Friday, September 30, 2011


Her heart, her heart’s like crazing paving, upside down and back to front.
She says ooh, it’s so hard to love when love was sure great disappointment.
--Rattlesnakes, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
The amazing Miss Tara Tyler from Tara Tyler Talks awarded me the Blog on Fire award!  I was pretty excited to get this award; I was needing a little fire for my soul this week.  Part of the tithe for this Fiery Meme is to come up with seven things (it’s always seven--this must be the blogger’s lucky number) to share.
I owe the inspiration for my response to a feisty 78 year-old patient.  Thanks to her, I’d like to dedicate this award to lexiconfusion.  That’s my word for when you totally misuse, misappropriate, and misconstrue language, often with hilarious results.
One of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride, highlights and calls out lexiconfusion in this inconceivable montage:

Here are my seven favorite examples of lexiconfusions, starting with the patient who inspired it all:
1.  “Doc, I had the air syphilis last year.  Took some antibiotics and cleared it right up.”  Chart review showed the patient had erysipelas, a skin infection caused by a type of Strep bacteria.  Syphilis is not transmitted by air.  Take a big sigh of relief, reality TV stars.
2.  Politicians offer the best lexiconfusions (remember Dan Quayle?)  There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to Bushisms.  One of W.’s best is from a speech he gave November 6, 2000 in Arkansas, in which he spoke of his critics:  “They misunderestimated me.”  I feel that way too some days.
3.  As a kid, I was a huge fan of the TV show Knight Rider, which showcased David Hasselhoff in his pre-Baywatch and burgerlust days.  I feel the need to Hassle the Hoff about this quote he gave a few years ago:  “I’ve got taste.  It's inbred in me.”

Perhaps the reason I love lexiconfusion so much is that I am a frequent victim.  I have a knack for screwing up song lyrics, which is the basis for #4 and #5.

4.  There was a time when I listened to sappy ballads.  It was Nebraska in the 80s and I had a perm, so I blame chemicals and low hanging power lines.  Me and the girls would wallflower on the bleachers during junior high dances and sing “Making Love out of Nothing At All”--but I thought the song went like this:  And I know when to pull your clothes off, and I know when to let you loose.  

The actual line is I know when to pull you closer.  Should have known my interpretation was way too racy for Air Supply--but what do you expect with a video like this?  (1:00 is the lyric in question)

5.  Manfred Mann’s Earth Band provided another lyric for me to butcher:  Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche, another roamer in the night.  I didn’t know what a douche was, and thanks to Webster’s I looked it up and was horrified to imagine why Manfred Mann was weighing in on the virtues of feminine hygiene.  Manfred and Summer’s Eve need to know that while the vagina may be the cradle of life and the center of civilization, it is definitely a self-cleaning organ.  Hail to the V, indeed.

Years later I found out that the actual lyric is revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.  Maybe Manfred should have stuck with the original Springsteen lyrics to avoid lexiconfusion, although I still don’t know what the hell a deuce is--wrapped, revved, or cut loose.  
6.  During my day job, I shape young physicians’ minds, which is as frightening to me as it probably is to you.  Especially when you say something like this to the eager little sponges:
Me:  “His blood cultures are positive.  Did you call micro lab for the orgasm?”
Resident:  “Do you mean organism?”
Me (straight faced):  “Actually, I understand the lab offers all sorts of new services.  It’s a tough economy.”
Resident (confused):  “We need to go to morning report now.”
They just don’t get my humor.
7.  Last, but certainly not least, as if you needed another reason to avoid blind dates. . .
When I was a medical student, I worked with an internist who wanted to live vicariously through me, so she set me up on blind dates with friends of her son.  One date will be etched in my amygdala for the rest of my life.
Blind date guy (let’s call him Dude) took me on a date on the Belle of Brownville, an old time paddlewheel boat reminiscent of Tom Sawyer.  So, in case you're not following:  blind date, two hour boat ride, and I can't swim.  
Dude was sweet and had big muscles, but he was a teeny bit arrogant and dumber than a box of rocks.  As blind date conversations will sometimes do, talk turned to the X-men, and a heated discussion of the best super powers began.

