warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Serious snow was reported for today, in fact for starting late tomorrow afternoon, which in fact it did. Very light day at the office yesterday, since some patients apparently thought that might they should cancel their morning appointments. Unfortunately, it seemed all the late afternoon patients came, so even if was a very light day, we ran over. By noontime yesterday enough patients had cancelled for today that I decided to shut the office. No point in the three of us fighting in through the weather to see the less than dozen patients who were actually booked (which would probably equal half-dozen actually showing up).

By this morning, all schools and daycares were announced closed, and even university classes were cancelled. I'm told that there are about the same number of snow days for schools whether you're in the far north of Canada, or the mid-Atlantic region of the US. The difference is how much snow it takes to close things: a few meters in Nunavut, down to a few millimeters in Virginia. I did go to the hospital for my regular clinic in the afternoon. T was supposed to come also (she's updating our database and taking pictures for lymphoma clinic), but she texted me early this morning that she couldn't even get out of her driveway. I ended up taking the metro. I wasn't bad, maybe 45 minutes, but not crowded. Clinic was reasonably full. I suppose partly b/c no one can ever get through by phone to cancel, plus since it's hard to get an appointment, people actually keep them come hell or high water. There were a few no shows & cancellations, but we replaced them with people who showed to book an appointment. I had 6(?) trainees (3 residents and 3 students), so clinic went really quickly, and I got in some good teaching. Definitely worth going in.

Last night, after I got the kids (and Nom) to bed, I wasn't really tired, so I read and played on my computer, and generally relaxed. At one point, I poured a glass of something nourishing, sprawled in an armchair, and looked out the window at the falling snow, our street having a pleasant picture-post-cared glow about it.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
Yes, we were at home today (what with its being the weekend, and the weather being beastly), but I'm referring the social custom. Miss Manners, in her " Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior" mentions that in 'her day,' accomplished hostesses would be, literally, at home, to receive friends with out specific invitation. There was some food and drink, but it was not quite an organized party, more of a 'just drop by and say hello' between time X and Y. Since the concept existed when society ladies existed - which is to say, when there were a large number of women with nothing better to do during the working day then stop by each others' houses and socialize, it was usually held in the afternoon.

Modern life being what it is, everyone we know works, so we held it Saturday midday. Having small children, midday is much better for socializing than evenings, or even late afternoons, so we made it for 10-2. We also actually invited people by sending around formal, engraved invitations. Well, its modern variant, known as email and text. The basic concept of 'drop by to chat, and have a bit to eat and drink, but not a formally organized party,' was maintained. I must say it worked very well. We're not very sociable people, but we actually had fun, as apparently did all our invitees. We're going to do it again weekly. Well, monthly. Well, sometimes. Who knows, at this rate, we might even end up having a social life.

We've never been very sociable, and generally loathed parties. As I've gotten older, I realize that I disliked most parties for the same reason I dislike the bar scene: there are a large number of people I'm not in the least interested in talking to, because they are not interesting. (So Gentle Reader, you know you've made the cut into a select group.) On the other hand, I'm more and more enjoying the company of a smallish group of people that are actually interesting to talk to. We are gradually building up a circle of friends, and will be having regular, if never frequent, social events.


Jan. 22nd, 2019 11:45 am
warriorsavant: (Time)
Just read some silly meme about Gen Z making Millennials feel old, by not recognizing xxx. Most was extremely stupid pop culture stuff, like "they didn't know my fav band from when I was in college," and a lot of the rest was other pop culture stuff. A few were clever like "why do you say 'hang up' on a phone call?"

That, and some discussions here about taking pictures of the eclipse the other night made me think about photographic apparatus (apparatuses? apparati? thingies to take pix) in general. When I was young, daguerreotypes were just coming into vogue, but they were very combersome... Okay, more seriously, when I was a kid, my father was a bit of a Popular Science / Popular Mechanics / gadget guy. I suppose getting the latest camera was the equivalent of being a tech-gizmo-nerd. Polaroids were a big thing! Before that, we had a Kodak Brownie camera. (Dang, those items would be worth a lot of money as antiques now.)

I'm actually very good at composing shots. (Photos, I mean, although very good with a side arm also.) Partly that is my artistic eye, which I inherited from my mother, partly because with film, every shot you took cost money. Dermatology is very visual, so as Residents (early 1990s) we were encouraged to get a good camera, with a macro lens and ring flash. (That I still have somewhere.) It took really good 35-mm slides, and I had quite a collection. In 2005, I was mobilized to Walter Reed Army Hospital, and was asked to give a talk. I asked the Residents if they had a slide projector anywhere. They nearly died laughing, and claimed they'd have to borrow one from the Smithsonian. A little while after that, I decided to digitalize my whole collection. Even that is barely worth it now, as so much high-quality stuff on-line, but if giving a talk it is cool to have MY picture up there (with copyright notice).

