Yup, folks, summer is over. Don’t start giving me your lip about it not being the “official” end of summer,  about it not being Labor Day yet, or the even stupider nonsense about the equinox. The bare naked and ugly truth is that summer is kaput,  morto, D-E-A-D. The kids are back in school, marking the real end to the carefree feeling that accompanies the wonderful warm months. Time is now lunches and buses and report cards and social complexities and teachers of both the competent and incompetent variety,  not to mention that biggest waste of children’s time known as homework. (Of course, every teacher thinks her homework assignments are useful and important, but whatever–I’ll be targeting those maroons shortly. Also, since I’m taking detours, the weather isn’t correlated with arthritis[1,2,3]* and sugar doesn’t make your children hyperactive[4], but I don’t bother arguing these  anymore because, well, because people also vote for Donald Trump and deny global warming and I’ve got other Twinkies to fry.) First idiot that says something saccharine about the changing of the seasons and oh snow so pretty gets salted and sold to cannibals.

This year’s summer was ridiculously short. Embarrassingly short. I felt ashamed telling my kids that they had to go back to school, and no, they were in no mood to start up again with their respective academic purgatories, junior high and high school.  Students in Massachusetts didn’t get out until June 26, which should have been cause for the pillorying of the both the Superintendent and the members of the School Committee, but all we like sheep have gone apathetic, and we’ll probably settle for a week at the fourth of July in a few decades. And students will still get a better education in a dozen countries.

This used to be called copyright violation, stealing, etc. It is now known as "re-purposing." My apologies to Mr. Groenig.

This used to be called copyright violation, stealing, etc. It is now known as “re-purposing.” My apologies to Mr. Groenig, but not to the editors who have basically given free license to this practice. 

 

*The third article is much more interesting and nuanced, and it does correlate physical activity and season, which may be a confounder in these studies.

1.Gorin A, et al;  Rheumatoid arthritis patients show weather sensitivity in daily life, but the relationship is not clinically significant;PainVolume 81, Issues 1–2, 1 May 1999, Pages 173–177

2. Dorleijn D, et al; Associations between weather conditions and clinical symptoms in patients with hip osteoarthritis: A 2-year cohort study; PainVolume 155, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages 808–813

3. Feinglass J, Lee J, Dunlop D, Song J, Semanik P, Chang RW. The Effects of Daily Weather on Accelerometer-measured Physical Activity among Adults with Arthritis. Journal of physical activity & health. 2011;8(7):934-943.

4. Wolraich ML, Wilson DB, White J. The Effect of Sugar on Behavior or Cognition in Children: A Meta-analysis. JAMA.1995;274(20):1617-1621


Extra point if you know immediately why this picture is here.

Extra point if you know immediately why this picture is here.

We’re back.

We disappear from time to time.

Personal issues of the staff, like divorce, other jobs, and puppies that refuse to housebreak have been keeping the staff occupied.

For example, one of our most reliable writers sent us this note: “The divorce is final, but the parasite shyster plaintiff’s attorney still wants blood, flesh, and, yes, more filthy lucre.”

Life has been rather tough on the Meta-Bug editorial staff since the last post.

The former spouse of the above-mentioned writer has grown even more hostile since the divorce and the last entry, written nearly a year ago. It’s a mystery to us all.  The vast majority of the staff wants to get on with our normal business, but the man-hours required to devote to the very real problems of their personal lives (we realize our workers actually have lives) have left little time (not to mention funds, for we are self-funded) for our team of crack investigative reporters to go out there and get truly interesting and important stories. It seems that some of our staff is just unlucky (flooded basements). Some are overworked. And for the ones going through divorces, well, seems that some folks just can’t let go. They revel in the fight. To this contributor, it appears like refusing to admit that the plate of elephant manure and crushed-up cockroaches you’re eating isn’t actually worse  than the nice bowl of gelato that’s sitting right next to you: “I really like this,” you say. “Now get that fucking fior di latte and stracciatella out of my face before I really lose it.”

However, we did get an editorial out of all of this:

Divorce should not be in the hands of lawyers and judges.

Divorce should not be in the hands of lawyers and judges.

Divorce should not be in the hands of lawyers and judges.

Some day an enlightened public will have to wrest this from the hands of the divorce attorneys, while they kick and scream and predict the death of society. It probably won’t be the death of society, but it will be the end of the world as we know it, and that is more than fine.

