Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts from the dental chair

Best things about living in Modern Times:

1) Air travel – hit its stride in the 1930s. But honestly, who would have thought that we could sit in a chair, sipping a cup of coffee and be in a different part of the world in a few hours. Hear Louie C. K.'s thoughts as he speaks to Conan O'Brien about appreciating how good we have it today).

2) iPods – Launched ON THIS DAY (!) in 2001. You mean I can hear whatever song I want wherever and whenever? Wait, I get free Podcasts too?

3) Novocaine – discovered by Alfred Einhord, German chemist, 1905

It was this last invention I was particularly grateful for yesterday as I sat in the dentist chair trying to look on the bright side of things. The root canal was quite hard core the jaw still aches. (I was even commended me for my patience -- a first coming from a dentist.)

How did people ever cope before? Dentistry used to be practiced by the people who cut your hair!

Who knows how they did it, but people have been getting by .... somehow. The first drills were allegedly "Bow Drills." Smaller versions of the bows popular with Boy Scouts trying to start a fire. Not a joke. After that people used all sorts of contraptions with wires, pliers, hooks, pins and other shudder-inducing implements. But for me it's the Novocaine that I'm a big fan of. In fact, I think the fear of old-style dental procedures would be the primary thing keeping me out of a time machine if I ever came across one.

I know I’m not the only one lately who has been seeing a lot of the dentist chair. As a few offerings:

How to Manage Dental Costs, With or Without Insurance: NY Times article about managing without dental coverage)

A Pictorial History of Dentistry: takes you from the Bow Drill to Cosmetic Dentistry

Guidelines about taking care of your teeth and gums: also from the NY Times – we know this stuff, we just need to follow it

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smells like ice

I am reconsidering my last posting. While my attempted ode to the glories of fall was done in sincerity, it has now turned really cold (unpleasantly so). Early in the morning the wind searches you out, finds a vulnerable spot and tunnels in. Tiny little icicles form in your blood stream and melt slowly over the rest of the day.

[Note: Thanks to FG for the photo, it captures the feeling beautifully.]

In adventures in baking: I did make the quinoa-apple-banana-chocolate bread last night. It turned out so-so. It is a little dense. I brought it in to the office, where it is enjoying some popularity. I think it might be worth another try someday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smells like Fall

Our thermometers and the angle of the sun in the sky have dropped lately. We are wrapping ourselves in scarves again and sunlight now has a golden sheen. Long distance runners are running the last of the year’s marathons. But what a great time of the year to jog! Any excuse to be out, gulping down gallons of purified autumn air, smelling like apples and wet grass.

I was thinking the other day about E. M. Forster. He might not agree with me. Of autumn smells he said that they are “odours of decay,” “pathetic” because they remind one of spring. However Forster was a depressive English man living in a depressing gray climate who wrote books about idealistic English girls traveling to sun-drenched places to be forever changed by an unexpected incident (okay, ‘sun-drenched’ in A Passage to India and ‘sun-kissed’ for his books in Italy. It seems that Tuscan weather is occasionally punctuated by powerful thunderstorms which stir passions and alter destinies.) However in Central Europe autumn has felt like a release, in the same way the harvest is the fulfillment of the growing season.

In addition to wear scarves and going for autumnal runs, I’m going to start baking -- so take that Forster. Project for the week:

Quinoa, banana and apple bread from La Tartine Gourmande ( Wish me well, and stop by for a bite if you’re in town.