Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 17th, 2009

First Trip to Washington D.C (#47 of my autobiography: Introspection)  February 17, 2009

It happened that in 1992 my brother-in-law Victor was appointed military attaché to Lebanon.  Victor was in Washington, DC for more than a month before he contacted me in San Francisco. He was arranging for the transfer of his family to the USA. 

 

When the whole family arrived I was urged to join them; Adrea was barely four months old and the eldest kid William was about 13.  I was asked to move with them in order to aid with the kids’ English, schooling and various arrangements. I wrote to Raymonde a letter stating that I preferred first to visit with them before I take a decision.

That was my first trip to Washington, DC and I used a map to initiate tours in the Capital. I took Joanna on several day outings because she was kind of depressed. Joanna, eldest daughter and second in the family of 5, later to be augmented with a sixth Chelsea.

Joanna was given the responsibility of caring for Adrea and she felt that she was not the preferred kid (read as much loved) among the five.  Chelsea was to be born five years later when Victor returned definitively to Lebanon. 

 

The next morning I went with Joanna on a discovery tour of Washington DC. Strong with a map, we walked for hours. It does Not take that much hours to tour most of the Capital, including the Congress, the  foreign office… On my second trip I could wander leisurely every street once I got my permit in Real Estate.

Victor had rented a small apartment in a building at walking distance from the Lebanese Embassy. The apartment was expensive, about $1,200 a month, and he was paying from his own saved money before bureaucracy arranged for his salary to be transferred regularly. 

It was summer time and there was a tiny swimming pool on the roof.  I felt that the apartment was too small to accommodate another member and I returned to Frisco.

 

Raymonde urged me to join them on account that the schools are opening and she is not fluent in English and totally unprepared.  I re-joined them a couple months later.

In no time, the kids didn’t need me in their English or schooling; they were fishes in a familiar sea; they quickly mocked my accent.

Six  months later, we moved to Montgomery County at the limit of Washington D.C. and we settled in a rented large split house on Brierly Road.

 

There was a small forest in the neighborhood and tended by a bird association (Aubuston?). We applied to the swimming pool at walking distance but the neighborhood association, mostly Jewish, denied our application. Thus, we had to swim at a Navy complex a couple of miles away, close to the NIH.  

Victor purchased an old car and his official driver Sami rented an apartment close by.

There are at least ten volumes of pictures and as many videos of my stay in Washington, DC and Montgomery County because Victor had purchased a camcorder in a visit to New York with the family of his brother Nicholas, already a Jehovah Witness family . 

Nicholas’ family of three kids stayed with Victor’s for over a month and we toured many counties in the USA. We visited Disney in Orlando and the Jehovah Witness headquarters in the Brooklyn and upper New York States and their modern and large publishing business.

Denver

 

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society and I wanted to attend it. It was a long trip of two days and we passed through Salt Lake City and I visited the temple of the Mormons.  There was snow and the University of Boulder was lovely. During the second day of the convention my advisor failed to show up and I had no copy of my dissertation and I felt frustrated for not being prepared to deliver anything even though I was invited by the chair person of the session to do it.  I had the opportunity to tour Denver by night and boarded the spacious and large bus that crosses Main Street.  

              The return trip was long. A week later I was to battle a discrimination case.  There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles; she had no one to testify on her behalf.  The girl was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager. I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.  I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish the whole year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.  I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.  I thus joined an office on Van Ness Road and funded by the City that aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.

You can now live very long: what are your plans for old age? (February 14, 2009)

            With the current progress in the medical field you can prolong your life 150 years.  If you ca afford it then there are no major barriers to live very old and functional too with a basic sane body.  The gene for longevity was discovered in 1998; the cell was extracted from a bacterium that can withstand massive doses of irradiation, heat, cold and then can reconstruct its ADN. 

After fifty the outer membrane of your eye is no longer supple; then you can replace it; it is a very common operation. At the age of 110 the aorta has to be replaced; it is done frequently.  At the age of 150 your skin is totally useless; then collagen is injected; actually you don’t have to wait that long; the injections are performed in young bodies.  Like an old car, new organs (or spare parts) are transplanted; it is done already with countless organs and even produced in laboratory from cell stumps.

