Sunday, December 29, 2013

Boxing Day sales

Mrs. Grumpy bought a new vacuum at a post-Christmas sale. And, I must say, I think they nailed us.

Anyway, I'm signing off for a week to spend quality time with the kids, dog, and likely vacuum. We're mercifully going to get away from the snow for a few days, too, and visit relatives. I have one scheduled post for New Year's Day, but otherwise things will be quiet here until January 6, 2014.

Happy new year to all!

Friday, December 27, 2013


Apparently from "The Journal of No Shit, Sherlock."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas day, 2:10 p.m.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Mr. Dickens: "Hi, I need you to call in some Imitrex for my sister."

Dr. Grumpy: "What's her name?"

Mr. Dickens: "Martha Cratchit."

Dr. Grumpy (grabs iPad): "Hang on... She's not in my system..."

Mr. Dickens: "Well, she sees a neurologist in Grumpyville. Aren't you guys all connected?"

Dr. Grumpy: "No. You'll need to call her neurologist."

Mr. Dickens: "I don't know who that is. Can't you help me out? It's her Christmas present."

Dr. Grumpy: "Imitrex? Is this a prank call?"

Mr. Dickens: "NO! My sister takes it for her migraines, and I thought I'd get her some."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, but I can't help you. She's not my patient."

Mr. Dickens: "Can you at least tell me what pharmacy she goes to, and if it's open today?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I have no idea. Look, I can't help you, and..."

Mr. Dickens: "Isn't it in the neurological database thingie you guys use?"

Dr. Grumpy: "There is no such thing."

Mr. Dickens: "Where's your Christmas spirit? Help me out here."

Dr. Grumpy: "I can't call in a prescription on a patient I don't know."

Mr. Dickens: "Scrooge."


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25, 1914

Trench warfare is nothing new, but in World War I it became the standard. The Western Front was a seemingly endless series of ditches inhabited by young men ordered to kill each other.

The British Empire, France, and (later in the war) America faced off against the Germans, with a few hundred yards of No-Man's Land between them. For most of the tragedy of WWI it was a stalemate. Each side would shoot at the other, or throw grenades, but to leave your trench for an exposed position was almost certain death.

Winter made the trenches even worse. Men were exposed to the elements. The ground was too frozen to dig easily. Snow would melt and fill them with mud that got everywhere. And it was bitter cold. There was no comfortable place to rest or eat, and sanitary facilities were nonexistent at the front. Day after day men staked out their positions against each other.

Christmas of 1914 was just another day. It was cold. The worst war the world had ever faced up to that time was in its 5th month, and the Western Front had already become a stalemate. They shot at each other here and there, but mostly waited.

Even in the most inhumane of surroundings, people still try to be people. Both sides put up a few Christmas decorations in their frozen ditches. On the night of December 24, German soldiers in Ypres lit holiday candles and sang a few Christmas carols. The light gave British soldiers targets... but they didn't shoot.

Then the British soldiers began singing carols, too. The languages may differ, but the music doesn't change. "Silent Night" was the favorite, as it was commonly known in both countries.

After a while, men began leaving their trenches, walking across the desolate No Man's Land. No one fired a shot, even though exposed targets were everywhere. They shook hands and exchanged small gifts, food, and cigarettes. Most knew enough of the others language to talk.

Due to recent fighting there were still bodies on the ground. They each gathered their dead, dug a mass grave together, and buried them. They held a joint memorial ceremony in the freezing night.

The sun rose over Christmas day, to find them still gathered. Soccer balls were produced and matches were played on and off all day. One soldier recalled so many wanted to play that one game had teams of roughly 50 men on each side of the field.

Beats killing each other, eh?

A British officer, who collected trinkets, approached a German officer and asked to exchange uniform buttons. The German produced a scissor, quickly snipped 2 off their heavy coats, and they traded them.

A British machine-gunner who'd been a barber in civilian life spent the day giving haircuts to any German who asked. Many of the young men had been on the front for months, and wanted a trim.

