Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health Care Reform: Still All Mirrors, No Smoke

I heard Sens Baucus and Rockefeller debating a public option for health insurance. The debate seemed like it was headed somewhere useful when they agreed that insurance companies needed to have their feet held to the fire. It turned out, though, that they were using that as a metaphor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There's Good News. No, Wait, It's a Mistake

Just as I finished that last post, the crews were out in our alley delivering our expensive new garbage cans. I went out to see where we had to oh so carefully put them so their expensive new trucks could pick them up (the garbage men will only get out of the truck now to leave you a note explaining why they won't pick up your garbage).
It was pretty good news because the worry had been that we'd have to put the garbage cans in front of our houses instead of the alley, which in the winter, especially given Anchorage's wretched snow plowing will be very difficult to do.
Actually, the crews weren't delivering the cans, they were picking them up out of the alley where they'd put them by mistake so they could put them in front of the houses.

When Will They Ever Learn, When Will They Ever Learn?~ Pete Seeger

I was sort of irritable today, which was odd, now that I see it in type since my supervisor gave me a little coin this morning that said, "Keep Up The Good Work". I was irritable, but it wasn't until I got an e-mail from Solid Waste Services that I became irritated. It's not enough that I have to join their little recycling cult, but now I'm going to get messages from them just like the monkeys in the Jungle Book; "We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.."
So, I was testy, when one of my customers said, "How are you?" You'd think she'd know by now; I'm irritable. So, I explained that I was ticked about the recycling. She was too. And then I explained that I was irritated by the new traffic circle they just put up in our neighborhood that's supposed to calm traffic, but is enraging every driver that makes it through. Why, why does everything the municipality does make my life harder? She said she didn't like the new mayor, and I said that was fine, if it made her feel better, I'd hate him too, but I especially hated the smarmy former mayor who is now our smarmy Senator. Just then, someone drove by and yelled out the window, "Hello, beautiful people!"
She said, "That's Don Young's campaign manager."
I said, "I hate Don Young."

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Never Wanted To Have To Tell You This

Because it would mean that I've completely run out of ideas for a post.
So, here are a couple of things I heard recently,

Tom Waits singing, "I've got the clouds but not the sky." which pretty much sums life up most of the time.

Sandra Tsing-loh said her brother is getting marred for the second time late in life, and he and his bride are registering at Wells Fargo.

No wait, I didn't completely run out because I've been saving this, for when I really run out of ideas: I've got a gardener that sings roots music.
Here's a preview of tomorrow's post.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Powell's Doctrine

Colin Powell has espoused a military doctrine that demands that certain conditions be met before committing US troops, and if they are to be used, then they should be used overwhelmingly not unlike Forrest's "firstest with the mostest".
Karen has quietly been filling a box with books to send to Sarah; last night the doorbell rang, and there was a mailman on our porch with a box of books from Sarah. Sort of a Powell's doctrine first strike.
Ostensibly these were books that could go to Title Wave, but Title Wave has taken a very judgmental tone lately about used books being dropped off at a used book store. I loaded up my bike trailer last weekend and rode over there (up that steep hill by West High for those of you that have spent some time here [with a load of books in the trailer, don't forget]) only to hear, "We're not a donation center, you know."
I was sort of irritated (and sweaty) and while I was wandering around the store, I found a book I wanted that was only $1.50. But then I went online with my iPhone and found it free on Google's Book Reader. That kind of snottiness only really works when you've got a monopoly. That's what I tell my customers, rudely.

Friday, September 25, 2009

That's a 10-4, Dido

I've been listening to iTunes U lectures from Stanford (strangely,
Smith doesn't have any) about Plato, Socrates, Vergil and Hannibal.
They insist that citizens take an interest in the life of the
community. Following this Socratic precept, I've installed a police
scanner on my iPhone.
Here's a question for the ages gleaned from my new attention to the
polis; why would a woman fake being unconscious on a public restroom

