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22nd-Apr-2017 03:08 pm - [sticky post] Moving Day: On To Dreamwidth.
Sword & Microscope 1

Henceforth, I can be found at warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org (Yeah, keeping the 'warriorsavant' moniker. Partly because that's me, even if haven't been a warrior lately (and questionably if a savant), and partly because too busy to think of another clever name.) For the meanwhile, will crosspost to LJ, but comments only on DW.

Why am I moving? Mostly (as we say in the vernacular) Imma follow my peeps.

Why is everyone moving? If I understand correctly, LJ is owned by a Russian company, and has been for a number of years. Last December they finally moved the last of the servers to Russia, which means they are now obligated to follow Russian censorship laws. Russia is cracking down on political blogs, but also have pretty restrictive laws on LGBTQ content, etc. Technically anyone using LJ is bound by those Russian laws. For the new TOS (terms of service), the English translation is not legally binding but the Russian one is, which means non-Russian speakers (eg me and most people I know) accepted a TOS that we cannot read, which was the last straw for many. Let me point out that it is not unreasonable for a Russian site to say that the Russian-language TOS (which is a contract) is the legally binding one. I'm in Quebec, where the French language version of a law is what is legally binding. That is, if I thought I was following the law because I read a bad English translation (even if it was the official governement translation), and the original French language version was different, well, that's my problem. Same for any country. The "World" Wide Web isn't. A site hosted in a country, even a repressive one, has to follow the laws of that country.

Would that really effect LGBTQ posting on LJ? Probably not. However people are moving because everyone on various websites are up in arms about LJ is now a tool of the evil, anti-LGBTQ Russian gov’t or something. No, I don’t support that, but (a) this is not verified, (b) I have larger reasons to detest the Russian govt (conquering part of Ukraine; fomenting armed rebellion in other parts of Ukraine; supporting Assad and Kim, the two current world chaps for massacring their own people, one of who is using chemical warfare on them), (c) if I got righteously and wrathfully indignant over everything that every website insists I should be righteously and wrathfully indignant over, I’d have to clone myself 100 times and still not have enough hours in the day. So why am I considering moving? Partly because might be true (and all the other reasons to detest the Czarist Govt), plus everyone I know on LJ seems to be moving, so I don’t want to lose my vast, dedicated cadre of followers (either of you).

See you on Dreamwidth.

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20th-Apr-2018 09:23 pm - Kids forward and back
Sword & Microscope 1
Forward: Wallstreet can actually talk now. Before he could "talk," in the sense of single words, maybe stringing 2-3 together appropriately, but sometime during the past month he began using full sentences. Medical school is just a step away.

Back: We had reason to go to the old condo. Still not sold. Grrr. Anyhow, we ended up giving the kids a bath there. (Sounds strange, but sort of made sense, however too complicated to explain.) I got all nostalgic about giving them baths there, Hedgefund especially adored taking a bath with her Papa with more bubbles than water. Partly nostalgic for the condo itself; I'd lived there for over 10 years, had many good memories (and some horrid ones), and that is where we first lived together and had our children. Partly nostalgic for when the kids were little. Yeah, I know that at 4 and 2-1/2 they are still little, but little-er.
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16th-Apr-2018 12:01 pm - Hair (mine, not the musical)
Infantry haircut
 (This post triggered by a conversation with ecospher https://ecosopher.dreamwidth.org/448762.html?nc=1&style=mine#comments) 

I never liked long hair on men. As a small boy, I had a crew cut, as we all did then. In my HS & university days, I had long-ish, rather 70's hair, but that was more a function of being too lazy to get it cut more often. Then I was in the military (active then reserve), and kept it regulation short: No. 2 clippers on top, No. 1 on the side. Once or twice I actually shaved my head, which was seriously ugly. Strong Soldiers & Marines blanched and begged me to grow back some hair when they saw that gleaming pasty white dome.  

