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Professor Liddle-Oldman

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Not So Much Of An Issue For Daleks [Aug. 29th, 2014|03:49 pm]
I was shaving the other day, and my brain asked, "Who does the Doctor's hair?" Does he just drop in on whatever passes for a barber on whatever planet he's on every few weeks? But the Doctor's hair never really changes; does he have a regular guy somewhere in London? Or Cardiff?

That being said, who does the shopping? He and any companions can't eat out all the time – and what if someone needs a snack or a nice cuppa in between stops? Is there a kitchen somewhere in the TARDIS? We know that there are wardrobes (and wouldn't they be interesting to rummage? I wonder if Sarah Jane's Kaled fatigue pants are on a rack somewhere?), and he's mentioned a swimming pool and a library (though they got introduced at one point, and might not still be aboard.) There have to be living quarters – River Song got conceived while in the vortex, and I cannot imagine that happened in the control room.

(At one point, Four went on a looping expedition through the grimy lower decks, looking for something I can't remember what. At one point, he opened a door and revealed a great ballroom with a pair of boots just inside the doorway. "What's that?" asked the companion (which I remember as Smith, with little authority). "Boot closet", replied the Doctor.)

So there must be a whole raft of house-keeping business we never see. (For that matter, someone must sweep and vacuum the control room now and then. Perhaps the NuNu?) Of course, as usual, we can fall back on MST3K:

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
And other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself "It's just a show,
I should really just relax".

(Still and all, I cannot help but imagine a break room with a coffee maker and a microwave just off camera, right by the control room. A sufficiently advanced technology still needs a place to take a load off and have a nice cuppa tea.)
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The Professor, His Lunch, His Mother, And A Wide Assortment Of Plant Materials Are Considered [Aug. 25th, 2014|03:02 pm]
25 August 2014 redux

From my limited understanding of the habits and preoccupations of millennials, it is my understanding that one is supposed to twit about what one is eating. I do not, of course, have a Twit – I don't even have a Face-Thing – but I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I am eating a chicken salad sandwich. In fact, I made the chicken salad myself.

It's not bad, if I do say so. I used some chicken thighs, skinless and carefully trimmed of schmaltz, and simmered them with a shake of dehydrated shallots the wife ordered from Penzy's Spices, and one of my mother's bouquet garni.

My mother has gardened since I can remember. In fact, when I was growing up in the South (all the way down near Fall River), all the back yards in my neighborhood sort of faded into hay fields, and we had a truck patch for vegetables. I liked the fresh veggies, but I hauled more buckets of water back there than I care to consider. (I had my own strawberry patch, but I never got a berry until it occurred to me to tent the plants with cheesecloth to keep the birds off.) Nowadays she just has flower beds and a few tomato plants, but she does grow aromatics and herbs. During a visit, she gave me several sandwich bags with a neat collection of herbs in each one, which I froze to keep.

Now, using these speaks of a certain amount of trust. When I was recovering from cardiac surgery in '05, she brought in a bouquet from her garden, which included foxglove. I got a stream of interns and medical students, all asking, "I hear you have foxglove? Can I see it?" As having my heart repaired ended my career as an audiovisual aid to train new cardiologists, it was another way to aid and entertain the medical community. But, I'm sort of assuming there isn't any digitalis or deadly nightshade in the bundles.

So I cooked off the thighs, cleaned the rest of the fat out of them, hacked them finely, and mixed them with relish, capers, and mayo. It's not actually bad, but now I know why most people use chicken bosoms instead – a lot easier to clean, and not as strong a taste. More to the point, I suppose I could have just bought chicken salad, but, where's the challenge in that?

Besides, I have something like a dozen frozen packages of chicken in the freezer, as around Thursday every week I give up on my Saturday plans to cook and freeze everything to save it. I'm not about to learn how to make chicken pot pie – or maybe I will; it's hard to say – and I need to do something with all this chicken.

