Thursday, December 9, 2010

You like me! You really like me!

Chiropractors often get a bum rap (which is, incidentally, different than a bum wrap, which I perform a few gross times a day on my toddler).  But I digress, and the first sentence is far too soon for digression.

We're not universally well-liked, us chiropractors. Sure, many of you love us.  Some of you know people who love us.  More than a few of you have told me that your friend swears by us.  And being sworn by is a hell of a lot nicer than being sworn at, which unfortunately is what a choice few of you do... perhaps under your breath, or on your blog, or directly to my face after three too many drinks.

I make it a point to take very little personally.  Don't like my shirt?  Big whup. Don't like me?  Meh, plenty of other people do.  Don't like chiropractic?  So don't come running to me when your foot hurts (free tip: don't run if your foot hurts!).  Seriously - I understand that Chiropractic may not be everyone's first choice for therapy.  If it works for you, great.  If it doesn't, something or someone else will.  I'll even help you find it!  Acupuncture!  Swimming!  Meditation!  Massage!  Physiotherapy!  Ayurvedic medicine!   The world is your clinic!

Background: Growing up, I played the 'peace keeper' role in my family.  (My parents ultimately divorced.  I never said I was good at my role, just that I played it).  As such, I have an innate desire to make us all get along... and when I'm faced with an unliker... I just want to know... WHY!??!

Perhaps you had a less than stellar past experience with a chiropractor.  Maybe she didn't explain what she was going to do before she did it (Hi, I'm Dr. Sheila - 'CRACK'), or maybe your chiropractor rubbed you the wrong way (get it?).  Perhaps you just didn't enjoy the experience.  But before you break it off with chiropractic, I urge you to remember that chiropractic is personal ("it's not you... it's me, doc").  Each doctor's hands are different, not to mention their approach, demeanor, practice style and philosophies.  We are an eclectic bunch, and the chiropractor of your dreams could be just around the next corner!

Maybe you had a few treatments and didn't see the results you hoped for.  It is of course possible that your injury didn't respond to chiropractic treatment, but check your expectations too; believe me, nothing is more rewarding when a patient rebounds off the table all 'hallelulah' and 'i'm cured!', but long standing problems can take a while to unravel!  Be a patient patient, and make sure you are holding up your end of the treatment 'deal' (are you really doing your stretches every night?). 

Sometimes people tell me they are scared of chiropractors.  This always seems odd to me, because the chiropractors I know are among the most gentle, caring people I've ever met.  And yet, there is this fear...  To the chirophobes, I say this: communicate.  Tell me what makes you nervous.  The cracking sound?  Just gases escaping from the joint.  Worried that it will hurt?  People usually report relief, and your doctor will work within your comfort level and tolerance.  Uneasy about neck adjustments??  Remember, cyber-friends, it is your body.  I'm not going to do anything to you that you don't agree to - it is called 'consent', and it is taken very seriously.  If you are hesitant but open-minded, talk to me, I've got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, and one of them is bound to do you some good.  Give it a chance, all you have to lose is your pain!  Besides, feeling better has a funny way of putting you at ease.

But what to say to the people who have closed their minds to chiropractors?  Those who've declared that no adjustment shall cross their spines, who choose to remain unadjusted over becoming well-adjusted?  I say... your body, your decision.  I'm no chiro-evangalist, and I'm not interested in trying to convert a non-believer.  If you should have a change of heart (as often happens when you can't turn your neck) I will welcome you with open arms.  People are usually very good judges of what they need and when they need it.  If and when the time is right for us to meet, you'll know it.

Unsure where you stand on this issue?  Take advice from this pillow I found - when has a pillow ever led you astray?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This Post Won't Heal Your Back

This post is about music, and it will heal your soul, as the Backstreet Boys do teach.  And as a healer who is open to all therapies, who am I to argue?

Therefore, consider this NOT a shameless plug, but sound (get it?) health advice that you all should heed.  Come see my husband, Robbie Roth, and my good friend, Gavin Creel, perform on Sunday November 28th, at 7:30 pm, at the Factory Theatre in Toronto.  

Velvet vocals, acoustic guitar, good times and good health for all.

Get your tickets here.

Because I care!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why Not?

I'm often asked why I became a chiropractor, and I'm working on the perfect blog to answer this - a post so witty and insightful, and I can just picture you trembling at your computer in antici-pation.

