Monday, November 13, 2006

Farewell to Blogger

My first post on this blog was on 5/21, so this is almost my 6-month anniversary.  I am making the jump to WordPress due to my troubles with Blogger Beta.  There are also some cool features I can do on the new website - WordPress is much more customizable.

As I say farewell to Blogger, I will take the opportunity to reflect on my experience in blogging.  It has become a quite substantial part of my life and I have "met" quite a few very interesting people. Aside from the obsession I have had to fight, the experience has been wonderful.

This is my 119th Post.  Most of my posts have been, um, an outlet for my sillier side.  I am glad everyone has enjoyed my humor - or at least you all have been quite polite.  Here is a rundown of my oddities so far:

  • 22 posts have been about animals
  • 4 posts about beer
  • 3 posts on random questions (hah, that makes 4)
  • 5 posts on monkeys
  • 4 on Pluto's demotion
  • 4 on Stupid people
  • Many posts (at least 10) on conspiracy theories I have regarding dogs, cows, and monkeys.  I anticipate more on my new blog.
  • 38 posts are labeled as "personal musings."  Some of these are serious, others are not.
  • 15 posts are medically oriented.
  • I have posted twice on grand rounds, twice on pediatric grand rounds, and once on Cathy's Friday blast.
  • I did 2 posts on small towns - it took a lot of research, so I am not sure I will revisit that one.
  • 11 posts were about family
  • 5 posts were about my trip to Mississippi

My first comment was by The Laundress - thanks for your faithfulness!  My most commented on post was "All Ears", which got 11 comments.  My most commented on silly post was "The Cow Conspiracy Unravels."  My most popular post was undoubtedly "Random Questions," since it brought a substantial percent of my entire hits (maybe 20%).  Shout out if you came to this sight via the "Random Questions" route.  I always wondered if some folks drawn via that route became regular visitors.

My blog traffic really took off when I got a shout from Moof.  Thanks Moof! 

My personal favorite posts are:

I have had 5527 visitors as of today, and I am a slimy mollusc (and proud of it).

OK, that is enough for now.  Thanks again for putting up with me.  I'll see you on WordPress!


Rob (Random Questions)


Please, please, please re-direct any links to my new blog at So far only 4 have done so.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scandinavian shenanigans

Minnesotans should be worried (Laundress, you can be worried too). There is big trouble afoot in Scandinavia. People and animals are going nuts. Now, I know that Scandinavians talk kind of funny, but they must really talk funny when they are drunk...

Drunk Norwegian Breaks Into Prison

OSLO, Norway - In a different kind of jail break, a very drunk young man surprised prison guards by breaking into their northern Norway jail. "You might say we were a bit perturbed to find this person on our turf," prison warden Geir Broen said on the state radio network NRK on Monday.

Broen said the district prison in the Arctic town of Bodoe is rebuilding its outer fence, and that the man broke through a section of temporary fencing.

The weak fence is of no help to real prisoners seeking a way out, since they are confined within the walls of the jail compound.

The Norwegian, identified only as being in his 20s, was apparently was trying to find his way home after a Friday night party.

"I don't think this guy knew where he was, and he was pretty well under the influence," Broen said on the radio.

When police came to pick up the man to take him home, he told them he thought he was in Moerkved, a neighborhood about 6 miles east of the prison.

"I guess you could say this was notable day in the history of the Bodoe Jail," Broen said. "But I hope we don't have many similar incidents in the future."

I wonder if this man has a fence with barbed wire around his house. That would make it easy to confuse with a prison. Please note that this guy was 6 miles off. Was someone playing a trick on him, letting him off in Bodoe rather than Moerkved. I have always told my patients: Don't get your Bodoe confused with your Moerkved. It will really get you in trouble.

But it is not just the 20-somethings that are getting drunk. Wild animals are getting in on the act:

Drunken elk terrorizes Swedish schoolchildren

A drunken elk is terrorizing children at a school in southern Sweden.

"That could be the problem. We could be dealing with a boozy elk," Jan Caiman, a police officer in Molndal, told the national news agency TT.

The elk was probably eating fermented apples in a garden and had become inebriated, Caiman said.

Elk can weigh as much as 500 kilos (1,100 lb) and personnel at the school described the erratic male as "completely mad".

"The children are really scared," the receptionist at the school near Molndal in southern Sweden told the Gothenburg Post.

Caiman said police had contacted hunters and that if the elk did not calm down, it could be shot.

Talk about a party crasher. This elk, probably hanging out at the local Elk's Club, gets smashed and starts picking on kids. Perhaps he was looking for a designated driver and just got confused. Perhaps he was looking for a zoo to break into.

Certainly this teaches me a lesson about leaving fermented apples in my back yard. I was wondering why the squirrels were acting so odd. So were my kids, now that I come to think of it...

The final chaos is caused by a mutant pig:

Swedish woman pursued by wild boar

NYKOPING, Sweden, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A Swedish

woman looking for her cat found a wild boar instead, or it found her.

Sara Andren of Nykoping, southwest of Stockholm, told The Local the boar was "big and disgusting" and sounded "like a cross between a pig and a wolf."

Andren said the boar appeared as she searched some bushes. Since she was not sure of how to react, she began running.

"I don't know how far I ran but I kept going until I was completely out of breath," she said. "When I turned around the boar had given up the chase."

Andren enlisted the help of a male friend before she resumed the search for her cat.

"He heard more grunting noises from the bushes, so there must have been at least one other boar. They don't usually travel alone," she said.

A cross between a pig and a wolf? That would be a wig, or polf. It obviously found her attractive and probably just wanted to exchange e-mail addresses. I am sure many of the women of this world have been chased by wild bores at parties. Beware. They are just wolves in pigs clothing.

Try as I may, I cannot find any dirt on Denmark. I suppose they are too busy ice skating,

making danishes, or offending all Muslims.

Extra points if you can figure out why this picture is here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Scylla and Charybdis

"So, hon...what'll it be today."

"What are your specials today?"

"We just got a shipment of personal responsibility in. It's really healthy (not one bit of trans-fat) and real satisfying. There are some folks here who religiously have this one. Oh yes, and it's free of charge."

"Sounds great. I'll...."

"Hold on there, sugar! There is a catch to this one."

"A catch?"

"Yeah. You have to eat all of it. If you don't eat it all, then you have to pay $100, and it's a big plate! Plus you have to keep coming back every week and get it again or we charge you another $100."