Because we are so nosy, we picked up this piece of writing on a crumpled piece of paper from the courthouse floor:

Today I saw a grown man handcuffed in the courtroom because he was unable to pay his child support. He started to cry, but the judge didn’t really care. If what he says was true, then he was paying all the money he had for child support. So who will benefit from his incarceration? The children? I can’t imagine how. The former wife? Well, I’m sure that going to jail and losing his job will enhance his future earning capacity. She may have a need for vendetta, may feel that he has it coming, but she’s probably acting from her worst self, or her only self if she can’t separate herself from this side of her.  I suppose some smug prigs will be satisfied at seeing this man who has no experience with the criminal justice system tossed into jail, satisfying her worser angels. Bully for her…

I saw another guy at the clerk’s desk, he was showing his pay stubs and how they were less then the weekly amount owed on child support. He was from the former Soviet Union, and seeing the machine just turning and churning, regardless of the circumstances, made him feel like he was in Moscow once again.,,

Do the powers that be really think that children can be isolated from the conflict that an adversarial system encourages? In court I heard a lawyer, tell the judge that charges $460/hour. This same judge didn’t flinch, even though he said something about “reasonable lawyer’s fees.” By what I see, this lawyer has absolutely no control over his client, or perhaps he is even encouraging her to continue litigation in order to pad his own wallet. What’s amazing, truly astounding,  is that he probably thinks he’s actually worth it. He doesn’t seem any brighter than the average bear, and I so far a lot of his strategy seems to be throwing lots of motions and paperwork at the process. The other side complains that much  of it is illegible, which means that they need to call him to fix it, and then the cost of the whole deal goes up, since he’s clearly the type of lawyer who doesn’t let a minute of his day go unbilled. The plaintiff’s lawyer seems to be taking the case personally, as he has developed a rather un-lawyerly tendency to lose his temper when talking about the defendant.  He works for a fancy-schmancy (which is two grades higher than merely “fancy”) law firm. I have heard of it. They have very nice offices with good views, glass conference rooms, stocked with all sorts of things with their logo on it, including the napkins that their clients use to wipe the crumbs from their faces. Do these self-congratulatory surroundings improves their ability to win cases for their clients?

NastTweed


fluI just got a chilling thought.

If I get influenza this winter,

I am fucked. Really fucked. Why? Because I have no friends here. None. If I missed work, someone would call and wonder where I am, but other than that, no one would check up on me. I would have to go to the store and spread my germs, because I wouldn’t have any other way to get food. In addition to the pain of illness would be the added pain of isolation and fear. My 11 year-old daughter would be worried and try to make sure I was OK, but she’s just an 11 year-old who would be in the custody of her mother , Fräulein Schadenfreude, who really hates me and might even take some cruel pleasure in the fact I was alone in my misery. Not that she’s bitter or anything.

I’ve had the flu before. It was debilitating. I was febrile and in pain for a full week. Yeah, sometimes it’s “just the flu”, but at other times it’s the disease that kills around 36,000 Americans per year ( a lot more  Americans than Ebola, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis  will). Fortunately it’s rare, but other times flut has been the epidemic that has knocked off 3-5% of the world’s population. It’s not the flu—it’s the ‘flu, dumbspeak for influenza.

All in all,I was well cared for. I was at my girlfriend’s mother’s house.  We had driven down to Atlanta for Christmas(see what happens when you date a shiksa!) , and it was my first time meeting the family. I think I made a good first impression.

People with strong connections heal better and are in better general and mental health. Living in isolation is toxic—it can literally shorten your life. What is the worst punishment we can give (short of the death penalty)? Solitary confinement. Lock ‘em up, and let ‘em go nuts.

So winter’s coming up. Whaddaya gonna do?

flu2

First of all, don’t be a moron, and go get your flu shot.

Your immune system is not a muscle. Don’t think that by “stressing” it with exposure to a virus is going to make it stronger.  The flu shot cannot give you the flu, nor will it cause autism, cause narcolepsy, or make you vote for Rick Perry. Unless you are allergic to eggs or religiously opposed( a weak reason, in my humble opinion), there is no reason not to get it. If you are under 50, get the intranasal—it shows better efficacy.