I expressed my love of Professor Xavier’s telepathic ability, but Dude was feeling the all powerful "survival of the fittest" vibe from Apocalypse.  I believe his words were:  "I'd want to be super-powerful, like a God."  And I said, “Yeah, might be cool to be omnipotent.”

Dude blushed.  Then cleared his throat and pinned me with a manly stare, saying:  “No way.  I never have that problem.  Not even when I’m drunk.”
There was not a second date.
I think a great Halloween costume this year would be a Freudian slip, don’t you?
Technically, this is probably a Freudian tutu.
I pass the fire on to a few wonderful bloggers:

Kelly Polark because she has two awesome blogs, one dedicated to what the celebs are reading.

Have you ever experienced lexiconfusion?
Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Bermuda Triangle: from fiction to flatulence

Can’t you see I’m easily bothered by persistence?
--Walk, Pantera
When someone mentions Bermuda, I think of two things:  shorts and a triangle of doom.  Bermuda shorts can be explained with a simple story of a WWII clothing shortage demanding business attire that was spare, but appropriate.

Nice legs.
If only the Bermuda Triangle was as simple as frugal fashion.
The Bermuda Triangle, a.k.a. The Devil’s Triangle, is an area spanning over 500,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean.  Its traditional endpoints are Bermuda; Miami, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Don’t ask the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Board of Geographic Names where it is, however.  Neither recognizes its existence. 

Loss of ships in the Triangle has been documented back to the time of Columbus, but the suggestion that the area may have an unusual predilection for carnage did not begin until the 1940s.  It wasn’t even given its name until 1964, when Vincent Gaddis coined the term “Bermuda Triangle” in the fiction magazine, Argosy.  By the 1970s, documentaries and even a bestselling novel by Charles Berlitz helped fuel the mystique.

