• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Saturday, April 18, 2009


    Attention deficit disorder is an interesting thing. Who draws the line between the daydreamer and the kid with a problem? The regular young boy and the one whose hyperactivity is pathologic?

    Med school teaches you interesting things. In Behavioral Science I learned that you must be diagnosed by age 7 to have ADD. However, from Student Affairs, I learned that many medical students are diagnosed with it when they get here.

    I guess there are exceptions to every rule.

    The reason medical students get diagnosed is because many students have ADD, but function highly, and therefore compensate through school. It isn't until the fast pace and time crunches of medical school that their compensation fails and the pathology shows.

    Of course, there are imposters too. About 8 - 10% of students in undergrad use stimulants that are for treating ADD as study aids. This off-label use is unethical and illegal, but rampant. The stresses of medical school are greater than undergrad, and so are the pressures to use these stimulants to get ahead.

    My school does not grade on a curve, yet I believe we still have at least 10% of my class using Adderall illegally.

    --- Sent with System SEVEN - the new generation of mobile messaging

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Tea Party Pictures

    Well, it's over ... or has it only just begun? Is it begun or began? Shifting thoughts is a flight of ideas ... flight of ideas is a classic sign of bipolar disorder, manic episode. Am I manic? But I digress...

    yesterday was my first protest. I guess I am no longer a virgin protester anymore. Quite the experience. I got there about 4pm (the official start time of the tea party) and police/security had already stopped letting people into the plaza. Supposedly, from information on the web, Jones Plaza has official capacity of 5000 people. After that the fire marshall closes it. My only guess is that there must have been over 5000 people there because I could not get onto the plaza.

    However, the sidewalks were just as packed. Everywhere I turned people stood shoulder to shoulder, some with placards and signs, listening to the speakers and cheering. Businessmen in suits and ties and women in skirts and blouses stood side by side with rednecks in overalls holding misspelled posters. This was definitely not a one-party, one-socioeconomic class group of protesters.

    Eventually my wife and son came to see what all the ruckus was about. By that time people had started to leave, and it was easier to move around the plaza and listen to the speakers. Many people had children holding posters. Organizers passed out petition lists to take roll and set up tables to sell shirts and bumper stickers. Entrepreneurs sold tea bags or buttons.

    All in all, a wonderful experience, and hopefully the beginning of continued discontent. Yesterday's tea parties were the rumbles before the earthquake. Three men on the light rail heading towards the protest had a conversation about the tea party and one said,
    "the American Revolution started with the Boston Tea Party and escalated to violence in the name of American liberty and values. These tea parties are the equivalent of the Boston, but are Americans ready to take the next step if necessary?"

    That is an interesting question.

    More pictures:
    pic 1 pic 2 pic 3 pic 4 pic 5 pic 6 pic 7 pic 8 pic 9 pic 10 pic 11
    pic 12 pic 13 pic 14 pic 15 pic 16

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Houston Tea Party

    For those of you who don't know, today is a big day. Yes, today is April 15th, tax day, but that has significance for the way we are protesting those taxes and pork.

    A grassroots organization, the Tea Party Society, started organizing tea parties -- protests -- around the country in response to the wanton spending that our leaders in Washington d.c. Have done. Not just since Obama took over, but during the Bush regime as well.

    Most people's boiling points were hit when the stimulus package was passed. It makes me mad (as you've heard me say) that Obama promised to have every bill wait five days before signing so the public could read and react yet he has kept his promise on NOT ONE BILL.

    Also, although $787B of ''stimulus'' was passed, not a single person (not even Mr. Obama) read the bill in it's entirety before signing it into law. In addition, much, if not more than half, of the funds will not be paid out in 2009. That's quick stimulus!

    So here we are, over 5000+ strong, in downtown Houston, one of hundreds of cities around the country holding these protests, to tell people that we're sick of this outrageous spending.

    If you have time, come down to 601 Louisianna in Houston, Jones Plaza, and join the movement. Visit http://www.houstontps.org/ for more information. Facebook page here.

    Pictures to come!
    --- Sent with System SEVEN - the new generation of mobile messaging

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Sounded the Klaxon

    This morning I was reading my American Medical Association news briefing, when one of the authors said this (in an article about atypical antidepressants):

    But, "in November, an expert panel advising the FDA on pediatric drug safety sounded the klaxon over the rising use of atypical antipsychotics among kids, and faulted the FDA for failing to issue warnings strong enough to stem the tide." (emphasis added)

    I've always considered myself pretty adept at the English language; surely not the wisest and most talented master, but it has been one of my few talents. I've read numerous books, news articles, etc., and never come across this phrase.

    So, on reading it this morning, it immediately jumped out at me. It sounded like a Star Trek character ... and I almost thought it was. My first search on Google returned a webpage talking about Klaxons as some type of alarm in the Star Wars universe. However, I doubted that the author of a news briefing would allude to obscure Star Wars alarms, no matter how happy George Lucas would be, and kept digging.

