Friday, February 27, 2015

Minnesota 96 — Michigan State 90!

WOW! What a game! I have written about my affinity for my alma mater's Men's Basketball Team on occasion on this blog before, most notably when they won the NIT tournament last winter. That was a fun five-game run to a national championship in the second best tournament in the annual rite of college basketball's March Madness.

Now, I want to post my last post of February with the Gopher's big overtime win over #25 ranked Michigan State last night in the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. It was an extremely thrilling game when the Gophers looked like they were not going to win the game as they had a substantial deficit with only seconds to play in regulation.

With two three-pointers in the last 12 seconds, Carlos Morris had a chance to win the game with a free throw and could not convert to win the game 79-78. I do not understand how these young men can shoot three-pointers under pressure and cannot make free throws under equally pressurized situations!

Actually, I do understand and believe the three point shot should go the way of the dinosaur, but that is never going to happen because it makes game endings very exciting. There is a basketball axiom, "You live by the three and you die by the three." It is very true and everybody forgets how to shoot free throws because they are practicing their three-point shooting.

The Gophers have had a rough season losing six games by two possessions or less, so by beating Michigan State who is 19-9 this season, in the upper class of the Big Ten, coming off a four-game winning streak and playing at home against a statistically poorer team they thought Minnesota should be an easy twentieth win and fifteenth twenty-win season for coach Tom Izzo in his 20th season as the head coach in East Lansing.

Neither team shot free throws very well, as was evidence in the overtime when both teams missed crucial free throws and the missed free throw at the end of the game by young Mr. Morris.

I always have to remind myself when I watch college basketball games these student/athletes are only 18 to 22 years old. What ultimately won the game was their senior leadership shown by Andre Hollins and Mo Walker.

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Go Gophers! At 17-12 on the season and 6-10 in the Big Ten conference they need to do well in their last two conference games against Penn State and Wisconsin to get a better seed in the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks in order to get to twenty wins to think about even going back to the NIT. That will not be an easy task since Wisconsin is leading the Big Ten and among the elites in the nation. Although, Wisconsin has shown they can be beaten because Iowa beat them yesterday.

Many analysts believe the Big Ten Conference is the deepest and most competitive conference in the country because any one team has not stood out as a dominant force since they all keep beating up on each other. The Big Ten Tournament will be an interesting and exciting five days to watch the first part of March Madness!
I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Did You Do Yesterday?

Several years ago I told myself I know there is always going to be something else waiting in line I have to deal with. Yesterday was the latest in the series of events that define my life.

Longtime readers of this blog and personal friends know I get issues every once in a while I get to address that are related to my injury and follow-up events, which detract from my life.

The last couple of weeks I have known there was another infection brewing in my urinary tract and/or pressure sores that are almost healed. My visiting nurse took a urine specimen into the lab to have a urinalysis done. I also had a complete line of blood work done.

I did not know the urinalysis needed a urine culture as well. When the results came back, my infectious disease doctor wanted a urine culture as well. Wednesday, my visiting nurse took a urine culture into the lab to have the urine culture drawn.

The results came back positive, so I had to spend yesterday afternoon and early evening in the hospital getting a midline IV inserted into my right arm and get my first dosage of Gentamicin.  Here is my right arm for the next ten days:

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I have a constant urinary tract infection because of a fifteen-inch conduit called an ileostomy a doctor put into me in 1984. My current urologist told me the conduits he put in now are about three inches long. Much of his business is repairing the work my first urologist did on me in 1980 and again in 1984.

The butcher who installed my first ileostomy told me in so many words it would have to be replaced every few years. All he was doing was covering his tracks because my current urologist who also removed my left kidney told me when he puts in an ileostomy is in there for good!

He also told me he was afraid to take out my current conduit because it was scarred in so badly he was afraid I would not make it off the table if he tried to do the surgery! I appreciate his honesty and candor with me. He is the kind of guy with the confidence and ability all surgeons should aspire to.

As a result of having this bacteria producing conduit, I am pretty much always taking one, two or even three antibiotics to keep the powerful bacteria from growing. It is only when the heavy hitting bacteria grows I need to take an IV antibiotic which destroys all of the bacteria in my system and affects my body flora that I need to get IV treatment. When it destroys all the bacteria in my system, it takes a while to get some of the good bacteria growing again.

Of course an issue like this always happens on a Friday. We managed to get everything set up and delivered this morning so my visiting nurse could infuse me with the antibiotic, which will last for the next eight days. It takes an hour to infuse so I am stuck in one position for that hour while a little inflatable bubble releases the antibiotic into my system. You can see the needle on the right end of the midline.

Here is the fully inflated bubble:

Once again, click on the image to make it larger:

When the weather is as cold as it is today and supposedly tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the year so far, I do not mind staying in. It will be interesting to see how I manage to function when I leave to go to the last two Gopher basketball games! Although, after today's performance I am not sure if I really want to brave the cold and see two more games like today's game!

