Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everyday I ask myself why are we in the Middle East? I know it has to be oil, but I had rather walk than put up with that bunch of maniacs. The people are crazy and irrational. To try and make them a democracy is insane. It just won’t happen. Their rules and beliefs are so different than ours; there is no hope for us understanding each other.

The latest is that in Malaysia, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukamo, a 32 year old female nurse, will be punished by caning and pay a $1,400 fine for drinking a beer at a party. It is against Islamic law to drink alcohol and for a female it is even worse. What kind of society punishes its people by whipping them with a cane? It’s like a joke. Text messaging while driving a car is much worse than drinking a beer. How would they be punished for that? I think beheading would be appropriate.

Yesterday, I heard another good one by this deranged bunch of lunatics. A suicide bomber tried out a new technique, which now poses a great threat to all of us. He stuffed a bomb into his rectum and then detonated it. His family should be awarded the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s most powerful flatus. It’s going to be hard detecting these nuts when they board airlines. Going through security now means you may have to get a colonoscopy. That should discourage air travel.

The new US military commander in Afghanistan is Stanley McChrystal. He has changed strategies and now says we have to make friends with the people and go down the street shaking hands. There will be no more air strikes to blow up buildings and endanger citizens when we are trying to kill the Taliban or get Osama bin Laden. Good luck. Who is a citizen and who is a Taliban? Also, the government is so corrupt that we will never get those miserable, bearded, dirty folks to alien with us. All the pictures just show them squatting like they are having a perpetual bowl movement. Most are probably planting roadside bombs.

On top of all this we have crazy leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadineiad in Iran who denies the holocaust and just wants to wipe Israel off the planet with his nuclear weapons.

I say that we should just leave the place after bombing the area with Dial soap and razors. How they multiply so fast is beyond me. They are reproducing so rapidly they will soon take over the world. They may even become a threat to the deer in Salado. The next thing you know is that instead of deer in my back yard there will be squatting Muslims, planting bombs in the yard and beating their women for revealing a bit of flesh or drinking a beer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Blog has been silent for a week while we were on a trip to Branson. We spent the time at Big Cedar and took in a few shows but tried to avoid the crowds at Branson as much as possible. Big Cedar is in a wilderness like setting and the internet and connection with cyberspace are discouraged. While there, I usually like to sequester myself in a chair and read. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity for reading on this trip but I picked up Dan Brown’s new book, “The Last Symbol.”

In the first few chapters of the book we are introduced to a sinister character who is covered with tattoos. I thought this was rather interesting because I had just purchased the book at a Books-A-Million store from a fat lady who was covered in tattoos. The lady seemed liked she should be part of a motorcycle gang but when ask about certain books she opened up with a knowledge of books that far exceeded the average person. It’s sometimes hard to tell about people at first glance but she was a real enigma.

This book lady, nevertheless, made me think about folks with tattoos. It’s something I have always associated with rough living, motorcycle types. In recent years even housewives get an ornamental tattoo, usually on the ankle. It’s a fad for rebellious, female teenagers to get painted above the cheeks of the buttock across the small of the back or over the back of the shoulder. Even more rebellious ones get a tattoo over the breast or other forbidden areas. Of course, it’s customary for young marines to get a tattoo and this is almost socially acceptable.

I am always reminded of Truman Capote’s experience while writing “In Cold Blood.” Capote interviewed all the serial murderers on death row in the US. He was looking for a common thread or trait among this group. We would have expected them to all be from broken homes, abused as children or drug addicts. None of those things applied to the majority. The thing they had in common was multiple tattoos. So, beware of folks with multiple tattoos are you may find yourself in the morgue.

I am now back on the porch with the Dan Brown book and it’s really a page-turner like his other stories. I haven’t even bothered to see how much the deer have eaten in my absence. “The Last Symbol” is the current bestseller. There is another very old bestseller on the porch that I read. In that great collection of books called the Bible is a book, Leviticus. Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” Need I say more?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One of my main jobs in retirement is to pick up the mail at the post office. We have a post office box because the mail carrier will not deliver to a box on our side of the street. Our box would have to be in our neighbors yard and we respect them too much to trash their property. We also prefer the post office because there is less chance for someone pilfering through our mail or some teenager knocking our home mailbox down for the fun.

The mailbox is usually full, but it contains nothing but advertisements, catalogs and bills. There is rarely a letter. No one writes a letter anymore. Communication is by short statements on e-mail or facebook. About the only personal correspondence is a wedding or graduation invitation. Even thank you notes are rare.

When I was a kid, during the war (WWII), one of my main jobs was to go to the post office. We had a box at that time and it was on the top row. I could barely reach the box to insert the key. I would jump to get a good look and make sure I had emptied the box. I loved that job because we were always looking for a letter from my brother or brother-in-law who were in the army. My parents and sister also loved to mail letters and pack boxes full of goodies for mailing.

