Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 27th, 2012

SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap

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A very Cool Tool indeed for cat owners—and wouldn’t it work for small dogs as well?

Written by LeisureGuy

27 January 2012 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Technology

Hard-won tribal knowledge: “Do not go there, oh my son, for I have been, and it is bad.”

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When I was in graduate school in Iowa City, 24, I had four impacted wisdom teeth removed at a blow, figuratively speaking. (I was under general anæsthesia, but I feel certain it must have been four blows.) While I was in recovery, a person that in my (frequent) retelling I call “a woman in a white dress” but at the time I (naively) assumed was a nurse, passed by my bed and pointed to the icepack around my jaws. “You can take the icepack off,” she said, and walked on. I never saw her again, possibly she had been wearing a wig.

So I removed the icepack, and after a short pause—a beat, little more—the skin at the corner of my jaws was dry, red, hot and swelling visibly. I could feel it swell, and that is not an exaggeration: the rate was fast and the extent large.

“So,” I said later, buttonholing anyone who paused facing me at a party, “I then realized that it was no nurse. It was a crazy woman who would put on a white dress of an afternoon, and wander through the hospital, dispensing optimistic advice: “Are those tubes uncomfortable? You can just remove them.” “Is the machine noise bothering you? You can just turn it off.” “You can take those icepacks off now.”

So I told it through the years. And two days ago, The Elder Grandson, 15, had his four wisdom teeth removed at once. There were two nurses in Recovery, doing the old Brusque Nurse, Nice Nurse routine. TEG was struggling to get his shirt on over the icepack around his jaws, when Brusque Nurse uttered the fabled words: “You can take the icepack off.” TEG, who at 15 had heard the story dozens if not hundreds of times, literally froze, every sense alert. Slowly, carefully articulating, firmly, and prepared to fight, he said, “No. I don’t have to wear the shirt. I can just put on my coat.” He slowly reached for his coat, watching her closely in case she made a grab for the icepack. Brusque Nurse looked at him, shrugged, and walked away.

Nice Nurse came in and saw that TEG was still wearing his icepack. “You’ve still got your icepack. Good. They say ’20 minutes on, 20 minutes off,’ but I say keep it on as much as you can stand.”

Obviously, oral tradition and tribal warnings do indeed work. And obviously, too, Good and Evil contend everywhere, and an entire group of oral surgery nurses wants to get those icepacks off after 20 minutes, “just for a while, 20 minutes, then right back on,” ignoring the fact that in 20 minutes your jaws will have expanded to muskmelon proportions and that the icepack will be laughably too small and ridiculously after the fact—which, I suppose, is the idea: for that group, our sufferings are their amusement. Seems familiar, somehow. But only a very small percentage of people would be that way.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 January 2012 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Daily life

A clear picture of a false view

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Not much blogging today, as you see: another day primarily devoted to rest and recuperation. I did venture out to PO, to pharmacy (eye-related: bought 8 large boxes of Kleenex tissues—I was out, and now Safeway is—and filled a prescription for pain med should I need it), to library (returned bag of books and movies, checked out three on reserve: ironically, as we now say and frankly I don’t know what other word to use—help sought—Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink (yes, I know it’s not the eye thing, but still, eye-catching, wouldn’t you say?), a novel, and a nonfiction book on CD—Gut Feelings, on the same topic as Gladwell’s book, a topic that’s lately caught my … attention.

And now, Paul Krugman in today’s NY Times has a truly remarkable column. It’s remarkable because it shows clearly how the Republican position is totally false, and it shows that their ideals are false, and… well, read it:

Mitch Daniels, the former Bush budget director who is now Indiana’s governor, made the Republicans’ reply to President Obama’s State of the Union address. His performance was, well, boring. But he did say something thought-provoking — and I mean that in the worst way.

For Mr. Daniels tried to wrap his party in the mantle of the late Steve Jobs, whom he portrayed as a great job creator — which is one thing that Jobs definitely wasn’t. And if we ask why Apple has created so few American jobs, we get an insight into what is wrong with the ideology dominating much of our politics.

