Sunday, January 29, 2012

Last Seen Wearing Thin: EXCITING STUFF

Last Seen Wearing Thin: EXCITING STUFF


      One can never be too early when delivering good news.  And this is a bona fide "Special D".

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly-formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.
Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of  creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.”
We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen.
In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories; whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.
Executive Editor, Karen S. Elliott stated, “While I looked at all the stories in the Every Child anthology, I edited only a few. I thought it was important, for this time, that the writers be able to express the heartbreak and joy of childhoods past without censorship.”
Spokesperson for Orangeberry Books, Niamh Clune, explained how The Orangeberry Group is at the vanguard of a new wave of Internet publishing companies. Orangeberry aims to put quality first and bring exciting, exceptionally talented authors to the reader’s attention. Its focus is not on commercialism, but on quality, beautifully written, well-told stories. Orangeberry will also publish poetry. A further aim of the publishing company is to bring a collection of exceptional artists from across many different art disciplines to collaborate on projects in a personal, hands-on, mutually supportive manner.
The motto of the company is, ‘Paying it Forward.’ The company relies on a well-developed social network, the dedication of the core team members, their talent and enthusiasm coupled with a socially entrepreneurial spirit.
        (I've been lucky to have made the acquaintance of some 'luminaries' in my time. Like the legendary actor Pat O'Brien and his lovely wife, "My Favorite Martian", Alan Seuss and the deeply sensitive, exceptional athlete and Olympic champion diver, Greg Luganus.  But getting to know - via email and the reading of their art - the contributors in this anthology, well let's just say I'm the only person here I've never heard of.)
      The spark of this creative literary pyrotechnical array, our own Niamh Clune, labored tirelessly, and coordinated brilliantly to deliver children of yore to children of now-in-need-of-a-way-out.  My own sharing from the shores of the East River circa 1950s is prototypical of the 'gotta-get-out' syndrome.  Back then, I felt caught in the flypaper of life.  Five or so decades later, however, I'm in 'swat mode' and proud of it.
And this book is 'apple pie a-la-mode' - an oh-so-just-dessert - served up in a way that tingles and touches the taste buds of the oh-so-deserving
       little readers/listeners of tales read aloud.  Tales not full of sound and fury, symbolizing nothing, by idiots who strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are heard no more.  Hardly.  They are told by loving new friends whose tales are filled with quiet love and meaning that will tip toe through your dreams and hopes - always.
 Later (or hopefully Sooner), Lorane. . . .

Monday, January 16, 2012

Last Seen Wearing Thin: Nary a Word was Spoken

Last Seen Wearing Thin: Nary a Word was Spoken: Just got a wonderful-scary-Enuff!-info-mail from a dear friend. It was a Public Service type of info-sharing dealing with "Smart Phon...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