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In Like a Polar Bear

Yesterday, on the calendar, and in practice, it was summer. Today we woke up to fall. The snow, which hitherto had remained only in our memories had moved half way down the mountains, and the leaves had begun to move down to the ground helped by a cold wind. The snow level is 2000 feet, which means that just a scant half mile from the top of our heads, it's snowing.
Oh, and I have a cold. I think it's just a regular cold, and not a swine cold. Maybe it's a bovine cold, because I plan to milk it for whatever it's worth.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Just Don't Know What to Think Anymore

Sir Thomas More:[to Will Roper] Now, listen, Will. Two years ago you were a passionate churchman. Now you're a passionate Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head's finished turning, your face is to the front again.~From a Man For All Seasons

I just read an article in The Atlantic Monthly about health care. It seemed reasonable and comported exactly with my own experience. Oh, and it was kind of discouraging that we will ever achieve meaningful health care reform since the insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and drug companies are so well rewarded under the current system, and so well entrenched politically. In fact, the current reform effort, if you believe this writer, (and I do, this week) can be summarized by this quote:
Like its predecessors, the Obama administration treats additional government funding as a solution to unaffordable health care, rather than its cause.

I just found out today that the war in Sri Lanka, now on indefinite
hiatus, was between Hindus and Bhuddists. Doesn't that seem odd like a
war between PETA and Greenpeace, or between Quakers and Shakers?

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We've been having a little bit of Indian Summer up here, and not in
some quasi-racist way, but in a subtropical, subcontinental, in the
60's during the day way.
Sent from my iPhone

"Nobody Ever Wakes Up and Says 'Today is a Good Day for a Colonoscopy'"

I can sense this day slipping away from me, so I watched a video from iTunes U called, I'll Stop Procrastinating Tomorrow. I really think it helped me commit to doing those chores some time.

Mission Creep

Okay, I found a To-Do List that met all my criteria (free) and I put some items into it, but then we had to go to the hospital to have some routine blood work. As we left that, it occurred to Karen that she had some other pre-op stuff to do there before they re-implant her intrathecal pump (and only the pump) next month. A quick three hours later we were climbing back into our car and heading home.
Right now we're eating lunch and then we have some shopping to do, but then I've got a ton of little chores I'm going to get started on this weekend.

If I Tweeted, This Would Be One of Those

I've been up for almost two hours now on my day off. I have tons of little chores to accomplish. So far I've spent all my time since before I got out of bed searching Apple's App Store for the perfect To-Do List App. Oh, and blogging. Anyway, I've got a lot to do, so I have to get back to the App store.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

As Ritualized as Japanese Theater, Noh What I Mean?

Okay, this is the last post about my dog bite, unless I think of something else to say about it. I just wanted to point out that getting bitten by a dog is as choreographed as any ballet, or I should say as scripted as a play,
Dog's Owner: They're alright.
Mailman: Ow
Dog's Owner: They've never done that before.
To paraphrase Katt Williams, "Every time? Every time."

Monday, September 14, 2009

If You're Reading This You Must Be Alive

But you won't always be.
My dog bite is healing, I guess. Here's a link to the latest picture of it. Now you can see where the teeth from the bottom jaw hit on my arm. The owner told me today that they've put the dog on restriction. I thought that was a cutesy term for quarantine, but no, animal control has never called them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Okay, we all know this, why don't we just do it?
And to recap yesterday's post, irritating unwanted paper should be delivered to a mailbox by a mailman, and everyone should have a dog for house cleaning.
Except today I was bitten by a dog on my route. At least it was a real bite, and I could feel more manly and less frock-wearing-and-parasol-waving than I did when I was attacked by a cat.
If you're interested, it looks like this.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Garbage Men of Stockholm

In the course of complaining about something (more on this, I bet) to my assemblywoman, I mentioned that we were being forced into the inconvenient and very expensive mandatory recycling program by Anchorage's Solid Waste Services. She wrote to SWS, who responded in part, "Many of our Phase I customers complained loudly about the expense and inconvenience of the automated program before we started, but now really like the system."

