Showing posts from August, 2009

Healthcare debate has me wrestling myself.

I find myself thinking and writing things I would never have thought of writing a few years ago. I love capitalism - shoot, my wife and I own a jewelry store. I love my country and believe the US is truly a land of opportunity - there is nothing I enjoy more than rags-to-riches stories.
How then can I actually think/write that we need to put a limit on what doctors, pharmacutical companies, and other healthcare companies/corporations can earn? I keep wrestling with this and I believe clarity is arriving slowly.
You can look at many different earning arenas in the US and see absolute wildness. Should someone who can play baseball/football/basketball really make 30 million a year? Should musical groups actually charge over a thousand bucks for a VIP seat at their concerts? Can a human being actually command several million dollars for pretending to be someone they aren't while acting in a movie that takes 3-6 months to complete?
So if Shaq can make 35 million a year playing roundball, …

Don't fear the Death Committees - we need to fix healthcare.

Here are some interesting statistics for you to consider in the Healthcare debate.

According to the American Journal of Medicine (hardly a wing of lefty socialism) in 2007 medical expenses accounted for 62% of bankruptcies filed that year. That was an increase of 50% over 2001. What is really amazing is that 75% of those who filed bankruptcy had insurance and the NEJM study said "most were middle class and well educated".


Medical spending in the US represents 17.6% of our Gross Domestic Product. Is it any wonder that the medical establishment is spending billions - with something like 6 lobbyists per Congressman - to keep the status quo??
Depending on which study you read between 20% and 31% of that expenditure is ADMINISTRATIVE. (A New England Journal of Medicine put the amount at 31%) Other developed countries with single payer set ups have administrative costs that range from a low of 1% to a h…

Tale of Two Teds (Roosevelt and Nugent).

Just read a book review about a new bio of Teddy Roosevelt. (The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley) Roosevelt receives muchos kudos for being the driving force behind establishing our National Park system and rightfully so.
What struck me was that the magazine I was reading had some excerpts and one of them was about the struggle Teddy had in beheading a bison. Teddy was complaing about what a chore it was to cut off the head of a buffalo he had just killed by shooting it several times. TR would blather on and on about how fantastic it was to hunt and kill animals and BAM - it hit me like the Wango Tango - this Ted sounds just like Michigan's own Ted Nugent.
Terrible Ted Nugent is ripped to shreds for being a hypocrite who proclaims his love of the wild and the residents thereof all the while hunting them and (GASP!) eating them.
Seems that TR had many of the same emotions, feelings, and driving forces concerning "the wild&quo…

YOU registered at the National Marrow Donor Program?

You know that YOU might be able to undergo a relatively painless operation and completely change someone's life?
Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with leukemia, lymphoma and many other diseases. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor's healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.
For a patient's body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Seventy percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find an unrelated bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood.
Go here to sign up: or get thee to a Red Cross Center (that is where I registered about 8-9 years ago).
Jump on board - TODAY!

Insurance companies are leveling forests.

Good Lord Allmighty - is it possible for insurance companies to send any MORE paperwork through the mail. Of course they HAVE to send printed copies of everything, every time because of all the legal ramifications.
What a joke. We just switched insurance coverage at home and at the store. Stacks n stacks n pages of crap.
Best ones are the notices from the old insurance company that you will be receiving a check now that you canceled coverage. They even tell you the amount of the check in the notice about the check. Makes sense to me - send me a piece of paper in an envelope with postage on it that tells me to expect another piece of paper in an envelope with postage on it. Lil Amy actually received TWO notices that she would be receiving a check.
Yup, them insurance people must own a forest or two.

Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - Most Excellent

What is not to love about this place. Julie and I were going to go to the beach with my sister from Colorado yesterday, but weather outlook stunk. So we had a nice breakfast with Vicki and then she took off for Traverse City. Julie and I decided to go to Meijer Gardens - it has been about four years since I walked around there.
Wow - what a great place. All kinds of gardens inside greenhouses and outside. Miles of trails to hike - with the walking rewarded by sculptures from all around the world. Beautiful Dal Chihuly ceiling in the cafeteria, nice gift shop, LOTS for kids.
Did I mention the outdoor concert venue? Saw David Byrne there a couple years ago.
Meijer Gardens is one more reason to dig Michigan.
Meijer garden home:
Here is a link to the sculptures:

Think yer RSS feed is fast. Ha! Mines better.

