Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween has been my favorite holiday for about as long as I can remember. I became strongly attracted to my future soul mate well over 50 years ago at a Halloween party. I guess that’s one of the main reasons the holiday is so meaningful to me. Through the years we trick or treated with our kids, made spook houses, dressed in funny costumes, made tasty food and many other things to celebrate this important holiday. The grandkids followed with the same activities. Now in the autumn of my years everyone is growing up and going their own way. I am about the only kid still celebrating.
We had fewer trick or treaters this year. Some of this may have been because Halloween fell in the middle of the week. There should be a law that states Halloween should only be celebrated on Friday or Saturday night rather than a school night.
Some would have us eliminate this unholy day altogether. Christian fundamentalist say it’s a sinful thing to celebrate. These are the same people who hate Harry Potter. The Russians have banned the celebration in their schools. They say it includes religious elements and makes a mockery of death. Russian psychiatrist say it is destructive for the mind. The fact that the Russians are so opposed to the holiday is reason enough to celebrate.
Many adults and intellectuals scoff at Halloween. This is also the group who don’t believe in ghost and witches. Most of them don’t even believe in Santa Claus. Can you imagine that? It’s a pitiful thing to have the spirit of childhood extinguished. It only serves to dull the imagination and spoil a lot of fun in life.
As for me, I celebrate the spirit of Halloween almost everyday on the porch. I hope to be handing out candy for a few more years. Just wish they would pass a law for it to be on the weekend. If one of the Presidential candidates proposes this as part of his or her platform, he/she is the one who gets my vote. Democrat, Republican, black, white, male, female; it doesn’t matter.

Watching the World Series, I was reminded of the names of teams and their mascots. It’s interesting that the Boston Red Soxs do not appear to be wearing red socks. Where did the name come from? Apparently, at one time baseball uniforms had stockings and Boston wore red ones. The newspaper writers abbreviated stocking to sox and thus the name Boston Red Soxs.
Even though they don’t wear the stockings they have at least stayed out of trouble with the name. Mascot and team names like Wildcats, Tigers, Lions, are politically correct because the animals can’t put up a fuss. If they were named after a dog then the animal rights people would be all over them. Even names that recognize something distinctive about the area of the team is okay, such as Astros and Rockies.
The names that have caused a great deal of controversy are the ones making reference to Native Americans. The Native Americans consider the names Indians, Braves, Chiefs and Redskins disrespectful and offensive. They are just not politically correct in this day and time.
Some of the public schools in our area have names that seem a little weird for a ferocious mascot. Names like Hutto Hippos and Taylor Ducks seem pretty wimpy. You have to have a great team to be labeled with a name like that.
When I was a kid, The House of David Baseball Team came to my hometown to play our semipro team. It was a great site to see these guys with long hair and beards playing baseball. The beards and hair were the main attraction for the crowd and the stadium was filled. Very little was said about their religion. Since these guys looked a lot like Jesus I thought he might have played on the team at one time. To me, they were a very special team and it was an honor to see them. It was the first time that I really didn’t care if our hometown lost. As a matter of fact, I would have been disappointed if we had won. Those guys have disappeared from the scene and I‘m sure they would be politically incorrect today.
On the porch I do more reminiscing than the actual watching of sporting events. So, even if they change some of the Native American names, they will always be the Indians, Chiefs, Braves and Redskins to me. Those names conjure up an image, in my mind, of a team that is indeed brave, strong and tough to beat.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Everything seems to change. I guess change is necessary for growth and survival. Medicine has radically changed in the past 50 years. Music, TV shows, and even religious services have changed. Some of the changes I like, others I hate.
One thing, which hasn’t changed a great deal through the years, is the game of baseball. I’m not a big sports fan until time for the playoffs and then I get a little interested. I have never been a year around fan of any of the sports because my team is never a winner. When you are a graduate of Baylor you become accustomed to losing and never get excited about sporting events. I did follow the Dallas Cowboys, at one time, when they were America’s team and before the players became drug crazed felons with an ego-manic for an owner.