Patients often insist on showing me pictures of their skin conditions. *Sigh.*
First, you are sitting right there in the flesh and full-sized, why would I want to see a tiny image of you?
Second, you stink as a photographer, especially a medical photographer, and the image on your phone is terrible. All that having been said, although I do have a small digital camera in my office, like as not, when I want a picture, I use my phone. (But remember that thing about knowing how to compose shots? It really matters.)

I don't take many pix of generic skin disease, but am getting better about documenting before- and after- for the small amount of cosmetics I do, also we're trying to build up a file for our Cutaneous Lymphoma clinic patients.
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
We were almost too tired to go away but wanted to break up the period of "kids off from day care" and of winter cold. Also we'd already booked the 5 days away, so off we went. Any doubts about that's being the right decision were erased when we got to our hotel and stood on the outside walkway looking at the ocean (well Gulf of Mexico to be precise). In the warmth. Had sudden urge to change careers to "inspect sunsets through bottom of beer stein while sitting on a beach." Unlikely to actually happen anytime soon, but very strong urge. (On the other hand, summers there are unbearably hot and humid, so beginning to understand snow birds.) Since not actually moving anytime soon, do need to make sure the kids know how to skate and ski and other activities that make one enjoy winter (at least until they go to Med School at UBC (or possibly U Hawaii).

Downside was the long traveling (basically first and last day spent in transit) and that we all came down sick and spent most of the last day sitting around the hotel feeling miserable and puking. Upside was warm and relaxing and beautiful.

Impressions )

Some specifics )

L'envoi. “Goodbye ocean, goodbye palm trees, goodbye warm weather"
warriorsavant: (Venice)
After the holiday luncheon mentioned last post, I stayed around, cleaned up some paperwork, then had some gentlemen over for the winter solstice Scotch tasting. One of the guys goes hunting (grew up old style Quebec) and brought some caribou rillette that he’d hunted the caribou. I have mixed feelings about hunting. Grew up big-city-hunters-kill-bambi, but I eat meat, and can’t see anything wrong with it as long as you eat what you kill. Anyhow, except for not having cigars, my solstice Scotch tastings with a small group of friends is the one old style, gentlemanly get together that I do. (No cigars, but maybe will add next year, even if none of us actually do smoke.)
warriorsavant: Family Tree (Family Tree)
The kids were watching me shave. (The "You don't get out much?" concept of finding something trivial to be fascinating doesn't apply to small children, to whom everything really is new and fascinating.) After I finished, Wallstreet (age 3) decided that HE wanted to try shaving. Since I was using an electric razor, I let him "shave." He was delighted.


His next shave will probably be in another 8-12 years, unless he inherits his beard characteristics from him VN side. I asked my FIL, who said he has never shaved a day in his life, and my BIL who said he almost never shaves. Since Wallstreet has very few Asian features physically, I assume he'll get his facial/body hair characteristics from my side, which is to say he'll be able to grow a beard in a week. (Not a full beard, but clearly "I'm growing a beard," not "oh, you were too lazy to shave for a day or two.") 


Speaking of body hair, and speaking of things you really don't want to discuss with your mother (not that we were discussing the latter, but this is going to be a rather rambling, and I hope amusing post), I'm not the first White person Nom has ever been with. Every time she did date someone White, her mother would ask her, "Is it true that White people have hair all over their bodies?" Also, apparently, MIL once came across an article in a French language magazine (newspaper?), and asked Nom, in Vietnamese, to explain the term "le sexe oral." If there weren't proof that her parents had sex at least twice, Nom would doubt they ever had. For that matter, I know my siblings and I are the products of virgin births. 


