Man’s Beast Friend

The Mag #128 — today’s exercise:

image by Zelko Nedic

Some ‘man’s best friend’ you are!
Man’s beast friend, more like —
That was my favorite pair of boots!
Ten years I’ve had them!
Now you gone and chewed one all to pieces!
It’s completely trashed — unwearable!
I can’t believe it!
You’ve never shown a taste for boots before,
Not even as a pup.
Now suddenly, you’re a booticidal maniac!
How could you?
You know those are my favorite boots.
I can’t believe you’d turn on me like that!
What came over you?
I loved those boots, man!

Don’t go all sentimental on me, pal.
Those boots have had it, I’m telling you.
The stitching at the toe was all coming loose
It was flapping when you walk, you know?
The leather was all scraped and scuffed.
The heel was coming off.
The sole was almost holed through.
Jeeze! I did you a favor, man.
Such a favor, you have no idea!
Those boots smell twice as bad
As that pair of gym shoes,
The ones you wore all the way through high school
Without washing even once.
I can smell them from clear across the room.
And taste?
Well, trust me. You don’t want to know.
Now, if you’re done with the hysterics,
I’ll just go outside now
Eat some grass
And barf.

Poem © 2012 The Owl Underground, all rights reserved.

The Status of the Quo

The ATT saga  (see here, and here, and here) occurred right in the middle of the gumboil episode that I’ve been dealing with for the past three weeks.  I had it incised and drained, and a drain put in (which managed to stay in until my dentist removed it).  I also took one and a half courses of cephalexin antibiotic, which I had to stop taking because what should have been an insignificant boo-boo caused a terrible bruise. (I cut a corner too close, bounced off a door frame, and got a huge, livid Technicolor bruise just above my elbow that was way out of proportion to the negligible force of impact.) Having been a medical transcriptionist for going on 26 years now, I have medical reference books til the world looks level, one of which informed me that easy bruising was a side effect of cephalexin that was serious enough that I should stop taking it.

When I went back to the dentist this Monday, I told him I’d stopped the cephalexin and why, and he put me on a course of clindamycin, which I have to take with food, and eat yogurt while taking it, as one of its side effects is to kill off all the good bacteria in the gut, which lets the bad bacteria get out of hand and give you diarrhea.  (Another of its side effects is to be about 4 times as expensive as cephalexin.)  I went back to the dentist on Thursday, and he took the stitches and the drain out.  I am hopefully cured — for now.  Time will tell.  But it’s so nice to be able to chew on both sides again.

On my many trips to the dentist over the past three weeks, I kept meaning to take my camera and take some pictures.   His office is at the edge of one of the “country club” housing editions.  It is an exclusive development where the only people who are allowed to buy lots and build houses are people who buy a membership in the country club.  They have an actual “club” facility which has an area where members can dine (you are billed for it later) and space that can be hired by members for social functions like dinner parties and receptions.  Some country clubs have tennis courts and a pool for the members’ use (not sure whether this one does).  And this one has a 18-hole golf course built around two artificial lakes.   This is not a gated community.  It’s right in the middle of town.  My dentist’s office is right across the street from the golf course. This time, I remembered to take my camera and after I was done with my appointment, I did nip into one of the side streets and take some photographs.

The entrance to the edition is “boulevarded” with a berm (below) between the “entrance” and “exit” streets, and a larger berm between the “exit” street and the street that feeds into the residential area.  The berms are all planted with trees and grass.  In addition to providing the residents with privacy, the berms help cut down the noise of traffic going in and out of the edition and on the very busy cross street.

I nipped around the berm above and took a few pictures.  I didn’t want to linger long and attract the ire of the residents.

This is a pretty ritzy neighborhood and members are required to keep their property and yards well maintained (most of the yards have been professionally landscaped).  No worries, though.  They can afford to hire it done.  My crepe myrtle has already bloomed out, but this lovely pink one is still in bloom, as is the red one on the left.  Many of the residents in this part of the edition are “empty nesters” who have sold their larger “family” home and bought or built smaller, more upscale homes.   While some of the houses are situated on their own lot, across the street from this house is a long row of “retirement condos” with tiny yards.