I have a beta version of a feed that gives me information as people think of it - before they type it. It feeds the words onto the screen on the upper right hand of my monitor. If I give the "read" command, then the whole business scrolls across the bottom of the monitor. Unless I am sleeping in which case I have a wire connected to my superior vena cava which runs the feed directly to my sub-concious.
I can hack into the major news sources for important stuff - you know - E! and National Enquirer and all those snipey blog folks or I can switch to MSNBC to learn what FOX said about what MSNBC is saying about FOX's response their their editorial on gay marriage abortions.
It allows me to know what you are thinking -
I know if you are sleeping,
I know if you're awake,
I know if you have been good or bad,
so be good for goodness sake.
Go to Google and type Santa Ap.

Ron Wenger: The Hardest Working Man in the Fair Business.

Over the years soul singer James Brown was often referred to as “the hardest working man in show business”, but anyone who has ever been involved in the Kent County Youth Fair (KCYF) knows better. While he might not sing, shout, and do the splits like Mr. Brown did, Fair Manager Ron Wenger could easily take the “hardest working” trophy home.

Without a doubt the eight days of the 75 year old Youth Fair and the week leading up to it are the busiest of Ron’s summer schedule, but he can usually be found somewhere on the fairgrounds almost any day of the week from May until the middle of October. Much to Ron’s delight, the fairgrounds are busy with a variety of events from countless horseshows to Native American pow-wows, car shows, and two bluegrass music festivals. Throw in a circus, a barbeque cook-off, the annual duck race and a gathering of air boat enthusiasts and you can see why Ron took advantage of the one free week-end he had to visit one of his daughters and his grandkids over …

Full Circle 100% biodegradable bags - Made in Michigan!

Found these last week and got happy in the store aisle!! They are Full Circle Large/Tall kitchen trash bags. (The ones I bought are white - but this was the only Full Circle picture I could find). Not only are they 100% biodegradable - AND made from 80% recycled plastics - THEY ARE MADE in Michigan.

How cool is that? A plastic bag that "fully biodegrade into water, CO2 and biomass within 9 months to five years wherever other materials are acticely biodegrading" (as in landfills, dumps, and composting operations). Done deal - I am a new customer.

Big question remains: Why aren't ALL plastic bags 100% biodegradable?

Fun in, and respect for, Lake Michigan and rip currents.

I have been swimming in Lake Michigan as well as many other bodies of water in my favorite state for over 40 years. I have heard many times about rip currents and the dangers thereof, but until yesterday I never really experienced the power of one (them?) firsthand.

In an effort to beat the heat Julie, Amy, and I headed out to the beach at Grand Haven State Park yesterday. It was WINDY and the waves were rockin' as you can see from these pictures. Naturally the red flag was out which means No Swimming. There were a lot of people on the beach by the afternoon, and there were a good number of us who had to get in the water - red flag notwithstanding.

Amy and I went in. You can see our heads in this picture to the left of the white swim area marker - (my head is kind of sticking out of the head of the guy with his back to us in the picture). Anyway, the waves/current were powerful enough to knock me on my keister a couple times. They were also powerful and big enough for me to body su…

Driving while talking against the law? I thought so.

I recently heard a program on NPR with a columnist from the Boston Globe who wants to make driving while talking on the cell phone against the law. Hmmm, I had the same idea a little over 5 years ago.

Put down phone and driveCliff Yankovich
PUBLISHED: May 27, 2004 in The Heritage Newspapers

As much as I dislike more government control over our lives, it is time for Lansing to regulate cellphone use in cars.
Over the next few days, take the informal and unscientific Cliff Cell Phone Survey. Should you have an unsatisfactory interaction with another driver, check to see if they are on the phone.
Monitor yourself and see if you “miss things” or have close calls while using the phone and driving. (Legal disclaimer: Do not put yourself or your passengers at risk. Liability is neither expressed nor implied. Participation is voluntary.)
Is a vehicle being driven erratically? Not keeping a proper speed or moving from lane to lane? Does it seem like the driver is somewhere else?
From what I have been…

Want some fun - hit "Next Blog" a few times.

There are some very interesting blogs out there. Have found some faves simply by hitting the "Next Blog" button at the top. Sure, you will have to wade through a bunch that are in foreign languages - and some that are in English, but might as well be in a foreign language. For instance, I just found one written by a young lady and she had dreamy pictures of herself with "Lets dance the (sic) walts" written across the top!
One wrong letter and it made me wonder so many things....who are The Walts? how many of them are in the group? are most of The Walts the same age or does it vary? and of course it made me yearn to learn to dance The Walts.
So, go to the top of the page and hit "Next Blog" and see where it takes you.......