Similar events went on across the Western Front, some ending on December 26, though in other areas they continued to New Years Day. One British captain later described a sing-along which "ended up with 'Auld lang syne' which we all, English, Scots, Irish, Prussians, Wurttenbergers, etc, joined in. It was absolutely astounding, and if I had seen it on a cinematograph film I should have sworn that it was faked!"

"That's funny... Except for their uniforms these guys look just like us!"
Officers behind the front were horrified when word of these events drifted back to them. Both sides began posting higher-ranking officials in the front to maintain discipline around the holidays, and strict punishments were threatened for those who celebrated with the enemy.

These rules reduced them, but similar events continued to occur. In 1915 a German soldier wrote that "when the Christmas bells sounded in the villages of the Vosges behind the lines ..... something fantastically unmilitary occurred. German and French troops spontaneously made peace and ceased hostilities; they visited each other through disused trench tunnels, and exchanged wine, cognac and cigarettes for black bread, biscuits and ham." He described the No Man's Land they gathered in as "strewn with shattered trees, the ground plowed up by shellfire, a wilderness of earth, tree-roots, and tattered uniforms."

And in 1916 a 23 year-old Canadian soldier wrote home that German and Canadian soldiers near Vimy Ridge shared Christmas greetings and traded presents: "Here we are again as the song says. I had quite a good Christmas considering I was in the front line. Christmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. ... We had a truce on Christmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars."

There are (roughly) 8,700,000 known species on Earth, only one of which routinely kills its own kind in large, deliberate, numbers. War can bring out the worst our species has to offer. Less frequently, though, it reminds us that we are the same. Our causes, weapons, and names change with time. But we are still people.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter vacation ditziness

I walk in the TV room to find Marie on the couch with Mello, surrounded by bags of chips and some sodas. She's watching Toy Story 3.

Dr. Grumpy: "Marie, do you know who does the voice of Barbie?"

Marie: "No."

Dr. Grumpy: "The same lady who did the voice of Princess Ariel."

Marie: "Really? They don't look alike."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best used car ad EVER

Sooner or later, I'm going to have to unload my 2000 Maxima. When I do, I'm pretty sure I won't be nearly as creative as this guy, who sold his 1996 one with this ad.

Original story.

Thank you, Don!

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Today wraps up the 2013 guide. Thank you to all who sent ideas, and keep them coming! I'll be doing this again next year, and they'll be featured then.

"Patella" is such a great word. I mean, nothing about the sound of it would ever make you think it's just a kneecap.

Better yet is Patella Brothers. Unlike Mario Brothers, these guys design some interesting housewares, including dinner plates.

Want to freak your guests out? Why not serve them on a plate with bugs on it?

"Waiter, there's a bug in my ceramic."

This next one features a rock, nails, and a dead roach stuck in goo! Doesn't that help your diet?

"Honey, next time the Grumpys invite us over, tell them we have plans."

And this one is a strange combination of objects titled "I Eat You Pinoccio" (REALLY!).

Be sure to check out the rest of their stuff at the link above.

I hope you all enjoyed the 2013 gift guide. If you got some good ideas from it, you should probably see a neurologist.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Doesn't your dog deserve something nice this year, like clean and shiny fur?

I can't vouch for the quality of this brand, but I must say they have an, um, interesting name for their line of pet-hair-care products. The kind that will make snooping dinner guests call the ASPCA when they see it in your medicine cabinet.

"Oooh... They even have one called 'Dirty Talk' and another named 'Quickie.' "

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Commodity trading

Here in the U.S., and pretty much ALL of the civilized world, money is still the standard method of financial transactions. Barter is generally not accepted. Especially when it involves a large, potentially dangerous, carnivore instead of currency.

Apparently, though, Mr. Fernando Aguilera of Florida hadn't heard of this. Thirsty, wanting a beer, and having no money, he decided to catch a live ALLIGATOR (a 4 foot long juvenile), carry it into a liquor store, and offer to trade it for a 12-pack. Being a gentleman, Mr. Aguilar was willing to take any brand they'd give him.

