Friday, May 31, 2013

The Laughter of Children

I cannot pass a beautiful Canadian child
And hear the silence surrounding their laughter,
Without thinking of murder and Mortgentaler.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


"Please, I'll do anything. Don't do this.  What is it you want? Tell me." he said, yet again.
"I've made up my mind," she said.
The murder went as she had planned
And she blamed him for that as well.


I awake to sorrow, disappointment and pain
Knowing the external world is a mirror
Of my inner world.
I pray for health, and joy, relief and solace
But the threats are real
As real as reality is at least
The attacks steady

I am not alone
In this dark night of day
For you are always with me.
Light my life, Love
That I might better shine for you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Morgentaler Ode

I heard of your death and was thankful it was over.
The pagans thought they could achieve immortality
By the sacrifice and slaughter of the young.
But like the pagan kings, you did not kill your own I learned!
Your children are living.
A rich life as you did,
Filled with fame and fortune and arrogance.
There is so much profit in killing.

I am always suspicious of doctors who do not take their own medicine.
You are not a physician.
Any more than those men who also played with scalpals
In the prison where they scarred your heart.
Such similar circumstance as  Victor Frankl  but such different outcome.
One man  freed in a search for meaning
While another  forever imprisoned in meaninglessness
Doomed to inflict the horror of his past
Again and again on the present.

If you had killed your own
I would not have found such fault ,
But your mother and your wife did not take the advice
You brought from Auschwitz to Canadian women.
You taught that the only hope is the killing of another
For survival of the fittest.
(Such a Hitlerian idea to infect a Christian Canadian nation with?)

Canadian women were stronger and tougher
More loving and kind
Before you came.
They raised their sons and daughters
To fight the impossible war, to beat the unbeatable  Nazi
And  to save the Jews from the abortion chambers of Auschwitz.
Canadians, especially the French,  loved babies before you came.

Though Canadians had fought for your life
You could not find it in you to fight for the lives of Canadians
To take the really hard and high road,
To offer women the choice
The real choice;
The economics and solace
Of hope and joy.
Could you not argue with Hitler ?
And fight for a better alternative than expedience and  extermination?

Whatever it was that kept you alive,
That spark of life that Victor Frankl spoke so clearly about,
Could you not share that with your patients and their families
As you did with your wife, for everyone has doubts.

A real physician gives hope and find the means
To end the suffering without sacrificing the Jews and Poles
And homosexuals and pregnant unwed women,
And unborn children in death camps.

What of your  oath , 'to do no harm' ?
You denied the very life of a child
And deprived a generation of the laughter
And tears of little ones
Who Canadians had always before celebrated and protected.
Instead of bringing gratitude to this land
You brought the venom instilled in you
By the pagan drug addicted fascist Hitler.
And for that we can all be sorry.

Your Freudian  "identification with the aggressor"
Is a subject that survivors will expound on for decades
As Canadians rebuild the Temple you tried to destroy.

How much harder it is  to join the real fight,
Like the  poet Leonard Cohen, who sings
"First we take Manhatten, then we take Berlin!"
Like those who gave a lost despairing people  Israel
Forcing governments and adults
To find a means to save the baby state and protect  lives of the unborn

Instead, Canadians  need to buy children overseas.
Because you ,Mortgentaller, never learned respect
For home grown Canadians,
Instead outsourcing birth and babies
As an auxiliary service to your abortion factories.

Instead of releasing a mother and child
From the terror of the term " unwanted child"
You rejected love and  Jesus
Picking up that first stone, pelting the woman
And bashing in the head of the unborn
Squeezing brains with forceps, snipping baby spinal cords
And flushing Canadian wombs like a toilet.

Instead of being a physician who identifies
Correctly that the poverty, the rape, or the shame
Or whatever else is the 'disease' you 'blamed the victim',
And used advertising words like Goebbels
To conceal the truth of your murderous insanity.

Life and children are never the disease.
Children and Jews are never to be exterminated
With dehumanizing words and abortion chambers.

Physicians save mother and child.
No obstetrician worth his salt would declare abortion victory.
We are not fascists in this country, Canada.
We worship life and love.  L'chaim!

Now women are denied children or child care
And mothers go unrewarded
And families are destroyed,
And Canadians buy children overseas.
This is your legacy.
This is the cold hearted consequence of Auschwitz.

Now fascists and communists
Turn their thanatos agenda to adults.
A future Canadian will be given the Order of Canada
For his euthanasia gas chamber
Just as you were given an Order of Canada
For your abortion scalpel.
No wonder true Canadians returned their Orders of Canada.

Having  killed Canadians babies en mass
Fascists can get on now with the 'final solution'.
Like you the medicine they will prescribe to others
They will not take themselves.

In Canada you died at 90
Saved by Canadians from an early death in your 20's
But you went on to emulate not Canadians who freed you
But the Nazi murderers who imprisoned you to die so very young.
Now dead at 90 you join all those children whose lives
You reduced to weeks and months.
While Canadians gave you 70 more years
And did not kill you in their prison
But freed you once again.
But still you could not learn the Canadian way,
So warped were you by Hitler.

Forgive me but I am a physician.
I took an oath to do no harm
And as a scientist  I know  as you knew that a fetus is a baby.
Even Goebels couldn't convince my family
That Jews were not human and needed extermination.
My father, a Canadian veteran,
Went to war to save the world from the Fascists and Communists,
And the Jews from the Holocaust.

Leonard Cohen wrote
"First we take Manhatten, then we take Berlin'
He is a Canadian who will stand before the Lord
If only with a broken hallelujah.

You with your bloody Mengele scalpal
Will be speechless finally,
Having silenced so many Canadians.
What a sick and sad tragedy Hitler left us.
I will pray for your soul,
For as Jesus said,
"You did not know what you were doing."

Hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Morning Rain

I am sitting at the computer listening to the rain falling on the roof.  It was drizzle early but now the tenor sounds have given way to baritone and bass droplets heavy with spring.  The green in the city is wonderful. But I do like the feel of rain.  Going to and fro work I am dressed for a different element of weather.  I will have to step gingerly through puddles, carrying my umbrella.  The traffic will be slower with more risk of accidents, danger and delays.  There will be darkness and ominous clouds.
I can forget more easily in the sun.  In the light I can soak in health and happiness.  I would that the rain washed away my sorrow and pain but it does not.  I fear the barometric falling contributes to the chronic sadness now so evident in my feet and hands. My friend laughingly called it 'stigmata'.  But my back hurts as well and that is so lacking in Biblical reference.  Graecian Roman as in Atlas perhaps, my grandiosity a burden to bear no doubt.  So many injuries and perhaps so many more years to go before the end is welcomed.  It has long lost the flavour of a race.  I am slouching towards Bethlehem at best.  I am Jonah trying hard to run away from Ninevah at least.  
I have faith.  There have been so many signs and miracles in my Doubting Thomas life.  I've been blessed with knowing God whether his shouting or his wee small voice but still I care not to listen. I have a little dog who teaches me that his routine lack of obedience never affects my love for him.  I call and he may listen if there's no distracting interesting dog or smell to cause him to delay his return to me.  I know I'm his human.  I am God's dog at best.  I do his will with the same enthusiasm my dog does mine.  If God wants to play throw the ball or go on an adventure in the woods then I'm a hundred percent his man.  But if it's daily routine, the getting in to work and wrestling with the chronic infusion of State into the affairs of men and the demands so costly of all the beggars in high and low places, well I'm like my dog. His attitude says he was bred to hunt and run and fetch game home not to walk at heal in city streets waiting for his human to pick up his shit and deposit it in some bin somewhere other than where he'd rather go.
I'm recalcitrant at best.  The pain causes prayer.  Injuries turn my life inward.  I am alone with my mind and see how silly and repetitive it's themes are.  Fears, resentments, worries, desires.  All is suffering.  I'm full of self condemnation, speaking to myself, worse than I'd speak to my dog, judging myself a failure when there is so much success to be considered.  I confess and no confession seems enough to unload the baggage I as quickly reacquire.  I'm lost in paths laid down years ago when this destination I've arrived at seemed so much more than what it is when I am there.
I'm journeying, always moving, like a child.
Sitting still I meditate in the morning, begging God, petitioning God, talking with God, listening for God, forgetting myself, silently, wanderingly distracted, losing focus in the persistence of this life when death to self is all that is sought.  I am in God's hands but numb.
I know that the pain measures my distance from God.  I once thought pain was a word trick that reminded me that I must 'pay in' and that 'pa' was 'in'.  Schizophrenics taught me the power of words.  My father was as the father in the biblical story,  Abraham and Isaac, told best in song by Leonard Cohen.  I find solace in water.  Hot tubs and swimming pools are where I feel the greatest relief, returning to the sea in search of an umbilical cord.
I eat, defecate, see, hear, smell, touch, and share with others, even having sex though it's been long since I wrestled or butted heads and shoulders in hockey rinks and playgrounds.  Now only my dog and I rumble.  Even now he sleeps and I envy his capacity for napping and lack of demands on his time.
It is time now to move along.  I've a onerous chore to do and must get to the office to respond to attack .  I am sure God gave me these fingers for poetry and I've wasted the gift on rhetoric and logic. Already I'm preparing the anti venom writing to the venomous and thankful that God loves 'peace makers'.  War is so profitable and the State is ever in an orgy saber rattling and  phoney fighting with constant fabricated emergencies making a mockery of their own indulgences.
My pain comes from believing we really all should be dancing though today even my feet hurt and my back hurts and somedays my head hurts especially as the week progresses and the tiredness comes from facing threat after threat by blue collar and white collar antagonists who know no better.  And Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do"  
And my pain is constant restraint, holding back and holding in, the desire to join in the hostilities.  I have turned my cheek 70 times 70 times and more and bourne the lashes countless times in good faith waiting and working.
I hang my head in sorrow praying for patience and peace and hoping for the day I return, a prodigal son, at best, but a son nonetheless.  I know there is a home for me in Heaven and as my friend John likes to say Heaven is all the way to Heaven.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live 2013

