Stuff from June, 2010

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on June, 2010.


New word, learned from an endo and perio resident, separately. “Whizzie”, meaning “wisdom tooth”. Apparently these residents love their slang. I don’t think I like the word. Maybe it will grow on me? As I heard it today:

“It’s definitely not a maxillary tooth — look at the root structure. Now, I can understand your confusion—I mean it is a whizzie—but this is mandibular molar.”

True Learning

Afternoon appointments at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry are scheduled from 1:15 to 4:00 in the afternoon. Here’s something you quickly learn: unless you have a really good reason for taking that long for one patient, you’d better finish up well before four in the afternoon. Expediency makes both the patients and the supervising dentists (under whose licenses we work on patients) much happier. So, in the three o’clock hour, only those dental students experiencing extenuating circumstances (impossible prophy, crown prep marathon, treatment planning issues) remain on the clinic floor, patiently working away. Some days, that’s me; other days, it isn’t. Today, I fixed the problems in my progress note, got it signed by the supervising dentist, and then turned in my dirty instruments and clinic gown to dispensing. Before everyone left at 4, I slipped downstairs to seventh floor to sign up for a radiological interpretation session.


Hegelian dialectic

That I’ve made it 25 years without hearing about the Hegelian dialectic is… I’m lame.

Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a three-fold manner, was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.


Desert Sunrise

Brett Dennen sings a relaxed, brilliantly-written song with a lovely melody called Desert Sunrise:

Desert moonrise, into the night
Before we lay our heads
I wish to walk under the splendorous starlight


MeFi: Ask & Guess

This is part of a extremely popular, insightful MetaFilter comment by a wise fellow about two different kinds of people:

In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.

In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won’t even have to make the request directly; you’ll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.


Looking Back

I wrote this meditation on attitude nearly seven years ago. Reading past the grammatical errors, attempts at grandiose style, and overwrought imagery, I think there’s some nascent wisdom.


Regardless, right now I’m listening to the Norah Jones song I referenced in there. It’s like stepping back in time to my Cretin Hall dorm room. Seems like another lifetime. Seven years ago.


Rands In Repose, on rules:

Rules are not constraints, they are optimizations and they are clarifications.


The great thing about the internet (and in this case, twitter) is that it gives folks with grievances a voice. Sometimes a very potent voice:

I’ve read a bunch of articles and blogs about this whole situation by publicists and marketing folk wondering what BP should do to save their brand from @BPGlobalPR.  First of all, who cares?  Second of all, what kind of business are you in?  I’m trashing a company that is literally trashing the ocean, and these idiots are trying to figure out how to protect that company?  One pickledick actually suggested that BP approach me and try to incorporate me into their actual PR outreach.  That has got to be the dumbest, most head-up-the-ass solution anyone could possibly offer.


Red Wing

Mykala recorded this one for me a while ago. It’s a comment I made while we were navigating (as we often do): “Goog 411 + GPS = Poor man’s iPhone.”

Anyhow, I think we’re really getting good at navigating… which is to say, we’re getting good at working together. On a whim, we took a day trip to Red Wing this past Sunday, and it was a blast. We took a hike, scouted out some things to do if we visit for a weekend (historical train and boat tour and etc.), admired a wonderful “Bed & Breakfast & Bread” placed called Round Barn Farm, and generally had a blast. The weather was threatening to rain, but was otherwise perfect in temperature. Here’s a picture from the top of Barn Bluff:



I’ve recently unlisted this website with Google, so I do feel a bit more confident in expressing some stronger opinions. I’ll use this new opportunity to make a point about a recent situation at the School of Dentistry. You see, we are currently expected to simultaneously care for patients and continue learning in what’s called a pre-clinical lab. So, we have lab work for fake and real patients. If you take an impression of a patient’s mouth on 8th floor, you have to disinfect it, walk down to 4th floor to get your pre-clinical materials (you don’t want to take a patient’s wet impressions in the elevator alongside other patients), and then climb back up to 9th floor to pour the darn thing up in the clinical lab space (using your pre-clinical materials). See, the school hasn’t given us the tools we need to do clinic work for real patients. We’re in a weird in-between phase. Soon, we’ll transition out of pre-clinic lab. Here’s an excerpt from the email we received:



Yesterday, someone parked a year’s worth of dental school (in the form of a BMW X6 outside our home. As I admired the dramatic curves of the car, it felt freeing not to want one. Now, before you start thinking I’m trying to be all high and mighty anti-buying-stuff, hear me out! This isn’t some moral triumph of mine over material goods. In fact, I understand I’ll certainly need a car when I begin working in a few years. Indeed, my thoughts about this are more practical.



