Thursday, December 31, 2009
One recalls fondly the early days of air travel in which folks wore their Sunday best, including hats and overcoats. Presumably, they wore clean underwear in case of an accident.
SPeaking of, I always wondered about that: if you're in an accident, isn't it more likely your underwear won't be clean, depending on the severity of the accident?
Anyhoo, I would be bitching about this no matter who was president- the lack of formality bespeaks a casualness toward his duty that is unconscionable.
That is my opinion, and I'm sure it's worth every penny you paid for it. I just wanted to say it.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Grandpa left us with a freshy funny. Friday, he was responding to treatment and seemed on the mend. A female nurse came in to check his depend/diaper thing, and as she pulled the waistband back, he grinned and said "IT'S A BOY!"
Yes, more happiness than sadness, though it was tremendously sad. Middle of the day here and I just got home. Time to cuddle with my pups and get some rest.
All the best to all of you, and thank you for your kindnesses.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
My grandfather was in a pretty severe car accident about a dozen years ago, or so.
He was turning onto a 2 lane highway. Under normal circumstances, Grandpa would have had plenty of time to get across the road, but just about that time a teenager came flying up the hilly road in his truck doing about 100 miles per hour and t-boned Grandpa's pickup.
Now this didn't do Grandpa any good, but the teenager was in far worse shape behind the whole event, and I suppose that based on Grandpa's admittedly advanced years, the kid would take the opportunity to sue.
Grandpa's truck was totaled, but the engine was not completely trashed, so he sold it to someone else in town. In court, one particular exchange struck us all as quite funny when an asshat lawyer was unleashed upon Grandpa:
Asshat Lawyer: Now, I understand you sold the engine. What did you sell it for? [Asshat L. wanted to know the amount of the transaction]
Grandpa: Well, someone wanted to buy it, and so I sold it to him.
Anyway, justice prevailed and I think Grandpa was found to be no more at fault than was the rocketing cub.
A few years before, Grandpa was puttering around on the farm on the tractor, when the tractor stalled (same tractor from the ape-shit/bush hog event from a couple weeks ago) and died completely. He climbed off the tractor and got into its innards and directly the thing started back up, but he'd left it in gear when it stalled and it lurched forward, knocked him down and ran squarely over his pelvis. Naturally, the tractor was heading straight for the pond, and the much-abused man climbed to his feet, ran and stopped the tractor in time.
Grandpa was in the hospital after this event, but remarkably, no bones were broken. He was severely bruised and very sore. I'd say he was about 78 at the time.
So a female nurse came into the room to see how he was doing, and she started to pull back the covers while saying "let's see how you're doing here" and he said "but we hardly know each other."
He got so tickled telling that story, that it makes me laugh to remember it. Grandpa is one of those people who has this nasal sort of snort-wheeze thing going on when he laughs, and if the cornball joke he just told you doesn't get you, that laugh surely will.
One amazing moment to me was recently I was half-heartedly watching the 1956 John Wayne film The Searchers when a very familiar voice just jumped out at me. A minor character in that film - Charlie - is played by Ken Curtis, whose accent and phonation sound identical to the diction and sound of my grandfather's voice. The funny thing is that I saw that film a long time ago and I never noticed the similarity. But the point of departure is that Charlie in the film sounds like a slow-witted hick, and Grandpa speaks deliberately with impeccable grammar.
Grandpa didn't go to school past elementary grades, but his is an incredibly keen mind, and he's one of those rare people who can add or subtract huge sums in rows of numbers in his head faster than you can punch the numbers into a calculator.
Grandpa is salty, a bit ornery, and incredibly stubborn. Most everyone in my clan is mule-headed, and I sometimes wonder how we stand each other. Then again, we all have our little quirks that keep the rest laughing, so I guess we'll just go on loving each other and thinking that for all its flaws, our family was a pretty nice one in which to land. We're not fancy or rich in the worldly sense, but we have a good time.
12/27/2009 - Enjoying the journey is to know the true riches of life. Grandpa will by buried next to my dear Grandmother this morning.
Fantastic bowling neon sign from Hot Springs Arkansas. This sign cycles three phases - first is just the red neon "Bowling", second is just the white pin and ball, and the third is both of those lit along with "Snack Bar" in white on the bottom. The cycle flashes back and forth for in about a 10 second series. I love neons like this. This is a super-cool art form. Beautiful.