Watching the World Series made me reflect on baseball of the past. It’s very similar to Babe Ruth’s day. There are some differences. Today, the players are more powerful and can hit more home runs than the Babe because they are filled with steroids. All the players in Babe’s time chewed tobacco and, as a result, developed cancer of the mouth and tongue. One good thing is that they have now all switched to bubble gum. It’s sort of funny watching grown men with a big wad of gum, blowing bubbles. They still spit a lot.
Another change is that many players wear long hair and look pretty scruffy. Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams looked pretty clean cut. Joe was good enough for Marilyn Monroe and Ted Williams was so good looking they froze his body. Babe was a little pudgy but he kept his haircut.
Much of the other stuff about baseball is the same. They still play that weird organ music, eat hot dogs and drink beer. The seventh inning stretch is about the same, except for singing stars who can’t carry a tune to sing some of the traditional songs. They need to masquerade behind their loud guitars and stage smoke.
The biggest change in baseball is that the players make millions of dollars a year. Even the worse players make millions. A single pitch is worth thousands of dollars. With all that added expense, I’m not sure the game is any better. I enjoyed seeing the little semipro team in my hometown as much as the Boston Red Soxs. To tell the truth, it is sort of a boring game unless you are the one doing the playing.
Anyway, I’m happy baseball is something that hasn’t changed much since my childhood. Even though it is a little boring, the lights were burning on the porch until the last pitch and they had wasted thousands of dollars for champagne to celebrate the victory. They don’t drink the stuff but just spew it all over each other. On the rare occasion of a Baylor win we would drink or spew Dr. Pepper. I think the part of the World Series I liked the most was the champagne spewing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The response of the human body to noise and loudness is very similar to the way it handles many drugs. The more the body is exposed to noise and loudness; the higher the dose is required to produce a desired effect. We seem to develop an immunity or resistance that requires a higher and higher level of stimulus.
Kids are no longer entertained by quiet board games but require action Nintendo videos. Explosions and crashes are the stars of TV and movies.
The high noise level addiction sure applies to news broadcast. Gone are the days when we had calm, straight-forward, relevant news reporting from folks like Huntley-Brinkley and Walter Cronkite. Delivering the news has become fast-paced entertainment with intense competition between the networks. There are panels of so-called experts interrupting and screaming at each other. All sorts of meaningless junk clutters the news. The local news is mostly about the killings, wrecks and sex abuse cases in a local area. The weather is a spectacular show of charts with lines and arrows pointing in different directions indicating highs, lows and other meteorological jargon. All I want to know is whether it’s going to rain or freeze tomorrow. Frequently, that pertinent piece of weather information is inaccurate. I have found the best piece of weather equipment to be the window.
The sportscast is delivered in a rapid fire, breathless manner and the newscast ends with the anchors laughing and giggling over some small talk. Of course, the biggest part of the news is the commercials. We are brainwashed about cars and pickups of every variety.
The only sensible newscast remaining is the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. That one is still great and the only one airing on the porch. You never hear names like, OJ, Lohan. Montana, Hilton or Nichole whatever. Jim Lehrer is part of my dull life but his great books are very exciting and some of my favorites. His latest, Eureka is fantastic. His books have nothing to do with the news and it’s hard to believe they come from Jim Lehrer. They are all very entertaining and worthwhile reads. So far, he has written about seventeen novels.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The cold and cough remedies have been removed from the shelves in the past few days. It has finally been discovered that these drugs are not very effective and do not cure the common cold. They can be harmful if given in massive doses, which some mothers do in an attempt to comfort a sick child. Years ago, when I was a General Practioner, most of these drugs were given only by prescription. They were not available over the counter. I prescribed gallons of Triaminic and Robitussin. Even Benadry required a prescription. One of these days someone is going to blow the whistle on all the vitamins and herbal drugs. None of these have scientific proof of being effective, but are taken by the truckload everyday. People swear by them. We are a drug-crazed culture. We need a pill for everything. Pills to calm us down and pep us up; pills to clean our arteries and neutralize the acid in our stomachs; pills to increase the libido and erect certain organs; pills to make us baseball heroes and Olympic gold medal winners; there is a pill for almost everything. Doctors have also greatly abused drugs by over prescribing for everything. Penicillin and other antibiotics have been prescribed for colds and other viruses for years because the patient expects something from the doctor for that expensive office visit. As a result, bacteria have developed resistant strains such as the now popular MRSA. This is a very lethal strain of the staph bacteria which caused more deaths last year than AIDS. It’s interesting that we don’t see Elizabeth Taylor or other movies stars doing big fund raisers for MRSA like they have done for AIDS. Maybe it’s because MRSA is a germ which affects us common folks rather than gay actors.
