Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A lady in Cameron, Texas is trying to obtain sainthood for Dr. Eduard Rischar, a physician who practiced in Cameron during the first part of the 20th Century. I don’t know about being a saint but reading about the doctor sure makes for an interesting story.

Dr. Rischar was born in 1872. He came to Cameron in 1914 and practiced there until his death in 1948. He did much for the community, including help build a Catholic Church and a hospital, which he gave to the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters operated the hospital until it suffered the demise of many rural hospitals in the 1980’s.

The interesting thing about Dr. Rischar’s story is that he represented a transition in American Medicine from the Horse and Buggy Doctor to the modern era of medicine. He was from the school that had very little in the way of effective medications and treatments to the time of antibiotics with modern surgery and technology. Dr. Rischar represented those who had little to offer the patient other than a sympathetic ear and a gentle hand. Drs. today have no time to listen and have been largely replaced by technology. Paper work has also taken their time away from patients.

Rural hospitals, such as the one used by Dr. Rischar, have also disappeared from the scene. Modern technology became unaffordable for the small hospital and Medicare and other forms of reimbursement spelled the end of many hospitals. No longer were hospitals used as places for rest and recuperation from illness. Increase in specialization and ease of transportation to large medical centers helped put the final nail in the coffin of rural hospitals and the Dr. Rischars of the world.

The world of medicine has greatly changed since the days of Dr. Rischar. A simple urinalysis and a CBC were high tech test in his day and he might be paid with a dozen eggs or a chicken. People didn’t have AIDS and other exotic diseases and deaths from cancer and heart attacks were low because folks usually died from pneumonia or other infections by the time they were 50.

Dr. Rischar probably doesn’t deserve sainthood, but I wish the modern physicians had his caring attitude for patients and as leaders in their community. Those days seem to be Gone With the Wind, but they are worth remembering and reminding our youth about such people and times.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is about to open a multi-screen movie theater. The movie business and movies have changed a lot since I was a kid. The days in which the movies were on a big reel and required a projectionist for operation of the machine are gone. Movies now come to the theaters in a metal box that is inserted into the projector and a computer does the rest. No need for projectionist anymore.

It’s amazing that movie theaters have survived with DVD’s, Netflix and other modern technology. Movies may be downloaded onto a computer then projected onto your TV, iPad, phones, etc. Streaming of movies directly onto the TV is the current trend and this will probably replace DVDs and the fancy high definition Blueray.

Movies remain one of our most popular forms of entertainment and movies theaters flourish in spite of the high cost for attending. You can almost buy a Blueray player for the cost of taking a family to the movie and treating them to popcorn and a drink. And to think, I once paid 9 cents to see a movie and a bag of popcorn cost a nickel and a coke was also a nickel. The movies makers and distributors hold the release on DVDs until the theaters have had their run and everyone has had a chance at your pocketbook.

The most amazing thing is that movies remain popular even though they are terrible. There are only a couple of good flicks a year. The rest are a display of special effects with car crashes and explosions. The Westerns, which were my favorite, are now like the dinosaur and have become extinct. Probably the main reason movies remain popular is that TV is so bad. I often think of the good old days when the starting time for a feature was never posted. I just went into the movie at anytime and would frequently spend Saturday afternoon in the theater and see the movie a couple of times while I enjoyed the air-conditioning and good cheap popcorn. The quality of the film was excellent with real Technicolor and high quality lighting. The actors spoke in audible tones and the movies usually had an interesting plot. With all this, I also got to see a great cartoon, the newsreel, a serial and other special features like travel logs.

I guess everything must change to survive. Even our church services have changed and the movies are no exception. I still like the good old days and the Golden Age of movies.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Labor Day passed and I hardly noticed it. The first Monday in September was chosen for this holiday to celebrate the American worker. The day was picked because it was midway between July 4th and Thanksgiving. It has usually marked the end of summer and the time when kids go back to school.

I have forgotten the holiday mainly because I’m retired, but there are other reasons. I guess it’s because of global warming and summer now seems to extend until Christmas and we are having record high temperatures. In Texas summer turns into winter overnight.

