Florida ... But, For Just a Peek

After Bangkok, Part IX

May 2001

Sunday, May 6, 2001

In and out of Bangkok is easy.

Looking at the map you'd not think so. Tucked by Hammond and other mapmakers into a far away corner of Southeast Asia, on paper it defies a shoulder rub with anyone that counts. But, that's not the case. From Don Muang International Airport the outward radiating lines are long and many ... and most of them unbroken by unwelcome pauses at places where most of us don't want to go ... at least not anymore. Today Saigon shines like Hong Kong ... Rangoon is not far behind ... Cambodia, too. Thanks to Raffles.

All flights west pass over "a forever wakeful little bit of chop". As do the eastbound ones, but on these ones you are already awake and thinking about landing and what you are going to do once you are in downtown Bangkok. I call it that ... "a chop" ... because it's always there ... it never moves ... it never sleeps. It sits on the shoreline, as close to Calcutta as it can getwithout ever losing its view of the sea. Eastbound or westbound ... either way you are going ... it jolts your attention. What is it? A big bit of turbulence that shakes the plane silly. It never seems to do anyone any harm ... it just roils in its own juices. Maybe it is unhappy being a part of India.

Today we are going to Zurich. We'll arrive there a little after dawn ... a couple of hours before either the bulk of the eastbound or the westbound flights are scheduled in.


Sunday, May 6, 2001

This is the icing on the cake.

Thai Airways and the carriers of most European states have daily non-stops between BKK and ... say, Zurich, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Stockholm. The icing on this particular cake is the clock. A near midnight lift-off from Bangkok yields an early AM arrival less than a dozen hours later in almost any European capital of your choosing. As late morning is when the European carriers start their daily push to North America, its cargo can see Miami in the mid-afternoon.

Like a relay ... passing the baton.

We'll be in Miami by 3PM.


Monday, May 7 right through Thursday, May 10, 2001

Very little can be recorded of these many lost hours. Whether we blame it on 11 time zones (coming west) or 13 time zones (coming east), makes little difference. The two Swiss Air flights (the first, from Bangkok to Zurich; the second, from Zurich to Miami) were magnificent. The 33 hours ... from the time that we double-locked Gore Vidal until the time we opened 2514 ... passed wonderfully.

The last few days here in South Florida seem more of a haze than anything. I'd like to chalk it up to too much travel ... .but, I am sure that age has more to do with it; though Watcharee seems to have been struck by the same thing.

It's time to get on with life.


Friday, May 11, 2001

It could be blood 'pooling' to the feet. Or, it could be shoes. The discoloration is there. But, the 'barcode' partially obscures her lower legs so it's hard to tell if Mom ... the 'shrink-wrapped dead Mom' ... Shrink-Wrapped Momis really dead, as claimed on the cover of this week's Weekly World News (May 15, 2001). It could be a hoax ... a clever ruse designed to get us check-outers to cough up another $2.79 ($3.95 CANADA) before leaving our neighborhood Publix.

Anyway, like a huge Saran-Wrapped ... somewhat knobby on the top ... drum stick there she is; yes, propped up against the left margin of my freshly purchased WWN. From staple to staple ... and beyond ... she is eye catching not because of what you see. No, it's the Lantana scripted caption that forces you to dig for the extra change at the till: GRIEVING SON SHRINK-WRAPS DEAD MOM ... & STANDS HER IN A CORNER! The cover comfortingly notes that the wrapping did not take place until after Mom had died of a heart attack.

Page 6 assures its readers that the Mom was not the victim of any crime; her death was natural and that the 'preservation' technique used by her son was humane and effective. Let's let Weekly World News reporter Vincenzo Sardi detail the handiwork:

"The devoted son decided to preserve his mother with the airtight shrink-wrap system used to protect books for shipping. In the dead of night, he carried her body to the warehouse where the equipment was kept."

