Archive for the ‘Language and medicine’ Category

Sleep on, harvest moon

September 24, 2018

Sunday night, on the way to the PAMF (Palo Alto Medical Foundation) Sleep Disorders Clinic in Sunnyvale CA (for a night sleeping in a forest of electrodes and other monitoring devices), an absolutely gigantic moon, slightly short of full, hanging low in the sky. Sunday (the 23rd) was the Autumn Equinox and tonight (the 24th) the moon is full, so we are now experiencing a harvest moon — which means today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and other East Asian countries (and elsewhere), so it’s the prime day for mooncakes / moon-cakes / moon cakes, paper lanterns, and family reunions. It’s also the beginning of the holiday of Sukkot in the Jewish calendar (this year, sunset on the 23rd through sunset on the 30th), so it’s a harvest festival there too, also a solemn religious holiday and a family festival.

Meanwhile, my days have been physically / medically dreadful and emotionally disastrous, so I haven’t been able to assemble all the text for a proper posting. But here’s a photo gallery for a posting to come.

(more…)

Rainforest houseplants

September 11, 2018

A birthday present to me from Riitta Välimaa-Blum, this gorgeous display of plants:

(#1)

Not just plants, but particularly luxuriant houseplants — mostly gorgeous enormous Dieffenbachia plants. Apparently in a rainforest setting, either in the wild or in a conservatory (or as Riitta would say, un jardin des plantes). Riitta tells me it’s in a real rainforest, on the island of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. Remarkably, Réunion is a department (state in US terms) of France, which just happens to be about 5700 mi (9200 km) from the department of France where she lives (in Nice, in the department of Alpes Maritimes). (Compare the US state of Hawaii, about 2500 mi (4000 km) from California, where I live.)

(more…)

Melodramamine

August 28, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collab:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Not one, but two portmanteaus: for the ailment,  overemotion sickness = overemotional + motion sickness; and for the treatment, Melodramamine = melodrama + Dramamine. Plus the (melo)dramatic gesture.

(more…)

Another puzzle in cartoon understanding

August 19, 2018

It appeared on Facebook today, with this note from Chris Hansen:


(#1) CH: From another list we have a cartoon that takes a heckuva lot of background knowledge to understand. Arnold may want to deconstruct it, if he hasn’t already. I don’t know the cartoonist.

Well, I certainly wanted to deconstruct it, but not without knowing who the artist was. Quickly, however, Chris himself, Brian Guerrero-Kane, and Roger Phillips all supplied that information — Leigh Rubin (who has a Page on this blog) — and led me to fuller versions of the cartoon, with a title that considerably aids understanding. But the stripped-down version in #1, though challenging,  is soluble, so I’ll do that first.

(more…)

Scars

July 24, 2018

I had the muscle biopsy (left quadriceps) on Monday the 9th. On Monday the 16th the surgeon who did the biopsy removed the waterproof bandage from the site, looked at his work and was well pleased, and explained that the wound would heal soon, leaving only a small scar. I allowed that at this point in my life, a small scar was as nothing; I already had 7 visible scars on my body, the last one an impressive disfigurement, a cicatricial landscape over a foot long and over an inch wide at its maximum. So I should care about a small scar on my left thigh?

Meanwhile, I’m all anxious over the results of the biopsy, which still haven’t come in, after 15 days. (Maybe the crucial staff are on vacation; it’s that time of year.) While waiting, I’ve entertained myself by making an inventory of my visible scars and considering taking photos, so that if I were kidnapped, murdered, and dismembered by a deranged maniac — hey, this happens on television all the time — my body parts might be identifiable through their scars. Morbid, but absboring.

(more…)

Psychiatrist Meme Day

May 14, 2018

… at King Features Syndicate, or so it seems. In my feed today, three cartoons (of my five regulars from King) with a psychoanalyst and his couch: a Bizarro/Wayno with an empty couch; a Zippy with Zippy on the couch; and a Mother Goose and Grimm with the dog Grimm on the couch.

(more…)

The roar of the reporter, the sound of the comics

May 5, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

Tintin, the reporter and adventurer in the comics, suffers from tinnitus. tintinnitus: portmanteau in form, hybrid in semantics.

(more…)

Personal anniversaries in 2018

April 21, 2018

… some in big round numbers. The biggest is 100, commemorating the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 — which has personal meaning for me because my maternal grandfather Irwin Rice died in the pandemic that year (as did my aunt Mildred, then a tiny baby). For comparison: my parents were both 4 years old that year, and my paternal grandfather Melchior Zwicky was 39 (my dad was the baby of the family). I was reminded of all this by the publication last year of a new book on the pandemic, the excellent Pale Rider by Laura Spinney:

  (#1)

(more…)

Annals of underwear: the medical jock strap

March 23, 2018

Just unearthed in my files, a follow-up to my 6/26/17 posting “Put a sock on it in parade season”, about cock socks: a 6/27 message from Aric Olnes:

I got this FB targeted ad for something called a Suspensory, which I had not heard of, that looks suspiciously like a cock sock or a ball sack with straps. I can only imagine typing dick sock or the content of [your] post is the connection. Now FB thinks I need a medical jock strap!

(#1)

(more…)

The cartoon doctor

March 16, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration drops us into the world of cartoon doctors:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

The doctor already has the lab coat, the stethoscope, and the clipboard. Missing: the stereotypical head mirror.

(more…)