» At the Metro Omaha Medical Society's Medical MESS Club show last weekend, audience members nearly laughed themselves sick.
Twenty-three doctors took the stage at the Joslyn Art Museum's Witherspoon Concert Hall to sing parodies of popular songs, with medical-related lyrics.
To the tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Dr. Laura Wilwerding sang about kids coming to Children's Hospital & Medical Center.
“When you find lice in your head / And your parents are full of dread. / There's no bug we cannot squash / So come to us.”
Some lyrics were pointed, including Dr. Mark Mahloch's parody of Willie Nelson's “On the Road Again,” which took issue with those who think motorcyclists don't need to wear helmets.
“On the road again / Don't need no helmets on this road again. / I'll soon be needing nursing care and then / I won't get to go on any road again.”
Because certain diseases become resistant to antibiotics, three doctors sang to the tune of “Maria”:
“How do you treat resistant gonorrhea? / Help me to find another drug instead...”
And so on, much of it scatological — 29 songs under the musical direction of Chuck Penington.
» The movie “42,” about breaking the color line in baseball, reminded retired Omaha attorney Roger Holthaus of a surprise when he was fresh out of college.
In June 1961 he got a job as an assistant in the personnel office of the State Department in Washington, D.C. His boss assigned him to attend a symposium about private enterprise and government.
At a lunch break in a cafeteria, a stocky black man just ahead in line looked at his name tag and said, “Mr. Holthaus, would you care to join me for lunch?”
The man asked questions about his home, family, college, activities and career plans. Roger finally looked at the name tag of his lunch partner, who worked for a coffee company: “Mr. Robinson — Vice President, Chock Full o'Nuts.”
Yes, five years after his retirement from baseball, it was Jackie Robinson.
» Boys Town alum Roger Hinesh, who got the nickname “Rockin' Roger” from none other than Elvis Presley, is recuperating from shoulder injuries in a fall from a ladder while cleaning leaves from a gutter.
Roger, who turned 75 last month, lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, but visits Nebraska. Five years ago, I wrote about his fascinating and often difficult life.
He was born in 1938 at the Salvation Army's Booth Hospital in Omaha and was given up by his unwed mother. He was raised at St. James Orphanage and was adopted a few times but sent back.
One day, he said, he wrapped his arms around the legs of a visitor from Boys Town — the legendary Father Edward Flanagan. Roger eventually moved to the famed city of little men.
He later won local dance contests and headed to Los Angeles. At 19, he danced behind Elvis in the “Jailhouse Rock” movie.
But Roger eventually ended up in real jailhouses for burglaries, serving three prison terms (one in Nebraska) before entering a 12-step program and getting sober.
|Columnists Michael Kelly, Erin Grace and Matthew Hansen write about people, places and events around Omaha. Read more of their work here.|
For many years he has counseled prisoners, spoken at high schools and lectured at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.
Gary Goldberg, a professor there, said Roger is a popular figure. On a limited income, he mows lawns and hawks drinks and programs at sports events.
Midwestern State University, where he worked for 15 years, has set up a fund for him at American National Bank.
“He never married and has no family,” Gary told me. “Roger considers Boys Town his family.”
» The Scunthorpe Telegraph newspaper in England wrote Wednesday of six students from Lincolnshire who had visited Lincoln, “the capital of the U.S. state Nebraska.”
They visited our State Capitol as well as Northeast Community College and a Rotary Club.
The newspaper noted that Nebraska, at 77,000 square miles, is about the same size as England and Wales combined — 75,000 square miles.
“In contrast to England and Wales' population of 60 million,” the article noted, “there are only 1.8 million people in Nebraska.”
» A recent column told of the three Schmidt sisters and their husbands celebrating that all three marriages had lasted more than 60 years.
Three days after that gathering, one of the husbands, Ken Marshall of Council Bluffs, died from a stroke at 93. He and Barb would have been married 68 years in July.
The couple had eight children, 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Jim Marshall, oldest of the eight, said his dad was a stateside veteran of the Army Air Corps during World War II and worked hard to raise a large family. He worked for an electrical company during the day, slept in the evening and then started a railroad shift at midnight.
“He was a great guy,” Jim said. “Quiet, but strong.”
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