universe

Cosmosapiens – Book Review

Tweet Cosmosapiens by John Hands Subtitled Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe, John Hands’ book attempts to explain the origin of the universe and our place in it; and he does so in less than 600 pages (about a quarter of a million words) including many tables and figures. Amazingly, except for a stumble…

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G Verdi2

Verdi Chords

Tweet One of the most distinctive characteristics of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas is his use of chords to resolve or punctuate the moments of greatest emotional and dramatic tension as his story reaches a crisis point. This simple device would seem within the grasp of almost any composer, but Verdi’s use of it is unique. Below are…

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medical journals

A Clinical Vignette About Medical Journals

Tweet A medical journal is supposed to be an unbiased and objective source of the latest and best medical information. Of course, since all journals (for now) are run by human beings the reality and the ideal are widely separated. Even so, you shouldn’t be able to tell the politics of the journal’s editor from its…

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student loans

The Doctors’ Loophole – Another Reason why this is Such a Wonderful Country

Tweet Forty million Americans have a combined $1.2 trillion in student debt. Since the last recession this is only type of consumer debt that hasn’t decreased. As these loans are mostly guaranteed by the government they keep accumulating. Whether going into debt to get a college education is a good idea is not my subject….

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medical education

Suicide in Doctors

Tweet One of the medical newsletters I receive describes the suicide of a 33 year old surgeon near the completion of his training. The sad story of this death was taken from an article that appeared in Time Magazine – Why The Toxic Treatment of Doctors Needs to Change. The authors of the piece are…

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I Vespri Siciliani Parma

Tutto Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani

Tweet I Vespri Siciliani is the least performed of Verdi’s mature works. It was written for the Paris Opéra to a French text by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier (Les vêpres siciliennes). While the opera is occasionally performed in its original French version, it is typically presented in its Italian translation. Verdi just sounds better…

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vit d

Vitamin D Treatment in Postmenopausal Women

Tweet A study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the effects of placebo, low-dose cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), and high-dose cholecalciferol on 1-year changes in total fractional calcium absorption, bone mineral density, Timed Up and Go and five sit-to-stand tests, and muscle mass in postmenopausal women with vitamin D insufficiency. This study was undertaken because “expert”…

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electronic medical record

The Medical Record – Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Tweet The medical record has been a problem ever since Hippocrates, in a moment of spite, invented it. Until the advent of the electronic record it had existed on paper and was stored in a variety of inaccessible locations by the Department of Medical Records, or by a similarly named entity. Once entombed in the…

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Paolo in the snow black and white

What Can You Do to Maintain Good Health?

Tweet The FDA just banned trans fat. The American Heart Association issued a statement that the move would prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year mirroring that made by the CDC. Where this number came from is a mystery. I suspect they made it up after a series of extrapolations from metabolic data to epidemiological conclusions…

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automated phone

If You Are a Homicidal Maniac Press 1

Tweet Earlier today I called USAA. They’re my insurance company. I’ve been with them since before the big bang. Back then you could pick up the phone and a familiar voice would answer, “This is Phyllis at USAA.” And I would reply, “Hi, Phyllis, this is Neil. I got a new car; please change my coverage.”…

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Carmen

Carmen – PowerPoint Presentation

Tweet Below is a link that will download a PowerPoint presentation I gave before the recent performances of Carmen by the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. To use it download all the files and put them in the same folder. To hear the sound excerpts click on the sound icon on the slides that are associated with…

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from here to eternity

Illicit Love

Tweet Opera abounds in love duets. Here are three that define both their genre and their time. All three involve a man (a tenor, of course) in love, or in lust in the last example, with another man’s wife. Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde were written about the same time –…

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Dusk Antigua Harbor

Air and Romance

Tweet This site has been silent for the last month. I was on a trip on the Amazon River. I got as far as Manaus, Brazil and then came back out. A little later I’ll post some photos of the region, but my theme today is American Eagle. To get to most places east, north,…

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ARF

Acute Renal Failure

Tweet   The PowerPoint slides of a talk given by me to the Fall Medical/Surgical Conference of the Lubbock-Crosby-Garza County Medical Society are below . The file can be downloaded by clicking on the link. It is a general review of the various forms of Acute Renal Failure also known as Acute Kidney Injury. Acute…

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salt

Salt and More Salt

Tweet The August 14, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains three papers on salt intake and health. The third of these is so layered with assumptions that I won’t discuss it. I have previously written about recommendations for optimum dietary intake of salt. In 2011 the American Society of Nephrology endorsed…

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The world

Ecco Il Mondo

Tweet ‘Ecco il mondo’ is sung by Mefistofele in Act 2 Scene 2 of Boito’s opera. Last March I presented 11 recordings of basses singing the same character’s first act aria – ‘Son lo spirito che nega’. Below are 11 versions of ‘Ecco il mondo’. The words in Italian and an English translation are presented…

