Monday, August 22, 2005

Medical College of Georgia Class Notes

Okay, another new page (well, sub-site, really). Since I am a Ph.D. student at the Medical College of Georgia, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and publish my notes from class lectures on my site. I figure that, besides attracting Google hits, putting all my personal class notes online as they happen should be a good study mechanism. I can't guarantee I'll put everything up, but I'd sure like to.

This semester, I'm taking Responsible Conduct of Research (SGS 8011), Scientific Communication (SGS 8012), Biochemistry (SGS 8021) Molecular Cell Biology (SGS 8022), Introduction to Faculty Research (SGS 8040), and Introduction to Research I (SGS 8050). Not all of them have notes (or a good deal of notes, anyway), but whatever I write down, I'll try to put up. I imagine it'll be a help for other students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as people just trying to find out miscellaneous bits of information (which may be contained in the notes, if you're lucky *grin*).

Medical College of Georgia Biomedical Sciences Class Notes

Monday, August 01, 2005

'Twas Brillig: a Jabberwocky Site

Original woodcut of the Jabberwocky from 'Alice in Wonderland' Rodney Matthews' 'Jabberwocky'

“The Jabberwocky” is perhaps the most well-known, well-loved, studied, and revered piece of nonsense literature in the English language (well, ostensibly English, anyway), and perhaps in any language. While it occupies a relatively minor position in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (commonly referred to as Alice Through the Looking Glass), its renown has spread far beyond that single opening chapter (well, and Humpty Dumpty's later expoundification thereof.

Its popularity has resulted in its translation into a number of languages, including French, German, and yes, even Latin.

Since The Jabberwocky has always been one of my favourite poems, I've recently inaugurated a shrine to the work by Lewis Carroll (aka. Rev. Charles Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in my Alice in Wonderland pages. I'm collecting various translations of the work, along with some of the more clever and less stilted parodies. Hopefully it will grow to be a decent-sized site (though I'm sure not rivaling the Ultimate Jabberwocky Site to which I link in the shrine), and it will at least be a repository for my own thoughts and writings on subjects Jabberwockian.

So, do me a favour and visit 'Twas Brillig, which I think is as apt a name as any for the enshrinement of the ancient scrap of Anglo-Saxon poetry, eh? (For more info on the "Anglo-Saxon" bit, visit the site and look at the Anglo-Saxon translation.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Danny Doyle, Where the Blarney Roses Grow, and C.

I've just put up a new bit of content over at the Sehr Gut Web Codex:Celtic.

Spirit of the Gael (Danny Doyle)

A didgeridoo. In Irish music. Did Celts even have didgeridoos? Well, no matter, because in some surreal way, it actually works. In 2002, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store released this fabulous recording by the distinctive vocalist Danny Doyle as part of their Heritage Music collection.

With a diversity of styles from the high mournful tone of "The Fields of Athenry" to the low melancholy of "Kilkelly", from the bawdy good humour of "When the Boys Come Rolling Home" and "Danny Dougan's Jubilee" to the heady adolecent excitement of "Where the Blarney Roses Grow", there's a song to cover every inch of ground that can be covered on Celtic instruments — plus a didgeridoo.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Celtic Music

New page here! I just put together the beginnings of a Celitc site (including a bit about my favourite song of all time.

I’ve always loved Celtic music, especially that of the Irish persuasion. Now, I am only 1/16th Ulster Scot (Scots-Irish, Scotch-Irish), but I figure that gives me enough Celtic blood to have some right to the music, eh? After all, I’ve been told that Celtic blood takes precedence over any other comers . . .

While I adore the music, I have a great love for all things Irish (odd, since I have more an excuse for Scottish), and hope to transmit a bit of that love of the Celts to you. Enjoy!

Celtic Music at Sehr Gut Web

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sehrgut Anachronism: New Site

I’ve just launched a new subsection of Sehr Gut Web: Sehrgut Anachronism (housing the Codex Anachronisticus: Sehr Gut). Here I&rsqou;ll be depositing all my anachronistic researches and pursuits.