One popular sport in the country has always been coon hunting. Raccoons are plentiful, destructive and a nuisance in general, so it makes good sport to go out and give the dogs a thrill by rustling some up and letting the dogs go in for the kill.
Grandpa bred blue-tick coon dogs and won lots of trophies. These dogs were brought from several regions of France in pre-colonial era, and in the early 20th century breeders would travel to the Ozarks and remote areas of Louisiana to buy coon hunting dogs of the most pure bloodline from the original Gascogne. They were grandpa's abiding passion and he devoted countless hours to breeding and training these ultimate hunting machines. Intrepid scenthounds, even blind blueticks make masterful tracker/hunters suffering no deficit in competition with sighted dogs.
These dogs are beautiful animals with a deep baleful howl that must be terrifying to raccoons. To me their bark is by association the right sound to hear reporting through the hallowed columns of the forest on cold dark nights. Grandpa also had several redbone hounds which were larger, and truly magnificent dogs, but the blueticks were his specialization.
Invariably sleeping on the sofa at Grandma and Grandpa's, I remember staring out sleepily from under my quilts as dad and Grandpa made ready to go out hunting in the middle of winter nights. They'd be pulling on hunting boots and attaching the wires on the carbide lamps they wore on their hats, attached to wet-cell batteries worn on their belts. Grandpa always had the wet-cells in plastic Ideal brand bread sacks, which grandma never threw away, along with twist-ties. I remember the smell of those lamps too, the vaguely sulphuric tang of the odor that wasn't unpleasant to me.
Anyway, he told a story that painted such a vivid picture that I wish I had a photograph of the scene he witnessed.
Out with the dogs one winter night, the air was incredibly still, and the trees and the dead grasses were all encrusted in a thick layer of ice. He said the moon was so bright you could almost read a newspaper by it, and it illuminated a scene of enchantment in the cold silence of the night forest.
The dogs had treed coon after coon that night, and in his words, "I decided to honor the dogs by letting them catch this coon." The coon was treed, the dogs howling at it, and Grandpa pulled out his hand axe and set about felling the tree.
My dad said once that Grandpa was so remarkably efficient at felling trees that there was no wasted motion and you'd best stand back, because the wood chips would be flying.
Anyway, down came the tree and the coon was on the ground and was off, dogs in hot pursuit. As they progressed through the woods-- coon, dogs and man-- all the frozen grasses in their path shattered sending diamond fragments up into a glimmering shower in the still night air.
He said it was one of the most beautiful visions of his life. I can well imagine it's precisely this sort of moment that a sportsman lives for. Who says men have no appreciation of aesthetics?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
For now, though, here's one I don't think I've ever told on the blog.
During or right after the Great Depression, surveyors were combing the backwoods all over the nation, mapping out the terrain and charting every nook and cranny. Way back in the woods and miles from anything which passed for a footpath, one surveyor had broken his ankle, and the other surveyor had found his way out to fetch help. Grandpa was there, and knew all the countryside. Grandpa was not a large man, but he was a tough as a pine knot. The surveyors were wringing their hands, wondering what to do in those hills full of cold mountain springs and overgrown ravines to be traversed. Grandpa resolutely and without a word picked the man up on his shoulder and walked him out of there. Grandpa had a lot of grit, and he wasn't a stitch on my Grandma for grit. The best of both of them made my dad, and I just hope for a thimble of what my Dad has.
I'm sad today, but I'm thankful that I lived to see this many years with my Grandpa still in the world, his horrid filddle-playing and all (funny how his bad fiddle playing is a warm memory!). Grandparents are special people. They have patience for their grandchildren in a way they didn't have the time or maturity to have with their own children. It's a blessing to be able to experience that. I feel very blessed indeed.
I don't know if I'll be back to a computer for the next few days, and there will be some Grandpa posts up and I'll moderate comments when I get back. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, and thank you for the kind words you've already said.
For now, a memory of trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house I posted in October of 2007
Saturday nights spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the Ozarks meant an endless loop of Hee Haw. Good stuff. I love that gossip song, too, but I can't find it...
HEE HAW THE NEXT GENERATION:
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
This is the cleanest snow I've ever tasted, so mebbe some snow ice cream later? Good thing the larder is full, because I was going to get a couple things at the store and I couldn't even get out of the driveway. Under the 1' of snow drifted across the driveway is a layer of ice. I was up til about 2AM making jewelry this morning and it was raining torrentially, and I thought it would turn to ice. Apparently, it did and there's a layer of ice under all this snow.
