Monthly Archives: March 2008

Five years

candle.jpgToday is the five year anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

The total deaths in Iraq of American soldiers alone amount to almost 4,000. This number only begins to touch on the real costs of this war.

Even after the surge, when McCain (with his toady, Lieberman) visited Baghdad this week, he could not return to the marketplace he was able to tour a year ago, albeit heavily guarded. What are we there for again? Weapons of mass…no. Saddam’s a bad bad man….well, he was deposed and executed a while ago. Why are we still in active combat? To bring stability to the area? We can’t even secure a road from the airport to the green zone after five years. We can’t provide political stability, economic stability, job security…hell, we can’t even keep the electricity on!

Extremist and terrorist recruitment is up, not down. An economic collapse at home is threatening to turn into economic free fall, and our government just keeps on signing blank checks for our tax dollars to keep on funding a mostly private police force for defending government contractors to try to sink their claws into the rubble in Iraq.


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Flashback to Friday

OK, I am a little late, but:

1. Cablegirl has known me FAR too long to be surprised by this and

2. I had quite a full day yesterday. I had my bacteriology test, which is rumored to be (and I agree) the hardest test of the semester, a huge write up due for Clinical Practicum, and a really busy day in the HIV testing clinic. I am still surviving with a B in Microbiology, I remembered how much I liked working in a busy clinic helping people, especially in a field in which I am interested, sexual health, and I turned in my write-up three minutes before the deadline!

So, I have had this post in my head for a while for Flashback Friday, but I didn’t get it in past the deadline yesterday. I barely had time to decompress, make dinner for the first time in age, put the kids to bed for the first time in ages, hang out with a school friend for the first time in ages (yes, we may site in class near each other occasionally, but that doesn’t mean we have time to socialize) before she leaves for a mission trip today, and drank wine for the first time in ages, and then slept for more than four hours for the first time in ages.

My dad was a very interesting person. He was older than most of my peers’ dads even when I was the same age as most of my peers. He was older when he died a few years ago than most of my classmates’ grandparents now. He went to the naval Academy, class of 1940, got a master’s degree in engineering from MIT, and spent most of his life in the US Navy. He was a very intelligent man. One of his most endearing quirks was adding words to the dictionary. Most of them came from crossword puzzles, which he loved. (He supposedly taught himself to speak Spanish by doing Spanish crossword puzzles. I don’t think that would work for most people). I have his dictionary now as a keepsake, somewhere, and it is hard to open up to a page without seeing his painstaking notations, sometimes several per page. And this was no small Webster’s dictionary, this was a thick thousand page jobbie.

As I was typing up my write up, I happened to be thinking about him as I was working, and I thought of his dictionary adding habit. I usually end that sort of a reminiscence by thinking well, I would never do something like that. As I was typing, one of the words I typed was underlined by Microsoft Word, which was trying to tell me it was a misspelled word. I knew that it wasn’t, and without thinking, and with no small degree of annoyance at how incomplete the program dictionary was, I opted to “Add word to dictionary”, like I always do. Wow. Light bulb moment there.

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Strange fruit

This new upgrade of my site does not let me embed video! Grumble grumble. Please click on the links for Music Monday.

I customized a radio station for studying on I started with Amy Winehouse, and added Tracy Chapman and Billie Holiday. One of my many breaks involved looking up Billie Holiday. I never knew that the song “Strange Fruit” was about lynching. Although I have an extensive big band and blues collection, including an entire CD of just Billie Holiday, I do not own a copy of the song and I had never heard it. When I had heard the title of the song in the past, I assumed it was about homosexuality, since she was rumored to be bisexual. No, it is about another kind of minority.

I am overdue for Music Monday for two weeks, so here is the one I was going to post last week. I listened to a lot of crazy music when I was studying for neuroanatomy, but Tom Waits’ Alice had to be the most apropos. (My word for the week, for some reason.)

So, when reading about all sorts of mental conditions, listening to “Kommienezuspadt” on my headphones in the library was quite amusing:

As, ahem, interesting his weird stuff is, that is not why I listen to him. This short, beautiful song is also on that album. I’m Still Here has to be one of the most beautiful songs I have heard (and it’s short!) It made me cry when I was getting divorced, and it still makes my heart ache a little.

I’ll cut you all a break and save my entry I never posted from the week before that next week, when I am on spring break!


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Last anatomy exam!!

If you have never been in a timed practical laboratory exam, let me tell you, it is a nerve wracking experience. But exhilarating. Well, at least to freaks like me who get off on test adrenaline.

I spent most of last semester hating anatomy, but ended up loving it. I am happy that we ended with neuroanatomy. It was really fascinating. brain.png It helped that we had a great professor. She handed out the best notes and present the best powerpoints of any professor we have had. She made references to the movie Young Frankenstein (Abby Normal, anyone?) and had Alfred E. Neuman (from Mad magazine) in our notes.

She is also funny, raunchy and lewd. See the picture? (If it’s too small, you can click on it.) She always referred to those little round things at the base of the brain, the mammillary bodies, as the “tits” of the brain. When I was at a neuroanatomy review, one of the tutors asked if anyone knew what disease primarily affects the mammillary bodies, I blurted out “breast cancer.” It’s hard to get a laugh with cancer, but in medical school, no disease is sacred.

clock_drawing_in_neglect.jpgNeuroanatomy also encompasses some really fascinating syndromes. I now understand a lot more about my father’s stroke. I am pretty sure that I know where it occurred in the brain. He had a strange manifestation of his brain loss called hemineglect. He would only put his robe on half of his body. He would walk into doorways, hitting the door jamb with his apparently nonexistant other half. It didn’t just apply to his body. He was so angry when he was recovering in the hospital because someone had messed with all of the clocks, only putting the numbers on one side. Who would do that to sick people? He would ignore people on the left side of a room. He was a retired engineer who studied at MIT.

Anyway, the last test is over. last time huffing the formaldehyde fumes, unless I tutor next year. We’ll see!


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