Accordant Summits and Newton’s Laws

I love maps, all my life they’ve whispered to me. I spin imaginary globes in my mind and imagine a sphere metamorphosing from three dimensions to two in arcane and artful ways.

Lines of longitude and latitude: which is which? Here is a mnemonic to help:

Lines of latitude are like the rungs of a ladder extending from Equator to Pole. The ladder rungs connect along the long lines of longitude (left and right side of the ladder). There’s something curious about that ladder — it connects to a single point at the top or bottom of the Earth.

The Mercator Projection takes the two points of the two terrestrial poles and stretches them from zero to infinity. A Mercator projection was designed for one thing only, and though that one use is obsolete,  Mercator dies on.

 

USGS topographic quadrangles describe a rectangle representing 7.5 minutes of arc. A quadrangle at the Equator is a square, a quadrangle at the North or South Poles is a triangle.

You can trace landscapes on a paper topographic quadrangle. There is a symbol available for every conceivable landmark, including the occasional sunken ship.

Our geomorphology tour now takes us to Cincinnati, OH. I’m the guide with the microphone at the front of the bus. Here’s what I am saying:

“A gently arcing dome once defined Cincinnati’s geomorphology. The most recent glaciation crushed the entire city under a couple hundred feet of solid ice, creating a set of hills carved from that arcing dome. When you stand on any of the surrounding hills you see all the other hills: 360 degrees surrounding a central point, each separated from the others by a number of miles. The technical term is ‘accordant summits’.”

treppen.concept

Time to share a memory with you.

In the 1960’s our family would spend two-weeks in the northern oven-mitt of Michigan, we drove from Cincinnati on US Route 27  — a two-lane highway that also extends into Florida. We would unfold a free gas-station roadmap and wait for a city limit sign to appear on the horizon. I would run a black marker up the lap-held map as the drive progressed northward. A pre-cursor if you will.

There were no automobile seat belts in 1964 — each occupant had the unfettered freedom to pass directly through the windshield in a way explained by Isaac Newton. To paraphrase Isaac: an object in motion wants to just keep on moving: even when everything else stops moving.

first.law.motion

Time now for an anecdote.

We were headed to a cottage in Michigan in one of those years (1964) when no passenger vehicles came equipped with seat belts.

I’m the guide with microphone at the front of the bus again:

“My mother held my youngest sister securely in her lap, front passenger side. Shifting her position, mom leaned against the passenger-door, felt that door open and saw the rushing roadway beneath them. But my mother knew about the first law of motion. Her objective: stop two objects in motion from following the lawful course identified by Newton. She successfully moved the center of gravity leftward by shifting their inclination inward, and by yanking the passenger door to a latched state.

The moral of this anecdote: understanding physics saves  lives.”

twerking.passenger

Thanks for reading.

Crohn’s and Diet — What gives?

A kind reader’s comment catalyzed my thought process to inspire this post. Seriously. My readers are wondrous alchemists that way 🙂

Crohn’s and Diet — What gives?

diet-loses-their-minds

Curiously enough, I need not reset the year on my time-machine dashboard. We’ve recently visited curious stuff in 1975, but this time I won’t rattle on about Singer minicomputers. This time-travel travelogue concerns a close encounter at the shore of the river Styx at age 27.

The vacuum tubes in my time machine are powered by  rearranging electrons. This permits movement through time, according to a red-herring theory concocted one day while waiting on a bus to Eureka. I’ve heard that one theory is as good as another.

I’ve discovered an intriguing tattoo inspired by experience with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — something quite striking IMO.

ibd.inspired.tat

 

Sorry, but we suspect you’re just belly-aching, Bill. We’ve heard that Crohn’s is all in your mind. For the record, would you be nice and admit that?

No.

I visited my doctor on a Friday afternoon —there was unrelenting fever and stomach pain. The pain and fever were still there on Monday morning — so my doctor, being the gullible type,  told me to get my guts to the emergency room. They assigned the nearest available surgeon, one who knew how to remove several yards of intestine. The surgeon was not known for his bedside manner — he informed me that I’d brought the disease on myself by worrying too much. His advice: stop worrying and it will go away — QED.

Bill, you’ve simply become more gutless.

I guess so.

Let’s shove some electrons in the other direction: to 1978. Just a simple corollary if you will. Time is straight-forward stuff. It has a past, a present and a hypothetical future.

This time ’round I had the same Crohn’s flare up symptoms, but something unusual caught my eye while pissing in the pot — gases and solids came out with the liquid. It seems that a fistula (a tunnel) grew from an intestinal wall and connected with my bladder, thereby compromising my urinary tract.

In other words, Bill, you decided to strain the nation’s provisional health care system AGAIN. Had you listened to the wise advice of that first surgeon and changed you state of mind…instead you became ever more gutless.

