Ever have one of those days that just don’t start well and put you in a foul mood from the get go? Last Friday, I had two surgical cases scheduled at the hospital. I love surgery and being in the operating room is my happy place, most of the time. The first case was to start at 09:15. It was a straightforward debridement and skin grafting of an open wound on the leg in a patient with a complex medical history. The surgery itself, however, was relatively easy even if the outcome was not assured. My second case was much more complex, a bilateral breast reconstruction. These are always a challenge because there is so much that has to go right for success. I wasn’t stressed about the first case but the second weighed heavily on my mind. I was looking forward to getting the first case done with dispatch so I could focus my attention and energy on the second.
I recently watched Uncharted,the latest Netflix offering on cable. At least I tried. I really did. After two failed attempts to watch this steaming pile of cinematic crap, I gave up on the third, barely getting halfway through. And I’ve watched some real dogs from start to finish. How does it end? I don’t know and, to quote the immortal words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.” Life is too short.
The fact that this dog of an action film made over $400 million at the box office means either I am out of the loop- not necessarily unlikely- or the hunger for getting out to the movies after three years of Covid is such that we’ll watch anything if it means getting out of the house and among people.
The script and screenplay for this pathetic excuse for a movie is borrowed, or should I say plagiarized, from a dozen or more movies of similar genre, all of them orders of magnitude better. If you want a globe trotting action movie in search of a mystical archaeological treasure, watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. Search for pirate treasure? Goonies. Conflicted buddy film? The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The last is very funny with non-stop action and profanity (after all Samuel Jackson is in it so the M*F*s just seamlessly string together. Amazingly, Salma Hayek matches him expletive for expletive). I can name a dozen buddy movies that have better chemistry. Think Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines in Running Scared. Heck, go watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or The Sting again if you want to see how it is really done.
The writers must have been stoned, drunk, or just didn’t give a sh*t when they wrote the completely incoherent plot. The different scenes seem disconnected. The big action moments and ridiculous CG cause you to cringe. There is a universe of difference between “That’s amazing!” or “Wow!” and “That’s insulting” or “That’s just idiotic”.
The woke factor is huge here. First there is the nod to immoral colonialism represented by Magellan’s voyage. Then there is the unfettered capitalist greed of chasing all that gold. The villain is Antonio Banderas, a white guy with Latinx creds, who relies on his fading charm and accent (remember the sexy “Corrr-do-va” Chrysler commercials with Ricardo Montalban) to sleepwalk through his scenes. But wait! The real villain is a villainess, Tati Gabrielle, who plays an androgynous, sexually ambiguous, black, female whose hair is a skullcap of plastered down white ringlets and kicks ass, including – spoiler alert—slitting the throat of said Latinx villain. The real heroine seems to be Pakistani-American Sophia Ali. You go, girl.
I am embarrassed for Mark Wahlberg, who I truly like as an actor, Tom Holland, indeed, all the cast who seem, at every moment, to be saying, “I wish I was somewhere else.” I hope the pay day was worth it.
I did not know until I wrote this that the movie is based on a board game. Yikes! I think I will go watch Jumanji again…………..
There are a million better ways to spend two hours.
R. T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS
I have never been a rah-rah patriotic zealot. I went through a period in high school and college where I was, if not ashamed, not particularly proud of my country. I even considered eventually moving to Brazil, the country of my mother’s birth, to live because I saw it in some ways better than the U.S.
My draft lottery number was so high, I never had to apply for a deferment and was able to attend college without fear of being drafted. When I was accepted to medical school in 1974, I had to find a way to pay for this. I joined the Navy, which had a scholarship program. While I was proud to serve, and did honorably for 13 years, my reason for joining was almost entirely financial; I preferred to pay back time in the Navy instead of money to a bank. I was discharged in 1987, proud of my service and free of debt.
In November 2013, I completed the Florida Ironman Triathlon. That seminal accomplishment was preceded by one year of cold showers. That’s right, 365 consecutive days, and then some, of taking only cold showers as part of my training. I revisited this in January 2017 briefly when our hot water heater died and could not be replaced for 5 days.
It is now July 23 and I have not taken a hot shower since January 1. An otherwise normal person might ask a perfectly reasonable question: why? To answer that, I have to go back to a chance comment by my son-in-law in 2012 as I was wrestling with the decision to attempt an Ironman. David mentioned that some athletes use cold showers to help them train. There are many benefits to a cold shower. They can help sore muscles recover faster. They can improve circulation to muscles and heart by constricting blood vessels in the skin. They can stimulate a rush of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, and provide a host of other benefits as well.
