Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Not demented yet!

September 19, 2019

Facebook exchange on the 13th with John Singler about my most recent wave of physical afflictions, with John providing sympathetic commentary. Part of my response:

… yes, I’m a giant compendium of alarming conditions and ailments. … Meanwhile, having tended someone through dementia into death makes me constantly fearful that I am myself slipping away without realizing it.

For some time now, my slogan for my physical travails has come from Monty Python’s Mary, Queen of Scots: NOT DEAD YET! Now thinking of adding NOT DEMENTED YET! — while I search constantly for evidences that I’m still well plugged in (just very, um, odd).

I am abnormally good at counting backward from 100 by 7s, having been through this diagnostic item with Jacques, and some other patients, many times. So that’s of no use.

But on the 14th, Stephanie Smith gave me a chance to show off my chops, with this appeal:

Saturday night at the office because these files won’t resolve themselves and I have anxious comrades to check in with before I take a week off. Send revolutionary vibes.

I got five revolutionary vibes for her, right off the bat, without having to do a search, and immedately posted four of them (discarding “You say you want a revolution / Well, you know / We all want to change the world” [Beatles, White Album, “Revolution”] because it was too unsubtle, actually used the word revolution crucially). Felt clever and thoroughy undementic, or at least not yet dementic.

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Sousa thump

September 19, 2019

The springboard is a Facebook exchange between Doug Ball and me back on August 11th — in the midst of which I erupted parenthetically and largely irrelevantly in recollections of Reading PA (an area I left in 1961):

Doug: I wonder which Sousa march was stuck in my head as I walked this evening. On second thought, I don’t want to know…

Arnold: In my experience, you really don’t. I once tried to identify a Sousa march by speed-listening through a collection of them, and it just clogged my mind up with all these very similar compositions and then I could no longer sing the melody line of the one I was after and had all of them jangling in my head for days. Perhaps you are made of sterner stuff.

(Reading PA, where I am sort of from, is prime marching band territory, with the Ringgold Band dating back to the 1850s (yes, 8), a local band composer, Althouse, of some note, and lots of bandshell concerts. Sousa conducted the last band performance of his life in Reading in 1932 — retired for the night to the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and died there. My dad remembered the occasion; he was 18 then.)

Doug: I’m suspicious that it was a blend of several marches, including The US Air Force song, which is not by Sousa. [AZ: melody line and original first verse — “Off we go into the wild blue yonder” — by Robert McArthur Crawford in May 1939, the winner of a competition]

Arnold: If so, you’re probably not going to extricate yourself from it. Flee!

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The hurtful dog

September 18, 2019

Back on the 13th, David Horne passed on this cartoon on Facebook:


(#1) Explosm-style dog hurts man with words

This is in fact a Cyanide and Happiness meme, a 4-panel cartoon template with all the artwork taken, as is, from a particular Cyanide (Explosm.net) cartoon, and all the words too — except for the dog’s dagger to the heart in the 3rd panel. Meme sites supply the template; all you have to do is fill in your own nasty words in the 3rd panel; you get to judge what would truly wound your intended audience.

In this case, David’s FB readers included a large number of people who had failed to finish their PhD dissertations, or completed the work over long painful self-doubting years, or finished but without any enthusiasm for the dissertation they somehow squeaked though with, or gave up before embarking on the task at all (believing that they could only be defeated) — or who were close to people who went through such experiences. Waves of pain washed over quite a few of David’s FB friends, me included.

On the other hand, others found the cartoon wickedly funny, which was David’s first response, and I appreciate that reaction too.

To come: more on the Explosm Hurtful Dog meme, and on uncompleted PhD dissertations, and on another Explosm cartoon involving that same dog, whose bark turns out to be much, much worse than its bite, even though its bite is exquisitely painful.

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Revisiting 35: the protuberant acromion

September 16, 2019

A few days back, an inquiry into a bodypart of personal interest to me: my 9/14/19 posting “Clavicular knobs”, in which these bony protuberances were illustrated on the body of a Scruff guy “Ricardo”. Ricardo’s photo cropped to focus on his shoulder handles:


(#1) Ricardo’s very visible clavicles, aka collar bones, terminating on either side in bony protrusions — an anatomical feature shared by my first male lover Danny and my husband-equivalent Jacques

I noted that clavicular knobs seemed to be very rare, even in lean-bodied men with very noticeable clavicles; and that Danny and I each believed we once knew a name for them but now we couldn’t recall it (or them).

First to arrive on Facebook with some nomenclatural clarity was Chuk Craig, who supplied the term acromion (Gk. ‘top of the shoulder’). Which led to the relevant joint, the AC, acromioclavicular, joint; to separated shoulders; and, in other directions, towards anatomical rarities (like protuberant acromia) and the psychology of perception and attention (if you’ve read my earlier posting, you’ve probaby been noticing clavicles a lot).

