Things I Learned This Week …

I figure any week where you haven’t learned something is truly a week wasted. Fortunately, this week has been a treasure trove of acquired wisdom — which I am duty-bound, of course, share with you.

So here’s this week’s lessons:

 ♦ Why men die younger

 ♦ Why women should always shop alone.

 ♦ Why displaying police sketches on TV can be … disturbing

 ♦ Why I may consider taking up archery (or at least take some lessons):

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 ♦ The latest terrorist threat …

 ♦ Questions to ponder while wide awake at 2 am …

 ♦ And lastly, recreational activities I plan to skip …

Life’s Little Insanities

It takes a big man to find fault with little things.

Or, something like that…

Life has no shortage of major crises, from wars to terrorism, from auto accidents to health problems to family disputes. But sometimes it’s the little things which drive you crazy. And it’s therapeutic to vent about them, I’ve found, if for no other reason than to find some humor in life’s little insanities. So here’s a few of the burrs sitting under my saddle at the moment.

First stop: the supermarket.

Most supermarkets have fairly generous aisles, as a rule posing no impedance to the normal pursuit of culinary commerce — unless you have the misfortune to encounter one of these:
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The Flying Imams

I know I’m late to this party–but only a bit later than Dean Barnett, so I don’t feel too badly. As many of you know, six Imams were removed from a US Airways flight out of Minneapolis just over a week ago, for behavior which nervous passengers found unsettling–such as loud public praying in the airport, angry talk about how evil the U.S. was and the injustices inflicted by us on Saddam and the Iraqis, and bizarre requests for seat belt extensions by those who obviously didn’t need them. After their removal from the flight, an investigation cleared them of any wrongdoing, and they later flew home (on another airline) uneventfully. Of course, the usual suspects (read: CAIR) chimed in to protest this obvious injustice, religious discrimination, and racial profiling. No doubt a host of lawsuits will be flying soon, darkening the sky like Qassam rockets during Ramadan.

We’re sorry–we really, really are. No American should be treated this way.

But in the interest of helping our bigoted, infidel, intolerant American minds, allow me to make a few suggestions to our Imam friends to help ensure your future enjoyment and freedom from hassle as you wing your way around our great nation, avoiding those nasty chaffed handcuff wrist marks and the oh-so-burley FBI agents who force you to bow your heads as you get into their patrol cars:
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Voice Recognition Redux

trollSeveral months ago, I upgraded my voice recognition software to Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 8. I have been using voice recognition software for over five years now, and have been very satisfied with it, although older versions could be maddening at times–and hilarious at others. This version is amazingly accurate–my only complaint since upgrading is that I am not having nearly as much fun proofreading my notes as I have the past.

Voice recognition software is rather remarkable technology, and to watch the medical version crank out complex terms with aplomb is almost magical. The software does not make spelling errors, but contextual errors are relatively common, and need to be carefully screened before sending your documents out the door.

A few of the contextual swaps I have encountered are as follows:

What I said: The patient said Viagra wasn’t working, and wanted to try Cialis.

What it typed: The patient said Viagra wasn’t working, and wanted to try and see Alice.

What I said: The patient was thoroughly reevaluated by her previous physician.

What it typed: The patient was thoroughly violated by her previous physician.

What I said: The patient will be started on depot testosterone.

What it typed: The patient will be started on devil testosterone.

What I said: The patient has prepubertal pubic hair changes.

What it typed: The patient had puréed pubic hair oranges.

The accuracy of this latest version has made such–ahem!–interesting errors quite a bit less common — to the point where I was becoming a bit complacent about careful proofreading. That is, until today:

What I said: The patient was seen several years ago for problems of urge incontinence, and has been on Detrol with good symptom relief.

What it typed: The patient was seen several years ago for problems of urge incontinence, and has been on a troll with good symptom relief.

And you thought they spent their entire lives living under bridges