The growing acceptance and popularity of cosmetic surgery brings with it some real concerns and dangers. Altering one’s physical appearance with surgery is not something to be undertaken lightly. Surgery is always irreversible to some degree, if only due to the scar(s). Cosmetic surgery is real surgery and carries all the potential risks of any operation: infection, bleeding, injuring to structures near the surgical site, poor healing, unsightly scars, and anesthetic complications. Then there are the potential life-threatening complications such as blood clots leading to embolism in the lungs, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and more. There are books written on surgical complications.
The weighing of risk versus benefit takes on special significance in cosmetic surgery because it is medically unnecessary. Patients undergo cosmetic procedures because they wish to, not because they need to. Ideally, cosmetic surgery would be free of risk, but that is not reality. It is incumbent, however, for surgeons to do everything in their power to minimize the risks for any cosmetic procedure for every patient. Enter the Brazilian Butt Lift, popularly known as the BBL.
I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, a man of science, possessing of a degree of common sense, and one who attempts to rationally think through things before expressing opinions. With that in mind, I have a few questions.
1.Why do we allow over 2 million illegal aliens to enter through our southern border without any documentation, vetting, or requirement for testing for Covid yet I, as an America citizen who leaves this country on vacation or business, cannot re-enter without proof of a negative Covid test?
2. Why does the US Supreme Court disallow vaccine mandates for private businesses yet permits them for federal employees and employees of any institution that receives Federal funds? Are those persons more at risk? Do they not deserve the same freedom of choice as private business employees?
3. Why are we acting as though Omicron is the latest apocalyptic plague when all the indications, ALL the indications, are that it is not much worse than a bad cold? Why do we ignore numbers that encourage the country, such as minimal rise in hospitalizations and a decline in Covid deaths, and focus on those, e.g. rising cases, that justify continued draconian measures to “save even a single life?”
I cannot think of a better way to begin 2022 than to speak truth to power because 2021 and the year that preceded it were almost entirely about power over truth. It has been the power of government over the individual citizen; about power of wealthy, elite progressives over the working class; about power of the media, both mainstream and social, to censor and cancel citizens and even entire institutions that did not adhere to their explanation of events; and even the power of a few, elitist, politically motivated scientists and doctors over clinicians on the front lines of patient care. It has been the power of an ideological narrative over facts. It has been the power of gaslighting wherein we are told to believe the media spin rather than our own eyes.
As the year draws to a close, thoughts inevitably become reflective. I reflect on the year just past and on the one to come. There were big changes for me, both personal and professional. This year I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 39th birthday. I recovered from Covid. I also celebrated 40 years of marriage to the woman of my dreams, my true soul mate. Next year, I will begin the seventh decade of my life and I foresee big changes, retirement or at least a major slowing down of clinical practice being one of them. It has been a good run.
If a cold is a organ grinder monkey, influenza is King Kong, and Covid is King Kong on steroids.
R. T. Bosshardt
I have known Kurt for over 53 years. We have been best friends since high school, are now both physicians (he a family practitioner and I a plastic surgeon), and still maintain weekly contact. He is my workout partner at the gym. He is also my personal physician. I take his medical advice seriously.
Kurt and I sit down once a week for an hour to just talk about things- our lives, medicine, the craziness of the world around us. Recently, our conversation has focused a lot, of course, on Covid. Our takes are a bit different. He is a pragmatist and focuses on what works and what doesn’t. He calls me an idealist but, on reflection, I would qualify that by calling myself a cynical idealist. By that I mean that I see the world in ideal terms but also accept that it just isn’t that way, largely because people are imperfect and unpredictable.
Our conversation this morning turned on vaccines. He received his vaccination with the Pfizer product in December. I chose to wait for the Novavax vaccine and planned to treat myself using the FLCCC protocol in the event I became ill before it was available. I weighed my risks and elected to chance Covid given that my risk of dying was less than 1 %. He has not been ill all year despite repeated exposure to Covid patients. I came down with Covid in July. I followed the protocol and came through it, but it was a miserable experience, on par with a severe case of influenza for my wife and me. (go to page 2 below)
I am not an academic. I am simply an American who happens to be a white male, arguably the most maligned group in America today. I have never believed, or acted as though I believed, that someone is in any way inferior to me simply because of their race. I am not colorblind. I have eyes to see every human being for what they are. I also believe that immutable characteristics should be irrelevant in judging persons. Critical Race Theory purports to explain inequites seen in society and correct them. It claims to be the answer to racism. I am skeptical and here is why.
