My brain, ears, skin, innards

The Wordle word for Sunday, August 6, 2023 was POLYP

I was going to write a comprehensive report on my health. But it became complicated and lengthy, so I’ll break it up. Today, I’ll concentrate on my brain, ears, skin, and another part.

BRAIN: When I attended a Juneteenth event, one of the tabling organizations was doing research into the brain. Specifically, they were checking people for mental acuity and cognitive decline.

I went to their office a few weeks later and took paper and pencil tests. Also, they swabbed the inside of my cheeks. Two weeks later, I got the results. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genes from my parents are 3,3. This means I have an average chance of developing Alzheimer’s. APOE 2,2 is the best, which only 8% of people have, and people with  4,4 are most at risk.

It’s too hard to explain, so read this article about tau. For me, this is fascinating stuff.

EARS: My wife complained that I did not hear well. I found this odd because I would be in a room during conversations and pick up information she missed.

Still, I went to the ENT place. I had wax buildup. I did not know some information: you shouldn’t use Q-Tips or the like in your ears, not so much because they’ll hurt the eardrum as much as they’ll help the wax to become impacted.

About an hour later, I had a hearing test. I am missing higher-pitched sounds in my left ear. I blame Pete Townshend! At some point, I’ll get some treatment.


SKIN: Back in January, my dermatologist gave me a prescription for  Ruxolitinib (Opzelura™), which is “the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restore lost skin color in people who have vitiligo.”

Unfortunately, when I took it to the CVS, I was told it would cost me several hundred dollars. I’m still trying to negotiate this issue months later. It’s not just vanity. I’m more prone to skin cancer now than I was in the past.

Inside look

COLON: Both my wife and I had colonoscopies in the past two weeks. The last time I even MENTIONED having one, I was told it was TMI. I disagreed then and now. I’m a fan of regular testing with colon cancer on the rise, particularly among those under 50.

Initially, she was going to have hers eight days before mine, but for reasons, I ended up having mine five days before hers.

This time, the prep wasn’t a big deal for me. Pro tip: JELL-O and other gelatin products are considered liquid. On that day before the procedure, when you can’t eat anything, JELL-O is a superb approximation.

Another thing: when you mix seven capfuls of Miralax into 28 oz. of Gatorade, you will need a larger container for the mixture.

After my procedure, my wife said I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t smiling. She asked if I could make it up the stairs. Her questions made me grumpier. This passed.

But my right nostril itched, probably from the oxygen tube in there. As a result, I sneezed uncontrollably for three days. That was new.

I got a document from my doctor’s portal, which was incomprehensible. Then a day later, I received something in English. “The biopsies from the ulcer in your colon did not show any sign of cancer or malignancy, which is good news.” I need to make a follow-up appointment, but happy, happy, joy, joy.

I’ll do another report reasonably soon.

“Googlified” Brains on the Internet

“If we don’t know the answer to something, our first thought is likely to be ‘Google.'”

GooglifiedThere was a recent article in Median recently entitled “This Is Your Brain on the Internet, by Erman Misirlisoy, PhD. The subtitle: “We know where to find information — we just can’t remember it anymore.” I thought the primary points were self-evidently true.

“Our internet usage has ‘Googlified’ our brain, making us more dependent on knowing where to access facts and less able to remember the facts themselves.” That’s the key sentence for me.

“The internet acts as a great aid, but our faith and reliance on it can make us overconfident in our own abilities.” I think this is why I get cranky when people say, “I’ll just Google it.” People seem to use it, not just as a helper for thinking, but in lieu of thinking.

“The internet has changed the way that our brains work. Humans have always been good at learning and adapting to new environments. So given the internet’s dramatic impact on life in the developed world, it is no surprise that we have adjusted our thinking and behavior…”

How do you know the information is incorrect if you don’t already have general knowledge already? I recently caught an error on a podcast I listen to. The announcer said Rockin’ Robin was a Jackson 5 song when I knew it was a Michael Jackson song. It was also a cover of a 1958 hit by Bobby Day. A small thing, sure, but if one were to Google that uncorrected info, the misinformation spreads.

“Researchers have used this principle to test whether difficult trivia questions automatically activate internet-related concepts in our brain. If we don’t know the answer to something, our first thought is likely to be ‘Google.’ When study participants took part in a behavioral task immediately following difficult trivia questions, their performance in that task worsened when words like ‘Google’ appeared on a screen, distracting them…”

This is why, I suppose, I am old-fashioned enough to be impressed when people I know IRL show that they can extract information sans electronic aids. Like Chuck’s team winning a national trivia competition. Or Darrin placing second in the inaugural Times Union Crossword Championship.

