Archive for April, 2012

I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry about this since 1977, but I didn’t have a blog back then.  I didn’t have Internet back then.  I didn’t have digital.  I didn’t have diddly squat.  I also didn’t realize how profound the movie series was in terms of lessons in life until I lived me some life.

I originally wanted to title this All I Need to Know I Learned From Watching Star Wars, ala Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but let’s face it.  I’m an eye surgeon.  They didn’t teach me that in kindergarten.  And while Han Solo was temporarily blind after being frozen in carbonite, they didn’t really teach me how to help him.  So it’s really kind of an exaggeration or gross oversimplification to say that I learned EVERYTHING I need to know from either of those two sources.

And, as I prepared to rename this entry, I thought perhaps I should Google it, just on the outside chance that some other brilliant mind out there might have had the same idea.  Someone did.  Fie!  May the Death Star use their site for target practice.  But let the record show that I had the idea BEFORE I Googled their site.

So without further ado . . . valuable lessons I learned from watching Star Wars.  Ta da!

Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.

There’s actually a couple of lessons in here.  Don’t be afraid.  That will only lead to suffering.  If you are afraid, just cut out the middleman and start suffering.  And if you want to just jump in the middle and start to hate, you’ll still end up in the same place.  It’s like a damned logic problem.  A begets B which then leads to C.  There’s no way you’re going to find D (Happiness) by starting at A or B.  What?  You think Star Trek has the monopoly on logic?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

I touched on this in previous blog entries:  On a Leg and a Prayer and Finding Faith.  Like George Michaels sings, You Gotta Have Faith. Faith.  Faith.  Tim McGraw has Faith.  But now I’ve really digressed here, and that’s not who I was really talking about in the first place.  It’s not nice to fool with Darth Vader.  If you think Mother Nature is a bitch, just wait until he blows up your planet or chokes you from across the room.  So go out there and get you some faith.

Who is more foolish . . . the fool or the fool that follows him?

This is like those philosophical questions such as ‘if a man is alone in a forest and says something, is he still wrong?’  Which came first, the fool or the fool that follows?  Who is more foolish, the politician or the fools that voted for him?  Nothing is foolproof because fools are so damned ingenious.

Do or do not.  There is no try.

Actually, a very good life lesson.  Even Nike took advantage . . . Just Do It.

What a piece of junk!

Don’t judge a spaceship by its appearance . . . this is broadly a reinvention of don’t judge a book by its cover.  This is actually a very important theme in Star Wars as it appears multiple times in different ways.  That’s no moon.  It’s a space station.  (Things don’t always appear as they are until too late.)  Aren’t you a little short to be a storm trooper?  Judge me by my size, do you?  Apparently, in a galaxy far, far away, size does not matter.  In space, you are weightless, so I guess it doesn’t matter.  No one can hear you scream in space, although Obi-Wan sensed it, but now I’ve slipped into an entirely different genre of movies.

Evacuate in our moment of triumph?  I think you overestimate their chances.

This is kind of analagous to not counting your chickens until they’re hatched.  I think most of us overestimate our worth and underestimate our expendability.  Sometimes, an over healthy dose of confidence can get you blown up into itty bitty pieces.  But then again, Yoda would have told him to do it or not do it.  Either way, I think he gets blown into itty bitty pieces.  But at least Moff Tarkin stuck by his principles as he was spread out over the universe in one fell swoop.

I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.

Listen to your intuition.  How many times have you read Dear Abby where someone is obviously being cheated on and they want to know if they should stay or move on?  Don’t people learn intuition in kindergarten anymore?  Do you really need Dear Abby to smack you upside the head on this one?  If you’ve got a pretty bad feeling about something, it’s probably pretty bad.

I suggest a new strategy, R2.  Let the Wookie win.