So, I'm in for however long I need to be in. This means if I don't post for a day or two, I'm snug as a bug and cuddled up with my smelly dogs, and wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I'm sad I won't be able to drive to Dallas County and see my folks and all my dear family, but the roads are impassable here, and I'm safer home. Also, I'm still recovering from pneumonia, and sitting a day or two in a cold car in a ditch would proabably set me back just a skoshy bit. Thank goodness for gas heating, eh?
In case I don't get to say it here tomorrow, thanks to all you lovely folks who read and comment here on my blog. It warms my heart to be part of this blogger community, and I'm always thrilled to pass along thoughts and pictures of things which delight, amuse and sometimes infuriate me. You'se a good bunch of folks, and I wish you all a very happy and warm Christmas.
I was just about to hit the publish button when I got a call from Dad saying my grandfather is in a bad way up in Arkansas, and things don't look good, so I may be finding a way out in the weather after all. If you can spare a warm thought or a prayer for my grandpa, I'd be most grateful.
Now, older and wiser, the same AP shills are saying Recovery not as strong as previously thought. They do project the economy "will end the year on stronger footing." Uh, please qualify what you mean by stronger. Do you mean stronger than the economy was five minutes ago, five months ago or at the height of the Great Depression? Or do you mean the gubmint's foot will be more firmly ensconced in the taxpayers' collective posterior than it already was? Do tell. We await more pearls of wisdom from you, AP.
Do journalism schools give degrees in asshattery?
I've been making jewelry lately. I made this necklace Wednesday night [sorry, not the best photo] with mother of pearl, citrine, pearls dyed green, moss agate, peridot, quartz and some copper bits. I've been using teeny copper beads as spacers. I got those from a dealer who sells mostly Thai hilltribe silver, but generally has exotic pieces in the wholesale section at the international gem shows. It's nice to be cranking out some jewelry again, but it'll be even better when I have real space to have access more of my supplies. Right now I'm working with some manky old tools, because my primo ones are in a bag in a box who-knows-where. Anyway, it feels good to plunge my hands into beads again. :)
My work ethic is what it is because I have parents who taught me about integrity. I give the same level of care and attention even to people who call in yelling and implacable. I don't do this for the praise of even one caller a week, but I admit, it does make me feel much, much better about what I'm doing when I do hear that.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I pop bubble wrap at 12.33 bubbles per second!
I popped 196 bubbles in 15.9 seconds
I know: it's a sickness.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Liability, boys and girls. Those people probably, under threat of firing, have to comply with company protocol when it comes to rendering aid to people when in uniform and on company time. Did she fill out all the appropriate forms? Who will be responsible for paying for the services of those professionals? Of course, this is all outrageous, but on some level, I don't blame those folks - they were in an impossible situation. Is this the kind of economy where anyone can flout company regulation and "do the right thing?"
Yes, it's inhumane, but as someone told me yesterday at my job: "you have to make a decision: do you want to do everything you can to help the customer, or do you want to keep your job?"
Should dire moments come down to such decisions? No.
Is that the world we live in? Yes.
And for the record, I think Britany Murphy died of pneumonia. That crap will kill ya.
Call me kooky.
I don't like deodorants with antiperspirants. I think antiperspirants aren't good for you, but it is nigh impossible to find a deodorant without the antiperspirants, these days. And even harder to find one that is truly unscented. Come to that, I hate deodorants wot smell like perfume, or fruit, or flowers, or anything. I don't want my deodorant or my shampoo to smell like cantaloupe, lemon or mint. Why no garlic-smelling stuff? See my point? If I'm un-smelling, I want to be un-smelling all the way, mkay? By the way, I think someone could make a mint if they made a perfume based on Hoppe's 9, don't you?
Sweat isn't born stinky, but turns stinky when bacteria cause it to ferment. Yeah, that's pretty disgusting to think about, but I think it's got to be bad for you to stop a natural process like sweating. After all, sweat is one way by which toxins leave your body, right? Would you plug up other areas from which toxins evacuate your system? [If yes, then please don't answer.] Anyway, I think it's strange and bad to stop that function. Maybe it's silly of me. Maybe I'd feel differently about it if I were a more sweaty person. In any case, I'd rather deal with sweat than use any aluminum chloride or aluminum-compound based anti-perspirants - that crap can't be good for you. But maybe I'm wrong and I'm silly for putting up with sweat. Like I said-- feel free to call me kooky.
