Category Archives: FB Notes

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More Surgery

This past spring I had an acute attack of pancreatitis. To diagnose this I had to undergo a CT scan. Pancreatitis can often cause problems for months resulting in hospitalization and stays in ICU. I was lucky, my doctor sent me to the ER. I received treatment and was back to normal two days later.

However, the CAT scan found something else. I had a very large and unusual shaped bladder. My doctor was very insistent that I see a urologist and have this looked into. After she called me up a month after the pancreatitis attack to again insist that I see a urologist she made me understand that this was something I needed to see a specialist about so I made an appointment with Dr. Mukeesh Patel and let him have a look.

Dr. Patel found that I had an enlarged bladder. Not only was my bladder enlarged but the muscle wall of the bladder had herniated and allowed the inner lining of the bladder to escape forming two diverticulum. This isn’t a problem unless the diverticulum are retaining urine. Mine were. The cause stemmed from an enlarged prostate restricting flow and not allowing my bladder to empty. So I had a procedure called transurethral ablation to open up the urethra.

This worked but after six months my bladder is still retaining urine. The diverticulum are filling up now and not emptying. Yesterday the decision was made to operate again to remove the diverticulum. I suggested December 6 and he is suppose to get back with me by tomorrow to confirm that date or give me an alternate.

This will cause me to lose at least a week of work but it should give me time to heal over winter and get back to riding my bicycle by mid January. I will need to start back then because I have plans for April. I’ll tell you more about those as I fill in the details myself. Hopefully this will bring an end, at least for now, to my health issues that have plagued me this year.

UPDATE: Surgery has been scheduled for December 7th.

Circumcision

Part of my morning routine is to peruse Google News. This morning an LA Times story, “In Defense of Circumcision”, grabbed my attention. I knew there had been some people trying to ban circumcision of boys under the age of consent in San Francisco. I figured this would be a political argument against that effort but was pleasantly surprised to find it was a medical defense of circumcision.

In the past few years it has been found that the health benefits of circumcision in the prevention of some diseases is significant. When my wife and I were deciding about circumcision for our sons over twenty years ago the degree of health benefits were questionable. Our decision to do so boiled down to my wife feeling that our sons needed to “look like me.” I was circumcised at birth because that was just what was done to boys at birth in American hospitals in the ’50s. I’m not relieved to know that I and my sons benefitted from the protection we received from circumcision even though we didn’t know it at the time.

However, me being the curious fellow that I am, that led me to wonder why was it routine to circumcise Gentile boys in American hospitals in the 50s and even back in the ’20s when my father, also circumcised, was born? So I Googled “history of circumcision in America” and was presented with a ton of information. What surprised me, and shouldn’t have, was there is even a website called www.HistoryOfCircumcision.net. The history is interesting. Enjoy the read. ;)

The importance of stupidity in scientific research

Dan passed along this article and I think it is something that every educator and every student ought to be required to read. This is why it is important to be allowed to fail and important to encourage people to continue trying when they do fail.

I remember the day when Henry Taube (who won the Nobel Prize two years later) told me he didn’t know how to solve the problem I was having in his area. I was a third-year graduate student and I figured that Taube knew about 1000 times more than I did (conservative estimate). If he didn’t have the answer, nobody did.

That’s when it hit me: nobody did. That’s why it was a research problem. And being my research problem, it was up to me to solve. Once I faced that fact, I solved the problem in a couple of days. (It wasn’t really very hard; I just had to try a few things.) The crucial lesson was that the scope of things I didn’t know wasn’t merely vast; it was, for all practical purposes, infinite. That realization, instead of being discouraging, was liberating. If our ignorance is infinite, the only possible course of action is to muddle through as best we can.

via The importance of stupidity in scientific research.

When I was taking programming classes in college I would write programs watch them fail, figure out why they failed and after a dozen attempt succeed. There was a young lady in my introductory class who would spend a little more time up front fully understanding the problem than I did, write her program, watch it run and turn it in. She did this for half of the class and it use to really irritate me.

The programs we were assigned continued to get more complex each week until one day she did all her prep work, wrote her program and ….. it failed. At first  I smiled because mine had run properly on the second iteration but then I realized she was in a real pickle because her successes had never prepared her for this failure and she had not developed the skills she needed to debug the program and understand why it broke.

I do think that education looks too hard at success on a test as being a good measure of learning. Personally, I think maybe failure on a test with a subsequent success might be the better path. How can one learn if one doesn’t first know what one doesn’t know?

