Monday, June 29, 2009

We need escapes or diversions to take our mind off the troubles of the world. During the depression, movies and comics were very popular because they took our mind off poverty, unemployment and the many other horrible problems of the time. Fiction was popular and new genres like science fiction and fantasy were born. The comics were also a rage as well as new expressions of music such as the big bands.

We are all mourning the death of Michael Jackson, King of Pop. He deserves to be praised even though he apparently had a dark side with drugs. He is much like Elvis, Princess Diana and others we have mourned. Part of our exuberant overflowing of grief and emotion over his death is a diversion from our troubled times. Even though sad, it’s a brief respite from Iran, North Korea, the economy and all the other bad news in the world.

There was once a cartoon character called a Kigmie. These were little creatures who loved to be kicked by humans. After being kicked they would come back for more because they loved to be kicked around and humans loved to do the kicking. The Kigmie was a salvation for the human race. They were a minority who loves to be kicked around. They were actually part football, part balloon and part homing-pigeon. They were an ugly little creature and it was fun for the humans to take out their frustrations on these little live creatures who loved to be abused and did not retaliate. They were the solution to racism and wars. The humans didn’t need each other to kick around anymore when they had the Kigmies. The trouble with the Kigmie is that they were only a cartoon character. We have pets that we can love but what we really need in real life is a Kigmie to kick around.

I think it would also be nice to have Diemes. These could be live lovable little creatures with fatal diseases that could die for us when times got bad so we could have a diversion and be able to cry and grieve to get our minds off the troubles of the world. The creatures could even be made to have fatal accidents and other forms of violent death that humans love to see then grieve about. There of course would be no repercussions from their deaths like lawsuits and such. They would exist only to die and give humans the needed emotional relief of grieving.

As I sit on my porch and observe the deer eating my plants I’m trying to think of a role they might play in helping vent some of our emotions. Frequently, we feel so much anger about all the things happening around us like driving, shopping, calling a business on the phone, working, etc., we need something to kill. The deer would be perfect for this. Deer could simply be renamed killmes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

America’s icon of weirdness, Michael Jackson, has died at age 50. He has been a Pied Piper of weirdness and led much of our society in that direction. I have watched him since the beginning and he has had an every changing appearance. His skin has become whiter, his nose thinner and his lips redder. He is best identified by his aviator sunglasses; strands of curled hair hanging in his face; a single gloved hand; a short, tight military jacket; spider like legs; narrow feet ready for dancing and someone holding an open umbrella over him as he make his way through the crowd. They say he died of a cardiac arrest. Everyone dies of cardiac arrest. Most dead people’s hearts aren’t beating and that was apparently the situation when the paramedics arrived. I seriously doubt if underlying heart disease was the cause of his demise.

Lately, he has been embroiled in controversy with child sex scandals and financial problems. At one time, he even dangled his child out over a high balcony and made the watching world gasp. His weirdness may be the greatest reason for his success. In our society, you have to be eccentric or weird to be noticed and admired. With all that, he has probably made one of the best music videos, ever. Thriller was a sensation and even I liked it.

It has been a week of shocks. Farrah Fawcett died, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina disappeared only to resurface and admit he was having an affair with a woman from Argentina and then we have watched the brutality in Iran over the elections. It’s more than a body can stand. On top of all this, I have observed the debate over healthcare as it moves to a single payer system under the government. The temperature has also been over 100 every day this week, which befits the state of the world.

As for me, I’m just staying on the air-conditioned porch reading four books at once to keep my mind off all the mayhem. I have been reading about a Texas frontier doctor and naturalist, Gideon Lincecum, who lived during the time of the Civil War. The guy was a genius. He had lived among the Indians and learned many of their ways. I read about how he found a fawn in the forest and then shot it’s mother. I read this account of the fawn as I observed three new fawn in my back yard and watched their mothers eat my plants. All I can say is that Gideon Lincecum was my kind of guy. I guess I just like weird people, even Michael Jackson.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama’s healthcare proposal is steamrolling through Congress and we may soon have universal healthcare. This is something numerous Presidents have tried but failed. Most everything is right for this to be a go, namely the Democrats control Congress as well as the Presidency. This may be a strong indicator that we should have a one party system with a Dictator or King.