"Shrink-wrap is a form of polyethylene plastic that is wrapped around an object. When heat is applied with a type of heat gun, the plastic shrinks into place, forming a taut, airtight, waterproof covering that protects the contents from the corrosive effects of nature."

"Kruger (the son), who never had visitors, found it easy to keep the mommy mummy secret."

South Florida supermarket shopping is so different from buying stuff in Bangkok. Tabloid ManiaSuch inviting last purchase distractions rarely tempt the Thai buyer to part with his or her hard earned baht at the cash register. So overwhelmed by the colors at the carousel, I kept adding titles and titles to the rotating wheel. The Globe's WHO CUT DALE EARNHARDT'S SEAT BELT piled on top of BOOZING BUSH DAUGHTER NEEDS REHAB led easily to the purchase of The National Examiner's JON-BENET BROTHER COLLAPSE and JUDGE JUDY'S BIG LIE! After that the National Enquirer's CATHERINE ZETA-JONES ATTACK ON ROSIE'S CANCER SURGERY ... or was it her own plastic surgery ... I just don't know ... one headline leads so quickly to another ... one 30-page BLOWOUT BONUS SECTION seamed seamlessly into WILD NIGHTS WITH MELISSA ETHERIDGE ... it all just made me more hungry for anything and everything from the presses of Lantana/Boca Raton.

Maybe I'll survive these few weeks without my Bangkok Post ... and Watcharee's The Bangkok Daily News.


Thursday, May 17, 2001

"May I borrow a towel to wipe up the blood?"

"What kind of meat is this?"

"Do not make me angry."

"Please forgive me, and accept this money/camera/watch as a gift."

"Do you know a place where I can hide?"

"You will never make me talk."(1)

Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht have given us a new 'worst case survival' guide. This one deals with TRAVEL. Worst Case TravelI like it, because it is fun to imagine how I would out maneuver a lava flow or survive a fall onto the subway tracks ... and, then flip to where the experts tell us how to do it ... was I so foolish as to think that I could run faster than a downhill-bent river of molten rock ... or, that those red and white lines meant something other than 'hey, this train is gonna whizz by with but inches from these candy stripes'?

Fortunately, there are only one or two really useful sections; but, once you get past those boring bits on kicking through a closet wall to escape a hotel fire or how to kill small animals with artfully propped up stones, you can see if your gut reaction would have pulled you up alive from any of these more exciting hazards of the less traveled road ... How to Navigate a Minefield ... How to Survive in a Plummeting Elevator ... or, How to Cross a Piranha-Infested River.

The chapter entitled "People Skills" ... aside from addressing the obvious need to keep your cool in a hostage situation or, how to make yourself less visible in a riot situation ... gives some perceptive (even if not actually learned) tips on How to Foil a UFO Abduction.

1. Do not panic.
The extraterrestrial biological entity (EBE) may sense your fear and act rashly.

2. Control your thoughts.
Do not think of anything violent or upsetting the EBE may have the ability to read your mind. Try to avoid mental images of abduction (boarding the saucer, anal probes); such images may encourage them to take you.

3. Resist verbally.
Firmly tell the EBE to leave you alone.

4. Resist mentally.
Picture yourself enveloped in a protective shield of white light, or in a safe place. Telepathic EBEs may get the message.

5. Resist physically.
Physical resistance should be used only as a last resort. Go for the EBE's eyes (if they have any) you will not know what its other, more sensitive areas are.


1 All these banter-bits, and more, are helpfully found in the Appendix of this latest read from the Piven-Borgenicht 'survival' team. With Spanish, French, German and Japanese (transliterated) versions should your forceful raconteur be unhappy with English.


Tomorrow's journal will glide me into the fringe world of Tim McVeigh.

How does a 19th century immigrant American's business become twisted into the fate of Tim? And, more! Why will we forever think that having our teeth cleaned somehow rewards the Justice Department? AND ... is the cover-up much bigger than we thought? Clock manufacturers ... makers of parking garage cameras ... are they tied to the 168 that died in Oklahoma?


