Monday, March 26, 2018

THIS & THAT #33 1/2

This past Sunday, Villanova beat Duke 85 to 81 in Omaha, to become one of the final four universities remaining in the quest for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball championship game on April 2. Although the NCAA is a non-profit organization, its 2016 revenue for all sports under its dictatorial control, came to $995.6 million in 2016. The president of the NCAA will “earn” just under $2 million a year, the highest paid basketball coach Mike Krzyewski at Duke makes $8.89 million a year, while college basketball players earn whatever they can get under the table, and from unscrupulous agents.

Thirty-three years ago, Villanova’s 1985 two-point, 66-64 win over favored Georgetown took place in Lexington, Kentucky. Although I always root for the underdog, and wanted Villanova to win, the evening of that 1985 game, my time was divided between the television set turned to the game, and the gathering in the dining room of some professor’s house in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

I was a professor at Central Michigan University, and could have easily stayed home ensconced in front of my own set, except for the guest speaker on the campus that night, who was the center of attention at this home.

The Jewish Faculty Group had invited Bruno Bettelheim to speak at an afternoon forum on campus, followed by a formal dinner, and then a casual get together at the professor’s home. Bettleheim, who was born in Austria in 1903, and imprisoned in German concentration camps, was released in 1939 and immigrated to the United States.

As a psychologist, he taught at the University of Chicago, and wrote extensively on autistic children, and offered insight for dealing with children. His book Children of the Dream (1967) dealt with the communal rearing of children in Israeli kibbutzim. Since I had spent parts of two years in Israel researching my dissertation topic, I wanted to talk with him.

I wove my way back and forth between watching the basketball game, and wending my way to wherever Bruno was surrounded by other faculty. Twas heaven to have intellectual stimulation in one room, and viewing an NCAA basketball championship in another room.

On March 31st, Loyola will be playing Michigan, with one old-timer sitting on each bench, rooting for their teams.

On April 2nd, Villanova may be playing for another championship, and if I do watch it, it will be in the comfort of our home, with my wife Carmen by my side.


Shepard Was Shapiro
Until He Needed a Job
 Bernard Shepard was a nice Jewish boy from New York, but after graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and serving in WW2 as reporter for a military newspaper, he began looking for a full-time job.

Unfortunately, not too many media outlets were looking to hire a ”Shapiro,” so he changed his name to Shepard, and he did get job offers. Bernie eventually went back to college to get advanced degrees, and ended up teaching at Fresno State University, where I ended up from 1971 to 1973.

Bernie retired to Santa Cruz, and I would visit him and his wife June, who lived only five minutes away. Each time I stopped by, he was at his dining room table, which was filled with too many bottles of meds, accompanied by a plethora of medical bills.

When I commented on that as a fifty-four year old “youngster,” he would reply, “Your turn will come all too soon.”

It did, and Bernie died within a year or two.

The Medical Muddle
Has Become All Mine
 I am eighty-two, and although I don’t have as large accumulation of meds and bills as Bernie did, I continually have a load of medical problems, caused mainly by aging and dealing with doctors and insurance companies.

Let’s start at the top with the pre-cancerous and cancerous growths I need removed from my head, on a regular basis.

Twice a year, my regular doctor will spray the early growths with liquid nitrogen to kill them, and if the growths have found a dwelling on my head, he will either take to carving them out himself, or send me to a dermatologist trained in the MOHS method. The latter is more efficient, since the doctor keeps me in his office until all of the cancer is removed.

I go in, he does some carving, and then sends me to the waiting room while he can quickly measure whether or not his work has been successful. If not, I am brought back in for another slicing. He will continue to do this until I am cancer free.

My regular doctor, estimates where the growth is, slices that area, and I am sent home while the specimen is sent to the lab for an analysis. When I come back in a week, I get the verdict as to whether or not he caught the cancer.

After my March 12th operation, when I came back on March 19th to have the stitches removed, he told me that the lab’s biopsy revealed that there were still some areas to be worked on. That’s when he suggested that I go to the MOHS man.

My First Medical Concierge
 When I called the MOHS man’s main office, I was told that the earliest I could be seen would be on April 17th, which was too far in the future for me. I called again, asked specifically for the MOHS man, and left a message with Kathy, who was his “concierge.” I persuaded her to move the date up, and it’s now scheduled for tomorrow, March 27.

I called this morning asking what meds I should stop taking before the procedure,
and the receptionist called back immediately. Tomorrow is not a procedure day, the appointment is for the MOH’s man to look at you, evaluate you, and then schedule a date in the future for the procedure.

I carefully explained that my primary doctor had sent the MOH’s man the complete lab results of the first procedure, but the concierge said that I have to be examined in person before he would even think about cutting into me.

So tomorrow, I will go in for an hour, be examined, and that appointment is to determine what is to be eventually done and when.

An appointment for an appointment sounds like a way to add to the Medicare billing,
and cost me some more time in a waiting room.

My only hope for satisfaction tomorrow is if I get to meet a medical concierge for the first time ever.

Friday, March 23, 2018



Sexism. Racism. Ageism. 
They are here to stay, as long as we let them.