it was a rainy day but Gilbert and I didn't let that stop us from joining the West Coast Motorcycle Ride to Live. We were up at 6 am and thanks to the Harley Electraglide down at Trev Deely with time to spare for registration and getting into line.  We were at the national Ride for Dad when it began and this local Ride to Live is still raising money for Prostate Cancer and research.  I like that the Police, Military, Fire and Rescue riders all join in.  I saw Gospel Riders and Sober Riders so it was a great community event with hundreds of motorcycles.  A lot more women out on bikes than ever before.  And all sizes of bikes with the smallest being a Honda 90 trail bike.  Harleys, Dukatis, BMW's, Victory's, Yamaha's, Honda's, anything with 2 wheels and some with three. I missed the opening prayer but enjoyed the incredible singing of Oh Canada which brought a tear to my eye.
The parade lead from Trev Deely to Port Moody with escorts a staggered motorcycle rows of two. Very impressive.  Gilbert was a champ.  He saw his neighbourhood friend Emory there too.  The two of them were the only dogs I saw.  The ride from Port Moody went on to Canadian Tire in Mission, then Fort Langley and back to Cloverdale.  The rain was only a drizzle but it required more attention driving.  I loved the camaraderie.  I followed a couple of bikers, one on an orange harley and the other with his son wearing the Baptista jacket on a Ducati.  I'd told them I'd got lost a couple of years before  and they actually waited when I was cut off from them by a change of lights. That sort of behaviour characterized the ride.  Everyone friendly and communicating and respectful of the road and other drivers.  Great country riding too.  Fun to be part of a rally and seeing all the other bikes flying the Ride to Live flags. IMG 0207

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Scuba Diving Whitecliff

It was a great day with a mix of sun and clouds.  Not too hot.  I met Mike, the Master Diver, at Rowand Reef and we drove in our separate vehicles to Whitecliff. I've this new dry suit that I've only tested in a swimming pool. After years of scuba diving with a suit (other than my bathing suit) it's taking a little getting used to the change in buoyancy.  The swimming pool is fresh water and I'd need more weights in salt water.
There were at least 50 other divers at Whitecliff. I'd done my original drysuit training here. I'd also done my first night dive and the grid and compass training.  Visibility can often be a problem and were heard it was today but that wouldn't affect my equipment check. I signed up for a weekend dive in Barkley Sound so want to be equipment problem free when I'm out there.  My Hubb had all it's seals re conditioned as well so it was going to be a test of this at 100 feet pressure as well.
Mike is great fun. A young guy who also works Fire Rescue.  There are some advantages to being an older man.  Well bred young men are more helpful and solicitous.  When he offered to lift my tank for me to get on I wasn't complaining.  Gearing up is a bitch.  All this gear.  When finally suited up and geared up I felt like Colonel Chris Hatfield. I was ready for any environment and looked around for the guys from Bare Naked Lady to join in a fitting song with.
It's a bit of trek down to the beach from the parking lot.  Mike had us go right in, stopping only a moment to put on dive hood and goggles.  Then I was in the water with  my BCG inflated and struggling to get my fins on.  "Can I help you with those,"  Mike asked.  Sure.  It feels a bit like having a mother help you put on your shoes to go to kindergarden but why not.  Mike's line, "That's what dive buddies are for."  He had let me help him zip up his suit probably just to make me feel a bit useful.
We swam out to the deeper water then.  We'd gone over our PADI hand signals in the parking lot so I knew to go down but when I pressed the button to let the air out of my BCG I didn't descend.  Mike had extra weights but neither he nor I could get them out of the pocket in his pack. TThe gloves keep one's fingers warm but aren't good for fishing in pockets for slippery balls of lead.  This necessitated a swim ashore. Tide was going out and I had weights on my ankles.  I'm out of shape.  Rolling the ATV a year and half ago with all the injuries and the excuse to lie around eating and watching tv hasn't helped. I 've been getting more active the last 6 months, swimming 20 length of the pool each week, hiking with Gilbert, but those weights on my ankles were killers. I couldn't swim on my back because my feet just went straight down so I swam on my side with some successful.  A long surface swim.  Exhausted I stumbled coming out of the water and Mike kindly helped the old guy up.
In this struggle for decorum I lost my old mask and snorkel.  Ashore I sat, wondering if I was getting too old for scuba diving.  Mike meanwhile ran back to his car for more weights.  Firemen. He at least had the courtesy to leave his tank but I don't doubt he'd have been able to run up the hill after that swim with his tank on.  I was glad to sit on the beach in the sun watching the other divers.  God was good too. A girl came out of the water and couldn't stand.  Her buddies had to help her get her tank off as she knelt in the water.  I told her she shouldn't have watched my entrance. It's not the way it's supposed to be done.  Pay attention to these other guys. She stood up after that laughing.  There's no doubt this is all a whole lot of fun.
Mike stuff more weights into my Hubb pockets.  And off we went again. This time it was letter perfect.  I pressed the button and descended smoothly.  There wasn't much visibility, maybe 6 to 10 feet, but just enough so I didn't lose Mike. He had a light and I'd forgotten mine. I'd left my dive computer and light on the boat having intended to leave from there but not going there in the morning at all just picking up the major part of my gear from the storage locker. I really must get a checklist for this.
I loved the glorious white anemones at the bottom. Great mushrooms looking things on stocks. There were crabs and greeling fish and a big cod.  I love fish. Seeing fish I'm back as a kid who raised tropical fish but now I'm inside the tank.  
I'd forgotten to bring socks so my feet were cold.  Having used up air originally trying to descend and swimming ashore I was glad it was a short dive. I signalled to mike when I was at 1500 and we headed back.  At 1000 I let him know and but as I was beginning to ascend air in my suit pooled in my feet and I shot up to the surface feet first for the last 10 feet . When we'd begun our ascent we were already at about 30 feet.  My exit from the water at the end though wasn't elegant.  Mike said that my ankle weights were probably a good idea. I'd taken them off after the surface swim.  Now I'll wear them again unless there's any surface swimming planned or at least I'll know to take them off for that.
A harbour seal was sunning itself on a rock beside us.  The sun was glorious.  I was really happy.  I'm always happy to be alive after a dive.  It's not at all dangerous but it somehow makes one feel how wonderful it is in one's own domain. I'm sure the space astronauts feel the same when they come inside from outer space.  I'd just been 20 minutes in the original domain.  Amazing to that we all came from the sea so there's that revitalization that comes with returning to land.  I'd been down there with the fishes and a part of that world but now I was climbing up the beach without the sprawling tripping previous exit.
All round a terrific time.  We were scheduled for 2 dives but I told Mike I only wanted one, simply because my feet were cold and secretly I was tired.  Enough for a day.  I could have done another dive but the gearing up would have been more exhausting. Just hauling my tired as up to the hose on the side of the hill was enough .The cold fresh water on my face was spectacular.  Mike offered to carry my weight belt when his keen fireman eye saw that it was that or have to carry the whole of me over his shoulder. What a wuss I am.  I accepted the offer gladly. 35 lbs was all I needed lightened to ascend the hill to my truck looking very dignified indeed.  Pulling the weight belt ass backwards hauling it like a snake across the grass must have caused Mike some embarrassment. There's a whole lot of these master divers around making it the safest place to dive in all BC.  Mike's amazing with his Fire Rescue skills and all his dive skills and his willingness to accept that maybe one day when he was twice his age he'd look as happily tired as I did.
What a day!  I was out of my gear and shaking hands with Mike before heading back to Burnaby for the excited reuniting with Gilbert who had guarded the home while I was away.
I'm that much fitter and a whole lot less anxious.  A lot of of the tiredness is fear. I was admittedly a little concerned about testing new gear at 100 feet.  My friend Tom told me that parachute packers are required to use the parachutes every 100 packings to maintain the high standards there. I knew I was going to be a guinea pig for my gear and I don't like being a guinea pig.  Once I was under water swimming alongside Mike I was in the heaven that scuba diving is. It's so exhilarating to be weightless and moving along in this underwater paradise with fish looking me right in the eye inches away from my face mask.  I love it.  Another dive.  And I'm even getting used to the dry suit. It's a whole lot better in the tropics but then my friend who skied in a bikini once said that was her favourite day snow skiing on the mountain.  I'll wear socks the next time because I didn't even like having cold feet, physically.  The felt suit I wore inside the dry suit kept the rest of me totally warm but I have to remember some thermal socks for inside the boots.  No water gets in the whole outfit.  Amazing.  Once I was stripped down I just got into my street clothing.  I like that a whole lot better than the neoprene suit I had before.
A great dive. Thank you Mike.  Thank you Rowand Reef, Granville Island, Vancouver.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Right Livelihood