There. You can consider this a lunch twit. If you're really really good, I won't twit you when the sandwich makes its next appearance. Remember this when temptation strikes.
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It Sure Beats Raising Cattle [Aug. 25th, 2014|11:34 am]
25 August 2014

Eddie Murphy, a long time ago when he was occasionally funny, did a character called Buckwheat. It was based on the old Little Rascals character, whose actor had a speech impediment (which he apparently grew out of). This adult Buckwheat (I'm Buckwheat! Amember me?) had a singing career, covering standards, garbled. The only example I now remember is Unce, Bice, Fee times a mady…. For all that it was racist and offensive to the inarticulate, it was sort of funny. According to Wikipedia, Murphy retired the character because he was tired of people demanding it.

I'm sure you can find a Youtube clip. (Quick google – of course you can.)

Why am I briging this up? Funny you should ask.

I'm bringing this up because for the last couple of days, my brain has been singing Ready pa nub, oh baby I'm ready pa nub, for your nub…, and if I can get you to do it, perhaps I can stop.
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The Professor Thinks Outside The Invisible Box [Aug. 13th, 2014|10:52 am]
13 August 2014

For reasons unclear to me, last weekend I had wondered whatever became of Sinead O'Conner, and in the Monday entertainment section of the Globe was a brief review of her brand new album. I note it for two reasons. One is the tile – I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss. Though it's fairly obvious that she is not, in fact, Bruce Springsteen, and is probably not from New Jersey at all, I was still amused, as this is something I tell my wife a lot – it's not bossy if you're the boss. (She used to run church fairs, and some of the men, political liberals though they may have been, used the B word occasionally.) Actually, what I tell her is "It's not imperious if you're the Empress", but it's the same thought.

The other reason I mention this, though, is that one of the songs is called "Kisses Like Mine", and I read it as "Kiss Like A Mime", which is very very different. Very.

Which isn't stopping me from working on the bit – right as soon as I stop pulling on this invisible rope.
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One Of These Days, You're Going To Rise Up Singing [Aug. 12th, 2014|05:53 pm]
12 August 2014

So Robin Williams is dead, poor man, having lost a fight I'm not at all astonished he was in. Once more goodbye.

This, of course, reminds me of Warren Zevon.

Actually I'm reminded of Warren Zevon because my 'pod just played "Desperado Under The Eaves", and it triggered a memory. I used to work downtown, just across the street from the new City Hall and the memorial to where Bell invented the telephone. At lunch, there were a myriad of places to go walking. Behind me was Beacon Hill; to the right, the Common; ahead of me, toward the harbour, was Faneuil Hall and its marketplace, and the Haymarket vegetable market at the end of the week.

Or I could go down to South Station.

Boston has three train stations; Back Bay, which I never use; North Station, in (der) the North End with routes north, and South Station closer to the channel with routes west and south. In an oversight that's caused 150 years of wrangling an no action, there is no connection between the two. That being said, in the 50's they tore down a big portion of South Station, and in the 80's and 90's they had to build it all back again. It's now the main bus station as weill as a focal point for city busses, the red line, and the new autonomous street cars, the Silver Line.

It's also full of food.

From an echoing, deserted, half-ruined relic (very much like Union Station the first time I went through it), South Station is now busy, full, and packed with food kiosks and dispensaries (very like Union Station the last time I went through it). It's a great place to grab a quick lunch and watch travelers hurry about. So one day I walked down, and found to my very great astonishment that Warren Zevon was setting up on a small stage against the inside wall. Warren Zevon was setting up, twenty feet away from me, to give a free concert in South Station at lunch hour on the "What The Living Fuck Happened To My Career" Tour.

It was absolutely marvelous. I don't at this point remember what he played, except for "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner", which I'd never heard before, but I enjoyed the absolute hell out of myself. Complete surprise, highlight of my year.

And now Zevon is dead, too, through no fault of his own. Robin Williams was our age, my wife and I. I can feel the first breath of winter across the land, and there will not be a Spring. Not that we will see.

Goodbye, goodbye.
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The Professor Continues To Be Iggy [Jul. 15th, 2014|04:13 pm]
15 July 2014

"Iggy", I should say, is my wife's families' word for restless, dissatisfied, disturbed, possessing a brain itch. I'm not intending to be frontman for the Stooges. I'm grumpy, I'm iggy, I'm restless, and I'm, at the moment, deeply dissatisfied.