Bravado is all good and everything, but sometimes you just have to step down from a fight.  It does no good to have your arms and legs pulled out of their sockets.  You’ll just end up like the Black Night on Monty Python.  It’s just a flesh wound!  If you’re playing against the droid, then do it.  If you’re up against Chewbacca–then do not . . . let the Wookie win.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

This could have gone under the category above–what a piece of junk–symbolizing that things aren’t always what you think they are.  But in this case–in the movie–the droids were what they were looking for.  The lesson here is that sometimes you have to take advantage of the weak-minded.  Maybe it’s politically incorrect, but it might save your skin.  If you are weak-minded and happen to be reading this post, this IS the blog you were looking for.  And you want to send me money to thank me.  Lots of money.  You’re welcome.

What a wonderful smell you’ve discovered.

This is some rescue.  You came in here and you didn’t have a plan for getting out?  Sometimes you have to get down and dirty in life.  Shit happens, and the odor is not always pleasant.  But sometimes, it’s the only way out.

Stay on Target.

OK, so planes are going down in flames around you.  But you have to keep on target if you want to achieve anything.  Stay on target.  Stay on target.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!  Boom.  On second thought, maybe this is bad advice.  Unless you are a suicide bomber.  Stay on target is good advice unless people are dying around you.  Then, you might want to back off and let the Wookie win.  There’s some good advice in here somewhere, dammit.  Figure it out for yourself.  If you don’t like Target, try K-Mart.  Or Wal-Mart.  Just stay on it.  Or not.

Use the Force, Luke.

Sometimes you have to draw strength from a higher power.  It’s there.  You might as well use it.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

You could actually insert [nothing] is no match for a good blaster at your side, but that would be a double negative, and saying ‘anything is no match’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  While not a Star Wars movie, Harrison Ford demonstrates this timeless piece of wisdom in a scene from Indiana Jones:

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Most people are unaware of the myriad government regulations and documentation that goes on behind the scenes in the medical setting.

In the operating room, one of the items that must be documented are the times in the room and the times out of the room.  Time in or time out.  But, we also have to take a “time out”–actually two time outs–where we verify the patient and the procedure before starting surgery.  The terminology gets confusing.  But I digress.

Anyway, both anesthesia and the circulating nurse must document these times in different locations in the medical chart.  AND THE TIMES MUST MATCH.  I don’t know what happens if they don’t, but I imagine it would be like matter meeting anti-matter.  The very fabric of our universe would be ripped apart if these numbers are not exactly the same.

So to avoid a universal catastrophe and destroy civilization as we know it, the circulating nurse and anesthetist verify their times before documenting them in the medical record.

Now so far, none of what you have read about has actually TREATED the patient.  Apparently the government hasn’t worried about that yet.  Right now, we are spending an inordinate amount of time treating your medical record.  The outcome of your surgery is irrelevant as long as all the times match up correctly.  But, I digress again.

So a given interaction to coordinate these times might go like this . . .

Circulating Nurse:  “Do you want to make 11:13 time in?”

Anesthetist:  “Sure.”

And then they dutifully document that in their respective areas of the chart.

Today, at the end of the case, though, the anesthetist phrased the question slightly differently . . .

Anesthetist:  “Jane [name changed to protect the innocent], what time do you want to make out?”

He meant to ask what time she wanted to document for the time out of the room.  But that is not how it sounded to everyone else.

Always on the ball, she responded, “Not right now, but I’m free later.”

For the non-medical record, Jane, who really isn’t Jane, didn’t actually say that.  But she should have.  We all had a good laugh anyway.  And the universe is safe for another day as our times all matched.

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Before you wonder WTF, I must admit this entry has virtually nothing to do with Earth Day, other than the fact that this blog exists on Earth.  I have been banished from Mars, but let’s not go there.

