Congratulations to Paul Thisayakorn, MD!

I got a wonderful holiday greeting from one of my favorite past residents, Paul Thisayakorn, MD. He’s running a top-notch Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (CL-P) Service and a brand-new C-L Fellowship in Thailand. I could not be more excited for him and his family. His wife, Bow, runs the Palliative Care Service.

He and Bow answered our holiday greeting to them. In it I remarked about my brief episode of mild delirium immediately following my eye surgery for a detached retina and mentioned a nurse administering the CAM-ICU delirium screening test. One of the questions was “Will a stone float on water?” I answered it correctly, but joked in the greeting message that I said “Yes, but only if it really believes.”

His remark was priceless: “We actually did a CAM-ICU in the morning when I received this email from you. I told my fellow and residents about you and what you taught me how to be a practical psychosomaticist. They also learned about how stone floats on the water.”

Paul made an awesome contribution to the Academy of C-L Psychiatry knowledge base during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Things were tough there for a long time. Paul tells me they are still practicing some elements of the Covid protocol. Thailand is gradually opening back up.

This is the second year for his C-L Psychiatry fellowship program at the Chulalongkorn Psychiatry Department. They graduated their first C-L fellow and there are now two other fellows in training.

Under Paul’s strong leadership, they’ve gathered a group of interested Thai psychiatrists and founded the Society of Thai Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry just this past October.

And he was given an assistant professor position at the university. Paul and his team are in the featured image at the top of this post. Paul’s the guy wearing glasses in the middle.

He’s not all work and no play, which is a wonderful thing. He jogs and meditates and he has the most beautiful family, two great kids growing fast and a wife who is both a devoted partner and the leader of the Palliative Care service.

As a teacher, I couldn’t ask for a better legacy. I still have the necktie with white elephants that he gave me as a gift. In Thai culture, the white elephant is a symbol of good fortune (among other things), which is what Paul was wishing for me. Of course, the feeling is mutual.

I wish Paul well in the coming new year. And to all those who read my blog, have a happy new year.

Viral Story Rabbit Holes on the Web

Sena told me about the viral story on the web entitled “A Woman Removes Painting Varnish and Uncovers Husband’s 50 Year Old Secret.” It’s dated December 27, 2022. The story is written in slide show format, which has a rabbit hole feel to it, especially after I try to verify the details.

You’ve probably seen this or a slightly different version of it. The basic stem is somebody finds out her spouse has a longstanding secret life that she learns of only after he dies, leaves her a painting which is apparently worthless but underneath a lot of paint or varnish lies a note or some other object which leads to the discovery that he led a secret life and left her a vast fortune. Sometimes the story changes even this detail.

I found other similar versions which differ mainly in small details, none of which I can verify—not even the identity of the author of the story. For example, who is Lindsey Charleston? I can’t find out, even though I can find the web site “History All Day” where supposedly this author is listed among others, who are also anonymous. No biographical data is discoverable about the writers.

The pictures in the story are taken from web sites offering free images, such as pixabay. I’ve used images from sites like that. One of them features a video which is a slide show, featuring a photo of a woman who looks shocked and the picture is marked as copyrighted and being from “YouTube PBS.” It appears to be from PBS Antiques Roadshow, and it’s just a slide, like all the rest of the images. There’s no actual video with this particular woman in a green blouse. One of the slides shows a picture of Fiona Bruce, the hostess of the BBC version of Antiques Roadshow. After this last picture, there’s an ad by Amazon. In fact, the slide show has several interrupting ad photos.

However, the YouTube PBS picture is linked to another version of this story which is a video and it’s dated February 3, 2021. It looks like there are many different versions of this video. The names of the people involved, even the nationalities, are all apparently different. Yet the thread of the story is similar to the one published 3 days ago. One striking similarity is the photo of Fiona Bruce! Moreover, the narrator reveals that the art work was featured on the British TV show, “Fake or Fortune,” a show hosted by Fiona Bruce.

And the narrator of this video sounds robotic, like one of those non-human digital recordings because occasionally the accent falls on the wrong syllables. Near the end of the video while it is still in progress, another video is superimposed showing a fisherman and 3 bear cubs, entitled “Fisherman noticed the three bear cubs sneaking up on him late, what happened next is breathtaking! This is a familiar type of advertisement lure I’ve noticed many times on the web.

