The Flag

The Flag
by Grace Noll Crowell

America, America, a band goes marching by
A flare of trumpets down the street
And bright against the sky
A sweep of color ripples out
And a flag flies high

A gleam of scarlet on the blue
A light upon the hill
The flag, The flag, America
Is lifted waving still
And in each breast a song of thanks
In every heart a thrill

America, America
The marching martial band
Beats out the measure of your might
The power of your hand
But nothing stirs the heart like this
High flag above the land

God keep your flag, America —
As clean and bright as when
It first unfurled above the heads
Of brave undaunted men —
So free that men will never need
To die for it again

Richard “Dick” Trickle 1941-2013

I met Dick Trickle on September 9th 2000 at the Richmond International Raceway. It was the afternoon before the Busch race.  He kept hitting me up for my Camels and telling me how much he liked racing the short tracks.  We just sat there awhile smoking cigarettes and talking about racing.  When I asked him if it were true that he use to smoke in the race cars he said to me, in his mid-western drawl “Yeeeeeah they don’t let me do that anymore.”
You see that May earlier in the year I went on the Zippo website and took a quiz about NASCAR racing.  Needless to say I won the Grand Prize of a day at the track with Jimmy Spenser driving the #20 Zippo car in the Busch race on a Friday night.  Dick was driving for Jimmy that night in the #99 Schneider National car.  My bud Jim who went with me to the race spent the afternoon talking with Jimmy Spenser while I walked up to Dick and introduced myself as a fan of his going back to the Grand National Racing days.  He told me all about how to go into a corner on a short track and when to get back in the gas coming out of the turn.
I had a memorable afternoon with a racing legend.
Dick Trickle came in third place in the race that night.  Jimmy Spenser took fifth place.

Dick Trickle took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot.  He was 71 years old.
R.I.P. Dick Trickle

Our System of Government


A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers


Social Justice

Some scholars reject the very idea of social justice as meaningless, religious, self-contradictory, and ideological, believing that to realize any degree of social justice is unfeasible, and that the attempt to do so must destroy all liberty. Perhaps the most complete rejection of the concept of social justice comes from Friedrich Hayek of the Austrian School of economics:

There can be no test by which we can discover what is ‘socially unjust’ because there is no subject by which such an injustice can be committed, and there are no rules of individual conduct the observance of which in the market order would secure to the individuals and groups the position which as such (as distinguished from the procedure by which it is determined) would appear just to us. [Social justice] does not belong to the category of error but to that of nonsense, like the term `a moral stone’.

Ben O’Neill of the University of New South Wales argues that, for proponents of “social justice”:

the notion of “rights” is a mere term of entitlement, indicative of a claim for any possible desirable good, no matter how important or trivial, abstract or tangible, recent or ancient. It is merely an assertion of desire, and a declaration of intention to use the language of rights to acquire said desire. In fact, since the program of social justice inevitably involves claims for government provision of goods, paid for through the efforts of others, the term actually refers to an intention to use force to acquire one’s desires. Not to earn desirable goods by rational thought and action, production and voluntary exchange, but to go in there and forcibly take goods from those who can supply them!

Janusz Korwin-Mikke argues simply: “Either ‘social justice’ has the same meaning as ‘justice’ – or not. If so – why use the additional word ‘social?’ We lose time, we destroy trees to obtain paper necessary to print this word. If not, if ‘social justice’ means something different from ‘justice’ – then ‘something different from justice’ is by definition ‘injustice'”

Sociologist Carl L. Bankston has argued that a secular, leftist view of social justice entails viewing the redistribution of goods and resources as based on the rights of disadvantaged categories of people, rather than on compassion or national interest. Bankston maintains that this secular version of social justice became widely accepted due to the rise of demand-side economics and to the moral influence of the civil rights movement.


Well I’ve been home for two weeks now and am doing quite well.  All my little scars are healing nicely and I no longer have any pain.  My first week home was very difficult and painful.  I was flat on my back or up and walking around.  You see  anything in between these was very painful.  I came home with a catheter installed in me and it made sitting or lying on my side very painful.  So I spent the first week doing alot of laying about.

Then came 14 November and I had the catheter removed.  Yea!  All my pain went away.  The only problem left is incontinence.  I have no control over my bladder.  The prostate along with a sphincter muscle are how we hold our pee from just flowing whenever it wants to.  Well I no longer have a prostate so I am in the midst of learning to just use the sphincter muscle to control my pee.  I am in the early stages of this.  I have to wear an adult diaper for now but every day I get a little bit better than the day before.  Soon I’ll get to a point wherein I’ll only have to wear a pad to catch the little bits that don’t get held 100%.

Despite the temporary incontinence I think the whole surgery thing has gone very well.  I no longer have any cancer inside me growing and becoming something scarier.  That was the whole idea behind all this.  Now if the two little spots on my right lung are found to be nothings I will be able to say I am cancer free and that’s what I’m hoping for.