Back to shaving. Many men like to shave. I don't. It's an annoying thing to have to do each morning. At various times of my life, I have worn a beard. When I was younger, that was more a function of whether my military time was Active or regularly drilling Reserve versus inactive Reserve. I was in the Navy when beards were permitted and did have one, shaving it off when they changed the regulations. Now I'm used to being clean-shaven, plus in modern society, being a graybeard literally as well as metaphorically doesn't confer gravitas, it makes you look scraggly. I frequently don't shave on weekends because I don't like doing it, and don't have to look professional. I use an electric most of the time, but after not having shaved for 3 days, the stubble is rather thick and rough, so I use a manual razor. Not really sure what to call those anymore. I grew up calling them "safety razors." They were so named in contradistinction to straight razors, at a time when electric razors didn't exist. I confess to being confused when I first read Jack London, with people fighting with razors. I knew they didn't have electric razors, but had never seen a straight razor, so had no idea how you could hurt someone with a safety razor. By the time I started shaving, I understood what a straight razor was, and wanted to shave with one. My father wisely pointed out that I'd likely cut my own throat, and got me an electric razor. Actually it was an old one that had belonged to our Grandpa Jimmy. Instead of an on-off switch, there was a little wheel that you flicked to start it turning. It was my brother's first razor, and then mine. I don't know what ever happened to it; both of us "graduated" to rotary-head razors, which do seem to work a little better.


Grandpa Jimmy died before I really have much memory of him, except that he was a good man, and the accidental cause of a minor linguistic confusion in me that lasted until my 20's. He was my maternal grandmother's second husband, and was born and raised in Italy. He came to the US as a young boy, and I believe served in the US Army in WWI. Like many Italians, even when speaking English, he frequently threw in the word capisce. (Heck, most New Yorkers of whatever background use it.) In my family, there were a dozen or so Yiddish words that we used frequently: mensch, kibitz, etc. (Again, most New Yorkers of whatever background use them.) When you're 6? (8? 12?), you don't think about the linguistic derivation of how you speak. I knew capisce wasn't English, we used it in my family, ergo it must be Yiddish. Some time in my 20's I began to find it strange that so many Italians used that particular Yiddish word, and eventually the had the light bulb/facepalm moment and realized the word was Italian.


Straight razors. I have a few times been shaved by a barber with a straight razor. It is partly luxurious, and partly scary. Someone literally has a razor-sharp blade at your throat. Especially considering that the first time was on a street corner in Pakistan. Eddy, my barber, said that when he was a boy growing up in Lebanon, 50? 60? years ago, it was normal for men to stop at the barbershop en route to work to get shaved. They'd wait their turn, get shaved, then stop for coffee (Lebanese coffee, which is what we call Turkish coffee), waiting their turn to get served for that. In short, leisurely lifestyle which did not involve a high work ethic. Many countries that people in First World nations are terrible workaholics; then they can't understand why they themselves are poor.

Eddy is a great barber, with a good work ethic, and also offers you a coffee when you're there. Not Arab/Turkish style, but at least a good espresso, and occasionally something stronger. 

warriorsavant: (Meh)
In modern life, US & Canada, most people insist on being called by their first names, even grown adults. I never call adult patients by their first names. They can call me by my first name, which is "doctor." (Evil Secretary gets really annoyed if people call me by my first name, or even refer to me that way. She's known me for 20 years and still won't do it.) This started years ago. 1960's? "Don't call me 'sir,' it makes me feel old." "MISTER Smith is my father, I'm Jim." (This from people even in their 50's, 60's, and older.) I never had a problem with that, even when I was in my 20's. I was fine with "Mr. Savant" or "Sir," and that was even before I was in the military.

Meanwhile, this month (which is not a birth anniversary month), my checking account has gone from being labeled "All Inclusive Banking Plan" to "All Inclusive with Seniors Rebate." I even got a 7$ rebate, although I don't know for what. Being insulted at being called old is vying with appreciating the rebate (although I don't have the faintest idea what is being rebated). I should call them (and/or shake my cane at them), but it's too much effort, not to mention that they might take back the seven bucks, which could (almost) buy me a cappuccino and a pastry.


Oct. 13th, 2018 09:06 am
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
Whimsy of the day:  OMG, Friday the 13th comes on a Saturday this month. Everybody knows that's worse.

Cuteness of the day:  We were talking about going to work and going to school and teaching, and what Hedgefund would do someday. (Spoiler Alert: doctor). Then she said something about when she was big, she was going to be a daddy. (Pause). "Well, a girl daddy."

Weather of the day (month, season, etc):  On the positive side, the leaves are changing, and it's pretty. On the negative side, it's turned cold. Despite having been born here, the kids, especially Wallstreet, don't like the cold. Neither does my tropically-born darling wife. Come t' think of it, more and more, neither do I. We live here why? Although when I think of moving south, my heart goes out to friends living in a hurricane zone. On the other hand, those are intermittent, rather than lasting 11.5 months/year, like winter does here. We keep saying the kids they are going to go to med school at U. Hawaii or at least UBC.

