Pen and ink drawings

Pen and ink drawings
Air, Earth, Water, Bones

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mental health parity is a Joke!

I couldn't  describe the situation better than this article which outlines the failure of the 1963 act---a brilliant idea but a disaster as few community beds were provided to support the hospital closures. Community Mental health centers were created, but with less ability to serve the severely ill and often under funded.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Carpenter’s Daughter

Carpenter’s Daughter
First they stole
my mallet,
then the hand-
made nails.
and from cottage timbers
they built a pyre
upon that broken place.
Wild flowers—Anemone
and Asphodel bled
under olive trees
while the air shimmered
and birds’ wing-bones sang
like flutes. I stayed silent,
though they bound
my body
with a winding sheet
until the only tool
that remained
was my tongue
which I hammered
into the risen air
                 for all to see.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gift

We used to buy our meat wrapped in waxed paper, now everything is vacuum packed, plastic wrapped or zipped. You can shop at the grocery store and use multiple sacks for your veggies, sandwich or fish fillet. Convenient, but everyone knows it doesn't decay. Nowhere is this more visible than places without garbage collection: oceans, beaches and third world countries.
           In 1975, India had trash piles every twenty feet, mostly vegetables, now they can be every 10 feet, full of plastic. Bags flag fences, trees, barbed wire, and tumble down busy streets.
          Our coastal beaches collect it from around the world: after the tsunami, Styrofoam along with truck and car tires dotted Washington beaches down to the California coast.
         Here's a recent trip to Shi-Shi, a more pristine beach than average:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Where's my Muse? Thoughts on Visual art.

The Olympian Nine are the most frequently quoted muses--though the Greeks eschewed naming one for art and sculpture; whereas poetry has three, [or four] if you include the Tenth Muse: Sappho.

History, and one of my hobbies, astronomy made the list too. Why did the Greeks hold visual art in such low regard? When I'm lost for words, like many I turn to paint, or pencils, ink, or collage--something to keep my head and hands busy, and work out some point of view. Like writing, I do it for myself , but if someone else finds pleasure there too, terrific!
Heliconia, or Crab Claw.

Growing up in Britain where famous art was always free, I was in the Tate every week on my way between St Mary's medical school and my flat, a lucky juxtaposition. I love modern art, though here's the rub: some conceptual art leaves me cold [e.g. Damien Hirst], over a thousand dot paintings, less than 30 painted by the artist [and boring to boot IMO]. Yet people line up to throw millions at them.

If I have a great idea for an epic poem and someone else writes it, can I call it mine? Hardly anyone would agree with this-- but clearly in much conceptual art, the business model has won. Having said that, most visual art is spectacular and technically brilliant.

Still, the Greeks ought to have included a visual muse. Privately I shall call her Venus, until I invent a better name.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Eggs. The Power of one.

Yes, most of us love our fathers. But let us not forget the following, aptly described by Time magazine: 18 million sperms are required to fertilize one egg. I do so love it when the biology is in our favor. And as we know from human embryology, The primary form is always female.

And below: more eggs from my garden, magnified X60
  Voila! One maggot.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sticker Shock $1274.00

I've worked in health care since I earned my M.D. in 1973, in the U.K., but mostly in the USA. My personal view is that the current for- profit system is a huge driver of health care costs. Reward, [ money] strongly encourages repeat behavior! Humans are no different from Skinner's rats in that sense.

Recent publication of varying costs among hospitals all over the country have proved this: extreme variance exists without any differences in outcomes or quality of care. Why should someone pay five times as much because they live in that particular geographic area?

No where is sticker shock more commonly seen than with medications. Yes, Big Pharma has performed expensive research, but they also spend billions on advertising to doctors as well as direct to consumer.  The latter is similar to advertising some new engine gizmo, then asking you to visit your mechanic and "ask if this is right for you" even if it doesn't really fit your car. But you still want it because advertising has worked its magic. And the business makes more profit. The cost of your car has now risen.

It is well known drugs are cheaper in every country other than the USA. Having got my first prescription under the Medicare program, which, until the law is changed, is forbidden by Congress to negotiate bulk buying, I saw what my provider is actually paying for a 3 month supply.  $1274.00.

That's it : $1274.00 not for cancer but GERD, [which I inherited from both parents] and despite my dietary modifications, and trying every other proton pump inhibitor on the market first. This particular drug had one of the most expensive blitz TV advertising campaign ever when it was launched and is known by its trade name by most adults in the country.

$1274.00 . The price of lowering stomach acid. Thank you very much.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Still dreaming colors

of tropical flowers, while today in the PNW I confront grey sky. A recent hike was a walk, not on a trail, but an aqueduct, though the Grey Wolf river view was ultimately spectacular. Wild pink Rhodies bloomed, but my paintbrush still remodels Hibiscus. Perhaps the last?