Fathers and Daughters

on Monday, April 28, 2008

by John Mayer

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too [x3]

I have always liked this John Mayer song because it recognises the role of fathers in the development of their daughters and reminds them of their important role and their great responsibility. I have highlighted some of the lyrics that especially does this.

Of course, both mothers and fathers are important for children but they have different roles and responsibilities. Sociologists and psychologists have found that mothers are nurturing, soothing and provide unconditional love. In contrast but in a complementary way, fathers provide security, discipline and physical/intellectual stimulation. Kids with involved fathers or father figures (can be stepfathers or anyone who plays the male role) tend to have more self-esteem, be more popular with peers, lack emotional problems, are able to emphatise with others and do better in areas of schooling, socialising and sports. Read more about this here.

A lot of that is common sense, I feel. Elsewhere, I have read that the father is especially important in giving a daughter her sense of self-worth which greatly influences her self confidence and her future interactions with other men. I was just discussing this with a good friend with two young daughters as he shared the trails and tribulations of being a good dad. One of his daughters is especially concerned about her physical beauty and she depends on her dad to give the reassurance that she needs.

In that context, I am so totally appalled to hear of the sad and tragic story of the Austrian woman who had been sexually abused by her father since she was 11 years old. This is an extreme case of betrayal of a daughter's trust. When she was 18, she was lured by the father into the basement, drugged and handcuffed. She has subsequently lived in the enclosed basement for the last 24 years and subject to repeated sexual abuse. She gave birth to 7 children. One child died soon after birth. Of the remaining 6 children, three were raised by her father and mother in their home but three others were left with her in the basement.

Even though she has now been rescued, I cannot imagine what help she and her children and even her mother (who is believed to have been unaware) will need to even be able to return to some level of functionality, let alone having their deep wounds to be healed.

I am sure justice and punishment will be meted out on the father and rightly so but I hope even greater efforts be made to help these victims recover from their ordeal.

Chinese for Dummies

on Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel's continued efforts to serve the community at large has resulted in this third post in a series of extended education courses in languages. The first two introduced readers to the basics of English for Swedes and ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Today, we will introduce you to the basics of one of the most spoken languages in the world, Chinese. Learning Chinese our way is easy. Good Luck! (Click on image to enlarge).

Cool Trick

on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We squirrels share the woods with many animals and some of them know some real neat party tricks. Remember David Blaine's Frozen in Time act where he encased himself between two blocks of ice with only a 2 inch gap between him and the ice. He stayed entombed in that icy prison for 61 hours and 40 minutes. At the end of the act, he had to be rushed to hospital.

Well, forget David Blaine and say hello to my friend the North American Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) or as we like to call him, "Lazarus". Lazarus' party trick is literally way cooler than David's act. Lazarus doesn't get entombed in blocks of ice, he becomes a block of ice.

Lazarus and his kin actually gets through the winters of Northern U.S.A. and Canada by freezing solid and then thawing out again in Spring. When he is frozen, more than 60% of his body water will have turned to ice and he will have no heart beat or any respiration. He may be considered clinically dead but give Lazarus some warmth and presto, he thaws from the inside out and starts living again. Back from the dead just like his namesake from the Bible.

Somehow, Lazarus is able to use glucose like an anti-freeze and protect his cells. Somehow the brain survives without oxygen using an anaerobic metabolic pathway. While science may at least understand a little bit about the process when Lazarus freezes, it remains baffled at how Lazarus revives. There is no known explanation for thawing from the inside out and science has yet to figure out how the heart restarts after months of being frozen.

The early European Explorers in Canada described this frog's amazing ability as early as the 1700's and today, Science and Medicine is very interested in Lazarus' natural ability because it may point the way for extending the lifespan of organs harvested for transplant operations and perhaps one day lead to the perfection of human cryogenics. I think with Climate Change occurring, it is also a neat trick to learn in case we face the onset of a new Ice Age.

