Archive for July, 2007

Mahna Mahna

July 29, 2007


1976, The Muppet Show
Featuring Mahna Mahna and the Snowths


This Cat Predicts Death

July 26, 2007

Oscar the cat predicts patients’ deaths
By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer

July 25, 2007

Oscar the Cat

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.

She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”

Ugly Bags Competition #001 – Results!

July 25, 2007

Remember this?  And the same in BGF’s blog?

Yes yes, I know it’s a long time ago and we never got around to tallying the results.

Anyway, the results:

The winner of the Ugly Bag Competition #001 is … *drumroll*

Exhibit A! Which is BGF’s selection, which explains my lack of enthusiam for tallying the results. Ha!

But the point of this post is not really to publicise the results, but to state that, last week, at dinner with B in a suburban mall, we saw a lady carrying Exhibit A!

We were deep into dinner when a swatch of fur caught our eyes. We stopped mid-chew, nudged each other, stared at the bag which was hanging from a YOUNG lady’s arm, and followed it all the way to the table behind us.

B: Should we take a photo?

Me: I don’t think we can be discreet enough.

By then, the lady was seated directly behind us with the bag on her lap.  As such, no photos, but here’s the original one to remind you just how hideous it is.

Exhibit A

You know, I’ve yet to spot anyone carrying Exhibit B, so maybe the winner of Ugly Bags Competition #001 really should be Exhibit B. Ha!

The Very Incomprehensible Concept Of Vegetarianism

July 8, 2007

A few months ago, at a vegetarian restaurant. B and I surveying the menu.

B: Maybe I’ll have the Claypot Rice.

Me: U-huh… *thinks for a bit* Er… You know, there’s no real chicken in the Claypot Rice.

B: Huh?!?

Me: This is a VEGETARIAN restaurant.

B: :/

We continue surveying menu.

Me: The rojak is good. We’ll share that?

B: Can eat rojak meh? There’s prawn sauce in rojak

Me: Is prawn a vegetable?

B: *confused* Huh?

Me: Prawn is not a vegetable, so of course, no prawns in a VEGETARIAN restaurant.

B: *still confused*

I guess it’s quite difficult for a carnivore to understand what constitutes vegetarian cuisine, because last night, at the same vegetarian restaurant…

Surveying menu.

Me: There’s laksa.

B: Can eat meh? There’s prawn in laksa.

Me: Is prawn a vegetable?

B: *confused* Huh?

Me: *smacks forehead*

Post Note: We follow the Old Testament diet, so we don’t eat anything that swims but does not have fins and scales, hence, no prawns.

Miss Monkey

July 6, 2007

I’ve been on a campaign to not complain. Though I haven’t been very successful with taming my tongue, refraining from blog-plaining is much easier. However, that does result in a rather silent blog. Made me realise how much I complain!

Therefore, I’ve decided that I will blog about something positive every time I want to blog-plain. So here goes!

It’s school dismissal time. Students and teachers are hanging out at the foyer waiting for parents and school buses. One teacher is sitting on the bench with her little charge, all of 5 inches of space between them. Andy comes up to them, pretend-sits in the empty space, part of him on the teacher, part of him on her little student. He wears a look of delight and says, “Crowded! Heh heh heh….” Then he runs off.

Tony is holding a bus schedule, examining the picture of the bus and the many numbers. Jack comes along, decides that he fancies the schedule too. He tugs at the schedule and says, in his best gentle yet admonishing tone, “Tony, no snatching.”

It’s the first day of school. Sam arrives in class and I greet her.

Me: Good morning, Sam!

Sam: …

Me: Good morning, Sam!

Sam: G’ morning.

Me, prompting her to greet me by name: Good morning, Miss …?

Sam, spying the Tumbling Monkey game: … Monkey!!

Me: :/

One Minute Of Silence Please

July 2, 2007

Orbituary of a Laptop

My laptop is officially dead.

HP did not even bother to do a diagnosis. It’s apparently so old that even if it can be repaired, the part alone would cost at least $900. If the part even exists anymore, that is.

So now my laptop is laying on the table, guts spilling out because I’m trying to remove the hard disk so I can retrieve all my data. I say “trying to remove” not because I don’t know how to do it but because there is not a decent screwdriver in my house.

After struggling for an hour to remove two casing screws, four keyboard screws, four hard disk casing screws, all Phillips head screws while using a flat head screwdriver, I am finally confounded by the screws that hold the hard disk in its casing. The screws are tiny and put in real tight. I decide to wait for my brother to get home and ask him if he has the right screwdriver.

Brother comes home. Rejoice! He has the right screwdriver. I attack again with gusto, so very close to the finish line.

Drats, his screwdriver is screwy. The handle moves but the tool doesn’t. Screw remains tightly in place.