Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Friday, June 30, 2006

Sportsmanship in Real Sports

I just finished reading this great article by Geoffrey Norman about World Cup Soccer. It echoed a few comments I made earlier about the lack of civility in soccer fans worldwide.

I, like most Americans, find soccer incredibly boring. There are many who lament that this sport is not popular in America, as it is in the rest of the world. There are also many who complain that we call it "soccer" and not "football" as most of the rest of the world does.

One of the best explanations I ever heard about the popularity of soccer worldwide is its simplicity. All you need is a basic round ball and some open space. No special equipment is needed. In football, you need a specialized ball. In basketball, you need a basket. In baseball, you need bats and, preferably, gloves. In hockey, or crew... lots of stuff.

The result is that even the poorest people worldwide can often play it. Here in the United States, however, the specialized equipment is more prevalent. Even the poorest areas of the city have basketball courts freely available.

I'm not generally one to condemn an entire sport for the actions of some fans. One could argue whether soccer inspires violence, or simply acts as a focal point for the violent. Either way, however, I cannot help think of soccer as a boring sport with violent fans.

The article said one thing which struck very close to my heart. Norman referred specifically to Scott Norwood, with regards to the better sportsmanship of American football fans. This is a point upon which I would like to expound. We all were mad at him for a short while after that fateful Super Bowl. Nicknames like "Scud Norwood" or "Scott Norwide" were prevalent. It didn't take long, however, for people to realize that a lot of people made mistakes in that game, and that it was not fair to place all the blame on him.

True vindication came a few years ago. ES1 & I attended an event at the University of Buffalo. It was called "Kelly vs. Marino: The Final Showdown." It was a flag football game with autograph signings in which Kelly led a group of Bills stars against Marino and a group of NFL stars. For several hours prior to the event, players signed autographs. The longest line was for Jim Kelly. A very close second, however, was the line for Scott Norwood. He was very well received. Buffalo, the city that put a giant monument to William McKinley in front of City Hall, once again said "sorry about that." We took pictures.

As many problems as exist in professional sports, the basic spirit of sportsmanship is still alive and well in America. Over here, soccer is a kids game. (Even then, however,the parents can get violent.) Let the rest of the world get caught up their deadly riots over 0-0 ties. When people get rowdy at a Bills game, the mob of yellow-jacketed security officers drag them out. Dolphins fans and Bills fans can stand over the same grill, ribbing over their ribs, and very seldom do real fights break out.

Basketball, quite frankly, also bores the heck out of me. At least in that sport, however, violence is frowned upon.

Fights can break out in baseball too. When they do, however, it's big news. And, it is frowned upon.

Fights are getting far less frequent in hockey.

Crew, the sport in which I participated, is even better. Since there is no physical contact between the shells, the only person you're beating up on is yourself. There is great camaraderie between opponents. Which brings me to favorite quote about the sport: Athletes row. Everyone else just plays games.

If other places want to get psyched up about soccer, they are welcome to. As long as they're not smashing my city with their riots, or tying up my tv stations when I could be watching a real sport. That's the great part about a free society - choices. You can choose to enjoy soccer and think of it as the greatest sport of the universe. You can choose to try to evangelize it. Just don't be surprised, however, when you're trying to explain to me the virtues and excitement of soccer, if I nod off several times during your speech.

Update, 9:25 PM. ES1 reminded me where the line about soccer's popularity came from. Link added.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

qwEZr nm

The title of this post was, conveniently enough, typed by its subject. We're dog-sitting for my parents, who decided to go on a spur of the moment vacation. We've been thinking about getting a dog and figured this would make a good trial run.

As I sat down to type this, he jumped on the couch and proceeded to put his paws on the laptop. My mom dropped him off yesterday, while I was on call at work. We were all wondering how he'd take to the new environment, considering he's never been in this house before. He certainly knows us well, especially since I was still living at home when my parents first got him. As these pictures show, he's settling in quite nicely.

