Random Thoughts About Whatever Comes to Mind

Barbara Bush's Care Decision

April 16, 2018

Tags: Barbara Bush, health, palliative care, advance directives, living will

Everyone sends kind thoughts to Mrs. Bush, wife of our 41st president, and her family. Handling long-term health issues, she has made a brave and no doubt carefully considered decision to end aggressive medical treatment and enter into palliative care.

Mrs. Bush is fortunate to be surrounded by a loving and actively involved family (more…)

Chilling Look At What's Enabled The Rise of Plutocratic Authoritarianism Around The Globe

April 7, 2018

Tags: "The demise of the nation state", Rana Dasgupta, The Guardian Long Read, end of the social contract

Please take the time to read "The demise of the nation state" by Rana Dasgupta in The Guardian of 5 Apr 2018. This article is important because it's possibly the most cogent explanation thus far of the alarming rise of authoritarian and plutocratic power around the globe.

What makes this development alarming isn't just a matter of philosophical preference for one political structure over another but the fact that it inevitably poses a real and immediate risk for entire populations (more…)

It Takes "Good Guys" To Help Sleazoids Get Away With It

November 21, 2017

Tags: #MeToo, sexual harassment, academic sex discrimination, workplace cruelty, school bullies

Like all American girls, I endured the usual slings and arrows associated with being born female - catcalls and wolf whistles on the street; strangers trying to lure me into their cars as I waited to be collected at school, laden down with books; boys who wouldn't take no for an answer and who'd (more…)

The Permanent Impermanence of The Evolving Job Market

July 5, 2017

Tags: job market of tomorrow, future work, job benefits, entrepreneurship, job security, inequality, government tax policy, government spending priorities

Let's face it whenever predictions are made, the future has a way of tearing them to shreds to the sound of loud laughter in the background. At the same time, my guess is that increasingly most people will find themselves in a job market shaped like a barbell with unequal ends. At one extreme, there'll (more…)

We Are Now The World's Biggest Banana Republic

June 2, 2017

Tags: 2015 Paris Climate Accord, US withdrawal from world leadership, Washington bullies, Napoleon, Luddites, William Wordsworth, O. Henry, On The Extinction of the Venetian Republic

On the face of it, Wordsworth and O. Henry would appear to have little in common, yet this morning-after-the-end of the U.S.'s international leadership role it's hard not to think of both of them.

It was O. Henry who, back in 1904 in a short story inspired by his time in Honduras, coined the term "banana republic", which was subsequently picked up by political scientists to describe politically volatile countries in Latin America whose economy was dependent on a physical asset - fruit, minerals, whatever - controlled by a combination of foreign corporations and a local elite dependent on them. Through subsidies and bribes, combined with tactics designed to destabilize legitimate national interests, the foreign commercial entities gained and retained access to the desired resource.

The result was a highly stratified society in which most of the local population was poor and survived at the mercy of a small ruling class that (more…)

Come From Away - At The Start Of A Moment

May 7, 2017

Tags: 9/11, Come From Away Broadway show, 2017 Tony awards, Gander Newfoundland, odd real estate transactions

It's hard to believe that it's been fifteen-plus years since 9/11, a national tragedy both for what it was and what it set in play (it's not good when your leadership doesn't just lose the white hat but stomps on it, then throws it as far away from home base as possible).

It was certainly one of my odder personal experiences, as only a change in scheduling related to an Atlanta house sale kept me from being in NYC at the WTC Marriott that week (more…)

Loss Of An Original Mind, An Affectionate Heart

March 23, 2017

Tags: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, You May Want To Marry My Husband, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary life, the meaning of life

Any death represents the loss of uniqueness - the one pair of hands that could shape clay in just that way, the one brain that analyzed situations in just that manner, the one person who combined just that knowledge-set, circle of acquaintances, capabilities, and experiences.

With the death last week of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, we lost something else: a true original. Known for her quirky (more…)

The Love Of Libraries

February 19, 2017

Tags: Mahesh Rao, NY Times, public library, universal love of reading, social connection, library research, childhood reading

Sometimes you read an article about someone else's experiences that brings back your own with breathtaking poignance. Today, in the midst of a world that seems prepared to devalue the worth of the written word just as it prefers easy answers and disastrous chaos to hard work and unpleasant reality, such an article appeared in the SundayReview of The New York Times. By Mahesh Rao, the article - An Elegy for the Library - describes his experiences with public libraries in Nairobi, London, and Mysore. Rao, a native of Kenya, is an award-winning writer who (more…)

The Job From Hell In Fond Memory

January 23, 2017

Tags: first job, orthopedic practice, Successful Patient, patients and their doctors

Writing SUCCESSFUL PATIENT has made me think, for the first time in a long time (at least seriously) about my first job, probably because it was in a medical practice, a very large medical practice.

When I was seventeen, toward the end of my freshman year in college, I lost my scholarship because I had refused to continue taking a class with a teacher who sexually harassed me. (Far from being illegal, this was considered a more or less standard job perk for a certain kind of academic jerk - and evidently still is in some schools). (more…)

Successful Patient Book Trailer

January 21, 2017

Tags: Ken Cohen, book trailer, Successful Patient, UNCHealth, Chapel Hill, Dr. Matthew G. Ewend, Dr. Kevin D. Brown, Neurosurgery, ENT

The Successful Patient book trailer is up, and Ken Cohen's voiceover is terrific! After hearing his Bartleby (yep, the Melville Bartleby), we knew he was the only one who could keep it light enough, and he more than came through.Kudos also to Holly Hill Production for a fun piece.

You can check out the trailer on the SuccessfulPatient.com website - click the link at the bottom of THE BOOK column to go to the grid where it's located about halfway down above the Table of Contents, and also on Vimeo. Links to both the website and to Vimeo are in the sidebar content.

I'm still working away on the book, and (more…)