Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why I'm a Humanitarian:' Finish your food there are kids starving in Europe.'

Why I'm a Humanitarian:' Finish your food there are kids starving in Europe.'

When I was growing up my grandmothers and my mother would always say ,'Finish your food there are kids starving in Europe.'  The irony was that when they told me that in 1957-8 there probably were not that many kids starving in Europe, but maybe somewhere. However this was an important lesson for me that has stuck my entire life and has changed me.  The lesson I took away from that simple, though wrong, statement was that even small acts that we do can help others.  It has caused me to dedicating my life to doing as many small acts that like the butterfly effect can have ripples that spread out and make the world a better place.  I also had a Hebrew school teacher (the principal) Rabbi Elliot Ness who took a group of us out of Hebrew class with  everyone else to teach us Jewish Philosophy and Talmud.   We were taken out of class because they gave up on ever teaching us Hebrew and therefor we were Elliot Ness and the Unteachables (Groan) .  We learnt much more then the students in the regular Hebrew School and it has stuck. Two of the fundermentals of Jewish and Talmudic philosophy are Tikun Olum, Repair the World, and the Golden Rule 'Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.'  Itr was these three concepts drilled into me in my most formative years that have made my the person I am today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

When Nature Calls: Humanitarian Mission for Typhoon Yolanda

It is Tuesday morning 7:45 and as I am getting ready for work that day, my cellphone goes off. I was somewhat expecting the call on the other end. Five days earlier, the worst typhoon in recorded history hit Tacloban City, Philippines. Can I be ready to leave Des Moines in 36 hours for the Philippines for a disaster relief mission with Team Rubicon? Having patients scheduled, over the next two weeks, for both the office and procedures, I needed to instantly make a decision and the only decision that I could make was, of course, I would go. I quickly called my office and told them they needed to reschedule my office for the next two weeks and reschedule any procedures I had planned. I needed to get together last minute supplies to complement my ready bag that I always keep packed to respond to these calls.

This is the fourth time I responded to an emergency situation where I literally had to leave within hours to get there to give aid. The first was in 2002 to El Salvador for the earthquake that killed 28,000 people with Dr. Steve Gleason. The second was to Haiti five days after the earthquake to help the Israeli medical team. They were the first to arrive in Haiti to give aid. Eighteen months ago, I found myself in South Sudan in a humanitarian crisis of 150,000 refugees. This was created literally over the course of two weeks and people were dying of both poor medical care and malnutrition. Then this call. The call came from Team Rubicon, a group started during the Haiti earthquake response by a group of retired Special Forces medics. They told me they had desperate need for surgeons as I was second surgeon to join them. The other one coincidentally was also from Iowa Dr. Kyle Versteeg plastic surgeon from Fort Dodge.

The Typhoon called Haiyan or in the Philippines Yolanda, was, according to the website on the Weather Channel, the strongest storm recorded that landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed. At least 6,200 people were killed in the Philippines with over 11 inches of rainfall in less than 12 hours. In Tacloban, where we went, a storm surge completely washed the coast and essentially totally destroyed the city with a 15 to 19-foot wave equivalent to a tidal wave. Damages to agriculture and to infrastructure totaled almost 1 billion dollars.

Team Rubicon was the first organization, governmental, private or NGO to arrive in Tacloban after the typhoon hit, they had people on the ground within 36 hours. The group was well prepared and consisted of search and rescue teams, logistics teams and construction teams. They quickly assessed the situation and notified the headquarters of Team Rubicon of the needs, and the second team of additional search and rescue, logistics and construction people arrived two days later. My group was scheduled to arrive five days after the first team arrived. A medical team consisting of over 30 people including internists, two OB/GYN, two surgeons (both from Iowa, Dr. Kyle Versteeg and myself), and paramedics left the Los Angeles airport that Saturday night after staging and organizing equipment in Los Angles all day Saturday.

Upon arriving in Tacloban on Tuesday, we were brought to our forward staging area where the initial teams had set up a camp. This was in the parking lot of a warehouse that was donated for our use. The advanced team with the logistics people had established that there were two needs that we could fill; one was establishing a clinic in the portion of Tacloban City, which did not have any medical care and was several miles from the medical facility at the airport. The second was to provide medical care at Carigara District Hospital approximately 30 miles northeast of Tacloban City. Carigara had been hit extremely hard by the typhoon and the hospital was almost totally destroyed. Our building people were there almost immediately and were helping with reconstruction of the hospital, so that they could begin to see patients.

Our first impression upon arriving at Tacloban City airport was of enormous devastation. The buildings at the airport were essentially destroyed and in driving from the airport to the warehouse parking lot where we were staying, the amount of devastation was breathtaking. Having been in Haiti within five days of the earthquake, I can tell you that the infrastructure destruction in Tacloban City was more uniform and more complete than in Haiti, having been hit with a 16 to 20 foot surge wave that swept everything in front of it, destroying everything. In Haiti, almost half of the structures were not even damaged. In Tacloban City, there was not a single structure that was not either totally destroyed or significantly damaged to the point where it was uninhabitable. The lines at the airport included tens of thousands of people who were attempting to get on to Mercy Flights out of Tacloban City. After the planes that were bringing in supplies were unloaded, they were loading as many people as they could onto the supply transports, which had no seats, and were flying them back to Manila.

The first three days that I was in Tacloban, myself and 12 people established an Urgent Care Clinic in a local community in Tacloban City. Dr. Versteeg went up to Carigara District Hospital and I stayed to work in this clinic for the first three days. I was basically assigned to treat all of the patients who had wounds of any type.

