Horsey Women Chair entity Number 12 introduced the subject, rather reluctantly, and invited Number 9, the inventor

of Quantum’s, to begin. ‘I was observing several humanoids in Smog dale and surroundings and it became clear that a subgroup adopt an unusual intonation when they speak,’ said Number 9. ‘Mrs. Jones-Jones was the first to catch my attention, but I subsequently discovered many more. The speech mannerism appears to become more pronounced with age.’ ‘We checked,’ agreed Number 11. ‘And we’ve recorded plenty of evidence.’ ‘Maybe,’ said Number 8, and stopped. Aloe Vera generation7, unit 8, commonly referred to as Number 8, the biochemist and most practical member of the community was not renowned for having ideas. Indeed, Number 8 was renowned for never doing so. In view of this fact, its colleagues waited patiently as it fondled its microphones, scratched its noddle and generally played for time. ‘Perhaps,’ it reiterated. ‘These people spend a lot of time with horses and they’re unconsciously copying their mannerisms?’ ‘Good idea,’ hollered Number 14 from the back row. ‘Yeah, top idea, dude,’ added Number 11. ‘Chalk the board, chair entity!’ Number 12 arranged the sunshades over its cameras in a manner designed to convey disapproval at Number 11’s lack of respect, but it recorded the suggestion, nevertheless. ‘There is evidence of one species adapting totally to the behavior patterns of another with continued exposure,’ began Number 9, the Quantum Psychologist. Oh Buck Probably, this could go on for hours, thought Number 11. Once Number 9 gets going there’s no stopping it. Number 14 thought likewise. ‘They were talking to each other when we last filmed them,’ it said. ‘Perhaps it is a means of telling each other that they own a horse?’ suggested Number 11. ‘Social bonding, we’re in the same club and such like?’ ‘That’s it!’ There was a lull while they considered this possibility. The chair entity walked to and fro in front of the whiteboard, gazing at the ceiling, perched upon its tiptoes as tall as possible and wondered how on moon could it conjure a sensible report to Aloe Vera 1.1 (General Direction). ‘Do they all work with horses?’ asked Number 14 ‘Scalpels and Diabetes Er, no. most of them don’t,’ conceded Number 9. It sounded disoriented as it riffled through its notes. ‘You sound disoriented,’ observed Number 8. ‘Look! It’s riffling,’ added Number 11, nudging Number 8 in a friendly manner. ‘Well,’ said Number 9. ‘Most of them don’t work at all. Janice Jones-Jones takes her horse to shows with a Terrain Trundle and trailer. Then she drives it home afterwards. She does sometimes ride the horse locally with her pal from the neighboring farm.’ ‘Ahha! A real working horse!’ ‘I’m afraid not.’ ‘How so?’ ‘Their tractors do all the work.’

‘Well Mrs. Malleable has the most pronounced accent and she’s never owned a horse,’ interjected Number 9. ‘Mrs. Malleable?!’ whined Number 12. Its posture slumped, the shock absorbers in its lower limbs whining mournfully as the compressed air was released; then it remembered its responsibility to its colleagues/minions and stood erect. ‘She runs the tiny grocers shop from her front room in North South Street, Smog dale,’ explained Number 8. ‘She did,’ added Number 14, ‘until she married the retired bank manager. Now she plays flog all day.’ ‘Flog?!’ exclaimed Number 12, fearing some dreadful humanoid perversion. ‘Oops, my parallel processors have gone awry and are perpetrating anagrams,’ explained Number 14. ‘I meant golf.’ ‘When they are with fellow members of the group and within earshot of non-members, the accent is most pronounced,’ added Number 8. Number 9 was impressed. Number 12 was relieved – a solid fact to chalk upon its whiteboard. ‘Mrs. Malleable doesn’t use the accent at all when speaking to the Jones-Jones horse,’ said Number 8. ‘Ahha! A hanger-on!’ hooted Number 9. ‘Not a bona fide member!’ this would surely be worth a submission to the Norwegian Journal of Quantum Psychology, penned using its pseudonym Segment Fraud. ‘Sadly no,’ said Number 14. ‘None of them use the voice when talking to horses.’ ‘Unless other members of the subgroup are present,’ added Number 11. Number 12 resolved at this point that any attempt to understand would melt its processor, so it would merely record the facts. And remember its posture. Number 11 had an idea. This being its specialty, and sometimes its curse. ‘Could it,’ it paused, its processor seemingly attempting a simulation of embarrassment. ‘Happen it could,’ encouraged Number 14. ‘Could it be courtship behavior? I.E. sex?’ Number 12 sighed dramatically. Trust Number 11 to complicate things. ‘No way,’ chorused Number 8 and Number 14 in a diminished fifth (they’d practiced this as it was guaranteed to annoy and discombobulate the chair entity). ‘Yoof don’t do it.’ ‘Yoof?!’ asked the bewildered one. ‘Teenagers,’ explained Number 11. Lo, the bell went, the chair entity sighed with relief and the first debate of the new term came to a close. ‘This is my conclusion,’ ventured Number 11. ‘It is to demonstrate to others, but mainly to themselves, that they could spend all day sitting on a horse if’n they wanted to!’ ‘Perhaps we should go and ask them?’ chorused the group, staring at Number 12 in a challenging manner.

