Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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