Writing

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, […]

Viticulture

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 […]

Fergisms

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 […]

Reminisces

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 […]

Mysteries

 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 […]

Perception

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 […]

Something Happened

By Dr. Jim Ferguson Historians were intrigued to learn that on July 4th 1776, King George wrote in his diary that “Not much happened today.” I’ll cut the King some slack because there was no internet, nor phones or even telegraph in the 18th century.  It would be months before George learned that the Revolutionary […]

Awakenings

By Dr. Jim Ferguson These days, the prospect of spring is tantalizing. This time every year I’m glad to see February exit and begin to embrace the promise of winter’s end. Knoxville is fortunate to have four seasons. About the time we are sick of the heat of summer we have a wonderful fall; and […]

Ennui

By Dr. Jim Ferguson The French have a term for feeling listless, weary or dissatisfied. Americans might say they have the blahs or the doldrums. Since English is an amalgam of many languages and cultures, the French word ennui is now part of our English lexicon. I’m a stickler for words which are the tools […]

The law

 By Dr. Jim Ferguson Medical decisions are relatively straightforward because they emerge from facts and reason rather than emotion. We all have emotional and rational aspects of our personality, but errors often result when important decisions are driven by passion. It may be risky to discuss the topic, but the passionate debate of gun control […]