There are on the market many hormones targeted for longevity such as growth hormone EPO, melatonin, Viagra, and the hormone DHEA for longevity; all of these hormones are secreted by the glands but they can be artificially produced to supplement the aging body.

I would be curious to know the variety of alternatives for padding your spare time when you grow old, functional and relatively sane, bodily and mentally. Send me your plans; let them be imaginative.  Your plans don’t have to be so damned practical to correspond to our current conditions of aging since the remedies are already available.

I wish in my old age to have a team of helpers visit me once a week, all the team on the same day so that I might reserve the week for my activities and reflections in solitude. This team should bring all the essential provision for a week, just enough to survive because I need to feel short on provision by the end of the week and keep struggling with the survival process; that is a sure way of keeping alive and balanced.  This team will maintain and repair the house and do paperwork or administrative tasks.  I guess all elder people are not to be bothered with driving and hitting the various administrations; they have done their share of stupid slave work.

In my old age, all that I want to do during the week is be able to see; read, write, and publish; I don’t mind having good hearing: that would be a blessed bonus. I would also follow the news and see movies on cables.  It would be nice to have my relatives, nieces, and nephews to visit me occasionally when they need a listening ear: it is always great to recollect the troubles of youth and their struggle for life.  I would like to be invited for a swim or to a skiing resorts so that I can refresh my visuals of the newer activities of youth.

Criminal Conditions (February 16, 2009)

            In critical situations of death (suicide or killing others) two main conditions have to exist.  The first basic condition is a physical material one (health problems or financial miseries, or both).  The second complementary condition is an idealistic spiritual motivator (revenge, dignity, freedom, and so forth). 

As the bad material condition persists or worsen,  the spiritual factor develop in focus, in target, and in planning.  Committing a crime is not easy at all:  You need a network of supporting elements; you need the arm, the close friends’ network, the social and cultural environments, and you need the conscious target to be frequently available.  Even those we always label as “crazies” need a support system to carry out their crime.

The spiritual motivator always comes in second in the chronology of a crime, but it quickly takes a life of its own and over shadow the fundamental source of the germinating idea.  There is this special case where the criminal is dirty rich and yet commit crimes; but we always forget to dig a little in his past, before he became rich and how he started his trip to riches, and how he built his support system.

            There are ways to deflect the soaring spiritual emotion.  First, the material condition is altered temporarily, and the second spiritual factor is slowed temporarily on its track because it failed to gel in focus and target.  Second, the material base is not changed but the spiritual motivator is redirected to financial crimes.  Third, the supporting environment and elements are altered in recognition of the danger and a heightened climate of vigilance may deter a criminal plan.

            It really takes a little to change the material condition to deflect the whole process.  The potential criminal can be encouraged to ask or “knock on doors” and is shown the techniques for demanding the basic necessities for physical survival, mainly finding a decent and feasible job. The potential criminal can be treated for his recurring health problems that are not fictitious; though many of these health problems could be a fiction of the imagination for lack of a yearly thorough general examination, caused by a deficient preventive health system to all the citizens.

            It really takes a little to change the supporting environmental/social conditions to deflect a crime in the planning stage.  Removing one of the numerous elements or tools in the supporting network can deviate a criminal act.  Benevolent or charitable support groups can play the catalyst for behavioral change.  A community in a town or district can shoulder many responsibilities when decently funded for social activities.

            It really takes a lot to “unfocus” a planned criminal act, once it gelled in specific targets and means.  They say human is forgetful and that is why he manages to survive all the traumas. The fact is, even when the far advanced “spiritual factor” has been tamed, it only takes a simple cue in this tumultuous life to re-activate a matured plan.

            I might have been describing individual cases, but it easily extends to genocide of whole peoples like the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Afghanistanis, and all the people who have been subjugated to miseries and apartheid policies.  This is a reminder that the West should not be surprised for revenge activities for a long time, activities that would be labeled “terrorists”.

