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Cosmic Quote #73

“It was a great success, but even great successes come to a natural end.”–Isaac Asimov, Robots and Empire

Ah. Everything meets its demise.  But an increasing number of researchers, in an increasingly visible corner of biotech research, have other ideas.  In my first podcast, available on my other, more serious blogI discuss the prospects for radical increases in human longevity with author David Wood.  His 2016 book, The Abolition of Aging, is a thorough study of the present state of anti-aging research and the many related issues.  Don’t die yet; if you do, you won’t live to regret it.

The podcast is available at www.seekingdelphi.com and is also available on iTunes

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/seeking-delphi-podcasts/id1198998455

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Coming Soon: Seeking Delphi, The Podcast.

Coming soon–like tomorrow–at http://www.seekingdelphi.com

Seeking Delphi™

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”–Thomas Jefferson

www.cartoonstock.com Used with permission http://www.cartoonstock.com
Used with permission

It’s not likely that Thomas Jefferson meant to disparage study of the past, it’s just, like Albert Einstein’s missive that imagination is more important than knowledge, he meant that it is our dreams of the future that enable us to build a better world.

I’ve been dreaming about the future since I was a kid.  Daydreaming, my parents would have said, and my wife certainly would say.  But that’s OK.  Somebody has to do it.  If humankind is going to survive the the challenges that lie ahead, somebody needs to be thinking further ahead than the next pay check, the next quarter’s profit, and the next election.   Let’s do it together.

On Seeking Delphi, the podcast, I’ll address many of the myriad uncertainties that lie ahead, some of them with existential…

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Cosmic Quote #2017-72

“I’m spending a year dead for tax purposes.”–Douglas Adams

“Another year shot to hell”–Anonymous

Douglas Adams had the right idea, though in my case I’d just spend the year dead to goof off.  In other words, nothing has changed.

But I am making one resolution.  My new Seeking Delphi podcast, on all things related to the future, will indeed debut by the end of January.  I promise.  Anyway, it’s too late for 2016, it’s already shot to hell.

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Cosmic Quote(s) #71

“Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”–Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gentlyís Holistic Detective Agency Season 1, Episode 1 Air Date: 10/22/16 Pictured: Elijah Wood (Todd) and Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: 10/22/16
Pictured: Elijah Wood (Todd) and Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently)

 

Tired of binge watching staid period pieces?  Ok, then. Eff it.  Binge watch this.

 

 

 

 

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In Memoriam: Ralph Branca

“Why me?”–Ralph Branca, after giving up Bobby Thomson’s 1951 pennant winning home run, forever known in baseball circles as The Shot Heard Round the World. 

Ralph Branca in his Dodger days

Ralph Branca in his Dodger days

Forever known as the poor soul who gave up perhaps the most famous home run in baseball history, Ralph Branca died yesterday at age 90.

What those who didn’t know him do not realize is that he was also one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys who ever lived.  For a guy who married the boss’s daughter–Ann Mulvey, whose parents were part owners of the Dodgers in that era–that’s quite impressive.

How do I know?  I know.  I had the esteemed pleasure of working with Ralph, and for a brief time, getting to know him back in the 1970’s.  He was one of the players, along with Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, and his erstwhile nemesis, Bobby Thomson, to promote Major League Baseball’s 1,000,000th run promotion, which I was also a part of.

Ralph and Ann could not have been nicer to me.  I had their home phone number and was encouraged to call them if they could help me in any way.  But what really impressed me about Ralph was how he handled the infamy of having given up the famous “shot heard round the world” that cost the Dodgers the 1951 pennant (see below).   Most notable was a day I spent with him in the office of Ted Worner Associates, the public relations firm that promoted the millionth run.  Before we even began our day’s chore, two people from the office across the hall came over to meet him.  One of them recounted how he an his teenage brother had jumped through a glass coffee table and shattered it in reaction to Russ Hodges famous “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” call on the radio.  Ralph handled it with grace.

I spent the rest of that afternoon calling sports editors and telling them I had Ralph Branca on the phone to talk to them about the millionth run promotion.  But the first five minutes of the conversation always dealt with that fateful day in the fall of 1951.  What did he remember it?  How did he handle the crushing defeat? How did he live with it?

Ralph’s answer, always the same, was philosophical. It was devastating at the time;  but in the long term it became a positive.  It gave him a measure of fame he might otherwise never have achieved, and he and Bobby Thomson became friends and made many personal appearances together over the years.

One of my great regrets is that I lost track of Ralph and Ann when Cheryl and I moved to Indiana for her veterinary school years. He shall always be remembered as one of the nicest individuals I have ever known.

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Cosmic Quote #70

“Ninety per cent of politicians give the other ten per cent a bad name.”–Henry Kissinger

You are what you eat.  You get what you vote for.  This is my only political post of the entire year,  so get your fill now.  Next question?

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Cosmic Quote #69

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”–Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

No funny chickens for this one.   The world lost its foremost futurist in the past week,  a man who was one of my heroes.   Alvin Toffler taught the world how to think about the future some 45 years ago.  It’s a lesson the world should relearn.   I read Future Shock away back in 1973–and have been thinking about it–and the future–ever since.

Writing in the New York Times on July 6, Farhad Manjoo lays out clearly and concisely why Toffler’s ideas are so relevant today.  I highly urge you to read this piece, and to read Future Shock if you’ve never done so.  I intend to reread it now.  We have never needed foresight more than we do today.

My foresight related blog is available at www.seekingdelphi.com

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #11: Kind of Blue

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”–Vincent Van Gogh

“All’s well that ends well.”–William Shakespeare 

MilesDavisKindofBlueThe bard was right.  Van Gogh was…um..uh–I have no idea.

But here is a story that ended well, though with an unexpected twist that makes it one of my all time favorite veterinary vignettes.