Mr. Daniels first berated the president for his “constant disparagement of people in business,” which happens to be a complete fabrication. Mr. Obama has never done anything of the sort. He went on: “The late Steve Jobs — what a fitting name he had — created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the president borrowed and blew.”

Clearly, Mr. Daniels doesn’t have much of a future in the humor business. But, more to the point, anyone who reads The New York Times knows that his assertion about job creation was completely false: Apple employs very few people in this country.

A big report in The Times last Sunday laid out the facts. Although Apple is now America’s biggest U.S. corporation as measured by market value, it employs only 43,000 people in the United States, a tenth as many as General Motors employed when it was the largest American firm.

Apple does, however, indirectly employ around 700,000 people in its various suppliers. Unfortunately, almost none of those people are in America.

Why does Apple manufacture abroad, and especially in China? As the article explained, it’s not just about low wages. China also derives big advantages from the fact that so much of the supply chain is already there. A former Apple executive explained: “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away.”

This is familiar territory to students of economic geography: the advantages of industrial clusters — in which producers, specialized suppliers, and workers huddle together to their mutual benefit — have been a running theme since the 19th century.

And Chinese manufacturing isn’t the only conspicuous example of these advantages in the modern world. Germany remains a highly successful exporter even with workers who cost, on average, $44 an hour — much more than the average cost of American workers. And this success has a lot to do with the support its small and medium-sized companies — the famed Mittelstand — provide to each other via shared suppliers and the maintenance of a skilled work force.

The point is that successful companies — or, at any rate, companies that make a large contribution to a nation’s economy — don’t exist in isolation. Prosperity depends on the synergy between companies, on the cluster, not the individual entrepreneur.

But the current Republican worldview has no room for such considerations. From the G.O.P.’s perspective, it’s all about the heroic entrepreneur, the John Galt, I mean Steve Jobs-type “job creator” who showers benefits on the rest of us and who must, of course, be rewarded with tax rates lower than those paid by many middle-class workers.

And this vision helps explain why Republicans were so furiously opposed to the single most successful policy initiative of recent years: the auto industry bailout. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 January 2012 at 3:58 pm

Dr. Selby at Alt-Innsbruck, checking out the iKon

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This is the Dr. Selby regular shaving cream (rather than the 3x, which is more like a soap), and though it produced a fine lather, it does not, I fear, hold a candle to the Speick I used yesterday. This Emilion Victorian brush, which I got on Todd O’s recommendation, does indeed have curious properties. It’s a hooked badger: the tips have slight hooks that engage as it dries, so it looks porcupinish, though it is easily brushed smooth (which I do automatically, so I’ve yet to get a photo of it—I’ll try again). But when the brush is wet, after rinsing, and your run your fingers over it, the hooks (I assume) produce a peculiar and not unpleasant “grabby” sensation, like a kind of tacky glue that leaves no residue. And it does a fine job of creating and applying lather, with the tips feeling quite soft.

Greg of iKon saw my blog post recently where I displayed the collection of iKon razors I’ve purchased over the years, and he kindly sent me, gratis, a bamboo handle (shown above) to complete the collection (for now). A very nic gesture, and I do like the feel of the handle.

Three smooth passes with a Swedish Gillette blade, and then a little squirt of Alt-Innsbruck. I just recently used Primalan aftershave balm, and I was struck by the close resemblance beeween the two. I don’t recognize anything in the Alt-Innsbruck that corresponds to the almond oil in Primalan, but they did seem a lot alike, and both seem to separate on standing—so shake well before squirting out a tiny dab to massage into your face post-shave.

All in all, a fine shave.

Eye gets better day by day, though last night I did experience some pain, and at 2:00 a.m., The Wife drove me to the ER for an IV, which helped immediately. I then slept soundly the rest of the night and today I have only a certain flow of tears with which to contend. I’m mending, and within a week should be doing quie well indeed. My advice remains: don’t jerk your head around while getting eye surgery. (Live and learn.)

Written by LeisureGuy

27 January 2012 at 10:41 am

Posted in Shaving

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