Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Thursday, 2021.09.23
It requires time to bring honest men to think and determine alike even in
important matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
Events which excite those feelings will produce wonderful effects.

		Samuel Adams (1722-1803) American revolutionary

2008.05.26

CU Boulder: “Come Pretend With Us!”

Stanley Fish blogs in the New York Times, More Colorado Follies:

“I’ve just returned from New Zealand and find that in my absence the University of Colorado – the same one that earlier this year appointed as its president a Republican fund-raiser with a B.A. in mining and no academic experience – has gifted me again, this time with the announcement of plans to raise money for a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.”

The best quote from his piece is:

“[G.P. Peterson, the chancellor of the Boulder campus] acknowledged that the professor of conservative thought didn’t have to be an actual conservative, and pointed out that many teachers of French “aren’t necessarily French.” (Of course the analogy doesn’t work: you don’t get to choose your country of origin; you do get to choose your political beliefs.)”

So I wonder, does a professor of woman studies actually need to be a woman to be credible? Can a white professor of black studies lecture from an authentic positon? G.P. Peterson, chancellor, CU Boulder, must believe so. Because, you know, many teachers of woodworking aren’t actually made of wood.

2007.11.15

From The Two-Plus-Two-Equals-One Department

The unanswered question is, which had the greater suction, the vacuum cleaner or the black hole at the center of this guy’s head?

A man using a vacuum cleaner to suck gasoline out of a vehicle was burned and his house damaged when the fuel exploded, the Albuquerque Fire Department said.

2007.05.14

They Chose…Poorly

What freaky non-reality are our educators swimming in before class?

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation “involved poor judgment.”

What’s next? Push the kids in front of a moving bus that stops just in time so they get that all valuable learning about evil, dangerous buses? How about forcing their hands on a stove burner that’s just rigged to look hot? Assistant Principal Don Bartch said this was intended as a “learning experience.” Just what were they expecting the kids to learn? Fear and terror as a way of life? Principal Stephens is right. Sadly, she probably fails to realize it involves years of poor judgment on the part of educators stretching back decades.

2007.04.29

The Truth Never Changes

Except when it does. The Truth defined by Claudius Ptolemy stood for some 1,400 years before the Truth defined by Nicolaus Copernicus ground Ptolemy’s cosmological Truth to dust. The Truth had changed. When one Truth, however, stands as long and has as deep a roots as Ptolemy’s, it can take a great deal of time to be eroded by the new Truth. Such was the case with Copernicus’ Truth. When so many of a society’s beliefs have been built upon a particular Truth, society is loath to relinquish the old Truth in favor of the new.

It is the same for personal beliefs and what each of us perceive as the “Truth.” An attorney friend of mine leverages this inertia when questioning witnesses in court. He begins with “Would you agree the Truth never changes?” The answer to this question is usually “Yes.” The one exception I know of was when this question was asked of a research MD expert witness. Science types, if they learned the idea of science at all, know the Truth changes. But the average bear believes the Truth, as they understand it, is as solid as a block of stone. My attorney friend then skillfully guides the witness into acknowledging the Truth of the case he is presenting. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

When the battle is between one who knows the Truth changes and one who believe it does not, my money is on the one who knows they are dancing on quicksand.

There are, of course, areas of human experience where the unacknowledged absurdity of immutable Truth make the experience what it is. Take this for example…

The Bean

It’s “The Bean”, as the locals call it, in Chicago. I took this picture last week while there on business. Is it art? Does it reveal a Truth to you?

Most of the visual arts are lost on me. I know what I like. Asian calligraphy and the works of David Lee and Frances Ku are particular favorites. But “The Bean” wasn’t revealing any Truths for me that day. That is, not until I looked no further than my own feet. There it was. The Truth revealed just as clearly as if it had been, well, chiseled in stone.

AT&T Plaza

It’s a commercial. (I did say most of the visual arts are lost on me. That’s probably why I play piano and cello rather than muck about with paint or clay.) But what about this…

Wacker 1

Found this after wandering East on Wacker to Lake Michigan. Again, no Truths were revealed, not even chiseled in stone. But I do know it had puppies…

Wacker 2

I shall leave the subject of Truth from Art alone and instead focus on the Truth that drives, reassures and comforts most of us. It’s the Truth of “reality.” But here again, there is an often unacknowledged contamination of subjectivity. There is the Truth of facts and the Truth derived from those facts, the interpreted Truth.

