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cyclonefence's Journal
cyclonefence's Journal
November 28, 2023

Grammar nazis can't help them(our)selves

From a column in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, by regular columnist The Grammarian:

A new study in the Journal of Neurolinguistics from researchers at the University of Birmingham found that when certain people come across grammar errors, their bodies respond physically.

Heart rates change. Stress increases. Bad grammar activates the part of our nervous system that provokes the fight-or-flight impulse we get when being chased ... like by a tiger. All of that happens when we encounter someone breaking grammar rules. To some of us, it can feel like an attack.

Interestingly, we don't respond so violently when the errors are made by a non-native speaker/writer or someone with an accent (Polish, in the study).

So there's a scientific explanation for why bad grammar makes us angry. That's the good news.

The bad news: It's biology. It's instinct. It's the tiger that won't stop chasing us.

And there's nothing we can do about it.

November 28, 2023

But a good thing happened while I was in the hospital

I got a visit from a bariatric surgeon who told me he could fix my hernia!

I have the biggest hernia in the world. It's in my diaphragm, and my stomach and sometimes my colon pop up into my rib cage, making it hard to breath. My stomach is up there permanently, and the colon comes and goes.

This guy says there is a new robotic technique that he can use that will cause my own scar tissue to invade the mesh he'll put in there to make it stronger than ever, even if I cough a lot--I have copd.

So that will be wahoo! if it works. It's scheduled for Jan.2 as long as my cardiologist and pulmonologist sign off on it. I know my lung guy will be all over this like white on rice.

And I never would have met this bariatric surgeon if I hadn't been in the hospital for all that diarrhea.

November 28, 2023

Well, here's my terrible hospital story

Don't ignore persistent diarrhea.

My default setting is constipation. Then I got diarrhea. I figured Diarrhea? So what--it'll run its course. It went on and on. I ate only toast and bananas, then after consulting Dr. Google added plain boiled chicken breast. The first week I figured it was a virus, but nobody else got sick.

The second week (and into my second pack of Depends) I figured I must have food poisoning, so I continued with lots of fluids and chicken noodle soup.

The third week everyone was sick and tired of me talking about my bowels so I made an appointment to see the doctor early in the fourth week.

I felt fine this whole time, btw.

She sent me for blood work so I got that done, and as soon as I got home she called and told me to go to the ER because my potassium was dangerously low. All those bananas. I lollygagged because who wants to go to the ER plus I felt like the diarrhea was slowing down.

I got there and sat for hours and finally saw a doctor who said my heart was beating 133/minute, and they started doing stuff to try to slow it down, including a chemical stress test. Nothing worked, so they admitted me.

I felt fine.

I ended up, after ten MFing days in the hospital with a defribillator/pacemaker installed, and now I feel awful.

Plus I can no longer use our almost brand-new induction range, or the headphones I use to get to sleep at night, or the electrologist to rid me of chin whiskers, or have anything with a magnet in it near my chest.

I felt fine before all this.

October 20, 2023

I think Donald Trump is selling his mailing list

I've received two emails from Gym Jordan, and now some guy NavySealMeehan from Montana who wants me to send him money.

I've never sent money (duh) to Trump or to any Republican; I think I'm on Trump's mailing list because several years ago I answered a questionnaire. I haven't unsubbed because I like keeping track of what he and DJTJR are up to, and I've never until now had any emails from any other Republican candidate, much less a candidate from outside my state.

Is this an indication of desperate need for funds in the Trump camp? I sure hope so.

And keep those emails coming, Gym and NavySeal--I need a good laugh in the morning.

October 12, 2023

I hope someone here can advise me

I have a dear friend (from college, and we're in our 70's now) who has bipolar disorder. She is medicated, with varying results.

During some two-three week periods she calls me maybe three times a day, usually when I'm not able to answer. When I call her back (which I do, every time), she begins talking very rapidly, skipping from topic to topic. Some of what she says is highly unlikely, involving celebrities she met who asked her out to lunch and refused to let her pay "because I make lots more money than you." Some of what she says is untrue, some of it is based on things we've both read about in the paper.

I do not challenge anything she says, just saying "wow" or "that's amazing" at the appropriate times.

I would not have a question except that telling me all this stuff--it takes half an hour to forty-five minutes every time--seems to calm her down. Then I tell her I love her and hope she has a good night's sleep.

She doesn't live close enough to visit, and I think these phone calls are kind of a life-line, but I'm not sure. Am I doing the right thing, essentially encouraging her to engage in these fantasies (hell, some of them might be true, for all I know), or is that somehow feeding her mania? As I say, listening to her sympathetically does calm her down, but is it the right thing to do?

Advice would be appreciated if anyone has an idea of what I should be doing. Thanks.

October 6, 2023

An oral reaction to covid vaccine

This morning I got my super covid booster shot, and now (around 6 p.m.--shot was around 10 a.m.) my tongue and lips are burning. It isn't horrible, but it is noticeable and a little uncomfortable.

Of course, I checked Dr. Internet to see if these were reported reactions to the vaccine--never had a reaction before--and guess what? They are, especially among old women which I am.

Here is the NIH site describing it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8902844/ (free btw)

Says it goes away after a short while (whew).

Has anybody else experienced this? I've learned more about covid symptoms here than at my doctor's office--who still insists fever is a symptom even though I was hospitalized with covid for a week and never had a goddam fever once.

EDIT: It's an hour later, and the burning is fading. My tongue is still burning, but my lips are pretty much back to normal.