After I left the dentist, I had business at my bank, whose “symbol” is a buffalo.  As a result, sometimes their customers give them little stuffed toy buffalos or little  statuettes to display in their lobby.  At the branch I go to, somebody had given them this: It is a real one, and not exactly politically correct, but judging from its appearance, this “trophy” was probably inherited by somebody whose wife didn’t want that thing hanging up in her house.   While I was waiting for the traffic to allow me to turn out into the street toward my next stop (kitty food and litter), I happened to see this fine fellow patrolling the grassy verge next to my car.

He’s a male great tailed grackle.  They have found themselves a niche in the urban environment and exploit it to the fullest.  You see them everywhere — in yards, parks, the parking lot of my local Wal-Mart —   They’ll eat just about anything from bugs to French fries/chips.  When my neighbor’s paper mulberry trees fruit, they eat the fruit (and poop purple all over everywhere!).   The females are noticeably smaller, and have bronze colored plumage.  Both sexes have bright yellow eyes. Their calls are quite raucous — they make a ratchety noise and another noise like a squeaky iron gate. Grackles have quite long, strong legs and walk and hop about looking for goodies.  His tail feathers — breeding plumage — are rather bedraggled at this stage of the game.  He’ll lose them during his yearly molt in August, and start on a new set so he’ll be ready to strut his stuff for the ladies come spring.

On the subject of birds, there’s an immature mockingbird who’s been hanging out in my yard.  He’s fully fledged, but still sporting the speckled breast of a juvenile.  He’s rather fond of perching on the clothesline pole, but always manages to escape before I can grab the camera.   I did manage to get this short video, shot through the back door window and storm door, which came out much better than you’d expect from being shot through two layers of glass.  I apologize for the jiggly camera.  I tried to brace it, but when you’re using the extreme zoom, every little movement is magnified.  The AVS video editor I used has a “stabilizing” function that took out the worst of the jitters, but it’s still jumpy.  He didn’t stay long before he flitted off, but he left his calling cards.

Going Ballistic

If you heard a high-pitched ululating noise at about 0800 hours UTC, it was me going ballistic.

Let’s explore that term “going ballistic” — “Ballistics” is the science that deals with what happens to a projectile — bullet, artillery shell, large rock, arrow, ballistic missile, or any other handy object at rest that suddenly becomes an object in motion — between the “bang” and the “splat.”  The only control you can exert over the projectile is deciding how big to make the bang and the direction the projectile is pointing when the bang happens.  After that, Newton* rules.

The term “going ballistic” went vernacular during the cold war nuclear arms race as a result of the development (and proliferation) of the ballistic missile, which is essentially a glorified artillery shell.  The “bang” is provided by a rocket engine that has just enough fuel on board to carry the missile to the required altitude.  Course corrections in the missile’s trajectory can only be made until the rocket engine runs out of fuel.  At that point, the missile has “gone ballistic” and, unless you can shoot it down before it reaches its target, all you can do is wait for the “splat.”    When people “go ballistic” it is because some event or situation has provoked such intense anger that they lose their temper and behave in a wild and uncontrolled manner.  They “go spare,” “lose it,”  “flip out,” “freak out,” “blow a fuse” or to translate that into Southern American English, they are “madder than a wet hen.”  (Apparently, this is a common practice in India, also.)

