Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Best Pal, "Olaf" (nee Paul Hylbom), Suffered A Stroke And Died Yesterday, Or Today

He was not quite 44. He'd had a recent (July 4, et seq) attack of viral meningitis, which had weakened him a lot. Yesterday, at home, a stroke felled him. The docs say it was an aneurysm. His father died of a similar pathology, about 6 months ago.

Olaf was already brain-dead when they got him to the ER. He didn't respond at all when the shoved the ventilator down his throat, a most uncomfortable experience if one is capable of experiencing or reacting to such things. He didn't respond. Olaf's on the ventilator til the family who can come to say good bye do. They're discussing organ donation, which is a good thing. Another friend of mine needs a liver, e.g.

I knew Paul first as "Olaf," a co-commentor on Atrios' blog. He was from and had returned to Baltimore when we first started our colloquys. Later he moved to Albuquerque, and we became fast friends. I always called him Olaf, though later, I added "Pablo," for the local color. He always called me "Woody." He met his "Lil Red," Michelle, at a gathering I arranged here in '06.

The "Olaf" to whom he referred by his 'nym' is cummings' "i sing of olaf, glad and big." I knew from his reference to the poem that we could be friends, and we were. He was nearly as avid an esotericist/trivialist as I, and was widely read, especially since he'd mostly eschewed formal schooling. I think he had a BA, but had a breadth of reading and understanding, interest and complexity of thought that far outreached that level of interest.

He loved to drink beer, and we did so many an afternoon, many, many bottles. We were talking Sunday night about his and Michelle's plans to visit Voodoo-fest in N'Awlins this fall. He wanted to visit the Abita Springs Brewery, in Covington.

He rode a Motoguzzi.


i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelov'd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but--though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.

Our Olaf was a very special friend and pal, and I shall miss him very greatly.

He was a friend of mine...

Vaya con Dios, amigo!

Addendum: There is now scheduled to be a "visitation" (without the body), with local friends and family at:

The Riverside Mortuary, 225 San Mateo NE (near I-2540 & San Mateo)

Tomorrow (Thursday) between 6 and 8 pm.

Michelle also authorized me to publish her snail mail in case anyone wants to send a more concrete condolence than bytes and bits. She hasn't been home from the hospital in a couple of days, so messages sent there will probably go unanswered for a time. Red asked me to thank any and all of you who have sent her messages of condolence. She said she'd reply when she can.

Ms Michelle Miller

14124 Copper Ave Ne # 10

Abq, NM 87123

Paul bravely agreed in life to share his organs; they are harvesting his organs today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Inaugural Post

I have been contemplating another addition to the family of Woody's Bloggy Bloggy Dewings for some weeks, my other efforts never seeming to feel comfortable with posts of the sort I found today (and posted below), and I think of significant, if marginal interest. So here's Post #1 on the new enterprise:
Babies Can Comprehend 'Canine' Language
By Randy Dotinga

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- What's in a bark? A new study suggests that 6-month-old babies know the answer.

Researchers found that most infants who were tested could figure out that an aggressive bark goes with an angry-looking dog. They also seemed to know that friendly-looking pooches voice their feelings in a different way.

The babies managed to do this even though they weren't very familiar with dogs.

It's not clear whether the babies actually know that a dog baring its teeth is a sign of trouble, but they're showing a level of sophistication regarding how dogs reveal their emotions, said study author Ross Flom, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

"We think babies have a broad-based set of abilities and skills when they enter the world," he said. "And those become broadened and honed based on the individual experiences in their lives."

Flom spends his time studying how babies perceive emotions, and previously found that they can tell the difference between upbeat and gloomy music.

In the new study, Flom and his colleagues recruited 128 infants and toddlers, almost all of whom were white. All of the participants had little or no exposure to dogs during their brief lives.

The researchers showed the babies video stills of aggressive and non-aggressive dogs, and watched what they did when they heard sounds of barking.

The study results appear in the July issue of Developmental Psychology.

The researchers believe that they can glean whether a baby is making a connection between two things by monitoring how long they look at a picture. In this case, 6-month-old babies were more likely to look longer at the picture of a canine expression that matched the bark.

Only about 15 percent of the babies spent more time looking at the wrong dog picture or looked equally at both, Flom said.

Older babies -- at 12, 18 and 24 months -- were likely to look at the correct dog, but for just a flicker of time, Flom said, and then look around the room or equally between the video stills.

While some have interpreted this to mean they can't distinguish the correct picture, Flom said it's actually a sign that "the task is almost too easy for them."

The study didn't examine what the babies actually perceived about the barks and the canine expressions. No one knows if they're aware that a normal-looking dog is a better prospect for playtime than one that looks -- and sounds -- like it wants to take a bite out of the nearest leg.

Still, it's "remarkable" that babies that aren't exposed to dogs can figure out how to link their barks to their faces, Flom said. That means they can connect audio and visual cues, he said.

As for the future, researchers are exploring how humans relate to dogs, which have a long history of interacting with people, and wolves, which don't.

Over time, Flom said, dogs and humans have learned how to communicate with each other.

And, of course, each gets what they want from the other, whether it be the newspaper or a long back scratch
Dogs, at least the many who have been mine, enjoy having their back muscles massaged, with the same kinds of manipulations of the muscles that we ourselves enjoy in a massage.