29 January 2016

After the Blizzard

Snow on 72nd Street between 35th and 37th avenues after the blizzard, Jackson Heights, 24 January 2016. (Photograph by Elyaqim Mosheh Adam, under a Creative Commons BY‐NC license.)

Taken with Nikon Coolpix S6900, edited with PicMonkey.

27 January 2016

After some of my friends requested information on my health and others expressed some confusion over it, I offer this health update.

• As you may remember, the x‐ray I had in August for sciatica incidentally revealed evidence of kidney stones, which led in October to a visit with a urologist who ordered another x‐ray and a CT scan so he could properly diagnose me. Much of November and December was spent correcting multiple billing, scheduling and authorization errors made by the health providers’ offices and by the insurance company, but I finally received the x‐ray and CT scan on different days earlier this month. When I was again seen by the urologist, the test results showed, not surprisingly, that I do indeed have kidney stones, and they are large enough that he recommended laser lithotripsy. Because I am in no pain and because I am facing significant oral surgery in the near future, we postponed my next urology visit until springtime.

• The last time I was seen by the oral surgeon in October, x‐ray and CT scan results showed that I had good bone tissue regrowth, but that the tumor itself hadn’t shrunk significantly. The aforementioned billing, scheduling and authorization errors, as well as the snowstorm, delayed the following visit, but it will be tomorrow (Wednesday), and based on our telephone conversations, the removal of the tumor on my jawbone is imminent, possibly within the next two weeks.

24 January 2016

🌳 A picture of an almond tree in the Land of Israel, in honor of the Jewish New Year of the Trees (ראש השנה לאילנות‎).

Uncredited illustration in Palestine: The Physical Geography and Natural History of the Holy Land …, by John Kitto, London: Charles Knight & Co., 1841, 212. (In the public domain.)

04 January 2016

Taken in by the Propaganda

The only thing that marred my otherwise wonderful extended New Year’s/Perihelion weekend was hearing in conversation that two different intelligent Jewish‐American atheist friends of mine have apparently fallen for the propaganda of fanatically religious Islamic extremists and their allies: One of them was accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” for issuing identification numbers, and the other was saying that radical Islam is no more a problem than extremism in any other religious group and that terrorism has nothing to do with Islamic doctrine but instead with economic disadvantages and a loss of “dignity” that make terrorists turn to terrorism in order to “shake things up.” This was saddening and disheartening but is also quite rare in my social circles.