June 05, 2007

Well, would you look who the...

...probation officer just dragged in! It's been a while since we last spoke, but you all will be happy to know Dr. Possum is visiting with us again today, which means it's time for another exciting round of ASK DR. POSSUM!

Dr. Possum, freshly arrived from Cannes, is here to answer your questions of a medical nature, as well as any other question on any other topic, including, but not limited to, crustaceans, radio theory, furniture assembly, naughtiness, the Kuiper Belt, chickens, and the meaning of life.

As you know, Dr. Possum has studied at some of the finest institutions of higher learning across the globe, and is one of the foremost authorities on everything. And he's a REAL doctor!*

So if you've got a question, leave it in the comment section below and wait just a moment, and throught he magic of the Internet, you will in only a very short time receive an answer.

It might even be correct!**

*Dr. Possum is NOT a real doctor.

**No warranty is expressed or implied.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 5, 2007 07:57 AM

Does the good doctor know anything about digital audio compression and volume filters? Also, does he have any opinion (of practical use) on the Samson Zoom handheld digital audio recorder?

Posted by: skinnydan at June 5, 2007 08:57 AM

Dr. Possum has worked with various audio equipment for years in his capacity as a consultant to music groups such as Dr. John, Dr. Hook, Dr. Octagon, as well as his well-known contributions to the Parliament album "Dr. Funkenstein" and Mötley Crüe's "Dr. Feelgood."

With such credentials, I would say that digital audio compression can be a very good thing, or not, depending on if it messes things up, or makes them better. Likewise, volume filters can be tricky to work with, because sometimes filtering too much of the volume can lead to not enough of it when you need it. Filters have to be carefully chosen that are sized appropriately for the size of the volume particles being filtered.

As for the Samson Zoom, I have not personally used this device, but it does look very cool, and therefore I would say it is very cool, and will do anything it's supposed to do, unless it doesn't, in which case it would probably be good to take it to a reputable electronics repair shop.

Posted by: Dr. Possum at June 5, 2007 09:22 AM

Would you administer euthanasia to Dr. Death (Kevorkian) himself, now that he's out of the pokey, if he asked you?

Do you find yourself (or, gasp, your children) playing the air-cowbell if "Don't Fear the Reaper" happens to be on the radio?

If you believed in reincarnation, what would you like to come back as?

Posted by: Marc V at June 5, 2007 11:30 AM

Marc, although not a real doctor, Dr. Possum does believe himself to be on much more firm ethical ground than "Dr." Kevorkian, and sees little to recommend the practice of euthanasia. Especially when it is administered by those who have pledged their vocation to be one of saving lives rather than taking them, and even more especially so when the "patient" is actually able to request it. Even though I find him repulsive (or maybe because I do), I would not be the one to assist him in sending himself to his Maker.

Air cowbell? Sir, Dr. Possum does NOT play air cowbell, and protests strongly that he might be tempted. Dr. Possum has his own personal, custom-made sheet-bronze cowbell made by Albrecht Fleiner of Graz, Austria, and he carries it with him everywhere in his medical bag. As we all know, if you have a fever, there is only one prescription, "more cowbell." I also enjoy the occasions when Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" comes on the air.

Finally, if I did believe in reincarnation (which I don't), I think I would like to be a handheld digital audio recorder.

Posted by: Dr. Possum at June 5, 2007 12:00 PM

Dear Doc Possum, this AM I visited my dentist's office for the semi-annual cleaning of the hard parts in my mouth. And he installed 3 fillings on the sides of 3 teeth, without any anethesia and instead using something that shoots out of a bent stick that he calls "laser."

What is this bizarre "laser" of which he speaks and why is it being released in my dentist's office and in my mouth?

Posted by: Nate at June 5, 2007 12:34 PM

Excellent question, Nate. A "laser" is a type of flashlight that you can use to entertain small children and cats, or alternatively, cut through several feet of solid steel.

It is my supposition that your dental care professional was merely having you on, tugging at your leg, so to speak, and was only telling you he was using a "laser" to look in your mouth in order to distract you as he worked on your teeth in the time-honored fashion of his ilk, using just some good old pliers, a treadle-operated drill, and brute force.

Posted by: Dr. Possum at June 5, 2007 12:48 PM

Mississippi Queen? You know what I mean!?

Coincidentally, I've just passed my 30th anniversary of seeing Mountain in concert, the first "real" concert I attended. He(they) was one of the warm-up bands, along with Mott (leftovers from Mott the Hoople), for ... KISS! Yes, in my early cheap-and-trashy days I went to heavy-metal concerts. We were sitting off to the left of the stage, so that my left ear was about 30 feet away from a wall of speakers.

Which brings me to my question, oh holder of prized cowbell: do you have any suggestions for tintinnitis? And who came up with that name? I hope the cure is not more cowbell, as it would just exacerbate the situation.

Posted by: Marc V at June 5, 2007 01:17 PM


As for tintinnitis, it was first noted in the Tintin comic series, describing the uncanny ability of Tintin to find himself in seemingly inextricable situations.

Tinnitus, on the other hand, is more commonly known as the sensation one gets of ringing or buzzing in the ears, which can be caused by a variety of neurological, chemical, or physical conditions. Obviously, loud noise (such as rock concerts or artillery barrages) is a potential trigger, as it can cause nerve damage which manifests itself as the aforementioned ringing sounds. There is not an actual cure for the condition, as noted in this website by the American Tinnitus Association, but it can be mitigated with treatments such as hearing aids or certain medications.

Posted by: Dr. Possum at June 5, 2007 01:42 PM

Crustacea: why do some people call 'prawns' 'shrimps'. Or even 'shrimp' (as the plural)?

Posted by: kitchen hand at June 5, 2007 07:26 PM

Well, obviously because some people are very, VERY smart.

Posted by: Dr. Possum at June 5, 2007 10:14 PM