There is no cure for the common cold. Rest and chicken soup are about as good as anything for relief. I usually take an Actifed or two but now I have to give my drivers license to the people to purchase the stuff. Drug users apparently use Actifed and similar drugs to make methamphetamine. The drug stores must now keep track of everyone who purchases these drugs in hopes of catching potential addicts and illegal drug manufacturers. I fell like a criminal when I purchase Actifed so I have quit using it or anything else for my infrequent colds.
My mother had the most effective cold medicine. When I was a kid, we kept a little whiskey in the house for medicinal purposes and to lace the egg nog at Christmas. When I got a cold, my mother would rub Vicks Salve on my chest and give me a hot toddy. The hot toddy is made from a little whiskey, lemon, sugar and hot water. It’s a great remedy and I always enjoyed getting a cold except for the Vicks Salve.
Since I’m on the porch most of the time and out of contact with the rest of the world I hardly ever get a cold anymore. I am sort of looking forward to getting one this winter. Since I can’t get the cold medicines anymore, without a lot of trouble and embarrassment, I’m going to try my mother’s sure cure. At least I will enjoy the misery. I’m glad my mother taught me about this great cure, but if she were alive today the Child Protective Service people would probably accuse of her of child abuse. They would also be down on her for using the switch rather than Ritalin.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We have tried to visit the Presidential Libraries and birthplaces during our travels. In the past several years we have seen most of them. Visiting each one is a great experience and a tremendous lesson in history. A lesson I have learned is that each president, regardless of political party, was trying to do what was right for the country. Their actions are commonly influenced by factors that are unexpected and have little to do the political agenda of the party. Their decisions are sort of like what I recently learned about the three day battle of Gettysburg. I always thought great military strategies were employed in this battle, but that really wasn’t the case. Most of the actions by the generals were reactions to a particular action or position of the enemy. The same goes for the presidents. Wars, terrorist acts and world wide economic factors often influence presidential decisions more than a promise or position during an election campaign. Personal problems or a bad decision will overshadow the good a president may have accomplished. The Monica Lewinsky affair completely consumed President Clinton and greatly detracted from his presidency.
Our most recent visit was to the Clinton Library in Little Rock. This library is located adjacent to the Arkansas River next to an old rusting iron bridge that is no longer in use. The linear configuration of the library, from a distance, looks like a new bridge being constructed to replace the old structure. This is exactly the theme Bill Clinton wishes to convey. The theme of the library is, “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century.” This statement came from a debate with Bob Dole. Dole said he wished to be a bridge to the past. Clinton countered with, “he wished to be a bridge to the 21st century.”
The library contains impressive replicas of the cabinet room and the oval office. A large wing on the library contains a “Timeline.” The timeline is broken down into each year of the Clinton years in the White House. There is also a special exhibit on the Civil Rights struggle and what each president did during his administration. The Emancipation Proclamation had recently been on loan to the library for this special exhibit.
The grounds are very impressive and overlook the Arkansas River. My main criticism is that the gift shop is located off the site of the library, but we still .managed to spend some dollars there. I was also a little disappointed that Monica’s dress was not on exhibit. If the dress was on display the crowds would be unmanageable.