"$100??? How can you charge me for not eating it?"

"It's our restaurant. Can't we do what we want?"

"I guess so. What else is on the menu?"

"Well, one of the standard American favorites is individual freedom."

"Tell me about that."

"Well, baby, you get to eat as much or as little of it as you want, and the taste...oh, honey, it is sweet!"

"Sounds great! Ummm.... is there a catch?"

"You guessed it, darlin'. It's loaded with carcinogens, trans-fats, thimerosal, and synthetic estrogens. You will probably die young if you have this one."

"Hmmm...I guess I don't feel hungry."

There is a war going on between personal responsibility and individual freedom. This is nothing new - anyone who has raised teenagers can tell you that - but the venue it is taking is new. The raging battle has reached into the doctor's office.

A recent set of editorials in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses a plan put forth to improve the health of Medicaid recipients. The first article by Robert Steinbrook, M. D. outlines the nature of the plan:

The redesign of the West Virginia Medicaid program has recently become a leading but controversial example of efforts to reward personal responsibility. West Virginia has a population of 1.8 million; as compared with the United States, it has a higher percentage of residents with Medicaid coverage and near-poor or poor incomes (see graphs). In May 2006, the federal government approved the state's plan to provide reduced basic benefits to most healthy children and adults who are eligible for Medicaid because of low income while allowing them to qualify for enhanced benefits by signing and adhering to a "Medicaid Member Agreement." The enhanced benefits include all mandatory services as well as additional age-appropriate services that focus on wellness. Examples include diabetes care beyond basic inpatient and outpatient services, cardiac rehabilitation, tobacco-cessation programs, education in nutrition, and chemical-dependency and mental health services. Under the basic plan, prescriptions are limited to four per month; under the enhanced plan, there is no monthly limit. According to Nancy Atkins, the commissioner of the Bureau for Medical Services in the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the goals of the redesign are to streamline administration; tailor benefits to specific groups; coordinate care, especially for members with chronic conditions; and "provide members with the opportunity and incentive to maintain and improve their health."

To remain in the enhanced plan, members must keep their medical appointments, receive screenings, take their medications, and follow health improvement plans; West Virginia will monitor "successful compliance with these four responsibilities."3 Members whose benefits are to be reduced because they have not met these criteria will receive advance notice and have the right to appeal. Those who meet their health goals will receive "credits" that will be placed in a "Healthy Rewards Account" to be used for purchasing services that are not covered by the Medicaid plan. Although details about how these accounts will work and what services will be eligible for purchase are forthcoming, the services might include fitness-club memberships for adults or vouchers for healthful foods for children. In July 2006, transition to the new plan began in three West Virginia counties; the program will eventually include about 160,000 people — or about half the state's Medicaid beneficiaries. Beneficiaries who are 65 years of age or older or who have disabilities will retain their current level of coverage, as will some others, such as children in foster care. (NEJM 355:8 pg 754)

The plan seems sound: give patients motivation to change by enhancing their benefits if they do achieve certain goals that will lead to improved health. But there is a problem with this:

There are many reasons why patients might not comply with medical recommendations. These include poor physician–patient communication; side effects of medication; advice that is impractical to follow for reasons that include job responsibilities and difficulties with transportation or child care, psychiatric illness, cost, the complexity of the recommendations, or the language in which they are communicated; and cultural barriers.5 Patients who may benefit from additional services, such as diabetes care, education in nutrition, or chemical-dependency and mental health services, include many who might have difficulty with compliance, thus increasing the likelihood that they will not be eligible for these services under the West Virginia program. Moreover, as compared with elderly Medicaid beneficiaries and those with disabilities, healthy children and adults are inexpensive to cover. Any savings for these groups could be offset by the costs of administering the changes in Medicaid or by increased costs for mandatory services for patients who remain in the basic plan.

In a subsequent article, Gene Bishop, M.D. and Amy Brodkey, M.D. underline the difficulties more succinctly:

Mary Jones is your 53-year-old patient with diabetes and obesity. These conditions developed after she began to take an atypical antipsychotic drug for schizophrenia. Jones signed a treatment contract stating that she will keep all her medical appointments, attend diabetes education classes, and lose weight. She attended one class but became paranoid and left halfway through it, and she has gained 5 lb. You gave her educational materials to read, but you have discovered that she doesn't understand them. She has just missed her second consecutive appointment with you; last time, she didn't have bus fare. Neither her glycated hemoglobin nor her blood lipids are at target levels. You are now legally obligated to report this information to your state Medicaid agency, and Jones may lose her mental health benefits and some of her prescription coverage as a result. (NEJM 355:8 Pg. 756)

They go on to raise what is, to me, the crucial problems:

The plan makes explicit the belief that persons must behave according to set norms in order to deserve health care and health insurance. What physician has not sighed in frustration over the patient who continues to smoke after angioplasty? Yet while promoting healthful behaviors, we continue to offer care. The West Virginia plan risks the application of an actuarial value to every behavior. Is riding a bicycle to work good for your health because of exercise or bad for your health because of the risk of accidents? Is it irresponsible to refuse to take a medication if it makes you ill and you cannot reach your physician to ask for advice?

The plan asks physicians to violate all three fundamental principles enumerated in the Physician Charter on Medical Professionalism: the primacy of patient welfare, the principle of patient autonomy, and the principle of social justice.5 It raises potential conflicts by placing physicians in a reporting situation in which the public health is not at issue, possibly asking them to harm their patients or their relationships with patients. As physicians become agents of the state, poor patients' distrust of the medical system can only increase. Although the plan's member agreement mentions the patient's right "to decide things about my health care and the health care of my children," it does not recognize that noncompliance can be an expression of disagreement with the physician. The plan promotes discrimination not only on the basis of socioeconomic status, but also on the basis of diagnosis: surely, people with mental illnesses who have trouble managing activities of daily living such as keeping appointments will be discriminated against under a plan that rescinds their mental health benefits because of such lapses.

So here we are stuck between Scylla and Charybdis, either being sucked down by the self-indulgent waste of individual freedom or eaten by the dragon of legislated personal responsibility.

This is a problem basic to this country. The conflict is always between the individual freedom (championed by the libertarian) and governmental control (championed by the socialist). Clearly there are pitfalls in both, but where should we end up?

So, Sugar, what'll you have?

Monday, November 06, 2006

3 More Posts on this Site

Please turn your links/bloglines to Time is running out! Call now and you will get a set of Ginsu knives!!