Kids used to start back to school after Labor Day but now it’s sometime in the middle of August. They have extended holidays with Fall and Spring breaks, so they make up the days by starting early.

In the past, Labor Day also signaled the coming of football season, but now football begins in the middle of August. Kids are playing in 100+ degree temperatures and having heat strokes. It’s just hard to get in the spirit for football when everybody is wearing shorts and still swimming.

When I was a kid, everything closed down for Labor Day. Now everything is open with big sales. I guess the American workers get a holiday but since there are no more American worker and our industries have moved overseas there is nobody to celebrate.

Labor Day is not the only holiday to disappear. We haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving in years. It has been completely swallowed up by Christmas. Christmas has also been rearranged and renamed as the Holiday Season. With the demise of the Post Office even Christmas Cards may soon vanish.

Oh well, no need to complain. I’m retired so everyday is a holiday. I did enjoy Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I especially loved cool nights and a good football game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I have to admit it. Al Gore is right. We have global warming. This summer has been the hottest on record and we haven’t had a drop of rain. The east coast has just been battered with Hurricane Irene, so I know there must be rain somewhere on the planet. I just wish a little of it cold be diverted to Texas.

As I have aged the heat seems to bother me more than ever. I am also a sissy when it comes to air-conditioning and must have it to survive. Hemingway wrote this neat story about an old man who wanted a clean well-lighted place. My revision to the story would be a cool, clean well-lighted place. The cool air is now a basic need, like food and water

I grew up without air-conditioning and thought nothing about it. My only exposure to the luxury of refrigerated air was in a movie theater. I guess that’s one of the reasons I love movies so much. I went through college without air-conditioning. It’s a miracle that I made it. Now, if the temperature goes above 75 while I’m reading a book, I fall asleep.

So, here I am complaining about the weather in the blog. The weather is always a favorite topic of conversation and something people like to complain about. Last winter it was too cold and about a year ago we had a flood in Central Texas. We are never happy.

The weather is never just right. Farmers never have it perfect for their crops. This week, Hurricane Irene battered the East Coast. People were warned for several days. Now that the hurricane has passed and was slightly less devastating than predicted people are complaining that much of the warning was a bunch of media hype. We should be thankful that the storm warnings are as sophisticated as they are and save countless lives.

Folks are never happy with the weather regardless of what is happening. When I lived in Hawaii people complained because the weather was always nice and never varied. We humans are just an unhappy lot when it comes to the weather. At least, the weather gives us something to talk about. The current heat wave and drought are even causing me to read the Bible more. I’ve been studying Revelations and the prophets to see if the earth may be gradually transitioning into hell. I don’t mean to complain but it sure seems like that is the case.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I don’t care for shopping and try to stay home when my spouse is involved in this activity. During my high school years I worked in a grocery store and don’t mind helping in this area of shopping if it’s not at Walmart or HEB. I hate those two stores because they are so large and impersonal. I can’t find anything and they are usually full of tattooed fat people standing ahead of me in line at checkout with baskets brimming with every item in the store.

My favorite store is located in the Village of Salado where we lived for 20 years. The store is Brookshire’s. It has been expanded and contains everything you need. They even have fresh seafood. It’s a clean place that is usually not crowded, and the shoppers are decent looking folks. I love the section with cheeses, hams and other goodies that must be sliced, The salesperson is friendly and will even let me sample the goodies. The cheese from this area is much better than the prepackaged stuff.. The salesperson usually gives me all sorts of helpful advice, like what kind of meat to buy at his favorite country meat market.

I love the store because I usually see someone I know and we strike up a friendly conversation. Yesterday, while I was waiting for my cheese to be sliced this old cowboy looking guy, who must have been in his late 80s, started talking to me. He was wrinkled and weather beaten but friendly as a puppy. We started up an interesting conversation about this country meat market where he bought hogs head cheese. I hadn’t thought about hogs head cheese for years. He claimed it was one of ihs favorite foods. That’s the kind of people I like to visit with. He made me think of all sorts of goodies I sampled when I was a kid. Most of these have been forgotten in modern times. Most people never heard of scrambled hog brains and eggs. I have also eaten fried chicken’s feet, pickled pigs feet and tongue. The old cowboy got me to thinking about hogs head cheese which is really not a cheese at all but a mixture of various scraps from the hog, such as ears, tongue and all parts of the head except the eyes. These parts of the hog are cooked and prepared in a gel like mold. It’s not bad if you don’t think about what you are eating.

