September 14, 2009

Laissez le Bon temp rouler

History and Culture of New Orleans. Aired tonight in my city on PBS. Try to find a broadcast in your area. I think you may also learn something new.

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans

September 12, 2009

The conundrum

I was describing the circumstances, in which I received a kidney transplant. The person I was talking to had a hard time saying the word cadaver. You see, I had a transplant from a cadaver or dead person rather than from a living donor. The person also realized that the persons body may have been kept "alive" until the kidney was removed. My donor did not die an accidental death, but from some disease. I was not told from what. I was also told that the kidney was put on a pump to lengthen it's viability. After I had the transplant, cell death, Necrosis did occur at point the ureter was attached to my bladder. I had to have another surgery ten days later to have it removed and replaced with my own.

I took high school biology in 1959. One of the dissections we had to do was to remove the heart of a gold fish. We had to dissect in such a way that the heart remain beating in order to get a grade. We had discussions about the nervous system, voluntary and involuntary muscle movement. At this time there had not been the first heart transplant, but the fact that you could remove a heart still beating was significant.

The first kidney transplant had been from a live donor and from an identical twin several years before the first heart transplant. The heart transplant patient has no choice but to have a cadaver donor. It still makes many uncomfortable talking about transplants, because for most transplants, someone has to die. Among other reasons, to make transplants possible, there had to be an acceptable point in which the person is living or dead, not if the persons cells are alive and healthy. When death of the brain determined death of the person, rather than when the heart stopped beating and breathing stopped certainly helped in accessing more viable organs for transplantation. The notorious case of Terri Schiavo demonstrated the problems some still have with the definition of life. Cases like this make some of the public fear being transplant donors.

Perhaps it seems that I am presenting slightly disconnected facts, but I think these are relevant to the thinking of what is life and death. Science and technology advances have created new ethical problems that our society has to cope with.

September 11, 2009


Many thought that the major disaster of 2001 would be January 1, but instead it became September 11. In these years after the turn of the century's pivotal event, the world seems to be in a time warp. I feel like I am living in my childhood during the fifties. The odd behavior of this nation, for the first time having to deal with erratic behavior of terrorist, has reverted to old habits. The suspicion, fear, which have led to witch hunts, and the comfort in xenophobia and racism has grasps many of our citizens. The war on terror has once again lost sight of its purpose, while many tire of it and eight years later there is no justice for the victims from the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.

September 06, 2009

We should have burned down this sucka in 1968.

Calmer voices eventually prevailed.

I'm at my last nerve. I feel as I did then. There has been a line crossed, the consequences are unknown.

Glen Beck and his forces have successfully destroyed one of President Obama's advisers, because the Color of Change was waging a successful campaign to boycott Beck advertisers. What is unusual, that person had not been affiliated with the group for two years, but no matter, any proxy for Obama is good enough. In their minds it doubly justifies their righteousness, since Obama's intention is to poison the minds of children. I guess it is not right for Black folk to boycott like the folks who boycotted Whole Foods. The response to that, was to create a buycott; not destroy the organizer life. You know different standards for different folks.

This concerted effort to portray Obama as a stealth agent of Al Queada , Lenin and Trotsky, Hitler and Goering, and Chairman Mau and giving credence to every nut case and encouraging them to "take back the country" is making me believe that passive resistance and civil discourse will not be a solution next time.

I am at my last nerve.
I am close to lighting a match.

Oboe da Caccia

As I get older I learn about things that I thought I should have when I was younger. In high school I played Oboe. I knew of the English Horn, and a B-flat version, but never heard of the Oboe da Caccia. I just learned of this instrument watching a YouTube upload of Bach's St.Matthews Passion. It looks as if someone is playing a goose. The two instruments come in about three minutes into the video with the soloist.

Here is the
Koopman - Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Soloists playing: