, no going for long walks, and restful contemplation while watching cranes fly. I voted for the doiles and the free books. I can read all the history and not have to do the projects. The grade the paper are not that important to me.

There is nothing I like better than sitting on the back deck doing some arcane peice of needlework that no one but me cares about, or reading an old book while sipping a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or a really fine cup of coffee or occasionally tea. I like the idea of being able to look up at the shady yard behind the house and just listen to the birds,and the sound of the wind through the trees. That is heaven to me.

At my funeral I'd like them to play a single peice of Bach that makes me feel its the story of a life well lived, (I do not know the name by heart, though I suppose I should write it down somewhere). Then, I hope they just spread my ashes out in the bush somewhere where my soul will be at one with those soft sounds of the trees and the birds.

Posted by: dr | May 3, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Great (true) story StoTim. Be sure to pass on to SciTim to check out The Onion this week "Nasa Plans to launch $700 million into Space".

Following on StoTim's true story, your Lawyer PSA:

1. Get your life insurance in place or coverage raised BEFORE you have a mild heart attack. If you haven't had one, that would be now. For many insurers, Tim is now uninsurable (or will only be for excessive premiums).

2. This can't be said enough: you are not doing your loved ones any favors by omitting to mention a mild heart attack in your applications for coverage/increased coverage. Yes they will find out. No your loved ones will not get any benefit.

3. Have a will. Ooooh, I can't believe I get to quote Cato the Elder, who is said by Plutarch to have had three regrets in his life: for having taken a sea voyage when he could have gone by land; for having told a secret to a woman (hey, I'm just reporting here); and for every day that he was intestate (that's law talk for not having a will).

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 3, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Nope, mo, my smell is pretty much okay. So's my hearing (so far) but my cholesterol is the highest it's ever been - the doctor said it was normal. Made me unhappy. But my case was sub-clinical when it was diagnosed. I didn't know, but I wasn't surprised.

Did you know that people with thyroid issues are more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome? I've been battling that. The mouse of my work computer was too low and I didn't have my wrist level. I put the mouse pad on my dictionary and that has helped tremendously.

Posted by: Slyness | May 3, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all, for reminding me I really do need to have my last wishes formalized...

No funeral. No casket, either. No reason to give any of my estate to gravediggers. I MIGHT donate the corpus delecti to science; I mean, science has done right by me, yanno? No sad songs during the remembrance weekend. YES, I said weekend -- where's the rule sez ya can't tell folks to use your passing as a ticket to party for awhile? The first round will be on me -- great final irony, since I don't drink! Yes, you're invited (you know who you are).

SoC, would you mind terribly notarizing this? Thanks.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 3, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Slyness... I, too, have thyroid issues. Now I'm wondering who doesn't?

But try this with your mouse: I found a tray-like thing to put on top of the side, top drawer of the desk so that I keep the drawer open, put the mousepad on the tray and I don't have to reach onto the desk when I work. I have my mouse arm at rest at my side.

Does that make sense? I've tried to find a picture of one, but can't seem to locate one.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The Achenfish!:

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Great discussions today,I though I was the only person greatly affected by scents. I have always been bothered by certain things but when I got pregnant it magnified and unfortunately did not leave after the pregnancies, just not as acute.

As for funerals, I want a party to celebrate my life, cremation however, I have said I have no preference where the ashes go, I suggested being flushed but that wasn't received well.

Thanks everyone for the tips on where to go in Washington, I am slowly recovering from all the walking I did. Managed to see many monuments and one Smithsonian and one art gallery and visited the Hotel Washington rooftop bar twice.

Posted by: dmd | May 3, 2006 8:11 PM | Report abuse

slyness: i am sure that you will merit a Proverbs 31 reading.
I wrote a song based on Ps. 121, and if they felt like doing it at my funeral, that would be pretty cool. I haven't thought too much about my funeral, but bagpipes would be sweet (even though i'm not scottish).

Death is not a period or even a semi-colon, but rather a comma, a breath or short pause between this world and the next. --Not a direct quote, but close enough, from the play "Wit."

Posted by: tangent | May 3, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

dmd... so glad you had a good time. Wow, you had some great weather! Of course, this is what it's like here all the time. We just don't mention it because then *everyone* would want to live here and the traffic would be unwieldy.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes the weather was perfect, and it changed some of the decisions on what to see because it was too nice to be inside. Went to the rally for a bit on the weekend to, it was much smaller than I expected. Fortunately weather was similar when I got home so that made much easier to come home where spring is slowly making progress. I was very jealous of all the green grass and flowers.

Posted by: dmd | May 3, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Donating my body to science, preferably the forensic lab at U of Tennessee (I think) where the study decay rates. It would be nice to have my skeleton on exhibit, though.

Songs at the memorial service, I'll have to think about that...maybe Willie Nelson, "On the Road Again".

Posted by: Dooley | May 3, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Dooley there is an exhibit currently (or just passed) at the Science Museum in Toronto that shows various bodies, position and with skin and muscle and bones. From what I understand, being to chicken to go, it is quite facinating the bodies are position by activity for example a skater etc. Is that what you mean or just bones?

Posted by: dmd | May 3, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I too prefer to be cremated and I want a big afterparty with friends and family telling stories and, of course, drinking a bit. I'm forever saying "I want that song played at my party" and now can only remember one of them, "What Do You Want From Life" by the Tubes. And of course, anything and everything by Steeley Dan. If people remember me and smile, I'll know I had a sucessful life.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Duh, 8:35 was me.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 3, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

mo... did your mom make you take orange-flavored children's aspirin when you were a kid? My sister can't eat anything that's orange-flavored (not sure about real oranges) because she hated the taste of the children's aspirin when she was little.

I hate perfume. I would rather have a cigar-puffing maniac sitting next to me than a man or a woman wearing cologne. Yuk. Gives me a headache and makes me want to throw up.

Posted by: TBG | May 3, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Being a paleontologist, I meant just bones, but that exhibit is kind of intriguing. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded kind of gruesome, but my boss (also a paleontologist) went to see it and thought it was great. So I guess I'll have to go see it now.

Posted by: Dooley | May 3, 2006 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I thought about music for my funeral all through dinner.

Well, they don't play much music at Jewish cemeteries...Maybe if my family sits shiva, they'll have seven days of listening to music and reading poetry. Hopefully there will be lots of Octavio Paz, Neruda, Antonio Machado, and my all-time favorite, Leon de Greiff.

I don't know about the music. Whatever, as long as they include Beethoven's 7th symphony (2nd movement.

And there'd better be lots of food: cheesecake, ice cream, and fresh berries.

Maybe I should get working on things I want to do BEFORE I die. I've done a lot from the original list I wrote in high school, but the list keeps getting longer. I'm greedy.

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Since this is another death boodle (not to be confused with a dead boodle), here are some more quotes from the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. [But I must say, if this theme keeps up, I'm going to run out of quotes pretty, pretty quickly.]

"Think of yourself today as a dead man, as one whose life is now finished; and with that in mind, live out what further time you are given in complete harmony with Nature."


"Death brought Alexander the Great and his stable boy together; for they were either received by the same life-giving principles of the Universe, or they were both scattered equally among the atoms."


"Contemplate what state the human body and soul should be in when overtaken by death; and consider the brevity of life, the inconceivable abyss of time past and time future, the passivity of all matters."

-- Marcus Aurelius

Posted by: Dreamer | May 3, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

. . . and it wouldn't be a death boodle without a quote from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying":

"Death is a natural part of life, which we will all surely have to face sooner or later. To my mind, there are two ways we can deal with it while we are alive. We can either choose to ignore it or we can confront the prospect of our own death and, by thinking clearly about it, try to minimize the suffering that it can bring. However, in neither of these ways can we actually overcome it.

"As a Buddhist, I view death as a normal process, a reality that I accept will occur as long as I remain in this earthly existence. Knowing that I cannot escape it, I see no point in worrying about it. I tend to think of death as being like changing your clothes when they are old and worn out, rather than as some final end. Yet death is unpredictable: We do not know when or how it will take place. So it is only sensible to take certain precautions before it actually happens.

"Naturally, most of us would like to die a peaceful death, but it is also clear that we cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear. So if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life."