Now, if you’ve read this post and this one, then you’ve got the back story on the situation I referred to in the first sentence of this post.  Last night at about 2 o’clock, I couldn’t get to sleep and decided I’d get my Kindle Fire out and read some Liaden stories I recently downloaded, but  the Kindle Fire could not establish a WiFi connection.  After a brief WTF? moment, and several tries, still no joy.  I tried my Squeezebox.  It could not establish a WiFi connection either.  My blood pressure went up about 15 points and I flung back the covers.  Kitties were bailing out off the bed in all directions.  I stomped across the hall to my (newly cleaned, semi-sorted out) office, sat down at my desk and tried to get a WiFi signal on my Kindle Fire —  and succeeded.  I had another WTF? moment.  Then I noticed that the signal strength reading at less than 2 feet from the brand new ATT modem was “Fair”!  I got up and walked toward the hallway.  Before I could even get to the bedroom door, my Kindle Fire dropped the signal!! Needless to say,  I was madder than a wet hen — which probably explains why it was after 4 a.m. before I was able to simmer down and go to sleep.

So, this morning bright and early, I called ATT customer service and gave them yet another piece of my mind. Would you believe the techistani suggested that I go buy a wireless router to boost my signal?! That’s when I asked to speak to his supervisor.  The upshot of that little hissy fit was that an ATT guy would be calling at my home “between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.”  So, at 2:30, while her majesty was in  the throne room attending to important matters of state, the phone rang.  Caller ID said it was the ATT guy.  I tried calling him back and got voicemail.

The white cat, who was already in my bad books for waking me up at 6:30 this morning (see above) by refunding a hairball on my bedroom carpet, was being his typical little diva self.  Any dish containing fewer than 10 kibbles is empty as far as he’s concerned.  So, just as I was about to pour the scoop of kibbles into the dish, he butts the hand that feeds him, and kibbles go everywhere.  After I finally got his imperial majesty sorted and fresh water put down, the next task was to exchange the full “used litter” container on the Litter Maid for an empty one — I’m determined to use up the 30 or so “comes with” containers I’ve accumulated over the years before I modify this Litter Maid to use 20 gallon trash bags. After I’d seen to the Litter Maid, I needed to take out trash, take a bath and wash my hair, all before 4 o’clock.

As I headed to the laundry room, I thought, ‘You watch, the ATT guy will call again when I’m right in the middle of changing out the poop containers.”  So, I grabbed my cordless phone from the living room en route.  Sure enough, just as I was wrestling the container full of kitty poop out so I could put the clean one in, the phone rang.  It was the ATT guy, it was 2:45, he was parked out front and was calling to see if I’m home!  And there was I, hot, sweaty, and bra-less (hate’em!), with a container full of kitty poop.  However, I can multitask.  I let him in and as I finished changing the Litter Maid and vacuuming up the spilled litter, I gave the ATT guy an ear full.  I aimed him at the modem, and went to wash my hands.   He futzed with it, changed the settings, and consulted his whizbangometer, and apparently there’s some kind of signal interference from other wireless networks in the area, and he cannot boost the wireless signal to reach beyond my office.  I told him that I am already paying ATT a goodly number of bucks a month, and I’m not about  to go spend $60 or $70 on a wireless router just to make their equipment work the way it’s supposed to.  I pointed out that even when the old modem was being recalcitrant about letting me onto the internet, I could still get a wireless signal from anywhere in the house.  Turns out  this new black job the guy brought out Friday is a 2Wire 120, and the old modem was a 2Wire 241.  The upshot of our little discussion was that he went out to the truck and got a new 2Wire 241 modem, switched the modems out, and his whizbangometer showed a signal strength of 75%. — problem solved.  Finally, after 4 months, 5 phone calls and two “in-home technician” visits, things seem to be back on an even keel once again (touch wood!).

So, now I’ve had my bath, washed my hair, had my supper, and after three solid days of high dudgeon, I’m exhausted.    (Oh, and did I mention that Monday, my dainty little laptop mouse that is light and fits my hand so nicely developed terminal left button failure and died and I’ve had to use the honking great standard mouse that came with the computer?)

Hopefully, this is the final installment of what has turned out to be quite a lengthy jeremiad, and we can now get back to business as usual.

*Newton’s Laws of Motion and universal gravitation.