Just West of where I live can be found baked into the stone footprints from some long dead giant lizard. Virtually everyone agrees to this fact. The footprints are there. The creature, and any such creatures like it, have long since vanished from the planet. Where the Truth of these footprints becomes schizophrenic is in how the fact of those footprints are interpreted. My interpretation, and the resulting Truth I carry around, says those footprints were left there millions of years ago. Others interpret those prints has being no older than a few thousands years, what with the Earth not being older than some particular reference claims. A single Truth of fact with two associated, yet incompatible interpreted Truths.

A popular and politically correct Truth to hang your hat on these days has to do with global warming and whether or not it’s an established fact. My read is that it isn’t. Man’s experience with the weather is just too small a window from which to claim having any kind of clear view of what the global climate is doing. One hundred years ago, some scientists and much of the press was all abuzz with claims that the next ice age had begun.

I believe it is a good thing to reduce the amount of pollution we, as a species, spew into the atmosphere. I’ve believed that since high school when the high pollution alerts in Denver, compounded by the city’s infamous temperature inversions, left the air smelling like a sewer for weeks. Today, even with the population having growing significantly, the air is much cleaner. The global warming hysteria has not deepened my conviction in this regard.

So Al Gore is burning tons of jet fuel to haul is ass around the globe in order to set up circus tents and parade his “An Inconvenient Truth” dog and pony show. (Sidebar: When was it the Academy created a slide show category for it’s award?) I’m left with several questions. Who’s Truth is Gore selling? Inconvenient for whom? How can such a complex issue contain just one Truth? Frankly, I don’t think the Earth gives a damn about us. 4 billion years ago it was a sea of molten rock with no atmosphere. Life has been wiped clean from the surface and recreated anew probably more times than we know. The hysteria about global warming is a self-serving one and those on Gore’s band wagon are more interested about their own skin that saving the planet. The planet will save its self and will do so with the same indifferent cruelty and violence from which it began.

Listening to Gore and his evangelists leaves me with the creepy feeling that the solution to the “problem” of global warming is for others to solve (usually through some sort of sacrifice) so that they can continue living the life to which they have become accustom. (Man, are they going to be pissed if some killer asteroid is discovered for which they can’t buy impact offsets.) Setting the problem to rights, assuming it exists, will take something Al Gore and the eco-elites are apparently incapable of: An Inconvenient Effort.

[Edit History]

2007.05.01

Interesting article from ScienceDaily (“Earth’s Climate Is Seesawing, According To Climate Researchers“) illustrates my point about our window to the nature of Earth’s climate being rather small. For all their credentials, the scientists really don’t know for sure what is happening with the climate. Those that claim to be sure, probably aren’t honest scientists. (H/T Bryan at Hot Air)

2007.05.02

Added link to David Lee’s work at Lahaina Galleries.

2007.04.08

Althouse’s Law

[The blue ribbon panel of scientists at the prestigious Java Zen Institute for the Proliferation of Inconsequential Science and Humanities debated long and hard on whether the effects described herein should more appropriately be labeled “Althouse’s Catch,” but in the end settled on “Althouse’s Law.” The simple reason being that law professors ought to have laws named for them. That and a threatened law suit from the Amalgamated Union of Catchers, Baggers, Trappers and Boxers. Since it couldn’t be substantiated that Althouse has caught so much as a single cold in her life, the panel elected to avoid a reckless and litigious war of definitions. Besides, catches should be named after judges. – GPE]

Althouse’s Law: A law of discussions whereby the central point of an argument is increasingly marginalized by exaggerating, accentuating or obsessing on either the example elements of the argument or trivial, yet entertaining, side bars. The most common end result when Althouse’s Law has taken effect in a discussion is that the examples initially used to illustrate the original point or the trivial side bars become themselves the central theme of the argument. The effect of Althouse’s Law is accelerated if the examples or trivial side bars include so called “hot button” references such as breasts, divas or tears.

Similar to Godwin’s Law, when a discussion is trapped by the effects of Althouse’s Law, all meaningful discourse related to the original argument is no longer possible. Left unchecked or unrecognized by those caught in the flow away from the original argument, the extreme and ultimate end of Althouse’s Law results in the unfortunate casting of the unwitting into Althouse’s Vortex1.