The Surgery

They wheeled me into the Operating Room and I went out like a light bulb.  The next thing I know the Surgeon is telling me how well the operation went and how al lthe cancer was removed.  I spent most the afternoon in the recovery room then they took me up to my hospital room.  The nurses were nice enough but they had me on some powerful pain medications and I couldn’t sleep while there.  I spent Thursday staring at the walls and generally being out of it.  I stopped the pain meds on Thursday evening because it was just making me stoned.  On Friday the Doctors resident came by to tell me that my labs were all fine and that I could go home anytime I wanted.  I got out of bed for the first time and it was easier than I thought it was going to be.  I got schooled on how to work and care for my catheter.  I walked around the room a bit and was kinda’ getting my legs back when my sister Cathie showed up.  We walked all the way to the front entrance of the hospital and she was nice enough to pull the car around.  I got a ride home and here I am recovering.  The important part is that they got all the cancer removed and pretty soon I’ll be back to normal.


I’m Home

I made it through.

I left home on Wednesday morning, the 7th at 0500 I was in the OR by 0730.  I have little memory of being in the recovery room but I remember going to my hospital room and I’ve been there ever since.  I was flat on my back for two days.  I got out of bed this morning for the first time and now I’m at home.

One day for surgery.  One day for recovery and BAM I get sent home.

I’ll write more tomorrow.

The New Surgeon

Well after some intensive research I found a Urologist/Surgeon at The Penn State Hershey Medical Center that I am comfortable with operating on me.  His name is Jay Ramen MD and he has a great resume.  I met with him last Tuesday and we went over everything I’ve been through for the last four months.  What information that the original doctor didn’t send him I had with me so he was able to get a complete picture of where I’m at in this saga.  He seems like a very knowledgeable and nice guy.  I told him that I knew this hospital is a Medical School so I was prepared to be operated on in a theater and was ready for students to be filling my room during the morning rounds.  He said no.  He told me he does all his surgeries himself and that he works with a single resident so I don’t have to worry about being operated on by students nor having them all walking through my room during recovery.  He told me I’ll be in the hospital for 2 days and will have a catheter installed for only about a week

The surgery is scheduled for 7 November.  Before that I have to meet with my family doctor and find out what the results of the blood culture is on Monday then I get to go have an MRI so that Dr. Ramen can have a clearer picture of my prostate on Wednesday and then the Pre-Op meeting with Dr. Ramen’s team is next Friday.  This is where I get to meet with him again as well as his resident and the attending nurses.  On the same day I also meet with the Anesthesiologist.  All this is done a few days before the operation so everyone including myself are all on the same page and will be ready to go on the day of the operation.

I am more than ready to have this over and done with!

The Surgery That Wasn’t

Over the past week I have had the Pre-Op meeting with the surgeon and a cardiac stress test and had some blood drawn.  All the tests were over and I was ready for the surgery.  On Sunday I was at my sisters Cathie’s house because she took me to the hospital at 0530 on Monday morning.  On Sunday I was only allowed to drink clear liquids and at 1500 I started the bowel cleanse.  By 1700 I was shitting liquid and this went on for the rest of the evening.  Hey, it had to be done.
So I awake at 0400 and complete the 3 S’s (Shower, Shit and Shave) and we are on our way to the hospital at 0500.  We get there right at 0530.  We find our way to the registration office and I fill out all their forms and papers.  From there I am escorted into a small hospital room to disrobe and get into one of those hospital gowns, get my IV put in, get shaved and fill out more paperwork.  Now I’m fully prepped and ready for the OR.  I get wheeled to the other side of the hospital and placed in a recovery room right outside of the OR.  I meet with the Anesthesiologist and everything is a go.  The surgery was scheduled for 0730 and at 0730 the surgeon shows up and promptly announces that my blood test from last week showed an elevated white blood cell count meaning I have an infection and can not be operated on.

WTF!  was my reaction as was everyone else’s.  Here I am laying on a hospital bed fully prepped for surgery and I’m told it’s not going to happen!  The surgeon went on to explain that my white count is 20,000 wherein it should be around ten.  Everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off so I ask why not do another blood test to verify the test from last week.  It stopped everyone in their tracks.  What a good idea!  They take some blood and I’m left alone for about 45 minutes and everyone shows back up and tells me my white count is still too high so no surgery.
There was no apology.  There was no ,”I’m sorry this happened at the last moment”.  Nothing.  I was told to take the blood test to my family doctor and get it taken care of.  Period.
The arrogant bastard of a surgeon never bothered looking at my blood test until walking into the hospital to perform the surgery.  So I have an appointment with my family doctor next Monday 1 October.  I have to go to her office sometime this week to give a urine sample and then next week she’ll put me on an antibiotic.
Meantime I get to shop for a new surgeon.

The Surgeon

Yesterday I saw the surgeon and we talked about all the different options available to me and I stuck to my guns and told him I want a radical prostatectomy.  After going over all the tests I’ve undergone he agreed that it is the best course of action for me.  We talked for a long time about Erectile Dysfunction and incontinence.  I will come home from the hospital with a catheter and it will be there for about two weeks or so.  Afterwards I will have to re-teach myself how to hold it.  As far as the ED goes he claims that the neuro-vascular bundles on each side of the prostate will be spared so there is a good chance that I will be fully functional after the surgery.
He’s a real good guy.  As it turns out we grew up about 3 blocks from each other.  His name is R. Scott Owens and he’s considered the best in his business.  We scheduled the surgery for Monday September 24th.  I have a bunch of lab work and tests to undergo before the 24th and I am going to give a pint or two of my blood just in case I need a transfusion.  I can’t wait until this is all over!