By Dr. Jim Ferguson As Becky and I travel, it’s not unusual for people to ask me if I’m from Texas. I don’t wear a ten gallon hat, but apparently I have an accent confused with a Texas drawl. Actually, my accent is East Tennessean with a nasal drawl. I often respond by noting many […]

Across the void

 By Dr. Jim Ferguson A friend and fellow wordsmith introduced me to a new word last week. Apparently in Sweden it has become the rage to pick up garbage along the roadside as you jog. This is called “plogging,” even though Mr. Webster has yet to recognize this new term. Perhaps the Swedes found a […]

The Antithesis of Love

By Dr. Jim Ferguson I wonder if anything you hear is true anymore. Certainly you have to question anything reported in the press or anything coming from a politician’s mouth. But then you’d have to define truth, which is a much higher bar to attain than purported facts. You might be challenged by the notion […]

Incidentalomas and Bezoars

By Dr. Jim Ferguson Medical verbiage can be confusing. I’m told there are 500,000 words in the English language, and then if you add medical, legal and technical language to the base number there may be upwards of a million words in the English lexicon. The purpose of words is to communicate. If a doctor […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson All writers think their words should be read, if not savored. Well that’s a bit too much, because I’ve been organizing my past Focus essays and I cringe at some of my past prose. Furthermore, I am repeatedly surprised, as I read my weekly essay aloud to my editress wife, Becky, […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson You never know who you’ll meet at a wine tasting bar. Last week, I met a Roller-Derby gal in what you might think an unlikely place. Becky and I were sightseeing in the Columbia River Gorge and decided to stop at the “best winery in Oregon,” at least as rated in […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson   A rare disease has touched our family three times, though it would be years before we connected all the dots. First, an adopted daughter couldn’t move her arms. Then, there was a bride who didn’t smile. And most recently a sister in law started choking and couldn’t swallow. To the […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember whether I’ve written about something or just thought about it. As a result, I have a new project putting my previous five hundred and thirteen Focus essays in a computer file which I can then easily search. If I had realized ten years ago […]


 By Dr. Jim Ferguson These days, a lot of things mystify me. An old example is dead possums on the road. I realize possums are nocturnal creatures and don’t understand roadway etiquette. However, you would think natural selection would serve as a disincentive to cross highways traversed by other night creatures traveling home from late […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson I recently learned that all languages have a word for the soul – not to be confused with the music of Motown. Materialism is a philosophy of objectivity, so a materialist might argue the soul does not exist because it cannot be measured. However, there are other things which can’t be […]

1 10 11 12 13 14 37