Bureaucracy of the… (whatever, enough with this theme):  [personal profile] ravensron  sent me a picture of the passport of Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-1213 BC). No, it wasn't written on papyrus, and they didn't actually have passports back then. Seems that His Pharonic Majesty's mummy was sent from Egypt to France in 1974 for preservation work. French law requires that anybody entering the country have a passport. The Egyptian government complied, including a properly formatted picture of the mummy's face in the block for picture. First time we traveled with Hedgefund, we had to get a passport, complete with photo. She was 3 months. Still required to pose eyes open, no smiling, no one holding her head. Managed to get the photo - she was actually lying down with the photographer holding the camera over her pointing downwards. What is the point? 80% of the babies in the world look like enough like that photo that it was meaningless. Even more ridiculous is that passports are good for 5 years. When she was 3 years, took her someplace, and the border control agent actually was looking back and forth between her and the photo.

Tree, also in the past tense:  Our neighbor's tree died. The other morning, there was a crew taking it down (before it fell on one of our houses). The kids were fascinated. “Why man in tree? What he doing?” I sent my condolences to the neighbors (it was a beautiful, huge ash tree, but had been attacked by Emerald Ash Borers). Then I wondered, if one sends a bouquet of flowers (plants) when an person or animal dies, does one send a bouquet of animals when a tree (plant) dies? The neighbors declined, but I think that was unreasonable. True they already have a cat and a dog, but maybe they would have liked a nice basket of mice - I'm sure the cat and dog would have.

Tech:  Once upon a time (say 2-3 years ago), if someone wanted you to sign a document, they printed it out, mailed or handed it to you, and you signed it. Now they send you a pdf, which you have to print out, sign, then rescan back to them. Much more convenient… for them. Recently realized that having Adobe Acrobat Pro (which creates pdf, doesn't just read them), I can do a digital signature. Still requires a few steps, but all mouse clicks, no wasteful printing and rescanning. (If you want to do it on a phone, there is an app called "fill and sign.")
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Am I ever going to retire? What does that mean anyhow? How do work life and personal identity interrelate?

This thoughts inspired by a friend's posting (https://jillianpage.com/2018/07/22/retirement-one-foot-in-the-grave/#comment-11807) Most of this is from my reply to her post, with some quoting from another reply.

"Retirement," like many labels, seems to be all-inclusive in its description, whereas it really just means "ceasing to work at a certain well-defined job." I think that goes hand-in-hand with defining yourself as what you do for a living (farmer, lawyer, journalist, etc).

Admittedly, what you do for a living, for most people, is how they spend the majority of their waking hours, and often an important part of their identity, but the be all and end all of their existence, if they don't want it to be.

Another reply to that posting (regb1957) gave a good list things one can "do" in retirement. If your health is good, you can carve out another career for yourself, if you want to. If you want to be at the beck and call of someone else that is. Retirement means you won’t have to, you can do things you want to do, when you want to do them. Write a novel; start a business; campaign for xxx rights; get more deeply involved with local politics, whatever.

All good points, but even that begs the question of if we should define ourselves by what we "do" rather than what we "are."

I think in general people retire later when they enjoy their work. As you know, I'm not going to retire anytime soon, having 2 kids to put through medical school (and they are not even in kindergarten yet). Even if that were not a factor, I like what I do, so can't see giving up doing it any time before 80-? 90-? The key is to recognize when you are no longer capable of doing it well, and stepping down at the height of your game (at least when still in good form), not been pushed out for incompetence. In another 10 years will likely slow down a bit, but not stop.

Even that, again, pushes the question of "who am?" to be answered by "this is what I do for a living." As you know, Gentle Readers, I am a professional (in the older meaning of "learned profession") and that does come with a sense of identity more than most jobs, but I get to largely keep that identity even after retirement. I have multiple identities (as we all do), but sometimes have to remind myself that father/husband/family man is as much my identity as what I do for a living.
warriorsavant: (Meh)
I think they are getting these things solved, but spent far too much time on the phone the past few days. Don't want to go into details, but some generalities apply. First, I really, really hate voice menus. I'm feeling negative if I have to call them, because I'm calling because I have a problem. By the time I've gotten to speak to an actual person, I'm in a worse mood. Then half the time, they person on the other end of the phone doesn't know what they are doing, or can't solve the problem. This is besides when they decide that they will try to sell me up on another service. Hey, you can't even handle the existing work, why should I give you more? The worst is when this is not the first call I've made about the issue. *Growl*
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Many will tell you that education is the key to getting a good job, good life, and avoiding manual drudgery. For much of human history, that meant being able to avoid laboring in the fields. So, for the first relatively cool day in a while, we two university-educated parents took our young kids to pick berries. The irony is not lost on me that what is considered horrid grinding work if you have to do it, can be the epitome of leisure if doing it for a lark.