from bermuda-triangle. org
The Coast Guard maintains that there is no greater incidence of events in the Bermuda Triangle than anywhere else in the world.  The number thrown around is about 100 disappearances in 100 years.  As more “proof” of the safety in the area, Lloyd’s of London does not charge any extra insurance fee to vessels that commonly use this waterway.  Gian J. Quasar, author of Into the Bermuda Triangle and curator of the website Bermuda-triangle-org points out that Lloyd’s does not insure small craft and the Coast Guard reports do not include missing/overdue vessels, so both are likely underestimating the true amount of losses. 
An American pilot and author, Larry Kusche, dismissed many Bermuda Triangle myths as simple folklore propagated by uncritical authors.  He claimed that virtually all of the incidents were weather related, accidents, or never even occurred within the Triangle.  Such as the case of President Aaron Burr’s daughter who was reported to be a victim but was actually on a ship going from South Carolina to New York--nowhere near the Triangle. 
So is the Bermuda Triangle just another bit of fictional fantasy?  
When investigating the Triangle, there are lists of vessels that are reported victims.  The first one that gets a lot of attention is the U.S.S. Cyclops in 1918, which was on its way to aid in the refueling of British ships during WWI.  The ship and all 306 people on board never reached their destination.  No wreckage was found, although popular belief held that the ship was sunk by a German submarine.  This has never been confirmed, not even from German records.
The SS Marine Sulphur Queen was mentioned by Gaddis in his Argosy piece as another Triangle victim.  This was a tanker carrying 15,000 tons of molten sulphur in heated tanks in 1963.  It reported in for a routine check, and then was never heard from again.  Only small debris and parts of life jackets were found.  An extensive investigation by the Coast Guard revealed that the Sulphur Queen was essentially a floating disaster area.  She was originally an oil tanker, repurposed to carry sulfur.  She also had a weak keel, and the sulfur loading would have produced a tendency to capsize, or even cause something like this:
A sister ship of the Sulphur Queen with a broken keel
The most celebrated mystery of the Bermuda Triangle is the story of Flight 19.  It was even commemorated by Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  On a beautiful day in December, 1945, five Navy Avenger torpedo bombers set out on a training mission led by Lieutenant Charles Taylor.  At some point during the flight, Taylor put out a call for help, claiming his compass was not working.  Forensic analysis of the calls shows that Taylor believed he was over the Florida Keys, but he was actually closer to the Bahamas.  Despite advice to change course, even from his students, he continued on a northeast trajectory--going out to sea.  Two more planes embarked to guide him home, but one mysteriously exploded shortly after take off.  In all, six planes were lost in the Bermuda triangle, never seen again.  Skeptics think Taylor and his students ran out of gas and plummeted into the sea.
There are several less well known disappearances, like the Star Ariel, the Star Tiger, Flight 201 or the demise of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the world.  Some of the most fascinating stories involve ship crews that disappeared--but the ship reappeared later unscathed.  
There have been countless theories proposed about what happens in the Bermuda Triangle, ranging from flatulence to fraud.  Part of the mystique of the Bermuda Triangle is that it is reported to be one of only two places on earth where supposedly a compass points to true north, rather than magnetic north.  That altered magnetism becomes the root of some of the modern explanations.
And now you know why your compass wouldn't work.  Pic from
I wasn’t a Girl Scout, so I did not understand the implications of a faulty compass.  Basically, a compass works because its needle is attracted to the Earth’s magnetism--thus, the point is drawn to magnetic north.  The actual geographic North Pole is fixed (because Santa can’t find his way out of a paper bag without his reindeer).  The variation between the true north and magnetic north can change up to twenty degrees.  Inexperienced sailors or pilots could possibly be confused in the triangle due to the changes caused by this alignment of true and magnetic north--but it’s doubtful a skilled navigator would be.  Interestingly, this theory is what the Coast Guard initially issued as the etiology of most ship losses in the Bermuda Triangle.  They later recanted the claim.
The weather seems to be a popular villain; indeed, the Gulf Stream is quite swift and turbulent in this area, which can result in vicious storms with little warning.  The area also is a hotbed of geologic activity, with frequent earthquakes that have been documented to produce freak 100-ft waves at times.  As far as the total disappearance of ships and planes with little or no debris, the underwater topography may be to blame.  Some of the deepest trenches in the ocean exist within the Triangle, including one by Puerto Rico that is 27,500 feet below sea level. 
My favorite theory has been dubbed “ocean flatulence”.  
I knew I shouldn't have had that bean burrito.  Pic from
Methane gas is created from the decay of sea organisms with bacterial assistance.  Pockets of this gas occur quite frequently in this area, and rupture of one could produce massive implosion, as well as change the density of the overlying sea.  Any ship caught in the area would immediately sink, and a plane engine could theoretically ignite.  Hitting a pocket of methane gas is what is believed to have happened to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig when it exploded in 2010.
The aftermath of hitting a methane pocket.
Another interesting theory involves “electronic fog”.  Charles Lindbergh was actually the first to describe the phenomenon in his memoirs as a strange vapor that surrounded his plane as his navigation system seemed to falter.  When he came out of it, he had traveled much further than his fuel gages reflected.  Commercial pilot Bruce Gernon coined the term in 1970 after a similar experience.  He later co-wrote a book about it with the creative title, The Fog.  Not to be confused with the 80s zombie ghost movie of the same name.
Gernon's book did not have zombie ghosts.  Although I didn't read it, so I could be wrong.
Electronic fog is where meteorology meets electromagnetism.  Gernon recalled that his navigation equipment went haywire inside the fog.  He surmised that emissions of electromagnetic energy from within the earth create transient atmospheric changes--the result of which was a thick, milky white fog.   David Pares, a meteorologist from the great state of Nebraska has researched electronic fog and the possibility that electromagnetic disturbances may produce a local time-space warp.  Indeed, Gernon described loss of time while he was within this fog.  A Russian physicist named Oleg Meshcheryakov has even recreated the phenomenon in a laboratory--although without finding the Starship Enterprise.  
The myth of the Bermuda Triangle would not be complete without aliens--this area has one of the highest rates of reported UFOs.  Many suggest that the Triangle is actually a portal to other planets, and others believe that the lost city of Atlantis resides within its boundaries.  Energy emitted from the submerged ruins of this alien society is suggested to produce a space/time rift that accounts for the disappearances.
Dr. Ray Brown, a naturopathic physician from Arizona, was on a diving expedition for submerged treasure near the Bahamas when he claimed to have found a crystal sphere within a sunken pyramid.  He had apparently become separated from his friends when he found an underwater cavern that opened into something resembling a board room with huge stone chairs.  In the center he saw a golden rod pointing to two metallic hands holding the sphere.  The following is taken from one of his interviews:
“The hands which the crystal sphere was held by had a bronze like color, the palms of the hands were golden like the rod/staff. But they were also black, like it had been burned either by fire or another kind of high energy. I was a little bit scared as I removed the sphere. If it could burn the metal, what then might it do to me? I grabbed it and nothing happened.”
Fearing confiscation by the U.S. Government, he didn’t tell his friends or anyone else about his find until he presented the sphere at a psychic conference in 1975.  Leonard Nimoy interviewed Dr. Brown and his famous crystal sphere for the TV show In Search of.

