Archive for May, 2008


Doctor, Doctor

May 30, 2008

First of all, let me just put your mind at ease. This post has absolutely nothing to do with the short-lived late ’80s sitcom of medical hi-jinkery (and oh, so much more) starring Matt Frewer. If it were I would have titled it Doctor, Doctor rather than just Doctor, Doctor. Oh what the difference italics make.

Secondly, a point of clarification. I think we are comparing apples and oranges when we compare the doctors you mention in your post to Charles Bovary, M.D. You see the doctor’s you mention are evil, which is neither here nor there when measuring their medical acumen. They could be very skilled, albeit evil, practitioners.

My argument is that Charles Bovary is the most inept fictional doctor you are likely to find in literature. (Apologies Dr. Slop.) He’s not even comedically inept. Its not like he hilariously slips on a banana peel when walking into his surgery or partakes in Robin Wiliams as Patch Adams clownishness, oh no my friend, he attributes frightening medical symptoms to obviously unrelated causes.

Therefore, we are comparing apples and oranges. And quite frankly, twinner, your apples are rather mealy and worm-ridden at that.

You do raise an interesting question re: Dr. Moriarity. In my mind he’s a malevolent podiatrist who turns his podiatric genius toward nefarious ends after seeing one bunion too many. (Is it any wonder that Sherlock Holmes always proclaims “the game’s afoot”?)

It’s all about the context clues.

Anyway, I haven’t actually read anymore of Love, Bovary Style. (I like to imagine this as an early working title of Madame Bovary.) But when has that ever stopped me from posting in the past.

Bovar and out,



Today’s Expectations with Yesterday’s Knowledge

May 29, 2008

I fear when you so heartlessly castigate Dr. Bovary you are viewing his skills with an anachronistic lens.  Sure by today’s standards and knowledge a fit of blood coughing would never be diagnosed as hyperlogorrhea (my attempt to make reading a lot into a medical term), but that’s because doctors today have a lot more science at their hands than did poor Dr. Bovary.

And I’m also for cutting Chuck some slack…I mean talk about kicking a man when he’s down (you’re not that far yet, but believe me he’s down).

And I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts (or doughnuts to dollars–if I win, I want lots of doughnuts…with sprinkles) that there are worse fictional doctors out there…how about that dentist from Marathon Man or Dr. Moriarity (was he a doctor?).  Put that in your pipe and smoke it (but don’t inhale–that can’t be healthy).

Reading your posts I’m taken back to those earlier pages of Bovary and I can now only wish that Emma had found satisfaction with Leon…I hope this isn’t a spoiler but worse “lovers” are in store.

Well I’m hungry and I have coffee stomach–got to go eat!



Paging Dr. Bovary, Part Deux

May 29, 2008

It’s official, bar none, Dr. Bovary has got to be the worst literary doctor of all time. I know we had this out in an early part of our conversation about this book, where we jokingly compared the medical inadequacies of Dr. Bovary vs. Dr. Slop our old friend from The Life and Opinions of…well, you know who. But it now appears that there is no contest.

Knowing you as I do, Twin Brother, you will not take this on face value, and demand me to site my sources so let me just stop you right there. I’ve done my homework on this one. So here goes:

How is this little nugget from the efforts of Flaubert’s medical marvel:

Upon learning that his wife is coughing up blood he willing attributes this symptom to too much reading, once the idea is suggested to him by his mother. (I have to admit as I was reading this page, I did feel a slight tickle in my throat and had the brief thought “Sweet Jesus, it’s true.” Luckily my cough ended up being a phlegmer rather than a bleeder.)

What’s next a sore throat caused by too much piano playing? Diarrhea from writing too much?

Magnificent diagnosis doctor. Bravo.

I could litter this post with other examples, but I am anxious to get back to book and see what hi-jinks the man from Huchette might be up to, and this being far from a high quality post, I feel it best to nip it in the bud, right about now…

Until I’ve read more and rediscovered my ability to write,



Heavy Lifting, or What Wheat Has Wrought

May 27, 2008

What a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I thought the heavy lifting of blog posts would be left to me as you get settled following your big move. Not unlike how the heavy lifting was left to me in helping you move. (“I have to become acquainted with the space,” can only hold water as an excuse for so long when it comes to me lugging boxes.)

