Thursday, June 28, 2007

It has been a relatively uneventful week.
· Britain has a new Prime Minister. Gordon Brown is the new man and Tony Blair said goodbye. Brown is cool toward the war in Iraq and to Bush. No one likes us now. Blair was our only friend in the world.
· Apple is coming out with the iPhone that can do everything. You can make calls, send text messages, access the internet, get e-mail, watch movies, take pictures and a host of things I don’t even know about.
· Torrential rains have drenched Central Texas, but fortunately my house has remained dry. More rain is predicted and this afternoon I am going to start building an ark.
· The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh who ruled Egypt in the 15th century, was discovered. She wore pants and a fake beard. She is the role model for Hillary Clinton.
· Paris Hilton was released from jail and is going to turn over a new leaf. She has been reading the Bible but doesn’t have a favorite verse. She isn’t aware, yet, that the book consist of verses, chapters and different books. I am not real sure she can even read, but that is only a small detail for her grandiose plans.
· Last, but not least, I retire on Friday. I started practicing when Queen Hatshepsut was the ruler of Egypt. I am beginning to look and feel like the Queen, so thought it was time for me to retire. There has sure been a lot of progress in my time and it has been a fun experience. Hopefully, the blog will become more interesting with the many things I wish to explore in retirement. Surely, there is more interesting news than Paris Hilton

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank God!!!! Paris Hilton is out of jail. She was released from the Los Angeles County Jail last night after a much publicized three-week stay. She departed with a smile, wearing a sage jacket with white trim over a white shirt and skinny jeans. She is to appear on Larry King Live Wednesday night and give the world the low down on her incarceration. I am sure we will hear about how she found the Lord and also about how bad the food is in jail. She will be able to skip rehab because she found Jesus and has done her time.
I’m just glad she is out. Now maybe we can get back to hearing about the various murders around the country, the immigration bill, and the roadside bombings in Iraq. I had lost track of the body count in Iraq while Paris was in jail.
As for me, I’m staying home with the TV turned off. I can only stand to stay nauseated for so long and hearing non-stop about Paris is enough to make anyone throw up.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Chinese don’t need nuclear weapons to destroy us. They are gradually subjecting us to a slow death through the poisoning of our food and the many other products sold to the US. Recently they managed to abolish a large number of our pets with tainted food. Next was the toothpaste poisoning. Today, I learned that even the toys are unsafe. 70-80 percent of the toys sold in the US are made in China. Some of them, like the Thomas & Friends wooden trains are painted with lead based paint. Lead of course is poisonous. The popular Easy Bake Oven manages to trap and bake a child’s fingers.
For many years China has been sending their smart people over here to school. They make better grades than the American kids by studying harder. That simply isn’t fair. Fortunately, they get jobs paying a lot of money and quickly become Americanized and lazy like the rest of us.
The way to defeat China is to infiltrated their country with Western Ways like, fast food, fast cars, smoking, drugs and alcohol. Rather than sending our illegal aliens back across the border, we could send them to China to help hemorrhage that budding economy. We are well on our way with the infiltration process and, hopefully, it will work if they don’t poison us to death first.
As for me, I’m staying home in Salado, buying food from the local farmers and playing with my American made toys.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Churches always seem to be in conflict. Mark Twain said, “ Man- he is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.” One religion is always after another. The Muslims are set on ridding the earth of the infidel Christians and Jews. If that isn’t bad enough Christians are always at each other throats over theology and whose view is correct. Whether it’s the way we are baptized, what day is the Sabbath, falling from grace, predestination, infant baptism, communion, music, various rituals and a million other things; we must argue. Even within denominations there is strong disagreement such as liberal vs. conservative.
When I was a student at Baylor, I lived in a house filled with ministerial students. It was an enlightening experience. Of the two I like the most, one became an atheist and the other a Unitarian minister after denouncing the miracles, virgin birth and the deity of Christ. I have seen just about everything in the religious spectrum except human sacrifice, but could probably even find that if I looked just a little harder.
One of my roommates in college served as an interim pastor in a small church in Central Texas. While attending a deacons meeting he broke up a fight between two deacons and was stabbed in the shoulder by a misdirected knife. Church members love to be involved in a good fight.
Churches are constantly trying to change in an attempt to bring in new members and appeal to the youth. We now have a lot of praise music with people raising their arms and looking toward the sky as drums pound and amplified guitars rock to songs with lines that are repeated over and over. I know Jesus must be listening but I hope he isn’t crying because we are not reverently listening to him quietly in our hearts.