Critical Race Theory sees everything through the lens of race and racism. Racism underlies all of human history. All motivation and actions are, at their core, race-based. There is no such thing as altruism or just doing the right thing for its own sake as race underlies all behavior. Critical Race Theory advocates speak incessantly about race until one begins to give in to its ridiculous propositions through sheer exhaustion and desire to just make them and the issue go away. It is not unlike a whining child to whom adults give in just to shut them up. One of the most vile aspects of CRT is that it defines American history by its worst racial moments. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, red-lining, and scattered incidents of inter-racial violence or injustice are proof positive of America’s systemic and structural racism and sufficient justification to take down the entire edifice of American jurisprudence, social programs, and education. It completely ignores the abolitionist movement in which blacks and whites fought slavery, often at great personal risk. It ignores the Civil War in which over 620,000 white, military-age males, or one in ten, died to end slavery. It ignores the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to our Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, legislation such as Brown vs Board of Education, and well-intentioned, but flawed, efforts to equalize opportunities for black and other non-white Americans such as affirmative action. It ignores the tremendous progress made in correcting the wrongs of the past and efforts to insure equal opportunity for all going forward. We still have a long way to go, but CRT acts as though no progress has been made at all. CRT pushes the virtues of diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI. Let’s look at those.
Diversity- CRT claims to promote diversity but it is one-dimensional sort of diversity. The diversity of CRT is restricted to those non-whites that agree with the premise of CRT. All whites are racist unless they agree with CRT. Even then, they must declare and acknowledge their intrinsic racism before they are accepted into the CRT family. Blacks and others of color who disagree with CRT are excluded as racists. Diversity of thought is not tolerated as all who disagree with CRT are de facto racist. CRT promotes the false dichotomy that there is only white and non-white. You are one or the other. Skin pigmentation is everything, ignoring the fact that nearly all of us, if you go back far enough, are of mixed heritage.
Equity- This is where the roots of CRT in Marxism are most evident, perpetuating the Marxist view that divides mankind into one of two groups: oppressor or oppressed. The goal of CRT is not reform or an attempt to further humanist or Judeo/Christian values, as did the Civil Rights Movements. CRT advocates repudiate the leaders of that movement, including the Rev. Martin Luther King himself. The goal is revolution and a total destruction of the current “system”, which is intrinsically racist. This includes values such as meritocracy based on ability and hard work, the nuclear family, and free enterprise capitalism, which CRT claims simply perpetuates white privilege and white oppression. In its place will be some vaguely envisioned utopia in which whites (bourgeois) will be put in their place and everyone will share equally in the spoils of society, according to their need, not their contribution. This is nothing more than equality of outcomes and is Marxism, pure and simple. All that has been done is replace the bourgeois and proletariat with white and non-white, respectively. Every attempt in human history to transform this ideology into reality has resulted in enslavement of the population and the deaths of tens and hundreds of millions.
Inclusion- CRT elevates group identity above all else. It is not even enough to be white or black, although these are the foundational identities; you must subscribe to CRT ideology. This is why CRT advocates can call blacks who do not agree with CRT “Uncle Toms” as exemplified by President Biden’s comment to black interviewer, Charlamagne, “If you have trouble deciding between me and Trump, you ain’t black.” Individual identity does not exist in CRT. Acceptance into the CRT family requires either the right skin pigmentation or subscribing to its racist ideology. Whites are only accepted if they deny their “whiteness”, accept their undeserved white privilege, apologize for their intrinsic, universal racism, and subscribe to CRT’s premises. CRT is inclusive only to the extent that all adherents to this ideology must agree on specific tenets. These include the belief that America is systemically racist, i.e. that our laws are geared to maintaining a white privileged status quo. It maintains that individuals are defined by the group they are in, according to skin pigmentation and that being white is sufficient proof that one is racist. Ibram Kendi goes so far as to assert the self-contradictory position that to claim one is not racist is, in and of itself, a racist statement. That claim is not allowed in CRT. You are either racist or antiracist. Antiracism is a term coined by Kendi to exemplify the false dichotomy of CRT. The two are inseparable and indistinguishable, despite the assertions of some who do not understand this and believe that antiracism is simply another way of denouncing racism.
Rather than unite us, CRT will perpetually divide us according to immutable characteristics such as skin color, which is the definition of racism. According to CRT, we are judged solely on skin color and found wanting, regardless of how we may think, what we say, or how we act. Nothing matters except our skin color and willingness to accept CRT ideology as gospel. It is telling that the originator of the term “antiracism”, Ibram Kendi, will not accept any challenge to defend his position in a debate with another person of color who disagrees with him because, to disagree with him is racist, and he will not debate racists. That alone should tell you something of the intellectual bankruptcy of CRT.
Richard T. Bosshardt, MD