Friday, May 18, 2001

An honored name ... right up there with Colt and John Deere and other great 19th century industrialists.

We probably dismissed the name from our minds as soon as our mouth was shut ... or, at the latest by the time we closed the door that said "Dentist". But ...

Ritter

His people made lots of things: chairs ... lights ... sinks. But, I always remember the sink. It was so horribly intimate.

But, was it really a sink?

It was more like a little bowl with a nasty hole. Yes, with its nearly invisible ... always moving ... a squirt-cum-glaze of water ... yes, like a roulette ball ... .round-and-round it went ... before sheeting itself into the drain. Cream ... off-white ... beige ... resting on a multi-hinged arm ... one tiny serrated knob to adjust the flow of water. Shooting from a thin semi-coil of chromed pipe the water mercifully washed away all sorts of foul things. Starting like the croupier's ball, the stream of water swished around just under the lip of the bowl ... losing speed and somewhat broken by its never ending tail as it passed over itself ... it, thank goodness, carried everything down the little hole. And, so happy you were that whomever had warmed the seat just before you ... well, that he hadn't been too 'dolted' by the pain; that he was able to properly spit out the blood ... or, better, he had been in the chair for just a consultation ... or, more likely, the good nurse had just minutes ago swished away the odd little smidgen of mean stuff that lingered or lodged just below the porcelain lip of this wet workhorse from the house of Ritter.

Look at this week's Newsweek ... .turn to pages 22 23. The stage is fully set. Only the cast is missing. But, the name is there.

The RITTER corporate name1 is tucked down discreetly ... knee level ... just above the mobile foot pedal array ... next to the on/off switch. The Ritter 111Yes, their Model 111 ... 'Omni-Adjustable-Horizontal-Inclined-Crucifix-Shaped-"Last-Rights-Friendly"-Dispatch-Table' ... is given coveted center spread on these two opening pages of this May 21 issue ... which is timely devoted to Evil ... and, coincidentally to the delayed execution of Tim McVeigh.

The machine ... in fact, the whole room2 ... looks spanking new. Everything is so fresh. Let's look closer. Five questions immediately pop up: (A) the viewing windows; the one on the right is curtained ... not the one on the left, (B) the clock on the right wall appears to be at knee level, (C) the Pelco television camera and its mount were designed for operation at an angle 180 degrees opposite from what the McVeigh executioners are demanding of it,3 (D) the stainless steel 'recession' on the left wall does not appear to have a purpose, (E) Choice 1 Medical Distributors, a Nashville based medical supplier with an extensive Internet presence, is unaware of the Ritter 111.4

These are the disturbing questions ... the 3,000 'missing' papers are just a ruse. Until we have the answers to A, B, C, D and E the McVeigh execution must be put on hold. To do otherwise would leave the Ritter Company in doubt ... end-users of the things from the house of Ritter would worry that something terribly wrong had happened ... that the company founded almost 130 years ago by a young immigrant to America, Frank J. Ritter, had gone bad.5


1 Though difficult to tell from the photograph, the 'type' appears to be a version of 'Abadi's MT Condensed Light' ... however, we can't rule out a proprietary hot-lead casting designed specifically for all of the 'in your face' Ritter products. But, it's highly doubtful that something special would have been put together just for this Justice Department machine.

2 "The federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Ind., where McVeigh was to die this week." Newsweek photo caption.

3 This Pelco product seems to have been designed for commercial parking garage use. Most of us are familiar with these ever-vigilant eyes.

4 A 'search' of the Choice 1 Medical Distributors database returned only: "Sorry, no items match number Ritter 111". A visual examination of the distributor's other Ritter offerings was not fruitful. Neither the Ritter 307 Power Examination Table nor the Ritter 306 Easi-Riser Power Examination Table had the handy 'crucifix' extension found on the Terre Haute destined Ritter 111. The Ritter Special Procedures Cart, though sounding hopeful, was not anything like what was shown us in the pages of Newsweek. The Ritter 3705 Mobile Treatment Cart was way off the mark.