Another one bites the dust…

Troy Davis was killed last night. Maybe he deserved it or maybe he didn’t but regardless of that there are now two people dead due to an act done twenty years ago. I can’t see that the world is any better off.

Some folks will tell you that Troy was innocent. I’ll tell you that while he might not have been guilty he was far from innocent. He was in the close vicinity of two separate gun shot incidents the night Officer McPhail was killed and at the trial witnesses placed him as the man pulling the trigger both times. He admitted to being in the vicinity of both shootings but he  said he didn’t do either. Not guilty? Maybe but innocent, no.

But none of that really matters to me. What matters is that the state of Georgia put a man to death last night and you could say that they did it in my name along with the names of all the other citizens of Georgia. They could have locked Troy Davis up for the rest of his life and that would have kept him from being a danger to the public. It would probably have cost the state less money, also. But we live in a society that demands a pound of flesh when wronged so we killed him.

I really don’t want to live in a society so wrapped up in vengeance and punishment. I want to live in a more merciful society. I want to live in a society that removes dangers from society without killing them and that doesn’t lock someone up just because they find a need to alter their reality without placing the public in jeopardy.

I’m almost ready to become an activist over this.

It’s still a problem

Almost ten years ago I wrote this article about my take on why we didn’t have HBO delivered over the Internet. It was based on an article by Jack Valenti, then the president of the Motion Picture Association of America and now deceased. Well, we now have Internet streaming of movies through Netflix and some other services but there isn’t as complete a library as there should be and the reason is that the MPAA is still attempting to achieve relevance.

Chaz Bono on ‘DWTS’: ‘America Really Needs to See This’ – ABC News

I woke up this morning to the news that Chaz Bono will be one of the stars in the upcoming season of “Dancing With The Stars.” That in its self is not that exciting nor newsworthy but evidently some very closed minded individuals think it should not be so and are protesting his appearance on the show.

The problem seems to be stemming from the fact that Chaz used to be Chastity and some people think that just isn’t right that someone born a woman should now be a man. I’m thinking that regardless of if its right or not it is Chaz’s body and if he likes living in a man’s body more than living in a woman’s body then that’s his prerogative. If as Chastity she had decided to have breast enlargement or reduction nothing would have been said about that. This is just a more radical breast reduction surgery with a little added elsewhere. He’s still the same person, just sculpted to better match his own self image.

But here is the reasoning they are using and also the part that actually grabbed my attention to this story on GMA:

“We will not be able to watch the show with Chaz on there,” Monica Cole, director of OneMillionMoms.com told “Inside Edition” on Wednesday. “This is going to be very confusing for children, and should not be included in their cast.”

Well, you know something? Just don’t watch it then. Don’t tell me about it, just don’t watch it. I’ll decide for myself if I want to watch it or not and DWTS is one of the few reality shows that I will watch. But beyond that, just hide your kids under a basket and don’t let them see anything that goes on in the real world.

I think that last line was what really got me. Children don’t get confused about things like Chastity becoming Chaz, they become curious. This would be a wonderful opportunity to talk to their children about how boy or girl, man or woman, we are all God’s children and all equal in His eyes. Maybe use it to illustrate a Bible verse, like Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

But maybe Ms Cole reads a different Bible than I do because she went on to say:

The online group is calling for a boycott of the show, writing on its website that the casting of Bono “is completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show, no excuses!”

I’m sorry Ms Cole, but I take my marching orders from the teachings of Jesus Christ, my Savior, not your website. He had a different opinion of how to treat people:

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:1-11

Now are you sure you want to say that no Christian would watch the program? I’m thinking that no Christian would boycott DWTS because of this.

Blue Phoenix and Dragon Gaiwan Set

 

Blue Phonix and Dragon Gaiwan Set

 

I like tea cups and saucers. The saucers have to be a part of the set. I drink my coffee from them. Something about having a coaster with me just seems right. I found this Blue Phoenix and Dragon Gaiwan Set that I love. The lid on this I’m not sure of, though. Is this to keep the tea warm? Prevent sloshing? Regardless, I think I’ll order four of these the next time I have $50 to spare.

You got to leave it up to fate.

They say she came from Mobile where she worked her charms at night.
A Man of God there found her and took pity on her plight.
But her history doesn’t matter it’s what she is today.
She has a husband and a daughter and she seems to be okay.

He was on the streets in Tulsa not a penny to his name.
It was hunger and desperation that pushed him to this game.
But it seems this man was lucky that he slipped and dropped his knife.
Had he followed through and killed that man he’d got twenty-five to life.

