Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's Alexis Speaking Through a Fog of Liquid Hydrocodone

I'm reasonably sure I'm still alive because if I were dead I couldn't possibly be in this much pain. The liquid hydrocodone can only do so much.

My Tonsils and Adenoids Are Living on Borrowed Time

I'm having surgery in six hours or so, or I'm reporting to the hospital in less than six hours, anyway. God alone knows how long I'll have to wait around after arriving. I'm supposed to be first after the children, diabetics, and emergencies, and the most dire of emergencies will be serviced elsewhere, although my anesthesiologist could be taken away by a crisis of some sort.  I will wait around for my anesthesiologist if he's called away. It's not actually your surgeon who will usually kill you but rather, sloppy work on the part of your anesthesiologist. It pays to know who the best anesthesiologists are and to use any connections you may have to obtain their services.  

My dad was in Utah with my grandmother, who is being treated for sepsis. He flew home unexpectedly earlier this evening because of my tonsillectomy / possible adenoidectomy. I was a bit insulted. He was needed in Utah, and if I cannot at the age of 21 handle a simple tonsillectomy without my dad lurking outside the O.R., it would appear that there will never be much hope for me to function as an adult. My dad, my brother,  and two of my uncles have already donated blood for the unlikely event that I need it. I'm not sure exactly what my dad thinks his presence will accomplish. He said that he left my Uncle Michael, who is also a physician, in Utah to keep an eye on things there, and that he'll fly back to Utah in three days or so once I'm past the highest-risk period for complications. I'm less than thrilled, but what can I do?

On an entirely unrelated note, I looked at the traffic sources on my blog's information page. One of the search terms that allegedly led a reader to my blog was "my grandfather's existence angers me." I'm the first to admit that I'm far from being my grandfather's biggest fan, but never have I said or written anything to the effect that his very existence angers me. Hell, if he had not existed, I would not exist, or at least not exactly in my present form. (It's conceivable that I would exist in a better form were it not for the existence of my grandfather, but that is entirely beside the point.) I don't know how in the world Google and Blogspot conspired to link that search term to me. Perhaps Google is now reading my mind.

I'm not sure when I will return, but I will return.

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Change in the Blog

It has come to my attention that some of my readers are uncomfortable with some  comments made in response to my blog. Most blog authors, I would assume, wish for the reading of their blogs to be light-minded experiences, or, at the very least, certainly not something that would increase anyone's level of concern or anxiety.  If comments by any given person have caused others to avoid visiting my blog site, the time has come to make a change of some sort.

I considered making my blog private, but that would in some ways defeat the purpose of my even having a blog. One reasons for which this blog exists is so that I might have a wider audience. If readers had to request my permission, most would not bother doing so. Furthermore, some people I want to read my blog are not registered at google or blogspot or anywhere else that would gain them access to this blog. 

I have decided instead to moderate comments and have changed my settings to include moderation of comments. 

I didn't make this choice in order to hurt anyone's feelings, and I'm very sorry if I do hurt anyone's feelings in the process. if former readers avoid me blog because of a single reader's comments, however, there's little point for me to have a blog.

Thank you in advance for you understanding. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mormon Christmas on April 6 and Other Aberrations

This is probably further even than Mahonri's family takes their Mormon Christmas holiday/

I don't know how I made it so far in life with my parents still withholding this little gem from me, but it finally occurred to them to spill it, so now I of course have to share it with all of you . . .

Some of you may remember my Uncle Mahonri. He's my uncle by virtue of his being married to my father's sister Marthalene. The most noteworthy thing about Uncle Mahonri is his proclivity toward theft. My mother holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, and even she cannot determine whether Mahonri is a common thief, a kleptomaniac, or even something much worse. It probably doesn't matter. The bottom line is that he habitually helps himself to things that do not belong to him. This little idiosyncrasy very nearly cost Mahonri his job with the church educational system when he was caught stealing a crate or large carton of disposable douches from the loading zone of a big box store somewhere in Utah County.

Now i have learned that Mahonri may not be alone in his predilection for accessing the property of others. Mahonri's family of birth has a rather strange holiday tradition, about which I feel obligated to enrich the lives of my readers.