Quinn Farms is about 35 minute drive from where we are. I've always been amazed that for a city of it's size, from Montreal you can be in farm country in 30-45 minutes. I think because Canada has such a relatively small population for its size, the cities are not as widely surrounded by suburban sprawl as in the US or Europe. Quinn Farms is large, clean, and well-run. We got there early before it was too hot or too crowded. First we went to look at the animals. The kids, urban-raised that they are, were fascinated by the future chops, wings, steaks, and bacon animals. Some you could pet (eg sheep), and some you couldn't (eg pigs), which I imagine depends on how likely they are to bite you if annoyed. In with the chickens was one larger, bald-headed bird, which I think was a turkey. Or possibly a vulture (or turkey vulture?). Naw, turkey.

After that, took a ride on a wagon behind a tractor out to the fields. (WS loves tractors, and they had several old ones he got to climb on.) HF was very into picking strawberries, and quickly filled her basket. WS mostly waited for mom to pick some, then ate them. I noticed they had different fields with different crops, which ripened at different times, cleverly allowing them to have tourist custom at all times during the spring, summer, and fall. As part of it's being a working farm, there was an area you couldn't go into: dusty tracks connecting buildings made of sheet metal or of old shipping containers. Reminded me of my Army days.

After that, went back to the main area, had BBQ lunch, then hit the shop (toys, souvenirs, fresh eggs, etc). It was a great day for the kids, and for us. Nom is thinking of going back with her parents. I think her dad might enjoy the new experience, but her mom is more likely of the "we went to university to avoid this kind of work" philosophy. I'm thinking we could create a VN version. Instead of BBQ for lunch, could have pho; instead of sheep, could have water buffalo; and instead of berries, could pick rice.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
First a literal one. The fire alarm went off in my office building. Understand that it is a condo building, with offices/businesses on the ground floor, and 6 stories of residential units above that. Fortunately very nice weather, so we all congregated outside. The building is along the Canal, surrounded by what is a rather long, thin, Federal Park, plus the office across from mine is a bike shop cum café and they have a terrace. Actually did a consultation on one or two of my waiting patients, who didn't have to undress; we just stepped "into my office" (ie several steps away from anyone else). In the end, it was a false alarm caused by dust from renovations getting into one of the detectors. (They are supposed to cover the detectors during the workday and uncover them when they leave. I know, having just done 2 sets of renovations.) I asked one of the fireman if false alerts happened frequently at this building, and he just nodded with a disgusted look on his face.

Second a metaphorical one. Had a message to call lawyer xxx at firm yyy. Calls from lawyers rarely good. Especially when I googled firm yyy and noted they were "
Un cabinet au service des usagers du système de santé du Québec" This is French for "Ambulance chasers." Turned out they were looking for someone to do Medical Expertise for Dermatology. Sorry, folks, but keep looking. One could argue that they are in the service of justice and I should help them, but "service of justice" sometimes is the same as "hired gun," depending which side of the table (courtroom) one is sitting on. It's rather like Satan asking the Preacher Man for help harvesting souls, "because they're sinners and they deserve it." We have an adversarial legal system, and they're the adversaries. Come to think of it, I believe the literal translation from the Old Hebrew of Satanactually does mean "Adversary." It is actually Ha Satan, "The Adversary." From my admittedly limited readings of the Old Testament, Satan is not the adversary of God, but of Man, more of what we would call today (un-ironically), a "Devil's Advocate."

warriorsavant: (Cafe)
First, Happy Victoria Day! A holiday not coinciding with the Widow's Birthday, Ascension to the Throne, or any other event. It is a uniquely Canadian holiday, not celebrated anywhere else, including Quebec. Oh, they take the day off, but they have given it various alternate names over the years, which nobody takes seriously.

Second, a Gentle Reader (and relative) pointed out that Great Britain's Prince Harry is marrying an American citizen, and was told that both UK & USA allow dual citizenship, which would mean their offspring could run for president here, and if inherits their throne could be simultaneously monarch of Britain and the USA.