The Buddhist 8 fold path includes "Right Livelihood" as one of the central precepts.  I studied Buddhism in the 1970's reading various leading texts and eventually coming under the influence of a leading medical doctor who was also a Buddhist.  I'd first read the life of Buddha, as Siddhartha by the nobel prize winning writer, Herman Hesse.  I'd loved his "Journey to the East" and around the time I was reading this the Beattles were off in India.  The East-West fusion was well under way at the time.  I had read the Bhagadva Gita and studied Paramahansa Yoganada but found the 8 fold path, years later,  written in my journal I had well living in London England.  I was working as a bar tender then and remember thinking that this was not 'right livelihood'.
Being a bar tender wasn't my only job.  That was what I did in the evening.  During the day in London I worked as an Executive Assistant to the head of a mercantile bank, a leading lawyer and a telecommunications engineer. At the time I didn't call myself an "executive assistant'.  I just thought of myself as 'office help' or 'typist' or 'fetch' or whatever derogatory term I used in those days for work that wasn't what I dreamed of being, at that time, an actor and  play wright.  In retrospect all those jobs in London, which I saw also as solely paying for my being able to study dancing with the world champion Latin dancer, served me well.  I wanted to be a writer, specifically plays, and here I was learning a whole lot about different fields and people but disparaging my time not sitting in bars drinking guinness talking to my friends or specifically scribbling in my note book.  Life was coming at me and I was as selectively biased as a teenager though by then 20 something.
The Noble 8 fold path is one of the principal teachings of Buddha.  Buddha developed this as a means to end suffering.
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration.
With regard to Right View and Right Intention these refer to the wisdom of the teachings of the Buddha and various followers over the year.  Personally when I practiced Buddhist doctrine I did so with a hope of gaining enlightenment and somehow 'escaping' from the world I was in.  I've always wanted a space ship and if I couldn't get one in the outer world was content if I could go inward to get away from the apparent insanity of the world.   I was a major proponent of the "make love, not war' philosophy. Of all the Buddhist teachers I liked Trungpa the best when it came to Right View and Right Intention.  The Tibetan Book of the Dead was a favourite of mine back before I devoted my time to biochemistry and neurology.
Right speech was always best achieved by my Aunt Sally, the Baptist saint in our family who no one could ever remember saying anything unkind about another.  Personally I've had as much difficulty with Right Speech, as Pierre Elliott Troudeau,  in that I'm prone to profanity and find that the truly evil today are the 'politically correct', speaking so smoothly as the Aboriginals would say 'with forked tongue'.  Perhaps too I've let my 'brand' carry a certain sea farer 'saltiness' and biker 'street cred' with it knowing that those who only speak 'committee talk' would be targets outside of their boardrooms, not surviving a week on the streets where I've worked or the wilderness where I've lived.  Other days, I regret this and wish I was more the 'social chameleon' that the true psychopaths are.  I envy their slick slithering and admire their hard skins, scales and  capacity to survive though I'd not want their 'little reptile brains' and their lack of capacity for 'empathy' or 'spirituality'.
The idea about right speech is to be inoffensive but if one is a Christian that means telling the truth and telling the truth is 'offensive' to the liars and cheats and often many of the very powerful.  An eastern proverb gets around this by saying, "he is a fool who cannot conceal his wisdom'.  Right speech is far more than 'political correctness' and Buddhist monks spend a lifetime in their terms in the kindergarden of this endeavour. Many take vows of silence so that when they talk every decade or so for a sentence or two they get that 'sentence' right.  Indeed, if one only spoke the name of God or the one word one might well achieve Right Speech easier.  Buddhism like all human endeavours, like religion, philosophy, and exercise classes has it's multitude of controversies.  I love to tease my thoroughly beautiful and quite sainted younger Buddhist friend by pointing out that even today Buddhists are fighting over a temple.  When the Chinese invaded Tibet putting Buddhism to the ultimate test, after the first monks were slaughtered by the Chinese Communists, the remaining ones fired back, thoroughly unprepared, with bolt action Enfield Rifles before being slaughtered by the 50 cal Chinese machine guns.  The Dalai Lama, one of the sweetest finest men I have met,  has been bitching and complaining since. So much for Buddhism ending suffering.  Reality sucks? Fortunately Buddhism has a lot to say about how to 'suck up' suffering. The Dalai Lama at least didn't have a hissy fit and create more suffering through 'wrong action'.
Right Action is not what the Chinese Communists are doing but then politically there's a lot of question about who is doing 'right action'  Theoretically, make peace not war is a universal bottom line.  The 'light' religions of the world encourage 'love' though there are 'dark' religions of the world that encourage nefarious matters that are the subject of horror movies.  Buddhism expounds peace and love and lu lu lemon yoga wear.  I enjoyed later reading Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, writing about his Eastern brethren.
That brings us to Right Livelihood.  I'm a healer, a physician, a psychiatrist, and addiction medicine specialist so I've got 'right livelihood' covered nicely today. I eventually stopped being bar tender because I didn't think that was 'right livelihood' even though I enjoyed the working men's pub in South London,  all the cockney characters, the soccer fans and the drunken stumbling home after drinking my "tips' after closing with the other bar tenders and manager.  Dancing, creativity, being an assistant to bankers, lawyers, and engineers didn't even spark a question mark when it came to right livelihood.  Everything I was doing in regards to 'work' and 'money' was okay except being a bar tender. Assisting people to get drunk didn't sit well with me.  I remember studying the buddhist 8 fold path and it was clearer than my Christian teachings I'd literally got through mother's milk.  Yet I knew Jesus wouldn't approve of what I was doing for a living in the evening.
Today I have questions about 'harm reduction' therapy. I work in a methadone clinic and give methadone to heroin addicts as a stepping stone to their achieving abstinence. The Salome Project is going on with some my patients being given heroin  in that clinic. There they'll giving Heroin to Heroin addicts.  Personally I think it's all very well because it's literally retrieving human beings from the dark clutches of the criminals 'slaver's' whose sole interest in these individuals is to suck them dry of all money and self respect and leave them homeless on the street often prostituting and stealing for their next fix. What we're doing is 'redemptive' work. What Salome is doing is the same in it's own way, hopefully.  Years of 'punishment' of drug addicts has only made dealers richer and given the police forces justification for bigger guns. Meanwhile our biggest banks are laundering the money of drug cartels making being a banker decidedly no longer any more 'right livelihood' than being 'a bartender'.  I love Dylan's paraphrase of the Dr. Johnson, "Steal a little and they put you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king".  Everything is clearer to the adolescent mind than it is to the adult mind.
Marx, womanizer, kafetch and antisemitic Jew, said "Religion is the opiate of the masses'.  In Buddhist countries the poor are encouraged to be vegetarians while the leaders of industry in those same countries who are overtly buddhist eat meat.  The warrior classes have always been prone to meat eating.
I like that Sarah McLaughlan's net worth is 35 million dollars and Bill Gates net worth is 70 plus billion.  Both are creative individuals and their income has come from 'right livelihood'.  Living in British Columbia where the biggest industry is marijuana production and distribution, a multi billion dollar business coupled with the trafficking and cross border heroin and cocaine distribution, I don't think is conducive to  'right livelihood'.  Further along the 8 fold path of buddhism is the term 'right concentration' and I know no one who has 'right concentration' on drugs or alcohol.  By prescription there's a 'sweet point' in the treatment of pain where a person's pain is reduced from 8/10 to 2/10 and their concentration may increase as a result but in general all 'pain medication's and 'mood altering medications' affect 'right concentration'.  Certainly marijuana impairs right concentration for weeks after one toke yet so many of the lu lu lemon yoga mat set would argue marijuana is a 'herb'.  Buddha didn't smoke marijuana and neither did Jesus. We don't even know that Jesus drank but there is a concern regarding his mother and that raises the spectrum that Jesus might have had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Any guy who walks into the Lion's den and doesn't Daniel himself out of it is suspect in the eyes of his Jewish friends whose great toast is 'L'chaim'  "To Life'.  Yet Jews have been martyring themselves since before Christ and tragically even more after.  Jesus was a Jew and if any Jew thinks him stupid for letting himself get killed, well, the seed doesn't' fall far from the tree. Given my own Scottish Irish heritage and a long history of ancestors martyred by the English and Romans I'm not quick to judge others.
Buddha in contrast after living a life that Hugh Heffner would have admired went on to old age.
I'm not saying smoking marijuana is wrong for everyone. Paul McCartney's net worth is a hundred million dollar and it's well known that he was using his Scottish farm for mass production of cannibis at one time.  It's just that this wouldn't be called 'right livelihood' and certainly wouldn't result in 'right concentration' .  There's a price to be paid for deviation from the healthiest paths. That price is called 'suffering'.  Paul McCartney's problems with women were even worse than my problems with women when I smoked marijuana with them.  I discourage all men from smoking marijuana with women or doing drugs and alcohol of any kind.  Indeed for both men and women it might well be wise to consider drugs and alcohol only a 'same sex' activity as it once was.  I was a bar tender in a 'men's only bar' where women were only allowed in on the weekends as long as they were accompanied by a man.  There's a reason for old traditions.
When I reviewed the richest men in the world, all multi billionaires I was interested to note that none were overt crooks. Watching television one would almost think that success required being criminal.  Yet Helu the mexican multi billionaire's success began with brilliance in the telecommunication field. Bill Gates was a genius and his development of the computer industry is a business fairytale but it doesn't involve back room killings and threats to the families of coworkers. That behaviour is the behaviour of drug cartels. I don't doubt there's a lot of shadiness in industry but no more than what we see in the Canadian Senate.  It's just that to hear so many the 'rich' are only 'rich' because they're criminals and 'corrupt'.  I don't think so.
The richest woman in the world is Gina Hope Rhinehart, Australian mining magnate, at over 100 billion net worth making her possibly the richest person by some estimates.  Christy Walton, once the richest woman,  inherited the Walmart fortune.  Warren Buffet , inherited his initial wealth too, in his case from his father, U.S. Represative. He's to be admired for having held onto his money so long. From the millionaires I've known, and I've not yet had the privilege to meet a billionaire like these folks, seem to have had as much trouble holding onto their money as they have had making it.
It's an amazing lesson in human behaviour and guarantee to change one's basic attitudes towards 'money' and 'livelihood' when one looks at the follow up lives of the winners of lotteries. So many are poor rapidly after and so many are dead.  When the First Nations folk got their millions especially in the land deals in Alaska so many were  back to being poor shortly after too.  The wealthy not surprisingly have a tendency to come from 'good families'.  It's not 'necessary' since there are certainly examples that are not such yet it clearly helps as even a simple study of race horses shows the value of genetics but more importantly the importance of gentle but firm parenting.    I've been especially interested to note that the most successful are usually a part of a very successful group.  Freud and his associates are an amazing group of men who changed our very understanding of ourselves and the mind and all were quite successful following.
Money is a spiritual energy.  I like to spend money.  Some people like to make money.  My brother, wiser than I in the ways of money, likes to manage it. He loves seeing money get the most value.  I barely understand this but know that 20 richest women in the world who controll a combined 250 billion dollars know much more about money management than I do. Hence a local lottery winner a year later after an amazing windfall was drunker than he'd been before the windfall, broke and complaining vehemently about his poor luck.
Theoretically, Right Livelihood would be associated with a good income. I'm delighted to note that Bill Gates and Melinda are principally 'philanthropists' today like Oprah.  In contrast to me, they are giving money away but with immense wisdom and eschewing 'giving pearls to swine'.  I am reminded of the two women I hired who stole from me and nearly destroyed my practice in their piggish behaviour, shitting all over the lives of others in their stupid pursuit of self interest. My poor judgement put money in their hands.  I hired and gave respectability and credibility to a couple of sows in the metaphor of pearls.  Whose fault was that?  Mine. My poor judgement. My poor concentration. I married women and we didn't live happily ever after because of my bad choice and bad behaviour.  I tire daily of people who blame their 'fortune' on others.  In that case Bill Gates fortune would be the 'fault' of others rather than acknowledging that our fortunes good or bad are a major part our own doing.
I love the serenity prayer, God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Central to this is the realization that one needs courage mostly to change ones self.
A major Christian parable is the one about the master and three servants. . The master leaves them each with seeds. The first puts his in a vault. The second trades his for a donkey and the third plants his.  When the master returns the first man can only show mouldy seeds, the second an old donkey while the third gives back the masters seeds ten fold.  So the master gives more seeds to the man who planted them. The master isn't stupid.
Oprah started a school in Africa for young women.  It's not based on the public school model we have in Canada and the chaotic public school models in the states where teachers are often feeling their lives threatened but rather it's based on a private school model with the girls in uniform and taught to be well mannered and courteous and respectful to their elders.  Her school is producing amazing graduates.  Oprah has shown what is called 'discernment' in Christian literature.  The Buddhists might call it 'right concentration'.  Philanthropy is certainly 'right action' .
The greatest philanthropist of all time was Dale Carnegie. I love to pass his library on the way to work each day.  I am forever thankful to the libraries of my life.  My friend spent her life as a librarian and I know that that was 'right livelihood'.
Proverbs in the Bible has a collection of sayings that overlap with the teachings of the 8 fold path. The 10 commandments that Moses brought down the Mountain from God overlap clearly with the 8 fold path.  Jesus's teachings make it pretty clear that being a drug dealer isn't 'right livelihood' for a Christian.  I don't know of any 'spiritual' tradition that would support that 'right livelihood' is being a torturer or a thief or a murderer.  Self defence is a very different matter from pre meditated murder.
Like all great questions of life, the issue of 'right livelihood' comes around again and again.  If I as a doctor in Canada am required to do abortion or promote abortion or even direct people to abortionists, or similarly with euthanasia, would it be 'right livelihood' to be a physician in Canada. I loved studying Bonhoffer and his life in Nazi Germany. Most of the religious leaders of the day got it completely wrong in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.  Bonhoffer was an exception though not in all eyes.  The Hitler physicians in the camps weren't practising 'right livelihood' and the same question was asked about 'Michael Jackson's physician'.
I'm thankful to the Buddha for giving us the very idea of 'right livelihood'.  I like that he and Hugh Heffner lived to be old men.  I still believe there's merit in the adage, "make love, not war'.  War has always been a failure of diplomacy.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Morning Dream