About 5 minutes after I had stepped out of the shower and put clean clothes on, the ATT guy called to say he was on his way, and within 10 minutes, he was plonging on the doorbell.  (ATT requires them to put “crime scene” booties on over their shoes before they come into your house!)  He tested the TV box.  It tested fine.  My computers had not been turned off long enough to duplicate the problem (naturally) but I’d had that modem since I’d switched my TV service from Dishnet to ATT-Uverse about four years ago, and for a modem which is never turned off (it controls not just the internet, but my land line phone and TV, too), that’s quite a while.  It’s kind of an ‘all your eggs in one basket‘ deal; if the modem goes, everything goes.

I admit to being somewhat of a dinosaur.  I still have a land line telephone.   I do have a cell phone, but it’s one of those pre-paid deals ($1 per call plus minutes).  I sleep with it under my pillow and carry it with me when I’m out of the house so my folks can contact me if there’s an emergency. (My dad will be 90 in a month and he is in very frail health.)  But I need a cost-effective long distance service of some kind (the outfit I work for now is based in Florida, and my immediate supervisor lives in Michigan), so I have ATT’s “any distance” telephone service which, since it uses VOIP, provides unlimited long distance within the US for a flat rate.

The upshot of the ATT guy’s visit was that since I’d had the old modem for so long, he went ahead and changed it out for a new one.  And guess what?  When I booted up my computers this morning, the internet came right up, WHICH MEANS THE PROBLEM WAS IN THE MODEM!and that the modem was beginning to go out.  It only took me 4+ months and four phone calls to get the issue resolved, but at least I got the modem changed out before it completely cratered.

The thing that chaps me the worst, I think, was if that lady hadn’t called yesterday, and I hadn’t gone all John Cleese from the “Dead Parrot” sketch on her, this situation would probably not have been resolved until the modem failed completely and I would have been dead in the water until they shipped me a new modem.  Since I work over the internet,  I wouldn’t be able to work, I’d be without TV, and if I didn’t have a cell phone, I’d be completely without phone service, too.

I called their techistanis (off shore technical assistance people) about this problem three times, having to wade through their infuriating “voice recognition” automated answering phone tree abomination each time, and go round and round with their techistanis each time, and be told each time my computer equipment was at fault, not their equipment.  It leads me to wonder just how cost effective it is for these   companies to send their tech service business off shore when compared to the business they loose due to the aggravation, anger, and bad feeling they generate in their customers because the people that staff these off shore call centers are not native English speakers, which sets up a communication barrier right off the bat, and more importantly, are not trained computer technicians.  These are people off the street who have memorized a script who are hired because they speak English. (Apparently, being able to understand English is not a criterion for employment.)  If your problem cannot be solved by checking your connections, running line tests and rebooting something, they are clueless.  I’ve had so many bad experiences with them and their ilk, especially the ones Dell uses, that my blood pressure goes up at least ten points at just the idea of calling them.  I think if a company had on-shore, computer-trained, American tech support people, I’d switch to them just for that reason alone, even if their internet/phone/TV service didn’t have all the bells, lights and whistles.   I don’t care what they say in their advertisements.  It is not customer service, but the bottom line, that drives these companies.  Dealing with them is like being caught in a bad remake of the film, Brazil.  

Because each modem has its own wireless password, and the new modem had a different wireless protocol (2WIRE120) than the old one (2WIRE50), I did have to “re-establish” my wireless links to my Kindle Fire and my Squeezebox, but right after the ATT guy told me that, I had him read the modem serial number, network name and password to me from the back of the modem and wrote it all down, so it took me less than 5 minutes to get reconnected to my wireless network on those two devices.