There were two times that our search and rescue people came and took me to the home of someone who was unable to travel who had severe injuries. In one of the situations I needed to do amputation of the distal half of the fifth finger and debride an infected large wound in the patient’s foot. I literally did this sitting on the curbside with the patient’s hand and then foot on my lap doing the surgery. Fortunately, we had some local anesthetics so that I was unable to numb up the area prior to doing this. On each of the three days, I was at this local clinic I treated approximately 25 Filipinos with wounds ranging from severely infected gangrenous wounds to wounds with foreign bodies embedded in them. This was done with minimal supplies and equipment as our surgical supplies had not yet reached us at this point, I had a total of six instruments to do all the procedures that I had to do. We soaked the instruments in Dakin’s solution and then washed them off with alcohol between each use.

On my fourth day in Tacloban City, I was transported an hour-and-a-half to Carigara District Hospital, and took over for Dr. Versteeg there. A portion of the hospital was totally destroyed and the construction people from Team Rubicon had rebuilt the emergency room, which we were using for our operating room. They were also in the process of building a new operating room area with four operating rooms. I treated an additional 30 patients with severe wounds for the two days that I was at Carigara District Hospital. The most serious of these were degloving wounds of either the hand or foot. Fortunately, very few patients had limb loss situations. Since we had nothing but local anesthesia, any patients with severe wounds that needed major surgery were transported to the airport and then Medevac’d back to Manila on the next C130 or C140 transport plane. Both the United States Air Force and the Philippine Air Force were flying C130 or C140s, almost on the hour. In the five days that we were on the ground, our entire medical team treated over 1500 patients. We then handed off both the community clinic that we set up in Tocloban City and the hospital in Carigara, to Relief International, the medical relief unit of Kaiser Permanente. We traveled back to Manila for one day to decompress and then we were back in the States 11 days after we left. I never appreciated a shower as much as I did that first shower that I took when we got back to Manila and we were put up overnight in a very nice hotel. For the entire time that we were in Tacloban City and Carigara, our meals consisted of military MREs (meals ready to eat). They are definitely not gourmet meals!

It has to be remembered that when you go on a mission like this, you are not just providing the medical care to the patients, but you are doing two other really important things; one, you are giving hope to the relatives who are here in the United States, and secondly, more importantly you are giving hope to the people of the field, that they are not being forgotten by the rest of the world.

It is amazing the thankfulness and the appreciation that just radiates off of the people that are being helped. Even those that are not injured thank you from the bottom of their heart for the help that you are giving.

I have planned another mission to Guatemala in March of this year. There is a region, which has 25,000 people, and does not have a single medical personnel there. I am going to be setting up a group of 25 university-trained unemployed teachers to be health professionals. I am going to teach them how to do a health sanitation and nutrition survey, and each of them will have 1000 people under their care. After three months we will take the data, analyze it, and decide what is the best training and medical program and equipment that we need to give these 25 lay medical people, so that they can help improve the health and well being of people in this district. We will be going back there with a much larger force in late summer or early fall. If you are interested in getting involved with this project, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dr. Alan Koslow's Community Service

Dr. Koslow has had a commitment to Tikkun Olam a Jewish phrase that means repair the world, since he was a teenager. Before graduating from High School he effected his community and even the nation more then most people do in their lifetime. He has continued this throughout his life and has had a statewide, national and even an international impact since coming to Iowa. His impact breaks down to three areas 1) Global Health, 2) legislation and programs to improve health and 3) direct efforts to improve the health of his community and the nation.

Dr. Koslow has over the last ten years committed himself to helping those around the world in medical need and particularly in urgent medical need. To this end he has done seven international missions and prepared for three others that were canceled because of the circumstances. He has made a commitment to continue this and to this end has become a civilian -physician member of Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon is a team of retired military medics many special forces most with combat experience who have organized to “Team Rubicon is like a first response international aid organization mixed with a Tom Clancy novel. It's over 600 highly trained veteran-volunteers (and civilian supporters) that will deploy at a moment's notice to help in some of the world's most dire disaster zones. “ . He looks forward to doing one or two mission each year leaving his practice at a moments notice. He was one of the first responders arriving only a week after the earthquake in Haiti. see second half of story. He went back to Haiti two months later. He was also one of the early responders to the Earthquake in 2002 in El Salvador that killed 28,000 people. He was scheduled to go to Baghdad to run a medical clinic for two weeks in August of 2003, that was arranged in May before the situation deteriorated. The State Department canceled this mission. In august of 2001 he made arrangement to join an Israel medical team going to Uzbekistan in October. This was obviously canceled by 9-11. This past August he was literally on his way to the airport when the UN canceled his trip to Somalia, two blocks from where Black hawk Down happened, because it was too dangerous. The day he was scheduled to arrive in the clinic the clinic was hit by five bombs and completely destroyed. Team Rubicon is trying to arrange to go in January of February if the clinic is reconstructed. Dr. Koslow will be with them.

Dr. Koslow since coming to Iowa has been instrumental in either supporting, lobbying, proposing or drafting legislation that has improved the health of all Iowans. However this did not start in Iowa. As a teen in Queens NYC he was responsible for two programs that have had a national impact. He was one of ten students, five HS (the county student presidents) and five college (the student presidents of the five city universities) to come up with a new fund raising and public awareness method. They were the group to conceive of and organize the first ever March of Dimes Walk-A-thon the first walk to raise awareness and money for a charity. It has become the largest single charity fund raiser in the history of the world and has spurned hundreds of other organizations to do the same. He was the person to first propose and get approved a plan to allow HS seniors who have finished all their regents required course work to take a day off from school to do community service. This was a first in the nation program and has become routine around the country. In Iowa almost immediately on arriving here in 1995 he became an advocate lobbying for the passage of the s-CHIP plan to ensure all children in Iowa get health insurance. For this and his work during the 2000 presidential caucus period to organize the first ever major issues campaign to info the candidates, he won the National Volunteer Advocate of the Year award from the March of Dimes. He drafted the legislation in 2002 that expanded the testing of Birth defects in newborns in Iowa. He conceived of and lobbied to get passed the first in the nation state-wide Farm to School bill which ensures that locally grown food is served in Iowa Schools. Just this week he was appointed by the Governor to a Task Force to help implement this. He was the lead Advocate/Lobbyist to overturn the States ban on Stem cell research and to get $12 million given to University of Iowa for Stem Cell research. He drafted the first draft and lobbied for what ultimately became the Iowa healthy Kids Bill which at the time was hailed as the strongest bill of it's kind in the USA.