Althouse’s Law was named for University of Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse, who’s personal blog was instrumental in elucidating much of the underlying effects described by Althouse’s Law.

_______________________________

1 Althouse’s Vortex is a theoretical blogosphere construct. There is much anecdotal evidence that Althouse’s Vortex exists, however no one has ever returned from having been caught in such a structure so very little is know about its nature. What is know is that those who claim to “get” Althouse generally end up in the Althouse Vortex. There seems to be a force at work in regards to the Althouse Vortex that is similar to determining whether or not one is a “hacker.” You’re not a hacker until someone else, preferably a recognized hacker, calls you a hacker. Likewise, you don’t “get” Althouse unless someone else, preferably someone on the “gets it” list, says you “get” Althouse. This quandary was at the heart of the debate on whether to call the effect defined in this post Althouse’s Law or Althouse’s Catch.

Evidence of having fallen into Althouse’s Vortex usually comes in the form of repeated ad hominem attacks against a particular author even though the attacker may, in fact, agree with the author.

[For the record, I don’t get Althouse. At all. – GPE]

2006.10.20

Blalock’s Conflict Model

Looking back over the past few days, I’ve the impression the Spirit of Rosanna Rosannadanna has been haunting me – “It’s always something.” It’s been a convergence of deadlines, personal tasks it’s just time to get completed, music lessons (voice, cello), health, things breaking down and cool things arriving in the mail.

One of the interesting projects I’ve been working on since the first of the year (and one of this week’s deadlines) has been helping a fellow DU student with her Masters thesis. Elizabeth Twomey approached me to write an application which would facilitate the use of Blalock’s general model for understanding conflict. We made the decision to create this as a web application and the prototype/proof of concept is posted on one of my big boxes. You can explore the results on the web site I built for Liz to demonstrate this part of her thesis.

2006.10.11

15 Down, 39 To Go – Maybe

The streak continues – straight “A’s” – but…

I wish it meant something. This last class was a disappointment, to put it mildly. To be more pointed, it was useless crap. That this would pass for graduate level studies has me rethinking my choice of universities. I needed the past six weeks to put some distance between me and the arduous experience of trying to stay awake during what amounted to graduate level crayon and paste studies. So now I feel sufficiently recouped to construct a formal complaint to Denver University in regard to their product. I’ll post more about that here as well as any response they may have.

In a nutshell, it seems the dumbing down of education has reach the graduate level.

2006.06.28

The Tortoise and the Hare

This past Sunday morning, like most Sundays, I got up, made coffee, fetched the paper. My dogs are too small to do the fetching. The Sunday paper is about as big as they are and “fetch” is not in their working vocabulary. They’re more likely to disappear down the street.

As usual, I sifted the paper to remove what is for me nothing more than fodder for the recycle bin – ads, travel section, style section (Ha!), movie listings ($15 for a crappy experience? No thanks.), want ads, classifieds, etc. That left me with 1/8 the original paper. What remained was gathered up to be tossed aside to be read here and there over the coming week. Hold on. Last week’s stack is still there. The stack even consists of bits from the week before that. And before that. Behind in my reading, I should say.

But I can’t say that. What I do once the chaff has been sifted from the paper is power up the laptop. I hit an “A” list of sites (Google News, Pajamas Media, Slashdot, Instapundit, Newsforge, Gateway Pundit and a few others) to find out what’s been happening. Then move on to a “B” list (Schneier on Security, Armed and Dangerous and Cato Unbound, just to list a few) which are updated less frequently and usually have more in depth analysis, opinion pieces and the opportunity to contribute to a dialog. These lists change depending on my interests and world events.

I read through the 1/8 of the paper that survived the sieve. As far as the news part of it is concerned, it was anything but current. Everything – and I mean everything – was news of which I was already aware. The interest pieces were not interesting. The entertainment pieces were boring (Is it me or just the hype which makes it seem like Angelina Jolie had been pregnant for 12 months?) The exceptions were the sports and opinions sections, being published to the web about the same time the hard copy goes to press. So I’d have to say I’m very much up on my reading. Its the hard copy newspaper which is behind.