A trip to the Clinton Library is worth the time. It’s another great lesson in American history. I have to read quite a few books on the porch to get the information I managed to absorb in a couple of hours from the visit. The books also have a hard time conveying the theme of the bridge to the 21st century. There is simply nothing like seeing it. All the libraries and presidential sites we have visited sure make history more meaningful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The roads on maps are usually shown as red or blue lines. Most often, the red lines are the big interstate highways. The blue lines are frequently the state roads and are smaller. A guy once wrote a book about traveling on the blue highways. The blue ones are less traveled and more interesting. The red ones, these days, are also the ones with the 18-wheelers and are race tracks filled with rude drivers.
If I wrote a book about highways, it would be about the thin line highways. These are the ones that may not even be shown on some maps. It has to be a detailed map of the state to have these thin line roads and the color is usually a faint black. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell the color. These are definitely the roads less traveled and take you through the small towns that still have some character about them. They usually go right through the middle of town and sometimes circle the courthouse square. These places have a lot of service stations and auto parts stores as well as junk stores that are pretty beat up in appearance. Folks in these towns must own several old cars per family that are in constant need of repair. The, once upon a time, stores in these places have the fronts boarded and look like a movie set for a ghost town. In the 1930’s and 40’s the streets in these small towns were filled on Saturday’s when the farmers came to do their weeks trading.
Today, there are none of the usual line of big chain retail stores or restaurants in these places of the past. McDonald’s used to be located in the larger cities but may occasionally be found in the smaller places. Dairy Queen’s are the most common eating establishment. A WalMart may rarely be located on the edge of town but more likely Dollar General will we the big outfit in town.
These thin line roads are almost always two-lane. That’s the reason they are shown as a thin line. There is never an 18-wheeler on these roads but a lot more pickups. The biggest nuisance is to get behind a slow moving piece of farm equipment or a truck loaded with those huge round bales of hay. If it weren’t for cows eating all that hay the grass would take over and be as high as the moon. I hope we never stop eating beef.
The thin line roads are definitely slower but sure a lot more fun. The scenery is great and it’s refreshing to know that some places still exist that have an identity. The newest and best looking building in most of these places is the school, and it’s best to always go the speed limit when the yellow light is blinking.
The thin highways are sure not for those in a hurry. They are for the ones who just want to savor the countryside and the people who inhabit it. They are especially made for folks like me, who enjoy the porch and just rocking. Whenever possible, I travel the thin highways. Whenever I stop at the Dairy Queen in a small town, I try to eavesdrop on the conversations of the customers. They talk about the weather, the local football team and other interesting stuff. It’s the same kind of conversation I enjoy for the porch.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Who is Hannah Montana? I will have to ask my granddaughters. They will laugh at me for not knowing this popular star, but I bet they never heard of Kate Smith (pictured in black & white), Jeannete McDonald or Gisele MacKenzie.
Hannah Montana must be the hottest thing on stage these days. The tickets to her concerts are sold out before they go on sale. The tickets that have a face value of $25-$60 are being sold on e-bay and by scalpers for up to a $1000. They are averaging between $200-$400. This ticket scam is currently under investigation by Attorney Generals in several states.
I know Hannah is the idol now, but is she worth that much? I just hope she doesn’t go the way of Britney, Lindsey and others.
In my day it was Kate, Jeanette and Gisele. Kate Smith made the song God Bless America famous. That was back in the days when God was part of America. I heard Jeannete McDonald on the radio in the days before television was invented. When TV came in, the big star on the Hit Parade was Gisele MacKenzie. By today’s standards these ladies would be considered corny, but I liked them anyway. I also liked guys such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry rather than most of the rock stars. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were my favorites. I was able to tolerate Elvis but my time ended with him.
It’s easy to see why I stay on the porch. Folks tend to laugh at my world but it’s sure good not to pay $1000 for a ticket to hear a bunch of people scream and see smoke and noise bellowing from the stage.