He's pretty much acting like he does at my parents house, except he can't run as well on our hardwood floors as he does on their carpets. Sorry mom, he's not moping at all. This is the dog that spent the first two weeks or so after I moved out of the house wandering around looking for me.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

Resistance is Futile

Well, looks like we're approaching the final stretch before Microsoft's next OS, Vista, is available. After years of delay, and the stripping of several major planned features, Microsoft is right to be excited to be able to demo it.

Here, they're showing off Vista, as well as Office 2007 to a group of bloggers. Naturally, they decided to run it on the best hardware they could find.

Hat tip, Heng-Cheong Leong over at MyAppleMenu.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Holy Fscking Schipp!

A few years ago, I was wandering around the now defunct Media Play, looking at DVDs. I noticed the DVD of a movie I had never heard of. I saw Peter Falk, Alec Guiness, David Niven, Peter Sellers... and I thought wtf!!!! How is it possible that I had not heard of this movie? I then remembered the conventional wisdom about movies with such ensemble casts.

Great casts attempting to make up for lousy writing.

Great actors put together who never should have been.

Writers try to give every character their own time to do their own thing, resulting in a movie that makes no sense, wasting the talents of the actors.

I thought, "This is iffy..."

And so I passed it up.

A few months ago, Turner Classic Movies broadcast it. I set a tape so I could watch it when I got a chance.

Tonight I finally did.

Within 10 minutes I was on placing my order for the DVD.

The movie is called "Murder by Death". The movie is a spoof of several mystery characters. It is a work of absolute pure genius.

Other actors included Truman Capote (the TCM narrator explained that it was his only movie appearance, adding "You're about to see why"), James Cromwell (in his first movie roll ever, playing a French chauffeur with a ridiculously thick accent).

As I was watching it, I kept thinking over and over again: "They don't make movies like this anymore."

But then I started thinking about what it was that made it a great movie. Simple answer: dialogue.

Good dialogue is what made "Casablanca" a great movie. Good dialogue made "The Cosby Show" a great show. If George Lucas had been tied up with duct tape while somebody else wrote the script, dialogue could have made "Revenge of the Sith" the greatest movie in the history of the universe.

Dialogue isn't just funny lines. The lines have to make sense for the characters. The actors have to be able to make the characters seem real. The characters have to be likeable (even if you feel guilty about liking them). Even a mundane situation can be made interesting by good dialogue.

It was then that it hit me.

They do make movies like this; just not as often. Most of the movies of that caliber get labeled as "chick flicks." Gentlemen, let me explain to you one thing: If you like chicks, and you like flicks, there is no reason at all why you should not like the combination of the two.

I have a great love for movies like "Practical Magic," "Return to Me," "Kate & Leopold," "Sweet Home Alabama," et aliud, & television shows like (don't laugh) Gilmore Girls. Good dialogue makes an enjoyable movie. It's what stopped me from attempting to garrote myself with my own shoelaces during X-Men 3.

It is really sad that today's great, wacky, ridiculous movies receive little attention. After "Murder by Death," I threw in a DVD of a flick that involves Noah Wyle as a nerd being thrown up against random evil people, Jane Curtin, great dialogue, Bob Newhart taking out a whole room full of bad guys with his bare hands, and a heroine who, just before beginning her climactic battle with the villianess, tells said villianess "Get your own geek."

The movie to which I refer has the appropriately bad title, "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear." It also features Olympia Dukakis, music by the same guy who did the music for the "Evil Dead" trilogy, and was executive produced by Dean Devlin of "Stargate" and "Independence Day" fame. Of course, it doesn't hurt my appreciation of said flick that said heroine happens to have the same first name as ES1 (they even share the same hair color, though ES1 has much nicer, um, eyes)

To make a long story short(too late), good movies aren't dead. They're just hiding under a cloud of smug created by what passes for stars in today's hollywood, ie. people who are famous only because they are well known. Good movies are still being made. Just look for them.