A bit of backstory is needed here in order that most of you may put what has been to me a veritable bonanza of information into its proper context. Mormons believe that Jesus was born on April 6. I asked my dad a couple of years ago when the LDS church will back away from of this particular teaching, as they have done with so many things they once taught. ("I don't know that we teach that" was how Gordon W. Hinckley disavowed a particular teaching when confronted with it in a televised interview.) My dad said they'll probably never drop the myth of April 6, as scientific or historical information will never pop up to debunk it as the birthday of Jesus. For that matter, there's approximately 1 chance in 365.25 that Jesus was born on April 6 -- and an even greater chance if you rule out any time in the bleakest part of winter for logistical reasons, as some historians have done, as the likely date of Jesus' birth.

Mormons celebrate Christmas on December 25 along with most of the rest of Christendom. No one else who actually thinks about it really believes December 25 to be the actual date of Jesus' birth, either; it's just that no one else has settled on an actual date, arbitrarily or otherwise. Leave it to the Mormons to be different.

Some Mormons actually commemorate April 6 with a celebration of sorts. One family to whom I'm related draws names and gets together to exchange homemade gifts and to sing carols about Jesus being born in the dead of winter every April 6. Some of them send out homemade cards, though only to other Mormons. On some level they have to know it's just too bizarre an idea to try to foist upon the rest of the world.

My Uncle Mahonri's family has its own peculiar take on the quasi-holiday, to which they refer as "Mormon Christmas"  (italics added by me). Each nuclear family buys Dollar Tree-calibre gifts for each individual member of each family unit. Before you reach the conclusion that Mahonri and his siblings and their spouses must be incredible cheapskates (which is true), I should explain that Mahonri is one of twelve children. He and Marthalene have thirteen children, and most of his siblings have families as large as his if not larger. (They really should have their own reality show. The premise would fall somewhere between the Honey Boo Boo fiasco, the disaster otherwise known as the Duggars,  and the debacle featuring Todd Chrisley's family.) The nuclear families have to come up with an average of 156 gifts each. (The number of gifts would be higher now, as Mahonri and some of his siblings are grandparents.) They would all be in serious debt for the remainder of the calendar year if the gifts were anything more extravagant than Dollar Tree purchases.

As if what I have already explained is not bizarre enough, I'll now get into Mahonri's family's even more peculiar take on the already peculiar enough holiday of Real Christmas. Each April 6 after Mormon Christmas gifts have been distributed and opened, after carols have been sung, after the Christmas story as told in the gospel of St. Luke has been read, and after massive quantities of ham and turkey have been consumed, Mahonri and his siblings all draw small folded squares of paper from a rather hideous bowl made to look like the detached head of Baby Jesus. Eleven of these squares are blank. The twelfth square displays  an X.  The lucky sibling who draws the slip of paper bearing the X is not required to buy gifts for his or her parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, and nieces and nephews. Instead, he or she must, with the help of his or her spouse and offspring, steal something that belongs to every single member of the family throughout the next year. Even the babies are stolen from in this most warped version of a holiday tradition. Then, on the next April 6, the stolen items are presented, gift-wrapped, to the people from whom they were stolen, along with all the rest of the gifts.

The person who draws the X and is obligated to pilfer goods from the rest of the family is known as The Jester. Some joke, huh? My dad said that Mahonri tried to get the tradition started in our family as well, but my grandmother said it was the most batshit-crazy idea she had ever heard of in her entire life (though probably not in those exact words) and that her family would have no part in such an aberrant practice.

Could anything positively scream the pure love of Christ and the peace surrounding his birth as much as petty or grand theft among close family members?

Heidi Cruz, Melania Trump, Their Husbands, PACs and SuperPACs, and Other Players in the Most Recent Drama

The contest is a bit more balanced
when Donald Trump doesn't choose the pictures.

I won't recount too many of the details of the Facebook ads released by Liz Mair, who heads the super PAC Make America Awesome, and of the ensuing Twitter debate. Anyone who cares has already read the material. For anyone who doesn't care, it's bad enough that I'm devoting space and time even to the fallout.

I don't have any strong feelings about Heidi Cruz other than the feeling that the man to whom she is married is perhaps a raving lunatic. As far as her appearance is concerned, she looks like an ordinary person to me. She's probably at least as attractive as are the mothers of most of my friends. 

