No, you didn’t overlook a weekend post. There wasn’t one.

I’m not going to apologize, just lay the blame squarely where it belongs: with the critters.

If they refuse to do anything sufficiently photogenic when I have a camera handy, there really isn’t much I can do, now is there?

Of course, it doesn’t help that the recent cold weather has reduced their activity to “lie around on the bed, getting up only to eat and use the box”. Cute, but when the only difference from one day to the next is in who has staked out which chunk of blanket, the photos do get more than a bit repetitious.

Admittedly, we get minor variations.

For instance, there was an earthquake recently. Small, but centered only a few miles from our house. All cats vanished from the bed. But when you’re awakened at 3:30am by multiple paws thundering across your abdomen, photography is not the first thing that springs to mind. Or maybe it would be for you. It wasn’t for me.

A couple of days later, the smoke detector in the bedroom started making its “battery low” beep: one chirp every 40 seconds. Yuki couldn’t stand the sound and began yowling as though his tail was being pulled out by the roots*. Did I mention that this was at 6:00 am? It was. Again, photography not the first thing on my mind.

* He’s very proud of his luxurious plume. I dare say the psychological pain of having it yanked out would exceed the far-from-negligible physical pain.

Anyway, I’m still keeping my phone handy, but until the weather warms up and critters start moving around and doing things during hours I’m awake, there may be the occasional missed post.

Moving on.

File this under “WQTS”. It’s not significant enough to warrant a post of its own, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

Not too long ago, I had cause to install the Amazon Music program on my computer. It went through the usual steps*: download the installer, run it, twiddle my fingers for a minute or so, and then try to remember my Amazon password so I could sign into the program.

* Bother. I just noticed I could have installed it via the winget command I mentioned last week. Alas for missed opportunities.

All was well until after I closed the program and then realized I’d forgotten one of the things I’d intended to do. So I checked the All Programs menu, and was befuddled to see Amazon Music listed not once, but twice.

Normally, when a program wants to add itself to that menu, it creates a program shortcut in a specific folder. Done. Or, if the program needs multiple entries (for example, one for the program itself and one for a link to the company’s support website), it’ll create a folder inside that special Windows folder and put its links in that private folder.

Amazon, in an impressive display of bureaucratic bungling, does both: it creates a program shortcut named “Amazon Music” and a folder, also called “Amazon Music”, which–you guessed it–contains a program shortcut named “Amazon Music” (and also a link to the uninstall program, should you be so meanspirited as to want to get rid of “Amazon Music” in all its infinite incarnations. Which Windows, in its great wisdom mishandles, shows as two program icons, instead of one program and one folder.

“Well,” I said to myself, “that’s silly. And redundant.” So I deleted the standalone icon, thinking Windows would then properly display the folder.

Not only did that not work–Windows continued to show a program instead of a folder–but when I launched the program it recreated the icon I had deleted!

So Windows mishandles the situation where there’s a folder with the same name as a program. And Amazon overrides its users’ specific instructions. WQTS?

Moving on again.

Amongst all the nocturnal feline disturbances and the normal daytime alarums and excursions, I also found time to get my head examined. The conclusion: I still have a head.

More seriously, I’ve been somewhat concerned about my hearing, given the daily assault on my eardrums that is the retail environment.

It was, in its way, almost entertaining. I got the “raise your hand when you hear a tone” test, the “repeat the words this recording is saying” test, and the “repeat the sentence this other recording is saying with decreasing volume relative to background party noises” test. All while sitting in a soundproof room with earphones in. Okay, so maybe “entertaining” isn’t quite the right word. It was interesting and enlightening.

As I implied above, the results were generally good. I’ve got some marginal hearing loss in one ear, especially in the range of pitches typical of speech–which certainly explains the trouble I have hearing people at work when the background noise gets particularly excessive–but on the whole, I’ve still got two functional ears.

I’ll take my victories where I can. I will say, however, that the brochure on how to listen better is pretty darn useless.


Apparently the pandemic is over.

You didn’t know?

Well, nobody’s said it’s in the past, but judging by the way people are acting, we’re in the post-COVID era.

Social distancing in queues is non-existent and barely present elsewhere. I actually heard someone say they’d given up on keeping six feet away from the person in front of them in line “because it makes the line too long.” Never mind that it takes the same amount of time to move through the line regardless of spacing.

