Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Word of the Day

Heck, this one's more like "Word for My Life"

You've probably heard the saying "Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow?" Most of us readily associate the word procrastinate with this sentiment, which turns out to be very apt. See, it turns out the 'cras' in procrastinate is Latin for 'tomorrow' so procrastinate literally means to put off until tomorrow.

But what about someone who makes procrastinators seem ahead of the game? The ones who followed up the cliché above with "Why put off 'til tomorrow what you can put off 'til the next day?" Thanks to the podcast of the very fun NPR show "A Way with Words" I now know the appropriate term for that sentiment: perendinate, literally 'to put off until the day after tomorrow. I love it!

Oh. Darn. I actually heard the podcast containing this word a couple of months ago and am just getting around to posting a blog entry about it... Now I need to find a word that means 'to put off until the month after next'...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wait and F**king See

Back in college, we used to have a running joke about how the infirmary seemed obsessed about giving out packets of "salt and soda gargle" for almost any ailment. Got a cold? Salt & soda gargle. A stomach ache? Salt & soda gargle. A broken leg? Salt & soda gargle. Your left arm just fell off? Salt & soda gargle. It was funny in large part because the health services were essentially free so no one really expected fantastic service.

Unfortunately, I have come to realize that you should expect the same level of service in the "real world", particularly when it comes to health care for your kids. Only now the miracle cure isn't salt and soda gargle, it's "wait and see". Your child has a cold? Wait and see. A stomach ache? Wait and see. Reflux so persistent that she's either in constantly soaked clothes or has to have a binky in her mouth, which is interfering with her being able to develop her already severely delayed language skills? You guessed it... wait and f**king see.

I don't really know why I expected any different. The perception our society holds for doctors is that they are somehow superhuman -- after all, they survive all those years of school and a grueling internship, they must be to intellectual prowess what Navy seals are to physical fitness. In reality this is only an ideal, how we wish doctors would be.

I see the same thing in my own profession -- software development. There are a woefully small number of software developers who actually give a crap about what they do and an even smaller percentage of those who have the skills to do it well. Most are either clumsy wannabes or only in it for the money. The same principle applies to doctors, apparently.

Of course, the wait and see response is a perfect hedge against litigation -- after all how can you be sued for malpractice if you never practice at all!

Friday, June 02, 2006

The state of GF/CF foods

When I started my stint as a vegetarian 14 years ago, the options that were available were pretty slim and a lot of them were positively ghastly. The worst offenders were those that attempted to replicate the texture and flavor of meat. Here's a hint: you can't, so don't bother. Now, of course, there are a gazillion choices for meat-free alternatives and not surprisingly the best are those that have embraced the goal of making something that tastes good in its own rights.

The situation today with gluten and casein free foods is very much like it once was with vegetarian foods. There are many attempts at producing a gluten-free version of a wheat-based staple -- such as cakes, muffins, and pancakes -- but the truth of the matter is that most of them s**k. Once again the best ones don't try to be exact replicas. More companies need to focus not on how to make a gluten-free cake mix, but on gluten-free alternatives to cake. No doubt it will take a lot of experimenting, but with the rise in diagnoses of ASD, here's hoping that we start seeing more palatable options!