I woke from a dream
Of the perfect house
Made of wood with all the boxes and tables
And chairs built into wood walls
So polished and open and free
Looking out onto nature
With nearby hills and valleys
And friends as neighbours
I almost thought I'd like to live ashore
But I'm still too young for that life
What would I do without the smell of the sea
Where would I be without the wind in my sails
What would I think if there wasn't the
Ever present threat of storms
And just a little hole sinking a very big boat.
I might move ashore, Lord
And forget
That all I really have is you
At sea I'm always close to you
And the knowledge that all is Grace
There is no certainty in sailing
There are no absolutes or promises
Except that of change and uncertainty
Even at dock the storm may find you
Yet there is no better place to be
When winds are fair
And seas are calm
Then I feel lifted as on eagles wings
And know you are with me always.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Money and Stevie Nicks poetry

I never used to think about money. My parents did. I remembered being upset as a kid if I didn't have something but I didn't think in terms of money. I always believed when I was older that if I did the right thing then the money would come. I never thought of getting the money first  and then doing the right thing. I never considered one right thing versus another right thing in terms of money.  I took jobs because I wanted to learn something at first and naturally was happy to be paid. I wasn't negative about money. I worked to get money and didn't like debt. My parents had taught me that good people avoided debt and if they were in debt they paid their debts.
I remember consciously considering work in terms of leadership and taking orders when I was working in my first construction jobs. I thought I'd rather go to university and get an education and have a higher level job than spend my life working for the kinds of people I was working for.  I had one particular boss who was stupid and ill mannered and slightly sadistic. I thought I could avoid working for such an individual by getting an education and getting a superior position in the hierarchy.  I was wrong about this.  Hierarchy's always have that sort of individual throughout and at different levels.
Rags to riches in three generations and riches to rags in one.  So the genius in a family may raise the family wealth to high level but the idiot belligerent bully might reduce the wealth within their one generation. The bottom line is folks individually and as families go up and down the hierarchy.  Hence you can't get away from the idiots by going further up the ladder since there may be an idiot on the way down.  I didn't know this when I entered university.  I thought education and intelligence would 'elevate' me.
I remember consciously thinking that there was a difference between chess and poker. I thought that the element of 'chance' was reduced with chess which demanded greater skill whereas poker always carried a whole lot more 'luck' options in it.  The casinos certainly know this.  I was a chess player. I liked skills.  Chance was something I 'trusted' to a large degree and equated more with my relationship with God. The closer to God I was the more likely I'd have good fortune however I was also concerned that the saints often met gnarly ends and I knew a lot of good people who I wondered if they weren't making a 'virtue of necessity' because they seemed good and spoke all manner of religious platitudes but didn't do much good it seemed and weren't much blessed.
It's not very clear what one does exactly to be a success.  There's a multitude of competing opinions when one is growing up and especially when one enters university.
I loved learning.  The reward in learning is not money but learning.
I considered pure science and pure arts and was concerned that if I got a phd I 'd not necessarily have a job. I would have learning and I'd possibly have a greater understanding of life and all manner of good friends and such but I wouldn't necessarily have a job.  I was pragmatic when I was younger. I wanted my education to be associated with my eventual work.  To this end I considered what did the world always need and what education was necessary for survival in a community.  I remember thinking that sciences were more necessary than arts and that there was a lot of politics in arts whereas science was more what I called 'hard facts'.  I remember thinking that the arts were a lot about 'fashion' and who was the winner decided what fashion was in.  I realized that we were a product of military might and that if the Nazis or Commies won we'd not be calling ourselves the 'free world' and enjoying the freedom to consider whether to go on to be a playwright or a scientist.
I remember praying about this.  I was meditating a lot when I was in university. I was a different person not easily fitting into any 'group' and yet mixing well enough with a variety of 'groups'.  I always seemed to have my own agenda and that agenda was tied to learning something and usually helping someone. I liked to take on causes on behalf of others. I really believed in service.  From a young age I was raising money for charity by organizing friends to do carolling. I 'd go on to organize coffeehouses, improvisational teams, plays and adventures.  Later I'd employ people in small businesses and organize folks in building and creating things.  I was a leader from a young age but not particularly interested in leading. I was mostly interested in learning and seeing how something worked.
I had a 'calling' to enter medicine. It was a product of prayer in the University of Winnipeg chapel.  A series of events followed that put me in medical school. I thought at the time that this was good because I 'd concluded I couldn't be a renaissance man with my own laboratory in my home because the cost of technology was too utterly exorbitant but I could write in my home and work in a lab in the day. I loved medical school learning. I loved biology. I loved quantum physics and biochemistry. All of the exciting things we did studying electron microscopy, X-rays, and surgery seeing the parts of the body anatomy at work was exhilarating to me.
But I remember thinking that while I was living utterly poor as a student taking jobs to buy books and stethoscopes and living in a bachelor suite studying around the clock, I felt that I'd have a 'job' when I graduated.  It was comforting to be studying 'applied sciences'.