      It's been a sad-ish few days around the old parsonage, dear reader.  I've not been able to write - turned out Laptop's condition was far more serious than originally thought.Indeed, in the end - well, not the VERY END - the doc, breaking with standard protocol, made a house call.  And he wasn't alone.  Rather, as he is also on staff at the School of Teckie-ology, he had asked - before setting out in the ETS (Emergency Technician Savior) bus, whether he could bring an intern-in-training along.  Of course I dared not object.  Firstly, (and my apologies if that is not a word) you know/should know that I am a champion of clinical experience in the education process.  And - the honest albeit selfish motivating factor - Laptop's condition was deteriorating.  I had already prepared Desktop for the worst when I was with him fetching email. Thought it best.  And now a fledgling healer would be exposed to his first challenging emergency.  What could I do?  You know what they say, "Man proposes, God disposes.". (You remember "They", the users of phrases like, "when I was 'coming up'".  Goes to show this group of pundits can also, on occasion, be profound.
      (You know/have no way of knowing, when I studied - at Georgetown U., I was always struck by the choice of words used by its membership when describing - anecdotally or on patient data templates - the patient/patient's condition. Twenty years later, when one of our daughters matriculated through the very same program, two significant changes prevailed: Four credits of Statistics was required - Color me grateful to be a living anachronism - and "patient" was taboo, "client" now the politically correct terminology -Color me in black avec veiled chapeau.
       By way of example, the patient was not "having" or "in" pain but rather "complains of pain" (c/o).  At the outset, then, our hapless, suffering patient is pre-cast as 'The Complainer' who whines, bitches, demands - runs the gamut of demanding/inappropriate modes of expression EVEN if he's an above-the-knee-amputee who is unable to 'run' at all.)
      Laptop had not been running well for a few weeks.  It had been showing ("presenting with") signs and symptoms ("sxs and sxs") which this observer intuitively associated with pain - displaying prompt after (p) prompt, attempting to 'install' tray applications, only to fail at the task for lack of required disks (CD-ROM) during the start-up process; (I quickly learned to cancel the attempt as soon as I saw the prompt.  I mean, why re-enforce an obviously ailing Laptop's experience of failure?) a fiendish memo informing me that "Microsoft Office 2003 is corrupted", also during start-up and, the most humiliating/damaging sx for Laptop as well as the most eviscerating sx for me - the inability to access the Internet.  Laptop had been exiled from the fold;  I had been cut-off from family, friends, business associates, clients (LAW clients - I no longer practice the art of nursing which deals with patients.) and potentially important updates as well as definitely important help in curing this pathology.  And, I might add, (you knew I would) during ALL of this trauma, not a 'peep' from Laptop.  Never complained; 'sucked it up', as they, our new comrade-in-penning, say. Sadly, this would be the intern's (his name is Christian) first exposure to an on-site attempt at resuscitation.  And even though his mentor, Mike's, skills, knowledge and experience are without equal, Christian was unwittingly about to be launched to the lions.
      (Of course, there was a class of medical nomenclature which was benign in addition to having the same Druidic security encoding as the malignant.  I give you "PND" - which I interpreted as 'post nasal drip' on my first in-hospital cardiac patient assignment.  I quickly learned via my clinical instructor's acuity, that it meant "paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea" or intermittent attacks of difficulty breathing during the patient's sleeping hours; "SOB" was was not what I was thinking with attendant embarrassment, but rather 'shortnes of breath'; "ataxia" referred NOT to how the patient arrived at the hospital, but problems with balance and coordination; "Hx" was the patient's past medical history, NOT a poorly-scribed prescription; "appy" - NOT the patient's pet.  He'd had an appendectomy in the past; "PAT" - NOT his wife but 'paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (as chatted up in today's TV ads by the doctor/actor in the white lab coat). 
