Thursday, October 30, 2014

You Just Might Be a Graduate Student If . . . . can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
...your office is better decorated than your apartment. have ever, as a project, attempted to track the progress of your own joke across the Internet. are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read. have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar. rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop. secretly read Wikipedia to get an overview of a topic. have to dress somewhat conservatively to fit the department's standards for teaching assistants.
...everything reminds you of something in your discipline. have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event. go to the beach and actually do research there. have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
...there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours." actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche. can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library. look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes. regard ibuprofen as a vitamin. consider all papers to be works in progress.
...professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore. find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text. have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area. have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation. find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade". start referring to stories like "Snow White et al." often wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy. look forward to taking some time off to do laundry. have more photocopy cards than credit cards. wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication."


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Amanita Muscaria

Among the large number of species of mushrooms. Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) has received considerable notice because of its striking appearance, color, and the fact that it has considerable hallucinogenic properties.  Supposedly the shamans of the Chukchi tribe in Siberia used it in their rituals, and unsuspecting individuals sampling this attractive mushroom growing in the woods got more than they bargained for in terms of major disturbing hallucinations as well as poisoning!

This is a dangerous hallucinogen, and should not under any circumstances be ingested due to its toxicity!  Supposedly, parboiling it sufficiently makes it safe, but I wouldn't risk it.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics depicted it on a postage stamp before it separated into Russia, Ukraine, and the other nations formerly of the USSR.

In Walt Disney's Fantasia, the sequence of the Chinese dance from The Nutcracker Suite utilized mushrooms colored suspiciously like Amanita muscaria as the dancers.  This part of it was non-creepy, unlike Night on Bald Mountain and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

It is also occasionally depicted as a place for fairies or even toads to rest.  I find this to be a particularly charming image and thought I would share it:

Monday, October 27, 2014

More Medical Slang, N - Z

Here's some more medical slang.  Often dark humor is the product of being in an occupation with serious possibilities.

n=1 trial - polite term for experimenting on a patient
NAD - Not actually done
Nectar of the Gods - coffee; without which many hospital services would shut down
Negative Wallet Biopsy - (US) patient transferred to cheaper hospital because s/he has no insurance/funds
NPS - New parent syndrome

Osteocephaly - boneheaded
Ostrich Treatment - pretend it's not there and hope it goes away
Pan-man Scan - Whole body scan (e.g. after car crash)
PFH - Parent(s) from Hell (custodians of BFH - Brat From Hell)
PFO - Pissed [Drunk] and Fell Over

Pharmaceutically Enhanced Personality - stoned or medicated
Pharmaceutically Gifted - admissions with altered mental states as a result of drug use
PHALS - Post-Harmless Accident Lawsuit Syndrome
Pinky Cheater - Latex finger cover used in gynecological and proctological examinations.
Pit - the emergency room

PITA - Pain in the ass
Positive Gobbler - turkey i.e. faking illness to get out of drill (used by army medics)
Positive Hilton Sign - demanding patient expects Hilton Hotel luxury; indicates patient well enough to leave!
Positive Suitcase Sign - patients who are repeated admissions for prolonged periods with no physiological cause of their problems. They turn up at hospital with packed suitcases ready for admission
Pumpkin Positive - a penlight shone into the patient's mouth/ear would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up

Retrospectoscope - instrument of hindsight
Rheumaholiday - rheumatology (considered by hard-pressed juniors to be a less busy dept)
Ringo – (after Beatles drummer Ringo Starr) an expendable team member
Roasted Goober - tumor after intensive cobalt treatment.
Rooters - indigents and hangers-on who gather in big-city emergency rooms in order to be entertained by legitimate cases.

Rule of Five - if more than five of the patient's orifices are obscured by tubing, he has no chance
Running Towards the Light - dying
Silver Bracelet Award - patient is a prisoner brought in wearing cuffs
Silver Goose, Silver Stallion - proctoscope
Smurf sign - Patient turning blue
Space cadet - confused patient (dementia or drug-related)

Stream team - urology department
Taxidermy Consult - call for a taxidermist's consultation i.e. person about to die 
TBD - total body dolor i.e. complains of pain everywhere
TBP - Total body pain
TDS - Terminal deceleration syndrome (e.g. RTA death, high-rise syndrome, jump-suicides and parachute-failed-to-open)

TEC - Transfer to Eternal Care (i.e. dead)
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
The Garden - neurological ICU where the vegetables (coma patients) live
The Promised Land - private practice/final year of medical school
Therapeutic Monitoring - monitoring a patient purely because it makes the doctor feel better.

Thorazine shuffle - the slow, lumbering gait of psychiatric patients dosed up on phenothiazines
Two beers - the number of beers every patient involved in an alcohol-related automobile accident claims to have drunk before the accident
Two Dudes - a patient who was in a fight "Two dudes jumped me for no reason" (implying the patient would have a reason with one assailant)
Vitamin M – Morphine
Vitamin P - Lasix (diuretic) given to stimulate urination (peeing) in post-operative patients; can also mean Prozac

Vitamin V - Valium, Diazepam or any intravenous sedative
Vitamin Z – Zoloft

UNIVAC - Unusually Nasty Infection, Vultures are Circling
UPF - Un-Passed Fart (gaseous distended abdomen)
Urban Outdoorsman - Homeless person

WWI - Walking while intoxicated (and fell over)
Wrinkly - geriatric

YAVIS - Young, attractive, verbal, intelligent, successful. 
YOYO - You're on your own; see "amyoyo" and "solomf yoyo" (also message passed from one doctor to another regarding problem/mystifying cases)
Zebra - an unusually strange or unexpected disease (from the saying "When you hear hoofbeats, the smart money is on horses, not zebras")


Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Reckoning in Chapel Hill

By now I'm sure you've seen some version of the whole sordid story: how the University of North Carolina had a set of fake classes in the Department of African-American Studies that were taken by  3100 students, especially athletes, over an 18-year period.  While it was largely the doing of the department secretary, who established and "graded" the classes, her boss was complicit.  Who was minding the store?  The See No Evil monkey department chair and the Hear No Evil monkey dean?  Anyway, the big dude newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post are riding on UNC's case like a rented pony, and I'm afraid the fall out or flying material is going to adhere to other surfaces like academics and research as well.  Holy academic schadenfreude, Batman!  

