Friday, September 07, 2007

My Stinky Left Side
Well, it has been three weeks now since I broke my ring-finger on my right hand, and sprained a knuckle on the hand part of the same finger. I'm coming to grips with (grips? no, sorry, no grip...) how to do things with my left hand. Some things are rather difficult to do with your left hand, like wiping your b...nevermind. You get the idea. Other things are impossible to do with your left hand, like washing your left arm and arm-pit in the shower.

To help you make a real fool of yourself in any attempt to wash your left side modern Medicine has come up with some incredibly great inventions. Well, at least one anyway: the full-arm-plastic-rubber-air-tight glove for instance.

I was so pleased when my doctor gave me this (and I use the word "gave" loosely, as I know I'll be getting a bill for it... or my insurance company will anyway). "Yeah," she said. "They are completely air-tight and water-tight. You can wear it in the shower, and it even has a separate place for your thumb so you can hold your bar of soap!

Why I didn't think of it then, I cannot imagine. Perhaps it was the excitement of something completely new: I've never broken anything before (bones, that is). Or perhaps it was my doctor's own enthusiasm for this modern medicinal marvel.

Anyway: think about it! Give me a break: holding a wet bar of soap in the shower with a rubber glove?????

Yeah, that's right folks: I spend more time chasing the bar of soap around the shower.

Well, at least they've finally thought of one thing anyway: how to make the thing so that no water leaks in. Pretty ingenious, really. At least I can even TAKE a shower! But never mind trying to hang onto your bar of soap!

So, that leaves me with the question: what to do about my left side?

I've finally gotten to where I can reach into places I never dreamed of with my left hand. Sometimes I'm nervous I'm going to tie my left arm in a knot trying to reach places. But there remains the unreachable: Left Underarm!

You see, I'm no monkey. I know monkeys can scratch their arm-pits with the same hand, but humans aren't designed that way.

Well, I've thought of a couple of ways to solve the problem:

a) wash cloth: yes you can actually hold a wet and soapy wash cloth in the shower with that enormous rubber glove. At least for a while. You just have to overcome the feeling that you are no longer manly if you use a wash cloth. Yes, next thing you know I'll be wearing white gloves, and keeping lace handkerchiefs in my pockets.

b) scrub brush: yes, well sometimes my arm pits need scrubbing out with a scrub brush anyway...

Then there are other miscellaneous left-side problems: like trying to get enough strength in your few free fingers of the right hand to clip the nails on your left hand, or worse: foot.

Then there is always the retrieving things from your pocket problem. I'm trying to put things into pockets that I can get at with my left hand, but every once in a while I forget, and cause an embarrassing scene trying to fish things out of a right pocket with my left hand. The other day I think someone almost called the police on me for public indecency.

I am at least learning how to type with only three fingers on one hand (that is, if you count the thumb as a finger --- ah, what the heck, they are all thumbs on that hand anyway.

Well, enough for now.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Has China Declared War on the United States?

Unfair, unfair. If Russia had done this we would have introduced some sort of trade embargo (the heat of Europe not withstanding).

China: the only (major) country in the world where Christians are still persecuted and killed, where blue collar workers are treated like slave labor, where it is against the law to exercise freedom of speech and to have more than one child per family... China continues to get away with it's systematic and well planned undermining of western society:

We allow their government to hack into our Pentagon network infrastructure.

We allow them to poison our animals.

We allow them to kill our children. (the latest product recalls from Matel).

And we sit here and do nothing about it at all. Instead we waste our energy on insignificant problems (or non existent problems) in order to play upon public sympathies and increase political clout.

I'm sick of stupid garbage Chinese-made products that cost less money than products made in other countries that actually WORK. These inexpensive electric pencil sharpeners, stereos, and garden sheers, may cost less money in the short run, but they only last a few months (long enough that you no longer have the original box or the receipt). Because the markets are flooded with cheap products that don't work (or for long anyway) all of the products that aren't made in China are harder and harder to find, and therefore cost a lot more money. Can I afford to pay 10 times as much for a TV that will last 10 years instead of 1 year? No, actually I can't. I need my TV today and can't wait 10 years for it, thank you.