Currently, the Codex is comprised of some ink-related recipes: namely the preparation of yellow dextrine (“British gum”) from corn starch, testing gum solutions for starch using iodine, and the preparation of a dextrine-bound Prussian Blue writing ink using Mrs. Stewart's Bluing.

Friday, July 01, 2005

In Memoriam America

In memory of those whose dreams and schemes gave us this land, of those who died for the freedom that was America, of those whose blood watered the Tree of Liberty.

We have not kept your dream. We have abandoned your hopes. We have sold the freedom you died for us to have. We have failed you.

Forgive us.

In memory of that for which which once she stood,
In hope of that for which she yet may stand.


July Fourth, Two Thousand and Five, a mere two hundred and twenty-nine years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, found America in the later stages of giving up freedom for security and finding she had neither.

In Memoriam

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Comfort Ye My People

Comfort Ye My People

Note: Yes, this piece is somewhat religious in nature. However, please do not allow that to scare you away. I think I can promise nearly every reader, of whatever creed, a line or idea or turn of phrase to carry away. I think you will be glad you read it.

“Comfort ye.” A sombre lilt of strings — no reeds, and certainly no horns — overlaid with the smoked glass of flute, opens. (The horn players are busy writing and reading, oblivious to a world which shall not require their attentions for several minutes.)
An overture of predawn and long, desert mountain trails, bears no premonitions of the victorious “Rejoice, O Ye Daughters of Zion!” and “Hallelujah!” to come. Indeed, it seems very fitting to that “story we know”1: yet one more tale of heartache and a supposedly-inspiring moral victory somewhere near the end. But this story — that story which kept Handel sequestered months in its telling — is far from a mere moral victory (though it may be rightly called a victory of The Moral).


“The real meaning of Christmas” is a phrase lost now on me and most Americans: it has become a trite “ad-word”, sermonzing catch-all, and moral to any holidy tear-jerker. It’s a phrase hijacked by anyone who wants to say that Christmas isn’t just about getting, but it’s about {giving, family, unity, etc.}. Everyone, down to the most irreligious, has heard at least one rendition of the First Christmas meant to inspire a holy fear or love or somehow-restored devotion. The thrill of that is long since gone.

What is not gone is Handel. It is one thing to tell a story of a young engaged woman found pregnant with the son of God. It is quite another to begin, not with the Anunciation (as is the manner of most religious, due to Catholic tradition), but with God’s deep desire to send comfort to His people.

Jesus was sent with the commission to “comfort ye my people”, God’s people being the Jews. With all the persecution they had faced, and were facing, and admittedly though their own folly, they were still God’s people. The same God who in the Old Testament promised Abraham that a blessing to all nations would come from his line2 fulfilled that promise in the time of His people’s greatest need.


Yes, sing the “Hallelujah!” chorus. It is fitting. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”* to receive our praises. But sing “Comfort Ye My People” as well. Handel well knew the real real meaning of Christmas. To him, it was worth what most people would never give up, for friends, family, or even self: comfort. For him, it was a story worth all in the telling, and giving all in the hearing.


“The Story We Know”

The way to begin is always the same. Hello,
Hello. Your hand, your name. So glad, Just fine,
And Good-bye ant the end. That’s every story we know,

And why pretend? But lunch tomorrow? No?
Yes? An omelette, salad, chilled white wine?
The way to begin is simple, sane, Hello,

And then it’s Sunday, coffee, the Times, a slow
Day by the fire, dinner at eight or nine
And Good-bye. In the end, this is a story we know

So well we don’t turn the page, or look below
the picture, or follow the words to the next line:
The way to begin is always the same Hello.

But one night, through the latticed window, snow
Begins to whiten the air, and the tall white pine.
Good-bye is the end of every story we know

That night, and when we close the curtains, oh,
we hold each other against that cold white sign
Of the way we all begin and end. Hello,
Good-bye is the only story. We know, we know.