But maybe a better question is why do I continue to do it?  Why do I get up most mornings and decide to still be a chiropractor?  I suppose the first answer that comes to mind is that I like to help people - it feels good to be helpful, to be needed.  But there are lots of way to be beneficent.  I mean, I could feel good rescuing bunnies, or volunteering to wash old people's hair.  I thought about this, and came up with a few reasons why I do what I do.

- I like using my hands, and building i.kea furniture wasn't paying the bills.

- I'm addicted to the crack.  I love that noise.

- I can't imagine doing anything else, and I certainly can't imagine doing nothing else.  I'm not a good at lunching with ladies 'cause I always spill something on my shirt, and I can't imagine going back to school.  Except maybe circus school - I was once a promising trapeze artist, and I also knew how to climb and swing from a rope in a surprisingly graceful fashion. 

- I'm a bit of a nerd, and the science courses really appealed to me.  Seriously, I've been known to get more than a little excited describing shoulder joint mechanics. 

- I'm a tiny bit lazy, and a tiny bit bossy.  I'm a better delegator than executrix, so I enjoy telling other people (person... thanks for everything Hayley) what to do, and witnessing things actually getting done!

- I'm a people person with an attention disorder.  Fine, I don't really have an attention prob- what was I blogging about?  I kid.  It's just that I like seeing a bunch of different people throughout the day and having lots of different bodies to work on, each one a puzzle in and of itself.

- Etc and misc.  Sometimes it is hard to put into words why you do the things you do, you know?  You just... do.  You have your reasons and that's good enough.

- Chiropractic works!  It really, really does.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friends with Benefits

There are perks to working here, in addition to being located between a chocolate shop and a nail salon.  Great patients, warm atmosphere, the wonder of witnessing human bodies heal.  But best of all?  Being surrounded by excellent therapists, and getting treated by them.

Why, just recently, I found myself with an afternoon of cancellations.  "Perfect!" said the successful businesswoman that I am, "now I can get an acupuncture treatment!"  And so I lay down in the cozy downstairs treatment room, and let Lisa Quaning lovingly stab me with needles as chimey music played in the background.  I lay in the dark, silently retreating into my mind and back out again, resting.  When Lisa returned about an hour/a lifetime later, and proceeded to... I don't know, massage and move and do nice things, well put a fork in me, I was done.  Done.  I find her acupuncture treatments to be draining and rejuvenating at the same time - does that make sense?  Redrainevating, perhaps.  Balancing, for sure.

And so, I am happy to announce that this month's RHCC therapist of the month is.... Lisa Quaning!

Lisa is Zen.  She embodies warmth and calmth, and you feel better for being in her presence.  She studies Buddhism and practices Qi Gong, but isn't too enlightened to pore over a celebrity gossip magazine.  She eats very healthy most of the time, but wonderfully unhealthy now and then.

Lisa heals.  Her acupuncture treatments are gentle and pain-free.  Her advice is do-able.  Her approach is non-judgmental and open-minded.  She's got a great sense of humour, a funky fashion sense, and always rocks an awesome hair-do.  Those last few things may not seem to have much to do with healing... but who are we to say what heals and what does not?  For a while Lisa had green hair, and my back felt great.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

I'm hard pressed to name anyone who practices what she preaches more thoroughly and honestly than Lisa Quaning.  Awakening before dawn, consulting with her mentors and emailing with her monk (i know, that seems funny, huh?), exercising and meditating... Lisa will never suggest you do something she herself doesn't do or hasn't done.  She herself walks the same path of self-improvement, and she never forgets this.  No arrogance; Lisa heals with you.

When I think of acupuncture, I think of balance.  I often recommend acupuncture for problems that affect body systems, especially where perhaps western medicine cannot pinpoint or easily fix the problem.  You know, where nothing's wrong... but something's wrong!.   Things like irritable bowel syndrome, infertility, headaches.  Something is out of balance.  And acupuncture is often just what the... uh, acupuncturist ordered - non-invasive, no side effects, safe, effective.

When I think of Lisa, I also think of balance.  She brings balance to my body and balance to my clinic.  I am honoured to work with her, pleased to refer my patients to her, and so very glad I know her.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


When you gotta go, you gotta go!

I'm going.  And because I care (I do!) and I don't want you to have any chiropractic regrets, consider this fair warning: if you need me, act now!  It is far easier to treat you when I'm in the clinic, and not, say, elsewhere.

