Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bear Suffers Comedy of Medical Errors

The latest in medical technology.
Last week, the Bear suffered pain and swelling in a bone in his right hind-paw.  By the time he saw a nurse at the VA on an unrelated matter, the Bear's sore paw -- which had actually started to get better -- became Of Medical Interest based upon the most improbable speculations the Bear has ever heard.  He declined further attention.

Today, he got a call from his Nurse Practitioner (who is more properly concerned with the other end of the Bear) who absolutely insisted that he come in and be seen, or he would probably be dead of sepsis in 24 hours from his sore paw.

The Bear's paw had been elevated to a Medical Emergency.  The Bear admits to being flattered by the concern  and he went into the local VA clinic and was seen by Dr. Tong.  Dr. Tong does not speak a word of English, although no one has ever had the courage to tell him so.  Even the Bear hesitates making his primary care physician hate him.

Dr. Tong apparently agreed with the Bear that whatever made his paw sore, it was getting better. Nonetheless, having been seen by Dr. Tong, he was obligated to send the Bear to the regional VA hospital for an x-ray.  Apparently, just because, but the Bear will never know for sure.

His sore paw x-rayed, the Bear was free to go.  The x-ray table is very hard, and it is quite awkward for a Bear to remove himself except by doing a sit-up.  In all honesty, the Bear does not do very many sit-ups, relying on his natural animal fitness.

So, remember, the Bear had just gotten an unnecessary x-ray for a sore paw Dr. Tong had already declared (the Bear believes) a non-issue.  He should never have been there in the first place.

In rising from the x-ray table, the Bear popped an old hernia repair.  Congratulations, VA, you have now caused a real medical problem by playing around with an imaginary one.  So now the Bear walks to the Emergency Room, holding his guts in with a pot lid, like in Apocalypse Now.  Well, not quite, but still...  (See how things can quickly escalate once you place yourself in the hands of the VA?)

An hour and a half later, the Bear leaves with his arm bandaged for the "rainbow draw," you automatically get at the ER, and a surgery consult that might result in a phone call in a month or two. Or not.

The Bear is something of an expert in hernias (is this oversharing?) having had his stuffing popping out in various places so many times no surgeon will touch his hernial areas with a ten-foot-pole. Apparently, after a couple of surgeries, the surgeon has no "landmarks" to go by and is completely baffled on how to sew up a hole from which your intestines are coming out of.  Ridiculous!  This is Teddy Bear Surgery 101 that the Bear's mate could do!

The ER nurse said to just buy underwear a size smaller.  Seriously.  Can you imagine the Bear in his too-small Walter White tighty whities?  (If you actually did, the Bear is a little frightened.)  Does that even sound comfortable, let alone effective?

The advances in medical science today amaze the Bear.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Speaking of Airplanes...

If there's one thing the Bear loves better than horse meat, it's airplanes. Few parts of an airplane are edible (the Bear has tried most of them), but they go much faster and higher than horses.

Nothing is more fun than flying an airplane. Be jealous. Believe it or not, the Bear even flew one backwards. This is not one of the Bear's tall tales. It's easily possible in a Skyhawk on a windy day. The airplane doesn't know forwards from backwards, it just knows air flow. So fly into a wind blowing at a greater speed than your airplane is going, and you can look down and watch the world creep underneath you the wrong way.

Anyway, Pete had a great link to some marvelous pictures from the Golden Age of Aviation. In the Bear's enthusiasm he wrote a too-long comment, so is going to expand it here.

Death Traps of the Golden Age of Aviation

Boeing B377 Stratocruiser (Great airplane if the propellors stayed on.)

Romantic yes, safe, no. In the 50s and 60s commercial airliners were deathtraps by today's standards. The most glamorous of them all was the four-engine propeller driven Boeing B377 Stratocruiser, which boasted two levels, like today's 747. It had numerous fatal incidents, some due to problems with the propellors, like coming off and going "runaway," a very bad thing.

B377 Stratocruiser ditching near weather ship. Everyone survived.

