Monday, March 13th, 2006 07:57 am
Savagefuzzball has been learning about the Ebola virus in science, recently. The symptoms and conditions of the virus have stuck with her like the plots and images of horror movies we've allowed her to see. It's frightening but so extreme and alien as to be fascinating (like a train wreck) at the same time.

Friday night, we were lying on my bed just talking and laughing about nothing in particular. She shared some particularly gruesome details about ebola, we moved on to astronomy and then, somehow, we were on the subject of God. As you all know, my memory is sketchy at the best of times. All I remember was that I was considering, aloud, the possible manifestations God might take. Although we refer to Him as "He", we don't subscribe to the belief that God is male or, even, restricted to a form we'd recognize. So, I was considering the "God as a ball of white light/energy" concept when, out of the blue, SFB turns to me and says, "Man, I would not want to bleed from my anus".

Obviously, in the ten minutes we'd meandered from subject to subject, in the back of her mind she was still obsessing over symptoms of the ebola virus! All weekend this was the new "catch phrase", trotted out at the most unlikely times and good for a few chuckles.

On Friday, I gave Buddy the bath (finally!) he desperately needed. Years ago, he'd jump into the car in the winter, I'd drive him to a Dog-O-Mat, give him a relatively inexpensive bath and bring him home. No problem. When it got so he couldn't jump up into the car anymore, MrBug and I would carry him down into the basement (he won't go down our basement steps for some reason), hook up a hose to the laundry tub and give him a bath over the floor drain. These days, we don't want to even risk that due to his "delicate" hips and his tendency to squirm. So, all this winter, he got "sponge baths" and was in desperate need of a good scrubbing. Friday was the first day I felt it was warm enough to give him a bath outside. I know he's a lab and I know they're used to jumping in freezing cold water after birds but when I'm bathing him, I'm going below that oily undercoat to his skin. Cold water against the skin is cold water against the skin. And he's old. And a big baby when it comes to getting a bath.

He whined and howled during the process but came through it unscathed if dripping and miserable looking. I always bring out a couple of towels to give him as thorough a drying as I can before he goes back inside. After his bath, I took off the leash that keeps him from running away while I'm washing him, and encouraged him (verbally and with hand signals) to run around the yard to dry off a bit. He stayed where he was and barked at me. "Go run around!" I said, 'sweeping' my arms at him. He looks at the towels, looks at me and barks for a good three or four minutes. I don't pretend to be a dog whisperer but I know what he was saying: "Screw that. Just dry me off with the towels!"

Every once in a blue moon Buddy will pull a Houdini, push open the side gate and disappear. The gate has hardware that, depending on the weather and how conscientious the person is using it, doesn't latch well. The last person through didn't make sure the latch was down inside the mechanism and Buddy, feeling his oats after having a bath, must have nosed it open. I walked the perimeter of our yard, yelling and whistling for him to no avail so I went inside, got the leash and began walking our street doing the same. No Buddy. Damn!

I cut through the back yards and came out one street over, whistling and calling. By now, my neighbors to the left are aware Buddy's out and have promised to lock him back in the yard should he return. The boy across the street who is outside on his roller blades agrees to yell for me if he sees Buddy. I don't spot him so, now, I'm figuring I'd better get the car and go looking for him that way.

In the car, I saw my rollerblading neighbor waving his arms one street up and headed up to meet him. Sure enough, there was Buddy, trotting along the front yards, sniffing people's flower beds and bushes. I parked the car three houses down from him, got out and called for him. No response. I whistled. Nothing. So, I started walking toward him, calling and whistling. Finally, when we were about thirty feet apart, he raised his head and looked around (in the wrong direction) because he heard his name. Then, after I called him again, he turned toward me and took a few prancing steps backward. It wasn't until I was about 6 - 8 feet away from him that he recognized it was me. I realized he had cataracts and I realized he was going deaf but I hadn't realized how bad it was until just then. :oP

Because I can't lift him into the car and because he can't get in, himself, I had to put him on the leash, walk him home and put him in the house before walking back to the car and driving home. It was a big day for Buddy. After that, he fell into a deep sleep (not his usual "doggy doze") for the rest of the afternoon.

Late Friday afternoon, I went out to have the car washed. Evidently, every one else had the same idea because the car wash had a line out to the street. If I had waited in the line, I'd have never made it in time to pick SFB from play practice. Damn!