The owner of the store not only declined Mr. Aguilar's gracious offer, but called police (the alligator was underage).

Police have charged Mr. Aguilar with possessing an alligator (and, subsequently, assaulting a TV reporter). The alligator has been returned to the wild. And, inevitably, a local official said “I have never experienced anything like this in 25 years in law enforcement.”

And in Florida, that means something.

Thank you, Don!

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Guys are terrible at thinking of gifts. I know I am. You just never know what to get your special someone, something that says it all.

But now there's an easy answer: coated globs of moose shit!

These lovely accessories are available in earrings, necklaces, cufflinks, and a wide variety of forms. No moose were harmed in the manufacturing process, though I suspect some intestinal bacteria didn't fare as well.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday memories

Back where I trained, he ran one of the country's top neurosurgery residencies. Before his retirement he was widely considered one of the best brain surgeons in the world, and people came from all over the planet to see him.

His position, and skill, brought him enormous financial rewards. Because of the size of his house he threw a large Christmas party every year to which all the neurology and neurosurgery people were invited, including peons like me and the other neurology residents.

He was also socially inept, and entertainment was never his thing. Obligated to host the party, he firmly planted himself by the door, greeting all who came with "Glad you could make it. Food is to your left, bar on the right." This was his mantra, repeated endlessly all evening until it was replaced with repetitions of "Thank you for coming. The valet is to your right."

For one night every year he was the highest paid doorman on Earth.

I went to his parties for 4 consecutive years. In that time I never once saw him leave the door (maybe he had a foley) and never heard him say anything there outside of those 2 phrases.

We all learn a lot from residency. Among other things, I learned I didn't want to be a doorman.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The fun ships

In a court filing concerning the Carnival Triumph's "cruise-o-sewage" last February, the cruise line's lawyers stated that a cruise ticket "makes absolutely no guarantee for safe passage, a seaworthy vessel, adequate and wholesome food, and sanitary and safe living conditions."

Thanks for clearing that up Carnival. I'll keep it in mind when planning next summer's vacation.


Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Ladies, how often have you wanted to pee standing up? Well, now you can!

Yes, with the GoGirl funnel you can whiz without having to touch that disgusting thing on the toilet seat. It's ideal for camping, road trips, and bypassing that long line at the ladies room. Simply walk up to a mens room urinal (there's always one open) and strut your stuff!

The Go-Girl is available in lavender and camouflage colors. And has the awesome tagline "Don't take life sitting down."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dude, remember to turn off your microphone

On call, Sunday morning, 2:18 a.m.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Dr. ER: "Hi, Ibee. It's Susan, over in emergency. I need your help."

Dr. Grumpy: "What's up?"

Dr. ER: "I have a 20-something guy here, who a few hours ago abruptly became paralyzed from the waist down, with severe lumbar pain. He can't move his legs at all. I sent him for a STAT MRI, which was normal, and..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Does he have reflexes?"

Dr. ER: "Yeah, and sensation is good, too. But he can't move either..."

(yelling, screaming, swearing in background)


Dr. ER: "Ibee, are you still there?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah. What was all that noise?"

Dr. ER: "Never mind... When we refused to give him more Dilaudid he just got up and walked out. He's gone."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

You're a medical student on a gastroenterology rotation, watching a colonoscopy. As the camera snakes up some guy's nether regions, the attending suddenly points to the monitor, turns to you, and says "does that look normal?"

Of course, you have no fucking clue (neither did I, but there are reasons I'm a neurologist). So what do you do? Well, now you can just quickly check your iPhone!

These attractive iPhone cases come in a wide variety of pathology (normal is above) including inflammation, diverticulitis, malignant, pre-malignant, Crohn's disease, and many more! With this helpful guide, your biggest issue will be finding a way to change phone cases quickly without the attending noticing.