I am not a llama lover like Carl, from Jimmy Neutron.  I guess I just don’t get the fascination.  There used to be a sign on the PA Turnpike near Breezewood advertising LaMalot Farms . . . Llamas for business or pleasure.  OK.  I understand the business part, but I’m a little worried about the pleasure. Of course, that might explain Carl’s preoccupation with the species.  Unfortunately, I could not find an Internet picture of the original sign, so you’ll have to settle for this:

Maybe the business or pleasure part was a bad dream, but I could swear that was on the sign originally.  Anyway, in my experience, though, the llama has a bad connotation.

Some of you may remember the show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire–the original with Regis, not the syndicated version with Meredith Vieira.  At one point in my life, I exerted an inordinate amount of time and effort into getting on that show.  In the original version, there was a phone game you called into and answered questions like the fast finger round on the real show.  There was a whole network of fans who tried to get on the show and there was a community message board dedicated to that end.  What does that have to do with llamas?

Well, as fate would have it, the llama was an incorrect answer on the show.  The question was:  Hannibal crossed the Alps using what animals?  Robby Roseman apparently became the first contestant to leave the show with no money after answering llama instead of elephant.  After that, any time someone flamed out early on the show they “llama-d out.”  A new meaning to the word was born.

I personally have used the llama in a deprecatory way.  Any time I am feeling out of sorts–out of my groove–I say that “I have llama face” after the line from the Disney movie, The Emperor’s New Groove.

And, of course, there is always the famous Lorenzo Llamas of Hollywood . . .

Sorry ladies, I just don't see the fascination

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Politician. (n) Someone who doesn’t know his anus from uranus when it comes to passing laws, but when it comes to screwing somebody, they sure know that it goes up uranus and not theirs.

Neptune? It looks more like uranus if you ask me!

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Have you seen the list of 100 Foods you should eat before you die on Facebook?  (Full list below.)  It’s a Lunch Bucket List of apparently random food items that someone with way too much time on their hands thinks people should eat before they die.  Some of the items—like snake or sea urchins might speed up that dying process.  You literally might eat them right before you die!  If you are an aficionado of these less common food staples, I apologize.  And . . . seriously?

I just lost my #18 . . . Clean up in Aisle 5!

Apparently sheep penises didn’t make the list.  But Haggis did!  Haggis is a “kind of savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs — see offal); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet [isn’t that bird feed?], spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.”  Make sure you use stock, not bonds.  I imagine the three hours is critical.  Any less than that, and it would probably eat you.  Offal doesn’t sound like awful by coincidence.  Now, I will admit I have eaten Spam, and I can honestly say that for as far as I know, it’s Haggis in a can.  I just don’t want to know.

I am pretty uninteresting when it comes to food.  I am a meat and potatoes man, and that pretty much translates to hamburgers and fries, which strangely enough, didn’t make this list.  That obviously casts a shadow of invalidity on this whole project.

The claim is that most people have only tried around 20 of these.  Now I am by no means a sophisticated gourmand, but I have eaten 30 of these by my count.  That could be higher but I don’t know what some of these are.

Absinthe?  Does it make the heart grow fonder?

Baba Ghanoush?  Isn’t that a producer for the Howard Stern radio show?

Bellini?  I drink Bellini tea at Olive Garden, but I doubt that is what they mean.

Jerk chicken . . . it tastes like rubber!

Bird’s nest soup?  Does this involve an actual bird’s nest?  Yes it does, but that is not the best part.  According to Wikipedia, they use the nests of cave swifts, known for saliva nests that produce the unique texture of this soup.  I’m sorry, but bird saliva will never be crossed off my lunch bucket list.

I don’t think honey comb refers to the cereal—alas I can’t check that one off.

Mimosa?  The drink.  Yes.  I have drunk mimosas.  But I suspect this is something else which I cannot cross off yet.  Oh wait . . . “tagliatelle mimosa consists of fresh green tagliatelle, served with tiny yellow fish balls, to resemble mimosa flowers.”  Mmmmm.  Fish balls.  I don’t care what color they are.  They are not on MY list.

Lassi?  Yogurt drink or dog.  You decide.

Octopus?  I won’t touch calamari.  This is just worse and more of it.