All was not lost, though! Next door to the car wash is an Arby's. Recently, MrBug rhapsodized over a roast beef and cheese sandwich he'd gotten, there, to the point that I was hankering for one. My trip was not wasted! I pulled into the Arby's parking lot, parked the car, got out and walked to the restaurant. It wasn't until I had my hand on the door handle that I realized: It's Friday. It's Lent. A roast beef sandwich was not in my immediate future. :( Damn!

My Friday wasn't a complete bust. After dinner, the BugFamily went out for honest-to-god ice cream. I had a scoop of Coconut Pineapple ice cream in a waffle cone from Bruster's and it was delicious. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. :)
Monday, March 13th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
SFB turns to me and says, "Man, I would not want to bleed from my anus".

LOL!! Me either! :-)

Sorry you didn't get your sandwich, but it's a good excuse to go sometime this week, right? :-)
Monday, March 13th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Hey, yeah...something to look forward to (as long as I don't wait too long and end up at Friday again!
Monday, March 13th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
I'm always fascinated by discussions of God. They seem to be the opposite of a discussion of, say, a piece of Mars rock when people argue about whether a crystal formation in the rock was mineral or bacterial in origin. With God you start out with the empty idea of God and then try to fill in what it could be. But why assume it's there in the first place?

Can't remember where I read it recently, but somebody said when the Ebola virus manages to board a plane, we could be in big trouble. Is the Ebola virus a manifestation of God? Some people say no, because God is good, but that undermines God's omnipotence. If God is both all-powerful AND good, He/she/it wouldn't let Ebola virus happen. Something has to give.

Let me as an atheist put a question about the manifestations of God from my own viewpoint: if you can imagine a world without God, how different would it be from the one you are living in?
Monday, March 13th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
I don't have a lot of time before I need to run out and get some errands accomplished but I'll leave a few, brief answers and then come back with more, later, if necessary.

But why assume it's there in the first place?

-I can't imagine there isn't something larger than myself.
- Why do we assume anything we can't prove? Because we see evidence to support the premise. In this case, however, the evidence is subjective.

Is the Ebola virus a manifestation of God?
Perhaps. What I define as "good", with my limited intellect, may not be good in the long run. What I understood, as a child, to be only pain and suffering might have been a procedure to save my life. While I'd like to understand, I don't feel I can. So, along with "Faith", I have "Trust" in a "Purpose".

if you can imagine a world without God, how different would it be from the one you are living in?

As I said, earlier, I have a very hard time grasping the concept of "no God". To an athiest, that might seem like very deep-rooted conditioning but to me it's just "faith" or "intuition". Your question is an oxymoron for a person who believes. For me, there is no world without God. Remove God from the equation and life doesn't exist. While I don't discount The Big Bang or evolution, my mind can't grasp either of those coming to fruition without a Creating Force. Nothing can come from nothing, says my mind, except God (who is, was, and always will without end! Sorry, the Catholic in me needed to recite that last bit) ;)
Monday, March 13th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
"Why do we assume anything we can't prove?"

I was reading this weekend and one of the characters said, "Just because you can prove something, doesn't mean it's true." For some reason this thought popped into my head just now but I really don't know what it means in this conversation. (Or maybe that line popped into my head because the reverse may apply here, 'Just because you can't prove something, doesn't mean it isn't true.')
Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
'Just because you can't prove something, doesn't mean it isn't true.'

I think I heard a similar line in a movie or television program in reference to love. Love is difficult to explain let alone prove!
Monday, March 13th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
Ooh! You'll have to get her Richard Preston's books: "The Hot Zone", "The Cobra Event" and "The Demon in the Freezer". She'll love 'em. And be scarred for life. ;)

"Screw that. Just dry me off with the towels!"

I've seen that look! I tell my poor, maligned Aussies to go onto the driveway and "shake shake shake" (their booties) after a hose bath in the summer and that's the look I get.

Poor Buddy! Although it sounds like he had fun on his day out.
Monday, March 13th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
I was going to mention The Hot Zone too.

But I have to say that as a science nerd, I was a little cranky about how RP sort of personified the virus in that book. I had a hard time getting past that. But it is quite a, um, compelling book, to say the least!
Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
personified the virus

Do you mean he gave it a personality or that he used it to represent a person? How so?
Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
I mean that he gave it a personality that it didn't really have, and it was sort of misleading.