In one case, a B377 orbited a weather ship with only two working engines until daylight, then ditched, making for a dramatic photograph. Everyone survived.

One of Aviation's Greatest Mysteries: Pan Am Clipper Romance of the Skies

The B377 Pan Am Clipper Romance of the Skies (Pan Am always had the greatest names for each of their aircraft) went down on November 9, 1957 between San Francisco and Hawaii. Some wreckage and few bodies were found. Some recovered bodies showed trauma; others had apparently drowned. Most had lifejackets on and were without shoes.  Clearly, the flight crew knew they were going down and people had time to prepare. Toxicology showed elevated carbon monoxide levels, but today that is not believed to be significant.

There were three plausible theories, not one, but two of which included foul play. A disgruntled purser who blew up the plane, a ex-Navy demolition expert who took out several insurances polices on himself and blew up the plane, but possibly never boarded it.

The third theory was mechanical: a "runaway propellor"- a pilot's nightmare in those days. Imagine a propellor magically turning into a solid disk. That's not what happens, but it illustrates the effect.  It is very difficult to fly an airplane whose aerodynamics have been so deranged. To this day it remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation. See more of this fascinating story at here.

British Death Trap: The Comet

"BOAC: Better On A Camel."  Beautiful airplane, but fatal design flaw.

The British began the jet age with the de Havilland Comet.  In 1954, two separate Comets mysteriously broke up and fell into the sea with no survivors.  Unfortunately, it was another deathtrap due to bad design, The square windows developed microscopic cracks at the corners due to pressurization and depressurization.  The area around the windows had been punch-riveted instead of drill riveted, as designed. The British commercial aviation industry never recovered (although Rolls Royce continues to make engines).

Commercial Aviation Today

The industry learned from every crash, though, and today airplanes are amazingly safe, but much, much less glamorous. The Europeans even gave us the name "Airbus." Today's "glass cockpits" have done away with dials, and everything is presented to the pilot in easily digestible form on a bank of screens. Modern jetliners literally fly themselves, and can even land.

However, pilots sometimes take the automation for granted. The Asiana 777 that crash landed in San Francisco in 2013 was a mess. The crew came in too high on approach, then tried to get back on the glide path by changing the autopilot setting. However, the selected setting did not control airspeed, something the captain apparently didn't know.  The flight crew, incredibly, did not monitor airspeed on final! Nobody was controlling or even watching airspeed until it was too late. They went to full throttles and attempted to climb, but they were too low and too slow. Asiana's policy discouraged pilots from landing aircraft themselves, by the way, which may have led to over-reliance on automation and degraded airmanship. (This is not an unusual policy. Airlines prefer not to have ham-handed human pilots abusing their airplanes . That was sarcastic, by the way.)

The Connie, and the Kansas City Airline Museum

Lockheed Constellation: Graceful and Distinctive.

The Lockheed Constellation is arguably one of the most beautiful airliners ever made. It has four piston engines and three tails (technically, three vertical stabilizers on the empennage). Some of them had a glass dome so the navigator could use a sextant. (Which could be very dangerous.)

Aviation was still not mature, and the Connie was involved in many fatal accidents, including two famous mid-air collisions, one over the Grand Canyon.

The Golden Age was not the Age of Airline safety.  Many lessons had to be learned the hard way.  Procedures were changed, and safety technology had to be developed.  To put things in perspective, there are thousands of Boeing 737s in use.  Boeing estimates that, on average, 2.2 737s take off every second!  Crashes are extremely rare these days.

They have a Connie at the wonderful little aviation museum in Kansas City. Well worth a tour to get a feel for those days. She was flying on the airshow circuit, where the Bear first saw her, but has been grounded for some time.  She is reportedly progressing on her inspections and they hope to get her in the air again. Still nice to visit ,though, and walk through. (They also have a static Lockheed L1011, a great old "three-holer" from the 70s that set new technical standards. One of the nicest jet airliners ever made.)