A Hideous Tail

OK, since my last post was so serious, I will ease up a little. OK, a lot. I want to discuss the serious issue of Wedgies.

From the Wikipedia:

Wedgie - The wedgie is a joke maneuver or prank performed to humiliate someone. It is inflicted when an individual, or group of individuals, grab the underwear of the victim from behind and pull up, causing the underwear to wedge between the buttocks. A wedgie could also mean when a person's undergarments get folded up and 'ride up' between the buttocks, causing discomfort and annoyance. Can be caused by bad posture, awkward sitting or tight underpants such as thongs.

I was not aware, but there is a lot to know about wedgies. The history of the wedgie from The Wedgie Page is as follows:

Wedgies are a part of the anals of our history. Its a male domination and coming of age ritual. They date back to the Egyptians and have been represented in cave paintings, hieroglyphics and Aztec frescos. Philip of Macedon encouraged his son after a cruel wedgie at school--that boy grew up to be Alexander the Great. They say Michelangelo gave pope Paul the 3rd a wedgie. Also, Henry Duke of Richmond gave one to Richard III during the 1485 battle of Bosworth Field. Upon the arrest of Alven "Creepy"Karpis in 1936, J Edgar Hoover hiked Karpis' boxers up to the nape of his neck. Among Presidents, Nixon, Bush and both Roosevelts got wedgies in their youth while Jackson, Lincoln, LBJ and Clinton gave them. Among baseball greats Ty Cobb and Pete Rose were notorious givers of Wedgies.

An ancient Persian wedgie joke c.350 BC goes something like this: A man comes back from the marketplace with 2 black eyes. His wife asks what happened. He says "It was crowded and a fat lady on line in front of me had part of her robe in her buttcrack. To be polite I tryed to pluck it out. Then she hit me." The wife asks how did he get the 2nd blackeye. The man says "Since she was upset I then tryed to put it back the way she had it." This joke was documented authentic over the years by such luminaries as Bosworth and Samuel Peeyps. Clearly the noble wedgie is part of our history and humanity.

Wow. I never knew that Abraham Lincoln was a giver of wedgies! Being so tall, he would have given quite effective ones.

The website goes on to describe the different types of wedgies:

The Classic--we all experienced it

The boy getting it: Shame. Disgrace. Anger. The boy giving it: Wrist action. Speed. Grace. My tormentor from grade 5 - 9 was a fat bully named Raymond Chavez. The worst part about it (unless a girl was there) was never the laughter. It was explaining the skid marks to my mom

Hanging wedgie
Only once I got this. I drank to much beer at a carnival and my friends put me on a chain link fence in the parking lot by my elastic. I woke up and dug my heels in the fence so it wasn't? that bad. I puked on my friends head so I got even
Accidental wedgie
Getting out of a car to fast with the seatbelt the wrong way, clipping suspenders to the wrong layer, or running from a tornado and getting caught on the screen door handle--its all the same
Locker Room Wedgie

Associated with supplementary humiliation-like in Breakfast Club when Charley Sheen admitted taping a boys cheeks together after a wedgie. The best part of the movie is when he felt so bad about it afterworld he cried.

Power Wedgie

Same as above but with the Wedgie Master using 2 hands. Usually accompanied by wet towel snaps to the visibly remaining part of the buttocks.

Fudgie Wedgie

Self explanatory. Any wedgie with an abundance of brown pulpy matter as a result (and not just a regular dry skidmark).

Centrifugal Wedgie

The worst of all. I got this one at age 9. I was staying at my grandfathers house in Texas.He caught me in the barn doing something bad. He hiked my underwear up then stuck his arms out stiff. He twirled

me around and around in a circle in front of him till my feet came off the floor-I spun around by the centrifugal force. After 7 or 8 times around he let me go- I flew across the barn an landed face first in dog doo. Centrifugal wedgie was also Popularized by

Dilbert who calls it a twirling wedgie. The way things turn out today my grandfather is in a wheelchair and I take care of him.

He forgot what we called the snuggie. A snuggie is a wedgie given in the front, not the back. There is nothing much snug about it.

I have a little brother who was 10 years younger me. We went to the Adirondacks in upstate New York one summer and climbed the highest mountain in the state, Mt. Marcy. He was about 8 years old at the time. When on the summit, we gave him a wedgie and proclaimed that on this day he got the highest wedgie in New York State. Some weeks later we presented him with a certificate proclaiming that on this day he did receive the highest wedgie in New York - a certificate that I found in his possession 10 years later. I am sure he treasures it.

While giving my brother a wedgie did nothing to harm my relationship with him, here is an interesting article about the possible negative consequences of giving a wedgie.

Montana principal returns after 'wedgie'

Tue Oct 24, 7:59 PM ET

The principal of Park High School returned to school Tuesday after a six-day suspension for giving a student a "wedgie." The Livingston School District Board held a special meeting Monday and approved Superintendent Hannibal Anderson's recommendation that Principal Eric Messerli be allowed to return to work.

"It has been clearly recognized and stated that the behavior is inappropriate, unprofessional and unacceptable," Anderson said.

Messerli's behavior "warrants substantial disciplinary action" but was not sufficient grounds for a recommendation for termination, he said.

Messerli was suspended for two days without pay and four days with pay for grabbing a Park High senior's soccer jersey and pulling it over his head and giving the student a "wedgie" by pulling up on the waist band of his underwear. The incident happened on Oct. 5 at a junior varsity soccer game.

Messerli cried Monday as he read a statement to the board and the public.

"I've made mistakes in my life, but none have had the impact that this one has had," he said.

He said his first reaction was to resign, but he wanted to "tackle this mess" head on.

"I want to live in a world where we don't have to hide when we screw up," he said.

Public comments about Messerli, voiced by students, parents and community members, ranged from reprimand to encouragement.

"What could be better than showing how you bounce back after a mistake?" community member Brad Snow said.

"The days of a school staff person laying hands on a student are long gone," said a woman in the audience.

Park High Vice Principal Bob Stevenson and girls' soccer coach Nate Anderson, who both witnessed the Oct. 5 incident, expressed support for Messerli. They said his actions were a mistake, but they were done in an effort to joke around with the student.

"It was meant in playfulness," Anderson said.

Others, including trustee Greg Brainerd, said Messerli's trying to be on equal level with students was the problem.

He attributed the incident to "loss of

traditional authority structure," which he believes should be re-established in the school system.

Anderson said Messerli also received a letter of reprimand.

