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    Monday, February 27, 2006

    George Orwell once said...

    "Good people sleep peacably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -George Orwell

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    The Capital of the Free World

    There were a lot of names on that Memorial, it was quite overwhelming. I never expected to be so moved, yet there I was- unable to persuade my eyes from gazing at that haunting black marble, and the names... the names. Then, there was Arlington Cemetery. I would embarass myself trying to quantify in writing how I felt and what was going on inside my little head as I strolled, ever so quietly, up and down hills speckled with white tombstones. If you have never been you should go, it is a sobering reminder/tutor of what was given so that we might simply enjoy a life of freedom.

    I began my tour on Friday with a visit to my Congressman, Gene Taylor, of the illustrious state of Mississippi in order to see if I could swing a pass to see the House and Senate in session. Gene was out of the office at the time, but a lovely aide was more than helpful. I was quite embarrased though, as the young lady recognized me from college (The University of Southern Mississippi), and I simply drew a blank. She remembered my name, my fraternity, and judging from the look on her face a few more things that I should have remembered as well- besides her name. I quickly began scanning the desk for a nameplate, but she caught me, and all I saw was a sorority insignia. So, I tried to play it off with "Phi Mu, right?" Well, she wasn't buying it, and I certainly blew that one, but she was gracious enough to still get me some passes. After I left the Congressman's office, I had to stand right outside the door to wait for the elevator, and I overheard her saying to her colleague about how she couldn't believe I didn't remember her from... (such and such). What a shame- she was certainly a cutie. Anyways, enough of my crash and burn stories. I get to the Senate, and I'm watching Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist conduct some formalities for President's Day to the pro temp, and in walks John Warner, the senior Republican senator, from Virginia. Now, the Senate chamber is empty with the exception of Frist, Warner, the pro temp, and a few clerks. Apparently, there is a tradition where someone reads one of Washington's addresses to the Senate every year. Frist was about to adjourn the Senate for the day when suddenly Warner asks for Frist to yield some time to him for more President's day "talk". Frist yields the floor, and Senator Warner begins on a 15-20 minute speech on when he was chosen to read Washington's address back in God knows when. He was saying things like "Yes, I remember that morning quite clearly because I had to walk in three feet of snow for four miles in order to get here..." He basically went on and on about himself conceitedly forever. The clerks, and pro temp were obviously perturbed. Then Senator Warner begins preaching about the War on Terror, the NSA, WMD's, and other various topics. After about 5 minutes Frist kind of looks up at the few, like five of us, who are actually there and laughs, shakes his head, and gives us one of those raising the eyebrows looks as if to say this guy is off his rocker, and heads out of the Senate chamber. Keep in mind Senator Warner is talking to an empty room, there is no one there but him! He has his hands waving about going on and on, speaking to and addressing the Senate body, even individual Senators, but literally speaking to empty chairs. It was one of the weirdest things I had ever seen. Everyone was kind of just lloking around saying, "who is he talking to? what is he doing?" Needless to say, it seems to me the Senate is just a bunch of grandstanding, one of the security personnel told me that was normal for Senators to get "on the record" as having said such and such. Our tax money hard at work ladies and gentlemen!

    I then headed to the house Chamber, but they weren't in session so I just kind of piddled around there for a bit and then visited the Supreme Court where I was unable to see a case being argued, but was able to hear a lecture, and tour the actual courtroom. It was much smaller than I had anticipated, yet still maintained a majestic aura about it. That evening I went out with an old friend of mine in dowtown Arlington, where we had drinks, listened to some live music, and reconnected. Saturday brought the Smithsonian museums of Natural History, Art, as well as the National Gallery of Art which had an incredible Cezanne exhibition. I also took a tour of the Library of Congress where I registered and received my very own Library of Congress Card. I tried to wait in line for the National Archives in order to see the founding documents and perhaps listen to some oral arguments from the Supreme Court, but it was just too cold outside. BRRRRR! It was freaking cold! Saturday night I attended a "Winter Be Damned Party" at the house of the aforementioned friend in downtown Arlington along with a buddy of mine from college who is now an attorney for the Dept. of Justice, who was the best wingman I've ever had. (Appreciate it Josh) Sunday was the day of the monuments and was supposed to end with the Spy Museum. I did the monuments and opted to save the Spy Museum for the next time so I could attend church services with my buddy from college. Sunday also ended with another party at a friend of Josh's house named Jono- "pronounced like Bono with a J". Anybody with a name like that is bound to throw a decent party, and he certainly came through as we all spent most of the night singing and playing piano. It was a good time. Appreciate it Jono and Paul.