Did you know that in the Soviet Union, there were no phone books? Telephone numbers were given out on a need to know basis. In contrast, at the dawn of the Internet Age, the mantra was "Information wants to be free. Om" Okay most of that was that we all wanted to steal music. Like St Paul said, "All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient. Francis Schaefer said that among his students this freedom was misinterpreted as license. Just now, you need to know that keeping my hands on the keyboard is introducing a tone of reasonableness and civility that was missing earlier today when I was talking about this. Then, my hands were waving in the air. Sure, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, but here, this freedom is running amok and littering because everyone in this town with a printing press is lobbing phone books into my yard, and I'm sick of it. And planning on being even sicker of it, when I have to start dealing with expensive and mandatory garbage men. I suggested to my assemblywoman an opt-in requirement but the SWS guy besides positing that soon I'd love being held hostage by garbage men, said that the phone book company goons would mount a legal challenge, so there was nothing we could do. Because if a lawyer throws a phone book at you, it's fine, but just you try it, and they'll throw the book at you, so to speak.

More health news, for the only mildly squeamish. Yesterday Karen called me at work and told me that her tubing had popped apart and was spurting blood. I told her that she should call the home health people in charge of her pump since their office is right at the end of our street. She did and they came and fixed it all up. When I got home, she had changed clothes and their was no sign of any problem. Because Bernie had followed her around licking up all the blood.

An' Here I Sit So Patiently Waiting To Find Out What Price You Have To Pay To Get Out Of Going Through All These Things Twice.~Bob Dylan

For a long time after Karen's day surgery last year and its subsequent hospitalizations, infections, injuries, indignities, and what have you, she wouldn't let anyone come near her with anything sharper than a spoon. But now she's scheduled to have her pump reimplanted next month. I'm surprised they can even do a surgery with a spork.

In other news, does anyone else find it ironic that I can't find my GPS, even using my iPhone to help look for it?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How Much Cargo Do You Have In There?

Last Christmas Leah gave me a pair of pants with a lot of pockets. They had the waist that I'd been wearing, but wasn't quite able to fit into anymore. This morning I finally squeezed into them for the first time. I must say that although the label says "Cargo Fit", it might as well have said, "Wide Load".

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Chain Reaction

We went for a bike ride today. It's practically the first, and probably the last, of the season. One rider was so much faster than the rest of us that I might as well have been on a stationery bike. That's right, I could have been doing bike writing.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Crossing The Futility Boundary

Wired Magazine has an article this month about the placebo response. It has become harder and harder for drug companies to prove their drugs are better than placebos. Drug trials that fail that test are said to have crossed the "futility boundary". Which is such a great phrase that it could be a post all by itself.
Anyway, the placebo response is real, and research indicates that even inert drugs can act as a "catalyst for ... the body's 'endogenous health care system.'" if the patient believes they will help. Drug company's advertising has been so effective that just taking a pill, any pill, can trigger the release of endorphins and dopamine, making the patient feel better. Or, meet the Republican health care plan. Along with squinting for vision care and a piece of string and a door knob for do it yourself dentistry.

In other news, the Onion is reporting on the Postal Service's offer to buy out its employees.

Maybe I Just Like Cursing The Dark

The energy rater that I wrote about yesterday said that if we insulated the house as he recommended, we could heat it with a candle.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

As Posts Go, This One Is Only Fair

We had an energy rater at our house yesterday. We got two stars which is more than I gave Hart's War, but still it wasn't very impressive for a Hart's home. We were 62% efficient, about what I assume the post office is. He gave us suggestions to improve our energy efficiency. Some of them weren't very big, but even one thing can make a difference. For example, a joke about a Greek scholar who could read in the Basement, wouldn't even make sense. He made some suggestions about insulation that would cost a lot, but would pay off in the long run. I told him that at my age, the long run was whether or not I made it to the In Plain Sight season premiere.

We went to the fair on Sunday. I tried to include something from each major food group, fried, frozen, dipped and spicy. I moderated my eating somewhat; I only had a medium ice cream cone. On the way out though, I was like a toddler in a shopping cart with both arms out. I found myself at the gate holding a corn dog and an ear of corn. It turns out that being rated the best corn dog is an ambiguous compliment. Yes, Dean's Corn Dogs may have better batter (a tasty tongue twister ) than the others but it had the same insipid hot dog. The world is crying out for a corn dog that doesn't disappoint. Or just fried batter, that would be good.