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Skeptic magazine recommends reading this book.

Author Judith Finlayson writes about her research in a new book that takes conventional wisdom about the origins of chronic disease and turns it upside down. Rooted in the work of the late epidemiologist Dr. David Barker, it highlights the research showing that heredity involves much more than the genes your parents passed on to you. Thanks to the relatively new science of epigenetics, we now know that the experiences of previous generations may show up in your health and well-being. 

I probably won’t read it, but it does seem to suggest that World War One could very well account for my current condition.

Nessity Revisited.

It is as if the internet is watching me, and correcting me kindly.

A timely reminder that language grows and changes. If it didn’t, we’d still be writing like this:

Can anyone else fmell timmer?

Tan dan naddity daa dan da.


Reading a pretentious piece about the essence of beingness caused me to ponder the proclivity of people to coin -ness words when an established alternative already exists. In this case, being.

The best example is the extremely annoying wellness used instead of health. It was adopted so very wholeheartedly by my Ministry of Health colleagues. It was woofully defined as the holistically based ongoing healthcareness of the patient rather than treatment of symptoms, enabling upward mobilisation of completeness of being, encompassing the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-beingness and feeling aliveness of not just the patient, but his grandparents. Or some such bullshit. God, how they played with words instead of getting on with it.

I was incensed when Waitemata Health introduced an alternative medicine clinic and employed a real doctor to oversee it. I offered him a copy of Snake Oil Science but he refused to read it, because, he said, the title demonstrated the author was prejudiced before he even began. Alternative medicine should be approached with an open mind. Ummm, yes. With science also.

I wrote a satirical piece for the staff newsletter about how the hospital would be saving money on anaesthetic and painkillers by painting the surgical wards green. Crystals would be hung in the waiting rooms so that at least a third of the patients would feel better and just go home. Surprisingly, the CEO liked it. I think maybe he thought the ideas might work.

But I digress.

Some people casually dismiss the importantness of the problem I don’t. I believe the seriocity of the risk to our language is very real.

Both #ness and +ity form abstract nouns from adjectives. #Ness is a neutral suffix which has no effect on the stress of the word; while +ity is a posttonic suffix which causes stress on the preceding syllable.

I found myself delving further into the -ness –ity issue. There are legitimate alternatives – for example capaciousness and capacity – but they have evolved subtle differences in meaning.

Ableness/ability. Let’s not go there.

In fact, having got this far. Let’s not proceed any further. I’ve made my frustrationicity plain.

Besides, in all honestness, I’ve forgotten where I was going with this.


I have lived among the broken people
They sent me there
Repairman for their faults
As if good will
A football and a meal
Might mend many generations of pain.

Massacre and Murder still in memory
Birthright and right denied
Who can soothe such wounds
With just a token?
And though I tried, god knows I tried,
I, too, ended broken.

I truly tried my wage to earn
I could not help them, merely learn.
They cannot help, who once betrayed
And raised a debt that can’t be paid.

© 2020 ARF

No, Really.

True story.

I was in the economy shop to buy a device for picking things up, and a lumbar support, I knew I’d find them there at a fraction of the price at a pharmacy. I was not wrong.

I found the picky uppy thingy, which I usually refer to as a gotcha. As I took it from the shelf, I dropped it. I said aloud to myself. “Great. Now I’ll have to buy two”.

A woman standing behind me broke into a fit of giggles as she bent down to pick it up for me. The giggles redoubled when she saw I had already selected another one, and then I tucked both that, and the one she handed me, under my arm.

I thanked her sincerely for the assistance, and for the amusement, which brightened what was threatening to be a bleak day in more ways than the weather.

I had just come from a visit to, of all people, a podiatrist. My health care planner had thought maybe one could help me with my back/leg problem, seeing that I could no longer wear shoes with heels.

I met with him at 08:45. I apprised him of my current condition, and told him it seems to be getting worse lately, despite the walking, cycling and swimming. He listened. He asked a few pertinent questions, mostly about when the pain was worse, what activities made it flare up. He examined my posture.