If in doubt, just look for the label "Pixar."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What I want patients to know

I stumbled across this post at GruntDoc . In it, he gives some advice to future emergency room patients. It's an old post from 2003, but still worth reading. It got me thinking about the way patients come to the OR and how they are(n't) prepared for surgery. So here's what I want patients to know/do before going in for surgery.

Understand the being NPO (no food after midnight) is instituted for your safety. It is not meant to torture you, deprive you of your morning coffee, it is to protect you from harm.

That being said, check with your surgeon/primary care physician to see which if any of your medications you should take the morning of surgery. It is OK to take medications with a small sip of water the morning of your surgery. This especially means your blood pressure pills. Anesthesiologists have been known to cancel elective surgery if a patient's blood pressure is too high.

You will see many people on the day of surgery: surgeon, residents, holding area nurses, OR nurses. They will all be asking you questions, and yes many people will ask you the same questions. We have to do this. Better you get asked three times which knee we are operating on then we operate on the wrong knee. Again, this is not done to annoy you but to keep you safer. We are not allowed to just read what other people wrote about your history in the chart and accept it as fact.

If your having abdominal surgery, clean out your belly button because if you don't the nurse has too, and its kinda gross.

Don't lie to us about how much you drink. Even if all you drink is that glass of red wine a day everybody talks about, it can affect how your body reacts to anesthesia and we need to know about it. Don't be embarassed. The same goes for your pain pills and how many of them you take.

If you do drugs, tell us. Don't bother telling us the last time you used was 2 weeks ago when it was really yesterday. We will do a tox screen and we will know. Many drugs, especially cocaine, can KILL you when you get anesthesia and they are in your system. Yet another thing we do that seems annoying, but is actually meant to protect you.

Please don't get mad at us if we decide to cancel your surgery. If we do, it means that we feel the risk to you is too great at this point in time. Like being NPO, this is done for your safety.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. We are glad to answer them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Now, Apple's laptops have not been immune to some quality problems in the past.

There was the well-publicized incident of the PowerBook 5300. It was to be the first PowerBook to use a Lithium Ion battery instead of a nickel cadmium. The early models generated too much heat, and one in the lab caught fire. The production models were all given NiCad's and the machines went happily on their merry way.

Then there was the incident of the MagSafe power adapter on a MacBook Pro catching fire. That one appears to be an isolated incident, and no one is yet sure what happened. There are currently reports of some batteries overheating and swelling, but none have yet done anything dramatic.

Then, there was the incident of an iBook being set on a carpet, and catching fire. Again, an isolated incident, but still worrying.

Any sort of defect in Apple's products tends to get major attention, because so many mac users are so rabid about them. These crazy users, or MacMacs,* will point out each and every little tiny flaw, and follow religiously the major ones. I for one, often appreciate that. I think it helps Apple's quality control that people don't give them a break ever. The result is that my MacBook Pro, although it's a first generation machine built in the 11th week of this model's production, is a very solid piece of equipment.

I have had limited experience with various PC laptops. I found them to be pretty universally ugly, overcomplicated (too many thingies all over the place), and either heavy as bricks with a decent battery life, or light and flimsy with lousy battery life. And then, to add insult to injury, they run Windows.

Even all those incidents don't measure up to this event that occurred at a conference in Japan. I am not nearly the rabid MacMac I used to be; if anyone asks me about my choice in computers, I explain the reasons behind my decision, with no judgement upon whether the same decision would be right for them. All the same, however, I still took great pleasure in reading this.

Hat tip: MacDailyNews

*The term 'MacMac', coined by the folks at the great internet radio show, Your Mac Life, is a reference to the effect one hears when waiting in line for a Steve Jobs keynote address at a MacWorld Expo. Hordes of people are talking very quietly about what rumors they expect to see confirmed during the keynote. Since everyone is talking about different things, the only common denominator is that you hear the word "Mac" over and over again.

mac mac. mac mac. mac mac. mac mac.

