Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shooting and a lesson learned

I wanted to post on the subject of shooting. I am blessed to have good neighbors. One of my neighbors is Lamar. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is also sort of a gun collector. We, on occassion, go down to the Wakulla County Sheriffs shooting range. If you own a gun then the problem persists as to where are you ever going to shoot it. Lamar and I solved that by going 40 miles down to the country. The sheriff there is very kind in that he opens up his facility to the public. On one recent excursion I learned a lesson concerning contrasts.

While Lamar and I were shooting our handguns at some innocent little paper targets there were some deputies apparently being qualified on their new assault rifles. We stood and watched them shooting and were amazed at the amount of fire power they held in their hands. It was impressive seeing them handle and perform with those weapons.

Now these were AR15's. They hold 30 rounds of ammo and you could squeeze those rounds off in a matter of seconds. After they run empty you just slap in another magazine and repeat. The ammo is lethal. It is about 2..5 inches long and would be coming at you so fast that it would be nigh unto impossible to avoid being hit, if you were the target. You ask yourself why do Sheriff's deputies have to have such a sophisticated piece of firepower? The answer is quite simplistic. Because the bad guys have all got assault rifles and anything else you can imagine.

Now I have to introduce you to Keith, one of my other neighbors. He is a retired cop with FDLE. He is another nice guy. Lamar and I got to speaking with Keith and he invited us into his house to look at a couple of guns that he was proud of. They were turn of the 19th century powder and ball muskets. They were quite impressive. He took them down off the wall and allowed us to heft them and look at them. These guns were responsible for helping us, as a country, to win our independence from Great Britain.

These smooth bore muskets were quite heavy. As I held the one of them I could not help but contrast what we had seen earlier down at the WCSO shooting range. In every Revolutionary or Civil war movie I ever saw, I recalled two lines of enemies facing off at one another and firing these guns point blank at the other guy. They had to shoot and then reload, filling the powder receptacle with powder and then putting a lead ball down the muzzle with a rod for that purpose. To shoot 10 rounds took them about 15 minutes. Another part of the story is that from 100 yards or more the balls fired were terribly innacurate and ineffective. The damage came from the soldier charging you and working you over with the fixed bayonettes.

I am 65 years of age. Somtimes the progress of mankind just dumbfounds me. Early in my career, just after college, I was administered a test by IBM as to whether or not I had any data processing aptitude. Turned out that I did. This was about 1970. My company wanted me to go off and let IBM train me up on a new data processing system that they were going to implement. I had just finished 4 years of hard work getting that BS and had enough. I passed on the opportunity, electing to be a sales and marketing guy.

I remember that we cleared out a room for the equipment. It was a room about 18x20 feet. There was a key punch station, card sorter and printer. That equipment looked like farm equipment. The little Blackberry that I hold in my hand today is abut 1000 times more efficient and 1,000,000 times faster than that stuff was.

My point is simply this ( and it is no epiphany ): This age we live in is so fast paced that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all. Somedays I feel like a cave man trying to keep up. But I keep trying. If I don't keep trying, life will knock me flat as one of those rounds from that AR15.

There are some sweet sides of it as well. I got a picture sent to me by my son in law of my two granddaughters selling lemonade in their driveway. How did it come? In an envelope with a stamp? No, it came through the airways onto my smartphone, seconds after it was taken. I watched 11 hours of football yesterday. BYU-FSU; 'Bama-Duke; Bulldogs and Razorbacks; LSU-So Miss.; Auburn-Clemson. I never left my recliner, except to get a snack. I watched on digital cable with high definition. It was better than being there.

I love it! Don't you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mosque across from All Saints Church, Mayberry

Sometimes I think the media just tries to determine how riled up they can get everyone. This preacher in Gainesville could not have bought the publicity he has recently gotten for many millions of dollars. It has been intriguing to watch the national scribes whip the populace up into a frenzy.

You know, I don't really like the fact that this minister is going to burn copies of the Koran. Yet my logical mind tells me that if this guy had done this secretly and told no one then the world would still have continued to turn on it's axis. Of course then he would have remained the obscure little sociopath that he is. Do you suppose that this guy ever graduated from junior high school? Yet he has been contacted by the white house, Hilliary Clinton, General Petraeus, and on and on. He has much more notoriety than you and I do. Why? Because he is being used as the poster child for intolerance, bigotry and downright ignorance.