Supposedly the crystal is now kept in Sedona, Arizona by a new owner in a seawater bath and has been named The Atlantean Sphere.  Believers think it holds the key to entering the fourth dimension.
The Atlantean sphere--note the pyramid inside.  Some claim to see as many as 4 pyramids, which are said to correspond to each dimension.

I'm not convinced about Atlantis, although Leonard Nimoy and his mustache make a compelling argument.  I think I may know the subject for a future mythbusters.  For now, I think the Bermuda Triangle may still have a logical explanation.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lofty Lobster Loquacity

Things have been dark for too long.
--Don’t Change, INXS

Happy Friday to all!!  I am thrilled to say I have been given some Crustacean love by the fabulous Kathleen at Writing, Reading, and Life.  Thank you so much!  Liebster is from the German for sweetheart, but thanks to my four year old, I will always think of lobsters!  Given this week I am sort of into bizarre animal facts, I have found a few interesting things about lobsters.

1.  To distinguish a male lobster from a female, there is a set of appendages on the first segment of their body.  The appendages of females are feathery; males’ are bony. 

2.  Lobster blood is clear.

3.  Lobsters exhibit “handedness” and have a preferred claw.

4.  Klingons were modeled after lobsters.  OK, that’s totally not true, but I think a valid comparison:

Today I am also taking part in Rachael Harrie’s Platform Building Campaign Second Challenge.  For this one, we had to write a piece of flash fiction (200 words) using the words "oscitate", "synchronicity", "miasma", and "lacuna".  And don't forget "imago" in the title.  Uhm, it was difficult, but here goes:
The Librarian’s imago
Caitlin pushed her black plastic frames up her nose, frowning.
“Jackson, you are a blathering idiot behind a testosterone miasma.”
A lazy smile spread across Jackson’s lips.  “I love when you talk dirty, Cate.  I don’t know what the hell you just said, but coming from those rosebud lips, sounds like poetry.”
A hot blush hit her cheeks.  Traitorous hormones.  She forced herself to oscitate.  “Like you ever read poetry.”
“I know a few good limericks.  There was an old man from Nantucket. . .”
His smile got wider.  “Apparently you know that one.”
“Why are you here, Jackson?  Libraries are for people who can read.”
“Heard you were back.  Little Miss Graduate Degree, working in the stacks of a rundown backwoods library.  Here to educate us hicks?” 
“It’s none of your business why I’m back.”
“I think you missed me.  I used to be your favorite low entertainment.”
“There’s a lacuna in my memory about that.”
Jackson leaned over the circulation desk until she could smell the clean spice of his aftershave.  “I don’t believe anything happens without meaning.  You and I, we’re together for a reason.  That’s called synchronicity.”
“Where’d you learn that word?”
The Police.  1984 World Tour.”

Happy Friday, everybody!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seven Things I Googled and what does it mean about me?

And when it rains, you're shining down for me.
--I Just Can't Get Enough, Depeche Mode

The lovely Raelyn Barclay has given me an award.  The Versatile Blogger comes with a few rules.  One is to thank the giver with virtual chocolate and praise.  The next is to pass it on from anywhere from 5 to 15 other bloggers depending on what meme lore you follow.  Last, but not least, is to share seven things about yourself with others.

I wanted to give you seven things about me, alas, I fear I spent my wad last time.  I guess I’ll just have to dig deeper, give you all a look into my twisted psyche.
You may want to stop reading now.  And this is NSFW.