Mask wearing is at the lowest level since February of 2020. And I hear more and more maskless people saying some variation on “Oh, am I supposed to wear a mask?” or (even more annoyingly) “Why are you still wearing that thing?”

Even the people wearing masks take them off at any opportunity. I’m even seeing an uptick in people taking off their masks because they can’t hear what people are saying. What? You’re not wearing your mask over your ears, you know.

Vaccination rates continue to drop, along with semi-plausible excuses. One hardly ever hears “I’m waiting for the Omicron-specific booster,” any more, or even “Am I eligible for a booster?”

I’m surprised we haven’t seen any lawsuits alleging that widespread masking is harmful to “the children”.

I’m not even hearing much about annual COVID vaccinations to go along with people’s annual flu shot.

Remember back in 2020 when everyone wanted to know what the “New Normal” was going to be? Apparently this is it.

The sad truth is, though, that COVID is still around, infecting and mutating.

Mutations aren’t necessarily less deadly than their ancestors. Yes, over time, less-fatal strains of viruses tend to dominate. After all, parasites that kill their hosts have less time to spread themselves. But they do spread and they do kill before they die out.

Even without a deadlier variant emerging, we’re still seeing hundreds of deaths a day in the US.

But here we are.

America has collectively decided they’ve had enough of the pandemic, so they’re declaring it done.

COVID-19? Darling, that’s so last year.

I do what I can. I still mask up in public. I wash my hands religiously and use way too much disinfectant for my skin’s health. But I’m just me. Nobody’s taking their cues from what I say or do.

For a while, I thought a few high-profile deaths might motivate people to start taking precautions again, but I think we’re past that point. I’m pretty sure Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, and Ron DeSantis could all fall victim to COVID-19 simultaneously, and the public reaction would be a collective shrug and “It’s no worse than the flu.”

COVID-19? It is this year. And at this rate, next year too.

A State of Confusion

It’s been a week since California reopened. Is anyone surprised that now nobody seems to know what the rules are?

Hey, did you know you can take your own bags to the grocery store now? You can, even if no stores have put up signs saying so.

In theory, it should be simple. Nobody policed social distancing or capacity limits*, so officially removing those rules hasn’t really been noticeable.

* Officially, somebody did. Someone was responsible for making sure restaurant tables were far enough apart, “wait here” line markers were spaced correctly, and department stores weren’t packed shoulder to shoulder. But in practice–and, admittedly, in my experience–people have been amazingly good about self-policing. I’ve seen and heard of very few incidents of people being snapped at to back off, or self-appointed line monitors slapping knuckles.

For most people, the only question mark is whether they have to wear a mask. And apparently most people don’t have a clue. And really, that may be a good thing, at least around here. Because the overwhelming majority are defaulting wearing their masks. Granted, the SF Bay Area is one of the most highly vaccinated regions in the country, and I have no doubt that in places where people aren’t getting vaccinated in job lots, they’re also not wearing masks. Unless it’s at gunpoint*.

* Hey, there’s a thought: it’s no coincidence that areas where gun ownership is high are, for the most part, anti-vaccination and anti-mask. Maybe we need a public campaign to encourage vaccinated gun owners in places like Texas (39.76% vaccinated), Wyoming (33.58% vaccinated), and Mississippi (28.87% vaccinated) to defend their lives and property by “escorting” their neighbors to vaccination centers. Or maybe escorting teams of door-to-door vaccinators around their neighborhoods. Probably wouldn’t work–if only because volunteer escorts would be wildly outnumbered–but it’s worth considering.

At my day job, I’ve had several people ask me for permission to take their mask off. And yes, I mean ask. Politely. One of them was someone who, mere weeks ago when masks were still required, assured me loudly that he was fully vaccinated and he didn’t want to “wear the damned mask”. Quite a turnaround, and all because he now has options.

Even more people have asked me if masks are still required, but kept them on even after I tell them they’re free to remove them.

(For the record, my job is not one that requires mask-wearing, but I and all of my cow-orkers have agreed to continue wearing them indefinitely.)

I know my experience isn’t typical when looked at from a national perspective, but still, it’s nice to know that there are still a few pockets of sanity in the world.

There’s a Difference

I feel the pressure building up again, so I’m going to inflict another rant on y’all before the steam starts spraying out of my ears. Thanks for your patience.

Damn it, people, “stay at home” means you remain in your house.

It’s that simple.