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Clavicular knobs

September 14, 2019

A friend recently was approached on Scruff (the hookup site for men) by this young man — way too young for my friend and a continent away, but nevertheless worth a few moments of contemplation:


(#1) (some hair means ‘some torso hair, lightly furred chest’, no reference to his head hair)

No doubt others will have dwelt first on other of Richardo’s features, but I was immediately struck by the protruding knobs at the ends of his clavicles. Because my first male lover, from 50 years ago (the pseudonymous Danny of my writings about my sexual life), had them, and so did my man Jacques, and that means I look at them with great affection.

The clavicles are quite visible in lean men, but only a few of those men have the sweet bony handles.

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Revisiting 34: sing out, Arnold!

September 9, 2019

From my comment on yesterday’s posting “Greetings”, about well-wishings for my 79th birthday:

[At yesterday’s Palo Alto shapenote singing] I did indeed lead both 79 and 272 [in the 1991 Denson revision of the Sacred Harp], and others chose suitably gloomy songs in my honor. Plus 285t Arnold, which begins “Come, let us join our friends above / That have obtained the prize; / And on the eagle wings of love / To joy celestial rise.” I somehow hadn’t noticed the “eagle wings” — potentially relevant because Arnold is etymologically ‘eagle-strong’ (English erne ‘sea-eagle’). Maybe just a fortunate accident, maybe on purpose; I’ll need to look at some sources.

I’ve now looked at sources, and, as I suspected, just a fortunate accident.

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Greetings

September 8, 2019

The avalanche of birthday greetings has, I think, pretty much come to an end. Well over a hundred well-wishings, mostly on Facebook (in several different locations), some in e-mail, and a few by phone — but, this year, for the first time ever in my adult life, not even one in mail, physical rather than electronic mail. Times change.

Greetings from people from all times of my life, from childhood on, and from all parts of my life. In many keys: charming, whimsical, artful, playful-sexy, thoughtful, and moving.

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Big sexy prime birthday gay ice cream

September 7, 2019

(References to gay male life, men’s bodies, and mansex, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday was my birthday, my 79th, 79 being, as I noted in a 8/29 posting for the day, a sexy prime. 8/29 is also, every year, National Coffee Ice Cream Day, and coffee is my favorite ice cream flavor. Put all this together and you get this birthday present, delivered by Kim Darnell yesterday:


(#1) Coffee ice cream, plus a selection of Big Gay Ice Cream flavors for Big Gay Arnold

This will take us to the pornstars of the end of summer, to Greenwich Village, and to South Park, with a final side trip to visit with the Marquis de Lafayette.

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More dream linguistics

September 2, 2019

Every so often I have a spectacularly vivid dream in which the solution to some linguistic puzzle that’s been deviling me explodes in my mind. All I have to do is save it, in my mental cloud storage, until I can enter it into my computer. The idea is not only good and true, it is also very beautiful. Unfortunately, when I shake myself fully awake, I see that it is in fact crackpot crap.

So it was yesteday morning, after a sleep primed by a moving performance of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times, Come Around No More” on my iTunes. The conviction that yes, that was it, that song was the answer to everything, persisted through three hazy toilet breaks, until I actually woke up and faced the hard truth that I didn’t even know what the question was. But, having had Anonymous 4 and Bruce Molsky take me to 1865 and into the world of the song, I was deeply sorrowful: hard times would surely come around again, and my linguistics was helpless against that bleak future.

I ended up spending the morning with Foster’s “Hard Times”, specifically mourning the tragedy of American chattel slavery, disasters of the 1850s, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the poverty of Appalachia and the Ozarks, but then dissolving into free-floating anxiety over everything from the Babylonian captivity to the madness of our king (and there’s an awful lot to weep over in between).

All this driven by the music.

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Dream time: back to school

August 30, 2019

As the summer comes to an end, days shorten, and plants prepare for fall and winter, there also comes the beginning of a new school year. Local primary and secondary schools where I live are on various schedules, but most of them are now into the new year. Many colleges are already in gear; Stanford classes begin on Monday, September 23rd.

Then we find Andrew Carnie (at the Univ. of Arizona) reporting on Facebook today that

The beginning of the semester is always a time for stress dreams for me, and the most common stress dream I have is the packing dream. Usually there’s some combination of having too much stuff, not enough containers, and not enough time before the movers or the taxi or whatever arrives.

Aieee! I am unprepared!

Andrew is far from alone. I haven’t taught a class for years now, but the approach of fall still brings stress dreams with it every year. I had a particularly distressing one last night.

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