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Note: The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections were not comfortable with this one. It is neither funny nor entertaining. I told them it will be posted and they capitulated. 

 

I’ve been immersed in Greek Mythology on Podcasts and Youtube. I continue to be outraged by Hera. For thems not familiar with the goddess, Hera is the queen of the Olympians, wife and sister to Zeus. Zeus is mostly known for being a rake who runs around the world seducing everyone – with Hera on his tail. Hera’s outrage at her spouse’s sexual shenanigans is understandable. However she handles her jealousy not by vituperating her husband so much as attacking his paramours – none of them willing recipients of Zeus’ lusts.  After he more or less rapes them Hera torments them often sadistically. It is worse for Z’s children by these poor souls. Hera does her best to destroy them in the most miserable means possible. [1] She personifies the age-old adage of “blaming the victim”. [2]

Blaming the victim is a psychology that burns my bacon. Gay/lesbians get blamed for having a high rate of depression, drug abuse, and suicide because of who they are and not because of the circumstances that make for such circumstances. Women who are sexually assaulted are told it’s their own fault for wearing the wrong clothes or doing something men don’t approve of. The largest and most enduring recipients of “blaming the victim” are the poor. Throughout time the poor have been told it’s their own fault they are poor. If they weren’t slackers, stupid, irresponsible, etc. they would not be that way. This logic carried out means not only is poverty ‘their fault’ but trying to help them only makes these faults worse. [3].

The flipside of blaming the victim is the all too frequent willingness for the victims to believe it. Human psychology as it is, when you are told over and over in direct and subtle ways your lot is your fault then you start to believe it.

I recently heard a lecture on obesity. People who are overweight are one of the few types of folks where it is still “OK” to make mock and most important – blame the victim. When we see a fat person we think s/he is that way from  volitional poor choices, lack of will power, and morale failure. We don’t make room for the possibility medical health concerns thwart their metabolism or pain makes exercise impossible. We tend to view fat people as stupid. We frown on their poor choices of food – not taking into account good food is expensive and often hard for the poor to come by, while cheap/bad food is often the only thing they can afford and obtain. [4] We all know about the ‘obesity crisis” in the USA but we seldom if ever look at the social issues and injustices that make it so. I suspect rich folks (who can afford proper food and time for exercise) have far less percentage of folks overweight than the ones in poverty.

As a doctor I see the hazards of being overweight; being so has a high level of morbidity and mortality. Shaming these patients (or worse – yelling at them) never never never ever works. There are studies to suggest shaming fat people only makes them more ashamed and eat and gain. In consultation on nutrition/weight etc. I’ve learned to look less at patient’s diet and exercise and more at their economics and time restraints. [5]

Society and systems and our prejudices are the things to blame, not the recipients. We need to recognize the Hera in us all and start going after Zeus, not Semele and Europa.

 

[1] Through the pages I want to shout “Hera, you are a goddess, why don’t you just kill them?”

[2] We don’t know if the Greeks thought Hera sensible or horrible.  Was she an example of ‘how to do it right” or ‘how not to do it”.
[3] I remember a play in which an impoverished family struggles to better themselves but the powers of the town and factory where they live and work thwart their endeavors through restrictions and unjust punishments. As the mother leaves the stage, she turns to say to their priest: “You know what’s the hardest thing about all of this? People think we do this on purpose.”
[4] We are also punitive with those overweight. We pass laws in cities forbidding the sale of soda pop and laws obliging food stamp recipients what they can and can not buy wih them. If similar laws are attempted in the suburbs there is outrage from the white and rich about ‘nannying’ laws and taking away our freedom to choose.

[5] Ever try to tell a single mother working two jobs she should go to the gym and cook from scratch a balanced meal of fresh produce she can’t find or afford?

Spo-fans may recall a few weeks/entries ago The Board of Directors You Know The Rest burned down the board room. I think at some level they were hoping to filch farthings from the Spo-fans in a fire-sale fundraiser. Unfortunately The Notre Dame fiasco eclipsed their shenanigans. The millionaires are donating to Paris not to WordPress. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good and this includes impudent Archetypes.  I pointed out to the miscreants there is nothing like a new tunic to brighten up your day so do let’s tidy up the place and make some improvements.