I will go on record as saying that releasing the ad featuring a nude Melania Trump was not a strategically well-planned tactic. The Mormons already didn't like Donald Trump. Cruz already had the Mormon republican vote. There was little to gain and a lot to lose by releasing the pro-Cruz anti-Trump endorsement, since it isn't 1896, and word of what is released to the Facebook feeds of people living in Utah usually makes it to the rest of the population, some of whom may be put off by sexist implications of the endorsement.

The add was not distributed by Cruz's campaign but, instead, as was noted earlier, by a super PAC opposing Trump.  While  the super PAC's  role in releasing this ad diminishes the culpability Cruz and those operating his campaign perhaps slightly, neither can Cruz accept the benefit of the super PAC's involvement while simultaneously denying all responsibility for what the group does when the group's actions appear to have crossed lines that shouldn't have been crossed. If he's unwilling to categorically distance himself from  all tactics and maneuverings of a super PAC, he'll be linked with anything said or done with the presumed intent of disposing of Donald Trump as the republican candidate for president.

Cruz claims that spouses are off-limits. Will he cling to that mantra if he eventually wins the republican nomination and finds himself running against Hillary Clinton? I'd be very surprised. Perhaps spouses should be off-limits, but if there's anything about a spouse that is interesting enough to be used against a candidate in a political campaign, in all probability it can and will be used.

Trump's tweet juxtaposing the photo of Heidi Cruz's face caught in an awkward pose next to a glamour shot of his wife was asinine beyond belief. Melania Cruz would have to be considered to be more physically attractive than Heidi Cruz would be. At the same time, it's far from a level playing field to select a flattering photo of one person, then to place it, for purposes of comparison, next to a picture snapped while another person is speaking. Depending upon the particular dialect of a given U.S. region, there are between forty-eight and fifty phonemes used to produce the American dialect of English. A list of these phonemes is probably available on Wikipedia or at some similar site. A curious person might download the list, them take a selfie while producing each of these sounds. When the person viewed the selfies, the person would probably discover that he or she looked quite silly when articulating certain phonemes. If you think I'm exaggerating, look at yourself in a mirror while you are making a /v/, /f/, /r/, /p/, /b/, /m/, or /w/ sound.

Any major disparity between the perceived levels of attractiveness possessed by Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz can probably be explained with the rationale that
Melania Trump is a former supermodel while Heidi Cruz is not. When I think about it, the very idea of Ted Cruz being married to a supermodel is ludicrous. He's most fortunate to have found a wife as attractive as Heidi Cruz is. The idea of Donald Trump being married to a former supermodel would be even more outrageous were it not for the fact that Trump is in possession of an almost insane amount of money. That sort of money can be a motivating factor in marriage. Sometimes a person who is leaps and bounds above another in physical attractiveness  may be persuaded by money to tie the knot with a person as aesthetically challenged even as is Donald Trump. 

That Donald Trump is posting his wife-comparison tweets is inane. That Ted Cruz is responding is equally farcical. That the national media is covering this not-even-schoolyard-worthy dispute is even more preposterous.

It would be funny if it weren't very closely connected to a U.S. presidential election. One of these two men will very likely have the republican nomination in a few short months. God help us all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

USMLE -- I said it aloud and haven't been struck by lightning yet.

The face pictured here is not mine.

I've finished coursework. In just a couple of moths I'll take Step 1 of the USMLE. My initial plan was to pursue hedonistic pleasures this week, to have my tonsils (and possibly my adenoids as well) removed next week, and to recover for a period of ten days to two weeks following the surgery, studying only intermittently. Following my recovery, I would begin a six-to-seven-week period of rather intense study for the first installment of the USMLE, which is said to be the mother****er of all tests.

Old habits die hard, however. I didn't get to my current station in life (which is not all that much about which to boast, though what I have achieved would be even more pathetic by comparison  had I gone through life up to this point as a slacker) by waiting until the last possible moment to prepare for any exam.

I began the arduous process of studying for Step 1 of the USMLE this morning. I didn't study for the full the twelve-to-fourteen hours that I plan to devote to test prep once I begin studying truly in earnest, but I gave "the Boards" a solid eight hours and forty minutes of my time. I'll probably do the same for most of the days this week. I'll still manage to knock at least three of the four items off my short-term "bucket list" for this week, but I could not give up studying even were I to try. Studying is such a habit for me that it's not much of a stretch to call it an addiction. 