Here is the section from my review where I talked about it:

"I also had a problem with his personification of the virus. He repeatedly referred to the virus's 'trying to break into the human population' like it was something the virus particles were cooperating to accomplish. That is not the case at all and I think it gives people an incorrect sense of how viruses work. The particles are spread, and if each one ends up in a place it can grow in organism it can infect, it does. If not, it doesn't. There is no 'trying' to do anything. "

This is an example of the kind of stuff that bugged me. I found myself shaking my head, thinking, "That's now how it works at all." I figure either the author didn't really understand himself, or he took some artistic license with the facts to achieve the sensational tone he was looking for, but I just wasn't able to get past it.
Wednesday, March 15th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see! I've read books like that, too; ones that give a personality with desires (or a sense of revenge!)to something that doesn't act in that fashion. Sometimes it doesn't bother me (take Stephen King's short story "The Fog") but at other times it does.

Now you've got me curious, though; what do you do for a living if you don't mind me asking?
Friday, March 17th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
I definitely can appreciate personification or anthropomorphization (I hope that is a word!) as a literary technique. And just like you said, sometimes it doesn't bother me. In fact, sometimes it adds a lot to a story. In this situation, it didn't work for me.

I'm sure the problem is that I'm too close to the topic and trained to be very careful with scientific language. I work as a postdoctoral researcher in a neuroscience/neurology lab. It's lab research (not clinical--I don't see patients) and the project I'm working on is about how your brain decides how much serotonin to make. :-)
Friday, March 17th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
anthropomorphization (I hope that is a word!)

Without going to look it up, I'd lay odds that it's at least close, if not exactly, the word you were looking for. I've read it before, I know.
Sigh...I couldn't not look it up! You were spot on with spelling and everything:
an·thro·po·mor·phize ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nthr-p-môrfz)
v. an·thro·po·mor·phized, an·thro·po·mor·phiz·ing, an·thro·po·mor·phiz·es
v. tr.
To ascribe human characteristics to.

v. intr.
To ascribe human characteristics to things not human.

Your job sounds of the sort that I wish they gave adult field trips through. So, tell me Science Chick, in what way will your research be applied? Pharmacologically? (is that a word?)
Monday, May 8th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
Oops! I was cleaning out my inbox in the spirit of work-avoidance and I realized I didn't answer your question. :-)

Yep, probably my work will be applied pharmacologically. And that is a word. We use it all the time, and you got it totally right!
Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
I passed on my "worry" gene to SFB; the last thing she needs is to read these books (although they sound really interesting after a look-see on!).

shake shake shake (their booties)

You realize that I'm singing that damned song in my head, now, don't you? E-evil woman!
Monday, March 13th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
This story reminds me of a clip that was very popular amongst my set of friends in college. It was called Rejected by Don Hertzfelt or something like that. They're cartoons of commercials "rejected" by the Family Learning Channel. I bet you could find them on the internet.
Anyway, there is one that features the line, "My anus is bleeding". Written here, it's not very funny. But on the clip it is so funny that now, years later, I am considering calling up a friend and leaving a message on his machine saying, "my anus is bleeding" in the same voice. Hm. I don't think I'd like to know your opinion of me after this post.

Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think I'd like to know your opinion of me after this post

I like you even better! :) You should definitely call and leave that message on your friend's answering machine. They'll thank you for it! ;)
Monday, March 13th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, I would not want to bleed from my anus either, but with God as a white ball of energy, I see potential for cauterization.

I'm trying to remember the name of the movie about ebola. Outbreak, maybe? Dustin Hoffman, Cuba Gooding (who is just so teddy-bear cute) and Renee Russo are in it.

Remember that commercial for cough drops called Riccola? (however you spell that...) They would sort of yodel the name of it...and I promptly changed it to Ebola. So, if you know the commercial, you can yodel along with me. ;)
Monday, March 13th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
I remember watching the movie "Outbreak" years ago and being very unsettled by it.

Eeeeeeeboooooooolllllllllaaaa! I'll never hear the sound of someone coughing the same again.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
Poor Buddy.

There's an emergency de-stink treatment if Buddy gets a spot of something stinky and you don't want to do an entire bath. Mix Listerine (or a generic equivalent of the brown version) with warm water, then sponge/scrub with it. The Listerine helps kill the smell, but it won't leave a soapy residue you need to rinse. And the Listerine isn't toxic if he licks it. (And, given the taste, he's not likely to lick it much.) Just keep the mix out of his eyes.
Wednesday, March 15th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks, KF! Listerine and water sounds like a very good solution to the winter bathing problem!
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hi speedbug,

I did that meme thing that lists who is your friend's friends, and your name was #1, so I thought I would come over and see what I was missing. ;-)

Would you mind to much if I friended you?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
[whispers] I said I wouldn't add anyone else to my friends list since there are more on it than I can manage, at present, but I did it anyway. Don't tell anyone! ;)
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC)
(whispers back) thank you, and I won't tell anyone.