Concrete benefits to disseminated intelligence

Apropos of nothing (except perhaps my few days at the Yiddish Week which I am very much looking forward to) , I should say that Wikipedia is a fine thing. At least in this regard: the article on Yiddish, a few months ago just as laughable as anything you'd find in the lay press, is now something I can actually refer people to. Shkoyekh to those who are working on it!


Do Not Reconsider, II

On the whole it's a salutary thing for all health care workers to think about their patients' wishes when it comes to resuscitation and intubation. But selection bias is a killer. What I mean is that doctors start getting curious about DNR/DNI orders when their patients get very sick. Since no one thinks to ask about these orders when the patients are relatively healthy, you could be forgiven for thinking that on occasion these orders, rather than a way in which a hospital interprets a patient's wishes, are an acceptable method of declaring medical futility. But that's a big problem - you don't want these categories to be mixed up. (And, of course, any competent doctor would I'm sure be horrified at any suggestion that this is what she's doing, since - in fact and in law - there's a lot that can be done in terms of medical treatment that has nothing to do with resuscitation or intubation.) The solution, of course, is to have everyone's DNR and DNI status stamped on their foreheads the minute they're seen by their first doctor. Not only is this not happening, I even wonder if it could. If informed consent is laughable in its practical execution, what more can one expect from DNR/DNI?
My PhD thesis

In a short and snappy six pages.


In memory of August 12, 1952
An untitled poem.

* * *

I put on the darkness
Over my head, my arms, my feet . . .
I walk around in a big black tallis
With tattered black edges trailing
Clawing at black walls.

Black infinities drag after me
Tangled together with distance.
Worldly emptiness is open to me
And there I step on
Black wandering maids.

I’m walking in my crown:
Black heights springing from me
Black distance stretching from me
Black earth away from me
And from all sides
Black horses jumping on me!

Peretz Markish

In the Imager

That irresistible attraction you feel is not the result of your spiritual striving; rather, you forgot to take off your yarmulke clips before loading Mr. Richards into the MRI.


Curriculum mori
...if my Latin is right.

Two or three courses in medical school could be usefully replaced by a course on death. We never learned much about it - its epidemiology (who dies, why, and when), its public health (how it can be prevented), its signs and symptoms in the hospital (how to know someone is dying), and, sometimes most important, how it's to be dealt with when nothing much can be done to prevent it. Who do you talk to? How do you approach a family of someone who's died? (Not all of them are "grieving," so I said it another way.) What will be your reaction? Who can you talk to?

It's one of the big subjects which we're supposed to learn on our own.