Now on to toothpaste-- just as it is now nearly impossible to find soap which is not anti-bacterial [duh! the soap breaks the cell walls of grime and other oogy things, dunnit? thus it am soap], why is it so hard to find toothpaste that doesn't promise primarily to whiten one's teeth? I want my mouth clean and my teeth healthy. Looking fairly white would be nice, but I don't want eerily white teeth badly enough to use whitening products which would make them more sensitive to hot or cold foods. I don't get that. Bleaching teeth can't be good for them, and I don't care to trade the long-term health of my teeth for them looking blindingly white. In that spirit, I refuse to buy a toothpaste whose package promises whitening, thus am I met with a shrinking array of choices on the toothpaste aisle. *harumph*
I also have no intention of quitting my iced tea habit, regardless of the stains. I could quit anytime I wanted to. I'm not an addict. Yeah, I could walk away from it.
...but I ain't gonna. WYSIWYG.
Monday, December 21, 2009
These marvelous china cups are the absolute best for coffee, tea and pretty much any hot drink you could want. My dear friend Rosie from England turned me on to these beakers*, and they are a wonderfully generous size, feel lovely in the hand, and are available emblazoned in 18th century-style initials from Amazon.com. In fact, they promise a pre-Christmas delivery is still possible.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
ArcAttack performs the Imperial March with 8 foot Tesla Coil. Love the chain-mail Faraday body suit replete with boots and franken-helmet. FUN! Note the pulsing fluourescent light in the background.
Would Star Wars have been so epic without John Williams' majestic soundtrack? I think not. It's amazing how cool and fresh the oober-villain theme song always sounds to me. Maybe I'm dated and just can't hear it, but this is brilliant music. The fact that something as inorganic-sounding as this instrumentation can manage to be so compelling is testament to what superbly crafted music this is. What a grand thing.
If you have about 10 minutes to kill, you may want to mosey over and watch
ArcAttack: Audio Modulated Thunder Music Pleases Thor
At the link here, Nasa gives folks the hookup to send holiday greetings to the folks on the ISS.
Ain't technology grand?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Hello, this is John, how are you?
I'm wonderful! My computer, on the other hand is hosed-up.
What seems to be the problem?
My mouse won't move. Nothing's happening.
Is the light on under the mouse?
Hit the windows button on the keyboard. What happens?
A little menu popped up on the lower left of the monitor.
Follow the cord of the mouse to the back of the computer.
Are you sure? I'm dressed fancy today and it's really dirty back there. Yuck.
*nervous chuckle from other end of phone*
I'm sending you my dry-cleaning bill.
*pulled cord out of port on back of cpu, then prugged in again*
Is it working yet?
Here's where I did my best Bill-Paxton-Texan accent: "It's a Christmas Miracle!"
*more nervous laughter*
The veal in the cube across from me said OMG! He'll think we're all hicks and rednecks down here!
I said "aren't we?"
If I'd been really thinking, I'd've said "stop yer grinnin' and drop yer linen!" but the Christmas miracle thing worked for the season, anyhoo. Every day is a good day to quote Bill Paxton.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
There's an article recently about how it's an exceptional situation that postal workers in Connecticut are stashing mail so they can meet their quotas or whatever.
Don't be silly. Postal workers have been stashing mail forEVAR. When I worked on a letter sorting machine for 4 years, one particular co-worker would pull girlie postcards out of the mail flow and stash them where he could admire them for days or weeks. We called him Tailhook for several very good reasons, but he was typical, and postal management was in no way outraged that he was intentionally delaying the mail.
What's ironic is this article stresses a few overworked individuals stashing mail with the intention of catching up later when mail volume dropped, that this is an isolated incident. To say this is isolated is a pile of poo. At one postal facility in Dallas sometime in the past 3 years, several trailers of years-old mail was found staged, undocumented in a yard of empty trailers. This malfeasance can only be blamed on the licentious nature of at least one supervisor and of at least one corrupt person in the vehicle control office of the facility. That particular facility is the embodiment of the Peter principle, and proof positive that no government-based system is fit to run anything.
