All posts for the month May, 2012
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal. This is often because people confuse their symptoms with a minor illness, like indigestion, and delay going to the hospital. They try to tough out their symptoms and receive treatment too late. Treatment for heart attack has improved dramatically over the years. It is crucial to promptly recognize symptoms and call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.
You must do the rest!
The most recent, “The Promise of Berkeley” highlights Saul Perlmutter’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Dr. Perlmutter led one of two teams that simultaneously discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe. His success is founded in the University’s freedom given to faculty to do cutting edge research. But UC Berkeley has a long list of great accomplishments. Check these out!
a. Ernest O. Lawrence’s cyclotron launched the University’s Nobel Prize trajectory in 1939.
b. Gordon Moore co-founded Intel and created Moore’s Law, a driving force in high-tech.
c. Professor Walter Alvarez theorized that asteroid impacts led to the dinosaur’s decline.
d. Google guru Eric Schmidt helped develop Java at Sun Microsystems.
e. Pauline Esther Friedman, aka Abigail Van Buren, penned Dear Abby.
f. Rex Walheim flew on the space shuttle program’s final mission.
g. Charles Simonyi became the fifth space tourist aboard a Soyuz rocket.
h. Ardipithecus ramidus, or Ardi, discovered by a Cal team, in the oldest hominid ever found.
i. Tom Anderson, who co-founded My Space in 2003, became new users’ default “friend.”
j. Internet visionary Bill Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems
k. Ken Thompson co-developed the revolutionary Unix operating system.
l. John Battelle documented the dot.com boom as publisher of The Industry Standard and co-founding editor of Wired.
m. Jane McGonigal creates do-gooder alternate reality video games.
n. Magazine magnate Jann Wenner dropped out of Cal to start Rolling Stone.
o. Scott Adams inks Dilbert, our favorite cube-dwelling character.
p. Lance Ito presided over the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
q. Rose Bird was California’s first female chief justice. (Thank you, Jerry Brown, another grad)
r. Norman Mineta helped bring justice to Japanese Americans interned during World War II.
s. 24’s agent Jack Bauer, and Doonesbury’s Joanie Caucus (finctional, of course) got their degrees from Berkeley.
t. David Smith opened the country’s first free clinic, for youth flooding San Francisco for the Summer of Love.
u. Ida Jackson was the first African-American teacher in Oakland public schools.
v. Ed Roberts pioneered disability rights.
w. Mimi Silbert founded Delancey Street to help those who have hit rock bottom.
x. Charles Huang was the co-creator of Guitar Hero .
y. Donald Fisher filled a niche with The Gap.
z. Former quarterback Joe Ayoob threw the world’s longest paper airplane toss: 226 feet, 10 inches.
Monday night is the finale of the successful, long running TV drama, “House”, starring Brit Hugh Laurie. He certainly qualifies as one of the most obnoxious characters ever appearing on TV, radio, or big screen. But unlike his pretty boy predecessors, he is the only one I would want to diagnose my complex diagnoses. And I have worked with my share of these prima donnas. But my favorite character on the show is Dr. Allison Cameron, played by Jennifer Morrison.
It is hard to believe the scruffy, badly dressed Dr. Gregory House was voted the second sexiest TV doc of all time (George Clooney from ER wins first place, by a mile, I might add). To say he is unorthodox is totally unfair. He obviously thinks that he is the Sherlock Holmes of medicine and the universe. But I think the real reason for his popularity centers on his indiscriminate use of Vicodin, much like the rest of society. As they saying goes, I will take smart over bedside manner.
Of course, he went to a top-notch medical school, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. I almost went to grad school there back in the 1970s, until I found out the school was in the middle of a ghetto. He was kicked out of school, allegedly for cheating. He ended up at the University of Michigan, where he met Dr. Lisa Cuddy, later his boss and lover. His best and only friend on the show is Dr. James Wilson, himself a big bag of messy personal issues and indecision.
Dr. House plays the piano, as does Hugh Laurie. He also owns a huge vintage electric guitar collection. His favorite line, and the name of the very first episode is “Everyone Lies”. In contrast, the finale this evening is called, “Everyone Dies”. Tonight’s two hour finale will be shown on FOX, Channel 2 in the Bay Area. Everyone Lies is probably as good a place as any to start a differential diagnosis.