Yes, I know the directives have exceptions. Here in California, the exceptions are to go shopping for essentials and for exercise.

I’m fine with anyone who goes for a walk, a jog, a bike ride, or other exercise. Solo or with someone they live with. Go for it. I won’t even complain if you take your mask off, as long as you’re actually in motion–keep it on if you’re doing stationary exercises, or face my wrath.

But apparently there are way, way too many people who are unclear on what constitutes “essentials”.

A few hints:

Buying groceries is essential. Having a sit-down meal in (or outside) a restaurant is not. Take-out is fine–no worse, epidemiologically speaking than grocery shopping–as long as you take it home to eat.

Shopping for a computer, cell phone, or tablet so you can work, go to school, stay in touch with family and friends, and, yes, entertain yourself is essential. Shopping for any of the above because your old one is the wrong color, weighs a couple of ounces more than the latest model, or has a small scratch on the back is not essential.

Entertainment media you can take home–books, movies, video games (yes, even video game consoles)–are essential; we don’t want anyone assaulting family members just to break up the monotony. Outside entertainment–movies, sporting events, concerts–not essential. Note that I’m not drawing a distinction between indoor and outdoor events. Yes, the risk is lower outdoors, but the constant vigilance required to stay six feet away from all the yahoos who won’t wear a mask outside is going to ruin your enjoyment of the event. Drive-in theaters? If everyone stayed in their car with the windows closed and the engine off, maybe safe enough–but essential? No.

Buying a new freezer? Depends. If you don’t have one or it doesn’t work, essential. If you want a second one to store the groceries you’re hoarding, not essential. And rethink your priorities if you accumulated a six-month supply of ground beef.

Getting the picture?

Think about it this way: remember “shelter in place” and how much you enjoyed that?* If we don’t stop breaking curfews and going out for non-essentials, we’re going find ourselves back in Shelterinplaceland.

* Man, March seems like a long time ago!

Viruses don’t care how stir-crazy you are.

Vaccines are not cures, nor are they 100% effective, and they won’t be universally available for months yet.

If it helps any, try pretending it’s a earthquake drill, like we had in school, back when we had schools. A very, very protracted drill.

Duck and cover!

(Note: duck is not essential–but it is available from many grocery and restaurant delivery services.)

Take a Deep Breath and…

The good news is that there is a vaccine being distributed in the U.S., and more are likely to be approved for distribution soon.

The better news is that front line healthcare workers are getting the first doses. This is so logical and sensible that I can’t believe it’s actually happening in 2020.

Granted, that may not be the case in all states–each state gets to set its own priorities–but most are putting doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals first, with the most vulnerable elderly close behind.


Naturally, there are those who disagree. Not because 2020, depressingly enough, but because the world is full of people who either can’t or won’t think logically.

“But what about the essential workers?”

“But what about the food service and restaurant workers?”

“But what about the teachers?” (Often followed by “…and the high school and college students?”)

I haven’t heard, “But what about the hair dressers and barbers?” yet, but I figure that’s only a matter of time. After all, nearly a dozen California state senators are petitioning the governor to classify restaurants as essential businesses and allow them to open for dining.

Remember, folks: a vaccine is not a cure. They only stop you from getting a disease if you don’t already have it. And in this specific case, it takes several weeks and two shots to reach its full effectiveness.

So let’s be blunt and look at the bottom line. We can’t vaccinate everyone at once. Can not. There aren’t enough doses available and there aren’t enough people to administer the shots and do the record keeping (especially including the part about ensuring that people show up on time for their second shots).

The more classes of people you including in the first wave of “must haves”, the more likely failure becomes. Heck, if you don’t think there’s potential for abuse of the process, just look at what your state classifies as “essential businesses”. Not matter where you live, I guarantee you’ll find at least one–probably several–that you vehemently disagree with. Or just look at how poorly testing services have been managed.

For the record, in California, I’m considered an essential worker. Doesn’t change my opinion. Realistically, most of the members of the public I come into contact with are not going to be carriers. Measures to prevent the spread–masks, barriers, and distancing–are onerous, but they work.

Would I like to be vaccinated? Do I intend to get the shots when it’s my turn? Yes and yes. But I’m not one of the people most in need.

We need to focus on smaller, more attainable goals than “give it to everyone”.

In this case, it means starting with the people who have the most confirmed contact with the virus: emergency room and ICU personnel, their support staff, and their immediate families.

