Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sayre is so Grand, Ten Grand, That Is

Sayre from SayreSmiles just happens to be my 10,000 visitor to Psychosomatic Wit. It couldn't happen to a better person (that is Sayre, not me). In honor of this milestone, I want everyone to visit her page.

Sayre has been one of the most frequent visitors of this blog. I am grateful for her friendship. As some blog friends come and go, Sayre has always been there. When I see that she has left me feedback, I get the glow that you get when family drops by. I am a better person because Sayre is in my life - even if it is limited to my blog life.

SayreSmiles is a great blog to visit. It overflows with that "family-warmth" feeling that I mentioned above. She invites her readers to be a part of her family. We get to share in her laughs and cries and even in situations that only Sayre can get into. It is great escape when surfing in blogland.

Thanks, Sayre, for being there for me!

Monday, November 26, 2007

NEWS FLASH #21

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

I hope everyone had a nice holiday (those that had one). Life has kept me busy going into and coming out of Thanksgiving. I haven't been neglectful of my blog - just unable to do much with it.
I also decided NOT to have "The Great Healthcare Debate II" on this blog at this point. I don't want to turn this into THAT. However, I am still willing to discuss it in small parts and in the comments for those who are particularly interested. As a little response to some of the criticisms to universal healthcare, I can say that no inconvenience or even small expense should outweigh some of our less fortunate the RIGHT to healthcare. It is unconscionable to deny healthcare to anyone - especally for selfish reasons ("it will cost me more or inconvenience me more"). Jesus, I am sure, hates this system. He taught that people should consider the "least" of society as they do God's own son. I doubt too many people would look favorable to the idea of turning Jesus away because of lack of funds, do you?

What also bothers me is that most of the people who are against providing unversal healthcare are the same people that support the pointless Iraq war and all the money spent on it. This would be conservatives and (Ready for the irony?) the RELIGIOUS RIGHT. It has cost us hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars to fund this war, but we let 18,000 people die per year because of the lack of healthcare available to them because it costs too much to provide it. Disgraceful!

But, I digress . . .

NEWS - I think from time to time as the primary season starts to heat up, I will give my take on some of the candidates. Today, it is Ron Paul. I like Paul for a number of reasons. For one thing, he is a Republican who doesn't keep rehashing the company line. He is a bit of a rascal and radical. I like that. I like the "idea" of some of his positions (e.g. he wants to do away with income taxes), but I fear that if he were president, he would spend a lot of time and resources on this type of thing, just to fall flat on his face because it doesn't look feasible. Even if it was feasible, there are enough politicians out there that do not believe it is, so they will fight it tooth and nail till it goes away (like Hillary's healthcare plan from the Clinton administration). In addition, Paul's libertarian philosophy and the strict "let the market decide" mantra is just not good or practical. If libertarians had their way, thier policies would lead to class warfare. Unbridled capitalism is just greed in action. In economics, a total capitalistic system is just a phase of a good economic model, not the end result. Unbridled capitalism leads to monopolies and the consumer ultimately is held hostage. With these kind of philosophies, Paul loses me because he is against universal healthcare which, to me, is essential for a civilized, compassionate society.

ENTERTAINMENT - I love this time of year because all the Christmas specials are coming on the television. I just can't get enough of "Rudolph" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Also, apparently I am getting TWO copies of "Sicko" for Christmas. I think it is an important film, but I only need one copy. :)

WORK - All is calm, all is bright. Not too many virgins, though. Work is calm and I generally take vacation around this time of year so I have no complaints.

SPIRIT - I have been in wonder over God's love and patience. He knows my heart. Although I have been failing in a couple of areas, God's mercy and wisdom surfaces and picks up the slack. The result: Peace.

FAMILY - We had a nice Thanksgiving. We went to my niece's house. We were the second team, however, as my niece's husband's family was there at noon and we came in at 4:00 pm. It was fine, though, and my famous turkey was awesome this year; I added a brine to the recipe.

LOVE - Things are pretty nice at home. My wife has been very helpful, loving, and appreciative to me. It is better than last year at this time so I guess we are steadily moving in the right direction.

