Nov 28

Literary Modernism; The Struggle for Modern History, by Jeffery Perl ????

Typically, I detest literature courses. I started out wondering what possessed me to listen to this series. The first lecture didn’t fare so well. Then, the professor started to connect with issues dear to my heart. I don’t know exactly where Prof. Perl is coming from, but he does a masterful job of concealing his own personal orientation. The discussion evolves are a set of poets in the twentieth century, including D.H. Lawrence,  Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Willam Carlos Williams and Gertrude Stein. Perl spends a lengthy period discussing the movement in the 1920s and 1930s to abandon the concept of language being capable to act as a means of communication. He discusses the various camps of classic vs. neoclassic modernism, but how these poets all moved as a group in certain areas. They all were communist supporters in the 1930’s, and supported either the movement of Hitler or Mussolini, followed by a post-war despair in their writings. While these poets remain the ideal of intellectualism of the twentieth century, it seems to me that they are self-contradictory. They deny that words could convey meaning, yet they use words to convey those meanings. Their intellectual arrogance refuses them a mirror on their own folly. I certainly won’t run out to buy any James Joyce or T.S. Eliot, but there is a high probability that I will re-listen to this series, approaching it from a slightly better attitude toward some types of literature discussion. Perl is a compelling teacher, and quite knowledgeable, thus is worthy of a hearing or two.

 

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Nov 26

Paganini: Complete Chamber Works, Misc. Performers ?????

This was a budget set of the works of Paganini, but the performances were definitely not budget. It did not seem to be “complete”, since the 24 Caprices and other works were missing. Most of Paganini’s chamber music represented here also included the guitar as one of the intruments, which seemed to be quite effective. The sound was forward and crisp, giving you a sense of presence. All in all, this was quite delightful to listen to, and deserving of 4-5 stars.

 

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Nov 20

20NOV2008 – 2 Days that Ruined your Health Care, William Waters III, MD ?????

I had started to type up a paper for publication documenting my frustrations with the health care system when I received this book in the mail. After reading it, I realized that Dr. Waters had discussed about half of my contentions with the system. He is a nephrologist that practiced in the Atlanta, Georgia region for a number of years, and remains an academic type at Emory University. The two days are 1) 02OCT1942 when congress voted to allow employers to deduct health care premiums from employee’s taxable income, and 2) 10APRIL1965, when LBJ signed the Medicare law into existence. Owing to those events, Water’s shows how government then had the ability to slowly take over health care. This has led to government control of all aspects of health care, regulated by politicians and beaurocrats who nothing about daily health care delivery determining minute policies that regulate your behavior and practices in the office. The book details how government intervention has lead to increased prices for health care, now making most health care expenses out of the range of the average citizen. He finally discusses the role health savings plans and other solutions to the system. My only disappointment with the book is that he omitted several other important factors that are also of great importance, including 1) the loss of morality in the profession (most doctors would not take the oath of Hippocrates anymore), the loss of purpose in our profession, 2) the crass commercialization of medicine, starting when the AMA caved in to the Feds in the 1970’s to the issue of physician advertising, 3) the litigation scene forcing increased costs, regulation and costly physician behavior, and 4) increasing demands and expectations of many patients resulting in a health care fantasy that progressively forces all the other above problems. Eventually, patients will get what they are willing to pay for… just take a close look at health care in England or Canada. I disagree with Waters in that I do not see health care in the US as being in a state of being able to be fixed. It is time for physicians to quit being sacrificial lambs to the system, let the state have their healthcare, and hope that a better system could possibly rise from the ashes.

 

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Nov 16

Dr. Mike Brown was the anesthesiologist, and we got the team together for a photo of my last elective case at St. Samaritan Hospital. I am still performing smaller procedures at our surgery center, but have refused to take any further hospital call at GSH and so am restricted on performing elective cases at the hospital. That’s okay with me, but their underwhelming friendliness and willingness to accommodate to my particular issues induces a reluctance on my part to ever return. Who knows? There is always locum tenens, the Fransiscans (another hospital group in our region), or possibly focusing primarily on mission work. Meanwhile, it is a little slower at work since I am not taking on the huge cases, and elective hospital cases that I see in clinic are fed to my partners, so that they are busier with paying cases.

 

I’ve been saying goodbye to many patients, and will miss them. One patient had a total esophagectomy by me, followed by a major colon resection, and is alive and well ten years later-one of my miracle patients. He used to drive a beer truck, and would always ask me for a beer. His first comment whenever I’d walk in the room was “&*^#@!, hurry up, I don’t have all day!” So, his last visit I gave him a few brews to take home.

