Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

A blogable moment with Gabriel  2

Posted on November 27th, 2007. About Baby Dodds.

I just experienced a wonderful moment with my son, although I don’t know if I can properly convey exactly what it was that made it so special. After his bath, I dressed him in (nine-month-sized!) fuzzy flannel onesie snowman pajamas, to keep him feeling snuggly throughout the night and enabling sleep. Then, we played for a while – he is doing incredibly well during tummy time now, lifting up with his arms and reaching for toys. After playing, he curled up on his mat and placed his middle and ring fingers into his mouth, ready to sleep.

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I held him in the crook of my arm as he sucked his fingers and read both Buenas Noches, Luna and Goodnight, Moon to him. He spent most of the time looking up at me with those big blue eyes, sucking his fingers, and gradually getting sleepier and sleepier. I rocked him like this for about ten minutes, just staring at him, as he sucked his fingers on one hand while exploring my face with the other. Eventually, he grew too sleepy, and the eyelids began to shut. At that point, I placed him in his crib, and he fell asleep instantly.

We took him to the pediatrician last week, and his stats are great – he’s between the 75th and 90th percentile for height (26 inches), weight (16 lbs 15 oz), and head circumference (42.5 cm). He loves laughing as Evan razzes his belly, as we sing “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” and as my mother repeats the “B” sound to him (seriously, he laughs hysterically over this). His laugh is so innocent and sweet.

I love you, little boy.

Why is Wolf Blitzer a national news journalist?  2

Posted on November 19th, 2007. About News and Politics, Ramblings.

Has anyone out there ever asked this very question? CNN has given him his own cable news show, The Situation Room, which is an overstimulating experience of multiple images suffocating its viewer, and an underwhelming intellectual experience. Not only is The Situation Room on five days a week, but it is THREE HOURS LONG. That is FIFTEEN HOURS of Wolf Blitzer weekly. And if that wasn’t enough to make people pull their toenails out, CNN made him the host of the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas last week!

Wolf Blitzer has annoyed me for years, but the recent debate has given me the smack I needed to finally blog about this. If I had to pinpoint exactly what irritates me, it goes something like this:

1. Wolf Blitzer continuously repeats himself.

2. Wolf Blitzer continuously repeats painfully obvious points.

3. He never seems to be listening to others when they are speaking. This comment is reinforced by the statements he makes when another person is finished speaking that seem tangential, at best.

4. He is not assertive and ends up appearing helpless.

5. When appearing helpless, he resorts to repeating painfully obvious points.

During this most recent of the many debates we have endured, Blitzer introduced the rules by informing the candidates that he would “gently” remind them if they were going over their allotted amount of time. Fine. Then, when the debate started, speeches between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama bounced back and forth, and during the first ten minutes I wondered if Blitzer would ever step in to allow any of the other candidates a chance to speak. Then, when Gov. Bill Richardson finally had the opportunity for air time, he was in the middle of giving an excellent answer to a question, which he stated he would answer in four parts, and after articulating parts one, two, and three, he said, “And fourth…” when Blitzer butted in and tried to cut him off. There were many awkward exchanges like this.

Suzanne Malveaux, John Roberts (the reporter, not the Justice), and Campbell Brown were all present to ask questions of the candidates. I just do not understand why Blitzer is the host, front and center, while three intelligent and interesting journalists play supporting roles in his show. It resembles the situation in The Fountainhead in which Lois Cook, the fictional author of The Gallant Gallstone (a fictional piece of fiction), is promoted to the top of the literary world because Ellsworth Toohey props her up to the public as the author that should be appreciated, and so people do just that because they are docile gullible souls. She is not talented or better than any other author, but people like her because they feel it is the acceptable thing to do.

CNN constantly tells us we should watch Wolf Blitzer in his Situation Room, and we do. Maybe he is on tv because the 24-hour cable news networks need someone who can fill three hours each day, and I must admit, he does succeed at this.

Little G update  0

Posted on November 17th, 2007. About Baby Dodds.

Wow, what a week it has been. Evan was in Barcelona on a business trip, and I had to give my first Neurology Grand Rounds talk (which went well!). I’ve had a great week with Little G; he turned four months old on Wednesday! I had to take some photographs of him on his big one-third-of-a-year birthday, which will be up shortly.

One activity I enjoy a great deal with G is giving him his bath. He’s so alert, laughing, and splashing around in his little tub. We always sing the Buddy Holly song and change the night of the week – “Splish, Splash I was takin’ a bath, all upon a M/T/W/Th/F/S/Sun night!” He is also responding to his bath toys now.

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Then, after the bath is complete, it’s time to wrap G in a hooded towel or in his bathrobe!

