Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I was watching a special on health care coverage and how those without employer coverage are absolutely screwed. Even states with mandated coverage price out the self-employed. I have been very fortunate in my health care coverage with my employer, and I hope that it never changes. There have been few things that have not been covered - and even those might have had partial coverage.

The insurance industry and people I know have been intersecting lately. My mom has heart disease and type II diabetes, so her health care coverage is extremely costly. Fortunately, she can afford it with her health care coverage.

My best friend gave birth to her third child today. A wonderful event that was supposed to take place at home was suddenly moved to a hospital due to maternal and fetal distress. Now, her baby will be needing extensive care (hopefully for only a few days - I'm praying for no long term issues) due to some nerve damage and listeriosis. She was tested for listeriosis, and the test came back negative. Now, her son is in the NICU, getting antibiotics, and physical therapy. I shudder to think what that would cost without insurance. My friend is a SAHM and her husband is self-employed. It's a good thing he's very successful.

In other sad news, a high school classmate passed away suddenly over the weekend. Apparently, she had some sort of cardiac event, depriving her of oxygen for 30-45 minutes. She was on life support for some period of time, and then lived for some time after support was removed. She was quite a character in high school - a person who was not afraid to be herself, whoever that might be. The world will be a little lacking without her. But, consider, what is the cost of keeping someone alive and what is the cost of hospice while you wait for someone to die? Without insurance, would her family be bankrupted for the cost of the process of dying? That's not exactly something that can ethically be hurried along.

I don't know what the insurance solution is. I have worked for a pharmaceutical company, and I know how much it costs to develop drugs. I do not find that the cost of many drugs is unreasonable. I know that doctors are trained and skilled, and while I frequently doubt their words, I think that they often earn their salaries. I don't think socialized medicine would work for me - there are too many people in my family with unusual complications to their illnesses, and I would not want to be limited in my doctor selection. After watching the Frontline program (available at pbs.org), I'm pretty sure I don't want to leave my employer. I had mention of a possible diagnosis of lupus, and while I don't have any symptoms, and therefore do not have lupus, I think that would be a giant red flag for any future insurers.

I guess it's time to throw all of our research money at the geneticists - let them figure out how to fix our genes to fix our health issues. Then all you'd need is a few doctors to set bones, put in stitches, and perform appendectomies, and insurance would become obsolete.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

There's something wrong with ad agencies lately...

I know everyone hates the insurance commercial with the new dad. I'm not fond of that myself. If nothing else, I find it vaguely offensive that he can't be bothered to think of the future BEFORE the baby actually arrived. However, there have been several commercials lately that I have found to be...well...disturbing.

Tonight, I saw a Boost mobile commercial

Huh? I realize that Boost is usually out there on their ads, but this? It just makes me say Ick.

And then there's the Old Navy ad with gratuitous mannequin nudity.

I get the point that the dresses are sooo popular that they must be pulled off the mannequin. If the commercial ended there, I think it would be a clever concept. But, the subsequent ogling and conversation take it to the point where the dresses are a secondary point to the commercial and the implied nudity becomes the focus. Maybe I'm just getting old and prudish.

Finally, the one that disturbs me the most is a new Hamburger Helper commercial, which is not on YouTube. A bunch of people are on an elevator and I don't know what else happens, because the Helping Hand pops out and IT'S ATTACHED TO AN ARM!!! Up past the elbow! The Helping Hand had never before been attached to an arm! What is this heresy? Granted, I have issues with hands attached to arms with no bodies - it has to do with my job (I work in a crime lab). But seriously, where is the animation magic or green screen that would obscure the arm? Disembodied arms...I don't think that's the image that Hamburger Helper is trying to project.

Perhaps it's time to step away from the TV. But then I would miss the fake-pregnant-man-in-drag Taco Bell Nachos commercial, which is a little funny.

Go see what the normal people are showing this week for Show & Tell!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I have two aunts that have greatly influenced my life. Without them, I would not have had the education I have, the knowledge that an independent and unattached woman can have a very full life, or walls filled with oil paintings and a china cabinet full of ceramics. My Aunt R was quite the stereotypical oldest child. She liked to tell everyone how they should be living their lives (from me to the pastor at her church), but she did it in the nicest way possible. She always made you believe that you could be something extraordinary (but there was nothing wrong with being ordinary). She would frequently try to enrich our lives in whatever way she could think of - from penny blackjack at Christmas parties to a set of oil paints (which I'm sure my mother loved). When I was 12 or 13, she tried to interest my sister and me in poetry...through bribery. She offered to pay us to learn poems - the amount was based on the length and difficulty of the poem. My sister wasn't interested at all, and I only learned one poem...but it was a good one. Resume, by Dorothy Parker...just the thing an already cynical teenager needs to know. And, I earned a whole 60 cents!

Today, while giving my daughter a bath, I was reminded of Aunt R, and I thought of how proud she would already be of my daughter...

When I got tired of reading Curious George goes to the Zoo for the millionth time, I started reading poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Silverstein instead of bedtime stories. I just pick a few different ones to read each night, and my daughter will stop me if a page catches her attention. Since I don't want her to tear up the book, I keep it on a shelf in her room. So, she will now ask for 'ponies from the shelf' because poems has been too difficult to pronounce. Every day, I have to read some poems, and while it entertains me, I didn't know if she was getting anything out of it. However, during bath time tonight, my daughter said "upstairs, upstairs, upstairs," which is part of the poem Upstairs - about a family of wrens who live in a guy's hat/hair. I think she's on her way to appreciating poetry - for which I can thank Aunt R.