I blame a system which has, through the self-reinforcing idiocy of a management model based not on competence but on the asshattery of affirmative action, coupled with the utter corruption of a postal union which again reinforces the lowest common denominator. Let me speak plainly - there are many tens of thousands of decent, hard-working people in the postal service, and a handful of those are honest people in management. The rest of USPS management is not fit to wipe dog poop off my shoe, and I'd throw every single representative I've ever met from the American Postal Workers' Union in with them. The fact is that hundreds of thousands of decent people working as hard as they can will never be enough to overcome the entropy engendered by the dead weight of the APWU and nepotistic (don't believe their lies about fairness in promotion) USPS mangement.
I left for a lot of reasons. I really loved sorting mail. It was sifting through the BS I found intolerable. Here's to a free market and competition. It would be a wonderful world if the USPS were worthy of the highest opinion, if everyone there were committed to excellence and considered the mails a sacred trust, but I believe my own eyes and what I've seen firsthand. For every waylaid bag of mail you hear about in the media, I'd bet there are another 99 which will never again see the light of day.
If you have a decent mail carrier - think about them this Christmas. They are under brutal pressure with constant additions to their route to make up for the attrition or incompetence of co-workers, and they are often the objects of derision from managers not competent to oversee bathroom maintenance, and they get sore little support from their unions-- who can they turn to? Consider giving them a gift card for $5 at Starbucks or something. I think they can accept gifts of value up to $15 or something. Like I said, if you've got a good one, then thank your lucky stars and tell them you appreciate them. They are a dying breed, and for each one of them, they are doing the work of several of those famous loafers.
Heaven preserve us all.
In case you wondered-- I worked nine years as a distribution/LSM/parcel sorting machine clerk with the USPS. 9 years. I know what I'm talking about.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Here we see the pupples getting their feed on this morning. Hey are hungry, hungry puppehs. I was feeding them the amount recommended for their size, and they have gotten really skinny, so I've gone back to feeding them about double that amount. I mean, I was seeing ribs and I thought they looked puny. I don't want them to be fat little sausages or anything, but I like them looking like they have a little meat on their bones. After all, it's not like they are third-world dogs, or sumpin'. I expect very soon, too, I'll be cooking at home a lot and no doubt they will be scarfing up all manna which drops to the floor, so their diets will be supplemented. Dogs are great cleanup crew in that regard.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
No one does Art Cars like Texans, and this one from Houston is probably my fav-o-rite EVAR! I'm loving the lobster conductor on the extendable boom - so clever! So wrong and yet, so right. Enjoy!
h/t and a bottomless well of gratitude goes to Patricia-- baby: you know what I like!
Friday, December 11, 2009
You can obtain one over at the maker's etsy store. It's no Buck the Singing Deer, but it's still pretty darned cute!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Wait! Don't answer that. Here the out-of-work actress gets naughty for a photoshoot for Muse magazing. Please Lindsay, pretty please? Try to find a new way to bore the shit out of us?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
...speaking of good cooking, I really need to make some of these this holiday:
Today is my last day of prescription meds for my pneumonia. A second visit to the dr last Tuesday showed I still had pneumonia in my lungs, so more meds were prescribed. I still have some chest congestion, but I'll be nursing that constantly and will be vigilant should conditions deteriorate.
This weekend I lounged with the pups and got plenty of rest. I'm feeling better. :)
Have a great week!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
All in a day's work for lucky pups.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
I mentioned last week that I've been reading Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. The funny thing was that by the end of the book, I found it was about something entirely other than it seemed at first blush. Like so many of my favorite stories, this one is a tale of redemption. Like Burgess' A Clockwork Orange (which is anti-redemption, imho), a Moist von Lipwig is given an 11th hour reprieve to mend his ways and work in service as Postmaster to Ankh-Morpork. Under very tight supervision, Lipwig runs on rails and gets a defunct post office cranked back to life. Over time, he has more and more freedom and sees opportunities for graft, but instead finds a sense of purpose and duty in his task, and opts to take the honest way and to do what is right and noble. In the end, Moist's tendency toward the licentious is sublimated to the sense of purpose he finds in a job well done.
If one's lot is to work for a living, at least one should feel they've made good use of that time. I know I'm doing good work and that I'm worthy of hire, but the stress level is excessive. I'll just keep doing what the old man advised at the end of Candide: I'll keep tending my garden. Seasons and jobs will come and go, but I know I've earned every penny they've paid me, and then some. That will have to be enough for now.
Even if you're not a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, I really think you're missing out if you don't check out Pratchett's writing. At least one person has told me they found some of his work on the preachy side, but I think he couches things in such lovely settings that it's a pleasure to read, and I find that on a great many points, I very much agree with him.
