I used to really enjoy going to the kind of tiny circuses that tour the small towns in rural areas. Much of my adult life has been as a wandering gypsy doctor through such areas and it seems that many of the little towns had little to offer and went wild when the circus came to town – no matter how modest the offerings were.
Of course I had experience with the really big shows. When I was a kid my folks took me once to the Greatest Show On Earth — Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey — where I think now the plethora of amusements in three rings is probably best suited for those who really enjoy their attention deficit disorder.
But it was in a tiny field in France by a beach on the English Channel that I saw a lovely one ring circus. I was most impressed with the lion tamer — a person of African descent, large and muscled and handsome — but I was close enough to see each time he put his head in the lion’s mouth, and he did it multiple times.
The old, indifferent lion had no teeth, but the effect was still thrilling.
The image was vivid, and I have not thought of it for many years.
I think of it when I hear talk about the Food and Drug administration (FDA).
The FDA has no teeth, and as you can tell from the interview below, is simply
I worked in prison situations, where inmates complained about everything and sometimes I even agreed with them. Invariably, some older world-weary inmate would say: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” When spoken by a muscled, or at least strong and/or angry looking inmate, I have seen that shut people up. Let’s try this one when it’s time for troops to deploy: “Don’t appear, if they ain’t got the gear.” Read more on Look Mom, No Gear…
“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” “It is sweet and right to die for your country.” The line, in Latin, is from Horace’s Odes, 3.2.13. It is a memory from Miss Lovering’s 8th grade Latin class at the Beaver Country Day School. Everyone said Miss Lovering was a truly great Latin teacher, mostly because she was old enough that she was surely there in Rome when it happened. She was one of the older living Radcliffe College alumnae and had, it was said, found marriage a pale alternative to the glories that were Rome. I remember the above quote as the moment I started thinking Romans were simply not very nice guys. The “lie,” apparently often quoted to soldiers at the beginning of World War I — ostensibly to give them courage — was nicely incorporated into a poem by Wilfred Owen that expresses what yucky stuff war really is. People die of a lot of horrible things, and anyone who has seen combat veterans or lost family has probably figured out that death is just as ugly, if not more so, when it is for your country.
In the poem, he cites, “vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.” Our friends at the Center for Disease Control show — avoid this page if you are faint of heart — a syphilis sore on a tongue, which is what this sounds like. An attempt to get sexy prior to combat is my guess. Soldiers have tried to use the “I could be in combat and die tomorrow” line on me; it never worked, obviously. Opening combat to women might be good in some ways. Good for military rank climbing or professional climbing. If a woman feels compelled to do this, I guess she should be allowed to. Read more on Women in Combat…
Turns out, while most veterans appreciate a stranger saying “thank you” for their service, it can also be a bit uncomfortable. I wonder how these same guys feel about the “Have you thanked a veteran today?” bumper stickers.
I’ve been thanking veterans for a long time. Sometimes, not as consistently as I’d like to because this doctor gig really means that I have to remember a large number of things. Since I began working in the medical marijuana field, where the veterans I meet are paying for a
According to Mitt Romney, God lives and always will inside the Republican platform. Seems to me this would be a difficult place to confine a Supreme Being. When I heard this, I was in the car with my husband. I could only think of one response, and that was to pray aloud. “Dear God, how do you put up with all this crap? Your friend, Estelle.”
Although I consider myself a true believer, I will admit to having had philosophical angst about His or Her existence. I cannot and will not accept the God about whom everyone says “I remember you in my prayers.” I cannot imagine either Mitt or Barack going to church or kneeling next to bed with a list clutched in their fist that says something like “the folks who lost their houses in the storm.” Neither can I imagine them letting God do His or Her will, which might include letting the opponent win. I think that they, and most of the folks I know, use “magic prayer.” This means that when you say it you have already done it. I have questioned a few Christians about this, and that is what it sounds like to me. The reason I have not questioned more Christians about this is that it tends to get them very angry. My husband does not like me to do things that might get me beat up because he is lots bigger than me and would definitely end up defending me. I can certainly see why someone would want to pray out loud in a life threatening situation. Like military active duty type war. Everybody wants victory, although at that precise moment, they are probably praying for their buddy to survive. Read more on Prayer on the Platform…
I am a veteran.
Military. American. U.S. Army. Medical Corps.
This is truth.
Along with being a fairly knowledgeable physician with over 30 years experience, it still seems incredible and unbelievable to at least some of my patients. It is not in their experience to know women who appear on the surface to be feminine and attractive who have been in the military. Admittedly, these things were never brought up until I lost a massive amount of weight (half my body weight) but there they are.
Every time I get a chance, I thank a veteran with a handshake for defending – in these very words — “this great nation.” This seems to be a custom that has crested, for I have not met anyone else who does this lately.
Even though I tell people I am a veteran, too, almost nobody thanks me back.
Thanksgiving day parade. Patriotism. Christmas spirit. Since I was a very little girl, I noticed a sort of hypocrisy in all these things. Troops coming home? Yeah, sure. Try this — try shaking hands with a veteran, thanking him or her for putting on the green monkey suit and submitting to the arbitrary hierarchy that makes a military function. Read more on Keep The Holiday Spirit — Please!…
I eagerly add my name to the list of those who want to pay tribute to those who perished in the horrific tragedy of 9/11/2001, and also to those who assisted in any way, to those survivors who were spared by either chance or the dedication of the heroic people who responded and tried to help.
There are many others rushing to praise the 9/11 responders, seeking glory for praising and honoring our American heroes, and it may not be a bad thing — for one level of human need.
This is the quotation that was next to my picture, smiling and cuddling an electron microscope, in my high school yearbook: “Seek truth and do not part with it…” Yeah, I can’t be the first person who had that idea in mind at least a little bit when considering a research career.
There is a truth about the universe that is being revealed slowly. It takes us a while to get things right. I remember telling some people who thought religion and science were at odds with each other that perhaps whatever deity you believe in will only reveal what people will understand.
If an apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head was God’s way of revealing the laws of gravity to him, it was probably because the work of Galileo had already paved the way for this knowledge to be revealed. For the TRUTH to be revealed. Yet Newton was not ready for genetic recombination. Now, most scientists I know would accept that as universal truth. But, as Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men,” — ” You can’t handle the truth…” (from the script by Aaron Sorkin). Read more on There Is Science and Then There is Military Science…
I was commissioned a captain in the United States Army in a northern Midwest city. The physician who examined me before I took the oath was senior and experienced and as avuncular as they come.
He said the most interesting people (and far and away the smartest) he got to meet in his life were commissioned women. The one he had seen before me was a woman who had been a professional musician, a clarinetist I think, and was going straight to Wahington, D.C. to play in a dance band at the White House. He told me about women rocket scientists and others. Me, I figured I was only a doctor, a half-trained neurosurgeon. As a generalist he felt somehow he needed to show me enough respect. He really didn’t want to do a physical, so he did a cursory and discrete one, and I asked him about being a civilian physician attached to the military. In particular, I asked him about neurological and psychiatric screening. Although he told me he knew how to do a pretty detailed neurological examination, he said he never had to do one. Anyone with that kind of illness would, he thought, be likely to be screened out long before. After all, these were generally healthy young men. Basically, the most important part of the examination was checking them for hernias. Read more on Military Mental Health — A Contradiction?…