There is an exodus of many churches out of the downtown area of even the smallest cities. This is in hopes of attracting the younger population who no longer occupy the downtowns. To me this is unfortunate because I have always viewed the church as a solid rock of the community and a permanent fixture sort of like the Rock of Gibraltar. I haven’t noticed them moving Notre Dame Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. I haven’t heard of the Pope considering moving St Peter’s Basilica. Church’s are the bastions of the Christian faith and it’s gives me a sense of security to see them stable and firm in their foundation like a Mighty Fortress filled with an atmosphere of reverence where a thirsting soul may fine the quiet, still waters of communion with God.
As for me, I think I may just stay home in my Fortress of Solitude, which is an enclosed back porch that has large windows facing a serene setting of nature in my back yard. The stillness and quiet I experience there tunes my soul into the spirit of the Christ I knew as a child who was the embodiment of peace and serenity. It beats being in a building with a large group of loud, boisterous, highly emotional people who need a tranquilizer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In two weeks I shall retire after nearly fifty years in medicine. I hope I have helped some along the way because this was my intent. I have had many secondary rewards, the greatest of which has been teaching residents and medical students. Pride from positions I have held such as President of the Clinic, Chairman of Radiology, Board Examiner and others pales in comparison to the joy of teaching.
Even with the satisfaction of a fulfilling career, I have created some Frankensteins along the way. A few people and projects have come back to disappointment and even bite me, after being released into the world.
In 1818 Mary Shelly wrote the book Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus. Prometheus was a figure from Greek Mythology who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals to help them. The mortals, in some cases, used the fire for evil things. Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock and the eagles came each day and feasted on his liver. Because Prometheus was immortal his liver would heal itself and he lived on in misery.
The movies made Frankenstein into the figure we know today. Even in the movies he intended to be good but the treatment by the villagers turned him into something evil.
Basically, a Frankenstein is created with the intention of good, but turns out bad or evil. It’s a common scenario. Scientist and others are often so caught up in the excitement and challenge of creating something, they don’t think about the consequences of their creation. The result may be a Frankenstein.
I’m sure sorry for the few Frankensteins I have helped create. Some of mine still terrorize the hill on 31st St. in Temple. Some have moved on to terrorize others. I hope the good things and people, more than offset the bad ones.
My hope is that some of my Frankensteins will read this blog and think about the intent of their origin and change. I suspect this is probably not at all possible because I was working with a faulty brain or an imperfect idea from the beginning.
As for me, I will be leaving some of these evil creations July 1st and, hopefully, will be free from them in the sanctuary of my castle in Salado. I apologize to those left with some of the terrors but I remain confident that good and right will prevail.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

President George W. Bush has decided to move to Albania. It’s the only country left in the world that loves him or America. Bush was welcomed to Albania a few days ago like he was a rock star. They were waving banners and praising him. Those people love Democracy. People from Kosova also flood into Albania because they love Democracy.
Albania is a small country with Greece as it’s southern border. It has the Adriatic Sea as it’s west coast and the heel of Italy is directly across the water. If Italy flexed it’s leg the heel would kick Albania in the stomach. Since Albania is the only place where President Bush is praised he has decided to move there and let the terrorist take over Iraq and the US.
Bush has been doing his best to make people love him. At the G8 conference he even gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a neck massage. I hope their relationship goes no further than the massage. He sure doesn’t need another Monica Lewinsky situation on top of Iraq and all his other problems. Angela just isn’t worth it. .He probably should have given Vladimir Putin the neck massage rather than anger him with the missile shield proposal. It would be nice if he gave Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid a neck massage with a noose.
As for me, I’m still trying to locate Albania on the map. It is a very small place and hard to see on my globe. I’m sure glad they like us. I may even visit someday, I would like to see what is in the heel of Italy which is only a short distance across the water.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The events of the week related to Paris Hilton are unbelievable. She garnered more attention from the media than the G8 conference, launch of the space shuttle, the war in Iraq and Bush’s visit with the Pope. Maybe there is still some justice now that she is back in jail. With her behind bars, hopefully, the media can concentrate on other mayhem like the war and murders.