Law is 'applied arts' in the way that medicine is 'applied science'.  I was happy with the money I was making as a doctor too not really considering it though my wife was very involved in wanting a house and fixing it up.  I had friends who were millionaires then but I didn't really register that their car was a bmw and mine was a chevy or that their house was in a better neighbourhood and bigger than mine.I was thoroughly happy with what I had and wholly involved in trying to save the lives of my patients. All night long I was studying and I had a wife who was emotionally disturbed as I saw it .  I thought it was my job to 'keep her happy' and 'please her' and 'make her life easier' and get her all the money for all the things she wanted. She always wanted more money and more things and I was enjoying my life but feel excessive demands from her for things.
I remember married I wanted more money, but I didn't do more than work longer hours. I didn't decide my future based on money.  My fwife left me when I went into psychiatry. She was always more aware of money and more capable of getting it than I was. I'd started out in surgery but when I went into psychiatry the writing was on the wall. This is from this slice of perspective.  Our divorce is best described as a product of my irrelevance and irreverence.  There's no 'pat' explanations for love and war.  She was a saint. I'm interested here in the issue of money.  I was mobilized then by what  I wanted to do.  I wanted to go to Mexico so I got some money to go to Mexico.  I had a job which allowed me to buy a house and have a a car and work and have friends. I was a comfortable yuppie at the university but I didn't think about money much.  It followed the 'right decision'.
After the divorce I thought about money. The divorce caused a horrendous debt and I couldn't work for months because simply 'a broken heart to a psychiatrist is like broken hands to a surgeon'.  Women are devastating.  Actually girls are devastating.  Boys and girls destroy, men and women create.  There were no children. Children are associated with couples and individuals wealth. The wealthy have children though so do the poor but in my world the children have usually moderated the parents and made them more likely to consider money and security and such matters.  Most men I know are really a whole lot happier working for their 'daughter's' than their wives and no woman will work as hard for her man as she would for her child.  I never had children.
I took care of a lot of people.  When I stopped drinking I was in a treatment centre and everyone there with criminal records and major drug and alcohol problems told me how much they enjoyed people like me because I was a 'mark'.  People loved to let me pick up the bar tabs, the restaurant tab and play poor in my company and encourage me to support them. I've picked up bar tabs for the poor and the millionaires.  I have always paid my way.
Each divorce left me with a debt burden that all bankers and accountants told me I should simply declare 'bankruptcy' and start over over. I didn't. I paid off all the debts the girls had run up and all the losses that the divorces occasioned.  In retrospect I probably would have been a multi millionaire today if I'd taken the advice of the 'money' men, declared bankruptcy, screwed the creditors and got a clean slate and started over. As it was I made a fortune for people in the 'interest' I paid.
It's said to be 'character' building.  I remember saying to women, if we make this investment , we have to be together for 5 years or we'll lose our shirts. Under no circumstances can we break up or whatever'.  Naturally I gave them sufficient reason to rue their agreement but I was the one who lost my shirt.  They'd say they lost their pants.  I was interested in sex and love and rock and roll all my young life.
It really was a good time.  I can't say I have regrets except for the hurt I caused my parents I suspect. I really didn't give them more time and love though they were very impressed with me as a family physician and no one has ever understood what I see in psychiatry.  Even today everyone tells me I should stay away from the addicts and drunks and schizophrenics because they're trouble. Lawyers and beurocrats and bankers and accountants tell me to keep my distance from the mentally ill.  Our medical profession and the legal profession is all about telling us to erect boundaries and put in bigger desks and spend less time with the downtrodden and the losers.
Smart people don't do what I do.
I identify with the losers.  I'm like Jesus in that way. I wash the feet of the poor and a whole lot of the time make a save in an impossible place. My friend works with the dying and she's a Christian. The 'money' isn't in the dying.  The money is in the funeral , right after the death, when people are feeling guilty.  The surviving have the money. The dying often use up their resources in their last days.
I think about money these days. I began thinking about money when I turned 60.  I realized I didn't have a pension. I realized that I was tired more often than not and I realized that people didn't care for the old and sick like they once did.  I worried which I should n't do.  I'd hired a couple of women and they'd cost me $50,000 by their lies and theft.  I smiled when I learned that Leonard Cohen's manager had stolen 5 million from him and at 70 he was down to a hundred thousand net worth.  I don't think my net worth is that today because I have rapidly depreciating vehicles like motorcycles and boats which fascinate me with the motion and travel. Buckminister Fuller got me interested in the means of travel. And I was fascinated how flying into a city altered wholly my perception of the city as compared to sailing into a city or riding in on a bicycle or motorcycle.  I'm fascinated by the experience of travel and travellers before me. Canoeing I was forever considering the coeur d bois and sailing into Vancouver Island I landed where Captain Vancouver landed and was engulfed in the richness of human history.
Im more interested today in spiritual things. I'm interested in money as a spiritual energy. I remember my friend thinking rich people were bad .  Possibly he'd 'identify with the aggressor' as commonly we are receiving that which we're attracted to whether through hate or love.  So many people become like the ones they hate. They're literally caged in their emotions so that the revolutionaries just switch heads for tails. The feminists did that promising us a better life after he revolution but only switching heads for tails and saying the world was better. I 'm watching every little group go for the Pink Floyd meat grinder and getting a little bored by the repetitiveness of it. But then I see a child learn to ride a bicycle for the first time and I'm as exhilarated as I was when I did that.  So it's okay if I'm the audience. I"ve been the audience most of my life.  Sitting listening and watching. In latter years I chose to share wisdom, actually tell people what I was thinking. It seemed that I was of an age with sufficient experience that I could impart wisdom, save people from errors that are so obvious to the older, detours that lead no where. I like working with addictions now. Getting people back from the abyss and restarted on the journey around the evil people, the drug pushers.
I saw Stevie Nicks with Fleetwood Mac this weekend. I later googled the net worth of the band members.  There's this site, celebrity net worth.  I'd heard a joke this weekend.  'What are a group of millionaires sitting around the tv watching the NHL called? " the Canucks and I was thinking about millionaires. I've made millions but never been a millionaire. My brother was here this weekend and he's wise with money, never spending it unnecessarily because he knows it's value in work and would rather go for a walk than sit at a desk taking orders.
I found that Stevie Nicks net worth was "65 million'.  I always love how the feminists convince us all that women all are poor especially in Canada where we still have a Queen and she's one of the richest humans on the planet.  My wives were richer in the end than I was so I have lost sympathy for social communist causes where one group arbitrarily calls itself the 'proletariat' and the other group is the 'beourgeosie'.  I think there are rich men and women (period).  Only a fool would think that Eva Brawn had nothing to do with Hitler's evil.  Had Hitler been married to Mrs. Churchill we might never have had WWII.  Power is more often to do with groups and technological advantage.  I am impressed over the years looking at various groups like the Bloomsbury Circle and the Huxley Family.  Individualism misses the core of things. We are our relationships.
Bill Gates said his success began with being born in the Pacific Northwest.  We grow from our roots . Whatever success I have today is as much a product of my parents and teachers as it is mine.
Fleetwood was a friend of George Harrison's.  That's a fairly elite group. He and John McVie worked together half a life time.  Fleetwood's net worth is in the 80 million range with McVie's in the 40 million range.  The amazingly talent singer, guitarist, writer, producer Lindsey Buckingham has a net worth of 50 million.  I listened to Stevie Nicks individual records. They're great but not the magic of the groups production.  There's something 'family' and 'applied' to the Rumors album. We heard it with the Beattles and though we love George Harrison and McCartney, Ringo and John Lennon and Paul McCartney it was the group that was the magic.
I like the movie and story of the baseball players and the cornfield. Build me a field and the game will come.  I think that Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles were greatest when they were poor and had a vision. When they were rich they were still good but I still believe that if being rich was what created riches then only Elvis songs would be played today, the ones he did in Vegas, not the ones he did when he was a young man with a vision.
Money is a spiritual energy.  I just looked up Stevie Nicks 'net worth' because Fleetwood called her 'our poet and angel'.  As a poet, among other poet's we are always bemoaning the fact, we believe that poets aren't paid what they are worth.  But there's Stevie Nicks.  65 million dollars. Not bad for a poet.  I was a poet before I was a doctor and left poetry for medicine.  Maybe if I'd stayed a poet.
I say this because life is as much like poker as chess and there are kids out there causing their parents to pull out their hair because the kid just wants to be a rock star or a hockey player.  I think they should be thankful. Things could be worse. Their kid could want to be a poet and end up with 65 million net worth. Not bad for a poet.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fleetwood Mac - Vancouver 2013

Fleetwood MacI first heard Fleetwood Mac in Jon Cowtan's car on our way to whitewater canoe Winnipeg River. He'd just bought the cassette. It must have been the late 60's,  early 70's.  I believe it was the first album.  Jon's a guitar player, in addition to being a computer geek and all around great guy. His taste in music though was impeccable and I remember asking him who was playing on the cassette.  "Fleetwood Mac," he said. And I've been listening to them ever since, even if a few days later Jon also convinced me to eat green steaks, which really well barbecued turned out to taste pretty good after all. We didn't have a cooler on the canoe trip.
I saw that Fleetwood Mac were coming to town and got a ticket. I didn't know it was going to be in the middle of the long weekend or I might not have.  My friend, Malcolm's funeral was today, so I stayed in town for that and got to see Stevie Nicks, Linsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood in concert. It was awesome.