Since I know this is a burning question in everyones' mind, like me address that. Technically the US doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. I think there are a few exceptions like the Philippines, having previously been a US colony. (The PI is one of the few countries the US formally owned as colony in the European, 17th-20th sense.) The US view is more “you are a US citizen, and if you and another country happen to think you have a relationship, we’re going to just ignore that silliness, as long as the other country is Canada, not N. Korea.”

Further issue is that the constitution requires the Pres to be American born, although doesn’t formally say what that means. If you are physically born in another country, but of US parents does that count? Never been clarified. I remember as a child being told that US embassies had birthing suites (remember, embassies are considered the territory of the country that owns that embassy), but don’t know if that was true.

Nom watched part of the wedding (did NOT get up at 0400h our time to do so). I watched a little bit with her, adding such commentary as: “our wedding was much classier,” “my uniform was much sharper-looking than Harry’s,” “you looked some much prettier than that Markle woman, and still do.”
warriorsavant: (Time)
(A moderately serious, non-family-related post, for a change.)

For someone who is not at all religious, I usually enjoyed talking to the chaplains when I was in the Army. They tend to be educated, well-spoken, and open-minded. However that is a discussion perhaps for another post. Today is really about nomenclature.

In the US military, chaplains are addressed as "Chaplain," not by rank. (Doctors are usually addressed as "Doctor," until they hit a certain rank, or are in a leadership position.) Have seen a few patients from the Canadian Forces who are chaplains, who are addressed as "Padre." Even the female ones. I found that rather curious, and a bit of an anachronistic. (One of them did say she expected they would at some point start calling them Chaplain like the US does.) I had sometimes addressed chaplains as Padre in the US, but that was understood to be more of a friendly nickname than anything official. Had one commander who collectively referred to me and the chaplain as “the healer and the holy man.” I suspect Can Forces got calling them Padre from UK, and that does seem rather UK/High Church C of E to me.

I consulted my theological experts: michikatinski on DW and a recently retired Rabbi/Army Reserve Chaplain I know. I posed the following questions:
1. Is “Madre” ever used as a title in religious orders that you know of?
2. In olden days, did US military ever officially address chaplains as “Padre?”

Response 1: Rabbi:
1- Madre is not used anywhere I know of, certainly not in any military system.
2- Your second question is a bit more complicated and a difference between regulations, common usage, and cultural issues. So as you remember from MASH, Fr. Mulcahey is often addressed as Padre because Catholics use that term regularly and the same is true for those of Latino/Hispanic background. So yes it is high church, used mostly by Episcopalians and Catholics in our country and Church of England and Catholics in Commonwealth Countries. So regulations say that all Chaplains must be addressed as Chaplains and not by rank , however Rabbis, and Priests may be referred to as Rabbi, Father, or Padre as is the custom of those faiths. Protestants interestingly enough may not be referred to as Rev. according to regulation.

Response 2: DW buddy (who was CAP at one time):
1. Let's see. Ok. So... my question is, why is a Canadian chaplain addressed in any language other than English or French? That the masculine form of a foreign title would be used is doubly odd to me. I've never heard of "Madre" being used as a title in any religious order, and the only situations I could think of it being used would be in religious communities of females or "High-Church" religious communities in which women are ordained. Some Episcopal priests are called "Mother" So-and-so, just as male priests are called "Father" So-and-so.
2. I'm not aware of U.S. armed forces ever addressing chaplains as anything other than "Chaplain" So-and-so. There are quite a lot of chaplains who are evangelicals and would tsk-tsk the idea of being called any version of "father" thanks to Matthew 23:9, especially as a way of setting themselves apart from Catholics (which is a fond pastime of US Protestants by and large).
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Children's games can be a preparation for real jobs and adult life. Mine have a number of favorite games, but one special favorite is "run around in circles babbling incoherently and screeching at the top of your lungs." I didn't quite get the point of it, but they seem to really enjoy it. Then I realized that it is perfect training for working in most bureaucracies. Corporate, government, military, non-profit… pretty much all of them involve running around in circles, shrieking and babbling, and accomplishing nothing useful at great effort.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Yes, that's Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays. Screw that bland, politically correct nonsense. And don't tell me about multiculturalism or inclusiveness; I'm an Askenazi Jew married to a Vietnamese Buddhist. Our household is as multicultural as it gets, short of thinking I'm Angelina Biglips and adopting 12 children, each from a different ethnic group, to prove how worldly I am. (For the record, I married Nom because I like her as a person.) Oh yeah, and bah humbug to everybody who disagrees.

