26 January 2014

the one where you think i'm talking politics but i'm really talking business.

obamacare is a debacle in both its primary objective and in its attempts to meet that objective.

universal affordable health insurance is the incorrect target. universal affordable health CARE is what we should aim for. pluswise, the tools to reach this incorrect target (from the plans proffered to the website through which plans are accessed) are incomplete, broken, insecure, and expensive.

the reason insurance is the wrong target is because insurance is a means to care. care itself is the end and to aim at a means instead of its end -- in the best case results in perfected means and in the worse case results in convoluted, bureaucratized means. either way, you're still left with having done something around means and you haven't addressed the end.

universal affordable health care.

wouldn't THAT be grand!

what if we had clinics which were supported by public money and were open to the public. these clinics could offer all the basics like immunizations, well child checkups, mammograms, dental care, prescriptions, pregnancy care, basic preventative care of all types... all this on a sliding scale, where all persons are served regardless of their ability to pay.


that's right. we have public health. it's generally served up in relatively dingy rooms in relatively dingy parts of town, and to access the services, you'll inevitably wait a few hours and might even have to come back the next day. i know how it works because i've used it myself. i mean, it wasn't yesterday. it was like, 25 years ago, we went there to get immunizations. we had to wait a while, and everything there was a terrible shade of green, but it worked, and it was affordable.

obamacare is a convolution where we need a solution.

one complication with universal insurance coverage is that for it to work, people have to be covered for things they'll never need, services they'll never use. to simplify: in order for my mammograms to be covered, the 80-year old man who lives next door needs to have mammograms in his policy, too.

another complication is inherent to insurance. insurance is a middle-man who manages a pool of everyone's money and doles it out to the folks in the pool who need it. managing the pool and doling the funds out requires a bureaucracy which in the case of medical insurance has grown to the fill thousands of office buildings with millions of people who do nothing but move information around.


why do we even need a pool? why don't we just pay outright for medical care? because it's gotten so damn expensive, no one can afford it. why has it gotten so damn expensive? i'm not going to say i understand it 100% but i know it's got something to do with our litigation-happy society that forces doctors to carry expensive malpractice insurance, and it's got something to do the way medical insurance companies negotiate network pricing.

we could start with tort reform and with enhancing existing public health services. we could take a look at medicaid and medicare, maybe restructure those. we could take a good hard look at medical insurance. but instead of any of that, we get another layer piled on top of what was already there, and the sad punchline is that the insurance companies are getting paid from both sides.

that's right. the big winners in obamacare are the insurance companies. the means. why? because we aimed at the means and so what we got were enhanced means. means on steroids. but, still the ends are no better off. are we closer to universal health care? not yet.

it's not about old men having to pay for mammogram coverage. it's not about needing a celebrity-filled communication system to get the word out. it's not about sub-50 employee companies or part-time versus full-time. it's not even about if you like your plan, you can keep it.

it's about the winners being stockholders of insurance companies and losers being the rest of us.

we lose when coverage and care are conflated.

it's like that giant boulder rolling down on indiana jones, and it seems too big stop, and maybe it is. i know i can't stop it by myself, but i'll be damned if i won't go down swinging.



thanks to descartes for assisting me to pull my thoughts together.

22 January 2014

like sherman through frisco

maybe you've heard about richard sherman's post game rant?

maybe not.

richard sherman plays american football for the seattle seahawks. he's a cornerback, which is a deep defender roughly comparable to marking back in FIFA. the job of the cornerback -- in a nutshell -- is to prevent his opponent from scoring.

mr sherman's team has done exceptionally well this year and, after last weekend's win over the 49ers, will be going to the super bowl. this accomplishment is in no small part due to a split-second of mr sherman's life -- a split-second in which he jumped high, reached out, and touched the ball before his opponent, knocked the ball out of reach, and thuslywise prevented a touchdown that would have closed a 7-point gap by six and put the win within reach of the 49ers. the very next play, the seahawks intercepted a pass, and within moments, the game was over.

mr sherman's preventing this touchdown was a highlight-reel quality play. he did everything right, and it paid off big, just at the end of the game when the stakes are highest. the stakes are highest, and the players are tiredest.

mr sherman's specific opponent in this play was a certain mr crabtree... a 49er who'd been trash talking mr sherman all season. not all day. not all week. ALL. SEASON. it's not an overstatement to say that mr crabtree is mr sherman's nemesis.

in summary: mr sherman overcame his end-of-game fatigue to make a spectacular play that foiled his nemesis in a very high-stakes contest.