The Chinese are not beating us by their lead-tainted toys, and their chemical-laden food products: no, they are defeating us by filling our landfills with toxic substances that continue to pollute the environment for many hundreds of years.

But, what can I do?

I think I'll go pop some popcorn in my two-month-old-and-still-working Chinese-made microwave (still ticking), and sit down and watch a movie (printed no doubt in China in a Chinese-made DVD but what the heck, I've only watched that movie 6 times now so the DVD hasn't worn out yet...)


Monday, September 03, 2007

Fun With A Purpose


Do you have a moral for that story?

We got an advertisement for a highlights magazine in the mail. It says Highlights, Fun With a Purpose I believe the idea is, it's a learning magazine for children. It's fun, but it also teaches kids various skills: problem solving with puzzles, games and hidden pictures.

I always loved that sort of stuff when I was a kid, and my daughter does too.

I think as a marketing ploy the idea is: this is better than other similar magazines (are there any?) because it teaches learning skills. I think these days most kids (my daughter included) are polishing their problem solving skills, along with their quick-thinking reflexes, at computer games.

But the important thing is: there's a moral to that story.

I was reminded of the special features from last night's movie "Sleepy Hollow". Apparently the last question they asked the stars was "what's the moral to the story" - which, I think, was a dumb question, and judging by some of the answers, the stars agreed.

Michael Gambon: "Hold on to your head."
Christopher Lee: "Don't lose your head."
Johnny Depp: "When Tim Burton asks you to do a movie: Do It!"

And I'm reminded of something Vladimir Nabokov said when questioned about his controversial novel, Lolita. When asked what the moral of the story was, he indicated that he was insulted, and that he was a firm believer that for an author to get didactic ruins the story. In fact, it was one of the reasons he hated Dostoevsky and Tolstoy so much.

Well, I disagree vaguely to Nabokov. It is possible to have a good story with characters in it that THINK. Yet at the same time I can agree to a certain extent: What is the moral of any good story? To make you think!

If a story (read: movie, novel, computer game) doesn't make me think, I quickly lose interest. And, in a word, a good story need not be didactic so long as it at least makes you think. A person can discover the moral value inherent in anything when they are challenged to think.

So, more power to the children's magazines like Highlights that give kids something interesting to make the wheels churn. But all the better something like J. K. Rowling who makes the wheels churn and makes an extremely entertaining story at the same time!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sleepy Hollow

I never stay up to date.

And this is actually intentional.

One of the most important things a friend pointed me to in college was something C.S. Lewis said: For every new book he read, he also read an old one.

For many years I practiced that very thing, well, really I mostly only read the classics. These days I read things all over the map. Classics like Sophocles, Dante, Oscar Wilde, Stephen King all the way to the modern stuff: J. K. Rowling.

Well, so much to say: I rarely go see a movie while it is fresh. I figure if it is worth seeing today, it will be worth seeing tomorrow also. In fact, if it is worth seeing at all it will be just as worth it today as 20 years from now.

So, I've just come around to seeing Sleepy Hollow. I've been a big Johnny Depp fan since the first Pirates move came out. And now I've become a fan of his great stuff back to Edward Scissorhands and Benny and Joon. In fact, I've even come to notice little things like when he makes little references to previous movies like he did with the raisins in the last Pirates move.

Anyway, what a great movie! I love horror, but I don't think I've every seen a horror movie I liked this much: even to the point of watching all the extras on the DVD. It's got a superb all-star cast (well, I won't tell you everyone in it but check that out on IMDB if you are so inclined.)

It's really cool to see three Harry Potter stars, two great Star Wars stars, along with the impeccably artistic Mr. Depp and the gorgeously talented Christina Ricci in this, yet one more great Tim Burton classic. I highly recommend it (if you can manage horror) and as Michael Gambon says: hang onto your head!