When I got out of the military, I ran wild and let it grow... No. 3 on the top, and No. 1.5 on the side. Hey, don't laugh, that's a full 50% longer! It is not just a matter of putting a bowl over your head, some barbers know how to shape it properly with clippers and some don't. Even in the military, so barbers were better than others. Most were civilian employees, but shipboard, they were Sailors. Like many Sailors in Supply, they did certain service jobs when those needed doing, and did Deck Work or Damage Control Parties when the ship went to General Quarters (what most people call "Battle Stations"). They get a quickie course in hair cutting - military regulation only, which is basically how to properly put the bowl over your head. The best one I ever ran into had gone to civilian barber college before he'd joined the Navy. He liked cutting hair. His plan was to do one hitch in the Navy, do his military service and travel and see the world, then go back home and go into partnership with his uncle. Good planning on his part.

I had been letting it grow a little longer recently, but decided I don't like it. Back to maximum of No. 2. Turns out there is a barber on the main street at the end of my street, who truly understands how to get the most mileage out of such a limited amount of hair, using 4 different clippers: No. 2 on the top, No. 1.5 as it comes around to the sides, No. 1 on the sides, and finishing off with No. 1/2 at the very edges. Really does make a difference.

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15th-Apr-2018 05:01 pm - Retirement Dinner (no not mine)
Sword & Microscope 1
We had a retirement dinner for one of our senior colleagues, Bill Gerstein. Properly speaking, he is only retiring from the hospital/university practice, and will still be going 2-3 days/week to an outside clinic. We had a show of hands when different groups of his trainees - some themselves retired now - graduated residency: 2010's, 2000's, 1990's, 1980's, 1970's, and even 1960's. Yes, he'd been on staff for over half a century. He knew something was in the wind - his daughters and their children had come in from Toronto Canada and London UK - but didn't actually know there was going to be a testimonial dinner with dozens of people in attendance. He was (isn't) a super cutting edge practitioner, but as a human-oriented physician, decent person, and old school gentleman, he was the best. Oddly enough, he was a wiz with taking pictures on his iPhone. He had been chief at Montreal General for years, and when the McGill hospitals (except JGH) merged into the super-hospital, and he stepped down as a chief, no one did anything for him, which was sad. Partly things were too chaotic, and partly the chief of the combined institution (our current embarrassment of a division chief) never gave him the respect he deserved because he wasn't part of her clique. (I'm pretty sure she wanted to be in the popular clique in HS and wasn't, and so is trying to make herself head of the popular clique now.) He was really, really touched at the having so many people at his dinner. There is also going to be a portrait made of him, but that is still in the works. Most people don't stay in practice as long as he did, but since I have two current pre-kindergarteners to get through medical school, I'm planning on beating his record.

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8th-Apr-2018 06:18 pm - Childhood memories
Time
Memories triggered by helping Nom & the kids make cupcakes. (Which is to say, Nom making cupcakes with the kids "helping" and my watching fondly.) Some of these are from emails with my siblings too.

First memory was Mom using a flour sifter. It must have been a then-modern labor-saving gizmo, you pulled a trigger on the handle, and a sifter blade swung back and forth over the screen. She also had a Mix-master, precursor of the Cuisinart, which was big, heavy, klutzy, a pain to drag down and set up, and took up half the kitchen table. The odd part, is I remember these things, but don't actually remember her doing much baking (other than later from mixes). My older sibs insist she did bake a lot at one point, but my clearest memory was of her brownies, which she modified from a mix. During one of my deployments, she sent me some of them (and my sister sent "a salami for your boy in the army" from Katz's Deli).

Later she also got cakes at a local place called Garden Bakery (at the local shoppping area/strip mall on Union Tpke, if you care). What impressed me most was they way they'd wrap string around the box of cake. A dozen times one way, then a dozen more at right angles. Always wondered why they did that. I think bakeries always did that back then, less so now, but it seemed cool to me as a small boy. Also remember next to Garden Bakery was Hamburger Coach, a little restaurant where everyone sat around a giant U-shaped table that had a Lionel train track on it. Your plates of food came out on a train of flat cars The waitress stopped the train in front of you and took the plate off the train for you, then sent the train around back to the kitchen. I suppose the U-shaped table was actually a giant O-shape with the other part behind the wall into the kitchen. Totally fascinating to a small boy. I wonder what silly little things my kids will have fond memories of.

