Oliver Sacks July 9, 1933 – August 30, 2015

The New York Times was the first to announce his passing earlier this morning.  The tributes immediately began to pour in, honoring the life of a very unique physician.  As the author J.K. Rowling tweeted, he was a great, humane and inspirational individual.  Rest peacefully, Oliver …

Oliver Sacks

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His Mother Really Named Him Gilbert

Well, we have something in common.  Throwback first names … My face still hurts from laughing tonight at Gilbert Gottfried and his jokes, at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club, right in our back yard at Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.




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A Hint at the Phillies Desert Dogs Roster

Last year the team player assignments to their respective Arizona Fall League clubs weren’t announced until the end of August, so chances are we’ll have to wait another week or two before learning who goes where.  All we know so far is the tentative schedule.  Budgeting more time this year to R&R at Fall League games, I’m getting antsy to find out the rosters.  Last year we had considerable enjoyment watching the Scottsdale Scorpions, not so much for Phillies talent which was weak, but for the skills of Greg Bird and Aaron Judge – two stud Yankee prospects.  I would have bet that Judge would make it to Yankee stadium ahead of Bird, but there was “Birdie” last night in the middle of a walk-off victory for the pinstripes.

I read this morning to learn that Jorge Alfaro, the prized 22 year-old catching prospect the Phillies received in the Hamels trade, is rehabbing in Clearwater and readying to play in the fall instructional league.  I’m thinking that’s the Florida fall instructional league, which means that Andrew Knapp, the Fightin’ Phils switch-hitting catcher who is on an unbelievable hot streak with the bat – his mustache serving as a good-luck charm – may be one of the Phils’ assignments to the Glendale Desert Dogs, this year’s Phillies AFL team.


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Sacks on the Sabbath


In today’s Sunday Review – Opinion of the New York Times, Oliver Sacks on the Sabbath of his Life concludes:  “And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”

Harkens to another great “And now,” farewell:

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, much as the Chairman of the Board did it his way, so too did Dr. Sacks.

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Are Visual Problems Left Untreated in Hispanic Rural America?


I have given voice to the unrecognized and unmet need for vision therapy services in minority populations.  Since learning recently through our colleague Dr. Lynn Hellerstein of a phenomenal essay on the subject by Veronica Garcia, a talented young writer who covers Hispanic-American affairs, I’ve mulled over the ideal way to introduce it to you once we received Veronica’s permission to share it.

I’ve decided that the best way is to simply say:  read it slowly at a time when you can savor it.  Voices like Veronica’s, non-optometrists who champion the role of vision in achieving one’s full potential, must be widely disseminated.  Be sure to share the following piece far and wide in as many policy and social media circles as you can.


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Jacquelyn & Brian






































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Fox Conner – What’s In A Name?

Each morning in our office we have a team meeting to review upcoming highlights of the day.  On Monday of this week we noted that a young child who was due in as a new patient had the interesting name of Fox Conner, and emphasized that Conner was his last name, not his first.  Although it should have been easy to remember (as a first name it would typically be spelled Connor), sure enough when I came into the exam room to greet this sweet boy I said: “Hi Conner!”  His mother corrected me, quickly adding that it happens all the time.  I wondered aloud that she must frequently be asked how she came up with the first name “Fox” – and she humbly filled me in on her husband’s family’s famous military history.

Fox Conner

As recorded in the National Museum of the United States Army, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked who the greatest American soldier was that he knew, he didn’t answer that it was Pershing, or MacArthur, Marshall or Bradley, Patton or Smith – each of whom he worked closely with.  His answer was an understated fellow graduate of West Point, Major General Fox Conner — the great, great grandfather of my little patient, Fox Conner.  As Fox’s mother and I were chatting about Fox’s career and his mentorship of Eisenhower, I proudly invited her into my conference room to show her the picture of my son, Elliot, as a Cadet at West Point.  I’ve always said during and after our experiences as a West Point family that every American should be required to visit there at least once to soak in its rich history.  After learning about Major General Fox Conner I was almost embarrassed that I wasn’t aware of his legacy.

I held a conference last night with Fox’s parents to review my findings, and his father was kind enough to share with me several personal letters to Major General Fox Conner from his collection that he gave me his blessing to include in this blog.



Major General Conner’s father served in the Confederate Army and was blinded at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. In spite of this, or perhaps because of his father’s bravery, Fox dreamed of becoming a soldier from a young age. He graduated from West Point in 1898 and was commissioned in the artillery.

After meeting his sweet family I wanted to learn as much as I could about Major General Conner – fluent in French and Spanish, the idol of luminaries such as Patton, Pershing, and Eisenhower, and a man credited with perfecting the art of mentorship.  Many personal facts, such as the derivation of his unusual first name from his mother’s maiden name, are available online.  I browsed this morning, and found a book that I can’t wait to read.


Fox and his younger brother Robert came along for the ride yesterday while I was meeting with his parents.  It was the end of the day, and the rest of my staff had left because I was so enraptured by the family history that I lost track of time.  When I came out to the reception area with his parents, Fox was playing quietly with his younger brother.  I asked him what he thought he wanted to be when he got older and he said “either a solider or a rock star, but probably a rock star”.  There’s still plenty of time …

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