Unburied Nuts from 9th February 2007: Love is........

on Tuesday, April 22, 2008

From time to time, I uncover an older post and give it another chance in the spotlight. As I am not very creative at the moment, I thought it was time to do so again. This was originally only my second poetry posting. First posted on the 9th of February 2007 with Valentine's Day just round the corner, I chose "Love" as the theme; but it was love viewed through the eyes of a scientist and the heart of a believer. My inspiration had been the stories of strength, joy and struggle that have been found on many of the blogs that I visit. Thank you.

Love is but just a word that signifies a state of being,
Not a physical reality but a feeling that is fleeting.
Just chemicals in our blood that send our senses reeling
Its hormones and pheromones to which we are reacting.

The purpose of the bond, is for the sake of reproduction.
It’s sex and not love that drives the species propagation.
Your heart may grow fond, but its just a chemical reaction.
Love is nothing more than a tool in the course of evolution.

A mother’s sacrificial love, which we elevate as pure,
Is but a selfish act and nothing, nothing more.
A mother’s driven to protect her offspring, sure.
But it’s to protect her genes, that she does it for.

For Science when applied with all brains and no heart
It cannot understand, cannot measure, quantify nor even start,
In a world of logic and sense, love has no part,
It needs to run free, chose its own master, follow its own path.

There is no reasoning for the choices Love makes,
For it might find beauty in what others see misshaped,
Looking beyond skin and physique, the soul it celebrates
It reaches far beyond just the need to succeed, to pro-create.

A mother is justly proud of children strong and smart,
Yet the weakest and the smallest also shares in equal part,
The love that she can give, the strength that she imparts,
To see them through shattered dreams and broken hearts.

A man and a woman with a lifetime to share,
Have hopes and dreams and a plan to get there,
Yet illness may shatter plans, and one may need care.
Love keeps the other willing to serve, cherish and bear.

The mysteries of Love continue to unfold
Why some lovingly raise another’s child as their own
Taking on problems, many would wish to forgo
It’s not about selfish genes, unlike what we’ve been told.

As we transverse across the tapestry of time
An amazing love will like occasional jewels shine.
The ultimate sacrifice, the fate of two lives entwined,
One giving that the other may live, a mirror of love divine

How then do we measure Love’s length, breadth and height
Or give account of its strength and might.
It is from God, to love with His love, to see with His sight,
A gift that allows man to rise up into the light.

Something Funny Happened While I Was In Pain

on Saturday, April 19, 2008

I am sure you don't want another post about my pain. So this post is a little change in pace.

This last week I have been visiting a medical centre on a daily basis to do my physiotherapy. Today, after my treatment, I was waiting at the reception to pay my bills and to set an appointment for next week but the receptionist was busy with someone on the phone. While waiting, I was entertained by this fascinating telephone conservation which I have tried to reproduce here. Bear in mind, I am only reproducing what the receptionist is saying cause I obviously could not hear the person on the other end of the phone but I think our imagination will fill in the rest. The names have been changed so that I don't get sued.

"Good morning Dr. Zaid. You are calling from Peace Hospital and you wish to make an appointment for a patient to see Dr. Ranjit?"

"The patient is the daughter of the High Commissioner of Babalinga? What is the problem?"

"Severed thumb."

"Not a severed thumb. It has been reattached but the nerve is severed."

"No, the nerve has been reattached? Where was she treated?"

"She is a patient of Peace Hospital. So she was treated there?"

"Who is the doctor that reattached her thumb?"

"What do you mean "you don't know"? You just said she is a patient of your hospital."

"Oh, she was treated by a GP but you don't know his name and she approached your hospital for a second opinion."

"So are you her doctor, Dr. Zaid?"

"You are not a doctor? Then what are you? And who is her doctor?"

"Dr. Rose. You are calling on behalf of Dr. Rose? Dr. Rose is referring the patient to Dr. Ranjit"

"Okay, when would you like her to see Dr. Ranjit?"

"Today? This is Saturday and the centre is only open till noon. Also Dr. Ranjit has two operations to perform in the operation theater this morning and is unlikely to be available."

"You think it is urgent that she has a consultation today? Okay, I will just check with the Doctor if it is possible. Please hold."

She calls the operation theater to get an estimate of when the doctor is available this morning.

"I'm sorry but it is not possible today. The doctor is still in the operating theater."