A certain point of view?

We generally try to avoid anything political on this blog, but I thought this article was too important to pass up. I have been more and more disgusted of late by the media which by and large ignores the heroics of our fighting men, leading some to believe that none take place; in one case the New York Times refused to print a story because it was "too heroic".

Entering into a war is an act of horrific violence which people can and should debate always. I have nothing but contempt, however, for those who would denigrate our brave fighting men and women, or willfully give aid and comfort to those trying to kill them.

The following article by James S. Robbins illustrates exactly what has been wrong with our perceptions for decades. It illustrates the difference between how we react to atrocities, especially those committed by our own people, and the way some others do.

As you read it, keep in mind one thing: the story of Abu Ghraib did not break in the media until after the indictments were announced. It disgusts me that things like that are called "cover ups"

The article...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

The perfect gift...

Happy Birthday Sir Paul

You say its your birthday ,
too .

For those of you who don't know, today is Paul McCartney's 64th birthday. There are articles abounding because this birthday is significant. See here , here and here .

So why is 64 significant? Because on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album, there is a terrifically cute song titled "When I'm 64". It's a tribute to a wonderful life of being retired with a loving spouse. It's probably also the life he'd be living today if his beloved Linda hadn't died of breast cancer. Instead, on his 64th birthday, he's in the midst of a divorce that is being closely followed by the press. That's not the best way to spend a birthday.

Paul McCartney is one half of the greatest song-writing team of all time. And his solo music is nothing to scoff at. I may not agree with all of his politics, but I am thankful that he exists in this world. I spent much of my childhood with my parent's record player and my mother's Beatles albums. I can't wait to do that with my children someday.

So happy birthday Sir Paul, and many many more.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Birthday Present

The problem with growing up is that you only really get interested in practical stuff. I was practically drooling, for example, over ES1's gift for me. Mmm... Chili....

Anyway, every now and then, you get a gift which just slaps you back into reality. How did I ever get along without this? (Click link for pics & website)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Festival Season Has Begun

Buffalo, in my opinion, has one of the best summers around. Not because of the weather, but because of the festivals. Pretty much every weekend, all summer long, there is at least one fair, ethnic festival or street festival. Some of the largest include The Taste of Buffalo and The Italian Festival (which is one of the five largest street festivals in the country). Festival season runs from June through September.

Plus on Tuesdays you can to Artpark for free concerts and on Thursdays catch a free concert in Layfayette Square. Featured bands at "Thursday at the Square" this year include SmashMouth, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Blues Traveler (to mention a few).

This weekend it was the Music is Art Festival and the Allentown Art Festival . We went to Allentown for the first time in years. Its gotten a lot better. Actually the last time we went, my engagement ring was purchased. Check out our pictures here . One of my favorite local artists was there, Michael S Smith . He does these terrific pen and ink drawings of local schools, buildings, etc. Our staircase is lined with them. I finally got my Sacred Heart Academy one. Yay!!!!!!!! Plus we managed to get a birthday and a Christmas gift purchased while we were there. Yes I did say Christmas.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Unsung - We all got 'im

It's been quite a week. Tuesday, those with nothing better to do hemmed and hawed over the accidental similarity between the date, 6/6/(20)06 and the number of the beast 666. All the while, far too many people forgot the real significance of the date of June 6. This morning, as ES1 is down at BGH on 24 hour call, I'm watching a movie I make it a point to watch every year about this time. Never should we forget the sacrifices made for freedom from tyranny on The Longest Day.

There is a scene fairly early on in which an officer on board one of the invasion ships (since it's black & white, I can't tell if he's a Lt. Commander or a full Commander) speaks in awe of the sheer number of ships and men involved. I started thinking about not just them, but all the support staff required for such an undertaking. One need only look to the Russsian "scorched earth" strategy, used successfully against both Napoleon and Hitler, to realize the importance of logistics. No one will ever write a song about supply and support personnel. But no one will ever win a war without them.