5 An entirely different (though probably unrelated) suspicion surrounds the mysterious death of Frank in 1915. After a routine appendectomy he died. Eighteen years earlier, in 1897, his first wife, Elizabeth Fertig Ritter, died. No explanation was given for her death. A decade after Elizabeth's mysterious and unexplained death ... and just eight years before Frank's terribly 'malexplained' passing away ... Frank took a new bride: Sophia Schuknecht. History is silent as to what happened to her. If this plot was not thick enough, the Ritter Dental Manufacturing Company was renamed the Ritter-Pfaudler Corporation. In 1968 ... at the height of civil unrest in America over our military involvement in Vietnam ... the Ritter name was quietly folded into the Sybron Corporation.


Saturday, May 19, 2001

Plummeting elevators and free falling hot air balloons1 have something dangerous in common. Once set on a downward direction there is very little that the occupants of either can do to ward off death.

Fortunately, neither of these contraptions ever really falls as fast as a stone.

Theoretically, terminal velocity2 will top out at a terribly bone crushing speed. Assuming immediate arrest on a hard surface,3 this massive slowdown (from terminal velocity) will ... ... well ... ... there is just no getting around the horrible things that will happen.4

But, as I said, balloons and elevators are different from dropped stones, tumbling china cabinets and even tossed keys.

Let's turn to Piven and Borgenicht for their thoughts on what to do while traveling downward in a plummeting elevator. After that, I'll share my thoughts on how to make the best of your time while the captive of a falling balloon.

HOW TO SURVIVE IN A PLUMMETING ELEVATOR

-A- Flatten your body against the car floor.
While there is disagreement among the experts, most recommend this method. This should distribute the force of impact, rather than concentrate it on one area of your body.5 Standing may be difficult anyway. Lie in the center of the car.

-B- Cover your face and head to protect them from ceiling parts that may break loose.6

Be Aware

- Hydraulic elevators are more likely than cable elevators to fall. Lie FlatThese elevators are pushed from the bottom by a giant piston, similar to car jacks at service stations. Because the jack is subject to ground corrosion it, it can rot, which would eventually cause the car to fall. The height of hydraulic elevators is limited to about 70 feet, so a free fall would probably result in injury but not death.

- Elevators have numerous safety features. There have been very few recorded incidents involving death from plummeting elevators. In general, it is highly unlikely for a cable (also called traction) elevator to fall all the way to the bottom of the shaft. Moreover, the compressed air column in the elevator hoistway and the car buffers at the bottom of the hoistway may keep the forces of the impact survivable.

- Jumping just before the elevator hits the bottom is not a viable alternative. The chances that you will time your jump exactly right are infinitesimally small. Besides, the elevator will not remain completely intact when it hits it will likely collapse around you and crush you if you are in the middle of your jump, or even if you are still standing.

But, dropping from ten times the height of the Empire State Building is altogether quite another story:

Balloon PlummetAs the rider of a plunging balloon has no compressed column of air upon which to cushion his dissent ... as no safety brakes are built into his falling machine ... as no back-up cables are laying in ready ... as there is nothing but air between him and the fast approaching ground ... well, there is nothing ... absolutely nothing ... that he can do to arrest or even delay his death. Grim? Yes! But, one shining asterisk allows our falling balloonist an edge over the man in the elevator. He has the "last" word. Even hurling downward at breakneck speed he has the time ... thanks, of course, to the great height from which his life started to fray ... to make at least one cell phone call. Yes, while our Mr. Office Salesman in his falling Otis might have a Palm and a Motorola in each pocket, no amount of speed-dialing can ever hope to outrun that short and fast 85 foot plunge past doors to floors that won't open. While ... ah ... "splats" ... await both, Mr. Balloonist will have time for a final, albeit brief, sign off.7


1 The layman is easily tempted to 'bunch' the basket and the balloon into one thought. Though joined in flight the two have distinct aerodynamic characteristics. Should the balloon (an 'envelope' that goes up and up when inflated with hot air) become separated from the basket (the rigid thing that carries the heavy stuff) ... well, the balloon will rise quickly ... at least for a bit. However, the basket will drop to earth at an easily computed speed. It all has to do with gravity and buoyancy.

