“Trying to demand the reason for existence from an all-knowing omniscient supreme being takes negotiating to a whole new level.”
Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (pp. 86-87). Penguin Publishing Group.
Happy Easter and Passover
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:
During the last few days of March, I felt well enough to travel to Mendocino to visit my sister Maryann and her husband George.
Now that the winter rains are ended, the hills and valleys I passed along the way are covered in green. It is quite attractive. I would rank the California green landscape of the foothills as picturesque as anywhere in the world. Alas, it is only temporary and in a few weeks, it will be all gone. This is California after all, the land of the ephemeral.
It took me a long time to drive there. I took it slow and stopped often to rest. I stopped in Ukiah to meet up with my sister and George. She was showing a movie about entrepreneurship at the local college. After the show and a panel discussion, I began to feel sick again. George drove me in my car over the coast range to their home where I went directly to bed.
My sister’s children Brendan and Katie arrived the next day with their respective fiancés. Brendan and Ashley plan to marry in the near future and were looking at locations for the wedding and reception.
One day, we visited Pacific Star Winery and its owner, the ever vivacious Sally, where we had a picnic overlooking the ocean and we bought some wine.
I returned to EDH on Sunday.
My Sister Maryann and Her Children Brendan and Katie with their Significant Others.
B. BACK IN EDH:
For the next two weeks, I remained under the weather. The doctors were puzzled about my lingering and new maladies. One recommended an enema. I felt as though I had traveled back to experience the medicine of the 1950s. My biggest worry has been that I will continue to linger into the summer and forgo my travel plans. On top of it all, it has rained most of the time since my return.
Regarding my travel plans this summer, I hope to spend some time in India in addition to my usual sojourn in Italy and Thailand.
HRM is on spring vacation. He is at that age where he has begun spending most of his time out with his peers. It is that wonderful time in one’s life where one can revel in the joy of newfound independence before it comes crashing down with the insecurities, shadows, and angst of teenager-hood.
Yesterday, I found myself in the Hospital Emergency room again. I was having difficulty peeing and feared that the urinary tract infection that ran me in and out of the hospital last summer had returned. A day or so previously, I decided to self-medicate myself with some of the medicines left over from that previous episode. Alas, a side effect of the drugs was dizziness and possible fainting. Having abnormally low blood pressure since my radiation therapy, the first night I took the medicines I passed out. The next day, I went to see my doctor. He told me he thought I may be dehydrated but that he could not treat me in his office and I would have to go to the emergency room. So off I went. Because my veins had shrunk since my cancer treatment and from my current dehydration, they could not insert the needles necessary for either the analysis or the hydration (although they tried ten painful times). Finally, after six hours of boredom and frustration they told me that there was nothing they could do except notify the DMV that I had some sort of reportable incident (the fainting) and I would be prohibited from driving my car until my doctor, the one who sent me to the emergency room in the first place, certified I was fit to drive again. After promising them that I would wait for someone to drive me home, I dressed, walked out, got in my car and drove myself home.
It is raining again and is expected to do so for another two weeks or so.
My doctor now has opined that I am malnourished and dehydrated. So, I now try to stuff the tasteless food down my gullet until I almost retch and drink so much water I almost can hear it sloshing around my belly. I feel better. O happy days!
Ah, after a few days of rain surprisingly the sun has come out again. O, happy days again!
And to whoever has read this far, I wish you “Long days and happy nights.”
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
A. HERE COMES THE DRAGON
An excerpt from my unfinished and never to be published draft mystery novel Here Comes the Dragon. It is about a San Francisco attorney, Mark Dragoni, who mysteriously quits his big law firm life and becomes an itinerant and mostly unsuccessful private detective saddled with the burden of training the young nephew of his main (and for a while only) client a Vietnamese dope smuggler and dealer. Dragon, as Mark prefers to be called, and Joe Vu, the nephew, are at times accompanied in their adventures by Dragon’s girlfriend, an irrepressible tattoo artist named Mavis. This chapter I call Lessons from “The Big Sleep.”
I was awakened by the screeching doorbell. I had hoped it was Mavis bringing me café latte, donuts and some after breakfast sweets. It was not. It was Joe Vu.
“Hiya Boss. You’re gonna be late. You look like hell. Nice place you got here,” he added as he walked by me into the loft.
“Did you bring the coffee and donuts? I can do without the sweets.”
Joe puttered around the house while I showered and dressed. We left and got into the car. It was a big black Lincoln.
“We’re downscale today,” I commented.
“Martin is using the Lexus.”
“How many cars does he have?”
“Lots, he collects them. I saw the movie,” he added as we drove away from the curb.
“Yeah, the one you told me to watch to learn about being a detective, The Big Sleep, with Bogart and Bacall. I don’t know about that Bacall, skinny bitch, no tits or ass.”
“They liked them like that then,” I responded. “Skinny meant rich and elegant. Today we still do skinny, but we add the tits and the butts, often fake ones, like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Zaftig is out in the modern world.”