Have a great week. :)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I'm not one to spoil anyone's good time, but I'm having a spot of difficulty wrapping my brain around what possessed my neighbor last week. I knew something was up when they blocked off the horseshoe drive through their front yard. As I was leaving for work early Monday morning, that horseshoe drive appeared to be levitating-- they had painted it white. Now it seems to be glowing all the time, and sitting about 6 or 8 inches above the lawn.
Why? Were they perhaps signaling the mother ship?
Friday, November 27, 2009
How exotic! Did he get them in Rangoon? Hong Kong? Accra?
No. Barney's, New York.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Cliff Notes Version:
Daughter goes to national park for girl scout gamboling, acquires 1" splinter in finger and mama and troop leader can't get the splinter out, so they take little lass to EMERGENCY ROOM. Mama is outraged that the bill is $800+. After the video bit, the addle-witted anchor babe tsk-tsks that this is why we need serious healthcare reform and we need it now.
The mother thought there would just be the $75 copay as set out by her insurance policy. I understand why someone might wrongly conclude this. However, there is the small matter of a deductible which had yet to be met. The article goes on to say that the hospital is now "going after" the mother for this outrageous (eye rolling here) bill.
Lady-- your kid is doomed and it's not because she gets 1" splinters. I and everyone I know ate 1" splinters for breakfast as kids. I have scars. Yeah, there may have been a couple things which should have been attended by a professional, but I walked a lot of that shit off and generally I'm pretty healthy. From the degree of drama with which your child described this incredibly painful splinter, it sounds like you lacked the mettle to pull the damn thing out when accompanied by the dissonant tones of your little lamb whimpering about the pain. Yes, splinters hurt, but a lot of things in life hurt and sometimes we simply have to deal with that fact. Unless this splinter was lodged in the bone, neosporin and a bandaid and a tetanus shot was most likely the extent of the medical care she required. Taking a kid to the ER for a splinter bespeaks a very misplaced sense of scale and gravity. Your child is doomed, Madam, because she was spawned by someone with the cognitive skills of a doorstop. You may be feeling vaguely insulted, but let me clear that up: I just said you are as dumb as a tater.
What is a copay? A copay is a flat fee for basic services. A $75 copay for a visit to the emergency room is pretty damned reasonable, if you ask me. Some policies have ER copays for ten times that amount. For your basic office visit to your doctor, you will often have a copay of $20 or $30, and for a straightforward visit, your insurance company pays the balance.
Why is an ER copay so high, in some cases? I'm SO glad you asked! Let's say your delightful bairns Jimmy and Suzy Q are playing in the toolshed. When Jimmy nails Suzy Q's left paw to her abdomen with an air hammer, we all love the comfort of knowing the good folks at the local ER have million$ in equipment and training sitting there just in case you might arrive with your little blood-spattered spoils *ahem* of poor parenting. LUCKY YOU-- they just happen to have a fully equipped ER with all them fancy lights and medicines and tools and stuff, et voila! Your little girl is the star of a lovely little ballet of scrubs and saline solution, replete with the satisfying *smack* of latex gloves. Bye the bye, you'll be wending your way back home with the clock counting down to your next little universe-shattering tragedy, but Suzy Q will be all patched up and no doubt adding to her grist mill for future therapy. In this case, your $75 would have been better-spent on a serious waltz down the pharmaceutical aisle at the local market and then you'd have enough left over to buy the whole troop some ice cream.
The reporter said removing the splinter is considered a surgery - how is that a surgery? Having skin tags or warts removed are considered surgeries. Having fluid drained from your knee is considered a surgery. Surgery is defined as the art, practice, or work of treating diseases, injuries, or deformities by manual or operative procedures. Yes, the removal of earwax is considered a surgery. Don't be so outraged, dear reporterette - you're supposed to be better-informed than this. Tsk. Tsk.
What is the point of having this insurance anyway, if I still have to pay that big ole' whopping deductible and copays and coinsurance? This is another question I'm so pleased you ask. You and I and everyone we know will most likely not have a catastrophic illness, condition or accident this year. However, the odds are that at some point over our lifetimes, such a tragedy will befall each of us or someone in our immediate family unit. An insurance group is a group of individuals who unite in the marketplace to combine their collective financial power to make sure that funds are available to each member of the group at their respective hours of need. Your copay is a basic fee up front for the providers. The out of pocket maximum is yet another way in which you contribute to your own care. When you use the in network providers your group contracts with, the providers have already agreed to accept lower rates for services and treatments, and this is a loss-leader for the provider, as they enjoy a tax write-off for funds not collected. Where you really benefit with your insurance is when you have the big problems. May you not be blessed to maximize such benefits, but it's very nice to know it's there if you need it.