Step 1 of the USMLE contains 280 multiple-choice questions (dropping, as of May 2016, from 322 questions)  which are to be completed over an eight-hour span, with forty-five minutes of the eight hours allotted for break time. A person can increase his or her break time by skipping the optional fifteen-minute tutorial at the beginning and/or by finishing each of the seven sections in less than one hour. Unless a person taking the test has highly extenuating circumstances, i.e. lactating or something similarly compelling, it would seem rather foolish either to skip the tutorial or to give any section less that its fully allotted time merely to increase one's break time. Then again, I don't smoke. Perhaps I'd feel differently about breaks if I were a nicotine addict.

Results for Step 1 of the USMLE are reported as scaled scores -- a three-digit score as high as 300, along with a two-digit score that we're told is not a percentile ranking but looks, sounds, and smells eerily like one.  The minimum passing score is 190, but anyone whose score skulks anywhere near 190 will be forced to settle for the very dregs of placements in terms of internship or residency.  Medical schools vary with regard to the number of attempts allowed. A person may take the test up to six times; my med school allows only three attempts before the candidate's enrollment is terminated. I will not jinx myself by suggesting that there's no way I will fail the test on my first attempt, but I seriously have no intention of taking the Boards three times.

I have a detailed study plan mapped out in writing, borrowing heavily from someone else's plan I found online. I've already deviated from it, though, by having  begun my study yesterday. I'd love to take a laid-back approach to this thing, but I can't. Neither can I pretend that my level of obsession is a good thing. On the other hand, were I not stressing out over the USMLE, I'd undoubtedly be stressing out over something else. The USMLE is as worthy as any other cause for stress.

I''m not depicted in any of these drawings.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Good-Bye Tonsils (sung to the tune of "Good-Bye, Little Sebastian")

This is not MY throat, and these are not MY tonsils, by the way.

I made it though finals with minimal stress. All test scores have been reported except for the last one, and I maxed out exam scores. The last one shouldn't be much different than the others. (Thanks for asking, la perla.) Our course grades are pass/fail.

 Now it's on to bigger and better things. Our cohort is now de facto disbanded as we individually prep for the mother of all exams. We had a final social event which was attended by a large percentage of us. Some of us will choose to study together for a portion of our USMLE preparation, and we'll continue to see each other from time to time in the hospital and elsewhere as we begin clerkships. Still it will not be the same. The cohort was like being in a self-contained fourth-grade class, and then having the class move en masse the next year to fifth grade. We'll have the rare meeting as well, but it won't be the same. Alas, even good things must come to an end.

After partying with my classmates ( I limited myself to two mixed drinks, light on the alcohol in both), I slept for about twenty-six hours uninterrupted. Then I packed and drove to my parents' place on the central coast. I have nine days to relax, after which my tonsils are being removed. The tonsil removal is not without controversy. My pediatrician does not think the surgery is necessary. Two doctors at my school, however, consider me a walking strep factory as long as my tonsils are in place, and both of them knew that I wouldn't have the surgery done in their location, so they had no financial incentive to push the surgery on me. The ENT I saw for my secondary consultation said that my adenoids may need to come out as well, but it probably won't be known for certain until the surgeon gets a better look.The bottom line is that it's not my uncle's area of specialty, but he's still asserting his opinion. My dad said if I'm really contracting strep on a regular basis, it would be irresponsible to move on to clinical rotations with my tonsils still in place, but it was my decision. 

As much as I don't want to go through this procedure, if it must be done, now is the time to do it. I have an extremely accomplished surgeon.  I can recuperate in the comfort of my plush room at my parents' home, and I can study when I feel up to it. My dad and uncles can even help me study if I want their help. A couple of weeks following the surgery, I'll head back up north to the condo and will study there.

Meanwhile, I have a short-term list of goals to be accomplished. I need to para-sail at least once, preferably off the coast of Catalina. I want to see at least one musical before my surgery, and I don't yet have any tickets.  I would really like to find a viola to buy for a reasonable price. My cousin named a prize heifer after me, and I need to meet this creature. I can knock off my goals one at a time if I skimp on sleep. There will be ample time for sleep after my tonsils (and possibly adenoids) have been unceremoniously ripped from my throat.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Daylight Saving Time Sucks!

Finals are here, or will be in less than seven hours. I'm as prepared as I can ever be. I expect the exams to be tough but no tougher than the previous two terms, and I have no electives and hence fewer exams about which to worry.in a few days, whether good or bad, it will be history.