I'm taking a wee vacay, and I'll be out of the office from August 28 until September 10.
If you need me, you'll have to go for a long swim.  Of course, Dr. Bain will be here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to handle any spinal emergencies. 

In the event that you find yourself hurting in my absence - remember: when in doubt, ICE.  Really, if you pull something, tweak your whatchamacallit or feel a twinge in your thingamabob, the first thing to do is apply ice for about 20 minutes.  Find a comfortable place to lie, bend your knees and relax, and apply ice.  This generic virtual message cannot of course substitute for a live, face to face treatment, but these measures should help minimize any acute injury.

Be well!  Enjoy the rest of summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


It is said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  A tad cheesy, but lovely and evocative, methinks.  

This triad parallels the three types of chiropractic care; symptom, supportive and maintenance.  In symptom care the patient is usually acute, and the immediate goal or reason for coming in is pain relief.  Supportive care lasts a season, and the intent is to thoroughly fix the cause of the problem. Maintenance care is ongoing, though to touch on one of the more persistent chiropractic myths, a lifetime commitment is not required.  Chiro- and commitment-phobes, you can relax!

Some chiropractors don't like being called on only for symptom care, they get frustrated when thought of as (back) pain doctors.  They can offer you more than that, they hawk things like 'wellness' and 'prevention' and 'vitality', and to be sure, these are valuable things and I peddle them too, but lots of things have value.  To me pain removal seems pretty damn valuable, particularly to one in such a state.  I don't mind being a pain remover, it may be the one noble thing I can do.

We all experience pain, and yet... what does yours feel like?  I ask you about it; is it sharp or dull?  Constant or intermittent?  Achy?  Sparkly?  Maybe it's green?  And I'll process this information, use it to formulate a diagnosis.  But I'll never really know your pain, will I?  What does it feel like?

It hurts.  Pain hurts. 

I've had pain too, of course.  I've had searing pain and cramping pain and head pain and shooting pain, and labour pain and mystery pains.  Some of these were mild and eased quickly.  Others were more stubborn or more scary, and some made me wonder if I'd ever be be the same again.  I try to remember all these pains, because I think each one carried an important message; of mortality, suffering, redemption, hope, time, of healing.  I try to remember my pains, because I want to understand your pain.  You are more than just a misaligned spine, you feel, you hurt. 

Symptom care works really well for some people, so why deny them that?  They call me when they feel a twinge or a tweak or a kink or a spasm, and I remove it.  If things are simple and not permitted to linger and get complicated (as things are wont to do), then I can often resolve the situation in a few treatments.  Easy peasy, pain removed, and I'll see you next time, if ever or whenever that may be.  Of course many people need more fine tuning than that.  But some of you, the smart healthy lucky genetically superior physically active ones, you respond well to reason care, you'll be OK. 

Reason, season or lifetime.  It is more charming than symptom, support and maintenance, that's for sure.  And some come for many reasons over a lifetime and some seem to come season after season for different reasons, but ultimately, I'm just here to help and crack and realign.  I try to leave you in better condition than I got you, wishing you well(ness) and good health, until we meet again next reason, season or lifetime.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bad Medicinery

It used to be a simple question, an ice breaker: "what do you do?".  Correct answers included doctor, spy, fireman.  Or maybe you're the guy who puts the ends on shoelaces, or replaces the lightbulbs in street lamps.  I know from personal experience that lightbulbs don't just change themselves, so it follows that someone's gotta do it!  Nowadays, when I ask that simple question, I'm left flummoxed.  You're a systems analyst?  You conduct market share valuations in the bonds and the whatnow?  You say you're a plumber?  I don't get it.

Ask me what I do - go ahead, ask.

Why I'm a chiropractor!  I treat musculoskeletal problems, most often by adjusting the spinal vertebra, though any old joint will do.  See?  Simple.

It's when other people try to explain what I do, that things get a little murky.  For starters, ya'll want to call me a back doctor.  Which I guess is ok, I've certainly been called worse, but why limit me?  I treat backs, necks, hips, a whole lotta shoulders... I've been known to help headaches and feet and wrists too!  I might argue that I treat 'people', not just backs and aches and such, but I worry about seeming sentimental.

