Dr. Beads

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I'm Really Bummed

I'm really bummed.

Jerry Orbach and Artie Shaw died this week.

Mr. Orbach, just 69 when he died of cancer, played the intelligent, abrasive, slightly misogynistic Lennie Briscoe on TV's "Law and Order," but he was so much more for so many years before. He had a lovely speaking voice (I think he gravelled it up for his role as Briscoe) and a very nice singing voice. (He originated the part of El Gallo in The Fantasticks, and I think he was the first Billy Flynn in the musical version of "Chicago" on Broadway.

Artie Shaw, who was reported to be on the decline before he died at 94, was a fantastic musician who couldn't take stardom. He was one of the musician/composers who defined the swing era. After retiring from music, he spent the second half of his life doing things he enjoyed, but fortunately, they were things that didn't result in much celebrity, gossip, or exposure to rabid fans. (His books are pretty good, though sometimes hard to find.) BTW, Artie Shaw was born Arthur Arshawsky.

Goodbye, guys. I'll miss you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

While We're On a Roll

Recently, I had a vivid dream about applying to (gasp) law school.

I was apprehensive about my visit to the school (for purposes of sitting in on a class and possibly having an interview). I had trouble finding my way around (there was some confusion about which classes and offices were in the new law school, and which in the old law school some blocks away).

There was also a subplot about stealing a car or some such. Not to worry. I probably had diplomatic immunity.

On my arrival at the school, I was irked to find that many of the other applicants had ingratiated themselves with the faculty, office staff, and admissions committee through previous contacts.

I was even more irked that the used-clothing sale at the law school featured bad '70s- and '80s-style acrylic knits.

And, of course, I was worried about being able to get through the admissions process and law school itself (let alone clerkships, associate positions, etc.) because my brain has turned to trivia-filled mush.

Come to think of it, the "old law school" building on the campus map looked a lot like the "old physics building" at my undergrad school. Interpretation is left as an exercise for those with absolutely nothing better to do.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A Fate Worse Than Lawyers?

A snippet from a bad dream I had a few weeks ago:

I screamed at the dream-villain,
"You didn't do due diligence! You're gonna to go jail! You're gonna get SUED!"

Monday, December 27, 2004

It's Quiet. Too Quiet.

Very few people are at work today. I saw tumbleweeds in the parking structure.

Word from Security is that bands of street urchins in Victorian dress are mugging hapless employees for pocket money and sweets.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Turn Down the Lights!

Thanks to my hair's strong red undertones, a recent home-hairdying escapade has resulted in said hair now sporting a color not normally found outside a tropical rainforest.

People seem to be trying very diligently not to look at my hair.

The worst part is that I now clash with most of my wardrobe.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm Still in Denial (numbers 2, 5, and possibly 11)

Pound's "Thirteen ways of reacting to an election" just about says it all.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Dog is Not, Repeat Not, Complaining

There's still anchovy oil on the dog. He seems not to mind.

This Christmas Thing is Getting Out of Control

My kids and I were returning home after shopping (they wanted to use bookstore gift cards right after receiving them). We saw a police car, lights ablaze, parked in front of a Christmas tree lot.

Daughter: Why is the police car there? Oh...they've pulled over a car.

Son: They've pulled over a tree.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

To Say Nothing of the Dog

Line from this morning's mad dash to get ready and out the door:

Son, could you please put some water and soap on a kitchen towel and get the anchovy oil off the dog?

Just Had to Share This

Here's a link to a wonderful interview with author Cynthia Ozick, one of the living treasures of American literature.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I Sense a Screenplay in Here Somewhere

Well, THIS Explains a Few Things.

May Your Days Be Merry In Brine!

It's the time of year for Christmas mondegreens!

Favorite line that doesn't sound completely contrived, and is politically apt these days:

Good King Wences' car backed out
On the feet of heathens

Thanks to the fine folks at Snopes.com for gathering and presenting the seasonal mondegreens.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I'd Like to Move My Laptop to the John, Please

Yes, my desk makes me sick.

Favorite quotes:
"Nobody ever cleans a desktop until they start sticking to it..."
"Office toilet seats had 49 germs per square inch...But desktops had almost 21,000 germs per square inch."

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I Think, Therefore I'm Paralyzed

It has been shown that the time required for a group to reach a decision varies (non-linearly) with the number of individuals in the group. (The proof is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Given a group comprising n individuals, possessing an average of h years of higher education, derive an equation for the time required for the group to reach a decision.

Are there any discontinuities in the function? Describe.

a.) the theoretical impossibility of getting more than 4 people with graduate degrees to agree on anything without the use of force;
b.) the social advantages of being a complete dumbass;
c.) the implications of "b" for the recent election.

Friday, December 10, 2004

And the Blog Played On (Until I Couldn't Breathe) -- dance mix

Mimi Smartypants's post today almost made me call 911. I laughed until I cried. I got up partway through the post and, laughing hysterically, got leftovers out of the fridge and put them in the microwave. Still laughing, I made the near-fatal mistake of sitting back down and reading the rest of the post. I laughed harder. Breathing became difficult. (My allergies were already trying to kill me, and it was hard to include breathing inward on my task list along with laughing hysterically and crying and coughing and choking.)