This happened some 30 years ago, when Cheryl was working her last job as an employee before starting her own  clinic.  Her partner in crime in this particular case was the junior associate in the group, one Susan Cole, a pretty and vivacious young blond just a few months out veterinary school.

It started one typical Monday morning, when in came a panicked old lady, Mrs. P, with a pearly white cat.

The cat was struggling to breath.

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!!”

Dr. C: “When did this start?”

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[cough] [choke] [wheeze]”

Dr. C: “How did this start?”

Mrs P: “Puhleeeaaase save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[gasp] [gasp]”

It was obvious that Mrs. P was not going to be any help.  Enter my intrepid Cheryl to consult.

“This seems to be some sort of respiratory distress, we’d better take an X-Ray.”  She advised.

Dr. Cole thought otherwise, and suggested drawing a blood sample first.  Cheryl was skeptical, but realized it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what they did.

The cat’s blood was brown. Freaking brown.

The two of them scratched their heads in puzzlement.  What could turn a cat’s blood brown? Cheryl observed that if they saw this in a cow they would diagnose it as methemoglobinemia, a condition that bovines get from eating cherry leaves.  You guessed it, cherry leaves are toxic to cows.  But cats?  How would this indoor feline even have access to cherry leaves, whether or not they are toxic to cats?

At any rate, regardless of the cause, the diagnosis was confirmed.  But, then, how to treat it?

“Well” Cheryl posited,”we use methylene blue to treat this in cows.  Let’s try it.”

Methylene blue is a dye that also has some medicinal purposes.  But  the cat’s wheezing and gasping for breath was rapidly worsening, so Sue and Cheryl  frantically calculated the appropriate dosing.  Let’s see.  Bovine dose, 60cc.  Feline dose…hmm…. 6cc.

They administered 6cc of methylene blue, and by golly, that cat rapidly improved and its blood and breathing were back to normal in no time.

End of story?  You know me better than that–there’s a little kicker.  Of course there is, there always is.  You see, there was a slight miscalculation in the dosage.  The feline dose should not have been 6 cc, it should have been 0.6cc.  But hey, what’s a silly little order of magnitude among friends.  After all, the cat got better.

blue catIt’s just that the pearly white cat turned….BLUE!!  Its skin, its gums, its sclera, its paws. Everything but its fur turned a bright shade of blue!

And that, of course, is still not the end of the story.  The denouement came the next morning, when Mrs. P. phoned to find out the condition of her kitty.

Dr. Cole took the call, and she answered with a straight face, within ear shot of just about every employee in the clinic.

“Oh, she’s doing much better, but she’s feeling a little blue right now!

Crash! Bang! Thud!  All over the hospital employees dropped whatever they were holding as peals of laughter erupted.  They say that in comedy, timing is everything.  I guess that goes for veterinary medicine, too.

Anyway, the cat’s normal color soon returned, and it turned out that Mrs. P had given it Tylenol.  Tylenol, you may surmise, is toxic to cats.   So don’t give your cat Tylenol.  This goes doubly if you have a yellow cat, as the antidote could turn the poor thing an ungodly shade of green.

Is there a moral to this story?  Yes.  The next time you are feeling blue, be thankful it is only a metaphorical, and not a literal, blue.

blue man gourp

 

 

 

 

 

If you are feeling blue, try my other blog, Seeking Delphi.™  That will really get you down.   😛

 

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Cosmic Quote #68

“Smart is when you believe half of what you hear.  Brilliant is when you know which half.”–Robert Orben

Here’s a tip for you brainiacs.  If you want to know which half of my posts to believe, it’s the other half.  On my other blog,  Seeking Delphi. ™  

Hmmm.  I just started that other blog.  Most of my posts have been on this one.  Well, as Yogi once said, “90 percent of the game is half mental.”

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Taylor Harry Fritz–er, or is it Fritz Harry Taylor?

Note:  This post previously appeared on The Blog of Funny Names

“Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.”–Vitas Gerulaitis when he finally beat Jimmy Connors after losing to him 16 straight times.

Here at The Blog of Funny Names, we’ve always had a fascination with people who have two last names.  Outerbridge Horsey is the classic.  Then of course, there are those that have  two first names–like the eponymous Tommy John.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

But seldom have we come across somebody whose name appears to be backwards.  But that would seem to be the case with rising 18-year-old American tennis star, Taylor Harry Fritz. If his name was Fritz Harry Taylor, we wouldn’t consider feting  him in these hallowed pages.  Or Harry Fritz Taylor, or even Harry Taylor Fritz.  It’s as if the names were picked out of a hat to come in that order.

But that aside, the tennis world is not laughing; especially the American tennis world.  No American man has won a major tennis tournament since Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003.  No American man has even made the quarter finals of a major since Roddick, Mardy Fish (a great funny name as well) and John Isner all did it in 2011.  There is currently no American man ranked higher than #17 in the world (Isner)

However you order his names, Taylor Fritz may just be the guy to change all that.  He won the 2015 junior boys title at the US Open and finished the year as the top ranked junior in the world.   And after turning pro in 2016?  He won his first ATP tour title, qualified for the Australian Open, and has jumped to #65 in the world from a ranking in the 600’s in just a few months.  He is the youngest player currently in the top 100.  Last week at a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, he got a real taste of the big time,  meeting all–time great Roger Federer in the second round.   He lost, but gave Federer a run for his money at 4-6, 7-5, 4-6.  I don’t know if Federer will be around long enough for Fritz to play him 17 times,  but I’d bet he won’t need that many to beat him.  And that goes no matter what order you say his names in.

As for me, if you’re tired of this blog,  you can go to my new, second blog, Seeking Delphi, and mock me there.

Cheers,

El Marko

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