I personally think that Mr Messerli should get a Centrifugal Wedgie as his punishment for this crime. I assume he was briefed on the nature of the charges. I am sure he was the butt of a lot of jokes. They must have been all sorts of wise-cracks. They were going to send him off on a rocket to Uranus. After all this press coverage, he must really be pooped. He probably got really behind on his work. He should pursue another carear.

The End.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Many of you know I am a person of faith, specifically a Christian.  While I don't hide the fact, I am not interested in blogging as a ploy to persuade anyone to my faith.  Obviously if I believe it, I think it is true, but that is not the purpose of what I do here on this blog.  I just try to be myself in whatever shape that takes. 

Recent events, however, prompt me to comment as a person of faith. Please be aware that this post is simply a statement of my perspective and not an attempt to convince anyone one way or the other. I am delighted at the variety of backgrounds of people who come and read this blog, and want to continue in this way.  I have no intent on starting a religious debate; I just think it is important for me to share my perspective on a recent news item.

Everyone has undoubtedly heard of the situation with the prominent pastor Ted Haggard and the allegations of using a homosexual prostitute and buying crystal meth.  While these are still just allegations, the more that I read, the more it seems likely that many of them are true. 

First let me say that since he is a leader in the Evangelical church and a renowned preacher, he is held to a higher standard (which is spoken of in 1 Timothy).  Hence when he falls like this he is judged more severely.  I think this is appropriate.  When you broadcast your opinions and set yourself as an example for others, you must take great care to live by what you say.  He clearly demonstrated hypocrisy in these actions and should never have been in the positions he was in if he had these personal struggles.  He is to blame for this because he should have stayed away from the public life while he tried to make is life consistent with his beliefs.  Any criticism he receives from the public is, in my opinion, well-deserved.

Secondly, as a person I do not judge him for the struggles he has.  Everyone has areas in their lives in which they struggle to do what they know to be right.  Many of my patients struggle with drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships, obesity, and other things they know they should not be doing, yet continue to do.  He is a human like everyone else and I believe that God can forgive him still, despite the degree of his sin.  After all, David, the most prominent king of the old testament and a man who has the label "a man after God's own heart," slept with another man's wife and then murdered her husband to cover this up when she got pregnant.  Paul, the greatest writer of the New Testament, was persecuting Christians and having them put to death before he was converted.  Mr. Haggard is no worse than these men and so can be restored to right standing with God.

Finally let me say that this event displays what I believe to be the sad state of the Evangelical church in America.  The church has largely abandoned the example of Christ and has bought into the cultural obsession with success and personal fulfillment.  Jesus would not be among most of the church-going Americans, rather he would be among the poor, the outcast, the simple-minded of this world.  I think he would be quicker to befriend the accuser (the male prostitute) of Mr. Haggard than he would have Mr. Haggard himself.  The church has become a place for "good" people and not a healing place for the hurting.  The church has become a place where you have to hide your struggles and not a place where you can overcome them.  The church has become a place where the sins of others are judged, not a place of forgiveness and love.  The church has become a place for "self-help" and personal fulfillment, not a place where a community of weak people become a strong body.  I have much more hope for the persecuted Christians in China than I do the comfortable Christians in America.  Theirs is a far more solid faith than ours.

I often tell my patients: "we are all idiots in our own ways."  Like them, I struggle with my own bad tendencies and have really hurt those around me.  My hope is that this admission on my own part will let them know that I am not judging them as being worse than me.  My hope is that American Christians won't simply dismiss Mr. Haggard as a "bad man," but instead that his fall would cause us to examine what we are as a church and become the church that I believe Christ intended us to become - one in which the prostitutes and drug users are not shunned, but where they can be accepted as people and loved like Christ did while he was here.

End of Sermon


Saturday, November 04, 2006

5 Posts and Counting (Random Questions)

I have decided that I will change my blog to - (it does re-direct temporarily to, but just ignore that). I will do posts on both sites for the next 5 posts, then make the change.

Please re-direct your links to that site.

Thanks SO MUCH for your support.

Rob (Random Questions)

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).

There have been some more signs of the apocalypse. Yes, we have animals going wild - driving cars, harming people, flying at police cars, etc; but now we have people going nuts.

Indians protest as police accuse infant of robbery

Hundreds of people protested in a remote village in eastern India after police arrived to arrest a three-month-old boy for robbery, police and witnesses said on Friday.

The infant's name was subsequently dropped from a list of people accused of robbing bus passengers last week, according to Sunit Kumar, senior police officer in the town of Muzzafarpur in the poor and lawless state of Bihar.

"We will conduct an investigation to find out how this happened in the first place," Kumar told Reuters by telephone.

Villagers were angered when a police team arrived with a list of accused, including the boy.

"How could our little Praveen be named an accused?" said Shakila Devi, the child's mother.

Kumar said the boy may have been named by the complainant "with a malicious intent".

I don't think they should sell this child short. The child's last name is Devi. Is that short for "deviant" or "devil??" I am with Mr. Kumar, being quite suspicious of this child of having a "malicious intent." This child, apparently, is totally out of control - crying all the time, demanding to be fed, not even using the toilet properly. I don't think this child is mature at all, and probably would not have a second thought of robbing a bus. I have it on good authority that this bus is also known as "The Pacifier Express."

A second story also has caught my eye:

Thieves have their cake but can't eat it

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two men broke into a supermarket depot in Germany and left with just a cake, authorities said on Tuesday.

"Sometimes people just come up with crazy ideas," said Hermann Schwichtenberg, a spokesman for police in the northern town of Itzehoe. "Now we've seen everything."

Police arrested the two men, aged 29 and 41, shortly after the late

night break-in and recovered the stolen cake. A search of the men's flat uncovered no more loot.

I wonder what kind of cake it was, German chocolate? This is clearly a case of a sweet tooth gone bad. Couldn't they just steal enough money to buy the cake? Was there a baby with them? Why wasn't the baby charged? My head swims with questions.

OK, now one last interesting new criminal activity:

Judge to Rule if 'Meowing' Is Harassment

JEANNETTE, Pa. (AP) - Meow. A district judge has been asked to decide whether that word is a harmless taunt or grounds for misdemeanor harassment. Jeannette police charged a 14-year-old boy for "meowing" whenever he sees his neighbor, 78-year-old Alexandria Carasia.

The boy's family and Carasia do not get along. The boy's mother said the family got rid of their cat after Carasia complained to police that it used her flower garden as a litter box.