"Okay, next available days are Monday and Wednesday here in the medical centre or you could also see the doctor at his clinic at the Beaches Hospital on Friday."

"How about Monday at 11 am.?"

"What do you mean 'she is out of the country and only flying in on Tuesday'? Then why did you try to ask for an appointment today?"

"You got confused? Okay, never mind. An appointment on Wednesday then?"

"New wing? No, we don't have a new wing. This is the Rivers Medical Centre. Are you getting confused with the Beaches Hospital which has just gotten their new wing?"

"Yes, that's right. We are not Beaches Hospital. We are the Rivers Medical centre."

"What? There's no way that your call was transfered to this line from Beaches Hospital. We are totally separate institutions."

"No. No way this call was transfered from Beaches Hospital. We are located in Petaling and not on Beaches Road."

"You prefer to have the patient see the doctor on Wednesday?"

"11 am? Okay. Confirmed. I will inform the doctor that the daughter of the High Commissioner of Babalinga will be there to see him about her re-attached thumb."

"What? Not his daughter?"

"His daughter-in-law? How old is the patient?"

"Sixteen? How could she possibly be his daughter-in-law?"

"You are not sure? Okay, never mind."

"The appointment is at 11 am on the 10th floor."

"The new wing has only 5 floors? Mr. Zaid, you are still confused. We are not Beaches Hospital. We are the Rivers Medical Centre. We are located in Dugan Road and not on Beaches Road."

"Yes, that's right. Dr. Ranjit is at Beaches Hospital only on Friday."

"Okay, please have the patient bring the doctor's referral letter."

"There's no referral letter from Dr. Rose?"

"How can Dr. Rose refer the patient to Dr. Ranjit without a referral letter?"

"Dr. Rose has never seen the patient?!?!"

"Dr. Rose has never seen the patient because the patient is not in the country. Then how......?"

"Never mind. We confirm that the appointment is at 11.00 am on Wednesday at Rivers Medical Centre on the 10th floor. Bye."

I did not mind waiting; I was fully entertained by the exasperation on the receptionist's face and I have also learnt to perhaps avoid going for medical help at Peace Hospital.

My Ass Hurts!

on Monday, April 14, 2008

Ow! Ouch! Ooo! Arrgh! Owwwooowwwoow! Ouch! That was a quick summary of the week that was. If you still haven't got the hint, my ass hurts...............a lot.

Before I go on with my misery report, I would first like to thank all of you for your kind words, prayers and best wishes. They were all much appreciated. Thank you Mark (The Walking Man) for recommending Neurontin; it's the only thing keeping me from screaming. Thank you Proxima for reminding me I am not a spring chicken; I must really remember that so that there will not be a next time.

My mom is doing physically well. Operatio went without a hitch and without any complications. The wound is healing well. She is doing physiotherapy and her strength is returning to her leg. Physically, everything is as good as could be expected but she is a bit depressed and needs to be ordered/cajoled to do her exercise. Surprisingly, her appetite is very good and she might even put on some much needed weight.

As for me, my ass hurts.............. a lot. the doctor has confirmed that I have not one but three prolapsed discs in the lumbar region of the spine. At least two of those are compressing the spine and one is compressing a nerve leaving the spine. I have difficulty walking or standing for more than a minute and I cannot lie down flat. I have been sleeping in a sitting position for the last week.

Prognosis though seems hopeful as it appears to be an old injury which has been aggravated rather than a new one. The doctor recommended a treatment of physiotherapy and traction. I am on neurontin . Surgery will be considered only if the condition shows a deterioration. Doctor cheerfully predicts that I will be incapacitated with pain for at least another two weeks.

That means I am off and working from home. Whether that means I will post on the blog more regularly or less regularly remains to be seen.

In the meantime, a word from the wise, take care of your back or you might get a painful kick in the ass.

Hippy Sick

on Sunday, April 06, 2008

She has n0thing whatsoever to do with today's post other than being a blatant attempt to get more people to visit this blog under false pretenses.