I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

What we know today, as Valentine's Day did not always have such a celebratory aspect to it. According to the ancient Romans celebrated a day in the spring called Lupercalia, which was a raucous, ancient fertility festival.

It was not until centuries later the Christians decided to pick a day in mid February to Christianize the celebration. First of all, there was more than one Saint Valentine. There seems to be some confusion as to which Saint the celebration was named for. One of them was sentenced to death after he performed secret marriages when Emperor Claudius II declared it illegal to have his soldiers married because he believed young, single men performed as better soldiers.

That was in the year 269 when the Roman Emperor was having a hard time getting enough young men to fill his armies. He decided young, married men, especially those with children did not want to serve in his armies so he issued a decree not allowing men to be married to fill his armies in his quest to take over the world! Claudius II believed his soldiers would spend more time thinking about their families than their military responsibilities.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine's Day in 469. It was not until the 1300s it was associated with love and romance. It was at that time considered to be the beginning of when birds began their mating season.

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It was not until the 15th century greeting cards started appearing to show one's affection toward someone else. In the 17th century, the tradition had started in Great Britain and not long after that started to catch on in the United States. That was not until the 1840s mass-produced cards were printed.

Today, more than one billion holiday cards are sent in the United States. That is more than any other holiday except Christmas, far exceeding Mother's Day!  More than two hundred twenty million roses are produced for the holiday with 80% of those being red.

Altogether, Americans spend more than twenty billion dollars a year on Valentine's Day!  That is roughly one hundred thirty dollars per person per year. The most popular gifts are candy in the lead and flowers next; almost 20% of that money is spent on jewelry.

In a recent survey, as many as six million couples will get engaged on February 14!

There are many legends surrounding which Saint Valentine was the one the holiday is named after. One legend has Valentine being stuck in a prison where he was beaten and very few people ever got out of these horrible conditions. According to the legend, he fell in love with a young, blind maiden, presumably the warden's daughter. Using his medical knowledge, he cured her of her blindness and before his execution sent her a card signed, "From Your Valentine" hence beginning the practice of signing Valentine cards with those words.

On February 14, 269, Valentine was beheaded for his disobedience of the Emperor. The Catholic Church later canonized the priest.

It is not a very romantic story of how the holiday got its beginning and evolved over the years to where it is today, and who knows how much of it is true, but I got pieces of this post from a couple different sources. It is amazing what one can find on the Internet! As we all know, if it is on the Internet it has to be true!

Whatever your plans are for the day, if you are with your loved one, please enjoy your activities. If you are near or far from that special person, but not with them, keep them in mind and enjoy your day.

Who knows, today may be the beginning of your new healthy relationship? That box of candy or that bouquet of flowers may be just what she or he needs today.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart Is Quitting The Daily Show

In a very heartfelt statement at the end of last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced he was going to be leaving the show after seventeen years! I could not believe my ears or eyes as he held back the tears and talked of his affinity for the show, the people involved in putting on the show and bringing a well scripted and extremely well researched show that made fun of not only politics, but current events, history and other topics too numerous to mention.

It is a sad day today at Comedy Central after Stewart made his unscripted announcement. It is a sad day for me because I always look forward to his humorous look at the events of the day from a perspective I admire.

I like the way he puts a humorous twist on very serious subjects from all over the world. He has not decided when he will leave for good, but it will be sometime this year.

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

On occasion, I stay up to watch The Daily Show; but usually I watch it the next day while I eat breakfast. It is always a great way to start my day. I will miss that. I have sometimes gotten material for speeches from his commentary or information from his guests.

Whatever he does, you know it is well researched and well written. Whenever I talk or listen to a comedian they will tell you comedy is the most difficult form of entertainment to write and perform. He does it incredibly well with a staff of writers who put on an incredible show!

A few years ago he was named the most trusted man in America. Walter Cronkite used to be that person for those of you old enough to remember when he did the nightly news. I found it incredible when that survey came out and a comedian was the most trusted anchor on television!

I also record David Letterman and watch his brand of extraordinary comedy. It will be interesting to see how Stephen Colbert fills his shoes. His shtick was getting a little old for me the last couple years and it will be interesting to see how he changes to fill an hour-long show five nights a week.

I do not pretend to understand entertainment contracts and getting in and out of them and have no idea how or when John Oliver has his contract set up, but I think he will probably be the heir apparent to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He did an excellent job for the several months Stewart was directing a movie. It is just my hunch, but I believe he would be a great successor to the show.

There is a whole generation today that believes Jay Leno was always the host of The Tonight Show. They have never even seen any episodes of Johnny Carson's show. Johnny Carson was the epitome of a late-night talk show host as was Jack Parr and Steve Allen before Johnny. He used to do a ninety-minute show and introduced us to many comedians including Jay Leno.

Whenever John Stewart leaves, he will leave with large shoes to fill.

I look forward to your comments.