A Blogging Style For All? For Melinda And Marsha, Anyway! Of Eyeballs, Stents, And Learning

I believe in dog bumper sticker.

My philosophy/religion: If I can’t see it, smell it, feel it, hear it, or in other ways sense it, with or without sophisticated external equipment, I don’t take it seriously. This influences my blogging style and content. I can see, hear, feel, and most certainly smell, my dogs. Photo by FitOldDog.

Hi folks, welcome!

Everything you learn will come in useful one day, so learn lots of interesting things, which means explore your world. This has certainly helped me find interesting content for my style of blogging.

FitOldDog's article on aspirin lysinate

FitOldDog learned about aspirin, even publishing one short article on the topic (well, the lysinate), years ago.

But first, a general note on this blog:

I was becoming disenchanted with my blog the other day. The muses were absent and traffic continued to be too flat. So I posed a question, concerning the value of my blogging approach, on Facebook, receiving two contradictory responses (for which I am extremely grateful):

Melinda: The blogging market just seems to be flooded. I work full time, train a lot and have little time. I tend to read things that are short and sharp.”

Marsha:  “I enjoy reading your blogs, very philosophical as you pose age-old questions and provide your analysis and summary.”

Karen, Feldenkrais instructor, with Mr. Bones and AAA stent graft.

FitOldDog has an abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft, as demonstrated here by Karen, his Feldenkrais instructor, and Mr. Bones. If I get clots in my stent, I could end up in a wheel chair, so I use mild anti-clotting therapy, aspirin and fish oil, as recommended by my doctors and myself. Photo by FitOldDog.


For a while, I’ll try to provide a blog for which the intended message can be (a) gleaned from the pictures and their legends alone, whilst (b) the detailed version of my story will lie in the narrative. You can look at the pictures, and/or read the writing.

On with today’s narrative!

For some reason, I took up photography in my early teens, for which I worked on a farm and in a local hotel part-time to raise the funds, and I loved it. A mixture of art, chemistry, and imagination. I had no idea that many years later, the art and science of photography would play a major role in my career. For instance, in 1981, when I was a young and inexperienced scientist, I started a new job in a wonderful institute (since killed by politics) in Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.

FitOldDog's eye bleed.

Classic sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, due to allergy (-> rubbing eyes) combined with excessive inhibition of platelet function, resulting from combining aspirin with fish oil, in FitOldDog’s case. Action: stop the fish oil, as aspirin is probably sufficient protection for my stent graft. Attractive selfie by FitOldDog.

I was hired by an excellent scientist, but I could tell that I was under observation. I could almost hear him thinking: “Is this guy, Morgan, going to work out? Is he really any good, or did I make a mistake hiring him?”

I was given the job as a researcher, but when I asked the head of research what he would like me to investigate, he replied with a smile, “Anything you like, Kevin, but it had better be good!” It was music to my ears.

For the first few weeks I floundered around, wondering where to start, with the world of Chemical Toxicology as my own personal oyster. Then, passing my bosses door one day, he called me in, and handed me two boxes of microscope slides, saying, “Kevin, these two old studies have never been written up, but they contain brain lesions, and you’re a neuropathologist, so maybe you can do something with them? Here you go, see what you can do.”

Drawing of monocular microscope.

A monocular microscope, just like the one FitOldDog had as a teenager in the 1950s, in Bristol, England. Then I became a pathologist, using microscopes for a living. Image generated from a photo using Alien Skin software, by FitOldDog.

It turned out that the researchers involved in the generation of these tissue sections had completed the studies, and then left the Institute. They had abandoned the data to disappear into the archives. But my boss had different ideas. It was clearly a test of this new guy. I took the slides to a microscope and did what I did best: I explored. Fascinating finding awaited me. Within three weeks I had generated a data set as tables, combined with a number of descriptive figures. The photos were black and white prints, and as I didn’t have any direct technical support at the time, I went into the darkroom (boy, what a darkroom, it was like wonderland), and with a little orientation from the staff on the use of this sophisticated gear, I printed my photographs for publication. No big deal, as I was very used to photographic enlargers, and dishes of developer and fixative, from my teenage years. I glazed the prints, and carried them out of the darkroom in a stack, and who should I bump into but my new boss.

Airmail paper.

Airmail paper, another lesson learned by FitOldDog years before – moral, never lie, but work the system, especially if your boss won’t listen to reason. After many drafts and shortenings, I used airmail paper to trick my boss into thinking I’d shortened my paper yet again – but it was only lighter – we laughed about it over a beer once it was published and I revealed my secret. But that’s another story (now my legends are turning into essays! Apologies to Melinda!).

He looked at me, and my stack of prints, and said, “Well, Kevin, what have you got there, and who printed them for you?” I showed him the prints, and explained that I was quite comfortable in a photographic darkroom, to which he was openly surprised as it wasn’t mentioned in my resume. Later that day I placed a draft manuscript on his desk.

What I learned as a kid for fun earned me the trust and respect of my new colleagues over 20 years later. This turned out to be true for a number of other hobbies I developed, including swimming (water polo), cycling (touring), canoeing (I built one), French (loved it), Computer Science (couldn’t believe it), Biology (loved examining pond water from early childhood) and writing (I read everything I could lay my hands on as a youngster, and I think that it now helps my writing).

I sure wish that the high schools of today were designed to teach kids a love of learning, instead of focusing on grades, and that they fostered a desire for an active life of sport into old age, instead of just obsessing about winning (a minor component of sport, in my opinion).



Beware those pills, my friends:




  1. Okay suppose it is none of the above but you can IMAGINE it!

  2. “I sure wish that high the schools “…can’t help proofing, sorry. I realize now that you love to write. Everything else is incidental. Time for you to get your stuff onto some writing blogs. My cholesterol dropped several points when I stopped taking fish oil. Have a good day.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.