The thing that amazes me is the infatuation of the American public with celebrities. I’m as guilty as anyone. We have been to Santa Fe the past several summers. A couple of years ago I got the notion to see the grave of Billy the Kid, which is on the way but several mile off the main route. We spent a couple of hours making the trek to the grave and museum. Folks are not even sure he is buried there but there is a nice marker and museum honoring the thug. Billy the Kid was someone we would run from in real life. He was a hired killer. Today, if we saw someone like the character, in the picture above, we would run and likely call the police.
A few years ago, I also went in search of the grave of Sam Bass in Round Rock. He was a notorious train robber and killer. I spent the better part of an afternoon traipsing around a cemetery looking for his grave. I found it after several hours. The grave had a nice marker commemorating this killer who history has made the hero of Round Rock. I probably stepped over the graves of many an honest and God-fearing person, many of whom had done good deeds to serve their fellow man.
Paris Hilton is a little like Billy the Kid and Sam Bass. We are irrationally, obsessed with our infatuation of celebrities many of whom are worthless. Paris Hilton is only a spoiled brat who probably missed having time outs or a good old fashioned spanking when she was a child. She has done nothing noteworthy except be born rich, make a semi-porn video and star in a poor TV show, The Simple Life. Her figure is respectable but she is not endowed with other striking bits of anatomy like Anne Nicole Smith. What is it we see in her, any more than the average porn star?
Why do we pay so much attention to people like Billy the Kid, Sam Bass and Paris Hilton? I suspect it’s just a flaw in the brain, like making war, anger, jealousy, greed and similar characteristics that are prevalent in our species. Unfortunately, all these undesirable features seem to smother the one great attribute that occasionally tries to shines through, love. I am confident if we conducted a poll, less than 5% of those under age thirty would know about Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa. So much for doing good in the world and being remembered.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This one is truly unbelievable. Paris Hilton was released from jail after serving 3 days of her sentence. She was released because of an unspecified medical condition. She probably had a headache or the cramps. She is to wear an ankle bracelet detector for 40 days and stay home. The ankle bracelet is reported to be a monitor and I suspect is diamond studded.
This whole situation proves what I have known all my life. Money can do anything. If I had been arrested for drunk driving and had a parole violation I would have lost my job and been thrown into a rat infested dungeon with swill for food. It would have been a large, dark, damp room filled with violent criminals ready to abuse me.
The whole situation is just not right and is very unfair. No wonder the downtrodden want to riot. I may join them.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Multiple news media vans and hundreds of reporters and photographers are stationed outside the LA County Jail for the next 3 weeks. They are there to give hourly updates on the progress and well being of the latest celebrity inmate Paris Hilton. The LA County Jail is going all out to accommodate everyone associated with the famous Paris Hilton. The portion of the jail for celebrities has recently been renovated in hopes that the jail will be able to compete with the Rehah units in the area for the business of movies stars, police officers, politicians, public officials, ministers, mafia bosses and others in the trade who have to serve a sentence imposed by the court for some infraction of the law like murder or drunk driving. The jails are trying to regain the recognition they once enjoyed with high profile prisoners like OJ Simpson.
Reporters this morning said that Paris had a good night. She was allowed to wake at her usual hour of 10AM. She brushed her teeth with an American toothpaste rather than the Chinese.brand, “Breath Away,” issued to the blacks and other hardened criminals in the more distant part of the prison. She then had an odorless bowel movement and took a shower in a private stall. She was served a breakfast of Eggs Benedict with a Mimosa as the beverage. There are some restrictions about having her on bottle in the cell. Her mother and publicist who were able to accompany Paris, and are in adjacent cell, dined with her. Later today she will have her hair done and a pedicure. She will be able to watch HDTV this afternoon and then she will be forced to reflect on her life. She will dictate a few words to her editor who will collaborate on her upcoming book, “My Life in Prison.” The book is expected to an immediate best-seller and will be placed on the night stands in all Hilton Hotels along with the Gideon Bible and phone book.
Later this week, Paris will be entertaining visitors. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to visit and apologize for not granting her a pardon. He is also expected to praise her for not injuring anyone during her drunk driving escapades. He will assure her that he is attempting to force the legislature to pass a law that will reduce the punishment for parole violations to something like writing on the blackboard 100 times, “I am sorry.”
Following her release from jail in 3 weeks or perhaps sooner, with good behavior, she will be appearing on Larry King Live, David Letterman and The Tonight Show. Her book tour will take her around the country, so I’m sure we are going to be seeing a lot more of Paris.