I'll scrape my UNC sticker off my ride for the trip back home in December and come back with a righteous LSU one..

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Frontiers in Religious Headdress

Freedom of religion is Constitutionally protected in the United States; and it is good when people mark solemn occasions with reflections of their religious beliefs.  In the case of oath-taking for public offices, it is a recognition that the person is taking his elected or appointed role seriously.

Unlike several countries, notably France, we usually don't have qualms about people wearing religious headdress, whether they're Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Orthodox Jews, or members of other faiths.

Christopher Schaefer, newly elected to the town council in Pomfert, New York, took his oath of office before the Town Clerk while wearing a colander on his head.  He did so, he explained, because he was a minister of the Pastafarian religion, in which they worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I think that the good people of Pomfert should be confident that Council Member Schaefer will be diligent in his duties and that he has a sense of humor, unlike the typical politician.

Here's a volleyball team, possibly wearing religious headdress to reflect their spirituality:

Some people may go over the top with religious headdress. These products are actually marketed.  I don't think that the typical rabbi would approve.

But some forms of religious headdress are intrinsically funny, like miters.  But you can wear one when you play Cardinal Puff!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A French Euphemism

The French have a charming euphemism:  "Une femme ne pète pas ... Elle murmure dans ses culottes." 

["A woman does not fart ...  She whispers in her panties."]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

St. Cletus Parish's Halloween Festival

It's a common problem of voluntary organizations: there's a continuous turnover of those who might lead them or manage their activities from season to season.  Father Devereaux, Pastor of St. Cletus Parish, had this problem with regard to the annual Halloween Festival committee: the Old Guard gradually eroded, much like the land in the Mississippi River Delta.  So he did what any administrator would do: snare some innocent into serving on the committee until he or she could gracefully beg off of this parish duty.

Part of the problem was Hilda Walspurgis.  Now this lady had definite opinions about what is acceptable and what is not.  Little in the way of innovation was allowable during her tenure as Chairperson.  However, Hilda scheduled a Caribbean cruise in defiance of hurricanes; therefore she could not chair the committee any longer.  (The hurricanes cooperated.)

So Father Devereaux roped Crazy Chester into running things since the local racing season hadn't started.  And over time other parish unreliables had been roped into this sort of duty.  There was Al Gautreaux and Missy Chauvin, local television personalities (just so they could get away in time to read the 10 P.M. news.)  There was Suzanne the Existential Stripper, the Prophetess Madeline, Clotilde Badeaux,  the Lucky Dog Guy, and other New Orleans characters of dubious orthodoxy.  Perhaps the concept of critical mass applies to groups as well as nuclear fission.  

Anyway, this motely group continued some of the old standbys for Halloween Festivals and added a few new ones too.  The old, reliable, well-loved activities included the Half Court Basketball Shoot, the Cakewalk (which became a quasi-contact sport), the Parish Pie-Eating Contest, the Horror House, the Ring Toss, the Kissing Booth, and others  were continued.  Among the new ones for the year was the adult only Cocktail Booth.  There, the Lucky Dog Guy managed to get the recalcitrant adults into both literal and metaphorical good spirits.  And the booth turned a tidy profit!  

Now the old Best Halloween Costume contest had occasional bits of sensationalism, particularly when pre-adolescents participated.  It always resulted in a gratifying shock on the part of the remaining shock-prone people when some boy dresses as a satire of a holy saint or a girl wears a faux strumpet costume (Hilda Walspurgis's term).  However, Madeline reasoned that Halloween involved mischief anyway; so why not have a Best Saint Costume?  In that way they could harness the adolescent proneness to shock with uplifting examples.  It's a time-honored fact that any formerly-forbidden action loses its temptation value when it becomes approved.  "Oh sensationalism, where is thy sting?," as St. John Bosco was supposed to have said.  But there was another element to the costume contest with some over the top acting: who could do the best imitation of the archbishop?

Speaking of uplifting examples: Suzanne proposed a Guess Her Bra Size Contest, in which players would try to guess what was underneath the clothes of seven participants.  Suzanne and three other committee members were among the subjects in this contest; each one walking on the stage while holding a number.

Now Father Devereaux was wont to enjoy a restorative glass of Jameson's in the evening while doing the parish paperwork.  Truth to tell, he wasn't disposed to read very carefully the turgid committee reports very carefully, so these innovations slipped through the cracks.

Several of the Old Guard had hissy fits on seeing the changes, particularly the Bra Size Guess and the Cocktail Booth; and Father Devereaux did a double take as well.  But he did visit the Cocktail Booth and made his guesses in the Bra Size Guess.  However, he did not win a prize.  Being celibate can do that to guys.

Now some complaints reached the Archdiocese; but the financial report of the Halloween Festival indicated that the profit turned from this activity was three times higher than from previous years!  A wise administrator does not inquire too closely on how this kind of windfall comes about, particularly if the Archdiocese is bottom-line oriented.

Princess Peach costume for Halloween.