September 27, 2023

All hell is about to break loose in Philly

A judge (named, of all things, Wendy Pew, just to add a classist note to the whole sorry mess) has acquitted a cop in the fatal shooting of a guy sitting in his car with the windows rolled up. Granted, the guy had a knife on his lap, but he had made no movement when the cop started firing.

From the Phila Inquirer:

Dial, 27, a five-year veteran of the force, shot and killed Irizarry, 27, as Irizarry sat in his car during a traffic stop in Kensington on Aug. 14. Police initially said Irizarry had lunged at Dial with a knife, leading the officer to shoot him. But video showed that wasn’t true: Irizarry was in his car, with the windows rolled up and a knife in his hand, when Dial opened fire within just seconds of getting out of his police cruiser.

On Aug. 23, then-Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she was suspending Dial with intent to dismiss him from the force for refusing to cooperate with the department’s internal investigation into the shooting.

About two weeks after that, District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office charged Dial with crimes including first- and third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault. After Dial surrendered to police, he was released on bail. Last week, however, a judge ordered that the first-degree murder charge he was facing required that he be held without bail, and sent him to jail ahead of his preliminary hearing.

Dial was officially fired from the department Sept. 18.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dial’s partner yelled “knife” before Dial opened fire, and that because he emerged from his police car with his gun drawn, and then fired within five seconds, he should be charged with murder.
Image taken from the body camera video footage of Philadelphia Police officer Mark Dial during the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry on August 14. The family of Eddie Irizarry asked for the public release of the footage.
Image taken from the body camera video footage of Philadelphia Police officer Mark Dial during the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry on August 14. The family of Eddie Irizarry asked for the public release of the footage.

more: https://www.inquirer.com/crime/mark-dial-charges-dismissed-eddie-irizarry-shooting-philadelphia-police-officer-20230926.html

September 9, 2023

This was the closest to an appropriate place to put this

The problem is that I am Miss Havisham except there's no wedding cake (well, there wouldn't be because I would have eaten it), with cobwebs hanging everywhere, mostly from the ceiling down to the lampshade. And I could occasionally deal with them (I have a feather duster) but then I found out that actual spiders make those long threads--I'd had no idea. They are "cob spiders" and I started looking for one. Aha! This one was small and looked like you'd think a spider that made that kind of web would look--dust-colored and sort of invisible. It was not very big, which is probably why I'd never noticed one.

Well, I like spiders and I don't kill them, even if I find one in the house. I knock down their webs if they're inside--I'm not a total doofus--but what to do about these cob spiders? If their whole web is this sad little dusty string of a thing, won't the spider starve if I knock it down? I couldn't leave them up in the downstairs. They really are conspicuous in certain spots. I have decided I won't knock all of them down, and I'll just hope any visitors don't notice or have the good manners not to point them out--yes, I've had company that's pointed out dirt in my house, mostly little children. Well, screw 'em.

September 7, 2023

CHOP (Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia) has a wonderful program

go to https://www.inquirer.com/education/medical-assistant-chop-philadelphia-school-flc-students-partnership-20230902.html for the whole story.

Essentially, CHOP teamed up with a Philly high school that offered a course in how to become a medical assistant. CHOP went to the director of the program and said they would hire every graduate who wanted a job and continue their training as an MA.

Everyone who wanted to work for the health system — 15 of Tkacs Way’s 33 seniors — has been hired by CHOP. They’re now part of a six-month medical assistant fellowship program, which helps them transition from the high school setting into the professional world. The FLC students get not just CHOP’s regular onboarding, but also an extra layer of support, including mentorship and classes that feature inspiring speakers, information about career paths and more.

The career path, steady work, and benefits, including tuition reimbursement, that CHOP offers are a big part of the draw of the FLC program, said Tkacs Way. One of her students brought home a paycheck and her father told the young woman he had never seen that much money in a paycheck in his life. Tkacs Way often tells her students that if they pursue higher education, find a way to do it without loans.

“To actually have respect, to have kind people around you, it’s so refreshing,” he said. “We have money secured, there are resources to help us with our lives and our futures.”

Lozada (one of the students) is about to start classes in CHOP’s nursing program, but he’s thrilled he can keep working part time at CHOP’s Karabots Center while he keeps up his studies. He loves the work — the funny moments with young patients, or the patient roughly Lozada’s age who was impressed that an 18-year-old had such a good job.

September 5, 2023

Little Richard

My husband watched the Little Richard special last night and was talking about it this morning. It reminded me of a news account from back in the '70s when Little Richard had a lot of trouble cashing a check in Philadelphia.

He had performed at one of the great Philly venues and took his paycheck to the bank it was drawn on, which happened to be Frankford Trust Company. He endorsed the check and slid it over to the teller, who looked at the front and the back (and I'm sure noticed the amount) and said "I can't cash this, sir. It's not properly endorsed."

The check had been made out to "Little Richard," and Little Richard had endorsed it with his legal name, which was Richard Penniman. He naturally had no official ID as "Little Richard," so all kinds of bank officers had to be called over. Frankford Trust was a stodgy old bank--my husband went to work there a couple of years later--that promoted from within. I am sure that only the few young tellers had any idea of who LR was, and the officers--my husband's boss, for example, who was a vice president, had not graduated from high school but had been hired for her ability to speak Italian--had no idea of who he was, either.

LR threw a fit, and the cops were called. Fortunately, the cops knew who LR was, his check finally got cashed, and Richard Penniman was on to his next sold-out appearance. Another indignity under his rhinestone belt.

This story was in the Philadelphia Bulletin, which no longer exists, and I think I'm the only one on earth who remembers it.

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