As for me, I’m staying at home with the TV turned off and have canceled my newspaper subscription. Even with this I am sure the word will get through to me about Paris Hilton. I forgot to mention, who is Paris Hilton anyway?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A simple incident remembered after half a century helped stop a flood of tears today. A long closed door was opened.
When I was in Jr. High and High School I worked in a grocery store. It was hard work at the time and I was paid 45 cents an hour, finally making it to 60 cents my last year. I learned much in the store, not so much about groceries but about people. The owner of the store was a serious man who ran a tight ship and tolerated no foolishness. Many of the people, I see today, working in similar jobs, who are unwilling to help the customer or don’t seem to care would be fired in an instant by my old boss.
One of my main jobs was to stock the store on Tuesday evenings after the arrival of the grocery supply truck. I did this along with a fellow schoolmate. We were left in the store alone and locked in for our job. We didn’t dare open the door until the boss returned at the end of the evening. Only he had a key.
We must have been the fastest stockers in the world. The store aisles would be filled with empty boxes at the end of the evening when we finally drug home to bed. We would take one short break to grab a piece of bologna from the meat counter and open a can of peaches for our evening meal.
One evening we decided to step out back for a moment to drain the juice from a can of peaches. As we both exited the door to the forbidden outside a vacuum effect slammed the door closed behind us. We were trapped outside with no means of reentry. Someone had to call the boss. As the oldest of the two, I was elected to make the call from a service station across the street. It was one of the most frightening chores of my life. The boss came, unlocked the door for us and didn’t say a word. It wasn’t necessary for him to speak. The slamming of that door was sufficient reprimand. As the years past and I matured, I realized he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. He became one of my heroes and a role model. He was probably laughing inside about the incident, but it was years before I could crack a smile or keep from trembling when I heard the sound of a slamming door.
My friend and I went separate ways. I went into medicine and he chose dentistry. We both married high school sweethearts. We raise families and had successful, busy careers. Awards were won, responsible positions held, life and death situations dealt with and fortunes secured. Over 50 years lapsed and today I learned he was killed in an auto accident near Temple. His wife was severely injured and transported to our hospital.
I visited her today. After announcing myself, we held hands with tears beginning to well as we talked about her husband and old times. She immediately recalled the story of the lock out and how many times her husband had told the story with a big laugh. We both broke into a smile, the tears stopped and we were able to talk about our lives.
After all these years, I am most thankful for that frightening incident. It taught me a great deal about life and at last I can laugh. More importantly, I am reunited in spirit with my friend of so many years ago.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It’s a privilege to write a few words about such a delightful book as “Sandhills Boy.” This is the autobiography of one of my favorite authors. Elmer Kelton is the writer of stories of the West, especially his home in west Texas. He has been voted the “Best Western Writer of All Times” by fellow western writers. He has written over 50 novels and has received seven Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America. He doesn’t say anything about his many accomplishments in this heart-warming memoir. The book is more about the wonderful people in his life, who have been the source for many of his stories.
Kelton’s books are not about gunslingers but ordinary people in a vanished but colorful part of our history. All of his books incorporate this wonderful history into the lives of the characters and the fascinating stories he tells. These are stores much different than those by other greats like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. Most adventure and western stories are about larger than life characters who are, as Kelton says. “seven feet tall and invincible.” Kelton says, “my characters are five-eight and nervous.”
Kelton’s characters cope with issues of the time, which are also some of our current issues. He writes about the vanishing culture of the cowboy in ‘The Good Old Boys.” He tells of the great drought and its effect on ranching and how tough ranchers like Charlie Flagg survived in these harsh times in his masterpiece, ‘The Time it Never Rained.” He writes about prejudice as he tells the story of a great black cowboy in “Wagon-Tongue.” He tells about working conditions and a strike by the cowboys in, “The Day the Cowboys Quit.” The source of these great stories and characters is unveiled in this refreshing memoir, ‘Sandhills Boy.”
It’s also about the love of his life , Anni the Austrian girl, he met when he was a GI in Germany during World War II. He tells of their life together in west Texas, his work on the newspaper as a reporter of ranching activities while he honed his craft of spinning great western stories.
I would highly recommend this great little book even if you are not a reader who appreciates the Western genre. I’m quite sure if anyone reads “The Time it Never Rained or “The Good Old Boys” they will be hooked on Kelton’s brand of the western story. “The Sandhills Boy” is about how that brand came to be. I have read about 10 or 12 of his books and look forward to reading the rest. The sad day will be when I have read them all, but I can then look forward to starting all over again.