Police inspectors and investigators in criminal acts have mapped a coherent taxonomy for “individual crimes”. Social and human sciences lack coherent taxonomies for social crimes that reporters and media businesses need to know and learn in their coverage of their “bad news”. 

It is up to the audio-visual reporters in the front line to taking seriously their jobs in order for society to be exposed to the fundamentals of criminal behaviors and the many facets and conditions of criminal activities.

A compliment from him, a flatter from her and pretty soon you’ve got a Date (February 16, 2009)

            In the same talking “A mockery from him, derision from her and pretty soon you’ve got a divorce on your hand” I am not sure if these are established and trademark quotes, they just came to mind and I thought they are good for an article.  I remember a quote in that vein from a US congressman “A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’ve got a budget in deficit” This quote is over half a century old; nowadays, we should say “A trillion here, a trillion there and pretty son you’ve got world finance in inflation”   

So far, every rich State has poured in its “economy” hundreds of billions as “emergency fund” and we are told that this crisis is to last 10 years.  I am very curious; how many billions are circulating around the world every day, and how many billions in cash money are “saved” in the world, and how much the GNP of all the States in the world are worth?  I am curious, how much money should be needed right now to stabilize world finance?  I am curious; where all these billions would be extracted from to ‘stabilize world finance” if economies all around are bankrupt, closing down, not producing, and not finding consumers to “stabilizing” their cash flow?  I started being curious and now I am pretty worried.

In my State, recognized by the UN, one stupid billion dollars is a huge sum; it seemingly covered the destructions and compensation of 33 days of an intensive offensive war by the Zionist State, an apartheid State also recognized by the UN by a majority of only one vote in 1948.  One billion is such an astronomical amount for my tiny State that the Prime Minister could not help but enhance his criminal penchant by using the billion in aid as “collateral” to borrow money and line his pockets and his close collaborators.  Go figure, using cash money as collateral!  How bad can it be? 

The irony does not stop here, the oil State that lent us the billion for “reconstruction” is the same State that encouraged Israel to extending the war for 33 days. Go re-figure, extending money to Israel to wage an offensive war and then extending money to Lebanon to reconstruct!  How can the world be in recession?

            Back to the dating dilemma.  I have read a post in the humor category; the lady was wondering how the term “Dating” has evolved lately because she has not dated for a long time.  I submitted a comment saying “Stop wondering. It is the woman’s task to elucidate what dating means to a guy.  The guy has no idea what to date means since it is the only word that conveys a sense of liking someone.  It is the girl’s job to construct a series of multiple choices that should help the guy in understanding what he really wants from a date. 

Open questions such as “What do you mean by date?” is tantamount to failure and quick discouragement.  The lady has to offer choices of what she likes to do during a date so that if there is a match in one of the activities then a date can be contemplated.  Then, it is one date at a time with another series of inventive series of multiple choices, though this time around the list of choices has to be somewhat lengthier and growing in length by each date.

The under-developed countries are plagued with common diseases: any Resolutions? (February 15, 2009)

Fundamentally, most governance in “non-developed” countries is performed on a caste-structure basis, regardless of religion, race, language, or colonial mandates. 

I have written many articles on caste structures but this is not the topic of this articles.

The facts are that many diseases that have been conquered and eliminated in the developed States, are still raging in the poorer States, and millions die uselessly, especially kids under 5 year-old.

 Why the funds and medical aides from the developed States and the UN are not making a dent in saving millions from common diseases that already had remedies for decades? 

Since 1941, penicillin has vanquished countless microbes and new antibiotics are being produced to counter the resilience of microbes that have developed resistance strategies, such as the Staphylococcus and other Streptococcus.

Diseases like malaria, diarrhea, measles, tuberculosis, cholera, polio, and countless others banal diseases that have vaccines, or can be treated with antibiotics, are still rampant and killing everyday thousands of babies and adult under-developed States.

The best angle to analyze the topic is to divide the diseases in three categories: 

The first category represents the diseases that have effective and cheap vaccines and antibiotics;

The second category represents disease that require costly vaccines, expensive treatments, and common surgeries, but can effectively cure;

And the third category is reserved for diseases that have no cures, but can be contained for several years until progress is achieved like AIDS and a few other cancerous cases.

