BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN spent a week last month with his Internet down—not to mention much of his other telephone equipment—just at the time when hurricane season was making the weather treacherous. Luckily, his radio was working, so he wasn't totally without a clue. Things are technologically much better now at the N.Y. Cadre (((718) NY-CADRE); firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nycadre.org), where you can reach him to let him know if this is a waste of bandwidth. This is Beyond the Fringefan #403, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 8, #10 (e-APA-NYU #78) and others who've missed the connection, published October 2010 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of . Cartoon above from Frazz by Jef Mallett, 30 March 2010. All uncredited material copyright ©2010 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.
COMMUNICATIONS BREAKDOWN, DRIVE ME INSANE: We started the autumn even harder to get hold of than usual. The lightning storm of Wednesday 22 September did a major number on our home telephone lines, though it took several visits from Verizon before we knew the full extent of the damage. Ultimately Verizon had to replace several boxes both inside and outside the house, Ace Innovative had to replace our DSL modem, and we had to replace two telephones. Apologies to anyone who tried to call us over the subsequent ten days and got nothing but busy signals.
(Purely coincidentally, as it turned out, Ethan was having trouble receiving calls on his cell phone out in Cameroon. We wasted chunks of time and money on Sunday 26 September trying to call him from our various landline and cell phones, and getting busy signals, dead lines and recorded messages in French telling us that the number we were calling was unavailable.)
Then I was biking to work on Wednesday the 29th, and somewhere in the neighborhood of Atlantic Avenue I looked down and discovered that the belt clip that holds my cell phone on was attached in the usual place, but the phone was gone; apparently the case had given its last gasp somewhere along the way. (The case was only about a year old; it had been showing wear and tear over the preceding couple of months, and had been repaired with black duct tape a couple of times.)
Since I was now unreachable by landline, cell phone and e-mail (at home; I could still use the phones and the computer at work), I decided it was finally time to do the cell phone upgrade I'd been thinking about for a few months. I headed for the T-Mobile store at Kings Plaza on Thursday night and got myself a Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S smart phone. Two days later, I'd worked out how to make and receive calls on it and how to download music files to it; I'm still investigating all the apps it comes with and those available, to see what else I need to get before it will really supplant my Palm Pilot. (The phone's 193-page instruction manual doesn't come with it but has to be downloaded as a PDF file from Samsung's Web site.) I don't expect the Palm to be going away before the end of the year; even if the phone can perform all the functions, not all of the ten years' accumulation of data can be ported from the one to the other, so I'll have to go through it and see what's worth the trouble to re-enter by hand.
Anyway, as of Sunday 3 October, we seem to be fully communicado once more. Abby, when does Mercury come out of retrograde?
PITY OF THE BROAD'S SHOULDER: We went to consult with Dr. Struhl, the surgeon who did Donna's shoulder replacements (all three of them), and he pretty much repeated what he'd told me over the phone a few weeks earlier: Donna's right rotator cuff is not torn; her shoulder is dislocated and has been for over a year; relocating it surgically is unlikely to work, because the surrounding muscle and connective tissue, not to mention the scar tissue from all the previous surgeries, has accommodated itself to the dislocation and now would not hold the joint in its proper location—it would dislocate again at the first stress. His prognosis: yet another total shoulder replacement operation is in the cards.
But this will not be a repeat of the other total shoulder replacement operations Donna's had; again, the muscle and connective tissue she has left there just won't do the job anymore. The doctor told us of a new variety of prosthetic shoulder joint that's been in use in Europe for about a dozen years, and in America for about six. It's called a reverse shoulder replacement, because it reverses the positions of the ball and socket that make up the shoulder joint—the ball now goes on the end of the shoulder blade, and the socket on the top of the arm. This change in geometry allows the (presumably undamaged) deltoid muscle to take over most of the work in moving the arm. This surgery is described in the literature as "recommended for people with a completely torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired, severe arthritis with rotator cuff damage, or prior failed shoulder surgery."
Now it should be noted that Donna has no wish whatever to undergo any further joint surgery (and I can't blame her). Before we go any further in this process, it's up to Donna to evaluate the amount of pain and immobility she's feeling in her right shoulder, combined with a guess as to how much worse it may get over the next decade or two, and balance that against the pain and other trouble (time spent with her life on hold, submission to the control of others in the hospital and in rehab) of yet another surgery, combined with a guess as to the likelihood of further complications (infection being the chief one). Only if the prospect of the surgery seems better in her evaluation do we proceed.
Dr. Struhl, however, does not do this particular operation. He's referred us to a Dr. Madrid, also affiliated with the Hospital for Joint Diseases, who does. We now have to meet with Dr. Madrid, and let him examine Donna and take whatever images he thinks are called for to ascertain that Donna is, as they say, a good candidate for the surgery. We're hoping he can also let us talk to some satisfied customers about their experience.
Meanwhile, Ethan's hanging on over in Cameroon, schlepping a quarter mile down a dirt path at a 45° angle to get water to wash with and even further to get water to drink and cook with (and then usually paying a motorcycle-based taxi to bring it back up). He's had some arguments with the school administration about whether he's trying to teach the kids faster than they can learn; I guess that's part of learning to be a teacher. His blog continues at <cameroon [dot] betacantrips [dot] com>.
Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 8, #9 (e-APA-NYU #77)
NICE DISTINCTIONS (Arthur D. Hlavaty):
- "...there is no such thing as dressing so as to invite groping, tasteless comments, or other harassment." But there is such a thing as dressing so as to invite people to look for extended periods of time at one's chest. It consists of wearing a T-shirt with intricate artwork or a lengthy swatch of text on the front.
ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
- (¢Wunder) "Who is MEW?" She's Mary Ellen Wessels, a well-known filker. You can look her up at <www.mewsic.com>. /*/ "'cheap, workable, easy to get to, and tasty, too!' Kewl!" New York is full of such places, but many go out of business far too soon (and even more so in the present economy). Word of mouth can help. /*/ "In 1995, Christians still had their focus on evangelism. They were eagerly awaiting the Rapture...In the fifteen years since, Christianity has turned its focus away from evangelism... Instead of evangelizing, they criticize the government, today's society, and various parts of the populace." Um, weren't Falwell, Robertson, and other evangelists engaging in political speech and campaigns as far back as the mid-1980s? /*/ And if today's Christians are "following John the Baptist," well, if he was paving the way for Jesus' first coming, then aren't they doing the same for his second coming?
JAMISON, TAKE E-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
- "Marc Glasser [brought] dried fruit from a Syrian grocery." I believe Sahadi's is actually Lebanese, though I don't know the originating countries of all the merchandise it sells. /*/ "Eando (Earl-and-Otto) Binder's ADAM LINK - ROBOT (novelized & revised from the 1939-42 stories... pre-3 Laws [Asimov wrote his first robot story 2 weeks after meeting Otto...])" I had a classmate in seventh grade who lent me the original issues of Amazing featuring the stories by the Binders. (I'm a bit surprised in retrospect that his father let them out of the house.) The first story was titled "I, Robot," a title that Asimov's publisher appropriated a dozen years later (over Asimov's objection) for his first collection of robot stories. /*/ (¢FPhillips) "It's SHERLOCK_I_AN." Perhaps in "Sherlockean," Fred was combining Conan Doyle and John Locke to refer to a skill in deduction that is not inborn, the neonate mind being a tabula rasa, but rather entirely learned. (And learned in what school? Elementary, my dear Watson.) /*/ (¢DPhillips) "Australian wines are making inroads here." I hope they're not still as described by Monty Python a few decades ago. ("Black Stump Bordeaux is rightly praised as a peppermint flavoured Burgundy, whilst a good Sydney Syrup can rank with any of the world's best sugary wines. Château Blue, too, has won many prizes; not least for its taste, and its lingering afterburn.") /*/ (¢me) "Does the Peace Corps have an unrealistic idea of what level of computer education Cameroonians can handle?" I don't think Ethan has quite decided yet. /*/ "Hmm, was [Art Tobias's] 'Information' title after the 'information' demanded in THE PRISONER's opening?" Yes, exactly. /*/ (¢Coulter) "Er, Persons in Charge, was this digitally signed?" No more than anyone else's zine. In spite of its generic style, I believe it was from him; the "submissions" we get from spambots (one every month or two) are usually offers to sell mailing lists of doctors or other professionals (perhaps they're thinking APA stands for the American Psychological Association?), with the occasional Nigeria scam making an appearance.
DANCE* IN COOLER AIR (Ariel Cinii):
- "I won't buy the New, Improved Nano": Stand your ground, and don't back down. Maybe if enough people don't succumb to planned obsolescence, the companies that make their bread and butter from it will work on finding other, more useful things to do.
Dream on. /*/ (¢self) "Did you know that the Starship APA-NU was based on Montréal's Olympic Stadium? You do now." I don't think I had any idea what Montréal's Olympic Stadium looked like until I looked it up after reading this remark. I see that the short-sighted Québecois omitted the engine pods, though.
BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN (me):
- I wrote in my colophon about George David Weiss the songwriter, without mentioning the reason why, to wit: his death in August at the age of 89. Stupid, stupid, stupid. /*/ And I referred to Patience and Fortitude in my closing disclaimer, immediately below a cartoon of a library building; however, nonresidents of this town (and even many of its residents) may not be aware that Patience and Fortitude are the names bestowed by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia upon the marble lions in front of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. (He had been telling New Yorkers for some months that with patience and fortitude, the city could survive the Great Depression.)
7-October-2010: Cathy was never my favorite comic strip—I think I was on the wrong side of the gender divide for that. (No matter how much I identified with her battles with psychobabble and sales-speak, I
just didn't have the experience to make the strips about fashion, and her struggle to stay in step with it, terribly meaningful.) Nonetheless, I followed it at least intermittently, and always enjoyed reading it. I'm glad to hear Ms. Guisewite is ending the strip's run while both she and it are alive and well, and concluding it on an up note (Cathy, now five years married, is pregnant with a daughter). Good luck and Godspeed to both Cathys.
Stay out of the way of hurricanes and tornadoes, everyone, and enjoy the daylight while there's still time to save it. If you want me, I'll be on the Internet, trying to find ways to transfer information from a Palm Pilot to a smart phone.
>Portions of the preceding tried to telephone. They said you were not home. That's a lie.<
<<To September 2010 zine
To November 2010 zine>>