How hungry did the first person to ever eat a frog have to be?  Seriously?  It’s a frog.  I’d rather eat the lily pad.  Perhaps with a fine Chianti.

Of course, with enough alcohol, maybe even the sea urchin will start looking good.

Does this really make you hungry? Of course, with those spines, you could save on toothpicks!

100 Foods to Try Before You Die

  1. Abalone
  2. Absinthe
  3. Alligator
  4. Baba Ghanoush
  5. Bagel and lox
  6. Baklava
  7. Barbecue ribs
  8. Bellini
  9. Bird’s Nest Soup
  10. Biscuits and gravy
  11. Black Pudding (made from cooked blood)
  12. Black Truffle
  13. Borscht (Ukrainian soup made from beetroot)
  14. Calamari
  15. Carp
  16. Caviar
  17. Cheese fondue
  18. Chicken and waffles
  19. Chicken Tikka Masala
  20. Chile Relleno
  21. Chitterlings/Chitlins
  22. Churros
  23. Clam Chowder
  24. Cognac
  25. Crabcake
  26. Crickets
  27. Currywurst
  28. Dandelion wine
  29. Dulce de leche
  30. Durian (southeast Asian fruit notorious for its ordor)
  31. Eel
  32. Eggs benedict
  33. Fish Tacos
  34. Foie Gras
  35. Fresh Spring Rolls
  36. Fried Catfish
  37. Fried Green Tomatoes
  38. Fried Plaintain
  39. Frito Pie
  40. Frog’s Legs
  41. Fugu (pufferfish)
  42. Funnel Cake
  43. Gazpacho
  44. Goat
  45. Goat’s milk
  46. Goulash
  47. Gumbo
  48. Haggis
  49. Head Cheese
  50. Heirloom Tomatoes
  51. Honeycomb
  52. Hostess Fruit Pie
  53. Huevos Rancheros
  54. Jerk Chicken
  55. Kangaroo
  56. Key Lime Pie
  57. Kobe Beef
  58. Lassi (Indian yogurt drink)
  59. Lobster
  60. Mimosa
  61. MoonPie
  62. Morel Mushrooms
  63. Nettle Tea
  64. Octopus
  65. Oxtail Soup
  66. Paella
  67. Paneer (a cheese)
  68. Pastrami on Rye
  69. Pavlova (meringue cake)
  70. Phaal (curry dish)
  71. Philly Cheesesteak
  72. Pho
  73. Pineapple and cottage cheese
  74. Pistachio Ice Cream
  75. Po’ boy
  76. Pocky
  77. Polenta
  78. Prickly Pear
  79. Rabbit Stew
  80. Raw Oysters
  81. Root Beer Float
  82. S’mores
  83. Sauerkraut
  84. Sea Urchin
  85. Shark
  86. Snail
  87. Snake
  88. Soft Shell Crab
  89. Som Tam (spicy salad made from shredded unripened papaya)
  90. Spaetzle (German dumpling or noodle)
  91. Spam
  92. Squirrel
  93. Steak Tartare
  94. Sweet Potato Fries
  95. Sweetbreads
  96. Tom Yum
  97. Umeboshi (pickled ume fruits common in Japan, similar to a plum)
  98. Venison
  99. Wasabi Peas
  100. Zucchini Flowers

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There are certain things that I will never understand, despite being able to take apart an engine and rebuild it with extra parts to spare.  Actually, I can take practically anything apart, put it back together, and have parts left over every time.  But I digress.

The confusing subject of this diatribe is the bathroom.  You wouldn’t know that from the title, but bear with me please.  Sometimes it takes a while to get these things out.

I am not a complete idiot (I am a partial idiot.)  I know what the general purpose of the bathroom is.  I’m not entirely sure why it is called a bathroom, since we more often use it for other things.  Showerroom?  I suppose it sounds better than the peeroom.

It was done in the peeroom, with a wet towel, by Miss Scarlet.