There is also the issue of consistency among chiropractors, namely our lack of.  We are a wacky bunch... all doing different things with different instruments and different terminologies, and each calling it 'chiropractic'.  This subject deserves a post of its own, but suffice to say that our lack of clarity with respect to our scope is confusing at best, and undermines our expertise at worst.

But you... the regular people, the non-chiros as you are sometimes called, you ruin our good name.  How can you be expected to understand the intricacies of what we do, when you can't even figure out what to call us?  I meet you at parties, and you ask me how long I've practiced chiropractory.  In line at the grocery store, you tell me that you've had this back pain for a few months, and you've been thinking about chiropractory.  At my weekly kickboxing class at the gym you tell me how chiropactory changed your life.  Fine, I'm exaggerating on the last one - I haven't been to the gym in 2 years.  But still.

People, it's not a word.  Chiropractory.  Not a word!  Irregardless of how sure you are, fact remains: not a word.  It's a ginormous problem, this invented word.  Wanna know another?  Preventative.  Patients often express an interest in preventative maintenance.  And it's a real problem for me!  Because here is someone who values their health, who has come to recognize that it is easier to keep you well than to get you well.  They are embracing wellness and everywhere chiropractic hearts are warming... but me?  I'm stuck on preventative.  PrevenTAtive?  It just sounds wrongly.  Do I then practice alternitative medicine?  And yet, 'preventive maintenance' doesn't have the same zing.  And don't we all want a little zing from our chiropractor?

Also, it's single.  Chiropractic.  No 'S'.  ChiropracticS sounds to me like fireworks, I'm not sure why.  And lest you doubt my expertise on such chiropractish vernacular, let me assure you that I've been chiropracting for almost ten years now.  I'm a chiropractician!

Feeling foolish for calling your chiropractor something unintentional?  Not to worry, no harm done, he's probably just honoured to have been called in the first place.  There are bigger problems in the world than this, right?  Like how to pronounce chiropody.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mod Squad

Everything in moderation!

I really hate this expression. It is completely arbitrary, instant justification for doing things, usually bad things.  Rarely does someone justify their extreme carrot consumption this way.  I've been known to nag my diet soda-drinking family members from time to time (fine, all the time.  I'm a hoot at family gatherings).  "Diet soda is evil!  Bad for your health!".  Their response to my loving concern?  "Everything in moderation, Michelle" and "mind your own business, Dr. Bossy".

Look, I get it.  Sometimes we choose the low road, the bacon cheeseburger path more traveled by, if you will.  And so long as one balances ones vices with virtues, one just might make it after all.  There can be joy in indulgence and misbehaving and sure, the occasional (gasp!) chemically sweetened caffeinated brown fizzy water.  I'm all for making poor choices now and then, so long as they are acknowledged; don't pretend they become good choices just because you plead 'moderation'.

What exactly is moderate?  One (insert vice) a day?  A week? A lifetime?  Horace Porter advised us to "be moderate in everything, including moderation", which really clarifies things, though he also teaches that "a mugwump is a person educated beyond his intellect", and I don't know what to do with that either.  Perhaps I'm the mugwump. 

So what's a modern moderate to do?  Well, for starters I think we can learn, edumacate ourselves, distill  facts from fiction. For example, bread, it turns out, is very tasty in moderation.  But with so much hidden wheat in our diets (it is in EVERYTHING) true moderation is rare without making a concerted effort; avoiding tasty, tasty bagels isn't enough.  And wheat is highly allergenic - a major gastrointestinal irritant - no wonder wheat products  are the first to be eliminated in most cleanses. Sweeteners? The epitome of artificial. I can't see what these have to offer anyone, and therefore I can't see any benefit or level that is moderate. I may suck back a diet coke a few times a year (what else goes with a big, but with the full understanding that this is negative good for me, not moderately good for me in any way. Another example of moderation gone awry is soy.  If health food had a mascot, it would be soyman, the tofu wonder.  But soy products confuse me - they start out as a whole food, soy beans, then are processed beyond recognition into sludge and by-products and tofurkey.  If you think soy is just for hippies and nary a tofu morsel hath passed your carniverous lips, think again meathead - much like wheat, soy is everywhere.  Most processed food contain soy oils and proteins, most animals both domestic and dinner plate-bound are fed soy, and it is even found in such foods as edamame and miso soup.  Consumption has gone beyond choosing soy 'milk' over dairy products and moderate consumption doesn't really exist.  Curiously, soy is also implicated in many food allergies.  One has to wonder if it is the ubiquity of these products that leads to such widespread intolerance?