At last he told me he did not believe that as a podiatrist, there was much he could do for me except provide a little arch support, which he promptly affixed to the jandals (thongs, flip-flops) I was wearing, after I told him they were what I wore most of the time. It may or may not help. He was not hopeful.

However, speaking not in his professional capacity, but as a person still recovering from a broken back, he felt he should pass on the information he had received from the surgeons and spinal specialists who had treated him.

What it amounted to was that riding a bicycle is not a good thing to be doing. Swimming and exercising in water is. So is losing weight. The first I had already begun to suspect. The latter two I already knew. When I mentioned having recently bought a boat, his look of dismay told me all I needed to know. He advised me to get a seat with suspension fitted. He also told me to get a lumbar support for when I sit, and gotchas for picking things up.

So I headed out into the rainy weather with an outlook bleak indeed. The bike had not been a good idea at all. Maybe the boat also. Though that yet remains to be seen. However, no matter how I looked at it i thought perhaps I had not been making sensible decisions lately. Most of my not-good ideas were costly. Either financially or in other ways. For example, my decision to work in the Kimberley had broken my heart, and my spirit, for a time , and did no good to the rest of me.

I tried to think back to the last time I could say I had chosen to do something that had really worked out well.

By the time I got to the economy shop I had progressively thought all the way back to 2009, and my decision to take that well-paid job in Fiji, without having identified anything positive at all. The black dog was circling me, ready to lunge.

Then I dropped the gotchas, talked to myself, and made someone laugh. That made me smile. I headed for the pool and swam in the rain. Swimming is Good.

I swam an extra half hour to make up for the cycling I’m not doing. I also solved the problem of water infiltrating my earplugs as I swam. The rubber bits that go into my ear canal are left and right handed. Somehow I had transposed them after washing them. Something I could have sworn I had taken great care not to do each time. I should have realised straight away.

Dave. My mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it.

I shall continue to use the bike, for short trips to the local shops and for transporting my washing to and from the laundry, but I’ll not be pedalling so much.


By shear coincidence, just after writing about how I talk to myself, I came upon this article.

Which led me to this one. Until now I thought I was in the minority, on the spectrum of schizophrenia.

Book Pile

My previous post led me to consider which books, or perhaps it would be better to say which works, I would put in my heavenly pile. I mentioned two already. To them I would add, in no order of merit, the following non-exhaustive list, all of which left an impression on me.

  • Metamorphoses
  • The Iliad
  • The Odyssey
  • Jason, by Henry Treece
  • Candide
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Beowulf
  • The Green Man (Tolkien translation)
  • The Arthurian novels of T H White, Mary Stewart, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Nikolai Tolstoy
  • The Mabinogion and the novelisations by Evangeline Walton
  • The Chronicles of Prydain
  • Moby Dick
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Slaughterhouse Five
  • Catch 22
  • The Forever War
  • The Day of the Triffids
  • Tiger, Tiger! (The Stars My Destination)
  • The Demolished Man
  • Macroscope – and sequels
  • Ringworld
  • The Einstein Intersection
  • The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Starship Troopers
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner
  • Collected Works of W B Yeats
  • Collected Works of Oscar Wilde
  • Collected Works of William Shakespeare
  • Collected Works of Robert Burns
  • Green Eggs and Ham


There is a word missing from English. I can’t believe we have managed without it until now.

We need a word for that joyously pleasant sensation you get when you bite into a service station meat pie expecting the contents to be so hot it will scald the roof of your mouth and destroy your taste buds so you won’t actually enjoy the pie at all BUT to your surprise and great pleasure the contents are exactly the right temperature to allow you to enjoy the life-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this subtle gourmet umami and aromatics of the gravy to the fullest.

I herby coin


You are welcome

Contents: περιεχόμενα, periechómen

Right, correct: σωστός, sostós

Temperature: θερμοκρασία, thermokrasía

Meat pie: κρεατόπιτα, kreatopita

surprised: , έκπληξη, ékplixi

Pleasure, gratification: ευχαρίστηση, efcharístisi

This is what I do on days when I hurt too much to walk.