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01/12/20 11:07 AM #6700    


John Maxwell

Mr. Boulware, your post was wonderful. Your teammate was a great example of what pioneering spirit is. I imagine he could have put his talents and skills to work in a safer environment, but chose a barrier to break instead. His good fortune was you and guys like you, who accepted and supported his choice at a time when it could have gone either way. Well done sir. That story made me exceptionally proud to know you. Well done sir.

01/12/20 12:53 PM #6701    


Thomas McKeon

Beautiful post Bull

01/12/20 03:05 PM #6702    


Michael Boulware



Tim, Jim, Mark, Goose, Mike,Fred, Dave, and Jocko. Thanks for your affirmation; I really did not excpect anything like that. It had been raining like crazy during the entire trip I picked up a teammate in Ft. Wright, Ky. on the way to Owensboro, Ky.. It was a 5 1/2 hour trip one way, so I drove 11 hours in a driving rain storm. My poor windshield wipers were full go all the way. When I returned home, I was still pumped from the concentration it took to drive in the dark with headlights reflecting off of the road right in my face. I could not sleep, so I wrote about Huston's funeral. It was nice to be acknowledged. I even got a phone call from Bobby Curtin. Hell, it doesn't get much better than that



01/12/20 04:02 PM #6703    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Bull, to change the topic a bit, you mentioned your harrowing drive to and from Kentucky. Joe McCarthy had described his fun drive across country a few months ago here on the Forum. In Post #6582 I had mentioned that my wife and I were leaving to drive down to Albuquerque onThanksgiving Day and hoped to do so between snow storms. It turned out that after we got about 60 miles south of Colorado Springs we were caught in 300 miles of snow, ice, "wintery mix", fog, slush and frequently being surrounded by 18 wheelers trying to stay on schedule. We encountered multiple vehicles on their sides in ditches, a 25 foot RV flipped over on its roof and several ambulances heading towards various accidents. Raton Pass at the Colorado-New Mexico border was down to two tire tracks (surprisingly still open). We used 4WD essentially the whole trip.

Are we just getting older and these conditions bother us more or when we were young did we just not think of the dangers as much? Not only were my knuckles white it took the rest of the day for them to straighten out! Fortunately, my nephew, who with his wife hosted the family dinner, makes excellent martinis.


01/12/20 05:13 PM #6704    


Timothy Lavelle

I talked to Oprah.

If the Seahawks win today

You get a beer

And you get a beer

If they beat SF next week

You get a car

And you......

01/12/20 07:52 PM #6705    


David Mitchell

Wow! That may be only th esecond or third post by the artist otherwise known as  "Goose" since this Forum began. He must be feeling his oats because he is older today. 

Happy Birthday Tom

01/12/20 10:50 PM #6706    


David Mitchell

Oh, and Happy Birthday to one of our other essayists, the noteworthy Mark of L.A. , screenwriter extaordinaire. 

Have we lost you somewhere along the way? Or simply bored you to tears? 

01/13/20 12:22 PM #6707    


Michael McLeod

Doctor J:

You bring up an interesting and troubling subject.

I remember when people would say "Let's go for a drive." 

This was at a long-ago time when it didn't take guts to say that.

I don't think you have to be our age to be scared shitless on a regular basis the way things are on the highways these days.

Here in Florida I don't have blizzards to contend with. I must face something worse. Tourists.

But it's bad all over the country. 

Glad you made it through ok.

01/13/20 02:14 PM #6708    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Mike McL,

Yes, made it through O.K.

I used to enjoy that drive but the last few years it seems more tiring and stressful, but this one was just plain frightening. Like you, Colorado Springs has it's share of tourists but mostly in the summer. Winter is for those skiers crowding I-70 west of Denver. Anymore I prefer mountain dirt roads - even with their occasional "drop-offs" -  to freeways and Interstates, and I feel safer on them.

Memories of drives "in the country" in our family 1949 Mercury are in the recesses of my mind. Dad would load us up and drive north along the Olentangy river for miles and miles or along Route 33 by the rolling hills southeast of Columbus. Then stop at Mr. Murray's Pure Oil gas station on High Street at Torrence and have the attendant "fill-er-up" with regular (19.9 cents a gallon), add water to the radiator and ask to "check that oil, sir?".

Those relaxing days of motoring are long gone.crying




01/13/20 05:54 PM #6709    


David Mitchell

Jim, Mike M., and Mike B. 