While they are hauling away the burned beams and dead animals this weekend I plan to update my links and pages. There are many blogger buddies not on the link roster (hang in there Debbie!) and a few in need of pruning (alas they are no longer with us). My ‘37.5 things about myself” needs updates and editing, especially the photo.  I like the one there but it’s getting a bit old (rather I am a bit older).

Then comes the cosmic question should I change the format? It’s been the same since its inception many years ago. I have mixed feelings: it feels quite staid and easy on the eye, but it also feels aged. I change my wallpapers on my phone and laptop more often than some folks change their socks  (and some Board members change their nether drawers). Spo-fan should not be shocked to see a few trial runs in the next week. I am open to comments good and bad.

After the rugs are replaced* we erect a new oaken round table –  this time with drilled holes to allow for computer and laptop cords. It’s long overdue: they need learn how to use such devices. Vikings maybe fierce in battle but they are big wussies when it comes to electronic devices. I’ve assured them rapine, piracy, looting, and trolling on line beats what they do by a country mile. I pity the poor tech-geek we’ve hired to set it all up. The last ones hired disappeared halfway through the job. I recall he was a tall man with his companion whom TBDHR instantly disliked on the suspicion they were Slavs. During the recent tidy up two skeletons were discovered in the dungeon behind the trapdoor underneath the board room. I was told there were just the bones of large rats.  Not even Sarah H. Sanders would try that one.

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*’Rugs’ is code for hides, most of them now quite beyond repair given years of muddy boots and dropped doughnuts. I’ve persuaded TBDHSR not to replace them but let’s go to IKEA. I sense they won’t like the carpets much but they should enjoy all those Js and Ks.

 I want to thank Spo-fans far and near for their praises of  the last post. The chief reason I blog is my passion to write. Most of what I scribble is nonsense and dribble but occasionally something pulls together into thoughtful and pretty prose. Yesterday’s entry felt like a success and I was blithe others thought so as well. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections was also pleased as punch. They sent me a bonus barrel of mead (the dears!) They also adamantly deny they are responsible for Notre Dame. They may relish in pyro-shenanigans towards public buildings but they are no fools to touch something that big.  

Last weekend when I visited Brother #3 we had nice morning going through his library looking at his collection of books. My Tsundoku is quite active; the last thing I need is more books. However I am always on the look-out for fabulous findings and recommendations.

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On his shelf sits a collection of books from our youth. These are the “Alfred Hitchcock and the three investigators” mystery series. A group of lads go about and solve mysteries. I read these tomes instead of “The Hardy Boys”. Would you believe it – I didn’t think I was ‘butch’ enough to read the latter. * Laying eyes on these ancient tomes lit up my eyes to elicit a euphoria the type one gets when you stumble upon a childhood memento you haven’t seen in decades but seeing them you immediately recall them and all they entailed. B#3 found them in the basement of The Progenitors; he took the lot home hoping someday my nephew The Posthumous Thomas will read them.

We noticed (as can you in the photo) some in series are missing. We can’t recall if we never had them or they are lost. This raised a mystery to solve of its own. Next time he visits The Progenitors he will try to find them. If he is unsuccessful we will hit Ebay and buy the missing ones. Meanwhile I will do some research: how they came to be and how long they went on etc.

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After we finished the tour, I took down The Mystery of the Talking Skull, which is one I books I remember enjoying, and I read a few chapters. Do you ever reread your childhood favorites? I do. This is usually a mixed bag of emotions.  There is a satisfaction nothing like rereading a story that quickly comes back to mind. On the other hand these reads are never are quite as stirring or as magical as when they were first read. “Talking Skull” wasn’t scary or as deep as I remembered. There was a sense of camp to it viz. failed seriousness.  Oh well, I am no longer ten years old.

