Ten more questions

After Lee Bollinger invited the Iranian President Ahmedinejad to speak at Columbia University and then in the introduction called him a “cruel and petty dictator,” Iranian academics have issued a letter to the Columbia University president, asking him ten questions of their own.

And some Columbia University students have some questions for Bollinger too.

Health, fake nails, and high heels

Today I’ll play grumpy old lady and talk about the bad health effects of certain fashion trends. High heels and long nails.

Tuesday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution says that British hospitals are banning doctors’ neckties, long sleeves, jewelry and – horror of horrors – the long white coats, because they only help the spread of deadly hospital-borne infections. A nice concept – deadly hospital-borne infections. I thought the only main fatalities in hospital visits were the loss of time, perpetual inconvenience, heedless staff, and deadly bills afterwards. It turns out that neckties, which are rarely actually WASHED, “have been shown to be colonized by pathogens.”Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA or “superbug”) is responsible for over 40% in-hospital blood infections in Britain.

Since it’s resistant to nearly every antibiotic, they’re trying to control its spread. The necktie is easy to get rid of. I’d rather have my doctor without her white coat than with a superbug.

Another reason for men to ditch the tie. Or start washing their ties–which isn’t about to happen–so just ditch the tie.

Fake nails, jewelry and watches are also some of the main culprits. The first-mentioned is one of my pet peeves. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cringed as nurses with long, painted fake nails have administered medical care to, say, my newborn infant. It feels wrong, but somehow it continues. When I couldn’t wear a simple, unassuming nose-stud and get a job, surely long fake nails should be a no-no for healthcare worker. Definitely a nurse without the fake nails and without MRSA.

Also in the AJC, Dr Brent Tabor. a podiatrist, blames pointy toes and stiletto heels for creating serious foot problems such as hammertoe, Morton’s neuroma (a painful nerve disorder) and bunions. If you must have high heels, he recommends wedges. But if you have very narrow feet, you may be in luck.

Unfortunately it’s too long ago that I used to wear even 3″ heels, but at least I can crow about my low heels and show up those fashionable women, tall in their fancy high heels. And show them up with my short nails too.

Those naughty eye exams

I really could not resist sharing this search term that brought someone to my blog:

“sexual tension during eye exam.”

Now my own optometrist was 70-ish, but I’d really like to know what I’m missing …

Kicking my addictions

Friends in the blogosphere may have noticed that I have reduced my blog reading, subscribing and commenting drastically of late. Unsubscribing from a blog tends to be an Event in the Blogosphere (I would know). So I would hasten to explain that this means nothing – I still love you, I still read your blog when I can but I can’t have it light up with unread posts in bloglines or I’ll be forced to read it – it just means a reorg of my priorities.

It’s been over a year since I had Raihana, who wreaked havoc with the progress of my academic work-rhythm. Academic work is something I get done in snatches now – until she returns to fulltime daycare – like a fish coming up for air. I always have a running list of academic tasks in addition to domestic tasks, and very limited time to do it all. I also need to find a job.

Blogging had to be dropped from the top middle of my list, so that other income-generating activities could take its place – until I can charge a fee for any foolhardy blog readers I can swindle.

The reorg of my priorities was a hard struggle. But in July, I found a window of opportunity to effect a quick heartless reorganization.

When I returned from my trip to Pakistan, I found myself looking at jetlag, an adjusted circardian rhythm, a changed diet, – in short, I found myself looking at myself and seeing a VOID. A creative void.

In Pakistan, I’d had terrible dial-up. I couldn’t surf the internet, blog endlessly, or write emails to long-forgotten acquaintances. I could just barely send emails that were terribly urgent and important – and missed a deadline or two in the process. Sometimes, I spent days without being online [yes, I know, shudder-shudder].

For TV, I had either my mother’s cooking programmes, my father’s RAW (wrestling), or my nephew and niece’s dreadful American teen sit-coms. No “Law and Order,” no “The Closer,” no “Monk.” In short, I had no TV I wanted to watch. This lasted for a full 6 weeks. It was the equivalent of a “chillaa,” a spiritual retreat usually lasting 40 days.

On most days, since I was in charge of the baby, (Svend didn’t accompany us on the trip), I couldn’t sleep in either. This, coupled with severe jetlag for the 3 weeks of the trip, made me feel like a woman who could pretty much handle anything because she had annihilated all her need for sleep.

When I returned to the US, I found myself purged. I felt like I was staring into the face of a potential new world of new habits. This is my chance, I thought to myself.

In this pursuit, I changed Raihana’s and my schedule. We no longer wake up very, very late in the morning. (We’ll continue to call that “morning”). I slashed my bloglines links with the fury of love, and I kicked my TV addiction.

Yes, I dropped TV.

I hesitated to brag about this early on, wondering how long it would REALLY last. But now that I’ve been TV-free since early July, I feel that I can at last plant my triumphant flag of freedom. I have dumped TV.

No more mindless commercials that stick in my head and play in my head constantly in the middle of the night, and play as soon as I open my eyes in the morning.

No more Law & Order, sadly, but no more Orientalist portrayals of weeping Muslim women and furious Muslim men with dark-lined eyes.

No more watching the SAME episode of “Will & Grace” 54 times just because it’s there.

No more Dora the Explorer and those horrid Wonder Pets either. And no offensive automobile commercials in the middle of kids’ programming.

No more disjointed images of female body parts being used to sell alcohol, shoes, cars, soap, coffee and burgers.

No, I’m no over-achiever. I have netflix.

Now THIS is forever

Everyday, a couple in their late 50s or early 60s visits this cafe.

They enter holding hands, then part briefly while the man brings coffee for both of them. Then they sit down together, gazing at each other affectionately. They hold hands constantly – maybe she has arthritis, but it seems to me that he massages her fingers. Unlike others, neither man or woman have no eyes for any of the youthful occupants of the cafe.

There they sit, wrapped up in each other, talking happily.

And how much time we waste, missing those moments that are right by our fingertips.