You are all bringing back memories of the many trips I made driving from my home in Denver to the various ski slopes, both before and after kids, and before and after the completion of the "Eisenhower Tunnel" (underneath the wicked Loveland Pass - Americas highest continuously open roadway).

We made a couple trips from Ohio before the tunnel, before I-70, and before such places as, Copper Mountian, and Keystone existed. Once (1963?) we travelled with a group of friends from Chicago by train and then drove from Union Station in downtown Denver in a caravan of three rental station wagons into an absolute mess of a snow storm west on old Route 6 (before I-70 was built). We were headed for Vail but the highway patrol had closed Loveland Pass - but only at the top - and had not yet passed the word down below, so that each car had to crawl in slow bumper to bumper traffic all the way to the top, only to be turned around once you reached the summit. It was nail biting! (even as a passenger)

(If you have not experienced Loveland Pass, you've missed a real treat - switchbacks climbing thousands of feet, up to about 14,000, with very few guard rails and no room to pass.) 

We finally made it back down to Georgetown (where we had stopped hours before for lunch at the historic "Silver Qqueen" bar. But so many drivers had gotten back to that point before us, there wer no rooms left in town. So we proceeded all the way back to Idaho Springs for rooms in a cheap motel. I think we had driven something like 4 or 5 hours (including lunch), only to get 45 minutes out of Denver. The pass was re-opened the next day.

I had many other doozies including a trip alone one time where I got stopped behind a large truck that had lost his traction, and was forcing me to stop and lose mine as well. I was gradually sliding backwards and towards the edge of a thousand foot drop off with no guard rails. I eventually I backed up onto some rough gravel on the shoulder, regained my traction, and made a risky pass around the stalled truck. Nerve racking!

My kids were with me on many more crazy driving days, headed for the slopes, but by then we had the "tunnel" and avoided the nasty climb over that pass. Or we were headed to Winter Park or Steamboat, and that meant another difficult drive over another wicked  pass - Berthoud Pass - in some ways worse than Loveland Pass. But those are all fond memories. 

And then there were some wild 4-wheel drives (summer only) up over the back side of Telluride over "Black Bear Pass" into Ouray. Talk about "off-road" driving!

That is Telluride at center right in the distance a few thousand feet below (note the jeep - right center). My other best friend Tom (Smith, not Litzinger) and I drove these trails a few times in the summer of '72 where Mary and I and Tom) lived for one sumer.  Tom stayed and is thee big wheel in the Real Estate brokers crowd dealing with the likes of Oprah, Susan St. Anton, the late Dave Brubeck, Ralph Lauren, an Austrian prince, and the list goes on. Telluride is the location of the first "bank withdrawal" that one Robert Leroy Parker made in 1889, before visiting many other banks in many of other towns. Parker's other name was Butch Cassidy.

I believe the operative word here is STEEEEEP!


01/14/20 12:03 PM #6710    


Michael McLeod

We have a Winter Park down here, in a pretty community dotted by lakes, so many beautiful lakes, just north of Orlando. There's a fabulous museum in the middle of town devoted to the mansion and the stained glass windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany, just down the main drag from the pretty little liberal arts college where I still teach.

In Columbus in the olden days the first childhood car I remember was a Packard. Dark blue, I think. Built like a tank. Then a green Crysler, just as solid. (Remember the thunk of a door being slammed back when cars were built that way?) Then a series of white Chevies in ascending order of fanciness: Biscayne, Bel Air, Imperial.

I had three sisters. We were told to lock the car doors once inside and backing out of the driveway. You'll remember the inside lock on each door was a skinny button mounted on the frame at the bottom of the window. We'd say "ping the pingers" - sounds weird now but that was the command to push down the buttons on either side. With mom and dad in front, all four of us could sit comfortably in the back seat on our way to... was it Knight's Ice Cream, I believe it was, on Indianola, near Morse Road? Turning right on East North Broadway, past Hawley's bar and grocery story and Brody Drugs and the Sinclair station where Mr. Cotter, who fixed the cars, had a face that was always darkened by engine oil, and then past Dinova's little market and Olympic with its fence and turnstiles and the scent of chlorine slipping briefly in the windows and past the pingers as we headed north on Indianola towards a summer treat. 



01/14/20 03:13 PM #6711    


David Mitchell

Okay, so my question is, how the hell did a guy who grew up with the discriminate and refined upbringing of a family who said "ping the pingers" end up falling into the clutches of the world of "English Majors".

(Oh, and now I suppose you're gonna tell me there should have been a question mark at the end of that sentence. Do go on with your bad self.) 




