Spoiler alert II

CDC Spokesman:

At approximately 1230 hours on Tuesday, October 14th, sensors at the National Irresponsible Research Laboratory in Chicago reported an Expected Apocalypse Event involving a lethal biological agent.  The incident has been traced to a lone researcher who accidentally shattered a vial of zombie virus while eating his lunch.  Per standard procedure, the laboratory was instantly sealed from all outside contact, and the laboratory automated sensor system immediately began analyzing the environment for any pathogens.

Upon verification of exposure by automated and manual systems, the CDC triggered Phase One of its SHAD Protocol.  As a Phase One risk factor, the exposed researcher was immediately Shot in the Head And Decapitated by the cleanroom’s Containment Drone.  The contents of the room were subsequently incinerated at a temperature of 2000°F, followed by radiation exposure sufficient to make the surrounding area lethal to all forms of life for the next 500 years.

Continue reading

Spoiler alert

CDC Spokesman:

U.S. hospitals can safely manage a patient with the zombie plague by following our recommended infection-control procedures.  It’s important that we do not let fear of the undead overtake our reasoned approach to any zombie apocalypse.  There is zero danger to the U.S. public from these two zombies or the zombie plague in general.  People who are zombies are not walking around on the street.  They are very, very dead and pretty much confined to a hospital.  Zombies do not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public.  Keep in mind that zombie plague is not something that is easily transmitted.  That’s why, generally, outbreaks dissipate.  But the key is identifying, quarantining, and isolating those who contract it and making sure practices are in place that avoid transmission, such as not biting or getting bitten by a zombie.

 – Leaked script page from the upcoming prequel filmThe Walking Dead: We’ve Got This Under Control


During a recent brief hospital stay, my mother casually mentioned to me that one of her nurses recognized her from a brief hospital stay a few months earlier.  (She’s doing well, thank you.)

She and I were both surprised by this.  My mother is not a frequent visitor to the hospital, a place that does quite a lot of business.  It’s not out of the question, of course.  I, for example, only see my mother at Christmas, but I recognize her on sight almost every time.  And there are blackjack dealers in Vegas who recognize me every year when I go out on vacation, despite the fact that they see upwards of 100,000 players in between, and I’m not the kind of high-roller that gets noticed.

But it got me thinking about how being recognized on sight is a mixed bag.  Sometimes you want to go where (almost) everybody knows your name, and they’re (usually) glad you came.  Other times not so much.  For example:  Continue reading

A tale of two Trips

Last week was my annual vacation.  I got home Friday night around midnight.  Three hours later I came down with something.  Not sure exactly what.  From the symptoms, it feels like something in the food poisoning/bronchitis/Captain Trips from The Stand family.

I hate being sick.  Oh sure, it’s fun.  All the cool kids are getting sick.  And it drives the chicks wild.  But it’s not for me.  That’s not how I roll.  (Disclaimer: After almost 53 years, I’m not sure exactly how I do roll, but based on the available data, it does not include being fun, doing what the cool kids do, or driving the chicks wild.)

Having said that, I’m very happy that whatever this is, it waited for me to get back from vacation.  Being sick in a hotel room on the Vegas Strip would largely negate the value of being in a hotel room on the Vegas Strip.  And I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to kill me.  My record to date of surviving unfortunate situations is roughly Always-0. (Disclaimer:  I don’t expect to retain my perfect record for the rest of the century, but if I can get out with only one loss, I’ll be satisfied.)

Nevertheless, if this is a non-lethal strain of food poisoning/bronchitis/Captain Trips, I really hope I start seeing visions of Mother Abigail soon.  I just came from Vegas, and I’d hate to have to walk all the way back feeling like this.

Doing what comes naturally, via e-mail

At the beginning of Plan Nine From Outer Space, famed ’50s phony psychic Criswell says the only vaguely rational thing in the entire movie:

We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.

Everyone has bad weeks at work.  I’m coming off of a couple weeks that were considerably less fun than a barrel of monkey overlords.  And when these times come up, it’s natural to re-evaluate your place in the universe. Continue reading

Soylent skin care

Sometimes the only thing that redeems the Internet is the bizarreness of the ads.

I happened to notice an ad on my Facebook page with the headline “60 Year Old Dad Looks 30!”  The subheading says “Local dad erases wrinkles and upsets doctors!  His secret exposed here!  See what it is!”  Accompanying the ad is a photo of a fingertip with some sort of pale yellow blob at the end.

I (of course) refuse to click on the ad, but here’s what I have deduced:

– The blob on his finger is some sort of secret face cream.

– Doctors hate young-looking people for some reason.

The only way I can reconcile the two statements above is if the secret of the face cream is that it’s made from freshly harvested doctor spleens.

(Disclaimer: This product is for men only.  If it were for women, the headline would read “60 Year Old Mom Looks 23!”)

Malpractice makes malperfect

(Note: This is part 3 of a longer story.  Parts 1, 2, and 4 are here, here, and here.)

If Hippocrates were alive today, his oath would look something like this:

“First, don’t screw up.  Then blah blah blah medicine something…”

Thursday was the surgery to fix my (non-itchy) trigger finger.  There’s not much of a coherent narrative here, but I did want to point out a few highlights for those playing along at home.

Tuesday night the hospital called to make all the arrangements.  The call began oddly, with the nurse/receptionist’s first question, “Can you tell me what surgery you’re having?”  Note that she called me, and apparently this question (which I would hear repeatedly before the surgery was over) was a test for me, to see if I was the right person.  Once I guessed right, she proceeded to ask me the exact same 5 pages of questions I had answered when I went to the doctor’s office in the first place.

Now, honor compels me to point out my own shortcomings.  I don’t always pay attention.  I especially don’t pay attention when I think I know what’s what.  I once started an online relationship with a lovely young lady from Greenville.  It wasn’t until we got to the point of arranging to meet that I realized that she lived not in Greenville, NC (about 90 minutes away) but in Greenville, SC (about 5 hours away).  That didn’t work out as well.

I bring this point up only because I went to the wrong hospital. Continue reading

Cutting the hand that feeds you

(Note: This is part 2 of a longer story.  Parts 1, 3, and 4 are here, here, and here.)

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor about something called “trigger finger”.  He gave me an extremely painful shot of corticosteroids to fix the problem.  Unfortunately, it gave out after about a month.  Now I have to decide the next step, so I’m doing what I never do in situations like this: making a list of the pros and cons of each option.

Option 1: More shots

Pros: works for a while

Cons: extremely painful; not a permanent solution

Option 2: Hand surgery

Pros: one-time fix; short recovery time; less painful than steroid shots

Cons: temporary loss of use of right hand; scar could be mistaken for stigmata

Option 3: Handectomy – replace with hook

Pros: Makes great back scratcher; hooks (like bowties and fezzes) are cool

Cons: Harder to type using hunt-and-hook system; modern piracy 85% less romantic than pirate movies; high potential for accidental scratches to self, friends and paint jobs

Option 4: Handectomy – replace with bionic hand

Pros: Optional features (laser pointer, extra fingers, cup warmer)

Cons: Stuff (cups, hands, etc.) accidentally crushed at first; not covered by insurance;  may require term of service in secret government organization

Option 5: Hand transplant

Pros: Eliminates crushing and hooking problems (see above); provides more natural look and feel

Cons: Unsightly wrist scar requires ugly bracelet or tattoo to cover; hand donor pool made up of 64% serial killers, 36% thieves; 92% of donated hands eventually turn rogue and kill or steal again

Decisions, decisions…