Category Archives: 670 The Score

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I’m back.” — Michael Jordan

GOD, THE JERK

Can anyone dispute it?

Case in point.

The guy who performed the world’s first successful organ transplant, Dr. Joseph E. Murray, has died. Officials at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston announced his death yesterday.

Murray (center) Performing The First Successful Organ Transplant

Surgeons had been trying to transplant organs for decades before Murray hit upon transplanting the kidney of an identical twin into his brother in 1954. That was the key. All previously transplanted organs had been rejected by the receiving body. Murray was the guy over whose head the light bulb snapped on.

He figured it was genetics that caused all the rejections. If only, he concluded, you could transplant an organ from a donor whose DNA precisely matched the receiver. Ergo, twins.

It Just Might Work

After that, doctors all over the world quickly learned how to transplant other organs and how to swap parts between non-kin. Now, of course, organ transplant is routine.

Anyway, Murray told an interviewer once that he faced a lot of heat when he was doing his groundbreaking work. People called him Doctor Frankenstein, natch, and other shook their fingers — and their Bibles — at him.

Yup. The pious of this holy land warned Murray in no uncertain terms that god was steamed over his work. It was unnatural to take the kidney from one human and place it in another. It violated god’s law.

Teed Off — As Usual

I, for one, am thrilled that Murray ignored them. “We were just doing our work,” he said.

Since that time some 600,000 people have had their lives extended by organ transplants. The figure surprises me; I would have imagined many, many more folks would have received new kidneys and hearts and skin.

Here’s another thing I can’t quite grasp: As long as we as a species have decided to invent a god — that is, the creator of the Universe and the guy who has given us a guidebook for our behavior — why did we have to invent such a jerk?

I’M TIRED — ERGO, TERRIBLY ILL

Let’s stick with medicine. Only this has to do with how that particular science too often can become little more than a tawdry business.

I drove my sister up to Indy yesterday afternoon so she could catch her flight back home to Florida (where it was expected to be sunny and in the low 70s; I hate her.) By the way, The Loved One and I handled Thanksgiving weekend’s Glabbie Invasion fairly well. In fact, the whole gang seemed on reasonably good behavior: no blood or weapons were drawn and Gov. Daniels was able to demobilize the National Guard units he’d put on alert Wednesday night just in case.

It’s Okay, Boys, You Can Go Home Now

On the way back, I flipped through the channels and was able to pick up 670 The Score, one of the sports stations out of Chicago. A commercial came on for something called Nuvigil® which, technically, is the generic pharmaceutical compound, armodafinil, and is produced by Cephalon Inc.

Armodafinil is prescribed for people who suffer the dread disease, Shift Work Disorder.

Yes, the mad scientists and captains of industry who run Big Pharma have now transformed the yawn into an ailment.

Quick, Call An Ambulance!

Shift Work Disorder has become so ingrained in the doctor’s office culture that it’s referred to almost affectionately as SWD. You know as well as I do that whenever something becomes an acronym, it has become part of our human genome.

So now the fact that people who work overnights and have trouble getting enough sleep are viewed as suffering from a horrible malady and — whaddya know?! — need these new, miraculous little pills.

In fact, there’s a mysterious symptom of SWD that bedevils its sad victims. It’s called ES. Lord above, please don’t ever let me have to bear the horrors of ES. Scientists, chemists, and doctors must work around the clock to battle this scourge.

Somehow the heroic folks of Cephalon who put out the outfit’s website have mustered the courage to actually define ES. Yes, they have steeled themselves to type the words Excessive Sleepiness.

He Needs Pills, Stat!

The marvels of modern science! Who would have though that if you work nights and aren’t able to get enough sleep you’d become, well, sleepy?

Now, the sane among us agree that the optimal cure for SWD and its little brother, ES, is to look for a day job but, of course, that would preclude the need for Cephalon Inc.’s new, miraculous little pills.

It’s funny. There’s a group of people who have long had to work late into the night and have had trouble getting to sleep after their work shifts. They’re called musicians.