So, why would I let Dr. Cameron be the only female physician to examine me? For one, she plays an immunologist, a specialty that I respect. Far down the totem pole, of course, is that she certainly looks better than all of the female physicians I have ever met, in real life or the TV screen. She is also immensely talented, having appeared in numerous television shows and movies, as well as a producer of Glee in its early days. She was actually engaged to co-star Jesse Spencer in 2008-07, but called it off.
But I will miss the show, playing on Monday nights opposite Monday Night Football. Reruns already populate the weekend TV schedule. In fact, one station runs a “House marathon” some weekends. Hours and hours of House just seems to be sensory overload. He will be numero uno for me until another better doctor show comes along.
Barry’s mid life crisis occurred when he was still a young man. Okay, so he sold his law practice, traipsed around the world alone, and came back to a lucrative career in stand up comedy. Of course, as a former barrister, I told him that the only change he really made in his transition to comedy was the venue! Oh, how true it is, right, Barry?
It was not a dark and stormy night in Santiago, when I met this rather curious chap in the internet alcove of a fairly decent hotel. As we both cursed the slow speed of the internet, the ugly women around Santiago, and the state of world peace, we formed a bond only inveterate travelers like us can form. One based solely on bull shit and the promise of cheap alcohol.
Sure enough, Barry joined us for dinner. I was, myself, traversing the length of Chile with long time friend and travel buddy, Mike. We were neighbors at one time, but I was voted off the cul de sac when I got divorced, and could no longer afford to live in Shangri-La. It turns out that Mike and Barry formed the only bond that really counts. The bond of cheap Chilean wine, in a smoke filled room, around midnight, with nothing better on the horizon. We have been everywhere and nowhere, all at once. Guess which one this would be?
Of course, Barry entertained us with his “stories” of South Africa over a four hour dinner. It turns out they are all true. In fact, as he turned to comedy, and his eventual epiphany to write a book, it all came together. His story, or lack thereof, is exposed, or should I say, showcased, in his “Diary of a Black Comic”. One thing for sure, when you buy the book, DO NOT look at the cover, as it really stinks!
He often sent videos of his routines at comedy clubs. I had no clue then, nor do I have any now, about the comedic content of his performances. Likewise, after reading his book, I still confess to know nothing about South African humor. But he does manage to piss off enough people along the way to the top of his profession. He makes friends in comedy clubs as easily as he did that fateful afternoon in Santiago.
He does manage to catch my attention in Chapter 37 (hell, how did he write so many chapters about nothing?). He goes into a Chicago comedy club in the slums of northside. Only a bloke from Cape Town would do this! He manages to get picked up by two very large native women. He and his ex-pat South African brother got picked on by every comic, from their honky white appearance in an all Black club, to their funny looking clothes, and pointy shoes. This is the type of story only Barry could tell, and live to tell about it. I am glad I was not there!
Must you read this book? Should you understand Black and South African humor? I could not tell you. But the stories behind the stories have enough “bite” to make you come back for more. Did I finish the book? Did I burn it when I was done? Stay tuned!!!!
This is the all time best hat I have ever seen at a baseball game. Check it out. The “Best Giants Fan” on earth, Donna, is modeling the hat at last night’s Giants vs Athletics game at ATT Park.
Through my good friend and “music wife”, I have been fortunate to obtain some great, make that FANtastic seats for the Giants game tonight. Our low achieving boys in black and orange are playing the boys from across the bay, the Oakland Athletics. My “sports wife” Donna and I are going for what we hope is a great experience at the old ballpark (actually the relatively new ATT Park). Let me tell you more about our seats.
The story, folklore, rumour, and innuendo goes that these are the best seats at ATT Park. The seats are located in the Lexus Dugout Club. The seats are in Dugout Club Section 113, Row CCC, Seats 1 and 2. These seats entitle us to the Club and Home Field Club, as well as in-seat food and beverage service. The box was created for the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, as seating for the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig. It was originally designed for photographers to take pictures of game action.
The box includes 17 inch HD TVs on the wall in front of the seats. Close to the field, it is easy to hear the home plate umpire make his ball and strike calls. I have also heard the players talking, when I have gone to games at Wrigley Field in Chicago. In some cases, at least for day games, it is fairly easy to pick up the spin on the baseball. In other words, I can tell if the pitch is a fastball or curve!!!
