Monday, February 25, 2013

Dr. Koop Speaks Out

[Originally posted October 30, 2009]

President Reagan's Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, M.D., noteworthy for his public health pronouncements based on scientific facts during the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, is now 93 years old. With his penchant for truth-telling, Dr. Koop recently described a troubling aspect of the mindset of Mr. Reagan's largely conservative cabinet in an interview that was printed in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine:

"The attitude of President Ronald Reagan's cabinet was that the kind of people who got AIDS -- promiscuous women, homosexual men, drug addicts, people on heroin -- deserved what they got. Americans hadn't treated prisoners of war as badly." (DAM, Nov/Dec 2009, p. 96).

Dr. Koop is an equal-opportunity critic; in the same interview, he questioned the necessity of President Obama's wholesale reform of America's health care system. Such skepticism -- the laudable practice of looking before one leaps -- is a proper function of conservatism as a countervailing force to ambitious political agendas.

What Dr. Koop's observation about his fellow Reagan Administration political appointees confirms, however, is that the Republicans' attitude toward the defining public health disaster of the 1980s and 1990s was a matter not of principled, conservative caution but of active contempt for certain disfavored segments of citizens. It's a worthy contribution to the historical record from the former official who is still, in some minds, America's Physician.

*  *  *

Epilogue: According to a Dartmouth College statement, "Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop ’37, MD, a pioneer in the field of pediatric surgery, a leader in the fight to create a smoke-free nation, and founder of the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, died peacefully at his home in Hanover, N.H. on February 25, 2013. He was 96 years old."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lyle Overbay: Fan Instructions

As a Milwaukee Brewers fan, it is incumbent upon me to instruct Boston Red Sox fans [ed. update: as of March 26, 2013, New York Yankees fans] [ed. update #2: as of January 20, 2014, the next generation of Brewers fans!] in the proper procedure for welcoming their newly signed free agent, journeyman first baseman and former Brewer Lyle Overbay, to the batter's box for his plate appearances during the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

The Preparation

Step 1: Set beverage in a safe location.
Step 2: Assume an attentive posture, either sitting or standing, depending on the game situation.
Step 2a: If sitting, sit upright and swivel torso slightly in the direction of the batter's box.
Step 2b: If standing, face the batter's box, balanced evenly and comfortably over the soles of both feet in a "ready" position.

The Positioning

[Note:  The following Steps 3 through 9 are performed in rapid succession.  Practice until you have achieved a competent speed and smooth motion.]

Step 3: As Mr. Overbay leaves the on-deck circle, raise arms above head, as if you are signaling a touchdown.
Step 4: Flex the elbows until the fingertips touch.
Step 5: Flex the elbows further, lowering the point of fingertip contact along the vertical axis above the head by approximately 3".
Step 6: Pull elbows back slightly until your arms occupy the same vertical plane as the non-intersected line segment between your ears.
Step 7: Bend the wrists slightly to form a rounded, approximately circular arc from each shoulder to the fingertips.
Step 8: Open mouth into an "O" shape.
Step 9: Take a deep breath.

The Catharsis

Step 10: Sing the poetic word "O" as if it were the first word of the song "America the Beautiful" being sung after midnight in a fraternity basement.
Step 11: Hold the "O" as a whole note for eight measures or until you run out of breath, whichever comes first.
Step 12: Repeat Steps 9 through 11 for the duration of the at-bat or until your neighbors threaten to call the usher, whichever comes first. 

The Denouement

Step 13: Lower arms.
Step 14: If standing, retake your seat.
Step 15: Inform your Beloved Spousal Unit, who did not stand and therefore did not see the play as it transpired, of the outcome of Mr. Overbay's plate appearance so that she may properly enter it in the scorebook.
Step 16: Close mouth before the flies, gnats, and mosquitos sign a lease and take up residence. 

The Epilogue

Step 17: Pick up beverage.

Update: Lyle Overbay was granted a release by the Boston Red Sox on March 26, 2013, making him a free agent.  The instructions presented above remain fully applicable and may be transferred to a new team.
Same Day Double-Update: Doubles hitter and free agent Lyle Overbay was signed by the New York Yankees on the same day that he was released by the Red Sox, following in the footsteps of former Bostonians Babe Ruth and Johnny Damon. My Two Innings looks forward to posting reports of the echoing "O-O-O" calls, if not actual doubles, careening around the Yankee Stadium monuments.
UPDATE: WELCOME BACK TO THE BREWERS!  Milwaukee signed Lyle Overbay to a minor league deal, with an invitation to Spring Training, on January 20, 2014!  A whole new generation of Brewers fans will require instruction in the basics.  "O-O-O-O-OOOOOOO!"


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