Dr. Koslow does not just work from afar but gets in there and so to speak gets his hands dirty. Besides having saved four men in three separate instances where he had to put his own life in danger he does much more mundane work. He is a member of the Polk County Medical society Volunteer physician network. This group gives free care to those who cannot afford it. He has built a play area for a safe house for abused woman and children. He started and chairs a blood drive in Atlanta each year at Dragon-con that over the ten years has had close to 10,000 donors donating close to 30,000 units of blood saving thousands if not tens of thousand. More then any physician could save in twenty lifetimes. He has given hundreds of free talks to community groups. In college and med school he was involved with the FAST team that staged disaster drills for first responders. He participated in over 500 which had an impact of more people being saved by those first responders because they were better prepared.

Here is a list of just the major thinks Dr. Koslow does. There is not a day that goes by that he is not doing something to improve the health and well being of others above and beyond his medical practice for which he does not get reimbursed. His wife recently said 'You come up with so many great ideas why can't you come up with some to make us more money. Dr Koslow thought I am getting paid in the best way possible knowing that the world is a better place because I was here. He describes himself as a community activists that supports himself by being a vascular surgeon.

1. 1967-1971 Volunteer Montefiore Hospital NYC over 3000 hours
2. March-April 1968 one of 15 people who obtained over 500,000 signatures to keep Star Trek the Original Series on the air by going up and down Subway Cars.
3. 1968-1971 involved in over thirty protests for issues such as the environment, civil rights and peace.
4. 1970 Saved the life of a fellow volunteer at a SCCA sanctioned Trans-Am race while working track rescue.
5. 1970 Saved the life of a driver during a SCCA Can-Am race after his car crashed into a retaining wall and burst into flames, cutting him out of the car and dragging him away before the car exploded.
6. 1970-1971 Student member NAACP of Queens.
7. 1969-71 volunteered at over 30 SCCA sponsored races as Pit Marshall(1969), Flagging/communication/track rescue(1970) and Timing and Scoring (1971).
8. 1970-1971 President Queens Borough Student Council (representing 26 HS's in Queens NYC)
9. One of ten who conceived of and organized first March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon in NYC in 1971.
10. 1970-1971 Conceived of and organized first program in USA to allow HS students to take a day off from school to do community service.
11. 1972 organized One-on-One program for handicapped children with college students.
12. 1971-1978 volunteered with F.A.S.T. (first aid simulation team) of Western NY to participate in simulation of over 500 disasters to prepare first responders in mass casualty situations.
13. 1971-1973 participated in over 100 rides with Buffalo Police Department to help foster relations between police and students after student riots
14. 1974-1978 member of Red Cross disaster services responding to over 100 local situations (mostly fires) in the Greater Buffalo region.
15. 1974-1976 Volunteer trainer and game medic for minor league hockey team (17-18 year old).
16. 1976 CIBA award for volunteer service by a medical student.
17. 1977-1978 President Kappa Chapter of Phi Lambda Kappa a service organization for medical students.
18. 1981 Volunteered to organize and photograph the history of medicine collection at the medical library of Stanford University Medical Center.
19. 1981-1984 Volunteer fellow at Smithsonian Institute, division of medical history. Researched and identified over 180 history of medicine pieces that were not identified previously.
20. October 1983. Rescued two men from tractor trailer accident while placing himself in great personal danger and received Baltimore County Medal of Valor.
21. 1993-4 Board of Directors/Trustee Etz Hadar Synagogue Redlands California.
22. Fall 1998 ran for west Des Moines School Board.
23. 1997-98 Des Moines Leadership institute
24. 1997 Founding member Des Moines Parrot Head Club a service organization.
25. Spring 1998 One of ten to build play area/swing set at a battered woman/children safe house.
26. 1998-2003 Board of Directors/Trustee Tiferith Israel Synagogue.
27. 1997-2000 Board of Directors/Trustee Des Moines Jewish Schools.
28. 1999-2003 President Tiferith Israel Synagogue Men's Club.
29. 1997-2008 Board of Directors/Trustee Blank Park Zoo
30. 1997-1998 President Member Council Des Moines Art Center.
31. 1998-1999 Member Development committee Science Center of Iowa, Raised $30,000 for Stuffy exhibit.
32. 1995-2001 Board of Directors/Trustee and Advocacy Chair Iowa Chapter March of Dimes.
33. 1996-8Advocated for s-CHIP bill in Iowa
34. 2000-2001 Chairman of the Board State Chapter March of Dimes.
35. 1999-2000 organized first ever issue based campaign to presidential candidates to raise awareness of birth defects and child wellness issues.
36. January 2001 proposed modification of newborn screening to increase surveillance from 18 to 32 tests and fund it by increasing birth certificate fee.
37. 1998-2009 Board of Directors/Trustee Civic Music association
38. 2000 March of Dimes State Advocacy award for his advocacy work.
39. 2001 March of Dimes National Advocate of the Year Award
40. Founding Member Skeptics of Central Iowa
41. March 2002 Emergency Medical Mission to El Salvador in response to earthquake that killed 28,000.
42. April 2002 Medical Mission to Israel
43. 2002-today Volunteer chair(all ten years), initiator and organizer of Blood drive at Dragon-con (Labor Day Weekend) in Atlanta Georgia. This year (2011) we had 2984 donors give close to 8600 units of blood product possibly the largest blood drive in the history of the United States. Over the ten years close to 10,000 donors have given close to 30,000 units of blood product.
44. June 2003 Medical Mission to Israel
45. February 2004 Medical Mission to Israel
46. August 2002 Medical Mission to Aleutian islands Alaska.
47. 2004-Present Board of Directors Central Iowa Chapter American Diabetes Association.
48. 2005-Present Advocacy Chair Central Iowa Chapter American Diabetes Association.
49. 2006-2010 President Central Iowa Chapter American Diabetes Association.
50. 2006 Conceived of , wrote, proposed and lobbied for Iowa Farm to School Bill and this week appointed by Governor Branstad to Task Force to Implement Farm to School Bill.
51. 2007 Proposed and lobbied for Iowa Healthy Kids Bill
52. 2007 Lead Lobbyist for reversal of Stem Cell Ban and then to fund $12,000,000 for Stem Cell research.
53. 2007-2008 Organized massive awareness campaign to keep health care as major issue with presidential candidates during lead up to caucus.
54. 2009-Present President Central Iowa Skeptics
55. 2010-2011 Chairman of the Board Central Iowa Chapter American Diabetes Association
56. 2009 National advocate of the year award American Diabetes Association
57. January 2010 Emergency Mission to Haiti 1 ½ weeks after earthquake doing over 30 emergency operations and implementing treatment plan that saved over 100 victims.
58. March 2010 Medical Mission to Haiti.
59. 2011-Present Board of Directors/Trustee ACLU of Iowa