Fun With Kitties and the ATT Guy Cometh

Yesterday, an ATT lady called to see if I was happy with my service.  Boy, did she get such an earful!  Up until about 4 months ago, whenever I turned on a computer, the internet was there, bang!, the moment the computer finished booting up.  Then for no apparent reason, I started to have to wait, sometimes several minutes before my computer finally got connected to the internet, my weather widget started working and I could download email.  I called the ATT techistanis about it.  Twice.  They tested the modem, they did a speed test (I don’t have any problems with speed that I know of.  Once it’s connected, it seems to be as fast as it ever was, but it does no good to try to explain that to them.)  –no surprise! — since the problem was not on their script, it was obviously on my end, despite the fact that I had not added any new software or hardware, and that it was happening on both my Windows 7 machine and my Vista machine.  I hung up in frustration.  About a month later, after my blood pressure had settled back down, I called them again and finally managed to convince them to transfer my call to an American tech who knew the difference between an [elbow] and a hole in the ground.  In the process of transfer, they dropped the call and I was left holding a dead phone line!

More than a little frustrating is the annoying fact that any (and every) time you call the techistanis, they have to walk you through their whole script starting from the very beginning.  Check the connections, reboot the modem, do the line test, etc., etc., none of which has helped the other two times I’ve called them about the same problem.  And if it’s not on their script, they’re clueless.  The only really relevant suggestion they’ve made is to change out the cables that directly connect my modem to each computer.  I did that.

When the lady called yesterday and I went in to boot up the computers, it took one of them over 3 minutes to connect to the internet, and the other one almost 5.  The upshot of the deal is that an ATT guy is coming over sometime between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. tonight.  I’m not really excited at having a strange [probably] man coming into my house that late in the day,  nor having him come into my dusty, disorganized office, where the modem is.  So, between the time I finish this post and the time he comes, I’ll be frantically cleaning up my office and vacuuming.

Not to put too fine a point on the day so far, I’ll be doing this when I might be able to get a couple of pieces of work (I am on shift, there’s no work to speak of).  And, while I was standing at the door looking at the mess my office is in, I inadvertently stepped on the white cat’s tail hair.  Not his actual tail, mind you, just the hair.  He squalled bloody murder, I jumped, grabbed at the door frame to keep my balance, and broke the fingernail on my thumb.  Yeah, like a broken fingernail is such a big deal.  Well, actually, it is.

It’s going to be a pain in the wazoo for the next at least two weeks until the broken part grows out long enough to trim the break all the way across.  Now it’s 1 o’clock, the white cat is sulking, I’m crabby, and the office is still a mess.  So, now I’m going to post this, go rummage about for a Band-Aid, find the roll of big trash bags, get my face mask and unlimber the vacuum.  I will also probably be uttering (with feeling) some of the choicer English words of Anglo Saxon derivation.

Drone Zone and Nondirectional Beacons

So I was listening to the Drone Zone stream on the internet radio station SomaFM, and this song came on with what sounded like Morse Code with dots and dashes like so:  – – . .  . – . . repeated over and over.  So I google for Morse code, and as I’m skimming through the article I read how aeronautical navigational aids, such as VORs and NDBs, constantly identify themselves in Morse code.  OK. So I look down to where it gives the code and work out that – – . . means “Z” and . – . . means “L.”  So after what I read in the article on Morse code, I’ve decided that this is an NDB identifying itself.  So I google for “NRB ZL” and find out this:  “ZL” is the call sign of an NDB in Holland.  I’m like a kid in a candy store, I tell ya!

Friday the 13th Struck Again

Last night at about 9 p.m., I went into the kitchen to take another antibiotic pill (cephalexin 4 times a day), took one step onto the kitchen rug and squished.  The first thing I thought was “Oh, no.  Not again.”  (In 2004, I had a plumbing disaster which flooded the kitchen, ruined the carpet in my bedroom, had me washing dishes in the bathtub and sleeping in a sleeping bag on an air mattress on my office floor for over a month.  Let me just say that jackhammering through the concrete slab to reach a certain T-junction in the pipes was seriously considered, and leave it at that.)  Then I realized that the 5-gallon/19-liter bottle of water on the dispenser that was 3/4 full earlier that afternoon was now practically empty.   I have a little Dirt Devil “spot scrubber” which, in addition to dispensing rug shampoo and scrubbing, has a suction function, so I ran and got that and sucked about half a gallon of water up off the floor and out of the rug.  I ended up wrestling an 8 x 12 foot (2.438 x 3.6576 meter) wet rug out into the back yard and up onto the clothes line in the middle of the night, plus the little rug, also wet, I keep under the kitties’ food bowls.