In the course of writing, I do a lot of oddball research, especially for the blog.  People always say that you can tell a lot about a person by what they read--so I wonder if it’s the same about what they Google?  Does Stephen King actually spend sleepless nights surfing for cat videos on YouTube?   Does Nicholas Sparks relish Norwegian death metal on iTunes?  

I'll let you be the judge:  here are seven things I Googled and what do they mean about me?

“badger, badger, badger, mushroom, mushroom”  
This lovely little ditty is something psychotic thought up by cartoonists on acid.  I thank Jennifer Armentrout for bringing it back to the forefront of my conscious mind.

“loud insect penis”
I am obsessed with The Bloggess.  If you do not follow this woman and love irreverent humor and occasional insanity about big metal chickens, you should check her out--not at work, though.  Or in front of children.  Anyway, she had this post about the record for the loudest noise made by an animal.  And not to spoil it, but it’s an insect.  That sings with its penis.  And that led me to:
“the world’s most terrifying penises,"  which actually is an 8 part series by Dave Littler  which coincidentally led me back to The Bloggess for this very disturbing video on leopard slugs mating.  And so the circle is completed.
“do fish have vaginas”
They do.  They’re called cloacae.  Most fish do not have penises, interestingly enough.  So merfolk will have to get creative.  Or take a cue from leopard slugs and use their heads.
“Monte Python sperm is sacred”   I was looking for the lyrics of this song.  Kind of amusing how it came out, like a fan club gone very wrong.

The Monte Python Fan Club.  Get a blue dress and something extra!
“rocky mountain oysters from sheep or cow?”  Because when eating testicles, one should know what species they come from.  It’s just respect.
“medieval chastity belts”  I was doing a little anniversary shopping. Hubs and I celebrated nine years this week.

This one from looks particularly comfy.
Thanks again to Raelyn for the blog love!  And before I forget, here's your chocolate.

Here are five wonderful blogs you should check out--I'm passing on some Versatile love:

Have a beautiful day, everybody!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

All of the sudden, I found myself in love with the world.
And so there was only one thing that I could do,
was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.
--Jesus Built My Hotrod, Ministry

Fun times on the blog today!  I am participating in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest, and I must admit, picking just a few was a little difficult.  I didn’t even include any Rob Schneider or Van Damme movies.  I actually love bad movies, especially this time of year when the B horror flicks hit the airwaves.  So my list is dedicated to movies that I personally find cringe-worthy.  Warning:  snark ahead.
Roadhouse.  Patrick Swayze had great moves and even better hair.  In this flick, he tried to toughen up his romantic leading man image by playing a professional bouncer who cleans up a rowdy bar while defeating an evil small town overlord.  It’s a movie trying to be tough, but ends up cheesy as hell thanks to lines like:  “Pain don’t hurt,” “I sure ain’t gonna show you my d**k,”  and my personal favorite, “I used to f**k guys like you in prison.”  Those are screenwriting gems, I tell ya.  Still, I watch it every time it comes on CMT.  I never could get my hair to feather like that.
Howard the Duck.  I want to point out that I was 13 and sheltered when I saw this so forgive my flawed judgment for choosing to see this in the first place.  This is the tale of a duck from an alternate universe accidentally trapped on Earth where he must manage a girl band and save humanity.  It was produced by George Lucas, who clearly was having a bit of a dry spell after Return of the Jedi.  Lea Thompson has big hair and falls for a lecherous, cigar smoking water fowl.  I don’t care what planet you are from, duck/human sex is wrong.  And that's all I have to say about that.   

From Justin to Kelly.  So remember when American Idol was in its infancy and not the corporate machine it is now?  These two had dreams of stardom, and apparently some forward thinking production company wanted to be there to ruin it by casting them in this poor attempt at a beach blanket film redux.  This is a musical set in Miami and people dance with balls.  At that point I DNF’d.  Although it may have been because that Justin dude reminds me of Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons.