“I couldn’t figure anything out. Who killed the chauffeur and Rogan? And why was everything so dark? I liked the car though.”
“Yeah, it was a sweet Plymouth. Nobody knows who killed the chauffeur or Rogan, not the guy that wrote the story, not the director of the movie and certainly not the actors. Life is like that and so is the private investigation business. Sometimes, hell most times, you simply do not know what happened and never will. And, just like in the movie, it probably doesn’t matter.”
“As for the dark and the shadows,” I continued. “In films and books that’s called noir. It’s French for dark. Dark shadows, dark thoughts and dark deeds. It’s not like real life at all. Everyone likes light in their life. If it gets too dark they go to sleep. Even bad things are usually done in the light, behind closed doors and in secret perhaps, but the lights are usually on — except for sex. For some reason, a lot of people seem to like doing it in the dark.”
“So, I guess it was like the last movie you had me watch. There’s nothing in the movie to learn about being a private eye?”
“No, in this one there is a lot to learn and remember. For example, you’re never hired by people who have to choose between food and you. It’s always someone who has some spare cash around. They can spend it on you or a new piece of matched luggage. It’s all the same to them. So make sure you get paid. Up front, if you can.
The movie also tells you, don’t work at night. It’s dangerous. Sometimes you have to work at night. Like when you’re sitting in your car with your camera watching, hoping to catch client’s husband disappearing into the motel. Still, in the world of private detecting or in life itself, nooners are safer or right after work. Late night trysts interfere with your sleep and should be avoided. Always try to charge more for night work.
Also, if your client has a good-looking daughter, sleeping with her makes the job more interesting. And if he has two, and you have to choose, choose the skinny one.
And finally, never, ever have dealings with someone named Eddie Mars.”
“You’re very sick, boss. Why the skinny one?”
“I don’t know. It is one of life’s great mysteries.”
B. MEMORIES OF THE NAKED MOLE RAT
A few years ago, I attempted to write some stories about the beloved naked mole rat. I did not succeed. I was pleased, however, recently to come across this strange computer graphic featuring the cuddly little beast.
The Naked Mole Rat by Maidith.
C. FINALLY, AN ANSWER TO WHATEVER HAPPENED TO “ONE PUNCH” SAMMY SANTORO.
About two years ago, here in T&T and in my blog Papa Joe’s Tales (https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/what-ever-became-of-one-punch-sammy-santoro/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true), I wondered what had become of old “One Punch” the terror of my neighborhood during my adventures as a teenager. I was convinced that Sammy (along with Pat Buchanan an acquaintance of my college years) would undoubtedly end up in the electric chair. A year or so ago, a reader of the blog notified me that Sammy, in fact, ended up in prison. “Where else would he be?” he added waggishly. This past week, another reader sent me the following:
“SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, APPELLATE DIVISION, SECOND DEPARTMENT 1979.NY.41511 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 414 N.Y.S.2d 583; 68 A.D.2d 939 March 26, 1979, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT,v.SAMUEL SANTORO, APPELLANT Damiani, J. P., O’Connor, Lazer and Gulotta, JJ., concur.”
“Damiani, J. P., O’Connor, Lazer and Gulotta, JJ., concur.
Appeal by defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Westchester County, rendered April 19, 1978, convicting him of murder under former subdivision 2 of section 125.25 of the Penal Law, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. Judgment affirmed. Defendant was indicted and convicted of the “depraved mind” murder of Anthony Aiello, the three-year-old son of his paramour. The victim’s mother, Sadie Aiello, was the principal witness for the prosecution. She testified that defendant had moved in with her in January 1970, and had taken charge of the feeding and “discipline” of Anthony. The “discipline” included frequent beatings which resulted in serious injuries and the infant’s hospitalization on two occasions. In February 1971 she moved out with her children because of her concern about Anthony’s well-being. However, she returned with the children to live with defendant on March 1, 1971. On March 11th Anthony died after being beaten and strangled by the defendant. Defendant and Sadie Aiello initially told the police that Anthony’s death was caused by his fall down a flight of stairs. Six years later she appeared at the District Attorney’s office and reported the truth about the events of March 11, 1971. In our opinion, the trial court correctly charged the jurors that they were to decide, as a matter of fact, whether Sadie Aiello was an accomplice whose testimony required corroboration (see CPL 60.22). We cannot agree with defendant that Sadie Aiello was an accomplice as a matter of law. Neither her decision to return to live with defendant nor her conduct in concealing from the police the true facts concerning her son’s death constituted participation in the offense charged or an offense based upon the same or some of the same facts or conduct which constitute the offense charged (see CPL 60.22; People v Le Grand, 61 A.D.2d 815). Since the evidence did not conclusively establish that Sadie Aiello was guilty of such an offense by virtue of her conduct on March 11, 1971, the issue of her complicity was properly submitted to the jury (see People v Basch, 36 N.Y.2d 154). We agree with defendant that the court’s charge on the definition of “recklessly” was misleading. However, since no exception to the charge was taken, the question was not preserved. Moreover, the court, in a response to an inquiry from a juror subsequently correctly charged the definition of “recklessly” and thus cured any ambiguity. The trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant’s prior assaults on the victim to negative the defense of “accident” (see People v Henson, 33 N.Y.2d 63). Defendant’s remaining contention is without merit.”