This time an excellent team of surgeons were available to perform simultaneous intestinal and bladder operations. I spent the following nine weeks in a hospital bed, weaning off Prednisone by eating popsicles three times a day.  Hyperalimentation was a new technique invented by Dr. Stanley Dudrick. A tube was inserted near my right collar bone, through a vein and into my heart. Simple dumping into veins would clog immediately My weight before the hyper-A was 51 kg. Under hyper-A resulted in a weight gain of 454 gram per day.

erase.the.dividing.line

After a surgery for removal of some more intestine, and an attempt to reconnect healthy tissue to healthy tissue, I woke up with a colostomy — it reminds me of that gentle expression “We’re going to cut you a new asshole” ; in other words, I eliminated solid waste when the excrement reached that rectal alternative. The takeaway: two weeks after that surgery I was back at work and regaining strength.

We do like that part about the rectal alternative, but we do not approve of your language. Just trying to keep things civil here. You’re not very nice, are you?

Junk food is still food

I encountered that chunk of idiocy while researching this post.

Well, you got to die of something

Sadly, nutrition does not interest most physicians. There are head-shaking doctors who rail against vegan patients that have the temerity to answer a questionnaire with an honest response.

you.are.what.you.eat

It’s very much left to personal choice, and what is called dietary freedom. I suggest this caveat — you’re bucking trillion-dollar industries when you question the consumption of sentient-animals.

You are told that malabsorption results in low B-12 levels, that the most effective solution is cow consumption — the more the better. Bon appetit.

There is not much funding available for the promotion of vegan diets. Following the money leads you to profitable enterprises — a trillion dollars is not chump change.

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When I finally realized that cheese, dairy and eggs meant both bad karma and bad health, my health became much better. Perhaps it’s the positive influence of all my kind readers :-).

Diet is only considered if there is a handy pharmaceutical prescription to address it — a little special remuneration in back pockets perhaps, provided by the nattily dressed and manicured, not to mention Happy. HAPPY. H A P P Y Big Pharm reps.

 

Thanks for reading.

Meeting Sheffield in Manhattan

TGIF: to my good English friends

This is my cheery thanks for 237 WordPress views from the U.K. Yet, all readers are welcomed to join in the jape — even your homework-eating doggie or moggie is invited.

Right.

A few months ago I wrote a  post to celebrate non sequiturs.  So it certainly follows…

 

manhattan-ks
Kansas State University

The anecdote begins in a basement apartment, one with a bright southern exposure in the Manhattan Kansas of 1970. The landlady is an elderly widow under the name of McLeod. She pronounced this appellation “Mick Lee Odd” to the bloody-helliest consternation of my college roommate from Sheffield.

“She doesn’t even know how to pronounce her bloody name. Jesus F-ing Christ!”

Keith’s very words, excepting the letters k, u and c.

He bore a striking resemblance to Robert Carlyle’s character Gaz in The Full Monty. The marvelous synchronicity of life and art finds me in Sheffield, whether led by Robert Carlyle or by Keith.

robert-carlyle
Robert Carlyle could play Keith

 

We fed a stray moggie who frequented the window wells. Mrs. McLeod disapproved of visiting privileges for this fellow mammal of the feline kind. Of course she ran up the basement steps into the McLeod kitchen to begin her first and last apartment visit. Without hesitation.

A large collection of small glass animalia enjoyed the same southern exposure. Rays of sun pointed to all dust that might alight, only to fall victim daily to Mrs. M’s grey cloth.

She asked us to deduct a dollar from the $60 rent, were we to shovel the snow. No deduction did we make, so she baked us a cake and each snow day left it on the kitchen table next to the tub and in front of the shower’s wooden pallet.

Keith P. introduced me to real football. His mother sent him the pink sports pages by post each week. ’twas his sacred tradition to purchase a bag of chips and to consume all contents of the bag while reading the full contents of the weekly surprise. I learned of George Best in his better days. Mancunians, Liverpudlians. One week I selected Swansea as my team favorite UK team.

“Bloody hell, they’ll be relegated.”

Comes another random memory. A trip by ’63 Käfer from Manhattan (KS) to hometown Cincinnati. Christmas break. My father spent quite a few months in North Africa in 1943, but suffered the youthful certainty we thought real.

kaefer

Britain would have won the war without American help.”

Keith’s words paraphrased.

I sold encyclopedias for a couple months in Cincinnati the following summer. You could lie your ass off in those days. It was the most dishonest job I have ever held. Unfortunately I was good at it. One shred of dignity for my door-to-door robbery —it paid rent to the wonderful Mrs. McLeod. Keith spent that same summer in inner-city Detroit with a radical geographer: William Bunge, Theoretical Geography 1970.  A very different era.

 

draft-lottery
Selective Service Draft Lottery

Every evening we joined with Mrs. M. for the day’s first encounter with the larger world without. Our sole 30 minutes of TV viewing time.

Now the world without intercedes to display the more dismal side that is in the human shadow, I also remember the following:

Always Walter Cronkite and always the loud desperation on grainy black and white film, the black and white blood of teen-age death captured by a war correspondent’s film crew. Choppers measuring cacophony of war uncensored.

Keith was not draftable and September 17 gifted me a random 255 by dint of the document below. September 14 was the first number drawn in the draft lottery of 1969.

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