Monday, October 4, 2010

Men In Black: No But My Gateway to Science. by Dr. Alan Koslow

by Dr. Alan Koslow

Unisphere at New York Worlds Fair 1964-5

The New York Worlds Fair of 1964-65 was a fantastic highlight of my life. I lived about a mile and a half from the fair grounds and went there about a dozen times each year. I have great memories of my time spent exploring the many pavilions and meeting people from all over the world. I thought my fun with the Worlds Fair was over when the Fair closed in September 1965. I was working as a monitor (volunteer) in the principals office at my junior high school P.S. 168 Parsons Junior High School when I saw a notice to the science department.  It was an announcement about a new after school science program at a new science museum on the World's Fair grounds at Flushing Meadow.  I knew I had to get into this program.  The next day I spoke with the head of the Science department and expressed my interest in getting into the program.  I got in with three others from my school.  We found out the program would start in October and run through May at the Hall of Science in the transportation region from the Fair. 

P.S. 168 Parsons Junior High School
New York Hall of Science
When restarted school in September on the Wednesday after Labor day we found out the Hall of Science would not be ready and we could not meet there.  We were momentarily depressed and thought we would not be able to do the program.  Well it turned out the staff had been hired so they were going to go ahead with the program.  We would be meeting instead in the base of the New York State Pavilion, which later became famous in Men In Black.  The round observation platforms on top of the pavilion were the aliens secret escape flying saucer to get them back to their home planet.
New York State Pavilion

NY Pavilion.  The rooms at the base were our Labs.
We arrived the first day and met about 30 other junior high students from all over Queens.  We were met in this dilapidated space by several adults in white lab coats.  It was cold despite it still being early fall and not so cold out.  It turned out we had very poor heat all winter and usually wore our coats when in our 'Lab'.  This didn't deter us.  We were all excited about these sessions.  I looked forward each week to the next Monday afternoon/early evening three hour sessions.  We started each Monday, at four, with an hour teach in, to learn the scientific method.  The various instruments and what could be done with them were demonstrated to us.  We then had two hours to do various 'experiments'.  These were guided by the staff.

We learned how to use expensive and precise scientific instruments.  I remember doing complex chemistry and biology experiments I didn't get to do again until I was in college.  We learned how to design a research study and what the scientific method was and why it was important.  We had lectures by scientists from many different fields.

This was when I really learned to be a scientist, not just the fumbling around blowing up my work benches in my basement. It was this that led me to enter the Queens Borough Science Fair and ultimately work toward entering the Westinghouse Science Talent Search.  It has a lot to do with my strong interest in science and Skepticism.

Spill a Little Blood and You Could Destroy a Politcal Career by Dr. Alan koslow

Bonnie Bitch (Steve Daly) Sweet Dreamzzzzz Show
by Dr. Alan Koslow M.D.

Senator Craig Stevens
Donna Rice and Gary Hart 
Just ask ex-Senator Larry Craig what a compromising episode in a men's room with a transsexual could do to your political career.  He was in the Minneapolis Airport and stopped in the men's room and tapped toes with an undercover cop in the next stall.  This led to the end of his career.  Now I strongly feel that he had every right if he wanted to to engage in sex with another man, and that should have no effect on his continuing as a US Senator.  However, the Karma of this is that he was one of the most ardently outspoken anti-homosexual spokesperson in the Senate.  It seems that getting caught in a suggestive situation in the men's room with another man especially one who is a known female impersonator, transsexual or homosexual would most likely be a careeer ender if you are in politics.

It doesn't even need to be a same sex relationship just ask Gary Hart.  His bid for president was ended when  on the boat called, appropriately Monkey Business, he had a sexual liaison with Donna Rice.

Well this story begins two years ago.  I was running for the Iowa State Legislature House District 60(more on that in a later Blogs).  I went to see one of my best friends Steve Daly, who performs as Bonnie Bitch, in a Magic Show at The Garden a local gay bar.  The whole Justo Hijo Magic Club, which I was the President of then and vice president now, was there for the magic show.  I have been very active in magic and have been featured on the local TV station doing magic and also performed on a cruise ship.  It was the custom of the magic club to go out to either Village Inn or Perkin's after a magician did a magic show so we could Jam magic, discuss the show and just hang out.  These sessions often went to 2 or 3 AM in the morning (as the one this past Friday Night did).  This time we went to Village Inn in West Des Moines.  There were about ten of us at the Village Inn.

Steve Daly (Bonnie Bitch)
You have to understand that Steve epitomizes the adage that the bigger they are the harder they fall (he easily tops 400 pounds).  He is severely afraid of blood.  I found this out the day I first met him when I operated upon his father about thirteen years ago.  I will sometimes bring the surgical specimen out to show the family if they want to see it.  His mom Shirley had said she did.  When I showed it to them he almost hit the floor, luckily he was sitting in an arm chair.