The point was driven home again yesterday. This post on Blackfive, entitled "Not Just One Pilot," drove home the point that, as catchy as the Army's new slogan may be, there is no such thing as "An Army of One." The pilot may be credited with the goal; But a metric buttload of people will be credited with the assist.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Happy Anniversary Cathy

One of the blogs that I check on a regular basis is that of Cathy Seipp. She is a freelance writer, a rare conservative living in LA and a terrific writer. She is also a rare non-smoking lung cancer patient. Please check out her post on the 4 year anniversary of her diagnosis. What struck me most was the description of her family in her hospital room post-surgery.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Post-Call cravings

So maybe this is the reason I have such weird cravings post call. According to this article people who get less than 8 hrs of sleep a day (me not on call) and especially those who get less than 5 hrs of sleep (me on call) have higher levels of a hormone that increases hunger and low levels of leptin (which suppresses appetite).

I always end up with weird (read bad-for-me) food cravings post call. I'll drive home in the morning by way of Burger King (love those hash browns). Mike's Subs and La Pizza Club get a ton of orders from me for my lunch when I'm post call. And I order things like steak hoagies, fried zucchini, fried baloney and onions (a Buffalo favorite), chicken fingers, chicken wings, bacon cheeseburger subs, fries, onion rings, etc. Today's selection comes from Mike's subs (I love that I can order online) - full fried baloney and onions sub and onion pedals. Yummy.

And I wonder why I can't lose weight.

A note on the date

So today is 6/6/06. To quote Garfield the cat "big fat hairy deal."

That still doesn't mean I won't go see this while it's playing in theaters. Probably not today though.

I know it's a little late but...

I know my beloved Sabres lost game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, but with the concert being Sunday, having guests for the weekend, and being on call yesterday, I haven't had much time to comment on it. First and foremost, this had been a season for the ages. This VERY young team, defied all odds, seeing as how, no one expected them to even potentially make the playoffs. Nobody seemed to really expect or understand how well they were doing. As ESPN's Scott Burnside commented , earlier in the year "The Buffalo Sabres share this much in common with quantum physics: You can get a headache trying to figure out how they work, but darned if they don't work." And that was just in January. I think we were the best team in the true meaning of the word team in the NHL this year. We had tons of injuries, especially to major players, but whenever someone got hurt, someone else just stepped up. The team never seemed to lose hope. And lets talk a little bit about the Carolina series. At the time of Game 7 only 2 of the defensemen we were playing with were actually on the team for the majority of the season, the rest were playing for the Amerks. Some hadn't played for nearly a month (if I remember correctly). Yet, we still managed to lead in game seven. I knew and believed we had could win the Stanley Cup this year, but they had a great deal to overcome. And i was impressed. Good Job men. This year you reminded me of all that is good and wonderful in hockey, and reaffirmed my position as Sabres fan for life. Can't wait for next season.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


A few weeks ago, we had an exterminator out to give our house a check-up. The Brad Paisley tune describes the job of the man as being "Someone to kill the spiders, change the channels and drink the beer." Those of you who know me, know that I have no problem with the last two items; I had been spending way too much time, however, on the first one.

The exterminator showed us how to easily (and cheaply) take care of the issue ourselves. He then examined the outside of our house. The big tree in front of our house had always had several dead branches. He found the cause - a major infestation of carpenter ants. The tree was dying. He suggested putting a letter in to the Village, because a paper trail would get you faster service.

ES1's father suggested, to be on the safe side, that we send a copy of the letter to the DPW, the Village attorney, and the Village mayor. We sent the letter last week.

Thursday, we received a message on our answering machine that they had been out to examine the tree, and that we would be first on the list when they start their removal this year.

Yesterday, I came home to this:

The village does fast work.

Updated 8/20/07 to fix image links.