There are many different versions of the story showing different characters who are of different nationalities, names, and the identities, like those of the authors of the stories, are all either unknown or impossibly difficult to track down—like going down a rabbit hole.

The stories are identified as “Viral Stories” which seems to be a web site advertised on the PBS video, but is probably not. I should say I found a web site with that name but it doesn’t list this story or its permutations.

OK, many of you probably already knew this, but I think these are cleverly disguised rabbit hole stories designed to lure the reader into advertisement traps. Many of them are tagged with the short word “Ad” somewhere on the photo link—but some are not.

Incidentally, the featured image for this post is an obvious plug for my book. I don’t have to use cute bear cubs to get you to buy it—do I?

Dr. Donald Warne, MD, MPH to Deliver MLK Jr Distinguished Lecture January 18, 2023

The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics welcomes Donald Warne, MD, MPH, co-director of Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, on January 18, 2023 when he will deliver the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Distinguished Lecture in the Prem Sahai Auditorium in Iowa City, Iowa.

Rag Time and Classical Music Fusion

The other night I heard something pretty interesting on the Music Choice channel. I was listening to the Light Classical stuff because, let’s face it, I’m a real lightweight when it comes to knowing anything about music, much less the classical genre.

It reminded me of a time long ago when my mother tried to teach me how to play our old upright piano. She always complained that it was out of tune, always promised that she would get it tuned and never did. It didn’t matter. I never learned a thing but the middle C note, which I poked with my right thumb.

And then I heard a selection that sounded like the composer was poking fun at classical music. The piece was titled “A Symphonic Nightmare: Desecration Rag No. 2.” Somebody said it was actually “An Operatic Nightmare: Desecration Rag No. 2.” I don’t know that it makes a difference what you call it. I thought it was comical and I had fun listening to it.

In order to confuse me further, I found listed on the Library of Congress a recording entitled, “An operatic nightmare.” And, I found a piece called Desecration (Rag-Humoreske). They all sound different, but all of the pieces are by a composer named Felix Arndt.

Further, Wikipedia says Arndt is best known for his composition “Nola,” which he wrote for his fiancée Nola Locke (later his wife.” It’s sometimes thought to be the first example of the novelty ragtime genre. Classical music does have a funny bone.

Snowball Juggling!

Yesterday after we shoveled our sidewalks and driveway (again!) we went for a walk. Yes, we finally lost our minds. In fact, the temperature was a balmy 14 degrees. We almost put on shorts.

It was a little breezy. The city plows had not been out. It was their day off. Because of that, there were plenty of chunks of snow, a few of which were about the size of—yep, you guessed it—juggling balls.

We couldn’t get them formed exactly round, like they did in that TV commercial for cold medicine. That’s where I got the harebrained idea to try juggling snowballs in the first place.

You don’t want to try juggling snowballs barehanded. I can’t stop you from trying, just saying that my hands did smart when I tried it.

Next time, I’ll make sure the snowballs are round.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights Week 2023

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights Week 2023 begins January 16, 2023. See the University of Iowa Healthcare list of events, which will be updated.

Christmas Day 2022 Antics!

Christmas Day at our house was a lot of fun. I got a coffee mug that specifies the importance of cribbage. Sena got a throw that sort of complements the throw she got me on our anniversary.

Those throws add a lot to the ambience in the room. And the coffee mug really speaks to the “importanter feature” of cribbage in our life nowadays.

This was the one of the best Christmases ever. We’re up to our ears in gratitude. And that’s the most importantest thing of all.

Early Christmas Gift for Us!

We’re still in the big Arctic Blast. The wind was howling after the snowstorm. We worked so hard shoveling snow that we decided to give ourselves a slightly early Christmas gift. It’s a foot massager.

We had to clear the front walk to enable the delivery guy to get it to us.

It’s quite a deal, the massager. It can put you to sleep. It can also energize you. The remote control is easy to use. You can set it to run for 15 or 30 minutes.

I really like it because all you have to do is plug it in. There’s no assembly required.

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