Even the 'experts' don't seem compelled to define moderation, and my research leads me to believe that moderation is quite boring.  Moderate drinking doesn't get you drunk.  Moderate exercise allows you to still hold a boring conversation.  A consult with the esteemed Dr. Google advises me to moderately drink 1 - 2 glasses of red wine a day to prevent Alzheimers, moderate my caffeine consumption by sipping no more than 3 cuppsa joe (or... 6 colas!), and I'm told that moderate egg consumption can be good for my health - the only guide being that I shouldn't eat '12 of them'.    Moderate politics may be the answer, but that won't pay for a mansion in Wasilla.  Go big or go home, people. 

And finally... everything in moderation?  EVERYTHING?  EggsChocolateExerciseSexSaladWorkAntibioticsLoveMethamphetamines?  Do what you want, just don't do it too too much?  Look around.  Collectively, we are a fat, unhealthy, addicted, angry people.  I think we've proved ourselves incapable of effectively judging moderation.  But here's the thing... it is YOUR body. You have every right to swill down diet sodas and bacon, you can drink as much coffee or booze as you want, smoke whatever you've got as often as you'd like. Indulge in your vices, tell your tea sipping friends to go to hell and tell me to mind my own business. I may not endorse your decisions, but I respect your right to make them.

Afterall, it's your life, and we all know moderation is the key to life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

human v1.2

I'm fascinated by the human body. We are remarkable machines (most of us), at once so complex and so simple. Carbon-based bags of bones, made mostly of water, held together by tissues and guts. Simple! Able to simultaneously break down food into energy and poop, turn oxygen into carbon dioxide, jump and run and swim. We remember and learn and emote and evolve, and all the while, without even thinking about it, our hearts keep a-pumping, our livers keep living, and our brains do whatever they want. That said, there are a few design flaws I've found in human being version 1.0, and I propose the following modifications and updates when the next updates are released.

Appendix. It has been suggested that there is some immunity function from this vestigial colonic appendage. But it often becomes crudely clogged and then infected, necessitating its removal. I propose either redesigning the wee thing so that it doesn't block so easily (perhaps a flush valve?), placing it elsewhere in the body (a more sanitary locale?) or losing the worm shaped poop pouch all together.

Sinuses and eustachian tubes - the openings are too small, the tubes run almost horizontal, fluid can't drain and we are left with a warm, moist cavity = petri dish. Introduce bacteria (tube, meet streptococcus!), and you've got yourself an infection. And then my baby is up all night, screaming and crying. And then my ears hurt. Fix this.

The spine. I'm fond of this structure, it certainly keeps me occupied, but the current design is better suited for walking on all fours than for upright posture. Since the majority of my patients are evolved enough to walk erect, perhaps this is why the majority of my patients also have back pain?

Adult female pelvis. Babies' heads. Might I recommend better size matching?

Spinal discs. I have a personal grudge with the designer of discs. Particularly with whoever who selected the jelly-like substance in the middle. While well suited for shock absorption, add force on to this anatomical jelly donut and witness the innards squeeze out. Onto your sciatic nerve. Four days before your wedding. Love hurts, indeed.

I could go on. Like how about fixing things like inherently weak arches (70% of us have 'flat feet') and unaccommodating eye lenses so I don't have to accessorize with such sexy accoutrements as orthotics and eyeglasses? Then again, some gentlemen dig nerdy ladies. I don't judge.

I just think that after billions of years, we are due for some updates to the human hardware. Or software... or should that be firmware? Cut me some slack, I'm still using my Commodore 64. Let's get on these Sapien improvements. Isn't there an app for that?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chiropractor's Almanac

There is something in the air, and it is not just love...
I don't know why, but it has been BUSY in the clinic lately. Have all my patients conspired to get sore at the same time? Did you all get together to practice different ways of bending wrongly (is it just me, or does that word sound wrong?)? Was there a limbo party to which I wasn't invited? Has Twister made a comeback?

I'm happy to see you all... but what the hell is going on?!

I've noticed this before. The sudden influx of patients from time to time, all with similar complaints. I've been working on theories.

