Monday, May 09, 2005

it's not easy being green

In Friday's post, I suggested that perhaps I walked away from the family gene pool with all the recessive traits. After I mention the Mother's Day debachle of 2005, that suggestion might be considered wishful thinking. I sent my mom a silk & cashmere scarf and a little batch of cookies. When I called yesterday, my father picked up the phone. He said he'd given my mom the package a day early, and apologized for stealing my thunder- there is no way to reenact the hilarity that is my father using the expression stealing your thunder, by the way. Then he handed the phone over to my mom. As much as I tease her about her penchant for turning her nose up at most presents, I have to admit that she was surprisingly satisfied. There are two things she said that had me in stitches and smiles for the better part of Sunday:
  • "This must have taken you a long time... so... you must have been thinking of me the whole time you were making this. (short pause of silence) Right?!?"
  • "Your father ate a lot of the cookies before I even got home. He didn't tell me until this morning, but he couldn't keep it a secret any longer."
That's right, people. My father ate my Mother's Day present. Now, I would love, for the purposes of blogging entertainment, to rip him a new one for this. But that wouldn't be fair. He's actually a sweet and considerate, albeit eccentric and slightly insane man. He just can't resist the lure of sugar in any form. It's a miracle that he left anything behind for my mother. It's also a miracle that he doesn't have diabetes.

Random thought that occurred to me on the way to work this morning: when 80s music first came out- you know, in the 80s (and yes I have a knack for stating the obvious)- it occasionally annoyed me because it seemed so new age and futuristic. I mean that it was trying to be more futuristic than the 80s actually were. I remember in 1984, there was first that stupid Apple advert that drove every morning news program to draw parallels to Orwell's 1984 vs. the actual 1984 (it seems it would be better to look at the parallels today, incidentally). But then the 80s also found news programs obsessed with what the future held. Oh yes, there were also the apocalyptic future scenarios thanks to the fear associated with the Cold War. But there also seemed to be a fixation on what kind of advances we'd have in the future. Why did I think about this on the way to work? Besides being insane, I feel like 80s music seems to fit now. All the synth-pop and whatnot has become so commonplace now, due in part to cell phones, video games, technology as a whole having this giant leap at a speed that few would have predicted. Those synth noises don't sound jarring or futuristic in music now. It's very now, oddly enough, twenty years later.

I've been reading up about polio for some reason. It's the 50th anniversary of the Salk vaccine, and the actual clinical trial that proved that the Salk vaccine was safe and effective in preventing polio. But I find that media coverage of science often oversimplify stories like this. Everybody wants a hero, maybe. Salk was an impressive scientist, and he did develop the first polio vaccine that worked. But had it not been for his mentor Thomas Francis, no one may have ever known that. Francis had to figure out a way to definitively prove that the polio vaccine was effective, no small undertaking. What's more, a follow-up vaccine developed by Albert Sabin has ultimately replaced the Salk vaccine, since it is most effective in stopping all forms of polio. Salk and Sabin cut two very interesting profiles as scientists- it's a matter of perspective who got more glory. Salk is probably more of a household name when polio is mentioned. But he never won the Nobel prize, was never accepted as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and was generally thought to violate the gentleman's code of conduct in research/science. Sabin, on the other hand, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and generally held in higher regard by his fellow virologists and vaccinologists. It's hard to tell which of them felt more slighted or sated in the end.

But even with all those advances, it's really sad that there is still a considerable polio problem in Nigeria, even though it does show signs of getting under control. There is no reason for that in this day and age.

Well, this quiz could not be more off the mark, but Kermit did turn 50 today, and I couldn't resist, thanks to Anna:

what flavor pocky are you?

[c] sugardew

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