Musicians are notorious for having drug problems. Read any rock or pop or country star’s autobiography and nine times out of ten it’ll include several chapters on the author’s mighty battle with substances.

And just as invariably, they ascribe their early propensity to self-medicate to the twin needs of getting themselves up for their performances and then getting themselves down so they can sleep. They take speed or cocaine to prepare for the night’s gig and then they gulp downers or smoke pot or drink Southern Comfort (the foulest spirit ever distilled, BTW) to lull themselves into the arms of Morpheus.

Dr. Richards, I Presume

It’s an ugly vicious cycle, brought on by the performer’s need to make piles of cash in the short period that they may be popular and to provide ongoing employment for the dozens of people who depend on them. This kind of drug-taking is frowned upon.

Yet Nuvigil is advertised all day long and doctors prescribe it by the bushel-full.

Yet another thing I can’t figure.

GO AWAY, WOULDJA?

As long as I’m harping on the imponderables, how about this?

Who does Grover Norquist think he is and why in the world should we pay an iota of attention to such a grim-visaged, rigid, morally superior ideologue?

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“… Tammy Faye calls me and Ron Jeremy calls me. Erik Estrada sends me a Christmas card every year.” — reality show mannequin Trishelle Cannatella, testifying that even celebrity zombies enjoy Christmas.

A GIFTMAS CAROL

Hah! The Herald Times put my mug shot up. Must be a slow news day.

ANIMAL MECHANICS

Some pretty smart cookies live and work at the Indy Zoo. And I’m not just talking about the keepers and the animal researchers there.

Rob Shumaker is one of the alpha males at the zoo. He’s the boss of the Life Sciences department and is a world renowned expert on orangutans. He and two other critter scientists have written a book that dispels many of the notions we have about animals using tools. I’m not revealing too much by saying it isn’t just monkeys, apes, Republicans, and humans who use tools.

Shumaker

The book, “Animal Tool Behavior,” co-written with Kristina R. Walkup and Benjamin B. Beck, asserts that brain size and general smarts don’t determine which creatures use tools, as has been considered gospel until now. Wasps, spiders, dolphins, polar bears, and a host of other species could just as easily as Tim Allen been the star of “Home Improvement.” Maybe easier.

Guess: One Of These Two Is An Animal, The Other Is A TV Star

Wasps use rocks to smooth out soil. Some spiders throw sticky balls at flying insects and reel them in for supper.

The more we Homo Sapiens sapiens learn, the more we realize we (and Republicans) ain’t so special after all.

YES, BUT DO THEY USE TOOLS?

So, Nike has introduced a new pair of ugly sneakers, the Air Jordan 11 Retros. And — wouldn’t you know it? — some of Indianapolis’ finest citizens rioted at a couple of locations when they went on sale yesterday.

Just Looking At These Makes Me Want To Go Out And Break Windows

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A no-spamily, no-brattle zone.

◗ Bloomington author Julia Karr scored big with her teen dystopia novel “XVI.” Now, she’s back with the sequel, “Truth.”

Don’t take chances; buy both.

◗ Don’t these guys ever learn? The business-suited baboons at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are discontinuing their charitable giving for 2012. This despite the fact that the mob of them made a pretty penny — $826 million, to be more precise — last year. Oh, and the cartel also has some $750 million just laying around — cash reserves, they call it. But, sorry kids, there ain’t enough to spare for your schools.

◗ Hundreds of football ironheads from Penn State University have signed a fawning letter of support for their embattled former coach, Joe Paterno. Sports yapper Dan Bernstein of CBS-owned 670 The Score dismantles the letter point by point. Paterno, you may recall, heard about his pal Jerry Sandusky being seen sodomizing a little boy in the Penn State shower room. He grudgingly told his putative superiors (in truth, no one at PSU was superior to Joe Pa) and promptly forgot the whole thing. Meanwhile, Sandusky allegedly continued to have his way with young kids.

This is a tough thing for me to say in Bloomington, Indiana, but the more I learn about big-time college sports, the more it turns my stomach.

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