The boy testified Tuesday that he only meowed at the woman twice. Carasia testified, "Every time he sees me, he meows."

The boy's defense attorney, David Martin Jr., argued that the charge should be dismissed.

"This should never have been filed," Martin said. "This is not something that police should be wasting their time with or wasting the court's time."

Jeannette District Judge Joseph DeMarchis decided to wait 90 days before ruling. DeMarchis said his decision will be based on how the boy and his neighbor get along in the meantime.

This is a true sign of the degeneration of our youth. To think that a 14-year-old delinquent would Meow at an innocent 78-year-old woman just riles me up! First it is drugs, then petty theft, then vandalism, and now....Meowing?? What has the world come to??

On the other hand, maybe it is the boy's way of complementing the woman. Maybe he is saying that she is "the cat's meow." Our cat will meow when he is looking for us to pet him. Maybe this lady just needs to take the boy on her lap and scratch behind his ears. On second thought, maybe not.

So, now you have the clear picture of the impending fall of civilization as we now it. I hate to think about what will be next. Rest assured, I will be on the lookout.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cool site

Check out the Whitney music box. Really neat program - combining visual with musical.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scary Cows

My last post spoke about hairpieces and heart attacks. Well, now let's talk about hairpieces and cows. There is trouble afoot in Ohio:

State Fair Has A Cow About Bovine Hairpieces
- Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Three livestock exhibitors at last year's Ohio State Fair have been disqualified for allegedly outfitting their Holstein cows with hairpieces.

State Fair inspectors said the three glued or painted hair from another part of the animal or from another animal to create straighter backs on the cows and enhance their appearance in the show ring.

Kreg Krebs and his brother Kenneth of Fredericksburg, and Scott Long of Clayton, Mich., could be required to forfeit all winnings, said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Melanie Wilt. The winnings had been withheld by fair officials.

Wilt said state inspectors at the fair discovered the fake hair when the cows were leaving the show ring on Aug. 10.

The men have 30 days to request a hearing in which they could present their cases to an independent hearing officer

I think they are also looking into the allegations of udder implants. This is a shameful practice and preys on the insecurities of cows. The inspectors became suspicious when they saw the cows' pictures on the "before and after" pictures for the Hair Club for Cows (HCFC). HCFC spokesman Harry Back responded, "It is not a toupee, it is a hair weave. Why don't you folks get this right?".

Also on the subject of cows:

Chilean taxi driver combats crime with cows

A Chilean taxi driver has come up with a new way to fight assaults: make your vehicle so conspicuous that nobody would dare try to rob you.

After being robbed several times, Juan Geraldo upholstered and covered every square inch of his car's interior with black and white spotted cowhides, including the steering wheel and ceiling. He then decorated the interior with stuffed toy cows, and added a horn that moos.

The visual effect is even more impressive at night, when the black and white taxi interior is set off from floor to ceiling by a flood of neon light.

"The effect was immediate. They haven't robbed me since," said Geraldo, who said the special effects also brought in more clientele and allowed him to expand his cab fleet from one car to nine.

The 46-year-old taxi driver with 27 years of experience completes the cow theme by dressing in a cowhide jacket and hat.

"The numbers don't lie, the cow cabs attract more clients," Geraldo said. "Today almost all of our business is with repeat customers."

Geraldo said about 80 percent of his clients are women and that he gets calls from television personalities, former government officials and for children's birthday parties.

Although he has rejected an idea suggested by some to rent out the cow cabs for amorous encounters, he is trying to patent his idea and is keen on coming up with other variants.

"Some would love the idea of a zebra cab or a lion cab," said Geraldo. "It's a question of using your imagination."

OK, so making a fool out of yourself in a cab can keep criminals away. Hot news. The cow costume he was wearing and his propensity for squirting milk at his passengers has also had an effect on would-be robbers.

Let me suggest a few other options:

  • An Emu cab
  • A Tick cab (Scabies would be good too).
  • A slug cab - that would scare them off - it could leave a trail of slime.
  • A parasite cab (with Parasite Pals decorating it)


Flying Cow Leaves Two Police Cars in Flames

Talk about a wild night near Seguin. A cow came flying out of its trailer, sent DPS and police scrambling, and left two police cars going up in flames.

"It was almost hard to believe," said Detective Sergeant Maureen Watson. She has been in law enforcement for 15 years, and says she "never had a day like this. I mean the best way to characterize this it, is it's bizarre. It's really really strange."

It's strange because it started out with a truck towing cattle, and ended in fire.

Watson told News 4 WOAI, "We believe the gate of the cattle trailer came open, and the cow, for lack of a better phrase spilled out onto the Interstate. It was pretty chaotic for a while."

Several cars hit some of the cows. One cow died. DPS troopers called for backup.

That's when one officer was nearly run down by a speeding truck, carrying two illegal immigrants inside.

Seguin Police were out looking for those illegal immigrants. They parked their cars in the hot grass, burning two of them including that brand new 2006 Crown Victoria. Watson said, "Well, all of a sudden, another officer who'd arrived on the scene, alerted the sergeant that there was a fire."

Everything inside was destroyed, including tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment designed for the patrol cars.

"You start off with kind of a bizarre accident with these cows spilling onto the interstate. That leads to other accidents, that leads to a car chase, that leads to a foot chase," Watson recalls.

The two mexican immigrants, ages 21 and 23, are in custody for illegally entering the country and evading arrest. Watson says they have replacement cars for now, but hope the city council will vote to get new cars soon.

Egad! Flying cows destroying cars?? I won't be able to sleep tonight. The question for me is if this is merely an accident or if these are suicide bombers. I mean, why would the cars explode? These cows were probably packing plastic explosives in their bells. We know about the conspiracy that they have mounted to take over, so here is more evidence of the plot.

There are a couple of interesting statements in this article:

  • What does he mean by "almost hard to believe?" Does that mean that it is actually easy, but with just a little bit of oddity would push it over the edge?
  • What does this mean: "and the cow, for the lack of a better phrase?" What other phrase would be better? Bovine? Mooer? Evil conspiracy accomplice? Minion of Satan?
  • Then they say that one cow died, but they called for backup. Why call for a backup cow? I thought they were part of the problem!
  • Was the speeding truck carrying illegal immigrant cows? I did not know there was immigration policies for cows. Are they trying to sneak across the border? From Canada to Wisconsin??