Spread out from there: more medical professionals, nursing home and hospice staff and–to the extent possible–patients. Again, where it can be done, make vaccines available to families, not just individuals.

Note that I said “immediate family” not “family”. Those closely related and living in geographic proximity. Spouses or partners, parents, children. Yes, that policy is subject to abuse, but so is every other policy. But the benefits are huge: pockets of the vaccinated can act as the viral equivalent of firebreaks.

We’ve seen that social bubbles can slow the spread of the virus. Think of family vaccinations as strengthening bubble walls. If your life depended on staying in a physical bubble, would you want it to be a soap bubble or a rubber balloon?

Hey, there’s a slogan I can get behind:


Pity Kitty

Poor Rhubarb had a health scare last week.

He’s had a small lump on his forehead for the past month or so. Not growing, but not going away either. So, since he was due for his vaccination anyway, we all went down to the vet’s office.

The doc removed it, sent it off for analysis, gave Rhubarb his shots, and sent him home that afternoon.

We were all delighted to learn that the lump was a follicular cyst, but Rhubarb was not happy about wearing the Cone o’ Shame.

Just look at that piteous expression. He’s been getting a larger-than-usual number of cuddles this week.

Follicular cysts are, we’re given to understand, not life-threatening, not prone to recurrence, and not communicable. Hooray for that.

But Rhubarb still has another week or so wearing the Cone, and he’s got quite the decoration on the top of his head.

We’re still not sure if we should be calling him “Rubanstein” or “Frankenbarb”.

It’s Not Apple Juice

Those of you who have been reading my posts since the early days may recall that I had an argument with my kidneys around the end of 2013, which resulted in my receiving one of the worst presents ever–and I couldn’t even exchange it for something more pleasant.

I didn’t mention my second kidney stone a couple of months ago because, unlike the first, it passed relatively easily, and because I couldn’t think of anything amusing to say about it. Let’s be real: nobody wants to read depressing blog posts about stabbing pains in the abdomen. But funny posts about pain? Oh, yeah.

One kidney stone is no fun, and it’s the joy that keeps on keeping on. If you have one, the odds are good that you’ll have more. You can make dietary changes to reduce the chances of recurrence, but as my experience shows, you can’t reduce them to zero.

Of course, the more you know about what’s going on in your innards, the better you can craft your approach. Last time around, my dietary changes were based primarily on the type of stone. This time we’re also taking a closer look at what my kidneys are doing. This is not, fortunately, an invasive procedure. It is, however, amusingly perverse. Allow me to introduce you to the dubious joys of the 24 Hour Urine Collection.

The tools are simple: an orange jug with a capacity of four liters, two little cups with screwtops (they look a lot like a little kid’s sippy cup, only without the drinking spout), and a ziplock bag prominently marked “BIOHAZARD”.

Step One: Clear enough space in the refrigerator to hold the jug. Clear some extra space while you’re at it. Unless you’re a heck of a lot more comfortable with your own waste products than I am, you don’t want anything else in the fridge touching that jug.

Step Two: Choose a day when you’re not going anywhere to do the test. You do not want to carry this bright orange jug around with you. Did I mention that it’s bright orange? Hard to miss, and while it’s a great conversation starter, those aren’t the kind of conversations most of us want to have.

Step Three: Begin collecting with your second trip to the bathroom of the day. Those of us with convex excretory apparatus are lucky: we can pee directly into the jug, as long as we’re careful not to touch the sides of the opening with our gear*. Women, as I understand it, get to pee into a cup and then pour the contents into the jug. Don’t forget that the first thing your physician tells you to do to reduce the risk of kidney stones is to drink lots of water–a minimum of two liters a day. Those cups are tiny and fill up quickly. You do the math; I suggest wearing gloves.

* Officially, avoiding contact is to prevent the microorganisms that live on the outside of your spout from contaminating the specimen. The real reason is that touching your equipment to a piece of plastic chilled to just above freezing temperature is an experience you want to avoid. Especially at three in the morning, after you’ve crawled out of a nice warm bed.

Step Four: Continue filling the jug. Bring the jug along on every trip to the bathroom. Miss one and you’ll need to get a fresh jug and start all over.

Step Five: Collection concludes with your first trip to the bathroom the next morning. So now, roughly twenty-four hours after you started, you’ve got a bright orange jug of urine. Congratulations!