So hearing from you via the blog is a pleasant surprise indeed.

I am quite concerned about the alarming impact that wheat seems to have had on literary characters of the 19th century. Cereal grains have always carried a lot of symbolic weight. I think it was Homer who wrote (or orally passed down for generations in a form eventually to be transcribed):

“Oh muse, I sing the song of the grain,
wheat of forbidden love, barley of pain.
The oat ever constant, the corn calming and nice
hops ever strengthing, to say nothing of rice.”

Or maybe I misremember. (Notice how I imply a familiarity with the epic poet, Homer. That’s right, buddy, I’ll see your Tolstoy and raise you a Homer.)

Leon has entered the story in my reading as well, and things by 19th century French standards are getting out of hand. First, Leon and Emma B. have a conversation and then Emma feigns weariness from the heat when walking to the village in order to walk by Leon’s side.

Feigning heat weariness must be the 19th century equivalent of “running out of gas” when taking a date home. I imagine Emma thinking to herself after Leon offers her his arm “The ol’ feigning weariness in the sun trick…works every time.”

Well, I am off to read more.

A pain in the grain,



On Wheat and Infidelity

May 26, 2008

Dear Twin,

Did you truly believe that we would spontaneously break out into a Vaudeville routine?  Things like that happen only rarely and I think we’ve filled our quota what with the time we both coincidentally dressed up like hobos and stumbled across a pianist playing “Brother Can You Spare A Dime”.  But that being said, I’ll try to look at every interaction that we have as a possible 1920s-era dance hall entertainment opportunity in the future.

But on to more things centrally Bovary…I was reading today and the adulterous action is starting to rev up (It’s getting all Desperate Housewives in the French countryside).  As I read what I believe to be the beginning of Emma’s strayings I was struck by the connection that Flaubert makes between this initial amorous interaction and wheat.  And how in that other great novel of infidelity, Anna Karenina, Tolstoy similarly combines wheat with a marriage’s dissolution.  Classic novels have caused me now to give up to things…reading classic novels and wheat.  What will you ruin next Flaubert, Totino’s Pizza Rolls?

Also note how I conversationally dropped the fact that I’ve read, Anna Karenina.  I “subtly” work these references in conversation whenever I can (“Oh, you’re such a Kitty!”  “I love this Argyle sweater as much as Levin loves wheat!”  I’ll say often and repeatedly).

So things are heating up in Book Two…I best get back to reading!



Adieu, Book One, Adieu

May 22, 2008

Here’s how I envisioned this conversation going:

Justin: Well, Twin Brother, it’s official Book One is in the books.
Jon: What?
Justin: Book One is in the books.
Jon: I know Book One is in the books. I am already onto Book Two.
Justin: I am onto Book two, too. Book One is in the books.
Jon: I know book one is in the books. They’re identical books, of course, Book One is in the books.
Justin: No, no, it’s “in the books.” It’s over, it’s finished.
Jon: What’s in “in the books?”
Justin: Book One
Jon: I know Book One is in the books. I am already onto Book Two. Didn’t we already cover this?

This conversation would have gone on and on in an Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First”-esque round of hilarity. Although this would be slightly less hilarious and considerably more annoying, and instead of ending with thunderous applause and deep belly laughs it would likely end with you slamming the phone down in frustration.

Instead the conversation went something like this:

Justin: Well, it’s official, Book One is in the books.
Jon: It’s about time.
Justin: Book One it’s in…huh, what?
Jon: It’s about time. I’ve been reading Book Two for like a week
Justin: Oh.

I guess we’ll just have to chalk that up to a missed opportunity. Oh well, maybe me can have a vaudevillian exchange following Book Two.

Until I read more,



I meant shoehorn

May 21, 2008

So deal with it… I guess my definition of furniture is broader than yours (I’d define it as anything in a house).  Hence my shoe horn declaration.  But I’ll admit I’m intrigued by your china hutch idea (I didn’t know anyone saw the fragile china inside.)

It’s funny how after two weeks your opinions can change.  Since I wrote that post I came across an alarming picture of you, my twin, in a white fedora and sunglasses getting “jiggy” with it…

And now I think Emma might be on to something.

I’m  just joking, twin…dance if you want to!  “There was a man Bo-Justin and he’d dance for you/The old soft shoe.”

Back to moving stuff,