One thought I have never had is that of becoming a competitive cyclist, or even a serious cyclist. The blood doping and steroids are not good for me! I do ride my bicycle on a fairly regular basis, mostly with friends, sometimes alone. It allows me to cover substantially more ground than walking. Many of the area’s bike trails offer a perspective much different from the “street-side” of the local area.
Many times, when riding a bicycle, the trails go through areas I have visited or driven through literally hundreds of times. But I must quickly reset my internal GPS and figure out exactly where I am. And it is rather easy to get carried away, ending up miles from either my planned destination, or a logical turn around spot. In fact, one day we spotted an otter. I really mean, we saw an otter, he did not want to have spots. Tuesday’s Amgen Tour of California, Stage 3 has no such issues, minor as they might be. The CHP, local police, and volunteers will guide these fine cyclists through our home town with the ease of melted ice cream on a hot summer day. I am just trying to grasp the magnitude of hundreds of cyclists starting in Livermore, looping over and through Mt. Diablo, and ending up in San Jose!!!
The Amgen Tour of California is an eight-day race through roughly 650 to 700 miles of California. This race has been around since 2006. It is sponsored by Amgen, one of the largest and most successful biotech companies in the world. I also think it was one of the first biotech stocks (thank you Procrit) I owned, along with Genentech and Immunex (Enbrel), since purchased by Amgen.
A rather warm Bay Area Saturday is a great day to ride my bicycle over on Angel Island. We drove over to the ferry service in Tiburon, and took the 20 minute ride over to Angel Island. Our bicycles added another $1 to the regular fare of $13.50. Angel Island State Park is a historic landmark located in San Francisco Bay, about one mile from Tiburon.
The highest point, and obviously the best 360 degree view of the area is atop Mount Livermore, which is 781 feet above sea level and located almost perfectly on the center of the island. Caroline Livermore was the naturalist who helped create the state park. The island has over 13 miles of hiking trails, and 8 miles of biking trails.
The historical significance began about 3000 years ago with the Coastal Miwok Indians, who fished and hunted here. Later in 1775, under Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, it became a cattle ranch, then a U. S. Army post. So, how did it get the name, Angel Island?
Most importantly, from 1910 to 1940 it served as an Immigration Station (northeast corner) for hundreds of immigrants, primarily from China. At the start of World War 2, both German and Japanese POWs were held on the island. The US Public Health Service used it as a Quarantine Station for close to one million immigrants. In the 1940s, it housed a Nike missile base. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Dogs and skateboards are NOT allowed on the Island. Ayala Cove is the landing point for the ferry. The little duchy of Tiburon is our departure point. The island sits almost entirely in Marin County, with a small sliver in San Francisco County. The water way between Tiburon and Angel is called Raccoon Strait, I assume after only heterosexual rodents. In reality, it was named for a British ship, the HMS Raccoon, that visited in 1814 for repairs. It was known previously as Wood Island. Some folklore says the island got its name from the angels that roamed the island.
For me, the whole “Ellis Island West” story is most compelling. The dreaded Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 forced many immigrants to spend years on the island awaiting legal entry into the United States. In 1962, the local Chinese community successfully lobbied for its designation as a state landmark.
Living within view of Angel Island (on a clear day), one could see the great fire of October 12, 2008. By 8am the following morning, 250 of the 740 acres had been burned or scorched. A massive restoration is underway, including root and branch extirpation of non-native flora. I would imagine it is a cold and dark place there at night and during the long winter nights.
One of the most popular bicycle rides on the island is the Angel Island double loop. It runs over ten miles long, of moderate difficulty, and listed as one of the 100 best rides in Northern California. And of course, the best feature is there are no motorized vehicles! Roads come in the form of paved, gravel and dirt trails. Most importantly, there is a snack bar at Ayala Cove that is open on a rather sporadic basis.
But we are here for the exercise and the views. I am sure I can last a few hours without typical snack bar cuisine. I brought my own snacks, some Japanese rice crackers, fruit, string cheese (no incident), and water? In terms of “scenery per unit of effort”, it rates Numero Uno in the Bay Area. Pump, boys and girls, pump! Lunch after in Tiburon is always treat as well.