Point Break.  FBI agent Keanu Reeves learns to surf and tries to take down a group of gnarly bank robbers led by a Zen Patrick Swayze/Robin Hood.  The chick from Tank Girl is in it, and watching her with Keanu is a lot like watching my grandfather peel potatoes.  Maybe less exciting.  The good thing about this movie is I learned to do tequila shots from it.  Which factored strongly into me ending up naked in a closet one night.  Actually, now that I think about it, this is a damn good movie.  
Couples Retreat.  Four couples go to a resort expecting fun in the sun and instead get lessons on marriage.  Hijinks ensue.  This is one of those new movies that try to be so irreverent that they think it’s funny.  Thing is, cliched yoga instructors, unhappy marriages, and beautiful beaches just don’t make a movie.  Even Guitar Hero can’t save it.  I wanted these people to get divorced, and to be sterilized.  Not necessarily in that order.
Meet the Fockers.  I actually liked Meet the Parents.  Seeing De Niro do comedy was great, and I do love me some goofy Ben Stiller goodness.  But this one fell flat.  You see, the dude’s last name is Focker.  As in one vowel away from expletive-ville.  Hilariousness ensues.  Oh, and Barbra Streisand is a sex therapist for the elderly.  I’m laughing on the inside, really.
Shallow Hal.  I like the crass humor of the Farrelly brothers, but this one just wasn’t funny, it was cruel.  Synopsis is something like this: a pre-GOOP Gwyneth Paltrow is fat, y’all.  Like Orca fat.  Like underwear the size of a hammock fat.  And Jack Black, who is the pinnacle of the masculine ideal with his chiseled jowl and one pack abs hates fat chicks--until he’s hypnotized to only see what’s on the inside.  Then Gwyneth becomes--well, Gwyneth in his eyes.  And he’s all in love, although, golly gee, she keeps breaking chairs wherever she goes.  This movie was a series of fat jokes, and more embarrassing than the broken chair gag.  Thank God Gwyneth now just chooses to lord her superiority over educate us plebes via the internet.  Any more lessons on human goodness like this film and I might have to shove a Skinny Cow Truffle Bar stick in my eye.  Those are really good, BTW.
G.I. Jane.  Hollywood often tries to make a statement, and with this movie I’m sure there was something in mind about sexual discrimination and military politics and maybe celebrating bald being beautiful.  Demi Moore joins the Navy Seals and shaves her head.  She does impressive calisthenics and despite psychological and physical torture, triumphs over those evil oppressive menfolk.  And screams suck my d**k at Viggo Mortensen.  Because that’s what a strong, intelligent woman does when faced with misogyny.  And then they marry Ashton Kutcher.  
Basic Instinct.  I know, I know.  This was good 90s cinema.  My main issue is that there is no chemistry whatsoever between Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas.  I can guarantee no one wants to see that man’s naked behind, especially after he rocks a lesbian bar in a V-neck sweater.  And speaking of which, this movie just confirms what every red-blooded American already knew--lesbians exist only to titillate men.  And they don’t wear underwear, even after Labor Day.  Go figure the dudes who wrote this also did my number one worst movie, too.  
Under Siege.  It had Steven Seagal.  Tommy Lee Jones.  A Baywatch starlet.  But not even Gary Busey in drag could save this naval thriller from sinking.  From the minute Erika Eleniak popped topless out of a cake looking stoned on Dramamine, I knew this one was a winner. 
Showgirls.  This film makes my eyeballs bleed.  I have no idea where to begin, except to offer detox to Elizabeth Berkley--see what happens when you keep taking those caffeine pills, Jessie Spano?  This flick helped me to find valuable parallels between artistic manicures and female empowerment.  It also taught me that to get ahead, you should push people down the stairs--but only if you bond with them over eating doggy chow and discussing your mammaries first.  Then they’ll understand.  But the education aspect of this film was over when Jessie morphed into a flailing, shrieking spin cycle of OH-MY-GOD-SHE’S-GOING-TO-BREAK-HIS-PENIS in a swimming pool sex scene with Kyle Maclachlan.  I laughed so hard I nearly peed.
Have a beautiful day!  Big thanks to Alex for creating such an awesome blogfest--see his blog to keep hopping to other participants!  I leave you with a little Patrick Swayze, who I actually do love, despite harshing on his movies.