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guy sitting in lawn chair on his front walk, holding up sign reading<br>
Beyond the Fringefan #428

BEYOND THE FRINGEFAN thanks the ghods that the quadrennial national circus is over and that we can all return to our lives and catch our breath for a week or two, until the politicians start gearing up for the 2016 campaign. His life, however, is currently on partial hold while he awaits the completion of some shredding and reconstitution of the bathroom at the N.Y. Cadre ((phone(718) NY-CADRE); e-mailnycadre@alum.rpi.edu; Webhttp://www.nycadre.org)...not to mention the availability of gasoline without a three-hour wait in line. This is Beyond the Fringefan #428, for readers of APA-NYU Volume 10, #11 (e-APA-NYU #103) and other electoral college dropouts, published November 2012 as a combined production of Quick Brown Fox Press and Syscrash Consulting, both subsidiaries of Thigamajig Inc. logo. Cartoon above from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller, 7 November 2012. All uncredited material copyright ©2012 by Marc S. Glasser. Member fwa.

MAN, THEY WERE BLOWIN' LIKE A HURRICANE: We were pretty lucky; Hurricane Sandy did us only minimal damage, at least directly. The Cadre is far enough from any shoreline (two miles from the ocean, a mile from a couple of inlets like Mill Basin and the Paerdegat Basin) to have dodged the storm surges, and I'd checked the roof gutters before the storm started, so we suffered no flooding at all. Unlike during Irene 14 months ago, we got no falling tree limbs. About all we had to endure were three separate blackouts over the span of two days—and our total time without power was just about 24 hours, so we didn't even have to worry about food spoiling. We did have to cook and eat a couple of meals by candlelight, but compared to what others in the metropolitan area were dealing with, that was hardly a hiccup.

     (My sister, brother-in-law, and niece came by on Wednesday after the storm left town. They live in Canarsie, a neighborhood built on landfill, and their block had had floodwaters up to the rooflines of cars. They'd just gotten a loaner car from their insurance, and after spending the morning carrying waterlogged furniture out of their basement, they all took turns using our shower. I think they finally got their power back during the following weekend.)

     My boss Charmae and I exchanged a few e-mails on Tuesday and Wednesday. The subways were still out of commission, so I offered to make an attempt to come in via an express bus (which normally crosses the river via the Battery Tunnel, which was also closed, so I don't know how it was rerouted)—it would be an adventure. Charmae, having made it in from Harlem, said the traffic was a horror, and advised me to stay the heck out of Manhattan for the rest of the week; the quarter-end rush was over and work was slow anyway. By the following week, most of the subway lines were back more or less in full service, and I had little trouble getting to and from work.

     Gasoline is still scarce as I type, with a third of the gas stations out of stock, and lines of twenty to forty cars queueing up at the ones that have any to sell. We've kept our use of Daisy the minivan to a minimum, but I still may need to bite the bullet and get on one of those lines. (I don't envy the folk who need to drive to work.) We cancelled our plans to attend Philcon, pretty much at the last minute, although the unavailability of fuel wasn't the only reason. (Late update: odd/even license plate–based rationing was imposed in The City on Friday the 9th. Daisy's plate number is even, so perhaps I'll venture out in hopes of finding a shorter wait on Saturday.)

Plumber, driving van emblazoned O'REILLY & SON/PLUMBING, 
  sings: "Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling...!"
His son, in passenger seat, thinks: "Every @$#* morning..."
(SPEED BUMP by Dave Coverly, 1 March 2001)      Our own little disaster was, and still is, the upstairs bathroom. We'd earlier made plans with Andre the plumber to commence work on a total renovation of the bathroom on 1 November. Andre saw no reason to postpone the work just because of a hurricane—well, maybe a day or so, since we had to meet with him at Lowe's two nights prior to the start of the work, to pick out tile, paint, and other decorative elements. So we spent our Halloween night at Lowe's, which was scary in itself: the color schemes Donna had in mind did not seem to exist in anything we could purchase there, either because they simply didn't carry the desired colors, or because they were out of stock. (Given my color vision, I tried to stay out of the way while Donna, Ethan, Andre, and occasional store people conferred and compared samples and argued over what would go with what.) Andre and his son showed up on Friday the 2nd and began ripping stuff out; at press time, it's starting to look like a room again, but it's got a way to go before it's useable.