water dispenser minus water bottle

— What caused the spillage is somewhat of a mystery. The water dispenser shows no signs of leakage this morning.  It is, however, right next to the garbage can, and I suspect one of the kitties — either the grey one because the black one chased her up there, or the black one, just because — ended up on top of the garbage can and knocked or leaned against the upended water bottle atop it, broke the suction, et voilà. —

Then I had to mop the kitchen floor and, because I had to take it up and empty it out anyway, I ended up disassembling and cleaning the kitties’ Pet Fountain while I was at it.  The Pet Fountains are a great idea, but as our water here is very hard, it was encrusted with lime deposits — even after just a month —  so it took me the better part of an hour to clean the durn thing, including liberal applications of Lime-A-Way to get off the worst of the scale deposits.  I got that sorted out, reassembled, refilled and back in business.

Then I changed out the kitties’ food and water bowls, loaded up and started the dish washer, washed my hands like I was prepping for surgery, and unloaded the bread machine — got a beautiful 1-1/2 pound/ 0.680389 kg loaf of white bread out of it that I had to turn sideways to fit into the bread box — which is to say it rose well.  Then I took a shower and went to bed.

This morning, the alarm rings, I go into the kitchen to take another dose of antibiotic, and . . . the dishwasher is still going! . . . .

My duplex manager does not seem to think I really need a dishwasher, and I suppose I don’t, really, but a quick google reveals they can be had for around $300, and the one I have is at least 2 years older than dirt.  Maybe I can sweet talk her into replacing this one if it continues to malfunction.  In the meantime, I need to get to work, and I need a bit of breakfast.  I think I’ll have some good ol’ Bon Maman on a couple of slices of this new, fresh, loaf of bread . . . .

On the way to the kitchen just now, I discovered the kitties have knocked something over and broken a petite cadeau that my boss at my first medical transcription job made for me one year (she made each of us one).

For holidays like Christmas and Easter, she would give us all some little tchotchke, many of them hand made, just as a token of appreciation.  The kitties are not in my good books at the moment (see above), and this does nothing to improve the situation.  This particular little Christmas ornament used to hang on Phred, my pet Norfolk Island Pine tree, until his untimely demise at the age of 29 years.  I was saving it for Phred Junior(s), who is/are not big enough to wear it yet.

Phred, 2003, aged 23 years
Phred Junior(s) aged 2 years

Oh, and did I mention that there was a hairball in the middle of the hallway this morning, courtesy (?) of the black one?

The Conservatism of Language

Language is basically conservative; terminology tends to persist.  For much of Human history, this hasn’t been too much of a problem as the technology that underlay the terminology tended to change very slowly.  However, technology has begun to change so rapidly that it has started changing faster than we are changing the way we talk about it.  For example, telephony as a technology is less than 140 years old. (Words were first spoken over a telephone in 1876*), but the technology has evolved at such a rate that expressions like “hang up the phone” have gone from a literal command to a figurative one in less than 30 years.  Most people now have either cell phones or cordless phones, so not only is there nothing to hang up, there’s nothing to hang it up on, either.  But we still say it.  We still “dial” numbers even though most phones have push buttons (including a button labeled “Redial.”)  The newest cellphones don’t have any buttons at all, just a touch screen. We still speak of phones “ringing” when most phones today beep or tweedle or play music, or make some kind of electronic noise — which we call a “ringtone.”  (I heard one the other day that sang in a deep bass voice, “Answer the phone! Answer the phone!” to the tune of the opening phrase of Beethoven’s fifth symphony. And you can always spot a Trekkie. . .)