Letters were the common mode of communication when I was a kid. Telephones were only used for emergencies like death notification. We simply didn’t call long distance unless it was an emergency. Letters were written by hand using real ink from a fountain pen. Ballpoints had not been invented. Letters for airmail were written on tissue thin paper to reduce the weight. Those letter weighed about as much as a couple of feathers. We could mail a regular letter for 3 cents, airmail was 6 cents and penny postcards were popular. Letter writing was fun.

When I visited my aunt and uncle in the country they received no mail except for personal letters. They had no electricity, running water, sewage disposal, garbage collecton, natural gas or any utility. They never had a utility bill. Credit cards had not been invented, so there was nothing from Master Card etc. They had no insurance of any kind, therefore, no insurance bills. Advertising through the mail didn’t exist so there were no catalogues and all the junk we get today. Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues were picked up at the catalogue store.

I have been reading the correspondence between Adams and Jefferson. These were beautifully written letters, almost like poetry on very deep subjects like religion and philosophy. How I wish that my mailbox today could be like that of my aunt and uncle or Jefferson and Adams. It would be great to go to the post office and receive well-written letters from friends. That would make great reading for the porch. E-mail and facebook just aren’t the same. It would also be great if a letter still cost 3 cents and all the junk stuff would stop. It’s another part of the world that is Gone With the Wind.

I will just have to be satisfied with facebook, which is a pretty nifty thing. The problem is that most of my friends are too old to learn how to use it. Oh well, they probably couldn’t write a decent letter anyway. I am proud to add, that a few of my high school friends still send me beautifully written letters. Our high school English teacher would be very proud.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The little community of Salado, where we live, almost washed away this past weekend. We had about 15 inches of rain in 24 hours. Salado Creek became a raging river that engulfed the park. Some folks had to evacuate their homes and others were isolated because of the inundated bridges. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Salado is truly a unique place. It’s been around since the 1850s and was even a dwelling site for the Indians long before then. Folks who live here prefer to call it a village. It was only officially incorporated as a town a few years ago. The name of the weekly newspaper is even called the Village Voice.

The main street of the village is the famous Chisholm Trail, known for the cattle drives through Texas. The trail crosses Salado Creek which is feed by springs, bubbling cold clear water. Indians first discovered this oasis located on the Balcones Fault. Salado sits on the demarcation between the east and western parts of the state. A mile or two to the east is the rich blacklands that is the southern extent of the Great Plains and a mile or two to the west is the rocky, arid land of west Texas.

Salado was the site of a stagecoach stop and the Inn is still there taking us back to the past with its old world ambience. It was a place that saw guest like Robert E. Lee and George Armstrong Custer. Sam Houston made a famous antisecession speech from the balcony. The place has weathered the years and even storms like the current downpour but, unfortunately, the current ownership is inflicting more damage than time or the weather.

Because of its central location, Salado host some special event almost every weekend. It is a favorite spot for weddings and reunions and is the site for meetings of Scottish Clans, Civil War reenactments, antique car shows and a major art show each year. The village lights up each year with a Christmas stroll. There are numerous art galleries and boutique shops filled with all sorts of wearing apparel and expensive goodies for the home. The Institute for the Humanities features several nationally known speakers each year and Music in Salado host a number of artist who match performances in some of the big concert halls in the country. We have a library that is second to none.

There are numerous bread and breakfast establishments and the village was even the site for Jenna Bush’s rehearsal dinner and pre-wedding activities. Horse drawn carriages carry tourist around and the experience is literally a step back into the nineteenth century and a much simpler time.

All of this got a big bath this past weekend. Debris is everywhere but I’m sure the village will recover as it has in the past. I, also, almost forgot to mention that Salado is the home of one of the largest pesky deer herds in the country. To add to our uniqueness, I wish the village alderman would add bear and wolves to the wildlife population in an attempt to thin the deer. We would really be a great tourist attraction if we could just spruce up the wildlife population. At least the view from my porch would be more attractive as I watched tourist who were watching a bear or wolf devour a deer. The other alternative would be to issue guns to the tourist and they could blast away at the deer from the horse drawn carriages

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I enjoy reading and studying unusual topics. One of my favorite subjects has been the cause of death of the US Presidents. Much that has been written is incorrect because it was based on archaic medical terminology and a limited understanding of disease in times past. Modern medicine didn’t come into being until the twentieth century. The germ theory of disease was not postulated until the end of the nineteenth century. Modern diagnostic medicine including; X-Ray, endoscopy and many laboratory test didn’t come into common usage until well into the twentieth century. Terms like dropsy and bilious fever are no longer used and are listed as causes of death for several Presidents.