ANGUISH - I have had a terrible time dealing with the water department. I may go into it later, because it sure would fill up a lot of space if I was to relay it here and now. When I get it settled, I will fill you in. Let's just say, that I am not a fan of the socialistic aspects of my city's water department right now. Kristen, I hope you are happy! ;)

SPORTS - I finally had a nice week in football. My Bengals acted like the Bengals of a couple of years ago and my fantasy team has high week (for the moment anyway). I am enjoying it while I can.

HOME - My tenant moved in and spent the night for the first time in the house last night. He is going to pay me Wednesday. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.







Monday, November 19, 2007

The Great Healthcare Debate (REVISED)

The question each person must decide regarding healthcare is do some people deserve it while others do not? Is healthcare a right or a privilege?


Let's make it real for you like it is for me. First of all, I want to say that I have health insurance. Actually, I have darn good health insurance. With my place of employment, I don't even have to pay a premium for coverage for me or my wife. I do have a deductible, but there is a mechanism built into my plan that frees money up to pay the deductible. So for me, there is no health coverage problem. However, as I have said in other posts about other things, it isn't about me.

My sister is in another place, however. As I wrote in NEWS FLASH #17 (from October 17), she ". . .STILL hasn't been granted "disabled" status although she has multiple physical problems that prevent her from walking much. Plus, she is in pain quite a bit and is an acute diabetic. She cannot work; she is going to lose her apartment (the power has already been cut off). She applied for disability two years ago and even has attorneys working on it. Now, she is sleeping on my mothers' couch. Because she isn't technically "disabled" yet, she also cannot get healthcare or consistently take her prescribed medications. She needs insulin twice a day, but she rations it. I am genuinely concerned about her future here on Earth."

Nothing has changed in her status after since I wrote this, except that she is sick now (as I mentioned in the most recent NEWS FLASH) on top of her other problems. Is she not deserving healthcare because she is unable to work and has $0 income? She does TRY to go to the clinic that is for poor and indigent people. Guess what? If she doesn't have the minimum of $16, they won't see her. We (my family) try to help as much as we can, but there are only so many resources we can draw from. I told her that we should put on her tombstone, "I didn't have the 16 bucks." This doesn't even cover any medication (like her insulin).

But that's okay; she isn't entitled to healthcare, that leaves more for the rest of us who are deserving, right? Besides, we are getting a little overcrowded here in America the way it is with the big influx of people from Mexico and such. Maybe we need these worthless people to die to make room. The good news is, according to the Institute of Medicine of the national academies (iom.edu), there are 18,000 unnecessary deaths in the US every year because of the lack of health coverage.

Oh, but isn't that better than (insert evil laugh here) SOCIALIZED MEDICINE? What is it that folks are afraid of? Is any aspect of socialism so scary that we want to make sure that no facet of life is tainted by it? Should we do away with public schools? If one can't pay to have his children be educated, then the children should just not get an education, right? We need people to have careers at McDonalds and others to spend their lives making sure that the grocery carts are returned to the store from the parking lot. Maybe we should hire our own police and fire departments. Why should the government supply these things? It is too socialized; it must be bad! Close the libraries and have all books come from bookstores. Maybe we can rent books like we do movies. That will make sure that the right people are educated - it will be only those that can afford to send their kids to elementary school.

Oh, but Jeff, what about all those pesky wait times in Canada? Our system is MUCH better than that.

There are so many ways to respond to this, it wasn't easy to determine which wayto list first.

1. The US is not Canada. We don't HAVE to do things exactly the way other countries do them. We can take the best aspects of others' systems and come up with our own - a better mousetrap.

2. I haven't heard a Canadian yet say that they would trade their system for ours. There are a number of Canadians who read my blog. Do I have any takers on that? Evidently, the Canadians value their "inferior" NHS because they haven't tried to change it and they voted its pioneer, Tommy Douglas, the greatest Canadian of all time.


4. Everyone in Canada has free healthcare. There are 40 to 50 MILLION uninsured Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control. Wait times for medical procedures are bound to be a heckuva lot shorter if 50,000,000 people jump out of line in front of you, no? Coversely, if you give 50 million more people Blue Cross/Blue Shield in this country, the wait times would be longer, no? So the argument about waiting times is not really against socialized medicine, it is about everyone being covered. What greed!

5. The wait times in Canada have been greatly exaggerated. According to the Canadian government, one can expect to wait four weeks for a specialist visit, three weeks for a diagnostic test, and four weeks for non-emergency surgery (like a knee or hip replacement). In addition, the waiting times for half the patients in emergency rooms were six minutes (six minutes to actually see the doctor) and 86% were seen within a half hour. This beats the heck out of anytime I have ever been to the emergency room here for myself or with a family member.

