Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Story of Stuff

I know I know: Jon, didn't you just say you were in a testing week and didn't have time to write origional content for the Blog?

Well, the answer is yes. And once again I find myself in the oh-so fortunate predicament of being stuck in a perpetual Education:Exam time loop that is higher education. I mean all that fortunate stuff too. Exam weeks are for shit and my stress, emotions, normal brain function and humanity are all a bit tweaked, but what a place to be! I feel like any one of a number of Keanu Reeves characters* (Johnny Mnemonic, Neo, uh... that guy from The Devil's Advocate) who just soak up new information like a slightly moistened sponge. As stressful as exams can be I'm really grateful to be here.
Ok, the pity link:

This is the 20 min version of a book called, Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things. I read it a few years ago in New Zealand and think it's worh its weight in natural resources - more than enough to justify ordering yourself a used copy on Amazon (which, if you've read the book is high praise).

It's finals week for me and it may be for you as well. But, if youve got a second, use it to check out the link below:

*(Keanu Reeves turns 45 this September! Crazy.)

You're a star!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the department of BULK MAIL and e-mail FWDs:

A little known fact....

The first testicular guard "Cup" was used in hockey in 1874.

The first helmet was used in 1974.

It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Face of Chlamydia

Ah, the joys of out-of-work actors.

This lucky fellow gets to represent Chlamydia trachomatis on the CDC website.

Fantastic stuff. Fantastic stuff.

BacT URI / LRI Practice Questions:


Wobble, A 5'4'' 250lb man with flushed cheeks walks into your office. He is complaining of a rough/grainy rash under his arms and in a few of his more prominent skin folds. He reports getting a “cold” two weeks ago and “just toughing it out.”

A) What is the most likely etiological agent of Wobble's “cold?”

B) What is the name of the pathology causing his skin rash?

C) Name three potential complications of this pathology.

1 -
2 -
3 -

Bonus I: The above pathology is caused by what kind of toxin?

Bonus II: What causes the toxin production?

You are on a date at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a UNE undergrad you are hoping to impress. But, as it turns out you're kind of an idiot and don't know a thing about art. You've all but given up hope when you spot a painting that lifts your spirits. It is entitled “George Washington with Barking Cough,” and depicts our founding father on his deathbed. You call over your date who looks at the painting for a minute then asks:

A) “Why is his neck all extended like that?”

B) “That's scary! What do you call his disease?”

C)“What kind of bacteria would do such a thing?”

Bonus: Your date gives you a crooked smile then without warning rips off her wig, mask and UNE JV Soccer jersey, revealing none other than Dr. Vaughn wearing saddle shoes and, oddly enough, an identical UNE JV Soccer Jersey. He shouts:

“Oh yeah! But what if his neck wasn't extended and he didn't have a barking cough? What if he was just hoarse with a slightly deeper voice than normal? What bug(s) might cause that pathology, Smart Guy?!”



A pack of rabid cougars forces everyone in Maine indoors. You're home polishing your cougar pistol when your phone rings:
“Doctor Feelgood!,” a frantic voice shouts into the phone, “My 6-month old is screaming and won't shut up! He had a common cold two weeks ago that was probably viral in origin, but that went away and now his left tympanic membrane looks red and bulging! What's making little Francis so sick???”

A) Most likely pathology:

B) How did little Francis's virus-induced “cold” contribute to his current bacterial pathology?

C)What are the top three bugs that cause this bacterial pathology? (Note: if three bugs aren't known, full credit will be given for the #1 etiology alone as long as it is written with confidence.)

- #1:
- #2:
- #3:

Bonus: What if Francis started crying the morning after attending a mother-child bonding day at the local health club where they used the 90 degree therapy pool for trust building exercises?
(bug only)


Old Man Jones presents to you chiropractic office with a persistent productive cough that has been growing worse over the last 4 weeks. X-rays reveal extensive consolidation in both lungs. Pt has a 20 pack-year history of smoking.