-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in the Foreword to "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," by Sogyal Rinpoche

Posted by: Dreamer | May 3, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

dreamer - i've been thinking of you all day - i'm soooo jealous that you are in hong kong - i'm so ready to do some traveling right now... (*pst* can i come visit? *grin*)

tbg - i seem to have vague memories of those vitamins - but i like creamsicles - isn't that the same flavor? also, mom always made me eat grape nuts but i still luv 'em...

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, I like this quote better in relation to this boodle.

"We must make haste then, not only because we are daily nearer to death, but also because the conception of things and the understanding of them cease first."

--Marcus Aurelius
Meditations, Book Three

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

dreamer... "Naturally, most of us would like to die a peaceful death, but it is also clear that we cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear. So if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well:"

WOW! i'm gonna print that out... maybe make it a tattoo or sumtin!

Posted by: mo | May 3, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, I also know someone who saw it and found it fascinating, the exhibit has now moved from Toronto, it was the Ontario Science Centre it was at in Toronto.

Posted by: dmd | May 3, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I like that one too, a bea c.
I kind of fits in with the Alzheimer's thread.

Here's the longer version:

"Consider this: every day that wastes away leaves one less day to live. Even if we live longer, there is no guarantee that our minds will avoid senility and so lose the ability to acquire both human and spiritual knowledge.

"For if a man falls into senility, breathing and eating, dreaming and lust and everything else carry on. But the ability to make full use of the mind, and to assess correctly the demands of duty, to clearly make distinctions between things and to decide if he is ready to depart this life, and everything else that relies on a man's applied intelligence, all this is already gone.

"We need to hurry, then, not only because every day brings us nearer to death, but because our conception and understanding of things may deteriorate first."

Posted by: Dreamer | May 3, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

mo, just make sure you receive that tattoo in a peaceful setting so it isn't a traumatic experience.

Posted by: Dreamer | May 3, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

mo -- ten years ago when I stopped smoking, I eagerly awaited the return of my sense of smell. But it never came back at the strength it had been, just whiffs of things. Most perfumes seem strong and annoying.

The only perfume I can smell and enjoy is Calvin Klein's "Eternity."

Posted by: nellie | May 3, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I, too, will be cremated. My wife told me that ashes may be turned into something like cubic zirconia. Cool. "Nice ring." "Yeah, it's my Dad." I'm slao leaving instructions to let some of me be blown in the general dircetion of Tanner's Ridge via Hawksbill Mt. in the Shenandoah National Park. I thnk that after that it would be a safe time for my brother Ned to tell of all things I did that my wife doesn't want my kids to know. Somewhere along the way someone will have to play Brokedown Palace and I Shall be Released, among other htings. For the present one will have to wonder exactly what goes through the Dr.'s head whilst examining a patient.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

dreamer, I like your translation better. And, yes, it was the aging and Alzheimer's discussion that made me think of that.

Isn't it sad that movies like Gladiator make such a bad job of portraying interesting characters like MA and his children?

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

No offense to MD's. I blogged before thinking. They are overworked to an extreme. I'm embarassed to reveal my thoughts regarding the state of some the students that attend our school.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

*foot in mouth*

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Death is out of our hands, but last words might not be. I think it is important to have one's last words worked out in advance. This isn't something that you want to have to rush. You only get one shot. I have come up with the following possibilities suitable for a variety of situations:

"Was it the red wire to the blue socket or the blue wire to the red socket?"
"Well, the cave sure seems empty."
"I wonder what would happen if I tug on this."
"Aieeeee Godzilla lives!"
"Don't worry. My wife shouldn't be home for hours."
"I've always wondered if Ocelots are ticklish."
"Why yes, Mr. Callahan, I DO feel lucky."
"The macaroni salad tastes O.K. to me."
"Okay, just one more lap"
"Oh looky. The nice nurses have come to give me another bath."

You can never be too prepared, that's my motto.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 3, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Jack, maybe I'm not reading your post correctly. Why would you have to apologize? I wonder what my doctor is thinking, too. There are days when she probably can't wait to go home after dealing with people who just HAVE to have the fungus from under their nails removed by a pill with a price tag high enough that the cost of one dose could feed several starving children in Sudan for a few days. Not that all patients see doctors with trivial issues, but as someone said earlier in the boodle, hypochondria abounds in the US, fueled by medication marketers.

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 9:59 PM | Report abuse

RD, you reminded me of something funny. When I was a little kid, my grandmother used to tell me to always wear clean underwear, just in case I was run over by a car and the doctors at the hospital had to undress me.

You can never be too prepared.

Posted by: a bea c | May 3, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, that was my mother's motto too! Of course, when you really are in extremis like that, so much is happening that nobody really notices. But the general principle of good hygiene is important.

Posted by: Slyness | May 3, 2006 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Seems like an apropos time for me to delurk a bit. I haven't thought about music for my funeral, which I would want to be more of a party. U2, Beatles, Cream, Leon Russell - maybe Nessun Dorma. Grateful Dead would be good too. Will have to contemplate that. I want to be cremated. I joke about tossing my ashes in the compost pile, but I really wouldn't mind.

TBG, I was sad to hear about Lou Rukeyser. I watched him years ago when I had no interest in investments, because he had such wit and style. My condolences.

mo, hope you're getting just part of that quote tatooed - yikes!

jw, bc's right. Stop in at the BPH, then go see Pearl Jam. I would love to see them, but I'm too dang old to feel comfortable going by myself (and they're playing at a huge, rowdy venue "near" here). Eddie Vedder is amazing - he did one song with the opening act for U2 when I saw them last year. Didn't understand a word he sang, but still...

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 3, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Toed the line a little too close. True story: Shortly after we started work on the house, we hooked up a 30 gal. air compressor and promptly lost a couple of the only circuits that were still operable. Not knowing any better I went to the various safety switches and fusible disconnects that supplied the circuits and tried to revive the circuits to no avail. I had the bright idea of trying to troubleshoot the circuitry via the meter. I have no idea how old it was, but with the cover removed I discovered ancient asphalt covered conductors, one of which was loose on the load side of the meter. It was raining lightly, so standing on my left foot and using my left hand to provide a direct path to ground should I short circuit the house, I wielded my trusty Klein and proceeded to torque the offending screw. Just before I started, I had my wife standing behind me with a length of 2x4 with instructions to pound me off the meter should a short occur, then call 911. Needless to say the repair failed. I have since learned all there is to know about rewiring a house, having done it with my wife's assistance: one meter, two services and 13 rooms worth.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I anticipate that my last word(s) will be something along the lines of "Whoops." Or maybe, "I don't think this is going to work." Since my suggested methods of termination involve high-speed motion without anyone else nearby (except maybe the para-strippers), my last KNOWN words probably will be said on the ground -- "I think there definitely probably might be a very slight chance that this might work." I know, it's not original, but it's good and it's a contorted statement that I can sort of remember, not like Geoffrey's speech about who knows what in The Lion in Winter. Besides, Harold Ramis and I graduated from the same university (at least a decade apart), so I feel a little bit entitled.

Posted by: Tim | May 3, 2006 10:43 PM | Report abuse

On an unusually serious (or solemn) note: don't refuse to grant your survivors the opportunity to grieve. I know that it sounds like a gift to tell them to have a party, but people need time to appreciate the feeling of missing someone who has been a part of their life. They'll joke and laugh and talk about you when they're ready. Don't insist that they be ready on your time scale, you have to let them choose their own.

Personally, we had a joke at my grandmother's funeral -- "I thought you brought the deceased." "Me? I thought YOU brought the deceased!" Of course, that was only because we realized that in fact, no one had delivered the deceased (in compact ashy form) to the grave site.

Posted by: Tim | May 3, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

The Evil Filter Device just refused to let me post an item on orange allergy headaches--and not a wirty dird amongst them. What gives?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 3, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Tim: Well stated. I plan to have a small private service for my family and for any of my very small circle of surviving friends, then a reception of sorts. I hope a road trip will ensue to the Park for the wind borne ceremony, then a picnic in Big Meadows.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: I trust that your procedure went well. Treat yourself to a pair of Birkenstocks and catch some rays somewhere. I'm sure you deserve the R&R. How could a post about oranges be rude?

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I can think of at least one way in which a post about oranges could be rude:

Recall the Seinfeld episode in which Frank Constanza got "Fusilli Jerry" lodged in his rear end, and, like many people who find themselves in such situations, he told the proctologist, "One in a million chance, doc! One in a million!"