"Go your own way!" was a show stopper.  The whole of Rogers Arena packed full for the concert stood with a roar.  I loved Stevie Nicks, her voice, her movements.  Lindsey's guitar playing was spectacular.  Mick Fleetwood, drummer extraordinaire, wore red shoes.  McVie, the bassist, was the classic traditional guts of the band.
They didn't play it tonight but I learned that this British American band  wrote "Black Magic Woman", a blues number that made Santana famous and that I danced to at Ken Mathew's dance studio with Baiba.  What a small world!  And the best 'trivia' of wikipedia was that Fleetwoods wife was sister in law to George Harrison. The ins and outs of the music world.
Now I learn Stevie Nicks was in detox twice, first for cocaine at Betty Ford, and second for Klonopin (benzodiazepine - like long acting vallium)  prescribed to her by her psychiatrist.  What an inspiration for 'recovery' her life is!  She was once obese like Momma Cass but tonight was healthy and attractive.
She and Buckingham were a couple on and off. Indeed it the band wanted Lindsey as guitarist and he said that he and Stevie were a package. On stage tonight, she thanked the 'boys' for having her come along on their journey.   Lindsey sang a wistful song of what could have been.  Sparks still fly whenever Stevie and Lindsey stood near each other on stage. The four of the group are amazing but they've also got keyboards and another guitarist and back up singer. Dozens more have been with the band over the years.
Stevie Nicks said "it's been 35 years'.  She was thanking the audience for the relationship.  And they together have such a relationship even longer. She and Buckingham go back to College years.  Amazing.
There were both young and old there but lots of white hairs.  A couple of people were smoking up. It smelled more like crack than pot which given the cocaine past was probably fitting. I didn't like second hand smoke and the young woman beside me was waving her hand thoroughly annoyed.
It's a long time since I had a turn table and played my Fleetwood Mac vinyl so last night when I got home I went to Apple Itunes and with one finger press downloaded the best of Fleetwood Mac. I expect I'll get their latest too given how great the songs they'd just recorded were. I got Stevie Nicks solo album too. It's a combination of nostalgia and inspiration.  Love too.

Fleetwood Mac was of an era when we all believed in youth and eros and held onto so many "illusions" that Lindsey's song tonight rightly said we need to let go of to move on.  Though Stevie Nick's shadow song of the haunting lyrics 'you can't save me' was as dark as any I've heard the whole message of the band was hope and love, still love.  And fun, as the joy on Mick's face showed.  Stevie at times looked like a little girl, this extraordinary woman.  What a wonderful band and what a great 35 years!!1  Thank you Fleetwood Mac!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek - Into Darkness

I saw Star Trek - Into the Darkness last night at the Silvercity Coquitlam VIP 3d theatre.  I'm a trekky but even if I wasn't I think I'd love this movie. The characterization and relationships were as good as the visuals and action scenes.  I was tele transported to a galaxy far far away.  What I loved most was the young new characters who seemed almost like they were the grandsons and granddaughters of the old cast. Incredibly refreshing.  Chris Pine made a great Kirk.  Zachary Quinto was perfect as Spock.  Zoe Saldana was a new generations heartthrob Uhuru.  Benedict Cumberbatch was a major intellectual improvement on the old Khan.  I loved the slickness of this show. There was a lot of brawn and bashing in the original Star Trek.  Chris Hatfield is a real astronaught and these new series of characters are in a way like him, athletic, lean, but sensitive and very intelligent.  The women were naturally gorgeous with character. Simon Pegg was priceless as Scotty and Karl Urban was a really good Bones.  Anton Yelchin made Chekov shine as did John Cho as Sulu. Alice Eve was definitely brilliant candy while Peter Weller was thoroughly believable as Marcus.  Bruce Greenwood was a perfect Pike. He's a consumate actor and his eyes appear 3d without my even wearing the glasses.
I love Star Trek and I loved this glorious romp. Hats off to writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and the genius J.J. Abrams. The audience was very old and old with lots of young and very young.  Makes me think that Star Trek will be coming to us until we actually meet the Vulcans and Virgin gets beyond tourist space hops and actually takes us to the stars.
After the movie I got on my Harley Electraglide with 1600 power beneath me and loved the ride.  It could only be improved on with a hover function like one of the great city machines in the movie.  Now that would be even more cool.  It always astounds me that the world I'm living in today with internet, cell phones, jet flight, international space stations, missiles and solar power is all 'science fiction' of my childhood with Dick Tracy communicators and all the other innovations we have today but take for granted.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek

I am of a generation that embraced space travel as children. At my childhood birthday party we had space cadet hats. Star Trek, Captain Kirk and Spock were all part of that. The race for space with the Russians. The One small step for man. I was at 1967 Montreal world fair and the Russian space ship was the attraction as much as Buckie Fuller's geodesic dome. NASA was all things scientific and genius.
I've seen all the Star Trek movies. I've always liked the philosophy. Exploration without interference. Some one asked if Star Wars compared and really, no. It's a war story whereas Star Trek has always been Discovery. It was 90000 leagues under the sea in space. It was Columbus and yes there were fights but the fights weren't as important as 'going where no man had gone before.'
So I've got my tickets to Into  Darkness, the latest offering. I've enjoyed all the television shows from Captain Kirk, (Star Trek - the Original Series)  to Captain Picard (Star Trek - the Next Generation)  to Captain Janeaway (Star Trek - Voyageur)  and I 'm sorry I forget the name of the really good looking captain. (ah--Jonathan Archer) .  I liked Deep Space Nine but it's a whole different experience to the ships.  I liked the xenoraces   in that Enterprise Star Trek series.
Of them all I've loved Seven of Nine and the Borg most.   What a powerful metaphor!  The Betazoid are another metaphor, the intuitive counsellor. And the great Scottish engineer. Then the hologram doctor. I liked the gorgeous woman doctor of the Picard  series too but most of all I liked Bones of  Captain Kirk era. I'm most a fan of Kirk and Picard but I like the Janeaway and Chicote too.
There's the flying apartment building theme  with Data, the crew and all the different species they encounter and have a board. It's got a kind of 'Friends' tv flavour to it. At times the humor, especially with Spock and Data, is Seinfeld at it's best.
Q is fabulous: a god gone rogue.
And so many of the Star Trek series are explorations of the ethics and ideas of science and philosophy and even theology.  The movie really celebrates diversity and tolerance. The paramilitary 'ship captain' theme appeals to me as a 'ship's captain' but it doesn't translate well outside to the greater world.  That's a limitation and an asset.
Oh well, I've got the tickets for the first weekend of this latest Star Trek movie. The movies have been always stupendous. I'm teletransported. My imagination is stretched. I'm excited.
Already friends and family have gone and are waxing poetic. Everyone is afraid to tell because there's so much mystery and suspense. I've avoided trailers and such. I'm going to see this free of influence.
Just me and my love of all the folk who bring me Star Trek , the ultimate space wagon train.