Subungual Hematoma
Well it turns out that Steve had performed his magic show that night in excruciating pain.  Early that morning he was opening a storm window for his mom and it slipped and he got his finger caught as the window slammed down.  This caused a subungual hematoma, a blood blister under the nail, which is one of the most painful minor traumas you can suffer. 

Ray Thompson, Hypnotist
Well my inner surgeon took over and I realized that I could relieve his pain quickly.  I just needed to do a minor surgical procedure on him.  I called out and asked if anyone had a paper clip.  No one did, so I asked the hostess from the restaurant for one.  She went back to the office and came out proudly holding one in the air and handed it to me.  I then asked if anyone had a Bic lighter. One of the patrons not in our group had one and lended it to me.  As I collected what I needed I could see Steve's eyes bugging out farther and farther.  I told him 'Don't worry I'm a Doctor'.  Everyone but Steve laughed.

Well I didn't want to do this minor surgery out in the restaurant, so I suggested that we go into the bathroom.  Immediately Ray Thompson jumped up and reminded me that I was a candidate for the State House and I shouldn't go into the men's room with Steve for ten minutes alone.  He volunteered and the three of us went off to the rest room to do probably the first surgical procedure ever done in a Village Inn.

Treating a subungual hematoma
We went into the men's room and I had Steve sit/lean back against the counter the sink was mounted in.  I took the paper clip and straightened it out.  Steve's eyes were getting bigger and bigger.  I then took out the Bic and lit the flame.  I held the end of the paper clip in the flame and it became red hot, then blue hot and then white hot.  Steve was sweating.  I took the paper clip and Ray supported Steve and placed it on the center of his nail.  The heat melted through the nail and Steve felt none of this.  All of a sudden a spirt of blood shot out through the hole and you could see the look of relief on Steve's face.  After all his anxiety he had truly painless surgery.
Cured subungual hematoma
I cleaned up and we wrapped his finger with tissue paper (I know real fancy), and went back out to our fellow magicians just then getting their food.  Steve talks about it almost everytime this group gets together as he did two night's ago after his performance of his latest hypnosis show 'Bonnie Bitch's Sweet Dreamzzzzz'.

 Dr. Alan

Steve for thirteen years was the headliner in a Las Vegas show performing as Tiny Bubbles in 'Show Girls of Magic'.  Steve was one of the Show Girls.  He was also in the original Chris Angel Mind Freak Family.   He is still seen in the opening montage from the show.

Tiny Bubbles will be here LIVE from Las Vegas! Tiny has appeared in the long running show, “Showgirls of Magic” and as part of “the family” on Chris Angel’s “Mindfreak” since its inception. In addition to performing her hilarious comedy magic on one of our evening shows, Tiny will also be our host during our special "Ladies Panel" featuring Lisa Menna, Trixie Bond and Becky Blaney.
Steve Daly is the Big Momma in the middle with the Chris Angel Family.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Future Party: A Rational Response To The Tea Party by Alan Koslow M.D.

by Alan Koslow M.D.

I am dismayed. I see a growing political movement that is based on looking to the past for answers. They believe the worlds is static and that solutions to current day problems can only be found in the political writings of our Founding Fathers. However, they like religious fundamentalists tend to pick those writings of these venerated Founding Fathers that support their views while ignoring those that refute it. The worst is that they do not see the need to change the game plan as the game changes. I felt this is a critical time to bring a rational perspective to the national political climate. It is the right time to birth a new political movement: The FUTURE PARTY.
The Future Party Manifesto
Where as: Public policy and politics have become irrational, and

Where as: Our Founding Fathers were products of the Enlightenment: and

Where as: The founding documents of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, are based upon Enlightenment philosophy, and

Where as: The world is not static, and

Where as: Global Warming will make our future more uncertain, and

Where as: We are moving into the Future not the past, and
Where as: The rest of the world is moving into the Future at a faster rate then the USA, i.e. the world is flattening, and
Where as: The Scientific Method is well established as a way to understand our physical world, and
Where as: Rational, critical thinking is often lacking in our political process, and
Where as: Every human being have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as defined in the Declaration of Independence, and
Where as: The majority does not the ability to deny a minority the same rights that majority enjoys, and
Where as: Our fore fathers came to the United States to escape religious intolerance and of all our freedoms the first one enumerated in the Bill of Rights is religious freedom and separation of church and state, and
Where as: The Constitution establishes that there shall be no religious test for office, and
Where as: Our politicians are for sale because of our campaign finance system, and
Where as: Our political system has deteriorated into One dollar One Vote instead of One Person One Vote, and
Where as: Corporation are not persons
We Pledge to: Restore sanity and rationality to public policy and politics, and
We Pledge that: The best scientific knowledge and predictions will be used to form public policy, and
We Pledge that: A Manhattan Project approach to solving Global Warming that does not cripple our economic system will be implemented, and
We Pledge to: Base all political solutions on Enlightenment principles and concepts, and
We Pledge to: Ensure all students are taught critical thinking skills in school starting in pre-K, and
We Pledge to: Ensure all students graduate High School with adequate science skills to understand our physical world and the scientific method that teaches us how that world functions, and
We Pledge to: Ensure all students be taught financial skills to thrive in our complex financial world, and
We Pledge to : Make Consumer Contracts and User agreements be required to have a plain word summary that would fit on a single page, and
We Pledge to: Eliminate the concept of person-hood for corporations, and
We Pledge to: Eliminate private financing of campaigns and have only public financing or small dollar individual contributions, and
We Pledge to: Ensure the freedom of religion, that our fore fathers felt so important is granted to all persons in the USA including the right to not have a religion, and
We Pledge to: Ensure the constitutional demand that NO religious test be used for public office be enforced, and
We pledge that: Theology will not be a basis for public policy and we will fight to uphold the first amendment, and
We Pledge that: College and professional school be affordable for all and not be a barrier to anyone, and
We pledge that: All persons in the United States will have health insurance, and
We Pledge to: Have a pathway to citizenship for all illegal aliens that have not committed a felony, and
We Pledge to: Have a rational visa system to allow enough seasonal workers to come into the country to fill the need not filled be legal residence, and
We Pledge to: Fight for human rights of all, regardless of how small or outcast a group they are in and regardless of age, race, country of national origin, religion (or lack of), sexual orientation, sex or philosophy.