Almost all of us in the cohort gave up  a few hours on Saturday to help someone in the film and media studies department with his project. I can't share the specifics of the project at this time, not that anyone is waiting with bated breath to learn of the details. The timing could have been far better, as we're all facing finals, and the guy's project isn't due until next semester, but he needed the rough footage for his project proposal right now, and almost everyone in the cohort was kind enough to comply. It wasn't such a big deal for me personally, as I've been studying this quarter's material since before the quarter even officially started, but the same cannot be said of all my cohort mates. It was an amazing display of generosity on their part.

I can't remember if I've shared this before, but regardless of whether or not I'm being redundant, I must say that I HATE Daylight Saving Time.*** I know as much as the next person about the historical significance and supposed need  for it, but I'm not buying what is said. Why the #%!&  does the #%!&ing clock need to change? If the agrarian component of our society is so adversely affected by the times in which the sun rises and sets, couldn't farmers and their employees set their alarm clocks and begin their days an hour earlier in the times of the year that they need to maximize their daylight hours? If an entire community is adversely affected, couldn't that community adjust its business hours? Why must the rest of us be dragged along for the ride?

Things were bad enough when half the year was spent in standard time and the remaining half in Daylight Saving Time. Since President George W. Bush reduced the portion of the year to be spent in standard time, however, it's  even more noticeably stupid. In my present area, several school districts adjust their start and end times based on Daylight Saving Time. If enough institutions adopt this practice, isn't it more or less a de facto negation of Daylight Saving Time? The rest of the school systems have students, teachers, or employees who are zombies for a portion of the start or the end of the day, based on whether they're morning or evening people, for a month or so into any transition period. DST has also been cited as a major contributing factor in accidents.

Is the degree to which daylight hours are supposedly being maximized under Daylight Saving Time genuinely benefiting the economy and the nation as a whole? I find it quite hard to believe that it is, and I say this as an industrious student who makes it to class on time every day, Daylight Saving Time notwithstanding. It's just that my head often hurts and I feel lousy each time the clock springs forward one hour.

*** It's technically "Daylight Saving Time", as opposed to the more commonly heard "Daylight Savings Time."


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Close Encounters of the Odd Kind

This is a picture not of me but of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.

Raptor Jesus and his study group crashed one of my study groups at my condo tonight. It made for a rather strange dynamic. It was almost like being paid a visit by a gang leader or a mafia don. He sent a flunkie in first to ensure that it was OK if they came in. I said it was fine. as study sessions go, it was fine. we'd been through the meatiest of the material we would study for the evening before Raptor Jesus and his group arrived. They didn't seem utterly clueless on the other stuff we covered.

I could tell right away that the visit really wasn't about studying. I thought initially that it might be because they had heard we usually have good food, which we do. Tonight was no exception, but Raptor Jesus and his people didn't make pigs of themselves. He even handed someone a couple of twenties and sent the person out for more food. They didn't try to take over the most comfortable seating in the place, either.

Then, as the study session was wrapping up, I learned the true nature of the visit. Raptor Jesus sent someone to his car to get his guitar out of the trunk.  He made the comment that as nice as "In the Ghetto" had sounded on the viola, he suspected it would sound even better on the cello, and he asked me to play it for him. I retrieved my cello from the office, tuned it, and played through it as he strummed along. Matthew asked him if he -- Matthew -- should get his guitar out as well. Raptor Jesus said yes. Matthew's quite a bit more skilled at guitar than Raptor Jesus is, so he mostly just sang after that. He also wanted to sing "Ring of Fire,"The Battle of New Orleans," American Pie," and "Lola" by the Kinks.

It was interesting encounter though not an unpleasant one.  I had no idea the guy was interested in music.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Obnoxious Use of Twitter, Obnoxious Term of "Concert Pianist," and Obnoxiousness in General

I'm not the bluebird in this picture.

This is a bit lengthy and probably boring. Read at your own risk.

I don't use Facebook. I didn't start on it as a teen because my mom didn't want my brother or me to be involved with it. She  offered a significant financial incentive to us for not using it until we were twenty-one. I could have signed up since then, but I've seen little reason to do so. Most of my friends use Facebook. Some are able to make what I would consider to be good use of it in keeping up with friends. For many others, it seems to be more of a source of headaches and drama than it would seem to be worth. It could ultimately be used against me in securing an internship or residency, so I'll probably stay away at least until I'm well into a residency, and probably longer since interns and residents have little time for such frivolity.