January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that

Regarding Simon & Schuster, Milo Y., and Booksmith

Nazis Celebrate As Ann Coulter Cites White Supremacist Code

The US has been hacking elections for more than a century

Transcript of Face the Nation book panel with Isabel Wilkerson (“The Warmth of Other Suns”; JD Vance (“Hillbilly Elegy”); actor Diane Guerrero (“In the Country We Love”); Amani Al- Khatahthbeh (“Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age”

Full Text Of Obama’s Farewell Address, or you can watch it

President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden is the future home of President Obama’s This site will be maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration and will serve as an historical archive of Obama Administration content.

Decency Is Not a Dirty Word

This way to the egress

Our brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

We don’t need Uber

The Prank of the Face: Unmasking the “Droeshout” Portrait of William Shakespeare

Actors seek posthumous protections after big-screen resurrections

RIP William Christopher; I watched him as Father Mulcahy for 11 seasons on MASH

Lord Snowdon dies aged 86; Anthony Armstrong-Jones was the first “famous” person who I knew shared my birthday of March 7

The Mysterious Virus That Could Cause Obesity

Shelterforce takes an in-depth look at the summer 2016 Sheridan Hollow mosaic project in which 3,000 City School District of Albany art students contributed their talents to help transform a city neighborhood.

Announcing a New Folger Fellowship in Honor of Margaret Hannay

The Waxhaws, on the border between the Carolinas

Arthur answers my questions about pop culture and Arthur, plus writes about his mom, who would have been 100

How Not To Write Like An Archdruid

Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has taken its final plunge before it gets a Marvel Studio makeover

They surveyed Americans to see how familiar they were with the ten shows that were nominated for Best Comedy and Drama for the Golden Globes

Richard Thompson and the comic strip CUL DE SAC

Jim Cummings provides the voices for many cartoon characters

Now I Know: Selling a Better Way to Shop and Top Billing and The People That Have No Rights and McRefugees and The Lobster War

Obit: Mr. Oliver Larry Rickard, better known as “Paw Paw” the Clown, age 81, of Rome “Survivors include… a brother-in-law, the late Roger Green.”


2016 Coverville Countdown of the best cover versions, Part I and Part II

Kubo and the Two Strings – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Highlights from “Bring It On: The Musical”

To Russia with Love – Matt Monro

If Moby Accepted Trump Inauguration Invitation, This Would Be His Playlist, plus Trump Is on Your Side – Moby and the Homeland Choir

Station to Station – David Bowie

Nat Hentoff, renowned columnist, jazz critic, free speech advocate, died at 91. I used to read him in the Village Voice for about 20 of his 50 years with the paper

Patti Smith Never Wanted to Be Famous (interview)

David Byrne on not being afraid to fail

The Kinks’ Ray Davies receives knighthood in New Year Honours List

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born in a Hollywood Hills Garage

Vinyl sales in UK reach highest level in last 25 years – with more than 3.2 MILLION LPs sold last year

A Fancy Guitar to Sell, but Hard to Play in Handcuffs

Why did CNN air a documentary about the band Chicago produced by band members?

April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple


The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.

Jeff Sharlet: Airbnb’s Paris “Open”, during the Paris attacks.

This is what happens when you bury a mass murderer in a small town.

John Oliver: Credit reports and Lead poisoning and Hollywood Whitewashing.

1939 news clipping re: Jack Benny’s “valet”, Rochester.

New York Times: How to Explain Mansplaining.

“Leftover women”, those unmarried by 25, in China.

Greg’s daughter Mia turns 13.

Dustbury: The years take their toll on a body.

Neuroscientists Can Identify You by Your ‘Brainprint’ with 100% Accuracy, and related story.

Albany, New York: Smartest place on earth? Probably.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia.

Jaquandor has been posting poetry all month, of many varieties.

How to Insult Like Shakespeare.

Now I Know: How Brazil Got to the 1932 Olympics (Mostly) and “We Won’t Give Up Until You Bleed” and A Weighty Issue (about clipboards!)

There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.


TWC Question Time #33: Part Two– Killing the King.

These Millennials!

Superman: tax evader.


BBC have broadcast TWICE as many obituaries in 2016 compared to last year at this point.