So there it is. More cow info. Now you can live a rich and fulfilling life (although you will always look at this moment as the pinnacle).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wal-Mart Gets Something Right

Much has been said negatively about Wal-Mart - and much if it is deserved. They have driven out competition through aggressive marketing tactics, etc. They have pretty much put an end to the "mom and pop" store.

I also really hate that little smiley face that dances around and lowers prices.

The most recent thing they have done, however, could have real big positive effects. Effective last month, they are charging only $4 for a long list of generic prescriptions. Our local Wal-Mart has begun doing this and the response has been huge. Patients are all wanting these generic medications if possible. Other pharmacies (like Kroger) have matched these prices. Overall, the savings to patients will be great, making more drugs affordable for more people. I have done my best to try to use medications from that list when possible.

I am well aware that this is a ploy to get more people into their stores to buy other things - that is the same ploy many of the chain pharmacies use. But it is refreshing to see prices dropping rather than going up.

Generic drugs are generally overpriced. Why should a company who spent little to no money on development of a drug still charge even half of the price of the branded drug? Why? Because they can. Hopefully this move by Wal-Mart will force them to come down to a more reasonable level in their prices.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

You are what you wear

Halloween is coming. As a parent, this has caused great stress in the past. Figuring out what consumes to wear for the kids was a very time consuming task for us. My wife is very creative, and hence she wants to do a "good job" on the kids' costumes. This makes us very frantic just before Trick or Treating.

Here are some sad stories about wearing abnormal things:

Man in Chicken Suit Cries Foul Over Abuse

To Steven Turnage, it was bad enough to
dress up in a chicken suit and stand along
a city street in 105-degree heat. Having passers-by shoot bottle rockets at him has him crying foul.

"People don't take this costume seriously," said Turnage, who wears the suit to promote a fast-food restaurant. "They need to understand that there's a human

underneath that suit. It's getting to the point where this is really a dangerous situation."

One rocket nearly hit him in the eye and another burned part of his suit. Police have heard Turnage's complaints but haven't issued any citations.

"Obviously it is against city ordinance to shoot fireworks inside the city limits," police spokeswoman Amber Dillon said.

Turnage said that during the two weeks he has worn the chicken suit people have thrown smokeless tobacco cans at him and tossed frozen drinks. After a bottle rocket attack, he called police.

"It's challenging," Turnage said. "You've got to be very dedicated and have a high tolerance for heat. You almost have to have a calling from the Lord to do this type of work."

OK, I have to say I do feel for this guy. It is bad enough to be humiliated by wearing a chicken suit, but to be shot at with bottle rockets? You may see that as a message from above that maybe you should change your line of work.

He did make some interesting comments, such as: "People don't take this costume seriously."
Well, I would hope not. It is a giant chicken suit, and to take it seriously would mean that they thought he really was a giant chicken. Perhaps they did take it seriously and the bottle rockets were an attempt to protect themselves from an evil mutant chicken.

The second comment worth noting is, "You almost have to have a calling from the Lord to do this type of work." This has serious theological implications. Does God call people to wear chicken suits in 105 degree weather, or does free will allow man to do things that he probably thinks are a bad idea? I'm sure somewhere there is a Sunday school teacher saying: "If you are going to wear a chicken suit in 105 degree weather and be shot at with fireworks, be the best man in a chicken suit in 105 degree weather (partially on fire) that you can!" I don't know if that works in with my theology. I don't see this situation as a means to get to heaven, it is more a foretaste of hell.

Oh yes, and note that he had smokeless tobacco thrown at him. Guess what part of the country he is from. Yes, it is the South - Arkansas. I wonder if it was snuff.

Story #2:

Clown Is Running for Mayor of Alameda

ALAMEDA, Calif. - A real clown is running for mayor of

Alameda, and even his sister won't vote for him.

Kenneth Kahn, 41, a professional joker known as "Kenny the Clown," admits he's running a long-shot campaign for City Hall's top spot. Kahn has not previously run for an elected position and has never sat on a public board.

"People ask me, 'Do we really want to elect a clown for mayor of the city?'" he said. "I say, 'That's an excellent question.'"

Kahn's mother, Barbara, said her son doesn't have a chance, and Sylvia Kahn, a teacher, said her brother's candidacy is a "mockery of our system."

"I don't think it makes any sense, because, to me, running for mayor is not where you

start as far as community involvement goes," she said.

In November, the funnyman who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, faces incumbent Beverly Johnson and City Councilman Doug deHaan.

It would be easy to run against this guy. All you would need as a campaign slogan is: "Don't vote for that Clown!" I wonder if he has a son named Genghis.

Last, but not least:

Man Who Claims Toupee Caused Attack Sues

A man who claims he had a heart attack during a dispute over an ill- fitting hairpiece that didn't match his hair color is suing the wig shop.

Paul Lewis claims he suffered a heart attack after refusing to pay for the hairpiece that was not only the wrong size but also the wrong color. He is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

Lewis filed a counter lawsuit in Superior Court after Paula's Wig Boutique of Orange filed a small claims action seeking $1,200 in payment for the hairpiece.

Lewis claims he fell ill in December 2004 after Paula Wood, the owner of the wig shop, threatened to call police because he refused to pay, according to court records.

Lewis told the Connecticut Post that Wood sold him the hairpiece in a darkened room and he didn't realize it was the wrong color until later. He said he put a stop payment on a check he issued to the shop.

Wood said she has no idea why Lewis suffered a heart attack over the incident and added that he was so happy with the hairpiece when he left the shop that he "hugged me and thanked me."

She added that her shop is brightly lit and Lewis left with the hairpiece during the day.

This is a fascinating story. I would think that the guy in the chicken suit would be the one with the heart attack. The guy is balding and probably rotund. He got a hairpiece and it looked bad - now that's a shocker. He blames the bad-looking hairpiece for his heart attack, failing to mention the "Monster Burger" he had on the way from the shop. I guess people started shooting bottle rockets at him because they "took it seriously" and thought he was being attacked by a rodent. Now that would make a heart attack more likely.

Having a bad hairpiece is not always a curse. I looked toupees up on Wikipedia and it had pictures of William Shatner and Donald Trump. It didn't stop them, did it?

So I end this post talking about Halloween consumes. When I was five, my mother got me a Satan costume. Now, I was a hyperactive boy (looking back, I clearly would have been medicated in today's culture), but Satan?? Hmph. It did glow in the dark, though, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Some people get consumes for their pets (see below). I don't know, but it always appears to me that the animals are really humiliated by the whole thing. Maybe they should have a heart attack and sue. Maybe they should shoot bottle rockets at their masters.