2212 West Flower Street BY MICHAEL COLLIER Hansel and Gretel
Once upon a time a very poor woodcutter lived in a tiny cottage in the forest with his two children, Hansel and Gretel. His second wife often ill-treated the children and was forever nagging the woodcutter. "There is not enough food in the house for us all. There are too many mouths to feed! We must get rid of the two brats," she declared. And she kept on trying to persuade her husband to abandon his children in the forest. "Take them miles from home, so far that they can never find their way back! Maybe someone will find them and give them a home." The downcast woodcutter didn't know what to do. Hansel who, one evening, had overheard his parents' conversation, comforted Gretel. "Don't worry! If they do leave us in the forest, we'll find the way home," he said. And slipping out of the house he filled his pockets with little white pebbles, then went back to bed. All night long, the woodcutter's wife harped on and on at her husband till, at dawn, he led Hansel and Gretel away into the forest. But as they went into the depths of the trees, Hansel dropped a little white pebble here and there on the mossy green ground. At a certain point, the two children found they really were alone: the woodcutter had plucked up enough courage to desert them, had mumbled an excuse and was gone. Night fell but the woodcutter did not return. Gretel began to sob bitterly. Hansel too felt scared but he tried to hide his feelings and comfort his sister. "Don't cry, trust me! I swear I'll take you home even if Father doesn't come back for us!" Luckily the moon was full that night and Hansel waited till its cold light filtered through the trees. "Now give me your hand!" he said. "We'll get home safely, you'll see!" The tiny white pebbles gleamed in the moonlight, and the children found their way home. They crept through a half open window, without wakening their parents. Cold, tired but thankful to be home again, they slipped into bed. Next day, when their stepmother discovered that Hansel and Gretel had returned, she went into a rage. Stifling her anger in front of the children, she locked her bedroom door, reproaching her husband for failing to carry out her orders. The weak woodcutter protested, torn as he was between shame and fear of disobeying his cruel wife. The wicked stepmother kept Hansel and Gretel under lock and key all day with nothing for supper but a sip of water and some hard bread. All night, husband and wife quarreled, and when dawn came, the woodcutter led the children out into the forest. Hansel, however, had not eaten his bread, and as he walked through the trees, he left a trail of crumbs behind him to mark the way. But the little boy had forgotten about the hungry birds that lived in the forest. When they saw him, they flew along behind and in no time at all, had eaten all the crumbs. Again, with a lame excuse, the woodcutter left his two children by themselves.

"I've left a trail, like last time!" Hansel whispered to Gretel, consolingly. But when night fell, they saw to their horror, that all the crumbs had gone. "I'm frightened!" wept Gretel bitterly. "I'm cold and hungry and I want to go home!" "Don't be afraid. I'm here to look after you!" Hansel tried to encourage his sister, but he too shivered when he glimpsed frightening shadows and evil eyes around them in the darkness. All night the two children huddled together for warmth at the foot of a large tree. When dawn broke, they started to wander about the forest, seeking a path, but all hope soon faded. They were well and truly lost. On they walked and walked, till suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a glade. "This is chocolate!" gasped Hansel as he broke a lump of plaster from the wall. "And this is icing!" exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of wall in her mouth. Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage. "Isn't this delicious?" said Gretel, with her mouth full. She had never tasted anything so nice. "We'll stay here," Hansel declared, munching a bit of nougat. They were just about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it quietly swung open. "Well, well!" said an old woman, peering out with a crafty look. "And haven't you children a sweet tooth?" "Come in! Come in, you've nothing to fear!" went on the old woman. Unluckily for Hansel and Gretel, however, the sugar candy cottage belonged to an old witch, her trap for catching unwary victims. The two children had come to a really nasty place. "You're nothing but skin and bones!" said the witch, locking Hansel into a cage. I shall fatten you up and eat you!" "You can do the housework," she told Gretel grimly, "then I'll make a meal of you too!" As luck would have it, the witch had very bad eyesight, an when Gretel smeared butter on her glasses, she could see even less. "Let me feel your finger!" said the witch to Hansel every day to check if he was getting any fatter. Now, Gretel had brought her brother a chicken bone, and when the witch went to touch his finger, Hansel held out the bone. "You're still much too thin!" she complained. When will you become plump?" One day the witch grew tired of waiting. "Light the oven," she told Gretel. "We're going to have a tasty roasted boy today!" A little later, hungry and impatient, she went on: "Run and see if the oven is hot enough." Gretel returned, whimpering: "I can't tell if it is hot enough or not." Angrily, the witch screamed at the little girl: "Useless child! All right, I'll see for myself." But when the witch bent down to peer inside the oven and check the heat, Gretel gave her a tremendous push and slammed the oven door shut. The witch had come to a fit and proper end. Gretel ran to set her brother free and they made quite sure that the oven door was tightly shut behind the witch. Indeed, just to be on the safe side, they fastened it firmly with a large padlock. Then they stayed for several days to eat some more of the house, till they discovered amongst the witch's belongings, a huge chocolate egg. Inside lay a casket of gold coins.