Theory 1 - a reason for every season
This theory is popular with patients. After every snowfall, I'm asked if I'm very busy these days, what with all the snow shoveling and slipping on ice. And yes, I do see more than a few injured shovellers, but do you know what happens when it is really, really, really cold and snowy out? People hibernate. Perhaps this is why I seem to treat more acute low backs in winter - if you're braving February cold to come in, you're gonna make sure you really need it.

Theory 2 - word of mouth
Say you came in with neck pain. And say I 'cured' said neck pain. You then tell your friends about the fabulous Dr. Fagen who fixed your neck pain, and they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on... next thing you know, I'm up to my neck with neck patients.

Theory 3 - ancient chinese secret
When I studied acupuncture, I had the privilege of learning a bit of Chinese medicine theory. It is wonderfully complex and highly structured, and accounts for so many factors, including weather and seasons and energy and the universe. Each season correlates to a different meridian, which governs different organ systems and areas of the body. In the spring I often see shoulder and elbow problems. In the winter, stiffness and low back pain. These findings are explained well by Chinese medicine's 5 elements theory. Hey, a billion people can't be wrong...

Theory 4 - misremembering
Perhaps it is just me. Maybe I'm so eager to prove myself right, that when another acute neck patient shows up during an August heat wave I say A-HA!, but I don't think much of the same presentation any other time? It is possible, I have been wrong before. Once.

Theory 5 - conspiracy...
Who sent you in? Shoulder pain you say... what a coincidence. Why are you really here!!??

Theory 6 - Murphy's Law
The deluge of patients right before the Christmas holidays? The panicked calls in August, during peak vacation time? March break madness? If you've got somewhere important to be... stop in for an adjustment first!

The truth probably lies in the middle of this blog... (well except for the conspiracy theory part (unless you've got something to hide... in which case I'm on to you...)). We are more intimately connected to the earth and it's energies, weather and seasons included, than we realize. And our disconnections, like air conditioning and heating, affect us too, becoming part of our seasonal factors (not unusual for late summer stiff necks to be associated with sleeping under the air conditioner). Sports and activities affect us immensely, especially when we return after a hiatus. It's no wonder my hockey players all seem to ache in the preseason and my golfers will inevitably call me when the greens open. Stress certainly plays a part in pain, weakening the body to exacerbate an injury and making healing a longer ordeal.

Understanding your body means understanding your pain patterns. It is not unusual for an irregular patient (as in 'infrequent', not 'weird') to need treatment at the same time each year... spooky, no? We need to each know ourselves, to know what seasons are our hardest to navigate, to be body conscious when starting new sports and activities, to be able to identify the stresses and triggers to which we are vulnerable. And then prevent them from knocking us down - by stretching more/relaxing/seeking treatment/doing whatever gets you on your feet again.

The truth is out there. In the mean time, get your back treated, and help me with this most valuable research.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Holidayses!

The end of one year, the beginning of another. It's a bit romantic, no? The sense of renewal, out with the old, in with the new. A fresh start, a new year and a new decade. Huzzah!

And yet, it's all a bit silly. The ceremony, the hangovers, the resolutions. Isn't it just another day, a notch in time? Should auld acquaintance really be forgot, and never brought to mind? Besides, I have a major grammar-related new year pet peeve, and it persists well past January 1st. Gung Hay Fat Choy indeed.

"Happy New Years!"

Or perhaps you mean "Happy New Year's!", which is equally irksome.

The extraneous 's'. Never before has anyone been driven to madness by a single letter, apostrophe or not. But there you have it. I'm small like that. And though I try to focus on the intent behind the greeting, the well wishes for an enjoyable year, I'm cringing inside.


Perhaps the capricious s's serve to proffer happiness for the current year and all other years to come? Maybe the well-wisher is being culturally sensitive, accounting for such new yearses (!) as the Chinese New Year (happy 4707 everyone!) and Rosh Hashanna (happy 5770 everyone!). The Scots have a solution to this conundrum. Happy Hogmanay, everyone!

I realize that it is of very little import, but this blending of "New Year's Eve" and "Happy New Year" just gets my goat. I've even done it myself, asking "what did you do for New Year's?" Beginning the year with a dangling something-or-other is as inauspicious a start as any. Maybe I should resolve to be less pedantic, more gracious in the face of a pleasant greeting, but there you have it.

Have a wonderful twenty-ten, and in case I don't get the chance to say it in the future, Happy New Years!