For the third category, funds are allocated to the under-developed States, simply because the rich States need guinea pigs to experiment with treatments that are traumatic in their own communities.

The first category is the most promising for decreasing drastically the casualties at an affordable cost.  Basically, the vaccines and the prior generations of antibiotics have already covered the expense of experimentation, and have been a cash cow for many decades. 

The main expense would be to train local nurses in remote communities, and university students in medicine, to administer vaccines and inexpensive antibiotics that are still effective.

The second category is not as urgent for the under-developed States as the funding and the structural organizations for eradicating the diseases in the first category. 

There has been a mobilization in 1994 for creating a world bank for medicaments and vaccines, and a few States invested funds in that bank, but there was lack of active pursuit for the long-term. 

All the health related branches in the UN such as UNICEF, OMS, PAM, FUND, Red Cross, and Red Crescent have been working on the field for many decades, but diseases are gaining the upper hand.

The scarcity of resources allocated to fighting disease in the under-developed States need to be restructured.  Priority should be given to diseases in category #1, before attacking effectively diseases in category 2. 

At least, trained nurses and medical students would be ready to tackle more complex treatments.

Note: Constitutions in the under-developed States are shells. Constitutions were created to satisfy the basic requirements for adhering to the UN as a member State. Saudi Arabia failed to satisfy even a single clause of the UN Charters.

The rights to know and be informed; Abortion cases (February 17, 2009)

            The rights to know and be informed include the rights to voluntary deciding not to know and not to be informed.  There are various domains that are affected by these rights but this essay will focus on the cases of fetuses that are known to be born handicapped because of development in medical technologies and knowledge. The legal consequences for those who want to know and those who refuse to know are different but their offspring are not supposed to bear the consequences of the parents’ decision as long as the acts of the offspring do not legally affect the parents.

            The medical field has the capabilities to predict a wide array of ailments and diseases that a new born might experience by testing a blood sample from a pregnant woman.   Let us take the case of parents, for some kinds of principles or religious beliefs, opt not to know and the new born is handicapped for life.  Who is to pay the bills and the physical and psychological maintenance of the handicapped? If the State legislates against abortion then it is the State responsibility to support both the handicapped person and the parents.  If the State legislates for abortion in specific cases but the parents decide to keep the baby then can the State refuses to shoulder its responsibilities because it permitted choices?  If a State refuses to give choices then people would label it authoritarian, patriarchal, dictatorial, and other defaming connotations. In any case, it is the whole lot of citizens, “the community of the larger village”, that would sustain the brunt of the calamity.

The surgeon Bernard Bebre published an interesting case.  A pregnant mother fears that she contracted rubella from her one of her sons and tells her gynecologist that she prefers to have abortion if she has contracted rubella.  The laboratory tests were negative; she has no rubella.  The new born is handicapped and shows all the signs that the mother indeed had rubella.   After many years in courts and counter appeals the highest court in France decides that both the parents and the new born are to be materially compensations in the millions of Francs.

Dr, Debre is not happy that the court has compensated for the handicapped new born on the ground that a causality link was established that “what did not prevent abortion of a handicapped baby has contributed to the handicap”.  Dr. Debre is perturbed that the medical profession would get on the defensive and physicians would no longer exercise personal decision; Dr. Debre complained that the appreciation of the court is not competent and has no means to evaluate what the medical practioner could have “decided in his soul and in his conscious”.  I beg to differ.