I do, however, use Twitter on a very limited basis. Initially it was for me as a young adolescent an outlet to express my rage at being kept down by The Man and his representatives. My parents allowed it because they didn't have to listen to my venomous outpourings while I was venting on Twitter. It's now almost entirely a source of amusement for me, though I do use the Direct Message feature as a shortcut to email. With Twitter itself,  there's a limit to how much trouble can be stirred up when one is limited to a combination of one-hundred-forty characters and spaces. Nevertheless, if one is sufficiently resourceful, some trouble can still be stirred up even within the constraints of the Twitter format. If I am to be perfectly honest, I must admit that in the interests of science and entertainment, I've occasionally stirred up a bit of trouble there. I did so yesterday.

It all began a year or so ago when Judge Alex Ferrer posted a picture of himself with his mother on Twitter. I commented in response to his posting of the picture that he resembled his mother except that she was prettier. While I cannot recall the specifics of his reply to my response other than that I do remember that there was a reply, Judge Ferrer seemed not to have been affronted by my response. Most men would, I assume, prefer that they be considered less pretty than their mothers. God knows I could be wrong about this, but I would expect that most of the men I know would probably take some degree of offense to being told the reverse. I suppose it would be every bit as acceptable if not more so just to note the resemblance without bothering to state that either one was prettier than the other, but neither would the inclusion of the comparison seem to be fighting words.

That was just my perspective, however. Another follower of Judge Ferrer took exception to my response. (For the record, I don't believe she's a particularly frequent commenter to Judge Ferrer's postings. I don't think I had come across a response from her to one of Judge Ferrer's postings before or have since then, though I haven't been terribly vigilant in watching for comments from her. She may be a personal acquaintance of his, as she lives in south Florida, though it's a large and heavily populated region. Assuming they know each other personally would be the rough equivalent of assuming that your friend Steve knows my friend Olivia because they both live in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area.) She directed a reply to my response, stating, and I quote, "That's terrible! I can't believe you said that." I didn't respond to her reply, but I made a mental note of it and have, for my own enjoyment, periodically checked in on the woman's Twitter activity since then.

I shall not name the other follower of Judge Ferrer,  as it wouldn't seem to be too much of a stretch  that she might be a litigious sort of person. While what I have said or will say would be defensible against any charge of libel because everything I've said about the situation is either factual or is clearly a matter of opinion, neither do I desire to devote any time to defending myself against such a charge.  The person of whom I write is a business person. She claims to have earned a bachelor's degree and to have had past employment in an allied health field, and she also claims to be a concert pianist. I'll address the concert pianist issue later. The person is heavily invested in the national political scene. She's a Donald Trump supporter and is an Obama and Hillary Clinton hater. Of late, she's also become a Rubio hater (she has suggested that Rubio is a drug user or abuser and refers to him as "Narco Rubio") and even a Ted Cruz hater. I'm unclear as to the nature of her enmity toward Cruz other than his status as an opponent of Donald Trump, as it would appear that his platform wouldn't be all that ideologically dissimilar from her own at least as I've observed it to be, but politics have been known to create both strange bedfellows and strange enemies. This person was a strong supporter of Fox News until Donald Trump had his parting of the ways with the "fair and balanced" flagship. She now writes most derisively about the network and its mouthpieces.

The person of whom I write has, as I see it, rather intense misconceptions concerning the closeness of relationship or familiarity afforded by Twitter acquaintanceship between celebrities and their Twitter followers. My mother would say that I am the proverbial pot calling the kettle black in this regard. My mom has for several years been bothered by what she refers to as my continual harassment of Judge Ferrer through the medium of Twitter. For whatever reason, Judge Ferrer has been most generous with the time and attention he devotes to fans. I now, much to my mother's chagrin,  consider the judge to be a friend, though I respect the boundaries that need to be maintained in such a friendship. 

