I have an eight year old friend who is a self-proclaimed vegetarian ("I don't like meat"), although this is not entirely accurate, since he eats both bacon and chicken nuggets. When his aunt tried to serve him some chicken on the grounds that he likes chicken nuggets, he insisted, "There is no chicken in chicken nuggets." He may be on to something.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 23, 2005 at 8:18 am | Edit
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Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
When God created the sun, He called it good. In recent years we have been told that God was wrong. Doctors—and hence parents, especially mothers—have been insisting that we dare not venture out into the sunshine without the protection of clothing and/or lavishly applied sunscreen. Living in Florida, I have a highly-developed sense of respect for the power of the sun's rays, and certainly do my share in supporting the sunscreen industry. But I also remember my mother's insistence on the importance of sunshine on skin for making much-needed vitamin D. Thus it was heartening to read that evidence is mounting in favor of my mother (not to mention God). (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, May 22, 2005 at 8:36 pm | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
While the United States is busy wrestling with the so-called right to die, in the United Kingdom it's the right to life that is in question. Leslie Burke, who has a degenerative brain disease, has won a court judgement forbidding doctors to withdraw nutrition and hydration should the time come when he needs them and is incapable of expressing his wishes. The government is challenging the decision, claiming that doctors, not patients, should be the final arbiters of treatment decisions. Nor do they make any attempt to disguise their financial concerns, for under socialized medicine, leaving the power to "pull the plug" in the hands of those who wish to continue to live can get very expensive for the government. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 8:08 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
The statistics for this blog tell me that I have had over 1400 unique visitors so far. Since only a handful have left comments, it leaves me wondering who you all are. I know the number is inflated, because it only counts IP addresses, and often the same person comes back with a slightly different address. I also know that a number of the visits are from faceless robots. But surely some of them represent real people.

Most of the vistors have been from the United States, but others have come from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Vietnam! I might be able to account for Italy, Hong Kong, and New Zealand as well as a few from the U.S., but who are the rest of you? How did you find my blog? Are you a one-time visitor, or do you check in regularly? What do you like, or not like? Please leave a comment and let me know. You don't have to identify yourself; just let me know you are a real person! I certainly hope that most of my "readers" aren't just robots.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 4:51 pm | Edit
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Category Computing: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Sometimes I like the Frazz comic because of its references to things that have meaning to me but are relatively obscure (like the trebuchet), and sometimes I like Frazz because it mentions things I know nothing about myself. The reference to David Mamet in today's strip inspired a Google search that led me to this Salon interview. Movies, television, and modern culture being an alien landscape to me, I have not seen any of Mamet's films, but the interview reveals—and conceals—a character so interesting I'm inclined to change that.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 8:59 am | Edit
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Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Parents in Rochester, New York no longer have to stay home with sick children, nor be inconvenienced by having to take them to the doctor, thanks to a program that connects schools and day care centers with doctors via the Internet. Little Johnny wakes up feeling miserable? No need to fret; just pack him off to school or day care anyway. There, a staff member with a whole week's worth of training will examine his ears, swab his throat, and otherwise check him out using equipment that sends the results over the Internet to a physician. The diagnosis is made, medication begun, and you pick your child up at the end of the day as usual, no fuss, no bother. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 6, 2005 at 7:31 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
I'm am really tired of reading about procedures that were once known to be right now being shown to be useless or even harmful. Actually, I'm not tired of learning the truth, just frustrated with those (especially doctors, teachers, and governmental authorities) who are absolutely certain they know best and thus justiify runing roughshod over other people. I think of the Canadian judge who will force an unwanted medical procedure on a child, in violation of her own conscience and the desires of her family, because he and some doctors think it's the best thing for her; of those who would insist, with the force of law, that a hospital is the only acceptable place to be born, and a school the only acceptable place to be educated, despite mounting evidence to the contrary; of bloodletting, and hormone replacement therapy, and routine circumcision, all procedures once pushed by the medical profession and since retracted. Here's the latest: episiotomies, once considered essential to prevent serious problems during and after childbirth, have now been shown to be useless.

I know we must make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, and have no problem with honest errors. My quarrel is with those—I include myself—who in the certainty of their own convictions would use the force of law or their position to shut down contrary beliefs.

"First, do no harm."
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 5, 2005 at 7:42 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all!
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 5, 2005 at 7:21 am | Edit
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Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Regular breast self exams, pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, full excision and pathological examination of moles that once were just shaved off at skin level, even routine full body scans—our understandable fear of cancer is reflected in the many procedures available and often recommended in hopes of besting this scourge.

However, there is a downside to all this screening that is now beginning to be recognized. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 8:12 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
So today is National Teacher Day. (I know because Google told me so.) Since this blog includes rants against the terrible damage done to children and families by an inhuman and inhumane government-sponsored school system, and such private schools as seek (or are required) to emulate it, it is meet and right to make space today to recognize teaching as an honorable profession, and good teachers as incomparable treasures. The monstrosity that is school destroys teachers as well as students. In particular, today I honor: (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 at 10:55 am | Edit
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Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
If this story doesn't scare you, you need to read it again. (Here's another version.) A 14-year-old Canadian girl has gone into hiding to avoid being forced to have a blood transfusion that some doctors in British Columbia believe she needs because of her cancer chemotherapy. The girl does not want the transfusion, and her parents agree with her. Whether you believe private medical decisions belong in the hands of individuals of any age, or of parents in the case of under-age children, this is a gross violation of individual and family rights by the Canadian government. Of course it's all done with the best of motives and "for her own good," but somehow that makes it even more frightening. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 4:45 pm | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Hard, painstaking work is the toll an independent spirit charges itself for self-respect.

John Taylor Gatto

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 7:33 am | Edit
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Category Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
"Socialization"—the homeschooler's "s-word," the final recourse of opponents and skeptical relatives who, unable to discredit homeschooling in any other way, declare that if children don't attend school they will not be properly "socialized."

Homeschooling families puzzle over this concern, having observed that their children are much more at ease with people of all ages than are most schoolchildren, arguing that peer-socialization is unnatural and generally negative, and pointing to the vast array of sports teams, musical ensembles, church groups, and other associations to which they belong. Why this concern, they wonder, with something as natural and easily attainable as socialization? (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 10:44 am | Edit
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Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Watching our grandson grow, seeing his parents making choices for his care that I wish we had made with our children, knowing much more now than I did 30 years ago, I sometimes wish I were having children now rather than before the turn of the century. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 9:29 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Janet needed a chest x-ray as part of a pre-employment physical. Having been advised that insurance would not cover the procedure, she attempted to find out what it would cost. That was much easier said than done, and more than once in her quest she received the following encouragement:

You don't have to pay anything now, you'll get a bill later.

As if that had any effect on the cost! Have we become so inured to debt—home mortages, car financing, credit cards, college loans—that the only price tag we care about is what we must pay right now, the copay, the down payment, the minimum monthly charge?

And what are we to think of a health care system that buries the price of its procedures under so many layers of bureaucracy that no one knows the true cost?
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 1:16 pm | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
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