The Bar Keeps Gettin’ Lower

I don’t know if Lauren Boebert is the dumbest Representative in Congress, but If there is someone less capable, I’d hate to think about who that might be. She is from western Colorado and makes my head ache whenever I think about her at all, so I had to take a couple of ibuprofen this past week when the two videos started being news. You know, the videos where she tells a bigoted and racist story involving Representative Ilhan Omar to two different small groups of people. In both of them she all but directly accuses Omar of being a terrorist. The thing is, the two stories don’t agree with one another, and apparently describe a meeting that never happened. So she is not only a racist and a bigot and a dumbass, but a liar as well.

It reminds me of an old saying (I am paraphrasing Mark Twain here): If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you say. I would say that she is an embarrassment to the Republican Party, but we all know that this isn’t presently possible. To embarrass that party, that is. It is at a very low ebb indeed. But in another few months we’ll get to see if the GOP can find somebody less offensive and more credible to run in that district. You are free to use Boebert as a sign of the health of the party if you want to. It would be like taking its temperature. If they run her again, shame on them. If she is elected again, shame on us.

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From The New Yorker

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When will these golden days of Fall ever end, and we can get down to the business of shivering and scraping the sleet from our faces? If the trials posed by Winter are good for me because they build character, I am afraid that my character is probably slipping quite a bit this year.

I have become too used to this soft life where my choice of coat to wear when I leave the house doesn’t determine my survival. Why, just this past Wednesday I accompanied Robin to her physical therapy appointment wearing only a pair of shorts (cargo) and a light fleece sweater. And I was fine. And it was December.

I know in my heart that this blissful weather won’t last forever, and that I can once again begin my annual period of kvetching about how cold it is and won’t the wind ever stop blowing and how my back aches when I have to shovel snow. But right now, daily life is no trial at all.

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From The New Yorker

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Since I am definitely in a reverie frame of mind, another medical student story. When I rotated as a junior student to Ramsey County Hospital in St. Paul for the internal medicine clerkship, our group was oriented by the assistant chief of medicine. His speech started out like this:

“In the last group of students we had some problems with a couple of your classmates who were rude and arrogant in their behavior toward members of our nursing staff. Let me be clear on this point. We work hard to attract and retain excellent nurses here on the medicine wards. We have no trouble at all getting medical students. Do you catch my drift?”

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I accompanied Robin on her visit this week to see Dr. Judkins, the orthopedic surgeon who did her knee reconstruction. He took several X-rays to check on things, and as soon as I saw them I asked for copies, which he kindly provided. I thought you might be interested in what a total knee replacement looks like on X-ray.

The first picture is taken from the front, and compares the operated knee with its mate on the left. The second view is from the side.

NB: I had the patient’s permission to share these images with you, of course. To do otherwise would be to court havoc.

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Christmas is upon us. The first flakes of it start falling these days a little before Halloween, followed by flurries leading up to Thanksgiving, but after that … the gloves are off and it’s a by-god blizzard from then on. There are days when I get two different catalogs from the same company.

Our home decorating for the holiday has gradually simplified over the years to where now we purchase a red candle and a green candle and put them on the dining room table and call it a job well done. (Well, maybe just a bit more than that). Gone are the days when one agonized over garlands and which Christmas Village building to add this year and what box did we put those Fitz and Floyd pieces into last year anyway? I don’t miss them much.

My grandparents Jacobson, whose way of life still informs my own in so many ways, decorated for Christmas by bringing out a box from the attic that contained perhaps a dozen small items. Ida would distribute them around her little home each year, never adding new ones, always caring carefully for the old. Each piece had some meaning to her and Nels, and a story that went with it.

There was only one thing that was electrified, nothing that blew up into monstrous size to be maintained by a roaring air pump, nothing that had a famous maker’s label, nothing that said “Look at what special things I have done with my house.”

I remember two garlands, each six feet long, one red and one green, a very small créche, a ceramic wall plaque of Santa’s smiling face, and a pair of candlesticks representing angels. There was only a handful of other treasures, but when you walked in their door and saw these few items out in the living room, it was instantly Christmas.

I almost forgot the tree.

Since their home was too small for a real tree, there was an inexpensive plastic one about a foot and a half high, that stood on an end table and was in no way trying to look realistic.

A placeholder is what it was, indicating where a dramatic Fraser fir or a luxurious Colorado spruce might have stood if there was room for it. Or if Nels and Ida felt it was needed.

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