"The witch is now burnt to a cinder," said Hansel, "so we'll take this treasure with us." They filled a large basket with food and set off into the forest to search for the way home. This time, luck was with them, and on the second day, they saw their father come out of the house towards them, weeping. "Your stepmother is dead. Come home with me now, my dear children!" The two children hugged the woodcutter. "Promise you'll never ever desert us again," said Gretel, throwing her arms round her father's neck. Hansel opened the casket. "Look, Father! We're rich now . . . You'll never have to chop wood again." And they all lived happily together ever after. The End

Legend

How the Fly Saved the River Anishnabeg/”Ojibway” Legend
Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink. A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big and drank so much that soon the water began to sink lower and lower. The beavers were worried because the water around their lodges was disappearing and soon their homes would be destroyed. The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? And, of course, the fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they surely could not. All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him. At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action. He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. The moose dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn't come back. The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals, "Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think."

Summary:
All surgery poses risk. Massachusetts is fortunate that over the last four years the Department of Public Health and the medical community have devised standards to minimize the dangers. The operations can be performed only by experienced surgical teams affiliated with specially certified hospitals. Some of the insurers in the state have balked in the past at covering the procedures, but they now accept that the operations are an important treatment tool, even though the cost can be high $8,000 to $14,000 for the procedure undergone by participants in the Australian study and up to $20,000 for one that rearranges the digestive system. As the surgical teams have become more experienced and the operation has become better known, the numbers in Massachusetts have gone from 2,700 in fiscal year 2003 to 3,500 in 2006. Weight-loss surgery has, in a small way, contributed to rising health insurance costs.

Scalpels and Diabetes
OBESITY is often accompanied by diseases that can kill a person. But if an obese patient's weight declines, the threat recedes as well. A study published this month shows that one type of surgery can not only result in weight loss but also send type 2 diabetes, one of the potential killers, into remission. The surgery is an expensive procedure, but it's becoming a regrettable necessity. The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, over two years, most of the 30 patients who underwent an operation to put an adjustable band on their stomach to reduce food intake ended up losing a substantial amount of weight. More significantly, 73 percent of them experienced a remission of type 2 diabetes. The authors cautioned that more research is needed to confirm the findings of the 60-person Australian study. Nonetheless, it is significant that people in the control group, who went without the surgery, did not lose much weight or achieve remission of diabetes despite counseling and dieting. That is to be expected for obesity, where dieting failures produce enormous frustration for millions of people. The JAMA study is good news for any person whose obesity is accompanied by diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, hypertension, or orthopedic troubles. All surgery poses risk. Massachusetts is fortunate that over the last four years the Department of Public Health and the medical community have devised standards to minimize the dangers. The operations can be performed only by experienced surgical teams affiliated with specially certified hospitals. Some of the insurers in the state have balked in the past at covering the procedures, but they now accept that the operations are an important treatment tool, even though the cost can be high $8,000 to $14,000 for the procedure undergone by participants in the Australian study and up to $20,000 for one that rearranges the digestive system. As the surgical teams have become more experienced and the operation has become better known, the numbers in Massachusetts have gone from 2,700 in fiscal year 2003 to 3,500 in 2006. Weight-loss surgery has, in a small way, contributed to rising health insurance costs. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are in most cases preventable conditions - especially if a person develops the right eating and fitness habits while young. Getting youngsters to eat less and exercise may be a more frustrating task than arranging surgery when they get older, but prevention would yield great cost savings and happier lives.

Reaction:
An editorial accompanying the article in JAMA called for a major shift in the way type 2 diabetes is treated to emphasize remission rather than mere control of the disease. That means more weight-loss operations and higher costs.