There’s a New Building Project in Buffalo!

August 3, 2009


This would not be big news in any city with a bustling economy.  It’s major news here.

A bunch of people showed today up to a tent in a vacant lot and applauded everything and anyone and proclaimed that the new Kaleida Global Vascular Institute  is the best thing to happen to Buffalo since sliced bread.

10 politicians participated, so you know this was big.   The upside to this event was irresistible, even though most politicians hate sharing the limelight with other politicians.  That alone was telling:  This gathering was unique.

The downside is that it is unique.  Groundbreaking ceremonies for 300 million dollar projects are almost once in a lifetime occurrences in Western New York.  That put an edge on this celebration that I found discomforting.  All these people taking and giving credit, celebrating the all-too-rare win.

Well, that party’s over.  I wish for our political leaders not to bask inebriated-like in the glow of the Vascular Institute – as if this one building demonstrates how much they’ve accomplished – and instead get to work on the next project, and the next one after that.

I Need Help

May 24, 2009

My closest friends will all tell me that admitting it is the first step.

But this is a different kind of help that I need.  I’m going to bicycle the 100 km Tour de Cure on June 6th; it’s to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, and I’m looking for inspiration to complete the ride. I am not diabetic, but I know lots of people who are.  Chances are you or someone close to you is suffering from and fighting this condition.

Your donations will help inspire me to keep going and ignore the butt pain I’m going to feel by the 50 km mark.

This is not an attempt to get you to empty your wallet; indeed, a few dollars from a lot of people will go a long way.  Donations can be made directly to the Tour de Cure through this link.

Thanks in advance.


Irrational Fears

February 13, 2009


I was going to write a snarky post about that hotel that burned to the ground in Beijing because of errant fireworks, but then the plane crash in Clarence Center happened, which put things into a different perspective.

The perspective is this:  From the crash to the time that it took for delivery of the flight data recorders to Washington, more people died on U.S. highways than died on the plane.

We have this obsession with calamity and great fear of mass death, and we will force changes to the system to reduce that chance of death to almost zero; yet we will still use our cell phones while we drive, and we will drive under the influence, we will drive in bad weather, recklessly, and over the speed limit.

Want another example?  We have spent billions and billions fighting the war on terror to make sure that those terrorists don’t get us, but we won’t change our diets to prevent a much more likely fate:  heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S.

We have irrational fears.  We force the government to spend money in places that do nothing to prolong our lives and ignore the villians most dangerous to us.

And the media plays right along, because calamity sells.

The next time you think about that plane crash, think about your driving habits and that double-cheese pizza you just ate.

Medicine is Good

December 13, 2008


Last Thursday a nearly unattended event took place at the Zebro Room at Roswell Park.  The Buffalo News buried an article about it on page D10 of Friday’s paper.

PhRMA, the public affairs arm of the pharmaceutical industry, came to Buffalo to announce that medicine is good.  Nice guy (he really is) Nathan Tinker from the New York Biotech Association added that New York medicine is good.  And Tom Stewart (a really, really nice guy) told us that Western New York medicine is good.

Finally Ralphie from The Sopranos spoke about anti-depression medicine, and that this is good, too.

I thought PhRMA was coming to announce an event like

  • they were curtailing superfluous consumer advertising and physician perks in order to reduce the overall cost of prescriptions.

Instead we got cheerleading from an industry trying to repair its tarnished image before Congress steps in to legislate lower-cost medications.

It seemed insincere.

State senator Bill Stachowski was there.  He looked glum.  I don’t think he’s gotten over losing that Senate Finance Committee chairmanship.