Thursday, February 7, 2008
Midwest Eye Conference
(click on image to enlarge)
Last weekend's Midwest Eye Conference in lovely Oklahoma City was a big success. It started with a reception Friday night, then we wandered about downtown to look for a place to eat.
I was pleased that on Saturday morning, when the presentations began, I was the second speaker following my esteemed colleague from Wisconsin, Dr Simon Pot, who was talking about a cataract operation in a penguin who resided at the Milwaukee Zoo. I gave my chat about a weird, rare eye tumor of dogs. I was glad people were paying attention enough to ask some questions. I thought it went well and it was a relief to get it over with, frankly. The rest of the morning was filled with additional talks.
That afternoon, we received a tour of the Cowboy Museum. I had been looking forward to this. I thought, mistakenly, that Trigger, Roy Roger's horse, resided there, stuffed and mounted. I was sad to hear that Trigger resides at possibly three other places. None of the docents were sure. The museum is huge, with lots of money being donated by...........John Wayne. I have to admit that some of the museum was interesting. I enjoyed the section on movie cowboys of old, the part about cowboy humorist Will Rogers, and the Native American art. As we entered the room of Native American art, the docent said: "These things are more like artifacts than art". The room was filled with beauty. Beaded moccasins, jewlery, blankets, sculpture. Seemed like art for me. The way the "interaction" between whites and Native people was described, was so far from the truth, I had to laugh to keep from crying. A couple of my European colleagues were particularly upset. I knew it would be quite a bit of cowboy mythology, but wasn't prepared for the magnitude of the distortions. Plus the life-size statues of Charleton Heston,John Wayne, and Ronnie Reagan were a bit much. I thought it was interesting to see John Wayne's kachina (sp?) doll collection. Was it that he understood that this dolls had spiritual import? Did he think they were beautiful? The docents didn't know. The silly part of me wondered that it would have "tarnished" Wayne's "image" if the information got out that he collected "dolls". The Native American depicted above sums up how I felt as I left the museum.
That evening, we had a really nice dinner, with a one man cowboy play/standup comic. It wasn't very funny but the food was exceptional. Talks continued Sunday morning. They were generaly quite good and I learned a lot.
Lastly, we left and tried to fly home. Due to a series of flight delatys, cancellations and snow, we didn't arrive in Madison until 9:30. Aside from that, the weekend was a success and I enjoyed getting to know my colleagues better.
(click on image to enlarge)
From left to right: Dr Simon Pot, Dr Christiane Kafarnik, Dr Patricia Mundy