This is a document in Flux. I have already made two major changes. As I get feedback and comments I may make more. i recommend if you are interested in this you re-check this on a weekly basis. I will also post major analysis and academic analysis as a separate blog on 'The Future Party' Blog.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farm-to-School: Anatomy of Non-Profit Advocacy by Dr. Alan Koslow

American Diabetes Association Logo
by Dr Alan Koslow

It was the first Friday in June in 2006. I had a meeting that morning of the advocacy committee of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. We were trying to come up with a new agenda for in state advocacy for our chapter of the American Diabetes Association. The meeting was over and we did not have any good ideas. We broke up with a charge to each of us to come up with ideas. We would get back together in a few weeks.

That afternoon I happen to be driving my car about 1:30. Whenever I was driving between 1:00-3:00 PM on Fridays I would listen to Talk of the Nation: Science Friday on the local NPR station.I heard a story on farm to school programs and how they were done in both a small community in California and one in a southern state.   The fact that struck me was how they found this improved the nutrition and the health of the kids in these communities.  I immediately thought that this would be something to consider in Iowa.

My research at the that time led me to a national Farm To School group.  I found out that while there were multiple programs around the country, they were all local programs.  There were no state wide programs.  I saw this as a way to help local farmers and to improve the nutrition of the students and hopefully prevent obesity and diabetes.  I got in touch with a friend of mine who is a State Senator, Staci Appel.  We discussed this and she was quickly on board.  She became the champion of this bill.  The way we first envisioned it was to mandate that 50% of all food sold in Iowa schools within five years be Iowa grown.

Staci really went to town on this and I as the Advocacy Chair of the ADA gave her the support she needed.  This went like gang-busters and the bill was passed the next legislative session 2007.

In 2007, Iowa lawmakers passed Farm to School legislation to establish a program that would link elementary, secondary, public and non-public schools with Iowa farmers; provide schools with fresh and minimally processed Iowa grown food for inclusion in school meals and snacks; and to encourage children to develop healthy eating habits and provide them with hands-on learning opportunities, such as farm visits, cooking demonstrations, and school gardening and composting programs.

The Farm to School Program is coordinated by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and a seven-member Farm to School Council. The Iowa Farm to School Program will reach out to communities to establish strong partnerships.

Farm to School Initiatives:

Iowa Farm to School Chapter Initiative:

There are currently 9 active Iowa Farm to School Chapters throughout the state. Each chapter has developed and implemented a plan so as to uphold the objectives and mission of the Farm to School Program. Such activities in these chapters include; locally-grown Iowa food procurement, eating fresh fruit and vegetables from Iowa, school gardens, field trips to local farms and orchards, purchase of kitchen equipment to better serve needs of students, educational presentations and materials, food fairs, and classroom activities.

This is one of my initiatives I am very proud of.  It was the first State wide mandated Farm To School program in the nation.  There are now 27 other states that have followed Iowa. I won a Natioanl Advocate of the Year award for my work that led to this.

This Blog Snippets of my life, is going to be a daily blog for at least one year. I will tell stories about me that I hope you find interesting. If you like them please do two things: click to become a follower; and post on your Facebook page or twitter them. I hope to have 10,000 followers by years end. Some stories will be very personal. I will try to remember the correct names of those involved, however, I have a terrible memory for names and some names will be completely fictitious. The stories however are completely truthful as far as I can remember. Hope you enjoy. Some of these blogs may seem mundane. However, they are important foundations for later Blogs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Parrothead: Cheeseburger in New York 9-11

9-11 world Trade Center, Plane hits second Building
I have been a Parrothead for about ten years when 9/11 happened.  On 9/11 I sat transfixed as I watched the events unfold (a future Blog).  I have always been upset with myself that I didn't get in a car and drive to New York That day.  A few weeks later I heard that Jimmy Buffet, yes I'm a Parrothead(more posts on that later),  would be doing a benefit concert and all the proceeds (close to $2 million) would go to the families of the victims.  I felt compelled to go for multiple reasons: support New York by spending money there; see ground zero, so I could internalize the devastation done; and enjoy a Jimmy Buffet concert.  I called my nephew and godson Hal Newman whose cousin is a private ticket agent.  He arranged for us to get second row center seats.  So I bought (great time to buy, as will be discussed in later blog)round trip airfare tickets to LaGuardia Airport and made Hotel reservations at the Milford Plaza on 8th avenue between 44th and 45th Street.
Milford Plaza Hotel New York City

The Benefit Concert was for November 16th 2001 in Madison Square Garden.  I flew into LaGuardia Airport on November 15th and went straight to my Hotel and got my room key.  I immediately realized there was something different about the others checking in.  It turned out that 80% of the hotel was housing for workers at Ground Zero.   I realized many were Red Cross Disaster Service Volunteers.  Since I had been one myself for four years as an undergraduate and Medical student, I had a lot in common and got into conversations with many over the next two days. I learned that most were coming in for two weeks at a time and were rotating through ground zero going through the area looking for parts of victims and any evidence that may help.  There were many that were working with the families of the victims also.  I was so touched by the stories that I heard.  I had to go down to Ground Zero and see for myself.
Gates in Front of St Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church

