Monthly Archives: March 2009

Off With Their Thumbs

Tweet I propose that the top 2% of earners in the US have their left thumbs amputated under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, this would be done under the proper medical supervision and with all necessary anesthesia and post-operative analgesia. We are a humane country. Left handers would…


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Adam Smith and the Current Economic Crisis

Tweet The following two quotations from Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) speak to our current economic malaise with magisterial prescience. They could be summarized as (1) nobody hates capitalism more than capitalists and (2) think carefully before you make a law to benefit a private enterprise. Asking the legislature to think under any condition is…


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Two New Pages Added

Tweet I have added two new pages under medicine-opera that contain two talks given to the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation in the nineties: Presentation of SSCI’s Founder’s Medal To Manual Martinez-Maldonado (1991) SSCI Founders Medal Recipient’s Address (1996) They’re found in the pages panel to the right.


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Cost of Medical Care in 2007

Tweet The aggregate cost of medical care in the US in 2007 was $2.26 trillion. That used to be a lot of money before the federal government started spending trillions like they were millions. The pie chart below shows how this cost was distributed. It also is rising faster than GDP and has been doing…


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La Sonnambula in HD

Tweet Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Bellini’s gentle masterpiece which was booed after its first performance at the Met was sent all over the world today. And it wasn’t the worst thing since Jacopo Peri. It wasn’t even in the same league of awfulness as Calixto Bieito or Robert Wilson. It was just ordinary silliness….


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Screening for Prostate Cancer – Yet Again

Tweet It seems to be impossible to drive a stake through the heart of this issue. The current New England Journal of Medicine has two more studies and an editorial on the subject. One (Mortality Results from a Randomized Prostate-Cancer Screening Trial) concludes “that prostate-cancer screening provided no reduction in death rates at 7 years…


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Glück, Das Mir Verblieb

Tweet Erich Korngold’s opera Die Tote Stadt (first performed in 1920) is best known for its aria “Glück, das mir verblieb” also known as “Marietta’s Lied”. Actually it’s a duet for tenor and soprano. Less well known is the tenor version of the same tune which closes the opera. The first line is the same…


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Medicare's Payment of Physicians

Tweet Every year Congress goes through a Medicare ritual. The law as written requires about a 20% reduction in payments to doctors. Medicare’s rates are already low causing many physicians to refuse new Medicare patients who don’t have supplemental insurance.These physicians usually are the best in each locale; it’s the weakest that stay in the…


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The Recordings Of Enrico Caruso 1911 – 1913

Tweet Caruso returned to the recording studio in November of 1911. Two of the arias he recorded were from Leoncavallo’s La Boheme. This opera might have had a chance at modest success if Puccini’s extraordinary setting of the same story hadn’t appeared at about  the same time. In Leoncavallo’s version Marcello is sung by a…


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Virginia Bans Smoking in Bars

Tweet Virgina governor Tim Kaine signed into law on March 9th a bill that bans smoking in most restaurants and bars. Texas is considering a similar law. I suspect it will pass. Let’s just consider banning smoking in bars.


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