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Polystyrene foam has been around for a long time; I mean, it is part of my early educational life and memories.  The most popular brand-name for this material is Styrofoam ™.

I cannot say for sure whether it was officially my first science fair, although it might have been.   My parents, ever since they actually purchased retail a book entitled “1001 things you can get free,” got me free samples from some representative of the oil industry of, well, oil in various stages of refinement.

They usually tried to write or rewrite my school projects to make them “better,” and wrenching things away from them was virtually impossible, and they did “help” with my descriptions and diagrams of the “cracking” process.   Of course, I had memorized articles from every encyclopedia I could get my hands on.  This was my standard modus operandi for pretty much everything in those days. Read more on Save Us From Styrofoam Already…

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I was in college when I convinced my parents to let me spend a hunk of my Christmas vacation  with my girlfriend Susan and her family in Bucks County, PA. I assured my folks that we would do a lot of cultural and intellectual kinds of things.  We would go to the symphony, where I could see Eugene Ormandy conduct some Tchaikovsky.  We would do the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall — great because I loved the Founding fathers so.

I bought a little gold plated Liberty Bell, which I so loved that I wore it around my neck for many years when the gold plating had long worn off.

Her father, a design engineer, loved making toy soldier models which My-Father-Of-Blessed-Memory loved collecting.  Susan’s father had told her to tell me I would bring home a new soldier for my father — that clinched the deal for sure. Read more on Don’t Eat The Blue Stuff — Or Yellow Either!…

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The Tower Hill School in Delaware is considered top of the rank of independent schools in Delaware. Maybe, some say, the best private college prep in the United States.

Their website looks a lot like the website for my old prep school — Beaver Country Day School For Young Ladies, Chestnut Hill, MA.

Yes, in the days of the class of 1969, it was girls only, and was almost a relic of bygone days, with mixers (with boys’ prep schools) where an effort was still made to keep couples a certain distance apart.  I was one of the early token Jews in a system where all visible human skin was the color of a bleached aspirin tablet. Read more on School Sex Scandals Among The Rich And Powerful…

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I was wearing my best pastel multicolor weave suit as I walked up the stairs of a drab gray Victorian mansion converted into a medical office on the outskirts of large mid-western city. It was a bit cool, early spring, and I had been through all of the other principal personalities in a fairly large and well respected neurosurgery department.  The emeritus chief of the department — older, semi-retired, wrote hunks of textbooks about 20 years before; was the last one I had to see.  Although nobody seemed wildly excited, I had “passed” the interviews to make it this far.

The Victorian mansion was the office building of the neurosurgical group that was the residency faculty.  I was ushered into a richly furnished Victorian style office with antimacassars and gigantic velvet wing-backed chairs.

The father-to-us-all type neurosurgeon spent over five minutes asking me about France and my passion for the brain before asking me if my period gave me any problems. Read more on Women In Science Sore And Soar…

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I am glad that Frida Ghitlis covered this, glad as always that other women in other countries fight against arbitrary and repressive regimes.

Of course a woman should be allowed to show her face, that great bastion of personal identity.

I cannot claim to be surprised that Fox News, that lovely stronghold of all that is conservative, trivialized it into a headline about it being impossible to tell women “what to wear.” Read more on What “Womanstuff” Really Means…

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I had my struggles with the military about weight requirements.  Many have.  I remember an especially clever nurse-officer who had given a lot more years of her existence to the Army than I had, and was both a cracker jack clinician and a cracker jack administrator, and left with a wimp because she was too heavy.

I also remember one whom I then considered a mediocre physician’s assistant who told me he got a commission as a warrant officer where the physical consisted mainly of measuring the circumference of both his neck and his waist. He did it by pumping up his muscles in his neck so that his neck was so damned fat that the rest of him seemed “proportional.”  Yes, this really worked.  Waist not — want not.

In case anybody is curious about my military commission physical, I had starved myself to some pretty small proportions.  The physician told me I was built like a fashion model, so as much as he would surely enjoy it, he was not going to insult me by giving me a physical. Read more on Plastic Surgery To Pass The Army Physical…

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We don’t learn from history.  America sounds like it is starving with several stories on food bank cuts that have just started.  A lot of people seem to skimp and save to be able to eat.  Some of my marijuana patients tell me it is the only medical care they can afford.  One asked me where the nearest food bank was, and if I knew any good ones.

Vintage Veterans PostMy Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory had a couple of raspberry bushes in the back yard, and some very aggressive strawberries that sent runners under the sidewalk to the garbage can, pushing up the already fragile cracked concrete. This infuriated my Mother-Of-Blessed-Memory who always had to do such repairs, as my father of blessed memory had “such delicate hands.” At least that is what his mother would lament as she stroked them.  He had an honored place in our household for being a composer and choir director and music teacher and supporting the lot of us. Read more on Is This How We Thank Our Veterans?…

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I have a lot of trouble feeling sorry for celebrities.  I mean, I do applaud Tom Hanks for being open about his type II diabetes  (adult onset, often associated with factors such as aging and being overweight).  I have seen and heard too much about stereotypes of people as being overweight and lazy and old when they are type II diabetic.

I have always been concerned about people who have lives of such unrelenting boredom and mundanity that they choose to live through being fans of celebrities.  Many beloved patients and one beloved husband think I should be a celebrity, for having done things.  This, of course, would fly in the face of numerous celebrities who have done little or nothing identifiable, such as the Kardashians, but I am assured it is still possible. Read more on Did Yo-yo dieting Give Tom Hanks Diabetes?…

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Okay, so they found a stimulant, a long-named never tested member of the amphetamine family a body building type supplement; not listed on the label, never studied in humans.  I can’t count how many laws were broken.  So they can throw the responsible party in jail and stop this sort of thing, right? Wrong.

Read more on One Craze I Hope Won’t Catch On…

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Some of my friends like to watch cop shows — the ones called “Police Procedurals.”  They think it is exciting to see how crimes are solved and how police interact with puzzling situations. I’ve had my encounters with the police, too.  Sometimes they are very supportive when dealing with mental patients.  Sometimes they make things worse.  I’m pleased to say that many communities now have special personnel trained in handling mental health calls, and they coordinate with caregivers well — and treat the patients with understanding and a sincere desire to help. I was called in by a therapist when a patient was chronically suicidal. The therapist had to commit the patient to a mental institution and called the police to assist. I am thankful that she also called me to try to get the patient to go along involuntarily.  When confronted by a uniformed police officer, and looking at an ambulance or police car, a patient sometimes panics. Here is what I said: Read more on The Speech That Made a Cop Cry, And A Therapist Stand by Speechless…

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