Addendum - the movie was spectacular!!!!!!!!  Best part is the cast was like the blood grand children of the originals.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I've got a "cold".  It began with post nasal drip and a sore throat. It's progressed to full sinuses, difficulty sleeping, fever, much more post nasal drip, plugged ears and fatigue.
I know biologically this is a product of a virus, most likely, possibly some streptococcus or staph bacteria allied with the virus which starts it. I expect the viral culprit is a Respiratory Synctial virus but it could be influenza.
My normal protective immunological system has been down a few counts because of the extra stress at work.  Work is always stressful.  It's the most stressful work I can imagine doing.  Right up there with bomb disposal.  People are like that.  I'm always on egg shells but no one is perfect enough. It's a complaint society too and the people doing the most complaining aren't doing much else.
I've always figured sickness physically means I've not warded off the disease psychologically.  Last week I felt like a guy surrounded by zombies in a vampire movie with cannibal extras. The beaurocracies were in a shark feeding frenzy.  Point fingers and demanding perfection.  I'm going to die not good enough for everyone all the time.  My job is the complaints department of life and the people making most of the shit expect everyone else to keep the niggers down. Nigger in this case is no longer a racial slur but a metaphor for anyone marginalized.  John Lennon once said Women are the Niggers of the World.  Today it's beyond gender. It's the addicts, the mentally ill, the sick and those who treat them.  The 'winners' would just as soon line them up against the wall and shoot them.  They're holding back progress.
So I think my negativity and fear these last two weeks weren't sufficiently addressed. I spent a whole lot of time meditating and praying and being with other loving physicians cared for and caring but it wasn't enough.
Environmentalists would say it was just that I flew to Edmonton and back and took on the bad air in planes and the jet lag and all the other physical stresses of change of location without the slow aclimatisation that would occur if I'd driven my car up to Edmonton and back making the journey in days rather than hours.  I thought of that but there was just too much pressure at work. Everyone complains I don't see them enough or they complain I don't see their family enough, or they complain I don't see their patients enough. I've read two letters from beaurocratic psychiatrists who stopped actually doing clinical work years ago say "it would be good if Dr. Hay would see these people a couple of times a week'.  I'm seeing them every few months.  I'm stretched to the breaking and all the resources are going to guys like these two high paid 'critics' who long ago pulled their thumbs out of the leaking dam and put them somewhere else.  I'd like to have the family physician spend a half hour with the patient like I did but he's only got 3 minutes a patient today.  Then the counsellors aren't paid to see anyone but the suicidal and my patients fall in between.
But now I'm sick. I know it's because of stress and self pity.  I'm also sure I'm dying.  I 've already gone through a check list of all the other physical ailments, aches and pain, really bad pain in joints and stuff you just say is aging and rheumatism but I'm a doctor so I can link all this together into rare tropical diseases, slow virus, brain tumours, sexually transmitted diseases acquired in the 60's, the late effects of smoking marijuana then too, lack of an essential vitamin, lack of sun, lack of rest, lack of sleep - my brain has thousands of rare diseases I've seen and touched stored there and I'm holding it back like I hold back a huge dog near a bitch in heat.
So I keep it simple. I've got a cold.
Now what to do.
If I had a salaried job and worked in an office and had the ability like all bureaucrats to push aside the work for a day or a week because it's really just paper - I'd not go into work , stay in bed, get better. But most of my patients are sicker than me, even psychologically which takes a lot of work and physically I'm really interested in the guy I did an ultrasound on his abdomen last week because it felt like the Alien.  He wouldn't go to hospital so I'm the point man on his possible deadly disease. I just want to know what it is and when I do I can fix it. I love medicine. I love curing people. I really liked cutting but they don't let me have a knife any more.  Prefer my mind.  And that's only good because it saves lives but saving lives is increasingly politically incorrect.  All the money in the system is moving into addicting addicts more, enabling, euthanasia and the really lucrative endeavour of abortion.
So I become depressed and fearful and it's a vicious cycle. All the sadness floods in when I'm sick. I want to curl up in a fetal position but there's work to do. I'm not infectious really.  It's not like I'm doing surgery or dentistry.  I'm at a distance. Thank God for Advil for sinuses and Reactine.  I can put the symptoms at bay. Drink a lot of fluids.
And probably I'll just do the work I need to do and not do the other responsibilities.  Now I've got to get in the shower and get all this sick sweat off me and fake it till I make it.
I've just got a 'cold' and we make too much of these things. But them I'm older and we always said 'pneumonia was at the old man's friend' because it kills sweetly.  I'm morbid and my job is to be positive and reassuring and intelligent and caring and supportive and I miss the nurse who drove me home that night in the ER telling me I was sicker than all the children and she needed me the next day.
Fact is, I heard of a death yesterday and I'm devastated.  It was so wrong.  But at least that person so tormented will have peace. They'll be in heaven.  But it's a tragedy and so sad and it's old news.  Maybe because I'm getting older I'm more affected when I hear of the young dying.  My friend's funeral was last week but I was working and didn't make it.  We're to take care of the living.  I would have liked to have been at the funeral though.  He was a good man too.
Now I've got to rush. Always rushing.  Never enough time for all the demands.  The authorities are always upping the ante and putting deadlines on things that don't need deadlines then the man with cancer has a recurrence and there's no choice and the pregnant woman needs an answer she doesn't have any control over her time. I'm always prioritiizng but more and more bullies are telling me they need to go first. I'm tired of being threatened. One person threatens my life, another threatens my job, another threatens my security. Everyone demanding and pushing and I'm dreaming of being alone at sea again with a thousand miles and weeks between me and another human being.  God that was good to get away from the beepers and cell phones.  We talked about that on the weekend, the sense of relief we each feel when we can find a way off the grid.
It's an excuse to be imperfect. I may as well wear a bandage around my head, a black arm band as I let my nose drip and flaunt kleenex.
But I'm late. I must go.  I'm not that sick.  My guts aren't spilling out on the floor and CSF isn't leaking out of my head.  Most of my colleagues are maimed and sick and injured and they're in the play, They celebrate the hockey players when they do that for a day but all the doctors I know are struggling with illness and yet caring for others too so they're my inspiration.
Sick is a metaphor.  It's all in my mind anyway.  Please Jesus be with me today and help me to do your bidding. Help me help others in your name. And please let this foggy headedness not interfere in my decisions or memory.  Thank you that it's really nothing and not something like real morbidity and mortality, like the deaths I learned of this week.  Be with them and their families in this time of grief.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day poem

I remember holding your leg
And hiding in your skirts
I miss you and those days you protected me

I remember your grilled cheese sandwiches
Lunches at noon on school days
Telling you what I'd been doing
And your really wanting to hear

I remember your love of Dad and family and flowers
I remember going to church you and your sister
I remember the picnics
And times in the boats
I remember your bringing me soup
When I was sick in bed

I remember you at graduations
And weddings and awards ceremonies
I especially remember you and Boris' dad
Standing outside at our hockey games
The only parent spectators there in the bitter cold

There's too much to remember
Then you were Old
And I was sitting time and again by your side
The winkled withered smile
That reminded me then of your mother
Who stayed with us in the front room
Till she died
As you died
Quietly, bravely
Trusting in Jesus.

Dad and my brother and I cried
When Dad died I saw you coming back inside
Saying I've come to take your father home
And I know you'll be there to take me too
But I'm alone now
Lonely now remembering
Still Often afraid
Missing your writing
Missing your tales
Missing your rapt interest in mine

All my life is just the product of your love
All that is good and true
I've learned from you and Dad
The rest I've learned
Has just been extras
I'm so very thankful

Sad remembering
But thankful
So very thankful
And blessed by your love
Till we meet again, Mom
In His home.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Canadian Medical and Dental Society Praise, Prayer and Worship

I so enjoyed the worship, praise and prayer time at the Canadian Medical and Dental Society Annual Meeting in Edmonton this year.  It's hard being 'good' as a doctor. Often there's more reward in doing the opposite of what healing is.  Too often you find that doing good gets you in more trouble than doing nothing.  Neglect and avoidance, cherry picking and various other strategies are financially superior to actually doing a good job. Even what is 'good' is called 'subjective' with monetary considerations masquerading under other names.  Euthanasia is all the rage but really do I want my doctor as I'm growing older to be rewarded for my departure anyway possible.  When I first worked in hospitals the hospital stays were based on medicine and pathology but now it really has become a factory shute with doctors rewarded financially in places for early discharge.  So what happens when there's a euthanasia option and the patients insurance coverage isn't all it's said to be.
I sat with other doctors who do good in a world where good and bad aren't defined in any moral sense but increasingly in terms of profit and loss..  I weary of the strain of trying to have patients get off drugs, stop drinking, change their lifestyle and follow through with medical advice. So many of my patients won't even get blood work or X-rays and I'm left choosing to do nothing or give antibiotics speculatively, assured that they will get them only if I insist on daily dispensing along with the methadone the patient might go to the pharmacy to get.  And everyone insists that I am my brother's keeper but no one is there with me when he is at his worst.  No one but another doctor or another helper perhaps.
We learned this week of the Christians who stayed to help in the plagues while the smart doctors of the day ran. It's little different today.
I'm wanting to engage in conversation about quitting smoking "everything" and the patient's  agenda is to get medical marijuana.  There's a matter of cross purposes.
Each doctor I talked to described some similar decision making situation in their area of speciality. A cardiologist described how choosing not to get an unnecessary angiogram with potential risk for the patient meant he made less money and explaining his decision to do right took more time and cost him more whereas simply doing the angiogram would have been much more lucrative.
So what to do to maintain one's hope and pleasure in the practice of medicine.  Why not give up and go into administration, take a cushy government job, become an activist or another health care critic in a world of more and more critics and fewer and fewer doers.  Everyone wants to  avoid seeing patients especially those without resources and especially those with little hope and bad attitudes.
I feel alone and unsupported in doing the ethical and morally true things in my profession. I've a lifetime of practice highlighted by hard moral decisions and ethically right decisions that put me in conflict with powerful and sometimes corrupt institutions with wholly different agendas than saving an individual patients life.  I hear things like "you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette' and wonder why I didn't accept that  this applies to the person I'm seeing. More and more I'm told the person is just a 'customer'.
It's comforting to sing uplifting songs with a group of fellow physicians. It's heartening to sit quietly in prayer asking for God's guidance in your work and relationships.
And it's downright fun to hear someone say, "I read a book once and it says we win".
Praise the Lord! We live in the Father's World. What a beautiful song that was to sing the last day of a deeply moving reassuring conference of kind and caring Christian physicians.  Thank you, all those organizers and their families for making this very special time possible.
I thanked one organizer and he shared that he didn't take praise well but had learned from his grandmother who always accepted thanks by saying,, "All glory is the Lord's" .  