I've concluded that the person of whom I write does not make the distinction between social media relationships not otherwise linked in real life and bona fide in-the-flesh connections.  On nights when I've studied so much that I can't bear to read about another white blood cell or diseased organ, it's a nice diversion to me to read her comments to celebrities and media personalities, then to read the comments from among her non-famous peers. I get the impression that these people really believe that they're not just civic-minded and concerned voters but major players in the presidential primary. Taking pleasure in what I perceive as their delusional commentary does not present me or my character in an especially positive light, I concede, but I'm human. I have to do something to keep myself sane during stressful times.

As I'm making a long story even longer, I'll attempt to cut to the chase. While I've sent the occasional tweet  with a benign interjection or question to this person or to one of the others in her circles, I've mostly been a bit of a voyeur. Last night I chose to send a rather obnoxious tweet to the woman. It was an immature thing to have done -- revenge of sorts for what I considered the rude tweet she sent me long ago. She would likely have no memory of the tweet she sent to me so long ago that irked me.  What I wrote  was petty and pointless. Still, as the mean-spirited person that I sometimes am, sending the tweet gave me pleasure.

The person made a comment and then conceded that the subject in question was not her " forte' ." I typed the single quotation mark here as she used it. The single quotation mark was presumably used as a makeshift accent (presumably the French accent ague, which is tough to access in English in the Twitter format). This would indicate that the word was to be pronounced /for-TAY/.  This is a mispronunciation of the word in the sense that it was used. Some dictionaries now list /for-TAY/ as a secondary pronunciation for forte meaning "a thing at which someone excels." The secondary pronunciation acceptability status came about from continual misuse. Repeated misuse leads to an error being considered standard English language usage over time. (I fear that in my lifetime, "I seen him" will achieve "standard English language usage" status just because of its pervasive misuse among the Jerry Springer/Judge Judy clientele of our society.) The correct pronunciation of the word is /fort/, just like the word fort. Forte pronounce /for-TAY/ should be reserved for the musical term meaning loud.

Disagreeable soul that I can be, I shared my knowledge with the person in question. I should note that while I dislike the very idea of pet peeves, as we tend to make far too much of little things that vex us, if I were to have a pet peeve, it would probably be related to the pervasiveness of Grammar, English Language Usage, and Pronunciation Police.  We all need to get over ourselves by policing our own grammar, English language usage, and pronunciation, and allowing others the same privilege. Still, I enjoyed the pedantically obnoxious act of correcting the woman's pronunciation far more than a mentally healthy person should have. (That's my defense! I'll claim insanity.)

The woman first responded by telling me that she knows what "forte' " means and how to pronounce it, again using the makeshift accent, which would indicate that she didn't know how to pronounce it. Then she must have looked it up and found that I was correct, because she posted another response, this time without the makeshift accent, telling me that she knows how to pronounce the word because she speaks French. She also said she didn't recall "verbalizing" the word. She was correct in that she didn't pronounce it out loud, of course. She didn't have to because she used the quotation mark as an accent. Then she told me that she is a concert pianist. Then she disparaged my status as a medical school student. Then she probably blocked me. I don't know. I blocked her, as I need not to obsess on her anymore. It was fun while it lasted, though.

Someday I'll devote a blog to the topic of the term concert pianist.  What makes a person a concert pianist, anyway? It's not a protected term. Anyone can claim without repercussion to be a concert pianist. Technically there are probably two definitions. One definition would encompass anyone who has every played piano in a concert. By this definition, a rock musician could be a concert pianist. So could a person who held a concert in his living room, during which he played "Chopsticks" [the one song that he knows] on the piano. The other definition would be "a classical pianist who regularly performs as a soloist in concert performances." While I cannot know for certain, I highly doubt that Judge Ferrer's other follower meets this criterion. Perhaps she means that she's a classically trained pianist. I can only surmise. 

My behavior yesterday was so rude that I'm not proud of myself. Nevertheless, it got me through another day. 

I have to have my tonsils out soon. I'm not sure when. Other than one ulcerative colitis flare and several minor bouts with strep, this has been a good year in terms of health. I was disappointed to learn that my tonsils have to go. I don't know for sure if the surgery will happen here or at home. It would be more convenient to have it done here, but I might have more control in who performs it if I have the surgery at home. My doctor says it needs to happen soon enough that I'll be 100% recovered before I begin clerkships, which will start in late June.

One small consolation is that I'm not a singer, so I don't have to worry excessively about my vocal cords being damaged.It's not that I want to sustain damage to my vocal cords. It's just that the stakes are less high since I'm not a singer.

Neither person in this image is me.