i'm sure he was pretty happy about this... don't you think?


someone in the hidden room of the television producer dispatched the on-field correspondent, erin andrews, to ask mr sherman about The Play, to ask this young man how it feels to be on the tippy-tippy-top of his world. so she asked, and he responded with resounding enthusiasm, energy, excitement, and grammatical correctness. i saw it live, and it was thrilling. i played back the DVR and watched it three times, trying to absorb some of his authenticity, through the ether.

the backlash to his sheer emotion has been as disappointing as it has been predictable. dumasses immediately took to twitter to call him a monkey and a thug, and worse i'm sure. every sports talk show host at every tired little AM station across the heartland of america is shaking his (they're all men) head and bemoaning the demise of the gentleman athlete. NPR is shaking their collective head and bemoaning the misunderstoodness of the young african-american male.

c'mon, people.

any young man (and many a young lady, too) -- whether they be black, white, green, or purple -- would crow and strut in the very same way as mr sherman were they in his place. we aren't misunderstanding blackness. we're in part misunderstanding youth, but moreso, we're misunderstanding winning.

there's a contingent who are comparing him to peyton manning, an automaton if ever there were one. peyton's post-game interviews are straight as a popsicle stick and just as bland. the anomaly here is mr manning, not mr sherman. it is unusual for humans to react calmly in the face of overcoming their opponent.

let me say that again.

to react CALMLY
in the face of OVERCOMING


1. mr sherman's team won.
2. he was tired.
3. his adrenalin was turnt up.
4. he'd foiled his nemesis.

you can't write the proof of these givens with anything less than pure elation.

when asked how he felt about all this, on live television, immediately after the game, before he'd removed his uniform or replenished his electrolytes, mr sherman spoke with authentic passion. and, he didn't even curse.

that's not a reaction specific to african-american young men.

that's a reaction specific to winners.

the consternation of american sports society over mr sherman's so-called "rant" is just another in a long line of disappointing, yet predictable, consequences of this same society's inscrutable desire to denigrate winners by flattening the landscape of outcomes.

put away the name-calling, the psychoanalysis, the attempts to shoe-horn all our authenticity into a false ideal of controlled emotion.

mr sherman is a winner.

rejoice with him.

20 January 2014


i know what it is: it's your basic garbage-in, garbage-out. gorging myself on a steady diet of top-40 radio and candy crush does not nourish my writing muscles. i have nothing of substance to say because i have listened to nothing of substance. i have nothing of substance to write because i have read nothing of substance. my thoughts are shallow, ephemeral, centered around material possessions... boots, and a bag.

i tell myself i will do better, and i turn on NPR for the commute to work. but ten'll get you twenty they're interviewing someone with loose dentures or the commentator has the clicky-dry-mouth. is there some rule against sips of water, at NPR? they are driving me nuts.

also, i'm not making excuses (#maybeiam #dontjudge) but the commute isn't necessarily the best time to count on assimilating quality inputs. there are a plethora of distractions to edification, which distractions are in actuality rightly categorized as The Main Event, with the edification evidently taking a back seat, as it were. eyes on the road and whatnot.

so, it's left to music to fill my tiny slingshot car during the commute, and while i'm certainly not dissing music altogether, music is not a generally accepted conduit of knowledge. save the ABC song, and those that list presidents and state capitols, and the entirety of schoolhouse rock -- music is entertainment. there is nothing wrong with being entertained. alls i am saying is that my writing muscles aren't getting nourishment during the commute.

work is work, and i do actually learn quite literally a lot during work, but i am not going to write about it. i mean, not here. i have other outlets to write about work, and i have recently stepped work-writing up a bit, and you could make the argument that work-writing's overtaking off-writing is due to its being given more attention. that's a shiny argument, but it's fools gold... the time i spend work-writing would not be filled by off-writing or by anything that directly nourishes off-writing. the reality is that writing begets writing, so the work-writing should - innately (albeit, indirectly) - enhance the off-writing. can't blame the work-writing. nice try, though.

after work, we fill the time with television. homeland. big bang theory. mom. house of lies. episodes. masters of sex. men at work. person of interest. csi. shameless. newsroom. sports, sports, sports. leno and fallon as fill-ins. we will literally sit and chain-watch reruns of big bang on tbs before we'd consider shutting the damn thing off altogether. it's what we do to unwind. it's shared entertainment. we look at each other and laugh, which is not to be belittled in value... it's simply not nourishing my writing muscles.

