Dec 31

The year is over. We are still alive in spite of Obama. Life goes on. The end of the year gives us pause to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re heading for the year to come.

2011 has been a good year. My surgical practice has slowed down a bit, and I am giving Obama just a little less support than in years past. I have not done as many bicycle rides as I wished. Betsy and I have been able to spend more time together, and that has been most enjoyable. One particular highlight of the year has been our trip to Europe, having Betsy meet Katja und Hannes for the first time, and getting to see Italy. It’s always a treat to touch base with Onkel Herbert. Russ Anderson has been very special this year in providing a real friend to go bicycling with. The elaboration of those trips last year can be found on the various blog posts in

Betsy and I are thinking about next year. I will be going to about four surgical conferences, including the Miami Breast conference with Betsy and Society of Surgical Oncology meeting with Dr. Tate in Orlando, both in March. I’d like to go to the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting in Phoenix in late April. Betsy and I also plan to go to the American College of Surgeons meeting in Chicago in October.  We anticipate a trip to Germany and Switzerland in early June, hopefully where I could do some bicycle riding with Russ and Carsten (and maybe Peter?), as well as seeing Katja and Hannes, Herbert, Hille (Herbert’s sister), Marike (student in Bonn whom we met in Cameroon, Udo Middelmann in Switzerland (Francis Schaeffer’s son-in-law) and our good friends Mike (and Carolyn) who is doing a year teaching Sabbatical in Lausanne, Switzerland. That might be a little too packed of an agenda, but… In November, Betsy and I are seriously planning a trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel. We’ll do the tour sort of thing. I’ve never been to the Holy Land, but have always wished to go. If you are interested, come along with. We will be going with the Rev. Dr. John (, who I found after a long internet search.

I continue to ride my bike. Yesterday was enjoyable in taking Patrick for his first long bicycle ride. He did about 8 miles. Not bad for an 8 yo kid on a 20 inch bicycle. It got rather cold at the end, the sun going down about 15 minutes before the end of our ride. Typically, I’ll ride the trainer. It’s one of my bicycles hooked up to a virtual reality trainer (Tacx). I’ll usually have iTunes going. This last year, I’ve been working through the series on Romans by Martyn Lloyd-Jones while training. I am now down to about 97 more 50 minute sermons out of 353 sermons. That’s a lot of sermons on Romans, and tends to be repetitive. You’ll get a review on that series once I’m done with it.

While sitting at my computer, I listen to music. My iTunes has a total of 721 gBytes of music and lectures, etc. One may wonder what I do with so much music. Well, I listen to it. It’s mostly classical, a total of 359 gBytes, or 175 days of constant listening. Making a smart playlist, I started working through everything a little over a year ago. I’m now down to 94 days, or 196 gBytes of classical music left. Right now, I’m listening to a little known piano concerto by Mendelssohn, which is actually quite good and doesn’t deserve obscurity — a trait true of much of classical music.

I continue to read every moment possible. Currently I am working through Gregg Allison’s Historical Theology, and am about 1/2 way through. I am reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski on the Kindle. I have a massive lineup of books remaining on my shelves and in the Kindle store that I must read. I’ll need to quit medicine just to get my reading done. For time with Betsy, we’ll usually watch things like Teaching Company series together, and are currently working on a series about Oceanography. We are becoming adept at speaking about the pelagic vs. neridic realms of the ocean, knowing the difference between plankton and nekton, etc., etc., as well as understanding the various forces that make the ocean a wonderful world. For a lighter note, Betsy and I will watch movies. We have just started the films of Clint Eastwood, a total of about 40 that we’ll be seeing. Reviews for those films will have to wait! We still don’t have television, and I refuse to pay for cable. When we must watch something, we’ll watch it over the internet if it’s available.

I will be turning 58 in 2012. I’m not sure how much longer I will want to continue practicing medicine. It’s a serious love-hate relationship. I love the practice of surgery, but it’s everything else that one needs to put up with. Government has taken complete control of medicine, and turned it into an uncaring prohibitively expensive beast. Desperately needed tort reform is now a long-gone wish. As one pundit commented, “America is no longer governed by the rule of law, but by the rule of lawyers”. Such a statement could not be closer to the truth. Political processes are always preempted by court decisions. Democratic or Republic behavior no longer exists in the USA. We are governed by the tyranny of the courts. It wouldn’t be so bad if lawyers were behaved. Unfortunately, lawyers have devolved into a subhuman species. It’s hard to know what to compare them to, but the cyclops  is most fitting. Cyclops have only one eye, are monsters seeking to destroy anything alive that is not one of their own, will act even more intentionally and violently when their one eye is put out, a threat to anything else in existence. That’s the good part about what I have to say about lawyers. Don’t get me going on their bad side.