2 Top speed.

3 One with little 'give'.

4 A pillow dropped from a high place will have few complaints. A cabinet of glassware falling from the same height will be practically unusable when recovered.

5 There is a good chance that your falling elevator is falling because it is overloaded. Be aware of the 'gallant' who cries: "women and children to the floor first." As 'grans', moms and their little ones fill up the bare spaces on the linoleum our 'hero' is choosing his cushion (this is when the fat lady gets the nod).

6 Probably the only downside to being on top.

7 Sadly, what is possible ... and what one really does ... well, many times they just don't shake hands. Last January, at 13,000 feet over the Alps, I really believed that our clock was working on its last few minutes. Even though I am an atheist, I just prayed. Never gave the phone a thought. Funny!


Sunday, May 20, 2001

"EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS DEVASTATE SOUTHERN EUROPE ...
English Family's Holiday Ruined"

Good catch-up! If alive today, the editor of this long ago headline in The Daily Telegraph (London) would have given today's Miami Herald an upright ink-stained thumb of approval.

Fully above the front-page fold: two full color photographs nicely nudge the Herald's readers to shift eyes right:

"SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 6 IN ISRAEL ...
Mall Attack Triggers Violent Day: 19 Dead"1

Suicide Bomber

And, three pages later ... just above a story cautioning people with respiratory ailments to remain indoors until the local air loses its haze ... and, immediately to the left of a report on the incarceration of a Broward County builder who advertised for construction jobs even though he lacked the requisite licenses ...:

"Forced Overboard"2

Forced Overboard

The details are in two important footnotes: 1 and 2.


Staying with print journalism, Ritter 111tomorrow's WWN will add another troubling footnote to my Friday's worry over the 'one-off' Ritter 111 ... you know, the adjustable recliner that Justice commissioned for its Terre Haute facility. In an otherwise unpublished photograph, the Weekly World News allows us a different view of just where Tim McVeigh may take his last nap.3 Even though shown in an "arms-to-the-side, ready-to-wrap" position, I doubt that this is the same 'rocker' that we saw in the Newsweek spread just days ago. Though both "Ritter 111's" are equipped with four broad Velcro-type 'snuggies' (for the chest, abdomen, thigh and the feet), the arm treatment on each is strangely different. The Newsweek camera captured five narrow arm 'huggers' on each 'wing' of the crucifix. WWN's photo has just four of these circulation ticklers in place. Hovering over what may be Tim McVeigh's final finger-resting pad, one of WWN's flashguns4 caught the unembarrassed gleam of powerful metal clamps and the thick links of stainless steel chains.


1 "I saw a young man with an Arab face, a mustache, very well-dressed, neat, with a huge blue jacket and I said to my father quietly, 'Look, Dad, it's a terrorist,'" said Shiboulet Aboudo, who was walking down the street with her father. "He looked at me with a cold look in his eyes." (from page 1, carried over to page 2A)

2 "At least 86 people died when passengers were forced to jump into the sea at gunpoint after the cargo boat taking them from northern Somalia to Yemen developed engine problems." (from "News Summary", continued on page 12A)

3 Tim's nap trajectory will be in three stages: his first injection will be a non-stinging solution of sodium pentothal ... this essentially nods him off; the second injection is pavulon ... normally, a muscle relaxant but when dosed high enough it will also collapse even the lungs of a sprinter; the final 'stick' will be from a cattail size syringe of potassium chloride ... a real heart stopper. The authorities at Terre Haute are understandably mum about which pharmaceutical companies will supply the drugs ... though they do deny that 'generic' products will be used. As all three products have been on the market for many years, there appears to be no commercial advantage to be gained by ... say ... Squibb or Hoffman-La Roche jumping up and waving their hands and saying "It was me". Obviously, more subdued credit recognition (endorsements, testimonials) couldn't be denied if done in offshore markets.