I went down to ground zero and walked around.  I walked down some alleys and the debris was all over the place.  I could have picked up pieces that came off the World Trade Center but didn't, it felt sacriligious.  The mood was very somber.  There was dust in the air even though it was two months since 9-11.  I was able to look into the site and saw the corner of one of the World Trade Center buildings that was still standing about three stories high and realized I had been leaning against that corner of the building from the inside.  One week before 9-11 I was in New York City and was on the second floor buying tickets from TKTS/TKTS/TKTS the half price Broadway ticket booth located at the world trade center.  I was there at 9:30 AM on Sept. 4th, 2001. When I realized the coincidence of that and the place I was standing was right in front of me I started to cry.  It was one of the most emotional moments in my life.
St Paul's Chapel on 9-11

The Little Chapel That Stood

On September 11, 2001, St. Paul’s Chapel escaped destruction when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed across the street. Although the churchyard and church were filled with debris and dust, there was no physical damage to the building.
I then made my way to St.Pauls Chapel.  It was being used as a staging area for the Ground Zero rescue workers (and I saw a few people I had met at the Milford Plaza that afternoon).  It was also a makeshift memorial (see picture of me above) and also a museum about 9-11.  It was awe inspiring place and still stands as a museum to what happened.

Jimmy Buffet
Madison Square Gardens

 The next day I spent the day spending money and supporting the New York City economy.  That evening at about 5 PM.  we went out to dinner were a lot of the Parrotheads were meeting up and then made our way to the concert.  Everyone was dressed appropriately and the excitement level was sky high.  Our seats were as advertised and in the second row dead center.  My nephew Hal and several of his friends were with us and we had a great time.  It was my third Jimmy Buffet concert, but by far the best.  In twenty four hours I went from one of my lowest emotional states to one of my highest.  It was worth every penny.
Hal Newman and Alan Koslow at Madison Square Garden 9-11 benefit concert Nov 16th 2001
Hal Newman and Alan Koslow at Jimmy Buffet 9-11 benefit concert Nov 16th 2001

This Blog Snippets of my life, is going to be a daily blog for at least one year. I will tell stories about me that I hope you find interesting. If you like them please do two things: click to become a follower; and post on your Facebook page or twitter them. I hope to have 10,000 followers by years end. Some stories will be very personal. I will try to remember the correct names of those involved, however, I have a terrible memory for names and some names will be completely fictitious. The stories however are completely truthful as far as I can remember. Hope you enjoy. Some of these blogs may seem mundane. However, they are important foundations for later Blogs.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

How JFK Changed My Life

I can't tell you why I remember this in as much detail as I do. I was only seven years old. It was October of second grade. John F Kennedy was in a tight battle with Richard Nixon, the Vice President.  The Democratic and Republican National Conventions of that summer were the first I watched.  My parents let me stay up well pass my bed time to watch the conventions.  I was glued to the TV. I felt I was seeing democracy in action and it turned me on.

You see in New York City the public schools are closed on all election days (November, primary day and any special election).  From the year I was born until I finished sixth grade my mother was a poll worker.  She would take me with her from 7:00AM in the Morning till 9:00PM at night.  I would play with the other kids.  My mother and the other poll workers would play MahJong..  I learned the importance of voting, and thus have missed only a rare election my entire life.  Even if I was going to live in a place one year I registered to vote.  In college and medical school I voted absentee from school.

Woody Station Wagon
Car bwith speakers
I clearly remember it was a Sunday afternoon in October 1960.  The election was less then a month away. I was walking home from Sunday Hebrew School.  It was a few minutes after noon.  As I was walking the last little bit to my house a Woody Paneled Wagon with giant speakers on the roof was coming down the 72nd Avenue toward me.  It was plastered with campaign posters for JFK.  I heard patriotic music coming from the speakers and the music and the station wagon stopped and out bellowed, 'COME MEET THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES".  It then said this was just two blocks away, on Jewel(70th Ave.) Avenue off the corner of 164th Street.  My heart skipped a beat.

PS 200 Front
I checked with my Mom and went to the rally.  It was two blocks away at the far corner of PS 200 elementary school.  This was the closest school to my house.  However I went to a school (PS 154) almost three times farther, because PS 200 was built specifically for the complex of apartment buildings call Elechester built for the men in the local electricians union. On the map below you can see where my house is ( by the d in 72nd AVE, after you move the little man and the 'A' bubble to top edge of the map.).

View Larger Map

JFK at another Rally

Flat bed truck but without rail.
There was a giant crowd.  I was standing on the curb right by the third tree from the left in the street view image above.  We all waited what seemed like hours but was probably 45 minutes and a shout went up that he was coming.  I couldn't see since I was so short (I was only 7) and was standing on my tiptoes.  All of a sudden some men cleared the street in front of my and I say a flat bed truck coming toward me down the hill.  It stopped right next to the curb between the second tree and the one I was standing next to.  Everyone surged around the truck and I ended up next to the rear bumper.  I looked up and two feet in front of me was a giant standing on the back end of the flatbed truck and holding a rail.  He reached down and shock my hand.  I was awestruck.  He then gave a speach, which I don't remember a word of, but I became a die-hard fan of JFK that momment and a life time Democrat.

This Blog Snippets of my life, is going to be a daily blog for at least one year. I will tell stories about me that I hope you find interesting. If you like them please do two things: click to become a follower; and post on your Facebook page or twitter them. I hope to have 10,000 followers by years end. Some stories will be very personal. I will try to remember the correct names of those involved, however, I have a terrible memory for names and some names will be completely fictitious. The stories however are completely truthful as far as I can remember. Hope you enjoy. Some of these blogs may seem mundane. However, they are important foundations for later Blogs.

Monkeying Around On Passover With A Movie Star..