Happy Halloween! (Random Questions).


At the Movies

A friend of mine recommended I get the movie Danny Deckchair. We watched it last night and I have to say that I highly recommend it. It is a very nice romantic comedy from Australia with enough silliness to make it not just a "Chick Flick."

Here are some other less-known movies that I would recommend:

  1. Mystery Men - With Ben Stiller. Very funny (and odd) movie about some non-mainstream superheroes.
  2. What's up Tiger Lilly? - by Woody Allen. This was one of his very first movies. He takes a cheesy Japanese movie and dubs it with a plot in English that has nothing to do with the original script. The main character is named "Phil Moscowitz" - a common Japanese name, and they are after the famous egg salad sandwich recipe.
  3. The Frisco Kid - with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford. This gem is about a polish Rabbi who has to cross the US during the wild west days to bring a Torah to the San Francisco Jews. He meets up with a rough cowboy (Harrison Ford - well before Star Wars) who feels obligated to help the helpless Rabbi.
  4. Galaxy Quest - with Tim Allen. You probably know this one, but it is one of my favorites. They do such a great job mocking the Sci Fi genre. I have watched this several times.
  5. The Manchurian Candidate (the original) - with Frank Sinatra and the "Brat Pack." The newer one is very good, but the original is well worth seeing even if you have seen the latter one.

Any other recommendations?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Should I Change?

I have mentioned that I was getting frustrated with Blogger Beta and set up another blog site. Now I need to know from as many people as possible if I should make the change. The benefits of changing include:
  • Getting away from the frustrations of Blogger Beta, although these have gotten some better over the past few weeks.
  • More plug-ins and widgets on WordPress that are kind of fun (like the polls).
  • The look and feel of the other site is different. I kind of like the full-screen rather than the limited width of Blogger.
The disadvantages of changing are:
  • I am just getting a regular flow of people here (Random Questions) and that will inevitably decrease when I change.
  • Blogger has improved some already.
  • Most of my readers are in Blogger as well, so profiles are more easily seen.
  • Everyone would have to change their links.
  • I may be changing just because I like to change and not because things are really that bad (I have a tendency of doing that).
So I want to know if this is a good idea, OK idea, no change, or a bad idea. Please let me know.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Questions about Random Questions

I have recently noted (in my obsession with my stats) that I have been getting a ton of people coming to my blog via a Google search for the words "Random Questions" (because of a previous post entitled "Random Questions." Now I am not really sure why you would do such a search, but it has been very curious to me that this has gone on (From the Google search of "Random Questions").

I sent an e-mail to the folks at Sitemeter, and they said that I was #1 on the Google search for "Random Questions." When I looked, I had somehow slipped to 4th.

So what I figure has happened is that the more people coming to my site via that search, the higher I go on the "Random Questions" Google search. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the ranking gives me more hits, and the hits give me a higher ranking. Being totally consumed by these stats, I figure it is a good thing to be high on the list for "Random Questions." That is why I am using the term "Random Questions" so frequently in my post. I intend on becoming a "Random Questions" tycoon, building a "Random Questions" empire based on being #1 on Google for "Random Questions." Once I have conquered the "Random Questions" market (I intend on burying the other "Random Questions" sites), I will go after other phrases (such as "Random Thoughts," "Arbitrary Questions," and "Questions that are Random"). I should be able to generate a huge revenue with the thousands of hits per day from the "Random Questions" searches along with the other non "Random Questions" searches.

I will do my best to keep in touch with my loyal readers once I become a "Random Questions" tycoon. You can tell everyone you knew me before I made my fortune on "Random Questions."

Any Questions?

Publish or Perish

In the academic world, this phrase refers to the need to be publishing articles in Journals to be able to keep one's job as a professor. Grant money often depends on a person's ability to be "productive" in their research and produce concrete results. There is even pressure to not just get "ordinary" results, but something "exciting," causing people to falsify those results to get the money and recognition they need.

To some extent, I feel that way about blogging. I have been doing this for about 6 months now and have had modest success with some regular readers. But if I now have a fear that if I don't continue to put out regular blog entries, I will lose my readers. I find myself obsessing on the numbers of my site meters, hoping to pump them up by some wonderful new post (that is even at the back of my mind on this post).

The funny thing is that I went for 44 years without ever blogging and did just fine. I did not know any of these people I now blog for and still don't know many of them. I have greatly enjoyed doing it and have to some extent become addicted to checking out others' blogs regularly (yes, Dr. A, I am thinking of joining BA). There is no real pressure for me to do this, aside from that which I put on myself. I have a need to entertain others and to be liked in the blogging realm.

I guess it is the "class clown" in me that wants to garner the attention of others. It is not necessarily a bad thing, in that my focus on the response I get out of others is the same thing that lets me be empathetic toward my patients. But it is curious to me how I start to get worried if I have not "published" recently. I would feel a great loss right now if I did not have people reading what I write. I am sure there are many of you who feel the same way.

Is it bad? Not at all. It is just amazing to me how powerful that need to maintain my readership can be. I greatly appreciate those who regularly come by this blog. Thanks for reading my goofy stuff, but also responding when I do this kind of thing. It has been quite nice to rub elbows with people I would have otherwise have not met and who are very much unlike me. The blogging world is a nice community and I am glad I am in it. I will understand if you need breaks from blogging from time to time, and promise to not hold it against you if you need to take a break.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Whatever You Say...

From Monty Python's Life of Brian:
Brian: 'Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, you don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for yourselves! You're ALL individuals!'
The Crowd (speaking in unison): 'Yes! We're all individuals!'
Brian: 'You're all different!'
The Crowd (in unison): 'Yes, we ARE all different!'
Man in crowd: 'I'm not...'
The Crowd: 'Shhh!'

I think it is important to follow instructions, but there are two stories recently that highlight the extreme of this:

Driver obeys navigation system, no matter what

An 80-year-old German motorist obediently following his navigation system ignored a motorway "closed for construction" sign and crashed his Mercedes into a pile of sand further down the road, police said Monday.

"The driver was following the orders from his navigation system and even though there was a sufficient number of warnings and barricades, he continued his journey into the construction site," a police spokeswoman told Reuters.

"His trip finally ended when he wound up crashing into a pile of sand," she added.

The driver and his wife escaped uninjured from the collision, which occurred on a motorway near Hamburg.

