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The local classickal station is featuring as its CD pick o’ the week a brand new recording of lute duets written by Elizabethan composer John Johnson.  The album is entitled – wait for it – Two Lutesand features the talents of Ronn McFarlane and William Simms.

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t know Messrs. McFarlane or Simms, or any other lutist for that matter, if I tripped over them in the street.  However, I must say that every sample cut I’ve heard played over the radio has been excellent.

(And yes, it’s perfectly possible to be an affithionado of lute musick without having to get into that whole Renaissance Faire/Dungeons & Dragons Geek subculchah.  Heck, I don’t even own a doublet.)

So if you’re saying to yourself, “Self, we really ought to pick up a new CD of lute musick,”  well, you might consider checking this one out.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is just back from yet another trip to the doc over his lingering throat issues.  Nothing to report really, except that La Doc now wants me to go see an ENT or possibly a G/I for further probing, as apart from musing that it could be anything from a weird reflux to post-bronchitis inflammation to a polyp, she’s basically in the dark.

But never mind all that.  The point of this post is not to bore you with my health, but instead to bore you with a rant about perhaps the most insidiously eeeeeevil and barbaric diagnostic tool in the entire medical bag, the continued use of which here in the 21st Century West utterly horrifies me.

I am speaking, of course, about the wooden tongue depressor.

I have always had an aversion to the touch of  certain unvarnished wooden objects.  Various cooking and serving utensils come to mind, for example, as do some olde-fashioned toys and crafts.  Popsicle sticks, too.  Brrrrrrrr. There’s just something about the texture, neither really smooth nor really rough but at some sickening midpoint in between, that makes me shudder.  So friends of the decanter can readily imagine that having such an object pressed down on my tongue in all its raw woodiness gives me a case of the screaming heebie-jeebies.  We hates it!  It is not going too far to say that given a choice between the depressor and a big shot of penicillin in the bum, I’d have to think long and hard before deciding which one I’d take.  Seriously.

Granted that I’m something of a Traditionalist in some many most matters, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate Progress when it represents a genuine bonum.   Surely in this day and age somebody could cheaply and cleanly manufacture a plastick or composite tongue depressor of some sort and do away with this wooden menace.  [Ed. – Perhaps, but don’t call me “Shirley”.]  I can  only suppose that it’s owing to the pressures – both covert and overt – of our friends in the wood and paper products industry that such an alternative is not more widely available.  (Yes, American Forest and Paper Association, I’m looking at you.)

“Depressor” is about right.


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August 2012