I know there are and will be some problems with a national healthcare system here in the states. I might have to wait a week or even a month longer to see a doctor about my knee or a skin condition. However, I would gladly wait a little longer if it meant that people like my sister would not needlessly suffer, and God forbid, DIE like 18,000 others will this year because of lack of health coverage. Wouldn't you?
THIS HAS BEEN REVISED BY INSERTING LINKS TO MY SOURCES. COMING SOON (probably next week because of holiday) THE GREAT HEALTHCARE DEBATE, PT II.





Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NEWS FLASH #20

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - The big news in politics the past week is that tele-evangelist Pat Robertson has endorsed "pro-gay, baby killer" Rudolph Giuliani for the Republican nomination for president. Now before some of you get your bowels in an uproar over my description in quotes above, I am saying that from a Robertson point of view, not mine - at least the Robertson we all knew and loved. ;) I would never describe Guiliani like that. I would rather describe him the same way Senator Joseph Biden referred to him when describing Giuliani's lack of experience. Check out this clip; it is only 27 seconds:



I have mixed emotions about Robertson's endorsement. On one hand, if he is representing evangelical Christians as he has tried to do throughout his ministry, this is a slap in the face to those who gave him credibility. Abortion IS the only issue that these folks have expressed that matters to them. Everything else (with the exceptions of the gay rights and prayer in school) are not relevant in this arena.

On the other hand, I have ALWAYS argued with my one-issue (abortion) Christian friends that to vote for president with that one issue as the only one that matters is foolish. The US had a Republican president for 20 of the last 28 years and 12 straight with Reagen and Bush Sr. Despite this flood of conservatism, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

I guess, though, if abortion has been your chief concern, despite the lack of logic (as Robertson claimed lo these many years), I have to throw the flag of hypocracy on the reverend. My suspicion is that he is so scared of Hilary, that he is willing to sacrifice his own convictions to keep her out of office (polls show Giuliani has the best chance of beating her in the general election).

ENTERTAINMENT - I recently viewed the DVD, "The Good German". It could have been a very good movie, but for me, something wasn't quite right. George Clooney did a fine job as the lead in this WWII era film; all the acting was fine.. One thing that I thought was a nice touch was that the movie was made in black and white and guised itself as a classic Hollywood film from the era right down to the graphics in the credits and musical score. It looked like a classic . . . except for one thing. The dialogue was R-rated. It was so out of place with the rest of the film's aura that it distracted from the art of the film. It was akin to getting dressed up for prom with the tux's, gowns, and limo's, just to go to McDonalds for dinner.

WORK - Work is okay and calm the way I like it. The intern seems to be working out well. That's a switch!

SPIRIT - Recently, a blog friend did my star chart. It was very interesting how things seemed to apply to me. It was quite educational, actually. I know that many Christians will be eager to condemn me for "delving into the mystical", but I don't see it that way. There was nothing bewitching about it. It is presented as a science and I have not placed my faith in it. I like to observe something before I condemn it (see: Moore, Michael). ;)

FAMILY - Not much change. My sister is sick and that puts extra responsibility on me concerning her and my mother (since my sister can't help out as much). That's okay, though.

LOVE - At the risk of sounding callous, my wife just finds new ways to exercise her disfunction onto our relationship. Without getting into detail, she did a 180 degree turn on a particular issue without warning. This, again, hurt my feelings. I know, I am such a baby! This time, however, I was ready to express my feelings and let it go. She, in her "there is no way I am going to apologize" way, apologized. If you didn't know how to decipher her code, you wouldn't have known it was an apology - or maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part.

ANGUISH - The two halfway working cars are looking like they are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to operation. I simply have no money for repairs so I am praying they will hold out until I do.

SPORTS - Indiana University (my alma mater) started their season. Their new freshman guard, Eric Gordon, is a star. It is a good thing we stole him from the University of Illinois or I might lose the bet I am working on with Brian from the Office Blog (a.k.a. Sitcom Roots, Real Life Drama).

