Monthly Archives: April 2005

Papa Ratzi and the Paparazzi

Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, has become known affectionately as “Papa Ratzi”, in other words, Pope Ratzi (or Father Ratzi, depending on how you translate it). He has thanked the media for their coverage of the election process.

It just strikes me that Papa Ratzi sounds very much like Paparazzi – does this mean that he’ll be having to dodge photographers throughout the corridors of the Vatican? Possibly not; it remains to be seen if his relationship with the world media is as close as that of his predecessor. I’m sure that it will be more dignified, however, than the British monarchy.

If you ever wondered where the term paparazzi came from, it was Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”; see what Wikipedia has to say about this.

Update: According to this article, the nickname stems from a somewhat insalubrious source, Britain’s Sun newspaper. (Link may contain adult/offensive material.) So, perhaps the similarity is not so amusing after all.

Get Fresh at the Weekend

I’m a country boy, born and bred, and have no great love of towns and cities; however, I am always glad to visit Adelaide’s Central Market.

For some time, I hadn’t been using many vegetables in meals, other than onions or what I had growing in the garden. Locally, vegetables are expensive and/or of inferior quality. During a trip to Adelaide on Thursday, I availed myself of Central Market’s “Legion of Greengrocers” (as I am wont to call the main market area). The quality of the (cheap) vegetables is amazing; comparing some bok choi to that obtained locally, my wife asked “what do the do to it here?” It’s just a shame that it’s a four hour round trip.

So far, I have made miso soup with Chinese cabbage and snake beans, and a chicken chow mein (noodles straight from pasta machine into wok) with the Central Market vegetables. This has quite revived my interested in things green.

I may well repeat the chow mein tonight, this time with beef (topside) instead of chicken and with a darker, stronger, soy sauce – the Japanese Kikkoman, as opposed to my usual Indonesian (actually made in the Netherlands) Conimex Ketjap Manis.

Another 'Blog

WebSticky will be a semi-commercial product, whilst Aggie the Aggregator will be released in a stand-alone form under the Gnu Public License.

I am hoping to get a release of Aggie out in the near future. That’s the near future in the terms of a human timescale as opposed to a mayfly’s timescale or, as is often the case with software releases, a geological timescale.

WebSticky and Aggie are written in Perl with a MySQL backend.

Habemus Papam

The news has been full of little else, since the death of Pope John Paul II; now we hear: Habemus Papam – we’ve gotten us a pope, in the vernacular. The new pontif is Josef Ratzinger, installed as Pope Benedict XVI PP.

Even those with no interest in religion/Catholicism may wish to ponder the political influence of the papacy; 1.07 billion Catholics (Vatican statistics) would have, effectively, divided loyalties – to the leader of their church and the leaders of their states (not that we would ever see divergence in views here. Cough.) Even in this day and age, the Pope is an emperor of sorts and a statesman on the world stage with no less significance than the Dubyas and Putins of the world.

Update – Wikipedia article available.

Home and Dry

Well, the CPAP therapy does seem to be working. Today I secured a couple of light fittings, standing on a ladder and leaning out over the swimming pool. Whilst it was not the most enjoyable experience, I neither fell off nor in.

The Seventh Night & The Curse of the Snorer

Whilst I confess that I have never been the most dynamic person but I have, over the last three years, been slowing down. Throughout 2003, I was run down and suffered from a serious of nasty sinus infections. The quacks pumped me with antibiotics – generally without a proper examination.

By the end of the year, I was going downhill fast; it was decided that I required the attentions of an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist). He decided that I needed a “nose job*. Unfortunately, things just got worse afterwards. I was just tired, tired, tired and grotty (and grumpy, according to my wife), to boot.

It wasn’t until late 2004 that a young GP considered that I might have sleep apnoea (apnea in the US) and referred me to an excellent respiratory and sleep physician. (It should be noted that the fact that I snored badly and stopped breathing when asleep had been vouchsafed to both the Ear/Nose/Throat specialist, an allergist and another GP, who took no apparent notice.)

I was sent for a sleep study which found that I was suffering from “very severe sleep apnoea”. Too true. By this time, I had given up driving and was falling asleep in alarming ways – walking through the house, shaving, swallowing food. I was unable to do anything apart from fall asleep and be grumpy and I’m far too young for that type of lifestyle!

The study showed:

  • My “arousal index” was 115 – normal being less than 10, severe over 45
  • I was having apnoeas, on average, forty times per hour.
  • My breathing stopped for seventeen seconds on average, with a nadir of about fifty seconds.
  • My blood oxygen saturation was well down.

Not good. Really not good.

To cut a long story short, I was sent for another sleep study, this time using a CPAP machine; my arousal index went down to 5.6 and I woke up feeling great(ish), despite a disturbed night wired up to a load of machines. I am now doing a home trial on CPAP and am coming on leaps and bounds.

After having only been able to do about four weeks work in the last eighteen months, I sure need a break.

And the moral of this story? If you snore badly, get checked by a doctor; if it’s apnoea, it could ruin your life if left unchecked. Also don’t leave a doctor’s office until you have been given satisfactory service; they may not understand the problem so make sure that you get a referal to someone who does. Remember – we live in a market economy now; we are not patients, we are customers and should make sure that we get our money’s worth.

* Septoplasty and bilateral turbinectomy


For the first time in three months, I drove into town to the butchers. That’s after six nights of CPAP therapy. What excitement!

The other noticeable difference is the raw, red patch on the bridge of my nose where the mask has been chafing.