Shavuah Tov. Impeach Drumpf.


Marched for science today. We all got together and spent over four hours outside on a ridiculously cold and drizzly late April day agreeing that we like science, that we are sorry that the current administration doesn’t, and that we wish that would change. The only hope that anyone saw was that Tangerine Jesus might get a chronic disease for which there is no cure, in which case he might fund research for it. It wouldn’t cover much, but it’s a start.dog protester

I was there with a street band, and I have to admit that if you’re gonna protest, it’s more fun playing music than it is listening to speeches.  Google “march for science signs” if you’re in need of a laugh.

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When Is It Time to Fight, and When Is It Time to Realize That You’ve Lost?


As a Jew taking the long view of history, I have come to the conclusion that it’s not wise to fight for something that can’t be saved. Fight where you can, but retreat and regroup when you’ve been outflanked.  If my great-grandparents had gotten the notion in their heads that it was only a matter of time and people fighting for doing the right thing, they would have stayed in Europe, and they would have been killed. They would have lost. Forever. There’s a dignity and nobility in a Last Stand, but making a last stand where you don’t need to is pointless suicide.

Screenshot 2017-03-21 08.50.33

I’m not saying that there is a danger of a Holocaust here. I’m not saying that the problems now single out Jews. However, the lesson of history is that sometimes things don’t get better. Sometimes they do, but it takes lifetimes and generations. But sometimes,  it never happens. Civilizations fall. Societies crumble, and nothing worth living in springs from the ashes. Things go to hell and never come back.

One ray of hope is that Drumpf’s demographic skews older. One old fart funeral at a time, our country is probably getting better. I look at my kids in our and see how much more tolerant and accepting they are than we were at that age. This change is slow and it’s incremental, but it is positive.

But there are plenty of signs that we’re sunk.

There is still the conversion and indoctrination of the young to the selfish and jingoistic mindset of tRump, especially those who are seduced by the idea of American Exceptionalism. (Who wouldn’t want to be exceptional, especially if to be exceptional requires merely the luck to have been born in the right place at the right time?) We are far too militaristic, especially in a country where so few people serve. The pious sanctimony surrounding our armed forces prevents any useful discussion of how they should be used. We are far too religious. Religion as a double-edged sword that too often gets sharpened on only one side. We have denigrated science and research to the point where other countries will equal us and surpass us in the ability to do cutting edge innovation and investigation. This is a race where you can’t make up for lost time. The changes to our environment–caused by those who still subscribe to the antiquated idea that the highest and best good is determined solely by ascertaingin that which brings in the most money–have launched us down a dangerous road, and we can only slow that movement, not turn it back. We have large parts of the population who believe that gun ownership, not debate, not reason, not commitment to each other, is  the most important foundation of a society. The USA is not the Last Best Hope of the World. We can be a leader in the way forward, but not without a commitment to see where we’ve gone off course. Currently, those in power do not have that commitment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Your Community Treasures


bluebeardvonnegut

“…simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world’s champions…. A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an “exhibitionist.” How do we reward such an exhibitionist? We say to him or her the next morning, “Wow! Were you ever drunk last night!”

What I Threw Out Today: Notes from Veterinary School, a Photocopy of an Article, and an Italian Journal on Equine Medicine


I don’t know if my children will ever know what it was like to have to keep one’s information in hard copy. There were all those articles that one Ippologiaxeroxed just to have them handy. The walls of offices were filled with years of periodicals and journals, all because we were afraid that we’d have to refer to them.

Of course, I barely got around to reading a tenth of the stuff I ever copied, and in the day of the internet, they are just not worth keeping around. The information in these old things is still  probably good, for the most part, but it’s also been 15 years since I’ve treated a horse. IMG_1777

I liked keeping the Ippologia issue for sentimental reasons. I got it in Cremona, Italy (home of Stradivarius) when I was taking a course in veterinary acupuncture. I had a great time. The connections I made there lasted a while, but then they dissolved.

It happens. Radiology Notes II

 

 

 

 

It’s Over: Summer, Our Disappearing Childhoods, and Yes, I’m Feeling Pissed About It


Yup, folks, summer is over. Don’t start giving me your lip about it not being the “official” end of summer,  about it not being Labor Day yet, or the even stupider nonsense about the equinox. The bare naked and ugly truth is that summer is kaput,  morto, D-E-A-D. The kids are back in school, marking the real end to the carefree feeling that accompanies the wonderful warm months. Time is now lunches and buses and report cards and social complexities and teachers of both the competent and incompetent variety,  not to mention that biggest waste of children’s time known as homework. (Of course, every teacher thinks her homework assignments are useful and important, but whatever–I’ll be targeting those maroons shortly. Also, since I’m taking detours, the weather isn’t correlated with arthritis[1,2,3]* and sugar doesn’t make your children hyperactive[4], but I don’t bother arguing these  anymore because, well, because people also vote for Donald Trump and deny global warming and I’ve got other Twinkies to fry.) First idiot that says something saccharine about the changing of the seasons and oh snow so pretty gets salted and sold to cannibals.

This year’s summer was ridiculously short. Embarrassingly short. I felt ashamed telling my kids that they had to go back to school, and no, they were in no mood to start up again with their respective academic purgatories, junior high and high school.  Students in Massachusetts didn’t get out until June 26, which should have been cause for the pillorying of the both the Superintendent and the members of the School Committee, but all we like sheep have gone apathetic, and we’ll probably settle for a week at the fourth of July in a few decades. And students will still get a better education in a dozen other countries.

This used to be called copyright violation, stealing, etc. It is now known as "re-purposing." My apologies to Mr. Groenig.
This used to be called copyright violation, stealing, etc. It is now known as “re-purposing.” My apologies to Mr. Groenig, but not to the editors who have basically given free license to this practice.

 

*The third article is much more interesting and nuanced, and it does correlate physical activity and season, which may be a confounder in these studies.

1.Gorin A, et al;  Rheumatoid arthritis patients show weather sensitivity in daily life, but the relationship is not clinically significant;PainVolume 81, Issues 1–2, 1 May 1999, Pages 173–177

2. Dorleijn D, et al; Associations between weather conditions and clinical symptoms in patients with hip osteoarthritis: A 2-year cohort study; PainVolume 155, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages 808–813

3. Feinglass J, Lee J, Dunlop D, Song J, Semanik P, Chang RW. The Effects of Daily Weather on Accelerometer-measured Physical Activity among Adults with Arthritis. Journal of physical activity & health. 2011;8(7):934-943.

4. Wolraich ML, Wilson DB, White J. The Effect of Sugar on Behavior or Cognition in Children: A Meta-analysis. JAMA.1995;274(20):1617-1621

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