Anyway, I enjoy shopping at Brookshires because of the colorful characters you meet and the interesting things you learn. It’s great entertainment.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Recently, I have tried not to write about political issues in the blog. They are too controversial and even more depressing than obituaries. In a way the current political issues and the economy are like an obituary of our country. I have considered myself an independent and in the past have supported Republicans and Democrats. I have now changed my political persuasion.

From now on I plan to vote against whoever is in office regardless of their political party or even their track record. The Tea Party has ruined the Republicans and are made up of a bunch of naïve, selfish loudmouths who think their mission is to cut out all our entitlement programs and not tax anyone, especially the wealthy. I wonder if they have ever known anyone who is elderly, disabled or underprivileged. On the other hand there is the left wing Democrat that wants a socialized state and government takeover of everything. None of them represent me, a middle class person who has worked, saved, paid a lot of taxes, abided by the law, helped many in need, had respect for my country, served in the military and supported the idea that we are a nation under God. I don’t mind paying taxes, but I believe Exxon and the wealthy should also pay their fair share; likewise, I believe in Social Security and Medicare but hate the fraud in our system and have no sympathy for those who are fit but make a life out of dependence on government handouts.

So, there you have it. Incumbent now means out. This means everyone from President to Justice of the Peace. I only wish we could vote Federal Judges out of office. The judges sit around and make rulings with no regard for how the majority voted on an issue. Another requirement for judges is that hey should not be allowed to vote or have allegiance to any political party.

The ones who need to go more than anyone are members of Congress. Six year single terms would seem fair but that’s it. The candidates should be required to take an IQ test as well as a test on American History and the Constitution before they can even run. The current bunch have sent us on a road to ruin and made our fragile economic situation a global issue. A course in economics and the Constitution should also be required when their term of office begins.

My new campaign slogan from now on is, Incumbents Out. That’s better than, ”change.” Maybe we will get change and good behavior with the constant turn over.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My TV watching has greatly diminished. There is nothing on that seems worthwhile. The news is always horribly depressing, but I do try and stomach the 10:00 PM broadcast to see what mass murderer is on the rampage since we live near Ft. Hood. Our area is filled with killers, rapist and other perverts. Following this I watch the opening monologue of Jay Leno, then get ready for bed. Leno is great because he loves to slam politicians and the government. He also has a couple of special features such as Headlines and Jaywalking. This weeks Jaywalking was especially good because it featured questions on American History.

The answers Leno got regarding American History were unbelievable, but highlighted the shameful lack of history knowledge that is so common. Here are a few of the questions and answers.

When ask about the War of Independence and who we became independent from, the answer was Mexico. Another person got it partially right when ask about the author of the Declaration of Independence when he said Jefferson, but when ask his first name he said George Jefferson.

Another person was ask who delivered the Gettysburg Address and when this occurred. The answer was George Washington during World War II.

Another was ask if she had heard of Pearl Harbor and what happened there. She was partially right when she said she thought it was bombed, but when ask who did the bombing she said the Hawaiians.

Another was ask if she knew about the Alamo and who fought there. After thinking for a long time she said, John Wayne. One of the best was an individual who thought Lewis and Clark were Clark Kent and Lois Lane. No wonder they were successful in their expedition, one was actually Superman.

All these stupid responses about history make me very sad and want to cry. Over 50% of high school students never heard of Winston Churchill and can’t tell you who we fought against in World War II. They are even uninformed about current events. Recently it was determined that more than 75% of folks in Texas couldn’t tell you the names of the Texas Senators and many named Rick Perry.

All this is the reason I write a little post on facebook each day about a history fact and what happened on this day in history. I don’t reach many readers and most of them are already informed, but it’s the best I can do to try and make folks aware of what has happened in the past that has shaped our present and determines our future