As for the hospital "going after" the mother, most providers don't "go after"someone until they have ignored months of bills and requests for payments. At every stage of my life when I've had a medical bill which exceeded my means, I've asked to make payments, and providers have always been gracious about this. I made regular payments, as arranged, and was good on my word. This is one more great thing about Texas-- in Texas, even if you can only pay $5 a month on a medical bill, as long as you are making regular payments, you can not be turned over to a collection agency.
There's a lot of great information on the web about making the most of the incredible healthcare system we have access to in the United States. The best way to maximize our healthcare, though, is to not abuse the system over trivial (non-emergency) events, and to not point out such a silly event as evidence of healthcare billing run amok.
By walking through that emergency room door and demanding care, you are insisting on being treated by collective millions of dollars' worth of equipment and expertise, so don't whine if you have to pay a tiny drop in that bucket. It's a bit feckless to expect you should have no financial responsibility for showing up over a triviality.
Better yet, get a pair of tweezers and some alcohol, sweetie.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
In brief, a condemned man is snatched from the maw of death at the gallows (La Femme Nikita-style) and given a second lease on life as the postmaster of a woefully inept postal system in Ankh-Morpork which has ground to a halt and is something of a joke. O'ertaken by a fit of industrial zeal, the new postmaster revamps and revitalizes the postal system. At least, that's how it is so far...
The funny thing is that so much of it is reminding me of my early days working for the US Postal Service. I really thought the letters were precious cargo, there being something sacrosanct with being entrusted their handling. It wouldn't be long before I felt that I was the only one under that roof with that sense of responsibility. Anyway, it seems naive and rather silly now, but I admit this book brings that back as a sort of bittersweet twinge. I'm wondering how this will end, but I do hope it does so happily, things being the way they ought and all. Being a Discworld book, there will no doubt be some strangeness, but hopefully a harmonic sort of strangeness, just the same.
Anyway, one thing I love about having moved out to a small, older town is that we have a proper post office here, one which is nearly 100 years old and is a grand structure on a relatively small scale. The floors and woodwork are immaculately kept, and all the solid brass fittings positively gleam. You can tell that a lot of pride and care went into the design of the structure, and that it has been impeccably attended by all the folks charged with its maintenance along the way. That's something you can't fake with a new, thrown-up-overnight structure that passes for our public buildings these days. The people who built this post office all those years ago took the purpose of the building very seriously. I wish we collectively took more things seriously these days. Instead, it seems like shopping mall/strip mall design is more an influence in the composition and form of public buildings. Such a pity. We've definitely lost something there. At least for me, in my beloved little Elsewhere, I can go into the Post Office and appreciate what it took to build and maintain that place. Well, not lost, entirely.
For the first time since I began my job in May, I called in sick Tuesday, and will again today. Good thing, too. I went to a walk-in urgent care place, saw a physician's assistant, and they took some xrays. They told me I had a little inflammation in my lungs, but that I'd be fine with mostly over the counter stuff. About an hour later, they called me and said a radiologist looked at my films and that I have a mild case of pneumonia. Bugger. I'm on a zpac now, and hopefully that will knock this out. All in all, I have a lot to be thankful for, and for one, I'm thankful I found out about this before it reached the mandatory hospitalization stage. It's inconvenient and definitely putting a damper on my Christmas spending, but I'm just happy to be here. I'm happy just to be.
I hope everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving. :) I intend to.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here's a tiny taste.
The rest of the oyster scene is side-splitting. Funny thing to me is that I love raw oysters, and even I can understand why they are such a repellent prospect to some folks. Mr. Bean shows why. I think that bit about the oyster moving around the shell in its death throes is a myth, though. Have never seen it, myself.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Speaking of things purported to be unreasonably warm wot weren't: as the whole climategate thing unravels, I'm waiting to hear how Al Gore was knowingly, intrinsically tied to the deception, and all the while profiting from same.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Recently I was driving down the road with LawDog riding shotgun and listening to rock and roll radio.