Step Six: Now you get to mix the sample thoroughly. Close the lid of the jug. Tightly. No, tighter. Got a large wrench handy? Use it. Now shake the jug as hard as you can. Try not to think about the lid popping off. You twisted it tightly, right? If you’ve been drinking enough to satisfy your doctor, the four liter jug will be at least three-quarters full. That’s fairly heavy. Better give it a couple more shakes to be sure it’s well mixed. Unless you’re going to do this regularly, it’s probably not worth investing in one of those shakers the hardware store uses for mixing paint.

Step Seven: Take the two lidded cup. Pull open the pour spout and fill both cups. Put the lids on and put both cups in the BIOHAZARD bag.

Step Eight: Discard the rest of the urine. Yes, all your hard work collecting your pee will literally go down the drain. Look at the empty jug. It does not say “BIOHAZARD”. Only the samples in the sippy cups are a public health menace, it seems.

Step Nine: Take the sippy cups to the lab. I asked the technician what I should do with the jug. “Oh, you can just toss it out,” she said. “I know,” I replied. “But does it go in the garbage or the recycling bin?” She froze, her expression completely blank. Clearly this is not a question she gets every day. Or, in all likelihood, ever. Finally, she shook her head. “Just toss it out.”

Step Ten: Examine the jug closely. I couldn’t find a recycling indicator on it. If you find that ecologically unsatisfying, you might consider washing it well and using it to make lemonade. You might. I put it in the garbage can.

New Year, Same Old Stories 3

For Sale

One kidney, slightly used. ¬†Some “As-Is”.

Guaranteed hours of fun (for the masochistically-inclined).

Special offer!

Buy now and get a free Zen rock garden!

As you may have gathered from the above, I’m still dealing with Mother Nature’s charming little Christmas gift. Such joy. Such rapture. Feh!

I will make no promises, because every time I do, she throws me another little twist. That said, right now I plan to try to my best to keep posts coming, but may deviate from the normal schedule.

There Are Two Kinds…

There are two types of Christmas gifts. OK, I’ll pause here while you all relieve yourselves of your favorite “there are two types of x” jokes.

Done? Good. Moving on.

On one side we have this:

What is it? It’s a USB powered aquarium, and it’s awesome. Consider that it’s entertaining to watch, demonstrates some pretty impressive engineering, and demonstrates two unrelated areas of physics.

Really? Yup. Let’s break that down.

Two principles of physicsFluid Dynamics: there’s a fan inside that swirls the water, causing the fish to swim around. Consider the possibilities for discussion here: vortices, the interaction of moving bodies, edge effects. Light and Color: those cheery red and yellow fish change color. Well, actually, only the yellow one changes. Turn off the blue LED light, and the yellow fish turns green! (Very Christmasy.) Think of the hours of fun you could have explaining to a child–or a cow-orker–why one fish changes and the other doesn’t. Or why school says that blue + yellow = green, not green + blue = yellow. Or why blue + green = brown for crayons, but yellow for fish.

Impressive engineering – Yeah, seriously. This thing can run on USB or batteries. It feels solidly constructed: I have no worries about it leaking on my desk; the battery and water compartment covers fit securely, but are not so tight that it requires a fight to open them; and it doesn’t wobble or deform in my hand when I pick it up. The water fan and the light are on separate switches, so they can be turned on and off independently. Really, the only strange thing I’ve found in its design is that it requires a somewhat rare A-A USB cable instead of the more common A-B microUSB or miniUSB cable. But the necessary cable is included and is quite long enough to allow significant freedom in placing the aquarium.

Entertaining to watch – Well, I think so, anyway. The fish move largely in calm, counter-clockwise circles. Up, over, down, back, up, over, down, back… It’s quite mesmerizing to the predator part of the brain. I haven’t tried it out on the cats yet, but I’m willing to bet they’ll be just as entertained as I am. Up, over, back, down…

Now, consider that you get all that goodness for less that twenty bucks. (That’s an assumption based on rules of the gift exchange. Hang on a second… OK, yeah, I just did a quick search, and the median price online seems to be around $14.) The price-to-performance ratio on this thing absolutely rules.

Awesome gift, Eric. Nice job.

So that’s one kind of Christmas gift. Then there’s the other.

Those of you with weak hearts–or weak stomachs–may want to skip ahead here. The next chunk of this post includes some fairly graphic and fairly disgusting imagery.