My mother, 85 years old, had a fall last Sunday and on Monday, it was confirmed that she had a fracture of the femur near the hip joint. Despite her age, the doctors' concurred that it was best to operate and correct the situation. She subsequently had an operation to insert a metal plate and screw to hold the bone together. Overall, she is recovering well although she now faces several weeks of physiotheraphy. A lot of my time this week has been spent having her X-rays done, visiting doctors, etc.

A few weeks ago, I had a bad fall which resulted in a bruised ego and a trapped nerve. Unfortunately, due to the additional stress from carrying or transporting my mother about, I aggravated the nerve and was in considerable, immobilising pain from that.

So you could say that both of us are currently Hippy Sick and that's the reason I have not been blogging and visiting your blogs lately. I got an injection for the pain this morning and I may be on a Hippie High so please excuse me if parts of this post are senseless, incoherent or even possibly psychedelic!

I Wish For Two Wishes

on Thursday, April 03, 2008

Claudia tagged me to do this Make a wish meme.

I find myself to be very often to be a mass of contradictions pretending to be one person. That being the case, please excuse me as I cheat and make two wishes. This first one comes from my emotional and spiritual side.

This second wish comes from my thinking and cynical side.

1. Think about what it is that you want more than anything, what your heart’s desire and fondest wish is, and what it is that you would wish for if you were to see the above wishing star flame across the night sky.
2. Right click and SAVE the blank graphic below.
3. Use a graphics program of your choice and place your wish on this picture:

4. Post the Make A Wish Meme and your wishing star on your blog along with these rules.
5. Tag as many people as you like so that there can be wishing stars all across the Blogosphere and ask them to please link back to Linda at Are We There Yet? so that she can see what wishes others have made and share those wishes with others.

If you don’t currently have a graphics program and aren’t sure how to put your message on the picture you can either download one for free (Linda used IrfanView which is an image viewer but also allows you to customize and optimize your pictures) or email Linda at mouseski58@yahoo.com, tell her what you’re wishing for, and she’ll customize the picture for you and email it back to you so that you can then post it.

Claudia tagged the following: FuriousBall, Los Angelista, She became a butterfly, No Nonsense Girl, Mr. Fabulous, Miss Britt, Jameil, Heart in SF, Kevin Charnas, Squirrelly, Michelle at Lede me on and Michael C.

I tag the following: Citizen of the world, Happy Downtowner , Daysgoby, Claire and Medstudentwife .

We Da Men

on Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" so goes that famous saying. I often warn my wife to beware of taking advice from some obscure website with regards to health issues as often these websites take a little kernel of knowledge and turn it into a big bag of pop-corn emptiness.

My mother-in-law once had a severe headache but the only medication she could find was a time-release medicine capsule. She understood that the capsule consists of tiny little spheres which dissolve at different rates so that the medication is released gradually over 24 hours. However she wanted quick relief and so she rather "cleverly" crushed the capsule into fine powder and then mixed it in water to drink. Of course, she virtually over-dosed but luckily she woke up 12 hours later groggy but fine. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Or it might be darn embarrassing.

Before I continue, I must introduce you to my partner in shame. His name is Magdy and we were both bright, smart, whipper-snappers at University together. Our combined "little knowledge" would get us into some pretty dumb situations.

Well, perhaps one of the most memorable caper was when we were traveling in Germany and we needed to go to find a latrine at a train station. Our problem was that we did not speak much German at the time. The latrines were labeled "Herren" and "Damen" but which was for males and which for females?

I wonder, dear readers, which would you have chosen for men and which for women and why. As for Magdy and I, we put on our thinking caps and came up with this folly;

1. Assumption: most European languages were derived from and based on ancient Latin.
2. Assumption: we should be able to recognise the root word in either English or German. Just as "rat" is "ratte" and cat is "katze" and "Monday" is "Montag".
3. Therefore,we applied this logic and came up with Herren is for females as it has the root word "Her"
4. While "Damen" was obviously for men as it is clearly derived from "Da Men".

Hence this embarrassing story in which my intellectual dignity was only rescued by the presence of mind to ask Magdy to test out our theory first!

My apologies to mago and any German reader for the mess we made with your language. Who are we? We da men.

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