The great thing about good times is that even songs you once thought were right crap sound good to you. Fortunately, most of the tracks on that station were good ones, songs I'd merrily howl along to in front of just about anyone. As the opening strains of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap filled the air, I said "will you sing?" He shook his head and said "no tulips."
Such a tease. He then proceeded to sing about cyanide, TNT, high voltage and things too fierce to mention, sans tulips, tophat and pink gorilla suit. The audience was thrilled, I tell you. Thrilled.
Have you heard that saying about being careful what you wish for? Well, the shy singer finally brought round to singing is apparently hard to shut up.
Tole's kiddo was in a school concert recently, and out in the audience LawDog couldn't help singing along to the recurring ditties sung to the tune of On Top Of Old Smoky. I actually had to pinch him to get him to put a cork in it, and even then, he snuck in references to meatballs and cheese.
Perhaps a duet?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
At the end of the Dallas show on Tuesday night, Imogen conducts the audience in a drone as she starts Hide And Seek. Thanks for the video, BlowFuzzy von Sassy. The video is not incredibly clear, but you can get an idea of what's going on in just under a minute.
One of the great things about her shows is that they are so full of life, so spontaneous. First song out of the box was "First Train Home" where she laid down her background track in loops of her voice and other instruments and she goofed and sang the bridge to the second chorus on the first verse. I saw her shake her head right after and when she completed her chorus with her looped audio, she said "I'm going to sing that verse until I get it right" and she started all over. Everyone laughed, and it was even better the second time. If you're running things and they are not overly-programmed, you can do that at the last minute. No Milli Vanilli here.
Her shows are delightful, and her stage banter is adorable. She prattles at the equipment, willing it to behave, and I always feel she's about to turn back to the stage with a big tarnished silver tray of mismatched dainty tea china and offer us all a cup. Quite fetching, she.
If you care to watch, here's another video someone else took Tuesday night of Headlock:
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Will prattle excitedly RE: Miss Heap on the morrow. For now, I'm for bed then work in a scant few hours.
Though I doubt there are tickets left, Imogen is playing La Zona Rosa in Austin tonight. It's not the best venue, but it is spacious, and the show would be a delight in any venue.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Considering how's we never see what's on the dark side of the moon, and seeing as how we're running out of storage bins for our crap, I think we're missing out on a real landfill opportunity up there.
In more fun news, tonight I'll mosey on over to see Imogen Heap at the Granada Theater in Dallas. YAYS!!!
I know. What was I thinking? I'm not a kid anymore. Drive 3 hours each way and no booze when I get there. Insanity.
S'gonna be fun, though, hanging out with sis and niece. Can't wait, actually.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I'm not insinuating myself into the glory that was Blogorado-- this really happened.
I had a gun blogger party at my apartment in Dallas on January 31, and a lot of fabulous folks came. Peter asked me if I would mind having FarmGirl along to the party. Of course, I joined in the invitation and FarmGirl was a delightful addition to the party. By the end, FG was saying "do you think anyone would come if I had a blogger party?"
I have to say FarmFamily really pulled out all the stops for us. Blogorado was a fantastic gathering and folks came from all over the country, so there was no question of the willingness of folks to show up to that relatively remote locale.
This whole post is by way of saying an enormous thank you to FarmGirl for planning this event, and to the whole FarmFamily for making it such a warm, memorable occasion.
FarmDad and aepilotJim and Old NFO set up the firing range. FarmDad is this incredibly resourceful fellow who has no end of talent. He made some toe-curlingly delectable salsa (I'll be going to Colorado for more one day soon) and he apparently can replace radiators and I've seen him operating heavy equipment. He is probably too self-effacing to say so, but I'd count him among the precious handful of true Renaissance men I've known in my life. Good man, he.
FarmMom is absolutely golden. There is a lovely golden light about her and I can think of many fine things to say, but among those is my highest praise of just about any person: she makes gravy that'd make you want to slap yer grandma. Actually, I wouldn't slap my grandma because my grandma made gravy just like that. I'm just saying that I believe gravy such as FarmMom's could bring about peace in our time. Her gravy is a work of art. I'm saying FarmMom needs to do a gravy blog. I'm completely objective about this: I know from good gravy. That was good gravy.
Wait. I'm slobbering. Back on track.
Anyway, FarmFamily is comprised of the kindest and best of folks, and I'm honored to have enjoyed their hospitality, and I hope to again, soon, and to return the compliment. I'm deeply grateful to be counted among your distinguished guests, and I thank you for your hospitality.