4 Unfortunately, Weekly World News photographer/writer Cliff Linedecker ... .while overly busying himself with indoor lighting ... was deaf and blind to the rain of tears that was beginning to fall from a strange cloud ... a "shimmering silvery image" of David Koresh. Apparently frozen by a Lantana learned lock-step work habit, he didn't look up. While needlessly fussing over apertures and depths of field in Terre Haute's old two-story brick death house ... yes, while trying to get the f-stop just perfect ... well, right then and there, right overhead and right on to that pitched slate prison roof ... yes ... the "big old tears were just rolling down his (David Koresh) cheeks." Part-time smoke jumper Marianne Arbogast continued: "It was like he was reliving the slaughter of all those women and babies burned alive at the Mount Carmel compound outside Waco ... " Sadly for WWN readers, it was left to an artist's impression to show the disapproving apparition of Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh ... .standing hundreds of feet high in that old trademark shirt of his ... with just one open button ... looking down on the sleeping Ritter 111.


Monday, May 21, 2001

"A woman's standard of truthfulness was tacitly held to be lower: she was the subject creature, and versed in the arts of the enslaved."1

I have four daughters, one son, two granddaughters and two grandsons. Also, one girl friend who someday may be my wife. All are alive. I once had a mother and a father; both of whom are now dead. That's 7 to 3, girls leading ... and that's just counting the living.

WORST-CASE Piven and Borgenicht understandably start their book with words of caution ... 'ounces of prevention' stuff. How to ... 'escape from' ... 'navigate around' ... 'jump over' ... 'ram through' ... 'survive a' ... yes, all the good mom-advice.

But, what happens when things go horribly wrong ... not just a little wrong, like finding yourself in jail ... but really major wrong?2

HOW TO TREAT A SEVERED LIMB

-1- Locate any individual bleeding arteries on the stump.
The arteries will bleed in pulsating spurts.

-2- Pinch off the large arteries that are bleeding the most.
The brachial artery in the arm and the femoral artery in the leg carry blood into the limb, and are the major vessels you should find. Someone (the victim or another person) should continue pinching while you proceed to the next step.

-3- Apply a tourniquet.
Choose a strip of material at least an inch wide and tie it around the stump as close to the end as possible so that the tourniquet will not fall off when it is tightened. Tie the tourniquet moderately tight but do not immediately cinch it as tight as possible or you may crush and destroy viable tissue. Tighten the tourniquet just enough to stop most of the remaining bleeding. Keep pinching the arteries.

-4- Tie off the ends of any blood vessels being pinched.
Using fishing line, dental floss, or heavy thread (in that order of preference) along with a sewing needle if available to carefully tie off the arteries. Pass the line completely around the blood vessel being pinched, as far up as possible. Tighten the first knot down hard, then place several securing knots on top of the first one. You may want to tie the vessel down in two places, in case one of the stitches comes apart later.

-5- Clean the stump thoroughly.
Preventing infection is very important:
- Pick out foreign material lodged in the wound.
- Cut off crushed tissue remnants still attached to the stump. Use a sharp knife or scissors.
- Wash the wound, vigorously irrigating it with a stream of water.

-6- Optional: Cauterize remaining bleeding sites.3
Using an iron or a piece of heated metal, identify the vessels that are still oozing blood. This is simpler during irrigation, when debris and clotted blood are washed away. Dab at each vessel lightly with cloth or gauze to allow yourself to see exactly where its end appears in the wound, then apply cautery at that point. Do not worry about completely eliminating bleeding. If rapid bleeding is well controlled, oozing will be controllable once the dressings are applied.