Well, my father was a doctor (an anaesthesiologist -- he's now retired), and he used to tell us these "one in a million" occurrences were actually quite common. He once rattled off a list of objects frequently involved in such situations, and oranges were high on the list.

[I'm really getting the hang of this bringing-the-boodle-down-a-notch thing, aren't I?]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 3, 2006 11:34 PM | Report abuse

A local radio commentator in Charlotte, Bob, once related a story involving a fellow and his partner that came to the emergency room with a gerbil conundrum, accompanied by second degree burns to the posterior. Seems that upon encountering the gerbil dilemma, the partner inspected the area using a Bic and inadvertently ignited some wayward flatus. Bob speculated the partner was heard to exclaim: Armaggedon!!! Armageddon!!! Probably not true but it had me crying the first time I heard it as a result ofo laughing so hard.

Posted by: jack | May 3, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Doctors diagnosing by odors reminds me that maybe 30 years ago, in Australia, I went to a local doctor in Coogee, who was Chinese. I don't recall all the details, but he looked very closely at my face esp my eyes, and at other places I have forgotten. He had Western medical training, but apparently before that also had Chinese training. I felt in good hands, that he would spot things a Western doctor would not, as well as what they would.

Posted by: jg | May 4, 2006 1:18 AM | Report abuse

jack, that gerbil story reminds me of a joke:

Q: What do you call a man with rabbits up his butt?
A: Warren.

[Thank you; thank you very much. I'll be here all morning.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Bless you all this morning, and may the good in this life be yours, as well as that to come, through Our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus.

I see the talk is still doctors and now death. I became really afraid of death after my sister died. It is something that I pray about often, because of the fear. I know that I'm going to die, but have yet to come to terms with it. There has been so much death around me for the past couple of years (mother and son). I cannot ignore it, yet it is not something I want to think about. So many of you talk about it with such ease, even jokingly, and I find that odd. As you can tell from this post, I'm still in much need of prayer about this. After my son died, I kept wanting him to be here with his family, and in my mind he was at work, not dead. I would crash about the time he was suppose to get off work. I'm better, but it never goes away. And his death still has the power to bring tears to my eyes. I attempted to take care of my funeral arrangement sometimes last year, but did not follow through. I will try again at some point.

I have conjured up memories of my son, and now I must rouse myself to think of him in terms of how dear and sweet he was, instead of how much I miss him, for that will only make my day so sad and long. I do miss him so.

Have a good day, friends. And love one another as much as you can, and let those you love, know that they are loved. I am so glad I am able to talk to you this morning, and tell you that you're just tops on my list, and my dearest friends. May God bless you in everything, and that His light shines on you, and that He gives you more than you can imagine of His love and grace, through that Name that is above every name, Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 4, 2006 6:01 AM | Report abuse

TBG, sorry about your loss.

Nani, great story about your friend's husband.

Mudge, hope you're taking care of yourself, get well soon.

Lindaloo, how's that eye coming along?

Anyone heard from dooley?

Slyness, I hope you understood that I accepted your offer of the garden vase, and I hope kbertocci gave the needed information? Get back with me if there is anything needed on my part. And thank you so much.

Joel, hope the story came together for you.

Error flynn, are you really a minister?

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 4, 2006 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, to celebrate a life you celebrate what that life meant to you, what it brought into your life, that may be laughter, joy, or security, the loss the those things does bring sorrow, hopefully the in coping with a loss of one we love so deeply is eased by the elements they brought into our lives and how it made our lives better. What we gained as a person and the way that person improved our lives or ourselves aides in coping with the grief.

Posted by: dmd | May 4, 2006 6:38 AM | Report abuse


It's my death, don't I have a say on how it's noted????

Seriously, of course people must grieve, and of course I really won't have any control over how they do. I just ask them to grieve happily, that's all.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra!!! how are you this fine morning??? Hope there have been no more odd incidents.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, with all this pressure, maybe you should plan ahead by hiring some happy grievers who will lead the way when the time comes.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I do love me some Pearl Jam. And My Morning Jacket is opening, and they are coincidentally my new favorite band that no one seems to have heard of. How can you not love a band with lyrics like these:

A kitten on fire.
A baby in a blender.
Both sound as sweet as a night of surrender.

Posted by: jw | May 4, 2006 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Never fear, DM, my younger brother's been in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," TWICE. He's got the whole mourner thing committed to memory.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

We started out discussing doctors appointments and now we are all planning funerals. That's exactly why I distrust doctors. Although I do need to update my will. You people are such nags. Isn't it enough I scheduled my physical yesterday?

And now for something completely different:

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.

Regulars are welcome to mutter along with the rest by memory.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 4, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, my fervent hope is that upon our own death, we'll be reunited with loved ones who have passed before us. How's your garden coming along? Isn't it comforting to get your hands in this good old earth's dirt?

I've fooled around long enough, playing the lady of leisure the past 2 weeks in my new home, buying CDs, books and garden supplies. But the rent and other essentials must be paid, so it's time to pull out the navy blue suit with Mother's cameo pin in the lapel, sensible heels, those dreaded pantyhose and hit the boards and look for a J O B. If I had my druthers, you and I would be back-up Shoop Shoop Girl Singers for the Doo-Wop group who sang Dedicated to the One I Love.

While I'm far away from you my baby
I know it's hard for you my baby
Because it's hard for me my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
And tell all the stars above
This is dedicated to the one I love
Life can never be exactly like we want it to be

I could be satisfied knowing you love me
(and there's one thing I want you to do
especially for me)
And it's something that everybody needs

While I'm far away from you my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
Because it's hard for me my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

Posted by: Nani | May 4, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

After bumping my head on an open cabinet door and professing some pretty words, my 5 year old daughter promised me that after going to heaven, Jesus would fix my eyes and nothing would have to hurt anymore. When she was 12 years old, she wrote an essay on the subject "If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?" She wrote about how great it would be if her Father got his vision back. Made the teacher cry. Many times I've woken up in the middle of the night thinking how terrible it would be if my conscience mind was stuck 6 feet underground for the rest of eternity. It's thoughts like that which are the reason that I've always slept with my kids. The sorrow and sadness that would follow if I ever lost one is unimaginable

Posted by: Pat | May 4, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

jw, we'll make sure you make it to the concert in time. Come on by the BPH before Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket and be sure to bring the future mrs. jw.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

yello:..."I feel better...I want to go for a walk...

Posted by: jack | May 4, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I like to think that consciousness lives on after the body dies.
And I'm thinking that, on the other side, we won't have eyes, or any other body parts that can stop functioning or cause pain. We won't *need* them -- just as we don't need our eyes or our ears to see and hear in our dreams at night. (I can't see a thing without my glasses, but I have 20/20 vision in my dreams.)


I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn't born, and never dies
There are no edges, there is no size
Oh yeah, you just don't win
It's so far out the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir
But if you don't know where you going
Any road will take you there

-- from "Any Road," on the album "Brainwashed," by George Harrison

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

If you don't know where *you're* going.
[My apologies to the late George Harrison -- wherever he is.]

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Something else to go along with this topic (yellojkt...):

I am an organ donor. If I *do* pass from this mortal coil upside down in a farmer's field at a 150 mph, I will allow my parts to be recycled.

Let a better life (or lives), be a result of my misadventureous mistake; fie upon misanthropy and waste!

I recommend organ donorage. It only took me second to check a box when I renewed my driver's license.


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

.... deploys emergency.... at least tried...


Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Are you saying that there might not be any beer in Heaven?

Posted by: Pat | May 4, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Pat, the startling fact is that God only drinks Old Fashions. Worse, everyone has to play croquet. Fiji, is the official water.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

That's right, Pat -- probably no beer.
But you won't *need* beer -- it'll be way better than beer.

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

bc, That is great on the donor process.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Tom Handey:

"If, when you die, you're given the choice between regular heaven and pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it isn't.....mmmmmmmmmm boy."

Posted by: jw | May 4, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Make sure your next of kin know you're an organ donor. You won't be there to persuade them of your noble intentions when the need arises.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 4, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

jw, I heart Jack Handey! [It *is* Jack, right -- not Tom? Or are there two Handeys?]

Here's one of my favorite Deep Thoughts:

"If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy."