The proposal is that we have a public program to compete with the private insurance. There is no way that private insurance can compete. This proposal is government or socialized medicine. This is probably the best thing, because in the long run we are going to die anyway and there is no need for medicine to meddle with the process.

The public insurance plan will not keep the doctors from making a bundle. They are masters of fraud and abuse along with the administrators of hospitals. As long as nothing is done to curtail overutilization of medical services the cost will continue to be high. Doctors are experts at overutilization to make a profit. A recent article in the New Yorker explained the problem very beautifully.

The bottom line is that this public program is going to cost a bundle and the bundle is going to come from the taxpayer. Cost is now 2.3 trillion dollars a year, which is around $8000 per person. In McAllen, Texas the cost is $15,000 a year. The reason is not that the patients are sicker or that people are getting better care. The cost in El Paso, which has the same demographics as McAllen is around the national average of $8000 per year. Interestingly, at the Mayo Clinic, which is the best care in the country, the cost is around $4000 per year. Why? The doctors at Mayo are on a salary and the ones at McAllen or entrepreneurs who are unleashed with the financial incentive to milk the system for all its worth. The doctors at McAllen, along with the band of thieves in the AMA, claim it’s their right to practice the way they do. No, it’s not right to rape the public in the guise of providing healthcare. The Mayo model is the one for us to follow. There are several healthcare systems like Mayo around the country and like it or not we have one in our front yard.

Even though I’m retired I still have my medical license that may be used like a robbers mask. I’m thinking about building an extension on the porch for a CT scanner. With everyone being insured I may open for business to scan to my hearts content or till my wallet overflows. I’m good at thinking up medical justifications or reasons to get the scan and naturally everybody would want a scan after I do a little advertising on TV to let folks know how much they need one to enhance their libido and things like that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The recent elections in Iran seem to be a joke and there are a lot of dissatisfied people. Today, everything was apparently put to rest because the Supreme Leader or the anointed one has spoken and told everyone to cool it. Ayatoliah Ali Khamenei is the Holy One in Iran. He was apparently appointed by Allah and what he says goes.

I think Ayatoliah got his job because he was actually called by the Muslim God, Allah. Some say he is the same God as the Christian God who sent his son Jesus to earth. The Muslims think this is the same God but that Jesus was just a prophet. The Jews believe this may be the same God but they don’t believe Jesus was his son and the stuff about Muhammad being a prophet is also incorrect. There are scholars on all sides who can argue their point of view. All three religions believe this is the God of Abraham.

It has always amazed me how everybody thinks they are right. There are so many Christian denominations and versions of what is right, no one can even give you the actual number. The leaders of each Christian Church claim that God has “called” them. Every preacher I have known claims they were “called.” They are also called from one church to another but as an outsider, it has always seemed to me that more pay and a bigger church in a bigger town has something to do with it.

Anyway, for a guy like me it’s hard to figure out who is right and who God is actually calling. Somebody is not telling the truth. I must admit that from time to time I think I may have heard God but it wasn’t in some audible voice or a bright light. It wasn’t in church where I have trouble hearing anything above the ranting and screams of the preacher. Sometimes in church, I have felt as if I was in the presence of God especially when things were quiet or sometimes even in an empty church. My hearing has been in very quiet places like the porch when I was in a meditative mode and an inner voice in the form of a dominant or prevailing thought helped me come to a conclusion. I’m sure the preachers and the Ayatoliah have something much more dramatic than that. It could be that the turban he wears has some sort of special antenna that allows him to receive messages from Allah.

As for me, I’m going to continue to listen to my voices on the porch. I think the Ayatoliah is crazy and the Supreme Leader of a crazy bunch of people who are set on annihilating us infidels in the name of their God. At least, my little inner voice has never advised me to annihilate anyone but sometime I get so aggravated that I want to argue with that little voice that I also call my conscience.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The grandkids persuaded me to go to see the movie UP this weekend. I thought it was going to be an animated kids flick that would be a bore. Boy, was I wrong. It was animated all right, but it was much more than a little kids cartoon movie and anything but boring. It was rated G with no bad language, sex, violence or the other usual things in movies these days. It was a wonderful story that truly appealed to all ages.