A) What's he got? (in 3-letters or less)

B) What bug would you guess is causing it?

C)What bug might it be if Old Man Jones had been hospitalized?

Bonus I: What type of bug would a foul-smelling sputum lead you to suspect?

Bonus II: What is the two-word sputum-describing buzz-word that Dr. Vaughn might hint at to let you know there has been involvement of the alveolar tissue?

Dr. Vaughn presents to your out-of-state clinic under a false name, carrying with him a petri dish containing colonies growing on chocolate agar. When he spots you he runs for the door only to find Jim, the overweight and gassy orderly, blocking his path. Knowing he is trapped, Dr. Vaughn tries to distract you with a rapid-fire, impromptu pimping session:

A) “Name the Big Three Criteria for defining atypical pneumonia!” he says.




B) “Uh, bu- wha- I...” he stammers before jumping behind a plastic palm tree and pretending to be invisible. To fill the awkward silence while a murse fetches you a syringe of Ativan, you add, “________________ _______________ (g&s) is the #1 cause of atypical pneumonia.”

Dr. Vaughn is so shocked you just answered all his queries correctly, he promptly passes out, spilling the culture of N. gonorrhea all over Jim, the gassy orderly.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


2:39 AM - Saturday Morning

After a long day of study, BacT, more study and a little bit of bad TV (Hulu style) I find myself reclining on an eggplant, ass-swallowing couch wondering about the nature of morality.

Is it a social construct or an evolutionary mechanism to keep some semblance of order in the universe of ethereal reality? Is it a learned response to a corporal theme that helps our genes live on? I mean, seriously, whats the deal with Santa Clause?

You see Santa Clause is the keeper of all morality - the ever present stalwart of human dignity. "He knows when you've been naughty; he knows when you've been ni-" No, the naughty part is the big deal with morality. The thing about 'naughty' is it'll run away with you if you let it. 'Nice' just is. 'Nice' is a seedling you find in the woods and bring home to cherish. 'Naughty's' a virus that'll spread out of control without proper antibiotics (Dr. Vaughn groans here). Were used to Santa keeping 'naughty' in check: staying out late, not doing home work, not calling home when-. Morality loves 'naughty.' 'Nice' is the honor student that no one notices while the naughty delinquent is on first name terms with the principal.

Just to clarify, the lover of sexual innuendo that I am, 'naughty' just means naughty. Sorry. No leather, whips or a priest that walks into a bar and orders a Virgin Mudslide here. Just cliches.

I'm thinking of morality because I postponed a New Year's resolution (intention) for a later date, bought a 6-pack of gluten-free virgin (yet still containing alcohol) Twisted Teas, and had myself a movie night. After a couple hours of watching a "Sci-Fi Channel Original Series" on Hulu, I checked the time to see if there was time for just one more. The time: 2:39 AM. And what was the very first thought to pop into my mind?

"Wow, that's a little excessive."

Yep, that's what I thought, plain and uncensored. "That's a little excessive?" Seriously? It's like I was whining to the universe about an unreasonable curfew. Excessive? I didn't say, "Whoops, I stayed up later than I'd expected," or took credit and said, "Damn, I'll be tired in the morning." I appealed to the Great Keeper of Time to extend my curfew just one more hour for one more show b-b-because I wannit!!!!!

My first thought in organizing the ridiculous amount o studying I need to accomplish in the next week wasn't of personal responsibility but of authoritative accountability. And I hate authority!

I don't know what this means or what moral gems this late night musing holds. It was the most surprising thing, though, to catch myself red-handed in a moral act.

As for me? I'm gonna watch another episode before turning in.

And, maybe; just maybe, I'll crack open another twisted tea.


(Incidentally, if you can get past the B-list acting and shotty story-line, check out Eureka on Hulu. I'm gonna watch one more episode tonight. I'm already on season three!)


3:09 AM