-- from "Deep Thoughts," by Jack Handey

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Thank you all for your well wishes, but as it happens the surgery didn't take place after all: my infection looked so good (i.e., cured) that the doctor decided I didn't need it. So I am Birkenstockless (truth to tell, I'm not exactly a Birkenstock kinda guy anyway). Besides, Don's the guy to worry about, not me. He's having something much more major than my silly toe (and anyway I've got nine more toes besides the obstreporous one, all just as useless).

The items the Evil Filter wouldn't let me post last night were a couple of references to allergy to oranges that often causes headaches. Turns out it isn't uncommon at all. Oranges (and citrus in general) are high up on the list of foods that do that.

bc, I'm an organ donor too, though why anyone would want the stuff I've got is something of a mystery. Half of it doesn't work very well as it is, but I figure if somebody else wants it and can make use out of it, mazel tov. I'm going to have whatever's left incinerated faster than a Bobby Flay flank steak with a teriyaki marinade anyway, so it ain't a big deal.

I have my post-shuffle-of-this-mortal-coil memorial bash pretty well planned, and have for some years. If it happens during warm weather, fine; if it happens over the winter then I want my family to wait until Spring. Either way, I want them to rent a big tent from one of those party rental outfits, and find a nice county or state park somewhere, and I want them to have an all-afternoon crab feast. Lotsa crabs, burgers, and cole slaw (from McKay's); lotsa beer and wine lotsa music, lotsa stories. I'll permit one and only one "serious" piece of music or hymn: the Navy hymn. Everything else must be Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album, Aaron Copeland, Victory at Sea, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, the Duprees, the Skyliners, a ton of doo-wop, the Gipsy Kings' Cantos de Amor album, Willie Nelson, etc. (In fact, Nani could pick out the song list of her favorites, and it's match mine 99.99%.) And it would be nice if the Hubcaps came and did a show.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

And I suppose there is no sex in heaven either.

Posted by: Pat | May 4, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

My cousin's only son passed from a head trauma suffered as a passenger in a pickup truck accident. The driver walked because he was buckled in. Scotty's organs gave gifts to seven or eight people. I always check the organ donor box on the DMV forms, and have let my wife know of my wishes. Whether my organs will be worth the proverbial powder is another story. Pat, we sometimes sleep with the kids...especially when the house gets spooky during a storm. I miss children sleeping in my arms...I also admire the development of their faith. They were all very sad when my Dad died, but took comfort that he had a new body in heaven.

Posted by: jack | May 4, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse


I'm shocked, SHOCKED that you left "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" off the playlist.

*going to splash cold water on my face"

Excellent choice with Aaron Copeland, however.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Amen with Dreamer: If you have to get drunk in heaven to enjoy it, there's something wrong.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 4, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Pat, ever read "Letters from the Earth" by Mark Twain addressing that particular topic (among others)?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 4, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

And here's an even deeper thought:

"Jesus said, 'If those who lead you say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will get there before you. . . . If they say to you, 'It's in the sea,' then the fish will get there before you. . . . His disciples said to him, 'When will the resurrection of the dead come, and when will the new world come?' He said to them, 'What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it. . . . It will not come by waiting for for it. It will not be a matter of saying, "Here it is," or "There it is." Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.'"

-- from the Gospel of Thomas

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

No sex in heaven. Boy are those suicide bombers going to be upset when they find out they don't get to actually use their 77 virgins.

It's not just the usual suspects, hearts, kidneys, corneas, that get organ donored. I have an organ donor to thank for my new ACL.

Thanks, whoever.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 4, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Playing the mental illness card allows the blind to continue deluding themselves about what University of London, King's College, professor Efraim Karsh calls Islamic imperialism. Jihadists didn't start claiming war on non-believers in 2001 or 1993 or 1948. They have aspired to conquer for ages. These historical claims are "frequently dismissed by Westerners as delusional, a species of mere self-aggrandizement or propaganda," Karsh writes in his new book. "But the Islamists are perfectly serious, and know what they are doing. Their rhetoric has a millennial warrant, both in doctrine and in fact, and taps into a deep undercurrent that has characterized the political culture of Islam from the beginning."
Yet, the bleeding hearts foolishly and suicidally persist with their Poor Little Jihadist propaganda and call for sympathy and understanding for the Root Causes that fueled the 9/11 hijackers, Moussaoui, convicted Islamic shoebomber Richard Reid, the Muslim gunman who murdered two people at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al ticket counter in 2002, and the Koran-invoking Tar Heel terrorist who rammed his SUV into a busy student square at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. And on and on.

On Monday, while Moussaoui's defense team played their violins in court, apologists across Europe and the Muslim world played the same song for the suicide bomber who murdered nine innocent civilians and wounded scores more at a Tel Aviv restaurant. The bomber packed his explosives with nails and shrapnel soaked in rat poison to increase the suffering of the victims.

Police had to pick bits of flesh off the blood-drenched streets and parked car windshields.

But it's not the fault of terrorist Sami Salim Mohammed Hammed and his sponsors at Islamic Jihad. Blame "Israeli aggression" and "anti-Arab racism"!

The dry-eyed know there is one Root Cause for this carnage. It's not America, Israel, racism or psychological imbalances. It's evil. Just evil.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

i just fainted when pat even HINTED at no sex in heavan! TAKE ME TO HELL POST HASTE! there's GOTTA be sex in hell??

so mudge - you think i have an allergy to oranges? but i love orange juice and it doesn't give me a headache - even fresh squeezed!

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Pat, your last question about heaven reminds me of this story, I think told recently by kbertocci:

Actually, this is from kbertocci's blog:
There's an old story about heaven and hell: in hell, there's a long banquet table filled with sumptuous food and hungry people are sitting all around it, but they can't bend their arms at the elbows, so as hard as they try, they can't bring the food to their mouths. So they are starving, and in agony. The scene in heaven? Just the same set-up, table, food, elbows that don't bend, but in heaven the people are feeding one another.

So, Pat... you can take that story and bend it to your own definition of what 'food' is, can't you?

(My apologies to kbertocci.)

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

it was.... the salmon mousse

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

My ashes...spread somewhere along Eagle Falls that feed into Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, along the falls above or below the ribbon of highway that slices the mountain. Or carried from the trailhead that originates there into the alpine backcountry, my ashes gently placed near one of the small lakes that feed the falls.

Not far from where I was conceived at Tahoe City, now despolied by rampant commercialism and development. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

No gaudy makeup to tart me up into something unrecognizable in death. No clothes to hint at my social status or position--or lack of, in life. No dead trees to surround my bones, no sensuous velvet as a cushion for my skeleton. No ceremony, no words, no prayers, no remembrances, no pastor, no crowd of people, no songs. No afterlife. No heaven or hell.

The earth, the breezes, the forest, the fiery sky at night, and the sound of water. Always the sound of water--the spring rains, the crash and thunder of the falls, the wind-whipped Sierra blizzards, the cracking of ice at thaw.

Quiet simplicity.
Elegant beauty.

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Shut up! Shut up you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say 'Let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say this', Well you're dead now, so shut up."

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Ha. Funny stuff this AM - and two Python references (that I noticed, anyway).

Not only do my next of kin know about my desire for anything left that's useful to be recycled, but it's in my will.

Just so's there's no mistake.

PS, I'm NOT afraid of eternal Hell and damnation. I've lived with the Bush administration for 5+ years; Hell will be like a trip to Hedonism.

Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The problem with sex in heaven is, we probably won't have bodies. (That's the whole *point* of heaven, no?) In heaven, there is probably no such thing as male or female. (Or black or white, rich or poor, or young or old.) Heaven could well be the end of all divisions -- a return to a state of Unity.

[And I know Weingarten will be disappointed to hear this, but there probably isn't any poop in heaven, either.]

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Right, right...Hell is the Bush administration...tell me, did you do time in the camps? Wife and daughters taken away and molested? Fired from your job? Give it a rest hippie....

Try living in Zimbabwe...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

No, Tom Handey, this guy I work with.

Ok, ok! JACK Handey. I'm stupid. You're smart. I was wrong. You were right. You're the best. I'm the wrost. You're very good-looking. I'm not very attractive.

Posted by: jw | May 4, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

No, you tell *us*, anonymous poster:
What is your name?
What is your quest?

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse you favorite color?

Posted by: jw | May 4, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo's 10:20--


Posted by: Dooley | May 4, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I CAN"T BELIEVE no one has heard this important song about the afterlife! Pay close attention. And, by the way, it's a polka:

"In heaven they have no bier.
That's why we drink it here.
And, when we're gone from here.
Our friends will be drinking all
The bier."