      The heart has four chambers - two upper, the right (R w/ circle around it) and left (L w/ circle around it) atria or chambers and two larger lower, the R and L ventricles or chambers. Our heart rate - incorrectly dubbed 'pulse' - is generated by a pacemaker, an in situ electrical impulse generator, located in the R atrium.  When things are jake, it sends impulses down via the intersection of A and V, to the ventricles which, being healthy, well-mannered  soldiers, OBEY and pump or squeeze in response to each impulsive command - roughly 70 - 80 times a minute.  BUT.  If the patient suffers from the abnormal condition of PAT, gangs of little reprobate pacemaker wannabees start a rumble in the R atrium.  "And the winner is. . . . .THE FASTEST!".  So, as the obedient ventricles will follow the fastest pacemaker, they squeeze their myocardial muscle strands - THE TEAM - OVER AND OVER, FASTER AND FASTER.  Sometimes, for plain old capability reasons, they can only execute every 2nd or 3rd order.      
      Now, we have the mayhem scenario of rebel-controlled atrium trying to beat 350 or so times a minute and winding up just looking silly; the ventricles pumping away with impressive regularity at some 'bad-for-your-health rate; a decrease in blood flow because, let's face it, when you're racing THAT fast, who's got time to fill up at the pit?  And the patient is feeling a funny fluttering - or not or just scared or dizzy.  SO.  It was really a giant step in my learning curve when the cardiologists' lecture took the patient's "wife" out of MY notes.  Now I I could look for those sxs and sxs of PAT & act, with something along the lines of ,"HELP!".)
     When the ETS van arrived, I immediately (STAT) told Laptop that help had arrived.  Mike (Attending) proceeded directly to Laptop - who hangs by my bedside table, directly above the router on the floor below.  Perched on the bed - with Christian at his side, Mike turned Laptop on and watched with furrowed brow as his fingers fluttered over the keyboard assisting him in aborting all of those 'intall' attempts.  Laptop looked - and I KNEW - he was in 'good fingers'.  Noticing the red 'X' on the 'internet access' bars, Mike asked for the password - which I thought was the WEP key & could not locate.  We all trundled downstairs to elicit the password/key from Desktop's router.  (If you need a break, dear reader - go ahead, take that cruise.  "They' will take notes.) 
      Back at Laptop's bedside, Mike swiftly re-stored Internet access.  But things remained dicey with the 'install' rascal.  He couldn't ID it so couldn't stop it.That ole 'Druidic Security'. I shed a few as Mike and Christian carried Laptop out to the van, thence to become an in-patient.
      (What I have indicated as malignant nomenclature in medical terminology covers a broad spectrum.  I guess a soupcon will have to do.  "Patient denies pain" - totally uncooperative;  "admits to smoking" - currying favor with forced confessional info; "reports bloating after eating dairy products" - the kind of bloke who would turn ANY body in, even his mother, especially if she's called 'Elsie'; "refusing assistance with ambulation" - showboating, probably to his own detriment.  Note to BRAIN: Get a psych consult.; "says zero Hx of HTN" - this according to a patient who we KNOW denies.  Of course, he may CONFESS if someone just told him that HTN means high blood pressure;  his "affect is flat" - you want grins from a sick man?;  his prognosis is "poor" - no surprise given he won't play nice;  the outcome borders on "grave" - forget serious, disastrous even.  "grave" has JUST the right imagery baggage.)
      The good news is that Mike tells me Laptop can come home today.  Makes it all worth it.  I'll get right on those notes to the kids and they, in turn will shower me with lols, BTWs, FYIs, smiley faces - their entire arsenal of evocab for which we spent twelve plus years and close to $200K.  So what?  I'll be able to write, the sun will probably rise tomorrow, Christian's a happy camper with all that extra teckie-knowledge bang for his buck and - at least last time I looked, we humans are still biodegradable.  Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Information, How can I Help You?