The news race isn’t about covering the distance. Its about evolutionary speed. With blogs popping up like so many bunnies, its an abundance of riches – sort of. I still have to keep my chaff sifter handy as there is a lot of junk in the blogsphere. But blogs do a pretty damn good job of outing bogus news. This is something the MSM sucks at. In fact, they go the other way and are a significant source of problems when they work to manufacture the news they think I should be getting. Digitally altering pictures to fit a story or staging “news” such as Dateline NBC did when it sent Muslim-looking men to a NASCAR race with camera crew in tow in an effort to capture anti-Muslim sentiment among a collection of Americans NBC prejudiced as harboring such sentiment.

The Main Stream Media has become largely irrelevant and a source of little more than noise on its good days. And damn near dangerous on most of the rest. The arrogance is repugnant. Last year I dropped the daily delivery of the Denver Post and today I cancelled the Sunday only delivery. The TV news noise was solved ages ago with that handy little power button on the TV set. What can I say, Main Stream Mediocrity. Bub-bye news whores and purveyors of propaganda. See you in the funny papers.

[Edit History]

2006.07.08

The blogsphere is pretty damn good about dragging spineless, bitter, hateful slugs out into the sunlight as well.

2006.07.12

Some thoughts on a similar effect with the TV network news.

2006.08.06

More egregious MSM photo fakery vetted by Hot Air, echoed by Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin and critiqued by professional photographers.

2006.08.17

And then there is this:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has begun an investigation of the use of video news releases, sometimes called “fake news,” at U.S. television stations.

Video news releases are packaged stories paid for by businesses or interest groups. They use actors to portray reporters and use the same format as television news stories.

The layers of fakery and fluff in the MSM news are thicker than Tammy Faye Baker‘s foundation.

2006.03.26

Seismic Beer Events

Busted Beer
Busted Beer

Well, here’s a first which puts me in with a part of home brewing tradition and folklore I’d rather not be noted for having achieved. Exploding beer bottles – Yikes! (Hmmmmm. “Exploding Beer Bottles” would be an excellent name for a band.)

Back in the day, prohibition that is, the goal was to make alcohol. Brewing beer was the easiest and fastest way to do that. Stories abound of beer bottles exploding like popcorn in cellars, the result of covert brewmeistering in clandestine operations. In those dark times the knowledge for how to brew beer was, shall we say, an oral tradition passed down by anyone who managed to collect an audience. Inconsistent strains of yeast better suited for baking bread than brewing beer were used. Quality and environment control were at the mercy of the brewmeister’s patience. No one engaged in this practice had a biochemistry degree to help them through the subtleties of dealing with temperamental strains of yeast.

So what’s my excuse? I have a biochemistry degree. Actually, I have two of the darn things. Plus over 20 years of home brewing experience. Hard to say. That the bottles are uniformly over carbonated doesn’t suggest a poor distribution of priming sugar. A review of the notes by both my brew partner, Chris, and myself doesn’t reveal anything unusual. We certainly gave both the primary and secondary fermentation steps plenty of time, even for a stout. Me thinks a problem with the yeast. Something to follow up on with the yeast supplier.

But then, there is the potential terrorist angle. However mind bogglingly impossible the odds and chances that al-Qaeda, the Talibandidos or the Middle of the Road Progressive Isolationist Weekend Radicals had a hand in this, I would be remiss if this possibility wasn’t chased up every possible tree. Because one of those trees just might possibly potentially happen to be the right one to bark up at. I will, of course, need DHS money to follow these leads and fund multiple batches of decoy beer in order to bag the bastards. Neither can I dismiss the real possibility this is yet another strike of George Bush’s International Conspiracy to inconvenience me. I suppose a true Patriot would stay awake at night with a baseball bat guarding his beer against these threats. That or lobby for a law to guarantee Constitutional protection for my beer. Yeah, that will do it. Than I can sleep at night knowing there is a law to protect my beer.

Ah, well. This will all make more sense after I’ve kicked back and enjoyed a couple of home brews. Actually, for security reasons, I had better enjoy this batch as soon as possible. For now all the bottles from this batch are safely stashed in the refrigerator. Putting the chill on the yeast should stop any further pressure buildup and if any of the bugs decide to blow the frig should serve as an adequate blast container. Certainly better than the spare bedroom closet. What a mess.