I'm sorry, but that's how it works. I'll bet they have champagne, though (and, old fashions? I'm there!)

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Patient: So, Doctor, be straight with me. Am I going to die?

Doctor: That's the last thing you're going to do.

Budda Boom

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I am Sir Robin.
I quest for the Holy Grail.
My favorite color is, red...AIGHHHH!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is trying to get to the bar.
The name of the bar, the bar is called heaven.
The band in heaven plays my favorite song.
They play it once again, they play it all night long.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.

There is a party, everyone is there.
Everyone will leave at exactly the same time.
Its hard to imagine that nothing at all
Could be so exciting, and so much fun.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.

When this kiss is over it will start again.
It will not be any different, it will be exactly
The same.
It's hard to imagine that nothing at all
Could be so exciting, could be so much fun.

Heaven is a place where nothing every happens.
Heaven is a place where nothing every happens.

-- Talking Heads

[Yeah, I know, I've posted this several times before.]

Posted by: Dreamer | May 4, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

My favorite color is green.


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Is it easy to have that favorite color?


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

ah..but what shade of green? sayeth the gatekeeper.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Completely off topic:
'Who peed in George Will's sink this morning?

I've never understood the 'elite intelligensia' complaint by conservatives. What should we do? Aspire to mediocrity as a nation? It's always annoyed me that intelligent people are always suspected of being condescending & elist- Why? Last time I checked, conservatives of all IQs were being very condescending & elist towards everyone. I guess that's not just a liberal trait, eh?

Furthermore, it's a ridiculous thing to say. Why shouldn't we use the best minds the USA has to offer? They might actually have ideas that benefit everyone. They might actually have ideas that work.

Fear & prejudice, man, fear & prejudice.

" In the 1960s that liberalism became a stance of disdain, describing Americans not only as Galbraith had, as vulgar, but also as sick, racist, sexist, imperialist, etc. "

Doesn't "if the shoe fits' apply here? Why take offense unless you resemble that remark? There *was* racism in the 60s - anyone remember the Civil Rights movement? He can't honestly be saying that we should not have troubled the consciences of Americans by bringing up that inconvenient fact, can he? I'm incredulously flabbergasted! We *were* a sexist country (IIRC, we never passed the ERA); feminism came into everyday life because *people* in the culture changed. I suppose we weren't supposed to mention the disparaties in gender roles, either? *Sigh*

"This liberalism -- the belief that people are manipulable dolts who need to be protected by their liberal betters from exposure to "too much" advertising -- is one rationale for McCain-Feingold. That law regulating campaigns embodies the political class's belief that it knows just the right amount of permissible political speech."

It's not that liberals think we're better than anyone. We just trying to include everyone.

The rub is, he's not advocating anything different (abeit he wants a different elite group running things...)

The thing is, conservatism has failed this country. Under Clinton, a hybrid of liberalism and conservatism worked - to a much better extent than liberalism alone or conservatism alone.

"If advertising were as potent as Galbraith thought, the advent of television -- a large dose of advertising, delivered to every living room -- should have caused a sharp increase in consumption relative to savings. No such increase coincided with the arrival of television..."

What country is *he* living in? This is a laughably bad argument because they just reported a few months ago that people (a) don't save very much, if at all; (b) are generally heavily in debt; and (c) our economic stability tends to rise and fall somewhat on consumer spending. A lot of people I know, and the statistics bear this out, are spending more than they bring in. A lot of people I know say they can't keep their kids, their spouses or their relatives from wanting to buy what they see on TV. D'oh! It happened all ready! Hmm, maybe he just doesn't have a TV?

Posted by: amo | May 4, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Nope, it's not easy liking lime-green.
(It would be easier liking red, or yellow, or gold, or something much more conservative like that.)

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

My wishes are to be cremated. Then a year after my next birthday all surviving family and friends and anyone else who wants to attend will gather in Arizona where I was born. My ashes will be placed in a custom made multi-stage Estes rocket with payload. After a ten second countdown the rocket lifts off and burns through three stages reaching a few thousand feet into the air and explodes spreading my ashes into the evening breeze. Then after a moment of silence we have the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sung round robin by LeAnn Rimes and Charlotte Church. Then the party starts with a barbecue booze wine beer music dancing and other recreational things (if you know what I mean)...

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Bah, liberals have no sense of humor...take themselves way too seriously.

Lime green, eh? had an uncle who wore a lime green SUIT to my wedding...let me just say, only a black dude can pull that one off.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hm. While I'm thinking about it, Mr. anon, how effecive have the Bush Adminstration's policies *been* in ameliorating the political and humanitarian crises in Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Africa in general?

Gosh, if maybe we didn't have so many political and military resources tied up in finding Osama Bin Laden, Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, finding a solution for undocumented working immigrants in this country, and opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to bring fuel prices down, reorganizing the White Hose, er, House staff, and bringing the Prezidental approval ratings up, maybe Mr. Arbusto could spare a moment to address such things.

Side note: "Commander in Chief" has been cancelled, due to poor ratings. Apparrenly, nobody in America is interested in a White House that knows how to resolve problems on a regular basis.


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Omni, thats the best plan I ever heard.

Posted by: dmd | May 4, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Anon writes: "Bah, liberals have no sense of humor..."

Clearly, you, sir, do.

You obviously grasped the hell/hedonism bit.

And that lime green suit/"black dude" reference. Wow.

Is there a link back up to the A-blog on the front page?


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

OMNI, I agree with DMD, make sure that you do suggest that they get a grill umbrella, though.

--Gram Parsons-esque

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 4, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Pat... Mark Twain's narrator in "Letters from the Earth" affirmed there is, in fact, sex in heaven and it lasts for centuries. No bodies merely means no sweat.

The narrator complained that humans below were getting a rather odd notion of heaven, harps and then leaving out the most favorite pursuit of all. I found out why harps-- in Relevation "I heard a sound as like harpers playing."

He didn't say he saw anybody playing... my guess is Heaven has Muzak.

But don't rush to go see just yet.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 4, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

One country at a time, buddy. One country at a time.

And "Commander in Chief" is about as close as you guys are going to get to the Presidency in awhile I'm afraid.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Yup, bc, anon's got a wonderful sense of humor.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

fishy, fishy, fishy, fish

it 'twas a most elusive fish...

and it went wherever i did go...

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, just noticed this...

No Google ads down below. No casket sellers, no funeral homes, nuttin'.


Oh, and congrats to the Lerners for buying the Nationals.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Chartreuse, man. Best color in the world. Way better than lime green.

But I'm a liberal, so what do I know?

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I like the analogy of people around the table helping each other. Only I want to be the servant and pass out the napkins and clean up the spills for once.

Posted by: Pat | May 4, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

*vainly attempting to steer the conversation away from politics*

hey, anon - this is a dr/death boodle - you missed the politics boodle - that was april 27th... get w/the program dude!

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

ah come on...had to work...trying to catch up. death eh? Ich...what a cheery subject.

Irish wake, all the way....though I'm not Irish but it sounds like a blast.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Great plan, omni. I probably won't be there there to witness it, but I'll be there in spirit. (My ashes being scattered home plate at my local Little League field.)

Scottynuke, I deliberately left "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" off the list. When we did our first adoption from Korea, we got Cassie, who was then 4 years old (and obviously spoke no English). The very first thing I ever taught her (besides "Hey Amelican Fryboy, you got gum?") was "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," which she would belt out with gusto. She quickly became surgically attached to my leg, and followed me everywhere; we were inseperable. When I umpired, she came to the games and sat in the dirt behind the backstop and dug holes, played, etc., and had about 15 surrogate parents in the stands watching over her while I was on the field. She later played softball herself, of course, and was a pretty good catcher and hitter. She always got upset whenever somebody in the stands heckled the umpire (me) and would turn and glare at them (and I would laugh). She threatened to beat up people who didn't like my calls.

As tough as she was/is, Cassie is a crier, very emotional. I used to joke that she'd cry during a Corn Flakes commercial when the poor corn flakes got drowned.

I wouldn't want anyone to sing that song at my memorial, because Cassie would lose it. She would just totally lose it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

nix on the umbrella. The party area will be upwind from the launch site. The only bummer though is would really like to hear the round robin singing. sigh.

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

(i)I(/i) oviously need to take a walk...


Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, loved your 10:20.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Doctors are my least favorite people. They make disastrous, irreversible mistakes that destroy people's lives and then don't have the decency to apologize. Like Bush.

On a brighter note, TBG, I also heart chartreuse! But olive drab is my fave shade of green.

Posted by: Nani | May 4, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Ya just gotta love the scene in "The Big Labowski" when John Goodman and Jeff Bridges go to that cliff overlooking the Pacific, to scatter Steve Bushemi's ashes--and the wind blows the ashes back all over them. And Goodman never once acknowledges his mistake or loses his dignity (such as it is).

What a great movie.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

amo - Thanks for the analysis of Will's colmn. I won't have time to read it today.

Another Joke About Doctors and Death:

Doctor: Sir, I'm afraid I have bad news, and some even worse news.

Patient: Alright, give me the bad news.

Doctor: OK, you've got 24 hours to live.

Patient: That's TERRIBLE news! What could possibly be worse?

Doctor: I've been trying to reach you since yesterday.

Thank you. Thank you. You're great. I'm here all week.

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, The Big Labowski introduced my son to the great Kenny Rogers classic, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).

Great song and always brings a smile when it pops up on the iPod.

That movie is an all-time family fave.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The coolest bicycle made, IMHO, was a Raleigh International with a chartreuse finish. Almost the same color used on Hot Wheels, way back when.

Posted by: jack | May 4, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

When I was a little girl I bought my Dad a "Doctors Do It With Patients" mug for Christmas one year.
(I thought the patients/patience pun was clever, but I didn't quite grasp the "do it" double entendre. It wasn't until years later that I thought, "My God -- what have I done?")

As far as I know my father still has that mug. He brings it out from time so we can all mock it. Several times over the years my mother tried to talk him into throwing the mug in the trash, but he wouldn't, because it was a gift from one of his kids. I'm just glad I didn't get him the T-shirt.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess in trying to subtly tie in the death/organ donor thing with the favorite color I was a little too obscure.

My favorite color?
Orange. I guess.

Music? Classical.

One more thought on Organ Donorship in the Monty Python vein:

[door bell rings]

MR BROWN: Don't worry, dear. I'll get it!
[opens door]

MAN: Hello. Uhh, can we have your liver?
MR. BROWN: My what?
MAN: Your liver. It's a large, ehh, glandular organ in your abdomen.
ERIC: [sniff]
MAN: You know, it's, uh, it's reddish-brown. It's sort of, uhh,
MR. BROWN: Yeah, yeah, I know what it is, but... I'm using it, eh?
ERIC: Come on, sir.
MR. BROWN: Hey! Hey! Stop!
ERIC: Don't muck us about.
MR. BROWN: Stop! Hey! Hey! Stop it. Hey!
MAN: Hallo.
MR. BROWN: Get.. get off!
MAN: What's this, then? Hmm?
MR. BROWN: A liver donor's card.
MAN: Need we say more?
MR. BROWN: Listen! I can't give it to you now. It says, 'in the event of death'. Uh! Oh! Ah! Ah!
MAN: No one who has ever had their liver taken out by us has survived.
ERIC: Just lie there, sir. It won't take a minute.

-from "The Meaining of Life: Chapter Five: Live Organ Transplants"



Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Now THERE's a Home Film festival for a rainy weekend: Coen brother's movies.

Those guys have made some great movies, starting with "Blood Simple".


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

He brings it out from time *to time*.
[If he could bring it out from time, that would be truly impressive.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

amo, side note to your comments on advertising.

Last year for the whole year the NHL Players Association was on strike. By late June early July, there was heavy pressure to settle, because schedules needed to be set and venues booked, air seats etc. At the time neither side in the dispute was talking a whole lot. Beer companies, one of the sport's priciple tv advertisers, reveiwed advertising dollars spent and beer sales, and found that there was no significant change in beer sales, or brand sales even though the advertising dollars spent were way down. The articles I read about did not infer anything about the numbers and it appeared that the beer companies were not drawing any conclusions. They were just saying what they found. It seemed to hang in the air though that if the advertising dissappeared so would the excessively stupid salaries these entertainers are paid.

Witihin a couple of weeks the whole thing was settled. Nothing more was ever said publicly, to my knowledge, but I have always wondered if the announcement was advertisers applying subtle but significant pressure to get it settled. It would have been very interesting to go through another year without hockey to see what advertisiers would have done.

Yes we are all sheep following one another, but I think advertisings biggest influence is not so much to make us want a specific thing, but simply to want.

Posted by: dr | May 4, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's ominous that there aren't Google ads. I think that prefigures The End.

I will post a new kit this afternoon. Like, 2ish.

I used to think i didn't want to be cremated because there might be genetic information lost that would potentially be of medical importance to my descendants. But I guess they could just keep an eyeball in a jar. Any tissue sample. One cell has all the data??? Or just "scan" me somehow. Digitize the DNA and cremate away.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 4, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I see that the Google ads are gone for me too. Have they taken their ball and gone home after being picked on in the blog recently? (Google ad exec: "Hmmpph")

Back to death. I think I'm leaning to cremation as well. As much as I like the idea of being spread out at point x, I think there's some merit to the idea of having at least some sort of physical memorial that can be visited.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse


I so totally understand.

But you COULD still have an organist do the "dit-dit-di-DAH" chord progression thing or something. Trumpeter doing the "CHARGE!!!" tune. Gotta get the ball park in there somewhere.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan (and a few other older Boodlers) may remember this poignant lyric:

Tan me 'ide when I'm dead, Fred
Tan me 'ide when I'm dead
So, we tanned 'is 'ide when he died, Clyde
And that's it hangin' in the shed...

All Together Now...

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I like the word "cremains."

[I've been continuing my "Six Feet Under" marathon this evening. Cremains abound.]

Posted by: Tom fan | May 4, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Rolf Harris!
Thanks, CowTown!

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Evening? I'd say you're up late, Tom Fan.

There are Google ads still on the Achenbro kit. Strange.... I guess Google ads and death don't mix.

I was expecting funeral home ads and such, like:

Cremate your loved ones for less!

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan, what time is it there when it is noon EST? Are you up late? (or early tomorrow rather - whoa, deep man).

dr, I know hockey often holds the answers to life's questions, but we're just promoting the stereotype by using hockey as an analogy.

Joel, we already got together bought some of your "flyaway hair" (as you call it) on ebay and are working on building a clone so that the Achenblog will survive your inexorable disintegration.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

[Here's the rest of it. Note that running amok is mentioned.]

There's an old Australian stockman lying, dying. He gets
himself up
onto one elbow and 'e turns to his mates, who are all gathered around
and 'e says:
Watch me wallaby's feed, mate
Watch me wallaby's feed,
They're a dangerous breed, mate
So watch me wallaby's feed
Altogether now!
Tie me kangaroo down, sport
Tie me kangaroo down
Tie me kangaroo down, sport
Tie me kangaroo down
Keep me cockatoo cool, Curl,
Keep me cockatoo cool
Ah, don't go acting the fool, Curl
Just keep me cockatoo cool
Altogether now!
'n' take me koala back, Jack
Take me koala back
He lives somewhere out on the track, Mac
So take me koala back
Altogether now!
And mind me platypus duck, Bill
Mind me platypus duck
Ah, don't let 'im go running amok, Bill
Just mind me platypus duck
Altogether now!
Play your didgeridoo, Blue
Play your didgeridoo
Ah, like, keep playin' 'til I shoot thru, Blue
Play your didgeridoo
Altogether now!
Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred
Tan me hide when I'm dead
So we tanned his hide when he died, Clyde
And that's it hangin' on the shed!!
Altogether now!

Posted by: Achenfan | May 4, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I'm sure you saw the Rukeyser appreciation piece in Style today?


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I am indeed up very late -- it's past midnight.
(Oops . . . *way* past!)
Must . . . Go . . . To . . . Bed.

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | May 4, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, maybe you could leave instructions for the minister to end with "Play Ball!"

Or more inappropriately, to work in *with gestures* "You're outta there!"

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Nite-nite, Tom Fam!

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse


I would not disagree with that. I think advertising's main objective is to make us want and I would argue that it's been successful.

It does not make sense to me that a multi-billion dollar industry like advertising could be built on something ineffectual, that does not actually influence buying habits or purchases.

Dateline NBC or some show like that recently did a piece on a mom who was waging her own personal war against Nickelodeon's advertising practices.