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analysis

Mammography Screening in Switzerland

Tweet The May 22, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine has a perspective piece that is even more instructive than its authors and the journal’s editors realized: ‘Abolishing Mammography Screening Programs? A View from the Swiss Medical Board’. It describes the process that the Swiss used to evaluate the scientific foundation for…

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no

Son Lo Spirito Che Nega

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPvj4V2OcUo

Tweet This aria, from the 1st act of Boito’s Mefistofele, captures the essence of Goethe’s Mephisto. Of course, the opera is one of many musical works based on Goethe’s monumental play. Mefistofele is the spirit that denies. The words to ‘Son lo spirito che nega’ are below in Italian and English. Every great bass (or…

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Groucho 3

A Serious Bird

Tweet BOISE, Idaho — Albertson’s LLC said Monday that it has agreed to acquire The United Family, a privately owned chain of 50 supermarkets based in Lubbock, Texas, operating under three banners. Supermarket News Sept 9, 2013 This is really very simple, but I’ll do my best to make it complex. Groucho is a Yellow-Naped…

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adam and eve

No Second Acts in American Confectionary?

Tweet OK so the world has been going steadily downhill for last 5774 years. The trouble began with food which will eventually be my focus. But first a few disjointed musings. Most of our problems result from misdirected attempts to make things better. There are few Iagos in the world. This (the desire to do…

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Lakota bronze

Photos – SD and Wyoming

Tweet I spent the last part of June meandering through the National Parks in South Dakota and Wyoming. Here are a few pictures taken during the tour. If you want to see more of them go here. Most of the photos were taken with a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 at ISO 200. The camera’s programmed mode…

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Nitrogen

Earl’s Oil – Photographs

Tweet On Friday March 8 my friend Earl allowed me and another friend to accompany him as he made his daily rounds. Earl is an oilman. He started in the business when he was 17. He’s a lean and taciturn West Texan except when he sees an oil well – then he recites the well’s…

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Doing Nothing

Doing Nothing – New Revised Edition

Tweet A new Edition of Doing Nothing has been released. It can be purchased at Amazon as either a paperback book or in a Kindle edition. Go here for more details. Below is a new review of the novel: Kurtzman, Neil DOING NOTHING CreateSpace (708 pp.) $23.35 Paperback $9.99 e-book January 6, 2012 ISBN: 978-1461096535 Kurtzman’s…

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thermodynamics

Second Law of Thermodynamics Held Unconstitutional

Tweet A deeply divided Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, held the Second Law of Thermodynamics to be unconstitutional. In a decision released Monday the 4th of July, the first time the court has ever met on the nation’s birthday, the court ruled that the law violated the due process section of the 5th amendment. The case (ACLU v….

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Poker

Una partita a poker

http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=nZEXtTcdltE]

Tweet Talk to any theater person and he’ll tell you that the second act curtain should descend on the show’s strongest scene. Nobody was better at ending the second act than Giacomo Puccini. With the premiere of the Met’s revival La Fanciulla del West less than a month away, I thought I’d present a few versions of the opera’s second act finale. This the scene where…

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falstaff

Finale 10 – Falstaff (Tutto nel mondo è burla)

This one is a triple finale. It’s the end of the 3rd act, the end of the opera, and the end of Verdi’s career as a composer of operas. Verdi had written only one comedy prior to Falstaff – Un Giorno di Regno in 1840. Thus 53 years separated it from Falstaff. Verdi’s final opera…

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war

Genesis 25 – Predictions of Things to come

I happened to be leafing through Chapter 25 of Genesis when I was struck by its relevance to many of today’s most pressing issues. At some indeterminate time, I may get around to how the first chapter of this book seems to conform to modern cosmology’s explanation of the origin of the universe came to…

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elderly

Life Expectancy in the Elderly

Americans have a lower life expectancy than people in other developed countries. This lower longevity has been often used to disparage medical care in this country as being inferior to that of other similarly advanced nations.  Such an accusation is made acute by the high cost of American medical care – the highest in the world….

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Doing Nothing Doing Nothing: "Doing Nothing by Dr. Neil Kurtzman takes us through the education of Richard Grollman, from his first day of medical school through his last day as chief resident on the medical service of a busy city hospital. Through his experiences, the reader is taken through a wonderful journey as we see the highs and lows of his life during his “education.” One is taken through the trials of medical school and the challenges faced during residency. This story examines the human side and art of medicine. This is a wonderful book that would be appreciated by most people, but would be greatly enjoyed by physicians who can certainly relate to Richard. It is reasonably priced and very well written. It is very difficult to put down. I would recommend this book without hesitation." - JASON LIFSHUTZ, M.D. › More ...

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