Was it Gus's dad or his uncle that ran the grocery store? First place I can ever recall going to the grocery with my mother - and I got to ride in the cart. Life couldn't get much cooler than that!

And this wonderfully friendly man (Mr. Dinovo, I think) always trying to help mom find the freshest items in the produce deprtment. And he would grind the coffee for her in the machine. He knew every customer by name. And they carried your groceries out to your car for you. Mighty impressive establishment - two, or was it three cash registers. But they only had about 12 parking spaces. For some long forgotten reason, we moved on to Shearer's Market, across from the Beechwold Library and Hardware (which is still there) on High Strreet a few doors up from OLP Church. They must have had at least 24 parking spaces, and you could continue on out the same direction, through the alley in the rear of the lot without having to turn your car around. And I think they must have had four cash registers. So of course........

01/15/20 06:29 AM #6712    


Michael Boulware



Sorry for the late response to Jim (or his new name given to him by Mike McCleod- Dr. J.) . I have a theory: when we were younger we felt invincible. As we aged, we felt more responsible for the people in our car, the others that were on the road at the time, and ourselves. 

We are more aware of the dangers of bad weather, too many cocktails, texting, or other outside forces that could  distract us from doing a good job driving. I know that I would feel safer being a passenger in the car with Mike Boulware driving as a post 70 driver, then Mike Boulware driving in his teens and twenties.


01/15/20 11:23 AM #6713    


Michael McLeod


I don't know if you noticed but in Dr. J's post about his mountain-country dirt-road drives he casually mentioned one hazard being "the occasional drop-off."

At which point the pit of my stomach casually dropped to the floor.





01/15/20 11:46 AM #6714    


Joseph D. McCarthy

Mike I have to ask an expert this question; since DAVE made that snarky comment about the question mark.  Does the period go after the last quote marks, or before the last one ( "   ."  or  "  ". )? 


01/15/20 12:19 PM #6715    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Bull, texting is, of course, considered the ultimate distracted driving offense. There are so many others that we all have seen that contribute to accidents and death. To name a few of my pet peeves: men shaving, women putting on makeup, smoking, eating, drinking beverages (especially coffee - just look at the drive in lines at Starbucks and Dutch Brothers) and the list goes on. Just a few days ago I read in the news of a truck driver involved in a fatal accident when he looked away to put his coffee into a cup holder.

But, IMHO, one of the biggest distractions is all the gizmos on the modern cars. Multiple knob controls, ever enlarging screens that not only guide you but give you news and other info that often has nothing to do with driving. Also blue tooth. Yes, that technology that is supposed to allow us to conduct business and other things "hands free". Some studies have reported a significant decrease in driving attentiveness when talking on the phone even hands free.

​​​​​​As we age our reflexes become slower and our ability to multi-task decreases. I want - and have - cars that have simple controls and not a cockpit that rivals a jet plane. We have a Garmin which we use rarely and only when both of us are in a car so one navigates and the other drives. It's OK, I have been called worse names than a dinosaur.

What are all of you​​r most hated distractions? 


And, to Mike McL, I do still drive those dirt "roads" with drop-offs - VERY CAREFULLY! Often I will get out and walk the area first to make sure my vehicle can fit and there are no rocks or craters that could tip it over.


01/15/20 02:03 PM #6716    


David Mitchell

Jim, (and Mike, and Mike,)

As a loyal fan of the "ping the pingers" school of diving, I couldn't agree with you more about the new cars. As I may have mentioned, I drive a second job for a "black car" service and the new touch control "screens" are enough to drive you nuts  - especially the Lincoln MKT's. I hate the touch screens! They are way too complicated, show way too much information, and often reguire the driver to actually read them - which takes your eyes away from the road. Give me the good old dial knob and button controls any day.

(p.s. our new Chevy Yukon has a much better set of controls - more logical, more intuitive, and greatly simplified.)  


Mike B

I was a really safe driver at 17 and 18. It wasn't till a few years later, in the cockpit of a rotary-wing aircraft that I turned crazy. Invincibility is a state of mind which infects the central nervous system. Made worse by being in the compnay of a bunch of like-minded guys who are as crazy as you are. 



I thought you "left-coast" people could just put your periods and commas whrever you pleased. But it's those nasty dashes and semicolons that get a bit dicey.

Oh where is Sister Constantious when we need her?

01/15/20 02:45 PM #6717    


David Barbour

Dr. J,

Glad you didn't mention men doing make up!