HOME - Well, my renter isn't in yet, but he has the key and has been working like a maniac on my house to suit his liking. That is cool, except he is ruining some of my stuff before I can get it moved from one of my storage sheds (throwing it out in the rain in junk piles to be hauled away, etc.). I must exercise restraint, though, because it is a small price to pay for all the improvements and the small return of my monthly investment. But, Dang! Down boy!

Coming Soon: The Great Healthcare Debate














Monday, November 12, 2007

This Blog is "Being the Blog"

According to Shan, anyway. My mate, Shan gave me the "Be the Blog" award. This blog originated here at Me and My Drum, by Mark.


Be The Blog award

The "Be the Blog Award" is given to blogs that, according to Mark, "really sums up what a successful blogger does. And what I mean by successful is that they make it their own, stay with it, are interactive with their readers, and just plain have fun."

I am humbled and flattered that Shan would look at my blog in this light. I guess I can thank the picture on my halloween post, in slipping me into the "fun" aspect of my blog. Don't worry, I won't subject you to a link of it. If you really must see it (again), you can scroll down a few posts.

Shan also, on his blog, told his readers that my blog, "If you want to learn a thing or two about life, come have a look here" (at this blog). This means a lot to me, too, because my life's lessons are primarily faith-based and I know that Shan does not share my belief system. This illustrates his open-mindedness. Go check out his blog!

Now, to nominate someone for this award. I will have to give it to Random Magus. Every time I read that blog, I usually find something there that makes me think. I haven't really been able to get back into the swing of reading and commenting on blogs lately, but RM was the first thing that popped into my mind. I have noticed that she hasn't written in a while, but her archives are just full of thoughtful nuggets that will keep you busy until she gets back.

Amber, you can pick up your reward here.

COMING SOON: NEWS FLASH #20, and The Great Healthcare Debate

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NEWS FLASH #19

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________


NEWS - There is a Christian ministry founder that is serving 10 years in prison for tax and employment problems in Florida. It seems that his sentence has been excessive beyond legal guidelines. The judge claims that she is "making an example" of him. This minister is kind of excentric and has some strong and unorthodox views of taxes and the power of the government. I don't think greed or anything like that ever entered into his thinking when found to be in violation of these laws. As a matter of fact, he never charges for his appearances and does a lot of debates and seminars for free. It has really been uplifting, though, to read some of his blog entries from federal prison.


ENTERTAINMENT - Sicko is out on DVD. Go right now and buy or rent it. Even if you don't like Michael Moore and he betrays your conservative Republican sensibilities, rise above the petty, political influences your mind has, and view this documentary with an open mind. It is not a pro Democrat piece. It is not an anti-Republican piece. It is an interesting, funny, and sad representation of the state of healthcare in the US compared to other countries. Even if you do not like documentaries, politics, current affairs, news or anything like that, I promise you that you won't be bored with this DVD. Don't bother to comment on this if you aren't open minded enough to check out what you are insulting. ;)

WORK - Work would be pretty slow and easy right now if I hadn't gotten behind missing time at work to go to my wife's dad's house. That is why I am having a tough time being timely with this blog. That and this new discussion site I am participating in. It doesn't help that I got addicted to Turbo Risk while at my F-I-L's. It is a miracle that I hadn't put it on my work computer - yet.

SPIRIT - Got it! Actually, I feel a little bogged down here, too. It is my own fault; I am putting the squeeze on my time I spend with God. It is going to help my life immensely to pick it up a bit. I do want to thank my friend, Anne for introducing me to that discussion site I am on. It has helped me think spiritually while debating such things with her. LOL

FAMILY - As mentioned before, I spent last weekend with my wife and father-in-law in Illinois. It was a nice time. Nothing real exciting, but I got along with my wife okay - till we got back, but that was in the last post. I ALWAYS get along with the F-I-L. The tiff wasn't that big a deal, really. I am going to respond to the feedback again, shortly.

LOVE - The wife and I are doing okay. She doesn't like it that I am picking up extra jobs. It makes her feel that I am telling her that her part-time job isn't enough. Well, it isn't, but I am not saying that. I can't help it if we need more income. I told her that I liked that she has the job that she has and I am not telling her to do anymore. It is her guilt that has a problem with me, I suspect. For the most part, however, we are doing fine.