      Remember her?  Back in the day, we were buds. Even in Brooklyn, I could - rotary -dial "0", and there she'd be,  - And lest you readers think I had it 'bad' growing up in Brooklyn, re: telephone calls I was several "up" on one of my high school classmates.  Mary, one of 6 or so sibs, needed dimes.  Her Dad, a ruddy, frugal chap, SOME how got a Public phone booth installed in the house.  Kids had unlimited use - a REAL person, who REALLY wanted to help me.  Even if I wanted the phone number of someone and only had the LAST name, which was Slavic, contained 19 consonants and I wasn't "REAL sure if that ended in an "i" or a "y".  In fact, often this 'dilemma' morphed into a chatty exchange about how if it ended in "i", it was probably Polish whereas Russian people usually used the "y".
      (You'd REALLY get a kick out of the mess - conundrum being but a 'tip-toe' performance - our family found itself in because of some name-spelling changes -- if I had the time/space here this eve.  Must be some hereditary quirk.  I mean do you REALLY think my name is 'Lorane'?  It started innocently enough - Grampa, for business purposes - he owned a few furniture stores for a while - changed 'Grodzki' to 'Grocki' thinking, for some reason, the 'dz' business didn't sound American, whereas the 'ck' was shorter, cleaner, whatever.)
      On a slow day, with a REALLY chatty operator, you could even go with a few 'asides', comments like, "Boy, those Russian cooks can do stuff with beets that makes you think 'borscht' means 'heaven', countered with, "Yeah, but Gramma makes potatoes SING in her platzkis."  The point here, (c'mon. wake up for the'point') is that you hung up with 'information'  because Olszefski was not yet a common name and when she said "Is it 'Jusef'?", you remembered Celie's father was called 'Joe', PLUS a talk about customs and food - stuff you shared with this 'REAL' person operator.
      (Back in Warsaw our name was spelled 'Grodzki'.  Although it IS true about Gram pa's reason for the spelling change, as I watched the emerging of new, grownup 'aunts' and 'uncles' fresh 'off-the-boat' as it was said, I noticed that Gram pa's 2 brothers and two sisters kept the 'dz' version.  I was MOST interested in Uncle Mike.  First off, Mom REALLY liked him - so his recommendation was from above.  But the guy, like Grampa, was a charmer.  Good-looking, impeccable English, NOT a welcome visitor by Gramma (positive endorsement for me) & kinda mysterious.  He also had this fun, pretty wife - Regina - who was a concert pianist.  I never got the scoop - then - but they split.  Bummer.)
      Well times change.  As do modes of procuring information.  I GUESS the suppliers are REAL people but I KNOW the very notion of a friendly - nay - civil exchange is an anachronism.  This affliction seems MOST prevalent in the need-help-from-customer-service-re:-computer-maladies arena. 
      I either cannot understand the speaker because the English language is being mauled by rapid-fire-Mideastern-British-clipped overlays - accompanied by consistently inappropriate attempts at humorous one-liners that would have demonstrated a modicum of wisdom had they remained unspoken, accompanied by equally inappropriate SOLO chuckles of appreciation or, as with my attempt to inoculate myself from ANY oral 60-cycle-interference by using the fun "chat" option, I STILL hit the wall just this morning as soon as I saw that my "helper", 'information-provider' was one "GEORGIE BANGO" - you can't make this stuff up - who typed WITH A RUSSIAN ACCENT & wouldn't know/care about the difference between borscht & creme freche infused with red food dye.
      (Speaking of 'red', I finally came to realize that Uncle Frank had been infused with a few 'isms' before emigrating and, not wanting to taint the (already miss-spelled) family name with data NOT ABO-TYPING-related, maintained the 'dz'-issue' spelling AND split with Regina after their son, Bobbie, was born for the same reason.  But he was still a 'Big Tent' performer in this family circus.  I heard - by eavesdrop - that he gave rather eloquent, soap box speeches on his personalized, REAL soap box down on 14th street in Manhattan - the forum for this genre of performance.
      Over time, being a cogent, observant and lucid man, his ardor for the 'organization' and what it represented waned to the point that - when I was probably in 5th or 6th grade - he'd made the decision to sever all ties, turn in his card, cancel his subscription to the Daily Worker - in short (I know, too late) he went to his penultimate meeting on St. Mark's place and formally announced his official intentions.  The announcement caused not one choppy ripple in the East River.  Indeed, he was soon-thereafter invited to a bon voyage fete at the very same St. Mark's meeting Hall.
      Honored AND relieved, he gussied up that evening, having shared the news of the event only with his brother, Grampa.  I recon' pillow talk, generated by Pop's pride in his brother's decision, got the info to Stella (Gramma), then everybody.  The following morning, The New York Daily News (a true fount of worthy journalism) dedicated its front page to a  photo of a corpse on a stretcher under which the bleak copy announced that one Frank Grodzki, whilst in attendance at a party in his honor, was the victim of the friendly fire of a masked burglar during an attempted surprise robbery.
      Gram pa's only son-in-law, employed, I was always told, as a 'space-man', leaving me with the impression that he had something to do with aeronautics when, in fact, his job was to find/create office space for new exec-level types in a company in New Jersey, jumped right on it and, lest the (already miss-spelled) family name (which he, of course did not carry to space land - or anywhere else) be compromised in any fashion re: national security, called my dad and his three brothers, and, in hushed, self-important tones that usually go with disinterested/unaffected party-wannabes, instructed ALL to check out the 'front page' & tell the kids that if there are any questions from the nuns at school re: relatedness, recite: "MY name is spelled with 'ck', not 'dz'.  So, I dunno the poor guy.")
      Oh, for the days of "Information, may I help you?".  New York actually had REAL journalism at the time.  One such entity was The Herald Tribune.  I loved that paper.  Knew THEIR info number by heart.  This, because they had a 'general information' service from which you could elicit all manner of accurate, quickly-retrieved arcane material.  Wish I had a nickel for every time they 'provided' my homework in high school.  Now that's REAL help. 'Coourse it would cost Mary a dime, but it'd be worth it. Knowledge is like that.  Worth every penny you pay for it. 
      (Too much knowledge, it is said, can be a dangerous thing.  On autopsy, eavesdropping revealed, a 'dead-center-close-range-bullet-entry-wound' was described as being on Frank's forehead. But I know HE knew the price tag.  And with typical, classy, selfless courage, took THE one for the fam. Cheers, Frank. Here's to a REAL 'can-I-help-you-?' kind of guy.)
      Later, Lorane