Those of us that work in the public realm have occasions from time to time with lawyers. Much of this we are not allowed to openly discuss for privacy concerns, and so will discretely tailor my statements. Physicians are advised to avoid a jury trial as much as possible, as juries tend to ignore the facts and are easily swayed by emotion. There is no rule of law in the courtroom. The selection of juries has become a joke. It used to be a trial by your peers or neighbors. Now, it is a trial before the a highly selected group of individuals based on the bias of the judge, people who would rather be anywhere than setting on a jury or people who are so worthless in society they have nothing better in life to do. The instructions to the jury often counter the constitution, which is why I will not set on a jury. I’ve written more on this elsewhere. The prevailing consensus among Joe Public is that justice no longer exists, and that is for the most part true. Why do we do everything to avoid the courts? If our neighbor sues us for using the wrong type of fertilizer that gives him asthma attacks, the costs in court will be prohibitive, it will be unbearable stress, and a flip of the coin will determine which way the judge may lean, even after hours of defending your case. It’s too easy to create a case, as you have little to loose in the process. Lawyers will determine the case based on their merit, which means, if it is possible for the lawyer to make a good profit off of a case. In the end, the plaintiff and defendant lawyers win, and the plaintiff and defendant loose. I’ve seen so many people destroy their lives by taking someone else to court, get lost in a long court trial, and even if they win the trial, much of the money ends up squandered or in the hands of the lawyers. Nobody but the lawyers win. We were taught well as kids to never sue, and for the most part, that remains true. There are three prongs to the solution. 1. Go back to the European court process where the looser pays all court costs. 2. Use Biblical law, which truly punishes offenses to others and demands restitution or death penalty in serious cases. There is no prison term in Biblical law. If you are a violent murderer, you die. If you stole, you repay. If your debt is too great, you become an indentured servant (slave) for 7 years to the person you owe to. Bankruptcy would not be tolerated, and Donald Trump would be picking cotton for the next 30 years. 3. Return to a Christian society that thinks in a Judeo-Christian fashion and holds Christian morality as the highest of all possible goods. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen, even if every non-Christian were immediately terminated. So, we tolerate matters, try to keep our nose clean by living morally, and if one must suffer for doing good, they will get their blessing and reward in the end. It is good that for a Christian, this short life is not the totality of existence.

So, I wish you all a happy New Year.  Keep looking up, and keep  your stick on the ice.

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5 Responses to “End of Year Ramblings”

  1. rachel van voorst says:

    You forgot to add that you want to come visit your favorite Iowan daughter Rachel sometime this next year !

  2. Rachel;
    We just bought tickets to visit you and Alex, so, here we come at the end of July. There are many other small planned trips that I did not mention. But, I should have mentioned you!

  3. Mark says:

    Hi Ken,

    I believe you used to post on the ACDiscussion board occassionally? I’ve since left the ACC, but I used to be a moderator/admin there.. markj81.

    Anyways, I’m glad to have discovered your blog.

    Two things.

    1. You are reading Crime and Punishment. Nice! Have you read anything else by Dostoevsky? I love his work! Do you read much literature? I’ve seen you post a lot of book reviews, but it seems its mainly non-fiction? For my blog, I’ve been interviewing/surveying a number of Christians who have a passion for literature. Basically I pose 10 questions and then post the answers on my blog under a post called “Christians and Literature – 10 Questions for [Name]”. If you think you’d be interested, send an email to [email protected] and I’ll send you the 10 questions!

    2. In regard to the loser-pays court system, I think thats bascally what Canada has (which is where I live). If I take you to court in Canada and I lose the case, I have to pay your court costs. Honestly, I think it is great and the US should implement it ASAP. Taking someone to court frivilously or on invalid grounds is aggression in my mind and recouping the court costs is the LEAST that should be compensated.. We still have frivilous lawsuits in Canada, but a lot less of them and its a good policy overall, I think.

    Anyways, take care.

  4. Uncle Dennis says:

    Maybe in 2012 you can separate from the new crop of semi-literates who do not know the difference in spelling between “loose” and “lose” and start using “lose” as the spelling when that is what you mean, which is most of the time that “loose” appears instead.

    It sounds to me that you have become an “infoholic”. Running a lot of information through your brain is no substitute for thinking.

  5. I blame spelling issues entirely on my inadequate schooling. If only I could have had Mr. Boniwell for senior English. Remember him?
    “Infoholic”? I don’t think so. You seem to have read more than me…
    Perhaps you are accusing me of the Jannes and Jambres syndrome, found in II Tim
    “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ” (ESV)
    Yet, Scripture holds learning of great value, if accompanied by a spirit of humility and obedience to that truth.

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