hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Archive for March, 2015

Been Sick

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 30, 2015

Man, I’ve been sick for several days now. Not violently ill or anything. Just sick. As in a bad cold. Or bad allergies. Or something. For awhile now, I’ve been getting sore throats and earaches. I made an appointment to see my doctor, but they couldn’t fit me in for two freakin’ weeks, so I’ve been waiting to see them. Meanwhile, on Friday I got much worse. My throat started feeling incredibly sore, very, very sore. My ears hurt. My head started pounding. I started sneezing. And I was both congested and blowing my nose, violently, if you can believe that. Over and over again. I was wearing the Kleenex out. I talked to a different doctor who thought it might be allergies, although I don’t think that’s what it is. I’ve never had allergic reactions like this to anything. Anyway, she suggested I start taking Allegra and Mucinex, so I did. Gretchen also put me on some natural stuff. I also took Advil and vitamins. And Ricola for the throat. I couldn’t sleep. I had to blow my nose every 10 minutes, so I literally couldn’t sleep. Friday night, I got about an hour and Saturday night, again about an hour. I was up by 1 each morning. I was miserable. I tried taking naps during the day, but had the same problem. Last night, I was able to sleep a little, until 2. I’m feeling some better. My earache is gone. My throat has improved. My head still hurts and my nose is sore as hell and is still bothering me like crazy, but even it’s improved some, so I think I’m through the worst of it. However, I may have given it to my wife and that’s a disturbing thought. She started feeling poorly yesterday. I truly hope she doesn’t come down with this. Meanwhile, our two year marital anniversary is coming up in a week, so that’s exciting! We both better be healthy for that, darn it! I guess that’s it for now.

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A Review of Unseen Academicals

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 26, 2015

Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37; Rincewind #8)Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It pains me to give a Discworld novel a less than stellar rating, but I found this one lacking in some way. It started out promisingly — the wizards at Unseen University find that in order to keep a sizable endowment, they must play a game of commoner “football,” or as it is known, “foot the ball.” They are aghast, but are more aghast at the thought of their losing any of their nine meals a day, so they begin to form a team led by Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully. Meanwhile, Lord Vetinari, the city’s benevolent tyrant, has decided he wants to control this game, forming leagues and handing out gold looking trophies and he wants the wizards to lead the way. Promising start, yes?

Unfortunately, it’s all ruined by a Romeo and Juliet love story between Trev and Jewels, two new characters. We also meet Glenda, a forceful cook in charge of UU’s Night Kitchen and Mister Nutt, a goblin (who later turns into an orc) who is adept at pretty much anything. Trev takes Nutt to his first football match, where the crowd does “the Shove,” and where the wizards are in search of pie, and Nutt is really taken with it. So much so, that he grabs the ball and scores the game winning goal.

Somehow it comes to the wizards’ attention that Nutt has some skills, so they make him coach of the team. They ask Trev to join, as he’s the son of a late, great football player, but Trev declines, saying something along the lines of “I promised me old mum” he’d never play. This is repeated so freakin’ often, Pratchett pretty much beats the reader to death with it. It gets old very quickly. And of course, you know Trev ends up playing. Duh.

So Jewels becomes a fashion model for dwarves and becomes quite famous and in demand. Glenda acts as her manager. Nutt seems to develop a thing for Glenda, which is odd because one traditionally doesn’t think of “things” happening between goblins and humans. But Glenda feels her heartstrings being tugged at for the first time in her life and she loves it.

I guess my main complaint is, the book really isn’t so much about foot the ball as it is about Nutt and his relationships with others, such as Trev and Glenda. And while that’s moderately interesting, the humor that could have been attached to a book devoted to a book of the wizards playing at foot the ball solely could have been pretty forceful. This, however, is rather mediocre. It’s a romance, with football as its backdrop. I feel disappointed. I’d recommend it to Pratchett fans, but not to anyone else.

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My Life Twin

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 24, 2015

I met my life twin today. Not my life companion — that’s my wife. My life twin. I took my car to the Toyota dealer to have some work done. The service manager was a nice guy about my own age with hair my own color and a goatee similar to my own beard. His name was also Scott. He saw my Penguins hat on my head and asked if I was a Pens fan. I said I sure was. He said he was too. Then, he said he actually had been born in Boston, but raised in Pittsburgh. I was momentarily stunned and then replied that I had too. Who’d have thought? We talked about where in Boston we were born and where in Pittsburgh we were raised. We talked about going to Pens games back in the ’70s when they were pretty bad and getting beat up by Philly’s Broad Street Bullies. We’d see the games at the Igloo. It was awesome. Somehow we’d both come south. We didn’t get into specifics, but he had wound up in Nashville for awhile and started following the Predators, making sure to see the Pens whenever they came to town. He saw some great teams and players over the years. I told him that for my birthday this past year, my wife got us tickets to the Pens game in Nashville and we went up, had a great time, and the Pens won. We had a really good time talking. So when I later told my wife about this coincidence, she told me I had met my life twin. LOL! I should have gotten his number so we could have gotten together to watch some Pens games over some beers. Next time. I don’t know if he’s married or not, but my wife is a Pens fan too, so it’d be great if he is, that his wife would be one too.