We had several presidents die in office including; William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Franklin Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy. Four of these were assassinated and the medical care of one, James Garfield, was completely botched. The physicians killed Garfield with their unnecessary probing of his wound with their dirty hands in search of a bullet. Jack Kennedy’s autopsy was interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that he was struck by two bullets that came from behind by a lone gunman. The fatal bullet entered the back of his skull and exited on the right side in his parietal region with an explosive force that took much of his brain with it. The bullet that passed through the base of his neck is the same one that entered John Connally.

An interesting death is that of Warren G. Harding. He was a real womanizer. One affair took place in the White House right under the First Lady’s nose. He took a trip to San Francisco with the First Lady and died there of an apparent heart attack. She would not permit and autopsy and many believe that Harding was poisoned by the First Lady.

The interesting thing I found out about Warren G. Harding was that he was greatly concerned about his genealogy and that he might have been partially African-American. So, Barack Obama my not be our first Black or African-American President.

Now we are questioning the place of Obama’s birth. Many are claiming it was in Kenya and that he is not eligible to be President anymore than Arnold Swartzenager. Harding could end up as our only Black President.

As I sit on the porch and reflect about the births and deaths of the various Presidents I have a tremendous respect for the office. We have had some great ones but also some lousy ones like; Harding, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan. I just hope our current one doesn’t get added to this last bunch. With the way things are going he may wish that Kenya may prove to be his country of origin. The thing I can’t figure out is why anyone wants that job.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Everyone forgot what President Obama was talking about the other night when he addressed Congress and Joe Wilson, Congressman from South Carolina, shouted “you lie.” Today the news has been filled with comments about the Congressman’s outburst. The inappropriate remark has overshadowed the issue of Healthcare reform and has shed more bad light on the recalcitrant Republicans. It has set the Republicans back in their effort to oppose a Public Option and the inevitable increase in national debt and higher taxes.

When I criticize a Southern-brethren I realize I am criticizing myself; however, I am a little different breed called a Redneck. Southerners are from, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina and are arrogant, stupid, hot-headed and loudmouthed. Rednecks are from Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana or Texas and are just plain stupid. There are the border states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida who are so bland they lack any distinctive characteristics.

The Southerners was best described in the great novel “Gone With the Wind.” The character Rhett Butler summed it up very well. At the beginning of the story the Plantation owners were having a big party at Twelve Oaks. They were drinking brandy, smoking cigars and talking about war and how they could beat the Yankees. Rhett Butler said, “it’s hard winning a war with words…all we’ve got is cotton, slaves and arrogance.”

Joe Wilson demonstrated his true Southern background. His arrogance, hot-headedness, stupidity and one word destroyed the Republican position on healthcare reform and has probably lost him a position in Congress for the next election. His is marked for life with that single word and his rude outburst.

The sad thing about Joe Wilson is that he is probably right. Obama is probably lying and health care will be provided to illegal aliens. Obama really wants a complete government run program or a so-called Public Option. During his campaign he said that the government program is what he favored. I am sure that some variation of his proposal will pass with the Public Option. This will be a crack in the door, sort of like the levee breaking in New Orleans. Soon the whole city was covered in water and so will health care become a totally government program.

I’m just thankful to be on the porch and not practicing medicine anymore. I’m thinking about moving my bed onto the porch and just taking up permanent residence under the sheets in hopes of not getting sick or injured. I just hate being directed to a government panel who will determine I’m not deserving of care and I will be sent to the gas chamber.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

New evidence continues to emerge regarding the transmission of the H1N1 virus and the susceptibility of individuals to the disease. I recently described the actions being taken by our local hospital to stop the spread of this highly contagious and deadly virus. They feel that ties and shirtsleeves harbor the virus and hospital workers are forbidden to wear this attire. They have also proposed the removal of all Gideon Bibles from patient’s rooms because the Bible may be a source of transmission.

The investigators and administrator at our hospital may be upstaged by the city council in Honolulu, Hawaii. The council is about to pass an ordinance that makes it against the law to go around in public with body odor. They aren’t doing this as a deterrent to Swine Flu but as an effort to make the place more attractive to tourist. I predict that this will greatly reduce the incidence of Swine Flu in Hawaii. I also predict that the sale of deodorants such as Right Guard and Ban will sore.

It’s obvious that the flu bug is more attracted to filth than the Bible, shirtsleeves or ties. Odor and filth have to be the reasons the virus started in pigs. It just makes good sense that cleanliness and sweet smells should be the best deterrent to the bug. The folks in Honolulu may really be on to something and not even aware of their great discovery. That’s the way a lot of great discoveries have been made in the past.

It is also hoped that with the development of the vaccine the epidemic will come to an end but there are potential problems with the immunization program. President Obama will most likely make a plea to the nation to get the vaccine. This will probably be interpreted as a plot by the President to turn us into a socialist state. There will be town hall meetings, demonstrations and a boycott of the immunizations. Most of the Conservatives will develop the flu and the ranks will be thinned, thus guaranteeing Democrats to remain in office and pass their many social programs and raise taxes. This may indeed be a conspiracy by the left wing to finally annihilate the conservative movement.