when my workouts were the statbike, i'd use that time to read, but my workouts are currently running with sometimes yoga, so i don't use that time to read. when i rode a vanpool for the commute, i'd use that time to read, but i'm driving myself now, so i can't use that time to read. he used to coach soccer, ergo he'd be out till late a couple nights per week, and i'd use that time to read, but we're together more now, so i won't use that time to read.

i am full of excuses when i want to be filled with inspiration, brimming with things to tell you. it makes me sad because a part of myself is atrophying and i know that i'm at risk of losing use of it altogether. i want to save it and i know that to save it, i need to exercise it. i know the longer i go without exercising it, the more out of shape it gets, and the more work it'll be to bring it back.

so, like the compulsive dieter, the 2am online gambler, the bar hopping alcoholic... i promise you i'll do better.

i promise myself. i'll do better.

i'll do better... tomorrow.

12 January 2014

forsooth and thuslywise

[static] i am a bit under the gun [static][static][static] this hotel charges extra for inroom internet access but allows free wireless access in the lobby [static] sounds adequate right [static][static] yeah well the lobby access starts a timeclock counting down from 30 [static]inutes [static] i am fairly certain i can renew [static]ime after 30 minutes pass but heres [static] the thing [static] why have timeclock counting down like that [static][static] and while im at it why not ha[static] internet access in the guest rooms [static] and while im at it why not [static] have more than one piece of soap [static][static] am i meant to schlep [static] soap piece from [static] sink to shower and backwise thusly [static][static] FORSOOTH [static] i would like to show [static] some pictures fro[static]ip, but in addition t[static] being costly and needy, [static]ternet access is wonky [static]nd turning to 4g is no better [static][static] now i understa[static] why [static]is city [static]ever sleeps [static] everyo[static] futzing with [static]ternet and mobile access all night [static][static] phone has go[static] to 17 perce[static]ttery from 30 in two [static]inutes [static][static] wow [static][static] [static]eel [static]yself losing all ho[static] [static]AM [static]OW LESS THAN 5 MINUTES [static]NTERNET TIMER [static][static][static]ELVE PERCENT POWER ON [static]ONE [static][static] DON[static]INK [static] IS GOING TO [static]APPEN TONI[static] [static] [static] SAVE [static]URSELVES [static][static][static]AVE YOURSE[static][static][static][static][static]

thuslywise endeth the transmission.

08 January 2014

boots... boots and a bag.

a couple weeks ago, i saw these boots and sort of couldn't stop thinking about them. i kept checking the website to see if they were still there because they were on sale, so they might sell out. checking. checking. i put them in my shopping bag and left them there... checking. checking. until finally, they got the best of me, and i bought them. of course, today they are $10 less. GAH! but. the point is. boots. boots got the best of me.

a few days ago, i saw this bag and i couldn't stop thinking about it. the store was closing, so the bag was on clearance, but it was just 10% off. what sort of clearance is that? i walked away, but still. i couldn't stop thinking about it. today, after work, i went to the store that was closing. i said to myself, if the bag is still there, i will get it. turns out, the bag was still there, and now it was 30% off. i got it. what's the point? bag. bag got the best of me.

i didn't charge them. i didn't take food out of my baby's mouth to buy them. i don't have fifty others like them. i will use them. i will take care of them. i will be humble about them.

but, still. i feel guilty. people say, you work hard, you deserve nice things. but, is that how it works? do i DESERVE nice things BECAUSE i work hard? i don't know, but that doesn't sound right. because... i don't work hard to acquire things.

the reason i work hard is because it's the right thing to do. i am able, so i should use my ability to the best of my ability. in return for hard work, i am paid money, given the security of medical insurance, provided a bit of vacation time. do i DESERVE those things for my hard work? i don't hold my effort at this ransom. i would give my effort -- if not to my current work, then to SOME work -- without compensation. i would do so simply because there is work to be done and i am able. there is ALWAYS work, some work, and as long as i am able, i will participate and contribute.


if it's not a crime to have boots and a bag, why does it feel that way?