    Overall impression- D.C. is awesome. The people are great. The singles scene is fantastic. I will be back very soon. Very soon indeed ;-)

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Off to Washington D.C.

    I've never been to the capital of the free world before. This weekend is President's Day weekend meaning a long holiday for me. What better way to celebrate President's Day than touring the District of Columbia? I'm planning on hitting the Supreme Court, Congress, and of course the Smithsonian as the main events. The International Spy Museum will also be on my hit list. The White House would be really nice, but I couldn't get a pass on such short notice, that'll be just another excuse to come back. Last but not least- the nightlife. I am definitely going to meander the various array of entertainment spots scattered throughout the District, and Arlington. The only negative is I have two tests when I return, so I'm going to have to study somehow between metro stops. I'll be sure to post some pics when I get back. Have a great weekend.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    Valentine's Day

    Here is my Valentine, we'll be going out to eat, and then head over to the range to practice our marksmanship. Sound romantic? If only it were true...

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Quote of the Week

    "He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose."
    -Jim Elliot

    BTW there is a movie out about this fellow, its called "End of the Spear" and is playing at a theater near you.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Dermatitis or Tinea?

    One of the advantages of learning medicine is being able to self diagnose one's problems. One of the advantages (?)of Army medicine is that we experiment on one other to learn. Just as we once practiced IV's on one another until we could no longer recognize our appendages, we've also continued this Frankenstein experimenting in the labs. I've looked at my buddy's glowing, body-building-supplement, radiaoactive urine; determined his blood type, white and red blood cell count, etc.; and attempted to grow whatever we can find on each other's body in a petri dish just for s**ts and giggles. Most recently, I allowed my buddy to take a skin sample of a rash I've had on my back for months now to rule out any kind of tinea (fungal infection). It has never really hurt or anything and hasn't spread, so I figured it was some contact dermatitis, but I have yet to figure out what exactly has caused it. Nothing has been able to make it go away, so I thought it'd be good to confirm my suspicions about this only being some simple dermatitis. So, we scraped some skin from the site and took a look under the scope- whew- no fungi present, just dead skin cells. So that means that it's probably a certain fabric, or detergent, or maybe just the weather or water in the barracks causing the irritation- who knows? Tomorrow we'll look at some Staph and Strep bacteria, as well as do another urine sample. Sound like fun? The only bad part is the headache from looking through a microscope all day, and of course, the smell. GO ARMY!

    Friday, February 03, 2006

    I just don't believe it...

    GW recently called Islam a "noble" religion. I just don't see it. This is not noble.

    Quote of the Week

    "Ability is the poor man's wealth." -John Wooden

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    Hematology, Urinalysis, and Ben Hur

    Red blood cells, white blood cells, and urine. Such fun things to look at under a microscope all day. That's what we're doing right now... Labs. I was never much of a scientist, the only times I can remember being fond of any science was earning an Astronomy merit badge in Boy Scouts, and winning the mousetrap race car competition in my high school physics class. This has been a challenge for me thus far. Trying to count white blood cells is tedious, and I'm not wired for such tasks, but of course I won't have the benefit of a couple of lab techs working for me when I'm in the field, so here goes nothing. Other than that, not much exciting going on around here unless of course you like looking through microscopes all day. Actually, we parachuted out of airplanes yesterday, that was pretty fun.

    Also of note- I found an old blockbuster receipt in my truck's center console which had a free non-new release rental set to expire this week. Being quite the movie goer, everytime I go into blockbuster I have a difficult time picking out non-new release films as I've pretty much seen all of the ones worth renting. As is my normal custom, I use these moments to experiment either in the foreign film section (usually Italian) or I opt to find an old classic that I've never seen before. The classic title which I ran across this time was "Ben Hur". I had no idea what this movie was about, but three things that stood out to me on the cover were: ancient Rome, Charlton Heston, and Best Picture 1959. I figured with those three things, surely this will be a decent film, and I was not disappointed. It took me two nights to finish it, and all I could think about afterwards was how the heck did Hollywood go from selecting films like "Ben Hur" for Best Picture to nominating films like "Broke Back Mountain" for such honors. By far, the best film of this year was "Cinderella Man" and if you haven't seen it yet- go get it after work Friday because nothing good is opening this weekend anyway- you will love it. Any film about religion ("The Passion") or traditional values ("Cinderella Man") these days gets snubbed for awards. However, if a film is about homosexuality, euthanasia, bashes a conservative political figure, or demeans religion it is automatically "One of the year's best films". This year, the Academy was so blatantly biased that even proponents of such films would have to admit that there is something wrong. Do actors even care? If I were Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Renee Zell..., Reese Wither.. I'd be pissed that my line of work's recognition system was so obviously discriminating. Hollywood is crazy.