-7- Loosen the tourniquet.
As the pressure from the tourniquet decreases, you will be able to check your ties and ensure more ties (or cautery) are not needed. If bleeding is just a moderate ooze, you have been successful and the tourniquet can be removed. To preserve tissue at the stump, do not leave the tourniquet applied for more than 90 minutes.

-8- Dress the stump.
Coat the end of the stump with any type of available antibiotic ointment (examples include bacitracin, polymyxin, and mupirocin). Then tightly cover the end of the stump with clean cloth or gauze. Elastic strapping works well to hold the dressing onto the stump end. The tighter the dressing, the less the chance of sustained bleeding.

-9- Elevate the stump end as high as possible to allow gravity to assist in slowing further bleeding.

-10- Put an ice pack over the dressing.

-11- Be prepared to apply and tighten the tourniquet again, should heavy bleeding resume.

-12- Treat pain and shock from blood loss.
Use any available pain medication to treat pain from the injury. To treat shock, give the victim animal meat or a liquid containing salt (such as chicken soup). These will help to restore plasma and hemoglobin.

HOW TO PRESERVE THE SEVERED LIMB

-1- Gently wash the severed limb with water.

-2- Wrap the limb in a moist, clean cloth.

-3- Wrap the limb again in watertight material (such as a plastic bag).

-4- Keep the limb cold.
Do not freeze the limb. Freezing will destroy the tissue. Use a cooler full of ice or a refrigerator.

-5- Get to a hospital immediately.
A limb saved in this manner can remain viable for reattachment for up to six hours.

BE AWARE

- Traumatic amputation of a limb is not necessarily a fatal injury. In order of severity, the immediate problems that you must deal with are rapid severe arterial bleeding; slower bleeding from cut veins; pain; and infection. Only severe bleeding carries an immediate, life-threatening risk, with the possibility of death in minutes.

- Submerging a severed limb in water may cause damage that could hinder its reattachment. You can, however, place it in a watertight container and then submerge that in a river or lake to keep the limb cool.


1 Langdon Archer ... probably speaking to no one in particular ... perhaps it was even just a mutter to himself (though it was said within earshot of a museum guard, at the old 'Met' ... in the Peruvian antiquities room) ... anyway, I guess his observation was all bound up with an unhappy marriage, troubled daughters and a chaste assignation. Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.

2 My second youngest daughter, Patty, is married to a doctor. Readers will probably remember him from that mercifully muted black and white photograph of his recently banged-about face. While riding his bicycle, right in his own neighborhood, he catapulted headlong onto a gravel embedded road.

Doctor Sam

Though concussed and bleeding from multiple lacerations he did not lose anything ... well, a tooth or two. Regardless, our good Doctor Sam is a specialist in internal medicine; his practice up in the Northwest Territories (logging country ... lots of rail traffic) practically guarantees that he'll see half a dozen chain saw accidents a year. He has been asked to comment on the Piven/Borgenicht 'pointers' for severed limb preservation. Sam ... what do you think ... are these guys right or are they just writing for effect?

3 The authors seem to be unnecessarily delicate here ("Using an iron or piece of heated metal ... ").


Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Corkscrews, Hot air balloons

"It seems cruel," she said, "that after a while nothing matters ... any more than these little things, that used to be necessary and important to forgotten people, and now have to be guessed at under a magnifying glass and labeled: 'Use unknown.'"1


1 Edith Wharton's Ellen Olenska, peering into a case of Cesnola antiquities and other fragments of a vanished Illium. Maybe just made glum by the setting: the old Metropolitan Museum ... "A queer wilderness of cast-iron and encaustic tiles". But, it reflects a wider significance: her own unhappy marriage and that awkward tryst with Langdon Archer. Again, from The Age of Innocence.


Up next: Paul's European Journal

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