Someday after we complete the set I hope to read them all. How many times have I said that before! I’ve got to make a more concerted effort to make time for reading. If I don’t I fear ‘The three investigators’ will sit on the shelf taunting me as books do when they want you to pick them out and enter them again.

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*I probably still am not.

My three year residency in psychiatry/neurology at the University of Chicago went from 1989-1992. There were six in my class: two men and four women. We had some things in common and we had vast differences too. However we were a good group – we had to be as the work was strenuous. It required a lot of cooperation and assistance even during times of friction. They were a sort of family. After we graduated we vowed to keep in touch. You can guess what happened. We quickly lost track of each other. I remember years later hearing through the grapevine Peter’s wife had died. I called and left word but he didn’t call me back. Diane and I tried a few text messages when that became available but it didn’t endure.  For nearly thirty years in my professional loneliness I’ve often wondered where they were and how they turned out – and if they remember me.

Yesterday I received out of the blue a letter from Juliet. She sent greetings and update how she was. She listed all six’s office information; she hoped we could get together someday. Interesting to read the five of them still work/reside in the Chicago area. I figured Denise, who was from South Africa, had long ago returned home.

I was struck speechless by this blast from the past. I felt a euphoria I had not felt in many months. It is like when you thought someone had forgotten you – or was even dead – only to discover they are still connected to you despite time and distance. I wrote back immediately wrote to Juliet (fir she included her email) telling her I was delighted to hear from her and yes I said yes I will yes to a reunion.

What will it be like to see people you haven’t seen in thirty years? My memory of them is frozen in the early 90s. I suspect most of them must be grandparents by now. Are they happy in their professions? Did they turn out different than what the thought? I remember Heidi vowed to become a Freudian analyst –did she do so?  I have so many questions to ask.

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Juliet sent along with her letter this photograph. I remember this picture. Juliet, Peter, Diane and Urs Truly are standing in the back row. Denise and Heidi are sitting  around our teacher Dr. Markus. He didn’t wasn’t in great health then; I fear he is dead.

When I look at myself circa 1990 I squirm some with embarrassment how young and green I was and that is how they probably remember me.  I wonder what they will think of me in my current state of being. I hope to find out very soon.

I’ve been lately thinking a lot about failure, particularly those of my own. I recognize I’ve gone through life having a handful of shortcomings. All people have some of course, and it is easy to dwell on them. There are only two good reasons to reflect ones failures: to learn their lessons and to remedy what can be done about them. It is hoped most failures fall into either category (preferably the latter one).  The trick is to not succumb to emotional humbuggery ‘It is a failure that can’t now be fixed”.

One of the largest failures of my life is establishing networks. This is particularly true in my career. I don’t have a professional network. I have worked alone for 15 years in setting in which I don’t interact with other doctors. If I were to suddenly need a new job I could not pick up the phone or text colleagues to inquire after a new post. If I were in need of a consultation or a collegial shoulder to cry upon I am out of luck. I know no one. When I go to local conferences I am amazed and envious folks know each other/work together.

Then there is a failure too in my home life. I am blessed with friends and family who are far-flung. What I have failed to do is nourish a local network here in Arizona.  I could not call someone to come over right away to help with a home matter or to drive me somewhere or tend Harper during a time of crisis.

People are social critters; we need networks for our well-being as well as security. ” I ask all new patients ‘what is your network”.  “Nobody” is a common answer.  I often hear of  ‘X’ needing surgery and weeks at home for convalescence – but they have no one really to help them getting to/from appointments let alone to take care of them. This may be more a risk factor than smoking.
“The best time to dig a well is before you are thirsty”.  This expression reminds me to get cracking on these deficits before it becomes necessary. Building a network when you need one doesn’t work; it has to be done before.

Is it too late to develop networks? Is this a failure I have to be at peace with? Probably not. However this is no easy quick task to remedy.  It will require time and effort to do; it won’t happen passively.  I feel I must do something before I become thirsty at work and at home.

I have canceled my usual Friday night happy hour with chums to go directly home after work to attend a sort of birthday party. My niece A.K.A. Warrior Queen has arranged a soirée for her stuffed animal. She got it here last time she visited Arizona. I forget what sort of animal it is or its age. We are to have a cake and there may be prizes.  Her father, Brother #4, will be grilling something for the supper.