But enough about me. Hi. How are you today? Breathing well? Good. No, don't stop on my account. It's all right, really.

Ozzie and Harriet Mandias Present...

Look on Jen(s)'s blog, ye mighty, and despair!

A recent post, about using an English accent when dealing with idiots, and the psychological horrors of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," is a gem. Or gem(m).

My response (already provided to Jen(n) using actual e-mail):

I heard Steve Martin interviewed on NPR a while back. He mentioned that his (former) wife could say "f**k you" to him, and because of her English accent, it was cute. (Maybe not cute enough, since they divorced.)

As a kid, I found the Peanuts specials unutterably depressing, especially the Christmas ones. (Or do they have just one and play it year after year after year?) Keep in mind that, back in the dark ages before cable TV, there was very little primetime television directed specifically toward kids, so by Gods we watched those specials. Since the Charlie Brown specials were animated shows based on a comic strip, they were supposed to be life-affirming and cute and funny and appropriate for impressionable minds? Right? RIGHT?!? Instead, they were a celebration of untreated depression, bullying, and religious proselytizing in a parent-free world that resembled a suburban Lord of the Flies.

Jen(n) pointed out to me that the Snoopy bits are life-affirming, etc., and I mostly agree. It's just those kids! Those horrible, parentless kids!

My Friend Will Get Back to You On That. Oh, and Don't Make Her Mad.

A friend of mine is quite over-extended. In response, a mutual friend, who has brought assertiveness to a high art, has offered to be her life manager.

Any time a request for time, effort, or personal presence is made to my over-extended pal, the request will have to be directed to her life manager, who then has to say Yay or Nay. Or just let rip with a few well-chosen epithets.

I thought only celebrities and parolees could get that kind of service.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Movie Plot of Doooom

I was telling my spouse the basic story line of "Bad Seed."

Me: It's about a psychotic little girl who's a serial killer.

Son (from the next room): I'm afraid the conversation is taking a bad turn.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

If Memory Serves, I'll Have Dessert Now

I thought this was an interesting article, but now I can't remember why.

[Note from Dr. Beads: I've eliminated the link to the 12/5/04 N.Y. Times Magazine article on memory because you can't get to it any more without paying. Clicking on the link leads only to a stupid drug company ad designed to persuade lay people to demand expensive prescription drugs that they may or may not need.]

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

OK, I Admit It.

I'm a proud member of the reality-based community.

Monday, December 06, 2004

And, In Further Nightmares...

The award for most sarcastic remark in a nightmare goes to:

[setting: I'm speaking to a young military recruit who's planning to use a logical argument to get a properly fitting uniform]

"They operate only on the basis of conscience, so be sure to tell them that you have a parent's permission."

Sunday, December 05, 2004


I ran into the word "interrobang" to refer to a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point. It sounds like what you'd deliver to a suspect who's not cooperating during questioning.

"Where were you on the night of the 12th?"

"Screw you, copper [sneers, spits]!"

"Where were you on the night of the 12th [BANG]?!"

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Spend Blue! Defund Red!

Now you can direct your spending toward companies that are less evil (or even anti-evil):

Choose The Blue

Friday, December 03, 2004

Blink to Me Only With Thine Aieee!s

A recent nightmare combined a school dream and a contact lens dream. In the dream, I had to sleep in a campsite or a gym, and was worried about being unable to take out my contacts, clean them, and store them overnight.

The odd thing is that I haven't worn contact lenses in years. I have tried three kinds, with varying success, and eventually had to go back to eyeglasses. The difficulty common to all these attempts is that I don't have enough of a tear film to make contacts comfortable for more than a few hours.

Soft contacts occasionally fell out of my eyes due to dryness, which was a boatload of fun. Especially on a gravel path. In the dark.

You'd think that having a foreign body in the eye would encourage tear formation, but not in my case. I used to have to use eye drops multiple times a day, to the point that my eyes looked as if I'd taken a Jello(tm) shot right in the face.

As for camping, or gym class, well, that's another set of bad memories altogether.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

...Or Not

Perhaps I should reconsider getting more Darwin fish, since I don't want to have to buy a new car any time in the next couple of years.

Since putting a Darwin fish, a gefilte fish, and some liberal bumper stickers on my compact car a few months ago, my car was viciously keyed (scraped and scratched with a car key or similar tool) at least twice.

People have flipped me off from their (usually huge) cars. (Great way to promote your viewpoint.)

One driver nearly ran into me during a turn, and then made "you're crazy" gestures at me in her rearview. (Ah, no, ma'am, I think you're projecting.)

Someone who works in the same building as I do left an off-topic right-wing political rant on my bumper, written on a large PostIt(tm) note. (Stealing office supplies, eh?)

A man stopped the business van he was driving and buttonholed me about my religious views as I was doing errands. (Good use of company time, sir.)

It never ceases to amaze me how viciously self-satisfied people with narrow worldviews can be.

Then again, I've also gotten applause from a driver behind me at a stop light, and I've had interesting conversations with people who wanted to express their support for my views.

Maybe a few more Darwin fish would be in order after all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Time for More Darwin Fish...

We're so doomed.