Brunette River Walk with Gilbert

Sunny day. Warm with slight breeze. Blossom fragrances. Other walkers and cyclists on the trail. Smiles, greetings. Occasional tail wagging crotch and butt sniffing encounters. Robins in the trees. Ducks in the river.

I just arrived back from Edmonton. Picked up Gilbert from Hannah. Her dog, a female, bossed him all weekend. He didn't mind. He got to bark whenever someone came to the door. Glad to reunite.

New Day

I woke with hope remembering I'd been in this place once before. 1986 I'd done my psychiatry exams here then returned to the insaniety of the life I was living.  Now years later I couldn't help but wonder if this passage might portend a course correction or simply mean I'd regained the lost ground I'd created digging my own grave rather than living life.  So much shame and regret and guilt surrounded the disappointment of all the lies and betrayals.  I was so much less than I'd hoped to me in that place we call a heart. My mind was sure but even my rapier wit grew dull with the hacking progress in the machate resistant jungle.  So much happiness has come and gone. So much sadness and pain.  These are just the currents and winds of God. I'm thankful I've stayed afloat on the vast ocean sometimes lonely sometimes too much with people.  Now I'm letting go of some thing picking up others. It's always this way.  Life is so special and precious.  A child really. The first infant we have is ourselves. I've stretched mine to the limit at times.  Now I'm coming back around.  Getting ready for another kick at the can.  Rising to the challenge. Praying. Meditating.  Seeking God with all my mind heart and soul.  Going forward with a Bible open to psalms or acts, studying texts in Hebrew, asking myself what can I do, where is it that I am to serve.  I have served so long and so it is another day of service but somehow different.  Learning to walk, like a child, getting up, stumbling and running forward.  All I can do is hope.  It's been a good time so far and now I'll begin this day again.   Practicing the prescence of God.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Christian Medical and Dental Society - 2013 National Conference - The Wonder of Sabbath

This year's CMDS conference, May 2-5, 2013, was held in the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton, AB. The theme was the Wonder of Sabbath with workshops on avoiding physician burn out, professionalism, Christian ministry and balancing work with prayer and meditation. It was everything I personally needed. The hundreds of participants were as fortunate as I to be there
"Then Jesus said,"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Mathew 11:28

Reverend Mark Buchanan, senior pastor of New Life Community Baptist Church in Duncan, BC was the KeyNote Speaker. So enjoying his spirituality and Christian faith, the heartfelt message and the profound oft time simple not simplistic thought, I bought two of his books: "Spiritual Rhythm, Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul" and "The Holy Wild, Trusting in the Character of God". I especially enjoyed his Golden Rules presentation on how to keep the Sabbath Wholly and Holy. He just made the point that self care doesn't need to be selfish and that we needed to be still to appreciate what God does. He likened the harried physician to Martha in the story of Jesus and compared that with Lazarus. Normally we'd hear about Martha and Mary but I truly appreciated the discussion of sabbath in the context of Lazarus. His talk about the 'rhythms of rest, work and play" was so inspired.

The break out sessions were typically all very good and only one could be chosen from the trinity of choices each morning and afternoon. I was so impressed by "Taking Medicine Downtown to Where the Need Is" the CME on inner city medicine by Dr. Nancy Craig and Dr. Linda Der. Working as I do in an inner city clinic I was really appreciative of the discussion, stories and research presented. It all rang true. Hope Clinic Edmonton is a loving remarkable world of healing.

"Be It Resolved that Christian Physicians must develop common ground with unbelievers and build on this neutral base to be a credible witness in a secular world" was a provocative, informative and at times very amusing debate between Dr. Dan Reilly and Reverend Joe Boot.

Dr. Ted Fenske's presentation, Lack of Professionalism in Medicine: Why It's In Short Supply and What's Needed to Replenish It was to my mind worth the flight and weekend to hear this. I'd just reviewed hundreds of pages of academic writing on medical professionalism in the last year only to have Dr. Fenske sum everything up, cut through it all with his inspired genius and make suggestions that really were rooted in clinical reality.

The Christian Foundation of Science: A Medical History You Won't Learn in Medical School by Reverend Boot was so reassuring. I know how Western Medicine grew directly out of the work and charity of Christian physicians and yet in the revisionist history of errant academia I hear the opposite. I loved his listing quotes of Pasteur and Lister and Osler and comparison of the basis of 'evidence based' medicine with the "magic' and 'superstition' increasingly riding on the coat tails of these successes.

Over and over again in the conference the relationship of doctor and patient was compared to a covenanted relationship as opposed to that of a 'consumer' or 'customer' the common designations clinicians are increasingly being forced to use. I almost cried to hear other clinicians men and women whose reputations and work make them leaders in the country describe themselves as following a calling rather than just doing a 'job'.

It was exhilarating to be among the missionaries who like Albert Schweitzer had so lead me in my journeys to the arctic and pacific islands and inner city. I felt restored to be around people who understood me when I said I have gone where I believed the greatest need was.  I was humbled to meet elder clinicians who'd spent years in the Congo, or India or South America.

Some of us laughed together  when we considered how much more money we could be making doing abortions or euthanasia or selling bad medicine for high price, yet because we were Christian we loved what we did, even if at times we were persecuted for our faith. The benefits so outweighed the cons.
Over and over again we had opportunities to discuss our inner lives with each other and share our prayers.

I so enjoyed sitting with Dr. Phillip Ney and hearing his Pro life journey in defence of the unborn.

I would have loved to have heard Margaret Cottle's talk on "Countering Euthanasia in a Secular Workplace. I've shared her deep writing on Palliative Care and the care of the dying. There is no greater advocate for the person than Dr. Cottle and she presents her scientific wisdom with such admirable clarity. The Cottle's together provide wonderful music for the CMDS year after year. Dr. Robin Cottle can always be counted on to bring together a band and singers for the most extraordinary praise worship each day. This year there was even more jazz in his popular guitar.

 Dr. John Patrick presented on Choosing Better Things. It's hard not to choose to listen to John but I've heard him repeatedly and have bought so many of his tapes I play so often driving on long trips. I pulled myself away from his workshop to attend a conflicting one that I knew I needed to attend this year, if it was at all possible, even more than I need to listen to Dr. Patrick.

There were others I'd have loved to have heard too but didn't. Good reason to return next year.

Dr. Cathie Olson's Banquet presentation, "Why We Need Missions as Much as Missions Need Us" was a wonderful story of this woman and her family's missions abroad. Accomplished in delivering babies deciding that the children overseas needed her to 'deliver' their teeth, she decided to learn dentistry for missions. Then she went on to train nurses in a mission on treating cavities in children. What a wonderful story with moving slides full of smiles where once there was such pain. Medical Students who'd been on a Nepal Mission study shared their journey.

All talked of coming closer to God in their service. At times I felt my eyes well up with tears to be among these healers talking as they did of their love of God and love of their neighbour. What a privilege it is to be a physician. What a Joy it is to be a Christian. IMG 3019 IMG 3022 IMG 3024 IMG 3025 IMG 3026 IMG 3027 IMG 3029 IMG 3030 IMG 3032 IMG 3033 IMG 3034 IMG 3035

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Brother Visits

I'm very fortunate to have a great older brother. Thanks to him I'm very fortunate to have a great sister in law. Thanks to them I'm very fortunate to have very remarkable and interesting nephews. Part of the fun of family is watching their adventures like one might watch movie stars in the very best of theatre. My brother Ron was my hero when I was a child and he's always confirmed my high esteem through his life of work and service and creativity. He really shone helping my aging parents. It's always been a privilege to visit his and Adell's home in Ottawa. I was really thankful when they agreed to take me up on my offer to lend my beloved Mazda Miata for the great Pacific Coast Drive to San Francisco and back. Ron's a photographer and Adell's a sports car enthusiast.

When they arrived I only had time to show them my sailboat, SV GIRI out on the hard, Tom fixing the prop and rudder damaged on our trip home together by sail from Hawaii. We think all of the wear and tear has finally been addressed and the SV Giri is ready for off shore cruising once again. Not that I have any immediate plans. It's just nice to know the boat is back to what it's meant to be.

 At the Miata I was amazed Ron and Adell had actually brought just the right amount for the very limited storage. My friend, Laura, had travelled with me on my Harley limited to one saddlebag so when she toured with me in the Miata she was stepping up in what she could carry. Ron and Adell are quite the travellers. I'd put them up in the new north short Pinnacle Hotel by Lonsdale Quay.

We had lunch at the great North Vancouver Greek Restaurant, Anatoli Souvlaki. Their country lamb is a fabulous. Tom and I had dinner there last night and I'd forgotten my Irish cap. I hadn't even noticed it missing but the young male server, seeing me there again for lunch suddenly reappeared with my hat. The service and staff are another reason for loving this restaurant. Ron and Adell and I had great meals, with Gilbert get tidbits through the railing as he sat outside on the sidewalk visiting with passing dogs. Great to chat.

We're have more time on the return but they needed a rest and after the flight and I needed to get to the Turning Point Gala. They were planning a 7 am departure to miss traffic and get over the border. IMG 2997IMG 2995IMG 2998IMG 2999
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