I'm good at lipstick, but have to draw the line at 

mascara and eye liner, we need to be reasonable!!!


01/15/20 03:27 PM #6718    


James Hamilton, M. D.

All distractions while driving are risky and dangerous, especially at our age. My mantra is to keep one eye on the road, one eye on the speedometer and one eye each on the rear view and side view mirrors at all times!  👀 👀🤔

(They don't call me "four eyes" just because I wear glasses!)


01/16/20 12:35 PM #6719    


Michael Boulware


I just noticed that I misspelled your name. That is due to fat fingers. One of my best students was a McLeod. Please excuse me. 


01/16/20 01:00 PM #6720    


Michael McLeod

Not to worry, Mike.

Trust me - in all likelihood I have made more mistakes in print than anybody in our class.

Joseph: before. "I appreciate your question," he said.

Punctuation is - this is going to sound weird - a joy to me. It's a bit like playing an instrument and understanding the rhythm of a piece of music. For example, figuring out when to use a dash - and why -  is a part of writing I relish. (By the way, the dash someone spoke of above as a means of punctuation was once frowned upon by the high priests of grammar. It has survived their scorn and risen to repectability and is in common usage now -- why? Because it does provide a bit more of a pause, just a shade of difference in inflection, than a stuffy old semicolon. I joke with my student about semicolons. I tell them they are not qualified to use them and they need my permission if they want to do so. They might hurt themselves otherwise. Kids: I'm a professional. don't try this at home!

What a writer wants most of all is for the reader to sense a voice, have the illusion of being spoken to rather than written to -- and punctuation, apart from lending clarity, can give you that sense of the way we as human beings pause for effect or pause unconsciously as we struggle to communicate our thoughts and feelings, particularly difficult ones. That's part of the reason why I love punctuation, whose main purpose is, of course, clarity. But it also establishes a mood. 

That is a sad and sobering story and good advice re: driving.

I actually see driving as a test of character. Can you control your emotions? Can you be kind and forgiving? Can you be meticulous?  Can you remain focused? 

Something that helps me along these lines is having a school-marm girlfriend in the passenger seat. She keeps me in line. I got by with a lot more back in the day with the nuns. 


01/16/20 03:16 PM #6721    


John Maxwell

More facinating yet unusual topics. Driving and punctuation. Do we drive to be puntual?
I've logged over a million miles behind the wheel. I've had a few fender benders, due to distractions. I once rearended a pickup while watching an eighty year old woman take a tumble on the sidewalk to my right, by the time I returned my attention to the road I had just enough time to slam on the brakes and soften the blow. My entire life flashed before my eyes, mostly focused on how and what I learned when I began driving. I was taught that the test for driving was a written test about the rules, (laws), of the road. And the probable tasks of the road test, and parking. Many years later I asked myself, am I a good driver? Not really. My knowledge base was lacking. There is a great deal of science applied to the operation of a machine that exceeds the limits of all the rules of the road. Knowing the rules and laws is really not enough training to propel yourself, contained in a restricted space with limited vision. First off, the weight of your vehicle and the speed of travel and how all this weight behaves while manuvering in various weather conditions might be a good thing to know. There so many forces at work at the same time, and being aware of that, and at the same time, of the physics of wet pavement versus dry determines the level of attention that must be given in every situation. Many of the driving programs I've conducted for both dealerships and general public, were set up to feature safety benefits, as well as avoidance and speed monitoring. We even did simulations proving that alcohol and driving are a bad mix. Something that many learn the hard way. The roads are engineered to be safe, but they deteriorate or are poorly maintained to begin with, so it is always a good idea to know the road you're travelling. There are available, at local race tracks, pro drivers who conduct and demonstrate what can happen in different situations. Things like controlling skidding, and emergency avoidance. You can learn how to feel comfortable driving fast in traffic. You can learn how to determine the "line" that is most optimal for your vehicle's performance. You can actually learn how to optimize your tires' life, and fuel economy. What to do in a slide, to avoid or minimize impact. I'm not saying to learn how to drive a race car, just how to drive with more confidence. Not just your own ability but the vehicle's limitations and abilities. If anyone is interested in learning more about being a safer motorist check out your local road course racing facility. They may be able to direct you to a safe driving course. Remember cleanliness is next to good motoring. So, check your oil, tire pressure, brakes, and top off you fluids before taking a trip. Or you can just hop in and go hoping you don't break down or worse. Like you always do. I happen to think driving is fun, specially when you know what you can do with a car in any situation. I hope you all stay safe when on the road. Happy motoring.

