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A RALPH BELLAMY MOMENT
8 March 2006
My friend Char already knows what this is going to be about, don't you, Char?
I have lost the finer points of the story, but it was something that happened in Char's family where they were trying to remember the name of a specific actor. The actor in question was Ralph Bellamy, but at the time, nobody could remember the name and it was driving them all nuts.
Now, of course, things like that don't have to bug you if you have gotten into the habit, as I have, of going to Google for everything you can't remember.
In the case of Ralph Bellamy, I probably would have gone to the Internet Movie Data Base ("IMDB"), put in the name of the movie I was discussing and instantly pulling up the cast of that film. Voilą -- out of your difficulties in a matter of seconds.
It always amazes me that people who are computer savy don't immediately think of the Internet when they have a question.
I have long ago given up dealing with either a bulky medical dictionary or a PDR (Physician's Desk Reference), which is the bible for any physician who prescribes medications. The psychiatrist periodically comes up with a new medical term or a new medication that I've never encountered before. What I do is to go to Google, put in the way it sounds like it might be spelled and see what happens.
"Simbalta," I might type in. Instantly Google helpfully asks me, "Did you mean cymbalta?" Just be sure, I check Cymbalta and to see what it's used for and find that it is an antidepressant and so I know that I have figured out the proper spelling -- or that Google has figured it out for me.
Someone in my old Compuserve discussion group was wondering the other day about whether there is an official "winter" in Africa.
I went to Google and typed in "Weather - Africa." I found a World Weather site and checked out the weather in all of the African nations. I discovered, for example, that in Nigeria, the coldest day of the year comes in January and that would be 90.6, while the warmest weather is in May, with an average of 104.4. In contrast, in Cape Town, the coldest day comes in July (63.5) and the hottest in February (79.7). (Now see how educational this journal can be?)
So it always surprises me, as I said, when people don't immediately think of looking stuff up on the Internet when they are stuck for an answer.
Anybody who has read this journal for very long knows that one of the things that scares me is the possibility of developing Alzheimers. I figure I have at least a 50/50 chance, since my mother, at age 86, is sharp as a tack while her sister, at 82, no longer recognizes her own children. Spending any time with Barb always exacerbates my fears when I can't mentally pull up information that I need when I need it.
Last night for dinner I created one of my specialties, "something with chicken in it." I cut up a chicken breast, sauteed it with cajun seasoning and then added shell pasta to it and cooked the whole thing in chicken broth.
At some point I realized that I had this fresh green stuff in the fridge and that I could chop it up in my new absolutely wonderful Magic Bullet and add it to the mix.
It turned out to be delicious.
"What's the flavoring in this?" Walt asked.
I drew a total blank. I could see it. I knew, somehow, that if you took this same green stuff and dried it and put it in a bottle to sell it was called cardamom. I could smell it. But I simply could not come up with the name.
This would normally set off those old Alzheimers bells again, except that as I groped for the word, I had to resort to describing it to Walt.
"It's that green stuff you put in tacos," I said.
"Avocado?" he asked.
"No--it's the other green stuff. The stuff that looks like flat leaf parsley, but isn't."
"Oh!" he said, getting it. But though he "got it," he couldn't come up with the name either.
The two of us sat here, each picturing, tasting and smelling the green stuff, but neither of us able to name it.
I finally couldn't stand it any more, came to the computer, went to Google, and typed in "herbs c" because somehow I knew that it started with the letter "c." And of course, in a matter of seconds, I had named cilantro.
Perhaps this is cheating. Perhaps it takes all the challenge out of agonizing over a piece of information that has somehow slid into the recesses of your brain where you can't quite find it. Perhaps it spoils the fun of sitting bolt upright at 3 a.m. and shouting "CILANTRO!" because your brain has continued working on the problem while you've been sleeping. Perhaps it eliminates "Ralph Bellamy moments."
But I'm too old for all those mental machinations. And I'm the queen of instant gratification, so I'm thrilled that I've come to rely on Google and sites like IMDB whenever I have a question. When I want to know about projected hoe handle production for fiscal year 56-57*, for example, I want the information right NOW.
*available here ... and how
many of you are going to get that reference?
PHOTO OF THE DAY