The best thing for me to do is stay confined to the porch and covered with a lot of deodorant. I just hope the H1N1 virus will finally mutate into a benign form and even be eradicated like smallpox.

Friday, September 04, 2009

All members of the medical team at the Scott & White Hospital are working diligently to contain the spread of the highly contagious and deadly HlNl virus, formerly know as Swine Flu. It’s like a tale out of “The Microbe Hunters” and even more exciting than the story of Walter Reed as his team discovered the mosquito to be the vector for Yellow Fever.

Someone on the Scott & White team is destined to get a Nobel Prize for their effort in discovering the means for transmission of this lethal virus. Recently, the dress code for the doctors was changed because it was felt that ties and long sleeve shirts might harbor the virus. Today, it was announced that one of the hospital administrators feels that Gideon Bibles in the patient rooms may be a source of transmission. Bibles have been banned from all rooms and members of the Gideon team are forbidden access to the hospital. It has even been suggested that a Bible burning may be in order to demonstrate to the public that the hospital means business in its effort to stop the spread of HlNl.

Other probable avenues of transmission of the virus are being evaluated. Administrators have taken a more aggressive role in the effort to contain the virus than the physicians or epidemiologist. They are now suggesting that the handling of money might be a source for transmission and it may be announced that the hospital will no longer accept money. Services may be free since this is already inevitable with upcoming national healthcare.

As a service to the community, the hospital is recommending some immediate steps for citizens to take in an effort to stem the tide of the epidemic. It was suggested that all libraries and schools be closed to avoid contact with books, which are now considered the primary source of transmission. Churches should also be closed because pew Bibles may be the actual origin and breeding ground for the virus. Bars may remain open because alcohol is the best know antiseptic agent and these areas are deemed to be a safe harbor.

A team from the CDC is scheduled to be at the hospital within the next few days and may participate in a massive Bible burning for the city. National coverage is expected from CNN and Larry King is scheduled to interview our star administrator.

My spouse and I enjoy reading the Bible on the porch. In an effort to eradicate any virus that our scriptures may harbor we placed all the Bibles on a table in the back yard and exposed them all day to the 102 degree Texas sun. That should be enough to kill anything. As an added precaution we are handling the Bibles with surgical gloves and are wearing surgical mask and operating attire for our readings. May God protect us.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I’m currently reading a very interesting book about the greatest charlatan of all time. The name of the book is appropriately titled, “Charlatan,” by Pope Brock. It’s about John R. Brinkley who lived from 1885 – 1942. He practiced in Milford, Kansas but became known throughout the world as the goat doctor. He transplanted goat testicles into the scrotum of humans and claimed it would cure almost anything. He claimed it would restore virility, increase libido and cure impotence. He also transplanted goat ovaries into the abdomen of women to restore their youth. Barkley attended a fly by night quack school in Chicago but didn’t even finish his course of study at this place, which taught eclectic or holistic medicine. He finally bought a diploma and set up shop. He attracted some high profile customers and had a number of folks claiming miraculous cures and great results. Many people also died after his surgery or suffered incredibly from infections. The restoration of virility for the few who praised him was in the mind only and not from any endocrine effect.

The other trick he used was to open a radio station in Kansas. Radio was new to the world during his time after WWI. He was one of the first to advertise. He filled the airway about his miracle cures and had a program for people to call in and he would prescribe his elixirs that were mainly alcohol and water. He made millions when a million was a whole lot of money.

Brinkley practiced in a time when people would literally believe anything. To a large extent they still do. People are afraid of death and want to believe in miracles, so they will latch on to anyone who gives the faintest ray of hope. Hucksters still abound and steal our money for investments that fail and they are elected to public office on promises they cannot keep.

Today, we learned that Pfizer Drug Co. must pay a 2.3 billion dollar settlement because of unlawful prescription drug promotions. The judgment is almost certainly justified but the exorbitant amount will only mean that we will have to pay more for drugs. Fraud with drugs and healthcare goes on every day and is one of the greatest costs in the delivery of care. Self-referral is a type of fraud in which doctors refer to themselves for scans and testing on machines they own. This is an easy way for the doctor to greatly enhance his/her income but runs the cost sky high with unnecessary testing. Self-referral probably accounts for 20% of health care cost.

So, John Brinkley types still abound and are the reason we pay so much for everything and get poor results or shoddy goods. As I sit here on the porch and view my deer herd, I’m thinking about starting my own drug company. I can sacrifice a few of my deer for their antlers and can tell the world that I have discovered that powdered deer antler is a great aphrodisiac and will also cure cancer. I may be able to recover some of the money I lost to the Wall Street Hucksters.