01/16/20 03:37 PM #6722    


Michael McLeod

Hey I have another "ask Dr. J." question:

Do you have any experience with/opinion about vaccine disinformation? I have educated friends - well just one - who believes childhood vaccinations can cause mental deficiencies in children. There are plenty of people out there who would agree with her; I have also seen posts about "laboratory evidence" to that effect which I believe are fraudulent.

My friend also won't get flu shots - I forget her reasoning for that.

01/16/20 10:16 PM #6723    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Mike McL,

It is very troubling and dangerous that the anti-vaxers and others have introduced such a fear factor regarding vaccines. The recent measles (Rubiola) outbreaks across the world and in this country is partially due to that fear and the number of unimmunized school children that has resulted.

The most common misconception is that vaccines cause autism. Those who believe that have blamed it on the presence of thimerosol - a preservative which contains trace amounts of mercury compounds - that helps prevent bacterial growth in many vaccines. There have been numerous good, legitimate scientific studies that have found no evidence that either the vaccine or the thimerosol in them causes autism.

Across the centuries and across the world vaccines have saved countless lives and prevented epidemics of many contagious diseases. New vaccines are on the horizon to continue that trend and are greatly needed. Some of the newest which may (hopefully) soon be available are Ebola, TB and Malaria. There is also a resurgence of research into a new smallpox vaccine - one that does not entail the old scarification technique that we all received decades ago. Smallpox was thought to be eliminated in the world but, in this era of concern over biological weapons, that may no longer be true. Also some forms of monkeypox viruses are now able to infect humans.

In regard to influenza vaccine that picture is extremely complex since influenza viruses are constantly mutating and vaccines are based on predicted prevalence of what strains will be predominant each year. That is difficult and sometimes the predictions are not totally correct. Some things, however, are good to know: there is often some degree of cross protection from antibodies to strains in the vaccine against strains that occur but are not covered by that year's vaccine. Also those who have received flu shots yearly have more of that kind of protection. These result in the fact that if one does get the flu, it may not be as severe, as fatal or require hospitalization. 

There are those who say "the flu shots give me the flu". That does not happen. Side effects from many vaccines can include low grade fever, muscle aches (myalgias), headaches and soreness. These are mild, short in duration and not that common considering the millions of people who do get vaccinated. True allergies to flu shots are very rare. Persons who delay getting a shot until someone close to them gets the flu may already be incubating the virus. It takes about two weeks after the vaccine to develop a good immunity.

Bottom line: vaccines save lives and prevent disease, unfounded fear of vaccines contribute to death and disease outbreaks.



01/17/20 03:35 PM #6724    


David Mitchell


FEBRUARY 28, 2018

Anti-vaccination headlines—like “HPV vaccine leaves another 17-year-old-girl paralyzed”—populate the Internet. That, and “Mom researches vaccines, discovers vaccination horrors, goes vaccine free,” are just a few examples of the fake science news stories shared this month on Facebook.

If you are a parent on social media, you’ve likely seen many posts just like these. Maybe you’ve even clicked on one, curious. What’s the harm, right? As a family physician with four decades of experience fighting preventable disease around the globe and a professor of anthropology, risk and decision science studying global vaccine confidence, we’ve seen the deadly harm that fraudulent science and unfounded claims can cause.

The vaccine-autism myth is one chilling example of fraudulent science. February 28, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of an infamous article published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, in which Andrew Wakefield, a former British doctor, falsely linked the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to autism. The paper eventually was retracted by the co-authors and the journal. Wakefield was de-licensed by medical authorities for his deceit and “callous disregard” for children in his care. It took nearly two decades for the UK immunization rates to recover. By the end, UK families had experienced more than 12,000 cases of measles, hundreds of hospitalizations — many with serious complications — and at least three deaths.Stunningly, the vaccine-autism myth still persists. It was amplified by the British media during its early years, later by celebrity endorsement and more recently by worldwide social media. Wakefield has continued his own relentless personal campaigning, moving well beyond the initial MMR vaccine scaremongering to attacking the CDC in his controversial film VaxxedThe film was pulled before screening at the Tribeca Film Festival but found its way into independent theaters in the U.S. and Europe. Europe’s four-fold increase in measles cases and 35 measles-related deaths in 2017 — due largely to people not getting vaccinated — also reflects how Wakefield’s vaccine-autism scare can spark vaccine refusals that lead to debilitating and fatal cases of measles.

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