There were subtle references to many events and movies of the past like King Kong, Indiana Jones, the Hindenburg Blimp etc. It contrasted age and youth. The story is of an old man who is inspired by the memory of his wife to take a most unusual trip. A young scout is a stowaway of his adventure that also features a rare bird and talking dogs and an evil Nemo like character.

The story is adventurous, sometimes sad, frequently exciting but very heartwarming. It was definitely worth getting off the porch to see this one that is recommended for kids 1 to 100.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This week my spouse and I did something very unusual. We slipped off the porch and took a little trip without even telling friends or family about our plans. There actually was no plan and the trip was purely impulsive. It was the week of our anniversary and we decided to take an overnight trip to Galveston and survey the damage of Hurricane Ike and see the place we lived when we were newly weds and I was a skinny medical student. We just wanted to be by ourselves and reflect on a simpler time that is now Gone With the Wind.

Galveston today, after Hurricane Ike, looks like I feel. It has been greatly scared and will never be the same. They are doing a remarkable job of rebuilding many of the tourist attractions along the seawall and the Strand. They are even rebuilding Murdock’s and there are plans to tear down the Flagship Hotel and put a giant Ferris wheel in the spot. My favorite bookstore near the Strand is gone forever.

Most of the island was under eight feet of water and the damage to homes and buildings was extensive. Many of the homes are being rebuilt but many will remain as decaying shells reminiscent of a city that had been bombed. The house where we lived is being repaired. It obviously suffered water damage but still stands and hopefully will be restored. One of the saddest things to observe throughout the city is the huge number of dead trees. Ancient oaks now stand leafless, never to adorn green again. The large storm surge of salt water covered the roots of the trees for over thirty hours and in effect poisoned them. All the stately oaks along Broadway Street are dead. It’s a heart-breaking sight. It’s like the place is the victim of a Nuclear Winter. Interesting, the streets closest to the seawall look the best. The storm surge came from behind rather than over the seawall and did the damage.

I spoke to several people who are natives and the most interesting conversation was with a fellow in his 80s who was born on the island. He said that Galveston is a great city but will never be the same again. As he spoke, it was almost like he was talking about the death of a family member. He reviewed much of the island’s history with us, especially about the time when it was controlled by the Mafia and some giants of Texas business. Those sounded like glamorous times and I even witnessed a little of it when I was a student. Galveston was indeed like another world.

I must admit. is was fun to get off the porch for a day although it was pretty depressing to see a wounded fairy land that will never be the same. It was a little like visiting my father in his final days in the nursing home.

Monday, June 08, 2009

There is a big push to get healthcare reform through Congress this summer and have a bill for the President to sign as soon as possible. Part of this is because it is legislation that Ted Kennedy wants to see pasted in his lifetime and that time is very short at best.

The main proposal is that businesses will be required to provide health insurance and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more of the poor. Business is going to fight this proposal because small businesses will be facing raising prices for their goods or laying off folks in order to cover the cost. Any move to a single payer system by providing a government program will be opposed by the insurance companies. This is all old stuff and the same obstacles Hillary Clinton faced in her attempt to overhaul healthcare. Since we have a totally Democrat Congress and Democrat President it may pass this time.

I suspect that a single payer system will eventually prevail. The growing number of welfare recipients and coverage for illegal aliens will be overwhelming. This increasing majority of people who can’t afford insurance of any type will compel us to move to a government program. Like Social Security, to be equitable, the government program must be available to all. The welfare folks are simply out breeding those who are paying the bills and the healthcare system will evolve into a single payer system whether we like it or not. Businesses, both large and small, simply can’t afford to pay the expensive healthcare cost without charging exorbitant, noncompetitive prices for their goods.

With all the discussion, which is bound to ensue, I hope that something can be done to harness the financial incentives for doctors, hospitals, medical equipment manufactures and drug companies. These folks should be allowed to make a profit but they are almost in the category of Wall Street gangsters, bankers, lawyers, professional athletes, movies stars, TV Evangelist, thieves and others in the trade.