Green stamps. Certain stores (I think mostly supermarkets) gave you these stamps for xxxx dollars in purchases. They were actual stamps, like postage stamps. They were all the same size, but different colors for different values (eg green for 1 "green stamp", up to I-forget-what-color for 50). You pasted them into books which could be brought to a redemption center for merchandise. As a kid, pasting them into books was rather fun. I suppose “loyalty cards” and points-back credit cards are a similar idea updated. Occasionally claim I'm going to have loyalty cards using a little syringe-shaped punch for Botox injections, get 9 injections and the 10th is free. (Not serious about that, way too unprofessional, although some doctors do give a freebie after xxx injections, but without the cards.)

Bagels. I think NY bagels were different when we were growing up, less puffy and more flavorful than they are now. Montreal bagels are still like that, and I don’t like NY bagels as much any more. Don’t know if NY bagels really changed over the years, or if it’s my tastes that have changed, or memory playing tricks about "the old days." (And yeah, those danged neighborhood kids need to get off my lawn when I shake my cane at them… oops, those are my kids.)

Although it was article of faith among us growing up that mom was a great cook, in fact she mostly only did very standard fare. Only after I was with my now-ex, who was really a great cook, I understood that. Nom has developed from "can't boil water without burning it," to right decent, to heading towards gonna-be-really good. For a while I did a lot of cooking, and was decent at it. Now, Nom does almost all of it, except oddly enough, pancakes and waffles for breakfast are my domain (Nom doesn’t care for same, but Hedgefund likes them.) Made French Toast once or twice, but have lost my taste for it, and no one else in the household likes it.

Parents did a lot of entertaining when I was very little, but for most of my childhood hardly ever. My memories - or rather my impression - of them are of their not at all being sociable. Maybe it was lifetime phase-specific, or maybe they never really enjoyed it later got tired of going through the motions, or maybe society changed and middle-aged, middle-class people did less entertaining in larger groups.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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5th-Apr-2018 05:59 pm - Of coffee and holidays
Chimerae
Coffee is one of the 4 essential food groups, likely the most essential. Yesterday had lunch at home in between my office and JGH (Jewish General Hospital, where I'm teaching staff). Was going to make a cup of coffee and bring with me in a travel mug, then said to myself, “naw, I’ll just get one at the hospital.” Forgot it was Passover. I really suck at being Jewish. When got there, went into instant withdrawal. Almost decided to chew on one of the resident’s arms to see if there was any caffeine in their bone marrow. Managed not to do so, what with being highly controlled and professional... and one of the techs having a spare cup of coffee she gave me.

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2nd-Apr-2018 02:50 pm - Adorableness #32526080
Sword & Microscope 1
I was working in my study and Wallstreet came to sit in my lap. So much easier to use a laptop, not to mention make notes on paper, with a child using you as a sofa. He picked up a pen, scribbled on some scrap paper, and announced proudly, "I working." I grinned back at him, "yes, son, you and me working together."

Happy Easter and Joyeuse Passover to whichever of my Gentle Readers so celebrate.

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30th-Mar-2018 12:55 pm - Instruction manual?
Sword & Microscope 1
Had some problem with the toilets in the new office. They've both blocked twice since setting up, and that's less than 2 months. Seems my unit is at the far end of the building from the main collector pipe, and since have to run down through the concrete floor and across the ceiling of the garage, the drain pipes run almost flat. (Standard is at least a 2% slope.) Add to that that the toilets were cheap, and US EPA mandated low flow. That low flow standard is important to save the planet, because global warming and extinction of animal species is strongly connected to how much water you use to flush your toilet. (*holds up sarcasm sign*)

I therefore (at the risk of increasing global warning and making pandas extinct) had to replace them with power flush toilets. They came with instruction manuals. Really. Have no idea what said manuals say, I just verified that the toilets flushed, then filed the manual in a drawer. Still, the idea of needing a manual for a toilet is amusing. I'm not talking one of those Japanese, high-tech, heated, vent-fan equipped, illuminated, built-in bidet-and-bottom washer. (Yes, those really exist). I'm talking there is a lever and it flushes when you pull it. Still, from the sound and brisk rush of water and air when you do that, I always stand back; I'm afraid of getting sucked down the drain if I'm standing too close.