04 January 2014

8 mile run

i ran 8 miles this morning. it wasn't easy, but i did it.

with the cold 20mph wind in my face, i sure wanted to go home, but then i remembered a toddler who had the willpower to stop sucking her thumb cold-turkey, just because the dentist said it was bad for her teeth, and i found the will to face the wind.

my brain started devising ways to cut corners now and make it up later in training, but then i remembered a preteen who took the leap to go to a new school because she was focused on a plan for her life, and i found the strength to stick to my plan.

there were long stretches with no joy, but then i remembered a high-school senior who stuck with piano lessons after the joy was gone because she had committed to completing what she started, and i recommitted to finishing what i started.

people drove by me in their warm cars, and i thought why can't i be like other people and have a normal hobby, but then i remembered a college graduate who was determined to be independent no matter what people thought, and i relaxed about my choices.

i got very tired and wanted to quit, but i remembered a young woman who reached into someplace inside herself and found sheer determination to finish the monkey marathon an hour faster than she ever had, and i renewed my determination to keep going.

you amaze and impress me.

you are my inspiration.

01 January 2014


i should really remember to bring headphones to starbucks. i think the music they play here is specifically designed to deter tarrying. that is to say, it's annoying as hell. it's the very worst sort of brassy jazz. add to that annoyance, the annoyance of windows updates and you can picture me: ANNOYED.

when i reset this little computer, i decided to obey the windows update system. previously, i'd chosen the "just tell me when you have something, mr gates, and i'll decide if it's right for me" method. going on the assumption that that method was a contributor in the computer's eventual state of incapacity, i elected this time to go with "update at will, mr gates. i am at your mercy." let me tell you, for a gobzillionaire, that man is one needy sombeech. so far, i've spent more time updating than not.

ANNOYED is not the specific state in which i particularly wish to be, but as my new year's resolution is "not interrupting" and not "not being annoyed" there is really not much i can do about it.


what i wanted to talk about is NEW YEAR'S EVE. it's said that whatever you're doing on NYE is what you will be doing the remainder of the year. i am not sure if that technically applies to all day on 31 december, or only after dark, but i am going to go with all day. yes, i know... disobeying the rules leads to ANNOYED but in this case, you'll just have to suffer those consequences.


yesterday was 31 december, a.k.a.: NYE.

the day began with a nice breakfast followed by a trip to home depot.

"why home depot?"

well, sometime during 30 december, someone ko'd our mailbox into complete oblivion. the box is painfully bent, the thick wooden post is violently ripped in two, the platform holding the box onto the post is rudely split. besides the debris of a busted headlamp accompanying at the roadside all this debris of the mailbox+post, there was no indication what happened. no skid marks. no torn-up grass. no tire marks in the ditch. certainly no nice note to say, "sorry abt the mailbox mess and that you will spend 8 hours of your life and $100 of your money to replace it." we purchased a new post and box ($100), and i helped the man with the box for 3.5 hours (plus 3.5 of his simultaneous hours plus another of his after i left equals 8 person-hours on the mess).

"why did you leave?"

well, i had to go have my toes done. ("had to" in the briar-patch sense...) if i had time, i'd find you the blog post where i talked about the first visit i made to the toe-folks, and how i used to have a completely different outlook on toes. but i don't have time. suffice it to say, having my toes done has become something i enjoy and an appointment i am not willing to sacrifice to the cause of mailbox repairs. pluswise, i was sharing the appt with mrs junior, so it was like a Thing We Were Doing Together, and who wants to miss a Thing?? certainly not moi. i am not a Thing misser, no sir! so we went and had our toes done and then had starbucks.

"what next?"

well, we got home and started discussing plans for the evening. THAT'S RIGHT - MORE PLANS! because of the mailbox debacle, i had not had a run yet, and i mentioned this to the man, and he was all like - go now! and, i was like, now? and he was like, hurry before it gets dark! so i went, and i made it three before it got dark. (yes, i walked back through all the people's yards instead of on the dark street.) while i was out there, jogging around, at twilight on new year's eve... at that time while folks are Getting Ready before they are Going Someplace, while the streets are mostly quiet... i had a bit of time to myself and it was sweet.

"so, was that it?"

well... no! after THAT we did our own Getting Ready and we Went Someplace! specifically, we went to visit family, so it's not like a fancy party or anything, but it turned out to be just right. we stayed for several hours and ate lots of snacks and watched the strangest stuff on television because for some reason our local affiliates were not showing the national NYE broadcasts. we left just after midnight, got home around 1, fell into bed and slept like stones.

"so, that was it?"


for my NYE, i did something constructive around the house, something to beautify myself, something to grow a budding relationship, something for my health, and something fun with family.

so yeah. that was it.

but "it" was EVERYTHING. every different sort of thing.

and, if what i will be doing the remainder of 2014 is every different sort of thing, well... i believe i am in for an excellent year.