The supposedly independent court of justice has to do its job as the physician has to do his job of warning his patients of potential diseases.  If the court fails to remind the State administrations that there are important cases to study seriously and legislate for them then who will do it?  The Parliament in France finally legislated that only the parents can demand compensations for wrong doing; and the law ended by stating that the solidarity of the whole community should take charge of any deficiencies in handicapped born babies.  Thus, the whole burden is laid on the parents to demand to know and to be informed of the status of their fetus and then to decide for an abortion.  France would be glad to save tons of money on handicapped persons by permitting abortions before 12 weeks of conception if parents care to save their potential handicapped baby from physical and mental miseries.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote “If a single individual could be regarded as detritus then one hundred thousand people are a mound of garbage” That quote is fundamentally valid of how apartheid, totalitarian, theocratic, and racist political systems think of and act toward their citizens.  But this saying is not relevant to our case.  If a handicapped person thinks all his life that he is detritus in the view of society at large and that he just show brief moments of revolts against his conditions and the attitude of society, then should this handicapped individual be permitted to live on the ground of potential brief spiritual victories over his condition?

I take the position that a pregnant mother should by law know and be informed on the potential diseases of her fetus; and yes parents who refused to abort based on full knowledge should be judged for carrying through a handicapped baby.  Handicapped individuals too have rights to taking to justice parents who let them suffer, be humiliated, be treated worse than dirt, in isolated basement or attics and away from the common people.  I challenge all those people who refuse to know and to abort to sign up for taking the responsibility of the handicapped new born.

The Good Old Times: Let us recapitulate (February 17, 2009)

Lately, I suffered from a toothache; a dentist some thirty years ago filled the tooth without killing the nerve. The filler cap was exaggerated in hight to the point that all my masticating exercises had to pound that wretched tooth. 

I have taken heavy doses of antibiotics and the tooth had to be removed because there was no bone base left.  I am still in pain; I am sleepy but cannot sleep from pain.

I know that there is no pain that cannot be soothed using one of the current wide array of painkillers; that’s what I need; just one effective painkiller for a good night sleep; any suggestions?

A century ago, there were no antibiotics, no effective pain killers (not for local anesthesia anyway), and the tools for tooth removal were to be desired.  Anyone who still longs for the good old times?  Please raise your hands.

Last summer, I had one of my saliva gland removed.  I had to borrow money to renew my membership in the Order of Engineers for an affordable health insurance in case of surgery. Other than that I should not expect anything from our syndicate until I reach 62 of age for retirement benefits, a basic survival monthly payment. 

I hope by then, with current advances in digital facilities, the amount would be directly transferred to an account at nearby banks instead of driving two hours to get checks, on condition that I would be able to secure the yearly dues till then.

I like these small detours out of the subject matter.

After the surgery of my saliva gland, I never saw the surgeon or the anesthetic.

We basically rely on our highly qualified nurses who are very human indeed.  Within two weeks I shed the skin of my tongue and other horror consequences due to overdose of antibiotics:  my jaws were leaning to one side, like our Prime Minister Seniora.  The surgeon would not return my calls.  My stitches had to be removed at the emergency section. 

I am no surgeon but would you rather live a century ago if you had to remove one of your saliva glands?

I know that over 5,000 years ago the Babylonian Empire had the Code of Hammurabi; this ancient Empire had a sophisticated medical profession and laws setting the wages for each kind of surgery and for each of the three groups (the free citizens, the plebeians, and the slaves) “after the surgery was successful”. Otherwise, the surgeon could have his hands cut off in cases of death of the sick free citizen category.

The pharmacopoeias included over 250 of plant base, over 100 of mineral base, and over 100 of animal based medicines.  Most of these medicaments are still in use today. 

If I had to select a period for my “Good Old Times” then this would be one of them instead of a century ago; obviously as one of the free men.

One of my preferred Good Old Times is Beirut before the civil war in 1975. 

The Capital of Lebanon was a true Babel.  All political refugees flocked to Beirut.  Every “Arab” and Western States patronized a daily newspaper in funds and ads. We had more dailies than all the Arab States combined. 

Every writer wanted to be published (not that people read anything but their preferred daily that expressed their allegiance)  to have their names recognized by the Gatekeeper of Heaven “Oh, okay, God recognized your name from the multitude of curses heaped on you by the thousand other factions. Please, sign your autograph first”

Two Lebanese pounds were worth a dollar; currently, a dollar is worth 1,500 LL.  I used to spend my whole day in movie theaters, eat, and tour the whole capital with barely anything over one pound. It was just lovely walking around in Beirut among the crowd of different nations.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2009
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