Imagine the pain of being punched in the lower back. Repeatedly. In the same spot. Got it? Now add the pain of a live mouse trying to dig a tunnel out of your stomach. Add nausea, and flip a coin to see if it includes vomiting. Flip another coin for the possibility of diarrhea. Imagine that going on for four hours on a Friday afternoon. It’s going to pretty much kill any chance of clearing your desk before the holiday weekend.

That, my friends, is a kidney stone, and it is the sort of Christmas gift from Mother Nature that proves she’s a mean bitch with a sick sense of humor.

In my case, everything went away after about four hours. I felt OK Friday night and perfectly fine for most of Saturday. Sunday, around 3 in the morning, it all came back and did not go away. This led to a whole slew of exciting events:

  • A call to the 24 hour nurse hotline
  • An ambulence ride to the emergency room. (“This street is blocked by construction. Let’s try the next one over. Nope, that’s no good. What if we go around to the other side? Hey, this one is under construction too!”)
  • A series of tubes connected to my arm (Oh, look! My own personal Internet!)
  • A shot of some morphine derivative. Aah, blessed poppies that give relief from pain.
  • A CAT scan (Ooh, here I go, into the Time Donut. [Actually, given the size of the hole relative to the size of the “bread”, “Time Bagel” might be more appropriate.] And out of the Bagel. And in again. And back out. Hey, it works! The Time Bagel sent me a good ten minutes forward in time!)
  • A seven block walk to the drug store–in my slippers–to fill prescriptions for pain-killer and anti-nausea medications, followed by a 20 minute cab ride home while waiting for the pills to kick in. (Kudos to both the Walgreens pharmacist who filled the prescriptions quickly and the Friendly Cab driver who did not feel obligated to make conversation or crank the radio to eleven.)
  • Arguing with my doctor to get a prescription refill so I would have enough pain pills to last until my appointment.
  • Peeing through a filter to capture the stones when they finally passed.
  • Constipation and gas.

For almost three days, I survived on a diet of pain pills, anti-nausea meds, water, clementine oranges, and herbal tea (not much taste, but at least it didn’t taste like plain water).

When we went to refill the prescriptions, we discussed the possibility of getting me a human-sized Cone o’ Shame to keep me from biting back at the damned stomach mice, but decided against it, on the grounds that I’m not flexible enough to get my teeth anywhere within three feet of my own stomach. Nice thick mittens might not be a bad idea in these circumstances, though.

Wednesday afternoon and evening, I captured several itty-bitty brown specks in the pee-filters. Joy! By dinner time, I felt well enough to have some Seussian Christmas roast beast, though it took a couple of additional days for my appetite to get back to normal.

By Friday morning, when I finally was able to see a doctor, my only remaining symptoms were the constipation and gas, which led to the final thrilling experience of the affair. I got to be a human pop gun! The solid waste backed up in my gut was quite solid indeed. It organized itself in a series of hard pellets, each separated from the next by a pocket of compressed gas. Once things started moving, it turned the bathroom into quite the shooting range. Pop! Tzing! Sploosh! (pause) Pop! Tzing, tzing, crash! Whoops, there goes the light bulb! (pause) Pop! Tzing! You get the idea. Picture a good ten minutes of this scene as all-natural pellets bounce off the porcelain and ricochet around the room trailing a high-pitched “whizzing” noise and a cloud of organically-grown propellent.

Great way to spend the holidays, huh? And I was lucky! I only had about four days of the really awful part (waiting for the stones to pass). It could have been up to four weeks and/or required some form of intervention. Zapping stones with ultrasound or lasers sounds cool, but I’d prefer not to experience either one, thanks. Still less interested in any of the more invasive techniques. If you’re feeling brave, you can check out some of the thrilling possibilities–with pictures, even.

I don’t even get to keep the stones as a trophy: they’ve been sent off to a lab for analysis, so I can look forward to making dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the odds of recurrence. Not that they would really make great trophies. I did mention that they were itty-bitty. Again, lucky. Kidney stones have been reported as large as golf balls. Picture that. Better yet, don’t picture that.

And hey, statistically speaking, there’s a 5-10% chance that you, the person reading this, will at some point in your life develop kidney stones (though your odds are about three times worse if you’re male than female). “Worse”? “Better”? Make that “three times greater”. Good luck!

Sucky gift, Mother Nature. Lousy job.