I know several people who are Muslim. I would just about have to say without any qualification that they are good, good people. They work hard and take care of their families. So what is the rub on these poor folks?

Well it is just like this. It is the extremists that we fear and loathe. Indeed we are at war with the extremists who brought down the twin towers. Why did they do that? Because they are nutcakes, intolerant, bigoted and ignorant. There is an organization named the Ku Klux Klan. What is their schtick? Intolerance, bigotry and ignorance. They started out as a means whereby the Protestant churches of the mid-1800's decided to deal with the question of slavery. The last time I checked the KKK is not doing all that well. It is a commentary on the many billions of dollars and time expended in corporate headquarters all over the globe holding diversity and sensitivity seminars that have tanked such intolerant organizations.

Now we see this phenomenon on our radar. It comes from the very people who have been the seedbed for the undoing of political incorrectness and bigotry over the years, the big media. This brouhaha has not been fostered by some little incidental BLOG. It has come about by the mainstream media. It is truly strange in derivation. I will admit, I just do not comprehend the whys and the wherefores of this tempest in a teacup.

I am a product of small town America. That gives me quite a bit of credit. Hillsdale, West Virginia is not a town it is a wide spot in the road. I am a disciple of the Andy Griffith era. I read this BLOG by Kay Campbell a Huntsville Times blogger and found it amusing. Take a look at it and see if you can decipher how Andy would have handled this mosque business.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What CPT code do you hit for "Friend therapy"?

A CPT code is coder language for how a healthcare provider bills your insurance for services. My physician son-in-law is on his way to a conference on this very subject as he begins his new career as a physician. I spent a week in Dallas when I worked for a healthcare company to learn as much as I could about ICD-9 codes and CPT codes in billing for a particular therapy in which my company was involved. Mind numbingly BORING.

So what is the point of my post today? I am never sure but here are some random thoughts about how we often receive therapy and are never billed for it. I have to take you back in time when I was a sales specialist for a drug called Revia (naltrexone HCl). Our indication, or license, was for alcoholism. This drug helped along with therapy and counseling to get alcoholics off the booze. It never was a big time winner but I was fairly successful with it. Anyways it was fun to talk about.

I remember being invited to a drug and alcohol treatment facility by our representative in Pensacola to speak with people about Revia. I also had an appointment with the sitting President of the Florida Psychiatric Association. This visit went very well. This physician/psychiatrist was keenly interested in what we had to tell him and it worked out to be a very nice interchange. We had a little time left at the end of our presentation and we were just sitting around shooting the bull with this brilliant physician. The local rep, Howard, threw a very thoughtful question out into the conversation. He asked, " Dr., when you are feeling sort of blue and low and disjointed, where do you go for therapy and answers to questions? I will never forget his response.

The physician looked thoughtfully at both of us and decided to give the question a response. This is what he said. " When I am having such a day as you describe I call a special friend. He is a man that is my age and makes his living as a tile setter. I went to kindergarten with him and ultimately graduated from high school with him. He and I climb onto a golf cart and spend 5 hours in pursuit of a dimpled spheroid. If I am in deep trouble, this visit could overlap into lunch or dinner. This man knows my soul and my heart. He always knows the right thing to say to me or not say to me. I always feel refreshed and enlightened after these sessions. I wish that my patients were to all have such a friend. Of course, I would soon be out of business if they all did."

I have often thought of that. I have a circle of friends that I play golf with and sometimes just go to lunch or breakfast with.. I have lots of acquaintances, numbering into the thousands. I have 256 facebook friends. However, there is only a small core of people that know my heart and soul. These are people that I count on. I am very fortunate that my wife is one of these people. I am also blessed that my son and daughters are in that circle. I also have 2 fine men who are married to my daughters that fill out this cadre of therapists. Along with it are little wider circle of people that I know from work, church, baseball, PTA, etc. They help me just when I sit and look at them. They square me up to the reality of important things.

No CPT code assessment is necessary in such therapeutic relationships. I wish that all people would avail themselves of such friends. There is also a wide army of people who are cynical, into private agendaes, selfish and painfully boring and opinionated. You know the type. You want to go hide in the bushes when you see them coming towards you.