As a youth, some seventy-years ago, it was a world where I saw no real battles between males and females. Those in power in my world were principals, and in elementary school the power rested in the control of Mary Sullivan, the larger than life leader at Brady Elementary School. During World War Two, whenever there was an air raid drill, all students and professors would gather in the halls as Mrs. Sullivan pounded on the keys of a small piano, and led us I the singing of powerful, patriotic songs. I can still picture her, sitting on a small stool, as her abundant behind hung over the stool’s edge. That still remains as the strongest memory I have of participating in the War.

Today, March 19, a distinguished elected black official displayed his innate intelligence. No, it wasn’t Ben Carson buying unnecessary and expensive office furniture, although his inane
actions matched those of most of Trump’s incompetent, inexperience cabinet members. 

It was when DC councilman Trayon White posted a video to Facebook with the following narration: "Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y'all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation.” He kept talking about, 'We a resilient city.' And that's a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful." That could be considered, by some, as an anti-Semitic remark, and even forget about the quality of his ebonomical language selection.

When I taught at the University of Detroit in the late 1970s, the media reported that members of Detroit’s all-Black Board of Education had cut some of the necessary services for Detroit’s students, who were mainly Black. Yet, many of the board members were being chauffeured around town in limousines. When I spoke with one of my own college students, a Black woman in her mid-thirties, who had two children in the public school system, she defended the practice. “You did this for years, now it’s our turn.”

Believe she was referring to me as the “you,” since I was white.

It once seemed semi-flattering to be called “Sir” by teenage girls selling tickets and refreshments at a movie theatre. However, I was a reverse racist before machines were able to tell them the correct change that was due. It was difficult to do so if the costs for popcorn and a drink came to $3.83, and I gave them $4.08. They usually had a problem subtracting one from the other, and handing me a quarter in change.

When I taught journalism at a college, I would send my writing students out to the streets of San Jose, and have them describe a scene. I was in my late thirties at the time, and invariably, one student would write, “An elderly man sat alone at a bus stop.” When I asked the student in her twenties what she meant by “an elderly man,” in most instances the reply was that the man was in his forties.

Sadly, Some Elected Officials
Are Sexists, Racists and Ageists
You can start at the bottom, with the President, who manages to incorporate all of these attributes. Some times he does so in the same tweet. 

However, by the next tweet, he has a whole new outlook on the subject. Some of his supporters are pleased that he is flexible in his thinking; others are frightened, not knowing what comes next.

As Far as Sexism
The women connected to the Democratic Party, are out to take over the world because they believe that it’s their turn, much like the Blacks felt in Detroit. It’s a fine idea, but first you have to learn the basics about political life, and how to run a successful campaign.

I applaud the young women and men who are trying to change the country with their actions after the massacre in Florida, but they should not learn from the actions of the current and former female leaders of the Democratic Party.  The following three “leaders,” helped put Donald J. Trump in the White House.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congressperson, managed to help divide the party in 2016, by refusing to provide Bernie Sanders’ people access to the party’s mailing list.  

When Schultz was Democratic National Committee’s chair, she allowed Hillary Clinton’s Campaign to seize control of the DNC months before Clinton’s nomination. According to Donna Brazile this diverted resources from state parties, and denied Sanders any chance on winning the nomination.

Then there’s Donna Brazile, who was an officer and then chair of the DNC, who contradicts herself in her book “Hacks.” She says she was trying to help make the nominating process honest, yet she admitted that she passed Democratic primary debate questions on to Clinton. 
She obtained the questions through her position as a CNN political analyst. Since she was vice chair of the DNC at the time, it added to the strong impression that the very biased DNC, heavily favored Clinton.

Then you have Clinton and her ill-prepared advisors, who forgot that needed electoral college votes are found outside Democratic strongholds in the far west and near east. While Clinton’s naïve advisors projected her to win the popular vote, they convinced the equally naïve Clinton, that she didn’t need to waste her time campaigning in Michigan (16 electoral college votes), Wisconsin (10), and Iowa (6). If she had won the electoral votes in those states along with her “native” state of Arkansas (6), she would have totaled 270 Electoral College votes, to Trump’s total of 268.

It didn’t help that Clinton alienated voters by calling those who supported Trump as being beneath her station, labeling them as “a basket of deplorables.” At the same time, she was feeding her own coffers with $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

However, she is consistent and when she recently told an audience in India, that states that supported her in 2016 were more culturally and economically advanced than those that backed Trump. She stated that women who voted for Trump may have been motivated by “ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.”

Let the Future Begin
The Sooner the Better
There’s hope for the future with the young trying to change the country, one step at a time. Since most of the older, elected legislative representatives are afraid to do anything, afraid of the NRA, afraid of losing their power, afraid of how Donald will turn on them, then let us hope that the students will bring their energy and enthusiasm and help elect representatives, who have the betterment of our disintegrating society as their goal.

Do not let the weak and cautious people in power steer you away from your goals. Do not trust any official who tells you they are with you, after they have been against you up until it’s time for you to vote.