I admit that's my real feeling about Christmas. Bah humbug. The only Christmas characters I really liked were Ebenezer Scrooge & the Grinch, and even they punked out at the end. Okay, I'm not really such a grumble-bum, at least not any more. Frankly, most people hate the "holiday season," with all the enforced cheer making everyone think their holidays and lives are substandard in comparison with what they are told they should be feeling. One of the most fun Christmas Eves I ever had was when I was Active Duty, stationed on Okinawa with the Marines. Being the only Jewish doctor in the bunch, I volunteered to cover Christmas Eve. All the sad and lonely drunks ended up in the clinic with no real medical issues other than being sad and lonely and drunk. We made popcorn, put on comic movies (using the then-high-technology VCR), and sat them all down together. They had comedy (treated the sad part), each others' company (treated the lonely part), and after sitting there for a couple of hours eating popcorn had sobered up (treated the drunk part). I regard that as holistic medicine. Also we had fun. Frankly, for most years, I fell into the "hated the holiday season, with all the enforced cheer making me think my holidays and live was substandard in comparison with what I was told I should be feeling" group. Now I largely don't care. Somehow, despite Nom's playing Christmas music, and my being (mostly) off for 2 weeks, it isn't registering as a "holiday time." It's neither good nor bad, just here.

Anyhow, Happy Holidays   Merry Christmas Stop-Telling-Me-What-Kind-Of-Day-To-Have, to all my Gentle Readers.

Dogs & Cats

Dec. 5th, 2017 08:15 pm
warriorsavant: (Meh)

(I'll get to a more serious post one of these days, whenever it is I have the time & energy.)

My family are cat people. (There's a reason my sister is WWC = Woman With Cats*, which is a politer way to say Crazy Cat Lady.) My brother had a dog once, but I think that was by accident. My immediate family don't have either, and not just because I generally tell the kids that we eat dogs**; keeping pets is just not a VN custom.

There are two problems with dogs. First and foremost, since I don't live in the countryside, they have to be walked and pooper-scooped. Although rather used to cleaning up excrement these days, have no real interest in taking an animal for a walk several times/day regardless of the weather. (See numerous rants about the "seasons" in this country.)

Second, is their attitude. It's great. It's too good. It's cloying. "Hiya. I love you. I really love you. Really really. Do you love me? Huh? Do you? Do you love me? Say you love me. Because I really, really, really love you. So you love me, right? Hmmm? You do, don't you? You love me, right? How much do you love me? Etc, etc." Usually while drooling on you. I've dated people like that. Briefly. Very, very briefly.

Cats are usually accused of being aloof, but more a question of their being chill. "What? You wanna hang out? Yeah, okay, that would be cool, just don't crowd me too much." What's really more amusing this their 'ignoring' you. "I'm ignoring you now. Okay? Got it? I'm paying no attention whatsoever to you. I'm not even talking to you right now, I just want it clearly understood that I'm completely and totally paying not the slightest mind to you. It's like you're not even here" (while sitting in your lap). "Hey, don't turn around. Look at me! How can I be ignoring you if you are not paying attention to me. Yes, that's right, scratch my back, but I'm paying no attention to that either." "Where are you going? The other room? I'm going there too, but that's completely coincidental. In fact, it was my idea first, so let's go into the other room - entirely separately - while I ignore you there." (Hmmm, probably what my kids will be doing when they are teenagers.)

*The term is taken from one of Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr, The Burgler Who… novels. The point is that if you have one cat, you have a cat; two keep each other company; three or more (and WWC has variably but considerably more), you are a Woman With Cats. The character saying this (who has 2 cats) concedes that it is sexist in that it doesn't apply to men. I have no strong opinion on that latter statement, but would look askance at a man with 3+ cats also.
**Started as teasing my relatives about the VN words for "lunch" and "dog" were the same. Hedgefund was scared of dogs for quite a while, which she picked up from her ba ngaoi. To help her get over that, I kept telling her "we eat dogs, yum, yum, yum." She'd repeat it back, and after a while, it helped. Not perfect, but she bring herself to touch a small dog recently, so make fun of it all you want, it worked.

warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Remembrance Day & Westmount. Remembrance Day was Saturday this year. Apparently Westmount, the municipality where I currently live, has its own ceremony on the Sunday each year,at the Cenotaph in front of city hall. Westmount is a separately little city entirely surrounded by Montreal City. It is traditionally regarded as very WASPy, more-English-than-the-English, old-line English Canadian. Really quite mixed ethnically these days. I think those more-English-than-etc-etc have all died off, and all the other groups, who hate(d) them, but want to be them, moved to Westmount to show that they've "arrived." Despite that, it still has that Olde England feel about it. The having the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph on Sunday feels very Anglican. A lot about the city feels very Anglican/old school England. The architectural style of the city hall and library, the local historical society, the community feeling, etc. Who am I to complain about people moving there so they can claim they moved there? We certainly did. (Well, that and the great house, walking distance to services, small town feel while being 8 minutes walk to the Metro, and a few other things.)