I am not good at grilling. Were I was better at it! This may be from lack of practice although I don’t remember being too good at it even when I tried. Once upon a time when the outside gas grill was functioning we did a lot of grilling. I was just getting the hang of it when the grill went kaput. That was years ago. We have two Webbers, a tall and a small, standing next to the defunct gas grill. Neither of the black beasts have been used in ages. Setting up the coals and waiting for them to glow and running in and out of the house with platters of food (in the ardent heat of summer) is rather time consuming.

I have a bit of guilt whenever I am grilling. As a cooking technique grilling isn’t very PC what with its consumption of coal and lighter fluid generating nasty fumes into Phoenix’ already quite polluted air. Then there is the high fat-high cholesterol meats with their charred bits full of carcinogens and nitrates (not good for health and heart). Nevertheless the cooking method is still part of a man’s measure, like changing a tire. A real man knows how to grill.

I confess grilled food is my guilty pleasure. These days I don’t each much meat and less beef but Oh! The joy of on-the-grill cheeseburger or baby-back ribs! There is nothing quite like BBQ!

I am much looking forward to tonight’s dinner. Perhaps Brother #4 can teach me some tips and I got dips on all the ribs.

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The colonoscopy preparation instructions say I am not to eat anything for these next 24 hours, nor am I to drink fluids that are red or purple. I am presently consuming tea (hot and cold) and bright blue and yellow sports drinks. I am working in the yard; I’ve taken some allergy medication. Zylert on an empty stomach has left me tired and buzzed – almost intoxicated.  Curiously I don’t feel too hungry. During the breaks from the chores I thought to go online but food is everywhere: Facebook, blogs, pop up ads you name it, it has food mentioned. This may be a case of ‘Baader-Meinhof’; I want something to eat so I am noticing things I don’t normally see when surf the web. 

Someone is washing the windows while I tend the back yard. I am throwing out the dead plants and replenishing them with herbs and succulents recently bought at HomeDepot.  We are getting the place decent for Brother #3 and family who arrive this Wednesday.  The hot tub – unused for months – has a green tint to it making it unwholesome so it’s being drained at the moment. Last week I gave instructions to the pool man to pay extra attention to the pool. We usually don’t set foot in the cement pond until Memorial Day but Brother #3 is bound to want to go in it. He lives in Michigan and has antifreeze for plasma.

I hope we have things decent in time for their arrival. I have my ‘scope tomorrow morning at 7AM then I have the rest of the day off. I am hoping to spend the day  continuing the tidy up but I suspect I will sleep the entire day away. I’m supposed to raise at 245AM to drink large amounts of nasty concoctions so I’m not going to get any sleep. I will look a fright when I see the GI doctor but then again he will be more concerned with the other end of me. 

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Patience above! The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections are getting into Ikigai!

Once in awhile some door-to-door person foolishly drops by their fortress A.K.A. The Boardroom, hoping to sell them something. Normally these unfortunates are butchered or sold downriver* but last weekend one of these villains somehow got in and out with their digits intact AND they planted a flea in their archetypal ears.  Ikigai (I look up) is a sort of Japanese philosophy  about ‘your reason for living” or that which makes ones life worthwhile. I am just beginning to study this myself, so I am hardly an expert but I think this is just another way of saying having meaning in your life. Ikigai has four components:

Things we love

Things we are good at doing

Something the world needs

Having enough money to get by

If you have all four then you have Ikigai, a sense of contentment in your lot in life . You enjoy what you do/are and you are good at what you do. What you do benefit others and you have enough resources (money or otherwise) to sustain it.

Do I have Ikigai? Let’s see:

Despite some faults (what job doesn’t) I am glad to be a physician particularly a psychiatrist. I am not one of the alleged burned-out docs. I wake to be glad to go to work.

I am good at what I do, or so I hope. I think I get enough positive feedback from others to support my self-evaluation I do a good job.