A lot of people died in the Golden Age of Aviation, but commercial aviation is exceedingly safe today from the lessons learned.

BREAKING: Pope Says Nutty Stuff In Airplane

For those of you who are still interested in Francis' Papal Mile High Club comments (get your mind out of the gutter), you can read them from Julie at Connecticut Catholic Corner.  The Bear couldn't care less.  He did think it hilarious, however, that the Turks were auto-yammering about Francis the Crusader.  Fortunately, the West is not the only part of the world losing touch with reality, although Islam has seldom been within shouting distance.

Apparently, the Church needs to do some more apologizing.  Ah, yes.  Because nothing makes a person feel better about themselves than apologizing for junk they had nothing to do with.  Big man. The Bear hereby apologizes for the final episode of LOST.  No, really.

The Bear's interest in aviation will be well-known to readers.  He has received confirmation from an Alitalia Airbus pilot who wishes to remain anoymous, that it is a tradition among captains of Pope Francis' airplanes to raise the cabin altitude to induce hypoxia whenever Pope Francis speaks.  Bragging rights go to whichever flight crew can get him get him to say the stupidest things.

Another mystery solved.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Francis Is Not Pope (In Cauda Venenum)

Your bribes will not save you from the Bear this time.

Oops, I Did It Again, I Played With Your Faith, Got Lost In the Game

Jorge Bergoglio is not a pope. He is not even a priest. How does the Bear know this? Because Jorge Bergoglio admitted as much himself. The Bear shall now give the most compelling argument ever before seen for the non-popeliness of this curious penguin from Patagonia, Jorge Bergoglio. And it doesn't even rely on the "expanded petrine ministry." And now, for Discriminating Catholic Ladies and Gentlemen, an SCB exclusive: Francis is Not Pope (In Cauda Venenum).

"The vast majority of our sacramental marriages are invalid," he recently, infamously opined. Catholic couples do not enter into them with the proper understanding of permanence and commitment.

Fr. Federico "Mouth of Sauron" Lombardi, later admitted the Pope's statement was the stupidest thing he had ever heard, which, in Newspeak sounds like: "It has been officially revised by the Pope, all by himself - really - to a mere undefined 'portion' of marriages are invalid." As if that fixed anything anyway.

To start off, "portion" means part of a whole amount. "A vast majority" is a portion. However much of the mashed potatoes the Bear decides to eat is a portion. But we know Pope Francis - er, Jorge Bergoglio - has long held the opinion that anywhere from half to more than half of Catholic sacramental marriages are invalid. We just don't know if the upper limit is 60% or 99%.

Here's the best illustration the Bear can come up with.

Tamaño 6 No, Tamaño 0 Sí

Let's say a husband is hosting a backyard barbecue with his lovely, fit wife, who is a size 6.  He calls for everyone's attention, then announces to the assembled family and friends that the vast majority of his wife's clothes make her look fat.  Into the shocked silence he lobs the opinion that size 0 is the only proper size for a real woman.

No one says a word as his wife's face turns red and her lower lip begins to tremble.

A quick-thinking friend of the husband finally says, "What George really means is that only some undefined portion of his wife's dresses make her look like a beached manatee. Which, in all fairness, could still be a vast majority, by the way!"

Problem solved. Everyone smiles and nods in agreement, and the relieved wife throws her arms around her husband and kisses him, right? Perhaps in some alternate universe, but not in this one. The husband remains an ignorant and insensitive moron who lacks the slightest clue how to be a husband. Definitely one of those marriages that aren't valid.

Invalidity: Not Just for Sacramental Marriages Anymore

But it is not just marriage that Catholics approach provisionally. In the same extemporaneous (i.e. Jorge Bergoglio revealing what he actually believes) comments, he talked about problems with clergy, remarks which did not get nearly the coverage. Jorge Bergoglio said this.

“I heard a bishop say some months ago that he met a boy that had finished his university studies, and said ‘I want to become a priest, but only for 10 years.’ It’s the culture of the provisional. And this happens everywhere, also in priestly life, in religious life,” he said.

