But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me

“I have cancer,” was the title of my column last winter. It’s cancer of the prostate gland, an obscure, walnut-size gland in the male anatomy.

Prostate cancer is about as common as breast cancer. It’s a leading cancer killer among American men, second only to lung cancer.

It kills by spreading, typically to the bones, liver and lungs. Bones ache and break, the liver shuts down, and the lungs fill with fluid and blood.

If caught sufficiently early, however, the cancerous gland can be surgically removed in a five-hour operation. The anesthetized patient is strapped into an operating table 45 degrees upside down so that gravity pulls his guts away from the prostate gland deep in his lower abdomen. Half a dozen incisions are made across his middle. With the help of a computerized robot, the surgeon dodges intestines, nerves and blood vessels to access, cut free and extract the scoundrel.

The surgery often results in side effects such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction. An alternative treatment is to kill the gland with a radiation regimen, but that tends to produce the same side effects.

Another approach is to just carefully monitor the cancer. The growth of prostate cancer is usually (but not always) slow. Patients often live for years or even decades.

They call this “watch and wait.” What they’re watching and waiting for is to see if the cancer is spreading quickly enough to kill the man before something else does anyway.

Watch and wait didn’t fit my cancer profile. It was already Continue reading

Should Everyone go to College?

Guess what these people have in common: Ansel Adams, Walt Disney, Bob Dylan, Thomas Edison, Bobby Fischer, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Barry Goldwater, William Randolph Hearst, Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller, J.D. Salinger, Taylor Swift, Ted Turner, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s what. None of them graduated college. Several never attended. A few didn’t graduate high school and one didn’t finish the fifth grade.

They did OK.

Would Windows 10 be more intuitive if only Gates hadn’t dropped out of Harvard? If Whitman had gone to college, would he have referred to the “blades” of grass and not the “leaves”?

Would Ansel Adams have graduated to color photography if only he’d graduated community college? If Zuckerberg had gone to college, would Facebook stop pestering me to complete my bio?

No, no, no and no.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, educators pride themselves on the notion that 100 percent — not 75 percent or 90 percent or even 98 percent, but 100 percent — of their students should go to college.

Why? Continue reading

It’s His First Rodeo

CowboyChurchYoungRodeoClownIn the old days here in Aspen, the cowboys had an expression.  When someone questioned their competence, they deadpanned, “It’s not my first rodeo.”

This expression comes to mind after watching President Barrack Obama the last seven years.

Early on, he told a Republican Congressman with whom he was negotiating over the budget, “Don’t call my bluff.”

I’m not a saloon poker player, but I do know that when you bluff it’s important not to tell the other players.

Obama bluffed.  He told the Republicans he was bluffing.  He asked them not to call his bluff.  They called it.  And Obama folded.  Huh.

In the field of negotiating with the opposing political party, it was Obama’s first rodeo.

In his first two years, Obama Continue reading

The Dems Try to Spell ABC

“Anybody But Clinton” — or “ABC” — is now the battle cry of the Dems in the presidential campaign.

Here in swing state Colorado, and in other swing states as well, recent polls show Hillary Clinton badly trailing unknown Republican candidates. In particular, her scores on trustworthiness have plunged as people see her record of mendacity.

I’m not talking about the stale scandals of her husband’s presidency 15 years ago — the ones that Hillary attributed to a “vast right-wing conspiracy” until a certain stained blue dress turned up.

No, I’m talking about fresh ones. Just recently, Hillary:

• Set up a homebrew computer system on which she illegally intermingled government business as secretary of state, foundation business and personal business;

• Deleted 34,000 emails from that system after Congress requested them;

• Falsely maintained that there was no Congressional subpoena to produce those emails, and

• Falsely claimed that her email system did not transmit any classified government information. (The New York Times recently reported that in fact, it did. Two inspector generals — both appointed by President Barack Obama — are calling for a Justice Department investigation.)

Even prominent Dems such as Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein has publicly declared that Hillary Continue reading