     We still have a functioning toilet downstairs, but for the duration of the work, I'm depending on other people's showers, which makes the logistics on work days a bit interesting. (Matters are eased a bit by the fact that AllianceBernstein only needs me four days a week this month.)

OH, MY HEART IS FULL OF PAIN—IT'S MORE THAN I CAN BEAR: The pain in my chest that had led me to the doctor visit that had landed me in the hospital back in August faded back in in mid-October; when it was accompanied by a few incidents, in the course of a week, of what seemed like palpitations (Donna's blood-pressure monitor attested to a heart rate of 155 beats per minute during those episodes), I decided another visit to Dr. T., the cardiologist, was in order. I was already scheduled for a follow-up visit in November, but I was able to move it up to 23 October. Fortunately (?), when I got there, I was in the middle of one of those incidents of tachycardia, so it showed up clearly and unambiguously on the electrocardiogram. Dr. T. said it wasn't palpitations nor even fibrillation, but something called "flutter," which is much less serious but still not something you want happening too often. He also verified that the pericarditis was back, but (thank heaven for small blessings) that I wouldn't need to go back to hospital. old couple seated on either side of chessboard covered 
  with prescription bottles.
Old man: "Lipitor takes Prozac.  Check."
(BIZARRO by Dan Piraro, 28 January 2012) I'm now back on the high doses of ibuprofen (and continuing the colchicine), plus a small dose of metoprolol (accent in the second syllable), a beta blocker, to stabilize the flutters out. There will be follow-up blood tests this time to prove the absence of infection/inflammation of the pericardium before I taper off the ibuprofen again; then and only then will we try stopping the metoprolol so as to see whether the flutters resume on their own or whether they resulted from heart irritability caused by the pericarditis.

     I don't much like feeling like a sick old man. Under doctors' orders I'm now taking ibuprofen (Motrin), colchicine, metoprolol, Lescol, baby aspirin, omeprazole (Prilosec), and fexofenadine (Allegra) on a daily basis (the last two only recently made available over the counter). I'm thinking about developing a theory that age should be measured not by the number of years you've lived but by the number of prescription medications you take every day—but doing the research to support and refine the theory seems like more work than I'm up for right now.

HE WILL RIDE AWAY ON HIS SILVER BIKE: There are, however, worse things than feeling like a sick old man for a while. Danny Lieberman confided to me over a year and a half ago that he'd been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing chemotherapy. He asked me explicitly not to pass the word around—I guess he didn't want the disease to become the thing that defined his life to others. Over time, of course, word gradually leaked out; with all the time he had to spend in hospitals having chemo, more chemo, a bone-marrow transplant, and still more chemo, it was inevitable. Still, it was a shock to hear from him last month that the doctors had told him there was nothing else left to try, and he'd be moving to a hospice—and another shock to hear of his death just two days after the move, at the far too young age of 52.

     Danny had toes in an awful lot of subcultures. He was involved behind the scenes in running most of the Lunacons and Philcons and quite a few Worldcons of the past three decades. He was a rabid bicyclist, ran tours and races under the aegis of local clubs and on his own, and founded the ebikes e-mail forum for the metropolitan two-wheeled crowd some 20 years ago. He was an active fan of assorted types of rock music—progressive, indie, and alternative (and spent a lot of his time in hospitals posting music videos to his Facebook page)—and one of what seemed about a dozen people in the United States who know who Mike Oldfield is. He was, of course, a geek both at work (the brokers and dealers department at MannyChemChaseMorgan) and elsewhere (one of the founding hangers-out on the protean e-forum ECHO). With so many groups missing him, expect a lot of informal memorial gatherings in the near future. So long, Kid, and happy trails.