And take “turning” technology — we still “turn” things off and on, and up and down, even though there’s rarely a knob involved.  E-books are still paginated even though they don’t have actual pages, and we still “turn” the page, although now we just use a stylus or our fingertip.   I still “turn on” and “turn off” the water faucet, although my faucets all have stick shifts, as many do, and those that do have something you turn typically use it to change the water temperature.  (In fact, there are faucets where there are no controls at all —  you get water either by touching the spigot or by sticking something underneath it.)

I suspect the phenomenon is related to what you might call “technological divides” — Those who grew up before a new technology was introduced, versus those who grew up after.  (I’m sure the first “post-bow” generation sniggered at the “old folks” who talked about “throwing arrows.” ) The thing is, up until fairly recently, changes in technology happened slowly enough that the language had time to adjust.  As new technology was developed, the terminology (as well as its grammar and usage) had time to get sorted out and archaic terminology and usages “aged out” and died.  The older generation (masters) taught the younger generation (apprentices) everything, not just the technology, but the terminology that went with it, and the technology changed slowly enough that the technical status quo and its accompanying terminology persisted across hundreds of generations.

But the pace of technological change over the last 300 to 400 years has increased to the point where multiple major shifts in technology are occurring within a single generation,  and it’s starting to do odd things to the language (and the “master/apprentice” paradigm).  It’s gotten to the point that if you are over a certain age, chances are you’ve learned more about current technological advances from your children than you did from your parents.   As a case in point, my mom, who learned to type on a manual typewriter at age 17 and learned to “word process” in her 60’s, once asked me to show her how to “change the ribbon” in her printer.  I learned to type on a manual typewriter at 17 the same as she did, but I never held a job where I had to type on a manual typewriter, and went from electric typewriters, to magnetic card reading typewriters, to word processing in the space of about 15 years, so I’m old enough to know she meant her printer cartridge was out of ink and she needed the trained chimpanzee to show her how to put a new one in.  I wonder what the average teenager would think she meant?

What got me off on this tangent was the abbreviation “cc:” which originally meant “carbon copy,”  although I doubt anyone born after 1970 has even seen a sheet of typewriter carbon paper, never mind actually used one.  Carbon paper belongs to the older, and not quite totally supplanted, typewriter technology. It was a quick way of typing up to three (manual) or four (electric) copies of a document at the same time you were typing the original.  After the advent of photocopying technology, that first “c” of “cc:” began to be interpreted as “courtesy copies” — photocopies of the original provided as a professional courtesy to someone. But you still hear the term “carbon copy” even now when you can send an electronic copy of a document to everybody and his cousin with a few keystrokes.  I work as a medical transcriptionist typing hospital medical records dictated by the doctors on staff.  Today, at the end of one report I was typing, the dictator said, “Carbon a copy to Dr. Whatsisname. . .”  See what I mean?

On the home front, about 3 hours ago, I dumped the required amount of the requisite ingredients into the bread making machine, closed the lid and pressed the required buttons.  My nose has just informed me that bread has happened. . . .

*”Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.” (10 March , 1876)

The Status Is More Quo Today

When I went to the dentist Wednesday, the gumboil was actually better than it was when I woke up Thursday.  When I went back to the dentist Thursday morning, the whole side of my face was red, hot and swollen.  He went ahead and incised and drained the gum boil.  It was a fairly large one.  It has never been all that painful, thankfully.  Acetaminophen has controlled the pain, which has been more of a dull ache.  I went back again this morning for a checkup and to see if the drain was still in. (It was.)  The swelling is better and my face is not so red.  He attributes this to the antibiotics and the incision and drainage, but I know it’s from the liberal application of a pint of Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream and the roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy and carrots and cranberry sauce supper my mom brought over yesterday afternoon.  (My mom’s roasts are the best!)  I guess you’ve figured out I have no trouble eating.  I can chew on the other side just fine.  So far, so good.  I go back again on Monday for another check.  I had a root canal in that tooth around 15 years ago, which is probably one reason why it’s not hurting any more than it is.  Now, we’re waiting to see how much bone I still have around the tooth. If I don’t have very much, I’ll have to have the tooth pulled. Like I said, so far, so good.