Today, a Listerine ad taught me there are barnacles on your teeth. Wow!

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Productive Selfishness

the show: 09-19-06 - zefrank:

One of the few truly selfish things you can do that doesn’t make you an asshole is to make yourself happy by making someone else happy.

North Korea Report

BBC News - Newsnight - Life inside the North Korean bubble:

North Korean TV only broadcasts hagiographies of the two leaders and pictures celebrating the country’s army, model farms, model villages etc.
Our minders had probably never seen any other kinds of news item or documentary about their country or the rest of the world.
They were not allowed to, and they could not, because no-one has access to the internet in North Korea.


Craigslist and Prostitution

Scapegoating Craigslist Is Not Going to Solve the Problem of Underage Prostitution:

Our cities and communities are armed to the teeth to bust pot and cocaine dealers, and be prepared for the extraordinarily unlikely chance that they will be involved with terrorism. Meanwhile, a huge number of vulnerable kids are being violated and abused every day. Might we also consider what would happen if some of police departments’ firepower were aimed at pimps? If cops broke down doors of pimps that abuse kids with AK 47s in the dark of night in full combat gear? Might that not help slow down sex trafficking (not that I think it is a good idea to use that kind of police tactics in general)?  But where are our priorities?



Tony Hsieh’s article Why I Sold Zappos reveals just a fraction of how much he has learned in guiding his company, Zappos, from near-bankruptcy to a recent acquisition by Amazon. I think I’d like to read his book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose since I hope to run a business a decade from now. Check out this quote from the article, just mixed in with everything else:


Gladwell on Alcohol

Recently, I was waiting in our dental school reception area to meet with Patient Financing and I opened up the February New Yorker. In it was a brilliant essay about the intersection of society and alcohol by Malcolm Gladwell, entitled Drinking Games. Gladwell’s anecdotal and anthropological evidence reveals that the effects of alcohol are not uniform — our reaction to being drunk is heavily influenced by… what we are expected to do when drunk. Here’s an awesome quote:


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Love in Four Acts: What is Romantic Love?:

The romantic couples who have been together for half their lives have something quite different from romantic love. Johnson calls it “stirring-the-oatmeal” love – “it represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks … to find the relatedness, the value, the beauty, in the simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama … or an extraordinary intensity in everything” (pg. 195). In a strange way, this is true love because it can be everlasting, but this is not the love script that we are bombarded with from every literary or entertainment form in our lives.


2 Band Names

Two band names for your consideration:

Farouk al-Kasim

Norway is a huge exporter of oil. Here’s an article about “The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil

Norway’s state oil company, StatoilHydro, is internationally recognised as a competitive commercial player and one of the most environmentally and socially conscious ones to boot. Since 1996, every krone the government has earned from oil has gone into a savings fund, which now totals some £240bn – more than a year’s gross domestic product and equivalent to about £50,000 for each of Norway’s 4.8 million citizens.


Isner v Mahut

The longest tennis match IN HISTORY is currently tied, 59 games all. Some comments from the Hacker News thread on the topic highlighted the hilarious commentary from the liveblog at the BBC, covering the match:


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Man’s Search for Meaning

From a review of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl:

“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is,” Frankl writes. “After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”


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Married at the U

The University Recreation Center supplies the facilities for a variety of sporting events throughout the year. This past weekend, it hosted the 2010 USA Racquetball Junior Olympic Racquetball Championships. So, it’s not unusual to run into scampering quorums of teenagers who aren’t quite old enough for college. I had an encounter with one such group when leaving the Rec Center on Sunday.


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