What? I haven’t done a Random Blatherationings post for August yet? (If you’ve been fortunate enough to let the “rules” leak out of your brain, they’re here.) Time to fix that! Tonight’s three random seed words are “hemisection” (a division along the mesial plane or one of the parts so divided), “quizzism” (the art or habit of quizzing), and “dietetic” (of or performance to diet or to the rules for regulating the kind and quantity of food to be eaten).
Hemisection My first random Google adventure takes me to the Wikipedia entry for Brown-Séquard Syndrome, apparently because “any presentation of spinal injury that is an incomplete lesion (hemisection) can be called a partial Brown-Séquard or incomplete Brown-Séquard syndrome.” The short version for the non-medical professionals out there (me, first of all!) is that “lateral hemisection” is a fancy medical term for cutting, and when it happens to the spinal cord it shows up as paralysis, and Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard was the guy who first described this in 1850.
The history of physiology is not my strong point (glad I didn’t get that for the “forgotten final“) but it’s obvious that people knew prior to 1850 that if your spinal cord was cut there was going to be paralysis. (Actually, I’m pretty sure that death in such circumstances was far more common than paralysis.) It seems that what Brown-Séquard figured out was that certain neurological messages were carried in different fibers of the spinal cord, so that if there were partial cuttings of the spinal cord you might lose your ability to feel temperature or pain.
But the real golden nugget of information in the Wikipedia article about our pal is that he was “known for self-reporting ‘rejuvenated sexual prowess after eating extracts of monkey testis’.” If you’re going to have something truly bizarre listed in your biographical material 119 years after your death, I say you should really go for it, and that one’s setting the bar pretty high. Where does one go to find more details on these self-inflicted “experiments”? And why were they necessary in the first place? Granted, they didn’t have Viagra in the 1880’s, but was he really that desperate?
He sounds like an “interesting” guy, for many reasons.
Quizzism Ignoring all of the Google entries that just take you to a definition, the first random web surfing leap takes us to a listing for an e-book from Google. “Quizzism: And Its Key Quirks and Quibbles from Queer Quarters, A Mélange of Questions in Literature, Science, History, Biography, Mythology, Philology, Geography, Etc. Etc. with Their Answers” was published in 1884 by Albert Plympton Southwick.
How interesting. The 2013 internet in all of its randomness has shown us a book from 1884 about “Quirks and Quibbles From Queer Quarters” immediately after an article about a really bizarre physiologist from the late 1800’s.
The mind boggles.
First of all, how can Mr. Southwick’s first and biggest question not be about Brown-Séquard’s monkey testicle diet? I can’t imagine that not being a prime topic of debate in the 1880’s! I’ll have to get this e-book to find the answer. It says the answers are included, right there in the book title that’s 36% too freakin’ long to fit into a 140-character tweet!
(I swear, this is being written in one draft, sequentially, stream of consciousness, totally random, and so on. I only wish I were a skilled enough writer to be making this shit up.)
Secondly, how can I not use the name “Albert Plympton Southwick” as a character in a novel some day? Really? Just let the name roll around on your tongue for a moment and you can practically see him there in the flesh. No doubt to be played by either John Cryer or Rick Moranis in the movie version. And even more odd – there’s no Wikipedia entry for Albert Plympton Southwick, but there is a Facebook account under that name? I have got to meet this dude!
Finally, how much does one have to shell out for this treasure trove of ancient wisdom? It’s free! (Gotta love Google!) But there aren’t any reviews of it yet, at all. (What a huge surprise that is!)
We’ll have to fix that. Now it’s a quest! We’re on a mission from God!
Dietetic No big surprises here, an “I feel lucky!” Google search sends us to the web page for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Good, I’ve got a few choice words about a “dietetic lifestyle”.
I understand that eating double cheeseburgers and fries and ice cream three meals a day with candy and salty snacks in between is bad for you. I’m not an idiot. (No matter what the Long Suffering Wife’s family says!) Despite knowing that it wasn’t good for me, I ate like that for a long time – BECAUSE IT TASTES GOOD! When I got done eating I WAS FULL and all of the little happy receptors in my brain were firing off and I could go into a blissful food coma.
Now that I’m a little older, I’ve had to spend the last fifteen years or so paying the price for that. First it was the salt that had to go, in order to keep my blood pressure under control. Then it was the sugar and sweets, so that I could lose a few (dozen) pounds. Throw in a bunch of exercise and running to help things along. Just when I thought that I was doing a great job and should be getting an “Atta boy!” from the doctor, instead I get told that I have to drastically cut the pizza and the pasta and the bread and the rice and all of the other carbs and even many of the things that I had thought were “good” and “healthy”. (For example, Jamba Juice.) SHAZBATT!!
Now that I’ve lived with that last dietary adjustment (and by “adjustment”, I mean “restriction”) for about two years, eating teeny, tiny portions of anything that might have actual taste and ginormeously huge portions of bland, raw veggys and salads, I’m finally (sometimes) getting my “Atta boy!” from the doctor. I’m exercising more, losing weight, have good blood pressure, and I get spectacularly wonderful A1C results. Despite all of that, most days I would kill for a burger, fries, and a chocolate malt.
Every once in a while, just because there needs to be a teeny, tiny bit of moderation in addition to those teeny, tiny portions, every once in a while I’ll justify “falling off the wagon” just for one meal. Once a month or so if I’m at a ballgame or someplace where there aren’t a lot of healthy dinner choices, I’ll have a couple of hot dogs and an ice cream sandwich. If one of the kids is home or we’ve had a rotten day and everyone’s tired, I’ll let myself have pizza or Chinese food. Just so that I can occasionally remember how wonderful all of that “bad” food is, I’ll allow myself to indulge without guilt.
Here’s where karma bites you in the ass.
That pizza or candy or burger or malt or fast food or whatever that you just KNOW tastes so freakin’ good (and in your head actually tastes even better, like ambrosia, because you can’t have it), that stuff absolutely tastes like crap after your body has adjusted to a steady diet of “healthy” food. Eat it and you will feel like a poisoned slug for days. Despite how “good” it is supposed to taste.
That sucks big time, in a totally cosmic way. That’s just the gods messing with our heads because they can. You take something that you want soooooooo bad, you get it taken away, and when you are finally able to indulge just a tiny bit in order to again experience how wonderful it is for just a few minutes, it turns out that YOU have changed so that the wonderful, wonderful thing is now complete garbage to you. It’s still wonderful for all of the other folks who are still “poisoning their bodies”, and at the other extreme there are the sanctimonious “healthy people” who think that the salads and granola and water are the best thing ever. But stuck in the middle, EVERYTHING TASTES BAD.
I tried once to express this (politely) to a dietitian who was silly enough to ask how I was doing with my new diet restrictions. I got a look of scorn, disdain, and pity that I’ll never forget. She was enlightened and no doubt filled with angelic joy as she ate her salads and drank her 1% fat almond milk. I was a simply a lost soul who couldn’t accept her truth.
Yeah. “Dietetic”. I’ve got a few things to say about that word.