— Martha Collins

2. “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” — Genesis 22:17–18

First Sign of Winter

First Sign of Winter

Written Friday, December 10th, 2004, in Pensacola, Florida.

The hibiscus are blooming. In the whipping breezes, long hibiscus branches rising from the ground swing and whirl their tip-tops of Hawai’ian brightness. The hibiscus are blooming, and winter is coming to Florida.

It is funny to me, that whiteness which covers so many Christmas pictures. What is it? And why are the trees dead? How, in a black-and-white death world, can one see the joy of Christmas? And my Grandmother asks how I can get into the Christmas spirit without snow!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

How to Raise a Perfect Little Angel

How to Raise a Perfect Little Angel

or, Training and Trusting

Of course you’ve heard teenagers and even younger children claim, “My parents don’t trust me.” Every child psychologist will tell parents that the important thing is that they trust their children: trustworthiness is sure to follow. I’m sorry, but I’m just not used to paying for something and waiting six to eight weeks for delivery with no assurance of delivery or recourse when delivery is not made. Trustworthiness is something which results from training, and not from previously-doled-out trust.

Enter Joel L. He’s a second-grader in my Sunday School class at the Campus Church, Pensacola, FL. He’s also the most trustworthy and best-behaved child in the class. In fact, when I need someone to deliver something to the Junior Church teacher (Junior Church follows Sunday School, and is in a different classroom), he is the only student whom I have ever so much as considered for the errand. Joel can spout off a semester’s-worth of Bible verses at the drop of a hat (“How about the one before that, Joel? Do you remember that one?”), answer questions about last week’s story like nobody’s business, and sit still to boot! I have an idea. Let’s follow him for a moment to see where his behaviour and trustworthiness originated: from trust, or from training.

Friday, December 17th, 2004. Sports Center, Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola, FL.
The semester had officially ended at 9:45 that morning. Most of the student body had left, and most of us stragglers were in the Sports Center (gym, weight rooms, bowling, racquetball, ice skating, and miniature golf, along with pool, foosball, and places to just sit and chat or play games) killing time. My friends and I were sitting around watching The Artistry of Ivan1 on Rachel’s computer and making small talk. Suddenly Joel came (from nowhere, as far as I could figure) and stood over me (I was seated on the carpet). He and I chatted a bit, and he eventually sat down to watch the movie with us.

After not too long, Mrs. L, his mom, came over. I stood up to introduce myself (as the recipient of the cookies she had sent with him to Sunday School the previous Sunday to give to his teachers), and ended up in a conversation. I mentioned rather quickly how much I enjoyed having Joel in my class, and how well he always behaved himself.

“Well, I’m glad to hear that! I worry about him . . . When we do school, the girls always do their work, but he always wants to go outside and play.”

Are you seeing where I am going with this? The kid was homeschooled (which I had found out a couple of weeks earlier — but which in no way surprised me, given his beyond-years maturity). That’s nearly a given these days when you run across the rare decorous, well-behaved child. That aside, however, did you see how even the mother of my best student was not assuming of his behaviour?

A child can sense the difference between assumption and expectation, I think. Assumption states that the child will be trustworthy because I trust him. Expectation states that the child will be trustworthy because I train him; and because I, knowing that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”2, watch for the untrustworthiness when (not “if”) it crops up so I can immediately and lovingly correct it.

And you know, that is love.3 A kid like Joel is going to grow up and go places. A kid like D_____ (unanimously the worst-behaved kid in the class) is going to need some help. But you know, Joel’s folks could blow it. They could start trusting him — who, as sweet and obedient as he is, has a deceitful heart and a sin nature just like you or I. And D_____’s parents could stop trusting him and start training him. That would make all the difference.