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This week, he receives his second set of S-H-O-T-S. I have sympathy for Jenny McCarthy and for her four-year-old autistic son, but autism does not come from vaccines. However, public health epidemics do arise from the lack of vaccines. I’ll stop there. Anyway, it’s odd to think that G will not have the chickenpox as I did. When I was growing up, one accentuation of the age gap between my mother and me was my awareness that she had had measles, rubella, mumps, etc, and I never had any of these viral illnesses. Now, G will potentially see me in the same way.

Anyway, the boy is doing quite well – he rolled over for the first time on November 9th, but once on his belly he could not turn himself back onto his backside and grew upset. The same thing happened the following day, and then earlier this week for me. Now he makes sure he has an arm in the way to keep from completely turning over, but rather, he makes a 3/4 turn and can flip to his back again.

So that’s the update – parenthood is still a joy!

Oil for everyone  0

Posted on November 12th, 2007. About Uncategorized.

On Sunday, November 11th, 1,000 tons of fuel oil were spilled into the Black Sea after a storm split the ship that was carrying it apart. This spill comes less than a week after the massive 58,000 gallon oil spill into San Francisco Bay.

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What is the matter with us? Why are we still using this stuff? Why aren’t we more aggressively seeking alternative forms of energy?

What are you DOING, Gamecocks?!  2

Posted on November 6th, 2007. About Sports.

I don’t get it. I honestly don’t get it. The chicken curse is real.

After rising in the rankings to SIXTH in the nation in college football, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks are absolutely blowing their chance for a bowl game. After beating Georgia and Kentucky, they nearly lost to UNC Chapel Hill (an unranked team), and then lost big-time (in the words of Dick Cheney) to Vanderbilt (an unranked team at the time), Tennessee (an unranked team at the time), and this past weekend lost to Arkansas (another unranked team). And to rub salt in my wounds, I saw today that Clemson, our sworn enemy, is now ranked in the top 25. Watching Gamecock football in a location 3000 miles from the Palmetto State is my connection to the homeland (well, that and watching The Colbert Report as Stephen was crafting his entry into the presidential primary race in SC).

While I watch Ohio State sit in the #1 spot, I know they probably deserve it, but Oregon is having a dynamite season too! And yet – rather than acknowledging that Ohio State is awesome, my first thought is – “The Gamecocks defeated them in the Outback Bowl two years in a row, so EAT IT.” I suppose that is the loyalty that the Gamecocks enjoy from their fans – that even when they are 1-23 (which was the case my junior year in college), Williams-Brice Stadium sells out, Cocky is one of the top five most popular mascots in the country, and we still insist that we are the real USC (look it up – University of South Carolina, founded 1801, much before the University of Southern California, who stole our acronym).

We face off against Florida this weekend – maybe since they are actually a good, ranked team we may be able to beat them. Plus, we have their coach, and we defeated them last year. If they can pull this off, I may forgive them. If not, then I’ll still cheer for them anyway.

I love Rent…  0

Posted on November 5th, 2007. About Entertainment, Ramblings.

Rent, the musical (I like to think of it as a “rock opera”), that is.

I arrived home from work at 5:45 this evening and was greeted by my precious three-and-a-half month old son and his new nanny, who just started working for us today. Then, I fed G, and he stopped eating periodically to look up and offer me a sleepy smile. 🙂 He is darling! Then, we played for a bit, and he nearly fell asleep on his blanket on the floor – I guess he has a very exciting day. As he napped, I cooked dinner, and as I sat down to eat, I wanted to listen to music rather than watch tv. Instantly, I wanted to hear the Rent soundtrack. I haven’t heard it in about a year, but tonight I just needed to enjoy one of my all-time favorite songs from a musical theatre production, Seasons of Love.

What a monumental composition! It is such a tragedy that Jonathan Larsen passed away at only 35, before he had the chance to enjoy his amazing show.

The start of Seasons of Love is profound:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?
In Daylights – In Sunsets
In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles
In Laughter – In Strife
In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure
A Year In The Life?

The next verse is equally astonishing:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Journeys To Plan
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure The Life
Of A Woman Or A Man?
In Truth That She Learned
Or In Times That He Cried
In Bridges He Burned
Or The Way That She Died
All:
It’s Time Now – To Sing Out
Though The Story Never Ends
Let’s Celebrate
Remember A Year In The Life Of Friends

And yet – the words do not do the song justice. The passion in the voices of the performers, and the style of the music itself, is just awesome. And it doesn’t end there – so many remarkable songs tell the story of Gen X-ers struggling to survive in an age of poverty, AIDS, doomed love, addiction. Some of my other favorites include One Song Glory, Roger’s reckoning with his HIV status and the death of his beloved (and the source of his infection); Will I, the fearful chanting of the HIV support group as they wonder if they will lose their dignity; Santa Fe, the fantasizing of friends with hopeless futures; and What You Own, two friends with pithy statements on the state of American materialism.

Thanks, Jonathan Larsen. I hope you enjoyed composing it as much as I enjoy listening to it on evenings just before my son splashes around in his tub and listens to his bedtime story.

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