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Neurosurgeon

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 23, 2015

I went to a new neurosurgeon this week upon the recommendation of my pain management specialist for my trigeminal neuralgia. He was considered to be pretty good.

I’ve had TN Type 2 since 2010 and have suffered mightily off and on over the years. During that time, I’ve undergone many tests and many minor surgical procedures, mostly gasserian ganglion blocks. Last year I had three late in the year, but they didn’t help at all. My pain management doctor was about to pull her hair out and didn’t know what else to do, so that’s why she sent me to the neurosurgeon, hoping he could avoid cutting me open and instead do some laser surgery on my brain. However, when I last saw her in January, she put me on a new medication, as a last resort, and I’ll be damned if that hasn’t really helped. A lot. Before that, I was living on Percocet, popping it like candy to help with the pain. It was really draining, very wearing. I hated that. Since I started that medication, I’ve taken exactly two, and none over the past seven weeks!

Back to the new doctor. When I met him, he seemed very rushed. I hate that in new doctors. When you meet with a new doctor, they should take the time to get your history and find out what’s been going on, how, why, how long, when, etc. This guy just wanted to get through it and move on. I was put off. Then he told me he had never heard of TN Type 2. I was stunned. I thought to myself, here’s a doctor who specializes in brain surgery and he doesn’t even know what this is? WTF? I had to define it for him. Even then, he rushed me through it, like he didn’t even care. Which pissed me off. Then he told me about the two major types of surgical procedures, but this time I interrupted him and told him about the medication and its success and he sounded relieved. He said, well if it’s working, there’s no need to cut you open. And you’re on a pretty small dose, so you could conceivably go up quite a bit if needed before we’d need to do anything, so let’s just keep it there and see what happens. Sounded good to me. So that’s how we left it. So, mission accomplished. I made contact with a surgeon who could do surgery if needed, but am not going back until that time is necessary, hopefully never.

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New Ray’s Road Review

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 20, 2015

It’s spring and that means the Spring 2015 issue of Ray’s Road Review has been published today. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography. Check it out! http://raysroadreview.com

Of course, since I’m the poetry editor, I have to acknowledge the poets in this issue. They include Lyn Lifshin, Robert Joe Stout, Terry Savoie, Alan Catlin, Richard Fein, and Colin Dodds. Good stuff. Good poets. Check them out.

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A Review of Don’t Call Me Goon

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 18, 2015

Don't Call Me Goon: Hockey's Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad BoysDon’t Call Me Goon: Hockey’s Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad Boys by Greg Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about hockey enforcers and their fights. It goes back to the early years of the early twentieth century and highlights many, many players. Let me tell you, for those of you who think fighting is still prevalent in today’s hockey game, it isn’t. They actually brought people up on murder charges back then! Hockey would break out at fights. It was crazy!

The authors cover early fighters such as Joe Hall, Red Horner, and Sprague Cleghorn before moving on to heavyweights from the original six era. It was fascinating to read about. Things really got bad, though, during the expansion era, circa 1967. When the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, and other teams came into existence, doors opened for players who previously couldn’t get on with the original six teams. A lot of these were fighters. And so Philly’s Broadstreet Bullies were born, and they terrorized the NHL throughout the ‘70s. I was disappointed the authors didn’t cover someone I consider to be perhaps the most famous enforcer of all time, Dave “The Hammer” Schulz, nor did they cover Bob “The Battleship” Kelly, other than just brief mentions. Still, the fights were tremendous. And tremendous to read about.

The authors then go into pairings of fighters, such as the infamous Bob Probert and Joey Concur, as well as Tiger Williams and Dan Maloney, among others. They then go on to highlight fighters who could score and defend too. They try to cover issues like concussions, but I don’t think they go quite far enough with that. It’s a growing concern and one that shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

It was interesting to read the former enforcer’s take on the current state of the game. They think it’s been ruined by a newish interference rule that has resulted in cheap shots and gone a long way to eliminating the role of enforcer. They think enforcers policed the game and the refs shouldn’t be the ones having to do it themselves and aren’t in a position to do it right either. They think today’s game is watered down with pansy players skating around doing whatever they want. As noted big time enforcer Tiger Williams said in the book, “Some snot-nosed little [punk] that isn’t going to break a nail is going to score 50 goals and he’s never driven to the net in his life. He’s never stood in front of the net with Moose Dupont giving him 89 cross-checks in the back of his head,…. To have today’s play’s players score 400 goals in a no-punch pond hockey league is garbage. Getting in another guy’s face is part of the character of the game.” Well said, Tiger, well said.

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