Anguish - Nothing too bad, really. I wrote a comment on my local paper's web site ranting about the stupid bridge traffic again. All the lanes are open, but they still have a 35 mph speed limit on it and it doesn't look like it is warranted. I don't care, really, but they aren't visibly enforcing it so half the traffic is crawling and the other half is flying. It is kind of a dangerous situation. They either need to scrap it or enforce it. I also dislike people who do not bother to use their turn signal until after the light turns green (when it is too late for you to move to the other lane). If I forget to do that, I will go up a block and turn on a side street just so not to inconvenience the motorists behind me because of my carelessness. I think I am the only one on the planet who does this, though.

SPORTS - Everyone in football I like, sucks. Thank God basketball season is here. GO IU! The Hoosiers are looking good this year.

HOME - Well, I am renting the house I am trying to sell. It is both good and bad. First the bad, I want to SELL it - get it out of my responsibility list! Second, I am renting it so cheap that I am still paying a couple of hundred more on my mortagage payment than collecting in rent. But, a little is better than zero. Now the good, at least I am getting SOME return now. Plus, the tenant will pay the utilities and that will save me a little more. Two, I can use the back apartment on the lot as storage so that will offset any storage cost I would have to pay for elsewhere. Finally, the guy I am renting it to is making improvements to the property like crazy. He did all the outside work, mowing, weeding, landscaping even before he officially was renting it (he still isn't officially in as I am trying to move some stuff out still). This means that the property will probably be worth more later when the housing market improves. I am not thrilled with the arrangement, but it is a definite improvement.

That's it for this week. Why are you still here? I told you to go rent that DVD!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Small Time Election Day

Just a quick post about election day - which is today in these parts. This is the year that there are a lot of local elections.

In Kentucky, the state I work in, there is the big race for governor. I don't really see much of a race here. The incumbant Republican has been mixed up in some shady dealings regarding his staff. For that and other reasons, he has worn out his welcome, I think. He is pulling out all the stops, however, by putting The Ten Commandments up at the capital this week.

In my hometown, all the city elections are being run. There are a ton of signs in people's yards. I really don't like the whole yard sign thing. It takes away from people TRYING TO SELL THEIR HOUSES!

I think I figured out the yard sign thing. It isn't that anyone expects someone to say, "Hey, nice sign. I think I am going to vote for that guy." No, it is about A) name recognition getting in your head (Cuhhhh'-Stanza! - Seinfeld reference); and B) seeing a huge number of signs for the same candidate implies that "everyone" is voting for him. I mean, who would want to vote for the loser?

In this small Kentucky town I work in (pop. aprx 30,000), people do things a little differently than in the bigger city across the river in Indiana. On election day, you see people lining the streets holding up candidate (yard) signs and waving like idiots at the cars as they pass by. I say "idiots" affectionately, because I have to admit that I find it rather charming.

I wave back.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Relationship Lightbulb

As many of you know, I often comment (mostly lament) the struggles of my young marriage. This is one of those. I know some people do not believe that I should comment about such things, but I get the most hits with this kind of post, so you guys (you know who you are) are all hypocrites. ;)

Last night, my wife and I had a mild tiff. It was mild at the surface, but this morning it dawned on me why it is sticking in me after a night's sleep. It reveals a bigger issue for me: I cannot trust my wife.

Oh, it is not that I think she would cheat on me. I highly doubt that would happen. I just can't trust her with my feelings - to look after me in the emotional and nurturing way. She said something to me last night that surprised me and hurt my feelings. (Ready, everyone together, "Ahhhhh") As a result, I sat quietly in the recliner trying to process it and get over it. She noticed that I was "quiet" and asked me what was wrong. I made a mistake by telling her the truth - that she said something that hurt my feelings.

Quiz time!!! Guess how she reacted to my answer.
a. She came to me, put her hand on my shoulder and apologized for hurting me.
b. She completely ignored the answer as if she didn't hear me.
c. She got mad at me for being hurt.
d. She walked out the door.

If you answered, "c", you are right. This has happened before and I think I even wrote about it. I am stating that to make this point: What did I expect to happen? One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I am officially insane - or was insane. I think I have finally wised up.

So, I am taking responsibility for this now. I am not going to say any more to her about it, but I am holding myself responsible. If she is incapable of responding in a way that meets my expectations then in is on me to change my expectations. Consider them changed.

The big lesson here is that one cannot control what others do; he can only control how he receives or reacts to it.

Lesson learned - finally.