In other words, in context, Jorge Bergoglio is saying the same thing about Holy Orders that he said about Matrimony.

Now, a priest makes a whole lot of promises when he gets ordained. A lot more than in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. He promises to worthily and wisely exercise the ministry of the word, and teach the Catholic faith.


Franciscan Sacramental Theology: a Revolver That Points Backwards

You see, if the vast majority of couples don't really understand marriage, and therefore the hoo-doo of matrimony doesn't work (Jorge Bergoglio's sacramental theology being slightly less developed than a cargo cult), a fortiori, the commitment and greater need for correct education and understanding to become a priest must mean that even more ordinations are invalid.  Especially when you consider the deplorable miseducation priests receive at most seminaries, leaving aside any other troubling reports.

So, according to Jorge Bergoglio, since the vast majority of sacramental marriages are invalid, therefore nearly all (because what is greater than "vast majority?") ordinations are invalid, too. The candidates were not truly worthy, therefore the mojo did not flow. They walked out of the cathedral looking like priests, being called priests, rising in the ranks to the very highest offices, but they lacked sufficient commitment and understanding. No mojo, no valid orders.

Of course, just as it is difficult to say which sacramental marriages lacked sufficient hoo-doo to become valid, one might suppose it would be equally difficult to discern which men did not get the mojo of Holy Orders.

However, to recapitulate, we may start with the a fortiori argument that since the vast majority of sacramental marriages are invalid, then a fortiori, nearly all ordinations must be invalid, due to the higher standards of education, formation, and special commitment to worthily transmit the Catholic Faith, as compared to matrimony.

Therefore, it actually becomes easy to pick out from among the nearly all pretend priests, those priests who actually care for their flock, of whatever size, and faithfully transmit the Catholic Faith, free from their own eccentric opinions. If you are thinking, "that's not very many these days," you are exactly right.

Did Jorge Bergoglio Possess the Requisite Qualities for a Valid Ordination?

Therefore, we must ask, is Jorge Bergoglio among that blessed, tiny minority who are true priests? Did he have sufficient understanding, formation and commitment when he was ordained way back in 1969 for the mojo of Holy Orders to flow?

Led Zeppelin released their first album in 1969. Can we truly say that Led Zeppelin seminarians were capable of valid ordination? We know that Jethro Tull's 1971 Aqualung album fascinated the then-35 year-old priest. But aside from rock-and-roll, has Jorge Bergoglio demonstrate the fidelity to Church teaching, and true humility that that requires, to mark him as one of the perhaps five to ten percent of validly ordained priests?

The answer is clearly, no.

By Jorge Bergoglio's own sacramental theology and statements, it could not be clearer that he cannot be Pope, because he is not a priest.

But No One Believes What He Said,
So His Dodgy Sacramental Theology Doesn't Matter

An excellent counter-argument is that Jorge Bergoglio is simply wrong in his long-held idea that most sacramental marriages are invalid, because of the lack of understanding and commitment of couples. If he is wrong about marriage, then the argument cannot be applied to holy orders. This is a good argument, to which the Bear must give a fair hearing.

What if Pope Francis simply has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to something as fundamental as marriage, a matter of faith and morals that affects nearly every Catholic? Suppose for a moment, that he slept through all his sacramental theology classes, and later pieced together an essentially Protestant, or animist, understanding of the sacraments? What if he is so reckless to think it a light matter to call most Catholic couples fornicators, and their children bastards, just because he happens to hold eccentric views that could not be further from Catholic truth? 

What if Pope Francis simply does not understand the Catholic Faith, opposes those doctrines that he must admit to be Catholic, in any case wishes to replace all of them with his own eccentric, often heretical notions, and distorts the Faith on a nearly daily basis to the ruin of souls and the demolition of the Church?

In that case, the Bear must admit that his argument that Jorge Bergoglio is not Pope fails.

In cauda venenum. (Latin for "Sucker Punch.")