You may think that its your choices that make you who you are.
And mostly you’d be right but you better thank you lucky star.
There’s one fact your not considering and I’ll give it to you straight;
So much you have no control of you have to leave it up to fate.

He drove across to East L.A. he was there to make a deal;
He had a couple of friends along they were there to keep it real.
But he didn’t see the pothole and now his rim is bent.
A helpful cop found his stash and now to prison he’s been sent.

A business man in Boston goes to lunch with his pretty wife.
He’s made a million dollars things are looking good in his life.
As they are walking past a construction site a worker drops his wrench.
Now he drools and wears a diaper and his wife can’t stand the stench.

You may think that its your choices that make you who you are.
And mostly you’d be right but you better thank you lucky star.
There’s one fact your not considering and I’ll give it to you straight;
Your life can change so quickly due to nothing more than fate.

Communicycle of Lawrenceville is Go!

Over the weekend I got news that funding has been approved for startup capital for Communicycle of Lawrenceville. This is a bike co-op that is being sponsored by McKendree United Methodist Church and is being advised by Communicycle of Chamblee. There is one more item that needs to be resolved in order to secure the space for the co-op but we are going ahead with a goal of being started by September 15, 2011.

Yeah, that’s not far away. I have to purchase tools and supplies and find people who will donate the old bicycles taking up space in their garages and basements. I need to recruit volunteers and start publicizing this venture. There is also a little matter of clearing out the space we have been given and doing some minor remodeling to accommodate our needs.

It will happen, though. I know that for a fact. This didn’t get this far without God on our side and I know He is going to grease whatever wheels need greasing for this to be a success.

Communicycle of Lawrenceville

Just got through with a meeting with Josh of Communicycle and he has agreed to advise us and allow a sharing of the Communicycle brand with our planned bicycle co-op in Lawrenceville. I think we have from him what information we need to get started, now we need a place to start in. There are some ideas for that.

Hopefully before the end of the year Communicycle of Lawrenceville will be a reality. I have some excitement started in our church over this project now. I hope I can keep it sustained.

On another note, Communicycle will be opening a Clarkston shop. They have a workday scheduled for August 13. I hope I can get some volunteers from Lawrenceville to help on this workday.

NCR Revisited.

Several years ago I came across a website by a doctor offering NeuroCranial Restructuring. This procedure uses an inflatable bladder inserted into the sinus cavities to adjust the cranium to alleviate various maladies. It’s a form of chiropractic manipulation. I will state that there could be legitimate therapeutic uses for this procedure but the laundry list of ailments, including treatment of phobias and organ failure, caused me to take pause and comment about my skepticism of the vast number of ailments this procedure could treat.

That was back in 2003. I kept getting people taking me to task over my skepticism for years after writing that post until I finally just turned off comments. The original website took down the original list of ailments the procedure could treat and I found others I could point to who could debunk NCR much better than me. I thought that was the end of that.

This morning I was looking at some logs and notice someone had linked to my original article and called me a “grouchy, skeptical blogholder,” taking me to task for turning my comments off. Those comments are back on now. Yes, I am a skeptic but I don’t think I’m grouchy. If you have any scientific study indicating that NCR is in any way capable of treating that entire list in my original post I’d sure like to see it.

A new poem

I got some lines running through my head this morning so I wrote them down at lunch and polished them a bit in between tasks this afternoon. I kept hearing this like a C&W song from the 50s as I was writing it. Feel free to give me feedback in the comments. I know it can use more polish.

Well I guess its just a short time ’til you leave me.
I’ve never known of happiness to stay.
My joy now depends on you completely.
And that’s why I think your soon to go away.

I know you say your love for me is unending.
But I’ve heard those words a time or two before.
To me they’re just the prelude to my heart rending.
So I won’t be surprised when you point me to the door.

It’s been fourteen years since my first love left me.
When she took my heart I thought for sure she’d stay.
Our relationship ended oh so stealthy.
I still don’t know why she went away.

Three more times since I’ve tried to take my chances.
Three more times it’s ended in much pain.
That’s why I never meant to fall for you my darling.
Every time I love I seem to love in vain.

A little plan

I got off the phone with Josh a few minutes ago. Josh is one of the people involved with Communicycle in Chamblee, Ga. The conversation was interesting to say the least. I’ve been wanting to get a bike co-op started in Lawrenceville since last summer when I met Zac at Main Street Bike Co-op while I was working in Chattanooga. My conversation with Josh along with a couple of e-mails between me and a couple of members of my church make me think a bike co-op in Lawrenceville is a definite possibility.