Fringe Reception: Comments on APA-NYU, Volume 10, #10 (e-APA-NYU #102)

JAMISON, TAKE e-LETTER (Mark L. Blackman):
When I wear Groucho glasses, no one notices any difference. /*/ I just checked my district numbers—a couple have changed since the latest gerrymandering—and found that my Congresscritter (and running for re-election) is still Yvette Clarke, the lady who told Stephen Colbert that if she were in Brooklyn in 1898, she'd ask to be set free, because the Dutch still were keeping slaves in Brooklyn at that time. (She has since claimed she said it as a joke, but watching the show, I saw no sign of comedy or irony on her part.) Now I have to decide whom to vote for, knowing this about her but knowing nothing at all about the other candidate for her seat. /*/ Woody Guthrie's songs are still entering the culture, as daughter Nora has allowed several musicians to go through his notebooks and use previously unpublished lyrics in new songs. The last decade has seen collections of such "new" Guthrie material by such names as Wilco, Billy Bragg, the Klezmatics, and Jonatha Brooke. /*/ (¢APA-NEWS) Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but Neil Young sang "Harvest Moon." (His song "After the Gold Rush" also contains some imagery about humans in "silver spaceships" "flying Mother Nature's silver seed to a new home in the sun.") /*/ (¢me) Heredity, diet, and exercise are all implicated in connection with myocardial infarctions and other heart problems, but Dr. T. doesn't seem to think any of them has anything to do with my contracting (and re-contracting) pericarditis. That may be the scariest part—it means there's nothing I can do to prevent future recurrences. /*/ (¢Cinii) "Maybe things happen with no regard to calendars, which are, after all, arbitrary human-created labels." O ye of little faith. You'll be humming a different tune when the world ends six weeks from now.

guy holding package of batteries bearing the warning:
(REALITY CHECK by Dave Whamond, 18 May 2002) ICONOCLAST (Joel Nelson):
Thanks for the warning about damage to electronic devices from the higher voltage produced by lithium-ion batteries (and condolences on finding out the hard way). I think I'll stick with store-brand alkalines for a while. /*/ (¢me) "'no salt, no fat, no sugar, and no caffeine.' equals 'No Joel.'" Um, what would you do about it if you were in hospital and restricted that way? As far as I can tell, your only options would be to go on a hunger strike, which wouldn't help much, or to sign yourself out of the hospital "against medical advice" ("A.M.A."—interesting ambiguity of acronyms there), which would be kind of counterproductive if you were sick enough to actually need to be there.

"90% of [incoming calls] were junk robo-calls." That's about the proportion here as well (most of the rest are doctors' offices confirming forthcoming appointments). Robo-callers appear able to disregard the Do Not Call list with impunity. More and more I feel justified in letting the answering machine get it even if I'm home. /*/ "$7.99 for 8 oz. of apricots." Dried? I think Sahadi's can do rather better. I'll call you when I expect to be there. /*/ "Lessons for this quarter: Don't get old, don't get sick and don't spend money." I don't think I'm ready yet for the alternative to getting old.

     As an odd postscript to the hurricane, for some reason, the VCR/DVD combo unit in my room chose the second of the three power outages to give up the ghost; it simply refused to power on when everything else came back. As the unit's DVD drive died two years ago, I wasn't too upset to have to replace it. It turned out, though, that I couldn't just swap the new unit for the old, but had to re-wire my pile of video equipment. VCRs used to be built with tuners included, so that they could take a signal directly from an antenna; now, the few VCRs still being sold have no tuners, but take in decoded audio and video from the tuner in a TV or cable/satellite box. So I had to remove a bunch of co-ax cables and two switch boxes, and add several cables with RCA plugs. (I still use the VCR to record a bunch of radio programming from NPR on Saturdays, so it needs input both from the satellite box and from the receiver.)

     With any luck at all, in a couple of weeks we'll be giving thanks that the bathroom renovation is complete and we have our own shower again, plus that we can fuel Daisy without making a day trip of it. May all of you reading this have as much reason to be thankful. See you in December.

>Portions of the preceding wonder what terminal velocity is achieved by pennies from heaven.<

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