It started out as a routine passover.  We had the usual friends invited.  This year we had a very unusual guest, a very BIG (really kind of small) movie star.  We usually have the first night Seder at our house.  Passover is the most observed Holiday among Jewish people.  Different from the high holidays that is synagogue oriented Passover, Hanukkah and Sukkot are home centered celebrations.  Passover is the holiday that all the kids come home for and you gather your closest friends and family together to celebrate.  The Seder (which means order) can be a five hour experience if you do everything and read every word of the Haggadah.  We usually do it in three to three and a half hours.  We start with candle lighting and opening prayers.  The idea is that you recreate the Exodus from Egypt.  You then eat one of the largest meals of the year.  A typical Passover meal makes Thanksgiving meals look miserly, at least in my families tradition.  If at least 80% of the food isn't left over you didn't prepare enough.  The plan is you have left overs to last throughout the eight day celebration.

Oh and then there is Matzah.  It no wonder they call it the Bread Of Affliction.  I can tell you by the end of Passover my colon has an affliction.  Because the Israelites left in a hurry from Egypt they did not have time to leavin their bread, so it did not rise. We have found ways to make matzah more palatable.  The most famous is Matzah Ball Soup.The newer trick is to make matzah meal rolls and use seltzer to make them raise. The stuffing is made from matzah.  The cake for dessert is made from matzah.  everything usually mad of flour is for Passover made of matzah.

Well I had become great friends with animal trainer Brian Staples.  I learned that he was a religious Sephardi Jew from a very interesting family from Seattle.  His grandfather emigrated to Seattle Washington after being sent to Australia on a prison ship in the 1890's.  After they got to Seattle they were not accepted by the Ashkenazim Jewish community so they started their own Sephardi Synagogue.  He is the definition of the wandering Jew.  He is on the road so was very happy to be made to feel like family and come.  He though asked if he could bring his main assistant/apprentice David and his son Wilson..  I said of course.

Well it turns out that Wilson is his Capuchin monkey and was Dexter in Night at The Museum.  I have to say it was the first time we had a movie star at our Seder and for sure the first time we had a monkey.  Well Wilson was very well behaved.  He sat between Brian and me.  He had his own Kippar (ritual prayer cap) and eat all the food everyone else did.  I have some pictures but could not locate them.  When I locate them I will add them and re-post so you see them.

This Blog Snippets of my life, is going to be a daily blog for at least one year. I will tell stories about me that I hope you find interesting. If you like them please do two things: click to become a follower; and post on your Facebook page or twitter them. I hope to have 10,000 followers by years end. Some stories will be very personal. I will try to remember the correct names of those involved, however, I have a terrible memory for names and some names will be completely fictitious. The stories however are completely truthful as far as I can remember. Hope you enjoy. Some of these blogs may seem mundane. However, they are important foundations for later Blogs.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Teacher Strike, Art Lectures, A New Look On Life: Pavel Tchelitchew. Hide-and-Seek

I had just finished the second summer of working at Montefiore Hospital in the surgical research Labs and some new duties in the real Operating room, or had I.  You see the longest teacher strike in history was just starting, so my sophomore year in H.S. was to start late.  It was to last 36 school days but because of all the days off in the fall for Jewish Holy Days, election day, veterans day, Columbus day, and a few other days off we did not go back to school until November 29th, 1968, missing nearly three months and having a five month summer break.  So I had to come up with what to do with all the free time.  Of course I went into the Hospital to work most of the time.  However, I was not going to miss taking advantage of all the special programs at all the museums in NYC.

All of the Museums in NYC opened their doors for free to NYC students.  They also had lectures and full courses.  I spent one or two days every week at one of the museums.  Most of the time I went to either The Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

I went to other museums, but not as often as I went to these two.  You have to remember each of these museums had as big a collection as almost all the rest of the museums in NYC combined.  I had some of the best art education from the leading curators in the world for free.  I learned the joy of wandering around a museum and soaking in the art.  I learned how to listen to an expert and understand the context and meaning of what they were telling us.  When the strike was over I was having withdrawal symptoms from not having my art fix weekly.  Well two things happened.  The Museums stayed open late one night each week and the art teacher at my high school, Jamaica High School, had free passes so we could get in free.  I also was fortunate in that my father closed his liquor store at 9PM and we didn't eat dinner as a family until 9:30, so I could stay out till the museum closed at 9PM and get home in time to eat with my folks.

After the strike was settled, I used to go to the museums after school getting there about 4 pm when I was a Junior in HS and 2:30 when I was a Senior.  I would go to the museum and catch an afternoon docent lecture, walk around the exhibits and then catch a movie in the evening at the museum. 

While the Teacher strike was on I attended a lecture at the Museum of Modern Art on Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelichew, the picture at the right.  It was the most amazing painting I have ever seen and still my favorite painting(I have heard it is the most asked about painting not on exhibit at the MOMA).  It represents the tree of life and the four seasons are represented from the Lower left -spring the up-er left summer , upper right- fall and lower right-winter.  Birth is represented in the center-bottom.  There are several hundreds children hidden and not so hidden throughout the painting.  Pavel Tchelichew was a surrealistic painter who painted the studies and this painting over a ten year period.  I used to spend hours in front of the painting counting the children and analyzing the hidden meanings.  I probably spent over 100 hours just sitting in front of the painting.  Here, on the right, is a audio lecture recently given about the painting.  It runs about 20 minutes.

In 2002, at DragonCon, I was at the Award banquet and sat at the same table with the artist Guest-Of-Honor, Alex Grey and his wife Allyson..  I had seen his work earlier that day at the Art Show.and he was the artist who most reminded me of Tchelichew.  I struck it off with him and ended up keeping in touch and visiting him and his family in New york and spent the day at their home.

This Blog Snippets of my life, is going to be a daily blog for at least one year. I will tell stories about me that I hope you find interesting. If you like them please do two things: click to become a follower; and post on your Facebook page or twitter them. I hope to have 10,000 followers by years end. Some stories will be very personal. I will try to remember the correct names of those involved, however, I have a terrible memory for names and some names will be completely fictitious. The stories however are completely truthful as far as I can remember. Hope you enjoy. Some of these blogs may seem mundane. However, they are important foundations for later Blogs.