The Prince section

“Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?
“Do I believe in god, do I believe in me?”
“Controversy” – Prince

A World Awash in Purple.

Arthur addresses how the Internet Age didn’t create social mourning.

Prince on Arsenio Hall’s show.

Prince & Tamar Davis(Good Morning America 2006)/a>, which I watched in real time.

Former Warner Bros. CEO Mo Ostin Recalls His Long Relationship: ‘He Was a Fearless Artist’.

Weekly Sift.

Prince refused to be a commodity and took a protective stance on music copyrights.

Paul Westerberg: ‘I Can’t Think of Anyone Better’.

Is the water warm enough? Cartoonist Hazel Newlevant discusses Wendy & Lisa’s contribution to Prince’s legacy.

Times When He Showed Us His Great Sense of Humor.

Do It All Night: The Story of Prince ‘s Dirty Mind. An in-depth look back on the 1982 album that allowed Prince to cross over as a rock’n’roll star.

From Bat Dance to his Alter Ego comic.

A guy on Facebook noted: “‪‎Prince‬ was a huge fan of Bonnie Raitt and when he covered I Can’t Make You Love Me for his Emancipation album (1996), in the liner notes, he wrote: bonnieisanamericantreasure. When Bonnie was between labels, before signing to Capitol, Prince wanted her to sign with Paisley Park. They worked together a bit to see where it would go, but then he had to go to Europe to film Under The Cherry Moon. In the meantime, the stars aligned with Bonnie, Don Was and Capitol Records. What followed was Bonnie’s breakthrough success with ‘Nick Of Time’. Whatever they did together remains in Prince’s vaults.”

More music!

Lonnie Mack, RIP.

Amy Biancolli: Music to vote by.

Coverville 1122: Cover Stories for Roy Orbison and Paul Carrack. Roy would have been 80.

Harry Hipster Gibson – Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine (1944).

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967 Broadway Soundtrack).

Lawrence Welk Meets Velvet Underground.

B is for Brain Blips

On 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl reported on a very rare ability: to remember each day of your life as if it happened yesterday. It’s called ‘superior autobiographical memory’.

A couple of months ago, I came across this interview of Barbara Strauch, author of “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talent of the Middle-Aged Mind.”

This paragraph jumped out at me: “Strauch notes that people in midlife start experiencing more brain blips. She opens the book in her basement, pondering what she went there for. She asks around, and finds that her middle-aged acquaintances have similar zone-outs.”

I do recognize this. Oh, and this: “Names, in particular, are easy to forget if all we’ve learned is the sound. The more context we have — the more ways something is cross-referenced in our memory banks — the better chance we have of excavating it from storage.”

When we were children, my sisters and I used to razz my grandmother for saying things like, “Oh, that’s the old [such and so] building.” It had never been called that in OUR lifetimes; why couldn’t she call it what it’s called now?

Move forward 40 years. I seriously can’t remember the name of my bank. It used to be Albany Savings Bank, then Albank, then it was purchased by Charter One, then THAT was bought up by Citizens Bank. The brain knows it’s not ASB or Albank, so it settles on Charter One, which, like Citizen’s, starts with the letter C, until I’m trying to look up my bank online.

Likewise, my power company used to be the geographically descriptive Niagara Mohawk, but is now (yawn) National Grid; it DOESN’T help that they both start with the letter N.

Sorry, grandma.

Both Demeur and Arthur have touched on this recently; the latter referred to “holiday brain”. Then there was this piece about adult ADHD, which I swear I experience periodically.

On the other hand, Newsweek magazine had a cover story called Can You Build a Better Brain? Notable is this piece: “taking up a new, cognitively demanding activity—ballroom dancing, a foreign language—is more likely to boost processing speed, strengthen synapses, and expand or create functional networks.”

I was most fascinated by a story on the TV show 60 Minutes. “Lesley Stahl reported on a very rare ability: to remember each day of your life as if it happened yesterday. It’s called ‘superior autobiographical memory’ and scientists have only identified a handful of people in the world who have it. One of them is actress Marilu Henner of ‘Taxi,’ oddly enough.”

I’m not sure I would WANT the ability to remember EVERY day; forgetting DOES have some definite benefits.
Roger’s brain:

Arthur may have liberal politics on the brain.
Oh, I need to thank Lily at Long Island Daily Photo for a $100 gift certificate!

ABC Wednesday Round 8

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