What population needs vaccination the most? School-age children. They run off to the viral exchange facility 5 days out of 7, and they are the super spreaders of the disease. If you want to protect infants and the elderly, it’s better to vaccinate school -age children than vaccinating those groups. I’m not going to argue science with whackos who think that vaccines are poison distributed widely. They can join my raw milk friends and throw a party. Go get your children vaccinated, or you are a parasite worse than Echinococcus multilocularis.

Secondly, don’t go to  work sick.

I worked at a horrible corporate veterinary practice where the manager (where do they find these people? They went through 5 managers in a little over a year. The Company bought into the ridiculous Business School Conceit that if you know how to manage a convenience store you also know how to manage a machine shop or a veterinary practice—the falsity of this claim was demonstrated on a hourly basi, oh how we loved the days when she was off! ) Anyway, as I was saying the manager announced at an office meeting one day that “if anyone is sick and can’t come in to work,  you still have to come in unless you find a replacement.” My response was, “As soon as I hear of anyone coming in with a fever, I’m leaving, and I will recommend that anyone else leave.” I don’t see why the employees should have to do the manager’s job of finding a replacement (other than the manager’s desire to shift the blame off of herself, in addition to  cruelly burdening a sick person with a bad task). And it is sheer lunacy to have sick people come into work. Massachusetts is contemplating a paid sick leave law. Only slavemasters and fools (aka “job creators”) would oppose such a law.

flu3

Thirdly, make sure you’ve got some strong connections.

If you’re sick, you’re going to need friends. If you’re not, they are going to make your life better. Remember: it’s a long winter.


I dropped my computer yesterday.

The hard drive broke.

I have a report due tomorrow.

First idiot that says anything about backup is going to have his ass handed to him on a chrome plate.

With hollandaise sauce.

 

 

OK, but but why does the plate have to be chrome?

Because there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.


from our filthy lucre department:

Enterotomy--what happens when your dog or cat eats the wrong thing

Enterotomy–what happens when your dog or cat eats the wrong thing

We now interrupt your regular Meta-Bug for this important message.

WRITTEN IN 1981,

This was one of the first books written on veterinary emergency medicine and critical care. Naturally, quite a bit of it is out of date, most notably in the absence of newer pharmaceuticals and the presence of older equipment, some of it already looking rather quaint, like something you might find at a flea market.

However, the general thrust of the book, in terms of what types of cases you might see, how to approach a case, and how to keep records, is still pretty much spot-on.  The chapters are written by different authors (I saw a quote from an article by my old surgery professor, Eb Rosin, zikhrono livrakha, lost to ALS not long after my graduation from my veterinary school).

But as you may have noted from my earlier posts on moving, I have too much stuff, and most of that excess is in books.

I’m moving to Peru for half a year, come December. the nonprofit we started last year, PAZ (Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention) needs someone to be on the spot, so I’m going. We have no very little funding at this point. Therefore,  I need to 1) dump stuff, and 2) raise money.

So buy this book!  Even if you’re not a veterinarian, but just someone interested in science and veterinary medicine and animals, you will find this interesting. 100% of your purchase will go to supporting PAZ.

Here is the eBay link.

 


Mille torbidi pensieri mi s’aggiran per la testa se mi salvo in tal tempesta è un prodigio in verità

 

My son pitched 3 innings yesterday and had 6 Ks. I missed it! I was working on  a project long overdue. I’m trying to learn a computer language at the same time so that I don’t have to look for as much outside help next time. That is, assuming that there is a next time.

I’m a bit too verklemmt for any real thinking. So, instead of working on less than a thousand words that I will struggle over, I will dispense the value of 8,000 words. Time-saver.

 

18 cents at the Hanscom Air Force Base Commissary

18 cents at the Hanscom Air Force Base Commissary

 

 

Because children don't already have enough incentive to consume sugary drinks

Because children don’t already have enough incentive to consume sugary drinks

I'm living at the Air Force Inn, Hanscom AFB. It's kind of small. I share it with my cats, Zoot and Dingo. I named them that because I cannot tell them apart.

I’m living at the Air Force Inn, Hanscom AFB. It’s kind of small. I share it with my cats, Zoot and Dingo. I named them that because I cannot tell them apart.

Remember I had to retain the  lawyer? This is where I sent the check from. It's near where I work.

Remember I had to retain the lawyer? This is where I sent the check from. It’s near where I work.

Marmota momax

Marmota momax

Broken guitar I'm going to take apart, and a craft my son made when he was younger. There is a place near our house called Whimsy, where kids can do various types of art, and when he was little there were a lot of birthday parties there. We have a lot of painted dolphins, my son's equivalent of Kandinsky's rider.

