It’s been a while since I waited outside an operating suite, and the experience hasn’t improved much. There is still the nervousness, the feeling of insecurity, plus my abundant knowledge of what mishaps can occur even when someone is in capable hands. The practice of surgery is a human enterprise, and perfection eludes us.

I afford myself the luxury of leaving the room when the needles come out, not out of squeamishness, for I have never had a problem performing procedures on patients, but I cringe when it is my people who are being poked or prodded or otherwise invaded. Turns out that if you take away my white coat and stethoscope, as a citizen I become Mr. Squishmallow.

It was 9 degrees Fahrenheit when we left our motel for the drive to Aspen Valley Hospital, and halfway there it began to snow. Nothing epic, just enough to make the road surface slightly slippery and the highway lines invisible. Since we had started out at 4:45 AM, we saw few other vehicles until we got closer to Aspen itself.

We read horror stories about patients having the wrong body part operated upon, and you wonder … how could that happen? Wednesday two different people (including Robin herself) each made large marks on Robin’s left knee with permanent Magic Markers, and at least four others asked “Which knee is it that we’re doing today?” They are dead serious about not adding to those dismal accounts in the newspapers.

The hospital there is a small one, only 25 beds, but with a busy ambulatory surgery department. It has a small cafeteria serving very tasty food at really good prices. This is not always true of hospital food. Things might have changed a lot by now, but long ago at Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton SD when the nuns were running things, the cafeteria output was dismal. Day after day … pfaughhh! I concluded that the nun in charge of the kitchen hated food as much as she hated sex, and that producing platefuls of tasteless beige entrees was her revenge on the concupiscent.

She’s Waiting, by Eric Clapton


From The New Yorker


Aspen really isn’t the place to spend much time as a tourist unless you are pretty well-heeled. This morning’s fill at the Shell station was $5.14/gallon for 87 octane.

It requires no exhaustive searching to find a $20 hamburger in this modest village.

If you want to spend $2500 a night for your motel, no problemo.

A single day ski lift ticket for an adult which allows you access to the four mountains can cost you $219. That puts you on the lift, you still have to provide the equipment.

The surrounding mountains and valley are beautiful, and looking at them is the only real bargain in town. I think it is instructive that the Aspen city logo is as shown at right.*


*I might have made this up


I have finally left the Facebook and Instagram universe. Deleted my accounts. Proximate cause: Facebook’s allowing Donald Cluck back on. So I guess that I’m not for freedom of speech after all, nest-ce pas? I’m nothing but a closet censor caught red-handed with my scissors in my hand, or a petulant child taking my baseball bat and glove and going home.

But what of the commonly proferred example of exception to freedom of speech – shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater? Supposedly we are okay with that being a no-no. And that’s what Cluck is doing, in my estimation. Shouting his particular translation of the word “Fire” in a crowded country.

So when we say that the truth will always win if we let everybody have their say without intruding, we are basing that comfortable belief on a model that may no longer be valid. It has worked pretty well, although with definite hiccups, when the only way of disseminating information was the traditional media.

But what happens when a single media outlet has 2.9 billion subscribers, like Facebook? We don’t really know yet what this means in the long-term, but what it means short-term is that we give a megaphone of a size never dreamed of to people who wish to do harm.

So Cluck has his megaphone back in hand, and some think freedom of speech entitles him to it. However, I believe that he is a traitor to his country and wishes to do harm.

So it’s a good thing that I am also free, free to not support the company that provides him with the space and the soapbox. I can withdraw.

Only A Pawn In Their Game, by Bob Dylan



From The New Yorker


It happened that the day we departed the Steadman Clinic in Aspen, the man who started it died. The two events are not connected, no matter what the rumors might say. It’s not our fault. We didn’t know him and never met him. Pinky swear.

Our experiences with the organization that he left behind make this the go-to place for me if I ever need a knee repaired. We found professionalism and a total lack of b.s. to be its hallmarks. We appreciated both.

(BTW, it was interesting that the walls of the waiting room at the clinic were decorated with framed jerseys of various professional athletes. Not bad marketing, there.)


A local insurance agent has a sign outside his office where he posts clever (or sometimes not) sayings. One of his best was yesterday when the sign read:

“Dealing with the present shortages of eggs and toilet paper it’s hard to believe that we used to throw them at houses!“


And finally. How many times in life do you get to see perfection? Here’s a video of a flawless performance that took place on 1/27/2023. Make you want to look out in the garage for those old skates?


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