I have devoted much of my life to giving away healthcare. I have been pretty well compensated for my work but I have given away far more than what I was paid. I was painfully aware of this when I was in solo general practice and it was still very much the case in a group practice where I was on a salary. Fortunately, it was just less apparent in the group practice. I don’t recall ever denying anyone care. With today’s incredible cost for providing services I realize that some are denied care and cannot get insurance. I just hope that containing cost will be addressed and that quality will not degenerate with care being delivered by physicians and providers who are anything less than the best. I’m just glad I’m on the porch and don’t have to figure out the solution to this big problem.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Hampshire is about to join it’s other New England neighbors in permitting same sex marriage. Soon it will be the law of the land making same sex marriage legal. A gay President will then follow. Abortion will also be legalized. All this will contribute to the further decline in the population of the US. We currently do not have the birthrate to sustain our population. It is now below two children per couple as opposed to the Muslims who are over three per couple. The Muslims are even out producing the blacks and Hispanics. I surrender.

My spouse and I have been watching an excellent group of DVD’s on the American Presidents. We recently saw the one on Ronald Reagan. He was shown in one of the clips returning from a trip abroad when he met with Mikhail Gorbachev. He was obviously glad to be home and ran down the steps of Airforce One to embrace and kiss Nancy. As I saw this scene I thought about our future gay President embracing his male partner and giving him a big hug and smack of the lips. When that happens the networks will have to learn to go to a commercial break so the majority of Americans can take a vomit break.

That’s one of the reasons I’m still happy to be a redneck. We still believe in marriage being a union between man and woman. As our society becomes more liberal it’s inevitable that same sex marriage will be the law of the land. I suspect that eventually unions between man and animals will also be permitted. In Texas and other redneck strongholds, animal unions will probably be more acceptable than unions between human male/male or female/female.

I observe deviate sexual behavior from the back porch all the time. Incest is common among the deer who inhabit my backyard. With the increasing deviate sexual behavior that is becoming more prevalent among humans, I expect to see men running through the yard any day now pursuing the doe who are in heat. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see men in priestly dress among the pack. Life on the porch is never dull. This is one activity our future Muslims leaders may not tolerate; but who knows, in America even they may change.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I’m trying my best to support President Barack Obama, even though some of my conservative friends think I’m crazy and a socialist. I want his economic policies to work and for everyone to get back on their feet again. These are tough times and he has a tough job. The giant American business icon GM collapsed into bankruptcy today and that’s tough for anyone to deal with. Obama is in effect the Chairman of the Board.

One of my main concerns is that Obama will be in Cairo, Egypt this week. He wants to assure the Muslim World that we love them and that George Bush is the one responsible for treating them so badly. The Muslim World wants us to apologize and give our assurances that we have great respect for them. They want the promise of a quick withdrawal from Iraq and the assurance that there will be Palestinian statehood.

Unfortunately, we have very short memories. I believe it was Muslims who held hostages in Iran for over a year when Jimmy Carter was President. I believe it was Muslims who committed numerous attacks of terrorism when Bill Clinton was President including the attack on the ¨USS Cole, the bombing of our embassy in Lebanon and a bomb explosion at the World Trade Center. Also, I believe it was Muslims who crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Are we to say, I’m sorry we didn’t let the plane through to destroy the White House and for them to have free run to destroy everything they wanted in America? I guess we must apologize for taking some of their thugs prisoner and making them reveal more of their plans for the destruction of America and the elimination of more American lives.

The previous administration is being criticized for the treatment of the thugs in Guantanamo. We are going to close the place and move them to the mainland with the child molesters. This week it was announced that satellite TV has been installed for their entertainment. My criticism of the previous administration is that they weren’t tough enough. I would have performed a castration without anesthesia and with a dull razor blade to extract the information necessary to find out their plans for further terrorist attacks on the US.

I guess it’s best that I’m confined to the porch and not in charge of interrogating the hairy Muslim low lives who are the real infidels. It’s also best that I’m not the one dealing with Kim Jong Il. I would show him how a real 50 megaton atomic bomb worked. I say these things and just think, I’m a Christian who believes in the sanctity of life and is against abortion. If I didn’t have a conscience I would really be bad; there would be no Muslims for Obama to meet with this week.