The funny thing here is that he went through barricades and kept on going. What did he think would happen if he did not obey?

I thought this was humorous, but then today the following article appeared:

Obedient driver follows orders, crashes car

Mon Oct 23, 8:17 AM ET

A German motorist followed the command "Turn right n

ow!" from his navigation system and crashed into a small toilet hut by the side of the road -- about 30 yards before the crossing he was meant to take.

The overly obedient 53-year-old from Freiburg drove his sport utility vehicle off the road onto into a building site, up a stairway and into the small toilet shack, police in the eastern town of Rudolstadt said Sunday.

It caused 2,000 euros ($2,500) worth of damage to the stairway, 100 euros damage to his car, and he was also fined 35 euros.

Earlier this month an 80-year-old motorist also chose to follow his navigation system and ignored a "closed for construction" sign on a Hamburg motorway. He then crashed into a pile of sand but neither he nor his passenger were injured.

Initially I thought this was the same article, but this is a much younger person. This guy actually drove up some stairs.

Here are some observations:

  1. Note the German propensity for following orders (I am German, so I can say that). We Germans like things to be orderly and so tend to like strong authority. It is only natural that this happened in Germany.
  2. I wonder if the navigation systems in Germany speak with a more commanding tone than those in the US. "Dumkopf! Turn Left! Now!!!"
  3. That's one special SUV that can go up stairs!
  4. What is a toilet shack? What is it doing along the side of the road?

Now, I have had my own problems with these navigation systems. I was in Oregon on a business trip and decided I wanted to get a car with a navigation system. All was going well, and I decided I needed to go to Wal-Mart. When I punched Wal-Mart into the Nav System, it told me the nearest one was in Las Vegas (about 900 miles away!). On the bright side, I did have very good directions to that Wal-Mart. I'm sure it had slot machines in it as well.

On the same trip, we were trying to get to Crater Lake and it gave me directions down a dirt road that had trees across it. When you turn around and try and find another route, it keeps reminding you that you are going the wrong direction. Obviously the technology needs some work.

Maybe this is why the dogs crashed their cars...

A Round by any other name is not so Grand...

Yes, it is time for Grand Rounds. Bob Coffield at Health Care Law Blog has done a bang-up job on GR with Grand Rounds 3.5: A visual Tour.

The problem for me is, between reading this and Pediatric Grand Rounds, I don't have much time to see patients. Oh well, they can wait....

On a brighter note, once more there is nothing about monkeys in Grand Rounds.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Grand Rounds, Jr.

Get out of your Tree! Pediatric Grand Rounds are now ripe and ready for your edification at The Wait And Wonder. Moreena highlights the scary parts of medicine - doctors who are clueless at times - but overall gives a very positive spin on our grand profession.

I am happy to say that there are no posts about monkeys. At least there is one area where these evil critters have not taken over.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Watch your head!

I have previously written about falling dogs as a risk we all have to face in life, but I was unaware of other things that are falling and causing significant damage.

The first story comes from Germany:

German cottage destroyed by meteor

Fri Oct 20, 10:28 AM ET

A fire that destroyed a cottage near Bonn and injured a 77-year-old man was probably caused by a meteor and witnesses saw an arc of blazing light in the sky, German police said on Friday.

Burkhard Rick, a spokesman for the police in Siegburg east of Bonn, said the fire gutted the cottage and badly burnt the man's hands and face in the incident on October 10.

"We sought assistance from Bochum observatory and they noted that at that particular moment the earth was near a field of meteoroid splinter and it could be assumed that particles had entered the atmosphere," he said.

"The particles usually don't reach the surface because they disintegrate in the atmosphere," he added. "But some can make it to the ground. We believe this was a bolide (meteoric fireball) with a size of no more than 10 mm."

OK, so I am to believe that bolides are falling on us, and that a 10mm one can burn down a whole cottage? And just what is a field of meteoroid splinter? I was not aware meteors could get splinters. Perhaps that is why they send bolides down on us, because they are angry about the splinters they get from fields. I don't know, the whole thing is a little confusing. I hope this bolide phenomenon is restricted to Germany.

I am wondering now about when my son claimed his homework was destroyed by a small meteor. I gave him 2-years of hard labor for that lame excuse. I guess maybe I was jumping to conclusions. Hmmm....

While that is somewhat disturbing, the second story hits a lot closer to home:

Toilet ice rips hole in couple's roof

Sat Oct 21, 7:57 AM ET

CHINO, Calif. - An elderly couple believe a chunk of blue ice from the holding tank of an aircraft toilet ripped a hole in their roof and destroyed a bed.

William McElroy was watching a movie with his wife, Evelyn, when the ice crashed into the house Wednesday night.

"It was a huge crash. It shook the whole building, but we thought it was a car," McElroy said. The couple went outside to investigate

but found nothing, so they returned to finish watching the movie.

They didn't discover the chunk of ice on the bed and the 2-foot-wide hole in the ceiling until Thursday morning.

"I think we had somebody extra looking over us," Evelyn McElroy said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Thursday if the offending chunk of ice is from an airplane, then it is likely the cause of a leak in a holding tank of the aircraft's bathroom.

Blue ice occurs when waste leaks from a plane's bathroom onto the outside of the plane and freezes at high altitudes. The liquid begins to thaw as the plane descends, Gregor said.

This is far more disturbing. First off, it happened in California, so we cannot write it off as a Germanic problem. WE ARE ALL AT RISK FOR THIS!!

The second obvious thing is that it is "from the holding tank of an aircraft toilet." Read between the lines: POOP AND PEA IS RAINING DOWN ON US FROM THE SKY!!! (I suppose the right term here would be hail, not rain).

The most disturbing part of this is that it was big enough to tear a 2-foot hole in the roof of the house and ended up on the bed. I have heard of bed-wetting, but this is really taking it to the extreme! It was big enough to shake the whole building!

So the situation is this: we have large chunks of human waste raining down us from the sky, capable of tearing holes in our roofs and doing who knows what else. This is a dire set of circumstances for which we should be called to alarm. Why is the FAA so casual about this? We should be finding ways to protect ourselves from these falling "poolides" (I made that word up myself!), but what should we do? If our roofs are not strong enough, then what can we do??

Let me make a final comment here about the statement of Mrs. McElroy. She felt that they had "somebody extra looking over us." I hate to say it, but it was not their face that was pointed at her.

Nothing to do with the story...I just found this humorous