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Just got back from the ENT’s.  The good news is what he didn’t find: no polyps, cysts or other nasty growths in the Robbo throat, just a touch of redness about the base of the tongue.   His theory is that I simply wrenched the ol’ throat muscles with all my hacking and that it’s just taking a long time to heal.  (Intriguingly, this doc thought I mighty actually have had a bout of whooping cough back in May, a thought which also occurred to me.  It’s on the rise again and many younger docs are unfamiliar with it.)

The exam itself was less than pleasant.  Robbo is not used to having things literally shoved up his nose and down his throat, and holding still while that camera thingy goes through the one to get to the other is a real test of one’s calm.  Also, the anesthetic he squirted into the nasal cavities makes me feel like a coke head.  Worth it, though, for the relief in learning that there isn’t anything really wrong with the ol’ corpore.

UPDATE:  All afternoon, I’ve had that little throwaway late night moovie exchange from Firesign Theatre running through my head:

Cyrus:  Livius! Oh, Livius!

Livius: Oh, Cyrus!

Cyrus: My friend! What has happened to your nose?

Livius:  My nose? I’ve just returned from Rome!

Then there’s the Nick Danger, Third Eye joke on the flip side:

Narrator:  He walks the streets….ruthlessly…..

Nick Danger: I wonder where Ruth is.

Narrator: ….doggedly….

Noises Off:  Woof! Woof! Grr!

Nick Danger: Hey! Get away from me!

Narrator: …out of the fog and into a great sandstone building….

Noises Off:  Whap!

Nick Danger:  Oh! My nose!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is off to the ear, nose and throat wallah this morning to consult on whatever it is that’s lodged in his neck.  I must confess that this is the first time I’ve ever felt any sense of apprehension prior to a visit with the medicos.  We shall see.

In the meantime, somebody mentioned to me the other day the curious fact that the Chesapeake Bay was formed, in part, by an asteroid strike some 35 million years ago.  To quote Johnny Carson, I did not know that.

The Wiki entry waxes positively rhapsodical on the event:

During the warm, late Eocene era, sea levels were high, and the Tidewater region of Virginia lay in the coastal shallows. The shore of eastern North America, about where Richmond, Virginia is today, was covered with dense tropical rainforest, and the waters of the gently sloping continental shelf were rich with marine life that was depositing dense layers of lime from their microscopic shells.

The bolide impacted off the coast at a speed in excess of 11 kilometers per second (Earth escape velocity), punching a deep hole through the sediments and into the granite continental basement rock. The bolide itself was completely vaporised, with the basement rock being fractured to depths of 8 km (5.0 mi), and a peak ring being raised around it. The deep crater, 38 km (24 mi) across, is surrounded by a flat-floored terrace-like ring trough with an outer edge of collapsed blocks forming ring faults. The entire circular crater is about 85 km (53 mi) in diameter and 1.3 km (0.81 mi) deep, an area twice the size of Rhode Island, and nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Numerical modeling techniques by Collins, et al. indicate that the post-impact diameter was likely to have been 40 km (25 mi), rather than the observed 85 km (53 mi).

The surrounding region is belived to have suffered massive devastation. USGS scientist David Powars, one of the impact crater’s discoverers, has described the immediate aftermath: “Within minutes, millions of tons of water, sediment, and shattered rock were cast high into the atmosphere for hundreds of miles along the East Coast.” An enormous seismic tsunami engulfed the land and possibly even overtopped the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sedimentary walls of the crater progressively slumped in, widened the crater, and formed a layer of huge blocks on the floor of the ring-like trough. The slump blocks were then covered with the rubble or breccia. The entire bolide event, from initial impact to the termination of breccia deposition lasted only a few hours or days. In the perspective of geological time, the 1.2 km (0.75 mi) breccia is an instantaneous deposit. The crater was then buried by additional sedimentary beds that have accumulated during the 35 million years following the impact.

Apparently, the crater is responsible for the fact that both the James and the York Rivers hook north just before reaching the Bay, their courses naturally flowing southeast but turned into the thing.

Frankly, within the realm of geological knowledge asteroid strikes don’t interest me quite as much as plate tectonics and glaciation.  As the article notes, even though the effects can be long lasting, the event itself is a mere blip and lacks that sense of awful majesty inspired by contemplating geologickal time that makes one want to lock oneself in a room and turn all the lights on.

Still, this is pretty cool stuff.


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August 2012