I take total responsibility for my blogs. I am the sole author. My wife sometimes checks them quickly for grammar and there is a lot of checking to do with my stuff. We will get into minor arguments about a sentence because correct grammar sometimes interferes with the way I want to express myself about a topic. I write the blog so fast that spelling is often neglected, sometimes I know what is correct but my fingers are not connected to my brain.
I did write a blog several months ago that was co-authored with a bright and talented medical student. I never published it because there were a few statements of mine, which could have been interpreted as his and produced some grief. At my age and retired status, I don’t worry about grief from my statements. I’m not running for anything. From some of my statements I should probably consider running from some things, but have a pretty protective barrier here on the porch.
Anyway, this student and I wrote about arrogance. When we were working together, we decided that this is one of the things we dislike the most, especially in physicians. As a matter of fact, we abhor it. It’s a condition that is prevalent in doctors. My student friend, who is a great comedian, told me a humorous one-liner. “What is the difference between God and a doctor? God does not think he is a doctor.”
Arrogance is carefully bred into the physician to be. Starting with their parents they are told how smart they are, and are stroked for every little thing they do. They are made to believe they are smarter and better than anyone else and that MD degree means magic degree that will get them a ticket to anything their heart may desire. Life and death are in their hands, so they become God. If God does think he is a doctor, I’m checking out of heaven to be with better company even though the climate may be a little warm.
Recently, a young physician visited me on the porch. He is very bright, but has encountered many personal problems in recent years. He was seeking advice and some direction. He has an aura of arrogance about him. My recommendation was for him to strip this away. His arrogance is acting as a façade to cover his problems. Hopefully, he will heed the advice, but it’s going to be hard. Arrogance is so deeply ingrained into the personality, it’s difficult to cure. It’s like some diseases which never go away, but hopefully can be managed.
I wish more folks had the opportunity to sit on the porch. There is sure no reason to be arrogant there. It might even help people like the president.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October is always a spooky month. As Ray Bradbury says, “it’s when the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusk and twilight linger and midnights stay”. It’s a time when we conjure up images of scary creatures and it all culminates with my favorite holiday, Halloween. This year there are more scary creatures than usual, namely the Presidential candidates. At the top of the list is Barack Obama.
The Bible speaks about an Antichrist in the latter days. Obama seems to fit the description in Revelations and Daniel. Recently, he talked to a crowd in South Carolina about the power of faith and salvation and he wants to be an instrument of God to create a kingdom right here on earth. Obama has a Muslim background but now claims to be a Christian. He is very charismatic with a silver tongue and has an appeal to all groups. It would be easy to mistake him for some messiah like figure.
He has been inspired by the preaching of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who talks about white supremacy and black repression. He says we cannot understand God unless we are black or poor.
The Bible says the Antichrist speaks with enormous presence and influence. The content of his words relate to great things and he will, at first, attract multitudes of adoring, worshiping followers. He will seem to provide people a relief from the secularism and godlessness of this age but this security will corrupt many.
I certainly hope we elect a president who is a Christian but at the same time one who believes in separation of church and state. Everyone should be free to worship as they see fit, without government interference.
All of the candidates make this October more scary than usual. I may wear an Obama mask for trick or treating this year. In the meantime, I have draped the porch with cloves of garlic, crosses and mirrors. These have help ward off Dracula in the past and may help keep the presence of Obama at bay. The best thing is to keep the TV off, except for Turner Classic Movies. The stars of TCM were patriotic, unlike many current anti-American entertainers. Frankenstein and Dracula are great ones to watch this time of year. Neither one of these guys aspired to be president and are a lot less threatening than the folks we see debating on other networks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yesterday, we had lunch with a couple of our best friends on the planet. The week before I attended my high school reunion. Last week, I also attended a picnic for the retired physicians and other co-workers at Scott & White. The lunch yesterday was at the plush Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop. The resort is located on the Colorado River and close to the famous Lost Pines Forest State Park. After lunch we drove down to Bastrop to get a better look at the pines. Those pines reminded me of the friendships that I had revisited in the past week. They have stood the test of time and were rooted in a soil conducive to their growth and long-term health. Many of the pines I saw lining the roadway of the great resort were transplanted and look pretty sickly and anemic. I doubt if they will grow into the rich, green hearty variety found only a few miles away. The soil for the hearty pines contains a magical ingredient that is difficult to duplicate by science or in a foreign place.