2006.03.20

12 Down, 42 To Go

The streak is alive. With the project management class behind me, and another “A” in the books, I’m just about 1/4 the way through DU’s CIS Masters program. Thus far, I can say I’m not quite getting what I expected or wanted from the program. There are three factors which lead me to this assessment. First, I’ve only completed 1/4 of the program and much of what I want and expect depends on a successful graduation. In this respect, my evaluation reflects impressions on an emerging trend. How close I get to my target will depend a great deal on my experiences with future classes and what ever course corrections occur along the way. (more…)

2006.03.02

From the College-Is-Stranger-Than-Fiction Department

As a self proclaimed act of public obedience, some students from Atlanta took it upon themselves to drive down the highway, four cars abreast, at 55 miles per hour.

In my view, this was a poorly thought out stunt. Alan, Esq has indicated this is far from being an act of public obedience, rather it was against the law (Follow the link for an excellent discussion on the stunt.) Without the consent from all the other “participants” in this stunt, their act was certainly unethical. Without a plan in place to respond to the dangerous situations that were likely to arise, their act was reckless. Watching the video leaves the distinct impression the plan was to just do it and see what happens. There is no sense they considered when things were getting out of hand and what they would to de-escalate the situation they created.

The lives and well being of real people were put at risk because of the irrational response from a few drivers this stunt provoked. What will never be known are the extended consequences of the delay this group imposed. How many appointments were missed or meetings and deliveries delayed? What other unintended consequences may have resulted from this stunt? There my have been no emergency vehicles involved during their 10 minute stunt, but the video shows how they almost created the need for one. How much safer, and less sensational, would they have been driving single file, convoy-style, in the far right lane?

The objective was “follow the rules and show them how stupid those rules are.” In the end what did they really prove? That some drivers are assholes? This bit of insight is about as profound as revelations the sky is blue. What they demonstrated is that assholes can take it upon themselves to run unethical and dangerous experiments at the expense of everyone else. Lets hope their next project doesn’t involve guns.

2005.12.06

Picking Up the Cello at Age 44

GPE - Cello

Since I was about age 10, I though the cello would be the coolest instrument to play. Thirty four years later that hunch is confirmed. I’ve started playing cello and it is cool. Its like giving music a hug. Had my first lesson a little less than 3 months ago. Before that I hadn’t so much as touched a cello. I’m certain Janet and my friend Reed Bernstein (a violin maker) were the only people who ever knew of this secret ambition. Janet and I talked on occasion about finding a cello, but the opportunity never happened.

It’s partly an experiment and partly by design in keeping with this year’s “And now for something completely different.” theme. With my world turned on end and spun out of orbit, the opportunity is there for learning new things. Much of my thinking has returned to that childlike state of wonder where all things are possible and no rules apply. Fear not, I’ve retained my values and sense of what is right and wrong. Its just that many things I cared about no longer matter and space has opened up to be curious about anything that crosses my path. There are many grown-up attitudes that more than ever strike me as tragically sardonic, self imposed and needlessly limiting to the human potential. As adults, we limit ourselves unduly with “supposed to.”

I have played piano for many years and own a beautiful Petrof baby grand. Unlike piano, the cello is demanding a far greater awareness of my entire body while playing. The balance required is surprising and it makes the skill of such masters as Yo Yo Ma and Pablo Casals all the more amazing. All those years of piano and I never learned to read music and play anything I wanted at the keyboard on sight. I’d have to pick through the score and iteratively practice until the entire piece was committed to memory. With cello, I have the opportunity to do that differently. After about 3 months of lessons, diligent practice and efforts to read music while playing, the experience just keeps getting better.

My teacher is excellent. A cellist for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, she fits my criteria for having attained a level of recognized mastery. She’s good with adults as well, another important criteria. It must be more challenging to teach adults as there are bunches of things which we must unlearn before new lessons and understanding can result.

About a month into my practice (I’ll give myself 10 years and then decide if I have a chance at being any good.) I hit my first plateau and wasn’t sure if it was related to my clumsy technique or the quality of the cello, a high school orchestra quality instrument borrowed from my neighbor while he and his family spend a year in France. My teacher suggested we find out and handed me one of her cellos (as a professional, she has cello stuff about the place like I have computer stuff). WOW! What a difference! Yes my technique had a part, but so did the instrument. She handed me another cello, “Try this one.” DOUBLE WOW! The good news was that my technique wasn’t so far off the mark and I had already begun to outgrow the loaner instrument after one month. The bad news was the first cello I tried was a 50 year old Italian cello worth $25,000. The second cello was a 100 year old Czech instrument worth bunches more. Ouch.