That should keep you thinking for a while.  Anyway, distraction is not the intent of this blog, despite the fact that I am easily distracted.

I suppose I should qualify my subject (I don’t know why, but I will do so anyway since it is my blog and I can clarify if I want to.)  I am talking about bathrooms that have a definitive female personality.  You know the kind I am talking about.  I am not talking about the port-a-potty at the job site.  I understand those.  They make sense, even if they don’t always smell good.

I am talking about restroom facilities with ambience.  These are facilities with household items that do not belong in a bathroom.

I can’t bring myself to call it a powder room.  I have not—will not—put powder on in a bathroom, or any other room for that matter.

There are candles.  Since Thomas Edison shocked the world (and himself,) there is no good reason why there should be candles in a bathroom.  Especially if they are lit.  And, especially if I burn myself on them. And don’t even get me started if they are scented.

I once went to the bathroom and ate half a bowl of something called potpourri.  I thought it was a trail mix or something like that.

There are often little carved soaps.  I can’t count the times I have been berated for washing my hands using the little decorative soaps the hostess displays.  Why are they there if I can’t use them?  Who decorates with soap anyway?  They look like individual, personalized soaps.  I came out of the bathroom, and I told the next guy going in, “don’t use the rose.  That’s mine!”

This past holiday season, I had the opportunity—well, several times—to use the facilities at a party I attended.  For some unknown reason—unknown at least to me—there was a birdcage hanging in the corner.  I looked and the bird seemed a little under the weather.  I felt sorry for him—or her since I can’t tell the difference without lifting their feathers—so I offered Tweety an hors d’oeuvre.  (Despite what it might taste like, there is no hors meat in them.)  It was a little piece of crap—I think they call them water chestnuts—wrapped in bacon.  I have a few others in my pocket for later.

Well, I shoved the treat in his face, and he fell dead.  I mean he dropped off his perch to the bottom of the cage.  I killed him.  Maybe it wasn’t a water chestnut.  Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten a plate full of them—although that would help explain why I was back in the pooproom again.

I tried to revive him.  I tried to give him mouth to beak, but I think I blew too hard.  He shot away like a deflating balloon.  I used CPR, but his little body just crunched under my fist.  I think I pressed too hard.  His beak fell off.

Thar she blows!

So there I stood with the hostess’s dead pet, in front of the toilet.  Well, what would you do?  I flushed the little bugger and went about my business, hoping that it wasn’t the water chestnut or a piece of bad bacon that did him in.

Back at the party, I pulled my wife aside, and I told her what had happened.  If I keeled over and my nose fell off, I wanted her to know it was the hors d’oeuvre.  I also did this because sooner or later they would go to feed Polly a cracker or a poisoned water chestnut and discover that she (or he—I forgot to look before I flushed) was gone, and I knew from experience I would be blamed.

My wife told me that the birdcage was a decoration.  It was a fake bird.

Did I feel like a partial idiot or what?  I spent five minutes doing mouth-to-beak and chest compressions on that feathered bag of sawdust.  (It did, though, explain the after-taste in my mouth.  I had always thought that parakeet would taste like chicken.)

I was glad the bird wasn’t real.  I wasn’t too keen on handling a dead bird after all, and I had a hard time washing my hands after the funeral.  I couldn’t get the soap to lather at all.  I figured it must have been due to hard water.

“That was the hand lotion,” my wife said.

I should have stuck to the decorative soaps.

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A Park in the Walk

Last Sunday, being Easter, parking spaces near our church were at a premium.  I’m not the world’s best parallel parker to begin with.  I desperately need a Focus.  But I did finally manage to squeeze my jeep into a parking space big enough for a Cadillac.  I only went up on the curb twice.  But in the end, it was a passable park job and hopefully no one else was watching.

As we were leaving church to go home, though, we saw this parking fail.

His other car is a Ford Focus.

I don’t feel so bad after all.

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