Alas, Sammy escaped the death penalty as it had previously been declared unconstitutional by the NY Court of Appeals. I do not know if he remains in prison or if he is even still alive. Pat Buchanan, on the other hand, unfortunately, remains free.
A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
The Quanta of Existence
There are only finite options (Life is not made up of infinite possibilities). The future cannot be predicted (It happens when and if it happens). It only exists in relation to other things (It does not depend on you alone.)
B. Today’s Poem:
Sarabande On Attaining the Age of Seventy-Seven
The harbingers are come. See, see their mark;
White is their colour; and behold my head.
Long gone the smoke-and-pepper childhood smell
Of the smoldering immolation of the year,
Leaf-strewn in scattered grandeur where it fell,
Golden and poxed with frost, tarnished and sere.
And I myself have whitened in the weathers
Of heaped-up Januaries as they bequeath
The annual rings and wrongs that wring my withers,
Sober my thoughts, and undermine my teeth.
The dramatis personae of our lives
Dwindle and wizen; familiar boyhood shames,
The tribulations one somehow survives,
Rise smokily from propitiatory flames
Of our forgetfulness until we find
It becomes strangely easy to forgive
Even ourselves with this clouding of the mind,
This cinereous blur and smudge in which we live.
A turn, a glide, a quarter turn and bow,
The stately dance advances; these are airs
Bone-deep and numbing as I should know by now,
Diminishing the cast, like musical chairs.
I myself have also experienced seventy-seven heaped-up Januaries and have begun to find the dance less stately than bone deep and numbing.
“The recent smitings undertaken around the globe have caught many theological analysts by surprise, as this level of apparent interest in mankind’s affairs by the Almighty has not been seen since biblical times. The reason and purpose for the sudden reversion to Old Testamentism have spawned a thousand debates on late-night chat The recent smitings undertaken around the globe have caught many theological analysts by surprise, as this level of apparent interest in mankind’s affairs by the Almighty has not been seen since biblical times. The reason and purpose for the sudden reversion to Old Testamentism have spawned a thousand debates on late-night chat shows, none of which have so far provided a coherent answer. Traditionalists state that it was simply vengeance for sinful behavior, but of the eight confirmed smitings around the planet, only two locations could be described as “sinful,” leading scholars to muse on what being sinful might actually mean in the twenty-first century.”
Eugene Plugg, God, the New Interventionist”
Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (p. 19). Penguin Publishing Group.
The Inappropriate Use of Antimicrobials
This chart is very frightening. For someone like me, whose childhood saw the vanquishing of those plagues that have hounded humankind throughout history and that could kill more in a few decades than all the wars of history, finds it heartbreaking that now at the end of that life those plagues, now resistant to all our antimicrobials may soon hound the people of the earth again. Only last year, the last effective antimicrobial was proven impotent against a mutated resistant organism it was designed to kill. Somewhere in the world today there exists mutated organisms resistant to one or another antimicrobial successfully used to halt plagues of the past. They are awaiting only the appropriate conditions to spread death and anguish across the globe
There are some still fighting to protect humanity from this threat. (The US Department of Defense considers the potential spread of drug-resistant organisms to be a national security issue) They should be honored by us all. Alas, like first responders, and other selfless people like them, there are few if any parades in their honor, nor many Facebook and similar remembrances. It saddens me that we publicly honor those trained to kill to protect us from real or imagined enemies but rarely those who daily put their lives on the line or dedicate themselves to protect their fellow humans from disease, injury or death.
Estimated proportion of inappropriate antimicrobial use by type of health care service
Inappropriate use of antimicrobials
The inappropriate use of antimicrobials is perhaps one of the most threatening forms of wasteful clinical care because it encourages the development of antimicrobial resistance. Inappropriate use represents about 50% of all antimicrobial consumption by humans, but may be as high as 90% in general practice.
More rational antimicrobial consumption can be achieved with behavioral change interventions, notably antimicrobial stewardship programs which combine multidisciplinary activities to steer both prescribers and the public towards appropriate use of antimicrobials. Mandating the use of rapid diagnostic testing can help clinicians target their antibiotic use. Economic incentives for providers and care seekers can also encourage appropriate antimicrobial consumption.
Note: Numbers in brackets indicate the number of studies used to determine the range of inappropriate use. Source: OECD analysis of available evidence published in the literature.
Source: Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health, OECD, January 2017.
Ara by Beth Moon