    The next link was a memoir of a soldier in the 1960s who mentions a klaxon and describes it as a warning siren on his ship. This sounded more reasonable, so I took off to Merriam-Webster to see if he could shed any more light on this alien subject.

    Mr. Webster calls a klaxon a
    used for an electrically operated horn or warning signal

    That old soldier was right.

    So now "sounding the klaxon" makes sense. Sounding a warning siren. However, I think I'll always have a funny picture of George Lucas in a Sith outfit ringing a bell every time I hear it.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    What Religion Are You?

    Stumbled across this fun 20 question religious quiz. Then the program rates how well you fit into different religions.

    Here's my results:

    1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (100%)
    2. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (97%)
    3. Jehovah's Witness (95%)
    4. Orthodox Quaker (80%)
    5. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (79%)
    6. Eastern Orthodox (75%)
    7. Roman Catholic (75%)
    8. Orthodox Judaism (71%)
    9. Baha'i Faith (63%)
    10. Seventh Day Adventist (62%)
    11. Islam (59%)
    12. Sikhism (58%)
    13. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (53%)
    14. Hinduism (52%)
    15. Liberal Quakers (51%)
    16. Mahayana Buddhism (42%)
    17. Theravada Buddhism (41%)
    18. Jainism (41%)
    19. Reform Judaism (40%)
    20. Unitarian Universalism (39%)
    21. Neo-Pagan (35%)
    22. New Thought (30%)
    23. Scientology (29%)
    24. New Age (25%)
    25. Secular Humanism (23%)
    26. Nontheist (19%)
    27. Taoism (16%)

    Glad to know I am whatever I think I am!

    Thursday, April 09, 2009


    Congratulations to Dennis and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation
    Congratulations to Dennis and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation (DRWF), winners of TBE Play For a Cause 2009!!

    This year the carnage was fierce, and those who lead early saw their prospects sink as front-runners bowed out in the Sweet 16. It was then that Dennis soared to the top, thanks to near flawless picks in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

    By the Final Four, only two remained. Fittingly, it was last year's winner, Sara, playing for Autism Speaks, against the newcomer -- the upstart -- Dennis and DRWF. Could this be likened to Sarah Palin vs Barack Obama? You make the call.

    If UCONN won their final four game, the pressure would be on UNC to win. A UNC win guaranteed victory for Dennis. However, this year was meant for Change, and UCONN fell to a scrappy Michigan St. team before UNC ever took the floor. The win was Dennis and DRWF's, with the icing on the cake that UNC went on to claim the national championship and add points to the champ's total.

    By the Final Four, only two remained
    And, due to the idiosyncracies of March Madness (later rounds are worth more points), UCONN's loss and UNC's win not only took the win from Sara, but also vaulted four other players (including your's truly) over Sara. So sorry! Congrats also to Julie and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and Veronica and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, who came in second and third, respectively (so close!).

    To the right are the final results:


    I think it's easier to pay the whole $90 to the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, on behalf of The Bleeding Ear Pool, then try to donate multiple small donations. However, if you would like your donation individualized for tax purposes, I will comply as best I am able.

    1. You can send me cash or check ($10) per bracket
    2. You can send $10 using credit card or paypal by following the link in the sidebar
    3. I will send invoices via email to every contestant so that you pay via Paypal if you wish (and do not want to click on the link above). These will also serve as reminders. Also, if you pay via paypal, you will automatically get a receipt.

    I will send in the donation as soon as I receive all funds. Hurry and send them ASAP!

    Thursday, April 02, 2009

    Are All Charities Good?

    With the success of another TBE Play For a Cause campaign evident, and the economy in throes, the non-profit organizations we play for have taken a larger place in my little brain lately.

    Not all charities are created equal. This thought gained prominence when I stumbled across a blog about Diabetes while trying to help Dennis find a Diabetes charity to represent. This blog, Diabetes Developments, had a post describing the largest diabetes charities and their efficiency.

    He steered me towards a great website, Charity Navigator, that gives you the information to make a good decision on who to support.

    Look at diabetes organizations. The largest are probably the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation.

    Charity Navigator lets you know how much of their budget is spent on programs (which is what you are donating to support), administration, and fundraising (yes, money to ask for more money). Granted, no charity can exist with $0 in admin and fundraising, because people who work full-time for these organizations must be compensated, and it takes money to advertise a cause to get people to support you. BUT, obviously an organization that spends 90% of its money on programs is more efficient than one that spends 70%.

    Here's how Charity Navigator stacks up the aforementioned diabetes organizations:

    And, just so you know, here's how Heifer International, last year's winner, stacks up:

    What surprised me was the ADA. They are so large, so well known, and looking at this, you find out that giving money to them is a waste. The money's better spent on one of the other diabetes organizations.

    So next time you give, maybe you'll look a little first. It doesn't hurt to make sure your money is being used how you really want it.