Apparently, Nickelodeon has made various deals with snack-makers and drink-makers to have Nick's licensed characters on the boxes, bags or bottles of various products. (For example, SpongeBob SquarePants. My daughter *loves* him!)

This has had an demonstrable effect on children, who also are young enough to regularaly go to the store with their parents. They see SpongeBob fruit snacks and SpongeBob juice and want them and pester their parents to buy them.

I realize it's up to the parents to stop the purchase of the items, however that does not negate that advertising does have an effect on desire *and* consumption. We want what we see and if we have the means, we buy it. Advertising is simply the 'pusher', encouraging us, picking at our weaknesses and insecurities and telling us that the answer is to buy _______.

Some links:

If you go into the excerpt for the book, she starts with a fairly good discussion on the influence of advertising.

I'm not saying that it's responsible for it all, but to deny it's effect on our culture is simply unrealistic.

Posted by: amo | May 4, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I had rather hoped the audience would do "The Wave" in the middle of the funeral oration. Would you be so good as to lead it?

Thanks. I knew I could count on you.

(Also, I have no objection if vendors pass through the crowd hawking Natty Bo, hot dogs, Philly pretzels, etc. Also programs and scorecards, so mourners know who's who among each other, their relationship to me, how well they do on their eulogies and remembrances, etc. Please see that someone posts the ERAs afterward. A big electronic scoreboard is a bit ostentatious, but I wouldn't mind if there was a modest scoreboard noting Humorous Anecdotes, Really Dumb Things Curmudgeon Did, Funny Things Curmudgeon Wrote/Said, Fools Curmudgeon Did Not Suffer Gladly, Historically Bad Calls Curmudgeon Made While Umpiring, etc.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The idea of "Play Ball!" reminds me that my mom, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., thought the last two words of the Star Spangled Banner were "Beat Army!"

Scotty... yes. Thanks. I actually haven't read the Rukey tribute yet. I'm waiting to read the paper paper (or the "paper Internet" as my husband calls it) this evening.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Anything for a friend, 'Mudge. Which uniform would you prefer I wear?


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 4, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I don't think we'll be able to afford printing a program that includes Funny Things Curmudgeon Wrote.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl: Absolutely! "The Chainsaw" (umpire's you're-outa-there gesture) is a must. Glad you though of it.

And at the end, instead of a hearse ride to the crematorium, they could bring out my warm-up jacket, drap it over the coffin, and use a golf cart to take me off the field.

Damn, I'm actually beginning to look forward to the whole event! It could be so cool!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Changed my mind, 'Mudge

"...and considering all the things we have mentioned today, the grace with which Curmudgeon lived his life, and the style and wit that everyone around him enjoyed, we say that Curmudgeon is *gesture* SAFE!"

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Aw, TBG, you say the sweetest things. Just a list of links to "Greatest Hits" would do.

Scotty, I prefer the Phillies, but you can use your own discretion. I give mo special dispensation to wear the Yankees, being that it's a one-time special occasion (ordinarily, they'd be banned). Baseball haters can wear Redskins' colors. dr can wear curlers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Curlers! Get it? Oh, some days I kill me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

thanks 'mudge! *grin* but hey, um... don't be rushing the event - k? i can wait a LONG time!

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If I get terminally ill I plan on being frozen. Worse case scenario would be nothing happens. Best case, I end up hanging out with Ted Williams, Walt Disney, and Timothy Learly.
Wait a minute. Maybe I better rethink this....

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 4, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Leary, of course. But spelling is, like, so very, you know, like. wow...

Have you ever really looked at your hand...

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 4, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, when I die I want my frozen body to be kept in a pyramid like that old guy in "Being There." Plus I want an eternal flame. Just don't let it get too close.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 4, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Cow Town, have you heard this one?

Hubby, too sick to get out of bed to go to the doctor, asks his wife to find one that makes house calls. She phones around and reports back to hubby. "I have good and bad news. Good news is I found a doctor who makes house calls. Bad news, it's Dr. Kevorkian." (Mudge, may I borrow a *rimshot*! thankyew, thankyewvermuch)

Posted by: Nani | May 4, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I remember some time in the not too distant past Boodling about the ceremony to celebrate my passing (and my wife's probable exuberence); I think that's where Mudge told us that he wanted his ashes spread on Home Plate and *not* Angelina Jolie.

If I were more industrious I'd find the link to that bit, but I've got work to do.


Posted by: bc | May 4, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

It would be an honour to wear curlers to your event. Does it have to be big name curlers or can I just go with what (or whom) I find at home.

I agree that the sign would undoubtedly be 'safe' for Curmudgeon.

Posted by: dr | May 4, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Bob and Fred are playing golf and are on the hole next to the road when a funeral procession passes. Bob stops walking, removes his cap and faces the procession until it passes.

Fred: "Wow, Bob, that's very respectful of you".

Bob: "Well, we were married for 35 years".

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 4, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

amo, I think I might like that book. I like her take that we are the product.

I'd sure like to think I am immune, but all you'd have to do is look at my home's decor. I've been channeling HGTV . No specific products, but the whole influence it has had on how I want my personal spaces to look is astounding. My husband would agree that I have fallen hook line and sinker.

Posted by: dr | May 4, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Somebody just e-mailed this to me. I do not claim it as my own. (But it woulda made a good starting point...but that woulda been plagarism.)

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.

In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York. This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico.

But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day. The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as

Sinko de Mayo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, how d'ya feel about the St. Louis Cardinals? After a beer or six, Dad would brag that as a young lad, he was slated for a rookie position on that team but was drafted and that ended his ball career. I heart the Yankees myself.

bc, my g-girls and I have watched the Coen Bros. Raising Arizona so many times they can recite the entire dialogue. Frances McDormand cracks me up every time.

Posted by: Nani | May 4, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, Mudge, hahahahahahaha! Stop it you guys! I'm not wearing my Depends!

Posted by: Nani | May 4, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach writes:
I used to think i didn't want to be cremated because there might be genetic information lost that would potentially be of medical importance to my descendants. But I guess they could just keep an eyeball in a jar. Any tissue sample. One cell has all the data??? Or just "scan" me somehow. Digitize the DNA and cremate away.

There is some merit to what Joel writes. My dad wanted to be cremated and we complied with his wishes, joined the Neptune Society, and spread his ashes a mile or more off the coast of Oceanside. I might just have one or two of his old sweaters with one of his hairs inside. Finding a silver "thread" of his former self is important since we know he is the one who had high blood calcium and was, without doubt, the carrier of our genetic disorder.

My father's parents are buried in the sprawling Forest Lawn complex in the Los Angeles basin, a huge park-like place, that consumes many acres and a number of hillsides and now sits under layers and layers of smog. If I were to be a gene hunter on the prowl looking for the carrier of my dominant-gene disorder, I'd start there by exhuming them. Would genetics tell me if the gene carrier of my genetic disorder is my grandfather Loomis, who died in his 60s before I was born? Old photos show his big white moustache, his full head of white hair, and deep-set eyes. More handsome is he is his West Point uniform as a young man.

Or is it my olive-skinned grandmother with very questionable parentage. Did my great-grandmother Freiwald have sex with her husband after their divorce? Was my great-grandmother, the seamstress, raped in Kings, New York? Did she owe a sexual favor to the landlord or the shop foreman? None of the numbers as far as Granny Loomis really fit into logical orde--as I found out during my trip to Connecticut in May 2004.

But the answers to my genetics questions should be in their bones, in theor DNA. And if the genetic trail leads to Jenny Freiwald Loomis, then the path becomes extremely difficult, as the family's records reaching to middle Germany in the mid-1800s are very, very sketchy.

Everyone, please save at least save a lock of hair for your descendants, if not an eyeball.

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Obligatory Midwest Death Joke:

Grandpa Ollie lies in his death bed. His wife and relatives surround him.

"Marta," he whispers, "Are you there?"

"I'm here, Love," his wife answers.

"Sully?" he calls out, weakly.

Ollie's son answers, "I'm here, Papa."

"Is Emma here?" he cries.

"I'm right here, Papa," says Ollie's daughter, weeping.

"So everybody's here, Yah?" Ollie murmurs.

"Yah, everyone's here, Papa," says Sully.

"So, why's the light on in the kitchen, hey?"

It just keeps getting better, huh?

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Linda, other than satifsying your curiosity, would it do YOU (or anyone) any good to trace back where the genetic disorder came from?

Just wondering.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Same day, different holiday. Don'tcha mean...Stinko de Mayo? Everyone remembers the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, but no one recalls averted tragedy of the Pemex Hellman de Vera Cruz, which could have coated the Bay of Campeche (calm-pay-chay).

If the mayonnaise had been delivered to its southern port, as it was intended, the hombres and muchachas would be shouting and lubricating with "Oil de Ole!"

Of course, my manteca is your mayonnaise.

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG writes:
Linda, other than satifsying your curiosity, would it do YOU (or anyone) any good to trace back where the genetic disorder came from?

Just wondering.

Darn good question, TBG. Does the disorder tie into the Loomis family's well-documented history of longevity? If there is a link, I would think the answer would be a resounding yes.

Please know that those in the rare genetic disorder community have some common bond, although the disorders may be vastly different. We like to call ourselves the canaries in the coal mine, meaning that is easier to learn about the human body when things go wrong, deviate from the norm, rather than when something goes right for the majority of people almost all the time.

Especially when the difference boils down to SNiPS, os single nucleotide polymorphisms. A good analogy is that we are windows to how the body works, or should work, and it focuses the observer's gaze or attention on the instructions for these systems, or processes, or organs as spelled out within the genetic code, the DNA.

Since FHH impacts how the body uses calcium, the most prevalent mineral in the body, I think having this type of information could lead to better understanding--short-term memory formation, hormones and receptors, endocrine processes and glandular function, fertility and infertility, nerve signaling, heart beat, skin, eyes, smell and taste...

Maybe Wilbrod and Dooley can add what they know?

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

nani hearts the yankees! nani - i KNEW there was sometin i loved about you! *grin* now you have to help me gang up on jw who is a stinkin sox fan!

Posted by: mo | May 4, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

you'd need more than a lock cause the DNA in hair is not viable, you need the root.

And I'm just about finished readin "The Hade Factor" and whoever said I could read these Covert One novels out of order (read the third one first) was wrong. Though there's no umbrage taken. There was one character mentioned in the third that dies in the first and I knew who this was and how the person died. But that's OK cause it hasn't ruined it for me. Then there are a number of protaganists that are also in the third, so every time one or more of these people are in a hair raising dangerous situation I know they'll survive, but it's OK because I don't know how. I liked both these books so much I just got back from B&N with the other three in the series.

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to add that if any one likes espionage novels at all I highly recommend "Covert One". Which should be obvious as just paid about 25 dollars to complete the series.

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Haha, I'm going to tie-in two of the topics on this boodle:

Patient: "Well, give me the bad news first."

Doctor: "You have cancer, I estimate that you have about two years left."

Patient: "OH NO! That's awefull! In two years my life will be over! What kind of good news could you probably tell me, after this???"

Doctor: "You also have Alzheimer's. In about three months you are going to forget everything I told you."

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

back up a couple post for a late SCC entry: "The Hades Factor".

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

back up again cause I forgot the first part of that joke:

An old man visits his doctor and after thorough examination the doctor tells him: "I have good news and bad news, what would you like to hear first?"

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Aw, I just got back from a walk, do I really have to go for another one so soon. I'm just going to have to turn my back for a spell. I'll be reading my novel for a while so sit tight...

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

A man went to the doctor for a checkup. The doctor looked grave. He said, "I need to speak with your wife in private." The guy brought his wife in that same day. The doctor closed his door, sat her down and said, "Your husband's condition is very serious. He could die. But there is a chance. You need to treat him very carefully. Never raise your voice or say anything to cause him stress. Be sure his meals are nutritious and served on time. Be available for sex whenever he is in the mood. Do not argue with anything he says."

The wife rejoined her husband in the waiting room.

"What did he say?" he demanded.

"He said you are going to die."

Posted by: kbertocci | May 4, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

omni... do you ever work?

Just wondering.

Posted by: TBG | May 4, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Bones, TBG, particularly--osteoporosis, as well as osteclasts, osteoblasts, perhaps even immune function in the bone marrow...

Canaries in the coal mine:

I am adopted and inherited a rare disease called Porphyria. It is a blood liver enyzyme deficiency. Triggered by chemical exposure, I am disabled by the toxic world we live in today. Chemical like detergent, fragrances, chlorine, exhaust, petroleum products,pesticides, charcoal fluid, to the tune of over 3 thousand chemicals. Yep, should be in a bubble I know. My Doctor says I am truly living that "Canary in a Coal Mine" saying.

The 'canary in the coalmine' is a well-known metaphor in the hemophilia community. If there's something wrong with the blood supply, hemophiliacs are the first victims because of their life-long dependence on blood products. So, HIV caused more than 30.000 infections in this community in the western world and even larger numbers are involved in the infection with hepatitis C.

The link between human disease and "mad deer" disease -- that is, between CJD
and CWD (chronic wasting disease) -- is even more unclear.

Six percent of deer in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming have
been found to have chronic wasting disease. If it turns out that Doug McEwen has a form of CJD similar to this "mad deer" disease, his would be the first
confirmed case. "If there's going to be a canary in the coal mine," says one researcher, "it will be McEwen."

Birth defects are the canary in a coal mine," explained Dr. Brody. "Genes that affect the fetus are most likely candidates for variation that may affect other adult diseases, including cancer. So, it is not too much of a stretch to envision our work in breast cancer genetics and folate metabolism beginning to overlap in the near future."

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

according to this source, which has a link to Trace Genetics, a genetics testing firm, the shaft of the hair is needed only to examine y-DNA (male):

You can have hair analyzed for y-DNA and mitochondrial mtDNA. For mtDNA analysis, you can just use the hair itself. However, for y-DNA you must get the "root" or "bulb" of the hair. The root contains the nuclear DNA which includes y-DNA. You will also see discussions about the "shaft." The shaft is the hair without the root or bulb, and thus without the nuclear y-DNA. Trying to retrieve DNA from hair shafts is difficult and time consuming and could add costs to any tests. There is a lab that specializes in extracting DNA from odd sources such as licked postage stamps, envelopes, ancient artifacts, etc. If this lab finds DNA from hair, they could extract it and then forward it to another lab for Y-DNA testing. See Trace Genetics.

There's also the saliva swab and blood. This site claims that fresh blood, by far, is the most reliable:

While this is a preferred method, buccal swabs have come into their own subject to provisos set out below. Blood provides high quality and high quantity of DNA. The testing labs are able to run numerous tests for analysis on the same sample. It is a bit more invasive than the other sample types of cheek swabs and hair, requiring your blood to be drawn by a medical professional. This is the preferred method for DNA testing for medical conditions.

Wilbrod, Dooley?

Posted by: Loomis | May 4, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I am a master level 7 black belt in multi-tasking. I am currently tasking three projects. Just last week I was actually juggling 8 separate projects simultaneously. I have never missed a deadline. Except when there were other colleagues involved and, Oh wait you were joking weren't. Ah well, never mind

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I will never believe what they tell me on CSI again.

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I swear I typed a 'you' at the end of the penultimate sentence two posts back. And a period in the last. Back to reading for me.

Posted by: omni | May 4, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I believe I detect a new post.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 4, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

There is indeed a new kit of sorts. Kind of a long microkit. Not a macrokit by any stretch. But fodder for debate. It's about life and death. And Hell.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 4, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, a new Kit has been posted. Please step smartly through corridor "B" and follow the yellow line. Please be sure to take your belongings with you, as the door to this Boodle will be locked after hours. Thank you for your continued attention and cooperation. And, have a Very Pleasant Day.

Posted by: CowTown | May 4, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sure that, at least in mammals, you need white blood cells in a blood sample--I don't think red blood cells have a complete genome (probably why they acn't reproduce themselves). Any cell can produce a mitochondrial sample, but mtDNA will not indicate any genetic disorders--it's only useful in genetics for studying matrilineal lines of descent.

Posted by: Dooley | May 4, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Had a backache and didn't know why. It got better but but didn't go away. After a few weeks, decided to see the doc. Found out the problem and now need surgery.
But . . . had I ignored it, and NOT seen the doc, the problem would have worsened, led to pancreatitis, and even MORE serious surgery than I now face.
It's better to know. See your doc. Early and often.

Posted by: rick freeman | May 4, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi! Very interesting! prtlzv

Posted by: John S | August 31, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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