Something the world needs? Indeed. When you earn a living through human illness and suffering there is no lack of need

Yes, I am paid OK. Compared to my fellow wizards my salary is on the low-end of the scale but it is more than most folks I am told. I really try not to compare it to others but to my own yardstick is it enough. Yes it is.

So I suppose I have good reason for living and my work is meaningful. That’s a nice feeling.

Meanwhile I get to see what TBDHSR is going to do with this alleged insight. They love what they do (pillage and rapine) and admittedly they are very good at it. From what I can tell it pays very well. They seem short on the fourth item: “something the world needs”. I will see how far they go on this before they return to their unflappable ways. Last time they dabbled in philosophy was after two LDS missionaries showed up.  “We understand Mormonism (they explained to me afterwards) we have eaten the missionaries”.  Sometimes they are quite sensible.

 

 

*Mormons and JWs fare worse: they are invited in then barred exit and forced to clean the bathroom.

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I don’t know exactly why I am so fond of the Irish. One of my guilty pleasure is watching a Youtube channel in which Irish folks try various food and drink. The fun is watching them cringe and gag at the reported repellence of the foodstuffs.  These posts are the same; only the food changes. I keep going back like a moonstruck calf as I adore an Irish accent. I’ve never dated an Irishman but any wanting my favors he would only have to read the Yellow Pages and I would be his.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means I don’t get to wear my special bowtie to work. Since I won’t be going out today (other than the gym) I see no need for ‘wearing of the green’. Urs Truly has no Irish in his family tree (worse luck!) so it’s a day borrowed than realized. Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewksbury than go to a bar today. Drinking green beer sounds appalling. I once worked with a physician from Dublin. She was aghast and a bit flustered seeing all the nonsense that passes on the day.  Apparently no Irish person in his/her right mind would be caught in a St. Patricks Day parade – until lately. She relates a few stereotypical parades happen nowadays in Ireland proper as the tourists expect them. 

I will start the day with some proper Irish Breakfast tea (no rubbish).  I will listen to Irish music and read some Yeats and Joyce. I think there is some Teeling in the cupboard to have a snort in honor of the day. That will be my St. Patrick’s Day 2019 and it sounds good enough.  

P.S. if any leprechauns who looks like the fellow in the photo show today I will definitely jump him and never mind the crock of gold. 

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I heard on a podcast this morning the planet Mercury is in ‘retrograde’. The harbinger of these ill-tidings warned her listeners to be on the look-out for problems especially technical ones like password snafus. One wonders how astrology managed to incorporate the iPhone into its ancient belief system but there it is. I remember from astronomy the orbits of the planets in relation to Earth look like they temporarily go backward from time to time as if they are backing up prior to surging forward. In astrology this is correlated to bad times and bungles. Mercury in retrograde is apparently bad for accidents and bungles. I recently decided to try a password manager to corral my dozen or so passwords I continually fail to remember. This isn’t going well but now I know it is due to Mercury in retrograde and not Gremlins or The Cup Fairies.*

Mercury in retrograde strikes me as being another example of cognitive bias. We believe things that validate our views while discarding anything that refutes them. Humans are forever trying to find explanations for bad events. An alleged increase in misfortune is due to peripatetic planets or the full moon** or God’s will or whatever trite reason suits the situation. Alas Babylon! We are not content with things ‘just happening’ without cosmic or sinister influences.

I hope Mercury gets out of reverse soon and moves forward so I can have a good-enough weekend. I want to get Lastpass up and working by Monday. I see the moon is waxing gibbous and Saturn is in Gemini which sounds good to me. I hope that is enough to trump the nefarious influences of Mercury and the Cup Fairies.

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*Mr. Rationalist A.K. A. the fellow I live with suggests the explanation is more simple: I don’t know yet what I am doing and I am not reading the directions carefully. It isn’t nice but I admit that it fits. It is easier to blame Obama and/or Mercury and jolly good fun too.

**I am certain to get emails or comments insisting there is such a thing as The Full Moon Phenomena. Please don’t write in. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections has heard this before.

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