Feb 20

Chess fallen queenChess is a game of extraordinary—sometimes infuriating— complexity.

Sixty-four squares, thirty-two pieces: it seems simple enough, on the surface.  But after just four moves, more than 288 billion different positions are possible.

To play the game well one must look seven or eight moves ahead, mentally mapping out the consequences of each possible move while weighing the potential responses and strategies of your opponent.  Placing a single piece in error can lead to disaster.

The best chess players—the grandmasters—craft opening moves with endgames already in mind.  Like top field generals, they hold the entire battlefield in their minds with perfect clarity.

Each piece on the chessboard plays a vital role.  But by far the most versatile piece, and hence the most critical to success, is the queen. (The king, technically the most important, exists only to be protected.)

Unlike chess, health care administration is not a game.  But like chess, it is extraordinarily, sometimes infuriatingly, complex—requiring careful deployment and coordination of numerous pieces. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 20


My father was a man of deep convictions.

He even sneezed with conviction.

He’d fumble in the hip pocket of his green work trousers—his face rapidly turning a deep shade of crimson—and produce a giant red handkerchief just in time to deliver an earsplitting “HUPSWAAAA!!!!!!!” into its depths.

I have a lasting memory of standing outside with my Dad one bright spring morning as one of his legendary eruptions frightened a long row of starlings—assembled neatly on the power line strung between our house and barn—skyward in chaotic disarray.

I’m every inch my father’s son.  Fifty percent of my DNA came from my mom—but as far as sneezing goes, all my talent comes from Dad. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 20

Flu maskAlmost twelve thousand people infected.

More than 250 dead.

Once again, a new and dangerous virus has escaped its birthplace and begun to march inexorably around the globe.

At the epicenter this time: Wuhan, China, a sprawling metropolis of 11 million people.

It and at least 15 other Chinese cities—more than 60 million people—are on lock-down.

Two brand-new hospitals— frantically erected almost overnight to attend to the afflicted—will open next week in Wuhan.

Municipal leaders have ordained that all residents should wear masks in public; drones are being deployed to berate citizens who don’t comply.  Larger drones are fighting the virus by spraying disinfectant over villages and cities. Read the rest of this entry »