The pine trees of Bastrop are located over 100 miles west of the rich pine forest of East Texas. They are sequestered in a belt of oak and other hardwood. Archeologist and geologist say they are some sort of anomalous remnant of the Ice Age. It could be said that the pines are proof that there was another period of global warming. A little further south, there is a similar oasis of maple trees that make you think you are in New England as you stroll through them with the other tourist.
The transplanted pines at the Hyatt Resort have bags tied around the trunks, probably containing nutrients to promote growth and simulate conditions of those a few miles away. They are pale, pitiful looking things compared to the ones I grew up with in East Texas. Hopefully, they will make it with tender loving care, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s sort of like when I lived in Hawaii and Maryland. These were beautiful places but I had trouble taking root. My long time friends from Hawaii and Maryland are ones who share common interest. The common interest with those friends, not the beautiful sites, has been our bond. Folks born in a place are usually bonded there for life; just like the bond of the East Texas pines and my high school friends. The place of birth and common interest are the essential elements for human bonding and friendship.
Guess, the reason I like the porch so much is that I was raised on one during a time in which they were popular. I would surely recommend visiting the Hyatt Resort, but not because of the pines which are a little disappointing. The porch is especially nice there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Congress passed, then President Bush vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill. This legislation would provide health care for 10 million uninsured children at an added cost of 35 Billion per year. President Bush said it is too costly and a move to socialized medicine. He thinks we should concentrate on providing coverage to the poor and wants to compromise with Congress. As for now, Congress is unwilling to compromise and is gearing up to override his veto.
I sure want to provide care for the kids but Bush may have some points. My biggest reason not to support the bill is that the AMA is for it. They are generally opposed to any legislation that even smells like socialized medicine.
To oppose this bill is like being against apple pie and motherhood. Even though it may be too costly and will lead us even more rapidly to the inevitability of a single payer system (the federal government), the President’s veto is another nail in the coffin of the Republican Party. It is a virtual certainly that Hillary Clinton will be the next president and an equal certainty that universal heath coverage will become a reality. The Iraq War was enough to have done the Republicans in, but the veto of SCHIP sealed their fate.
It’s sort of nice that the rest of the nation will be able to join me on the porch and not have to work. Fortunately, the government will be taking care of all our needs. I was just born too early. I had to do something called work to finally earn the privilege of sitting on the porch. I must admit that I was born a privileged child in that I had a brain and was given the eye of the tiger by my family to survive and achieve. We sure didn’t have much money and nothing coming from the government. I was also lucky that I didn’t get sick very often. My mother was my primary care physician. She was armed with Vicks salve, Syrup Pepsin and Mercurochrome; that took care of most everything. Also, a doctor’s office call, in my day, was only a couple of dollars and they even came to the house. So, because most folks aren’t fortunate enough to have a mother like mine and modern medical care is so incredibly expensive, I would have to say I would support the SCHIP bill. My main problem is agreeing with the AMA.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Most of my life has been devoted to medicine. My hobby has been the history of medicine. It’s a profession I have loved, but experience and the study of history have made me aware that physicians have made some pretty stupid mistakes and even in this modern era continue to blunder.
When visiting the Presidential homes and Civil War sites, I am always most interested in what happened medically. It’s frightening to know what happened in the Civil War. There were over 600,000 deaths in that conflict. 400,000 of the deaths were due to disease or complications from wounds. The mortality rate for amputation of a major extremity was 80%. The doctors had no concept of the germ theory of disease and spread infection by the use of unsterile instruments and simply not washing their hands between patients.
Pictured above is George Washington on his deathbed. He developed a sore throat and fever and died within a couple of days, He was surrounded by his doctors who were bleeding him and doing other useless and harmful things to make his exodus miserable. The doctors were acting out of ignorance. Doctors in Washington’s day could do very little other than hold your hand. Washington is said to have died of quinsy. This is a medical term no longer used but represented a peritonsillar abscess. This is a collection of pus around the tonsil, which today would be treated with antibiotics and possible drainage. Doctors now believe that Washington most likely had epiglottitis. This is a serious infection of the epiglottis which produces marked swelling and obstruction of the upper airway. It’s caused by the bacteria Haemophilis. It is treated with antiobiotics but there is now a vaccine which prevents this dreaded infection.
The most stupid blunder in the medical care of presidents was with James Garfield. Garfield, our twentieth president, was assassinated by Charles Gaileau. He was shot, with the bullet lodging adjacent to an upper lumbar vertebra. Doctors, with their unsterile hands, repeatedly probed the wound in search of the bullet. Alexander Graham Bell even tried to localize the bullet electronically. It took Garfield about a couple of month to die from sepsis because of the mismanagement by his physicians. He would probably have lived if he had simply been left alone. The bullet did not need to be removed. At his trial, Gaileau pleaded insanity. He readily admitted that he shot President Garfield but his doctors were the ones who killed him. Gaileau was right, but hung anyway.
Unfortunately doctors continue to blunder. That’s the reason they call it the Practice of Medicine.
Medical errors are a big cause of death. Also, conflicting medical information can be just as harmful as hands on treatment. On one hand the public is told that alcohol will prevent heart attacks and the next thing they hear is that alcohol is a cause of breast cancer. What is the public to do with conflicting and confusing medical information? Are we sure we want universal health coverage?
Today we learned that most of the cold remedies for children are unsafe and may be taken off the market. Doctors are simply recommending saline drops, humidifiers and chicken soup for the most common of medical illnesses. Next, they will be going back to blood letting.
As for me. I’m staying on the porch and hopefully learning something from medical history. I’m keeping the TV off and not listening to all the drug advertisements. The TV ads told be how great Vioxx was, then I learned it could kill me. Who am I to believe these days?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Through the years, I have noticed it takes more and more to stimulate people’s interest. It takes explosions, car crashes and steamy sex scenes in movies to hold our interest. I have observed my grandkids in movies and they don’t even flinch when someone is being bludgeoned or hacked to death. They don’t even blink when a scary figure makes the scene. I don’t know how they can stand to watch golf or poker games on TV.
There are some boring topics and events that confront us in daily life. The most boring subject today is global warming and the debate over whether man made carbon emissions are having a detrimental effect on climate. It takes a tidal wave or a devastating hurricane to get our attention, then we quickly forget about it. Global warming makes a good bedtime story to put kids to sleep and may even be used to disperse mobs rather than high-pressure water from fire hoses.
The Presidential debates are a pretty boring event. I think, even the participants are bored. Some sermons I have heard rank high on the most boring list. The above picture shows all the characteristic signs of boredom. There is a blank stare into outer space, the eyes droop and the mind wanders into a maze of disassociated thoughts. Boredom can be as effective as an anesthetic without the nausea.
Viewing photos and slides of somebody else’s vacation can be as bad as a dry sermon or a lecture on medieval history. People try and break the boredom by talking about when they saw the same place or what else they saw when making the same trip. I recently tried to spice my vacation pictures by making a slideshow with music and even added interesting tid-bits of historic information. It didn’t work. I still couldn’t hold the attention of most of the family. For someone to be interested they have to be personally involved. Just a picture of Old Faithful won’t work unless it shows somebody being scalded to death or blown away by the geyser.
I miss my old collie dog. He used to listen to the stories of my trips and look at the photos. He seemed to enjoy the experience, but then, he enjoyed most everything as long as it was with his humans.
From now on, I think I will just show my pictures over and over to myself while rocking on the porch. Reminiscing is a very pleasant thing, even when done in solitude. I guess it’s just part of senile rapture.