1046 Hippocrates and the Hot Air Balloons
(STATE COLLEGE PA) -- Have you noticed this? The skies lately have more hot air balloons than ever before. They’re fun to watch and probably scary-good fun to ride. Around here, we see one regularly from a real estate company. But there’s also a guy who sells rides to those who want to see the rolling hills here from above -- but slowly enough to make airplane rides impractical.
Hot air is free. Ask this or any other blogger. Of course, when the fire goes out or a hole appears in the skin, the thing crashes, sometimes at a leisurely pace; sometimes like a rock falling out of the sky. And at America’s Greatest Sort-of Public College, the fire is out and the hole is pretty big and getting bigger.
Too bad there’s no Hippocratic oath for institutions of higher education. “First, do no harm” is not in the text of the Hippocratic oath, even though most of us think it is. It’s in the Hippocratic Corpus. What is in the hippocratic oath is the pledge to not play God.
Part of playing God is filling your balloon with hot air and convincing everyone that the thing is floating of its own magical accord.
So, from one hot air balloon to another: Blue and White is a not a good color combination for a floating sham. Make the next one red, white and blue. Or pink. Or black. Or pink AND black.
You want to start the healing process following the little-boy-raped-and-Joe-Paterno-turned-his-back-to-it crisis, start with a Hippocratic oath that includes both doing no harm and not playing God.
And while you’re at it, fly the balloon a little lower. You’ve discovered that it’s a long way down from where you were floating. Get some new pilots and a more able ground crew, one that doesn’t just sit around and stare as the thing falls out of the sky, one which knows the meaning of “controlled descent.”
And as Hippocrates said, the bloom is off the sewer.
--Hot air artist Antonin “Tony Ducks” Scalia says he’s not mad at John Roberts for “defecting from the game plan and voting in favor of that Kenyan Muslim socialist’s health insurance tax.” Clarence Thomas isn’t mad either. He said “ ,” which is all he ever says.
--Hot air artist and self- proclaimed non-anti- Semite Ralph Nader has issued a report in which he says advertising doesn’t work and that Madison Avenue is navel gazing when it says it does. To prove his point, he says his stable of underpaid and overworked researchers often is confused with the Oakland Raiders.
--It had to happen. The MTA has declared an expansion of its Open Spaces Program. This is not a plan to turn old bus terminals into parks, it’s a plan to put ads on the front face of the MetroCard.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011