NOTE: Dr. Grumpy is not responsible for you failing the rotation, not clinching the GI fellowship you wanted, or getting GoLytely and shit on your iPhone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Love cupcakes? Who doesn't? (okay, I'm not fond of them, but am in the minority).

What could make a cupcake even more appetizing than it already is? More frosting? Sprinkles? Realistic sores from sexually-transmitted diseases?

Mmmmm... chancres.

These delectable "clapcakes" are available in Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, and, um, a handful of other reasons to use condoms.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mary's desk, December, 2013

Mary: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Mary."

Dr. Manding: "Hi, this is Dr. Dee Manding, and I need Dr. Grumpy to order a STAT brain MRI on me."

Mary: "Hang on... I'm not seeing you in our system. Are you a patient?"

Dr. Manding: "No, I'm a doctor. I just moved here. And I need an urgent MRI. They won't let me order it myself, so I need your doctor to do it."

Mary: "Okay, I can run this by him, but if you're not an established patient we can't order tests on you."

Dr. Manding: "I can't believe this. I'm a doctor!"

Mary: "What do you need the MRI for? I can check with him and..."

Dr. Manding: "How DARE you ask me that! I'm a doctor! If I say I need an urgent MRI, that should be good enough for you!"

Mary: "Let me go ask Dr. Grumpy."

(goes and finds me, I agree with her. I've never heard of this person)

Mary: "Okay, Dr. Manding. I spoke to Dr. Grumpy, and he says that unless you're a patient he can't order tests on you. You're welcome to come in for an appointment, though. We can see you tomorrow morning at 9:30, or..."

Dr. Manding: "I wouldn't come see Dr. Grumpy at all with this level of service. I'm a doctor, and deserve better."


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Going to Nazi-themed dinner parties can be so awkward. The silverware is always a problem, as I never remember if I can mix Abwehr forks with Wehrmacht spoons, or if I'm supposed to butter pumpernickel with my Kriegsmarine or Luftwaffe knife.

I'm sure all of us encounter this problem regularly, and my fears of causing a serious breach of etiquette used to keep me from going.

But no more!

With this useful guide YOU VILL know which Gestapo fork is for eating strudel, what type of spoon to use for stirring kaffee, and the proper knife for cutting schnitzel.

Or else.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Come on, baby, light my fire

Annie: "Dr. Grumpy's office, this is Annie."

Mr. McGee: "Hi, my wife saw Dr. Grumpy about a month ago, and he started her on a new medication."

Annie: "Okay, let me look at the chart... Looks like it was Lotsix."

Mr. McGee: "Yeah, that's it. Anyway, she's been much more confused since starting this, and I'd like to stop it if we can."

Annie: "What's she been doing?"

Mr. McGee: "Well, she's obsessively setting things on fire, and..."

Annie: "Uh, did you just say she's setting things on fire?"

Mr. McGee: "Yes, all the time. Clothes, walls, furniture, at least 2 or 3 times a day I catch her trying to light something. I've gotten rid of all the lighters and matches around, but she always seems to find more. She's never done this before, and the fire department is getting tired of coming to our house. This morning they suggested I call you guys to discuss this."

Annie: "I'd definitely stop it. Immediately. This has been going on for a month with her lighting things? Why didn't you call sooner?"

Mr. McGee: "I figured she'd get used to it."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

You've perfected your sexy pole-dancing moves, but none of your local strip bars are currently hiring. What's a girl to do? You have to earn a living.

Now, for only $499, you can take your show on the road with the trailer-hitch dancing pole! No smoky bar needed! Pull up to a skanky street corner and start the show!

The stage supports up to 200 lbs. Dollar bill storage box and stereo & light systems not included.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's Gift Guide

Regrettably, these fine outfits aren't as easily available as they were in the 1970's. But I'm featuring them anyway, as a throwback to how REAL men used to dress, before the most important thing was whether or not you had an iPhone pocket.