We talked about what it would take to acquire an instrument which would suit my emerging skill for the next couple of years. So I hooked up with a recommended broker and settled on a $5,000 instrument made last year. It sounds wonderful! Included a better bow in the mix as well. I figured to use the money from a small life insurance policy I had on Janet to finance my studies and cello upgrades. Seems like a good use and a way to honor her musical talents.

2005.12.05

9 Down, 45 To Go

WhooHoo! Small miracle, I’m still a straight “A” student with two more classes under my belt (Software Engineering and Operating Systems.) Not because of the material, mind you, but because of the technology employed by one of the professors. Its different from the on-line course software used during the Fall quarter. Equally disconcerting is that yet another professor buggered out due to some sort of personal crisis leaving the virtual classroom empty for weeks at a time. I really hope this isn’t a trend. I’ve initiated a conversation with DU regarding the particular issues and hopefully they’ll be resolved.

One thing is clear, the quality as well as the quantity of student participation on the discussion boards is critical. Without it, the class is pretty much like being self taught and who needs to drop 1,000+ bucks for that?

2005.09.03

3 Down, 51 To Go

Several weeks ago, I finished my first quarter as a graduate student. One 3 credit hour required course (graduate research and writing), but a milestone nonetheless. I give the experience thumbs up in some areas and thumbs down in others. On the up side, I was very impressed with the technology in place for distance learning and my standards are high in this area. Last I looked was close to 3 years ago. The technology seemed a bit fragile and the process a bit sparse at the universities I reviewed. I can speak for Denver University’s program: It is excellent from a technology and process perspective. Rolled in with the good news is that I’m a straight “A” student! Hey, might as well celebrate while I can.

On the down side, university bureaucracy is festering as much as ever. A few weeks into the the course, the professor had some sort of personal crisis. None of us on-line students knew this. All we knew is that she disappeared from the discussion boards and didn’t return emails for over 10 days. She showed up for a brief flurry of board participation and quick answers to emails and disappeared for another 10+ day stretch. This stuff happens. I mostly fault DU for not having a backup plan in place for occurrences like this. They should have had a substitute in place to help keep the course on track. Since they didn’t, time lines in the syllabus were tangled and confused and it was very difficult to discern what the assignments were. Few of us hand any kind of a grade until the final grade. If this had been a brick and mortar classroom, no doubt there would have been provisions for backup instructor support in the case of absence of the primary instructor. As a result, I feel I paid over $1,000 to do what I’ve done all my life – teach myself. Why not pay myself this money? Well, that’s the obscene part. Its a paper chase. Maybe DU will let me just write them a check for $20,000 and they can just send me a degree? I’m still thinking about what recourse I may have. Seems to me a discount or partial refund is in order.

Ah, well, such are the vagaries of life on the wheel to higher irrelevance. I turned in my paper (The Adverse Effects of Private Governance on Community Health) and the next day was on a jet headed for an island in the South Pacific. Sweet release.

2005.03.07

Back to School

I’m headed back to school. I was accepted to the Master’s Computer Information Systems program at Denver University (University College).

This has been on my private wish list (going for a Masters) for close to 10 years, but Janet’s health placed this on permanent hold. This past fall, Janet and I had a number of discussions in regards to the “crisis” of her health. She has been fighting breast cancer for over 10 years now – for most of that time it looked as if she could die within months. Well, she didn’t and even though her health isn’t the greatest at the moment, we needed to begin to find ways to have a “normal” life.

Fewer and fewer friends were asking us to dinner less and less frequently. Most of these evenings were spent talking about Janet, her health and the issues that surround her situation – the state of western medical care (usually it’s shortcomings), the politics of “alternative, complementary, integrative” care, chemotherapy – all great, important stuff. But it was all the time and I believe people grew weary of hearing about bad news. No doubt, they have their own issues which trouble them and talking about such things can seem pointless with a cancer patient at the table. (more…)


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