Broken guitar I’m going to take apart, and a craft my son made when he was younger. There is a place near our house called Whimsy, where kids can do various types of art, and when he was little there were a lot of birthday parties there. We have a lot of painted dolphins, my son’s equivalent of Kandinsky’s rider.

A very worried patient of mine from last week, prior to undergoing her ovariohysterectomy.

A very worried patient of mine from last week, prior to undergoing her ovariohysterectomy.

Do not consume

Do not consume


A Good 5775 to All of You!

Yes, 5775 years from Creation according to the Hebrew Bible. A short time, indeed, for the Grand Canyon, dinosaurs, the carving of the Great Lakes, etc!

Tough one to swallow in this day and age? You’re not just whistlin’ Dixie, buddy.

And get ready, ’cause for the next 10 days, you’re really gonna have that semitic noodle of yours twisted in a Gordian knot.

Why? Because we are,

once again, at

 the most difficult time of the year.

That season when we Members of the Tribe are stuck in synagogues all over the world, wondering 1) when the cantor will finish and 2) just what in tarnation it means to be  “One of the Chosen.”

nixon

A confession: I do not have faith. I find that not only can I not believe the information in the first paragraph of this post, there are a whole host of other things that are tougher to swallow than unrefrigerated gefilte fish.

Among those other  things I do not believe:

1) That a Deity gave to Moses a law on Mt. Sinai,

2) That He also  gave Moses both a Written Law and an Oral Law, and that the Oral Law was later codified in the Mishnah and the Gemara.

3) That the aforesaid Deity said “Don’t cook a kid in it’s mother’s milk” so that we had to eat off of different sets dishes for cheese and for chicken livers.

This time of year gets to be a pretty rough row to hoe, sometimes, especially since I have no intention of giving up being Jewish.

FAITH

I have no problem co-existing with so-called People of Faith, at least when they are not passing discriminatory or theocratic laws, engaging in mass destruction, cutting off heads, waging jihad or or going on Crusades. All in all, I’d also rather they leave the nativity scenes off of public property, but in those cases no one is dying or even getting bruises, so I do my best just to look the other way and remember that in a few weeks all that red and green annoyance is going to be in garbage cans awaiting removal, and the United States will start getting ready for Presidents’ Day sales. Apparently, Big Religion is not going away, so I will have to console myself by the thought that a lot of the time POFs can be the world’s greatest neighbors. As I am unwilling to renounce my Judaism, either as culture, history, or as my personal choice of mysticism,  I still voluntarily place myself in the midst of my coreligionists.   Hell, my best friend, zichrono livrakha, became a POF in the last decade or so of his life, and he was truly a mensch. (He was a mensch, though, before his tshuva.)

However, when POFs want me to believe, I think that they fundamentally misunderstand their own faith. Say you’re dating someone, and then on the 3rd or 30th date, she says, “I love you.” You might think, OK, hmmm, what does that mean? Or you might think, Oh, I’m so happy! You may even blurt out, I love you, too! It’s possible though that  you may instead think, Uh-oh, this is not going to end well. Imagine, in addition to that that the person making that confession adds on the imperative, “Love me! Love me like I love you!” Now you are really starting to get upset. Because while it is nice to be loved, being loved does not make you love. You can’t make yourself love someone. Neither can Bonnie Raitt.

Faith is the same thing. You can put hold a knife against someone’s throat, a gun to his head, his feet to the fire, but you can’t make him believe. You can make him say he believes, but it’s like that couple: you know you’re lying, she knows you’re lying, you know she knows, but for some reason–because it makes life easier at the moment–you just go ahead and say it. People who don’t believe are not going to believe no matter how many times they say it. The deed does not shape the heart. There are people who could go to church, synagogue, mosque, whatever for the rest of their lives, and no amount of prayer or observance is going to change the fact that they will not believe. They’re just not made that way.

So believe this, People of Faith, you do not want People Who Don’t Believe to say that they are believers. You do not want to consign them the 8th circle of Inferno. You do not want to require faith. Fortunately, we Jews have long tolerated the skeptics among us, and excommunicated heretics like Spinoza are paradoxically admired. I can dwell with the Believers, and we accept each other.

(Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself.I am large,  I contain multitudes.)

PS: I am still hoping that G-d strikes Eric Cantor with the inability to speak.