1. The Artistry of Ivan is a student-produced documentary of Hurricane Ivan. Daniel Allen, a student at Pensacola Christian College, arranged for footage to be taken throughout the campus during the lockdown for the hurricane itself, as well as interviewing numerous faculty, staff, administration, students, and Pensacola residents after the hurricane had passed. The two-disc set, including a half-hour documentary and a large library of still images and short video clips, may be ordered from Brand X Multimedia by calling 815-212-3564 or 815-886-4144. The cost is $15US +S&H. It is well worth fifteen dollars to see the good coming from Ivan — the good that only God can bring from a catastrophe. As Mr. Allen said, “Ivan’s terror was not random or evil. It was all part of the Painter’s perspective to show forth the glory of God.” The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. — Nahum 1:3b

2. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” — Jeremiah 17:9

3. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” — Proverbs 13:24
c.f. Proverbs 22:15 and 23:13

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Presidential Prerogative -or- Saturday, Observed

Presidential Prerogative

   The sweetest words any Pensacola Christian College student can hear are “I am exercising my prerogative as President . . .” With those words is ushered in the fabled nirvana — the right Elysian Fields — or a day free of all classes. Deadlines are pushed back and rest reigns supreme.

   Most years, Presidential Prerogative falls on a Wednesday: the Wednesday on which Freshman English research papers are due. In fact, all three of my previous years here, such has been the case. Now, in 2004, fall semester, we have Ivan. I have never gotten back on any semblance of a daily schedule since the near shut-down of all of northwest Florida, and neither have most other students.

   Dr. Horton cited this as well as the election (did you know that Precinct 110, where PCC resides, is the second-strongest Republican* precinct in all of Florida?) as our reason for getting tomorrow (Tuesday) off. [[One of my friends suggested that perhaps Dr. Mullenix has inculcated his personal policy into Dr. Horton at long last. Dr. Mullenix is one of the faculty/administration who makes it a practice to adjourn all of his classes on election days for those who have not yet gotten to vote and are registered to vote in Escambia County.]] One definitely has no excuse for not voting around here. Whatever party you happen to support, you are all but ordered to act on your beliefs.

   Even with all the benefits of Presidential Prerogative, there are still some few who deem it necessary to grip, complain, whine, murmer, et cetera. You see, PCC has what some would consider to be strict discipline — though none would have found it strange in the academic halls of only fifty years ago — so of course a privilege such as the one just granted of necessity carries with it certain regulations.

   The first, and most complained-about regulation, is that on Presidential Prerogative days, there is no leaving campus for other than previously-scheduled activities (work, doctors’ appointments, &c.) until three in the afternoon. Logically, of course, it makes perfect sense. There is no sense in granting a catch-up study day if half the student body would spend it at the beach. However, rather than looking at the day as time granted which would not have otherwise been theirs, many students look at it as beach time stolen from them. Hmmmm . . . If they would have been in class anyway, and now they have that time to spend, not in class, but anywhere on campus they please, how is beach time that they never have somehow stolen from them? “Don’t give me one hundred dollars. I want two hundred!” is the attitude I sense.

   “As for me and my house . . .” we will sleep in and play the piano until our fingers fall off and write lab reports and read textbooks and in general study our brains out. Our diligent procrastination on Saturday has been rewarded. We have Saturday, observed tomorrow. Eat drink and get married, for the day after tomorrow we die.

* While I am still a registered Republican, I am drifting more and more to the Libertarian shore. ‘Tis a pity, but we don’t even have what I would consider a true Republican party in this country any more. Except for its position on the necessity of war, our current GOP would have passed for Democratic fifty years ago.

Vote Bush: Not as bad as the other guy.

At PCC, attendance to all class sessions is required except in the case of illness or emergency, in the which cases the requirement will be administratively waived. You may laugh at that, but it’s what keeps our academics so strong here. We regularly get students placed into such institutions as Columbia, Harvard, Mayo, Loma Linda, and other medical schools (my department, so I am most familiar with those), law schools, organizations such as the Secret Service (two PCC grads on the Secret Service right now, I think) — and that’s with us not accepting accredition (not that it hasn’t been offered).Specifically, a friend of mine, Anastasia Spencer, was commended by Columbia Medical School last year, as was PCC, for her being their strongest applicant of the year.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:14–16

Crosspost: Harbour and Academic Musings