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Wednesday, October 31, 2001
3:27 PM      

This little ditty was one of several forwarded to me by a classmate of mine. Most of them were very funny. This one was downright amazing - not quite a candidate for the Darwin Awards. Thanks Evelyn!

> I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

Makes you wonder who's watching the watchers.

Salon also has a fun article about the Darwin Awards.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, October 30, 2001
10:41 PM      

Happy Halloween!

OK - I admit it. Truth is, I don't do all of my writing. Friday ghost writes for me. He's nocturnal, so he churns out a lot of stuff while I'm sleeping. Does a very good job, too. [click the pix - they get bigger]

I have a friend who signs all of his messages "Matutinally yours." I'd never known what it meant. Since he's even more into words than I am, I figured it was a real word. I Finally looked the word up, and found it has to do with morning, as in "He took his matutinal walk." Guess he's an early riser.

[ link | e-me ]

Monday, October 29, 2001
11:28 PM      

I've been home all day, getting over whatever got its grips on me as the weekend began. As soon as I developed a cough, I started watching the symptoms. No fever, no muscle aches... I'm the kind to keep track of my symptoms anyway, but these days it takes on a greater signficance.

When I spoke to my mom on Saturday, I told her I was a little under the weather. "Be careful" is all she said, implying how the early stages of an anthrax case looks a lot like flu - we'd both seen the same quietly hysterical news broadcasts - and nothing more needed to be said. It's not a conversation we'd have had a year ago.

I don't know what the book Love in the Time of Cholera is really about, but I take it as a an acknowledgment of how love is more palpable in such times. I imagine there have been many memoirs written in times of plague and times of war, but seldom are the two combined. We live our lives more intensely, when we are in touch with the possibility of the end.


We took Friday to the vet twice this weekend. He's on more medicine again.

Twice a day, we squirt a sticky syrup and crush half a capsule of powder into a small bolus of food that he eats quickly, then we give him more food, watered down, so that he gets more liquids. He doesn't seem to be drinking much, even though we got him this fancy pet fountain that cats are supposed to be attracted to.

But the worst part is our other ritual - administering an i.v. of Ringer's Lactated solution. How do you give a cat an i.v.? You insert a needle into the little pouch of flesh between their shoulders -- that same flap of skin that their mothers used to carry them by when they were kittens. Friday's actually pretty good about taking the i.v. at first. After a while, though, he starts to get uncomfortable. He's never been a lap cat in the first place, so keeping him still becomes an impossiblity after a certain point.

Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom that says animals aren't as sophisticated as humans. I look into Friday's eyes, and I sense a presence, a personality. I know when I knick a blood vessel, he experiences pain. Strange as it might sound, there was a time when the medical profession subscribed to the notion that black slaves could not feel pain. Who's to say that Friday doesn't have thought? Who's to say he doesn't remember things? When we finished giving him his i.v. this morning, he steered clear of Denise, who'd held him on her lap and inserted the needle.

The experience makes me realize how little I've known of what happens to you when you're called upon to care for a loved one, even though many people in my family have needed significant care. My great grandmother, my uncle, and now my grandmother, have all required special care. In all of those situations, I've been more of a witness than a provider. My parents have been through so much, and they've said very little about it. 77

The experience also puts me in touch with how important the quality of life is. The condition threatens Friday's colon and his kidneys. If they become damaged, his life and ours will change dramatically. Sometimes, Friday tilts his head up and looks back at me over his shoulders. Tonight he did that, and let out a soft, high-pitched "ow" - it wasn't even a full "meow." I couldn't tell if it was a question, or a subtle affirmation.


The planes have been flying by one after the other tonight. After hearing about the plane that was diverted to Dulles, the sight of them is even more creepy than usual.

Speaking of creepy, I had another dream this morning.

The setting was a park near a river. It was a bright, sunny day. Lots of people were around, and I was stretched out on a kind of lawn chair. I was talking to someone familiar, although I couldn't tell you who it was. We were talking about the foot bridge that crossed the river, marveling at the ironwork, and the long cement slabs that formed a subtle arching stairway across the water.

In the background, I heard noises, like fireworks. I turned toward the river, and saw a small boat with a cannon on its deck, cruising down the center of the water. It was firing. People started running. For some reason I stayed in my place, until I felt a splash. Now, the boat was too close for comfort.

I heard another shot, and looked up to see two cannon balls arcing through the air. It was like standing in center field and seeing two softballs hit high and deep. I recoginized the trajectory, then I realized they were coming right at me. I started to run, but I wasn't quite sure where the second one would hit - I might run right into its path. The balls were dropping from the sky now, completing their arc, closing on me. That's when I woke up.


The Attorney General talked tonight about trusting the maturity and the wisdom of the American People to handle the latest alert of a credible threat... Or, did he say intelligence... I thought about how the news people insist on "dumbing-down" the news.

They talk about cutaneous anthrax, but they usually insert the phrase "skin anthrax" immediately afterward. At least they use the term. They can't seem to bring themselves to say "pulmonary anthrax" - they don't even say "lung anthrax." They say "the inhaled form of anthrax" or "inhaled anthrax" or more laughable, "inhalational anthrax." I don't even think "inhalational" is a word. Then, there's the thing about "bacteria" - it's the plural form of the word "bacterium." Many of the newscasters are getting it wrong, using "is" where they should be using "are," etc.

I'm reminded of how a friend of mine said "no one ever went broke underestimating their audience." It's a very true-sounding statement. Somehow, I think we're still worthy of more than the least common denominator.

[ link | e-me ]
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