Lawyers. I understand rather a glut on the market in the US now. Starting to be in Canada. Unlike in US, in Canada, lawyers have to spend their first year after law school "articling" (cue Gilbert & Sullivan Ruler of the Queen's Na-vy), which is basically internship. Useful, because professional school is better for learning theory than actual practice. I've read recently that there is a shortage of articling positions, and some of my young patients who are articling tell me they are worried they won't find a job afterwards. Had patient today who is a lawyer. Has offices next to me. Apparently relatively big name criminal lawyer. Very loud voice (expect has to be to talk over his clients who are likely the cream of the scum of the dregs), can often hear him through the wall. Has his own espresso machine. Came by for something today, drinking an espresso. While waiting, he offered to make me one, saying he didn’t have any clients at that moment, and as had to wait a few minutes anyhow, would bring Connie and I espressos. So my Gentle Readers who are tired of the law can always retire from law and be a barrista.

Renos. Somehow even if they are finished, they are not finished. Always some other little thing needs doing on the house, always some last "we're still waiting on xxx to come in so we can install it." Went to hardware store to pick up a few things, as always they had half of what I wanted, and half they didn't. Grrr. No wonder more and more people shop on line. Just don't have the time to be running around trying to get items, never knowing if what you want is available. Renos on office finally moving ahead quickly. Today told my landlord I'd be moving out. He wasn't happy, but business is business, and he'll start looking for another tenant. At the worst, my lease ends not too much later than I was going to move anyhow.

Teaching. Need to entirely revamp the 2nd year Derm teaching, which is due in about 2 weeks. Like I don't have anything else that needs doing. Have someone who is going to take over as Director next year, who is willling to help me now. Good. Time to stop procrastinating blogging, and start course-writing.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
In the book I read recently about the history of Artic exploration (about the Franklin Expedition and the search for the fabled Northwest Passage), they touched on the provision of government services to the Innuit (or lack thereof). Without going into the vast issue of Canada's and other nations', treatment of, and relations with, their aboriginal peoples, one of the points noted was that the government, even when trying to provide services, had trouble doing so, as these were nomadic/semi-nomadic people, historically with only one name. The government pushed many of them into settlements and assigned them family names. At some point, every one of them was assigned an "Innuit Number" (I think that is what it was actually called) for government ID purposes. This was later dropped as being too intrusive & dehumanizing.

Yet, in the Netherlands (and I believe all Scandanavian countries), which are highly democratic nations, everyone is assigned a national ID number from the moment of birth. The first thing associated with that number is your APGAR score and birth weight. All your medical records, school records, and tax records are keyed to that number. That makes for great demographic studies ("…all lawyers who'd had an APGAR of 9-10 at birth, currently make more than XXX Euro/year and have a low incidence of diabetes…"). To a North American, that is horribly intrusive; to them it's simple good management. The other piece of the puzzle is how to identify who goes with that number. Again, as North Americans, we would regard a government biometric database is being too intrusive, yet in India, they have recently fielded Aadhaar, a national biometric database precisely to be able to identify people for getting government services (eg welfare, nutritional support, schooling), and it is also being used to allow illiterate people access to banking and other commercial services. As it stands now, our governments do keep biometric ID, but it's limited and not very good. Looking at my driver's license, I'm a male of a certain height and weight and hair color. Well, my weight changes, and my hair is no longer brown, and I don't know anybody who actually looks much like any ID photo they have. (I laughed to myself the last time we brought Hedgefund across a border. Now age 3 years, her passport photo was from 3 months, and the Border Agent kept looking back and forth to between the picture and her.) Add to that people whose gender has changed legally. At that point, at least in Canada, they are issued new government ID's, but how do you then use that to access an old record which was under a different name and ID. We don't have a lot of nomads anymore, but what about migrant farm workers?

Seems to me combining modern biometrics with a national ID number would solve some of the "how do you get services" (governmental or commercial) issue. On the other hand, that would allow the government and commercial ventures to compile huge amount of info on us; on the other hand, they already have that, and we as individuals don't get the benefit of it.


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