 

Bicycles… Another Mike Brown is my bicycle consultant, and he has ordered my Steelman bicycle. I am waiting anxiously. I will probably get a cheap Rennrad (road bicycle) in Düsseldorf in January to get around with. Perhaps later in the year, I could return to do the Rhein or pop down into France and do the Alpes d’Huez (yea, mon!!!). Meanwhile, I did the almost unthinkable. I always thought that I would be totally safe with my bicycle mounted on the trainer in the garage. Well, three weeks ago, for some unknown reason, the back wheel flipped out of the trainer, and completely wrecked the back wheel. I had to completely replace the back wheel. Schade!  So, I am back pumping on the cycle. I must be the only person to ever have totaled a bicycle while on a trainer!

 

I’m ready for the year off. I can’t wait to touch base with Herr Doktor Herbert Feucht in Krefeld. I’ve always enjoyed visiting him. Hopefully, I could be a little more independent in Düsseldorf, and thus be forced to speak German. With Herbert, he usually talks English to me, and spoke for matters when we were out. So, I’m cramming my German right now, while also teaching myself the Sanskrit of the Bengali language (much slower progress!) and a few Bengali words. Bengali definitely is an indo-european language, and I can see similarities in many words, such as numbers.

 

Our (Betsy and I) only significant activity was a trip to Maui for a Wilderness Medical Society meeting. I didn’t really enjoy Maui. It’s expensive, and crowded. I find that it is hard for me to just lay out on the beach and get any serious reading in. So, we didn’t lay on the beach or at the pool even once. We did get around the island a bit, and that was enjoyable. While in Maui, we learned that we now have a little Commie Pinko freak as president. I wasn’t really crazy about McCain and so voted for neither McC nor BHO (I wrote in Ron Paul), and do not feel that mine was a wasted vote. But, I was still a little disappointed about the election. BHO’s presentation at the Democratic convention would most appropriately be called the apotheosis of BHO. Later, school children would sing songs worshipping him on television. Older folk of all intensities of skin pigmentation on television would lapse into trances of rhapsody for their savior and redeemer from the capitalistic pig, a behavior more fitting for a Pentecostal church service than a political rally.  It really seemed like BHO was competing with the Almighty as #1 of the Universe.

 

I was even more dejected by the vote in our state to approve physicians’ ability to help a patient commit suicide. You don’t need a physician to do that. Any dimwit can figure out how to kill themselves swiftly and cheaper than a physician. It just isn’t our role to assist in killing. So, I am a bit leery about even practicing medicine in our state any more. Now that we have seen the death of Hippocratic Medicine, I am left frightened by what will take its place. Medicine no longer has a definition as to its goals. Is it to simply prolong life? Is it to maximize the profits of the pharmaceutical firms? Is it a means of giving the State control of the most personal aspects of our lives? Is it entirely a utilitarian function of maintaining maximal functionality of the States’ citizens?

 

I am left thinking about St. Basil the Great. Basil the Great of Caesarea (in Asia Minor) was one of the Cappadocian church fathers in the 4th century, one of the brightest theologians ever of the church, who also started the first hospital. Sick people were left out in the woods to die by getting eaten by wolves—certainly a convenient way of dealing with the sick! Basil decided to re-incorporate the sick back into society through the use of hospitals.

Kudos to St. B. Is it no wonder that Christianity took the world by storm, without force and without might, but rather by its’ adherents simply being obedient to Christ and being servants of others? Lord, give me both the wisdom and caring heart of St. B.

 

Finally, thanks to Dr. Middelmann for noting some German grammatical errors on the blog site. I’ve hit the one-year mark for my blog/web page. My children, who inspired me to start a blogsite, are no longer diligent at maintaining their blogsites. FaceBook has kind of stolen the show. What next?

 

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Nov 15

15NOV2008 Manon, Jules Massenet, starting Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazon  ?????

Manon is the story of the slow destruction of the life of a young lady. It is a story that also has been done for the opera by Puccini as Manon Lescaut, though Massenet definitely has a more convincing storyline, and more delightful music in this opera. The staging for this production is somewhat austere, though a similar recent production utilized an off stage-1950’s Los Angeles theme structure. Dessay commanded this opera with superb vocal control as well as near-perfect acting. This opera is a definite must for the opera-lover, and this version would certainly fit among the top performances to date.

 

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