Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Today I learned about myself, about the natural world, about art, and about the fact that people will put anything and everything into their orifices. More specifically, I learned...

That I have the same birthday as Tina Fey and Omar Khayyam (though not, obviously, the same birth year).

That the aurora borealis is caused by the induction of electric current in the Earth's magnetosphere by rushes of charged solar wind moving perpendicular to the Earth's surface (and for the first time in my life, the Electromagnetism unit from college physics was actually useful for understanding something). Wikipedia it, it's interesting. I'd like to see it in person someday. Apparently March and October are the best times to go north (or south, to see the aurora australis) and skywatch. Coincidentally, it was reading the Golden Compass series, by Philip Pullman, that inspired me to look this up; and it was my friend Amy who suggested I look into the series (thanks, Ames!).

Apparently, peppermint oil and human mucous membranes don't mix well. I got a Christmas call from a friend of mine who works in an ER...somewhere in the United States...and she said that a young woman came in a few days ago, or fifty years ago, or some vague unspecified span of time in the past, with a portion of a candy cane lodged in her vaginal canal. Couldn't get it out. Apparently the menthol really started to irritate her tissues, and she and the boyfriend were both so freaked out that they couldn't get it to budge from her holiday hole by themselves. With the aid of a speculum and a (slightly traumatized) intern it was retrieved...lucky for the woman, considering that otherwise she'd likely have been looking at a White Christmas, by which I mean massive discharge from a killer yeast infection.

That Natalie Merchant (and earlier, 10,000 Maniacs, the band she fronted) once did a song called "What's the Matter Here" that offers a pretty poignant look at child abuse...it almost made me cry, honestly. And musically/artistically, it also has great merit: "I've heard the excuses/ everybody uses/ He's your kid, do as you see fit...but what gives you the right/ to do this/ to your own flesh and blood?"

That you can blow out your liver just as easily with NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like acetominophen, ibuprofen, the cox-2 inhibitors etc, as you can with alcohol. Maybe easier, since most people know that knocking back a six-pack of beer every day isn't good for you but don't know that tossing back six Advil every day isn't so hot either.

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