One of the things I'm dissatisfied with, I've decided, is my gender. This does not mean I'm yearning toward or identifying with any other choice. No hidden kicky flirty summer dresses in size Really Big. I register as Guy by any scan – I wear whatever shirt is at the front, because if it's blue it matches; I mansplain; I tell people what their opinion ought to be; I put down empty cups and leave them there for a week.

Doesn't mean I like it.

I've never been big on heteronormative behavior. Sports bore me until I want to cry. I have no interest in hunting things down and killing them. I have no desire to enforce my will over others. I am in no way enamored or proud of my primary sexual characteristics (the selfish little bastard.) I immune to male bonding. At this age male privilege mostly means I get to worry about my prostate. I'm tired of the whole hairy boomy testosterone thing.

Best I can tell, I'm a man trapped in a man's body.
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Here At The End Of All Things [Jul. 7th, 2014|02:34 pm]
7 July 2014

Busy long weekend. Among other things, we went out to Lexington and packed up Mrs. Professor's desk and equipment. She's been approved to be a home-based worker. This is encouraging in that she won't have to do the commute now; it's discouraging because it's based on the fact that she can't leave the house without me any more. The bariatric surgery option is barred by organizational gatekeepers at every turn. The situation just gets worse and worse, and I am not in the faintest encouraged.

It has occurred to me that we might be old enough that we won't necessarily come all the way back from each new disaster. One of the phrases I've come to hate is "the new normal". I'd like some old normals back. I'd like a wife who isn't in so much pain she can't climb stairs. I'd like opportunity and possibility back. I am in such a bad mood lately.
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The Professor Gazes Out On A Darkening World [Jul. 2nd, 2014|04:52 pm]
2 July 2014

Here's a weird thing I just recently realized. The pigeons are gone.

The pigeons are gone.

Up until now, of course, we've been a pigeon-rich environment. What we call pigeons are of course rock doves from the Mediterranean, where they live in cliffs. The city suits them down to the ground, not to mention the unending buffet for someone small and not that fussy. We've had pigeons on the sidewalks, pigeons lining the wires and streetlight booms, pigeons crenellating rooftops on the morning drive.

But suddenly there aren't any to be found. I've been watching carefully for the last couple of weeks, and I haven't seen one.

Amphibians are going extinct everywhere. UV and fungus have been suggested. Fungus is wiping out the bats. Bees are vanishing simply from the stresses of modern life. Apes, rhinos, bears, sharks are all being erased by poachers and territory loss. Warming oceans and chemical waste are doing for the coral. But what the hell sort of environmental toxins can take out an entire city's population of pigeons?

Cannot say at the moment that I'm feeling all that damn perky.
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Suddenly, Summer [May. 21st, 2014|05:09 pm]
21 May 2014

Suddenly, it's summer. Couple weeks ago we had to burp the heat getting up; now I've got to put the air conditioners in. All the trees are dressed; all the flowering shrubs are either in full bloom (lilacs) or passing (magnolias). Though not every night is sweltering, every day gets hot by afternoon. Just now it's brilliant sunlight, still fresh on the yellow-green of the new leaves.

It's the time of year we use words like "fecund", "burgeon", and "verdant".

We're only a month off of the solstice, odd as that may feel.

I have to put the air conditioners in over the long weekend. As usual, we had maybe two weeks in which to throw the windows open; Spring, so far as I can tell, was around teatime last Tuesday. So it doesn't really matter if I block them; it's supposed to be sweltering and oppressive by Monday.

First, I have to make some modifications. At least one of the ACs leaks in such a way as to get the windowsill wet, and the standing water has actually damaged the wall. (Don't tell my landlord). I need to try to waterproof the sill and drill weepholes in the aluminum storm window frame. I tried to drill holes last year, but they swole and failed. This time, a quarter-inch bit in a row at the bottom.

Sum sum summertime. Prepare for some hard-core ranting and wailing about sweat and misery and quite possible swampy effects in places you don't want to know about.
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How He Got In My Pyjamas... [May. 11th, 2014|10:50 pm]
What did the alfalfa say to the Jedi?

"Luke -- I am your fodder".
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