I wonder if the hats were included.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Dr. Grumpy: "Any triggers to your headaches?"

Mr. Coriolis: "They only occur when the barometric pressure drops."

Dr. Grumpy: "And what medications..."

Mr. Coriolis: "See, I began tracking barometric pressure with an iPhone app, comparing it to my headache diary" (takes out a notebook) "and here are some graphs I made up. I downloaded the barometric pressures of cities I've been in going back 38 years, to when I was born, and then I graphed them against..."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

How many times a day do you find yourself wondering "Gee, how many eggs do I have at home?" 5? 10? 78?

If you're like me, you really don't care. But, if this a subject of serious importance to you,  it creates a real dilemma. I mean, if you're at the store, you can always hedge your bets and buy more eggs, but what if you get home and find you already have some? Then you have more eggs than you need, taking up space you could be chilling Diet Coke in.

By the same token, you can NOT buy them, then get home and find you're out. And now your plans to serve cheese omelets at the formal dinner party are in disarray.

Sure, you can always call home and ask someone, but if your kids are like mine they won't look. They'll set the phone down, play Metroid for 2 minutes, then pick it up and give me a made-up number.


The Egg Minder is the latest in modern chicken ovum tracking devices. It's a computerized egg tray that keeps count of how many eggs are left and which one is the oldest. AND you can access this valuable data from your smartphone anytime! It will even send you a push notification when you're running low. So you never have to have an "OMG HOW MANY EGGS ARE LEFT AT HOME?!!!" panic attack ever again.

It also holds 14 eggs. Since they're generally sold in multiples of 12, those with OCD will need to buy 7 dozen eggs and 6 Egg Minders to get a perfect fit. And then you just know you'll drop one while transferring them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paging Dr. Yossarian

Yesterday I received this fax from a pharmacy company. As best I understand it, they don't authorize the drug involved... So to get it covered I need to call...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The telltale cup

Rick was my resident for a month during internship. He was notoriously lazy. The last to arrive for a code, the first to leave after call, and never seeming to be around when you needed him.

He wasn't the kind of lazy who intentionally dumped work on others. He didn't see why anyone had to do it, and encouraged me and the other intern, Karen, not to do things either. As a result Karen and I spent a few days getting reamed out by attendings until we figured out NOT to follow Rick's instructions on ignoring labs, med sheets, exam findings, etc.

Rick, as these people always are, didn't feel he was the problem.

Anyway, one day my team was on call, which meant we were responsible for all codes, with Rick being the one who had to run them. Around mid-day there was a code on the 7th floor. Karen and I were both in ER doing admissions, but immediately dropped everything, and (big surprise) got to the room before him. We were frantically trying to remember our ACLS drills when a cardiologist ran in, then the chief resident, pretty much tossing us out.

After a few minutes Rick, the guy who was supposed to be running the code, came in. He was pretending to be panting (not a drop of sweat on him) saying he'd run all the way up the stairs from the lobby coffee place.

He was carrying a styrofoam cup filled to the brim with steaming coffee.

Without a lid.

And he hadn't spilled a drop en route to the code. Not a single brown dribble mark on the sides.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

As the Earth continues its trip around the sun, the holidays are again approaching. And with them, of course, the annual Dr. Grumpy Gift Guide!

I'd like to kick things off this year with something truly meaningful, special, and unique.

Chocolates have long been a way of telling that special person how you truly feel. Sometimes, of course, we encounter someone who's special in an entirely different way. When this happens we wonder "What can I give this person to convey my true feelings to them?"

The answer, of course, is this: A chocolate asshole!

Yes, the folks at Edible Anus purvey the finest in anally-shaped candies, using only pure Belgian chocolate. These delectable assholes are available in milk, dark, and white chocolate, and are handmade in England.

For that truly special person you can also order sterling silver assholes. They also have glass ones. I am not making this up.

The tagline on their site is "The anus that made Britain great." I'll defer any commentary on that to my readers across the pond.
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