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26th-Mar-2018 01:46 pm - Chatting About Chaplains - part 2
Composite
I'm not at all religious, but back in my Army days, I often enjoyed talking to the chaplains. Neither of us are line officers ("line of command" or "line of battle", eg combat types). There are various staff corps as such is known, but medical, chaplain, and JAG are all off to one side as having having civilian equivalents. One of my prior (line) commanders referred to me and the chaplain collectively as "the healer and the holy man."

In general, they were intelligent, well-educated, articulate, with good insight into people, and being military, well-traveled with a more cosmopolitan world-view than one might expect. As a side note, the concept of the chaplaincy in US is Protestant-like (i.e. pastoral care), but in some ways Catholics fit in better to the hierarchal style, with a chaplain viewing/referring to his commander the way a priest viewed/referred to his bishop.

In order to be a military chaplain, at least in a religiously free, multi-cultural nation like the US (and I'd presume Canada also), requires the holding of two opposite concepts comfortably in mind at all times. On the one hand, they must firmly believe in their own religion; they are anointed clergy of a given confessional. On the other hand, they must support the religious needs of all the troops, regardless of what religion they practice. It's an interesting dynamic. Two conversations come to mind, both with chaplains who were Southern Baptists, usually regarded (at least by outsiders) as a narrow-minded group of Bible-thumpers. One was a senior chaplain in the National Guard of his state. He also taught at a seminary. He said lots of his best students wanted to join the military, partly to help bring the true word to all those benighted Soldiers. He would tell them point blank that unless they got over that attitude, he would not support their application. They had to accept and support whatever religious attitudes a give Soldier had. The other was the Brigade Chaplain on one of my deployments. His parishioners were worried that his pure faith might get corrupted. They weren't worried about his being in a Moslem country, it was would he be corrupted by rubbing shoulders with all those Soldiers in the US Army who mightn't be doctrinally-correct Southern Baptists. (People like his parishioners, of any religion, remind me of Mark Twain's story "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.")

I imagine the chaplainate is different in more uni-cultural militaries. In the Afghan Army, the chaplain is not necessarily ordained clergy. Any officer could be assigned those duties. Part of the duties were to lead/arrange religious services, but more were involved in what we would think of as social welfare duties. Remember that the concept of "separation of church and state" is a modern one. In the French colonial system, the colony was lead by a triumvirate. The Royal Governor was the senior of the three, but his duties were more specifically security related: military and police (such as they had then) and courts. The Intendant was mostly responsible for what we would think of as public works. Lastly the Bishop (or Arch-Bishop or Cardinal) was in charge of what we would think of as social welfare: schools and hospitals. There weren't so many Catholic schools and hospitals because Catholics wanted their own, but because Catholics were all there (legally) were, and they were formally responsible for such things. A US Army Jewish chaplain once told me that chaplains in the Israeli Army were chiefly responsible for monitoring kosher dietary laws, less importantly running services (since in Judaism any adult male - or female in Reform congregations - could preside over the services) and not at all as an official moral authority.

Does it seem odd that a military man should talk about official moral authority? Not at all in Western militaries. "Ethicists" (whatever those actually are), sometimes complain about militaries not teaching ethics. (I'm going to avoid discussing the distinction between ethics and morals right here.) I'm always tempted ask if their Ethics Schools including training in strategy and tactics. (Spoiler alert: nope!) In fact, at least Western militaries do teach ethics at every level of instruction, and it is considered incumbent upon every Soldier to consider the moral dimension. In addition, certain persons are specifically with being moral watchdogs: commanders, the senior NCO of a command, all leaders, and specifically chaplains as well.

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22nd-Mar-2018 02:54 pm - Validation
Sword & Microscope 1
My first patient of the afternoon was a little girl of 5. Her mom told Evil Secretary that she adored me; I'm the only doctor she's not scared of. I guess not being afraid to bite patients' toes works. ☺

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