by Mark Maxwell Abushady, NYC
A DOZEN OTHER LOVES
A pleasing, expressive, versatile voice, full of life and its exigencies is immediately evident. Matt Nakoa is the “boy next door” in his warm, relaxed, make-you-feel-at-home sound, but his lyrics remind us of how very much can be going on in those close around us. Those lyrics are fun, idiosyncratic yet absolutely accessible in their meanings. Harmonies are well chosen and very pleasing. I found myself wanting to listen to each song twice; once for the music, and once for the lyrics. “Fool of a Knight” sets the tone of this admirable work, followed by the sweet “You Are My Moonshine.” “Chokecherry Hill” is reminiscent of a young Paul Simon in its plaintive, delicate intimacy and beautiful guitar work, and the album of winning songs continues, with touches of bluesy jazz “We All Gotta Go (At Some Point)”, pop and rock “If You’re Tryin’ To Break My Heart.” “Where On Earth Is Heaven,” is a great commentary on the present state of Mankind, and a wonderful closing “Somewhere Else I Gotta Go” with harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash in their prime. An artist to watch!
Beautiful guitar work is the hallmark of David Lindsay’s Nightbound. The moods he creates, the intimacies he shares, and the multitude of “voices” he pulls from his guitar are striking and satisfying. While some of the songs are augmented by the addition of fretless bass, violin, cello, percussion, keyboards, English horn and voice, Mr. Lindsay’s guitar is always happily front and center. Especially lovely are “Dreamwalk” (with Jill Haley – English horn, and Michael Manring – fretless bass), “A Boy and a River,” “Nightbound” (with Charlie Bisharat – violin, Eugene Friesen – cello, Noah Wilding – voice, Jeff Haynes – percussion, Tom Eaton – piano and bass), “Unspoken” (with English horn, cello, percussion, voice, and Paul Kocharnski – NS bass), “Bluewater Beach” (with Tony Levin – NS bass), but I will stop before I list the whole contents of the album! A superlative, introspective and pleasing album for a soul-searching afternoon.
As the film opens, we are introduced to Dr. Valentin Fuster, Physician-in- Chief of Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Herschel Sklaroff, Clinical Professor of Cardiology at Mount Sinai as they make rounds at the hospital. They do this with a retinue of young doctors, all the while instructing these up-and-coming healthcare professionals in the lost art of listening to patients. Yes, the average medical professional has become that removed from his/her patient, that we need the great old-timers such as these two fine doctors to remind more recent, technology-oriented students that a “patient-oriented practice” is best. In the course of the film we are privileged to go on rounds and observe these doctors speaking with, observing, querying and considering patients’ responses. For example, in one instance we see them “thumping” upon a patients torso, and gaining valuable diagnostic information from the sound of the thump. We hear “never leave the bedside (of a patient) without knowing what the venous pressure is, because it is much more accurate than any echo-cardiogram or any technology that you can use.” We are also reminded, via a quote from Sir William Osler (1849-1919), to “listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.”
These doctors teach the ART of medicine. It is an uphill battle, however, with regards to the healthcare system and its technology-driven nature. As Dr. Sklaroff puts it, “Today, you don’t get paid for thinking; you get paid for testing.” Most young doctors sit at computers, fill in templates, and diagnose that way. And, while all teaching hospitals conduct rounds, shockingly, rounds are typically conducted outside the patients’ rooms.
The film examines the body versus the life of the patient, the overuse of specialists and often lack of a team leader in patient care, and is chock-full of commonsense practices and statements … “Medicine will not tell you what the patient was doing when they passed out, the patient will.” Dr. Sklaroff even makes the statement “I make a living on stopping medicines” (referring in part to the subtle side effects of most medications that are often not tested for in clinical trials).
This is an important film, with information of which all of us should be aware. Healers especially will welcome these doctors’ protocol of holding a patient’s hand, establishing a rapport, understanding a patient’s fears, and the importance of discharging a patient, which they state is as important as how the patient is admitted.
Those of us familiar with the practice of fracking know that drilling companies have differing toxic mixtures of chemicals, which they pump into our Earth to extract natural gas, and which are considered “trade secrets,” confirmed by congress as exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It may come as a surprise that there is an even bigger legal loophole that we each are exposed to many times on a daily basis … that of proprietary mixtures of chemicals used in personal care and, more generally, consumer non-durables.
In Jon Whelan’s quest to find out what caused the unpleasant odor in a newly bought pair of juvenile pajamas purchased from trendy store Justice, he learns that companies do not need to disclose carcinogenic chemicals or endocrine disruptors used in the manufacture of such items. Unable to get an answer from the clothing seller, and even the manufacturer tracked down to China, he sends the pajamas to a lab for testing. (Watch the movie for the results!) Further delving into this situation reveals that products we all purchase on a daily basis hide a multitude of proprietary chemicals under the term “fragrance.” Although fragrance ingredients from plants are usually listed, those from chemicals are exempted as “trade secrets,” and they can contain hundreds of chemicals.
We meet a high school boy who has a life-threatening allergic reaction to an ingredient in a popular teen body spray. When the boy’s mother contacts the manufacturer to find out what substance he might be reacting to, she is told the mixture is proprietary. No further answer is provided.
We are taken through the world of government regulation, of lobbyists for industry, and how the growing rate of cancer (1 in 20 in the time of Nixon to 1 in 8 in 2015), autism, infertility, birth defects, learning disabilities might be explained by the mushrooming presence of chemicals, especially fragrances and flame retardants, in our lives and in our bloodstreams. We learn about “the precautionary principle” (that a product should be proven safe), which, surprisingly, is not followed in the U.S. We learn about Proposition 65 in California and how it is constantly under threat of repeal by chemical corporations and their paid lobbyists. This is an important film, which all should see, especially before upcoming elections. It is non-partisan, and addresses issues that affect us all.