Archive for the ‘Language and medicine’ Category

Bobby Pyron

December 1, 2018

(There will be frank discussions of men’s bodies and accounts in street language of mansex, so probably not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Among the many reflections, exhortations, reminiscences, elegies, and tributes for World AIDS Day, today, one from Mike Thomas about three people who died of complications of AIDS who had been important in his life: among them a mutual friend, Howard Faye, who I wrote about in a 12/30/16 posting “Howard at 57”; and Bobby Pyron, someone I didn’t know personally but appreciated as the porn star Lee Ryder.

I’ve written twice about Ryder on AZBlogX — details below — and knew only a little about Pyron (his passion in life was flower arranging, and he was said to be self-composed, unassuming, and a really nice guy), but Mike pointed me to an obit for him (preserved on the AIDS Memorial Facebook page) that filled in many details.

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What do you have?

November 25, 2018

The One Big Happy from October 12th, a dialogue between Joe and James in which we experience a tiny bit of the fabulous flexibility of the English verb have:

(#1)

James seems not to have registered the noun hobby (‘an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure’ (NOAD)) and so takes hobbies in have hobbies to be the name of a disease, infection, or medical condition, like (the) mumps. For him, chickenpox and the mumps, but not hobbies is just an ordinary coordination, but for the rest of us, it’s prime-grade zeugma, like (I had) asthma and artistic inclinations — with the extra wrinkle that though both chickenpox and mumps end in a plural-resembling /s/ (and so superficially resemble the PL hobbies), both are grammatically SG:

chickenpox / (the) mumps once was / *were a common childhood disease, but vaccines have nearly eliminated it / *them [SG for subject-verb agreement and also for anaphor selection]

Two notes: on the morphosyntax of disease names; and on the extraordinary versatility of have (which just invites zeugmas and zeugmoids).

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Randy Blue purifies the air

November 18, 2018

(Warning: eventually this posting devolves to references to, though not illustrations of, gay porn; a video of a guy dancing in nothing but his Calvins; and the decidedly raunchy, though not actually X-rated, lyrics of Beyoncé’s song “Blow”. So: rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, in particular, kids and the sexually modest.)

Day 11 in the smoke — not nearly as bad here on the SF peninsula as in SF itself (or, of course, closer to the Camp Fire around Paradise) — and today the local AQI (the American Lung Association’s Air Quality Index) has dipped to 129, merely “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, but I’m in several of the compromised groups, and life has been hellish for a long time. [A few hours later: up to 158, “Unhealthy”, period.]

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Aid arrived Thursday night, in the form of a Blue Pure 121 air purifier, which now stands majestically in the middle of the main area of my Ramona St. house, humming softly as it offers me clean air to breathe. Puckishly, I have named the machine Randy Blue (after a big gay porn company, itself puckishly named), so this posting will segue from pure air to raunch.

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Halloween detritus

November 6, 2018

A bit late for the train, a recent snack treat from mccormick.com  — McCormick & Co., the spice, seasonings, and condiments firm — that appeared on a Pinterest board for Halloween:

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Combining two pop-cultural items: zombies and nasal mucus, especially in the form of green boogers. Plus popcorn, of course.

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Famous wolf on the Yellow Brick Road

October 31, 2018

In today’s comics feed, the One Big Happy from 10/4, in which Ruthie mondegreens:

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Yes: the song “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, from the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz, with we’re off (mis)heard as Rolf.

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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.

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Rainforest houseplants

September 11, 2018

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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